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Change.gov is Back Up

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Change.gov, the website of the Obama transition that went missing sometime last month, is now back online.

The agenda, including the whistleblower protection rhetoric that I suspected motivated the site's disappearance, is all online again -- a useful resource for comparing candidate Obama's vision against his administration's work.

Whether the website downtime was a misguided attempt to remove the promises on which Obama ran (eg "ensure that communications about regulatory policymaking between persons outside government and all White House staff are disclosed to the public", or "Such acts of courage and patriotism, [whistleblowing]... should be encouraged rather than stifled), or just a sign that the original agenda doesn't hold the same place of reverence it used to (White House staff used to frequently refer to these promises when making plans), we're glad the site is back up again.

Unfortunately, the Department of Labor whitepapers explaining how important new guidelines are for protecting children from hazardous farmwork are still nowhere to be found, since the administration stifled DOL's attempt to update rules governing child labor in agriculture.

Removing government information from the Internet is too often treated as an administrative task, or an exercise in efficiency, even though government websites clearly also serve as a symbols for political priorities and an important part of our public discourse. It's unfortunate that our government doesn't view its online footprint with as much reverence as the Internet Archive, whose public utility would be very hard to overstate.