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, June 7, 2012

2 California cities' voters embrace pension cuts - Citizen's Voice

2 California cities' voters embrace pension cuts - Citizen's Voice

SAN DIEGO - Voters in two major California cities overwhelmingly approved cuts to retirement benefits for city workers in what supporters said was a mandate that may lead to similar ballot initiatives in other states and cities buried under mounting pension obligations.

Public employee unions that aggressively fought the measures weren't able to overcome the simple message supporters used to attract voters in San Diego and San Jose: Pensions for city workers are unaffordable and more generous than many private companies offer. The result is reduced public services in the form of such things as limited hours at public libraries and unfilled potholes.

"The public is frustrated," said San Diego Councilman Carl DeMaio, a Republican who staked his mayoral bid on the pension measure and advanced to a November runoff in Tuesday's election to lead the nation's eighth-largest city.

In San Diego, two-thirds of voters favored Proposition B while the landslide was even greater in San Jose, the nation's 10th-largest city. With all precincts counted, 70 percent were in favor of Measure B.

"The voters get it, they understand what needs to be done," said San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, a Democrat who has called pension reform his highest priority.

Shrinking tax revenues during the recession are also responsible for service cuts in San Diego and San Jose, but pensions were an easy target. San Diego's payments to the city's retirement fund soared from $43 million in 1999 to $231.2 million this year, equal to 20 percent of the city's general fund budget, which pays for day-to-day operations.

As the pension payments grew, San Diego's 1.3 million residents saw roads deteriorate and libraries and recreation centers cut hours. For a while, some fire stations had to share engines and trucks. The city has cut its workforce 14 percent to 10,100 employees since Mayor Jerry Sanders took office in 2005.

San Jose's pension payments jumped from $73 million in 2001 to $245 million this year, equal to 27 percent of its general fund budget. Voters there approved construction bonds at the beginning of the last decade, but four new libraries and a police station have never opened because the city cannot afford to operate them. The city of 960,000 cut its workforce 27 percent to 5,400 over the last 10 years.

Tuesday's votes set the stage for potentially lengthy legal challenges by public employee unions. The measures are unusual because they address pensions for current employees, not just new hires.

Opponents say the measures deprive workers of benefits they were counting on when they got hired. Some workers decided against potentially more lucrative jobs with private companies, figuring their retirement was relatively safe.

Those arguments failed to resonate with voters.

"A lot of employees are disheartened," said Yolanda Cruz, president of the San Jose Municipal Employees Federation, who called the outcome disappointing.


California's tobacco tax fate dim - United Press International

SACRAMENTO, June 7 (UPI) -- The fate of a $1-per-pack tax on cigarettes to fund cancer research was clouded with some 1 million votes yet to be counted from California's Tuesday primary.

As of Wednesday, the measure trailed by at least 63,000 votes, although some officials said as many as 1 million ballots had yet to be tallied, The Los Angeles Times reported.

The possible defeat of Proposition 29 comes just months after opinion polls indicated broad support and coincided with an onslaught of opposition ads that were part of a $47 million opposition campaign underwritten by tobacco giants Philip Morris USA and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., the Times said.

One ad in which a California doctor warned that not 1 cent from the tax would go toward cancer research has tax supporters crying foul.

"They were desperately trying to make Prop. 29 about something other than cancer and tobacco," said Chris Lehman, campaign manager for Yes on 29. "With a lot of voters, they had success in doing that."

If Prop. 29 is defeated, Californians will have rejected every tax increase proposal since 2004, said Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.

"Californians are not anti-government," Coupal told the Times. "But they want value for their tax dollars, and they perceive correctly that they are not getting that in Sacramento."

The outcome, whatever it is, likely won't bode well for a vital part of California Gov. Jerry Brown's plan to extract the state from its financial morass -- a proposed November ballot measure that would raise the state sales tax and income levies on the wealthy.


California dangerously low on college degrees, group says - Contra Costa Times

California colleges and universities need to step up degree completion dramatically for the state's economy to flourish, a group of business and civic leaders said Thursday.

The state will need 2.3 million more college degrees and certificates than it is likely to produce by 2025, the report by California Competes said.

If legislators and higher-education leaders fail to act quickly, the group said, California will lose its economic and educational luster.

"We have to change business as usual in higher education," said Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster, one of the organization's board members. "This is about our future."

The group recommended. changes, including improved decision-making at California's 72 community-college districts and figuring out which college degrees will be most valuable in the future, The state also needs an independent agency to guide California's higher-education decisions, the organization said.

With 2.6 million students, community colleges are a key to improving California's outlook, the group said. The state is on track to grant 3.2 million degrees and vocational certificates in the next 13 years, researchers concluded, but 5.5 million will be needed by then.

Matt Krupnick covers higher education. Contact him at 510-208-6488. Follow him at


California Madoff Investor Suit Is Illegal, Picard Says - Bloomberg

California Attorney General Kamala Harris is breaking the law by suing to recoup illegal profits from Bernard Madoff’s fraud in competition with the Madoff trustee, according to a court filing.

The trustee, Irving Picard, is trying to block Harris’s $270 million state enforcement action against investment adviser Stanley Chais’s estate, saying that under U.S. bankruptcy law the trustee alone can take money stolen from Madoff customers. Harris has said her suit is an exception to the rule, because she is exercising her policing power under state law.

Recent court rulings disprove that, Picard said in a filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan. While her suit couldn’t be stopped if she was acting to preserve public safety or welfare, she is actually suing for money, and her suit is subject to bankruptcy rules, he said.

“When the focus of the third party action is not to prevent acts that threaten public safety and welfare but instead to obtain a pecuniary benefit for a private party, the automatic stay applies,” he said, referring to the bankruptcy judge’s power to stop lawsuits that interfere with the running of a case.

Shum Preston, a spokesman for Harris, didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment on Picard’s filing.

‘Investment Wizard’

Harris, a Democrat, wants to press a 2009 complaint in state court in Los Angeles that alleges Chais passed himself off as an “investment wizard” and earned $270 million in fees from 1995 to 2008 for “doing nothing more than funneling all of his investors’ capital into an epic Ponzi scheme” without their knowledge or authorization. She is seeking to recover illegal profits and other penalties.

Picard sued Harris Jan. 4 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan, alleging her lawsuit interferes with the collection of assets needed to help compensate Madoff victims.

The clash between federal and state powers in Picard’s suit against Harris might eventually go to the U.S. Supreme Court and make new law, said Michael Clark, a former federal prosecutor who has handled financial fraud cases.

U.S. law, which includes the bankruptcy code, is supreme, although it gives the federal government only limited authority, he said.

Legal Action

Answering Picard’s lawsuit against her, Harris said her legal action against Chais’s estate makes no attempt to recover money belonging to the Madoff brokerage trustee.

“While the trustee’s desire to maximize the amount of money available to the victims of Bernard Madoff is laudable, his attempt to interfere with the people’s action in order to achieve that goal finds no support in the Bankruptcy Code, and thus, must be rejected,” she said.

Picard sued Chais and related entities in 2009, demanding return of $1 billion allegedly withdrawn fraudulently from the Ponzi scheme. The money manager died in 2010.

Madoff, 72, is serving 150 years in prison after pleading guilty to orchestrating the fraud that destroyed his New York- based firm, which collapsed in December 2008. Picard and his law firm, Baker & Hostetler LLP, have charged about $273 million for liquidating the estate.

The bankruptcy court case is Picard v. Hall, 12-01001, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

To contact the reporter on this story: Linda Sandler in New York at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Pickering at

Enlarge image Trustee Irving Picard

Trustee Irving Picard

Trustee Irving Picard

Peter Foley/Bloomberg

Irving Picard, the trustee liquidating the firm of Bernard Madoff.

Irving Picard, the trustee liquidating the firm of Bernard Madoff. Photographer: Peter Foley/Bloomberg


Akvis ArtWork 7 introduces new painting features -

Digital photography brings out the artist in many of us, and software such as Photoshop and Lightroom add a little extra sparkle to our images.

However, sometimes an atmospheric image can be improved further with a push towards the art world, using specialist painting software.

Akvis ArtWork 7 claims to turn your photos into impressive works of art that, in some instances, can turn a mediocre shot into an atmospheric image that's worth framing and sticking on the wall.

This latest upgrade introduces Gouche - a versatile painting technique that uses dense and intensive colours. Its characteristics are brilliance and opacity. Akvis ArtWork's opacity feature and covering power will, the developer claims, enable you to create outstanding effects that can't be achieved with watercolour paints.

Gouache technique is widely used in decorative painting and when creating colour sketches and drawings.

Akvis ArtWork 7 is available for both PC and Mac platforms, or you can use it as a plug-in for Photoshop. The basic idea is to turn a photo into a painting. The program goes a stage further than the Artistic filters built in to Photoshop and Photoshop Elements, which haven't been updated or extended for many years.

Akvis ArtWork 7 introduces new features

Other effects on offer from ArtWork include Oil, Watercolor, Comics, Pen & Ink, Linocut and Pastel. There are even some extra arty touches such as canvas textures and stylised signatures to add a little flourish to your masterpiece.

Akvis ArtWork 7 introduces new features

Of course, software to turn photos into art is nothing new. Corel Painter has been around for years, but at £279/$429 and with a fairly steep learning curve, it isn't for everyone.

Akvis ArtWork 7 introduces new features

Akvis ArtWork 7 sells for £93/$99 and the latest version includes a Preview feature so you can tweak and assess your opus magnum before printing it out. Version 7 sounds like it could be a fairly essential upgrade, and should have you on your way to the Royal Academy in no time at all.

Akvis ArtWork 7 introduces new features


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