Above: The Death Star
The White House made a calculated mistake with its new website, We The People, which allows anyone to create petitions for the US government to review. The idea was sound: make a more modern and transparent method of participating in government policy. The mistake they made was in underestimating the Internet. That's because the Internet is a powerful force, just like the Internet's love of Star Wars, and the two combined to create an unstoppable force. They created a petition for the US government to build a real Death Star. In part, the petition read:
"We petition the Obama administration to:
Secure resources and funding, and begin construction of a Death Star by 2016.
By focusing our defense resources into a space-superiority platform and weapon system such as a Death Star, the government can spur job creation in the fields of construction, engineering, space exploration, and more, and strengthen our national defense."
The thing about the petitions on We the People is that if a petition gets 25,000 signatures, the government has to consider it. Well, guess what? It got 34,000 signatures. So what started as a joke became a matter of national policy.

The best part about this story is that the White House got the right person to respond: Paul Shawcross is Chief of the Science and Space Branch at the White House Office of Management and Budget. Instead of just saying, "Don't be stupid," he wrote a funny and geeky response entitled, "This Isn't the Petition Response You're Looking For." He wrote in part:
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?
In the aftermath, the White House raised the threshold to 100,000 signatures in an attempt to keep this from happening again. Undaunted, a Kickstarter project has been launched to create an "open source" Death Star. In response, another Kickstarter project has been launched for an open source X-Wing Squadron. Let's just keep this thing going, geeks.

What do you think of the petition? Should we build a real Death Star?
[Image: starwars.com]

[Via Huffington Post]
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Pat Dilloway said...

Some of these Internet campaigns are just so stupid, like the one to build a Robocop statue in Detroit. The sad thing is when these things take off important people have to actually take time to deal with the nonsense. I don't mean to be grumpy (well a little bit) but shouldn't people be dedicating their resources to something less moronic?

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

A real Death Star? From the government that abandoned the Space Shuttle program? Not going to happen boys.

Shell Flower said...

"Why would we spend countless taxpayer dollars on a Death Star with a
fundamental flaw that can be exploited by a one-man starship?" He has a really good point there. LOL.


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