Gov 2.0 Takes Two Steps Forward and One Step Back

I started following the saga of the missing blog via Diplopundit, so I’ll link to her post Best Consular Blog. Dead, So Very Dead calling the case closed. I’m reposting a lot of it below.

The consular blog “The Consuls’ Files,” by Madam le Consul went missing from the blogosphere 30 days ago today. By missing, I mean just gone. Disappeared. Like it had never been. The only place it exists now is in piecemeal RSS feeds scattered among its subscribers, and one copy of the cached file, grabbed quickly by another blogger before whoever removed the blog eradicated that also.

If you go missing for more than 48 hours in real life, the chances of finding you drop precipitously. The chances of recovery in virtual disappearances, um don’t really know. But she’s gone. Missing for over 700 hours now. The trail is cold. Most likely dead. Just dead. And we can understand if she wants to stay dead for now.

I imagine that there are folks out there who are relieved that though she may browse among us, she is now a ghost among us. And ghosts, you know, can’t be seen or heard, and have not been known to blog, yet. Dead blogger gone. End of line.

Other folks out there, of course, still harbor hope that she comes back. Dead bloggers, like cylons, have many resurrection ships nearby: WordPress.com, Tumblr.com, LiveJournal.com, Yahoo 360 and more … dead bloggers do not really go away, they just get new URLs. But I won’t be surprised if she stays dead.
Every single day I also get somebody knocking on my door looking for MLC. I suspect that she is more popular now dead than she ever was, alive. If Madam le Consul is not resurrected, I hope her ghost starts micro-blogging on Twitter soon, if only to give the folks responsible for her demise nightmares and ulcers.

Yup, I’m going to hell for wishing that. Whatever. I’m still royally pissed that I no longer have her company when I have coffee each morning.


Liam Schwartz who publishes the Consular Corner has a brief piece on Madam le Consul (republished below with permission):

Respect for MLC

“The Consuls’ Files” — probably the best visa blog in the universe — has disappeared from our screens. Over a relatively short period of time, ‘Madam le Consul’ provided more consular education to more people than any of us would have thought possible. For her devoted audience, the reason for MLC’s sudden disappearance remains a mystery; that said, opinion in consular cyberspace is virtually unanimous that “The Consuls’ Files” was forced to close down by a skittish Bureau of Consular Affairs.
For a brief few months, MLC provided us with an enhanced level of information regarding the world of consular officers. In so doing, she created more public trust and support for that world than any one person has done in a very long time. We are deeply saddened by the loss of “The Consuls’ Files” and thank MLC for having given so much in such a short period of time.

MLC’s final blog piece, posted on October 2, 2009 was perhaps appropriately entitled “Yuck.”

Yuck, indeed!
I think we have to remember that the Bureau of Consular Affairs was born out of the McCarthy furor of the 1950’s and was set up under INA of 1952. Robert Walter Scott McLeod, the first Assistant Secretary of State for what was then called the Bureau of Security and Consular Affairs (SCA) was known for his bureau’s slogan, “an ounce of loyalty is worth more than a pound of brain.” Also known apparently was his “field study” of 19,000 employees at home and abroad trying to find “security risks.” Donald Warwick, author of A Theory of Public Bureaucracy (1975 p.19) writes that “to become a “security risk,” one needed little more than an unflattering remark by a colleague.”

Ah, the bad old days. Don’t you just miss them?

I’m not saying that MLC was a security risk or that the bureau is still trying to fumigate the commies out there, just that the bureau’s “skittishness” may stem from its turbulent and sad history. In any case, I think we’ll let MLC rest in peace now. Let’s have a parade when she comes back.

Rumor is that the latest consular cable has an odd item discouraging the conception, immaculate or otherwise, of a consular blog. We shall see.