My College Basketball Top 25 – Christmas Edition

I’m a little late in getting this out.  Probably just a little bummed about two losses by my Wildcats.  Another #1 went down.  Not much preamble today, since I’ve got to get going to play tennis this morning.  Nothing from MadZee yet.  He’s on winter break, so maybe he’s hibernating.  Here you go.

  1. Auburn (11-0)
  2. Duke (10-1)
  3. Louisville (11-1)
  4. Ohio State (11-1)
  5. Gonzaga (13-1)
  6. Memphis (9-1)
  7. Baylor (8-1)
  8. Kansas (9-2)
  9. Oregon (10-2)
  10. Butler (10-1)
  11. San Diego State (12-0)
  12. Villanova (8-2)
  13. Virginia (9-2)
  14. Maryland (10-2)
  15. Liberty (14-0)
  16. DePaul (10-1)
  17. Arizona (10-3)
  18. Arkansas (10-1)
  19. Texas (9-2)
  20. Penn State (10-2)
  21. Florida State (10-2)
  22. Xavier (11-2)
  23. West Virginia (10-1)
  24. Colorado (10-2)
  25. Kentucky (8-3)

Watching The Debate So You Don’t Have To – And Then There Were 7 Edition

I think I mentioned it’s Star Wars Week.  So the MadDoc and I had to watch The Last Jedi last night to be fresh for Rise of Skywalker today.  I’ll probably have a full on Star Wars movie ranking after I see Episode IX today, but that’s for another post.

All that means that I didn’t get to watch the debate live, as I normally do.  Instead, I decided to do it backwards and read about the debate the morning after then watch on DVR this morning.  [watches debate and post debate commentary] . So here are my thoughts, followed by a ranking of how I think the candidates did.

As I’ve done all of these debates, I’ve taken to noting the answers that I thought were especially good.  It’s good to go back and look at who had how many good answers.  I also noted a couple of awkward or bad answers.  Interesting that I noted the most good answers from Yang – four.  I had Warren with three, Biden and Klobuchar with two each and Pete with one.  I also thought Bernie had two awkward answers.  I thought most of the closing statements were standard stump type things.  Warren had the best closing statement with how she personalized it.

The questions on foreign policy (China and Afghanistan) were really good.  A lot of good answers from all of the candidates in there.  The last section about a gift or forgiveness was stupid.  It was interesting that the women asked forgiveness and the men gave gifts.  Still, we could have done without that section.  The answers to the questions on immigration were pretty boring, since there’s really not a lot of daylight between the candidates in this area.  In the section on the economy, all of the candidates were ready to point out that the Dow Jones is not the only way to determine whether the economy is strong.

The headlines include the attacks on Pete from Warren and Klobuchar.  Pete was prepared with his counters, so he wasn’t devastated.  But he’s on weaker ground on this issue, so Warren got the better of him.  Plus #winecavepete.  For my money, Klobuchar clearly won her back and forth with Pete on the question of electability and experience.

Healthcare wasn’t much of an issue, but it was interesting to me how Joe described his healthcare plan.  He said that people could sign up for Medicare if they want it.  This seems like another move in the direction of the Democratic position toward Pete’s plan.

On the education question, I think Warren and Sanders have a better view of the idea of making college free.  The universality question works for primary education and they’re just advocating to extend that to 4 year public college.  The problem is I think Warren and Sanders get bogged down along the way and aren’t really explaining that as well as they could.  The problem on the other end is when Pete or one of the moderates talks about making sure the rich pay for college, they’re coming at it from the idea of the current structure for public colleges.  Warren and Sanders are talking about creating a different model.

Now the ranking:

  1. Andrew Yang – The thing with Yang is that his answers are good, but don’t sound like they’re from a politician.  He’s funny and smart.  He had the most of what I considered were good answers.  He did a good job.
  2. Amy Klobuchar – I think the extra time with only seven candidates really helped Klobuchar.  She made good points, didn’t seem nervous and had a great overall debate.  I’m not sure this moves the needle for her, but I’m probably moving her up in my rankings based on this performance.
  3. Joe Biden – The important thing for Joe is that he gave solid answers, didn’t fall back into rambling Joe.  His answers were good and kept it up throughout the entire three hours.  He’s still not going to be my preference for candidate, but I can get more strongly behind this Joe if he ends up with the nomination.
  4. Elizabeth Warren – Warren is still my choice and I thought she had a good debate.  It’s interesting on the after debate interviews on CNN how they seem to push her harder than Pete on the same questions.  Just an observation.  I’ll be interested to see if she gains or loses in comparison to Klobuchar and Pete after their fireworks.
  5. Pete Buttigieg – Pete did a solid job in answering his questions, especially when it gets to foreign policy.  He was a little on the defensive and basically lost his fights to the women on stage.
  6. Bernie Sanders – Bernie had a couple of awkward moments and was just Bernie being Bernie the rest of the time.  His best moment was when he came out in support of Palestinians.
  7. Tom Steyer – He just didn’t make an impact.  I appreciate that he is now the climate change candidate, but he doesn’t have anything new to say.  I can’t help but think that he would be making a bigger impact if his money was still in the impeachment area.











It’s Star Wars Week

The premiere of Star Wars : Rise of Skywalker is this Friday.  Or some places maybe it’s Thursday.  I think there might be some shows Thursday evening here in Knoxville.  But I’ve got a couple of tickets for a Friday showing, so it’s Friday for me and the MadDoc.  She’s on call at the hospital that night.  She makes the call schedule and we got these tickets a couple of months ago, but she had forgotten about the date (or I forgot to put it on the calendar), so she ended up putting herself on call.  Fortunately, one of her partners agreed to cover a few hours Friday night so that she can join me at the Cinnebarre – the Regal Cinema with recliners and waiters to bring us food.  I’m looking forward to it.

And since it’s Star Wars week, I’m going through my t-shirt collection to try and wear as many Star Wars related shirts as I can.  I’ve got a UK Star Wars shirt reserved for tomorrow, since the Cats play tomorrow night.  Yesterday I wore my green t-shirt with prequel era Yoda on it and the saying from Empire Strikes Back – “Do or do not.  There is no try.”  It’s one of my favorite Ts in general and I wore it to play tennis yesterday morning.  On Monday mornings, I play with a group of guys about my age and even older.  Some in their 70s.  One of the guys I play with regularly asks me about the t-shirt of the day.  Yesterday, he came up and read the shirt and then asked, “who’s that creature there?”  I’m sure that says something about…something.  I’ll leave it to you to come to your own conclusions.

After tennis, I had to stop by the battery store and I was complimented by one of the guys there on my shirt.  We chatted a little about Star Wars week and such.  Then one of his co-workers chimed in that he was almost caught up with all of the movies.  He announced that he had never seen any of the Star Wars movies until he got the new Disney+ streaming service.  I asked his age and he replied, “25.”

So, I got to feel super nerdy on one hand and ancient on the other.  Other than that, it wasn’t a bad day.  Just 75 hours or so to go.  Not that I’m counting down or anything.

Impeachment And Politics Miscellany – Is There Even Going To Be A Debate Edition?

Just a few thoughts…

  • I’ve been seeing some discussion on Twitter and elsewhere about how Democrats may be underestimating Trump’s chances at getting reelected.  The idea goes that he’s so underwater on approval, how could he possibly be reelected?  Well, the economy is good.  And he’s an incumbent President.  And the Electoral College.  Which Democratic candidate he’ll face in November will also play a part, but if you’re asking this question now, then it’s all about the economy, incumbency and Electoral College.
  • But, may I propose a different way of looking at it for the time being?  What are the odds that Donald Trump gets a majority of the votes for President?  Well, he didn’t in 2016 against Hillary.  He’ll probably do worse this year, right?  Regardless of who the Democratic candidate is.  And where’s his popularity at in the country?  About 50% disapprove of him.  Maybe we should also look at it from the perspective of how Trump is an incumbent President, with all of those advantages, and he’s the beneficiary of a good economy, which usually means the President gets reelected, and still he’s no sure thing to win next November.  So, yeah, we don’t elect our President by majority vote.  So getting fewer votes than the Democrat can still lead to an Electoral College win for Trump.  Instead of worrying about whether that will lead to a Trump second term, maybe we should lean into that issue a little and ask ourselves if that’s really how we want the occupant of the White House to be selected.
  • And speaking of the Electoral College, I’d like to be the 2 million and sixth person to point out the hypocrisy of the folks on the Right who, in one breath, defend the way we elect our President, because that’s what the Constitution says, and then in the next breath, claim the impeachment is illegitimate, even though the House Dems are doing exactly what the Constitution says they can.  And should, imo.
  • There’s part of me that hopes that the debate on Thursday gets scuppered due to the fact that the Democratic candidates (rightly) will not cross a picket line.  One, I’m gonna have to record the debate and watch on delay anyway so that we can do some pre-Christmas family fun.  And, two, it might also highlight an area where I think the Democrats should really focus in 2020.  It should be about workers and the working class.  Many working class voters go with Trump for…I don’t know what reasons.  But the Democratic Party should be the party of workers.  Taking a high profile stand for unions going into 2020 is a step in the right direction.
  • But, I expect they’ll clear things up and I’ll be doing my recap of the debate, just a little delayed.

My College Basketball Top 25 – Mid December Edition

All of the major undefeateds lost this week, except Auburn.  So, I guess it’s War Eagle week.  A couple of undefeateds left in the mid major range and I’ll put them in down toward the end.  If you’re undefeated at this point in the season, you deserve to be in the Top 25, at least until you lose.  I’m keeping Kentucky below Louisville and Ohio State for now.  If they beat them, they can go up.  Gotta earn it, boys.  Here’s my take.

  1. Auburn (9-0)
  2. Duke (9-1)
  3. Kansas (7-1)
  4. Louisville (10-1)
  5. Ohio State (9-1)
  6. Gonzaga (11-1)
  7. Kentucky (8-1)
  8. Virginia (8-1)
  9. Maryland (10-1)
  10. Memphis (9-1)
  11. Baylor (8-1)
  12. Oregon (8-2)
  13. Arizona (9-2)
  14. Villanova (8-2)
  15. DePaul (10-1)
  16. Butler (10-1)
  17. Texas (9-1)
  18. Arkansas (9-1)
  19. Dayton (8-1)
  20. Florida State (8-2)
  21. Xavier (9-2)
  22. Tennessee (7-2)
  23. San Diego State (10-0)
  24. Duquesne (9-0)
  25. Liberty (12-0)

MadZee’s Top 25 (still last week’s ranking).

  1. Kansas
  2. Gonzaga
  3. Duke
  4. Baylor
  5. Oregon
  6. Memphis
  7. Louisville
  8. Auburn
  9. Ohio State
  10. Maryland
  11. Dayton
  12. Kentucky
  13. Virginia
  14. Villanova
  15. Michigan
  16. Butler
  17. Tennessee
  18. San Diego State
  19. Washington
  20. Arizona
  21. Michigan State
  22. Wichita State
  23. Indiana
  24. Penn State
  25. Florida State

Impeachment and Politics Miscellany – Pre December Debate Edition

I haven’t been writing here much.  I was trying to get on the ballot for my local race for County Commission.  You can see what I’ve written lately at my campaign website here.

There’s a debate next week and the horserace has been evolving.  I figured it might be time to write down some thoughts before the debate.  And, as a bonus, I’ll do a pre-debate Top 5 candidates.  As usual, I figure you can read polls for yourselves, so I’m giving you my preference.  I’ll do a debate post and a regular Top 10 after the debate too.  Stay tuned for those.

I find myself on the fence about whether the Dems should have gone on with impeachment hearings or should have included more Articles of Impeachment.  I can see both sides.  The Dems have mostly done a good job in the process (Intel Committee much better than Judiciary).  The fears that pursuing impeachment would doom the Dems politically have proved mostly to be unfounded.  There may be a little blow back in certain purple districts and the Trump base may get energized, but this hasn’t been a “Democrats lose the Presidential election” moment.  The upside is that you didn’t lose the Democratic base by not doing impeachment.  And there is still the fact that some vulnerable senators will have to take votes on this.  Vote for impeachment and they risk a primary or depressed turnout.  Vote against and they fire up the Dems against them.

Polling has shown a fall for Elizabeth Warren.  She’s back to 3rd or 4th now, where she was previously considered a co-front runner with Biden.  Bernie Sanders, meanwhile, has been cruising under the radar while Warren and Mayor Pete go after each other.  I predict Bernie may start to get some attention at the next debate.  If he doesn’t, the other campaigns are making a mistake.

As always, whoever ends up as the Democratic nominee, I’m going to vote for that person over Trump.  It’s not a hard call.  Trump is corrupt, is wrong on almost everything, and has made the U.S. a laughing stock across the world.  A change needs to happen.  When I’m ranking my preferred candidates, I look at their policies, but there really aren’t than many differences between them.  The differences are style and focus.  For me, all things being equal, I’ll take a woman over a man.  It’s time for us to have a woman in charge.  And if the nominee is a man, a woman needs to be on the ticket.  I also prefer relative youth to the 70 year olds who are running (with the obvious exception of my stated preference for Warren).  So with that being said, here’s my ranking.  For now.

  1. Elizabeth Warren.  Staying Steady.  You didn’t really doubt I would have her here, did you?  She may be less likely than others to win the nomination now, but she’s still my #1.  The hope I have is that her recent fall sets her up to overachieve with superior organization in Iowa and then take that momentum into New Hampshire.  If she ends up 4th in Iowa, she’s probably done.
  2. Pete Buttigieg.  Staying Steady.  I’m inclined not to like certain things about Mayor Pete.  He’s less authentic than Warren for my money.  Of course, if you want authenticity and consistency in their beliefs, you go for Bernie.  He’s also gone pretty hard after Warren lately.  They’re going after the same voters I think.  But.  He’s got the potential for enthusiasm in the Democratic base.  Plus, if it’s not Warren, I want someone young in the job.  And he’ll do a good job against Trump in the debates.  If Trump agrees to do the debates.
  3. Joe Biden. Up 2 spots.  Of the white male septuagenarians in the race, Biden is the best choice.  I moved Biden up because I want to make clear that, if it’s between Biden and Bernie, I want Biden.  Joe has some major issues, but Bernie’s campaign is also the mostly likely campaign to stay in the race way past when they should and his supporters are the mostly likely to vote not D and undermine the eventual nominee.  My case for Joe is that he dominates early and basically wraps it up.  That gets Bernie out of the race, hopefully.  And lets the Dems move on to the general sooner.
  4. Amy Klobuchar.  Staying Steady.  I still have in the back of my mind that her staffers were not treated well by her.  But she focuses on women’s issues and is from the Midwest.  She keeps Minnesota safe from Republicans’ recent thoughts that they can take that state.  She’s probably a better choice as VP still, but if Warren falls further, Klobuchar needs to stick around to keep a woman in contention.
  5. Cory Booker. Down 2 spots.  Cory is not on the debate stage, so we’re probably at the beginning of the end for his candidacy for the top spot.  He’d be a good option for VP with Warren or Klobuchar.

My College Basketball Top 25 – Pearl Harbor Edition

Yeah, OK, that was yesterday.  But you try to come up with a different “edition” title every time.

The number of undefeateds is down.  I’m not considering any 3-loss teams right now, which eliminates North Carolina.  My Cats are up to 7.  If they sweep the month of December, I would imagine I’ll put them back at the top, but gonna be tough to beat both Ohio State and Lousiville.

Keep an eye on Auburn.  They’ll probably be favored for the next 8 games.  Not that they couldn’t drop one, but you could also see them at 16-0 going into Florida.  I watched them against Furman and they’re not as strong as that record would indicate.  But you can’t argue with 16-0.

  1. Louisville (9-0)
  2. Maryland (10-0)
  3. Ohio State (9-0)
  4. Auburn (8-0)
  5. Duke (9-1)
  6. Kansas (7-1)
  7. Kentucky (7-1)
  8. Virginia (8-1)
  9. Arizona (9-1)
  10. DePaul (9-0)
  11. Butler (9-0)
  12. Memphis (8-1)
  13. Gonzaga (9-1)
  14. Michigan (8-1)
  15. Baylor (7-1)
  16. Xavier (9-1)
  17. Seton Hall (6-2)
  18. Tennessee (7-1)
  19. Xavier (7-1)
  20. Washington (7-1)
  21. Utah State (9-1)
  22. Texas (8-1)
  23. West Virginia (7-1)
  24. Oregon (7-2)
  25. San Diego State (10-0)

MadZee’s Top 25 (still last week’s ranking).

  1. Louisville
  2. Kansas
  3. Maryland
  4. Ohio st
  5. Virginia
  6. Duke
  7. Michigan
  8. UNC
  9. Kentucky
  10. Arizona
  11. Memphis
  12. Gonzaga
  13. Seton hall
  14. Auburn
  15. Oregon
  16. Dayton
  17. Michigan State
  18. Tennessee
  19. Villanova
  20. Colorado
  21. Baylor
  22. Utah St
  23. DePaul
  24. Xavier
  25. Florida State