Bitcoin: Beanie Babies for Techno-Libertarians?

I’ve got nothing against collectibles, and I have the Franklin Mint plates to prove it. But most of the little I know about economics I got from reading J.K. Galbraith, so whenever people start talking about Free money — guaranteed to appreciate!, the alarm bells go off. From the Washington Post:

Bitcoin soared past the $17,000 mark on Thursday, a dizzying run for a digital currency that was worth less than $1,000 at the start of the year and was once largely the preoccupation of technologists or those looking to avoid scrutiny to launder money or buy drugs and weapons online.

The fast rise — it has gone up more than 40 percent this week alone — is creating a buying frenzy among eager speculators around the world and helping push bitcoin into the mainstream. And it is also forcing U.S. regulators to grapple with whether to legitimize a product that operates outside the control of any government or financial institution.

The run-up in price comes as bitcoin enthusiasts prepare to reach a new landmark. On Sunday, a bitcoin product will trade for the first time on a U.S. financial market, making it almost as easy to bet on the virtual currency as oil, corn or the euro…


Much of the computer power sustaining bitcoin occurs at massive complexes – or farms – in rural China running on electricity from coal-fired generating plants in Sichuan and Inner Mongolia. Reporters from Quartz and Bloomberg visited one of the massive farms in August, and said it had eight warehouses containing 25,000 processing machines, or about four percent of the global bitcoin network.
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Late Night Creepshow Open Thread: Grifters Applaud Their Own

“United in Purpose” has an even lower profile than Ginni Thomas’ main grift, “Liberty Central”, whose main purpose seems to be keeping Ginni too busy to drunk-dial Anita Hill again. But if you assume UiP’s real purpose is to provide a conduit from “conservative” suckers with too much money to “activists” with more greed than sense…


The “heroes” honored by United for Purpose had to meet certain criteria laid out on the website for the Impact Awards. These are people who show “tenacity, courage and perseverance even under hostile attacks” and are “respected among their peers,” among other things. O’Keefe, who just made a fool of himself in an attempt to stick up for a sexual predator, apparently meets that criteria in the eyes of right-wing activists.
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Late Night Crude Japes Open Thread: PANTS!

Some people are anointed by Murphy the Trickster God to be joke targets, but Drezner’s pig-bladdering is enjoyable even if you haven’t been reading about Sebastian Gorka this week…

Late last month, former White House employee Sebastian Gorka gave quite the interview to Recoil Magazine’s Rob Curtis. [The hard-working staff here at Spoiler Alerts never misses an issue of Recoil. Objectively, it is the third-best magazine for Second Amendment lovers, right after Blowback and Shrapnel.] …

Beyond his sartorial choices, Gorka was widely mocked for his “everyday carry,” which includes two guns, a tourniquet that he can deploy with one hand, and a pocket copy of the Constitution. Naturally, Gorka himself attributed the mockery to “beta-males and progressives.” Over at Task and Purpose, however, Francis Horton does a fine job deconstructing Gorka’s “man-flair.” Like, for example, the two guns:

Two guns. Not even two guns of the same brand. NOT EVEN TWO GUNS THAT SHOOT THE SAME ROUND. The Glock 29 is a 10mm pistol and the Smith is a 9mm. I suppose I can get behind carrying two guns if you anticipate a lot of shootouts, somewhat raising your odds of one gun spontaneously breaking mid-shootout. I mean, I guess you can’t trust only the gun taped to your back in the event that Hans Gruber has you cornered in Nakatomi Plaza and took your machine gun. Or just the gun stuffed in the ankle holster for you to pull out on your captor while you surreptitiously tie your shoe. I don’t really know. I don’t have hero fantasies. …

First off, don’t carry two guns. Or one gun, really. Especially when you’re a dude who works in Washington, where concealed carry is currently not legal.

As much fun as it is to point out Gorka’s massive inadequacy issues, the whole concept of the everyday carry (EDC) is what fascinated me. As Horton observes: “There are myriad places on the internet, including an r/EDC subreddit, dedicated to showing off and parsing people’s EDCs. Some can be pretty interesting. What does a medical student carry every day? How about a city firefighter?”
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Sunday Evening Open Thread: Must-See TV

Possibly while peeking through your fingers, as with any great horror movie…

(Drudge pulled his tweet, but not in time)


Apart from spitballing the optics, what’s on the agenda as we wrap up the weekend?

Media Idiots Open Thread: O’Keefe & the Power of a Truly TERRIBLE Example


Maybe I’m just a wide-eyed optimist, but O’Keefe’s latest failed “prank” feels like it might be some kind of media tipping point… he’s just such a clown luzer, like a wafer-thin mint after Mr. Creosote’s dinner…


Even the Establishment Wingnut Wurlitzer apparatchiks are embarrassed / annoyed!
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Sunday Morning (Not-Garden) Turkey Shoot Open Thread

If one must go about this mundane globe wearing a sign that says MOCK ME, one should endeavour to have it be a hand-crafted, gilt-edged, premiere-pricing version in bold Black Fraktur of true calfskin vellum…


Apart from noting that Jane Austen would most certainly have approved of our japery, what’s on the agenda as we wrap up the weekend?

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Thursday Morning Open Thread: Happy Thanksgiving!


Could be worse… as the Washington Post points out, there were multiple contenders for “First American Thanksgiving”, from Florida in 1565 (they ate garbanzos with salt pork), to Texas in 1598 (no menu specified) to Maine in 1607:

An English settlement in Maine known as the Popham Colony held a “harvest feast and prayer meeting” with Abenaki people in 1607, according to the Library of Congress. The settlement was abandoned the next year.

And then there’s Jamestown — that ignominious Chesapeake colony some would rather forget. During the harsh winter of 1609, the settlers dwindled from 490 to just 60 people, and may have resorted to eating the dead. The next spring, in 1610, a ship filled with rations was met with a “thanksgiving prayer service” and celebration, the Library of Congress says…

Which kinda puts tofurkey and your aunt’s weird sweet-potato-raisins-and-marshmellows side dish in perspective, yes?

Besides carb-loading and relative-visiting, what’s on the agenda for the day?