Top 10 Candidates for the Democratic Nomination – Post 3rd Debate Edition

I watched the third Democratic debate last night from start to finish.  I also watched some CNN, listened to a couple of podcasts and read some articles with various pundits’ thoughts on how the candidates did.  I wrote last night about my thoughts on who did well and who didn’t.

But, as promised, I need to update my top 10 for the candidates.  Just my preference, not who I think will win necessarily.  I did look at how I saw the tiers shaping up in my last top 10 post.  I think there might have been some movement there.  I’m ready to demote Harris from the top tier (Biden, Warren, Sanders).  I’ll put her in tier 2 with Mayor Pete.  I’m thinking after last night that I can make a tier 3 – candidates who have a chance to break into tier 2.  That’d be Beto, Booker and Klobuchar.  Newly created tier 4 is everyone else.  Yeah, that means one of my favorites – Castro – is getting demoted.  He’s joined by Yang, Bullock and Gabbard.  There are other candidates out there, but I’m not ready to discuss them unless they can make some more waves.

  1. Elizabeth Warren – Staying steady.  Senator Warren didn’t have her best debate, but she held her own.  She’s MY favorite for the nomination and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.
  2. Kamala Harris – Staying steady. She didn’t have a great debate last night, but she went after Trump a lot and that is something I want to see in my candidate.  She’s still too inconsistent to get the nomination at this point, but she’s my second choice if Warren doesn’t get it.
  3. Cory Booker – up 5 spots.  Senator Booker has been very good in all of the debates.  He would be an excellent choice for the top spot.  He’s got a good combination of policy ideas and kumbaya sensibility.  He’s benefiting here from Castro falling down my ranking.
  4. Beto O’Rourke – I like his focus on guns and I think he’s gotten the fire back.  He was number two on my debate ranking, but number 4 on this list for him is going to be precarious.  He’s got to show something in the next month.  I need more from him than this debate.
  5. Pete Buttigieg – down 1 spot.  I like Mayor Pete.  He’s trying too hard to stay in the moderate lane.  But when he’s on, he’s got a great combo of youth, military experience and faith that will serve him well against the Republican nominee.
  6. Joe Biden – down 3 spots.  Biden looked good in the beginning of the debate, but then faded.  Too many word salads in his answers.  I see him getting too flustered against Trump in a debate.  I just worry that, at age 76, he can’t do what needs to be done.  I like Joe, but he’s not the right nominee for 2020.
  7. Amy Klobuchar – staying steady.  She’s consistent in her moderate lane.  She might make a good VP candidate, but I just can’t see her in the top spot.
  8. Julian Castro – Down 3 spots.  I’ll be very interested to see if his gambit attacking Biden moves him up or down.  I still like him, but he’s just a potential VP in my book.  Warren/Castro 2020.
  9. Bernie Sanders –  staying steady. He didn’t have a great debate.  Warren does what he does, but better and without the baggage of the socialist label.  I’m all in on a younger candidate getting the nomination and Bernie is older than Biden.  Kudos to him for moving the conversation to the left in a lot of areas, but he’s the wrong guy to run in 2020.
  10. Andrew Yang – newly on the list.  I needed to put someone at 10 and I chose Yang over Bullock.  He has some good moments in the debates and has been able to change the range of discussion in some areas.  I see him neither in the top spot nor as VP.  Maybe Bullock would still be a better choice for this slot, because I see him at least as a VP choice and even a very remote dark horse possibility in the moderate lane if Biden implodes.  It’s still 10th out of 10, so probably doesn’t make much of a difference at this point, so I’ll keep Yang here for now.

Others: 11 – Steve Bullock; 12 – Tom Steyer; 13 – Tulsi Gabbard.



Post Debate Thoughts/Ranking

I just finished watching the debate and CNN is on in the background as I put my thoughts together on this one.  This one felt different because all the top people were on one stage for the first time.  I think ten candidates is still too many for us to get really good debates.  It’s just hard to get everyone involved in these issues when there are so many candidates up there.

The first part of the debate on healthcare was really strong with some good debates between the progressives (Warren/Sanders) and moderates (Biden/Klobuchar/Buttigieg).  There were good sections on guns and immigration.  I also liked the debate on withdrawing from Afghanistan.  I’m disappointed that climate change didn’t really get primary focus, but maybe that’s because there was a recent town hall on that topic.

I’ve got a general ranking of how I think the candidates did tonight.  I’ll give my specific comments on the candidates in reverse order of how I think they did.  I’ll also update my Top 10 ranking post debate tomorrow or the next day.  Spoiler alert, good chance that Warren is still number 1 on That list.  Stay tuned to see if she was number one at this debate…

10. Andrew Yang – His big surprise was that his campaign is going to give his “Freedom Dividend” for 1 year to 10 of his supporters after the debate.  Gimmick.  Mayor Pete’s gobsmacked reaction right after that summed it up.  He was unprepared for some of the questions and had to fall back on prepared answers rather than being able to give a specific answer to the question that he was asked.  His joke that he’s asian so he knows a lot of doctors fell flat.

9. Julian Castro – I’ve been a fan of Castro for a while, so it makes me sad he’s down here.  He took the risk to go after Biden directly and he botched it.  His exchange where he asked Biden if he had forgotten something he said two minutes ago was not the right way to point out the age issue.  Biden is well liked and he’s going to lose supporters because of that.  I saw some comment on twitter that maybe he was taking one for the team to bring Biden down a notch.  Nothing else he said made any waves, positive or negative.  Not his best night.

8. Pete Buttigieg – I was wearing a comPETEence t-shirt tonight during the debate, but it didn’t help Mayor Pete.  He didn’t make any missteps, he just didn’t really stand out.  I think he’s trying so much to play in the middle lane, he’s not really getting any attention because that lane is so crowded right now.  Mayor Pete was the only candidate I heard bring up the recent semi-scandal about Air Force planes being diverted to refuel near Trump properties.  He also had a strong finish with the question about personal/professional resilience in talking about his coming out after he returned from deployment.

7. Bernie Sanders – Biden, Bernie and Warren got into a good back and forth on the healthcare part of the debate.  I’ve got Bernie down here because, of the top three, he was third in how effective he was.  But, Bernie was Bernie on all of the questions tonight.  He keeps to his theme to a fault.  He got a good moment making a contrast with Biden on their votes on Iraq.  He took a weakness in the question about how his brand of socialism compares to Latin American socialism and turned it into an effective defense of Democratic Socialism (although I’m sure he’s given that speech before).

6. Amy Klobuchar – The post debate commentators seem to think that Klobuchar had a good debate.  I think about 6th is right.  She kept on her “I’m from the Midwest and moderate” track effectively.  She took part in the healthcare on the moderate side and did pretty well.  Her response to Bernie that he wrote the damn bill but she read it was a good moment.  Which staffer convinced her it was a good idea to use the line, “Houston, we have a problem?”  She was less effective than Harris at responding to the question on her record as a prosecutor.

5. Kamala Harris – I was hoping someone would spend the night going after Trump and it was Harris. She spent her opening statement talking to Trump and was the most frequent commenter on Trump.  She went so far as to say that the only reason he hasn’t been indicted is because of the DOJ memo.  She was the candidate in the healthcare part of the debate who pointed out that Trump was trying to take away people’s access to health care.  She also returned to Trump on the guns question.  She talked about his fragile ego and gave the slam of the night.  She said he’s like the wizard in the Wizard of Oz, because when you pull the curtain back, it’s a small dude.  She also did a good job answering the question about her record as a prosecutor – probably the best she’s done on that question.

4. Elizabeth Warren – Yeah, my leading overall candidate is down here at 4.  I have her here below Biden because I thought the moderates got slightly better of the debate on healthcare.  She was asked about a middle class tax rise with her Medicare for All plan and she didn’t directly answer the question.  She did what she’s done in the past, which is to focus on the cost to the middle class.  Focusing on the tax part leaves out how premiums and deductibles will mean a net decrease in cost to the middle class.  Keeping it in a frame of taxes is how Republicans will attack her plan and she is right to reframe the question.  But she didn’t do it very adeptly, so it looked like she was avoiding a tough question.  Beyond that part of the debate, she did what I think she needed to do.  She didn’t go after Biden and she brought every question back to the theme of her campaign.

3. Joe Biden – The post debate commentary seems to think that Biden had a really good debate.  I agree he was strong in the healthcare portion.  The moderates came out slightly ahead of the progressives on that subject.  For this night anyway.  That’s why I’ve got Biden up here.  The rest of the debate for him, though, was more mixed.  He faded as the three hour debate went on.  Almost all of his answers tend to be rambling and it’s really off-putting once you see that he does that.  Castro went after him on age, but the fade at the end is better evidence than Castro’s attack that the age question is not going away.  There’s another thing I noticed here.  Many of the candidates try to be the peacemaker types.  Dems shouldn’t be divided.  They shouldn’t attack each other.  Biden pretty prominently referred to Bernie as a socialist in a derogatory way.  You can say that’s how Republicans would refer to Bernie in a general election, so it’s fair.  But using that term, rather than Democratic Socialist, as Bernie describes himself, is going to bother some on the progressive side.  In addition, I notice that Biden seems to have gotten a pass for his divisive remark when other candidates didn’t get that same pass.  Oh, and who would have thought record players would get a mention at the debate.

2. Beto O’Rourke – Beto was one of the candidates I thought might have a chance to break out and I think he succeeded (the other was Mayor Pete and I think he didn’t).  He went hard on guns as I thought he should.  He wasn’t afraid to say we should take all AR-15s off the streets through mandatory buyback.  He gave solid answers to questions when he was asked.  If you didn’t know about his focus on gun violence before, you might look into Beto a little more because many of the candidates called him out in a positive way for how he handled the shooting in El Paso.

1. Cory Booker – Booker has been the most consistent debater over all three debates.  He’s stronger on the racial and criminal justice issues than any of the other candidates.  He doesn’t get flustered in his answers.  He was the only candidate who talked about veterans.  I liked his line where he was talking about working with our allies and he mentioned that he was the only candidate on stage who thought Justin Trudeau’s hair was menacing.  I liked how he used “dagnabbit” a couple of times.  He came across well in all of the questions and struck the right tone throughout.  Best overall performance.  I suspect I’ll be moving him up in my personal rankings.

























Pre Debate Thoughts

We’ve got another debate between the Democratic candidates for President coming up on Thursday.  The ten candidates who qualified are (in order of my last overall ranking of the candidates): Warren, Harris, Biden, Buttigieg, Castro, O’Rourke, Klobuchar, Booker, Sanders, and Yang.  In the national primary, things have started to consolidate into some clear tiers, as I mentioned in my previous post.  Warren, Biden and Sanders in a tier by themselves.  Harris is down with Buttigieg in tier 2 and the rest are tier 3 (rhymes with VP).  Here are some thoughts on what I’d like to see them do or what they should do to breakout.  This debate and the one in October are pretty much the last chances for a shakeup in the race before voting begins in Iowa and New Hampshire in 2020.

I’ll be interested to see if the top three go after one another.  They will surely be attacked by the other candidates who hope to make a moment.  If I had to guess, I think Biden will start to go after Warren a bit.

I think Warren should just keep doing what she’s been doing.  Keep on message and don’t punch down.  Leave Biden alone and only deal with Bernie if he comes after her first.

I hope Beto goes hard on guns and Castro goes hard on immigration.  I foresee Klobuchar staying tight in the middle lane.

I want to see someone just go off on Trump.  Bernie consistently calls him a pathological liar, but he’s too on message to deviate from his core ideas.  I think there’s room down in tier 3 for someone to have an entire answer devoted to Trump’s corruption.  I’m not talking a throwaway line about how terrible he is, but the whole enchilada.  Say you’re for impeachment, point out that his campaign staff are now in jail.  There are many examples from which to choose.  Somebody do this.

I want to see someone build on the successful CNN Climate Change Town Hall and stake out the very left of this debate.  It’s an existential crisis and this will be the first priority for his or her administration.  The best prospect for this would be Harris, but she may be too middle of the road for it.  Warren has a plan for climate change.  I think she name checks Inslee if this topic comes up.

I think Mayor Pete, and O’Rourke have the best chances to have break out moments to propel them up in the polls.

I think this might be the beginning of the end of Yang.  He’ll be in this and the next debate, but I’m guessing his star will soon start to fall.  I also think Klobuchar is the most likely to have been disappointing after the fact.

I’ll be back on Friday, after the debate, to discuss what I got right and what I got wrong.  And I’ll update my ranking after the debate too.

I Watched the CNN Presidential Town Hall On Climate Change So You Don’t Have To

I’m glad CNN held this town hall  (or is it a series of town halls?).  Climate change is a major issue that could help Democratic voters select their nominee to take on the Republican in 2020.  The town hall format allowed the candidates to give more thoughtful answers to questions that would have needed to be fit into one minute blocks in a debate format.  I came away with some different views on the candidates and the issue itself.

At a minimum, pretty much all of the candidates checked the obvious boxes.  The US should be a leader in this area.  Work toward environmental justice.  They would reverse Trump administration regulation or reinstate regulations that were eliminated by the Trumpies.  Many said they would go farther than that and use executive authority extensively.  Most would ban any more leases on federal lands and off shore drilling. Everybody but Cory Booker would try to end nuclear power.

By the time I finished watching all 10 town halls, there were a couple of things that I started to look for.  The term “existential threat/crisis” was thrown around a lot.  I started to think that, if you’re going to call it an existential threat, then you need to act like that and your policy should reflect that fact.  If your focus is on what we can’t do or you rule things out in advance, then you must not really think it’s an existential threat.  I also really liked when a candidate tried to compare their plan to a “moonshot” (hello, Cory Booker) or like the mobilization of the American people in World War II (Mayor Pete).  If it’s truly existential, then we ought to be looking at it like that.  I also must admit that the focus on how beef affects global warming made me think back to my days as a vegetarian.  I also did a quick google search for solar panel installation and thought about recycling,  composting, and using different light bulbs as my way of helping out.

A lot of the focus from the moderators and some questioners was details of the plans of the candidates and how they differed among themselves.  On that point, I’ll borrow from Mayor Pete’s analogy here (see below).  The differences between the candidates are not that great, compared to Trump and many in the GOP.  It’s like a group of doctors are trying to figure out how to treat a patient with cancer.  Half of the doctors are discussing whether to go with medication or surgery and the other half deny that cancer exists.  So, at the end of the day, it’s pretty clear that I would go for the plan of any of the Dems over any GOP plan on climate change.  Still, there were some clear winners and losers among the candidates.  Here’s my ranking.

1.  Elizabeth Warren. (Chris Cuomo) Senator Warren has a great grasp of the issues and answered questions directly.  She is very good at bringing the questions back to the theme of her campaign.  She showed great passion and acted like this is an existential threat.  I liked her adoption of terminology from one of the questions about how climate change is affecting oceans.  She said maybe we need a Blue New Deal.  She also defended the Green New Deal in an effective way.  It’s not just the Green (climate), but also the New Deal (jobs).  I noted she was able to contrast her position with Bernie regarding public ownership of utilities, which he’s in favor of.  She said she’s not opposed to companies making profits, just not at the expense of everyone else.  She also didn’t shy away from a question about Native Americans.

2. Pete Buttigieg. (Chris Cuomo) Mayor Pete started off weaker and seemed like he was going to stick to a “let’s bring the country together” schtick.  He almost lost me there, but he picked things up after that.  He had a good section on revitalizing and modernizing agriculture.  He also was very smooth in discussing the moral component, both from a religious and secular view of morality.  Mayor Pete raised the idea of a national mobilization which is a good point for me.  He had the best two lines of the night.  He was asked what question would he ask Donald Trump about climate change in a debate?  He focused on Trump and his GOP enablers and made the analogy I referenced above about the doctors who don’t believe cancer exists.  He finished that answer, though, with another great line.  He said that the only thing he could think to ask him is whether he would just step aside and let us do something about this issue because he’s clearly not ready to lead.  Great audience reaction.  He earned #2 on this list for those two lines.

3. Cory Booker.  (Don Lemon) Senator Booker also started slowly but improved as he went along.  He said that climate isn’t something that you need one plan for, but it’s a lens through which you look at everything.  His best moment was his anecdote about the factory farm in North Carolina in a predominantly black area.  I’m not sure where I stand on nuclear energy as part of the puzzle.  I think I’m probably against, but I appreciate that he has the courage to stand alone among the other candidates saying we may need it.  I liked his observation that the Republican Party in the US is the only major party in the Western world which denies climate change.

4. Julian Castro.  (Wolf Blitzer) I’ll admit that I’m partial to Castro and that might have affected his place in this ranking.  Still, what sets him apart from the candidates below him in the ranking is the fact that he gave answers to the questions, rather than rambling.  He showed a good knowledge of the issues and how his plans can help those issues.  He mentioned his PAW plan and I’m a fan of that.  He stands alone among the candidates on that issue.  I liked the fact that he quit his job at a law firm to avoid conflict of interest issues so that he could vote as a city councilman against an environmentally harmful project in San Antonio.

5. Bernie Sanders.  (Anderson Cooper)  Bernie came out of the gate at Trump.  He said, “I think Donald Trump is dangerously, dangerously wrong.”  His demeanor and answers were very in line with Elizabeth Warren as far as the existential threat issue goes.  You have to go big because this is existential.  When he was explaining how he would pay for his VERY expensive plan, he included the fact that his plan would create more jobs which would mean more tax revenue.  Very trickle down Republican sounding to me.  Bernie does a good job, just like Warren, of keeping on message for his campaign when he answers questions.  He looked like the much better choice among 70-something white men.

6. Beto O’Rourke. (Don Lemon)  Beto didn’t do a very good job of directly answering the questions he was asked.  He didn’t show a great facility for the issues or the specifics of his plan and how it would help.  He saved himself in his answer to the question from the climate refugee from Puerto Rico.  He highlighted a number of issues in that answer and showed that he will be strong on immigration.  Just too many of his answers boil down to “I’ll be a leader on this.”

7. Andrew Yang.  (Wolf Blitzer) Yang has gotten better as a candidate as the campaign has gone on.  He had a good grasp of the issues and direct answers to the questions.  He still comes across as a businessman, not a politician.  But that could be a good thing.  He was good in this format, but he’s still not going to get the nomination.

8. Amy Klobuchar. (Erin Burnett) Senator Klobuchar tried hard to stay in the moderate lane.  She went after Trump a little bit.  Otherwise, she was right in the same place as most of the other candidates on the main issues.

9. Kamala Harris.  (Erin Burnett) I’ve been a fan of Kamala for a while, but she just didn’t have it on this night.  She was right where everyone else was on the mainstream ideas.  But she was erratic and her demeanor was not suited to the format.  On the other hand, she was one of the more combative candidates on the night.  She really went at Trump and Republicans.

10. Joe Biden.  (Anderson Cooper) Biden seemed like he was arguing with the questioners or the crowd.  He was called out on the fossil fuel fundraiser early on and that issue came up a couple of times.  Anderson Cooper did a good job of following up after Biden’s answer.  He leaned too much on his experience as the answer to every question and he rambled WAY too much.  He also did that thing again that he did in the debates where he just stopped talking – “I’m taking too much time.”  He might be trying to follow a clock or CNN’s rules, but we don’t know that, so it just seems like he’s trying to get out of the question.  Not a great performance.   I did like his phrasing on one thing.  He was talking about Trump and he said something like, “he does this it means Boom!, he does this it means Bang!”


A Visit to Fellowship Church Knoxville

As I mentioned in a previous post, the Mad Clan has decided to do visit different houses of worship here in Knoxville every other weekend when MadBee is with us.  Prior to this week, I put out a call to friends on Facebook to see if anyone had a suggestion.  A friend of ours suggested we come to Fellowship Church on Middlebrook and then have lunch after.  So that made it easy!

First impression was that this was a very busy church.  There were police and cones out on Middlebrook helping to keep orderly the traffic coming out of the 9 a.m. service and in to the 11 a.m. service.  We attended the latter, but got there in plenty of time.  MadDoc, MadZee, MadBee and I were all in attendance.  The Mad Grandmas decided to sleep in.

The people were very friendly.  Everyone greeted us with a smile.  The main auditorium was impressive.  Different from the Catholic church from last time, but not less.  Just different.  As opposed to straight pews and stained glass, Fellowship had a curve to the set up, with chairbacks and multiple video screens.  At the front of the auditorium was the stage where the band played and the preachers preached.  The music was modern Christian and they played the lyrics on the screens for everyone to follow along.

MadBee spent her time in a separate section for 4th and 5th graders.  She was reluctant to separate from us at first, but when she saw some faces she knew in there, she jumped right in.  Big props, btw, to the woman who helped us get Bethany situated in the 4th/5th grade section.  She walked us across the church to registration where we could sign her in and get stickers for her mom and me so that we could be the only ones to pick her up after the service.  And, I’m sorry I didn’t get her name, but the nice lady also happens to be a member of the Big Blue Nation, like me stuck in Big Orange Country.  Go Cats!

I can’t go on without commenting on the Donut Wall.  It was a wooden wall with donuts hanging on pegs.  I would have thought the donuts sitting there were for show if I didn’t see someone come up and grab one.  Very cool.

Finally, I’ll comment on the communion and the preaching.  This is quite a difference from our Catholic Church experience last time.  They had bread and I guess you dipped it in wine or juice?  I didn’t take communion, so I’m not exactly sure.  It was close enough to the Catholic version that I recognized it, but something I’ve never seen before.  And, evidently, they had a gluten free version.

In the service itself, where the Catholic mass is very regimented and scripted, this was more free wheeling.  There were two separate preachers to come out.  The first was maybe the head preacher.  The second was the teaching preacher.  (sorry if I’m getting the terms wrong).

The teaching preacher was very skilled.  He used humor and the video screens effectively.  The section he discussed was Titus 3:3-8.  I pulled up the King James Version.  He may have been using the English Standard Version, since some of the phrases didn’t match exactly.  MadDoc and MadZee liked his presentation.  I was never bored, but mostly because he was saying some things that rubbed me the wrong way.

First, I found it interesting that he did an explicit slam against prosperity gospel.  I probably agree with him on that point, but I just thought it was interesting that he was very explicit in his criticism.

Second, it bothered me how, as he was going through the lines, he would define the words for me.  He went so far as to say that my understanding of a particular word (foolish is one example) means something different in the bible.  I felt like I was being boxed into his interpretation of these words and phrases.  Didn’t like it.

Third, he did a big piece explaining how the common phrase “we are all god’s children” is actually wrong.  I think this was about the point where he used the term “born again” which is just a red flag for me.  That doesn’t go along with my thoughts on God and Jesus and let’s just leave it at that.

Now, all that being said, I think there’s a really good chance we’re going to go back.  MadBee really liked her time there and the people were really friendly.  My mom will really like the music I think.  I don’t think my minor reservations are enough to keep us from enjoying the fellowship (see what I did there?) of this church.

Bond Songs, Ranked

Maddoc and I were eating at Arby’s, trying to get her some protein in her diet (the better to help her recovery they tell us), and Skyfall by Adele came on.  I realized I think that’s an underrated song and made me think that I should do a ranking of the best songs from the James Bond movies.

The first version of this piece was just my ranking and me noting the top 10 or so of the other rankings I found.  But then as I started going, I found a wide range of what people think are the top Bond songs.  So, for fun, I decided to do a spreadsheet and put in all of the rankings I could find and then average them out.  Yeah, ok, maybe that’s not fun fun.  But interesting nonetheless.

Here are the links to the other rankings I used:

Rolling Stone; Esquire; Culture Sonar; Business Insider; Consequence of Sound; Digital Spy; High Snobiety;

In the interest of showing my work, I’ll throw the table of rankings and the averages down below.  Some thoughts on the process with my ranking below.  Keep in mind that my ranking is based on how I like the song.  I didn’t gauge how well the song was used in the movie or use the videos of the songs for or against them (which is a good thing in Duran Duran’s case).

24. Kingston Calypso – Byron Lee and the Dragonaires (Dr. No) – This wasn’t really a true Bond song and didn’t get included in all the lists that I looked at.

23.  We Have All the Time in the World – Louis Armstrong (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service) – This song was a surprising #1 on one of the lists.  Nothing against Louie, but the song did nothing for me.

22.  Moonraker – Shirley Bassey – Yawn!

21. You Only Live Twice – Nancy Sinatra – This song did pretty well on a couple of the lists, including a surprising #1 on a list.  I had to go back to listen to the song again to make sure I had been paying attention the first time through.  I did and I think it deserves this spot, but, to be fair, I may be the outlier here.

20. From Russia with Love – Matt Munro – Ranged from a high of 6 to a low of 20 on the various lists.

19. Die Another Day – Madonna – Somehow, one of the lists put this one at #4.  I couldn’t sit through the whole song and I tried twice.

18. Thunderball – Tom Jones – Tom ranged from a 5 to a 22.  A love it or hate it song.

17. The World is not Enough – Garbage – My ranking was right on the average here.  It’s an ok song, but not one of the best.

16. Tomorrow Never Dies – Sheryl Crow – I’m pretty close to the average here too.  I like Sheryl Crow sometimes, but this didn’t fit her or vice versa.

15. Diamonds Are Forever – Shirley Bassey – Overall average of 8.1 on the ranking.  I wasn’t the only one to put Ms. Bassey this far down though.

14. License to Kill – Gladys Knight – I’m nailing this part of the ranking.

13. Writing’s on the Wall – Sam Smith (Spectre) – Honestly, I could put this one down farther.  He won an Oscar for this?

12. Another Way to Die – Jack White & Alicia Keys (Quantum of Solace) – These middle range songs could all move up or down a couple of spots and it wouldn’t matter much.

11. The Man with the Golden Gun – Lulu – I was a bit of an outlier here.  Average was 18.5.  I just liked it, I guess, and it is my ranking after all.

10. Goldeneye – Ike & Tina Turner – I went into this song figuring I wouldn’t like it.  I didn’t get into Tina Turner’s 80s What’s Love got to do with it stuff.  But I really dug this song.  Could probably be higher in the ranking really.  But I’m pretty close to the average here.

9. All Time High – Rita Coolidge (Octopussy) – This is a total 80s pop song.  The range on the lists was from 7 to 23.  Not a song to listen to a second time, but the first time was a nice memory, so that’s why it’s here.

8. For Your Eyes Only – Sheena Easton – My ranking is about the average.  It’s a recognizable and singable song, so here it sits.

7. The Living Daylights – a-ha – Another outlier for me.  I just really like a-ha’s sound and this song sounds like them.  The average is 15, so I’m not in line with the other lists.

6. Nobody Does it Better – Carly Simon (The Spy Who Loved Me) – Another good pop tune.  Late 70s but still very memorable.

5. Goldfinger – Shirley Bassey – The overall average ranking winner in an upset.  Very solid marks across all of the lists let Ms. Bassey get a win.  And for the old style Bond songs, this one holds up well.

4. A View to a Kill – Duran Duran – Rankings range from 1 to 19, so big difference of opinion here.  I’m an 80s guy and this sounds like them.  It’s got some fun poppy things going on.  If I took into account their “blow up the Eiffel Tower” video, this would slide down the rankings.

3. Skyfall – Adele – The song that caused me to go through this ranking process in the first place.  Would have been #2, except that I just started listening to the Cornell tune over and over and it got stuck in my head.

2. You Know My Name – Chris Cornell (Casino Royale/Daniel Craig) – I’m an outlier here and I don’t even care.  Great tune!

1. Live and Let Die – Paul McCartney – Recency bias could have led me to move this one down to #2 because of the Cornell tune, but I just couldn’t push Paul down.  This one should have been the ranking average leader, but it had a #10 ranking on one of the lists that brought it down just below Goldfinger.

Kingston Calypso or Theme (Dr. No) 24 5 n/a
We Have All the Time in the World – Louis Armstrong or theme (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service) 23 9 8 20 16 4 1 23 13
Moonraker – Shirley Bassey 22 10 18 16 21 14 20 20 17.6
You Only Live Twice – Nancy Sinatra 21 3 4 7 12 7 8 1 7.9
From Russia With Love – Matt Munro 20 13 16 10 7 10 6 11 14.1
Die Another Day – Madonna 19 17 20 24 10 22 23 4 17.4
Thunderball – Tom Jones 18 7 22 9 22 9 5 22 14.3
The World is Not Enough – Garbage 17 11 10 13 18 16 11 6 17.5
Tomorrow Never Dies – Sheryl Crow 16 16 13 17 23 21 15 19 17.8
Diamonds are Forever – Shirley Bassey 15 5 6 14 3 5 10 7 8.1
License to Kill – Gladys Knight 14 14 12 22 13 19 9 18 15.1
Writing’s on the Wall – Sam Smith 13 17 8 24 15 18 17 16
Another Way to Die – Jack White & Alicia Keys 12 21 11 18 11 18 21 14 15.8
The Man with the Golden Gun – Lulu 11 22 21 21 15 23 19 16 18.5
Goldeneye – Ike & Tina Turner 10 15 9 15 17 13 12 8 12.4
All Time High – Rita Coolidge (Octopussy) 9 18 7 23 19 17 22 21 17
For Your Eyes Only – Sheena Easton 8 8 5 6 8 11 16 13 9.4
The Living Daylights – a-ha 7 20 19 11 14 20 14 15 15
Nobody Does it Better – Carly Simon (The Spy Who Loved Me) 6 6 2 3 5 3 4 9 4.8
Goldfinger – Shirley Bassey 5 1 3 4 2 1 3 3 2.8
A View to a Kill – Duran Duran 4 12 14 19 1 6 13 2 8.9
Skyfall – Adele 3 4 15 2 9 8 7 5 6.6
You Know My Name – Chris Cornell (Casino Royale) 2 19 23 12 20 12 17 12 14.6
Live and Let Die – Paul McCartney 1 2 1 1 4 2 2 10 2.9


Top 10 Candidates for the Democratic Nomination – Gillibrand Edition

There’s really not been much going on, except that Kirsten Gillibrand just dropped out of the race.  Senator Gillibrand had already dropped out of my last Top 10, so that part is not really affected.  Still, my mental list has changed a little.

There are definitely some tiers developing in the race.  Biden, Warren, Sanders and Harris are the top tier.  I’d put Buttigieg in tier 2 by himself as the only other name I see with a shot at the top of the ticket.  Tier 3, for me, are the names that I think should stay in the race to push the top candidates on some issues or to keep their viability as VP picks alive.  But I don’t see any tier 3 names winning the nomination.  They include: Castro, O’Rourke, Booker, Klobuchar, Bullock, and Gabbard.  Then everyone else, whether they made the September debate stage or not, are just taking up oxygen.  They have no chance at the top spot or the VP spot.  I’m not going to list everyone here.  My caveat with the bottom tier is Yang.  He’s going to be around for a while and he does have an interesting signature issue (Universal Basic Income).  It’s just that he has no chance at either spot and I don’t see the benefit of him pushing the top candidates.  So bottom tier for him.

  1. Elizabeth Warren – Staying steady.  I look forward to the fact that Senator Warren will be on the same stage as all of the top tier candidates.  With 10 people up there, I’m not sure how much we will get actual debate, versus the lower tiers taking shots at the top tier.  Still, will be interesting.
  2. Kamala Harris – up 3 spots. I’m moving her up this time just because I really want the Dems to nominate a woman.  I’m concerned about how she’s running her campaign.  If she had Warren’s campaign and policy chops, she’d already have this sewn up.
  3. Joe Biden – up 1 spot.  I’m not sure that Joe can go through the entire campaign without more bad gaffes or looking like his age.  But until that time, he’s got the best shot to beat the Republican nominee next November.  And that’s important.
  4. Pete Buttigieg – up 2 spots.  Mayor Pete is really well situated to take over the Biden lane if Biden slips up.  I think he’d be an interesting foil to Trump, if Trump ends up as the GOP nominee.
  5. Julian Castro – Down 3 spots.  I still like Castro a lot.  But he just can’t seem to catch fire.  That makes him a harder pick for the top spot.  I’d love to see him on the Harris or Warren ticket.
  6. O’Rourke – down 3 spots.  He could really have a break out performance at the next debate if he hammers the gun issue.  If he falters next debate, he’s gonna fall in the next ranking.
  7. Amy Klobuchar – up 1 spot.  Slow and steady.  More moderate than I would like, but her Midwest credentials will be a plus if she’s on the ticket.
  8. Cory Booker – down 1 spot.  He’s about tied with Klobuchar, but the tie goes to the woman in my rankings.  Need to see something at the debate.
  9. Steve Bullock – staying steady.  I think he may stick around to get on the stage in October.  If he doesn’t make that stage, he’ll drop out.  But could still be a VP contender.
  10. Bernie Sanders – staying steady.  He’s top tier in being able to win the nomination, but, for me, as I said last time – I worry that Bernie is going all the way to the convention, no matter what else happens.  Does he end up undermining the eventual nominee and help Trump?

Others: 11 – Andrew Yang; 12 – Tom Steyer; 13 – Tulsi Gabbard.