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July 28, 2011

Woman rents out her place via AirBnB, returns to find it destroyed

Woman Utterly Pillaged via Airbnb
When blogger and frequent traveler Emily J returned from three weeks of business travel, she found that the stranger to whom she had rented her apartment did quite a number on it. A "pungent odor" hit her first, then a seemingly endless series of stomach turning sights: rifled drawers, photos, documents and storage containers; a locked closet door with a hole smashed through it; shoes and clothes strewn about and worn; filthy soot covering all surfaces, thanks to sheets being burned in the fireplace with the flue closed; ruined, burnt out pots and pans and filthy piles of dishes in the kitchen; Comet powdered bleach dumped on the bed, kitchen counters, wood furniture and everywhere else; a "death smell" and mysterious crusty yellow substance in the bathroom. Her birth certificate and social security card had been found and apparently photocopied, using Emily's own printer/copier. What was missing was nearly as disturbing as what was scattered; a Passport, credit card, cash and Emily's grandmother's jewelry were missing from the locked, smashed up closet; also missing were an external backup drive containing "my entire life," and an iPod, camera and old laptop; Ugg boots and a Roots cap. Also creepy was how the vandal emailed her repeatedly during his or her week long stay, "thanking me for being such a great host, for respecting his/her privacy, telling me how much he/she was enjoying my beautiful apartment bathed in sunlight." Emily has been working with the San Francisco police — they reportedly have a suspect — and with her banks and the credit bureaus. She says she hasn't slept or eaten in days. Despite having the apartment cleaned and sterilized, she says she'll have to move out. . . .

July 26, 2011

Glenn Beck compares the youth camp massacred by Brevik to Hitler Youth camps, says the shooter was right to be concerned

Well, it looks like Beck found a way to get a lot of attention even after losing his TV show. Also, he says that political youth camps are suspicious and sound a lot like the Nazi Youth camps of old, while CONVENIENTLY FORGETTING that he ran political youth camps just last year as part of his silly 9/12 project. But fact-checking Beck is easy and pointless. The people who listen to him have a proud disregard for facts and eat up whatever bullshit he dumps in their mouths. Glenn Beck adds, the Norway shooter was "right" - Roger Ebert's Journal

Arkansas High School Appoints Co-Valedictorian Because Top Student Was African American

Arkansas High School Appoints Co-Valedictorian Because Top Student Was African American | ThinkProgress
A high school student in Arkansas was blocked from receiving sole valedictorian honors this summer, despite earning the highest G.P.A. in her class and receiving only a single B in her four years at McGehee Secondary School. Kymberly Wimberly’s offense? She’s black. School administrators worried that Wimberly’s accomplishment would result in a “big mess” at the majority-white school, so Principal Darrell Thompson told the student’s mother “that he decided to name a white student as co-valedictorian,” even though the white student had a lower G.P.A. The matter is currently pending in federal court.

July 16, 2011

In St. Louis and Detroit, thieves burn down houses to harvest bricks

Thieves Cart Off St. Louis Bricks - NYTimes.com
Law enforcement officials, politicians and historic preservationists here have concluded that brick thieves are often to blame, deliberately torching buildings to quicken their harvest of St. Louis brick, prized by developers throughout the South for its distinctive character. “The firemen come and hose them down and shoot all that mortar off with the high-pressure hose,” said Alderman Samuel Moore, whose predominantly black Fourth Ward has been hit particularly hard by brick thieves. When a thief goes to pick up the bricks after a fire, “They’re just laying there nice and clean.” It is a crime that has increased with the recession. Where thieves in many cities harvest copper, aluminum and other materials from vacant buildings, brick rustling has emerged more recently as a sort of scrapper’s endgame, exploited once the rest of a building’s architectural elements have been exhausted. “Cleveland is suffering from this,” said Royce Yeater, Midwest director for the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “I’ve also heard of it happening in Detroit.”