Mid-Morning Read: Bill Thompson, Malcolm Smith and more on Caroline Kennedy

Bradley Tusk, who we wrote about yesterday, will be Michael Bloomberg's campaign manager.

Gifford Miller and Larry Seabrook sang Christmas songs at the City Council's holiday party, according to a reader. [no link]

Tony Avella's protest of horse-driven carriages turns ugly: "They made my daughter cry," says one passenger.

The New York Times corrects itself, reporting Ted Kennedy never actually called David Paterson about the Hillary Clinton's Senate seat..

Roger Simon asks if Caroline Kennedy is ready for the U.S. Senate.

The fund-raising issue does make Caroline an appealing choice for many.

Would Randi Weingarten keep the seat warm in case Hillary wants to make a return?

Pete King announced a run for Senate yesterday, saying "I didn't want to seem like I was playing catch up."

As the leadership deal unravels, State Senator Ruben Diaz Sr. said the Latino community cannot allow a post given them to be "in name only."

Diaz also calls Ed Koch a "rat" and says the gay community is jamming his phone lines.

Meanwhile, newly named Deputy Majority Leader Bill Stachowski conducted a forum in Buffalo.

Bill Thompson's campaign web site is up, with links to photos of him with Bloomberg-friendly pols like Jonathan Bing and Mike McMahon.

A woman in this Thompson photo is wearing a shirt that says "Lets Make Out."

A reader sent a link to this online petition urging Barack Obama not to nominate Adolfo Carrion for a cabinet position.

Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner's Facebook status yesterday: "wondering why one person (Governor of a state) can appoint a US Senator. Aren't Senators supposed to be elected by the people? This ain't China!"

In the comments section, Robert Mugabe defender Charles Barron gets no love.

Critics of Joel Klein say he lied to the National Press Club.

Fiscal experts at a conference in Albany look at how drastic budget cuts could be.

The only state agency hiring is the one that processes unemployment claims–they've been busy.

Meanwhile, a state judge ruled that the Cayuga Nation has to charge taxes on cigarettes.

And David Paterson told businessmen in Long Island to expect fee increases.

MartyMarkowitz.com and ScottStringer.com are up for sale, says Peter Mullin.

Joan Rivers got knocked over at a lunch hosted by Diana Taylor.

And Chuck Schumer blasts the ‘"cow tax" as "devastating" and "in the category of you can't believe this."

Below, Thompson one-ups Obama on YouTube strategy. Mid-Morning Read: Bill Thompson, Malcolm Smith and more on Caroline Kennedy