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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
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
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 naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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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.”