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Courts, without law for guidance, setting value of cryptoassets
Judges determining currency values receive little input from policymakers focused on other issues

Inconsistent classifications and ill-formed definitions of bitcoin and other digital assets are being left to the judiciary to sort out. (AFP via Getty Images)

Bankruptcy judges are used to deciding the value of assets, but for cryptocurrencies, which can halve or double in value in a matter of months, determining how much one party is owed gets tricky.

It’s an issue that could be mitigated by regulators or lawmakers, but despite myriad efforts focusing on digital assets this year, U.S. bankruptcy judges are unlikely to get much guidance, according to several lawyers who track the cryptocurrency industry.

How Maz Jobrani deals with hecklers
The ‘peaceful warrior’ is blissed out and rising above the f-bombs

Maz Jobrani will return to the Kennedy Center on Friday. (Don Emmert/AFP via Getty Images)

Maz Jobrani knows politics. He has a degree in political science. He’s spoken out on immigration. He’s toured the country with a comedy troupe named after a speech by George W. Bush.

Heck, he even had a bit part on “The West Wing.”

Pentagon using artificial intelligence to track wildfires, study chaos of combat
Head of military AI office promises more money for 2021 budget

National Guard helicopters drop water on a wildfire near Ojai, Calif., on Dec. 9, 2017. The Pentagon’s Joint Artificial Intelligence Center has been working with the National Guard to track natural disasters using AI tools. (David McNew/Getty Images file photo)

One year ago, Air Force Lt. Gen. John N.T. “Jack” Shanahan became the first director of a new Pentagon office created to act as a clearinghouse for all of the U.S. military’s work on artificial intelligence. Among a raft of near-term projects the office has taken up is one deploying computer vision technology to track and combat wildfires. 

Taking tools developed for Project Maven, an initiative to analyze and identify objects on the ground from videos shot by aerial drones during the fight against the Islamic State, the Pentagon’s office known as the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center has been working with National Guard units combating wildfires in California and hurricanes elsewhere.

The Bolton bombshell and the moral lessons of Watergate
Republicans would be wise to ponder the examples of the late Egil Krogh and Tom Railsback

Republicans would be wise to ponder the examples of two Watergate figures who died recently, Tom Railsback, left, and Egil Krogh, Shapiro writes. (CQ Roll Call file photo/Courtesy Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum)

OPINION — The John Bolton book bombshell represents the intersection of mendacity and greed.

The mendacity has been the dissembling and the lying by Donald Trump and his Republican enablers that the withholding of assistance to Ukraine was anything other than an old-fashioned mob shakedown: “You have a nice $400 million military aid package here. It would be a shame if anything should happen to it.”

With Iowa and New Hampshire still up in the air, Democratic race has 2016 echoes
Once impeachment is done, Democrats will have to deal with their divisions

Senators raise their hands as Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. administers the oath of the Senate Court of Impeachment Thursday. (Screenshot/Senate Recording Studio)

ANALYSIS — Sometime soon, the impeachment trial of Donald John Trump will likely end and the Senate, notwithstanding who might get called as a witness, will acquit him.

The president, of course, will claim victory and, having escaped punishment, will presumably return to doing what he has been doing for months — looking for ways to discredit Democrats, even if it involves help from foreign governments. The rest of us will also jump quickly from impeachment and back to the presidential race, hardly missing a beat.

CQ Roll Call’s Key Votes in 2019
How House members and senators voted

The vote tally sheets sit at the clerk’s table in House Judiciary Committee following the markup of the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump on Dec. 13, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The oldest of CQ Roll Call’s annual studies, Key Votes is a selection of the major votes for both House and Senate for the past year. Editors choose the single vote on each issue that best presents a member’s stance or that determined the year’s legislative outcome. 

For a detailed explanation of the 12 House and 10 Senate key votes, click here.

Key Votes 2019: How vulnerable members voted
They’re facing tough races in November, but not all bucked their parties much

Maine Sen. Susan Collins went against a majority of her fellow Republicans on 60 percent of key votes in 2019, according to a CQ Roll Call analysis. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate held 10 votes identified by CQ Roll Call as “key votes” for 2019, and the House had a dozen. Below is a selection of members projected by Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales to have competitive races, the percent they stuck with their party on those votes and their overall unity score for 2019.

[CQ Roll Call’s Key Votes in 2019]

Key Votes 2019: Amid partisan acrimony, legislative wins in Congress were hard to come by
House and Senate veered in opposite directions

The House and Senate veered in different directions in 2019, as CQ Roll Call’s analysis of key votes shows. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

All throughout 2019, Democrats sang from the same hymnal: We sent hundreds of bills with bipartisan support over to the Senate, where they went to die.

And Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has taken pride in referring to himself as the “Grim Reaper” presiding over a legislative graveyard, arguing that he is serving as a bulwark against “radical, half-baked, socialist” legislation being churned out in the House.

Bitcoin Intermediaries
Fintech Beat, ep. 37

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 24: A visual representation of the digital Cryptocurrency, Bitcoin on October 24, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

View from the gallery: Senators’ personal habits on full display as week 2 begins
One senator picked his nose, while an attorney swiped a souvenir

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W. Va., walks to the Senate chamber for the start of the impeachment trial proceedings Monday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Tennessee Republican Lamar Alexander fought off sleep as President Donald Trump’s legal team discussed a history of subpoena litigation, eyes closed, his cheek resting on his hand, his chin sometimes dropping toward his orange sweater.

When Deputy White House counsel Patrick Philbin announced he was ready to wrap up his portion of Trump’s presentation, Alexander studied his watch.