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.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

California tobacco tax trails by razor-thin margin - AP -

California tobacco tax trails by razor-thin margin - AP -

Two weeks after California elections, a closely watched effort to impose a new tax on tobacco in the nation's most populous state remains too close to call.

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With 400,000 ballots outstanding as of Tuesday, the measure that would add a $1-a-pack cigarette tax is trailing by 17,500 votes, according to data compiled by the secretary of state.

Through a barrage of campaign ads, tobacco companies were able to cut support for the tax plan spearheaded by champion cyclist Lance Armstrong. Backing for the measure dwindled from a two-thirds majority in March down to a dead heat on Election Day.

Opponents raised $47 million to fight the proposal, dramatically outspending supporters, who raised $12 million.

Since the June 5 voting, Proposition 29 has seemed headed for defeat by razor-thin margins, generally trailing by less than a percentage point.

In election night returns, the proposal, which would in part fund cancer research, was losing by tens of thousands of votes, prompting many to assume it was dead. But supporters have refused to concede defeat.

"Last week, someone was thinking about having a press conference and conceding, and everybody else said, 'Are you out of your mind?'" said Stan Glantz of the University of California, San Francisco's Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education.

Glantz has been running statistical analyses of the returns since the polls closed and said the chances of a reversal are "unlikely but not impossible."

"At this point, everybody's just biting their fingernails," he said.

Tobacco tax opponents are also watching returns, but with a more optimistic eye.

"We're not expecting any huge swings, and we are anticipating that our lead will hold," said Beth Miller, spokeswoman for the No on 29 campaign.

In order for the tax to squeak through, 54 percent of the remaining ballots would have to favor the measure, said Contra Costa Registrar of Voters Steve Weir.

Weir added that if the margin continued to tighten, it was conceivable that California would hold its first statewide re-count for a ballot measure.

"For there to be less than a half a percent spread, that's very, very unusual," he said.

Observers around the nation have also been watching the contest. Smoking foes say that Big Tobacco's success in branding the tax as a government boondoggle could reverberate in other states.

Election officials have until July 6 to report final results. Another California tobacco tax measure lost by a thin margin in 2006.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Faulty tests blamed for California nuclear plant leak - Reuters UK

SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO, California | Tue Jun 19, 2012 7:10am BST

SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO, California (Reuters) - Tubes that leaked radioactive steam at a California nuclear power plant, leading to an indefinite shutdown, were not properly tested by the manufacturer prior to installation, nuclear regulators told an overflowing public hearing on Monday.

The San Onofre Nuclear Power plant, located in Orange County, has been shut down since January 31, when plant operators discovered a small radiation leak in one of the plants' two units. The 2,150-megawatt plant is operated by Edison International's Southern California Edison utility.

The nuclear station is located halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego and is critical to the grid to import electricity into southern California. Its extended shutdown raises the possibility of rolling power outages as warmer temperatures boost demand for power over the summer.

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Monday pinned the blame for the leak on Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, which it said underestimated the velocity of water and steam surging through the generator by a factor of three or four times in its computerized test of the equipment.

The tubes were also not held together tightly enough inside the troubled Unit 3 reactor, allowing them to rub against each other and causing premature wear, regulatory officials said.

Eight of the 129 tubes tested by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission since the shutdown at the plant's troubled Unit 3 generator failed pressure testing, an unprecedented number, said Elmo Collins, regional administrator for the Region IV office of the NRC.

"We've never seen that before," he said of the test results. "This is a significant, serious safety issue."

Officials from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and Southern California Edison said they would not allow the plant to reopen until it was safe to do so, and declined to give a specific timeline for restarting the plant.

"Both San Onofre units will be shut down until repairs are made and we and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission are satisfied it is safe to operate," said Pete Dietrich, senior vice president and chief nuclear officer for the power plant.

While the regulatory commission has some authority over contractors such as Mitsubishi, Collins made it clear that it's Southern California Edison that will ultimately be held accountable if penalties are eventually levied by the government.

A crowd of over 400 people showed up for the hearing, many asking pointed questions about the competence of the Southern California Edison and the regulatory commission, as well as raising questions about the safety of nuclear power.

Dozens of environmentalists held a rally prior to the meeting with anti-nuclear signs, including one banner that read "Fukushima not again!" - a reference to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster last year following the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan.

Damon Moglen, climate and energy director for green group Friends of the Earth, said that Southern California Edison made significant design changes to the plant without seeking an amendment to its existing license, as is required by the regulatory commission.

His group submitted petition to nuclear regulators on Monday to require the company to obtain a new license, complaining that in his view the commission was "asleep at the regulatory wheel."

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission said its investigation into what went wrong at the plant was ongoing and promised to keep the public apprised of any new developments. A written report on the findings will be released next month, regulators said.

(Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Lisa Shumaker)


California gasoline prices drop; average falls below $4 a gallon - Los Angeles Times

Retail gasoline prices are plunging in California, with averages dropping below $4 a gallon for the first time since mid-February, according to one fuel-price survey.

The average cost of a gallon of regular gasoline in California reached $3.99, down 12.7 cents since last week, according to the AAA Fuel Gauge Report. The third straight week of double-digit price drops left the California average 1.1 cents below the 2011 level. A month earlier, the state's average was $4.35 a gallon, AAA said.

An Energy Department survey put California's average a tad higher at $4.029 a gallon Monday, down 13.5 cents from a week earlier. The two polls of fuel retailers, which use different sources and methods, usually track each other fairly closely although their results may differ slightly.

Chatsworth resident Adil Mehta was more annoyed than thrilled by the recent price declines.

"Less than $4 is certainly better," said Mehta, who works in the aviation industry. "But this is still quite a high price."

"If the prices could stabilize at $3.50," Mehta said, "that is something I could live with, and it would still be possible to maintain a decent lifestyle without having to worry."

Prices should decline further, experts said.

Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst for the Oil Price Information Service, said California's average gasoline price could drop as low as 3.25 a gallon in the coming weeks. Kloza's company provides the data for the AAA Fuel Gauge Report averages, tallying daily credit-card receipts from more than 100,000 fuel sellers around the U.S.

"Motorists in California will be getting a nice break," Kloza said. But, he added, California's isolation from the rest of the nation's oil and fuel sources and its relatively tight refining capacity could throw a wrench into the works.

California refinery gasoline supplies are still running 14.7% below 2011 numbers, according to the state's Energy Commission.

The state's refineries had been operating at some of their lowest levels in many years. As of June 8, however, production of the state's expensive blend of gasoline was running at 6.71 million barrels, which was slightly ahead of last year's pace.

"West Coast wholesale gasoline prices are now among the lowest in the nation, with California, Oregon and Washington seeing their averages drop back under $4 a gallon," said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for California's average could fall to $3.75 a gallon soon, he said.

GasBuddy reports on prices at more than 140,000 retail outlets in North America. On Monday in California, service stations in Suisun City, Fairfield, Highland and near Travis Air Force Base were selling gasoline for as little as $3.59 a gallon.

Nationally, the average gas price was also falling, according to AAA and the Energy Department.

AAA put the U.S. average at $3.505 on Monday, down 3.5 cents from a week earlier. The Energy Department pegged the national average at $3.533, down 3.9 cents from a week earlier.

The U.S. benchmark oil contract was down 76 cents a barrel at $83.27 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. In London, the Brent oil used to set the price of most U.S. imports fell $1.56 to $96.05 a barrel.


California to Review and Update Flammability Standards - YAHOO!

California Gov. Jerry Brown is directing the Bureau of Electronic and Appliance Repair, Home Furnishings and Thermal Insulation to revisit the state's 40-year-old flammability standards and initiate updates, a news release says.

Why does the governor want to change flammability standards?

"We must find better ways to meet fire safety standards by reducing and eliminating -- wherever possible -- dangerous chemicals," Brown says. The news release comes after studies point to the toxicity of flame retardants being used and failed legislative attempts to change the requirement to apply them to consumer furnishings.

What are the current rules?

BHFTI summarizes the flammability standard in Technical Bulletin 117, which sets forth acceptable after-flame, after-glow and char-length measurements for furnishings. Regulations govern the use of flame retardants in bedding, upholstery, resilient filler materials and foam.

How do state fire statistics compare to the rest of the nation?

The U.S. Fire Administration says in 2009, the national average of fire deaths was 11 per million people, while California's rate was 5.5 per million.

What were previous efforts to change standards?

Since 2007, the legislature made five attempts to change the rules governing the use of mandated flame retardants. Environmental Health News recounts the introduction and failure of AB 513 seeking to outlaw decaBDE in 2007 and AB 706 prohibiting brominated and chlorinated flame retardants in 2008. Other failed attempts were SB 772 (baby furnishing exemptions in 2009), SB 1291 (attempting to shift oversight of regulations to the Green Chemistry Initiative in 2010) and SB 147 (looking to change flammability testing rules in 2011).

Why do proponents worry about changing the rules?

The Latino Times asserts California's low number of fire deaths is an outcropping of its flame-retardant material standards. The publication also questions the legitimacy of claims that flame retardants pose health risks. In support, proponents of current regulations point to the Polyurethane Foam Association, which notes TB-117-compliant foam "increases the safety of home furnishings by delaying the onset of free burning conditions."

What do critics say?

Critics assert the chemical industry lobby has thwarted lawmakers' efforts to change Technical Bulletin 117, which has remained in place for 40 years. The Environmental Health News outlines how industry trade groups have spent $22.5 million lobbying to prevent changes. The Chicago Tribune revealed a burn surgeon called to testify by Citizens for Fire Safety Institute -- the Consumer Federation of California identifies this group as a chemical industry front group -- recounted an event that "did not exist" as described. Environmental Health Perspectives warns chlorinated and brominated flame retardants are causes for concern over toxicity.

Sylvia Cochran is a Los Angeles area resident with a firm finger on the pulse of California politics. Talk radio junkie, community volunteer and politically independent, she scrutinizes the good and the bad from both sides of the political aisle.


California bar: Illegal immigrant should get law license -


Courtesy of Sergio Garcia

A California State Bar committee is recommending that Sergio Garcia, an illegal immigrant, receive a law license in a first-ever case for the California Supreme Court that could affect others like him who hope to follow in his footsteps.

Updated at 445 p.m. ET -- An illegal immigrant applying for a law license in California should be allowed to receive it, the State Bar of California argues in a filing to the state Supreme Court.

Sergio Garcia, 35, of Chico, Calif., has met the rules for admission, including passing the bar exam and the moral character review, and his lack of legal status in the United States should not automatically disqualify him, the Committee of Bar Examiners said Monday.

“ … Mr. Garcia’s status in the United States, should not, ipso facto, be grounds for excluding him from law licensure. He has met all of the prescribed qualifications and there is no reason to believe he cannot take the oath and faithfully uphold his duties as an attorney,” the bar said.

Garcia's father is a naturalized citizen, according to the bar, and Garcia is waiting for a visa that would give him legal permanent residency. His application for a law license is being weighed by the court because his case is unprecedented in the state, the bar committee said.

A similar case is being heard in Florida for a bar applicant in that state, Jose Godinez-Samperio, who came from Mexico to the United States as a child with his parents and overstayed a tourist visa. How justices rule in the cases in California and Florida could affect other illegal immigrants who hope to follow in their footsteps.

Some 11.5 million “unauthorized immigrants,” as the Department of Homeland Security calls illegal immigrants, lived in the United States as of January 2011. Of that, 6.8 million were from Mexico, like Garcia, according to the department’s Office of Immigration Statistics. On Friday, President Barack Obama announced that some of the immigrants who came to the country as children – and met other requirements -- would be able to get two-year work permits. He also called on immigration officials to halt deportation proceedings against them.

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Garcia, who attended law school and college in California, does not fit in that group because he is over the age limit of 30, but he is nonetheless overjoyed for those who do. He has been waiting nearly 18 years for a visa, though his petition for it was approved in 1995, the bar said.

“That’s the state of our immigration system … our immigration system is broken,” Garcia told, estimating he will have to wait another five years for the visa. “It’s really painful.”

A decision on his bar application could still be at least months away for Garcia. Others now have one month to submit their own legal filings in the case, and then the state bar would have another month to reply to those, the court said.

“I have always been an eternal optimist so this (bar recommendation) does give me hope,” Garcia, who submitted his application to the bar in 2009, told “I have faith that my dream of being an attorney will be realized sooner rather than later.”

In the filing, the bar committee said it was not aware of any statute, regulation or authority that would preclude his admission. It noted that Garcia’s employability in the U.S. should not determine whether he gets a license, citing the cases of foreign students who can get admitted to the California bar but may not stay in the country to practice law afterward.

“ … the grant of a law license provides no guarantee of a pathway to lawful employment in the United States for these individuals,” the bar committee said. “What Mr. Garcia, or any other foreign applicant, does with his license after licensure must comport with federal regulations and that is a matter strictly between him and the federal government.”

Former Supreme Court Justice Carlos Moreno, who supports Garcia’s application, said that the court was the ultimate authority on attorney admissions in the state and would likely establish a rule in this case that would apply to similar ones in the future.

But the possibility that undocumented immigrants could receive law licenses doesn’t sit well with some.

“I think that’s ridiculous,” said Marilyn DeYoung, chairman of Californians for Population Stabilization, which advocates for secure borders and allowing fewer immigrants into the country.  “First of all, they are defying the law of America by being here illegally so, and now they want to be a lawyer and to practice American law. I think that’s really sort of stupid that our California bar would recommend that.”

While DeYoung said she could sympathize with Garcia’s long wait for his visa and she wouldn’t be unhappy if an exception was made for him, she expressed concern that a general rule could come out of this case that would allow any illegal immigrant to get a license.

“We would definitely oppose that,” she said. “This is, we feel, is not right.”

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