You have to wonder about the military IT department's criteria for blocking websites. Blogs which feature significant commentary on issues pertaining to foreign and defense policy are now on the hitlist. I suspect that they're on the hitlist because they're "blogs", and that word sometimes sends up a red flag in some military circles. Note that I say some military circles, because in the Army's Command and General Staff College, students are required to maintain a blog on foreign and/or defense policy in order to engage in thoughtful debate, to keep up with the latest news, and to provide an exceptional public relations campaign, building a link and rapport with the community. This is exceptionally important since, as pointed out in Andrew Bacevich's The New American Militarism, the all-volunteer Army, for all of its advantages, has the disadvantage of creating a near-cloistered warrior class, which often has minimal contact and interaction with the civilian world. There should be no reason in the information age that we can't use social networking to change this dynamic. It's Public Diplomacy within the military.
Not to mention that many of these milblogs are sometimes the only source of up-to-date information on a number of topics, particularly ones that don't seem to catch the eye of the mainstream media.
The blocking of websites is nothing new, but it surprises me how haphazardly the bans are applied. I could probably load up stupid sites like "hampsterdance" and get through, but the US State Department's series of blogs would be blocked. Facebook used to be a safe refuge until the US military blocked it. This distressed me for a week or so, until I typed in https://www.facebook.com and skipped the IT ban completely for a few months until someone figured that out and banned that as well.
In the meantime, a simple workaround for having your favorite blogs blocked is to add your favorite blogs to your RSS reader (plug for Google Reader here). That way, regardless of the DOD's ban on sites, you can still catch up on the news through a page within Google--all the news from Abu Muqawama to Zenpundit and from Tasty Booze to Tucker Max, you can read it all.
Focus: What was work like before the Internet? How did you waste time before the modern era?
Focus 2: Okay, complain about your workplace's banned websites...