The individual mandate is the requirement that everyone must buy insurance. This was the turning point for the lawsuit appeal that the Supreme Court heard; the infamous case where Justice Roberts was the deciding vote and upheld the law. The court ruled that Obamacare was a tax--a dubious decision in itself--and therefore was not coercing commerce, which would be unconstitutional.
And Karl Denninger says that means it's basically over for Obamacare.
Look: the recent tax cuts included removing the penalty for not being covered by health insurance. Prior to that, if you didn't have health insurance, you paid some amount of money to the IRS, and it was collected with your income taxes. That's what allowed the SC to pretend the individual mandate was a tax, and that's why the law was upheld; but now that the penalty has been eradicated, there's nothing to support the dubious proposition that Obamacare is fundamentally a tax--and without that, it's unconstitutional. And because the law can't work without the invidual mandate, the whole thing comes crashing down.
I like that Denninger thinks Roberts must adhere to his prior ruling on the case; but that sort of thing is for the little people, and doesn't apply in a world where the SC is a secondary legislature and "rule of law" is basically extinct. I expect there to be a lot of pretzel logic employed by the court to keep Obamacare on the books.
This ruling from Texas is a great first step, but it is only the first step; this case will have to go to the SC for it to have any chance at all of actually end up changing anything...but in the end, I doubt it will be that easy.
* * *
"Nobody wants to take your guns!" ...except everyone who proposes gun control, esp. "common sense" gun control.
Story here is that in the wake of a "common sense" magazine ban, the New Jersey state police have not ruled out going house-to-house to confiscate all magazines which are banned by the new law.
The interesting thing is, magazines are not serialized. There isn't any way to track them. Heck, I've got a couple spare mags for the guns I used to have, which my brother currently has in his possession; there's nothing illegal about me having them because they're not firearms, not in any sense. (Not even the legal sense where an unmachined, cast piece of metal is a "firearm" because it has a serial number on it, and because of what you can attach to it. Like those unfinished AR-15 receivers you can buy.)
So, the police aren't going to have any records of who has what magazines; at best, they're going to have a list of registered gun owners. The state police can visit everyone on that list, stand on their porch, and say, "Sir, we understand you're a registered gun owner. Do you have any magazines that can hold more than ten rounds?"
What they cannot do--absent a warrant--is to coerce access to the guns owned by these citizens. They have absolutely no legal right to enter the house and search it (for anything illegal) without a warrant. No law can supersede this right. A case could be made that they can do so if they have probable cause, but merely having documentation allowing one to own firearms is not itself probable cause.
Now, in fact, the NJ police have simply "not ruled out" doing this; they have certainly not announced any plans to do it...which is really a good thing. Because ultimately, this kind of ban is unenforceable absent any kind of house-to-house search.
And a house-to-house search like that would end very badly for the government that tried to do it.
What do you do, if you have these magazines and they suddenly become illegal? Well, I don't have any (and likely won't for some time to come, as I don't have a FOID card) but it is certainly possible for a person to wrap the magazines in paper towels that are soaked in WD-40--or some other rust preventative--put them into PVC pipes that are sealed on both ends, and bury them in a reasonably secure location, where someone is unlikely to dig for anything. Maybe put in a nice flower bed by the deck, or something, you know. "Oh, no, officer, I have no high-capacity magazines. Just standard ones."
But, hey! We've been promised that nobody wants to take our guns, right? And the people in history who have banned gun ownership by the general populace have always turned out to love freedom and equality for all, certainly. Just look at the list of outstanding people: Hitler, Mussolini, Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Castro....
* * *
Chicago specifically and Illinois generally are shitty-ass places for business so it comes as no surprise to me that Apple decided to build a new corporate center elsewhere.
In Illnois, the taxes are too damned high, and any business run by anyone with any sense can look at what the Chicago and state governments are doing, and conclude that this is the worst place to invest. The pension bomb has not been defused; at best Madigan and his cronies have reset the timer. Slightly.
And the closer that bomb gets to going off, the higher the taxes will go. There is a limit to how high the taxes on the populace can go, because the voters will riot if they are raised too much; but for corporations, the sky's the limit, and it really ends up coming down to which costs more, paying the taxes or relocating? You can't take your corporate headquarters and move it, not the way a single family can pack up and go.
But if you make it expensive enough, they will go. Take a look at Detroit.
* * *
The reality of transgenderism. There is a reason that the suicide rates among them are so high.
Look, I get it, as far as that goes; I can understand the desperate yearning to be something else. Believe me, I would love to have been born with an athletic physique, to have had 20/20 vision (at least in my youth) and to be able to reliably catch and throw or hit a ball; but instead I was a scrawny, clumsy kid with glasses that grew increasingly thick as the years went on. I have the brains to have been an astronaut, but not the physique or the eyesight; and even if all that had been there, I have a congenital heart murmur which ensured I would never be allowed to pull Gs by any medical professional involved in high performance flight or space travel. I could never have been an astronaut, as much as I would have liked that, and I knew it from the get-go, which is why I got so heavily into SF as a kid.
I'd love to visit the Moon, or go even farther, but I was born at the wrong time for someone with my physique to do that, and there is absolutely nothing whatsoever that can be done about it.
The only thing that can be done about it is for me to get used to the fact that I'll never be an astronaut, and that as the years go by the chance of me ever getting to take a commercial flight to space--even just to orbit--is waning. And so I read and write SF and imagine how marvelous it would be, and that's got to be enough.
The solution is not for me to decide that I identify as an astronaut, and to insist that everyone start calling me "Captain Rocket" or something, and start wearing jump suits with NASA mission patches, and get offended when someone points out that I'm actually a help desk technician who doesn't even have a private pilot's license. Because that's charitably called "an overactive imagination" and less charitably "delusional". (Or "fucking nuts" if you want to be crude.)
There is no difference between that and a biological man insisting that he's actually a woman. None. The only difference is that there is surgery which can convert a male body into something which superficially resembles a woman's body, but which does not change the immutable biological fact that there are only two sexes, and that sex is determined by your genes and your organs.
* * *
I will point out here, parenthetically, that there are cases where congenital development of a person's body result in androgyny, or hermaphodism. When this happens, the person in question is still biologically one sex or another, but due to circumstances during gestation does not fully develop the characteristics of that biological sex. In these cases only is it appropriate to consider how the individual identifies.
A person may have XY chromosomes yet may not have developed a penis and testicles during gestation. There will be some kind of sex organs present which may look more female than male; in this case, there's no reason for this person to called "male" if he wants to be "female". But if he decides that he is male, there's similarly no reason to contest it. That's because his biological sex is not manifest, and entirely a matter of opinion, particularly since hermaphrodites are usually sterile.
Understand, though, that hermaphodism is fairly uncommon. Most people have a definite biological sex, one that's obvious at birth.
* * *
So: my first week of "work from home" has passed. The first couple of days were a lot more stressful than I expected them to be.
Sure, you get rid of all the driving; you don't have to get up as early and when work is over you're already at home. No dress code. You have your own kitchen and bathroom. It's a dream!
...I think everyone has to make his own accommodation to it, though. I've sat here in PJs with three days' worth of stubble, and I've sat here in work clothes, freshly showered and shaved. I noticed no real difference in how I felt about it, nor in how I did the job. It's still work, it's still tiring, and it's still a relief when I can take the headset off.
I think that's my "switch", right there: to do my job I have to wear a headset, and when I'm not wearing it, I'm obviously not at work. Right now I'm sitting at the same desk in the same chair, in the same clothes I wore yesterday, but I feel relaxed and comfortable and "at home" because I'm not plugged in and I'm not wearing the headset.
When I'm working, I'm a bit tense (as I almost always am when out of the house) and feel like I'm "at work", and conscious of the fact that I'm on the clock.
I'll comment on it later, of course, as time goes on; but I can certainly see myself doing this.
* * *
Now I'm going to go see what I can do about the Jeep. First up is redoing the engine grounds. I hope that works, because I do not fancy digging further into it; if it's a vacuum leak (as was suggested) then I've got a royal pain in the ass ahead of me. Finding a vacuum leak in an engine that won't stay running is pretty much a nightmare.
And so, off I go.