Morning Read, Upstate: The Coup is Over! Back to Normal Dysfunction!

The stalemate in the State Senate ended when renegade Democrat Pedro Espada Jr. returned to his party's conference.

Espada will be the majority leader. Senator Malcolm Smith will be the chamber's president pro tem and Senator John Sampson will be the Democratic conference leader. It's unclear what duties will fall under the purview of each.

This gives Espada a $41,000 stipend as well as the ability to make lots of patronage hires. It's unclear how long this will last, given persisting factions in the Democratic conference.

The News called it "dirty, dastardly, disgusting."

The Post is less concerned with the means, and says the ends are important—tasks languishing before government.

"The slipperiest deal-cutter won," writes Newsday.

The "circus" cost over $5 million, according to the Post's math.

Juan Gonzalez says that every time "sleazy pol" Espada switched sides, his power grew.

Casey Seiler says the hypocrisy here is "clear."

They're not exactly cheering on The Albany Project.

But the newly functional Senate started passing bills around 9:35 p.m., including authorization for New York City to increase its sales tax. (Not without a two-hour break for partisan bickering over the chamber's rules.)

Publicly, that's what all the senators love talking about.

Mayoral school control will be addressed next week, and it is expected that the bill passed by the Assembly will clear the Senate.

It's back to square one for rules reform.

David Paterson unveiled his new Lt. Governor Richard Ravitch, the subject of an immediate court challenge.

Having been sworn in between bites of a steak dinner, Ravitch spent Thursday at the Capitol taking congratulatory calls and re-learning the labyrinthine paths between his office and the Legislature.

As Albany realigned, Andrew Cuomo was in Rockland County talking about government consolidation.

Vice President Joe Biden touted the stimulus package in Saratoga County as local officials of both parties listened.

And below, if you can stomach it, is 46 minutes of Democrats explaining the deal that returned them to power:

Morning Read, Upstate: The Coup is Over! Back to Normal Dysfunction!