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How do Christians not see that this is evil?

Stomach-wrenchingly abhorrent news from The Guardian:

A Vatican official has said the Catholic church will excommunicate a medical team who performed Colombia’s first legal abortion on an 11-year-old girl, who was eight weeks pregnant after being raped by her stepfather.

Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, the president of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for the Family, said in addition to the doctors and nurses, the measure could apply to “relatives, politicians and lawmakers” whom he called “protagonists in this abominable crime”.

Why on Earth does Middle England complain so much about Islamic society when Christianity – the religion at the heart of Middle England – does as many things which are at least comparably terrible on a daily basis? I don’t get it.

Perhaps it’s because Middle England don’t know that these things happen – after all, a story like this would never feature in the Daily Mail, as to do so would be to cast doubt upon the beliefs and values of it’s readership. Far better that they reinforce the prejudices by using dubious research to convince it that the 2% of the population that have an Islamic belief system pose an immediate threat to the future of the UK.

How can anyone justify forcing an 11-year-old raped by her step-father to carry her child to term?  That is evil.  And that is the decision of one of the most senior people in the Catholic church, Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, who will almost certainly oversee the conclave to select the next Pope.  This is not some crazy parish priest in some far-flung land.  This is a crazy senior priest in the highest echelons of the Vatican.

Just, for a second, imagine the uproar if these were the words of an Imam.  Yet, because this is apparently based in Christian “truth”, nobody blinks.  I just wish the world could, for once, look past religion, with it’s ifs, buts, excuses, corruption, out-dated teachings, and evil actions, and work towards true, universal, morality.

This post was filed under: News and Comment.

HP Support Blog: Day 15

Today’s news in the ongoing saga: No phone calls, no emails, no laptop, no customer service, no point in paying extra for Next Day support, nothing more to post today.

This post was filed under: HP Support Blog.

Kennedy’s drinking an on-going problem?

There’s been much speculation over the last few days concerning Charles Kennedy’s drinking past, mainly fueled by the pending release of Greg Hurst’s new book. Essentially, though, it doesn’t seem to say an awful lot more than most people already presumed.

I say past drinking problem – but just exactly how “past” is it? I know that any recovering alcoholic would say they are never really ‘cured’ of alcoholism, but there’s certainly been a general idea that Charles has given up the alcohol after being in an alcohol detox Arizona center for several months, and is doing his best to adjust to life without it: An admirable ideal. Indeed, back in January, when admitting his problem for the first time at an extraordinary press conference, Charles said:

As a matter of fact I’ve not had a drink for the past two months and I don’t intend to in the future.

But Guido now appears to be suggesting that Mr Kennedy may not be living up to the high standard he’s set himself:

Sharper readers of the dead-tree-press will realise that headlines like “Kennedy ‘must recover’ before return” and “Sir Menzies Campbell made clear that he would be welcome but only once he is ‘fully recovered’ ” don’t make sense if he is now sober …

To be fair, when asked on television recently when it was he last had a drink Kennedy avoided answering the question. Guido knows that he has been the worse for wear as recently as June.

I like Mr Kennedy. I don’t think he’s the solution to all the world’s problems, but he was a different kind of politician to those who usually gravitate to the position of leader, and that was probably healthy for democracy. I would really hate for him to be politically damaged further by appearing to be deceiving the public a second time. I don’t think he’s done that yet, but I really think he needs to watch his step, and handle things very carefully and delicately.

Honesty may well be the best policy second time around.

This post was filed under: Media, News and Comment, Politics.

HP Support Blog: Day 14

Happy two-week ‘anniversary’! Yep, it’s now two weeks since I first reported my faulty laptop for a next-day repair with HP, and it’s not fixed and not here.

Yesterday, I was sort of hopeful that the HP Support Blog would pull into the fixed-laptop station for the very last time, but it appears to be rumbling on, out of control. I contacted ICM Computers, HP’s subcontractors, this morning, as I’ve heard nothing since Friday. I was told that the machine had (as planned) been wiped and reinstalled from scratch, but (unsurprisingly) that hadn’t fixed the problem.

So in a somewhat surreal turn of events, they’ve decided to replace the system board and screen. They’ve done that twice before, you’ll remember, and it didn’t work. But clearly, they think it will this time. Problem is, they’ve not got either. So they’re awaitinf parts. My man from Warrington assures me that the repair has been escalated to a senior level. That’s nice, but it doesn’t seem to be making an awful lot of difference so far.

I’ll post an update tomorrow, though I’m not terribly hopeful that it’ll contain much. Remember that you can follow HP Support Blog posts specifically on this page, or with this RSS feed. Have fun.

This post was filed under: HP Support Blog.

Japan rebuilt Hiroshima. That’s the big difference.

Here lies Vera


Look at the picture, listen to the clip from The Morning Report, heck, visit Ashley Morris’s blog if you want to. I don’t understand how this can happen in the world’s richest country in the 21st century, and I’m not even going to try and comment on something that I can’t begin to comprehend.

This post was filed under: News and Comment.

HP Support Blog: Day 13

Nothing much to report today, sadly. No laptop, no communication from HP or their subcontractors, nothing.

Frankly, I’m so fed up with them that I thought I’d just leave it for today. I’m sure if I’d called my new friend at Warrington that he would’ve chased it up for me – but I gave them a day’s grace instead.

Whether the laptop will turn up tomorrow is really anyone’s guess.

This post was filed under: HP Support Blog.

In praise of… good service from big companies

Good peopleWith all the negative stuff I’ve posted of late, I’m beginning to worry about Karma. So to balance it out, and titled in homage to The Guardian’s daily column, here’s some examples of really good customer service I’ve received recently.

Firstly, dabs.com. I’ve ordered from there quite a few times, and they’re always speedy and efficient. Last week, my order was somewhat complicated by some problems, but customer service people were on top of them in no time, with me waiting for less than a minute to talk to the most courteous people I’ve ever come across in the world of online retail. They’re great, their prices are great, and I thoroughly recommend them.

Secondly, Vodafone. I got a new phone from them a while back, and it’s broken. Not drastically broken, but it’s developed a couple of faults. I took it into the Vodafone shop, and they sent it away to be repaired for free, and on top of that gave me a free loan handset so I’m not left without. Unfortunately, they decided the phone was too difficult to repair – and so have agreed to supply me with a shiny new one, absolutely free, because it’s still under the manufacturer’s warranty. I’ve never experienced such good support from a retail outlet acting under a manufacturer warranty. Fantastic. In fact, I’ve been with Vodafone for over three years now, having tried various networks. I can honestly say that Vodafone have always given me an unbeatable deal, and on the odd occasions where things have gone wrong, they fix them quickly and efficiently. Easily the best mobile operator I’ve tried.

Thirdly, Tesco. I bought a couple of jumpers from there a few weeks back, priced at £14 each. They went through the till at £15 each. I queried this at the customer services desk, and was given both jumpers free by way of apology, and this too was processed very quickly and efficiently. What more could I ask for?

First Direct also provide consistenly excellent customer service, as do Smile. First Direct actually answer the phone as soon as you ring them, with no menus to navigate, and are always friendly. Smile have always done whatever I’ve asked of them with the minimum of fuss.

So there you go – there are good guys out there, and it’s probably true that I don’t post as much about good customer service as bad. Hopefully this does something to redress the balance.

This post was filed under: HP Support Blog, Reviews.

Spam attack

For some reason, Akismet isn’t keeping up with the spam comments on the blog today, and after deleting several hundred comments, they’re still coming in. Perhaps it’s related to an update Akismet performed last night? Either way, because of this, I’ve temporarily disabled commenting on the whole blog. It’s the first time I’ve ever had to take such drastic action, and I hope to restore service within the next few hours.

Apologies for any inconvenience.

Edit: It’s all sorted again now. See the comments for details (it was the Akismet update that did it…)

This post was filed under: Site Updates.

Government waste: Uncut

You may have been wondering if your tax money is well spent. You’ll be reassured to know that vast amounts of it (goodness knows how much) have gone in to producing videos like this.

Particular favourite parts for me were the house which was “trashed” by knocking over a single wooden chair, and the fact that headteachers can “manage loo roll” online. That’s a real boon.

On top of this, the wonderful people at the Home Office have launched ads promoting their “Think U Know” website. Yes, that’s radio ads. Reading out the address thinkuknow.co.uk. They’ve now been withdrawn, after it took someone to complain that thinkuknow.co.uk sound exactly like thinkyouknow.co.uk, which is a different website altogether.

Yes, it took a listener to tell the ASA that Think U Know and Think You Know sound the same on radio. Nobody from John Reid to the person doing the recording managed to notice. The ad’s now in the bin.

This government promised to cut waste. Something tells me it’s failing.

Update: As if you weren’t already convinced that the video was a waste of time, I can’t even show it any more!  It’s been withdrawn on the basis that it breached Government copyright. Despite being posted by the Government. Well done.

This post was filed under: Media, News and Comment, Politics.

HP Support Blog: Day 9

Success, of a kind, today.

A brand spanking new engineer turned up this morning, on time. It took him a couple of hours to decide that he wasn’t convinced the hardware was the problem, but maybe Windows was objecting to the new (probably not faulty) system board. Unforunately, I was unable to furnish him with a copy of my Compaq Restore CD, so he’s taken the machine away to test his theory – he hopes it will be back early next week (presumably Tuesday, Day 13 – Monday is a UK Bank Holiday).

I’ve also had a call from the lovely HP man at Warrington, checking how things were progressing and telling me to get back in touch with him if the problems weren’t resolved.

So, all-in-all, some kind of result. The laptop has left the building, and won’t be back for some time, but hopefully will return fixed. Hopefully.

Look out on Tuesday for the next update.

This post was filed under: HP Support Blog.

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