Posts filed under “Really, really bad calls”

Adventures in Banking: Responsibility & Blame

Morgan Housel makes the delightful if infuriating observation that bank execs take credit — along with fat paychecks and even fatter bonuses — on the way up.

On the way down, its always seems to be someone else’s fault:

Robert Rubin, a former Treasury Secretary, joined Citigroup in 1999 as chairman of the executive committee. He was paid $126 million over the next eight years for his experience and wisdom to guide the bank’s management toward success.

When the bank nearly collapsed in 2008, Rubin pled ignorance. After writing a 2003 memoir largely devoted to explaining how extreme circumstances ruin banks, Rubin explained in 2009 that he “did not recognize the serious possibility of the extreme circumstances that the financial system faces today.”

Nine-figure pay on the way up; a fluke and someone else’s problem on the way down.

Tom Maheras, another former Citigroup executive, was paid $97 million in the three years before Citigroup imploded, ostensibly for his skill. After a division he oversaw hemorrhaged losses from subprime mortgages, Maheras told Congress that his division’s fateful decisions were “based in part on a careful study from outside consultants.” Even as markets unraveled, “I continued to believe, based upon what I understood from the experts in the business, that the bank’s holdings were safe,” he said.

Ninety-seven million in pay on the way up; someone else’s fault on the way down.

Its no surprise that people rationalize their own self-interest. Its only human nature.  However, that does not mean investors and/or taxpayers should have to subsidize the stupidity.

“Clawbacks” need to be a legal term that corporate execs must become more familiar with . . .


It’s Your Fault
Morgan Housel, February 3, 2015

Category: Bailouts, Corporate Management, Really, really bad calls

Americans Don’t Know Much About Science

Hey Dummy! You I am talkin at:   Source: Pew Research    

Category: Really, really bad calls, Science

Should You Vaccinate Your Child?

Source: Flowing Data

Category: Digital Media, Really, really bad calls, Science

Don’t Play Probalities Like the Seahawks in Investing

Last week, I was in Seattle for an event sponsored by the CFA Institute. The trip was booked long before any of us knew the Seahawks were going to defend their championship title in Super Bowl XLIX. Following the Seahawks’ amazing comeback in the NFC Championship versus the Green Bay Packers on Jan. 18, the city…Read More

Category: Bad Math, Investing, Really, really bad calls, Sports

Love Letters to Richard Dawkins (NSFW)

A little counter-programming for those of you not watching the big game: In a candid moment, filmmaker Eric Preston, founder and producer at Fusion Films, rolls his camera as Dr. Richard Dawkins – Author, Professor and Evolutionary Biologist – again reads “fan mail” he has received from some of his not-so-great admirers. (Parental Discretion is…Read More

Category: Humor, Really, really bad calls, Science, Weekend

The “Greek Issue”

Fascinating flowchart from Deutsche Bank: It is wrong to think that contagion stems only from Grexit. An excessive compromise with Greece could result in moral hazard, particularly in relation to structural reforms. This could undermine the medium-term stability of the euro area. The tail risk is that Greek politicians try to leverage too much the fear…Read More

Category: Bailouts, Politics, Really, really bad calls

White House: Fox Is Not a News Organization

Shepard Smith explains:

“I sat next to Brian Williams, and we all have these place cards and his said, ‘Brian Williams, NBC News.’ And across from me was David Muir, the new guy on ABC. It said, ‘David Muir, ABC News.’ And then, over next to the president, was Scott Pelley, and it said, ‘Scott Pelley, ABC News.”

“And I looked at mine, and it doesn’t say anything about news. It just says, ‘Fox.’ And I looked at Bret Baier’s and it said, ‘Bret Baier, Fox.’ But all the rest of them got ‘news.’ I mean, I don’t care — lunch was great.”

This is pretty hilarious, because its true.

My solution was somewhat different: Rather than omit the word News, I put the word in quotes, thusly:


Its more aggressive, less passive.

Kudos to Shepard Smith, for keeping it classy. And kudos to the White House, for speaking the truth.


Video after the jump

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Category: Financial Press, Really, really bad calls

Job Recovery All Oil & Fracking ? Hardly

  “All of the job growth from 2007 to today can easily be attributed to the shale oil fracking situation and the oil Renaissance. If you take Texas and North Dakota out of the data series for job employment, what you see is that we haven’t added any jobs in the United States other than…Read More

Category: Bad Math, Data Analysis, Employment, Energy, Really, really bad calls

Vermont High Schoolers vs Fox News

This is brutal, and utterly hilarious:   Does Fox News Follow Society of Professional Journalists Published Ethics Rules?  

Category: Financial Press, Really, really bad calls

Forecasting is Marketing . . .

It’s time to market forecasters to admit the errors of their ways Barry Ritholtz Washington Post, January 18, 2015     I come not to praise forecasters but to bury them. After lo these many years of listening to their nonsense, it is time for the investing community — and indeed, the seers themselves —…Read More

Category: Philosophy, Really, really bad calls