News/Campaigns/Administration

News/Campaigns/Administration

SEC head presses for hedge fund regulation, says agency should 'expand very significantly'

Hedge funds will face a more aggressive approach from the federal government in months and years to come, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairwoman Mary Schapiro said Friday, adding that she'd like the agency to expand to meet those needs.

"I think it's necessary to regulate hedge funds," Schapiro said during an interview on the Fox Business Network. "I think they are too big of a part of the marketplace for the SEC and the federal government to not have a handle on the impact they're having on the markets, the strategies they're employing -- it's time for that to happen."

Schapiro said she wanted the funds, which have traditionally been only lightly regulated relative to other parts of the financial services sector, to have to register with the SEC, face more stringent reporting requirements, and be more transparent with their records and business practices with the SEC.

"We need information, so that to the extent they could be engaged in manipulative activity or insider trading," Schapiro said.

The SEC chairwoman also pressed her case for more funding for the financial oversight agency, which she said would have to "expand very significantly" in coming years.

"The agency is not as big as it needs to be, and we don't have all of the tools we'd like to have," she explained. "We could be multiple times larger than we are. So over the next few years, I would like to see the agency expand very significantly."
Read More...

Safety expert: Obama should wear a helmet

A bicycle safety expert said President Obama should have been wearing a helmet while he was bike riding on Thursday.

During a bike ride with his family in Martha's Vineyard, Obama did not wear a helmet while his two daughters did.

David Mozer, director of the Internional Bicycle Fund, said, "We encourage him to wear a helmet."

Mozer noted that Obama has worn helmets while bike riding before, adding that helmets "aren't as dorky as they were years ago."

White House spokesman Bill Burton said on Thursday he was unsure why Obama did not have a helmet on, saying, "I know he generally wears bicycle helmets."

Mozer pointed out the healthcare cost-benefits of buying and wearing a helmet, stating that head injuries are slow to heal and expensive to treat.

But Michael Bluejay of Bicyclesafe.com doesn't believe helmets are necessary.

In an e-mail, Bluejay wrote, "It's no more irresponsible to bike without a helmet than it is to drive without one. The benefits of helmets are largely unproven, especially considering that when helmet use surged in the 1990's, so did head injuries among cyclists. And the countries with the lowest helmet use also have the lowest fatality rate for cyclists. I promise you, if the head of any European country went biking without a helmet, it would be a non-issue, as it should be here."
Read More...

White House on 1M Twitter followers: 'Nice.'

The White House press office might be forgiven for taking a few victory laps Sunday afternoon after its official Twitter feed surpassed 1 million followers.

The feed reacted pretty casually to crossing the threshold, tweeting Sunday:
A million followers
Read More...

Sean Hannity for president?

Would conservative Fox News and radio host Sean Hannity ever run for president?

Probably not, but don't count it out.

The conservative website World Net Daily is reporting that when Hannity was pressed on a run during his radio show on Friday, he wouldn't rule it out.

""I've never made a decision in my life without -- whatever destiny God has you've got to fulfill it," Hannity said. "I'm not sure that's my destiny."

Those words call to mind what Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) had said when asked if she'd ever run.

"If I felt that's what the Lord was calling me to do, I would do it," Bachmann said. "When I have sensed that the Lord is calling me to do something, I've said yes to it. But I will not seek a higher office if God is not calling me to do it."

"Would any of you really want me to run?" Hannity asked the live audience at Friday's show, to cheers. When he asked if he should stay on the radio, World Net Daily reported, there was no applause.
Read More...

Cornyn demands White House purge info from email list

The White House should purge any personal information collected on Americans as part of their initiative to investigate "fishy" information on healthcare being propagated in emails, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said Monday.

"'m glad the White House recognizes its own bad idea, and have disabled their data collection program," Cornyn said in a radio actuality released by his office. "They've finally come to their senses and acknowledged that this is compromising citizens' free speech rights by causing them to be concerned whether complaints will be compiled into some sort of 'enemies list.'"

The White House had set up an email list (flag@whitehouse.gov) to which bogus healthcare claims could be forwarded for investigation.

But that campaign had been targeted by Republicans, who had claimed that it encouraged Americans to "snitch" on each other to the White House.

Cornyn said that questions still remain about the information collected by the administration, and demand that any information be purged by the White House.

"Questions still remain about information that's already been collected over the last few weeks, and I'd still like to know what steps the White House is taking to purge all names, email addresses, and other personal information they've collected on private citizens as part of their data collection program," he said.
Read More...

Obama going fishing later this week: Report

President Obama looks to abandon his usual games of golf or pick-up basketball -- at least temporarily -- later this week in favor of fishing.

White House Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina told the New York Times Thursday that the president would try his hand at fishing during a trip to Montana.

"I am going to have the great opportunity later this week," Messina said. "I'm going to take the leader of the free world fishing. And I plan to talk a little bit about public access."

Messina is a former chief of staff to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D), another Montanan.

Obama has attracted some attention for golfing more consistently throughout the spring and summer on military bases here in D.C.
Read More...

W.H.: 'Don't know if we'll ever know for sure' if Pakistani Taliban chief killed

White House Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton said on Sunday that "I don't know if we'll ever know for sure" if an unmanned drone actually killed Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud on Wednesday.

"But like I said, we're pretty sure, and obviously that's a victory for safety and security in the region," he added. Burton spoke during a press gaggle aboard Air Force One as President Obama travels to Mexico for the North American Summit.

National Security Adviser Gen. James Jones (Ret.) put the odds that the drone killed Mehsud at "90 percent" on NBC's "Meet the Press" this morning.

Government officials in Pakistan said Friday they were still waiting for results of DNA analysis to ensure that the man killed Wednesday in an unmanned aerial vehicle strike is indeed Mehsud. Taliban officials have denied the death of the man targeted at the home of Mehsud's father-in-law.
Read More...

Cantor's office says WH asking Americans to snitch

The White House is asking Americans to report on each other, the office of House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) asserted Tuesday.

Cantor spokesman Joe Pounder flagged down a section on the White House blog posted this morning responding to the Drudge Report in which Americans are encouraged to email the White House on "something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy."

In response, Pounder emails: "This morning, the White House posted on their blog a note asking Americans to report anything they get or see about health care reform 'that seems fishy.'"

Pounder added: "We
Read More...

Pages