• THE GHOST OF BUBBLES PAST: “History is repeating itself… as financial products that played a role in the economic crisis are coming back. Banks are back to hawking complex derivatives that magnify bets on corporate debt… and set to resume selling securities tied to homes loans that are not government-backed, while home sales are surging to levels not seen since the August 2008 meltdown.” By keeping interest rates artificially low, the Fed is not only prompting the housing price surge but also “demand for byzantine products from banks – like ‘synthetic Collateralized Debt Obligations’ (DCOs) made up of ‘Credit Default Swaps’ (essentially contracts that provide insurance against companies defaulting on debt).” According to the Inspector General during the $700 billion TARP program, “because bankers profited from the credit bubble, and then faced no jail time when it popped, there’s little reason to think that these instruments are going to be significantly better this time around.” [BLOOMBERG BUSINESSWEEK – Apr 1, 13]
  • WHAT NEUTRAL MEDIATION IS REALLY ABOUT: (1) Getting past ‘It’s all the other side’s fault’ to discuss what really caused the dispute; (2) Clarifying each side’s perspective on what happened and why; (3) Reality-checking what each thinks the other side is saying; (4) Focusing on priority goals & objectives for each side; (5) Identifying common priority issues which require resolution; (6) Assigning dollar amount ranges to monetary issues and possible solutions to non- monetary issues; (7) Reaching thoughtful, compromised resolutions for settlement. Mediation is not rocket science, just a functional process for getting parties to listen to each other’s perspective & expectations, then to recognize the value of compromising in order to move on. DCG has an almost perfect track record in mediating disputes, dissolution, divorce, and between dysfunctional teams & families to achieve quick and much less costly resolution, while minimizing stress and maintaining privacy. Call us before litigious attorneys get involved. [JOEL.FISHMAN.ATTY NWSLTR – Mar 11, 13]
  • MAJOR COMPANIES ARE INCREASINGLY USING ‘PSCHOMETRIC’ PERSONALITY TESTING in search of good managers. Offered by national search firms for as little as $30 per candidate, such tests allow an employer to develop “a shortlist with minimal effort… measuring touchy-feely traits such as personality, leadership potential, ‘emotional’ intelligence…and a willingness to change their views (the one thing good leaders have in common)… The process assesses candidates for leadership styles – task-focused, social, intellectual or participative – then compares results against the best talent already working in the position for which they are applying.” [THE ECONOMIST – Apr 6,13]
  • A LAST MINUTE TAX DEDUCTION FOR W-2 EMPLOYEES: In January, IRS issued a pronouncement allowing ‘safe harbor’ write off up to $1,500 for a Home Office, as long as space is “exclusively for a qualified business purpose… and for the convenience of employer,” although limited to net revenue derived from the home business. [REV.PROC.2013-13] Intaxication: Euphoria at getting a tax refund that lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.
  • POTHOLE DAMAGE COSTS LOS ANGELES DRIVERS NEARLY $750 A YEAR ON AVERAGE, “destroying axles, wearing out suspensions, mangling low-riding tires” and infuriating voters of all persuasions. Accordingly, the upcoming Mayoral election (otherwise generating minimal interest for candidates who agree on most relevant and irrelevant issues) “has come down to whom is more passionate about laying asphalt… with rivals hyping their low and high-tech approaches to road repairs.” One candidate had his office develop a mobile app for angry citizens to upload a photo location to city road crews; the other has joined volunteer crews reportedly fixing some 750 of the 165,000 holes repaired over the last seven years. [BLOOMBERG BUSINESSWEEK – Apr 8, 13]
  • THOUGHTS FOR THE WEEK: About the stock market: “People can believe exactly what they want to believe. That’s one of the privileges of being a human with money to spend. When you compound utopian wishfulness with the anxiety of being left behind, you’ll have a bubble.”13% of the world’s adults, around 630 million people, “would permanently relocate if given the chance” according to a Gallup poll of over a half-million in 154 countries. Unsurprisingly, nearly a quarter would opt for the U.S. and half that many prefer England or Canada, but 5% like France and nearly another 5% chose Saudi Arabia.

    A classic: William Shatner on Gun Control: Best Commercial Shatner ever did– stufffromjudy’s posterous