A nationwide scam on Airbnb?

I’ve never used Airbnb myself, but I have several friends who’ve done so.  I was therefore rather worried to read that there seems to be a widespread scam going on involving properties listed on Airbnb. I had unknowingly stumbled into a nationwide web of deception that appeared to span eight cities and nearly 100 property listings—an undetected scam created by some person or organization that had figured out just how easy it is to exploit Airbnb’s poorly written rules in order to collect thousands of dollars through phony listings, fake reviews, and, when necessary, intimidation. Considering Airbnb’s lax enforcement of its own policies,

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The Albanian Mafia – it’s a real thing

A couple of years ago, my wife and I went down to Dallas-Fort Worth to buy some replacement chairs for our dining room table.  We were given the address of an “interesting” restaurant furniture shop, which seemed to be stocked largely with things that had fallen off the back of various and sundry trucks.  The proprietor, “Eddie”, was a very interesting person too:  an Albanian immigrant, who’d been in the USA for a couple of decades, but hadn’t lost anything of his Mediterranean background or his Albanian customs.  Miss D. was highly amused by the almost courtly way he treated her as

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The collapse of America’s cities into Third World conditions

It’s infuriating to be living in the leading nation in the First World, the largest or second-largest economy in the world (depending on who’s measuring, and how), and the most powerful nation in the world, and yet see Third World levels of filth, infrastructural breakdown and dysfunctional government invade many of our cities. The headlines over the past few years tell a horrifying story to anyone who values the achievements of civilization.  I won’t bother linking to actual reports here;  there are so many that simple Internet searches will find an abundance of them.  Consider these areas of concern: Public

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Gun crime and lead poisoning – a link?

No, not the kind of lead poisoning that comes from getting shot.  A Milwaukee report suggests a different kind of linkage. More than half of the people who were perpetrators or victims of gun violence in Milwaukee in recent years had elevated blood lead levels as children, according to a study released Friday by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The study of nearly 90,000 residents, conducted at the University’s Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health, suggests a link between early childhood lead exposure and gun violence in later years. . . . Lindsay R. Emer, the study’s lead author … said that while the

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Well, what did they expect?

Australian reader Snoggeramus brings us another example of bureaucrats living in a dream world – that backfires on them. Two social workers at Melbourne’s controversial safe injecting room are facing drug trafficking charges. A 49-year-old man and 36-year-old woman were arrested on Thursday, along with six others, following raids at North Richmond Community Health and several homes. The centre has been the site of Victoria’s first safe injecting room since 2018, as part of a two-year trial. The pair, who work as counsellors, are accused of supplying drugs to addicts who use the service and have been stood down following their arrest.

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A serious warning about firearms security

It’s long been the practice among security-conscious firearms owners to obscure the serial numbers in any photographs of firearms they put up on the Internet.  This is because unscrupulous characters have been known to note the serial numbers, report “their” firearm stolen (with that same serial number), and claim the loss against their own insurance policies.  The insurance company/ies then keep the firearm on the stolen property lists, and if there’s ever an inspection (for example, you’re stopped while driving, and the policeman checks your firearm serial number against his database), you may find yourself in trouble.  Alternatively, if you

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What’s really going on in Mexico – and threatening the US

Three articles have shed a great deal of light on what’s really happening in Mexico right now.  They’re essential reading, particularly because the mainstream media simply aren’t covering that country in anything like sufficient detail.  To call Mexico a “failed state” is being charitable, as this news report makes clear. The first article is from The Federalist, titled “A Drug Cartel Just Defeated The Mexican Military In Battle“. The battle of Culiacan marks a turning point in the collapse of the Mexican state. There is now no doubt about who is in control of Sinaloa, let alone the rest of

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Saturday snippet: Sam the Sex God

Some years ago I published “Walls, Wire, Bars and Souls“, a memoir of my service as a prison chaplain. Many of the realities of prison life are grim and unappealing, but there are flashes of humor even inside the walls that can relieve the tension.  Here’s one incident, as narrated in that book. A large proportion of the hardened criminals in high-security institutions are mentally unstable, to say the least. Some are downright psychotic. We have psychologists who constantly monitor our inmate population, treat those who need it, and advise the rest of us on problem areas. Inmates whose condition

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Crime, reform, and partisan politics

It looks like the administration in Seattle is doing a terrible job of controlling crime in that city.  Two reports by local business associations highlight the problems they’re facing as a result. I’m obliged to the good people at Bearing Arms for putting together this summary of the situation. I’ll quote it at length, because it deserves attention – and it’s symptomatic of the situation in so many of our larger cities at present. In fact, in Seattle, crimes like rape, homicide, and aggravated assaults are the highest recorded in over a decade … A new report commissioned by business associations in Seattle reveals that

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Saved from the scrap heap of history – for now, at least

I was interested to learn that one of the ancient crowns of Ethiopia’s emperors has been saved from looters. After 21 years tucked away inside a Rotterdam flat, a priceless 18th century crown is finally being repatriated to Ethiopia with the help of a Dutch art detective. For more than two decades, the crown has been guarded by Dutch-Ethiopian national Sirak Asfaw in a secret location in his Netherlands home. A former refugee, Sirak fled Ethiopia during the “Red Terror” purges in the 1970s. Over the ensuing years, he hosted Ethiopian pilots, diplomats and refugees as they passed through the city.

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