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Most New Yorkers have very little knowledge of how influence is wielded in Albany. This acclaimed book offers a chance to look behind those closed doors. The authors - an Albany-based political scientist and a former State Assembly member, now joined by an expert on political blogging and networking - infuse their discussion of institutions and processes with the drama and significance of real power politics. Completely revised and updated with extensive new material, the book covers recent political developments and electoral contests as well as all the basics: constitutional issues; historical, economic, social, and demographic factors; the functioning of executive, legislative, and judicial institutions; urban, local, and special district governments; parties, interest groups, and bureaucracies; and, finance, budgets, health, education, and welfare programs. Throughout, the authors are attentive to the many paradoxes and dualities that distinguish political, social, and economic life in the Empire State.