Into Antiques?

On ebay you'll find over 100 categories covering the Medieval and Renaissance periods, through Georgian, Regency and Victorian, to Edwardian, Art Nouveau and Art Deco.

Antique Dealers in California

Linda Stamberger

Linda Stamberger, author of "Antiquing In Florida", is a Florida expert and freelance writer of many genres. Visit this site to read her articles - some of which are available for purchase - as is her book.

Brooks Novelty Antiques and Records

Brooks Novelty is an all-vinyl record store. We specialize in: jukeboxes, vintage soda machines, antique slot machines, pin balls, arcade games, neon clocks and signs, rare concert posters, old advertising signs and much more!

The Antique Company

Established in the late 1900's, we occupy a huge corner building with a small garden area that leads to another 1000 sq foot store (called TAC) that contains our Mid Century collection.

Vintage Westclox

Westclox photo identification gallery and history and information of clocks, watches and other timepieces. This site primarily displays American clocks made by Westclox that were made from the early 1900's up to about the 1960's.

Antique Appraisals On-Line

We are one of the country's largest, oldest, most qualified and respected appraisal services. The majority of our appraisals are estate and personal property evaluations for valuation documentation purposes. However, we have evaluated goods and personal property for natural disaster losses (hurricanes), theft, fire, freight and shipping damage after the loss has occurred.

Connoisseur Antiques

Featuring fine antique furniture, Connoisseur Antiques is a Los Angeles Antique Furniture Showroom specializing in antique clocks and mirrors, European and French antiques, Antique Lighting, Chandeliers, Sconces, Armoires and much more.

Liz's Antique Hardware

Antique Hardware is the backbone of our business. We offer a complete selection of door, window and furniture hardware, lighting and accessories circa 1890 to 1970.

San Francisco Antique and Design Mall

San Francisco Antique and Design Mall is the largest antique mall in northern California. We opened our doors in October 1997 with 75 dealers and today we have over 200 of San Francisco's most professional antique specialists.

Ambiance Antiques

Importer of 18th and 19th Century French Antiques

C'est La Vie Antiques

European Antique and Accessories in San Diego, CA.

Lang Antiques

We carry a large selection of fine antique jewelry, antique rings & antique engagement rings. We also have vintage estate jewelry, vintage estate rings & vintage estate engagement rings from the Victorian, Art Nouveau, Edwardian & Art Deco style periods.

Once in a Blue Moon Online Thrift Store

We are an online thrift store featuring new, used, and unusual items.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

California Tobacco Tax Pits Lance Armstrong Versus Altria - Bloomberg

California Tobacco Tax Pits Lance Armstrong Versus Altria - Bloomberg
Enlarge image Lance Armstrong

Lance Armstrong

Lance Armstrong

Ramin Talaie/Bloomberg

Livestrong Foundation Founder and Chairman Lance Armstrong.

Livestrong Foundation Founder and Chairman Lance Armstrong. Photographer: Ramin Talaie/Bloomberg

Lance Armstrong, the cycling champion and cancer survivor, is putting $1.5 million behind a ballot measure to add $1 a pack to California’s cigarette tax, even as the tobacco industry has put up most of $40.7 million aimed at stopping it.

Voters in the June 5 presidential primary election will decide whether to raise the tax to $1.87 a pack and steer the additional revenue toward cancer research and stop-smoking programs. Leading the opposition are Altria Group Inc. (MO) and Reynolds American Inc. (RAI), the parent of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco, the two biggest sellers in the U.S.

“I resent the tobacco industry’s ability to influence public policy in their favor, time and time again, for a product that kills when used as directed,” Armstrong said through a spokeswoman, Katherine McLane.

His nonprofit cancer charity, Livestrong, is supporting Proposition 29 along with the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association. Armstrong overcame testicular cancer to win the Tour de France seven times.

If the measure is approved, California would become the latest state using a tax increase to raise the price of tobacco products to discourage smoking. Consumers pay the highest state tax at $4.35 a pack in New York, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nationally, the average state tax is $1.46.

The proposed California increase would push the average price of a pack to about $7.50, said Brian Miller, a spokesman for the Equalization Board, the state’s tax administrator, citing the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office.

Unchanged Since 1998

Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death and illness in the U.S., according to the CDC. The agency said California hasn’t raised its 87-cents-a-pack tax since 1998.

Altria, through its subsidiary companies Philip Morris USA, John Middleton Co. and U.S. Smokeless Tobacco, has given a combined $27.3 million to defeat Proposition 29, according to campaign data compiled by MapLight, a nonpartisan research organization based in Berkeley that tracks campaign donations.

“Altria opposes additional targeted tax increases on tobacco,” David Sutton, a spokesman for Richmond, Virginia- based Altria, said by e-mail. He called the ballot initiative a “flawed” measure.

Reynolds American’s R.J. Reynolds Tobacco, American Snuff and Santa Fe Natural Tobacco units gave $12.1 million, according to MapLight data. Reynolds, based in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, announced in March that it plans to cut 10 percent of its U.S. workforce by the end of 2014 as demand for cigarettes wanes. A Reynolds spokesman, David P. Howard, referred questions to a coalition opposing the measure.

Republican Party Donor

The California Republican Party contributed $1.2 million to fight the proposal, according to MapLight.

“I can think of a lot better uses for $40 million, like saving lives from cancer and other lethal diseases caused by tobacco,” Armstrong said.

Opponents say the initiative creates a nine-member committee to administer the funds that would duplicate existing programs and have little accountability to taxpayers.

“The language in the initiative is so ambiguous that it leaves opportunity for fraud and personal benefit,” George Runner, a member of the Equalization Board who spoke for the opposition, said by telephone. “And there is no ability for the Legislature to step back in and correct those loopholes.”

The proponents have raised about $8.6 million, according to MapLight, including $500,000 from New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and $10,000 from Marc Benioff, chief executive officer of San Francisco-based Inc. (CRM), the largest seller of online customer-management software. The mayor is founder and majority owner of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP.

$735 Million Tax

The tax would generate about $735 million a year by fiscal 2014, the legislative analyst estimated.

The committee would be subject to audits, and there are provisions in the measure to guard against fraud and conflict of interest, said Jim Knox, vice president of legislative advocacy in the California division of the American Cancer Society, in a telephone interview.

“This is a smokescreen from the tobacco companies,” Knox said. “They’re donating this money because they know that increasing the tax will reduce sales and cut their profits.”

The $49.3 million raised in the cigarette-tax battle falls short of a state record, said Daniel Newman, MapLight president. Proposition 8, the 2008 measure that put an end to same-sex marriages in California, garnered nearly $107 million, according to the Helena, Montana-based National Institute on Money in State Politics.

Financial Stakes

The amount of cash flowing into the opposition effort isn’t unusual, Newman said.

“When there’s a financial interest in the success or failure of the initiative, the corporation can afford to spend as much as it needs because of the financial stakes involved,” Newman said.

Matthew Lanford, 41, owner of Santa Barbara Cigar & Tobacco, gave $1,000 in March to oppose the measure.

“A dollar on a pack of cigarettes -- people will adjust to that,” Lanford, who has owned his business for 16 years, said by telephone. “They are $10 a pack in New York and people are still buying them.”

Smokers will go to neighboring Nevada or Arizona and buy cartons at a time, he said. The state excise tax is 80 cents a pack in Nevada and $2 in Arizona, according to the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health.

Test for Brown

The outcome of California’s cigarette tax vote may indicate the level of support for Governor Jerry Brown’s ballot initiative in November that would temporarily raise income and sales taxes to help close a $15.7 billion budget deficit.

“We will know a lot more on June 5, when that tobacco tax measure is voted on,” said Bill Whalen, a fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, near Palo Alto.

“If California voters do not sign off on an increase of cigarette taxes in a very nonsmoking state, and punishing tobacco companies that nobody likes, courtesy of ads featuring a cancer victim and Lance Armstrong, I’m not sure what tax increase can pass.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Alison Vekshin in San Francisco at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephen Merelman at


Immigrants rally at California Capitol for rights of domestic workers - Sacramento Bee

Neira Ortega said she left Oaxaca, Mexico, 15 years ago for a better life in California. She said she didn't realize she would end up a virtual prisoner in her employer's Chula Vista home.

"I had to go to work Sunday night and work until Friday night for $60 a week," Ortega said Monday at a Capitol rally. "I wasn't allowed to leave the house to buy my own food. I had to eat canned food. I couldn't go to take classes."

Ortega, 40, told her story to about 400 people, many of them domestic workers, who gathered at the Capitol to celebrate California's 16th annual Immigrant Day.

They rallied for the rights of domestic workers, better health care for older immigrants, protections for children whose parents have been deported and half a dozen another pending bills that would affect life for California's immigrant workers.

"Immigrants make up 40 percent of California's population and a third of our workforce, close to 8 million people," said Aparna Shah, director of Mobilize the Immigrant Vote.

Given their numbers, Shah said, the state should ensure immigrants are afforded the same rights and protections as all Californians.

Ortega now cleans houses in Livermore for about $90 a week. But she and other domestic workers were excluded from the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act that guaranteed other workers overtime pay, and meal and rest breaks, said Andrea Mercado, organizer for the Bay Area-based Mujeres Unidas y Activas.

Among the bills touted at the rally was Assembly Bill 889, by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, which would extend similar protections to California's 200,000 domestic workers, nannies and caregivers. AB 889 would guarantee domestic workers 30-minute meal breaks after five hours of work, 10-minute rest breaks after four hours of work, eight hours of uninterrupted sleep for live-in workers, free kitchen privileges for those who work more than five hours, overtime pay and worker's compensation.

"California's great because of the sweat of many people – they clean your toilets, babysit your children," Ammiano told the crowd. "We want an end to the servitude. They have a right not be held prisoner, not to be underpaid or mistreated."

AB 889 cleared the Assembly last year and has been stalled in the Senate since August. It is opposed by AARP, nanny agencies, the California Chamber of Commerce and Disability Rights California, among other groups. Opponents argue the bill would increase costs for people who can least afford it: frail seniors, people with disabilities and working families.

About 367,000 of the Sacramento region's residents were born outside the United States, a figure that grew by 40 percent in the last decade. Asian immigrants make up the largest group, followed by those from Latin America and Eastern Europe.

Statewide, 10.2 million Californians were born outside the United States, more than one of every four of the state's residents.

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

Call The Bee's Stephen Magagnini, (916) 321-1072.

Read more articles by Stephen Magagnini


California Presidential primary: What L.A. Dems need to know - Examiner
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    California: sunshine and star-spotting in Surf City - Daily Telegraph

    The beach is the centre of life here – a wide, deep stretch of blond sand, edged with a cycle path, pounded by surf and bathed in that wonderful breezy, heart-lifting California light. It's swept and groomed every night – and by day bronzed lifeguards stare out, square-jawed, from their huts on stilts. All life is here, especially on the busy beaches around the pier: cyclists, volleyballers, joggers, surfers and, of course, dogs. The beach is backed by the palm-tree-lined Pacific Highway, and each time the lights change at the crossing for Dog Beach – the stretch reserved for canine beachcombing – a posse of poodles, Labradors and pugs on leads storms noisily across. It's not unusual to see dogs skimming the waves on surfboards – and I have to say they managed it rather better than we did.

    If you think you have cracked Cornish surf, the waves at Huntington Beach are something else. "The conditions are a little testing today," said our cool-dude instructor, who arrived for our lesson on the crest of a wave.

    "Really, these waves are not easy," he repeated kindly some half an hour later as I emerged from yet another cold wash fast-spin and called it a day. Even my husband and sons – who rather fancied themselves on a surfboard – kept rolling in like upturned beetles.

    We did better at paddle boarding – a cross between surfing and punting – but only because we were on the canal-like backwaters of nearby Huntington Harbour. And we had a lot of fun riding across the beach and along the water's edge on a Segway, which is rather like travelling on a pogo stick with wheels. But best of all was our bike ride down the beachside cycle path to Newport Beach, picking our favourite millionaire bolt-holes as we went, breeze in our hair, the sun sparkling on the water.

    The cycle paths are one of the great joys of this stretch of southern California – as we found when we moved up the coast to Santa Monica, our base in Los Angeles. LA is really a series of villages, and Santa Monica is one of the most attractive and approachable. Its wide, peaceful roads, lined with pretty houses and soaring palms, lead down to cliff-top gardens and, below them, more of that dazzling golden sand. It all feels very safe – in fact, the greatest threat is being mown down by a zealous jogger. Borrowing bikes from our hotel, the stylish and civilised Oceana, we pedalled past the trapeze school and carousels on Santa Monica pier, past the prophets and bodybuilders, to Venice Beach, where stalls were selling all sorts of hippie gear, from feather headdresses to tarot cards and peace-slogan T-shirts.

    There was rather smarter shopping round the corner from our hotel, in chic Montana Avenue, where we breakfasted at the quirky Marmalade CafĂ© with an eclectic crowd of locals. It didn't include any of the neighbourhood celebrities – such as Marcia Cross (Bree from Desperate Housewives), but we saw enough stardom for a lifetime on our two-hour open-top minibus tour of the movie stars' homes in Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Bel Air. "The secret of celebrity-spotting is to look for black Range Rovers," said our driver, who showed all the zeal of a safari guide tracking lion. "We had a sighting of Orlando Bloom a couple of days ago," he announced proudly. "He gave us a wave and a smile."

    We were shown the spot where Hugh Grant was arrested with Divine Brown, saw the Osbournes' house (later, so our driver said, bought by Christina Aguilera) and cruised down Rodeo Drive. We drove high among the canyons and pines of the Hollywood hills for a bird's-eye view of the city and the famous Hollywood sign (rebuilt with celebrity donations after termites ate the wooden original) and lurked in the road outside the Beckhams' home and, rather morbidly, the house where Michael Jackson died.

    The most exciting moment was seeing someone exercising in Johnny Depp's garage – but it was "probably just his carpenter", according to our omniscient guide. By the end, I felt bloated with celebrity – as though I'd read 50 copies of Hello magazine back to back – but it was a great way to see the most glamorous bits of the city.

    Other trips from LA, for my sons at least, included a visit to the Six Flags Magic Mountain theme park. This, along with surfing and "not too many museums", had been part of the family holiday contract, and the park more than lived up to their expectations. "It just dwarfs the UK parks," was their verdict, "really good rides without all the hype."

    My husband and I retreated to the blissfully cool hilltop campus of the Getty Center nearby, and wandered through the gardens and galleries, glimpsing just a fraction of the collections of American and European art and photography.

    Next, we eased our way north up the coast to the lovely old mission town of Santa Barbara, where the highlights were kayaking among sea lions in the harbour and riding at Rancho Oso, in the foothills and river valleys of Los Padres National Forest. Inland California proved every bit as beautiful as the coast, as we rode among flowery meadows and groves of oak, silver willows and cottonwood trees.

    From there on, I have to draw a misty veil over the rest of the trip. Our final highlight was to have been a drive along the dramatic Big Sur coast towards San Francisco, but just north of San Simeon the blue skies faded and we were plunged into thick, chilly California coastal fog. At points we could just make out a grey rocky shoreline, and the odd driftwood skeleton. But for most of its length, one of the world's most spectacular drives was more like an eerie scene from a Hitchcock film.

    Getting there

    The flights were the most expensive part of the trip. We bought ours (Virgin Atlantic) as a fly-drive package through Trailfinders (020 7368 1200;, which had the cheapest direct flights at the time we travelled. Currently it has fly-drive options from £599 per person for a family or group of four, including flights to Los Angeles, returning from San Francisco, and 10 days’ car hire. Valid for travel in September 2012; book by March 27. Petrol, of course, is much cheaper in the US than in the UK.

     Hotels on the California coast are not cheap in midsummer, but the Joie de Vivre group (, which has some great, stylish properties across California and beyond, has regular reductions of 25 per cent on selected properties on its website. We stayed at the Shorebreak in Huntington Beach (double rooms from about £142 a night) and, in San Francisco, at the Japanese-style Kabuki Hotel (double rooms from about £106).

     In Santa Monica we stayed at the Oceana (, a delightful, stylish and friendly boutique hotel just across the Pacific Highway from the beach; from about £248 a night for a courtyard-view room with two double beds (which can sleep a family of four), including bike hire; breakfast extra. Check the website for late offers.

    Our Santa Barbara base was a two-bedroom cottage at the Cheshire Cat Inn b &  b ( This was a bit frillier than the other hotels, but was within walking distance of shops and museums and had free parking. From about £182 a night for a two-bedroom cottage, including breakfast in the lovely garden.


     Huntington Beach: surf lesson and bike hire (; Segway tour (; paddle-boarding lessons (

    Santa Monica:bike hire from perrys; tour of movie stars’ homes (starline; Getty Center (; Six Flags Magic Mountain (

    Santa Barbara: Rancho Oso horseback trail (; Santa Barbara kayak tours (

    More information (for Huntington Beach);;


    California Science Center Names New Wing for Space Shuttle Endeavour - Space News


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