Hogwash Volume 20

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December 2013
Welcome to Hogwash!

Greetings,

Rosi and Gardner If this is the first edition of Hogwash! you've received it's because someone you know thought that you would like to receive it and perhaps pass it on to a friend.

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diGiTaL cUrrEnCy?

Backside of a bit coin coin.

The U.S. Department of Justice recently announced its conclusion that Bitcoin, a digital "currency" and decentralized value exchange system, is not inherently illegal. Nor are its users, necessarily, engaging in illicit activities, by using the system. Might the exchange be put to improper purposes, such as money laundering, or paying for illegal products (as it was at the "Silk Road" web site, where everything from heroin to murder contracts were reportedly, bought and sold)? Of course.

The system can be used to transfer value to others, using the Internet, without using a bank. Who runs Bitcoin? In short, no one. There is no central bank, no "backing" entity; it is decentralized, completely reliant on those who participate to accept it as having value.

How do you get started? First, you will need a "wallet." Think of this as the electronic "account" to hold your digital coin. (I established a wallet at coinsource.com, and bought my first (fractional) bitcoin, after linking to a checking account I have established for the sole purpose of online transactions.)

Can you exchange bitcoin for dollars (or euros, or . . . )? Yes. There are a number of sites that will make the exchange for you. One of them, where I established a wallet and account, coinbase.com, will presently make the exchange for you, within its daily limits, for free or almost free (1% charge on most bitcoin-dollar transactions). More information can be found at: www.bitcoin.org (note the nonprofit ".org" extension).

Here's an interesting fact: Coinbase, a bitcoin service and processing provider, describes its security protocols as including ". . . data is then split with redundancy, AES-256 encrypted, and copied to FIPS-140 USB drives and paper backups. Drives and paper backups are distributed geographically in safety deposit boxes and vaults around the world." Paper backups? In the digital age? For digital money?

How does one get Bitcoin? Others can pay you, for something, in bitcoin, of course. If you're curious about spending Bitcoin and what can you buy with it? Here's one journalist's experience. You can buy it, through an exchange, using your "local" currency. How about digital "mining?" Stay tuned . . .

Bill of Rights Day

It was 222 years ago – December 15,1791 – that the initial 13 states together with Vermont as the 14th state ratified the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution, a document we now reverently refer to as the Bill of Rights.

But that document was not the first bill of rights. The first Bill of Rights was adopted by the British parliament over 100 years before. On December 16, 1689 England adopted the statutory Declaration of Rights when William and Mary of the Netherlands were invited to become sovereigns of England. This came after WIlliam's successful invasion of England in 1688. Upon ascending to the English throne, William and Mary replaced James II, Mary's father and Williams's uncle and father- in- law. James was the last British Roman Catholic monarch.

In brief, the Declaration of Rights reflects the political ideas of John Locke including his "social contract" concepts of government that influenced not only Voltaire and Rousseau, but are also reflected in our own Declaration of Independence.

The reason why our Bill of Rights was proposed was to assuage the fears of Anti-Federalist who had opposed Constitutional ratification, expressing a fear that the Constitution- as initially submitted for ratification- could lead to a monarchy. The amendments, actually 10 of 12 proposed, are intended to guarantee a number of personal freedoms, limit the government's power in judicial and other proceedings, and reserve some powers to the states and the public. Early on it was determined that the amendments applied only to the federal government. That application was one factor, among many, that led to the Civil War – often referred to by our southern brethren as "The was of northern aggression." Most of their specific provisions have since been applied to the states by way of the Fourteenth Amendment, although often opposed by "States Rights" advocates.

The meaning and scope of the several Amendments to the Bill of Rights including the meaning of the reservation of some powers "to the states and the public" has been the subject of countless litigation and political haggling and we can be assured that those discussions will continue as ling as there are conflicting interests.

So Happy Bill of Rights Day! Have cake but don't use candles; we don't want the bill to catch fire.

Swinging Back at the Trolls . . .

trolls In prior issues of Hogwash! we've discussed patent trolls (companies who buy up patent rights and then "shake down" other companies for money, for claimed infringement of those patents). These patent trolls are coming under increased pressure and scrutiny – a number of state attorneys general are taking action and more exposure is being given to their modus operandi.

But, the biggest blow to the trolls might come from Congress itself. A bill called the "Innovation Act of 2013" has been introduced there, which would institute a "loser pays" rule for legal fees incurred in patent litigation. It could be quite a disincentive if a troll who loses his patent infringement case would be required to pay its lawyers and the legal fees of the person or company it sued. Of course, there is no guarantee that Congress will pass the bill, but if it clears both chambers, it would constitute a big swing back at the Trolls.

In a separate battle with a troll . . . the troll loses! In Lumen View Technology LLC v FindTheBest.com, the Court ruled in favor of "the little guy" who had been sued by "the troll." The judge found that Lumen's patent was "not inventive" and so dismissed Lumen's patent infringement suit, and invalidated its claimed patent.

Even Lawyers Must Watch Out

The November 4 issue of The Journal of the American Bar Association reported that a Michigan criminal defense lawyer and his former client were both found guilty by a Detroit jury on Monday in a perjury case that arose out of a murder trial last year.

Attorney David Benjamin Dunn, 44, and Andre Demetrius Collins, 24, were accused by the government of conspiring to get a witness to commit perjury in Collins' first-degree murder case. Both were charged on the first day of trial in the murder case in March last year and both now face maximum life terms in the Wayne County Circuit Court perjury case, the Detroit News reports.

In addition to conspiracy to commit perjury in a court proceeding, Dunn was also found guilty of inciting or procuring perjury in a court proceeding.

Collins is currently serving a life sentence without parole that was imposed a year ago after he was found guilty of murder.

At Rosi & Gardner we have not seen the specifics of the case but will relate them to you, as they might surface.

What is the matter with the Court of Claims?

For almost 40 years the Circuit Court for Ingham County, where the seat of government – Lansing – is located was the legal venue for any lawsuits filed against state and government officials.

That changed this year. On November 12, 2013, Governor Snyder into law a bill, Public Act 164, which directs that four Court of Appeals judges selected by the Michigan Supreme Court will preside over major litigation against the state.

The reported reasoning of the Governor and the Republican majority in the Michigan Legislature was that cases of statewide significance will be heard by judges elected by a greater share of Michigan residents. Court of Appeals judges are elected in four equally-apportioned districts.

"I view this as positive legislation because it really allows statewide representation in terms of judges across the state as opposed to the three-percent of the population that's represented by Ingham County judges," Snyder is quoted as saying. Attorneys familiar with the current court have expressed concerns that the new law will adversely impact hundreds of cases currently pending before it.

We must watch and see; perhaps the controversy swirling about the issue has no more substance than Rice Pudding.

Issue: 20
In This Issue
diGiTaL cUrrEnCy?
Bill of Rights Day
Swinging Back at the Trolls
Even Lawyers Must Watch Out
What is the matter with the Court of Claims?
Celebrate Underdog Day on December 20
With Thoughts for the Holidays!
Nominate Words to Banish in 2014
Karen's At Home Cookin'

"Keep a quiet place in your heart for the singing of angels."

— Dr. Lloyd Barrett of Mile High Church

Celebrate Underdog Day on December 20

It's a day for celebrating Underdogs and Unsung Heros… people who never get their chance in the spotlight.

Underdog – as described in Wikipedia – is a person or group in competition who is expected to lose. Reportedly the term was first used in the second half of the 19th century and meant "the beaten dog in a fight."

More recently it's come to refer to sidekicks like Sherlock Holmes' Dr. Watson and Robinson Crusoe's Friday – individuals who are critical to the success of the "top dog" but who get little recognition themselves.

Underdog Day was founded in 1976 by the late Peter Moeller. Today Underdog International is based in Clio, Michigan, a suburb of Flint.

With Thoughts for the Holidays!

Rosi & Gardner, P.C. would like to wish everyone a happy holiday and a even happier New Year! Here are some inspiring quotes and some not so inspiring yet identifiable quotes. May this new year bring you everything the previous one neglected to.

Be at War with your Vices, at Peace with your Neighbours, and let every New-Year find you a better Man.

~Quoted in Benjamin Franklin's 1755 Poor Richard's Almanac

Every man should be born again on the first day of January. Start with a fresh page. Take up one hole more in the buckle if necessary, or let down one, according to circumstances; but on the first of January let every man gird himself once more, with his face to the front, and take no interest in the things that were and are past.

~Henry Ward Beecher

Yesterday, everybody smoked his last cigar, took his last drink and swore his last oath. Today, we are a pious and exemplary community. Thirty days from now, we shall have cast our reformation to the winds and gone to cutting our ancient shortcomings considerably shorter than ever.

~Mark Twain

Good resolutions are simply checks that men draw on a bank where they have no account.

~Oscar Wilde

… and one final lawyer joke

If 2013 was a person, I'd sue him for pain and suffering and lost wages.

-source:

http://www.jokes4us.com/holidayjokes/newyearsjokes.html

Nominate Words to Banish in 2014

Each New Year's Day is filled with lists of resolutions including one special list of Banished Words that's released each January 1. Created at Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan the Banished Words List dates back to 1976.

The list is created as a "List of Words to be Banished from the Queen's English for Misuse, Overuse and General Uselessness".

While the 2014 words are still a mystery, the 2013 list contains such overused words and phrases as:

  • Fiscal Cliff
  • Kick the Can Down the Road
  • Double Down
  • Job Creators or Job Creation
  • Passion/Passionate
  • Yolo
  • Spoiler Alert
  • Bucket List
  • Trending
  • Super Food
  • Boneless Wings
  • Guru

Have a word or phrase you're tired of hearing or that just bugs you?

Nominate it for the 2014 list. It's easy to do. Just visit the Lake Superior State University webpage and suggest the words and phrases that you'd like to see banished next year.

December's Special Offer

Is divorce or legal separation on the horizon for you or someone you know?

You, or that someone you know should discuss your options, and rights, with experienced counsel before the crisis strikes. We can discuss with your options of traditional Court-centric divorce, mediation, and Collaborative Divorce.

Call us at 941-5878 and mention this Hogwash! offer, and we will consult with you or your referral for FREE, if you schedule an appointment to occur during the month of January

Offer Expires: December 31, 2013

Karen's At Home Cookin'

gourmet-forks-plate.jpg

It's been an unlucky hunting season for my husband but fortunately his friends brought us wild game and asked us to cook it for them.We have had fun experimenting this past month with venison, bear and duck. Here are a couple recipes we came up with. The meat in both these recipes can be replaced with chicken or any kind of sausage or the recipes can be prepared as vegetarian dishes – just ramp up the veggies and/or cheese. Merry Christmas!

Duck Polenta

Ingredients:

1 box polenta mix (cornbread can be substituted)

1 cup chopped roasted duck

2 large onions

1 can of tomatoes

Garlic

Capers

Black olives

Dry red wine

1 orange(using the rind)

Honey

Paprika

Tarragon

Thyme

Mozzarella cheese

Make polenta according to package directions. Spread in a casserole dish and cool.

Fry the onions in olive oil;sprinkle liberally with paprika and add chopped garlic.Add the can of tomatoes, dry red wine, precooked chopped duck (or chicken), capers, black olives, orange rind and juice. Cook until it reduces and thickens.

Top it on the polenta and bake for15 minutes. Add fresh mozzarella and bake another five minutes. Top with black pepper, tarragon and thyme.

Serve with:

Sausage and Beans

Ingredients:

2 cans Fava Beans

4 carrots

2 parsnips

Venison Sausage

Chopped jalapeno or any hot pepper

Steam the carrots and parsnips then chop into pieces about the same size as the beans. Fry the sausage with chopped pepper and drain the fat. Add the veggies and meat to the beans and heat in the oven in a covered casserole dish. Add salt and pepper to taste.

For a great side dish consider coleslaw. It's quick, easy to make and cabbage is full of great nutrients! Here's a recipe we've used and enjoy.

Coleslaw

Ingredients:

Cabbage

Lime

Cilantro

Jalapeno peppers

Honey

Mayo

Dried Cherries

Chop cabbage, add cherries and very finely chopped jalapeno peppers and cilantro. Mix mayo with the juice of a lime and honey. Adjust the amount of peppers, lime, honey and mayo to your own tastes. Toss it all together and let it chill for at least an hour.

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Rosi & Gardner, P.C.
735 S. Garfield Avenue
Suite 202
Traverse City, Michigan 49686
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Philip R. Rosi

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Gary Allen Gardner
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