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Rise Again

by Miriam Axel-Lute October 8, 2015


  “This is all because of Joe McCarthy.” John McCutcheon, folk musician and songwriter extraordinaire, was on the stage at Proctors Sunday night. He was talking about the network of folk venues and series like our ...


Opportunity Blocked

by Miriam Axel-Lute September 24, 2015


  Want to be that one person who bootstraps themselves out of poverty and makes it, against all odds? Not if Facebook has anything to do with it. Now that’s already a stretch without Facebook. We already ...


Just Take a Walk?

by Miriam Axel-Lute September 10, 2015


  Last spring, as I walked to a board meeting of the Community Loan Fund of the Capital Region on Orange Street in Albany, I passed a memorial to a young man who had been shot ...


In Defense of Saggy Pants

by Miriam Axel-Lute August 27, 2015


  “Pull up your pants already.” “All these guys with their pants around their knees, waddling...” Hey look, it’s the fashion police. Seems like everyone has something to say about sagging pants, from the president to the ...


Policing for Dollars

by Miriam Axel-Lute August 13, 2015


  Some people are a little bit upset about the city of Albany’s decision to install red light cameras. OK, perhaps I am understating a little bit. Many people—most, from my unscientific survey, though not all, white ...

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Pipeline Whack-a-Mole

by Miriam Axel-Lute July 30, 2015


  Didn’t I write this column already? The one where I say, hey, it’s so awesome that New York state banned fracking, but companies are still trying to criss-cross our state with new pipelines that allow gas ...


Zone It Right

by Miriam Axel-Lute July 16, 2015


  In case you missed it, Albany is redoing its zoning code. Given that portions of it date back to 1968, conflict with each other or are too vague to consistently interpret, and are scattered through ...

On Flags and Losing

by Miriam Axel-Lute July 2, 2015


  I am glad the Confederate Flag is coming down in so many places. I am also glad that the attention on it has allowed its actual history as a explicit symbol of race hatred and ...

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The Anti-Bucket List

by Miriam Axel-Lute June 18, 2015


  I’m turning 40 soon. Like so many of my cohort who are doing the same, I never expected it to be a big deal. I remember being really turned off by “over-the-hill” jokes when my ...

Stitching the City Together

by Miriam Axel-Lute June 6, 2015


  The map of Albany on the screen, at quick glance, looked a little like a heat map of poverty and distressed neighborhoods, with one large red area over the Sheridan Hollow, Arbor Hill and West ...

Safe Trains

by Miriam Axel-Lute May 21, 2015


  As regular readers may know, I’m a big fan of train travel. I intend to be taking a train home from New Orleans in less than a month. It will pass through Philadelphia, as do ...

Beware the Self-Defeating Prophecy

by Miriam Axel-Lute May 7, 2015


  Yesterday I saw a link to a set of well-wisher cards intended to be sent to people with serious illness, like cancer. Some were unusually blunt (“happy last day of chemo, let’s eat anything that ...

How to Increase Vaccination Rates

by Miriam Axel-Lute February 12, 2015


  Here are seven steps to increasing vaccination rates without being an asshole to anybody along the way: One: Remember that even now, anti-vaxxers are not actually the biggest reason for missed vaccines. Poverty is. From Mother ...


Funding the City

by Miriam Axel-Lute January 29, 2015

  At a regional forum on inequality earlier this month, Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan made some remarks that jumpstarted some regional discussion about regional equity, commuter taxes, and the like. As reported by Jimmy Vielkind at ...

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Fracked Gas, Coming Through

by Miriam Axel-Lute January 15, 2015


  The land where Patricia Kernan grew up, in the foothills of the Northern Catskills, is 1,000 acres of unbroken forest, from which trees have been carefully, sustainably harvested for at least 70 years. It contains ...

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Charity and Justice

by Miriam Axel-Lute December 31, 2014

  A few weeks ago my daughter got a bee in her bonnet about wanting to help homeless people. Like many of her peers she has begun to notice the world outside of herself and has ...

Critical Mass of Grief

by Miriam Axel-Lute December 18, 2014


  Grief lasts a lot longer than anger. Anger burns itself out, but grief comes in steady waves. When I look around at the tremendous outpouring of #BlackLivesMatter activism of these past weeks, of I Can’t Breathe ...

Progressives and Picket Lines

by Miriam Axel-Lute December 4, 2014


  The story was very different, depending who told it. To the organizers of the two affordable housing conferences I attended a few weeks ago, news that the Seattle Olive 8 hotel was under boycott by the ...

Is History Destiny?

by Miriam Axel-Lute November 20, 2014


  Don’t tell anyone, but I recently abandoned my longstanding resistance to both podcasts and NPR and binge-listened to a bunch of Planet Money episodes on a couple of bus and plane trips where I couldn’t ...

Hey Albany, We Have a Land Bank

by Miriam Axel-Lute November 6, 2014

  Albany has a lot of abandoned buildings and vacant lots, as most of us know. They can be an incredible drag on neighborhoods, inviting crime and disinvestment, and they represent a tremendous waste of potential, ...

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How (Not) to Talk About Vaccines

by Miriam Axel-Lute October 9, 2014


  There are two topics about which people who otherwise tend to agree with each other tend to figuratively rip each other’s throats out about. Since I wrote about Israel and Palestine in my last column, ...


No Longer Looking Away

by Miriam Axel-Lute September 25, 2014


  The e-mail message had no content. Only a subject line, which read “Enough already. Sign me up.” The e-mail came from a rabbi to Jewish Voice for Peace this summer as the attacks on Gaza were ...


Ferguson On My Mind

by Miriam Axel-Lute September 11, 2014

  Outside my house, two young African-American boys, maybe 9 or 10, scoot by on skateboards. One is carrying something on a leaf and stops to show me a giant slug. We chat about it a ...

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Vote Teachout

by Miriam Axel-Lute August 28, 2014


  Part of progressive frustration with the Tea Party, aside from shaking our heads over the sheer lack of enlightened self-interest shown by most of its on the ground supporters, is jealousy. They run primary campaigns ...


Income for Everyone

by Miriam Axel-Lute August 12, 2014

  If you wanted to come up with a totally cockamamie idea to attribute to someone to smear them as unrealistic bleeding-heart socialist, what would you come up with? Possibly “the government should just give everyone ...