"You cannot qualify war in harsher terms than I will. War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it; and those who brought war into our country deserve all the curses and maledictions a people can pour out." - William Tecumseh Sherman

Name: The General
Location: Sacramento, California, United States

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Wednesday, July 06, 2005
  Test Post
This is a test post to latest incarnation of The Benjo Blog; specifically, it links to the Test Post.
 
 POSTED BY THE GENERAL AT 1:12 AM
Tuesday, April 19, 2005
  Momma If That's Moving Up, Then I'm Moving Out
My apologies to Billy Joel, those lyrics from the song just popped into my head as I sat down to write this post.

My blog is moving! I've acquired a new blog, powered by the capable and very elegant Wordpress publishing software! You can find my new blog at http://benjoblog.weblogs.us or simply click here.
 
 POSTED BY THE GENERAL AT 2:42 AM
Monday, April 18, 2005
  Lochner v. New York
Sunday (4/17/2005) was the 90th anniversary of the Supreme Court's decision in Lochner v. New York. The case involved a baker who had broken New York's state law forbidding bakers from working more than 60 hours in a given work week. The Supreme Court struck down the law, on the grounds that it violated the baker's right to liberty and to freely make contracts. Although there are deficiencies in the decision overall, it was a watershed in natural rights jurisprudence. Here are two of the best portions of the decision:
The general right to make a contract in relation to his business is part of the liberty protected by the Fourteenth Amendment, and this includes the right to purchase and sell labor, except as controlled by the State in the legitimate exercise of its police power.

Liberty of contract relating to labor includes both parties to it; the one has as much right to purchase as the other to sell labor.
This last quotation from the decision is an excellent defense of judicial review:
It must, of course, be conceded that there is a limit to the valied exercise of the police power by the state. There is no dispute concerning this general proposition. Otherwise the 14th Amendment would have no efficacy and the legislatures of the states would have unbounded power, and it would be enough to say that any piece of legislation was enacted to conserve the morals, the health, or the safety of the people; such legislation would be valid, no matter how absolutely without foundation the claim might be. The claim of the police power would be a mere pretext,- become another and delusive name for the supreme sovereignty of the state to be exercised free from constitutional restraint. This is not contended for. In every case that comes before this court, therefore, where legislation of this character is concerned, and where the protection of the Federal Constitution is sought, the question necessarily arises: Is this a fair, reasonable, and appropriate exercise of the police power of the state, or is it an unreasonable, unnecessary, and arbitrary interference with the right of the individual to his personal liberty, or to enter into those contracts in relation to labor which may seem to him appropriate or necessary for the support of himself and his family? Of course the liberty of contract relating to labor includes both parties to it. The one has as much right to purchase as the other to sell labor.

This is not a question of substituting the judgment of the [198 U.S. 45, 57] court for that of the legislature. If the act be within the power of the state it is valid, although the judgment of the court might be totally opposed to the enactment of such a law. But the question would still remain: Is it within the police power of the state? and that question must be answered by the court.
Law Prof. David Bernstein gives a good summary of how the left and right view the decision:
In Lochner v. New York (1905), the Supreme Court - discovering a right to contract in the Fourteenth Amendment - invalidated a New York statute setting maximum working hours for bakery employees. A century later, Lochner still stands as one of the most widely despised decisions in the Court's entire history. Conservatives denounce it as a prime example of "substantive due process" run wild - judicial invention paving the way for Roe v. Wade and its offspring. With equal fervor, liberals criticize the Lochner Court's perceived attempt to write laissez faire economics into the Constitution.


Timothy Sandefur provides a good defense of Lochner - Why Lochner was rightly decided.
 
 POSTED BY THE GENERAL AT 9:34 AM
Sunday, April 17, 2005
  Cox and Forkum - Civil Obedience
 
 POSTED BY THE GENERAL AT 7:25 PM
Saturday, April 16, 2005
  What's Up With China
Gus Van Horn has done an amazing job of covering the latest developments in China, and their implications for the rest of the world. I don't even bother reading about what's going on over there any longer, because I know Gus will condense the essentials into an easy-to-read format.

As if that weren't enough, he's even gone to the trouble of creating an "index" of all his posts on China; this is where he'll include all future posts on China as well. Definitely a resource you should bookmark! Here's the link: Chinamerica Central. Thanks Gus!
 
 POSTED BY THE GENERAL AT 12:46 AM
Friday, April 15, 2005
  Happy 50th Birthday McDonald's!
Jeff Jarvis at Buzzmachine has a delightful post on McDonald's 50th birthday: Supersized.
When I was a columnist in San Francisco, I reviewed the opening of a then-fancy new McDonald's on Van Ness -- and I panned it. Ray Kroc [a co-founder of McDonalds] wrote a letter to the editor complaining that I was a "codfish aristocrat." He assumed I was just another burger snob. But I called Mr. Kroc and told him that I had once been caught by a survey going to McDonald's in Chicago five times a week; I was an addict. I believed in his credo of QC and I was saddened by the lack of quality I found in his newest emporium. The tone changed immediately: He knew he was talking with a believer and he said he'd get on the case immediately. He did. The restaurant quickly shaped up.
I too admit to succumbing to a need for McDonald's every now and then - when I was in college, I regularly ate their several times a week.

You can learn more about Ray Kroc and the founding of McDonald's here: The McDonald's History - 1954 to 1955.
Ray Kroc mortgaged his home and invested his entire life savings to become the exclusive distributor of a five-spindled milk shake maker called the Multimixer. Hearing about the McDonald's hamburger stand in California running eight Multimixers at a time, he packed up his car and headed West. It was 1954. He was 52 years old.

Ray Kroc had never seen so many people served so quickly when he pulled up to take a look. Seizing the day, he pitched the idea of opening up several restaurants to the brothers Dick and Mac McDonald, convinced that he could sell eight of his Multimixers to each and every one. "Who could we get to open them for us?" Dick McDonald said."Well," Kroc answered, "what about me?"
Such is the stuff that heroes are made of...
 
 POSTED BY THE GENERAL AT 1:07 AM
Thursday, April 14, 2005
  Free Blog - Easy to Start
If you're already a member of Objectivism Online (and if not, go become one now), you can now create your own blog there through the forum. If you already have a blog, you can also "register" your blog with the forum, thereby giving your blog added exposure to a large community of Objectivists (hat tip: Truth, Justice, and the American Way).
The option to create your blog is in the top left of your control panel (My Controls on top right). Once it has been created, you will find additional options and settings there.
 
 POSTED BY THE GENERAL AT 11:59 PM
  The Greatest Threat to Representative Government?
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, on the most dangerous threat to representative government: (hat tip: ACS Blog).
As presently constituted, Perkins will point out, the federal judiciary presents a far greater danger to the United States than many other threats facing Americans today. “The court has become increasingly hostile to Christianity, and it poses a greater threat to representative government -- more than anything, more than budget deficits, more than terrorist groups,” he said last week.
 
 POSTED BY THE GENERAL AT 3:06 PM
  This Ought to be Interesting...
From the Washington Post:
Connecticut's House of Representatives passed legislation Wednesday that would make the state the second to establish civil unions for same-sex couples, and the first to do so without being directed by a court.

The state Senate overwhelmingly approved a civil-unions bill last week, and lawmakers said they expect to endorse the House version as early as next week. Gov. M. Jodi Rell (R) said Wednesday that she will sign it.
Religious conservatives have been crying foul ever since "gay marriage" was made legal in Massachussets last year, on the grounds that "activist" judges had legislated from the bench. Will they be satisfied now when legislation has been passed "democratically"? Of course not, because conservatives are not opposed to tyranny, only to a limitation on their power. That's why they called for a constitutional amendment against gay marriage.

In the wake of the Terri Schiavo debacle, I don't see any real likelihood of such an amendment passing. I'm cautiously optimistic (with a large emphasis on the caution), but I think the conservatives will treading lightly in the future on any controversial issues.
 
 POSTED BY THE GENERAL AT 8:55 AM
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