5 dumbest things on Wall Street

The government breaks down the financial meltdown. Intel tries to be cool. A lawsuit asks Taco Bell: Where's the beef?

By TheStreet Staff Jan 28, 2011 12:01PM

Image: Wall Street sign (© Corbis/SuperStock)


Here is this week's roundup of the dumbest actions on Wall Street.


5. The unabridged guide to financial meltdowns

In just over 630 pages, the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission laid out its indictment of Wall Street titans including Goldman Sachs (GS) and Bank of America (BAC), extinct Wall Street species like Merrill Lynch, and lenders that were synonymous with the mortgage crisis, like Countrywide Financial. Government entities including the Securities and Exchange Commission, and even more so, the Federal Reserve, are chided in a way that would make Fed-buster Ron Paul very happy.


Truth be told, 633 pages might not be enough to do justice to the idiocy that passed for an advanced, well-functioning economy in the period leading up to the crisis. Phil Angelides, the commission's chairman, who went head-to-head with many financial bigwigs during the FCIC hearing process -- and even forced Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett to testify under order of subpoena -- took issue with the idea that no one could have seen this crisis coming.  


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4. Intel seeks the essence of cool

Intel (INTC) showed off its new "director of creative innovation" earlier this week -- Black Eyed Peas front man will.i.am. The multiplatinum artist and producer, responsible for such songs as "Boom Boom Pow," is taking product endorsement to a whole new level.

Signing up will.i.am highlights the company's desperate desire to catch up with the likes of iPhone maker Apple (AAPL) in the consumer market. In addition to providing new music for Intel, will.i.am will collaborate on devices such as laptops, tablets and smart phones, it said. But it will be products, not glitzy celebrity endorsements, that stake Intel's claim in smart phones and tablets.


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3. UConn burned by booster

Robert G. Burton, CEO of Burton Capital Management, threw a fit last week -- the likes of which would have made Terrell Owens proud -- when a major play didn't go his way. University of Connecticut Athletic Director Jeff Hathaway had the audacity to hire a new football coach without seeking enough input from Burton, who happened to be the football program's biggest donor.


In a five-page rant, Burton outlined eight punishments he planned to dole out, all of which amounted to pulling funding from various school and football programs. Oh, and he wanted $3 million of his donations back and his name taken off the school's stadium


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2. DiGiorno's synergy in a box

When Nestle (NSRGY) acquired Kraft's (KFT) frozen pizza business in January 2010, the company said the purchase provided a "new strategic pillar to Nestlé's frozen food portfolio."


It took just over a year for the genius of purchasing this pillar to come to fruition in a physical form. Nestle has come up with the ultimate synergy in a box, packaging its DiGiorno pizza and famous frozen Toll House chocolate chip cookie dough together. Pizza and cookies make a totally natural combination, like toothpaste and orange juice.


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1. Taco Bell's mystery meat

Yum Brands' (YUM) Taco Bell is facing one question in a potential class action lawsuit filed this week -- where's the beef?

According to a suit filed by law firm Beasley Allen, what Taco Bell is advertising as beef is more of a beef filling, with heavy emphasis on the filling. In fact, the suit alleges there is so little actual beef in the filling that Taco Bell shouldn't even be allowed to call it beef.


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Related Articles

Jan 28, 2011 5:03PM
I always thought Taco Bell's meat was horse. 
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