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.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

California voters don't support legalizing pot - United Press International

California voters don't support legalizing pot - United Press International

LOS ANGELES, May 31 (UPI) -- A poll of California voters found they don't support legalizing pot, although they approve the use of medical marijuana as treatment for severe illness.

The poll, conducted by the University of Southern California Dornsife and the Los Angeles Times, found that just 46 percent of voters support the legalization of marijuana for "general or recreational use by adults," while 50 percent oppose it, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday.

The poll questioned about 1,000 registered voters between May 17 and 21 across California. It had a margin of error is 3.5 percentage points.

"They like the idea of providing marijuana for medical use, but they're worried that the law is being abused," said Dan Schnur, director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at USC.

Nationwide, however, more voters are for the legalization of pot for recreational use than in California. A Gallup poll in October showed support nationwide for legalizing marijuana at 50 percent and a May Rasmussen Report found 56 percent of voters said they were in favor of legalizing and regulating marijuana sales like alcohol and tobacco.

The USC/Times poll found that Independent voters -- 60 percent of them -- were most likely to support the legalization of marijuana, while 50 percent of Democrats said they support it and just 28 percent of Republicans said the same.

"It's the decline-to-state voters, those kind of independent ones that don't align with either party, who are the ones really pushing this," said Dave Kanevsky, research director for American Viewpoint, a Republican polling firm.

"It's no worse than alcohol or tobacco that are currently legalized," said Daniel, a 41-year-old Independent who was polled. "People should absolutely not be persecuted for it."


Prisoners challenge legality of solitary confinement lasting more than a decade - The Guardian

California's prison system is facing an unprecedented lawsuit which accuses it of operating an unconstitutional and "uniquely harsh regime" in which hundreds of prisoners have spent a decade or more locked in solitary confinement.

On Thursday the Center for Constitutional Rights and a team of California attorneys filed a complaint (pdf) on behalf of 10 men housed at Pelican Bay state prison, California's most restrictive correctional facility, designed to house the so-called "worst of the worst".

The suit is the first of its kind to challenge the constitutionality of holding a US prisoner in solitary confinement for 10 years or more. Collectively, the plaintiffs in the case have spent over two centuries locked up alone, the bulk of that time in the cramped, windowless cells of Pelican Bay's controversial Security Housing Unit (SHU). One plaintiff has been in solitary confinement for 33 years.

In addition to extended periods of isolation, the suit also challenges the state's widespread use of solitary confinement and the means by which a prisoner may be released from the unit.

"California is unique in the sense that its use of solitary confinement is really rampant," said Alexis Agathocleous, an attorney representing the prisoners. "There is just no other state in the country that consistently retains so many prisoners in solitary confinement for such long periods."

The suit calls for the release of all Pelican Bay prisoners who have spent more than ten years in the SHU, the alleviation of certain conditions in the unit – including sensory deprivation and the lack of social and physical contact – and "meaningful review" of the need for the continued confinement of current and future SHU prisoners. It follows a series nationwide prison hunger strikes that began last summer aimed at reforming California's solitary confinement practices.

A quarter of the world's prisoners

Though home to just 5% of the global population, the US houses a quarter of the planet's prisoners, with the largest concentration in California. Overcrowding has become so severe that in March 2011 the supreme court ordered the state to reduce its overall prison population by more than 30,000 inmates.

California's high number of inmates has exacerbated the problem of violent prison gangs, which last year were linked to 1,759 homicides, attempted homicides and violent attacks on staff members or other inmates.

While some states have opted to remove gang members from the general population by placing them in solitary confinement, California has taken the extra step of sending not only full gang members but also inmates who associate with gangs to maximum security facilities, including Pelican Bay's SHU.

As of 2011, California determined more than 3,000 prisoners were gang members or associates and held them in one of the state's three maximum security facilities as a result. Over 500 of Pelican Bay's SHU prisoners – roughly half of the men in held in the unit – had been there for more than 10 years; 78 of them for more than 20.

The lives of Pelican Bay's SHU prisoners are severely isolated. The men spend no less than 22 hours each day confined to a 8 x 10" cell. Communication is strictly limited. Simply greeting a validated gang member or associate in passing can be used as evidence of gang affiliation. One of the plaintiffs, Luis Esquivel, claims he has not shaken another person's hand in 13 years and fears he has forgotten the feeling of human contact.

Personal telephone calls are prohibited except in certain emergency cases. Plaintiff Todd Ashker says he was only able to speak to his mother twice in the 22 years he has been in the SHU. She has since died. Meanwhile, Gabriel Reyes – sentenced to 25 years to life after burglarizing an uninhabited building – was allegedly denied a telephone call home when his stepfather died because he had been allowed a telephone call months earlier when his biological father passed away. Reyes has not hugged his daughters in nearly two decades.

The primary reason prisoners remain in the SHU, according to the suit, is their refusal or inability to "debrief" administrators on the gang activity of other inmates; essentially providing officials with every piece of information they have on the violent gang they are accused of being linked to.

According to the plaintiffs' complaint, the requirement "condition[s] release from inhumane conditions on cooperation with prison officials in a manner that places prisoners and their families in significant danger of retaliation".

Agathocleous, along with his co-counsels and clients, argues California's solitary confinement policies cast too wide a net, resulting in lengthy and tortuous isolation over tenuous links to gangs.

"California places prisoners in solitary confinement for decades upon decades based only on allegations of gang affiliation, not gang-related violence," he said.

Agathocleous points to the case of plaintiff George Ruiz, a 69-year-old prisoner who has been in solitary confinement since 1984. Convicted of robbery and kidnapping in 1981, Ruiz has been disciplined once in the last 25 years for violating a prison rule; "mail violation with no security threat."

"This is a guy with relatively minimal disciplinary history, certainly not somebody you would expect to be locked up in solitary confinement for 25 years, yet there he is," Agathocleous said.

In 2007 Ruiz was denied inactive gang status and has remained in the SHU because his name appeared on two lists found in separate prisoners' cells suggesting he was in "good standing" with a prison gang, he also possessed photocopied pictures drawn by other prisoners. Prison officials claimed the drawings included gang-affiliated symbols.

Richard Johnson – who is serving 33 years for drug related offenses and has never incurred a major disciplinary offense – had similar experience. In 1997 he was denied inactive gang status after prison officials discovered a book about George Jackson – the Black Panther killed at San Quentin prison in 1971 – in his cell.

Indeed several of the plaintiffs' alleged gang ties were based on the confidential allegations of fellow prisoners – which the accused say they are unable to challenge – and materials found in their cells.

Regardless of a prisoner's past, Agathocleous argues extended placement in solitary confinement is inexcusable.

"Even for those who have committed violent acts, putting someone in solitary confinement for prolonged periods of time puts them at a significant risk of descending into irreversible mental illness," he said. "This is just a human rights abuse. It's torture. It's unacceptable under any circumstances."

Agathocleous' claim echoes statements made by the United Nations' special rapporteur on torture in October.

"Segregation, isolation, separation, cellular, lockdown, Supermax, the hole, Secure Housing Unit… whatever the name, solitary confinement should be banned by States as a punishment or extortion technique," Juan E. Méndez told the UN's third committee. Citing studies on the mental health impacts of solitary confinement, Méndez said isolation that lasted more than 15 days should be absolutely prohibited.

Following last summer's hunger strikes – which involved thousands of prisoners – the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation issued an outline of revised strategy aimed at reforming its solitary confinement policies.

Agathocleous says the strategy fell short of instituting real change, arguing it remains unclear how prisoner can be removed from the SHU.

"It's been months since the second hunger strike ended, still the prisoners have seen no relief whatsoever on their core demands," he said. "It's wholly inadequate."

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation declined to comment until it had fully reviewed the complaint.


California Wine Country and National Parks: The Perfect Summer Travel Pairing - YAHOO!


SAN FRANCISCO, May 31, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Aside from good food, nothing pairs with wine better than spectacular scenery. Wine lovers will get that perfect pairing this summer when they combine one of California's 25 beautiful national parks with a nearby iconic wine country experience.

With dozens of diverse wine regions and even more grape varieties across the Golden State, wine lovers can savor their favorite wines and explore new ones on their way to and from great parks from Yosemite in the High Sierra down to Joshua Tree in the desert. Like the stewards of California's unique national parks, winemakers and growers also feel a deep connection to the land, making California a world leader in sustainable winegrowing - and making it easy for eco-minded travelers to find the perfect wine to complement their journey.

While in wine country, outdoor enthusiasts should make time to add an inspiring hike, bike ride or picnic in a stunning vineyard or valley. Or take it all in with a bird's eye view on a sunrise hot air balloon ride followed by brunch with your favorite local wines. Check out these great wine regions that pair perfectly with some of California's leading national parks.

For more information on California wines, wine regions and winery activities - from tastings to tours, picnics, concerts, bocce ball and more -- go to Wine Institute's lifestyle and travel website at:

SOURCE Wine Institute



California Senate moves to ban gay-to-straight therapy for kids - CNN

(CNN) -- The California Senate passed Wednesday a bill that would regulate therapies that purport to be able to change a child's sexual orientation -- from gay to straight.

"The entire medical community is opposed to these phony therapies," Sen. Ted W. Lieu, D-Torrance, said after passage of Senate Bill 1172, which he introduced.

SB 1172 would prohibit children younger than 18 from undergoing sexual orientation change efforts. blogs: Gay in America

"Being lesbian or gay or bisexual is not a disease or mental disorder for the same reason that being a heterosexual is not a disease or a mental disorder," Lieu said in a news release. "The medical community is unanimous in stating that homosexuality is not a medical condition."

The bill is expected to go to the Assembly for an initial policy review next month.

In a telephone interview, the director of communications for Equality California, called the bill's passage "long past overdue."

"The California legislature has taken the right first step in making sure that young people are protected from these unscrupulous therapists who are really engaging in therapeutic deception that is based on junk science," said Rebekah Orr, whose group took the bill to Lieu.

Privacy laws make it difficult to estimate the number of people who have undergone such practices, "but we certainly know it's not an uncommon experience," she said.

"We hear regularly from survivors of these programs who nearly universally were driven near the point of suicide before they were finally able to escape the program and start to heal," she said.

The president of an organization that promotes reparative therapy, the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality, called the bill "another triumph of political activism over objective science."

"In NARTH's view, a truly scientific response would call for more and better research to answer these questions, not a legislative ban that runs roughshod over professional judgment and parental choice," said Christopher Rosik, a psychologist.

But Peter Drake, who participated in one such program, backed the Senate's move as a way of protecting youths from "a very very dangerous therapy that doesn't work and leaves a lot of people feeling despair and hopelessness."

Drake said he was in a straight marriage for 28 years and had two children before he came out. "I was always faithful to my wife but I was always struggling," he told CNN in a telephone interview. "After many years of struggling and hoping it would go away and it didn't, I heard about reparative therapy."

Couples challenge Illinois law denying same-sex marriage

After three years in the therapy, "there was absolutely no change in my sexual orientation," he said. Instead, he felt "despair, embarrassment and I became depressed really."

Only after he abandoned reparative therapy and entered more traditional therapy did he improve, he said. "I have always been a gay man and I just had a hard time accepting it."

His wife and children have been supportive, he said.

James Guay began the therapy at age 16. "I volunteered for it, and it was still incredibly damaging," he said. "It created a lot of pain and havoc and emotional turmoil that this bill hopes to prevent."

Guay, now a 40-year-old marriage and family therapist in private practice in Beverly Hills, said he spent years trying to become straight. "It didn't work," he said in a telephone interview. "When the reality sinks in that there has been no intrinsic change in romantic and love attraction, then we carry the burden: Oh, there's something wrong with me. That's where a lot of the damage can be done."

At age 20, Guay finally gave up his effort to change. "I met my first boyfriend," he said. "That kind of shined the light on the fact that, oh, wow, this feels very natural, feels very right, does not feel like this wicked, evil sinful kind of thing that I was told that it was."

Orr predicted the bill would pass the assembly, but said her group has work to do to ensure that happens.

"The reality is that a lot of folks don't really know much about this," she said. "So we have education work to do."

Wednesday's 23-13 party line vote came a few weeks after psychiatrist Robert L. Spitzer, in a letter to the editor of the Archives of Sexual Behavior, apologized for his 2003 study of reparative therapy, which suggested that it could help gays and lesbians become straight.

In his study, he asked 200 participants to describe their changes in sexual orientation; most said they had become mostly or exclusively heterosexual.

But the study was deeply flawed, Spitzer concluded nearly a decade after its publication. "I offered several (unconvincing) reasons why it was reasonable to assume that the participants' reports of change were credible and not self-deception or outright lying," he wrote. "But the simple fact is that there was no way to determine if the participants' accounts of change were valid.

"I believe I owe the gay community an apology for my study making unproven claims of the efficacy of reparative therapy. I also apologize to any gay person who wasted time and energy undergoing some form of reparative therapy because they believed that I had proven that reparative therapy works with some 'highly motivated' individuals."

"Everyone agrees that this quackery needs to stop," Lieu said in the news release.

He predicted that approval of his patient protection plan "will help raise public awareness of bogus and unethical therapies by mental health providers who promise to change a person's sexual orientation."

He added that recent testimony during policy committee reviews had shown that "These non-scientific efforts have led in some cases to patients later committing suicide, as well as severe mental and physical anguish."


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