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Obama After Dark: The Precious Hours Alone

Obama’s style of presidency has been the focus of many, many articles over the years. This piece by the New York Times does an exceptional job revealing just how important it is for him to have time set aside for himself: unlike other presidents who often relied on human contact to keep them energized it seems that President Obama needs to retreat and just be let alone to work or relax. And it’s a credit to the people he keeps close to him that this time is carved out, while also showcasing that even when you’re the most powerful person in the world it is possible to have a work tempo fit to your style, as opposed to one that is driven purely by the work itself.

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Politicians are welcome to do strange things at home –read a book for pleasure, think for themselves–as long as they do it in private and nobody finds out. A politician who does random things in public, in front of cameras and microphones, is not merely departing from the disciplined advancement of a political idea, he is undermining it.

* Paul Well, The Longer I’m Prime Minister
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While admitting that increased surveillance was “scary” and that governments will have to be thoughtful with their laws, [Bloomberg] seemed to side with prioritizing radical transparency, especially through the use of automated drones, “but what’s the difference whether the drone is up in the air or on the building? I mean intellectually I have trouble making a distinction.”

Lest Bloomberg be labeled as a surveillience hawk, the interview took on a tone of inevitability, rather than advocacy: “Everybody wants their privacy, but I don’t know how you’re going to maintain it.”

Correct me if I’m wrong, but his sentence “Everybody wants their privacy, but I don’t know how you’re going to maintain it” indicates a failure to understand his role as a politician. If everybody – including, one presumes, residents of New York city – “wants their privacy” then it is his job, and that of council, to protect and preserve those constituents’ privacy.

To be clear: it is not his job to authorize enhanced surveillance, and then throw his hands up and say that he doesn’t get how his constituents are going to realize their wishes as he and council march against those interests.