I’ve only got three months left to live but at least I’m not Anderson Cooper

“Hello and good evening, welcome to Anderson Cooper 360. I’m Anderson Cooper and for those wondering about the numbers, one way of measuring the planet shown behind me is by dividing it into 360 degrees. Obviously the inference being that, here on CNN, we report all the facts from all angles without bias, agenda or spin.”

Oh my God, I get this goddamn sick feeling in my stomach when I lie. I hate it.

Tonight we will be analysing the latest developments from the alleged hacking of the presidential election by the Russians. We will be discussing today’s explosive disclosure that somebody unimportant to President Trump met someone with a Russian-sounding name at a suburban Starbucks in 2009, or was standing in line at the counter at the same time at least.

On the panel tonight we have my colleague at CNN, Dave Democrat, another colleague here at CNN, Lisa Liberal, and to prove we aren’t an echo chamber, we also have CNN host, Don Lemon.

Christ, here we go again; rinse and repeat, speculation, strawman, question whether there will be an impeachment, discuss it for an hour and then come to the conclusion that it’s still not the smoking gun we’ve been hoping for these past 14 months.

Fuck! It’s been FOURTEEN MONTHS! Please God, when can we move on and start reporting news that actually means something?

So first, let me ask you, Don, what’s the significance of these latest shocking revelations?

Well, I’m glad you asked me that Anderson, and can I just say that these allegations, if they turn out to be true, are the most outrageous developments since yesterday’s news that a Whitehouse intern once drank Russian vodka in a bar in Columbus, Ohio after they graduated from college?

Yes you may, Don, that’s a great perspective, thanks. Do continue, please.

Yes Anderson, these developments are indeed scandalous. We still don’t have the full details of what coffee was consumed by whom although we do know that the member of the campaign in question usually opts for a Skinny Decaf Venti with hazelnut syrup. Whether this was their order on this occasion we are yet to ascertain. (Continues on this theme for 20 minutes)

Is this what I’ve become? Born into one of the richest, most powerful families in the country, Yale-educated, on a trajectory for greatness and I’m stuck here 5 nights a week listening to people agreeing with themselves that we’ve got a buffoon as executive leader?

Where did it go wrong, that’s what I want to know?

I know where it went wrong; my fucking parents. Why on earth did they give me 3 fucking last names? “Anderson Hays Cooper”? They’re all bloody surnames. I was fated to have a shit life from they day they Christened me.

What’s wrong with “David” for fuck’s sake?

(Lemon continuing) ….and so we’ve got a crew on the scene waiting for the local Sheriff’s department to make a statement on the nationalities of the staff at the particular Starbucks and whether or not any of them have Russian backgrounds or, indeed, once played Tetris as a child”.

Thanks Don, great analysis and insight as always. I’m afraid that’s all we’ve got time for this evening. Tune in tomorrow for further breaking news on this historic situation. Goodnight.

Oh, please God kill me now, let it be over.

Bill’s Opinion

Apologies to Half Man Half Biscuit.

Today’s episode of Sesame Street is brought to you by the number 96 and the colour red

Well, this is an unusual state of affairs; the city of Liverpool takes offence at a t-shirt.

What features does the offensive t-shirt have that has insulted the normally stoic Scousers?

It’s red, has the number 96 and the title of a Bob Marley song printed on the back.

I think you’ll agree this is an excellent case for us to consider making an exception to the principle that freedom of speech is paramount. Real harm could occur if people were to be seen walking around in public with such an egregious display of offence on their torsos.

For those who may be confused as to the reasons why Topman’s t-shirt is so terrible, some background;

96 Liverpool football fans died in a crowd crush in 1989 at the Hillsborough stadium.

Liverpool Football Club’s colour is red.

That’s it.

Bill’s Opinion

Get over yourselves Liverpool. You don’t have a copyright on the number 96 and the colour red.

Perhaps, if you are the grieving family of one of the victims of the Hillsborough disaster, you should consider not answering the phone to journalists seeking a renta-quote 30 years later and, instead, get on with your life.

The 19 worst countries for gender equality

To celebrate International Identity Politics Day Women’s Day, Business Insider Australia had an article showing the worst countries in the world to be a female human (there’s some sub-editor gotchyas in the article but we won’t spoil the surprise for you).

Actually, when you scan the list, these also correlate quite closely with the worst countries in the world to be a human of any gender, but that doesn’t fit the day’s narrative so well.

Have a browse of the bottom of the list (page 21 here), compiled by our old friends the World Economic Forum at great expense to the shareholders of the various 1,000 contributing corporates propping up this cottage industry of stating the bleedin’ obvious;

The countries at the bottom of the list all seem to share a common theme but I just can’t quite put my finger on it, see if you can see a trend;

You could probably get a good kebab in most of them but I don’t think that’s the most important common factor somehow.

Bill’s Opinion

Just like with the pollution of the world’s oceans with plastic or any other number of important global issues of the day, it’s always useful to closely examine people’s actions more than their words.

Treat with the utter contempt they deserve the people who loudly proclaim they are strongly supporting the rights and well-being of women, yet limit their actions to hectoring for equality of outcomes in western corporates rather than taking any action whatsoever targeting the brutal oppression of women for religious or cultural reasons in majority Muslim countries.

If cultures are all relative and equal, please explain why these countries are net exporters of migrants rather than immigration attractions.

Oh, and in case you were curious as the the 20th placed worst country, it’s Fiji. After that, normal service is resumed and we’re back the the Islamic countries again.


I’ve just realised Timor-Leste is predominately Catholic. There’s always an exception to the rule, obviously. In this case, the exception has 1.3m inhabitants which could be considered a rounding error.

When Hollywood is your moral compass….

Consider the possibility you may be quite lost.

Clementine “the other gift that keeps on giving” Ford* has been given some more column space this week. It almost feels wrong to pick her thoughts to pieces as she makes it so easy for anyone with half an hour on Google and a semi-curious mind.

In fact, sometimes her arguments are so irrational, illogical, easily disproved and emotional that one wonders whether she’s Australia’s equivalent of Henry Root. If she isn’t a parody, what remains of the sub-editorship at the Sydney Morning Herald legacy press ™ should probably resign and find a profession in which they have some level of competence.

The word salad we’re amused by this week is here; the real problem with women in film.

As is her idiom, the argument meanders around a little, never quite lingering on a specific point long enough to find a kernel of fact or objective truth. Fortunately, we can complete the unfinished task for her.

The key issues she raises are the following;

  • Women are underrepresented in the big budget, blockbuster films.
  • When they are in these films, they are more likely to be scantily clad and not say much. They are certainly not going to be depicted as intellectuals in the STEM subjects.
  • Disney movies have started to use titles that don’t have female names such as “Princess” even when the lead character is a Princess.
  • The paying public prefer it that way. This is a bad thing.

Let’s be somewhat reductive for a moment and summarise what dear Clementine is (in the words of Cathy Newman) trying to say; “people prefer to watch films of which, for ideological reasons, I disapprove“.

Perhaps I’m guilty of building a strawman here, so let’s look at those key points again.

Imagine the negotiation between a couple with a disposable income large enough to allow them to pay a babysitter on Saturday night, head out for a bite to eat and catch a film at the cinema.

Let’s assume the wife is of La Ford’s Third Wave Feminism persuasion (statistically unlikely, by the way; only 23% of American women even identify as “feminist” and far fewer “radical“) and she would like to see the Oscar winning movie, A Fantastic Woman.

On the other hand, the husband has spent his working week risking his life in a blue collar job (males are privileged enough to suffer 93% of the deaths in the workplace), being hectored about the patriarchy and watching as Women In Leadership quotas are applied to the roles above him. His entire waking moments these days seems to consist of being blamed for all societal ills and told he is part of the problem due to three personal attributes completely beyond his control, namely; skin colour (white), gender (male) and sexuality (heterosexual).

It may be understandable if he chooses not to pay to watch a film about the dire life of a transgender man living in Santiago, Chile on his day off.

So they compromise and watch something with superheroes or a crime thriller.

La Ford’s issue with Disney films has a simple explanation too; in recent years, Disney has found that childrens’ films with female names in their titles don’t do so well. This can be tested as a hypothesis by taking the list here, sorting by gross revenue (adjusted for inflation) and rating. After the two 1950s classics, Cinderella and Snow White, the next female titled film is the still ambiguously-titled Beauty and the Beast at Position 15. Next is Pocahontas at Position 20 then Little Mermaid at 25.

Disney is a business. Calling a film “Princess Sparkle” sells fewer tickets. It’s almost as if, I dunno, a film branded as female is more attractive to half of the population than the other half.

Perhaps the claim that Hollywood sexualise female characters is the most amusing. Does this come as a surprise to anyone?

Since when has the entertainment industry not been about sexualising females? Read the lyrics of Coward’s Don’t put your daughter on the stage, Mrs. Worthington for a veiled reference as to the venality of the profession.

The British joke punchline, “…..said the actress to the bishop” hints at the perception of a continuum linking the professions of actress and whore.

The surprise is that anyone honestly believes Hollywood has any moral basis to its works and the industry has any incentive to depict women in ways that fit the narrative of Third Wave Feminists such as Clementine Ford.

Bill’s Opinion

A common mistake by those on the left is to confuse what they feel should be reality with what is actually the case.

People are voting with their wallets and this greatly disappoints Clementine Ford.

It gets worse however; the Oscars have been increasingly picking box office failures as their Best Film Winner.

Which may explain why the public have, in droves, stopped watching the Oscars ceremony.

They’re watching something but it isn’t the virtue signalling of the luvvies.

If Clementine Ford’s opinions were popular, she wouldn’t be writing unedited OpEds in a free to read legacy newspaper with declining readership and revenue.

To stay with the film references, The Sydney Morning Herald’s annual readership figures are one of the most rapidly declining series since the Police Academy sequels.

* Herpes is the original gift that keeps on giving. Draw your own conclusions.

Sometimes it IS less about the argument than the person making ito

The UK’s ex-Prime Minister, John Major, has lent his considerable gravitas (where’s the irony font when you need it?) to the punditry around the Brexit negotiations, urging the current Prime Minister to allow MPs a free vote to ratify the final negotiated position.

Around the same time, another ex-Prime Minister, Tony Blair, has suggested that the peace in Ireland was being placed at risk by the Brexit negotiations and their focus around the border arrangements between Northern Ireland (which is part of the UK, for those who live under a rock) and the Republic of Ireland.

This is, of course, sophistry of its purist form by both elder statesmen. Major, for example, is quite aware that the vast majority of MPs of all political hues were in favour and actively campaigned for the Remain option, despite 17 million of their constituents getting out and voting the opposite. How does he feel they will vote when offered a chance to critique the final Brexit negotiation?

Blair also is quite aware that hostilities are not going to reoccur because the UK leave the EU but because the IRA or split-off factions decide to commit violence. One absolutely does not have to follow the other, it’s a choice the erstwhile terrorist will have to make. It would be a very interesting choice too, in these post-911 days.  One suspects NORAID might not be such an efficient fundraiser these days and would most likely attract unwelcome attention from the Homeland Security agencies. Certainly, the first shots in “The Troubles 2 ™” won’t be fired by British or Irish troops or police.

So why the interventions at this stage in their retirements and who exactly are they trying to persuade?

Major, for example, left office as a laughing stock, with a series of failed and insipid policies (motorway traffic cones hotline, anyone?) behind him as he handed over to Blair with a record majority.

Blair’s “New Labour”government started well, aping the economic policies of the Conservatives, managed to broker a peace deal with the IRA (at what cost, we might still ask, however) but then threw his legacy away by blindly following George W Bush into Afghanistan and, more egregiously, Iraq.

The general public in the UK have not forgotten either. In addition, the core membership of the Conservative Party and the Labour Party hold Major and Blair in contempt respectively.

Let’s pause for a moment and consider the irony of two elder statesmen calling for the sovereignty of the UK Parliament to be maintained as paramount whilst being opposed to Brexit, a policy which will return much of the power previously handed over to the European Parliament. Deep down they must both understand that their positions have a logical inconsistency, surely?

So, the question remains, who exactly are they hoping to persuade?

Bill’s Opinion

It’s probably a different answer for both.

Major, for example, has no grassroots support from the public or his party’s membership, his party’s MPs are likely ambivalent about him at best (many weren’t adults during his premiership) and has little credible legacy to protect from his time in office. He seems to spend a lot of his retirement at the MCC watching cricket.

It’s most likely that Major is appealing directly to the Prime Minister to allow MPs to vote on the final deal because he hopes they will moderate the extent of a divorce he’s opposed to.

Blair similarly is the recipient of little public love and is openly criticised by his party’s membership and MPs. He has, however, amassed an incredible personal wealth since leaving office from various ventures and positions within the very institutions Brexit is terminating the UK’s relationship with.

It’s most likely that Blair is virtue signalling to his European colleagues that it will be business as usual for his wife and him following Brexit; i.e. he’s reapplying for his current job.

Mexican standoff… in Australia!

A week or so ago, I wrote the following;

And now for some speculation; this will blow up in the Australian Prime Minister’s face as it is highly-unlikely that this will be the final sexual dalliance to be or have been occurring at senior government levels. By writing his moralistic code of conduct, he’s just given a green light for these stories to emerge.

Today a journalist tacitly admitted there’s a battle underway between those who now believe they should be reporting matters sexual in the Australian Federal parliament and those who would keep the status quo code of silence;

Politicians (and men of public stature more generally) are fearful of what past misdeeds might be uncovered next.

Journalists are at internal war over what is in the public interest and what is not.

Note the subtle men of public stature dig there.

Unless all of the latent scandals being prepared for public consumption are about gay sex, presumably there’s a significant ratio of women involved in these rendevous cinq à sept, and not all of whom are Foreign Minister?

Yesterday a minister, Michaela Cash, made some unsubtle hints about two senior opposition MPs which she was then pressured into retracting. But, of course, the inferred allegation they were both adulterers is now out there permanently.

Shots have been fired, it will be interesting to see if the response is a return volley.

Bill’s Opinion

This is pure Game Theory being played out in public;

Journalists are contemplating whether or not they can claim a public interest angle to publishing details of politicians’ sexual dalliances.

Politicians are using parliamentary privilege to make allegations about their opponents.

As both groups have individuals break ranks and start letting the information flow into the public domain, there will be less reason for others to maintain their silence.

In other news, Australian popcorn futures have suddenly doubled in value.