In November of 2015, I wrote about my then-ongoing search for my first car—a 1978 Jeep J-10 ‘Honcho’ pickup—and my intent to, if possible, buy it back and restore it. Unfortunately I never found it. But I did make contact with Hardcore Hot Rods, a local auto restoration shop, and discussed my proposed project with them.
After many months and no success tracking down my specific truck, I declared the search over . . . but I didn’t give up on the idea of a J-10 restoration. The folks at Hardcore suggested that I let them find a good truck with good bones, bring it in, and restore it. So I gave them a list of my ‘must have’ requirements and the search began.
They found several trucks, but quickly narrowed it down to the one: a 1977 J-10 from California, intact with all its parts, a solid and rust-free frame, an AMC 401 V8 (more powerful than the 360 V8 mine had), and 165,280 miles. It needed some love—body and paint work, an engine rebuild, and other maintenance and clean-up—but it would be the new Honcho. I paid the deposit, they had it moved cross-country, and here it is: . . . Continued
President Donald Trump (R) will nominate Neil Gorsuch, a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, to the United States Supreme Court.
If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Gorsuch would replace Justice Antonin Scalia, who died of natural causes in February of 2016. Scalia was a conservative firebrand and textualist. Gorsuch is generally viewed as ideologically similar to Scalia. Thus, Gorsuch’s nomination, if confirmed by the U.S. Senate, will leave the court with essentially the same ideological makeup it had before Scalia’s death.
Gorsuch worked as a law clerk for Judge David B. Sentelle on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, and later for Justices Byron White and Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court. He then served from 1995 to 2005 as a lawyer in private practice. In 2005 he became Deputy to the Associate Attorney General under President George W. Bush (R). Bush nominated Gorsuch to the Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit a year later, and he was confirmed by the Senate in an unopposed voice vote.
In March of 2016, then-President Barack Obama (D) nominated Merrick Garland, the chief judge of the District of Columbia Circuit of the Court of Appeals, to serve on the Supreme Court. The Republican-majority in the Senate declined to act upon that nomination, resulting in an unusually long (though not unprecedented) vacancy on the bench. The U.S. Constitution charges the Senate with providing “advice and consent” on judicial nominations, and whether inaction constitutes “advice and consent” remains an unanswered legal question.
Some Democrats in the Senate have pledged to mount a filibuster against Trump’s nominee, even before knowing who it would be. This may effectively require that at least sixty senators vote to end debate and move forward with a vote to confirm. However it is possible that Republicans will use the so-called “nuclear option” to prohibit the filibuster’s use to obstruct nominations and thereby force a straight up-or-down vote.
Things are much calmer this year on my annual list of the ugliest cars. Last year, there was a bloodbath in which four of the cars from the previous list had been discontinued. This year, only one (dis)honoree—the Honda CR-Z—has gone on to the great parts-bin in the sky. The brand-new Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe easily filled that void. There have also been a number of adjustments to the ordering; some cars look better to me as they age, and others look worse.
The criteria for inclusion is the same it has always been. I don’t include models that aren’t sold in the United States. I don’t include models that sell in very low volume (and volume is defined subjectively based on how many I see on the highways in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area). I don’t include exotic, military, or special-purpose vehicles—so no super-cars, tanks, or postal trucks. I also don’t include vehicles reserved exclusively for the commercial market, such as the persistently horrific Ram Promaster.
This list is my personal opinion. If you own one of the cars on this list, well, don’t take it personally. . . . Continued
Since 2004, I have provided live election night coverage for every election and race in which I am eligible to vote. My system for providing this coverage has evolved over the years. It began with a cumbersome manual process, and it is now a fairly sophisticated and semi-automated system.
This year, I made a large number of improvements to the system. It is now much more robust and flexible. I made these improvements so it would require less year-to-year hacking going forward, but they also made it possible for me to go through my past coverage and put the results into the system and normalize how the results display.
Now that all of my election coverage data from 2004 to present is all in the same system, I can also offer a consolidated election archive. On that page, you can select (using the drop-down) any election I have ever covered here on the site, and see the results of the races I was following and the coverage I provided. Enjoy!
Donald Trump (R) is the President-Elect of the United States.
It still doesn’t sound right, does it? The election was nearly two months ago and yet its outcome is still somehow . . . unsettling. Don’t get me wrong; I am thrilled that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) didn’t win. I had the usual concerns about her policies and judgement, and about her dangerous and improper handling of classified material, but the deciding factor was my expectation that she would appoint decisively anti-liberty justices to the United States Supreme Court . . . a court that already has us hanging in the balance between freedom and subjugation. There is more on this in my presidential election endorsement.
And yet, as you can read in that endorsement, I am no fan of Trump’s. Though I am cautiously optimistic that some of Trump’s worst tendencies will be blunted by conservatives and libertarians in his administration and in Congress, I still fear that he will push the limits of executive authority, play fast-and-loose with the law, and operate well outside of the limits of the U.S. Constitution. So I celebrate that we will likely be spared—for now—a decisively anti-liberty Supreme Court. I celebrate the apparent end of the Bush and Clinton political dynasties. I celebrate the peaceful transfer of power. But I do not celebrate Trump’s win in-and-of itself. (And I certainly do not celebrate the absurd overreaction to the outcome by those on the political left, or their petulant efforts to de-legitimize the outcome of a [mostly] free and fair election.)
Eight years ago, I felt about the way I do today. Then, as now, we had a politically inexperienced president-elect who came to power in an angry, frustrated America. Then, as now, we had lofty promises of long-overdue changes, and a vow that the new administration would seek compromises and common ground across political party lines. Then, as now, we were promised that America would disentangle itself from foreign affairs and tend to our own house and our own people. And then, as now, even though I harbored a long list of disagreements with the president-elect, I welcomed him, and offered my hopes and prayers for his safety and success.
But now the hard work begins. Beginning next month, Trump will have to govern. . . . Continued
Scott Bradford has been building web sites and using them to say what he thinks since 1995, which tended to get him in trouble with power-tripping assistant principals at the time. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Public Administration from George Mason University, but has spent most of his career (so far) working on public- and private-sector web sites. He is not a member of any political party, and brands himself an ‘independent constitutional conservative.’ In addition to holding down a day job and blogging about challenging subjects like politics, religion, and technology, Scott is also a devout Catholic, gun-owner, bike rider, and music lover with a wife, two cats, and a dog.