Entries in Petition (11)


White House Declines Death Star Undertaking, Cites Budget Constraints

Getty Images/Comstock Images(WASHINGTON) -- Enemies of the Pentagon will not witness the power of a fully operational battle station anytime soon.

Last month an online petition to the White House site We the People that called for the construction of the Death Star from the Star Wars movies surpassed the 25,000 signature threshold required to initiate an official response. Citing national security and the number of jobs the initiative would create, the petition gained 34,000 signatures.

On Friday Paul Shawcross of the Office of Management and Budget, showed he was up for satire and responded in kind, issuing a tongue-in-cheek address to the demand for a space station capable of obliterating entire planets.

A chief obstacle, he said, was the budget.

“The construction of the Death Star has been estimated to cost more than $850 quadrillion. We’re working hard to reduce the deficit, not expand it,” OMB’s science and technology officer wrote, using figures drawn from Lehigh University business students.

As a matter of foreign policy, Shawcross said President Obama “does not support blowing up planets.”

The administration also made much of the Death Star’s known weakness: A single rebel pilot could exploit it.

“Why would we spend countless taxpayer dollars on a Death Star … that can be exploited by a one-man starship?”

Getting serious, Shawcross used his message to highlight science and educational opportunities available to students.

“You’ll notice something already floating in the sky — that’s no moon, it’s a space station! Yes, we already have a giant, football field-size International Space Station in orbit around Earth that’s helping us learn how humans can live and thrive in space for long durations,” he wrote as he trumped the recent series of robotic Mars rovers landed by NASA and leaps by the private space industry.

Shawcross listed other developments in the sciences, including advances in prosthetic limb replacement — or as he called it, movie hero Luke Skywalker’s robotic arm.

“We are living in the future! Enjoy it,” he said. “Or better yet, help build it by pursuing a career in a science, technology, engineering or math-related field.”

The White House did divulge one secret in what may be described as a Friday-night document dump: the metaphysical powers of “the Force” are real.

“If you do pursue a career in a science, technology, engineering or math-related field, the Force will be with us! Remember, the Death Star’s power to destroy a planet, or even a whole star system, is insignificant next to the power of the Force.”

Despite what a letdown this must be for Star Wars fans, they can take heart. The Defense Department has routinely used science fiction to inspire its research. As originally reported by Wired magazine, the Pentagon even used the Death Star itself in experiments on funding appropriations and cost-versus-benefit analysis.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


White House Responds to Piers Morgan Petition

Dave Hogan/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The White House has issued an official response to the online petition calling for CNN host Piers Morgan to be deported back to Great Britain for his “hostile attack against the U.S. Constitution by targeting the Second Amendment.”

In the response, White House press secretary Jay Carney urged Americans to not let “arguments over the Constitution’s Second Amendment violate the spirit of its First.”

The petition gained more than 100,000 signatures on the White House site, well beyond the 25,000 necessary to warrant a response, after Morgan spoke out in strong support of gun control following the deadly school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

The petition demanded Morgan “be deported immediately for his effort to undermine the Bill of Rights and for exploiting his position as a national network television host to stage attacks against the rights of American citizens.”

In his response, Carney underscored that “the Constitution not only guarantees an individual right to bear arms, but also enshrines the freedom of speech and the freedom of the press -- fundamental principles that are essential to our democracy.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


White House Petition Calls for Reality Show Starring Joe Biden

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Can’t get enough of Vice President Joe Biden?  A petition on the White House website calls for a weekly reality TV show featuring Biden at his finest.

The petition reads, “Vice President Joe Biden has a demonstrated ability to bring people together, whether at the negotiating table or at the neighborhood diner. We, therefore, urge the Obama Administration to authorize the production of a recurring C-SPAN television program featuring the daily activities and interactions of the Vice President with elected officials, foreign dignitaries and everyday American families. Such a program would educate the American public about the duties and responsibilities of their Vice President, while providing a glimpse of the lighthearted side of politics even in the midst of contentious and divisive national debates.”

The petition comes one day after Biden’s swearing-in of senators went viral, where he hugged senators’ mothers, doled out dating advice and made an awkward joke about being frisked.  If the petition receives 25,000 signatures in one month, the White House will respond to the request.

So whether it’s snuggling up with bikers in an Ohio diner, going toe-to-toe with Republicans as he tries to broker the latest fiscal deal, or unabashedly flirting with senators’ mothers on Capitol Hill, maybe one day the Biden show will be reality.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Petition Calls for White House to Address Gun Control

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Following the deadly massacre at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school, thousands have signed an online petition calling for the White House to “immediately address the issue of gun control through the introduction of legislation in Congress.”

The petition, which was created earlier Friday on the White House’s “We the People” site, has surpassed the 25,000 electronic signatures required for the Obama administration to review the request.

“The goal of this petition is to force the Obama Administration to produce legislation that limits access to guns. While a national dialogue is critical, laws are the only means in which we can reduce the number of people murdered in gun related deaths,” the petition reads.

“Powerful lobbying groups allow the ownership of guns to reach beyond the Constitution’s intended purpose of the right to bear arms. Therefore, Congress must act on what is stated law, and face the reality that access to firearms reaches beyond what the Second Amendment intends to achieve. The signatures on this petition represent a collective demand for a bipartisan discussion resulting in a set of laws that regulates how a citizen obtains a gun,” it continues.

After four years of relative silence on the issue of gun control, President Obama earlier Friday pledged to take “meaningful action” to prevent future tragedies like the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

As of this writing over 36,000 have signed the petition.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


States with Most Signatures to Secede Took Millions in Federal Money

Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- All the states petitioning to secede from the United States that obtained enough signatures to elicit a response from the White House -- with the exception of Alabama -- were some of the largest recipients of federal funding in 2010. 

Census records show that six of the seven states that amassed more than 25,000 signatures on their petitions to form independent nations in the past week took more than $10 million in revenue from the federal government that year.

The seven states -- Texas, Florida, Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina -- took more than 23 percent of all federal revenue allotted to the states that year. That being said, it was individuals in those states, not the controllers of the states' pursestrings, who signed the petitions.

Missouri also received $11 million and has collected more than 29,500 signatures, but the electronic votes are divided between two identical petitions, disqualifying the state from receiving a White House response.

Petitions to secede started popping up on the White House’s "We the People" website three days after President Obama won re-election.

The number of states petitioning had reached the teens by Monday.  By 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, every state except Vermont had a searchable secession petition on file, and each had gathered at least 600 signatures. A petition must have a minimum of 150 signatures to be found in the We the People search database.

ABC News’ reported Monday that Texas was the first state to hit 25,000 signatures, growing to more than 30,000 by the end of the day. Texas’ petition now has more than 100,000 virtual signatures.

In addition to the state’s bid to leave, a user named Caleb M. created a petition asking that his home city of Austin be allowed to withdraw from the Lone Star State, while remaining part of the United States. Caleb still needed almost 20,000 signatures to get a response from the White House.

The Obama administration policy is not to address petitions that don’t receive at least 25,000 clicks within the first 30 days after their posting.

A White House official told ABC News Tuesday that the secession petitions that made the cut would receive a response.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


GOP Livestream Shows Obamacare Petition Printing

Ron Chapple Studios/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Thanks to a new livestream, people who oppose Obamacare can not only sign an online petition to repeal the health care law, but also watch a live web camera shot of their petition printing.

The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) is hoping the sheer size of the printed petition stack will send a strong message to President Obama.

“The biggest concern is Obamacare’s burdensome mandates and job-destroying tax hikes that have made our economy worse,” said NRCC spokeswoman Andrea Bozek, when asked if the committee was worried about wasting paper.

Since the livestream went live around 6 a.m. Thursday, Bozek said more than 1,100 petitions have printed and the printer, shown in the web video surrounded by petitions and a red stapler in the NRCC’s Washington office, has already run out of toner.

“We have interns on paper patrol and toner patrol,” she said.

The NRCC plans to deliver the growing stack of petitions to the White House later this month, sending a message to the president to “repeal this job-destroying legislation.”

The group’s petition drive is accompanied by a 90-second rapid-fire video outlining the lifespan of Obamacare from the Republican perspective and urging supporters to “make sure this never happens again” by signing the petition.

The drive comes as the constitutionality of the health care reform law is being decided by the Supreme Court, which is expected to hand down a decision by the end of the month.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Wisconsin Preps for Heated Recall Election of Gov. Scott Walker

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(MADISON, Wis.) -- While the national media attention has been focused on the upcoming GOP primary in Wisconsin, there’s another political battle gearing up in the Badger State, and it involves both Democrats and Republicans.

On Friday, the Government Accountability Board of Wisconsin officially certified the roughly one million petitions turned in in January to recall Republican Gov. Scott Walker.  With a special gubernatorial election pending, Democrats and Republicans in the state are bracing for a tight race ahead.

A special election is scheduled for June 5, with a Democratic primary to take place four weeks earlier, on May 8.  Three Democrats have declared their candidacies -- former Dane County executive Kathleen Falk, Wisconsin secretary of state Doug LaFollette and state senator Kathleen Vinehout.

Tom Barrett, the Democratic mayor of Milwaukee who ran against Walker for governor in 2010 and lost, is reportedly considering another run, but he has not declared his candidacy yet.  He is expected to make a decision by the beginning of next week.

Democrats in the state are flying high ahead of the official start of what will be a relatively short election season.

“We’re feeling great,” Wisconsin Democratic Party chair Mike Tate told ABC News.  “I think the people of Wisconsin are ready to fire Scott Walker and hire a new governor.”

The overwhelming success of the efforts by United Wisconsin to collect the signatures necessary to bring about a recall election might be interpreted as a sign that Walker is going to face a seriously uphill battle in this special election.  However, recent polling shows that is not the case.

A Marquette Law School poll out earlier in the week shows Walker with a narrow lead over Barrett and Falk.  When matched against Barrett, Walker had a two-point lead, 47 to 45 percent.  Against Falk, Walker’s lead widened a little to four points -- 49 percent to Falk’s 45 percent.

Although these numbers demonstrate a decrease in support for Walker since the previous Marquette Law School poll in January, which showed Walker with 6- and 7-point leads against Barrett and Falk, respectively, Wisconsin Republicans are still very confident about the state of the race.

“We at the Republican Party of Wisconsin, we feel extremely confident that Gov. Walker will win this recall fight,” spokesman Ben Sparks told ABC News.  “It comes down to the fact that voters went to the polls in 2010 because they wanted to turn our state around.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Wisconsin Adversaries Dig In on Gov. Scott Walker Recall

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(MADISON, Wis.) -- The effort to recall Gov. Scott Walker has Wisconsin Republicans and Democrats digging in their heels for a long, arduous process ahead.

United Wisconsin, which organized the plan to recall the Republican governor, submitted more than one million signatures to the state’s Government Accountability Board on Tuesday, apparently making it a recall effort with the most participants in U.S. history.

Although the number of signatures is well above the required 540,208 needed for a recall to proceed, an election is not certain.  The state’s Government Accountability Board must first verify each of the signed names, which it has 60 days to complete.  The board has already asked for additional time, and said it will invest in $100,000 of new computer software to help complete the verification process.

Despite Walker opponents’ signature-gathering prowess, a recall election would likely be a tight race, analysts say, and the one million-plus signatures wouldn’t necessarily mean a strong voter turnout.

“This was a pretty strong showing, but Walker’s going to fight, too,” said Kyle Kondik, political analyst at the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics.  “I don’t think it’s a given that anyone who signed a petition is going to vote in a recall.  You have to wonder how turnout’s going to be.  Are there going to be more votes cast in this special election than there were in the gubernatorial election in 2010?”

If the signatures are verified, Democrats would have a six-week primary season to select a candidate to run against Walker in a recall.  The recall election would take place four weeks after the primary.  One state Democrat has already declared her intentions to run against Walker: Kathleen Tate, a former executive for Dane County, which encompasses the state capital of Madison.

Other Democratic candidates are likely to follow in the coming weeks and months.  Mike Tate, chairman of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, said the party will not endorse any candidate until after the primary has taken place.

In the meantime, a quirk in Wisconsin state laws allow Walker to take in unlimited contributions while signatures are being gathered and reviewed.  The governor has so far taken in more than $5 million, and is spending heavily on television ads, according to the Campaign Media Analysis Group.  Walker spent more than $1 million in the first month of signature gathering alone.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


GOP Pressures for Health Reform Repeal with 1.6 Million Signatures

ABC News Radio(WASHINGTON) -- About a dozen congressional Republicans gathered Wednesday morning to pressure Democrats to repeal the president’s health care law and to receive 1.6 million hand-signed signatures demanding that Congress overturn the law before it can be fully implemented.

Rep. Steve King, who has helped champion the effort to repeal the law and also to defund it, said he wakes up every day “to fight ‘ObamaCare.'”

“Health care costs more. We have fewer insured. Everything good that [President Obama] said it was going to do we got the inverse of the president’s promise on this,” King, R-Iowa, said. “What they really designed this to do was create a socialized medicine policy.”

Twenty-nine boxes filled with petitions containing 1.6 million signatures to repeal the Affordable Care Act were delivered to Capitol Hill Wednesday morning by Ken Hoagland, the chairman of Restore America’s Voice Foundation and

King said that the petitions serve as a reminder to members of Congress not to give up on their effort or wait for the courts to overturn the legislation, but rather to press forward and attempt to repeal the legislation until a like-minded Republican is in the White House.

“We need to do everything we can do within the job that we’ve been assigned here in the legislature, and then in the end the presidential candidates will be the ones that help us out the most. They’ve all been clear; they’re all for repeal of Obamacare,” King said. “We need to find a way to get it done, get it on the president’s desk. And some would say that the president wouldn’t sign that if it’s on his desk…Let’s just get it there and see.”

Sen. Jim DeMint, a leading conservative associated with the Tea Party movement, admitted that there are genuine problems in the country’s health care system but he said that any solutions Republicans proposed when the law was being drafted “were summarily ignored by the president” as Barack Obama forced the “socialization of medicine, the federal control of health care, that has proved all his promises false.”

“It’s obvious the president has done harm to health care, to our economy and to the American people,” he added. “This is not a partisan issue, this is an American issue. We have got to stop this before it is implemented. We cannot wait for the Courts. It’s something we need to do for the American people here in Congress.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


White House Invites Petitions with New Website

The White House(WASHINGTON) -- The right to petition the government is as old as the republic itself, but the White House has decided to use the concept as a 21st century way to get Washington’s attention.

The new official White House website, which is not live yet, will allow citizens to post petitions on any issue.  If they get enough online signatures, the petitions will be reviewed by White House policy staffers, and President Obama might even report back on what his administration is doing about the public concerns.

The site was announced in an email Thursday morning from senior adviser David Plouffe, who offers a video tutorial on the new endeavor.

It's worth noting that over the past two years, when the president has solicited issues over the Internet for townhall meetings, the biggest number of responses has always been in favor of the legalization of marijuana.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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