Schumer: ‘Thunderous Strike For Justice’

Senator Charles Schumer’s statement on Osama Bin Laden’s death.

“This is a thunderous strike for justice for the thousands of my fellow New Yorkers — and citizens from all over the world — who were murdered on 9/11. It took close to ten years, but the world’s most wanted terrorist has finally met his deserved fate. New York’s heart is still broken from the tragedy of 9/11, but this at least brings some measure of closure and consolation to the victims and their families.

“This is a massive accomplishment for the countless military and intelligence personnel who have been urgently dedicated to this task for the past decade. Because Bin Laden’s evil dogma has poisoned the minds of so many others, we cannot let up in the war on terror. This successful mission sends a definitive message to those who would test the resolve of the people of the United States of America: do not doubt our resolve; if you do us harm, we will find you, we will mete out justice, and we will prevail.”

Bloomberg Reacts To Bin Laden’s Death

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg just released this statement in response to the President’s remarks.

“After September 11, 2001, we gave our word as Americans that we would stop at nothing to capture or kill Osama bin Laden. After the contribution of millions, including so many who made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation, we have kept that word.

“The killing of Osama bin Laden does not lessen the suffering that New Yorkers and Americans experienced at his hands, but it is a critically important victory for our nation – and a tribute to the millions of men and women in our armed forces and elsewhere who have fought so hard for our nation.

“New Yorkers have waited nearly ten years for this news. It is my hope that it will bring some closure and comfort to all those who lost loved ones on September 11, 2001.”

Rep. King: ‘American People Have Seen Justice’

Rep. Peter King, chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, just released this statement.

“I commend President Obama on the announcement of the killing of Osama bin Laden.

Today, the American people have seen justice. The leader of the United States’ top enemy has gotten what he deserves for orchestrating the deaths of nearly 3,000 innocent Americans on September 11, 2001.

In 2001, President Bush said ‘we will not tire, we will not falter, and we will not fail.’ President Bush deserves great credit for putting action behind those words. President Obama deserves equal credit for his resolve in this long war against al-Qaeda.

This great success would not have been possible without the tireless work of countless brave men and women who have served around the world in this War on Terror.”

Obama: Bin Laden Death Should Unite Country

President Obama addressed the nation from the East Room of the White House shortly after 11:30 p.m. this evening to announce that terrorist leader Osama bin Laden had been killed in a fire fight by U.S. troops in Pakistan earlier today.

Obama said the White House had first been alerted to a lead on bin Laden’s whereabouts back in August.

The president said that “small team of Americans carried out operation. They took care to avoid civilian casualties.”

No Americans were killed in the incident, and troops were able to secure bin Laden’s body.

It remains unclear if the Pakistani government was alerted to the operation prior to its commencement.

Obama closed the speech by issuing a call to unity among Americans, much like the mood that prevailed shortly after the attacks in 2001. Broadcast news reports showed a cheering crowd had gathered outside the White House in anticipation of the president’s address.

Bin Laden’s death “marks the most significant achievement to date in terror war, but we must and we will remain vigilant at home and abroad,” Obama said.

He added: “Tonight we are once again reminded that America can do whatever we set our minds to.”

Osama Bin Laden Dead (Updated)

Multiple cable sources are reporting that Osama Bin Laden is dead, and the United States military has his body. President is expected to address the country soon. Will update during his speech.

Update 1:

White House Sr. staff is about to hold a background conference call to update reporters. If you are watching the networks or following on twitter, you know there are a lot differing reports.

In the past 10 minutes many outlets are reporting that Bin Laden was killed by CIA agents in an operation outside the capital of Pakistan, Islamabad. Again, none of this is confirmed, we are waiting to hear from the White House, and obviously for the President’s speech.

We are also hearing that people outside the gates of the White House chanting “USA”, singing the national anthem and “We Are The Champions”. Also, I am told the “USA” chant broke out at the Mets v. Phillies baseball game.

Update 2:

The Weekend That Was

Mayor Bloomberg solves the nation’s immigration problem, saying: “Assuming you could wave a magic wand and pull everybody together, you pass a law letting immigrants come in as long as they agree to go to Detroit and live there for five or ten years.” (Video here).

A spokeswoman for Detroit Mayor Dave Bing said: “Everybody has an idea or solution for Detroit but it’s a lot of Monday morning quarterbacking and back-seat driving.”

Cuomo is mixing his push for legalization of same-sex marriage with fundraising.

The NYPD is looking into a complaint lodged by NYC Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott after the car in which he was being driven was pulled over.

Joyce Purnick was told by her mother to stay about from the “neighborhood hellion,” Donald Trump, when she was growing up in Queens. She reminds NYers of how The Donald is “ruled by ego, not by reason.”

John McCain on Trump’s potential run: “I think he may try to, but I don’t think that’s going to happen. I think Mr. Trump is having a lot of fun. If Mr. Trump wants to run, he’s welcome to run.”

The department is also investigating published reports that officers voided the drunk driving arrest of a Bronx ADA.

Michael Goodwin approves of the low-profile approach adopted by New York’s “undercover governor.”

Seth Meyers took aim at both Donald Trump and the president at the White House Correspondents Dinner.

The event’s red carpet was live-blogged by POLITICO.

Bloomberg will speak at the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence 25th anniversary Academic Awards banquet in Norman, OK on May 12.

NYRA defended the out-of-state call center contract Cuomo criticized.

More >

‘Real American’ Zings Trump

If you haven’t seen this one yet, it’s worth a watch. President Obama spoke at the White House Correspondents Dinner last night and spent a lot of time dwelling on the birther issue while Donald Trump sat – rather uncomfortably and smiling tightly, grimly – at the Washington Post’s table.

At about the 8-minute mark, the president starts poking fun at his would-be GOP challengers:

“Michelle Bachman is here tonight, and she is thinking of running for president, which is weird because I hear she was born in Canada. Yes, Michelle, this is how it starts – just letting you know. (Big applause, laugheter, cheers).

“Tim Pawlenty. He seems all-American. But have you heard his real middle name.?Tim Hosni Pawlenty? What a shame.”

“My buddy, our outstanding ambassador John Huntsman is with us. Now, there’s something you might not know about John. He didn’t learn to speak Chinese to go there. Oh no. He learned English to come here.”

“And then there’s a vicious rumor floating around…I heard he passed universal health care when he was governor of Massachusetts. Someone should get to the bottom of that, and I know just the guy to do it. Donald Trump is here tonight.” (Big cheers, applause).

“Now, I know he’s been taking some flack lately, but no one is happier, no one is prouder to put this birth certificate to rest than The Donald. That’s because he can finally get back to focusing on the issues that matter: Like did we fake the moon landing? What really happened in Roswell? And where are Biggie and Tupac?” (Trump almost seemed to crack a real smile at that one).

“All kidding aside, obviously we all know about your credentials your breadth of experience. For example, no, seriously, just recently, in an episode of ‘Celebrity Apprentice’, at the steakhouse the men’s cooking team did not impress the judges from Omaha Steaks. And there was a lot of blame to go around. But you, Mr. Trump, recognized that the real problem was a lack of leadership.”

“And so, ultimately, you didn’t blame Little John or Meatloaf. You fired Gary Busey. And these are the kinds of decisions that would keep me up at night.” (Prolonged applause, cheers). “Well, handled, sir. Well handled.”

It doesn’t stop there, either. But you get the idea.

Flanagan To Stay In Senate (Updated)

Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos is resting easy tonight following today’s news that Sen. John Flanagan won’t run for Suffolk County Executive.

From Skelos’ statement:

“John Flanagan is a trusted public servant and a close friend, and I know this decision was a difficult one for him and his family. While I have no doubt that John would have made a great County Executive, he is already a terrific State Senator and a tireless worker on behalf of Suffolk County residents in Albany.”

Flanagan had been toying with the idea of running for job ever since Steve Levy, a Democrat-turned-Republican and one-time gubernatorial contender, announced he wasn’t running after the county district attorney investigated his campaign finances.

Babylon Supervisor Steve Bellone announced earlier this week he would seek the Democratic nomination for the job. Republican Assemblyman Mike Fitzpatrick has also expressed interest in running.

But the political ramifications for the state would have been huge.

If Flanagan had been victorious and left the Senate, which is narrowly controlled by Republicans 32-30, a Democratic pickup would result in a 31-31 tie.

A 31-31 tie could mean any number of things: whether the Republican move to limit the power of the lieutenant governor to break deadlocked votes is constitutional and if the Independent Democratic Conference of Sens. Jeff Klein, Diane Savino, David Valesky and David Carlucci can play kingmaker.

UPDATE: Flanagan’s statement appears after the jump, following the full statement from Skelos.

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Weekend Open Thread

Lots of possibilities for discussion….

- The royal wedding is over and the honeymoon has commenced. Life for all us commoners can return to what passes for normal.

- Cuomo 2014 is on.

- State lawmakers will be busy when they return to work on Albany Monday.

- Disgraced ex-state Comptroller Alan Hevesi’s onetime political Svengali, Hank Morris, is now his sworn enemy.

- Democrats are taking a page from the GOP playbook, forming independent committees that have limited reporting requirements to help the president and the party in 2012.

- The nation’s 15 highest taxed counties are all north of the New York City suburbs or in the western part in the state.

- It appears Jane Corwin is worth more than Jack Davis.

- The people behind Donald Trump’s non-campaign include not a few New Yorkers.

ICYMI: The Donald dropped five f-bombs during his speech to a GOP women’s group in Las Vegas. The crowd didn’t seem to mind. In fact, they loved it. Is this presidential behavior? Thoughts?

NYRA Responds To Governor

NYRA CEO Charlie Hayward says of course he will comply with the Governor’s request to work with the Empire State Development Corporation to keep jobs in New York State.

Yesterday, Cuomo released a letter to the press calling NYRA’s recent decision to outsource some telephone wagering to another state “troubling.”

In his response, Hayward explained that no jobs were lost in the process. Instead, they had seen such a large increase in volume since the closure of the New York City OTB that they had to seek help. He also made it clear that it was done with the knowledge of the state Racing and Wagering Board.

“The decision to utilize additional telephone outsourcing services was made pursuant to law and approved by the New York State Racing and Wagering Board after several weeks of discussions with the Board, and subsequent to prior decisions by the Board to approve the outsourcing of telephone wagering operations by both Yonkers Raceway and Saratoga Harness,” Hayward writes

“The imminent opening of the Belmont Park and Saratoga racing seasons – including the large public interest in the next several weeks of Triple Crown racing fan participation will result in additional call volumes – and of course additional revenues and employment to all participants in the racing industries in the State.”

Hayward goes on to say that NYRA has actually increased the number of union mutuel tellers since the closure of NYCOTB.

Nyra Gov Response