September 11: Natural Disasters Threaten as we Remember 9/11

The attacks on 9/11 were unexpected, but America rose to the occasion. How unfortunate that we cannot do so in the face of COVID-19.

I am old enough to have been at work when the airplanes hit the twin towers.  A friend called me, and I turned on the TV in time to see the second plane.  Having left New York less than 10 years before, seeing the buildings collapse, the wall of ash, and the hordes of people walking uptown on streets I had once stood on made it very real for me.

Not much work got done that day.  Video streaming wasn’t a thing yet, so because I had one of the few TVs on the floor, so people kept coming in to watch for a few minutes and then go back to their desks and try to get some work done. 

I think it is a shame that they will not let the traditional memorial service be held this year.  It would do us well to remember how that attack united us as a country and even Democrats were proud to fly the flag and call themselves patriots.  (At least for a while.)

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August 29: Hurricanes, Riots and Guns, Oh My!

Hurricane Laura is bringing heavy rain to the Mid Atlantic sates while protesters are bringing spray paint, fireworks and violence to cities across the country.

The death toll for Hurricane Laura has climbed to 14 in the U.S. and more than 800,000 people are without power.  Remnants of the storm headed north into Arkansas before heading east today, bringing heavy rains and wind across the Mid-Atlantic states and parts of the South. 

The 12th named storm of the year, Laura came ashore earlier than any other L-named storm in history.  Future storms are still possible and could target vulnerable sections of the Gulf or East Coast. Prep now, before it is too late.

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August 27: Hurricane Laura Thunders Ashore

Hurricanes, riots, looting, shootings, a rising crime rate and failing cities make this an excellent time to embrace prepping.

Hurricane Laura roared ashore in the middle of the night, hitting Lake Charles, La., and the surrounding area.  Early reports are that there is extensive damage to buildings, including commercial buildings in the downtown area.  Winds and storm surge were so high that calls for rescue by those who refused to evacuate have had to go unanswered.

While folks in Louisiana and Texas braced for a natural disaster, man-made problems erupted across the country. Rioting and looting broke out again in Minneapolis after an armed suspect sought by police committed suicide.  Security cameras recorded him shooting himself but this incident still provided all the excuse locals needed to attack Target CVS, Walgreens, Foot Locker, a liquor store, apparel stores, and multiple restaurants.

Seems like some folks are just looking for an excuse to loot.

Meanwhile, the Republican National Convention speakers are using the violent protests, rising crime rates and defund the police movement to drive home their point that Democrats are soft on crime socialists who have no problem destroying businesses and want to release criminals from jail.  The riots may have been intended to create chaos and weaken the president but as things get out of hand the pendulum is swinging the other direction. 

COVID-19 By the Numbers

The U.S. reported 44,934 new cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours as well as an additional 1,193 deaths. Global cases have surpassed 24.27 million while deaths were up over 7,000.

August 26: Riot Deaths Give Glimpse of an Ugly Future

Violence reached a new level yesterday as rioters were shot and killed, not by police, but by counter protesters. Is this what the future holds for the U.S.?

Riots continued in Kenosha, Wi., where at least three were shot last night, apparently by one or more armed counter protesters. Some reports are that one of those shot was throwing Molotov cocktails at a gas station while two others were shot after attacking a gun-wielding counter protester. Photos show that one of the rioters, who was shot in the arm, was wielding a pistol.

The best coverage I have seen is in the Daily Mail. Just be advised that some of the photos and videos on that link may be a bit graphic.

In the past, protesters confronted by armed citizens have had enough common sense to leave the area.  Armed guards have successfully protected stores, buildings, and neighborhoods.  Last night, rioters chose confrontation instead.

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August 25 Report: It’s been a Hell of a Week and its only Tuesday

Forest fires sweep across California, hurricanes in the Gulf Coast, COVID-19 outbreaks on college campuses and looting in Kenosha. It’s been a hell of a week.

I just spent five days at our new house and I came home to find that all hell is breaking loose across the country. We have no TV up there and I didn’t spend much time online, but here are a few things that occurred while we were gone:

Riots in Kenosha

More riots broke out, this time in Kenosha, Wisconsin.  Complete with wanton destruction, looting, arson, etc.  Rocks and bottles were thrown at police, cars on auto dealer lots were smashed and burned, garbage trucks were set on fire, furniture stores were burned down, and windows were smashed.

You can forgive the local police for not being prepared for the flash riot sprang up after a police shooting but there’s really no excuse for being unprepared for the second day.

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Coronavirus Report August 4: To Vaccinate or Not to Vaccinate

A safe and effective vaccine will be a step forward, but far from a victory march in the battle against COVID-19.

We are not here to recommend that you vaccinate or that you don’t.  Just like the decision on whether to wear a mask or to self-quarantine, this is your choice.  Do your research and make whatever decision best suits you.

It is becoming clear, however, that vaccines will not be a magic pill and are unlikely to get rid of the pandemic as quickly as appeared.  But we hope that a vaccine will protect the elderly and other at-risk groups, slow the rate of infections and thereby reduce the burden on hospitals, and reduce fear.  As we have reported before, fear of the virus is responsible for many of the stupid policies and bad decisions that have been made by individuals, public health officials and politicians.

Whether you, or I, choose to take a vaccine (when we have one) isn’t the point.  The point is that having a vaccine will help things calm down and will help places stay open, and that’s going to be important for all of us.  We probably won’t be getting back to a semblance of “normal” any time soon without a vaccine. That’s enough to earn my support.

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How to Use a Generator During a Power Outage

As Hurricane Isaias heads towards Florida and the Southeast, we figured it was a good time to talk about how to use a generator during a power outage.

Whether you’re preparing for an earthquake, a hurricane, a blizzard, civil unrest, economic disruption, or a nuclear attack, a meteor strike, an EMP, or a solar flare, a common denominator to these and many other disasters and emergencies is a power outage.

Power is our societies Achilles heel, the beginning of the end, and that which separates us from how or ancestors lived 150 and more years ago.  When we lose power, there is a cascade in which we go from losing lighting, refrigeration, and HVAC, to communications, utilities, food prep, and many of the day-to-day actions of we take without thinking in our modern lives. 

Without power, we can’t use credit cards, pump gas, purchase food and goods, operate medical equipment, etc.  Water systems will fail, both for individual who use wells and (eventually) for municipalities that rely on large pumps to keep up pressure or to refill water tanks.  Food storage and prep is also an early casualty as temperatures in freezers and fridges rise and electric ovens and cook tops don’t work.  Transportation will quickly be disrupted because there will be no traffic lights, no communications, no electronic bills of lading, and no way to pump fuel.  Commerce will grind to a halt because customers cannot checkout, use a credit card, or order anything online.

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