In my 20 years of reporting on myriad events, whether it be a Yankees-Red Sox skirmish, a title fight, an initial public offering or an arraignment, I've been witness to some pretty spirited dialogue. I once saw two reporters actually engage in fisticuffs over whether the biggest marketing dud in history was the money-losing Edsel or New Coke. (My nod would go to the latter, if for nothing else than the exorbitant costs associated with that nuclear soft-drink implosion, and the Park Avenue prices that Edsels fetch these days.)

Recently, I was invited to sit in on a roundtable featuring a 16-person panel composed of members of the accounting, financial, legal, standard-setting and academic arenas who were charged with, essentially, further fueling the debate over rules- vs. principles-based accounting. That's not what they refer to as a slam-dunk in terms of ease of solutions. Actually, it more closely resembled William F. Buckley debating Ralph Nader to try to find common ground.

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