ALBANY—State Senator Ruben Diaz Sr. is going home.
Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but definitely Saturday and for the rest of the weekend.
"I don't know yet. But Saturday I will not be here. Sunday is work. I'm preaching Sunday: You should come to my pulpit, Jimmy, oohhh," Diaz told me and other reporters, wandering the halls of the Capitol this morning.
He also said that Senator Frank Padavan, who inadvertently broke the deadlock in the hobbled State Senate Tuesday when he walked through the chamber and was counted toward a quorum, should have known better. He also thought it was silly that David Paterson has said he will not sign bills—mostly routine extension measures—that senators passed.
"Governor Paterson taught me that. He was the leader when I came here," Diaz said of the supposed rule that counts a senator as present when the senator walks into the chamber and acknowledges the journal clerk. "Thirty-seven years in this chamber and he doesn't know that? I'd be kind of insulted. I'm the black guy with the kinky hair with the broken English from Puerto Rico and I know better than him about the rules. You need to know when you're wrong. When you're wrong, you're wrong."
Of Paterson's now-daily extraordinary sessions and his refusal to sign the bills, Diaz said: "He's trying to be a macho man to bring up his polls, but he's looking stupid. He knows. Eighteen years in this business, he told me when I came in: Don't go near the chamber."
Jimmy Vielkind can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org