N.Y. Legislature Hits Cartoon Depths

"New York State's political leadership has become an international laughingstock. We can't even do a coup d'etat right," columnist Fred LeBrun wrote in the Albany Times Union.

"We've gone from incompetence to chaos, which even in Albany can't be masqueraded as progress."

Paterson ordered Tuesday's Senate session to break the stalemate.

The Republicans planned to occupy the chamber at 2 p.m., an hour before Paterson's scheduled start time. But Democrats entered the chamber more than two hours early and seized control of the podium.

Both sides then launched their own cacophonous sessions.

"You have the kind of situation that leads nations to go to war. Neither side can compromise," said Alan Chartock, a former professor of political science, who is CEO and president of Northeast Public Radio.

"What we are seeing is a ferocious fight for political power between two evenly matched opponents who are using every tool in the toolbox to beat the other side, and, of course, the public is the big loser," Horner said. "They have scraped through the bottom of the barrel. The scary part is, the end is not in sight. I have never seen anything like this."

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