12 January 2013

“That's impossible! Even for a computer.”

A couple years back, the White House moved our First Amendment right to petition the government onto the web, setting up a site for people to file petitions. I peeked in on the site in November 2011, and already it was becoming a bit of a joke.

After last year’s election, thousands of people who would normally describe themselves as American patriots discovered the site and petitioned for their states to secede from the US. OIP Derangement Syndrome is strong with those. Because the White House promised an answer to every petition signed by 20,000 or more people, its staff has had to explain to people that the Articles of Confederation and Constitution have no exit clauses.

More than 34,000 people petitioned for the government to start a Death Star program by the end of President Obama’s second term. Paul Shawcross, Chief of the Science and Space Branch at the Office of Management and Budget, demonstrated command of the issues with his reply:
The Administration shares your desire for job creation and a strong national defense, but a Death Star isn't on the horizon. Here are a few reasons:
  • The construction of the Death Star has been estimated to cost more than $850,000,000,000,000,000. We're working hard to reduce the deficit, not expand it.
  • The Administration does not support blowing up planets.
  • Why would we spend countless taxpayer dollars on a Death Star with a fundamental flaw that can be exploited by a one-man starship?

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