Stephen Gottlieb

Stephen Gottlieb: Brotherhood

Apr 25, 2017

In the height of the Civil Rights Movement we used “brotherhood” to express our quest for more than tolerance, but for closeness as one human family. I’ve never found a gender-neutral term for that feeling, so I continue to use it but in a gender-neutral way – we are all family, cousins, a part of one community. As John Donne famously wrote in 1624, “never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.”

Stephen Gottlieb: The Future Of Jobs

Apr 19, 2017

Automation is changing the workforce. It creates some highly skilled jobs but eliminates many others, from service jobs like taxis to previously professional tasks like document review. Factory jobs are decimated by automation.

Stephen Gottlieb: Peace Corps And Legal Services

Apr 11, 2017

The Trump Administration hasn’t included the Peace Corps in its proposal for fiscal year 2018. It proposed cutting the international affairs budget by nearly a third.[i] It struck funding for the Legal Services Corporation which provides funds for poor people to defend what little they have. And, as we are all aware, it has advanced its war on truth by trying to cut the budget of National Public Radio. None of that will save much in the budget but it will damage the country and make life coarser and less secure for the people in it.

People often ask me whether something is constitutional. I often respond by asking what they mean. Our Constitution is only as good as the people handling it. Beyond that it’s a piece of paper, that bends, folds and tears. The Founding Fathers often referred to constitutional language as parchment barriers.

Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch is awaiting a confirmation vote by the full Senate, but Democrats have secured enough votes to filibuster. A vote is expected Friday. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has signaled he will likely change Senate rules to reduce the threshold from 60 votes to a simple majority to get Gorsuch confirmed – the so-called “nuclear option.”

Stephen Gottlieb: Gorsuch And Legal Tyranny

Mar 28, 2017

The Gorsuch hearings frustrated me. It’s mostly theatre. The Senators wanted to make sure we understand the stakes for the issues they care about. Fine. But the lawyer and interviewer in me want to sink the knife deeper.

Stephen Gottlieb: Chemicals, Infertility And Morals

Mar 21, 2017

You’ll be subjected to rolling commentary on innumerable aspects of the Gorsuch hearings. I prefer, as I often do, to address deeper aspects of our competing value systems that underlie the surface of our political battles. One is the human impact of our treatment of planet earth.

Stephen Gottlieb: Trump And Jobs

Mar 14, 2017

Last week I commented that scholars of intolerance tell us that feeling threatened often leads to hate. That’s one reason the economic threat to some American workers matters to all of us.

Stephen Gottlieb: How Can We Protect American Workers

Mar 7, 2017

Trump’s power, and his policies on jobs, immigrants, religious and ethnic hatreds and the Alt-wrong are all related.

Stephen Gottlieb: Choose Life

Feb 28, 2017

I want to focus on a serious issue that is being ignored in favor of all kinds of fake news and grandstanding. In college, I took a course on demography. That means we were looking at the explosion of population in parts of the world, which then leveled off, but at much higher levels than before. Everything we are struggling with in this twenty-first century is related to that explosion of population.

Stephen Gottlieb: Investing In The Environment

Feb 21, 2017

The White House isn’t explaining government’s environmental options.

Stephen Gottlieb: Labor Economics

Feb 14, 2017

The White House isn’t explaining what’s happening to jobs. I once taught labor economics, an issue close to my heart. To some extent, labor is like any other commodity and that’s the problem. Jobs go wherever business can find all the things it needs – the land, transportation, materials, markets, reliable legal relations, at the right prices. And it keeps changing.

Stephen Gottlieb: Pledge Drive And Public Radio

Feb 7, 2017

I wrote this commentary assuming it would be extra incentive to contribute. Instead it is a time for celebration and appreciation. A one-day fund drive – WOW. So let me say a bit about some of the things that your contributions accomplished.

Earlier this month, President Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch to fill the Supreme Court seat held by the late Justice Antonin Scalia. In 2006, Judge Gorsuch was nominated by President George W. Bush and confirmed by the Senate to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit based in Denver, CO. Gorsuch studied at Columbia, Harvard and Oxford. Here to discuss Gorsuch and the overall Supreme Court is Albany Law School professor and WAMC commentator Steve Gottlieb.

Stephen Gottlieb: Polarizing America

Jan 31, 2017

I’d like to give my spleen a break for a week and talk about some of the dynamics that are polarizing  America, that neither side can solve because the problem is structural. Law has contributed with crucial changes regarding political parties, the media, the draft and residential segregation (which Brown did not prevent). I'd love to hear good suggestions for countering the polarizing effects of those legal changes.

Stephen Gottlieb: The March In Albany

Jan 24, 2017

This weekend was busy. The New York Civil Liberties Union, the National Lawyers Guild and others trained people in nonviolence and to serve as observers for the Women’s March on Washington, including a couple of training sessions at Albany Law.

Stephen Gottlieb: The Future

Jan 17, 2017

What are the lessons of the election for the future of democracy?

Stephen Gottlieb: The Challenges

Jan 10, 2017

Looking at the New Year, there are two existential challenges that must be dealt with: global climate change and the threat to American democracy.

Stephen Gottlieb: The Legacy Of Barack Obama

Jan 3, 2017

Barack Obama has been one of our most decent and intelligent presidents. I’ll miss him. Instead of simplification and slogans, Obama explained the complexities of everything from medical treatment to foreign policy. Instead of shooting from the hip, he studied problems carefully and reached mature, intelligent decisions.

Stephen Gottlieb: On Egos In Skin, Muscles And Race

Dec 27, 2016

Years ago, when I was working out in a gym, a younger woman was obviously putting more weight on the equipment and doing more and faster reps than I was. I did not know this woman and there was no conversation between us. But as she passed me, she commented that it was OK because I would be stronger on the upper body exercises. When people catch me off guard with a comment like that, I often say nothing, and I don’t think I responded. But I have often wanted to say to her that I don’t keep my ego in my muscles.

Stephen Gottlieb: PC

Dec 20, 2016

I first heard the term political correctness when we were looking at colleges with our daughter. It was a term raised by other parents. I didn’t know what it referred to. Now it’s so common it’s just called PC. I just think of much of it as manners, and at the root of manners is kindness.

Stephen Gottlieb: Lessons From A Century Of Voting Reforms

Dec 13, 2016

Let’s discuss voting issues today.  Well more than a century of experience has gone into the way we vote. That century should be a source of confidence and concern because none of us is old enough to remember why all the rules are in the statutes.

Stephen Gottlieb: Is Democracy In America Coming Apart?

Dec 6, 2016

I wrote Unfit for Democracy to warn that American democracy could collapse in coming decades. But the problems are coming home to roost sooner than I expected.

Stephen Gottlieb: The Don In Giovanni

Nov 29, 2016

I don’t usually tell stories, but sometimes an ancient story seems to have contemporary relevance.

Stephen Gottlieb: Melting Pot

Nov 22, 2016

I walked by a lovely cathedral in Milwaukee and then another of the same faith one block  away. Then I noticed someone I knew and asked her what gives. She pointed out that the two cathedrals were built by people divided by their ethnic groups. How far have we traveled! These days we happily rub shoulders with people from all different backgrounds.

Stephen Gottlieb: Post-mortem

Nov 15, 2016

I feel like I’m in mourning. The presidency has been taken by a con man and we all deserve better – those he’s duped as well as the rest of us.

Stephen Gottlieb: Against Whom The Rebellion?

Nov 8, 2016

This is my last chance to talk with you before the polls close.

Stephen Gottlieb: A Scary Election

Oct 25, 2016

Over a century ago, populism was sweeping the country, with white and African-American workers standing together, until a scared Southern aristocracy started race-baiting. Whites took the bait, breaking the back of Southern populism. The rest of the country surged forward because their governments cared about the people, the regular people, not just the fancy financiers. But not in the South, which languished.

Stephen Gottlieb: Fugue For Pledge Breaks

Oct 18, 2016

Hi folks. When you hear this I’ll be boarding a plane for Pittsburgh to give a talk, and I’ll be missing a couple of days of the fund drive, though friends and family from our Peace Corps days will be helping out at the station as well as contributing from home. This station is important to us – and this election season makes clear why. On WAMC we get news that is fact-checked. We get opinions that are explained, not just thrown at us like so many ipse dixits. We get interviews with people on both sides of political campaigns. And we get cutting edge science about energy, water, the climate, the economy and other matters of interest and importance. This station is a treasure.

Stephen Gottlieb: Personality And Presidents

Oct 11, 2016

I walked by a group talking about the election and a young woman was saying she would never vote for Hillary because of her personality – I forget the word she used. So I stopped and asked her if that was the most important thing in a candidate. She responded “Yeah” like wasn’t it obvious and went on talking. I moved on shaking my head about her naiveté. This president is going to have to deal with Russia, China, the Muslim world, climate change, and her personality is the issue? The next president is going to have to be cool under pressure, not shoot wildly from the hip, and understand the stakes, the pressures, the possibilities and the limitations of what we can accomplish, and her personality is the issue?

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