Archive for April 2012

Happy St George’s Day

26 week suspended sentence for murdering a baby

A muslim woman has been given a 26 week suspended sentence for murdering her newborn baby because she was worried about her family being dishonoured by her having a child out of wedlock.

Firstly … 26 weeks?  182 days for murdering a baby, going out with her family and then burying it in a garden.  Not just a paltry 26 weeks for murdering a baby, but a suspended sentence – she won’t even go to prison!  It’s obscene and a miscarriage of justice.  She put her family’s standing in the muslim “community” ahead of the life of her own baby and the baby died.  She should be punished properly for murder, not given tea and sympathy and let off with a slapped wrist.  A baby was killed for fuck’s sake and she’s walking around with nothing but an ASBO tag on her ankle (if that) by way of punishment.

The criminal justice system in England is an absolute joke.  A woman gets away with murdering a baby because it’s cultural.  Labour’s Lord Ahmed was convicted of causing death by dangerous driving and not only kept his peerage and party membership, but served less half of his outrageously low 12 week prison sentence and looks set to get away relatively lightly with allegedly putting a $10m bounty on the head of Barack Obama and George Bush at a public meeting in Pakistan.  A man was jailed for 70 days for burning a copy of the koran in April last year, a week after a muslim was given a £50 fine for burning poppies outside the Albert Hall on Remembrance Day and shouting “British soldiers burn in hell”.  There is very little justice in the justice system.

Ten (ish) weeks with hearing aids

Back in January I had a hearing aid fitted after getting fed up of Mrs Sane complaining about me not being able to hear her finally going to get my hearing tested.

The difference it made was astounding – I hadn’t realised how bad my hearing had got. But it did leave me a bit lopsided hearing-wise because the hearing in both my ears is pretty crap, albeit worse on one side than the other.

So I went back to the hospital a week and a bit ago to get a second hearing aid to balance things up and get the T-Loop added to the one I’d already got because it never occurred to me when I said I wouldn’t need to use it how I would use the phone at work!

The second hearing aid isn’t turned up as loud as the first one because my hearing isn’t as bad in the other ear but I can hear at the same volume in both ears and I can tell where sound is coming from again. The T-Loop is also a great invention – I first tried it in the local Co-op and it was pretty amazing to walk up to the counter and be greeted with no sound other than the voice of the girl behind the till.

My desk phone at work has an induction loop in the handset which means I can hear everything loud and clear through the loop in my hearing aid. Sadly my work mobile (HTC Wildfire S) doesn’t work with the loop but I’m sure they’ll replace it with one that does. My HTC Desire worked with it once but I think the amount of times I dropped it must have broken the loop. Luckily it was due for upgrade so the very helpful people at the Three shop in Telford helped me find a new phone that works with my hearing aids, letting me try out lots of different phones until I found the best sound quality (Sony Xperia S).

There are a couple of big problems using mobile phones with hearing aids. The main one is trying to use a phone without a loop – I don’t have those jelly moulds you see on old peoples’ hearing aids, I have a “tulip” end on my hearing aid which disappears into my ear and is barely visible. It also blocks my ear and if your ear is blocked you can’t hear properly (or less properly than usual). Using a phone without a loop means removing my hearing aid and turning the volume up which is hardly convenient.

The other big problem is using a phone with a poor quality loop. They produce lots of noise – so much noise that it’s hard to make out what’s being said at the other end. The Xperia is great with the loop, giving a really clear sound quality as long as the Wi-Fi is turned off otherwise it can be a bit noisy. The new HTC One was OK but not great.

It’s not easy getting used to hearing aids but it’s worth the effort. Itchy ears are a particularly annoying problem, especially if you’ve got sausage fingers like me that just won’t fit down your ear hole! I find that regular cleaning with a baby wipe helps but sometimes you’ve just got to ignore everything that was drummed into you as a child about not sticking things in your ear and have a good scratch with something blunt.

Another annoying problem for me (and I suspect this will only affect you if your hearing aid is amplifying higher pitched sounds) is what beeping things like the microwave, the oven timer, alarms on TV programmes and the chime on clocks do to the hearing aids. Apart from being very loud, it makes the sound distorted and tinny on the hearing aid for a good 30 seconds after it’s stopped, like it’s been overloaded and it needs to sort itself out. And I can’t even begin to describe what a fork scraping on a plate sounds like.

Despite the little annoyances, getting these hearing aids has been a really positive thing. They’re so discrete that most people don’t even notice them. It doesn’t help me to hear in really noisy places like a hall full of chattering people or a train station but in most situations it’s made a real improvement. I don’t know how fast my hearing is deteriorating – I guess we’ll find out next time I have a hearing test – but I can already sign a bit so I’m well prepared!

30th anniversary of the invasion of the Falklands

Today marks the 30th anniversary of the Argentinian invasion of the Falkland Islands.

It was marked here by remembrance services and in Argentina by sabre rattling speeches by politicians pledging to uphold their illegitimate claim to the islands.

Cast Iron Dave has given a Cast Iron Guarantee™ to uphold the right of Falkland Islanders to decide whether they want to belong to the UK or Argentina – a promise he’s going to struggle to keep now that we’ve decommissioned our last aircraft carrier and we’re reliant on the French for military support.

The closest friendly country (if you can call it friendly) to the Falklands is French Guiana.  The closest British Overseas Territory is the Pitcairn Islands which has no facilities that could be used for a military excursion.  The closest friendly countries capable of being used as a launchpad for military action are South Africa and New Zealand.  Our closest military base is 2,400 away at Tristan da Cunha.  The US is siding with Argentina, as is most of South America.

A spangly new destroyer, HMS Dauntless, is on its way to the Falklands and defences on the islands have been bolstered but that won’t stop the continued harassment of Falkland Islanders in non-military ways: threats of legal action against companies doing business in the Falklands, banning Falklands flagged boats from ports and enlisting the help of their neighbours to harass the islanders.

Of course we should defend the right of the Falkland Islanders to choose whether they want to remain a British Overseas Territory or not and everyone has the right to live without harassment or fear but if we are going to make a promise to the Falkland Islanders to protect them then we need to be able to back up that promise with some action.  Right now we’re not in a position to do that thanks to the criminally irresponsible behaviour of successive British governments who have run down our military and over-extended our forces fighting illegal and unwinnable wars.