☕ Good Thursday morning. It was a treat to meet Axios AM reader Myra Adams of Fort Lauderdale, who came over to say hi as I tapped away on my MacBook Air in the San Francisco airport, during a late-night layover between Portland, Ore., and Miami.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
This was the year that Bitcoin and most other blockchain currencies turned out to be the new tulip — a mania that led otherwise sensible people to suspend their better judgement and become poorer by piling in, Axios future editor Steve Levine and Silicon Valley reporter Kia Kokalitcheva write:
For cryptocurrencies, 2018 was the correction to 2017, which was basically a big free for all. Then, regulators and reality came calling.
Predictions for next year: more regulatory guidance, and more realistic applications of the tech.
For investors starved of good news all month, yesterday brought a jolly old Santa rally:
What's next: Tech stocks (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google-parent Alphabet — "FAANG") have been "unfairly" hammered, and are key to lifting overall sentiment on Wall Street in 2019, per TD Ameritrade Asia. (CNBC)
Be smart ... Everyone on Wall Street knows that bear markets can serve up short-lived rallies, Bloomberg points out:
"The deaths of two migrant children in just over two weeks raised strong new doubts ... about the ability of U.S. border authorities to care for the thousands of minors arriving as part of a surge of families trying to enter the country," AP's Nomaan Merchant reports from Houston:
The big picture: "The U.S. government's system for detaining migrants crossing the border is severely overtaxed."
House Democrats plan to take up the issue after they take control Jan. 3:
P.S. "The Trump administration ... will keep open through early 2019 a tent city in [Tornillo,] Texas that now holds more than 2,000 migrant teenagers, and also will increase the number of beds at another temporary detention center for children in [Homestead,] Florida." (AP)
President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive to speak to members of the U.S. military during an unannounced trip to al-Asad Air Base, about 100 miles west of Baghdad, Iraq — his first visit as president to troops in harm's way.
Flashback: Read my 5,000-world pool report from President George W. Bush's surprise trip to Iraq on Thanksgiving Day, 2003, when I was covering the White House for The Washington Post.
"More than 4.1 million students endured [a] lockdown [last] school year, ... according to a first-of-its-kind analysis by The Washington Post that included a review of 20,000 news stories and data from school districts in 31 of the country’s largest cities," the WashPost's Steven Rich and John Woodrow Cox write:
Why it matters: "Lockdowns save lives during real attacks, but even when there is no gunman stalking the hallways, the procedures can inflict immense psychological damage on children convinced that they’re in danger."
"While Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity will end 2018 as cable news’ most popular personality for the second year in a row, he’s been slumping in the ratings since the midterm elections and ominous stories related to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation," AP's David Bauder writes:
"Competitors Rachel Maddow on MSNBC and Chris Cuomo on CNN are up in each measurement":
The big picture: "[T]he Trump administration continues to be glory days for cable news. Fox News Channel is the top-rated network for all of basic cable for the third year in a row, topping ESPN, and will finish with the highest-rated prime-time schedule in its history. "
Oregon man first to solo across Antarctica unaided ... "The final miles of a nearly two-month race across Antarctica ... ended [yesterday] with a sprint to the finish," reports the N.Y. Times' Adam Skolnick, who tracked the journey.