Friday, December 12, 2008

Marriott on the Move : The Blog of CEO J.W. Marriott, Jr. Talks about the Economy and Marriott Hotels in 2009

Did you ever stay at a Marriott hotel?

J.W. Marriott, Jr., Chairman and CEO of Marriott International, Inc.,
has a blog at Marriott on the Move in which Arne Sorensen, chief financial officer, presents

Reflections on the Economy and Marriott's Prospects for 2009

and talks about RevPAR (revenue per available room), a key performance measuring stick in the hotel industry.

Hotels are a good economic indicator, so it is interesting to note that Marriott hotels expect a somewhat lower RevPAR in 2009 but on the whole are optimistic about the future.

Attached to the Marriott blog posting is of course the mandatory legal disclaimer and we include it here as well since we are not touting the Marriott hotels here but merely find it interesting that the CEO has a blog and that there are significant postings at that blog. Here is the disclaimer from Marriott's blog:

"Note: The foregoing contains "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of federal securities laws, including statements concerning the number of lodging properties we expect to add in the future; anticipated future debt levels; cash expected to be generated by our timeshare business; and similar statements concerning anticipated future events and expectations that are not historical facts. We caution you that these statements are not guarantees of future performance and are subject to numerous risks and uncertainties, including the depth and duration of the current slowdown in the lodging industry and the economy generally; supply and demand changes for hotel rooms, vacation ownership, condominiums, and corporate housing; competitive conditions in the lodging industry; relationships with clients and property owners; the availability of capital to finance hotel growth and refurbishment; and other risk factors identified in our most recent quarterly report on Form 10-Q; any of which could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in or implied by the statements herein. These statements are made as of December 9, 2008, and we undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise."

We find the necessity to post such disclaimers idiotic as a matter of law because they just fill bandwidth with legal boilerplote gobbledygook that has ZERO impact on anything because it goes without saying that these caveats apply to all businesses anywhere in the world - caveat emptor. Requiring every business to append such disclaimers is just - to repeat - idiotic, and lawmakers are responsible for this idiocy. Perhaps passing a law merely requiring the words CAVEAT EMPTOR - NO GUARANTEES at the end of any forward-looking statement would be sufficient. Or a mere citation to a general boilerplate-containing law should be sufficient, e.g. THE DISCLAIMERS IN THE LAW ON FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS APPLY.

As the current recession shows, the job of the legal community should be to police the economy and pay attention to what is being done by economic enterprises, rather than to concentrate on having firms issue voluminous disclaimers about their statements, disclaimers which no one reads (who has the time to read them?) and which just clog the information highway.

One of the problems we currently have in the world is in fact that well-meaning but clueless legislators and regulatory administrators think that such measures have any significant impact on the economy or that they somehow protect the consumer, which they do not. Who reads the EULA (End-User License Agreement) before installing a software program? Probably almost no one. To be effective, you legislate an EULA law which covers all software and get rid of these bandwidth-hogging superfluous legal boilerplate paragraphs. The same holds for forward-looking statements by companies.

Otherwise, down the road, we will have an Internet that consists to 1/3 of information and to 2/3 of disclaimers about that information.

Law and Romanettes : Blondes, Brunettes or Redheads? US Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts Learns a New Word

You mean you are in law and do not know what a romanette is?
OK, neither did we.

Here is the answer from Wikipedia:

  • 2008, United States Supreme Court oral argument, United States v. Hayes, Case no. 07-608, page 9,
    MS. SAHARSKY: . . . not looking at this Romanette (i) and (ii), but just looking at that sentence.
    MS. SAHARSKY: Oh, little Roman numeral.
    CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: I've never heard that before. That's -- Romanette.
There is a sequel. Conclusion: A new word is born in the law - romanette.

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