Saturday, September 29, 2007

Risk Characterization Theatre

In my job,I am a business intelligence analyst, the primary problem that I face is how to present numbers to people in a way that makes their meaning as clear as possible. This is a common thing nowadays in the real world as well. We are constantly asked to assess relative levels of risk, for example, and in general we suck at it.

I was very interested to see this article by Stephen Strauss at the CBC about a technique of describing risk in a way that is clear and concise and that is accessible to anyone, even those with no statistical training whatsoever. I am not going to go into the details here because Strauss is a much better write than I am but ... I think I might have found a use for one of my domains

And all this leads into another of my modest proposals. I don't see why, in an Internet Age, all statistics, as they relate to human health, can't be illustrated in a Risk Characterization Theater.

In the past, physical space limited what you could show, with only so much available on the printed page. Today, the internet laughs at suggestions of a space shortage.

Scientific papers can still put findings in whatever format they want for other scientists, but there should also be a place on the web where ordinary people can view the numbers in a way they can emotionally relate to.

Cockroaches mentally sluggish in the morning: study

Cockroaches, like humans, have dramatic daily variations in their ability to learn, say biologists at Vanderbilt University in Nashville.

More pointedly, cockroaches could use a strong cup of coffee in the morning, but appear to need no boost in the evening, according to their study, published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Professor Terry Page holds one of the cockroaches that he used in his research.Professor Terry Page holds one of the cockroaches that he used in his research.

"This is the first example of an insect whose ability to learn is controlled by its biological clock," Terry Page, professor of biological sciences, said in a release.
From the CBC comes word that cockroaches are NOT morning critters. Maybe this can be used when trying to kill the little bastards.

Just saying

Randy Bachman

My favorite non-political radio show is Randy's Vinyl Tap. Thank god that CBC streams!

More Myanmar horrors

Burma, Myanmar, whatever you choose to call it, is out of control.
This is hard to watch

Go see it at Crooks at Liars

Glenn Greenwald Speaks Some Truth

At the end of what is for Glenn a rather short posting about yet another example of IOKIYAR at Fox News there is this note that I thought was very important to take note of
UPDATE: In Comments, several people express the unquestionably valid concern that it is inappropriate, even McCarthy-ite and dangerous, for Congress to start formally condemning private political speech. That is true, and if we had a healthy political system, that would not happen.

But, as the MoveOn vote demonstrated, we have the opposite of a healthy political system, and it is thus far preferable -- for reasons I set forth here -- to ensure that a corrupt standard is applied equally rather than allow it to be applied by one political faction against another. Taking the corrupt political tactics wielded by the war-hungry Right and applying those same tactics to them (rather than ineffectively protesting the unfairness of the tactics) is the only way to ensure they cease.

I too am sick to death of the wingers beating us to death with faux outrage and other assorted bullshit tactics. It is time to stop playing nice with these assholes. As Sean Connery's character in The Untouchables said
"You wanna get Capone? Here's how you get him--he pulls a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue--THAT'S THE CHICAGO WAY, and that's how you get Capone."
And yes I am well aware that his character got machine gunned to death. But if we do not fight back against these tactics with something other than "tsk tsk" then these people are going to have a chance to win.

This election is not going to be pretty and we have to get ready to play to win because if we don't there is more to be lost than just an election this time. I really believe that this one could be for keeps.

Read the full post over at

More Giuliani Strangeness

From the NYT

''And quite honestly, since Sept. 11, most of the time when we get on a plane, we talk to each other and just reaffirm the fact that we love each other,'' he said.

Although, I think that it is important to remember that he was actually married to someone else at that point. I know that they weren't "together" but can this guy be any more full of shit? Does he go out of his way to remind people that he is currently on his 3rd marriage and that his kids hate him?

I have a theory that Giuliani is pretty confident that he will get the GOP nod and he is trying to inoculate himself against the attacks that are sure to come in the general election by just putting all the stupid shit he has done out there so that when the Dems try to beat him with it he can point to year old articles (and blog posts) and say "that is old news and was investigated and no one cares".

This is why he scares the shit out of me.
h/t to Crooks and Liars

People Magazine and Baseball


Rabid Red Sox fan and former Sexiest Man Alive Ben Affleck and his wife Jennifer Garner cheer for the team he's "so into" at the green monster – a.k.a. Fenway Park – in Beantown.

Now I know that People isnt exactly Sports Illustrated but come on. Does anyone really call Fenway Park "the green monster"?

Why I live alone

PUNTA GORDA, Fla. -- A man kept the decomposing body of his 86-year-old roommate in their house for a month while he used the dead man's ATM card and cashed his checks, police said.
You just can't make this shit up

Friday, September 28, 2007

Rutger's AD is a hypocritical twit

"If you were giving the scholarship to an intellectually brilliant kid who happens to play a sport, that's fine," Dowling said. "But they give it to a functional illiterate who can't read a cereal box, and then make him spend 50 hours a week on physical skills. That's not opportunity. If you want to give financial help to minorities, go find the ones who are at the library after school."

William C. Dowling is an English professor at Rutgers and he thinks that the school is mistaken in moving towards "big time" college athletics. The statement above was from a New York Times article and I do not see how it can possibly be seen as racist since it was as a result of being asked about the positive impact of athletic scholarships for minority students. I would think that you would have to take it pretty far out of context to get "this guy is a racist" from that but it seems that the folks up the food chain at Rutgers have no problem doing just that.

Rutgers Athletic Director Bob Mulcahy told local newspapers that Dowling's comment was "a blatantly racist statement."

In a statement released by the university, Rutgers President Richard McCormick called it "inaccurate and inhumane."

"It also has a racist implication that has no place whatsoever in our civil discourse," McCormick said in the statement.

A Rutgers spokesman said Thursday he did not know if Dowling would face any sanctions.

h/t ESPN

Kos has this exactly right

The Republicans' problem is that conservative ideology simply doesn't work. It's great for an opposition party, but unworkable for a governing one.

No further comment needed

Thursday, September 27, 2007

High Car Prices in Canada

I have first hand experience with this one.

I lease a Saturn Aura XR (I love my car I love my car) that I acquired in Toronto. I have to flip over to a US-based car and if I simply switched to exactly the same model but get it here in Hartford I will save over $150 a month. No wonder there is now a $2B lawsuit that accuses car makers of keeping Canadian prices high

And let's not even get me started on book prices ...

I love my job--no seriously I do

Not that anyone cares but in real life I am a Business Intelligence analyst working for Valassis and Advo and I LOVE MY JOB!!!!!!!!

Sorry .. but I do. I know it isn't cool to love one's job unless you are working for Google or for some wonderfully quirky little niche company but we do stuff like this with the Center for Missing and Exploited Children and so far we have helped to recover 147 146 kids. We might just be the company that sends you the coupons that you clip and the fliers in your mailbox but damn it we do help make a difference in the lives of at least 147 146 families.

OK, and now I better get my ass in gear so I am not late to the office.

Updated: I had the number recovered wrong .. i have no doubt that it will be 147 soon but .....

Rudy Giuliani -- least informed Presidential candidate on foreign policy?

Moderator Tim Russert of NBC News asked about Republican presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani's pledge to set back Iran by eight to 10 years if it tries to gain nuclear standing.

Biden flashed anger at the mention of the former New York mayor. "Rudy Giuliani doesn't know what the heck he's talking about," said the Delaware senator, who is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

"He's the most uninformed person on foreign policy that's now running for president."

Given the competition (cough Fred Thompson cough) on the GOP side I think that is a questionable statement but it made me pleased to see that the gloves are starting to come off for some folks and the endless line of bullshit that comes out of Rudy's mouth might get challenged from time to time.

Wrong Damned Answer

I understand that it will take some finite amount of time to safely remove troops from Iraq once the decision is made to do so but let me be so bold as to say that I think it is possible to do it in less than 4 years.
"I think it's hard to project four years from now," said Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois in the opening moments of a campaign debate in the nation's first primary state.

"It is very difficult to know what we're going to be inheriting," added Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York.

"I cannot make that commitment," said former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina.

I expected nothing more of Obama and Clinton but Edwards really disappointed me with those answers. This means that this little excursion into Iraq will have gone on for at minimum 10 years if any of these people get into office.

Chris Dodd is looking better and better to me (not that he cares because I cannot legally vote) so maybe it is time to sit down with all the candidates platforms and figure some stuff out.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Installing Linux on a Dead Badger, Just because you can

Let's face it: any script kiddie with a pair of pliers can put Red Hat on a Compaq, his mom's toaster, or even the family dog. But nothing earns you geek points like installing Linux on a dead badger. So if you really want to earn your wizard hat, just read the following instructions, and soon your friends will think you're slick as caffeinated soap.

Call me sick but I really thought this was cute.

h/t to my friend leatherdoll for this one. Go look at her blog .. she has a kitty!!

Fake Outrage

There are enough things to get pissed off at in the world without trying to ramp up the outrage meter over bad puns and jokes about kids of skanky stars.

How about any of the following

Michael Bublé - Lost - If Only

In my inbox today
September 26, 2007

Dear Robert,

As of 6:00 p.m. EST today, you have the opportunity to view the exclusive worldwide premiere of Lost—the new video from Michael Bublé's latest chart-topping album, Call Me Irresponsible—24 hours before the rest of the world sees it.

The question being why I would want to take advantage of that opportunity?

Adorable Mistakes

Sarah Silverman made some jokes about Britney SPears, including one that referred to her kids as "adorable mistakes". Now people are pissed off at Sarah Silverman.

What the hell are you doing listening to Sarah Silverman if you get upset at that joke? Sarah is rude, obnoxious and profane and anyone that gets the vapors over that should just get the hell over themselves.

On a related topic .. i was born 3 months after my parent's were married.

Mistake? No doubt!
Adorable? You might say that; I couldn't possibly comment

All You Need To Know About Corporate Media

The key information can be found in just a couple of short quotes from this article describing Katie Couric's remarks at the National Press club.
“Everyone in this room would agree that people in this country were misled in terms of the rationale of this war,” said Couric, adding that it is “pretty much accepted” that the war in Iraq was a mistake.

And I remember feeling, when I was anchoring the ‘Today’ show, this inevitable march towards war and kind of feeling like, ‘Will anybody put the brakes on this?’ And is this really being properly challenged by the right people? And I think, at the time, anyone who questioned the administration was considered unpatriotic and it was a very difficult position to be in.”
In other words, even though she really didn't support it in the beginning she was too gutless to stand up and say "wait a minute" and fact check what was going on because someone might have called her a mean name. Yup, that is who I want to trust to get my news.

The truly sad part is that she probably thinks she is being brave for admitting this. God help us all.

Karl Rove 0-2 ?

Karl Rove
"It's going to be a very close election," said Karl Rove, who until this month was the president's top political strategist. "We are at this very narrow divide in politics."
and last fall
Rove claimed that the polls "add up to a Republican Senate and a Republican House."

"You may end up with a different math, but you're entitled to your math," Rove said. "I'm entitled to 'the' math."

I suddenly feel much better.

Speaking of Playing Hardball

From the Washington Post via Daily Kos a few days ago comes this thought for the day
Grassley said if he were the Democrats, he would send the SCHIP expansion to a vote every three months, along with campaign advertisements accusing Republicans of abandoning children. That way, pressure would mount either on Bush to sign the bill or on House Republicans to override the veto.

I really want to start hearing soundbites of GOP Reps trying to defend voting against this bill. This is a perfect case where the Democratic Party is on the right side of an issue.

And yes, Chuck Grassley is a Republican.

SCHIP -- No Winner

I have to respectfully disagree with the characterization of this in the headline at Swampland.
No one wins from this. Not the Democrats, not the Republicans, not Bush and not the kids.

If this gets vetoed and the veto sticks EVERYONE involved should be ashamed of themselves for not making it work!

I do not understand how anyone with a soul could have voted against this bill. And yes Dennis Kucinich I am looking at you when I say that. It isn't a perfect bill .. so what .. it is a damn sight better than what the alternative is.

I do not understand for the life of me why there is any debate in this country that there needs to be some form of basic universal single payer health care. I live in the insurance capital of the country and you know what .. i don't give a damn that it might cost a job or two here. This is one of those times where the right thing to do just stares you in the face and all you have to do is say "yes let's do that"

Can someone explain to me why this is hard?

What is Wrong With being partisan?

This thing from David Brooks (h/t to TREX at firedoglake) got me thinking about the issue of partisanship and how it is so demonised at the moment. At least in some circles.

To set this up I have to say that I am a proud liberal. I am not a progressive .. i am a liberal. I think that is a good thing. I do not think that there is anything to apologize for that I think that we should set up a society where the least among us will be protected and where the winner doesn't take all. I have no intention of happily living in a society where the moral imperative can best be described as "I've got mine, now fuck you".

Because of this it makes me incredibly angry when I watch the squandering of resources (financial, human and moral) by the current administration in Washington and the folks that enable the White House to bamboozle, or at least attempt to, the American people into thinking that their vision of America is in any way compatible with what the Founding Fathers had in mind.

So when I hear "let's all just get along", I want to punch someone in the head. You do not compromise with Fascists. They do not understand the concept. All they understand is the win and guess what .. they are still winning. The current crapfest around the ad is a case in point. How the hell did 25 Democratic Senators think that the most important thing that they had to do was to vote in favour of a resolution "condemning" MoveOn.Org for basically being a bunch of big meanies and hurting Gen Petraeus' feelings. Gen. Petraeus is a big boy. If he can't take a little bad punnery when he is catapulting the propaganda then he is in the wrong damn job.

Now, all that is said as a prelude to saying that I think that partisanship is a good thing. I dont even just mean that it is good that liberals are pissed off and not going to put up with the same old crap from the "leadership" but rather that it is good when conservatives argue forcefully for the things that they believe in. Of course, saying that you are in favour of eating bbq'd babies on live tv probably isnt a winning election strategy but ...

Partisan political struggle is how the country decides what it stands for. Without it we have a mushy pile of nothing.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Yale BA and Harvard MBA huh?

From Reuters with a h/t to Air America Radio for twigging me to the story.
The White House was left scrambling to explain after a marked-up draft of Bush's speech popped up briefly on the U.N. Web site as he delivered his remarks, giving a rare glimpse of the special guidance he gets for major addresses.

It included phonetic spellings for French President Nicolas Sarkozy (sar-KO-zee), a friend, and Zimbabwe leader Robert Mugabe (moo-GAH-bee), a target of U.S. human rights criticism.

Pronunciations were also provided for Kyrgyzstan (KEYR-geez-stan), Mauritania (moor-EH-tain-ee-a) and the Zimbabwe capital Harare (hah-RAR-ray).

Now I know that we cannot expect the president to be as quick as a news anchor but the only one of those that I will accept is even remotely tricky is Kyrgyzstan. This guy is the leader of the most powerful country in the frigging world and he needs help to pronounce Harare.

I live about midway between Harvard and Yale and suddenly I don't really have a warm fuzzy feeling about sending a child to either of them.

Comment of the day from Digby's place

In my view, commercial healthcare insurers are parasitic dinosaurs. They serve no public good, provide no essential public service, and they remove funds from the sick, ill and injured vulnerable and return them to the pockets of investors(shareholders), thus stripping the healthcare infrastructure, providing disincentives for healthcare providers and destroying the physician/nurse-patient relationship.

From a comment in a thread on the GM strike.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Income Distribution -- A Practical Example

It is interesting to me that in Canada (where I used to live) I would be easily in the top 5% of income earners but that in the US (where I currently live) I am not even close.

An income of at least $89,000 was needed to be in the top five per cent of earners in 2004, Statistics Canada said Monday.

This "five per cent club" earned 25 per cent of the income Canadians declared in 2004 — up from 21 per cent in 1992. They paid 36 per cent of the personal taxes collected in 2004.

The country's 1.2 million high-income earners — those among the top five per cent — were predominantly male (75 per cent), aged 45 to 64 (54 per cent) and married (78 per cent), Statistics Canada said.

Almost half (46 per cent) of the top five per cent of tax filers lived in Ontario. About 18 per cent are in Quebec, followed by Alberta (15 per cent) and British Columbia (13 per cent).

In the U.S., an income of at least $165,000 was the requirement to join the "five per cent club."

Per Capita GDP is significantly higher in the US than in Canada (44K to 36K more or less) but that doesn't completely explain the difference. I do not think that anyone would claim that Canada is anything other than a fully developed industrialized nation either, so it isn't a matter of just being a country full of poor folks.

Goodbye HRM, hello Halifax?

Halifax regional council is being asked to consider a name change for the Halifax Regional Municipality.

Coun. Bob Harvey, representative for Lower Sackville, has put forward a motion requesting the official name be shortened to just Halifax.

"It's really how we present ourselves outside our boundaries, and I think really this motion would keep up with the practice, which is people know us as Halifax and not as Halifax Regional Municipality," he told CBC News on Monday.
Anyone that thought that this wasn't going to happen eventually wasn't paying attention.

No Gays In Iran -- Cough-- Yeah, Sure

He elicited laughter and boos from the audience at Columbia University when he said, "In Iran, we don't have homosexuals, like in your country."

I read the bit on about Ahmadinejad's talk at Columbia today and it struck me how truly deluded you would have to be to think that your country has no homosexuals.

Lane Hudson Is Brilliant

I know that I might seem a little obsessed with Rudy Giuliani but the deliciousness of this is too much not to share this from Firedoglake with my vast audience of readers
Rudy Giuliani is a hypocrite who thinks he should live by rules different than others. He attacked and the New York Times for the rate charged for a newspaper ad. Promptly, he ran an ad in response and paid….wait for it….the SAME amount.

Since the NYT says it was a mistake that they were charged the lower amount, MoveOn promptly paid the difference in an ‘abundance of caution’. Rudy refuses to.

The wingnuts filed an FEC complaint against MoveOn and the NYT, but didn’t include Rudy. That oversight has now been corrected

Asymmetric Warfare

A Pentagon group has encouraged some U.S. military snipers in Iraq to target suspected insurgents by scattering pieces of "bait," such as detonation cords, plastic explosives and ammunition, and then killing Iraqis who pick up the items, according to military court documents.
"Baiting is putting an object out there that we know they will use, with the intention of destroying the enemy," Capt. Matthew P. Didier, the leader of an elite sniper scout platoon attached to the 1st Battalion of the 501st Infantry Regiment, said in a sworn statement. "Basically, we would put an item out there and watch it. If someone found the item, picked it up and attempted to leave with the item, we would engage the individual as I saw this as a sign they would use the item against U.S. Forces."

In documents obtained by The Washington Post from family members of the accused soldiers, Didier said members of the U.S. military's Asymmetric Warfare Group visited his unit in January and later passed along ammunition boxes filled with the "drop items" to be used "to disrupt the AIF [Anti-Iraq Forces] attempts at harming Coalition Forces and give us the upper hand in a fight."
I read this in the Washington Post as I was getting my breakfast this morning and it nearly made me crawl back into bed and pull the covers up over my head.

The thing that is most striking about this is that, once again, it is the enlisted men being prosecuted and the officers are the ones that are getting away scot-free. I don't know about you but I have never been able to call someone a leader if his first reflex is to toss his men under the bus to save his ass.

There is something very wrong with the US officer corps nowadays. Could it have something to do with the fact that they see careerist officers like Gen Petraeus getting ahead while ones that actually seem to give a shit keep retiring?

Nice Role-Modeling guys!

Yes, Canadian Kittens are cuter

Just saying even though mine are both American bred and even though Maxine has never actually lived in Canada.

OK, well maybe American cats have some charm

Thanks to Crooks and Liars for the tip

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Spelling Genocide

Who will save the Hyphen

Another factor in the hyphen's demise is designers' distaste for its ungainly horizontal bulk between words.

"Printed writing is very much design-led these days in adverts and Web sites, and people feel that hyphens mess up the look of a nice bit of typography," he said. "The hyphen is seen as messy looking and old-fashioned."

Pink floods school hallways in bid for tolerance

Pink hair, shirts and faces were sported at several Nova Scotia schools Friday as an anti-bullying campaign sweeps the province.

At Sir John A. Macdonald High in Upper Tantallon, hundreds of students showed up for class wearing something pink, some completely covered by the colour.

I know that I mentioned this before but I am just so tickled that it is
taking off.

Price of a life -- $164.50

A 51-year-old woman has been charged in connection with a collision that killed a motorcyclist earlier this month in Halifax.

The Dartmouth woman was issued a ticket under the Motor Vehicle Act for failing to yield the right-of-way when making a left turn, Halifax Regional Police said Thursday.

The penalty starts at $164.50.
At some point doesn't "failure to yield" become "manslaughter". Maybe when you kill someone?

The thing about this that gets to me is that my brother had an accident almost precisely like this about 20 years ago. Fortunately he survived the experience but I had the opportunity some time later to be standing in a bank line in front of the woman that ran him down and heard her recounting how terrible it was that threatened to take her license from her after it happened. Not that they actually did, just that they would have the temerity to even think about it.

And no, I didn't turn around and punch her in the face.

Guardian Angels Come to Halifax?

God, I hope that Peter Kelly decides that this (from CBC) is a bad idea.
After meeting with the head of the Guardian Angels, Halifax Mayor Peter Kelly says he still needs to do more research on the New York-based patrol program before he can give a local chapter his stamp of approval.

Kelly and group founder Curtis Sliwa talked for an hour Monday in New York, where the mayor was attending a conference. Sliwa plans to visit Halifax next month.
Gangs of swaggering vigilantes are the last damned thing that HRM needs.

Right Wing Watch: Why Should God Bless America?

Lovely Song lyrics

Why should God bless America?
She’s forgotten he exists
And has turned her back
On everything that made her what she is

Why should God stand beside her
Through the night with the light from his hand?
God have mercy on America
Forgive her sin and heal our land

The problem with Christian Conservatives is that they are completely devoid of a sense of irony,

Jon Swift: Let's Show Ahmadinejad What America Stands For

I have nothing to add. Just Go read it

Please Can I have This?

More Drool
This Swedish looker is the brainchild of 37-year-old Christian von Koenigsegg, a self-proclaimed inventor. With a carbon-fiber monocoque and carbon-fiber chassis, the extremely light (2,600 pounds) and rigid CCX certainly appears to be the stuff of dreams. Koenigsegg has gone to extra trouble to construct his own engine -- a twin supercharged 4.8-liter V-8 that makes 806 horsepower.

If that isn't enough -- or if you're environmentally sensitive -- Koenigsegg offers an E85-powered engine that makes 1,018 hp. Inside, everything you touch is either aluminum, leather, titanium, or carbon fiber. "When the car is open," says Koenigsegg, "it gives you an airy feeling unlike any other car -- it's more like a speedboat."

Virtual Fence .. Star Wars redux?

Because of a software glitch, the first high-tech "virtual fence" on the nation's borders remains inoperable, three months after its scheduled debut.

Imagine my shock that yet another incredibly high tech "weapons system" turns out to be a steaming pile of dog feces

I suppose that we should be happy that some bright light hasn't decided to just install this and hand out the collars as fashion accessories

Joe Biden, Republican?

This kind of crap is what we would expect of the bad guys in the general election. It is not what we should expect from someone who wants to the be the Democratic Party nominee for President.

All other candidates should smack Biden down for shoving this poll out there. But of course they won't.

I wish i would be proved wrong on this stuff, just once

joe klein on hillary on fox

Joe takes the opportunity in a 2 paragraph post supposedly on how HRC did on Chris Wallace to say
She handled the MoveOn.Org "Betrayus" ad well, putting it in the same category as the Swift Boat ads in 2004, and those comparing Max Cleland to Osama Bin Laden in 2002...but this is still a terrible weight for Democrats to carry and it is time for MoveOn to apologize for its boneheaded move.

Joe, repeat after me...

"Petraeus DID betray the public trust and more of his troops are going to die for no reason other than his desire to be president someday"

So .. in my humble opinion .. Joe Klein needs some of this ...

Bulls and Houses

KILLINGLY, Connecticut (AP) -- An escaped and raging bull attacked a neighbor's home, tearing off siding, ripping down part of a fence and damaging a car.

Wayne Johnson said he found the bull in his yard Friday morning. It had wandered in from a nearby farm.

While he watched, the bull repeatedly charged his house, tore off clapboards, flipped a picnic table, rammed his car and tore down part of the fence around his swimming pool, he said.

"He was crazy," Johnson said. "The thing was ripping my house apart."

This place isnt that far from me. Maybe I will take a drive over this afternoon for the giggle.

Taking Bets on This one

The Iraqi government will file criminal charges against employees of U.S. security firm Blackwater who are blamed for a gun battle in Baghdad in which civilians were killed, an Iraqi Interior Ministry official said Sunday.

It is unclear how Iraqi courts will attempt to bring the contractors to trial. A July report from the Congressional Research Service said the Iraqi government has no authority over private security firms contracted by the U.S. government.

From CNN comes the shocking news that the Iraqi government thinks that it is actually sovereign. Silly Rabbit

A Moment Of Silence Please

OK, so it is a cheap joke and I shouldn't make fun when mimes die.