1. Bier her
Today we could remember Armistice day, ending the First World War 99 years ago, or Ned Kelly hanged on 11 November 1880. Then there was the dismissal of Gough Whitlam 25 years ago, and the important Harvester Case on November 8, 1907. Before we get too far past it I want to remember 31 October 500 years ago when a cranky friar in Saxony let it be known he was not happy with the Catholic Church. However Martin Luther’s biggest contribution to modern life may have been to liberate German beer.
People have been celebrating the 500th anniversary of the determined friar Martin Luther hammering his 95 theses to the door of the castle church of Wittenberg. Informed opinion is that it actually did not happen. I heard a Catholic historian say it is a story that was made popular in the 19th century. Nor were there necessarily 95 theses, but thereabouts.
In the article Luther is described as a “stout, sensual and gregarious monk.” Beer had been a monopoly product of the Catholic Church. Luther was hugely proud when his wife Katharina, amongst many other accomplishments, opened a brewery.
I warm to Luther went I hear that apart from loving music and writing many hymns, he muchly enjoyed sex, and in contrast to Catholic teaching, did not consider marriage a sacrament, but an earthly custom formalised by the state.
I might go into Luther a bit more some other time, but British theologian and political philosopher John Milbank made an idiot of himself on The Philosopher’s Zone, cherry picking from Luther, Calvin and Henry VIII’s problems of generating a son to discern a Manichean metaphysic, or something.
The Brits never understood metaphysics, it was a Continental thing, and didn’t really get going in the modern world until René Descartes (1594-1650), who was born about 50 years after Luther (1483-1546) died. Metaphysics hit a peak with Immanuel Kant, in the late 18th century, then you either took a track via the gloomy Dane, Søren Kierkegaard, of German idealism via Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, possibly coming together again with Martin Heidegger, but people shy away from him a bit because he prospered under the Nazis. They probably didn’t know what he was talking about.
Any way props (or Prost!) to Martin Luther, a man of feeling who knew how to live in and enjoy the real world
2. The truly sad NBN disaster
The NBN has been much in the news lately, for all the wrong reasons. The best account by far of how we got to where we are was on The Money program with Richard Aedy, Fibre Optics: A look at Australia’s NBN. Well worth half an hour of your life.
Seems back in John Howard’s day Telstra under Sol Trujillo offered the government to build them a fibre network if the government would just tip in $5 billion.
There was not a lot of love between the ‘mad Mexican’ and the government, so they told him to take a jump. Eventually you get to a point where Turnbull saved the NBN from destruction, which was what Abbott wanted, but made the whole thing incomparably worse.
Quite simply, every country in the world, practically, is building fibre-to-the-home. We will do that too, but at much expense and about 20 years late at best. Paul Budde says there is no alternative to tipping in some government investment. NBN will never make enough to pay its way. It’s meant to be sold, but no-one will buy it for the $50 billion or more it has cost.
Two of the experts reckoned that splitting up the band width into small pipes to be onsold to customers by the telcos is stupid. Let the customers have access to the whole bandwidth and pay for what they use.
Those two blokes didn’t quite see the logical outcome of this line of thinking. Get rid of the telcos as retailers and let NBN sell direct to customers. They only get in the way and make a proper muddle of things.
3. Meanwhile in Queensland…
Meanwhile I heard on local radio today Steve Baxter, Queensland’s chief entrepreneur (yes we have one, set up by this ‘do nothing’ Labor government) getting really excited – really, really, really excited. Best thing since sliced bread, or he put it as the equivalent or better than bitumen roads.
When the Queensland electricity networks were set up they added a fibre optic cable for their own purposes. There is heaps of excess capacity which they are now going to make available to regional businesses.
Baxter said it was not relevant to homes, but every business in every town on the grid will be as well-connected as central Brisbane. He thanks the minister for her role in making this happen. “Go Leeanne Enoch”, he said.
“There is a clear role for government as an enabler, which is why, to the end of June, we have committed more than $205 million of the Advance Queensland investment to 1650 innovators across Queensland.
“Their projects will drive 4821 jobs, and with Queensland now second to New South Wales in the number of startups, we are well on the way to becoming the Startup State.
It’s bursting out all over, even in Mackay.
What an exciting time to have an election!
4. In the Land of the Free
Andrew Romano talking to Sarah MacDonald on radio last night ran through some of the developments. About five days ago 26 people were shot in Texas, but already America is just moving on. After Las Vegas, Republicans in Congress and the NRA called for changes in the law, but exactly nothing was done.
With Harvey Weinstein, by contrast, things have happened:
Scroll down and you’ll find Louis C.K., thought to be the best US comedian of our times. On occasion he masturbated in front of women, mind, asking their permission first.
His statement of admission and regret is worth a read. We’ll have to wait and see whether, like Kevin Spacey, he’s killed his career.
Romano also spoke of the Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore, who has not denied that he dated teenage girls when he was in his 30s. Seems not all of them appreciated the way he went about it.
You may have heard that British defence minister Sir Michael Fallon has resigned after a newspaper article said he touched radio presenter Julia Hartley-Brewer’s knee in 2002.
The version I heard suggested that he was probably getting ahead of all the other allegations which would surely follow. Reports suggest there is an endemic problem in the British parliament. Male pollies in their 50s and 60s hiring young female staff.
British women have also simply had enough, apart from Weinstein himself cutting a swathe through London.
5. Here in Oz
Here in Oz Townsville One Nation candidate Mark Thornton owns a sex shop Cupids Cabin. There have been social media quotes like:
- “Good sex should be in the gray (sic) area between ‘tickle fight’ and domestic violence”.
- “I’m selling bra’s (sic) inbox a pic of your titties so I could see if I got your size”.
- “A blowjob a week can lower a man’s risk of heart disease. So don’t be shy girls save a life!”
He reckons he just owns the place, it’s his missus and the staff who do this stuff.
Politics in the Sunshine State.