Michael Barbaro and Kitty Bennett:

An analysis by The New York Times shows that Mr. Bloomberg has doled out at least $650 million on a wide variety of perks and bonuses, political campaigns and advocacy work, charitable giving and social causes, not to mention travel and lodging, connected to his time and role as mayor. (His estimated tab for a multiday trip to China, with aides and security in tow: $500,000.)

In the process, he has entirely upended the financial dynamics surrounding New York’s top job.

In the past, the city paid its mayor; Mr. Bloomberg paid to be the city’s mayor.

This angle isn’t new, but it puts an actual number on what Bloomberg has done — which is pretty spectacular. As weird as it sounds, it’s more like a king spending to improve his kingdom than any modern political story we’re used to.

In many ways, it’s too bad that yesterday was his last day in office. It seems unlikely we’re going to see another politician like that in a long time simply because very few people on this planet have both the desire and the resources of Bloomberg. And fewer still would put them to good use.

Ken Auletta on the end of Michael Bloomberg’s tenure as mayor of New York City:

I asked Bloomberg if he could imagine joining the President’s Cabinet. In theory, he said, “it would be fascinating to be Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, jobs like that. Secretary of the Treasury, you want someone who’s a real economist”—and someone “who is maybe less opinionated.” Bloomberg thinks of himself as a team player, as long as it’s his team.

Bloomberg is a fascinating study of how someone with basically unlimited resources can become a major politician overnight. And how such a person can — quite literally — afford to do so without having to cozy up to special interest groups. And sometimes that can work out quite well if that person has reasonably good intentions.

A solid piece by Michael R. Gordon about how John Kerry is settling into his role as Secretary of State. One tech-related standout details Kerry’s attempt to defuse an issue with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan:

To make the point that Zionism was a valid nationalist movement and avoid turning the dispute into a test of wills, Mr. Kerry, who has known Mr. Erdogan since he was the mayor of Istanbul in the 1990s, took out an iPad and ran a Web search on the term.

Sort of interesting that Gordon would specifically note the iPad but not name the search engine. You’d think he’d say “tablet” and/or “Googled” (assuming, of course, it was Google).

Raymond Hernandez for The New York Times covering NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s call for President Obama to do something about gun control in this country. Speaking to Peter King, a Republican Representative from New York (and the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee):

But Mr. King said he doubted that the shootings in Connecticut would alter the gun debate in Congress, saying that outside the Northeast a gun culture exists that is resistant to any kind of firearms regulation. “I hope I am wrong,” he said, “but I don’t think it will have a major impact on the debate in Congress. We’ve had a number of gun tragedies in recent years without any action being taken.”

A senior aide to a top Democrat in Congress echoed that sentiment, saying he was doubtful that there would be enough votes, even now, for passage of a ban on assault weapons.

Serious question: how many people have to die in the next inevitable tragedy before something actually gets done? Apparently, 27 — including 20 children — isn’t enough. So what will it take? 50? 100?

The pathetic reality is twofold. First, of course, there shouldn’t have to be a number — but at some point, with a high enough number, the political fall-out would be too great if something isn’t done. Second, I’m afraid that number is far higher than even 100 — and make no mistake, we will see a tragedy of that magnitude in our lifetimes. Probably sooner than any of us would like to acknowledge.

If a foreign terrorist killed 26 people in this country, we would invade their country in a heartbeat with few questions asked. When a domestic lunatic kills 26 people with little effort enabled in large part by our own laws dating back 200+ years, we do nothing. And we’ll keep doing nothing.

Nate Silver (yes, that one) examines just how heavily the major Silicon Valley tech companies swung towards Obama this election. Remarkably:

Ron Paul, the libertarian-leaning Republican, raised about $42,000 from Google employees, considerably more than Mr. Romney did.

Romney only raised $25,539 from Google employees — 97% ($719,709) of the money from Google employees went to Obama.

That’s a little surprising just for the fact alone that many of those employees are likely in a tax bracket that would benefit more (in the fiscal sense) from Romney being elected. Good to see people not just voting with their wallets for their wallets.

Google should be prepared for everything but the kitchen sink thrown at them. Actually, they should be prepared for the kitchen sink to be thrown at them, too.

A former colleague of Mark Penn speaking to Nick Wingfield and Claire Cain Miller of The New York Times. Microsoft has hired Penn to help with advertising and political campaigns against their rivals, mainly Google.

You may know Penn from his political background (he worked on the 1996 Bill Clinton re-election campaign and was chief strategist for Hillary Clinton’s unsuccessful run for President). You may also know him as the former CEO of Burson-Marsteller, perhaps the sleaziest of the sleazy PR firms. Remember this scummy situation? Yeah, that was all them.

Great to see Microsoft clearly trying to lean further into slime-bucket political games rather than winning by creating great products that consumers love.



Daniel Day Lewis congratulates “Obama chair”