Happy Fourth, America!

Happy Fourth! Just watched The Perfect Game, a remarkable movie based on a true story that captures the American dream at its best. America’s game — yes, baseball — played (mostly) by the rules. Immigrant* underdogs win through sheer grit, pluck, and faith against enormous odds.

*Technically speaking, the kids in this story were not yet immigrants. But some of them later played professional baseball in the United States and most likely became immigrants at that time.


Comments on FASB’s fair value amendment reflect FAS 157 distress

Lenders have been hammered by the pathologically procyclical impact of FAS 157’s mark-to-market regime.  Hardly surprising, therefore, that banks and credit unions came out in force to support the latest FASB “clarification” of FAS 157.  Some other commenters, mostly from the “analyst” community, emphatically disagree.

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Jeffrey Miron: No bailout; abolish Fannie Mae & CRA

“Talk of [financial] Armageddon . . . is ridiculous scare-mongering. If financial institutions cannot make productive loans, a profit opportunity exists for someone else. This might not happen instantly, but it will happen.” So says Harvard economist Jefffrey A. Miron, writing today at CNN.

What does Miron say government should do now?  For starters, stop the cruel pretense that people who can’t pay back a freely-negotiated mortgage should be homeowners: Continue reading

Arbitration is not for everyone

Illustrating yet again that a decisive majority — including the editors of the Wall Street Journal — can be wrong, 82 percent of respondents in a survey commissioned by the Obama campaign favored out-of-court arbitration over traditional courtroom litigation. The Wall Street Journal’s write up, “No Lawyers, Please,” notes that “most Americans do not want their day in court. Rather, they prefer cheaper and faster methods of settling arguments.” If cheap and fast are the criteria, why not just roll dice or bring back duels? Continue reading

Choice of Law

Frequently overlooked elements of commercial contract negotiations are the choice of law and choice of forum clauses. These clauses can have a dramatic impact on the timing, amount, and collectibility of the revenue or expense associated with a transaction. Most contracts written nowadays contain such clauses, but many non-lawyers downplay their importance because they are “legal technicalities” that they don’t fully understand. Continue reading

The Purpose of a Contract

This afternoon, I taped a 90-minute “webinar” on the subject of Negotiation. One key to effective negotiation is gaining real commitment.  This is a skill or process that many new entrepreneurs only learn the hard way. A common scenario involves a couple of business partners who spend several weeks discussing, e-mailing and meeting to structure a deal or a venture. The discussion ends and they walk away, both sides thinking they have an understanding. Continue reading