Hogwash Volume 39



Hogwash! Issue No. 39




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July 2015
Welcome to Hogwash!

 

Rosi and Gardner

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The Other “Right-to-Marry” Case


Last month the Supreme Court made a media splash with its ruling on the issue of same-sex marriage. But the court also decided another marriage-related case in June that did not receive nearly as much attention.

 

Fauzia Din came to the U.S. as a refugee from Afghanistan in 2000. A few years later, she became a U.S. citizen. In 2006, Din returned to Afghanistan and married Kanishka Berashk, an Afghan citizen who had worked as a clerk for the Afghan government when it was controlled by the Taliban. As is customary for U.S. citizens who marry foreign citizens-let’s call it a “binational marriage”-Din filed a petition with the U.S. government seeking an immigrant visa for her husband, so that he could come live with Din in the U.S. as husband and wife.

 

Unfortunately for that family, the State Department refused to grant that visa, stating simply that Berashk had been involved in “terrorist activities.” Din filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government, claiming

  1. that the visa denial interfered with her fundamental right to marry, and
  2. that her due process rights had been violated because the government did not show, or “prove,” the basis for the visa denial. In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled against Din

The Supreme Court actually split into three distinct camps. Writing for the minority, Justice Breyer concluded that Din had a “liberty interest” in her marriage and therefore she should have a constitutional due process right to a hearing (where, presumably, the government would have to prove why it denied her husband’s visa application).

 

The majority disagreed. But out of five justices, only three of them, Scalia, Thomas, and Chief Justice John Roberts, agreed that Din had no fundamental “liberty interest” in her marriage. In their view, there is simply no constitutional right to live in the U.S. with one’s foreign-born spouse.

 

The other two justices, Kennedy and Alito, concurred with the end result, but not the reasoning. Without deciding the “liberty” question, they stated that even if there is a fundamental liberty right to live with your spouse, the government provided Din with sufficient explanation for the visa denial in this case. In other words, the government provided Din with the “process” that was “due” in this case: the brief statement that her husband was denied a visa because he had been allegedly involved in “terrorist activities.”

 

Amidst these different points of view, one thing is certain: same-sex or not, marriage to a U.S. citizen does not ensure that a foreign spouse will be allowed to live in or even enter the United States.

Issue: 39
In This Issue

Humor
 

What happens when a government official with a sense of humor receives insistent correspondence asking about the government’s investigation (and implied cover-up) of U.F.O. sightings?  Why, he responds in Klingon, of course!

 

At least one does, in Wales.  The legal humor blog “Lowering the Bar”  cites it as the first known use of the fictional “Star Trek” language in official correspondence.  Reportedly, a Welsh Assembly member sent the following question (along with two other related questions) to the Minister for the Economy, Science and Transport:

 

“Will the Minister make a statement on how many reports of unidentified flying objects there have been at Cardiff Airport since its acquisition by the Welsh Government?”

 

The preliminary response, from the Welsh Government, reportedly was:

 

jang vIDa je due luq. ‘ach ghotvam’e’ QI’yaH-devolved qaS

 

That’s Klingon, a fictional language from Gene Roddenberry’s “Star Trek” in all of its iterations, which reportedly translates to “The minister will reply in due course. However this is a non-devolved matter.”

 

Ah, bureaucracy; apparently, it matters not what country one is in, and perhaps not even what planet.  The response usually sounds the same…

Prohibition Whiskey . . . or Not?

 

Three lawsuits have now been filed against Templeton Rye Spirits, LLC, the producer of “Templeton Rye” whiskey.  The label on the bottle (designed to resemble parchment and evoke antiquity) states identifies it as “Prohibition Era Recipe.”  Lawsuits filed in Illinois and Iowa allege that to be untrue, and claim that purchasers have been deceived and thereby suffered damages and injuries (economic, at least).  The Illinois case is a class action suit filed in federal court in Cook County on behalf of “all individuals in the United States who’ve purchased a bottle of Templeton Rye.”

The lawsuits came after it was revealed, in 2014, that the “base ingredient” in Templeton Rye whiskey is a rye whiskey distilled by MGP Ingredients in Indiana.  Templeton Rye Spirits says that they then add a number of flavor ingredients, in Iowa, to create their final product, a whiskey with a “Prohibition Era recipe” flavor.

 

Would you really want to drink whiskey made according to a Prohibition-era recipe?  Some experts say that most Prohibition-era “mash bills” (recipes for grain proportions) would result in a barely-sippable, scorchingly-high alcohol swill.  Remember, this stuff would have come out of “still” hidden in the backwoods and distilled for immediate local consumption.

 

Wanting to go the extra mile for you, dear reader, one of us felt obligated to sample some of the present offering labeled “Templeton Rye.”  We are pleased to report that regardless whether it was created by strict adherence to an early 20th Century recipe or by flavor additives and chemistry, it is in fact quite drinkable.  Just doing our part to keep you informed . . .

 

Where were you on August 15, 1945?


For those of you who were no more than a gleam in the eyes of one or both of your parents (although your author does not fall into this group) you have no memory of this date – save what you have been told.

 

It was a day of celebration and relief felt by millions of persons throughout the world when the breaking news of that day was announced:

 

Japan had accepted the terms of the Potsdam Declaration that ended the Second World War.

 

And what you may ask was the Potsdam Declaration?

 

On July 25, 1945 U.S. President Harry Truman, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and President Chiang Kai-shek of the Republic of China met in Potsdam, Germany. At the time the War in Europe was over, and the participants met to consider war strategy and post-war policy.

(At the time, although the first atomic bomb had been successfully detonated on July 16, 1945 in Alamogordo, New Mexico, its detonation and impact were a heavily guarded secret and the invasion of the Japanese mainland was a real possibility.)

 

The Potsdam Declaration, in brief, required unconditional surrender of Japan’s armed forces and the initiation of democratic principles: the establishment of respect for fundamental human rights including freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and freedom of thought.

 

The Potsdam Declaration was released to the press on the evening of July 26 and transmitted by radio broadcast to Japan, first in English and then in Japanese. Apparently, it was not forwarded to the Japanese government through diplomatic channels, although leaflets setting forth the Declaration were reportedly dropped from many of the U.S. bombers that were relentlessly carrying out their attacks on the mainland.

 

Initially the Japanese government rejected the Potsdam Declaration. Then, on August 10, 1945, after the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs were dropped on August 6 and August 9, Japan stated that it would accept the declaration with some modifications. Just five days later that position changed when on August 15, 1945 Emperor Hirohito announced that the terms of the Potsdam Declaration were accepted.

 

Thus ended a war that lasted three years, eight months and seven days since December 7, 1941.

 

For those of us who do remember, the prospect then of a period of long lasting peace is but a bitter sweet memory.

Death Penalty Debate

 

Since 1846, Michigan has proudly been one of the few states to have never executed anyone.

 

Indeed, according to that font of all knowledge, Wikipedia, Michigan was the first English-speaking government in the world to totally abolish the death penalty for ordinary crimes. Since then 18 States and the District of Columbia have followed Michigan’s lead, a path not followed by the Congress that has adopted statutes authorizing the death penalty for the violation of more than 40 specific crimes.

 

Rather than following the lead of an individual state where a crime has a occurred or to apply an applicable state law where no death penalty is permitted, federal prosecutors are free to apply a federal law, apparently with a desire to seek such a penalty. Case in point, the Boston Marathon bombers: Massachusetts had banned the death penalty in 1947.

 

The Boston Bar Association weighed in on the issue. In a statement issued on February 25, 2015 and consistent with a 1984 decision of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts that the death penalty was unconstitutional, the Boston Bar Association said

 

“On the eve of final jury selection, the Boston Bar Association respectfully asks the Department of Justice to seek a life sentence without parole instead of the death penalty. We believe that this can more swiftly close this chapter in our city’s history and return the focus to healing.”  

 

Eric Holder, the U.S. Attorney General, rather than following the lead of the Boston Bar Association, chose to leave it to the jury to decide whether, if convicted, Mr. Tsarnaev should get life imprisonment or death.

 

While not suggesting that his decision was either right or wrong, or whether it makes financial or emotional sense to impose a death penalty which will result in long drawn out expensive legal proceedings and appeals – a debate that can be found in both legal journals and on social media, we at Hogwash wonder, if the death penalty is unconstitutional in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts by what logic is it constitutional because persons with, perhaps, higher loyalties to Washington, D.C. than to the commonwealth do not agree.

 

Ordinarily, states’ rights opponents seek to limit the adverse effect of harsher state statutes by measuring them against the Bill of Rights. But not here.

 

Just something to think about.

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Karen’s Home Cooking 

 

 

We are into our full summer cooking mode. Everything tastes better when you eat outside and are really hungry from swimming, biking, hiking . . .

 

I’m queen of the side dishes and my husband is king of the grill. It’s like the old joke – I do all the planning, shopping, preparing, cleaning (ok, I’m exaggerating a little) and everyone praises my husband for such a good meal because he barbequed the meat! Have a good summer everyone!

 

Refreshing Summer Noodle Pesto

 

1-2 small zucchini

1 cup mint leaves

½ cup basil leaves

Juice of half a lemon

1 Tbsp. pine nuts

3 Tbsp. parmesan

2-3 Tbsp. olive oil

Water or white wine vinegar, as needed.

 

Puree and mix with cooked (but room temperature) spaghetti noodles.

 

Halloumi Cheese Kabobs with Lemon Herb Baste

 

Zucchini

Red onion

Cherry tomatoes

Halloumi cheese

 

Cut the vegetables and cheese into big bite-sized chunks and thread onto your skewers. (If you have time cover and chill them a couple hours before cooking).

 

For the baste:

1 Tbsp. olive oil

2 Tbsp. lemon juice

2 tsp fresh thyme

1 tsp Dijon mustard

 

Mix olive oil, lemon juice, Dijon mustard and fresh thyme together. Brush the kebobs and cook on the grill for 4-5 minutes, turning often, until cheese begins to turn golden brown. Good served with warm pita bread.

 

If you want meat, marinate lamb or chicken for a couple hours and cook on separate kabobs with onion.

 

Cream Cheese Alternative

 

Drain the liquid from container of cottage cheese, then blend (puree the lumps) and mix with your choice of seasonings (i.e., white pepper, chives, paprika, herbs, etc.). Spread on your favorite cracker or bread and top with smoked fish, sardines, fresh tomatoes, or any cold cut.

 

A Better Bowl of Beans

 

Butter beans

Kidney beans

Cannellini beans

½ cup sun dried tomatoes, hydrated and chopped

1 sweet onion, chopped

2-3 cloves garlic

1-2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar

1/3 cup honey

Chopped barbequed bacon (cook your bacon first, then simmer in your favorite barbeque sauce)

Hot pepper flakes, hot sauce (at your discretion)

Fresh tarragon, lots of black pepper

Lime juice, fresh squeezed (I prefer a lot)

 

Mix it, cook it, eat it. How’s that for easy?!

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Philip R. Rosi

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