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I don’t know a lot about Mary Schapiro, Obama’s pick to head the Securities and Exchange Commission, but her bio doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence. Originally appointed to the SEC by Ronald Reagan. Named to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission by Bill Clinton. Currently “the chief executive officer of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, the securities and brokerage industry’s self-policing organization.”
Consider these brief excerpts from two old news articles:
1/ This one is from 1994: “The new head of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission yesterday vowed that the CFTC would no longer be ‘a sleepy little agency’ and outlined an ambitious program for revitalizing the commission, starting with a drive to police the all-but-unregulated market in derivatives. CFTC Chairman Mary Schapiro said the agency will reconsider the decision made during the Bush administration to exempt derivatives from most federal regulation. She also said the CFTC will use its fraud-fighting power to go after Wall Street firms that have lured local government and corporations into derivatives investments that have produced losses running into the billions of dollars.”
2/ And this one is from 1996, when she bailed out with her sleepy agency in an even deeper slumber. “Mary Schapiro has resigned after serving for only 15 months as chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). She has accepted an offer to head the new regulatory arm of the National Assn. of Securities Dealers (NASD). She insists that her decision was not influenced in any way by the higher salary offered by the NASD.”
This after Tom “Mr. Ethanol” Vilsack was named as Agriculture Secretary and Republican Ray “Porkbarrel” LaHood gets the nod as Transportation Secretary.
Update: And here’s another interesting article about Schapiro. She was a real pit bull on derivatives trading while in government:
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission said today that a 1995 ruling did not expand its regulatory powers to include certain derivative contracts. Mary L. Schapiro, the commission’s chairwoman, wrote to two Representatives about the agency’s $2.25 million fine against a German conglomerate, Metallgesellschaft A.G., last July, and argued that it represented no change from the agency’s 1989 decree that swaps contracts were exempt from agency scrutiny.
The ruling had ignited concern on Wall Street, and by two key members of Congress, Representative Pat Roberts, a Republican from Kansas, and Representative Thomas J. Bliley Jr., a Republican from Virginia. They and Wall Street bankers were concerned that the agency’s decision cast a cloud over the legal standing of many of the contracts that make up the $14 trillion derivatives market. They were also concerned that the agency was attempting to take authority over a big, expanding market and would drive up the cost of doing business with extra regulations.
Ms. Schapiro said the agency entered the case because the company’s mounting trading losses “threatened the stability and integrity of the futures markets,” not because of a desire to expand regulation of derivatives…
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
On a Friday evening in January, a thousand people at the annual California Native Plant Society conference in San Jose settled down to a banquet and a keynote speech delivered by an environmental historian named Jared Farmer. His chosen topic was the eucalyptus tree and its role in California’s ecology and history. The address did not go well. Eucalyptus is not a native plant but a Victorian import from Australia. In the eyes of those gathered at the San Jose DoubleTree, it qualified as “invasive,” “exotic,” “alien” — all dirty words to this crowd, who were therefore convinced that the tree was dangerously combustible, unfriendly to birds, and excessively greedy in competing for water with honest native species.
In his speech, Farmer dutifully highlighted these ugly attributes, but also quoted a few more positive remarks made by others over the years. This was a reckless move. A reference to the tree as “indigenously Californian” elicited an abusive roar, as did an observation that without the aromatic import, the state would be like a “home without its mother.” Thereafter, the mild-mannered speaker was continually interrupted by boos, groans, and exasperated gasps. Only when he mentioned the longhorn beetle, a species imported (illegally) from Australia during the 1990s with the specific aim of killing the eucalyptus, did he earn a resounding cheer.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A tourism company in Australia announced a service that will allow users to take the “world’s biggest selfies,” and a Texas man accidentally killed himself while trying to pose for a selfie with a handgun.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”