February 27, 2007

About that "scalping"... and other blogospheric collective activities.

After this post of mine questioning Lindsay Beyerstein's assertion that there is a right-wing term "scalping" -- meaning "pick a target and harass that person and his or her employer until the person either jumps or is pushed out of the public eye" -- and that it is exclusively the practice of the right wing, Andrew Sullivan says:
I hadn't heard this term before...

Marcotte is the alleged victim in [the case Beyerstein writes about]. But isn't the left just as guilty in hounding campaigns? Or are they too disorganized? Personally, I'm all for making life difficult for bloggers who have whored themselves out as paid propagandists for campaigns. But it's always best just to expose ugliness and dishonesty, not punish it.
Did Sullivan call writers who work for politicians whores? No. He said "whored." It's a verb, not a noun. (Remember that time on "Survivor" when Candice told Jonathan he was "trying to...weasel your way in...somehow," and Jonathan accused her of calling him a weasel, and she was all it's a verb, not a noun. She got voted off right after that, but still.) It is whoring, and it is propaganda. Let's call things what they are. Sullivan isn't saying it's morally wrong to sell your writing skills for the purpose of promoting a political agenda, just that it's a good idea to make life difficult for bloggers who move into that line of work.

And here's Ross Douthat:
Like Ann Althouse and Andrew, I must have missed the memo on this term - though it's certainly a real enough phenomenon, and "scalping" is a good a word as any. But Beyerstein's suggestion that it's the exclusive preserve of right-wingers - like most suggestions that some dirty trick is the exclusive preserve of right-wingers - is just silly.
He cites the case of Ben Domenech.
But re-reading Beyerstein, it's possible that her "unlike the liberal netroots, the right-wing blogosphere is capable of exactly one kind of collective political action" line wasn't meant to suggest that left-wingers don't scalp, but that they do other things as well, whereas right-wingers don't.
That is the better reading of what Beyerstein wrote. (Which was: "Unlike the liberal netroots, the right-wing blogosphere is capable of exactly one kind of collective political action. They call it 'scalping'...")
This is an overgeneralization, obviously, but it gets a lot closer to an interesting truth about the blogosphere, which is that the lefty blogs have become way better at doing political things - raising money, raising issues, and influencing elections at the grass/netroots level - than most of the right-wing blogs. The conservative 'sphere became adept at picking apart the MSM in the first couple years of the blogosphere, but it hasn't really adapted to the Kos/MyDD era - and its anti-MSM shtick has grown pretty stale since events in Iraq started proving Big Media right, and the warbloggers wrong.
I don't like the implication that there is a flow of things and that it goes in the direction of increasing agglomeration. Why isn't greater independence and individualism among bloggers a good thing?

Douthat points to this post by Daniel Larison:
Why have the big lefty blogs evolved into online “communities” that sponsor political activism that actually has a remote chance of influencing elections? Because the people on the left are very big into a) political activism and b) collective expressions of that political activism. They also tend to be generally outraged about the state of the world, which lends itself to blogging, while there is nothing more uninteresting than Hewittian, “Gee, I sure do support the President a lot” posts and the old chestnuts of “why aren’t they reporting the good news from Iraq?”
Well, general outrage about the state of the world is pretty uninteresting too. But what question are we asking here, how to write and interesting blog or how to be an effective political activist? Larison is really talking about the latter:
Consider that the big example of Hewittian activism today is an attempt to enforce party discipline against wayward backbenchers over a…non-binding resolution. This is not really grassroots activism, but the use of a megaphone to try to whip the Republican caucus in the media. It is furthermore the ego trip of some big name bloggers and pundits who want to display their servile attachment to the President. What is different between Kos and Hewitt? Kos actually wants to win elections and the Kossacks spend a fair amount of time thinking, however poorly, about how to do that. They haven’t had that many successes, obviously, but they actually want to expand the reach of the Democratic Party rather than retreat into the bunker with the last five true believers. Will the Kossacks become a pathetic White House-defending gang should the Dems win in ‘08? You better believe it. Nonetheless, the model of their blogs will continue to make them politically relevant in a way that the celebrity-blogging on the right never can be.
Well, I prefer what Larison seems to mean by "celebrity-blogging." And I'm quite happy to see that bloggers have trouble succeeding in their collective activities.

AND: Let me speculate that this old post by Kevin Drum is the source of the "scalping" terminology.

45 comments:

George said...

"Scalps were not mere trophies or booty of war, however," Axtell wrote. "The whorl of hair on the crown and especially male scalp locks, braided and decorated with jewelry, paint, and feathers, represented the person's `soul' or living spirit. To lose that hair to an enemy was to lose control over one's life, to become socially and spiritually `dead', whether biological death resulted or not."

http://www.hawthorneinsalem.org/ScholarsForum/MMD2263.html

Simon said...

You didn't get the memo because (1) you're not a conservative blogger and (2) the vast right wing conspiracy has no delivery service available in Madison. Of course Ross didn't "receive" the memo - he wrote it!

/jk

monkeyboy said...

The right and left side of the blogosphere really are apples an oranges. The right side has developed as an alternative news source. The left is a politcal organizing tool. The right may not be good at political action, but the left isn't doing anything like rathergate, or embedding bloggers in Iraq.
Not better or worse, but just the online representation of two different political philosophies.

Jeffrey said...

Word forms being used as a different part of speech is called either "conversion" or "zero derivation" by linguists. In some languages, this process is more productive than in others. English is one of those languages where conversion is used as a major source of word-formation. In English, therefore, "whore" can easily be both a noun and a verb.

The great thing about reading blogs on the internet is to observe the irrepressible wordplay that goes on with language users. A recently-coined blend of "Gore" and "oracle" into "Goracle" is just the latest example. "Goracle" will probably end up being ephemeral, but it does bring a smile to one's lips.

Over the last few years, I have been following with interest to see which term for someone who posts comments on a blog would come out victorious. Some of you may remember that both "poster" and "commenter" were used at the beginning. It now looks like "commenter" has won out. And, thank God, no French academy decided the issue.

Instapundit's resurrection of "beclown" was fun but, like "Goracle," will probably not be taken up into our everyday lexicon.

*

Jeff said...

"they actually want to expand the reach of the Democratic Party rather than retreat into the bunker with the last five true believers."

Tell that to Joe Lieberman!

Steve Donohue said...

The rightosphere really is alternative news, whether it takes the form of reading bloggers as columnists whose opinons you value, or looking for stories you won't find elsewhere. It is not a tool for political activism for the most part, which rather befits the conservative character.

I do not believe that the rightosphere has been completely and absolutely docile (remember Harriet Miers? Or the Dubai Ports?), and I do not believe that the leftosphere will be docile come time for the Hillary presidency or 2009. In fact, once they represent a significant aspect of the coalition in power, and once they have a singular representative in the form of the president, won't their power to snipe from the edges become even stronger? The question is, just how far left will they insist their politicians go? And just how far will Clinton and Obama allow the leftosphere to take them?

One also wonders whether politicians will begin confusing online "communities" with the real communities that win real elections. There is no precinct of "Kosville", and the political force of the Kossites is no greater or less than the sum of the individuals was before the website took hold. But bring people together who are steadfastly lockstep on nearly every issue in such a way that it seems as though they are the mainstream, and it could cause major damage to the Dems.

Michael said...

Kevin Drum?

It's good to see that left-wing women feminists are willing to reach out across the aisle and visit the web sites of left-wing male feminist bloggers.

She just made up the fact that we use the term "scalping" . . . just made it up. A total fabrication. Fake but accurate. Truthy.

I'm really hurt by this. I've never seen a left-wing blogger just make shit up before to insult conservatives. Whatever are we going to do?

I'm going to pout, and issue an Important Action Alert.

David said...

In my studied opinion, the race between the right and left denizens of the blogosphere will be won not by the noisiest but by the ones with the most effective network.

The left-wingers of the democratic party take "digital coup" by reverting to the ever-showy carnival barking notable for it's loudness and lack of substance. Upon closer scrutiny they are shown to be the shallow juveniles they are by reverting to name-calling and utter abhorrence to facts which are usually inconveniences to be ignored/dismissed.

One does not sustain long in battle if the overall strategy is taking digital coup/scalping as opposed to reasoned discussion. Interesting about the sudden interest in Indians, taking coup, and scalping in an age when Indian mascots are PC incorrect.

Jeffrey said...

A commenter writes over at Roger L. Simon's blog:

A couple of years ago, Peter Schweizer wrote "Do as I say," documenting the hypocrisy of left-liberal icons like the Clintons, Noam Chomsky, and Michael Moore. For the second edition, he may have to add a chapter on the Goracle.

The use of the definite article with "Goracle" adds a humorous touch. Maybe this coinage does have legs.

*

reality check said...

Yes, those dirty communistic Berkeleyite Kossacks had a dismal time last November. Those nutroots really had their hats handed to them!!!!!!

Just ask Senator Reid and Speaker Pelosi.

(What color is the sky on your planet?)

Note to monkeyboy: there is a difference between a phone tree and echo chamber than an alternative news source. I haven't seen any alternative news sources, just the same traditional media pieces kicked around and deconstructed and spun, and that goes for both sides.

Pogo said...

Re: "I haven't seen any alternative news sources"

This equals No one I know voted for Nixon in its utility.

reality check said...

Okay pogo, name the alternative news source that the right wing of the blogosphere developed.

Has to be a news source, not just linking to other web sites and commenting on them.

PJM was supposed to do this. Are they?

B said...

monkeyboy, you are completely spot on in your analysis of the difference in emphasis between the left and right blogospheres. Don't even bother with reality check on his definition of news . . he reps those afraid of having anyone getting actual facts from somewhere other than his "traditionally" defined media sources - read liberal New York Times, CBS News, CNN, et al. I'm certain he means well, but he is obviously not open to other points of view or facts that oppose him - like most of the left blogosphere - and he has repeatedly shown no effort to engage in reality and serious dialogue. Seeking to engage a mind like that is an exercise in futility.

Another example of that is in the writer Larison that Ann quotes - his comparison of "Hewittian" and "Kos" is among the most ridiculous things I've ever read. Among just one of the obvious counterpoints, Hewitt's efforts assisted in Senate Republicans derailing the Senates's version of the non-binding resolution for now - an important decision for many on the right.
Larison's derision of the effort doesn't make it less 'Organized" or effective. It actually is the opposite of what Larison says it is. So, finding a smidgen of organization and political effectiveness on the right, Larison - being left and with no clothes - must deride and name-call to make his point. How adult.

Steve Donohue - Excellent points!

cokaygne said...

it is no surprise that the left-wing blogosphere is doing well and the right is in a funk.

In a dynamic capitalist economy those who are doing well are not interested in politics. The left wants to expand government's reach and are politically active. It may be different in a banana republic where a small elite controls the economy. In those places the right is very active in politics if only to keep the masses out.

The right wing blogs were doing well in the early part of the decade because people were genuinely fearful that some crazy Islamists were going to blow us all to bits. The MSM completely missed this and carried on with their old agenda. The MSM were fat targets for the righty blogs.

Now people are no longer so fearful. Who knows why? Was it all the alleged bad guys locked up in Guantanamo? Was it Iraq as fly trap? Was it the endless searches at airports? Whatever it was, people are no longer fearful and are tired of Iraq which looks more and more like someone else's fight and none of our business.

What really gets the left wing blogs excited are issues like health care, income inequality, and right-wing infringements on liberty. The war in Iraq is an organizing tool. They know the public has turned against it because all the golden promises of the neo-cons have turned to blood in the sand. They get the public's attention on Iraq, but then they want to talk about national health insurance, "taxing the rich", and appointing activist judges.

They have a wide audience. Most people in cultural industries are not doing as well as their classmates who studied engineering or business. People who studied social sciences in college are just brimming with ideas about how government could make life better for everyone, and are eager to try them out.

If you've got a good job and a happy family you might read a blog for amusement when you have some spare time. Are you really so interested that you'll drop everything and email your congressional representative because of something Instapundit posted? Come the next election, are you going to go out and knock on doors because Hugh Hewitt said the future of the Republic is at stake and you feel threatened?

B said...

cokaygne,

Come the next election, are you going to go out and knock on doors because Hugh Hewitt said the future of the Republic is at stake and you feel threatened?

Did it . . . got GW Bush elected twice, and my Congressional Rep.

Also, I do have a good job and great family, thank you very much.

You are correct in that I also read blogs for amusement. I used to enjoy teasing our friends on the left over at Huffington and Skippy, much as Doyle and dtl do here.

But man, you NEVER see the venom in Althouse or Hewitt comments that I and others receive on the lefties' blogs comments.

Why do you think that is?

monkeyboy said...

Reality,

I did mention bloggers going to Iraq. Three or four that I can think of. Now that I recall bloggers were also reporting from the 2004 conventions, but I don't think that was just the right.

I also consider researching and reporting on mistakes or omissions made by the media to be original reporting. There was a lot of original research going into rathergate, Jamil Hussein and other events. Not just comments on reports but actually digging up facts as well.

johnstodder said...

it is no surprise that the left-wing blogosphere is doing well and the right is in a funk.

Measured how?

P. Rich said...

monkeyboy said:

"The right side has developed as an alternative news source. The left is a politcal organizing tool."

I would generally agree and add that:

- The Left lacks both the appreciation of facts and the intellectual and ethical rigor to be a legitimate news source, and

- it's so much more *emotionally* satisfying for them to simply spew, and

- anger can be an effective unifying force for juveniles if there is a common establishment "enemy," in the present instance Bush.

Any actual political effort is, I think, a fallout from the above.

M. Simon said...

Reid and Pelosi are now backing off on the "slow bleed" strategy.

Did some one mention Lieberman?

So tell me who won? Democrats to be sure. But what kind of Democrats?

The Dean "Southern Strategy" was a winner. Run conservative Democrats against the Republicans.

I claim Conservatives won the last election. There has been a change of Party. Not much change in philosophy.

Simon said...

B - I think DTL's a libertarian, not a liberal.

Simon said...

m. Simon:
"I claim Conservatives won the last election. There has been a change of Party. Not much change in philosophy."

That might overstate the case, but I certainly think that it's true to the extent that a lot of Republicans felt that the Congressional GOP had gone native, succumbing to Reagan's warning that it's hard to remember that you're there to drain the swamp when you're up to your armpits in alligators. There's a lot of ways to explain the midterms, but I think it's reasonable to conclude that at least part of the reason for the defeat was that many Republican voters were mad about the war and mad at Congress. If that's so, it doesn't presage a major realignment, just a passing phase.

rastajenk said...

This quote from a citation above has me knuckling my forehead: "and its anti-MSM shtick has grown pretty stale since events in Iraq started proving Big Media right, and the warbloggers wrong."

What did "Big Media" ever say that was right?

Robert said...

I thought this was going to be a discussion of how hard it was to find tickets for last Sunday's Ohio State vs Wisconsin basketball game. Seriously, I did.

Maybe another term for this non-event would be wise.

rastajenk said...

To tell the truth, so did I.

Fatmouse said...

reality check:

Two words: Zombie Time

It's everything that indymedia desperately wants to be. Going out and showing a truly alternative view of what the MSM trumpets.

You never see the raw hatred of the left in the newspapers, but his photocollages and videos show the deranged core.

Revenant said...

Conservative blogs have also organized to promote political candidates. It doesn't happen as often, of course, since conservative blogs are typically unhappy with the current crop of Republicans.

But outside of politics conservative blogs have organized for a number of different things, such as promoting Spirit of America's charity work in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Dave said...

Anyone remember Ben Domeneche's exceedingly brief stint as WaPo columnist? Jeff Gannon's outing?

People on the right and center started repeating the craziest things Marcotte had said. Those things were embarassing and detrimental to the Edwards campaign. So who's at fault? Marcotte and Domeneche, for doing things that embarassed and reflected badly on their respective employers? Or the people who pointed them out?

Barlycorn, John said...

As far as the term "scalping" goes, it is right up there with "monkeyfishing". I guess fact checking bloggers who publish under your magazine's name would out of the question.

reality check said...

There was a lot of original research going into rathergate, Jamil Hussein and other events.

Powerline and a few others does not an alternative news source make. Not to belittle their research. But it's not an alternative news source.

Jamail Hussein, the guy that the bloggers said didn't exist, until he did exist, was not a shining moment for them. And it's still not an alternative news source.

PJM claimed that anyone with a camera phone was going to be some sort of citizen journalist.

YouTube is the closest we have to that, but there is still no alternative news source, left or right.

I wouldn't mind seeing that occur.

I just haven't seen it yet.

Fen said...

But it's not an alternative news source.

Little Green Footballs is an alternative news source. Unlike the MSM, they actually report the atrocities committed in the name of Islam.

For that, the Left is trying to tag them as a racist hate-site. Check out the way lefties are trying to bury LGF stories on Digg. Its very telling that the real facists will use any method to silence those they disagree with.

They'll eventually come for Ann.

David said...

So people have discovered that the left is more collectivist than the right? Wow. Next you'll tell me that the right favors markets more than the left.

monkeyboy said...

Actually the Jamil Hussein saga continues as does the larger point that there is no evidence that the attacks and burnings he reported ever happened.

Barlycorn, John said...

Here is an example of lefty "scalping"

http://mediamatters.org/items/200405130003

It was an organized, long term campaign, dedicated to shutting down a specific voice. Failed of course.

Lefties also have been campaigning to shut up Limbaugh. They got Bose Radia to pull their ads. They prosecuted him unreasonably, and in a way they have never prosecuted anybody else for his drug problem.

The right prefers to have DailyKos around, rather than shut it down, because it is the source of much entertainment. Google Tim Blair and "Plastic Turkey", if you want to see the kind of entertainment the left provides for the right.


This whole scalping thing is projection, pure and simple. Righties just don't think that way, that's why we're righties.

The Rather case was interesting because it was an area where anybody who has any sophistication with a computer at all, could contribute and evaluate the evidence as well as any expert. The core issue was so accessible to so many. Plus it was so funny to bait lefties to defend the laughable forgeries in terms that were self evidently ridiculous. Lot's of people wanted to join in.

And as far as Jamil Hussein incident, I suggest you look at the original story and the subsequent climbdowns by the AP before saying that the effort was ineffective.

Barlycorn, John said...

Air America... Randi Rhodes was always good for a laugh, we weren't laughing with her, we were laughing at her. The right never tried to shut them down, we rooted for their failure, but that is a different thing.

The Left is trying to get the fairness doctrine re-instated in order to shut down Rush Limbaugh's show.

I keep coming back to Rush because he is a favorite target of the left.

"Scalping" = "Monkeyfishing"

Somebody heard about it being done from somebody else and reported it in Salon as fact.

Scott Hughes said...

I didn't even know what the word scalping meant until I read this blog post. I guess I'll go tell about it at the Activism Forums.

Laika's Last Woof said...

For the record, when right-wing websites perform a takedown they call it "Fisking". It's a media-centric term befitting the central role of right-wing blogs as media critics: Robert Fisk was the first big-time reporter whose reputation was destroyed by the meticulous fact-checking of right-wing bloggers.

Lindsay Beyerstein's choice of "scalping" is as much an embarassment as the congressman who referred to "Beavis and Butthead" as "Beaver and Buthcoat", but if her audience is as clueless as she is perhaps her ignorance won't be quite as universally recognized.

Again, that's "Fisking" not "scalping".

reality check said...

Zombie Time seems interesting, but it seems as though it is only one person? I don't think that makes it an alternative news source.

Little Green Footballs is not an alternative news source. Linking to other websites does not an alternative news source make.

This is not a left or right issue.

I think we can all be in favor of wanting to see truly alternative news sources develops and have them exist in a way that is both profitable and outside the corporate-government shackles.

A reasonably accurate critique of Air America is that they did not develop any sort of news source.

PJM could have been YouTube. PJM could have offered online seminars on how to best develop a news article with your cellphone and camera, how to conduct an interview, how to take a good cellphone picture, how to get a press pass, how to get a visa, what your rights are as "citizen journalist", what makes for an interesting story.

iftheshoefits said...

To be an "alternate news source", does one have to do original reporting all of the time? All major news channels, papers, etc. use wire stories all the time in addition to large staffs of people who do original reporting.

I find the value of a lot of right of center blogs is that they link to stories that other sources choose not to. Often from fairly obscure sources. To me, a valued news aggregator is an alternative news source, even if they don't originate stories very much of the time. A couple comments of context by skilled aggregators are helpful and enjoyed in some instances.

And LGF certainly does some original reporting, at least when it comes to the infamous forgeries that got so much attention. I think it was that LGF picture overlay (Word vs alleged '70's TANG memo) that really drove the biggest stake through the credibility of that story.

Seems as if a good chunk of the right of center bloggers have fairly major day jobs. Not sure if that's as true on the left side. Real reporting takes time, and I'm amazed that a lot of these folks are able to do as much investigating and writing as they are, even if it's not truly original. It's going to take a while for more substantial independent reporting to develop.

dick said...

Reality Check,

Do you call it a news site when the media copies the AP stories? That is what most of the newspapers do. What LGF and Glenn and a lot of the blogs do is pull together the stories that would be lost if they did not do this because the MSM does not do a very good job of reporting.

Especially you should check out the Mudville Gazette website. They run a collating of stories every day called Dawn Patrol which mixes together CENTCOM stories with MSM stories and blog entries from the troops who are actually doing the fighting and the work around the world (Iraq, Afghanistan, Korea, other places). They cover the casualty figures just as the AP does but they also point out the other stories that the AP does not deem worth reporting. Too bad that our media betters don't do something like this more than they do. If they did we would have a much better idea of what is actually going on in various theatres around the globe.

Laika's Last Woof said...

reality check: "Linking to other websites does not an alternative news source make."

Whether or not it's journalism it's certainly an alternative news source. Take the Swiftboat Veterans scandal: this pretty much destroyed the Kerry campaign, but it couldn't have happened without news promulgated by blogs.

Recall that blogs were new and the MSM was riding high. This was at a time when Kerry's popularity was rising, Bush's poll numbers were about as low as they are now, and the media was in complete control of the news cycle. Evan Thomas of Newsweek confidently promised mainstream media support was worth an extra 15 points to Kerry, which at that time would've made him untouchable.

Around that time the Swiftboat Vets appeared, and of course the press ignored them ... until the Congressional Record, researched by bloggers, proved the Vets were right about the "Christmas in Cambodia" scandal. The lightning bolt was Glenn Reynolds' digital picture of the relevant pages of the Congressional Record posted on his blog.

If the right-wing fact-checking machine isn't an alternative media they are at the very least newsmakers.
Since the Swift Boat scandal blogs have been riding point on one important story after another. College campus speech codes, violent peace protesters, Duke Lacrosse, the new anti-Semitism of the left, Ward Churchill, Bellesailles' made-up anti-gun research, the real Cindy Sheehan, Muslim cartoon riots, and one astroturfing scandal after another from "perennial man on the street" Greg Packer to the sinister sophistication of the Pew Charitable Trust campaign finance reform lobby.

No journalist was ever going to walk into a law library and look up the Swiftboat Vets' story. No journalist could be bothered to do the gradeschool forensics necessary to trace the Burkett memo to a Kinko's in Texas. No journalist believes that "peace protesters" are violent nor Duke Lacrosse players innocent.

So maybe most right-wing bloggers aren't journalists, but they do seem to get the word out, which is just as important.

There are also honest-to-goodness "alternative media" journalists out there like Michael Yon who believe real journalism requires a person leave the Green Zone every once in a while, but that's an issue for another day.

Barlycorn, John said...

The funny thing is, like most mistakes that "reporters" make, she could have figured out with a simple google that nobody calls it scalping, and if she had any clue whatever about the right wing blogosphere, she would know we call the activity she partially describes as "fisking."

The difference between fisking, and the activities I described in the above post indulged by the left, is that fisking is about uncovering opinion masquerading as factual reporting.

What the right does is not provide that many new outlets for news, although there are some, particularly milbloggers, but provide an alternative editorial process. We are happy with the reporting for the most part, with exceptions, but the *editing*, spiking of stories we think are important, pushing one side of an issue, never reporting the other, is the shortcoming in the media that Lucianne, Instapundit, Tim Blair, LGF, etc provide.

That the left can't see this is telling as well.

Barlycorn, John said...

One last comment.

I think most right wingers would be genuinely dissapointed if Rober Fisk stopped reporting. It is about the sport, not shutting him up.

Fen said...

reality check: Linking to other websites does not an alternative news source make.

Well then I'm confused. Because under your definition, even the MSM doesn't qualify. How can there e an alternative to something that doesn't exist?

TMink said...

fisking = fact checking.

scalping = harassment.

See the facts are the facts. Democrats understand this. Liberals miss the distinction.

Trey

hdhouse said...

This is Hdhouse reporting from Downtown Baghdad, just outside the greenzone, where, under the cover of night, I've managed to evade two checkpoints and have taken refuge on a building top with a full view of that infamous road to the airport.

My guide tells me that if I merely watch this road with my night vision goggles I will be rewarded with the view of school aged children planting IEDs while pretending to play a game of stickball...wait hold on..

Yes I see them. Ragamuffins, some with Nike sneakers..well organized...pitcher and now a catcher warming up....someone has found a stick in the rubble and is proceeding to home plate....ahh its just a dodge...the rightfielder is fumbling with a backpack and what looks to be just a harmless schoolboy bookbag...wait yes...he is leaving it roadside...there is a disagreement at homeplate...the game is disbanding and, wait, yes..the backpack is left behind...

Clever these terrorists are. Now if I can sneak back to the green zone...but i'll post with my Palm now so the world can read my first hand blogging account of this new escalation in terror.

How do you know it wasn't true if it only appears here?