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  • It seems to me that there are substantial risks for both the "owner" and the "guest." The terms are in quotes because there is ambiguity in the meaning in this context. If the host is actually a renter herself, there may be legal issues or restrictions around subleases. There may also be an obligation to pay hotel taxes to the local authorities. Most important the host may be exposed to risk of personal injury or property damage if the "guests" are less than nice. Finally, the visitor may gain rights to continue occupancy under local laws protecting tenants from unjust evictions. On the other hand a "guest" may find the accomodations less than what was expected and be stuck making a cash payment wihtout any recourse. Also, a guest may find the host is not so nice. The guest could be injured accidentally or intentionally or could find personal property missing. Surely one cannot rely on the authenticity of "independent" online reviews of BnB hosts or of BnB guests. Perhaps a "face-to-face" Skype conversation would help with regard to some of these risks, but tax, legal and personal liability issues need to be thought through. Remember, Airbnb is not a "service" it is a business that offers you no guarantees of what it sells.
  • The general direction is okay but there are an awful lot of detours - distractions in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, the Texan Border, the House and the Court!
  • Joyce, thank you for correcting my error. I have no idea where I got George (maybe McGeorge Bundy?). Yes, Jeansvote, the refugees are often better vaccinated. Besides, if that happened to be a problem that could be fixed with a simple shot or two. I'm still waiting for someone from that 24% who thinks that Perry should send troops to explain why. Some people are knee-jerk users of military force. (They should just go watch some John Wayne war movies.) In Mexico, public health officials set up free vaccination sites outside churches, and since the people are often devout Catholics, they get vaccinated easily. Mimi, I agree with your IQ estimate, but could we please agree to drop the Hitler and the Nazis references? Nothing compares with them and the Holocaust, and hopefully nothing ever will. The constant comparisons to them from both the left and the right lessens the terror that their names should evoke. I believe Ted Cruz is a demagogue and very dangerous and it's tempting to say that he rants like a very early Hitler, but he's just a misguided Texan out of the mold of Bush and Perry, only a little smarter and, in my humble opinion, a lot more dangerous, but he's not like Hitler. Hitler stands alone. On a personal note, my parents were married in 1936, but I, my parents oldest child, was born in 1945, 9 years later. My mother would not bring a child into a world where Hitler might achieve world domination. I learned from my parents the fear of him and how afraid everyone was that the Nazi war machine was unstoppable. When I became a teen and was studying world affairs the Holocaust was front and center in everyone's mind. It has now become just another historical event, like the Spanish Inquisition or the Norman Invasion of England. It is this passing into history that allows people to lose sight of why Israel must continue to exist. Europe didn't want them and they didn't want to be near a Germany who was always at war. So there are many reasons why we should not trivialize Hitler and the Nazis by comparing him and them to every idiot that comes along. When there's a "Night of the Long Knives" where many leaders are all assassinated at once, or a "Kristallnacht," where the shops of some minority are all destroyed, and the owners are all beaten in the streets, maybe we can say that someone is acting like the Nazis. To my mind nothing compares...yet.
  • To gulmer, I respectfully disagree with your thoughts regarding aid to Gaza. Aid there is, and properly should be, provided by the wealthy Arab oil countries. The problem there is that much of the billions, possibly trillions, of dollars of aid over the years has been spent in promoting their continual war with Israel. Where do you think they get the money for the thousands of rockets which they shoot into Israel? The Palestinians are the only unsettled refugees remaining from WWII. They have not been allowed to become citizens of Jordan, which before the war extended to include all of the area, or any other Arab country. The US has taken in millions of refugees, while the Arab world has not taken in even one, not one Palestinian. In fact the Arab world evicted all its Jewish citizens after the formation of Israel. If they had just allowed an equivalent number of Palestinians in to replace the Jews that they evicted, the problem would have been solved. But most Arab countries have oil and they don't want to share even one dollar of oil revenue with anyone new. I am all for humanitarian aid but I am totally opposed to that aid being diverted into a hate campaign. Hate has to be taught and Arab children are raised on a steady diet of hate for Israel. This is done to keep them diverted from their real problem - their leaders who refuse to develop the country and its desert in order to provide for their people. Instead they live on a false hope that they can conquer Israel and enjoy Israel's prosperity. Nothing can be further from the truth; Israel would be destroyed in any "successful' invasion and their advanced technological society would be totally beyond their ability to run. Almost 85% of the Jewish population has at least a college degree. Palestinians would just occupy a decaying ruin, at best because I sincerely doubt that the Israelis would dsuffer a Second Holocaust without using all 200 of their nukes. In other words, if the Israelis go, so do the Palestinians, and probably so do the rest of us. We must find a way to make peace, and the Palestinians must come to terms with the existence of Israel. To ktg Oakland: foreign (military) aid is really more like welfare to our military industrial complex than exporting the 2nd amendment. F-16's and the like would be far more expensive if the defense companies can't have long production lines, thus lowering the per unit cost. If we shove enough of them down the throats of our clients around the world then Congress can say that our defense budget is smaller, and we're "helping" poor countries. We really get lucky if we get to arm the Israelis and then the Egyptians. The more we sell one, the more we get to sell the other. That's why the majority of the world considers the US to be the major impediment to world peace. I hope your joking about banning gunpowder. Any child with a chemistry set can make that. The starting ingredient is charcoal. Add a little sulphur, and KNO3, and bang! All of these are found all over the world. It would be like trying to ban showers.