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Just Say No (To Drugs)

by Miriam Axel-Lute April 11, 2012

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  You probably don’t expect me to mean that literally. But I do. Let me tell you why. I assure you it has nothing to do with feeling any right to control what you put in ...

Raising Our Equity Grade

by Miriam Axel-Lute March 29, 2012

I adore the Capital Region, as most of you know. But when it comes to racial equity, we flunk. Don’t take my word for it. Take the Urban Institute’s, which ranked Albany-Schenectady-Troy 93rd out of ...

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Who’s a Socialist Now?

by Miriam Axel-Lute March 15, 2012

In a recent Doonesbury cartoon, a telephone operator at a company called MyFacts.com helpfully suggests to a grateful anti-Obama caller that an acceptable new definition of socialist is “A black man with power.” That is certainly ...

Ouch, My Wrist

by Miriam Axel-Lute March 1, 2012

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For all the fanfare over the National Mortgage Settlement that was eventually agreed to by 49 state attorneys general, you’d think the banks were actually being held accountable or something. I know, that would be nice. It’s ...

Brother, Can You Spare Some Time?

by Miriam Axel-Lute February 16, 2012

  “As people become wealthier, time becomes their major scarce resource. Suppose that you are very rich but have only a few hours a week of spare time. Give some examples of steps you can take ...

No Theocracy, Thanks

by Miriam Axel-Lute February 1, 2012

This is what happens when we let people run for office unopposed. Consider yourself warned. Albany’s new county executive Dan McCoy—whom, for the record, I did not vote for despite his having no opponent, though I ...

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Indians in the House

by Miriam Axel-Lute January 18, 2012

  My older daughter has recently passed a major milestone: ability to handle any sort of plot tension. Not like we’re going in for scary movies or anything, but this does vastly increase the range of ...

New Year’s Permissions

by Miriam Axel-Lute January 5, 2012

  There are as many conflicting opinions on New Year’s Resolutions as there are on any other form of self-help or self-improvement. Which is to say, rather a lot of them. A quick survey shows that there ...

We Won’t Go

by Miriam Axel-Lute December 21, 2011

“Welcome here, or welcome not, old Father Christmas should never be forgot!” Where, you might ask might Father Christmas not be welcome? Perhaps if he is part of a rag-tag band of mummers, bringing a archetypal play ...

Fix It First

by Miriam Axel-Lute December 7, 2011

  Our car died this weekend. Blessedly, it chose a few blocks from home to do it, leading only to a Saturday night wrong-side-of-the-street parking ticket rather than a highway-side-with-two-kids drama. It was the hybrid mechanism itself ...

Things Fall Apart

by Miriam Axel-Lute November 22, 2011

  To the news hound it may seem that the hardest harvest is consequence: the richly deserved chicken slaughtered on her roost, the open-pollinated burrs of hypocrisy and insincerity, the mortar-eating ivy that can’t tear down the master’s house fast enough. But ...

Move Your Money

by Miriam Axel-Lute October 26, 2011

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  Dear JPMorgan Chase, After many years, I’m leaving you. I tried to think of our credit card as a secondary sort of relationship. All my bank accounts have been with credit unions for over a decade. ...

Assembling Assemblies

by Miriam Axel-Lute October 13, 2011

  “Collective Thinking is born when we understand that all opinions, be these opinions our own or others’, need to be considered when generating consensus and that an idea, once it has been constructed indirectly, can ...

Main Street vs. Wall Street

by Miriam Axel-Lute September 28, 2011

As I write this Monday evening, the occupation of Wall Street by people representing the 99 percent of us whose interests are not served by privileging a bloated, predatory financial system over the real economy ...

Repeat After Me

by Miriam Axel-Lute September 15, 2011

Rick Perry is a hypocrite. Rick Perry and his cronies are hypocrites.        Perry’s supposed Texas miracle was built on stimulus money, government jobs, and undocumented immigrants. Though the state added public sector jobs, the ...

We’ll See Irene Again

by Miriam Axel-Lute August 31, 2011

  I used to quip that here in the Northeast, our natural disaster danger was Lyme disease. I guess that line gets retired as of this year. Especially since our region and our neighboring regions are focused ...

Let’s Get Together

by Miriam Axel-Lute August 3, 2011

There are have been so many things to be depressed about in the debt ceiling debate it’s hard to focus: Revenue off the table despite support from the majority of the country. Widespread cuts that ...

Comp-ish Plan-ish

by Miriam Axel-Lute July 20, 2011

I’d like to say that I read the draft of Albany’s Comprehensive plan so you don’t have to, but I’m going say up front (perhaps predictably) that I think you should too (or at least ...

Appearance Matters

by Miriam Axel-Lute July 6, 2011

Last year I gave in and began to exercise. It’s not that I was opposed to exercise. It’s that I was opposed to exercise that wasn’t also something else. In my ideal world it would be ...

Sports Without Tribes?

by Miriam Axel-Lute June 22, 2011

I honeymooned in Vancouver, B.C., and I have held an idealized view of it ever since. But I have to admit that that view got rather tarnished last with the news of the post–Stanley Cup ...

Flip It

by Miriam Axel-Lute June 8, 2011

It is one of the quirks of the American psyche that an enormous majority of Americans identify as middle class—with the rich and working poor concocting phrases such as “upper middle class” and “lower middle ...

Where The Heart Is

by Miriam Axel-Lute May 25, 2011

I was talking with University of Missouri, St. Louis, professor Todd Swanstrom at a conference in D.C. this week about politics and politicians (and a lot about Albany, since he lived here and taught ...

Invest Local

by Miriam Axel-Lute May 11, 2011

I recently got to hear Robert Eggers, the blunt, energetic founder of the DC Central Kitchen. He likes to talk about the power of the non-wealthy’s collective economic decisions: Bus riders’ pennies in Montgomery, average ...

Ditch the Mansion Subsidy

by Miriam Axel-Lute April 27, 2011

A couple weeks ago I was in Washington, D.C., for work. My day job is as the editor of Shelterforce magazine, a national nonprofit magazine for people working in the fields of affordable housing, neighborhood ...

Victory Conservation

by Miriam Axel-Lute March 30, 2011

The disaster unfolding in Japan over the past few weeks has, not surprisingly, energized anti-nuclear advocacy. As well it should. Assertions of safety for something that complex always need to be qualified. They are never ...