Read Stuff, You Should: Bitcoin's Blowup

Jonathan Bernstein is a Bloomberg View columnist. He taught political science at the University of Texas at San Antonio and DePauw University and wrote A Plain Blog About Politics.
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Happy Birthday to Mike Mills, 56. Is R.E.M. moving toward being underrated now? I think so. I suppose there are better bands with fewer honors, but I get the sense this one is fading quicker than it deserves.

At any rate, we still need the good stuff:

1. Derek Willis at the Upshot looks into questions about how much money is actually spent in elections, featuring research from Robin Kolodny, who is one of the best.

2. Henry Farrell at the Monkey Cage thinks about Bitcoin as a financial network.

3. Also at the Monkey Cage, Andrew Rudalevige on judicial activism and President Barack Obama’s immigration executive action.

4. "The balanced budget amendment has largely been a substitute for a substantive debate on the budget itself.” That’s Stan Collender at Forbes on Governor John Kasich’s presidential campaign platform. Fair enough; on the other hand, doesn’t it beat running on magic tax cuts that would (supposedly) pay for themselves? Maybe not.

5. What’s the deal with Iowa Republicans and the Ames Straw Poll? Washington Monthly's Ed Kilgore is confused. So am I.

6. Nice Nate Silver piece at FiveThirtyEight on the Jeb Bush candidacy, including evidence of Bush’s ideological placement.

7. Sarah Kliff at Vox notes that insurers have extended the deadline for Affordable Care Act January signups in 37 states. 

8. At the New York Times, Ashley Parker reports on the end of a Washington institution.

9. And Philip Bump at The Fix has some fun with pre-pre-pre-candidate announcements.

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