Shake-up in the New York Senate

June 8, 2009 2:17:23 PM PDT
Something of a political coup tonight in Albany. Republicans, who lost control of the State Senate in last November's election, have regained it - without a vote.

Two Hispanic lawmakers - Pedro Espada Jr. of the Bronx and Hiram Monserrate of Queens, switched allegiance to join with the Republicans.

The development follows what's described as a raucous leadership fight on the floor late this afternoon. The Republicans controlled the Senate for more than 40 years, lost it in January, and now once again have control, by a 32-30 margin.

It was a short-lived Democrat-controlled state legislature.

The fight however doesn't appear to be over. The man who was ousted as Majority Leader, Senator Malcolm Smith, says the coup was illegal.

Stay tuned.

The question of party affiliation seems a fluid situation all around these days. Witness Mayor Bloomberg. He may call it a victory of sorts that most New Yorkers don't know his political party affiliation. But it's not your typical situation.

A new poll shows that only one in three people in New York City know Bloomberg is in fact an Independent. More than 25% thought he was a Republican; and indeed he was when he first ran for Mayor and until two years ago. And about 10% think he's still a Democrat, which he was for all his adult life before he decided to run for office.

Mr. Bloomberg plans to spend upwards of $80 million of his own money running for a third term.

We'll have the latest on the political coup up in Albany, tonight at 11.

Also at 11, what was an educated theory - tonight has been confirmed by science.

It was Canada geese - lots of them - that flew into the engines of U-S Airways Flight 1549 in January.

The bird strike killed the plane's engines - and forced it to make an emergency landing in the Hudson. The moniker was "Miracle on the Hudson" - but it was no miracle, it was just the experience and great piloting of the cockpit crew that allowed everyone on board to get out alive.

But geese migrating south in January? Why so late in winter? Turns out, there are billions of birds flying in a migratory pattern along the Northeast corridor for nearly half the year. So there.

By the way, the science was provided by the Smithsonian Institution, which used stable isotope analysis from feathers found at the crash site and in the engines.

What is stable isotope analysis? (You mean you don't know?) It's a technology that uses molecular information - that means the vegetation in the birds' diets - to figure out the geographical markers on the feathers.

We'll have the latest, tonight at 11.

They'll be celebrating at the Apollo Theater tonight, as the Harlem landmark hosts its 75th anniversary fundraising concert and awards ceremony. We'll be there as they induct Quincy Jones and Patti LaBelle in the Apollo Legends Hall of Fame.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus the AccuWeather forecast and the night's sports. I hope you can join us, tonight at 11.

BILL RITTER


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