The people on the short side of the subprime mortgage market had gambled with the odds in their favor. The people on the other side — the entire financial system, essentially — had gambled with the odds against them. Up to this point, the story of the big short could not be simpler. What’s strange and complicated about it, however, is that pretty much all the important people on both sides of the gamble left the table rich. . . . The CEOs of every major Wall Street firm were also on the wrong end of the gamble. All of them, without exception, either ran their public corporations into bankruptcy or were saved from bankruptcy by the United States government. They all got rich, too.
What are the odds that people will make smart decisions about money if they don’t need to make smart decisions — if they can get rich making dumb decisions?
Notes from the Golden Orange
EppsNet Archive: Stupidity
Teens from Asian nations dominated a global exam given to 15-year-olds, while U.S. students showed little improvement and failed to reach the top 20 in math, science or reading, according to test results released Tuesday.
Why am I not shocked by that?
Because Americans on the whole are dumb and lazy. We have lots of dumb, lazy parents raising dumb, lazy kids. The average American kid doesn’t compare well academically to the average kid in an Asian country where academics and hard work are valued, or to the average kid from a small, homogenous European country where it’s easier to get everyone pulling in the same educational direction.
The U.S. is a big, diverse country and the average academic results are pulled down by a lot of dummkopfs.
But still, the smartest people in the world are Americans. Our smartest people are smarter than the smartest people in other lands.
You don’t think so? I’m looking at the list of winners of the 2013 Nobel Prizes . . . out of 11 recipients (I’m omitting the winners of the literature and peace prizes because those aren’t academic awards), eight are from the U.S. The other three are from Belgium, the UK and France, and the Frenchman is affiliated with Harvard University.
No one in Asian countries is winning any Nobel Prizes. Q.E.D.
How big was it?
The go-to question for lazy sports media goofballs everywhere. How big was that game? How big was that performance? How big was that play?
In case you hadn’t noticed, the word “big” doesn’t make sense in this context. How big was it? It was bigger than a breadbox. It was bigger than my dick.
“Let me ask you about the most important play of the game. How important was it?” That’s just stupid. But it’s acceptable if you phrase it like this: “How big was the interception by Kozlowski?” Use of the word “big” is the agreed-upon protocol for asking stupid questions repeatedly.
“Tell us something we already know about something we just saw” is okay if phrased as “How big was that performance tonight by Smithers?” Or “How big was this win?”
If all you can do is ask stupid questions, at least phrase them in a way that makes sense. “Tell me about the interception by Kozlowski.” Or “What’s your opinion of Kingman’s performance?”
Better yet, do your job and ask questions with insight and context, e.g., “It looked like you changed up the coverage on the Kozlowski interception. Can you talk about that?”
Photo by supjchwa2
“Jack in the Box tacos have to be eaten when they’re hot, so when I buy them at the drive-thru, I also buy a bag of french fries, set the fries on top of the tacos and use them as a taco warmer to keep the tacos hot until I get them home and eat them.”
“Do you eat the fries as well?”
“No, I don’t eat the fries. I just use them to keep the tacos warm.”
“The french fries keep the tacos warm?’
“What keeps the french fries warm?”
The latest update of the Pew Research Center’s News IQ quiz finds that while 79 percent of respondents correctly identified the Twitter logo, only 55 percent could identify Eric Holder as U.S. Attorney General.
The Holder question was not an open-ended question, which would have been more difficult, e.g., “Name the current U.S. Attorney General” or “Who is Eric Holder?” It was a multiple-choice question. The question (you can take the quiz yourself here) shows a photo of Holder and asks respondents to select his job from a list of four options.
Results were even worse for other questions. Fifty percent correctly identified Syria as the highlighted country on a map, again from a list of four choices, and 43 percent were able to identify Elizabeth Warren from a set of four photos.
And still there are some misfits who continue to insist that voter suppression is a bad thing.
Frankly, one of our political parties is insane, and we all know which one it is. They have descended from the realm of reasonableness that was the mark of conservatism. They dream of anarchy, of ending government.
My fellow Americans –
I’ll tell you who’s insane: anyone who’s not dreaming of anarchy at this moment in history is insane. People forget that this great nation was founded by anarchists, born out of an armed revolution against a corrupt government.
As I said at the time, “Whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it.”
I assure you, though, that regrettably neither current political party dreams of anarchy. They both dream of exactly the same things: self-aggrandizement and rewarding their most powerful supporters with political spoils.
The well-known liberal cartoonist Ted Rall wrote a book a couple of years ago advocating a new American revolution. Unfortunately, while popular uprisings do continue to occur around the world, I am not optimistic that it will ever happen again in America.
The great majority of our citizens now are far more informed about fantasy football and reality TV than they are about current events. They understand politics at only the most simple-minded level: Team Red vs. Team Blue.
I’m Team Blue! Let’s go, Blue! BOOOOO, Team Red! Or vice versa.
Notice, for example, that all of the things that Team Blue hated so much about the George W. Bush administration are okay now that they’re being carried out by President Obama.
Obama didn’t stop the wars or the torture or the spying. He’s just as cozy with Wall Street. Gitmo is still open for “prolonged detention.” Moreover, he’s killing foreign civilians, and sometimes American citizens, with drone strikes, and he’s eliminating whatever civil liberties you think you have left.
Torture and war and economic collapse don’t matter as long as they’re being supervised by my team! Go Blue! We’ll all be in a gulag in 10 years. Go Blue!
Some despotic regimes around the world rely on starvation and threats of violence to keep the people in a state of submissive compliance. Here in America, the same collective stupor is effected via mindless entertainments and gadgetry.
I should raise myself out of depression, paralysis and failure and resist this massive government/corporate dystopia — but I might miss my TV programs.
In 1776, we decided that being Americans meant being free men and women, not serfs and lackeys. We mutually pledged to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor to throw off the abuses and usurpations of the Government, and to secure the blessings of Liberty.
How soon they forget.
I bid you God speed,
Thomas Jefferson, anarchist
From Salon, before the bombers were identified, captured and/or killed:
Shame on everyone who assumed that the bombers were Muslims from a foreign land! Wait — what? They were Muslims from a foreign land? OK, never mind.
Calling out “far-right extremists” for “demonizing bogeymen” is either hilariously ironic or depressingly symptomatic of American decline. Since Salon is not known for its satire, I have to go with the latter.
I’ve noticed a new trend in spam is to put the word “Manager” in front of the sender’s name, e.g., Manager Joe Schmuck instead of just plain Joe Schmuck.
Are people really this stupid? Does anyone think to themselves, “I don’t know any Joe Schmuck, but if he’s come up through the ranks to the level of Manager, then I think I owe it to myself to see what he has to say”?
From an actual job ad:
Killer, Profitable, Stable and cutting edge technology company looking for genious!!!
It’s funny when someone misspells the word “genius”!
Why are random words like “Profitable” and “Stable” capitalized? Because the recruiter wanted to highlight the adjectives? Then why isn’t “cutting edge” capitalized?
Why isn’t “cutting edge” hyphenated?
Gerald Crabtree, a geneticist at Stanford University, suggests that humans are evolving to become less intelligent. Crabtree asserts that the safer life gets for humans, the less important it is for us to have good judgment for survival and mating.
Thousands of years ago, human idiots were much more likely to be removed from the gene pool (i.e., die) as a result of their lack of intelligence and judgment. Nowadays, it’s rare for someone to die because they were unable to outwit a predator.
Edward Archbold was, according to those who met him on Friday night, the life of the party – a bit of a showoff who was up for anything, even a giant cockroach-eating contest.
He won. And then, tragically, he died.
Not every death is a tragedy. (We pause here for a moment to give Darwin a chance to spike the football.)
Whenever I hear someone described as “a bit of a showoff who’s up for anything,” I find myself wondering how soon they can die in some bizarre attempt to attract attention.
Given what we know about the deceased, how surprised are you — on a scale of zero to 10 — that a shirtless mug shot was available for use in his obituary?
This morning I heard President Obama call for universities to lower their tuition rates so that “everybody in America can go to college.”
I am virtually certain that the President is not stupid enough to think that if tuition rates fell to zero, there would magically be enough room in the colleges for everybody in America. So I’ve got to believe that he’s purposely saying stupid things in order to appeal to stupid voters — the sort of voters, in other words, who probably don’t belong in college.
An elderly woman has destroyed a 19th-century Spanish fresco in a botched restoration conducted without permission.
“Restoration conducted without permission” = ignorant destruction of artistic treasures. This is why it pays to leave art restoration to trained professionals.
I’m going to savagely murder the next person I hear use the word “spend” as a noun, as in “leveraging our spend.”
Spend is a verb. Spending is a noun, e.g., “leveraging our spending.” I would still have to maim you for saying “leveraging” though, so try “getting the most for our money.”
You can also avoid death by saying “How much does it cost?” instead of “What is our spend?”
You have been warned.
According to the California Highway Patrol, [Kurt Duncan] Naegele, [Ryan Robert] Doheny, Doheny’s brother-in-law Darren William Dahlman, 38, of Pasadena, and Christopher H. Pennell of Los Angeles, had been drinking as guests invited to a birthday party on the San Simeon ranch on Sept. 18, 2009.
They drove to the airstrip to find out how fast Naegele’s Range Rover could go, something a CHP investigator claims Doheny later told him was a bad idea because it was pitch black out and Naegele was driving very fast and erratically. Around 11 p.m., the Range Rover rolled several times
before falling down a steep embankment 300 feet off the runway on the north side of the airstrip.
The crash killed Dahlman, seriously injured Naegele (who had to be extricated from behind the steering wheel) and also injured Pennell and Doheny. Naegele and Doheny estimated to officers that they had been traveling 35 mph at the time of the crash, but CHP investigators who examined the skid marks and other evidence at the scene determined they were going more like 105 mph.
Here’s where things get strange: Naegele maintains that Doheny was actually driving the vehicle, but rather than take the case to trial, he cut a plea deal for a year in custody and four years of probation.
Footnote: I was on jury duty in a similar case, where a drunk guy drove a car full of drunks into a tree, pinning himself behind the steering wheel, then claimed in court that he wasn’t the driver. You gotta say something, right?
Result? Hung jury. You can always count on three idiots out of 12 who believe that anything’s possible.
Things You Can Do
Things You Can’t Do
We had a vendor rep stop by the office this morning . . .
The first thing he told me was, “I got a workout in this morning before I came over. Great way to start the day!”
Really? How does that information solve any of the problems we’re having with your software? How does it alter my planned activities for the day? You are not a serious person.
The unmistakable mark of the moron is he (or she) tells you about his workout schedule, especially if he has just worked out or is just about to work out.