Moment Of Silence

…as per the request of President Obama, to memorialize the people killed and injured in Saturday’s shooting tragedy in Arizona.

It’s being streamed live on the White House Website, which you can access here, or simply watch below (assuming the embed works).

Here And Now

Two House members said the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords will cause them to carry weapons to defend themselves.

Members of Congress have been asked to review their security arrangements.

Doctors are encouraged by Giffords’ response after her emergency brain surgery.

The DN got inside shooter Jared Lee Loughner’s house and found a shrine with a skull in the backyard.

Students and teachers at an Arizona community college were frightened by Loughner’s erratic behavior.

Mayor Bloomberg and Rep. Carolyn McCarthy slammed the lax gun laws that enabled Loughner to purchase his firearm.

McCarthy will seek to ban the type of high-capacity semi-automatic-weapon magazines used by Loughner in Saturday’s rampage.

The Times deems Loughner “very much a part of a widespread squall of fear, anger and intolerance that has produced violent threats against scores of politicians and infected the political mainstream with violent imagery.”

The politics of anger is being hotly debated.

Rep. Tom Reed said the government won’t change the way it does business just because of “some lunatic who goes on a rampage.”

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The Weekend That Was

A troubled 22-year-old college student, Jared Lee Loughner, has been charged with trying to assassinate Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, during a shootout that left 20 people wounded, six of them fatally.

Here’s the criminal complaint against Loughner, who acted alone.

Giffords lived through the attack and remains in critical condition.

Giffords’ chief of staff is a Saratoga Springs native and was not hurt in the shootout.

The House called a halt to all work in Washington.

Being in the public eye can be dangerous.

Some 800 Democratic and Republican members of Congress and their spouses participated in a conference call in which leaders pleaded for unity in the wake of the shooting.

Rep. Bob Brady says he’ll introduce a bill that would ban the use of symbols like crosshairs or targets for political purposes.

Investigators found an envelope at Loughner’s home that said: “I planned ahead.”

Mayor Bloomberg commented on the Arizona tragedy this morning during a visit to the Evangelical Crusade of Fishers of Men Church in Brooklyn.

SNL poked fun at Bloomberg for his Christmas weekend blizzard response.

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Sampson Elevates Latino Members

Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr. this afternoon issued a statement praising Senate Minority Leader John Sampson for appointing fellow Hispanic lawmakers to “high-ranking positions” within the Democratic conference.

According to Diaz, who chairs the Senate’s Puerto Rican/Latino Caucus, Sampson has appointed Sen. Martin Malavé Dilan to serve as assistant minority leader for Senate Policy and Administration; Sen. José Peralta to serve as Senate Democratic Conference minority whip; and Sen. Adriano Espaillat, to serve as chair of Senate Minority Business Development and as the ranking member of the Senate Housing Committee.

“On behalf of the Senate Puerto Rican/Latino Caucus, we are pleased with Senator John Sampson’s appointments of Hispanics to key positions in the State Senate,” Diaz Sr. said.

“He heard our request loud and clear and recognized the importance of including Hispanic leaders in prominent decision-making levels of government – especially in these times of serious budget cutting, These appointments may prove to be even more important when the Senate Democrats return to the majority.”

A Senate source confirmed Sampson had indeed made these appointments, which will be formally announced – along with other committee ranking positions and (minority) leadership posts – tomorrow morning. (UPDATED, as per comment in comments section. – LB).

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Obama Postpones Schenectady Trip

President Obama has indefinitely postpone his Tuesday trip to Schenectady following Saturday’s Arizona shooting, saying the visit is “expected” to be rescheduled, but offering no new date.

In addition, the president has called for a nationwide moment of silence at 11 a.m. tomorrow to “honor the innocent victims of the senseless tragedy in Tucson…including those still fighting for their lives. ”

“It will be a time for us to come together as a nation in prayer or reflection, keeping the victims and their families closely at heart,” the president said in a statement.

Obama will observe the moment of silence with White House staff on the South Lawn. The moment of silence will be pooled press.

Today, the president signed a proclamation calling for flags to be flown at half-staff to mark the tragedy. It appears below.

Tucson Prc Rel 2011

Tragedy In Arizona

We have been getting comments and statements from many members of the New York Congressional Delegation in response to today’s tragic shooting that has critically wounded Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. All of them are included after the jump.

Rep. Giffords is still listed in critical condition after being shot once in the head at a “Congress In Your Corner” event outside a Tucson grocery store. A surgeon at the hospital where she was taking says she is out of surgery, and he is “optimistic” she will live.

Rep. Giffords Chief of Staff, Pia Carusone, is a Saratoga Springs High School graduate. Her mother told the Times Union she was in Washington, DC when the shooting happened, and is now on a plane to Arizona.

President Obama addressed the country shortly after 4 p.m. today. He says he has directed the FBI to help with the investigation, and Director Robert Mueller has traveled to Arizona.

“Gabby Giffords was a friend of mine,” Obama said. “She was not only an extraordinary public servant, but she is also somebody who is warm and caring she is well liked by her colleagues and well liked by her constituents.”

“What Americans do in times of tragedy is to come together and support each other. I know gabby is as tough as they come and I’m hopeful she’s going to pull through”

Five people are confirmed dead in this shooting, including a 9 year old girl, and a federal judge, John Roll. The shooter is being identified as Jared Loughner and is in police custody.

Here are what some of the New York delegation is saying.
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Extras

Former Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada Jr. will face new tax evasion charges.

Rep. Chris Gibson will appear on ABC’s “This Week” this Sunday.

Overkill.

Sandra Lee’s New Year’s Eve was “surreal in every way.”

Alec Baldwin on AG Eric Schneiderman and Gov. Andrew Cuomo: “In Albany we have a great newly-elected governor and a great attorney general, and these are both men with the skill and the will to lead New York to a place of fiscal responsibility and humanity at the same time.”

Rep. Charlie Rangel dismissed the GOP effort to repeal the health care reform law as “symbolic.”

Anthony Mele is looking for some Republican rebels.

John Edwards denied a National Enquirer report that he asked his mistress to marry him.

Teamsters Local 237 President Greg Floyd defended public pensions.

Bloomberg proclaimed National Retail Week.

Bloomberg wants more power to hire and fire civil service workers.

The return of Gene Sperling.

The third-term killing has begun.

Bernie Madoff’s former secretary is under house arrest.

I wonder how long this will last.

Details Of Obama’s GE Visit

…Compliments of the White House press office:

On Tuesday, January 11, President Obama will travel to Schenectady, New York to visit the birthplace of General Electric.

The site is home to GE’s largest energy division, including steam turbines, generators, wind and solar, and the future home of GE’s advanced battery manufacturing facility.

The President will tour the site with GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt and he will make remarks on the importance of growing the economy and making America more competitive by investing in jobs, innovation and clean energy.

The GE plant in Schenectady is a direct beneficiary of GE’s power turbine deal with India announced during the President’s trip last November.

Air Force One is scheduled to arrive at Albany International Airport at 11:30 a.m. and depart at 1:20 p.m.

That’s one quick trip.

The president is expected to speak sometime around 12:15 p.m. YNN will, of course, be taking his speech live.

Mandate Relief Redesign Team Named

…Two State of the State-related redesign teams down (Medicaid and now mandate relief), one to go (SAGE), and perhaps we’ll have that last one, too, before the day is out.

The mandate relief team, also created via executive order, is tasked with reviewing existing unfunded and underfunded mandates imposed by state government on school districts, local governments, and other local taxing districts.

The 23-member team includes representatives from private industry, education, labor, and government. They’ll be looking for ways to reduce the costs of mandated programs, identify mandates that are ineffective and outdated, and determine how school districts and local governments can have greater ability to control expenses. The deadline for recommendations: March 1.

The team is chaired by Senior Advisor to the Governor (and former top aide to ex-Gov. David Paterson) Larry Schwartz.

“The enormous burden of unfunded and underfunded mandates is breaking the backs of taxpayers, counties and municipalities across the state,” Cuomo said.

“These mandates are throwing budgets out of balance and sending local property taxes through the roof. This diverse team of leaders and public servants fulfills the commitment to bring stakeholders to one table in order to work together to deliver relief and results for New Yorkers.”

The full list of members appears after the jump.

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Cuomo Names Medicaid Redesign Team

Gov. Andrew Cuomo just released the names of the team tasked with coming up with ways to save money in the state’s behemonth Medicaid program in time to implement those suggestions in the 2011-2012 budget.

The 27-member team (oddly, the executive order that formed it says Cuomo would appoint up to 25 voting members, and it’s not clear who won’t be voting), includes four state lawmakers – Assemblymen Richard Gottfried and Joe Giglio and Senators Tom Duane and Kemp Hannon – as well as representatives from all over the health care sector (Ken Raske of GNYHA, 1199 – both current president George Gresham and his predecessor, Dennis Rivera, Dan Sisto of HANYS etc.)

State Medicaid Director Jason Helgerson will serve as the team’s executive director and the state Budget Director (um, that would be Bob Megna, whose name is not included in the press release) will serve as a non-voting member.

“This team is tasked with the challenge of reversing a decades’ long crisis of overspending and waste in our Medicaid system,” Cuomo said.

“We need to come together to find solutions to bring costs down without compromising care for New Yorkers and that is exactly what this team is going to do.”

Cuomo today participated in the team’s first meeting via conference call.

The team’s first report – with findings and recommendations – must be submitted to Cuomo by March 1 for consideration in the budget process. It will then submit quarterly reports thereafter until the end of of the next fiscal year, when it disbands.

Sisto is my guest on CapTon tonight (airing at 8 p.m. and 11:30 p.m.) He admitted the team’s task is daunting, particularly given the short time frame.

The full list of team members appears after the jump.

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