Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Last Call For The Eruption Of Mt. Gox

Live by the Bitcoin, die by the Bitcoin.

The Bitcoin-trading website Mt.Gox was taken offline late Monday, putting at risk millions of dollars put there by investors who gambled on the digital currency. The exchange alsodeleted all of its tweets, and Mt.Gox CEO Mark Karpeles resigned from the Bitcoin Foundation's board of directors on Sunday.

The news frightened Bitcoin investors elsewhere, knocking the price down about 3% to $490 -- its lowest level since November.

For now, there's no telling what's behind the shutdown. Mt.Gox did not respond to requests for comment.

However, an unverified document called "Crisis Strategy Draft" that is being circulated online claims Mt.Gox has lost 744,408 of its users' bitcoins, worth nearly $367 million. It also claims Mt.Gox is planning to rebrand itself as Gox.

Good luck with that "rebranding" after possibly losing hundreds of millions to digital theft.  The safe, stateless currency of the future, right?  Oh I know, it was all the NSA's fault, right?

By the time trading at Mt.Gox was halted entirely late Monday, the price of a Bitcoin there had dropped significantly, to $130. Meanwhile it was trading for more than four times that on other exchanges.

Late on Monday, several other Bitcoin exchanges sought to reassure investors and took a harder line with Mt. Gox.

"This tragic violation of the trust of users of Mt.Gox was the result of one company's abhorrent actions and does not reflect the resilience or value of Bitcoin and the digital currency industry," the groups said in a statement.

Everything is fine in the tulip bulb factory.  Please continue to buy more tulip bulbs, and ignore the massive losses of millions!

At the corner of technology and economics is one of the oldest schemes in the book, folks.

A Host Of Lunatics

What's the thought process here, Virginia State GOP Sen. Steve Martin?

Martin, the former chairman of the Senate Education and Health Committee, wrote a lengthy post about his opinions on women's bodies on his Facebook wall last week in response to a critical Valentine's Day card he received from reproductive rights advocates.

"I don't expect to be in the room or will I do anything to prevent you from obtaining a contraceptive," Martin wrote. "However, once a child does exist in your womb, I'm not going to assume a right to kill it just because the child's host (some refer to them as mothers) doesn't want it." Martin then changed his post on Monday afternoon to refer to the woman as the "bearer of the child" instead of the "host."

Wait what, pregnant women are "hosts" now?  I mean sure, if you consider the kid a parasite or you're from the planet Zergon Prime, pregnant females are "hosts".

Actually, as Ed Kilgore points out, the alien thing does explain the Tea Party, doesn't it.

But this is the standard RTL position, and why most antichoicers oppose “rape and incest” exceptions other than as a matter of tactical flexibility. Once a zygote exists, it’s a person and a baby and has rights equal to (if not superior to, because of its “innocent” nature) the mother, or the “bearer of the child,” or the “host,” or however you want to put it. No interest of the woman in terminating the pregnancy (or even preventing it, if that happens after fertilization) other than preservation of her own life can possibly trump that “right to life.”

And they legislate to that effect, and will keep doing so until it is the law of the entire country, hence the term "anti-choicers" being 100% applicable:  you have no choice but to have the baby.  The "host" is just that, for the term of pregnancy only the baby matters.  The woman becomes merely a vessel and effectively loses rights over her reproductive system from the instant of conception.

Or possible conception, depending on the law.  In other words, if a woman has sex or if it is forced upon her unwillingly (again depending on the law) she loses her rights to her own body because she may from that point on be a "host".

Seems pretty alien to me.

Shutdown Writ Small Could Be A Huge Headache

Will Republicans in Virginia and Arkansas actually pull the government shutdown play to try to trash their state's respective Democratic governors over Medicaid expansion?  Sure looks that way.

Talking to reporters Monday in Washington, where he's been attending the National Governors Association's annual meeting, Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe (D) acknowledged that a shutdown in Little Rock was a possibility. He conceded that the House, where the funding bill is currently stuck, is two votes short of the supermajority needed to approve the federal funding.

But he said he hoped that conservatives in the Arkansas House had learned a lesson from their colleagues in Congress and wouldn't shut down the government over the health care reform law. For now, the state government is funded through June, but according to the Associated Press, lawmakers have warned that the impasse over Medicaid could stop the entire next year's budget from passing.

"There's no telling what kind of hardball somebody could play," Beebe said. "I think last year the Republicans in Congress figured out they didn't want to do that anymore."

"I think the voting public would be very irritated with everybody. It'd be hard to figure out who they're going to blame."

If Republicans shut down Arkansas's state government over Medicaid, they're done.  It'll be a nightmare for them, and they know it.  Same goes for Virginia, where the previous GOP governor Bob McDonnell is now facing corruption charges.  You thought Virginia was turning blue quickly before?  Wait until you mess up a state that already has a lot of government workers.

In Virginia, the Senate has approved a form of Medicaid expansion similar to Arkansas's and Gov. Terry McAuliffe has endorsed it. But conservatives in the House don't want any part of it, taking a symbolic vote last week to voice their opposition.

Now the two chambers are going into a conference to resolve their budget differences, and, unless they break the deadlock over Medicaid, a shutdown is possible there as well, according to the Washington Post. The current session is supposed to end on March 8 and, as in Arkansas, June 30 marks the deadline for approving a new budget to fund the Virginia state government.

Already, Senate Democrats are warning that House conservatives could feel the heat -- as the congressional GOP did during the federal shutdown -- if they close the government's doors over Obamacare.

Multiple state shutdowns four months before midterms?  I bet that's exactly what national Republicans want to see in the news for weeks and weeks.  Please proceed, Republicans.


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