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Monday Political Mix: Bitcoins In Congress' Spotlight

Good morning, fellow political junkies.

This week contains major anniversaries of events that involved the first and last presidents killed in office, a tragic link captured in a famous newspaper editorial cartoon. Friday is the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy's assassination, Tuesday is the 150th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address.

Thus, an unusual amount of the week will be spent looking backwards. But the present and future get some attention, too.

  • For instance, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs on Monday hears testimony on the somewhat baffling issue of virtual currencies like Silk Road and Bitcoin in a hearing titled "Beyond Silk Road: Potential Risks, Threats, and Promises of Virtual Currencies."
  • Meanwhile, the full Senate on Monday will start considering another of President Obama's judicial nominees to the U.S. appeals court for the District of Columbia, Robert Wilkins. Wilkins' nomination is expected to be blocked by Senate Republicans who recently stopped two other Obama nominees to what's considered the second most important federal court in the nation.
  • The House Rules Committee on Monday considers the "Federal Lands Jobs and Energy Security Act of 2013," aimed at making it easier for energy companies to drill for oil and gas on federal lands. It's opposed by environmentalists.

In the news:

  • Obamacare meets Murphy's Law. While it's indisputable that the law has already helped many people, the health legislation also has spun off bad news and unintended consequences that have surprised many, including the president. It's worth considering what else could go awry. (Politico.)
  • Washington D.C.'s insurance commissioner was fired after questioning the feasibility of President Obama's administrative fix to let people keep health plans being cancelled by insurance companies under the Affordable Care Act. (Washington Post.)
  • Military leaders pressured by budget constraints are now considering cuts to the very pay and benefits that have helped make enlisting in the armed services worth the sacrifice to millions of Americans. (The Wall Street Journal.)
  • A Cheney family sibling conflict over same-sex marriage broke into the open over the weekend after Liz Cheney, a U.S. Senate candidate in Wyoming, expressed her opposition to it and her lesbian sister Mary and wife Heather Poe took her to task in social media (New York Times.)
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