Facts about Germany: German Bureaucracy

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OK everyone, let’s be honest for a couple seconds. What is the number one annoying habit in Germany that you would love to see eliminated?  After living in Germany for over 17 years, there is one that has been number one on my hit list and it is the B-word.

BUREAUCRACY!!!

Bureaucracy is the engine of German efficiency. It helps keep the country running and people out of trouble. It ensures that people reach their goals legally and with no incident. It also gives people a daily dose of Aspirin, courtesy of Bayer, because of the number of papers to fill out, the search for information in a computer filled with letters from a can of Spaghetti-Os soup, the excessive travelling needed for an apostille (with -th, by the way) needed for a wedding, and the countless stops at a small local unknown church to pray intensively for the nightmare to stop.

Despite all the articles written about German bureaucracy (most of which you’ll find at the end of this article), the one variant that will never be replaced is the system where you look at a government official in the eye, when she provides you with an Amtsdeutsch (governmental German) word that you, as a normal person, don’t know the simple German equivalent. Or when you watch people at the Zollamt (customs office) walk around like Borgs bitching about politics while waiting for a package from the US- searched with contents confiscated because of their illegality. Or when you receive a response to a complaint saying “Das ist ein Käse!” (equivalent to This is Bullshit!)

In other words, you cannot escape German bureacracy, period! No matter how the Chancellor reforms the system, you must prepare for the red-tape version of the decathelon and have your endurance tested, let alone your sanity.

I found seven types of bureaucracy that are typical of Germany. As you live longer in the country, it is most likely that you will encounter one type each, at least once; more if you are a student, businessperson or a person about to marry someone in Germany. There are no known remedies to get around them. You just need to be clever and witty, calm and cool, and diligent and strong as steel to get through them. In the end, despite the grey hairs and the bruised ego, you will be wiser and stronger than when you enter the first office you see, asking for a form. 😉

Carousel-Style: This style of buraeucracy comprises of a person who is sent around to every single office to take care of a form- a way of deferring him/her to authorities, most of whom are unwilling to process the person’s request. Sometimes it is referred to a slingshot if Office A sends a person through several agencies before ending up back at the same office a couple hours later. An example of this:

Darius wants to apply for a German as a Foreign Language Class at a university in Hanover. He asks Ms. Schmidt, only for her to send him to five different offices who refuse to process his request (beginning with Mrs. Jürgensen, then Ms. Schneider, Mr. Neste, Ms. Mulder and lastly Mr. Kahn) before the last person sends him back to Ms. Schmidt, who reluctantly processes his application. Wonderful sling-shot as seen in a Star Trek film above!

Mine-Style:  This type of bureaucracy runs along the lines of Wile E. Coyote being blown to pieces while pursuing the Road Runner. A person is ambituous in starting a business only to fall into several traps because of certain guidelines to be fulfilled, let alone fees and taxes to pay and additional forms to fill out along the way. Half of German start-up businesses as well as individual pursuits of degrees and career ladders end up failing because of the lack of awareness of the mines that are in the way, ready to blow up. That is the main reason why Germans are really cautious in any affairs on the business and personal level- they have been there at one point of their lives.

Goal-Line-Stance Style: Named after a defensive play in American football, this style of bureaucracy consists of a request of forwarding an application to an agency via its subordinates being not only rejected, but sent back to the person requesting him/her to do it on one’s own. It’s a way of telling the applicant that they are too lazy to walk the 100 meters to the point of destination and they would enjoy having the applicant to drive 30 kilometers to the subordinates to do the job. This happened to me once when I requested the international office of a German university to forward a request to the student services center, only for them to send the request back via mail, asking me to do it myself! This despite the fact that instead of wasting 2 extra days, the person at the office could have walked the 50 meters to the destination to drop off the letter. Talk about irony for an institute wanting to be student and family friendly, especially to foreign students! However, such stances are common in many cases, so please have a couple extra envelops, stamps and running shoes ready should you deal with this type and fail….

Hanging Chad/ Cliffhanger Style: Also known as the Härtefälle, this type of bureaucracy is one to avoid at all costs if you are pressed for time and need a form submitted within a day or two of the deadline, before your own “judgement day.”  Here, you submit the form to a worker, only for him/her to forward the request to the superiors, despite pleas to hurry. Why? The form must be approved before the deadline although there is a clause denying that request. This applies to students wanting to apply for a third attempt of an exam in a subject or changing a subject after failing an exam twice, risking the possibilities of getting expelled from college. This is standard practice at a German university, especially for students pursuing a teaching degree. It is like a cliffhanger because your future depends on whether a form you desperately need approved will be accepted or not. Apart from the Härtefälle at a German university, examples of such burearcracy can be found with visa forms, last minute requests to book hotels and some emergencies, like this story, just to name a few. The terminology is named after a dispute over which chads should be accepted in the voting ballot in Florida during the infamous 2000 US Presidential Elections.

Collapsing Bridge Style: Your plan to succeed is like crossing a bridge. You may never know when it collapses. This style of bureaucracy presents some surprises that keeps you from achieving your goal because there are some missing components needed to realize your goal that you either don’t know about or you want to try to circumvent- in both times, failing in the process! It can happen during any course of the process, whether it is through wedding planning, immigration or even during your studies, just to name a few.

Take for instance your first state exam for education. You register for the exam for English and History, take part of the former and complete the education portion, but have to change the latter to Social Studies. Despite having completed your semester of practical training, you need to complete another semester for Social Studies. While German law requires you to register for the subjects studied, you cannot continue taking the exam for English until the practical training in Social Studies is completed, thus pushing your finish time back a semester or two. Annoying if you want to finish and earn some cold hard cash teaching, but there is a reason for spending a couple hours looking at the Prüfungsordnung (Studies Guidelines in this case) before embarking on the painstaking task of getting that teaching license!

Jesus Christ Lizard Style- This type of bureaucracy is the exact opposite of the Collapsing Bridge style, only to imply that shortcuts and other incentives are provided to ensure that a form you are filling out or a process that is taking place is completed quicker and easier than expected. However, these shortcuts are not taken for granted and you must have proof that warrant a walk on water. For instance:

Cora applies for a Master’s Studies program in Anglistik-Amerikanistik at a university in Berlin and finds that she needs 60 credits of classes in liguistics, cultural studies, history, literature and political science- all of which have to be taken in sequential order in accordance to the Prüfungsordnung. Fortunately, she majored in Political Science and English and thanks to the credits accrued, the examiner’s office accredited her points and allowed her to start at a higher semester, taking upper level classes instead of the lower ones for anything dealing with English and Political Science.

However, this type of bureaucracy can occur if there are other circumstances that warrant it, such as the lines at the US border controls, where at all international airports, there is an express line for Americans and an ordinary line for the “other bunch.” This is just one of many examples of the style named literally after lizards walking on water, as seen in the film above.

Maze Style- This is perhaps the longest and most tortuous process a person can ever go through. Here, one has to go through every office and agency, filling out every paper and paying every fee in order to achieve your goal. Sometimes it requires trips covering hundreds of kilometers in order to obtain a single form. If you marry a German in Germany and are a non-German, prepare for a trip to Berlin for a couple of forms at your consulate, as well as a trip to the Ausländerbehörde (Foreigner’s Office) for your three-year visa, which eventually turns into a permanent residency if you remain married after three years. It is more complicated when applying for a work visa or even an asylum because of proof that you have a job awaiting you or come from a war-torn region and pose no threat, because of the time needed for the forms of both to be approved.

What stories do you have involving bureaucracy in Germany? Share it here or on the Files’ facebook pages. In the meantime, check out the links involving German bureaucracy below and enjoy reading more about this unique feature and annoyance that will never go away:

http://www.dw.com/en/germans-and-bureaucracy/a-16446787

http://www.thelocal.de/20130814/51391

http://www.economist.com/node/2127649

🙂

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Genre of the Week: Do It Anyway by Robert Griffith III

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Photo by Robert Klemko

This Genre of the Week starts off with two ironic comments: Respect is earned through hard word, however there are times when your efforts are fruitless, and the best solution to win happiness is to move to greener pastures. Sometimes when people commit errors, people disregard it, saying “Shit happens. You’ll do better next time.” While others, obsessed with perfection, discard the person for one small mistake because he/she is not perfect.

In the case of Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffith III, he fell into the category of the latter on both counts. Once the darling of the football organization when drafted in 2012 due to his athleticism and speed (as seen in the video example below), he is now on his way out of the organization, heading to another one- or even a different future. After a severe knee injury at the end of the 2012 season, he struggled under pressure from the players, coaching staff and the fans, being scrutiinized for one small error after another, until he was benched for all of the 2015/16 season. After Washington’s playoff loss to Green Bay, RGIII packed up his belongings and headed out the door- for the last time. However, he left this note, a poem based on one written by Kent W. Keith entitled The Paradoxical Commandments, showing humbleness and encouragement to his teammates. It’s opposite of bitterness, which many people react to, and more like leaving a mark at an organization that no longer has no place for him. If this is a way of saying good-bye, it is one of class, and one for others to follow when they feel down and have the need to move on.

And for that, this is the Genre of the Week with one comment to RGIII: Good luck in your future endeavors. You’ll find a perfect home to prosper as a player and develop further as a man of morals. It can only go uphill from there……

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Bayern Munich has doped it way to the top!

From the Sports Arena

4-0 for Bayern Munich! If you add the blow-out against Barcelona during last night’s first game of the Champions League semi-finals in European Soccer to the blow-out games of four or more goals in the entire season so far in the golden anniversary season of German Soccer known as the Bundesliga, in 10 games, the Bavarian Texans from the south blew away eight teams by a score of 55-6! Two of the teams were right in FC’s Visier twice, including Hanover 96, which in two games were destroyed by a total of 11-1, including a 6-1 pasting last Saturday! Hamburg was the unfortunate victim of a 9-2 demolition a few weeks ago. Even Nuremberg was not safe.  One would think that after out-competing the teams enroute to their 24th season title with six-games left in the season that it would be enough, right?

Wrong!  Add a key player, like Mario Götze who decided to leave Dortmund for Munich after this season and a scandal involving Uli Honess, the team’s president for tax evasion and smuggling money in Switzerland, and we could see something unfolding in a fashion which makes Lance Armstrong’s confession to his doping escapade look like a dwarf!  And Armstrong was a professional cyclist before being defamed for his actions, setting up the stage for many cyclists to fall after him, like a domino effect.

In the era of pursuing people evading taxes and creating tax oasis, the news involving Honess is huge, for he had been touted as the man with morals, being straight and honest. Many players made a career at FC Bayern Munich, riding their way to many international cups and German Bundesliga championships, adding them to their resumès. Götze is looking at that particular opportunity that Dortmund had had last season when the team won the season title in Germany and is the other team competing with Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-finals.  But the tax scandal has raised many questions of whether FC Bayern Munich has other skeletons in the closet. After all, a team that has almost always sat on top of the throne did not do it the hard way. Something is a bit fatty there.

Perhaps one should have someone like Charlotte Lindholm, the police commissioner from Hanover who is also a Hanover 96 fan check it out. After all, like the other teams in the Bundesliga and those being promoted in the elite league, like Hertha BSC Berlin in the upcoming soccer season, Hanover 96 is trying to find ways to figure out whether FC Bayern’s successes were real or flawed. If the latter is the case, then even though it will not create defame in a degree similar to Penn State University’s college football program because of the child molestation scandal that was revealed in 2011, Lindholm’s first and foremost character will be Honess. Even if he was to resign to save FC Bayern’s face, both he and the team are not safe from the potential backlash that could come out of this scandal, one of possibly many that may come from the deep south of Germany.

Flensburg Files Fast Facts:

1. Commissioner Lindholm is from the German TV Krimi Series Tatort, which provides viewers on Sunday night with a new case from one of over 20 different cities, each of which has two detectives on the case. Lindholm is played by Maria Fürtwangler, who ironically originates from Munich.

2. FC Bayern Munich set the season record for winning the German soccer regular season title in the earliest fashion possible- with six games left in the season- two weeks ago. The team is on course to win the Triple Crown, which includes the Champions League Title and the German Cup (DFB Pokal). The Files will keep you posted on whether they will achieve this- also a record in itself.

3. Yet Uli Honess is feeling the pressure of stepping down as President. Both German Chancellor Angela Merkel as well as the majority of the German population (63% in one poll) would like to see him resign and face tax evasion charges. Whether this will happen remains open at this time. However, speculation may exist that the soccer team may have some other flaws that have been stuffed away for some time but will eventually be made open to the public. More on the tex scandal here.

4. For those who did not know: Penn State Nittany Lions football was sanctioned after reports of a sex abuse scandal forced Joe Paterno to step down in November 2011. He died the following January. Jerry Sandusky, Paterno’s assistant football coach pleaded guilty to sexual abuse and was sentenced to life in prison in October 2012. Three other men involved are awaiting trial for covering up the scandal. The football team was forced to vacate all its wins between 1998 and 2011, plus its football titles and recruitment scholars and is facing a four-year ban from post-season competition, known as the Bowl Games. This was the worst scandal in sports history as of present…..

Flensburg Files Haliburton Guessing Quiz:

In connection with an upcoming article on Munich, how many towns in the United States carry the name Munich? And where are they located? I know one for sure and it will be the focus of an article on German-named villages in the US. Stay tuned! 🙂

The Problem with Soccer in Germany Part 2: Fan Behavior- How the German Soccer Leagues should crack down on fan violence

Could basketball and handball surpass soccer as the most favorite sport to watch in Germany? It may be the case, after watching this basketball game between Bayreuth and Oldenbourg in the German Basketball Premier League in Dec. 2010. Bayreuth lost a heartbreaker on its home court 85-84.

Going to a soccer game on a Saturday at a German soccer stadium is a ritual for at least 10 million fans. For 90 minutes they enjoy the company of their friends and family, cheering for their favorite team, booing at the referees for making a wrong call, singing and supporting their team with slogans and fan waving, and when their favorite team scores the winning goal, they race to the entrance of the locker room, cheering and congratulating the team on a job well done.
Yet looking at soccer in Germany this year, the scene presents a rather different story. Instead of cheering for their team, fans are taunting them even if they lose, throwing firecrackers and smoke bombs in the stands and on the field. Fights are breaking out between the fans of both teams, while some are chasing the fan bus, throwing stones at the windows and harassing the driver. And the most climatic event to signal the end of Premier League Play was on 16 May in the relegation play between Hertha BSC Berlin and Fortuna Duesseldorf, when thousands of fans stormed the soccer field to celebrate Duesseldorf’s promotion to the top flight league and Berlin’s relegation to the second tier league- but with two minutes left in regulation! It took 20 minutes to bring the fans back to their seats before the game could continue, which had contain so much chaos, and as a consequence, involved the German government afterwards. While the team from Hertha filed a complaint and demanded that the game be replayed, it fell on deaf ears on the part of the German Soccer Federation (DFB) and the DFB Supreme Court. Still, it is a cause for alarm in Germany as the problem with fans, the team and even the law enforcement has reached a point where tougher measures will have to be made before the start of the 2012/13 season.
Normally one will see such fan behavior in American sports, as millions of viewers have seen some events that have led to questions about the role of fans and athletes. The best example can be found in the event on 19 November, 2004 at a basketball game between the Indiana Pacers and the Detroit Pistons, where a brawl among the players gave a fan an incentive to throw an object at Ron Artest, who raced into the stands to beat him up. Other fans and players jumped in and a minute later, the court was loaded with people throwing punches and kicking each other. The game was called off with less than a minute left. Artest and at least 10 other players other received suspensions of up to a year; the fan instigating the attack was banned from attending any professional basketball games at the place where the brawl took place- Detroit-for life.
In Germany, many people take pride in the country’s sports, whether it is handball or basketball. While watching a game in each sport in the last two years- a basketball game in Bayreuth (Bavaria) and a handball game in Flensburg, the mood of the fans was spectacular, as there was cheering and jeering, people meeting new people, and there were no firecrackers thrown in the sporting complexes, let alone fans running onto the court to hinder a game. Even the cheerleaders and the DJs managed to involve the fans and provide them with a spectacular show, to make the trip to the game worthwhile. An example of such sportsmanship between the fans and the players, were found in a game between SG Flensburg-Handewitt and Gummersbach on 27 April, 2011, a game which Flensburg won in a seesaw match 29-25.

Yet the fan problem in German soccer has become so dire that the DFB, German soccer leagues, the federal government, police and its labor unions, and other parties are coming together this summer to discuss ways to crack down on fan violence. Already conclusive is the fact that fines and sanctions against teams, whose fans instigated the violence, have had very little effect on curbing the violence. Banning fans from attending any soccer games, as has been stressed by German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich after the disastrous  game between Duesseldorf and Berlin may not be the most effective as fans can find creative ways of entering the soccer stadium masquerading as someone else and causing trouble there as well. The police and its union have strongly recommended that each of the 54 top flight teams and the DFB provide security fees and take points off the standings for teams instigating the violence. Yet many teams may not afford high fees for security, and for some who are cutting costs in order to compete, security is one of those aspects that has been on the chopping block.
The most viable solution to the increase in fan violence is to combine all the variants and add a five-year ban from competing on the national and international level, leaving them stuck in the Regionalliga (the fourth league) to set an example for other teams to clean up their act and be square with their fans, while at the same time, demand that each team entering the top three leagues to have strict security measures in place for every game and tournament. This includes taking finger prints and facial scans from each fan entering a sports stadium and having a database for them so that they can be tracked, scanning them for all forms of firecrackers and any materials that could potentially cause a fire, and even involving the German military at places where violence is the norm at the soccer games. In the case of the 2012 season so far, that would mean cities like Frankfurt and the surrounding areas, Cologne, Berlin, Dresden and Karlsruhe, where reports of violence have been recorded the most, would have military presence.  A record of the violence during the 2011/12 soccer season can be found here. The last part is a common practice in regions prone to violence, like the Middle East and Africa, yet it seems like the trend has arrived here, which makes more law enforcement through the police and army a necessary and not a luxury.  Should teams not afford strict security measures, they would not be allowed to compete in the top three leagues.
In the event that violence breaks out during or even after the soccer game, a “Three Strikes and You’re Out” rule should be enforced on all teams, keeping track of the record of violence committed by fans of the teams as well as scrutinizing the teams that are unable to control them. First strike means fines in the six digits and three points taken off, second strike means doubling of fines and six points taken off and the third strike means automatic relegation one league lower. If the event happens the fourth time, a five-year ban should be imposed. This rule is based on a law in the US dealing with drunk driving that was passed in the 1990s, which exists in most of the states- first strike meaning heavy fines, second strike meaning revoking the driving license and the third strike meaning jail time, in some cases, permanently. Yet its origins come from America’s favorite past time sport, baseball.  A ban from attending any soccer game for those committing the violence should be enforced, but the responsibility of keeping order at a soccer game lies solely with the two teams competing with each other. Therefore, one should consider the punishment for each insubordination a punishment for all involved.  While these measures are probably the harshest and it may contrabate the Constitutional Laws, resulting in the involvement of the Supreme Court in Karlsruhe on many occasions, but given the sophistication of the violence committed at German Soccer games, if even the German government is stepping up pressure for action, then the situation is at the point where inaction is no longer an option.
If there is a silver lining to all the violence, especially at the end of the season, it is fortunate that there have been no deaths or severe injuries reported. But it takes a tragedy to change that. It may not be the one similar to the infamous soccer stadium fire at Bradford City (in the UK) 0n 11 May, 1985, but one death will change the way we think about the game of soccer in Germany. We have already seen that in other places, as one can see with the violence at a soccer game at Port Said in Egypt on 1 February of this year, where over 70 people were killed. Unfortunately, Germany has taken one step closer to the danger zone and should the violence persist by the time the whistle blows to start the next season, we could see our first casualty recorded, regardless of which league game it is. When that happens, it will change the face of German soccer forever to a point where if there is a soccer game, the only way we will see it is on TV…….. as a virtual computer game!

 

 

Flensburg Files Fast Fact

Thestadium fire at Bradford City was (supposedly) caused by someone dropping a cigarette into the wooden bleachers full of rubbish, causing a fire that engulfed the stadium in less than five minutes. 56 people died in the fire and over 260 were injured. The fortunate part was the fact that no barriers to the soccer field were in place, like it is in today’s soccer stadiums in general, which allowed most of the fans to escape through the soccer field. It was a tragic end to the team’s promotion to the second tier of the British Premier League. The stadium was rebuilt in several phases (finishing in 2001), including replacing the wooden bleachers with steel and concrete. Since the fire, a ban of wooden bleachers have been enforced both in Britain as well as the rest of Europe.

 

Flensburg Files’ Fragen Forum:

After reading this article and watching the clips, here are a couple questions for you to mull over and discuss with other readers:

1. How would you approach the problem of fan violence in soccer stadium? Which measures are the most effective in your opinion: fines and other sanctions against teams, finger print scanning and keeping a database of the fans, point reduction in the football standings, banning teams with fan trouble from competing in certain leagues, or a combination of some of the measures? If none of the suggestions work, what would you suggest?

2. Do you think handball and basketball will surpass soccer in Germany in terms of popularity? Or will soccer remain a household name, like America has its household name sports of American football, basketball, baseball and ice hockey?

3. Do you think fan violence is a universal problem in sports or is it focused on selective sports?

 

Please submit your answers in the Comment section, which is here after this article.  Thanks and looking forward to hearing from you readers!

 

 

 

 

 

Flynnism for the Arrogant and Cocky

 

This column includes some stories from the Flensburg Files News Flyer
There are some people who are born to greatness and prove it through word and practice, both as a professional as well as in private life. They set examples for others (especially in the younger generations) to follow, endure and prevail in hardships, and succeed the hardest way possible, through the four Ps of success: perseverance, patience, passion, and persistence.  Yet there are many who love to pretend they are the greatest, by showing off their greatness to the world with their words only and not showing the colors that fit the description. Many times, these marketing techniques can fail miserably through poor performance and scandals that can ruin ones popularity beyond repair. It is like buying a luxury car that has all the features a person could ever ask for (air conditioning, GPS computer, built-in cup holder and retractable seating), only to find that an important component (like the brakes or wiring) fails, and the driver loses control of the car, ending up crashing into a wall or a lake and paying a dear price for it.
This month so far, we have seen many promis who fell into that category as they showed off their greatness through their mouth but the exact opposite in practice.  Tim Tebow, quarterback of the Denver Broncos (in American football the National Football League) pretended he was Jesus Christ in leading the team to the playoffs, knocking out the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first round, and talking about his heroics and its connection with religion to the TV audience. This sparked a sensation known as Tebowmania, which many anti-Broncos fans were itching to see him eat dirt in humiliation. The New England Patriots under quarterback Tom Brady took care of that wish by not only burying him and his team 45-10 in the second round this past weekend, but also using him as a tackling dummy (and making him eat grass in the process).  So much for Tebowmania, huh?
Then there is another American football team that everyone loved to hate with a passion, the Green Bay Packers. For 15 out of 16 games, they pummeled every single mediocre football team by an average score of 35-7. Yet the only loss was to another mediocre team (Kansas City), and the cracks started to show. Still, the team was way too proud and cheesy to address the problems and still stressed their greatness to the public. Bring in the New York Giants, a team that won only nine games and were projected to lose in the second round in the playoffs, and the team under Eli Manning disrobed the Pack under Aaron Rodgers on their home turf at Lambeau Field. I guess Goliath can bring down David after all. After all, the telephone switchboards of 1-800 GET HELP were blinking like a Christmas tree full of despair Packers fans after the Giants walked off the field feeling glorious and preparing for the NFC finals game against the San Francisco 49ers next week.
I just know that there was the sound of Angela Merkel, Germany’s Chancellor doing a solo for the Mozart Requiem the next morning when I found out about the Giants’ clear cut victory over Green Bay, because it can be heard clearly throughout all of Germany from the halls of the German Parliamentary Building in Berlin. Perhaps she is a Giants fan, but maybe it is because she is broiling in her own anger because of another scandal that has hit the Parliament; this time it involves the German President Christian Wulff and his private loan affair to purchase a house.
It is hard to believe that Wulff can hold the second most powerful post in the German government (behind Merkel), smile in the face of the public and have the nerve to inform the public on how to be frugal in our spending for 2012 during the Christmas Eve address, that was watched by over 20 million viewers, but at the same time, expose his own corruptive deeds through his own actions. And to exacerbate the situation further, he threatens the media with actions that are considered unlawful to today’s standards. Apparently he does not like the fact that the media is already writing him off for dead and that it is glorifying the Social Democrats for planning his successor for Merkel.  Perhaps if and when the Dream Coalition gets voted out of office in 2013 the future former cabinet members would rather take a trip on a cruise ship off the coast of Italy. After all, if they have a captain who can abandon ship after running it aground and tipping it over- before all the passengers leave, that is- they can relate their experience in the Bundestag to the events that occurred off the coast of Toscana.
That would be invincibility is a recipe for disaster unless you know how to deal with the people first and- in a proper way. Talk is cheap if you are unable to show your actions and impress the people first. Even my former math teacher and high school track and field coach once said that a person’s mouth and actions will determine one’s destiny. He is definitely right about that, yet people don’t seem to take that advice nowadays.
I would like to close this column by bidding farewell to a judge whose wit and charismatic actions have coined another terminology in the legal dictionary. Jeffery Flynn, the 5th Judicial Court Judge in Minnesota, whose residence is in Worthington, Minnesota, is stepping down after 27 years.  He provided students at high schools throughout the region with a whiff of what life in the legal business is all about, encouraging even some of my friends and former classmates to embrace the business, either as a lawyer, solicitor or even a judge.  His quotes to the convicted and to the audience helped coin the term Flynnism, and while some examples would take another page of my column (you can read the article here: https://secure.forumcomm.com/?publisher_ID=24&article_id=54414 ), it sometimes makes me wonder what he would have to say to the people who have fallen flat on their faces so far this month. Before I make my prediction on that, I will just leave this last part blank and hope that when he has the opportunity to read this column, he can close it with some comments on his own. Besides, his Flynnisms for the hot-headed whose air has been released (regardless of which side of the Atlantic they are on) can only be done by the person who has done his deeds to the criminals for all those years.

Flensburg Files News Flyer:
Apart from Flynn stepping down, the Giants have made it to the Super Bowl for the first time since 2008 and will have a rematch with the New England Patriots. The last time these two teams met in the Super Bowl, the Giants spoiled the Patriots run for a perfect record, which would have been the second time this happened. Game time is the 5th of February and given all the rumors from the audience and within the American Football league NFL, this could be the last time the Super Bowl is played on a Sunday. Proposals for a Super Saturday is in the making even as this column comes out.

ALSO:
Calls for German President Wulff to step down are getting louder, for despite him presenting his financial records that are in connection with the real estate scandal, the media organizations have accused him of making threats to the yellow press for exposing his housing loan and abuse of power, and his former press secretary Olaf Glaeseker is coming under fire for assisting him in some of the cover-up. The Opposition (SPD, Green and the Socialist party Die Linke) have been trying to work with Chancellor Merkel on finding a successor for Wulff, should he decide to step down sometime in the course of three months. And even some of the members of his own party (the Christian Democrats) are expressing their dismay and have recommended Wulff to step aside in the interest of the party and his own family. Currently, approval ratings have dropped from 72% to a sobering 30% in the course of two weeks. What will happen next remains to be seen.
As for the tragedy off the coast of the Tuscan Island of Giglio, 17 deaths have been recorded so far (six coming from Germany) with attempts to find the remaining 20 passengers being very difficult because of the capsized luxury ship slipping off the reef and into the water.  The captain of the ship has come under fire because of his inability to see the passengers off the ship and the excuses that were made, such as falling off the ship into the lifeboat. Needless to say, even if he is acquitted, his days of navigating the ship are finished after this incident.

More info here: http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,15683975,00.html and http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,15705486,00.html