I swore I wasn’t going to emerge from my hole except for Good News Fridays but dangitall, y’all are annoying me. Mama Beale has half a mind to send y’all to your rooms without supper.
So here we go. America, please stop yapping about those “petitions to secede.” This is not a real thing. This is a social media thing, magnified by the traditional media looking for its latest shiny-sparkly election-related toy. And it’s completely absurd.
First of all, CBS News, no: states are not petitioning to secede. Individuals in states are petitioning. Crackpots all around the country, and yes, all 50 states have them. To my knowledge, no state legislature has taken any action (and I’m not entirely sure what that action would be, anyway.) But the fact is, there is no “official” support for these efforts. Please stop amplifying the crazies.
Look, any idiot can create a petition at the WhiteHouse.gov site. This is not a real thing. Some petitions which got less attention from the media include:
• “have the President attend a Fark.com party. If scheduling does not permit, at least have a beer with Drew Curtis.”
I might actually sign that last one.
I took a look at Tennessee’s petition and the thing just screams fakery. Just glancing over the first 100 or so names I see signatories from Alabama, Illinois, Florida, New York, California, Georgia, Virginia, Minnesota — in short, not everyone is a resident of Tennessee. And several people didn’t even list their address. I’d say about 30-40% of the names are from out of state. So no, 26,000+ people in Tennessee did not sign this petition.
(UPDATE: And as Newscoma notes, these things are just glorified exercises in e-mail phishing.)
I’m going to guess some Tea Party groups got their people to sign as many of these petitions as possible so they could drive the news narrative with their “we hate the President” message. I mean, it may not even be that coordinated, who the hell knows. The point is, we all know that a certain percent of the electorate is batshit insane and it’s not a shock that these people have found an outlet for their anger at an online petition site.
What is a shock is how quickly the news media jumped all over this. You know, as if it were a real thing. Y’all know that this White House petition site is no different from any other online petition site, right? Like Change.org and petitiononline.com? I mean, I thought we all knew to ignore these things back during the Bush Administration. I guess I was wrong.
Okay, I’m going away again but you do not want to make me come out of my room to scold you again. You kids, pipe down out there. Do your damn homework, eat your vegetables, and stop feeding the zoo animals.
Oh, huzzah. Someone actually looked at the petitions and did some of that wonky math-y, graphics-y stuff.
In total, we collected data on 702,092 signatures. Of these, we identified 248,936 unique combinations of names and places, suggesting that a large number of people were signing more than one petition. Approximately 90%, or 223,907, of these individuals provided valid city locations that we could locate with a US county.
Mousing over that graph, it appears most of the signers are from Texas and Alabama. Shocking, I know.