Coronavirus: preparing for the economic impact

I had an interesting discussion yesterday with a friend who’s a senior buyer for a national hardware store chain (a big one).  He told me frankly he doesn’t know whether he’ll have a job in six months’ time, because the impact of the coronavirus epidemic in China may scupper his company.  It sources a very large proportion of its products from that country, but its suppliers there – factories and exporters – are closed, and have been for weeks.  No-one knows when they’ll be open again.  The company is finding it very difficult to line up alternative suppliers fast enough

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Coronavirus, breathing masks, and respirators: the facts

There’s an awful lot of hype circulating about breathing masks, respirators, and protection against the current coronavirus epidemic.  Most of the articles are not scientific or factual – they’re more like hyperbole and hysteria. In particular, current stocks of surgical masks and disposable respirators available to the general public have been largely exhausted, and a number of vendors are reporting that they don’t know when (or even whether) they’ll be able to get stock again.  That’s complicated by the fact that most such masks are made in China, which last week was said to have declared them a “strategic national

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New Marine Corps rifle qualification

I was interested to read about the new standards being applied by the US Marine Corps to rifle qualification.  The Corps has always had the motto “Every Marine a rifleman”, and it’s good to see they still take that seriously.  Their new standards offer a useful yardstick to evaluate our own weapons skills, and perhaps improve our training accordingly (if we’re young and supple enough to do so, of course!  I’m old and creaky now.  I daresay my days for such athleticism are long past.) As a combat veteran from a different service (and nation, and continent) I’m particularly interested to

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The Border Wall may become a vital defense against coronavirus

News that President Trump is about to raid Pentagon funds once again to build more of the border wall between the USA and Mexico will doubtless enrage those who believe in free immigration, with or without official sanction.  However, the emerging coronavirus epidemic may make such a wall an even more important element of general US security. If the coronavirus epidemic spreads to Central and South America, those living there are going to be in dire straits.  There are relatively few medical facilities available, poverty is rampant, and many local, regional and national governments are corrupt and inefficient.  That’s a dire combination. 

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The easy way to lower crime rates – fudge the statistics!

The Chicago Sun-Times points out that crime statistics for that city are being deliberately “fudged” by manipulating them.  This is, of course, a problem nation-wide, not just in the Windy City;  but it’s good to see the issue brought out in public. Closing more murder cases even though no one was arrested pumped up the high clearance rate the Chicago Police Department has touted, a Chicago Sun-Times analysis finds. The police department cleared more murder cases in 2019 that didn’t result in an arrest than it has done in years, the Sun-Times found … of the 261 murders that the police signed

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If you’ve got more money than sense . .

and you enjoy the John Wick movie franchise, Big Daddy Unlimited has a deal for you.  It calls this “The Continental Safe BDU“, and it contains an example of what appears to be every gun used by the main character in those movies so far.  (Click the image for a larger view.) It even contains a hidden bar, if you’re inclined to mix alcohol and firearms (never a good idea!).  All this can be yours for a mere $100,000 . . . and, what’s more, they’re only planning to build ten of them (if they can find that many suckers who

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Coronavirus and the economy

We’re beginning to see the impact of China’s coronavirus outbreak on markets in that country and around the world.  Already we’ve seen: Shipping rates have plummeted as demand for cargo space decreases; Air freight availability – critical for factories in Europe and America to maintain their “just-in-time” stocking levels of critical parts – is decreasing dramatically as airlines reduce flights to and from China; Many Chinese factories and consumer outlets are closing their doors under the impact of quarantines, public fears, and the unavailability of supplies (even auto manufacturers); Those who rely on jobs at such establishments to earn a living are suddenly finding themselves effectively out of work,

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Online, you have no privacy

It’s hard to emphasize how little privacy – effectively, none – we have online in this digital age.  The risks to our personal, confidential information are enormous.  For most of us, they don’t amount to more than the danger of credit card fraud, or something like that;  but for others, particularly those active in any sphere of public debate or opinion-forming, they may be targeted by those opposed to their positions.  Such targeting may even become physical, rather than merely electronic.  (Consider, for example, the union activists who blockaded [on private property] the families of politicians with whose policies they

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“The problem with small self defense guns”

That’s the title of an article in Shooting Illustrated.  (It’s also a topic I’ve addressed in these pages from time to time, as regular readers will know.)  Here’s an excerpt from SI’s article. [Some of] the biggest obstacles to shooting subcompact guns well [include] the grip size, recoil control, sight system and trigger system. Some you can improve upon such as the sights or trigger. Subcompacts are notorious for having poor combat-style sights. As these subcompacts grow in popularity, sight manufacturers continue to adapt to consumer trends and offer upgraded options. The trigger is a bit more challenging. Few subcompacts come with a

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When birth certificates become a public safety issue

The law of unintended consequences appears to have struck again, this time in Colorado, where anyone can apply to have their birth certificate amended to change the record of their biological sex at birth. If governmental policy allows IDs to contain false, misleading, confusing, or unverified information, a chain reaction of adverse societal consequences will result. Those formerly comfortable in relying on the information disclosed in IDs will be compelled to undertake their own costly, time-consuming, and difficult investigations in order to verify the true nature of the person presenting an ID. . . . Inability to rely on the accuracy of the

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