Easy Street: Gold Buggery
Easy Street is our daily roundup of the most interesting news stories and commentary about Wall Street, Washington and the curious world of finance. You can see more of what we think are the biggest stories of the day on our News in Brief page. Every day, you can download Marketplace's daily show on iTunes and follow us for more headlines at twitter.com/mktplaceradio. If you want to listen to Marketplace on the radio, find your local station and time here.
Finance & Bankers
Compliance officers are kind of like the hall monitors of Wall Street: they're the people who sift through laws and regulations and make sure your bank is following all of them. They are usually known as upstanding paragons of morality and - unfortunately - humorlessness. That's why it's so delightful that there was a "World's Funniest Compliance Officer" competition this week. The winner was a ham from GlaxoSmithKline. The WSJ's Ashby Jones reported on it - with a straight face, we're guessing.
Markets & Traders
The gold bubble: totally crazy, man.
Related: An 1896 cartoon from Harper's showing "Typical Gold-Bugs" as the aged, infirm, widows and orphans. Translation: gold equals security.
Related: The currency issues of 1896, with the debate over metals replacing the dollar.
Fund Managers & Investing
James Bandler at Fortune takes a deeper, very human look at the relationships embedded in the Raj Rajaratnam insider-trading case - including how Rajaratnam's alleged accomplice, Danielle Chiesi, was accused of seducing details out of IBM executive Robert Moffat. The most surprising part of this story is probably that the FBI tried to pick Moffat up at home at 7:30 a.m. This isn't the Mafia, guys. Any self-respecting person in finance is out the door well before that. Moffat's sister is also quoted calling him "a geek," the lesson from which is: remember to treat your siblings nicely before you get busted for alleged insider trading. They are the first people reporters will call.
The story has even more amazing details, including that Chiesi told her marks that she liked "the three Ss- sex, stocks and sports," and that she was actually in love with her boss, Mark Kurland, who renounced her. Bandler writes, "Sex was part of the picture, to be sure, but the dangerous elixir that really bound these people to one another was information. It enriched some of them, it thrilled all of them, and it eventually ruined their careers. "
Politicians & Regulation
Jamie Dimon, the outspoken CEO of JP Morgan Chase, confronted Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke in a press conference last week to tell him (largely by implication) that bank regulation is an inexact mess with no specific benchmarks or goals.
Related: Bernanke agrees.
Related: Dimon adds some more.
Egypt didn't fight for democracy only to sell out to the United States. Or something. The country's baffled leadership is still trying to figure it out.
"Scotts Miracle-Gro Co. has long sold weed killer. Now, it's hoping to help people grow killer weed."
We may have had a financial crisis because some psychopaths make great CEOs.