February 2, 2005
Today in history—February 2
962: Pope John XII crowns 49-year-old Otto I ("the Great") as Holy Roman Emperor, reviving the title after a gap of some 40 years.
1509: The Muslim monopoly on Far East trade is shaken by the Portuguese naval victory over a much larger Turkish/Egyptian fleet at the Battle of Diu, off the Indian coast.
1536: Pedro de Mendoza, in charge of a gold-hunting expedition, founds the village of Santa María del Buen Ayre ("Our Lady of Fair Winds"), which will later become Buenos Aires.
1653: The town of Nieuw-Amsterdam, founded on Manhattan Island 28 years earlier by the Dutch East India Company to defend its fur-trading operations in the Hudson Valley, is incorporated.
1708: Alexander Selkirk, who will ten years later inspire Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe and scores of similar novels, is rescued after four years alone on an uninhabited island in the Juan Fernandez chain.
1812: Russian traders establish a fur trading colony at Fort Ross (short for "Rossiya" or "Russia"), California, north of Bodega Bay. The area is acquired from the local Kashayas for "three blankets, three pairs of breeches, two axes, three hoes, and some beads."
1848: The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo is signed, ending the U.S.-Mexican War and turning what is now the southwestern United States over to the Americans for $15 million.
1876: The National League of Professional Baseball Clubs is formed; the only three original teams that survive are the Cincinnati Reds, Chicago White Stockings (now Cubs), and the Boston Red Stockings (now Atlanta Braves).
1888: Sir Henry Sumner Maine dies in Cannes, France. "[T]he movement of the progressive societies," he famously said, "has hitherto been a movement from Status to Contract."
1895: George Stanley Halas is born in Chicago. As a sales rep for the A.E. Staley Co. in Decatur, Illinois, he will organize a company team, the "Decatur Staleys," and lead them into the new National Football League in 1920—playing end, coaching the team, and manning the ticket booth. In 1922 he will change the name to "Chicago Bears."
1905: The apostle of selfishness, Alissa Zinovievna Rosenbaum (pen name Ayn Rand) is born at St. Petersburg, Russia.
1947: Actress Farrah Fawcett is born at Corpus Christi, Texas. In 1976 she will create the modern poster industry by selling 8 million copies of her "red swimsuit" poster.
1962: For the first time in 400 years, the planets Neptune and Pluto align. This explains much of what happened in the Sixties.
1967: Sensing that what America really needed was another professional sports league, the American Basketball Association opens for business. Its points of difference are the three-point shot and the tri-color ball.
Today is Groundhog Day in the U.S. and Canada.
February 1, 2005
Some sort of message here, maybe
Law school admissions are even or down this year. Some credit the television show The Apprentice for making business careers fashionable—the sort of thing that L.A. Law and Ally McBeal did for our profession some years ago.
But maybe it’s something else. Here’s the American Bar Association’s of lawyer career books that they’re hawking on the Internet:
* The Complete Guide to Contract Lawyering (What Every Lawyer & Law Firm Needs to Know About Temporary Services)
* What Can You Do With A Law Degree?, (5th Edition)
* Should You Really Be A Lawyer?
* Running from the Law
* Why Good Lawyers Are Getting Out of the Legal Profession
* Should You Marry a Lawyer?
Um, are they trying to tell us something?
News in brief
United Airlines flight attendants ratify a new contract that will save $650 million for the bankrupt carrier.
Connecticut lawmakers are attacking the award of a $6.1 helicopter contract, claiming that Sikorsky Helicopter (which coincidentally is based in the Nutmeg State) should have got it.
The Graduate Employees Organization at the University of Michigan have voted to extend their current contract in hopes that continuing negotiations will be fruitful.
A Turkish cell phone company is threatening to cancel its deal with Iran if that country goes forward with a plan to expropriate a controlling interest in the project.
The Nigerian parliament will look into the controversial award of a management contract for NITEL, the state telecom firm, to Pentascope International of the Netherlands.
Major League Baseball has agreed to an exclusive video game contract with Take-Two Interactive Software, the company best known for its Grand Theft Auto games.
More bux for Philly associates
Philadelphia law firms seem to be settling on a new salary for starting associates: $115,000. Law.com reports that 12 firms in the last week have moved to the new number. Firms are saying that they do not intend to increase billable hours in exchange for the hikes.
Today in history—February 1
1552: Sir Edward Coke is born at Mileham, Norfolk.
1790: The first session of the new United States Supreme Court convenes in New York City.
1796: The capital of Upper Canada (now Ontario) is moved from Newark (now Niagara-on-the-Lake) to York (now Toronto).
1851: Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, who wrote Frankenstein in her spare time while caring for the life and legacy of her deadbeat husband Percy, dies 80 years before her creation will make people wealthy.
1861: Texas, which had joined the United States only 16 years earlier, secedes.
1882: Louis Stephen St. Laurent, a future law professor at Laval University and president of the Canadian Bar Association, is born at Compton, Quebec. He will also serve as Canada's 13th prime minister.
1884: The first edition of the Oxford English Dictionary is published.
1893: Thomas A. Edison completes construction of the first motion picture studio, in West Orange, New Jersey. Bad weather will eventually drive film-making to Southern California.
1894: Sean Aloysius O'Fearna is born in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. As "John Ford" he will become one of the greatest and most successful film makers in history.
1913: The world's largest train station, New York's Grand Central Station, opens for business.
1965: Princess Stéphanie Marie Elisabeth Grimaldi of Monaco, whose life's mission is to show that European royalty can, too, be just as trashy as American pop stars, is born at the Palais Princier, Monaco.
2019: Life on earth ends when Near Earth Object 89959 2002 NT7 hits the planet.
January 31, 2005
Requiescat in pace
Farnsworth, the author of both a leading casebook and a leading treatise on contract law, was the Reporter for the Restatement Second of Contracts. He joined the Columbia faculty in 1954 and taught there for fifty years.
Bad faith in Hollywood
Relations between Hollywood stars and their agents are sometimes those of mutual confidence, trust and respect. And sometimes not.
Miguel Schor (Suffolk) passes along a story in today's New York Times (free registration required) about how actors who have suddenly landed big contracts just as suddenly discover how much more they can make by firing the agents who helped land them.
Wanna buy an ecosystem?
Biosphere 2, the $200 million project to make a miniature earth ecosystem that ended in failure in 2002, is for sale. The Biosphere, which sits on a 3-acre site about 20 miles north of Tucson, is a 90-foot-tall structure that rests on a 500-ton stainless steel base. It comes complete with its own rain forest, desert, savanna, marsh, and saltwater ocean. Financed by billionaire Edward Bass, it took four years to build. The basement that contains the pumps and other equipment covers two acres.
The Biosphere is on a 140-acre campus with some seventy buildings. But no one seems to have the slightest idea what you could do with the thing. One building consultant called it “a herd of white elephants.”
News in brief
Lecturers at the University of Michigan are complaining that the school is not honoring commitments it made to them in a contract last spring.
A politician who signs a formal contract promising not to raise taxes can't be liable for breach, says an Ontario court, because anyone who believes a politician is "naive."
Contract talks may resume shortly between National Hockey League clubs and the players who have been locked out since opening day.
India's Congruent Solutions has become the first company to ink a deal to provide overseas back-end support services to a U.S. retirement fund firm.
Humboldt County (Ca.)--"the southern gateway to the Pacific Northwest"--wants to become a digital media center, and has awarded a $20,000 contract to Humboldt State University to investigate the possibility.
GE awards a $5 billion "lifetime" contract for engine parts to Aviall, Inc.
Today in history--January 31
1752: Lawyer Gouverneur Morris, the man who is sometimes credited with the idea of "American" (as opposed to "New Yorker" or "Virginian" as a nationality, is born in what will later be known as the Morrisania neighborhood in the Bronx.
1849: The British Parliament repeals the Corn Laws, allowing imported grain free access into the Britain. In response, brothers Joseph and Jonah Hadley begin plans for a new steam-powered mill at Gloucester to grind imported grain.
1851: Daniel Spangler Kaufman, a lawyer who served as the first Jewish congressional representative from Texas, dies at age 37. He had been elected to the Congress of the Republic of Texas at only 25, in 1838, and went to Congress upon annexation.
1872: Pearl Zane Gray (later "Grey"), an Ohio dentist would would become one of the first millionaire American authors, is born in Zanesville, Ohio.
1929: The Soviet Union exiles Leon Trotsky. Hardly any of your students are old enough to remember when the difference between a Stalinist and a Trotskyite was taken seriously.
1930: Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing Co. introduces a new product in a plaid package: its Scotch brand transparent tape.
1933: "A fiery horse with the speed of light, a cloud of dust" . . . and Silvercup Bread's The Lone Ranger makes its radio debut on WXYZ, Detroit, and the Mutual Broadcasting System. His "faithful Indian companion Tonto" does not appear until the eleventh program.
1946: Yugoslavia, needing a new post-war constitution, decides that it can't do better than accept the highly successful Soviet model.
1961: Ham the Astrochimp becomes the first higher primate sent into outer space by the United States.
1968: The Republic of Nauru, the only country too small to have a capital, declares its independence from Australia.
1974: Film entrepreneur Samuel Goldwyn (born Schmuel Gelbfisz in Warsaw) dies in Los Angeles. His last name took its final form after the Anglicized Samuel Goldfish entered a partnership with the Selwyn Brothers to form "Goldwyn."
1990: The first McDonalds restaurant opens in Moscow. Russia, not Idaho.
1995: George Abbott, who was involved in nearly 200 Broadway shows and films over a career that ran from 1911 to 2002, dies at age 107.
January 30, 2005
Wendy: Jack, what are you talking about?
Jack: Have ever had any SINGLE MOMENT'S THOUGHT about my responsibilities? TO MY EMPLOYERS? Has it ever occured to you that I have agreed to look after the OVERLOOK until May the FIRST? Does it MATTER TO YOU AT ALL that the OWNERS have put their COMPLETE CONFIDENCE and TRUST in me that I have signed an agreement, a CONTRACT, in which I have accepted that RESPONSIBILITY?
The Shining (1980)
News in brief
Online gaming company Youbet.com is renewing a contract with star harness racing driver John Campbell (left), to act as the company's spokesman.
The two main Hollywood actors' unions have approved a new three-year contract, but it won't include their biggest objective, a larger slice of DVD sales.
The Iranian government is rewriting a contract to take majority ownership of a telecom venture away from the current owner, a Turkish firm.
The NBA's Seattle Sonics are trying to get star Ray Allen to take a smaller contract ($69 million v. $90 million) so they can pay more to other players.
Billionaire Oprah Winfrey is saying that she will retire when her current television contract expires in 2011.
There's a growing trend at U.S. universities is to give multi-year contracts to assistant coaches, who traditionally have had little job security.
Tinker Air Force Base is preparing to award a half-billion-dollar contract to overhaul operations at an Oklahoma City facility.
Today in history—January 30
1649: Charles I of England is beheaded. He's not the only English monarch to be put to death, but the only one to be killed by Parliament.
1781: The U.S. Articles of Confederation are ratified by the 13th state, Maryland.
1820: Sailors on a British survey ship under the command of Edward Bransfield become the first Europeans to find the continent of Antarctica.
1835: Unemployed house painter Richard Lawrence fires two pistols point-blank at President Andrew Jackson, but both misfire, and Jackson proceeds to attack Lawrence with his cane.
1847: The little village of Yerba Buena changes its name to San Francisco, California.
1882: Franklin Delano Roosevelt (Columbia Law 1908) is born at Hyde Park, New York.
1928: Broadway impresario Harold Smith "Hal" Prince (Pajama Game, Damn Yankees, West Side Story, Fiddler on the Roof, Cabaret, Evita) is born at New York City.
1941: Richard Bruce Cheney, the only former member of the International Brotherhood of Electric Workers elected Vice President, is born at Lincoln, Nebraska.
1958: Dallas's Love Field puts the first two-way "moving sidewalk" into operation.
1972: Pakistan withdraws from the British Commonwealth.