Still Yearning for Change? Make Sure the Site Is Right.

Former Iowa governor Tom Vilsack: Cabinet-bound?
Former Iowa governor Tom Vilsack: Cabinet-bound? (By Haraz N. Ghanbari -- Associated Press)
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By Al Kamen
Monday, November 10, 2008

If you're looking to track the transition to the Obama administration in real time, make sure you're going to the right Web site. It turns out there are two sites called "Change," and they present vastly different visions of "change we can believe in."

The official site, which the tech-savvy Obama folks got up and running after a bit of a delay, is http://www.change.gov. This features Obama and sidekick Joe Biden standing in the glow of their election-night rally in Chicago's Grant Park. It's a government Web site, but it looks like a stripped-down version of the campaign site.

Then there's http://www.change.com, a snazzy page welcoming visitors with a blond model in Victoria's Secret-esque lingerie. (NSFW -- That's Internet-speak for "not safe for work." We know you wouldn't go there anyway, of course.)

The latter site is for the Change line of lingerie, beachwear and other corsetry. The products are made with "the finest silks, exclusive embroideries, the softest microfibers and sophisticated laces, sourced from reputable suppliers around the world," according to the page.

Obama's site, meanwhile, features information about the inauguration and the biographies of Obama and Biden, details Obama's policy positions and invites visitors to apply for jobs in the new administration.

This is not the only instance of similar sites related to the president-elect. Obama's campaign Web site, http://www.obama.com, differs from http://www.obama.biz, a Japanese site. That site appeared to be about Obama, an ancient coastal city in Fukui Prefecture, Japan. (Obama means "little beach" in Japanese.)

But our Japanese is a bit rusty, so we relied on a friend to translate. Apparently the site is for a legal office that helps people with personal debt. There are a fair number of loan sharks in Japan and people go into huge debt that they can't pay back. The loan adviser, Hiromi Obama, provides counseling and advice to help people out. The Japanese term is Shiho Shoshi, we're told, which can be translated as "judicial scrivner."

Marching Orders

One topic on the Obama Web site is called "Open Government." It appears to be a dead link, but we're nevertheless sure the president-elect is very committed to open government.

An e-mail that was circulated Thursday only reinforces our notion of how open they'll be.

From: Larry Strickling

Date: November 6, 2008 6:58:14 PM EST

To: [policy groups]


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