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Benjamin Franklin

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OPINION
July 26, 2010 | By Donald J. Kochan
On this day 226 years ago — July 26, 1784 — Benjamin Franklin considered whether society was in need of a "remedy for luxury" in a letter to his trusted advisor, Benjamin Vaughn. In it, Franklin methodically argued against such a need. The current growing clamor for the regulation of wealth makes Franklin's thoughts on the matter relevant today. Consider President Obama's now infamous off-script muttering that "I do think at a certain point you've made enough money." Many have argued that this statement is emblematic of larger anti-wealth, anti-luxury tendencies in the administration's agenda.
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OPINION
September 15, 2013 | By Barry O'Neill
However the Syrian crisis turns out, it holds a lesson for American leaders. They have often been ready to confront those who violate international norms, such as Syrian President Bashar Assad, but reluctant to join worldwide agreements that express those norms. Such treaties would help deter the would-be perpetrators and would increase the legitimacy of actions taken against them. American leaders have been suspicious of diplomacy and multilateral negotiating, but the founders took a different view.
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MAGAZINE
February 17, 2002 | HANK ROSENFELD
At least one wag has credited Benjamin Franklin with inventing "the lightning rod, the hoax and the republic." Actor Phil Soinski reinvents Ben Franklin five days a week at the International Printing Museum in Carson, home to one of the world's largest collections of antique printing machinery.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 10, 2013 | By David Colker
Emmy-Award winning production designer Charles Lisanby, known for his lavish sets during the golden age of TV variety specials, died Aug. 23 in Los Angeles. He was 89. According to his longtime agent and manager, Bob Goodman, Lisanby had recently fallen. The cause of death, according to Morgan's Funeral Home, was sepsis. Lisanby created huge, meticulous sets for specials starring Barry Manilow, Diana Ross and many others, as well as for an Oscars show and ice show telecasts. But he was a cultured world traveler who drove his assistants and crews to distraction not only for his attention to detail but also for insisting on listening to opera broadcasts as they worked.
BUSINESS
April 24, 2013 | By Shan Li
The Federal Reserve said Wednesday that a newly designed $100 bill would begin circulating in October, more than two years after the initial target date. The $100 bill, a prime target for counterfeiters, will in its new version feature advanced security features such as a blue 3-D ribbon running through the middle and a disappearing image of the Liberty Bell. Benjamin Franklin's face will still be printed off-center on the front of the bill. The new note was originally slated to begin circulating in 2011, but problems including unwanted creases in bills delayed production until this year.
NATIONAL
September 25, 2012 | By Tina Susman
As if surviving the American Revolution and helping draft the Declaration of Independence weren't hard enough, officials say Benjamin Franklin endured weeks on the road in the hands of a former housekeeper accused of stealing him -- or a bust of him at least -- from a former client's home. The bust of Franklin, valued at $3 million, was found in a gunny sack as the alleged thief stepped off a bus in Maryland earlier this month, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported . Other stolen items were also found, the newspaper said, including a conductor's baton linked to a famous cellist.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 17, 1990
A federal court has found a San Gabriel man guilty of mutilating and stealing two rare books written and printed by Benjamin Franklin. William Witherell, 39, was convicted in Philadelphia on two counts of interstate transportation of stolen property by U.S. District Judge J. William Ditter Jr.
NEWS
November 27, 1996 | GREGG ZOROYA, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
He fretted about his weight, obsessed over work, was a guru of self-actualization and a devotee of high tech, had a thing about his image, knew how to have a good time and could spin on any subject. He, of course, is Ben Franklin, dubbed the "Hot Founding Father" by Rolling Stone magazine. "Thomas Jefferson may have had his own movie and George Washington may have his own magazine, but they've got nothing on Ben Franklin," Rolling Stone wrote.
BOOKS
June 29, 2003 | H.W. Brands, H.W. Brands is the author of "The First American: The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin" and other works of American history.
Of all the Founders, Benjamin Franklin is the easiest to imagine transposed to the present day. Unlike planters George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, Franklin was a city boy; Boston-born, Philadelphia-adopted and London-polished, he would adapt readily to the urbanism of the 21st century.
NEWS
November 15, 1990 | MARTHA L. WILLMAN, TIMES STAFF WRITER
It is not an unusual sight in Glendale: a bespectacled, jovial-looking fellow shares a park bench with a couple of pigeons. But this fellow is Benjamin Franklin, cast in bronze. Clutched in his hand is the U.S. Constitution, which he helped write. The pigeons, too, are frozen in a permanent pose. The scene in a brick-paved plaza at 135 N. Brand Blvd. was unveiled last weekend as the city's first publicly owned art in the downtown redevelopment zone.
BUSINESS
April 24, 2013 | By Shan Li
The Federal Reserve said Wednesday that a newly designed $100 bill would begin circulating in October, more than two years after the initial target date. The $100 bill, a prime target for counterfeiters, will in its new version feature advanced security features such as a blue 3-D ribbon running through the middle and a disappearing image of the Liberty Bell. Benjamin Franklin's face will still be printed off-center on the front of the bill. The new note was originally slated to begin circulating in 2011, but problems including unwanted creases in bills delayed production until this year.
NATIONAL
September 25, 2012 | By Tina Susman
As if surviving the American Revolution and helping draft the Declaration of Independence weren't hard enough, officials say Benjamin Franklin endured weeks on the road in the hands of a former housekeeper accused of stealing him -- or a bust of him at least -- from a former client's home. The bust of Franklin, valued at $3 million, was found in a gunny sack as the alleged thief stepped off a bus in Maryland earlier this month, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported . Other stolen items were also found, the newspaper said, including a conductor's baton linked to a famous cellist.
OPINION
July 26, 2010 | By Donald J. Kochan
On this day 226 years ago — July 26, 1784 — Benjamin Franklin considered whether society was in need of a "remedy for luxury" in a letter to his trusted advisor, Benjamin Vaughn. In it, Franklin methodically argued against such a need. The current growing clamor for the regulation of wealth makes Franklin's thoughts on the matter relevant today. Consider President Obama's now infamous off-script muttering that "I do think at a certain point you've made enough money." Many have argued that this statement is emblematic of larger anti-wealth, anti-luxury tendencies in the administration's agenda.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 4, 2010 | By Keith Thursby
Paul M. Zall, a research scholar at the Huntington Library in San Marino and a professor at Cal State L.A. who examined the lives and humor of early American presidents and leaders, often using their own words, has died. He was 87. Zall died Dec. 16 of natural causes at his home in South Pasadena, said his son Andy. "No one at the Huntington was more helpful to me," said Ronald C. White Jr., a fellow at the library. White, who has written three books about President Lincoln, including 2009's "A. Lincoln: A Biography," said Zall over the years shared with him notes and expertise, an example of his "generosity of spirit.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 24, 2009 | Tony Perry
Alan Houston, a political science professor at UC San Diego, had come to the end of a trip to London to research a book about Benjamin Franklin. He thought he might spend the day having fun with friends, but decided to make one more visit to the British Library. In his last request for documents, he stumbled on something unexpected: a letter written by Franklin and copied by a British literary figure named Thomas Birch. Houston had never seen it. Not believing his eyes, he looked for more.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 8, 2006 | Kathy Matheson, Associated Press
When it comes to literary mysteries, the death of Benjamin Franklin's library is not exactly a whodunit. Scholars already know the collection was killed by his grandson, William Temple Franklin, who inherited most of the books and sold them for cash. The real crime, historians say, is that there's no surviving inventory of the 4,276 volumes -- a list that could provide valuable insight into Franklin's life.
BOOKS
September 22, 2002 | H.W. BRANDS, H.W. Brands is the author of "The First American: The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin" and "The Age of Gold: The California Gold Rush and the New American Dream."
The English novelist and critic D.H. Lawrence didn't like Benjamin Franklin. "I haven't got over those Poor Richard tags yet," he wrote. "I still rankle with them. They are thorns in young flesh." Mark Twain spoke more satirically than Lawrence, but no more charitably, in describing his own encounter with Franklin. "His simplest acts ... were contrived with a view to their being held up for the emulation of boys forever--boys who might otherwise have been happy....
ENTERTAINMENT
December 14, 2005 | Carl Hartman, Associated Press
Benjamin Franklin was a passionate writer, especially in the cause of the democracy he helped found, but even such a prolific man of letters may have had second thoughts about posting too-hasty words, according to an exhibition for the 300th anniversary of Franklin's birth. "Look upon your hands! They are stained with the Blood of your Relations!" Franklin wrote indignantly to an old English friend at the outbreak of the American Revolution.
NEWS
January 15, 2006 | Hillel Italie, Associated Press Writer
At the Smithsonian, they're planning a tribute to his statesmanship. In London, an exhibition hails his medical contributions. But at McGillin's Olde Ale House in Philadelphia, they know best how to honor Benjamin Franklin on his 300th birthday: with a celebratory toast. A beer for Ben? "He was a very jovial fellow who would meet at the taverns, discussing the latest John Locke book or scientific breakthrough over a nice pint of beer," says McGillin's owner, Chris Mullins.
NEWS
December 22, 2005 | Scott Timberg
"The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin" spends a lot of time on shelves and nightstands waiting to be read: It's considered not only a good tale but also a key to the American character. John Rhodehamel, a curator of historical manuscripts at the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens -- where the original handwritten edition, partly unbound, recently went on display -- says it's also been misunderstood. "It's been taken by many as a how-to-guide to get rich," he says.
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