Monday, October 06, 2008

Blawg Review #180

THIS IS THE 180th EDITION OF Blawg Review.

Today, on German-American Day, October 6, 2008, a day proclaimed by the President of the United States, LawPundit, as a law blog domiciled in Germany and authored by an American expatriate, born in Germany, raised in the United States, and formerly lecturing on Anglo-American law at the University of Trier Law School in Germany, is honored to host the 180th edition of Blawg Review. (If you did not read BlawgReview #179, Infamy or Praise tells you more).

There are literally millions of German-American ("deutsch-amerikanische") connections, both contemporary and historical. It may come as a surprise to many Americans to know that German Americans make up the largest acknowledged ancestry group in America, even larger than the Irish and the English. Take a look at this map from the US Census 2000 which shows all the counties in America. Those in light blue color have a plurality of inhabitants claiming German ancestry:



Indeed, as President Ronald Reagan proclaimed in 1987:

"Few people have blended so completely into the multicultural tapestry of American society and yet have made such singular economic, political, social, scientific, and cultural contributions to the growth and success of these United States as have Americans of German extraction....

In fact:

"[T]here are still many metropolitan areas where German is the most reported ethnicity, such as Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Minneapolis-St. Paul, and St. Louis."

There are many distinguished German-Americans, some of whom are annually honored by the German-American Heritage Foundation. The German-American lawyer Friedrich Kapp "can be regarded as a pioneer of German-American historical science."

The German-Corner features biographies, among them lawyer Francis Daniel Pastorius:

"PASTORIUS, Francis Daniel (1651-1720). German-American, lawyer and colonizer, b. Sommerhausen, Germany. Practiced law in Germany; as agent for Quaker group founded (1683) Germantown, Pa., and became its first mayor, chief citizen, and schoolmaster.

He marks the beginning of German settlement in the US.
"

WDR.de provides us with information about Pastorius in German for our German readers:

"Noch heute heißt ein Vorort Philadelphias "Germantown ". Gegründet wird er 1685 unter dem lateinischen Namen "Germanopolis" - von einem Mann aus dem fränkischen Sommerhausen. Sein Bild ist im Kuppelgemälde des Kapitols von Philadelphia verewigt, und im Deckenfries des Kapitols von Washington steht er neben William Penn, dem Gründer von Pennsylvania. Der Sommerhausener hat selbst einen lateinischen Nachnamen: Franz Daniel Pastorius wird am 26. September 1651 als Sohn eines Juristen geboren und studiert später ebenfalls Jura. "

Another example of a famous German American is America's first millionaire, Johann Jakob Astor (Johan Jakob Astor):



John Jacob Astor
, detail of an oil painting by Gilbert Stuart, 1794.
Originally Johann Jakob Astor, he was the first of the Astor family dynasty
and the first millionaire in the United States,
making his fortune in the fur trade and New York City real estate.

German Americans (German: Deutschamerikaner) are citizens of the United States of ethnic German ancestry. They currently form the largest self-reported ancestry group in the United States, accounting for 49 million people, or 17% of the U.S. population. California and Texas have the largest populations of German origin, although upper Midwestern states, including North Dakota and Wisconsin, have the highest proportion of German-American population. ...

The first Germans to arrive in the New World settled in the English colony of Jamestown, Virginia in 1608. It wasn’t until the 1680s, however, that significant numbers arrived, settling primarily in New York and Pennsylvania. Immigration continued in substantial numbers during the 19th century; with the largest number of arrivals coming between 1840 and 1900. Americans of German descent form the largest ancestry group in the U.S., outnumbering the Irish and English, with some eight million immigrants having come to the United States. Some arrived seeking religious or political freedom, others for economic opportunities greater than those in Europe, and others simply for the chance to start fresh in the New World.


German Americans have been influential in almost every field, from science to architecture, industry, sports, and entertainment. Some, like Brooklyn Bridge engineer John Augustus Roebling or architect Walter Gropius, left behind visible landmarks. Others, like Albert Einstein or Wernher von Braun, set intellectual landmarks."

Important dates in German-American history are found at the IUPUI Max Kade German-American Center, and the reader can find a list of German-American Historic Sites and Museums at that same website.

Viewed on a contemporary transatlantic and global basis, it is interesting to see from the following map that the Gross Domestic Products (GDP) of the USA and Germany, which dominate the Old World and the New World, reflect a similar work and production ethic. LawPundit has added labels to the following cartogram of the world, resized it and added a border: (you can view the original cartogram from Mark Newman, Department of Physics and Center for the Study of Complex Systems, University of Michigan, here):


Although not directed solely to America, but broadcasting "online, on-screen and over the air" in 30 languages around the world, including of course English as the primary language, the German Deutsche Welle mirrors the importance of Germany to world affairs, and, pursuant to its statutory mission:

"promote[s] understanding of Germany as an independent nation with its roots in European culture and as a liberal, democratic, constitutional state based on the rule of law.
[emphasis added by LawPundit]


Speaking of the rule of law, the German-American Lawyers' Association, the Bonn-based Deutsch-Amerikanische Juristen-Vereinigung (DAJV), exemplifies German-American legal relations on this day, and points to the fact that:

"[T]he United States influences [German] cultural, economic and legal environment more than any other country. This is just one of the reasons why roughly 3,200 German and American jurists have joined together in our Association."

"The purpose of the DAJV:

"[I]s the advancement of professional and popular education, in particular the professional education of German lawyers and other groups interested in the fields of American law, as well as the advancement of American lawyers and other groups interested in the fields of German law."

The DAJV is holding its Annual Conference on German and American Law from August 12 to August 15, 2009, in Berkeley, California. Make a note.



But we are getting a bit ahead in our time schedule. For detailed information about the current German American Day, see the German American National Congress viz. Deutsch Amerikanischer National Kongress (DANK). As written at About.com:

"German-American Day - October 6 The first German-American Day was proclaimed by President Ronald Reagan in 1983 for the 300th anniversary of the arrival of 13 German families on board a sailing vessel named "Concord" (the "German Mayflower"). The Germans from Krefeld landed in Philadelphia on October 6, 1683 and founded Germantown, Pennsylvania (now part of Philadelphia). In 1987, after a campaign by German-American organizations, Congress made October 6 an official day of commemoration and President Reagan signed the proclamation...."

German American Day celebrations 2008 have taken place or are taking place from Saturday, September 27 through Monday, October 6, 2008 in the USA, e.g. in Philadelphia, Washington D.C. and Germantown. The German-American Society of Pennsylvania points to the following event schedule today as found at AOL:

"Monday, October 6: German American Day 10:00 p.m. Wreath laying ceremony at the Pastorius Monument in Vernon Park, 5818 Germantown Avenue in Germantown. Call 215.947.5490.12:00 p.m. Commemorative Luncheon highlighting the 325th Anniversary and recognizing the German roots of the Rohm and Haas. Union League, 140 South Broad Street, Philadelphia. 215.665.1585.7:00 p.m. Landesjugendorchester Rheinland-Pfalz Performance of Elgar, Beethoven and Mendelssohn, German Society of Pennsylvania, 611 Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia."

Even German cooking is featured in the magazine German Life, "a bi-monthly magazine written for all interested in the diversity of German culture, past and present, and in the various ways that North America has been shaped by its German element. The magazine is dedicated to solid reporting on cultural, historical, social, and political events." This year's recipe, Bamberg Style Stuffed Onions With Savory Beer Sauce, is featured at Taste of Home.

In this connection, we also want to mention Oktoberfest, "a sixteen-day festival held each year in Munich, Bavaria, Germany during late September [and running to the first Sunday in October, unless that first Sunday is the 1st or 2nd of October, in which case the event runs to German Unity Day, October 3]. It is one of the most famous events in the city and the world's largest fair, with some six million people attending every year, and is an important part of Bavarian culture. Other cities across the world also hold Oktoberfest celebrations, modeled after the Munich event." Obviously, many an Oktoberfest (see this list from Realbeer.com) also takes place in America. A good example is the Great Syracuse Oktoberfest.

The Infant Attorney at Learning the Law in Baby Step has Oktoberfest all planned out:

"I have a fun weekend planned. MP and I are meeting up with some college friends at Oktoberfest (not in Munich unfortunately). I'm looking forward to lots of beer, more beer and German food, I can't wait. Hopefully I'll see some hot lederhosen too! I'd love to go to Germany someday for Oktoberfest, MP was lucky enough to go when he studied abroad in Italy. It will be fun regardless. Did I mention the beer?"

Make sure you click those links above for more photos like this one, it's the first, an Oktoberfest Meisterwerk (masterpiece):


Speaking of beer, food and Oktoberfest, David Harlow at the Health Care Law Blawg (also known as HealthBlawg) cautions us mildly about such festivities:

"If you load up on bratwurst and sauerkraut this Oktoberfest, you may be in the market for coronary artery bypass graft (a different kind of cabbage ... CABG) in the future . . . and you'll want to be sure you go to a high quality provider. I interviewed the general counsel of a teaching hospital that took its CABG program offline for a while to make it better. "

That interview by David Harlow presents the topic Doug Brown, UMass Memorial Health Care's General Counsel, speaks with David Harlow about transparency and systems improvement as posted at HealthBlawg :: David Harlow's Health Care Law Blog.


Eating and drinking in connection with night life can raise legal issues, as David Giacalone at his f/k/a weblog observes in his posting lady judge says "ladies' nights" are not unconstitutional. Giacalone writes:

"Federal District Court Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum (who'll be 80 years old next year) bounced avowed anti-feminist Roy Den Hollander from her Manhattan courtroom last Monday — rejecting his claim that bars and night clubs holding ladies' nights (where women are offered free or reduced-price admission or drinks) are engaged in unconstitutional gender discrimination against males under the Equal Protection Clause. See "Judge to anti-feminist: Ladies' night is alright" (AP, Sept. 30, 2008; "Ladies Night OKd by judge" (New York Daily News, Sept. 30, 2008)."

Did we mention keg tossing? Dan Slater at the WSJ Law Blog writes that:

"Earlier this summer, we told you that Vermont Law School was taking a stand against the military's 'don't ask, don't tell' policy — and paying for it. The school, whose endowment is about $14 million, could be denied federal research money to the tune of $300,000 to $500,000. (Hopefully, this won't affect the school's keg-tossing contest.)"

See a pic of Yale's Oktoberfest Keg Tossing Contest.

OK, that's been the fun part. Let's get down to more serious business. German-American legal and political affairs are important.

The German American Law Journal presents postings about US law in the German language ("Recht der USA auf Deutsch"). There are two language versions: German and English.

JuraBlogs - Die Welt juristischer Blogs (The World of legal Blogs). As written at Technorati, "JuraBlogs summarizes most of the German law blogosphere with several rankings, tools, newsletters and an advanced search functionality."

Davids Medienkritik ("Politically incorrect observations on reporting in the German media") is a pro-American blog which reports critically on transatlantic German-American relations as they are portrayed in German media. See their mission statement. An example is a posting about the Top Pet Issues for German Media Coverage of the United States.

The quality translation of legal documents is a must in the international legal sphere. Transblawg is the blog of German-English legal translator Margaret Marks, who maintains her "Weblog from Fürth on German-English legal translation / Weblog aus Fürth zur juristischen Übersetzung Deutsch-Englisch", and who refers to this edition of Blawg Review at Musings on Blawg Review/Blawg Review Deutsch-amerikanisch. An example of the type of useful postings that Transblawg makes is the Article on translating contracts into German/Probleme beim Übersetzen englischer Vertragstexte.

Speaking of contracts, marriage is also a contract that has important ramifications for German-American relations. Many children issue from marriages between Germans and Americans, and even a child born, for example, in Germany to two American parents can under some circumstances obtain a German citizenship. Amerika-Forum.de (in German) discusses the issue of dual citizenship ("doppelte Staatsbuergerschaft"). A detailed legal treatment of this important matter of dual nationality is found at the website of the U.S. Embassy in Germany.

Not only dual nationality, but also dual German-American educational degrees are possible. The Business School ESB Reutlingen discusses a double degree in international management ("Deutsch-Amerikansicher Studiengang").

Since the principle feature of this posting is by design directed to "blawg review", we present below a selection of blawgs covering the cutting edge of legal and political issues and contemporary topics of note, from a variety of perspectives:
  • The blawg IP Think Tank (TM) does a "weekly selection of top intellectual property news breaking in the blogosphere and internet" which includes German and American legal news.

  • The editor of IP.com's corporate blog, Securing Innovation, points to a recent article at Law.com, German Court Sees First Signs of European Patent Trolls, by Philippa Maister of IP Law & Business, and is concerned about the likelihood of confusion with IPCom GmbH in connection with the German company's whopping 12 Billion Euro patent infringement lawsuit against Nokia.

  • Bob Ambrogi on Law.com's Legal Blog Watch points to a report on The World's Most Client Friendly Firms, which included Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in Germany, while Allen & Overy got top honors worldwide. Speaking of A&O ... we learn at the Tax Lawyer Blog, that Allen & Overy LLP will open a new office in Munich in October 2008. With its existing offices in Düsseldorf, Frankfurt am Main, Hamburg and Mannheim, Allen & Overy will be represented in five of Germany's key economic centres. Prost!

  • Dan Hull at What About Paris? - formerly What About Clients? - asks Are you ready for Europe's REACH directive? In Blawg Review #65 Dan points to some German blawgs, among them "three German Fulbright Scholarship alums in Hamburg, Berlin and Seattle [who] publish the Atlantic Review, a press digest on transatlantic affairs...."

  • Professors of the world unite! We ourselves use the software program Zotero as a tool for research so that the following lawsuit hits us directly. At The Laboratorium, James Grimmelman suggested that the Thompson/Reuters lawsuit against the developers of Zotero, a free EndNote competitor, was "comically inept", but Mike Madison at the Madisonian thought that there might just be a method to it all, whereas Mike Masnick at Techdirt thought the whole thing was ill-considered and suggested that Zotero could make EndNote more, rather than less, valuable. Michael Froomkin at Discourse.net adds a new legal angle, writing that "there is one interesting and potentially triable ... issue in the case ... the extent to which a contract by a firm with a (state) university can bind its professors."

  • Elizabeth Garrett at Balkinization wonders "How the Financial Crisis is Reshaping Democratic Politics: Term Limits Reconsidered", whereas Rick Pildes at that same blawg considers the importance of appointing a board of overseers for the Department of Treasury in connection with the $700 Billion bank bailout.

  • Nolo's Bankruptcy and Foreclosure Blog exclaims, "Bailout? Follow The Money!".
  • ,
  • Speaking of money, what about product liability cases? Jim Beck and Mark Herrmann jointly write the Drug and Device Law Blog, where they recently pointed to Learned Intermediary Rule 201 in a posting that describes the application of the "learned intermediary rule" in pharmaceutical product liability cases in which the treating physician gives slightly offbeat responses to some of the usual questions asked during discovery.

  • Nothing lasts forever, and fans of the Brooklyn Dodgers went through this long ago with the demolition of Ebbets Field, as BizzBangBuzz now shares "Yankee Stadium Memories" with us. Construction and destruction are two sides of the same coin.

  • At Deliberations, Anne Reed ponders in "Women Lawyers, Juries, -- And Stress?" whether juries react more positively to male lawyers rather than to female attorneys.

  • Advocate's Studio in "Poor writing across the pond" tangles with the view found in TheLawyer.com, as expressed by Peter Crisp, dean of BPP Law School, that law students suffer from lapses in writing. Solutions are suggested.

  • Law School is a topic at LawVibe, where Michael presents the "NYU Law School Cash for Class Scandal", the consequences of which are discussed by Paul Caron at the Tax Prof Blog and Jim Maule at MauledAgain (Part I-Tax Issues, Part II-Legal Education Issues).

  • Jordan Furlong of Slaw.ca and Law21 discusses "The Future of Law Firm Branding".

  • Feminist Law Professors discuss "Where Feminism, Copyright Law and This Interminable Election Intersect", pointing to a mock of Sarah Palin at the New Yorker, via the Huffington Post, which employs an Alaska parody of a famous New Yorker title page by Saul Steinberg.

  • Speaking of New York, Bruce MacEwen at Adam Smith, Esq. asks in (New York) City's End, in view of "all the body blows the New York City financial services industry and its attendant handmaidens (BigLaw, that would be you) have taken in the past couple of months", whether "the Apocalypse [will be] descending upon Sin City", referring to The Sky Keep's Falling!, a book review by Tama Starr at the Wall Street Journal book shelf of Max Page's The City's End, as published by the Yale University Press, which touts the book as:

    "[T]he first to investigate two centuries of imagined cataclysms visited upon New York, and to provide a critical historical perspective to our understanding of the events of September 11, 2001."

    How times have changed since the days when the famous Wagners, who were German-Americans and lawyers to boot, ran things in New York City. See that link.

  • Regarding that forthcoming Presidential Election, Madeleine Begun Kane presents A Do-Over Supreme Court Test For Palin? posted at Mad Kane's Political Madness. Mad Kane describes herself as a "writer, musician, and "recovering lawyer.""

  • LawGeek reports that Smithsonian Institution Archives photos from the Scopes trial are now available on Flickr.

  • Tax Girl debates the meaning of tax hikes and tax cuts, commenting upon the vice-presidential debate that "it's not whether you speak the truth but how well you speak it." That's really "bloggitty goodness", to use a phrase found at this blawg.

  • Blawgletter asks, "MTM, WTF?" in talking about FASB No. 107, Disclosures About Fair Value of Financial Instruments.

  • The Madisonian.net tell us that "For just $125 this inflatable crime scene can be yours!", referring to the newest macabre Halloween product at Walmart.

  • Speaking of Halloween, George's Employment Blawg has advice on "Halloween in the Workplace? It Depends…".

  • Doc Searls Weblog recalls The Verdict and Absence of Malice, for which Paul Newman won the Oscar as leading actor, as Idealawg bids good-bye to actor Paul Newman, to whom the Connecticut Law Blog give's a hero's farewell, as do TalkLeft, The Right Coast, Mark Wahlstrom's The Settlement Channel, The Bizop News, the Hugh & Hazel Darling Law Library at UCLA, Houston's Clear Thinkers, the Justice Building Blog, Jailhouselawyer's Blog, Instapundit, Ideoblog, and What About Clients? The CM Law Library Blog even asks the pertinent question as to how many people were led to study law by cinema portrayals of lawyers by actors such as Newman, citing to the August 2008 ABA Journal report on The 25 Greatest Legal Movies, as selected by attorneys.

  • Patent attorney Brett J. Trout addresses every blawger's problem in Define Yourself posted at BlawgIT.

  • Mrinalini Kochupillai signed-off from the Spicy IP blog with a lengthy and worthwhile post discussing whether India needs a publicly-funded R&D law like the U.S. Bayh-Dole law.

  • Dan Hull at What About Paris?(TM) suggested that the services industries -- including legal services -- could use an ease-of-use award like that given to manufactured goods.

  • Sam Conforti in Software Licensing & Master Service Agreements provided some guidance to those considering SaaS Contracting, the web-based license of software as a service (SaaS).

  • Dan Harris of the China Law Blawg has thrown a lifeline to anyone who's been provided bad products by a Chinese supplier. He also ventures to say on China Joint Ventures. Can Things Get Any Worse? as posted at China Law Blog. Take a look at the opening page of the law firm of Harris & Moure - in no less than five languages - English, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, and, of course, German.

  • Seth Freilich of QuizLaw is none-too-pleased that a judge with two DUI convictions has been sentenced to a total of twelve days of pro bono legal services.

  • When IBM seeks to patent a method for finding new things to patent, Victoria Pynchon of the IP ADR Blog thinks that it's a sign that we need a legal equivalent of the TED conference.

  • Michael Moore at the Pennsylvania Labor & Employment Blog has surveyed the worsening economy and sees the writing on the wall. He offers some timely advice to employers contemplating reductions in force.

  • Sharon Nelson at her ride the lightning electronic evidence blog found herself somewhere she seems to have considered the back of beyond, but at least one attendee at her presentation on appropriate self-marketing online was paying attention, as he bolted the scene to scrub his Facebook profile.

  • At the Ohio Employer's Law Blog, in honor of Rosh Hashanah, which begins the Jewish New Year, Jon Hyman has posted some words of wisdom about accommodating religious holidays. What does an employer do if an employee wants to take such a day off from work? Hyman writes: "Title VII [of the Civil Rights Act] requires an employer to reasonably accommodate an employee whose sincerely held religious belief, practice, or observance conflicts with a work requirement, unless doing so would pose an undue hardship."
In addition to our blawg review, we point to the numerous transatlantic organizations that exist and which - either directly or indirectly - are German-American in nature, and many of these are listed in detail as Partner's Profiles by the New Traditions Network (NTN). The NTN is:

"[A] dynamic group of political, academic and cultural institutions, foundations and corporations in Germany and the United States cooperating together to promote the transatlantic dialogue. The network offers this community a common forum aiming to create new vehicles for dialogue and partnerships as well as new channels and modes of coordination and cooperation. It is open to any organization that is active in promoting U.S.-German relations....

The NTN ... was established in September 2000. Building upon the strong 'traditions' Americans and Germans have established since World War II, the NTN identifies issues and opportunities current in the transatlantic relationship.

Network projects involve at least two partners cooperating together to develop common activities and to reach out to actors and organizations taking on new roles in the rapidly changing transatlantic environment....

The U.S. Embassy Public Affairs Section coordinates the network and maintains the website. The network communicates mainly via email and internet and meets approximately every three months to give opportunity for person-to-person networking and to welcome new members."


The listed organizations are:
In recent German-American news of note, we received an email announcing the October 3 German Unity Day relaunch of the website Germany.info as maintained in English and German language by the German Embassy in Washington D.C., providing inter alia:

"Integrated site

For the first time, Germany.info will fully integrate the German Embassy, the eight German Consulates in the United States, and the German Information Center USA into one website.

Easy access to visa/passport info
First and foremost, all visa, passport and other consular services information will be clearly laid out and easy to access. For the first time, users will be able to use an interactive map to find the German Consulate General, or Embassy, that serves them. They can then easily use that Consulate’s website to find directions, opening hours and other information specific to that location. Also for the first time, Germany’s Honorary Consuls in the United States will each have a page on Germany.info.

The German version of the site will feature comprehensive consular and legal information.

More videos
The new Germany.info will feature short videos more prominently—from informative films on renewable energy, for example, to fun skits on learning German. Of course, we’ll also keep running and expand our popular quizzes and interactive contests.

Informative features
The relaunched site will offer more features on studying in and traveling to Germany, learning the German language, the German business landscape, Germany’s role at the forefront of renewable energies and climate protection, German-US relations and much more.

Germany in your area
To make it easier for you to find German cultural events and organizations in your area, Germany.info will feature information specific to each part of the country. There will be a cultural events listing and an extensive listing of German organizations in America.

Germany.info en Español
Germany.info was one of the first websites published by an embassy not from South America to feature a version in Spanish for America's growing Spanish-speaking population. With the relaunched site, we will be expanding our Spanish language offering into a more comprehensive site.

Join us on October 3 to celebrate the new Germany.info, take part in special relaunch games, win great prizes and enjoy our new fun features.

Sincerely, Jennifer Clardy."

And that is it from us today. We hope you enjoyed some part of this posting and that it provided you with new information about your chosen interest in German-American relations.

Blawg Review
has information about next week's host, and instructions on how to get your blawg posts reviewed in upcoming issues.

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