The DOI was not blocking conservative blogsites
A person from the Department of Interior sends this email, which I have edited to remove all identifying information but is otherwise verbatim. It corrects the allegation that the DOI was blocking conservative sites. Repeat, it says the initial impression is untrue.What apparently happened was that the DOI had embarked on a program of blocking access to sites the management deemed objectionable; due to the phases in implementation the effort began with some well known conservative sites but eventually included the liberal blogsites as the program rolled forward. It was, in the DOI person's words, "dumb but not sinister". Our correspondent says "it seems that their concern is not so much that we might look at web sites, but that we might post things." (emphasis mine)
Over the weekend, they got around to the Daily Kos.
A couple of your commenters are almost right. There is a vague department policy about "appropriate" personal use of government computers, so a committee has been formed to interpret the policy. The new system filters out porn, bikinis, alcohol, tobacco, racism and extremism, malignant software, narcotics, comics and cartoons, dating services, chat rooms, remote access software (gotomypc.com), peer to peer networks, online gambling, streaming audio and video, instant messaging, and, yes, web logs. (The example that they give for a web log is myspace.com.)
It seems that their concern is not so much that we might look at web sites, but that we might post things. ... We are going to ask that an exemption be made for the front end of The Belmont Club. Because the user must drill down a layer to get to the comments, they shouldn't have a problem with that.
I feel a bit like chicken little, but it sure was strange that conservative sites were blocked first. I guess paranoia runs deep.