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Steelhammer: Petitioning in the name of secession of confections

Disgruntled voters from all 50 states seeking to secede from the Union following the recent presidential election are not the only disenfranchised-feeling citizens making somewhat ironic use of the Obama administration's "We the People" public petition Website during the past week.

 When I made my first visit to the "We the People" site on Friday to see how the secession petitions were doing, I discovered that dozens of even more quixotic and imaginative petition drives are underway.

Right off the bat, I learned that Americans are fast to petition in response to a crisis.

A petition drive calling for the Obama administration to "Nationalize the Twinkie Industry" began just a few hours after Hostess Brands announced it was planning to seek bankruptcy protection and liquidate its assets -- including its iconic, spongy snack cake with the three-figure shelf life.  A government takeover of Twinkie production was necessary, according to the petition, "to prevent our nation from losing her sweet, creamy center," a place not much in evidence during the recent electoral unpleasantness.

Another recently filed petition seeks to "allow United States Military service members to place their hands in their pockets" while on duty. "We hold these truths to be self-evident," the petition began, "that all uniforms have pockets, and hands fit perfectly inside them." Exercising the right to temporarily sequester one's salute-maker in one's uniform pocket "is not a sign of disrespect," the petitioners argued.

Americans disgruntled over the slow pace of the nation's judicial system may want to take notice of a newly filed petition calling for the establishment of a "system of motorcycle-riding 'judges,' who serve as police, judge, jury and executioner, all in one."

That "We the People" petition, which had collected 2,143 electronic signatures by early Friday night, seeks to "dissolve the current legal system and replace it with a single Hall of Justice run by motorcycle riding law officers."  You know, "Sons of Anarchy" meets "People's Court." What could go wrong?

A petition filed by the young and disgruntled calls for the Obama administration to "provide university graduates the ability to trade their diplomas back for 100 percent tuition refunds."  The new law is needed, according to the petitioners, "because of the inability of recent college graduates to find gainful employment in order to repay their college debt," which "cannot be eliminated in bankruptcy."

In response to all the petitions calling for secession, another petition was filed calling for those who signed such petitions to "physically trade places" with prospective immigrants on waiting lists to receive U.S. citizenship."

Among responses from the administration to petitions filed via "We the People" was one from Sam Kass, assistant White House chef and senior policy adviser for healthy food. Kass was Obama's point man, or perhaps "pint" man, in dealing with citizens demanding the president "release the recipe for the honey brown ale home-brewed at the White House."

"Inspired by home brewers from across the country, last year President Obama bought a home brewing kit for the kitchen," Kass replied.  After running off some best-forgotten experimental batches, "we landed on some great recipes that came from a local brew shop," made use of tips from home-brewing White House staffers, and added a signature ingredient -- honey from the first-ever beehive on the South Lawn.

"The honey gives the beer a rich aroma and a nice finish, but doesn't sweeten it," Kass wrote, adding that White House Honey Brown Ale "is the first alcohol brewed or distilled on the White House grounds" although George Washington was known to make home brew at Mount Vernon.

Kass went on to supply the petitioners with recipes for three White House home brew products. The title of his official response?

"Ale to the Chief."


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