Weekly Wide Web

Sign This!

Internet petitions have become worth less than the paper on which they're not printed.

Three days after Election Day, a Texas man created a petition on WhiteHouse.gov's "We the People" petition-raising page, calling for the federal government to allow Texas to secede. While this isn't particularly out of character for Texas or Texans, they weren't alone in this petition; in fact, they weren't even the first, as a Louisiana man apparently created the first state-secession petition.

Since news of these broke out, a similar petition has been created for roughly every state in the union. Why? Well, most of the petitions don't explicitly say why, instead quoting the Declaration of Independence—while apparently failing to see the irony in such an act.

In fact, most of the petitions read the exact same way and cite the same lines of the Declaration of Independence. Those that differ include that for Texas (which actually makes a case for Texas' economic viability as a sovereign nation) and the Arizona petition, which goes on about how man's rights are not dispensed by the government, but by a higher creator—something I'm certain few people would take issue with, until their rights are trampled upon by a government run by the folks who claimed to not dispense rights.

There's nothing wrong with these petitions—they're a valuable way to hold government accountable for things that they may have ignored or overlooked—but some of these things are impractical (such as the call for a national election recount, with 62,714 signatures), stupid (asking for a pardon of Ohio State's NCAA violations: 1,928), silly (the request for nationalization of the Twinkie industry: 3,463) and, interestingly enough, borderline treasonous (the secession petitions).

So, seriously: Can we cut this absurdly reactionary business out, people? Let's be realistic. Were we to secede, we'd be in the middle of a ground war between California, Mexico and Texas for our land, minerals, water, energy and blossoming (pun intended) weed business. If you think that Gov. Jan Brewer is the right person to lead the way in the middle of that, then I'll gladly sign the petition for the deportation of people signing secession petitions (as of this writing, at 24,351).

This Week on the Range

On The Range, we breathlessly followed Elmogate; alerted you to the upgrading of Borderlands Brewing Co.; talked about a study expounding the benefits of Mexican-American studies; looked at the Seattle Police Department's guide to recreational MJ; considered Rex's Perogies; talked about Amazon.com's zombie-preparation page; lamented the loss of Twinkies; finally, FINALLY gave you closure on the Congressional District 2 race between Ron Barber and Martha McSally, as well as the successful city of Tucson road-bond measure; and so much more!

On We Got Cactus, we previewed the Sea and the Cake; subjected Ed Nossem to our Nine Questions (+1); celebrated the Woman Vote; gave you a look at this year's headliners for Country Thunder 2013; checked out Tucson's deity-slaying metal lords, Godhunter; and followed the Modeens, as they just refuse to stop rockin'.

Comment of the Week

"I can't wait to watch with my grandchildren when they finally announce the winner of this race."

—Youthful-looking Facebook commenter Charlie Gebow, who didn't have to wait that long for the outcome of the Congressional District 2 race between Ron Barber and Martha McSally (which Barber finally won over the weekend) on "CD2 Update: Barber Leads McSally by 943 Votes" (The Range, Nov. 14).

Best of WWW

Something interesting happened last week: A short post about a vending machine that dispenses random used books at a bookseller in Canada called The Monkey's Paw ("Today in Spectacular Bookseller Practices: A Random Used-Book Vending Machine," The Range, Nov. 15), was noted on Twitter by author Neil Gaiman, who was mentioned in the post. That post was then retweeted more than 900 times from Gaiman's tweet. Later, NPR did a short piece with the owner of the bookstore.

My takeaway: There is literally no accounting for what goes viral on the Internet.