Archive for May, 2010

The National Football League Lost a Bet

May 31, 2010

The New York Times Editorial, Thursday, May 27, 2010

“The National Football League (NFL) does not condone gambling, but it lost a giant bet this week when the Supreme Court firmly rejected its contention that it is not subject to the nation’s antitrust laws.  …when it comes to selling merchandise, charging for parking and paying players, they have to play by the rules.”

“The NFL was sued for restraint of trade by Amercian Needle, a company that makes team-logo clothing,..”

“Antitrust lawyers say this is the first Supreme Court victory by an antitrust plaintiff since 1992.  The public won, too.”

I have gambling idioms in my book, “How to Play the Game: Everyday American Sports & Games Idioms.”   We use gambling idioms all the time: “games of chance.”  Actually, and unfortunately, risk and chance are part of the game, especially if executives think they are smarter than the roll of the dice, so to speak: oil spills, the stock market, derivatives, and many more.

Debit Fee Reform and an “Unexpected Curveball”

May 31, 2010

New York Times, May 14, 2010 .“Cut Is a Rare Loss for Big Banks.” By BINYAMIN APPELBAUM Consumers also could save money.

Senator Dick Durbin introduced an Amendment to the current U.S. Senate economic bill to reform debit fees limiting prices issued to banks.  However, Republican leaders insisted that the amendment had to pass with no fewer than 60 votes; “Mr. Durbin described (this) as an unexpected curveball.”

The Durban amendment was changed by the Senate to limiting the “new price controls to cards issued only by the very largest banks, those with at least $10 billion in assets.  As a result, the pricing controls will affect only about 65 percent of debit card transactions, staff members said.”

“the Senate passed the Dick Durbin Amendment to reform Debit fees with a whopping 64 votes. … Sat May 15, 2010 at 16:05:27 PM CDT. h/t Media Matters…It passed: the “retail trade groups said they knew what they needed to win.”

Fishing Trip for Barclays As It Seeks Game in U. S.

May 31, 2010

Wall Street Journal, by Sara Schaeffer Munoz and David Enrich

Wednesday, March 10, 2010: MONEY & INVESTING

Fishing Trip for Barclays As It Seeks Game in U. S.

LONDON: “After buying up Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.’s North American operations at the peak of the financial crisis, British Bank Barclay PLC is on the prowl for another major aquisition in the U.S., according to people close to the matter.

Barclays is hunting for a retail bank at a good price that would give it more deposits and build on the presence of Barclays Capital in the U.S., these people said.  The bank, in response to potential changes in banking regulation, has designated an internal team to assess possible targets, these people said.  Barclays is focused only on reconnaissance right now, and no deal is imminent, they said.”

Game, hunting, fishing trip, target :  These are all sports metaphors or idioms to “catch” the reader’s eye and speak to a British bank’s search for a retail bank in the U. S. to buy. After hunting or fishing will they catch one?  (Hunting game in the U.S. is used in the same sense as shooting game in the U.K.)

“Now Playing For Center Court”

May 20, 2010

Time Magazine, May 24, 2010, by Jeffrey Rosen

“President Obama calls Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan a ‘consensus builder’. But can she really end decades of partian judicial warfare?”

“Obama seems to feel that Kagan’s inclication to find common ground between liberals and conservatives will equip her to achieve consensus on the Supreme Court, winning over swing Justice Anthony Kennedy and moving the court to the center.”

The title is a brilliant double or triple play on words:

First, the idiomatic or metaphorical use: center court in tennis is the most important in a tennis complex. It is where the best players play.

Second, the U.S. Supreme Court is the most important federal court; Ms. Kagan has been appointed by President Obama. She is an important player, but must win the appointment by Senatorial approval.  She is in the news; she is in center court.

Third, President Obama and his advisors hope Ms. Kagan, if appointed, can move the Supreme Court to the center.

Note: “double or triple play” as used by me above refers to word play. However, it is also used in the idiomatic sense as a metaphorical reference to baseball when the defensive ball team gets two or three outs in a single play.  Two outs happen often; triple outs are very unusual and only occur two or three times in a baseball season.  In business it could be a reference to eliminating two business opponents in one deal.  In love relationships one could get rid of two annoying girls or boyfriends at one time by writing clever letters to each.

Wall Street Equivalent of a Perfect Game of Baseball

May 16, 2010

New York Times, Wednesday, May 12, 2010, by Eric Dash

“Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase & Company produced the equivalent of a trio of perfect games during the first quarter.  Each one finished the period without losing money for even one day.” …

“Their remarkable streak is one for the record books. Perfect trading quarters on Wall Street are about as rare as perfect games in Major League Baseball.  On Sunday, Dallas Braden of the Oakland Athletics pitched what was only the 19th perfect game in baseball history.”

“It is the Wall Steet equivalent of a perfect game of baseball–27 up, 27 down (9 innings, 3 outs each inning),  measured in millions of dollars a day.”