The mainstream media had relatively heavy coverage of the White House response to the petitions seeking permission to succeed from the union and the regarding succession and the construction of the DS-1 Orbital Battle Station. Despite that, the We the People website is still alive and well and providing us with hours of entertainment.
For those of you who aren't aware, the We the People website was launched in September 2011 so that ordinary, Main Street Americans would have an opportunity to petition the U.S. federal government about issues that concerned them, a right that is guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution. Once these online petitions have received 150 signatures, they are searchable on the We the People website. Originally, to receive a response from the White House, petitions had to receive 5,000 signatures in 30 days; this was increased to 25,000 in October 2011 and further to 100,000 in January 2013. In order to participate as a petitioner or signatory, users must create a WhiteHouse.gov user account and must be 13 years of age or older. Users must also agree that they will not create petitions that contain threats of unlawful violence or harm to another individual or group, they must not be lewd, vulgar or obscene, the must not contain terms that are considered profanities and they must not be defamatory.
What happens once the petition reaches the magically moving 30 day target set by the White House? The petition is placed into a queue and is then reviewed by the White House who will then issue a response.
Here is an example of a response asking the Obama Administration to disclose the knowledge that the government has long withheld knowledge of government interactions with extraterrestrial beings, a petition that was signed by 5387 signatories in 2011:
"Thank you for signing the petition asking the Obama Administration to acknowledge an extraterrestrial presence here on Earth.
The U.S. government has no evidence that any life exists outside our planet, or that an extraterrestrial presence has contacted or engaged any member of the human race. In addition, there is no credible information to suggest that any evidence is being hidden from the public's eye.
However, that doesn't mean the subject of life outside our planet isn't being discussed or explored. In fact, there are a number of projects working toward the goal of understanding if life can or does exist off Earth. Here are a few examples:
• SETI—the Search for ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence—was originally stood up with help from NASA, but has since been moved to other sources of private funding. SETI's main purpose is to act as a giant ear on behalf of the human race, pointing an array of ground-based telescopes towards space to listen for any signal from another world.
• Kepler is a NASA spacecraft in orbit that's main goal is to search for Earth-like planets. Such a planet would be located in the "Goldilocks" zone of a distant solar system—not too hot and not too cold—and could potentially be habitable by life as we know it. The Kepler mission is specifically designed to survey our region of the Milky Way galaxy to discover Earth-sized, rocky planets in or near the habitable zone of the star (sun) they orbit.
• The Mars Science Laboratory, Curiosity, is an automobile-sized rover that NASA is launching soon. The rover's onboard laboratory will study rocks, soils, and other geology in an effort to detect the chemical building blocks of life (e.g., forms of carbon) on Mars and will assess what the Martian environment was like in the past to see if it could have harbored life.
A last point: Many scientists and mathematicians have looked with a statistical mindset at the question of whether life likely exists beyond Earth and have come to the conclusion that the odds are pretty high that somewhere among the trillions and trillions of stars in the universe there is a planet other than ours that is home to life.
Many have also noted, however, that the odds of us making contact with any of them—especially any intelligent ones—are extremely small, given the distances involved.
But that's all statistics and speculation. The fact is we have no credible evidence of extraterrestrial presence here on Earth."
The Area 51 believers would beg to differ!
Now, let's look at the most popular topics among petitioners. Right now, there are 96 petitions about civil rights and liberties, 78 about human rights, 52 about criminal justice and law enforcement and, not surprisingly, 50 about firearms.
Currently, the most popular petition is this one:
followed by this one:
which is followed by this one:
Interestingly, all three were created by different individuals in vastly different parts of the United States. Westboro Baptist Church also appears near the top of the list two additional times. Since the all three of these petitions surpassed the original 25,000 signature cutoff, a response will have to be issued by the White House. That one will be interesting!
Here are a variety of issues that are of concern to petitioners and the number of signatures received:
Most importantly, here's one final petition:
Admittedly, some of these suggestions are a tad off the wall, however, it is interesting to get a sampling of what Main Street America is thinking, particularly as President Obama is beginning his second and last term in office....unless, of course, someone comes up with a petition about extending the two term maximum....