Bitcoin Price Hits a New High as the Virtual Currency Grows in Popularity

It’s pretty clear that U.S. federal officials hoped Bitcoin
would dry up and blow away when they
busted the Silk Road drug marketplace
, but that’s not what
happened. That’s because, as anybody clued-in (like our own Brian
Doherty) could have explained, Bitcoin is
useful for so many more things
than purchasing illegal
intoxicants on the Internet, not that there’s anything wrong with
such transactions. In fact, Bitcoin briefly hit an all-time high,
price-wise, relative to U.S. dollars just today. The Mt. Gox exhange recorded Bitcoin as
touching $272 at one point (the solid line in the chart below is
volume; the broken line is price). As it turns out, Bitcoin isn’t
quite ready to go away, and people aren’t losing interest.

Bitcoin price

Among the companies newly adopting Bitcoin payments is
Tomcar Australia
, a manufactirer of all-terrain vehicles that
hopes to ease international sales by using the virtual

Bitcoin has also become
attractive for tech-savvy international investors
intrigued by
the virtual currency’s resilience, and the fact that it can be
manufactured only in finite quantities—unlike the U.S. dollar.
Interestingly, the biggest Bitcoin exchange is now, apparently,

BTC China
, which just pushed past Mt. Gox and Bitstamp in
volume. Bitcoin has apparently become popular in that country as a
store of value, since few businesses actually accept payment in the

Bitcoin is unlikely to be the final development,
virtual-currency-wise. Use of Bitcoin still raises some privacy concerns,
though following payments
remains difficult
if people make an effort to cover their
tracks. But with virtual currency growing in popularity,
improvements and new developments are guaranteed.

from Hit & Run

Read This If You Believe Your Candidate Lost Due to Third-Party Voters

If it weren't for him ... Cuccinelli still would have lost, so get over it.So it turns out Terry McAuliffe
and Ken Cuccinelli were able to draw away enough votes to keep
Robert Sarvis from winning Virginia’s governor’s race. I hope the
folks who put those guys on the ballot are happy.

Last night, my Twitter feed had quite a few conservatives laying
the blame on Sarvis for costing Cuccinelli the election (which
really isn’t true
according to polls, and it probably wouldn’t
even had been a close outcome but for the Obamacare mess). So in
the spirit of reconciliation, here are some tips from a typical
third-party voter to major party movers and shakers who are trying
to figure out how to approach us. Note: I live in California and
therefore did not vote in Virginia’s gubernatorial race. If I had,
I probably would have voted for Sarvis.

We don’t like your candidate. Really, this
should go without saying. We are not voting for your candidate
because we don’t like your candidate and what he or she stands for.
At least, he or she stands for enough things we don’t like to want
to see your candidate lose. Even if Sarvis voters did cause
Cuccinelli to lose, it’s extremely important to understand that
this is what these voters wanted. That the outcome was McAuliffe’s
victory is also unfortunate, but don’t assume that Sarvis voters
actually saw Cuccinelli as the lesser of two evils.

You need to make an actual case for your
Once you wade out of the red team versus blue
team fight, you have to set aside the mentality that comes with it.
Too many folks were still making the argument that Cuccinelli was
better than McAuliffe when they needed to be making the argument
that Cuccinelli was better than Sarvis. Timothy Carney at the
Washington Examiner
took on this task
later in late October and made some good
points about Cuccinelli. It probably wouldn’t have been enough to
get my vote, but it was at least enough to make me think it

Don’t presume to tell us what we believe. Oh,
look, conservative
National Review
says Sarvis isn’t a real libertarian and
libertarians shouldn’t vote for him. Libertarians are used to
having their positions misunderstood, misappropriated and
mischaracterized by both the left and the right. Anybody trying to
come explaining libertarianism to libertarians better be able to
make a good case. Sarvis has been hit over his position on taxes,
particularly on paying for roads with a mileage tax. The mistake
here is assuming that libertarians are supposed to believe in a
world without taxes entirely. Not entirely true, depending on where
an individual libertarian falls on the spectrum. As has been noted
before, Adrian Moore of the Reason Foundation has himself spoken

in favor of mileage taxes
as a way to pay for roads using the
money of the people who actually use them. From my background in
covering and watching municipal politics I’m a skeptic. I don’t
think it’s a bad idea – I just don’t trust that it will be
implemented as a replacement tax and will just add to citizens’
burdens, and I don’t trust that the money would actually go to
roads. This doesn’t make either Moore or myself non-libertarians.
We are assessing the likely outcomes of the policy in different

No really, don’t pull this blue versus red crap
on us.
The Blaze noted that an
Obama bundler
helped pay for the petitioning process to get
Sarvis on the ballot. So … guilt by association? I guess Sarvis
should have just not run for governor if he needed assistance from
somebody experienced in political processes because it’s from the
left? According to The Blaze’s own reporting, the guy gives money
to both libertarians and Democrats. We get the same crap
from the left whenever the Koch brothers money finds its
way into hands of conservatives as well. Strangely, this piece is
the one getting thrown at me the most, but it has the least
compelling argument. It’s pointless left vs. right purity test

Respect that voters determine their own political
I criticized Carney’s column because it felt
to me like he was saying that those libertarians who were voting
against Cuccinelli because of his social conservatism should
deprioritize these concerns. He argued that “identity politics” was
helping sink Cuccinelli. As frustrating as “identity politics” can
be, it’s important not to confuse the term with the idea that
voters have different priorities than you have. Voting against a
candidate because you believe he will try to implement policies
that will harm you or people you care about is not identity
politics, even if the policies are connected to your identity. I
have read a number of folks lamenting that voters turned against
Cuccinelli on these “social issues.” The outcome of such a
complaint is giving the voter the impression that you don’t care
about or don’t respect their personal priorities when choosing a
candidate. If that’s the case, how can you ever expect them to vote
for yours?

from Hit & Run

Undercover Cop Sleeps With Alleged Drug Dealer She Was Targeting, Blows Partners’ Covers

now ex copSeveral week ago, Jessica Dever-Jakusz resigned
her position as a police officer in Tempe, Arizona. A memo from the
police chief confirming her resignation led to a public records
request, which revealed that Dever-Jakusz had told an alleged drug
dealer she was having sex with that she and two other females
buying “Molly” (MDMA,
mostly, kinda
) from him were undercover cops investigating him.
Cops found out what happened when the target of the investigation
showed up at a police station to tell them.
The Arizona Republic explains

The report said the suspect went to a police substation
and told officers about Dever-Jakusz’s statements about two or
three days later. He told police he was not “emotionally tied” to
Dever-Jakusz, though the affair started in August. The undercover
buys with the suspect started in June, the report said.

While revealing her identity to the suspect, Dever-Jakusz said her
“ex,” a Chandler police officer, was “looking up a bunch of stuff”
on him, the report said. She suspected his motivation was “for
other than a legitimate purpose as a law-enforcement officer,” the
report said.

Chandler police confirmed last week that Officer Garrett Dever is
the subject of an internal-affairs investigation and is married to
Jessica Dever-Jakusz, but refused to release other details until
the investigation is complete.

The report did not say why the suspect came forward, but it said
his decision to divulge Dever-Jakusz’s statements to police made it
impossible for them to file charges against him for drug sales to

The department apparently considered Dever-Jakusz, a 14-year
veteran, a “shining star.” She was “hand-picked” by supervisors for
unnamed reality show
where she was sent to Switzerland, along
with another officer, earlier this year.The police report said
Dever-Jakusz believed investigators were joking when they first
asked her about the affair with the alleged drug dealer,
to the local CBS affiliate.

In their report, the Tempe Police Department recommended to
county prosecutors that Dever-Jakusz be charged on two counts of
“hindering prosecution”. The alleged drug dealer had been targeted
for four months before his visit to the police station appears to
have ended it, for now.

More Reason on the “Molly” panic
and how drug criminalization lowers the quality of MDMA
available on the market and hurts consumers
, and you can add scorned lovers who carry badges as
another reason you should worry about government surveillance even
if you have “nothing
to hide

h/t sarcasmic

from Hit & Run

John Stossel Says Privatize Everything

The market is fine for some things, people
will say, but other activities are too important to be left to the
market. Or too complicated. Or too fundamental to our democracy.
John Stossel points out that we let people sell blood. And sperm.
And eggs. Why not kidneys? Why not privatize everything?

View this article.

from Hit & Run

Greenhouse Gas Concentrations in the Atmosphere Reach New Record

Global Warming? That’s the headline on the
World Meteorological Organization’s
press release
for its latest
Greenhouse Gas Bulletin
report issued just before the
Conference of the Parties
(COP-19) of the U.N. Framework
Convention on Climate Change convenes later this month in Warsaw.
The release notes:

The amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere reached a new
record high in 2012, continuing an upward and accelerating trend
which is driving climate change and will shape the future of our
planet for hundreds and thousands of years.

The World Meteorological Organization’s annual Greenhouse Gas
Bulletin shows that between 1990 and 2012 there was a 32% increase
in radiative forcing – the warming effect on our climate – because
of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other heat-trapping long-lived gases
such as methane and nitrous oxide.

Carbon dioxide, mainly from fossil fuel-related emissions,
accounted for 80% of this increase. The atmospheric increase of CO2
from 2011 to 2012 was higher than its average growth rate over the
past ten years, according to the Greenhouse Gas Bulletin.

Since the start of the industrial era in 1750, the global
average concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere has increased by
41%, methane by 160% and nitrous oxide by 20%. What is happening in
the atmosphere is one part of a much wider picture. Only about half
of the CO2 emitted by human activities remains in the atmosphere,
with the rest being absorbed in the biosphere and in the

Interestingly, the GHG Bulletin notes that the amount
of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has increased by 32 percent
since 1990. Yet global average temperatures have been
more or less flat for the last 15 years
. Curious.

Heads up: I will be writing daily dispatches from the COP-19
in Warsaw from November 18 to its end on November 22.

from Hit & Run

GMO Labeling Disinformation Campaign May Suffer Defeat in Washington State

KillerTomatoesAnti-biotech luddites tried to scare the
citizens of Washington State into voting for the I-522 initiative
that would have mandated labels on foods containing ingredients
derived from genetically modified crops, even those crops are as

safe or safer than
conventional or organic crops. Styled as a
“right to know” initiative, the scientifically dishonest proponents
of labeling actually hope that confused consumers would mistake
them as “warning labels,” and thus avoid purchasing foods made from
cheaper and more environmentally
biotech crops.

All the votes are not yet in – a lot of in Washington State
residents vote by mail, but the trend looks promising. As

Washington state’s GMO labeling measure appears to be going down
in defeat, early results show.

With slightly less than a million votes counted, the current
tally on Ballot Initiative 522, which would require the labeling of
foods that contain genetically modified organisms, show those
opposed leading by about 536,000 (54.8 percent) to 442,000 (45.2
percent). The figures represent about a quarter of the state’s 3.9
million registered voters, but not all of the votes have been

The delay in the final vote total is due to the fact that
Washington is a mail-in ballot state, and it will count any ballots
postmarked by Nov. 5, even if those ballots arrive at the end of
the week. As a result, the tally on election night often only
reflects about 60 percent of the votes that ultimately will be
received, according to Brian Zylstra, a spokesman for Washington’s
Office of the Secretary of State.

If that holds true in this election, with 997,566 ballots
counted on election night, another 665,044 could be in the

Here’s hoping that good sense will ultimately prevail among
Washington voters and this scientifically ignorant measure fails.
It’s a pity that the food and farming industries have to
waste so much money
to counter this egregious anti-biotech

from Hit & Run

JFK Still Dead, Baby Boomers Still Self-Absorbed

In a new
column up at The Daily Beast, I look upon the avalanche of books
about John F. Kennedy coming out to mark the 50th anniversary of
this assassination and despair.
Here’s a snippet

Each fall since November 22, 1963, regular programming is
pre-empted and whole rainforests are clear-cut to bring us books
filled with the latest minor (and often delusional) variations on
who killed Kennedy and why; the supposedly transformative effect of
the “Camelot” years on contemporary geo-politics and, more
plausibly, the hat-wearing habits of the American male; and
counterfactuals about just how awesome—or awful—JFK’s second term
would have been.

Whatever emotional immediacy, contemporary relevance, and news
value this all once inarguably possessed, can we now admit that the
topic has grown thinner than the post-1963 resume of Kennedy
impersonator Vaughn Meader? It now lives on mostly as a sort
of repetition-compulsion disorder through which the baby
boom generation (born between 1946 and 1964) seeks to preserve its
stultifying cultural hegemony even as it slowly—finally!—begins to
exit the stage of American life on a fleet of taxpayer-funded
Rascal Scooters.

Read the whole thing.

from Hit & Run

A. Barton Hinkle on the Potential Economic Viability of Small Stadiums

BallparkWhat we know—based on decades of research—is that
publicly financed sports stadiums are a sucker’s bet for everyone
except the rich team players and their even richer owners. But some
recent research suggests smaller clubs and smaller facilities might
not be the economic sinkholes their bigger cousins are. The work
comes from Nola Agha, an assistant professor of sports management
at the University of San Francisco and arrives at what Agha terms
“an unexpected outcome”: Certain types of teams and facilities can
produce gains in regional income (albeit small ones: about $67 to
about $117 per capita). Agha cautions that her research doesn’t
include any cost-benefit analysis, “so there is no implication that
cities should invest in AA or rookie stadiums.” Still, writes A.
Barton Hinkle, the economic case against sports stadiums used to be
open and shut in every instance. Now, in some cases, it is simply

View this article.

from Hit & Run

Global Temperature Trend Update – October 2013

Hot or not?Every month University of Alabama in
Huntsville climatologists John Christy and Roy Spencer report the
latest global temperature trends from satellite data. Below are the
newest data updated through October 2013:

Global Temperature Report: October 2013

Global climate trend since Nov. 16, 1978: +0.14 C per decade

October temperatures (preliminary)

Global composite temp.: +0.22 C (about 0.40 degrees Fahrenheit)
above 30-year average for October.

Northern Hemisphere: +0.23 C (about 0.41 degrees Fahrenheit)
above 30-year average for October.

Southern Hemisphere: +0.22 C (about 0.40 degrees Fahrenheit)
above 30-year average for October.

Tropics: +0.04 C (about 0.07 degrees Fahrenheit) above 30-year
average for October.

(All temperature anomalies are based on a 30-year average
(1981-2010) for the month reported.)

Global Temperature Data 1979 - 2013

Go here
to download monthly global temperature data since 1978.

from Hit & Run

The Feds vs. Craig Zucker: Are Regulators Carrying Out a Personal Vendetta Against the Creator of Buckyballs?

Four years ago, serial-entrepreneur Craig Zucker had a hit
product on his hands: Buckyballs, desk toys comprised of
supercharged mini magnets, which were flying off the shelves and
into the shopping carts of fidgety-handed customers. Zucker’s
company, Maxfield & Oberton, had sales of $10 million in

Forbidden Buckyballs |||Zucker’s troubles began last year, when the
federal Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) filed an
administrative complaint that sought to ban and recall the product
on the grounds that it was dangerous for children. It’s true that
if swallowed, these powerful tiny balls can cause internal bleeding
because they seek to find other magnets when lodged in a person’s
bowels or intestinal tract. But banning the product was
“statistically ridiculous,” as
a report in the Huffington Post explained
. There were
22 reported incidents of ingested Buckeyballs from 2009 to October
2011, or one for every 100,000 sets sold. That means the product is
orders of magnitude less risky than dogs, tennis, skateboarding,
and poisonous household chemicals. And the product was clearly
marked, “Keep Away from All Children.”

View this article.

from Hit & Run