Forget it, New York. It's just Albany. That's what we're thinking as the five week State Senate stalemate circus has ended with the State Senator who represents the Bronx but may actually live in Westchester and who is under investigation for a number of questionable dealings is now our new Senate majority leader. That's right, Espada, who left the Democrats to gain power by aligning with the Republicans, decided to rejoin the Democratic fold, after being assured of a powerful position—PolitickerNY calls him a triple-crosser while the Post sums things up as "SLEAZY DOES IT IN COUP PART 2." The Daily News' Juan Gonzalez's column headline: "Albany back-stabber Pedro Espada comes out ahead in senate stalemate that shut down state."

Espada said in a press conference yesterday, "It was never about power, but about empowerment." One Bronx resident told the Post, "He changes sides as much as he changes underwear. These guys have no backbone." Oh, the Post also notes, "Senate majority leaders get an additional $41,000 on top of their 'base' $79,500-a-year salary, as well as the right to hire dozens of patronage employees." Senator John Sampson (D-Brooklyn), who will be head of the Democratic caucus, also said in the presser, "To all 19.5 million people in the state of New York, we apologize. ometimes you have a dysfunctional family, dysfunctional family members, but at the end of the day, we understand that we are all one family and we are all home now. Home to stay." Barf. As for Senator Malcolm Smith, he'll be president pro tempore until December.

With the stalemate over, the Senate starting passing bills, including hiking sales tax in NYC by 0.5%. Mayor Bloomberg is expected to regain control of the school system.