Saturday, September 08, 2018

A Worthy Product

Walking around the neighborhood with my twin babies, we encountered some religious missionaries knocking on doors trying to convert the residents. Later, there were people handing out fliers by the metro claiming that only Jesus can save us.

In my experience, if you have to work that hard to sell your product, it's likely because the product isn't very good. No one has to sell good products; they sell themselves.

Friday, August 31, 2018

A Breakdown of Who is America? Characters

Sacha Baron Cohen pretended to be six characters on Who Is America? Some fared better than others. Here I grade the characters on whether their sketches hit or miss and if it hit, how well did it do. If a sketch hits, it can receive as many as four points and as little as one. I use a baseball analogy, one I'm sure the British Cohen would surely appreciate, so a one-point sketch is a single, while a 4-point sketch is a homerun (HR).

The number of comedy hits versus the number of sketches the character is in is his comedy average (cavg) and the total points divided by sketches is his comedy slugging percentage (cslg). I've also include the number of HRs each character was in.

6) Billy Wayne Ruddick Jr.
.143 cavg; .143 cslg; 0 HRs

I like the Ruddick character in theory and the intro to his sketches are funny, but he struckout nearly every time. Bernie Sanders (Ep.1), NIH Director Francis Collins (Ep. 6), and Jill Stein (Ep. 6) came across as polite and knowledgeable in their interviews with Dr. Ruddick to little or no comedic effect. There was a lot of potential with Corey Lewandowski (Ep. 5), but Ruddick kept going a little too far and it made him look like a halfway sane man. Ted Koppel (Ep. 2) and Howard Dean (Ep. 6) were indignant, but not in a funny way. The only hit was Barney Frank (Ep. 7) and his indignation; Ruddick essentially played the straight man and let Frank's reaction take over. Still, the interview was only goo enough for a single.

5) Nira Cain-N'Degeocello
.333 cavg; .833 cslg; 1 HR

I thought Nira was funnier, but the numbers say otherwise. Too often, Cain-N'Degeocello said outlandish things and people reacted with grace. The South Carolina Republican couple (Ep. 1) Bone Krusher (Ep. 3) come to mind. That Utah Republican (Ep. 4) was less understanding, but he didn't take the bait that would've made that interview a success. The battle rap (Ep. 3) was had a feel-good moment when the one halfway decent line that Cain-N'Degeocello landed got some love, but it wasn't particularly funny.

When he gave birth (Ep. 6), that was funny for how much the guy believed it and there were some funny lines, but only enough for a single. The Arizona town hall was a homerun. The townspeople';s bigotry came shining through and Cain-N'Degeocello did a great job of trying to spin it to something more tolerant at which point the locals doubled and tripled down.

4) OMGWhizzboyOMG
1.000 cavg; 1.333 cslg; 0 HR

This character has been panned by the critics, but I like him. Yes, Joe Arpaio (Ep. 4), David Clark (Ep. 5), and Jan Brewer (Ep. 6) have said crazier things. But he still got Clark to say he would be against anti-fascists in 1930s Germany, and Brewer to allow a homicidal Shopkin to have a semi-automatic weapon. Sheriff Joe said that he would accept various sexual acts from the president, which was a double in my book.

3) Rick Sherman
.667 cavg; 1.667 cslg; 0 HR

I'm surprised Sherman, ranked so highly. I didn't really like the character and his introduction (Ep. 1). Yes, an art dealer gave him her pube, but otherwise, she seemed like a gentle understanding person during the piece and my sympathies were with her. Sherman then went after a better targets and scored better. DJ Jake Inphamous (Ep. 5) loved Sherman's bizarre musical set and so did his nightclub, which was good enough for a double. Get a faux food critic (Ep. 6) to wax poetic after eating sausage he believed was softened in a man's anus and thanking the family of the Chinese dissident her had just eaten was almost a homerun.

2) Gio Monaldo
1.000 cavg; 2.500 cslg; 2 HRs

Gio's success also surprised me. After an underwhelming start, pranking a former Bachelor contestant (Ep. 2), a skit that was funny in spots for the contestant's desire for fame but made me a bit uncomfortable, Gio came back strong. After exposing a yacht dealer's desperation to make a sale, Gio hit two homers by getting Mahbod Moghadam to hilariously show his racial prejudice and by punking O.J.

1) Erran Morad
1.000 cavg; 3.000 cslg; 5 HRs

Conservatives are apparently quite trusting of a former Israeli Mossad, I mean not the Mossad, agent. when it comes to terrorism. The Colonel was the funniest character by far. His weakest sketch was with Roy Moore (Ep. 3), still funny just for the fact that he used a fake pedophile director on him. Dick Cheney (Ep. 2), the anti-Muslim office demonstration, and the Real Housewives sit were good enough for 3 doubles.

Morad had more homers than all the other characters combined. The quinceanera (Ep. 3), Guns For Kids (Ep. 1), the courses with Dan Roberts (Ep. 5), Jason Spencer (Ep. 2), and the Liberal contest and women's march infiltration (Ep. 7) were the homeruns.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Power Rankings of World Leaders

Here's the new power rankings of world leaders. The last one was posted on July 24.

Rank Leader Country Previous Rank
1 Xi Jiangping China 1
2 Vladimir Putin Russia 2
3 Kim Jong-un North Korea 3
4 Ali Khamenei Iran 4
5Moon Jae-in South Korea Not Ranked
6 Mohammad bin Salman Saudi Arabia Not Ranked
7Abiy Ahmed Ethiopia 8
8Donald Trump United States 10
9 Justin Trudeau Canada Not Ranked
10Imran Khan Pakistan Not Ranked

1. The escalating trade war with the U.S. isn't helping too many people, but between the Belt and Road Initiative and the U.S.'s withdrawal from a position of dominance on the global stage, Xi has China in position of preeminent influence.

2. After making Donald Trump look like a Kremlin stooge in last month's U.S.-Russia summit, the Russian dictator had Trump inviting him to the White House. Even the American Director of National Intelligence was flabbergasted by that invitation.

3. Kim has been one step ahead of the U.S. since Trump took office. He dictates the game. He continues to send overtures of peace to South Korea, but only on his terms.

4. The Trump administration's hardline policy on Iran has served two purposes for Ayatollah Khamenei. It marginalizes moderates such as President Hassan Rouhani and provides a foil in the U.S. as anti-government protests persist.

5. The scene of long-separated Korean families reuniting, even if just for a few hours, was moving. President Moon helped to make that happen and he just might usher in an era of peace on the Korean peninsula. His legacy depends on it.

6. MbS has now picked a fight with Canada after the country's government called out his arrests of women activists. The Saudis tweeted out a 9-11 type threat against Canada on top of other symbolic gestures. It's like if Pharma Bro was the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. MbS runs his foreign policy like Trump if Trump had no checks or balances and was the least bit competent.

7. Besides finding peace with Eritrea and overseeing one of the fastest growing economies in the world, Ahmed is opening up space towards a free media.

8. Trump is reimagining American foreign policy as he cozies up to strongmen and distances his country from its traditional alliances. He's asked some interesting questions about America's involvement in far off civil wars and the cost of maintaining a military presence in over half of the world's countries. But those moments of lucidity seem accidental. For the most part, Trump has dealt with each foreign policy issue as if it were in a vacuum. It doesn't help his standing that his former campaign manager was convicted of fraud and his former attorney signed a plea agreement today.

9. Trudeau was in a spat with MbS and came out looking good by standing up for human rights. After a stunning rise onto the global stage, Trudeau has had his setbacks. This bizarre kerfuffle is the first start to redemption for Trudeau.

10. No one really knows where Iran Khan stands. The Aaron Burr of Pakistan has promised to root out corruption and set out a vision for peace with India. Whether the new prime minister can follow through on these promises is another thing. But, for now, the charismatic leader is saying the right things. And, perhaps more importantly, he's someone new.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Power Rankings of World Leaders

Here's the new power rankings of world leaders. The last one was posted on July 6.

Rank Leader Country Previous Rank
1 Xi Jiangping China 1
2 Vladimir Putin Russia 3
3 Kim Jong-un North Korea 2
4 Ali Khamenei Iran 4
5Shinzo Abe Japan Not Ranked
6 Emmanuel Macron France Not Ranked
7Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic Croatia Not Ranked
8Abiy Ahmed Ethiopia Not Ranked
9 Sauli Niinisto Finland Not Ranked
10Donald Trump United States 9

1. The only reason the Chinese didn't collude with Trump in 2016 is because Russia beat them too it. All joking aside, U.S. President Donald Trump has been the gift that keeps on giving to Xi and China. The Belt and Road Initiative has filled in for Trump and America's increasing absence on the world stage.

2. After the World Cup helped give off the appearance of a statesman, the autocratic leader of Russia traveled to Helsinki to have a summit with the President of the United States. Putin had Trump eating out of his hand, parroting Putinist propaganda on issues ranging from Russia meddling in the 2016 U.S. election to Macedonia's participation in NATO potentially leading to World War III. Russian media hailed the summit as a victory for Trump. President Trump was eviscerated even by fellow Republicans. So of course, Putin received an invitation to the White House to rip Trump a new one again. Putin most ardent enemy in Europe is Theresa May who has been struggling. Her diplomatic boycott of the World Cup didn't gain any traction among other countries and two cabinet members resigned over her interpretation of Brexit. Putin is feeling high.

3. Kim is still living large off of his summit with Trump. He got POTUS to salute one of his soldiers and praise him endlessly. Trump trumpeted the summit as a victory for denuclearization and Kim decided to ramp up his program as a result.

4. Trump threatened Iranian President Hassan Rouhani over mild comments Rouhani made. Trump continues to embolden hardliners such as Ayatollah Khamenei and the Quds Force. Iran will likely be a nuclear power soon since Trump backed out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and even U.S. military power won't slow it down for long.

5. While President Trump has treated Abe like something to use and throw away, Abe has hit back by agreeing with the EU on a huge free trade deal. Also in the TPP, Japan is angling to be a leader in global free trade.

6. Macron's bid to be the leader of the Western Alliance faltered when Trump backed out of the Paris Climate Accord, the Iran Deal, and generally berated his allies. But France's World Cup win represented the benefits of multiculturalism and immigration. Defeating an ethno-state in the final drove home the point. That win has been soured by the Benalla Affair, in which a member of Macron's security detail beat the hell out of some protesters.

7. Grabar-Kitarovic was the true star of the World Cup. She traveled to the games from Croatia flying coach. She sat in the stands and cheered for her team. Then she took selfies with other fans. She also gave some world leaders Croatia jerseys. Her humility stole the show.

8. Ahmed heads one of the fastest growing economies in the world. On top of that, Ethiopia and Eritrea finally found peace. It's been a good few weeks for the reformer.

9. Niinisto, who hosted the summit between Putin and Trump in Helsinki, has led the charge to improve relations between the two former Cold War adversaries. Boy were relations good between the two. It was a love in.

10. The first U.S. president not to be considered the leader of the free world since World War II has fallen even farther down the list. He's actually in danger of falling off the list. Real intelligence professionals were seriously postulating as to whether Trump is a controlled asset of Russia. Others called him treasonous for backing Putin over all of his own intelligence agencies. He's trying to distract from his embarrassing performance in Helsinki by threatening Iran.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Mark Kriegel is Annoying, Bring Back Teddy Atlas

Late last fall, ESPN replaced Teddy Atlas with Mark Kriegel for their live boxing broadcasting. The switch was a mistake.

Teddy Atlas has his quirks, but what I'm looking for in an announcer is knowledge of the subject and  entertainment value. Atlas fills both requirements. Kriegel fills neither.

The Storylines
The perfect place for Kriegel on a broadcast is doing those bio pieces before the fight that I usually just fast forward through. Every action has some deeper meaning or some deeper story behind it with this guy. A fighter's orphaned childhood eating garbage out on the streets led him to that straight right-left hook combination in the 4th round. What the hell? It's a fucking boxing match, not a Russian novel. I want to know that he landed the combo because the opponent's left was low after a jab, not because he overcame bipolar disorder through years of intensive therapy.

The Repetition
I read Mark Kriegel's book The Good Son about Ray Mancini. It was enjoyable until he recycled the the same old trope: Mancini was avenging his father's career which was successful, but the father never reached the pinnacle of his profession. Kriegel never really built off of that idea, he simply repeated it. He does the same thing when he announces fights and introduces his storylines

The Lack of Knowledge
I blame Howard Cosell, but boxing has a long tradition of placing non-experts in the expert chair. You got the sense that Cosell knew what he was taking about. That doesn't mean Mark Kriegel also knows. Besides the occasional mention of a jab, Kriegel doesn't provide anything of substance. And when he mentions a jab, his accent travels back in time 50 years, but for just a word.

An ESPN official said they took Teddy Atlas off the broadcasts because he treated Kriegel horribly during one telecast. Yeah, because Teddy Atlas holds people who don't know anything about boxing to account. It was cathartic to hear Kriegel called out for his lack of knowledge about boxing.

You, Sir, Are No Larry Merchant
The gradual delivery, the contrarian attitude. Kriegel is channeling his inner Larry Merchant. The difference is we waited to hear Merchant finally finish his thought because it was worth waiting for.

Muhammad Ali Isn't Fighting Tonight
Max Kellerman had to learn this. Bringing up old fighters can be illuminating, but only if done so with care. When Kellerman first started announcing fights on HBO, he compared every Sakio Bika fight to Hagler-Hearns (not an actual example). Kellerman brings up old fighters more judiciously now. Kriegel should be taking notes.

The Jose Ramirez Fixation
Mark Kreigel is in love with junior welterweight contender (don't try to talk to me about the alphabet belts) Jose Ramirez. His infatuation with Jose Ramirez makes Dick Vitale and Duke look like puppy love. Kriegel has managed to mention Jose Ramirez in virtually every fight he's called this year. I mean, Jose Ramirez is pretty good and has a nice back story, but he's not the face of boxing or anything. I can deal with hearing about Jose Ramirez during his own fight and occasionally when another 140 pound contender is in the ring. But enough already.

ESPN should bring back Teddy Atlas. The only problem is Tim Bradley has really come into his own as an announcer since Atlas left. That's primarily because providing anything of substance falls completely on his shoulders during the broadcast. When he called a fight with his old coach, Bradley's voice was neutered. Now, he is the lone boxing expert on the team (all apologies to Joe Tessitore, but Tess does a great job of knowing his place). Neverthless, I'd be willing to sacrifice Tim Bradley's continued improvement if we can mute Mark Kriegel. In the mean time, I'll be patiently waiting to once again hear Teddy Atlas rip a judge's bad scorecard.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

A Presidential Press Conference

"I asked Emperor Hirohito in all seriousness if Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and he said no. Why would he lie to me? I don't see any reason why it would be Japan. It could be other people. There's a lot of people out there." - President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on December 7, 1941 at a joint press conference with Japanese Emperor Hirohito.

Friday, July 06, 2018

Power Rankings of World Leaders

Here's the new power rankings of world leaders. The last one was posted on June 13.

Rank Leader Country Previous Rank
1 Xi Jiangping China 1
2 Kim Jong-un North Korea 2
3 Vladimir Putin Russia 5
4 Ali Khamenei Iran 7
5Narendra Modi India Not Ranked
6 Mohammad bin Salman Saudi Arabia 10
7 Abdel Fattah el-Sisi Egypt Not Ranked
8 Recep Tayyip Erdogan Turkey Not Ranked
9 Donald Trump United States 6
10Pedro Sanchez Spain Not Ranked

1. The trade war is happening and China is in a great position to win it. Xi doesn't have to worry about his political constituency because he is the unchallenged leader of China. He can put a real hurt on the U.S. since its president Donald Trump managed to alienate his allies before entering this trade war. The North Korean situation is going swimmingly for Xi as well as Trump has already capitulated on a few issues that bolster China. And in a recent Democracy Perception Index (DPI) report, China was one of the top countries for the questions about the government acting in its people's best interest and- amazingly- about the perception of its news media being balanced.

2. Kim defeated Donald Trump during the Singapore summit. Donald Trump was caught by cameras saluting a North Korean soldier. It was bad enough that the President of the United States met with the North Korean dictator as if they were equals, called a halt to necessary defensive military exercises with South Korea, and didn't get anything of substance in return, but now POTUS is saluting random North Korean soldiers. And oh by the way, after vaguely promising to denuclearize, the North Koreans have increased nuclear production at secret sites.

3. One of the most upsetting sights at the World Cup was watching Putin and Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince MBS shrug their shoulders as Russia continuously scored goals in the tournament's opening match as if to say, "Let the peons have their fun, this frivolity is of no consequence to us royalty." Otherwise, the optics have been good during Putin's World Cup as none of the stadiums have collapsed and no foreigners have been beaten (except for maybe Neymar, but that's a different story). Don't underestimate Putin's ability to fix the World Cup as his low-ranked Russian squad is still alive. Putin is now preparing for his summit with Trump, who is developing a reputation as an easy mark. Russia- bewilderingly- was number one in the DPI report's question about feeling free to express one's political positions. This despite the untimely deaths or arrests of those who express the "wrong" opinions about Putin.

4. As the Iran Deal continues to crumble following President Trump's withdrawal, the pressure is on Europe and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to revive it. Trump is threatening the U.S.'s European allies with sanctions for trading with Iran, which moves the Europeans to the Iranians' side in the dispute. And if a new deal can't get done, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei benefits. Iranians are protesting the bad economy, Now Khamenei can play that old anti-American nationalism tune and hope to blame Iran's economic woes on the Great Satan. And Iran may soon be free to start up its nuclear program once again.

5. Modi is the top democratic leader on this list. India's economy is thriving, but relations between the Hindu fundamentalist government and the large Muslim minority has been a cause for concern. A UN human rights report on India's only Muslim-majority province, Kashmir, was rough on the Indians, who have run the state as a military autocracy for decades. However, the recent DPI report put India near the top with China in terms of the perception of a balanced media in the eyes of India's citizens. That might be because India's cable news media is basically people from all sides of an issue screaming at each other.

6. Women can now drive in Saudi Arabia, a great news story for MBS, who has overseen a disastrous war in Yemen, the bizarre kidnapping of the Lebanese prime minister, a counterproductive blockade of Qatar, and the jailing of female activists. He also was one half of the "let them eat cake" duo at the World Cup with Putin, arrogantly shrugging away his soccer team's pitiful performance. But in that recent DPI report, Saudi Arabia easily won the question about the government acting in its people's best interest and- astoundingly- did well on a question about whether the average citizen's voice matters.

7. Sisi is back on the list because of the DPI report. Egypt was second behind Saudi Arabia for the question about the government acting in the people's interest and tied for second for the question: do you feel that the voice of people like you matters in politics? That is an incredible achievement for a hapless despot.

8. Erdogan won another presidential election. This was an important one because it basically made him dictator for life in the once-democratic country. Erdogan has a knack for just clearing the 50% threshold. I have a feeling he'll do much better next election with his increased powers. It's like that old expression: With increased power comes increased comfort to fix your next election. The good news is Turkey has taken in a lot of Syrian refugees, something the United States and many European countries are loath to do. In the DPI report, Turkey- shockingly- was one of the best countries in terms of the government acting in its people's interest. Apparently, not many Kurds, Istanbulites, and Izmirian were polled.

9. Trump has had a terrible month. Separating children from their parents on the border with Mexico was inhumane. Saluting the North Korean soldier was treasonous at worst and stupid at best. The trade war is going to cost a lot of Americans their jobs and will increase the price of many consumer goods. He entered the trade war after alienating his allies, never a good plan. After being duped by Kim Jong-Un during the pair's summit, he's going to be bamboozled by Putin during their July 16 summit. You never know, Trump might end up giving Putin Crimea and California and still claim he got a great deal.

10. When the Italians heartlessly refused the Aquarius, a boat laden with refugees, Sanchez's Spain answered the call and allowed the ship to dock. Whereas French President Emmanuel Macron, British Prime Minister Theresa May, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have all failed to sway Trump, perhaps, ironically, Socialist Sanchez will be a more effective leader of the Western alliance and the liberal world order.

Sunday, July 01, 2018

Top Ten Pound-For-Pound

Here's my pound-for-pound list. I take into account ability and accomplishment. The previous list was posted on April 11, 2018.

1. Vasyl Lomachenko (11-1, 9 KOs) [1]
2. Terence Crawford (33-0, 24 KOs) [2]
3. Gennady Golovkin (38-0-1, 34 KOs) [3]
4. Sergey Kovalev (32-2-1, 28 KOs) [4]
5. Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (45-4-1, 40 KOs) [5]
6. Leo Santa Cruz (35-1-1, 19 KOs) [Not ranked]
7. Naoya Inoue (16-0, 15 KOs) [Not ranked]
8. Errol Spence (24-0, 21 KOs) [6]
9. Mikey Garcia (38-0, 30 KOs) [7]
10. Guillermo Rigondeaux (17-1, 11 KOs) [10]

Exiting the list:
Adonis Stevenson (29-1-1, 24 KOs) [8]
Keith Thurman (28-0, 22 KOs) [9]

Stevenson drew with a good opponent, Badou Jack, but that result isn't good enough to warrant staying on the list.

Thurman falls off the list due to inactivity. A good win will put him back on.

Entering the list:
Santa Cruz fell off the list in April and is now back on with an impressive win over Abner Mares. He's now beaten Mares twice, avenged his lone loss to Carl Frampton, and has bested a number of good fighters. Spence hasn't quite faced the same competition as Santa Cruz. He beat an undefeated, but untested Carlos Ocampo in one round in June. Garcia has fought a similar amount of solid opponents, but doesn't yet have a signature win; Santa Cruz has three.

Inoue hasn't fought anyone great, but he has demolished good fighters. His bigger opponent in May, Jamie McDonnell, was no slouch. Inoue stopped him inside one round.

What to Watch for:
Golovkin faces Canelo Alvarez in a rematch of their September draw. Alvarez failed a drug test before the scheduled May 5 match up. If he's clean, Canelo may return to the list. GGG might make a good case for #1 with a great showing.

Kovalev is in tough against undefeated contender Eleider Alvarez in August.

Cruiserweight Olexandr Usyk was supposed to face Murat Gassiev in May. That fight is now slated for July 21. The winner could crack the top ten pound-for-pound.

Mikey Garcia faces the undefeated Robert Easter, a legitimate and lengthy lean lightweight on July 28.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Top 10 NBA Players

Top 10 NBA Players Now
While this list consists of the top 10 players now, the past is taken to account, but it is not a list of the best players who happen to be active. Previous ranks posted on June 20, 2017.

# David (PR) Mike (Previous Rank)
1 LeBron (1) LeBron (1)
2 Durant (4)  Harden (4)
3 Westbrook (2) Curry (5)
4 Harden (6) Westbrook (3)
5 Curry (5) Durant (2) 
6 A. Davis (7) Paul (7)
7 Paul (8) Towns (NR)
8 Antetokounmpo (10) A. Davis (8)
9 J. Butler (NR) Antetokounmpo (NR)
10 Lillard (NR) Lillard (NR)

Top 10 NBA Careers Among Active Players
You're making a list of the ten best players in NBA history, but there's one caveat; you can only include players who played during the 2017-18 season. These are our choices, taking the players' entire careers into account. Previous ranks posted on June 20, 2017.

# David (PR) Mike (Previous Rank)
1 LeBron (1) LeBron (1)
2 Durant (3) Dirk (3)
3 Dirk (2) Wade (2)
4 Curry (5) Durant (4)
5 Westbrook (7) Paul (6)
6 Paul (6) Curry (5)
7 Wade (4) D. Howard (10)
8 Parker (8) Westbrook (NR)
9 D. Howard (9) Carmelo (NR)
10Harden (NR) Harden (NR)

Top 10 NBA Franchise Players
This list is about which players you would pick to start a franchise right now. They must have played in an NBA game. Previous ranks posted on June 20, 2017.

# David (PR) Mike (Previous Rank)
1 Antetokoumpo (2) Towns (9)
2 Simmons (NR) Antetokounmpo (5)
3 A. Davis (3) Harden (3) 
4 Towns (4) LeBron (4)
5 Durant (6) Westbrook (2)
6 LeBron (1) Durant (1)
7 Porzingis (NR) Jokic (10)
8 Mitchell (NR)A. Davis (8)
9 Tatum (NR) Curry (7)
10 Westbrook (7) K. Leonard (6)

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Power Ranking of World Leaders

Here's the new power rankings of world leaders. The last one was posted on May 18.

Rank Leader Country Previous Rank
1 Xi Jiangping China 1
2 Kim Jong-un North Korea 2
3 Moon Jae-in South Korea 5
4 Lee Hsien Loong Singapore Not Ranked
5Vladimir Putin Russia 6
6 Donald Trump United States 7
7 Ali Khamenei Iran 3
8 Benjamin Netanyahu Israel 4
9 Mahathir bin Muhammad Malaysia 10
10Mohammad bin Salman Saudi Arabia 8

1. The big winner of the U.S.-North Korea summit? China. Nothing of substance came about, but tensions do seem to be thawing. The U.S. also promised to end joint military exercises with South Korea. Xi couldn't have drawn it up better.

2. Kim got his wish to sit down with a U.S. president and sign a joint declaration of friendship. The cherry on top came when the president called Kim "honorable" and "talented." Between the summit with South Korean president Moon and this summit with Trump, Kim is apparently the most popular belle at the ball.

3. Moon worked hard to restore the summit after Trump cancelled it over hurt feelings last month. While the summit didn't accomplish world peace, it did keep the process going, which is ultimately helpful to South Korea and Moon's legacy.

4. The summit put the spotlight on Singapore, one of the most successful countries in the world. Singapore has the rare distinction of being a trade partner with North Korea and also a close ally of the U.S.

5. Putin was kicked out of the G-7 for invading Crimea in 2014. Putin critics argue he never should've been invited in, but the invasion exposed him as the bad faith actor he is. Now U.S. president Donald Trump has inexplicably whined that Putin should be let back into the club, despite killing dissidents and breaking international laws by invading other sovereign nations. Putin should hire Trump as his agent. Plus, the World Cup is in Russia starting tomorrow.

6. The summit with Kim was a positive step. Despite his critics' fears, Trump didn't mess things up and induce nuclear war. It was a rare success for Trump, who hasn't seen much else go right- usually due to his own actions. He insulted America's allies at the G-7 meeting, initially cancelled the summit like a petulant child before looking ridiculous and making an about-face, and promised to end joint military exercises with South Korea without getting any concessions from the North Koreans or consulting the South Koreans. And that was just in the last few weeks. That doesn't include ripping up the Iran deal (a deal similar to the one he hopes to get with North Korea), moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem without getting any concessions from Israel, starting a trade war with China, starting a trade war with our allies, and walking away from the TPP before asking to get back in.

7. It looks like Iran will restart its nuclear weapons program if the other parties in the JCPOA can't save it. That favors the hardliners like the Grand Ayatollah in Iran over moderates like president Hassan Rouhani.

8. Despite being interviewed by police for corruption this week, Netanyahu is doing well thanks to Trump. The U.S. moved its embassy to Jerusalem and Israel didn't have to give anything up. Netanyahu also convinced Trump to get out of the JCPOA.

9. Prime Minister Mahathir hopes to reinvigorate his country and has invited Ali Baba head Jack Ma and Indian prime minister Narendra Modi to Malaysia in recent weeks in order to do just that.

10. MbS falls down the list as activist women were arrested last month showing that either MbS isn't the reformer he has tried to portray himself as or the crown prince doesn't have as much power as he hopes. His war in Yemen is a disaster, but he has become close to Trump.