"Transparency" is one of those political buzz-words that usually means the opposite of what it suggests; the people who claim to be "transparent" are usually just saying so to throw you off their trail of secrecy. They want you to think they aren't lying to you, so you'll stop fact-checking everything they say.

The reporter's ultimate fact-check is gathering facts through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Today, the AP reports that President Obama announced the first substantive changes in FOIA policy I've ever heard come from an elected official's mouth.

In an attempt to deliver on pledges of a transparent government, Obama said he would change the way the federal government interprets the Freedom of Information Act. He said he was directing agencies that vet requests for information to err on the side of making information public — not to look for reasons to legally withhold it — an alteration to the traditional standard of evaluation.

Just because a government agency has the legal power to keep information private does not mean that it should, Obama said. Reporters and public-interest groups often make use of the law to explore how and why government decisions were made; they are often stymied as agencies claim legal exemptions to the law.

"For a long time now, there's been too much secrecy in this city," Obama said.

(for the entire article, click here.)

Raise your hand if you think state and local governments will follow suit.