Secretary of Defense-in-waiting Chuck Hagel reached out to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and will likely meet with her later this month.

The Rabbinical Seminary of America is encouraging New Yorkers to call Sen. Chuck Schumer because “experts feel that he has the power to prevent Hagel’s confirmation.”

Sen. Frank Lautenberg vs. Newark Mayor Cory Booker 2014 is already heated, and it’s barely underway.

VP Joe Biden says there’s “no silver bullet” to stop gun violence.

Remembering the Vlasto era.

Anti-fracking activist Yoko Ono paid a visit to the state Capitol with her son, Sean Lennon.

The state Education Department has approved 637 teacher evaluation plans. For the status of the remaining 54 districts, click here.

The New York City teachers union has scheduled a meeting with its top delegates for Thursday – the teacher evaluation deadline - a sign top officials think negotiations could come down to the wire.

Rep. Jerry “Mint the Coin” Nadler argues in favor of not merely raising the debt ceiling, but abolishing it altogether.

What’s actually new in the new state Senate rules? Find out here.

Cuomo’s NYS2100 commission says New York City should build a real bus rapid transit system so it can better weather the next Hurricane Sandy.

The WFP has launched an on-line campaign to send Cuomo to see the anti-fracking movie “Promised Land.”

The New York Times is dismantling its environmental desk…and that’s not all that’s on the chopping block.

The Nation took notice of state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s lawsuit against Qualcomm.

Newly-minted Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor said he was chastised by a Democratic colleague “for not leaping to my feet to give a standing ovation to Cuomo’s call for unfettered abortions” during the SoS.

Next Monday, some 400 pink-clad advocates are expected to descend on the Capitol to rally in support of Cuomo’s Women’s Equality Act.

The Jan. 15 fundraising deadline is particularly important for NYC mayoral hopeful Bill Thompson.

Sen. Jay Rockefeller, a Democrat from West Virginia, will retire at the end of 2014. (Fixed. Thanks, Russ).

Manhattan GOP Chairman Dan Isaacs says ex-GOP Gov. George Pataki became “Democrat light,” which he wants the party to avoid when selecting a NYC mayoral candidate.

The NY Farm Bureau reminds us: It’s National Milk Day.