US Presidents by the Numbers

Happy Presidents’ Day America! On every third monday in February, we take time (sometimes a full day if you’re lucky) to relax and appreciate the great – and not so great – men who have led our country through the good times and the bad. This day was originally a federal holiday in honor of George Washington’s birthday, until President Nixon declared that it should recognize all US Presidents. So in honor of this day, and because we here at *AT* love all things presidential, here are some fun facts about some statistical records among the leaders of the free world.

For reference, check out this list of US Presidents to refresh your mindgrapes.

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Stores and Bars Can Rob You Too

Let’s face it: credit and debit cards are a godsend. They’re safe, convenient, and offer you instant access to either cash in your account or what is basically an instant revolving loan. But few people actually know that there is extra money that changes hands several times just because you paid with plastic. For example, Visa may charge your bank every time you swipe, which in turn charges the merchant a little bit more; some vendors even pass that cost on to the customer, charging a small fee for credit transactions. As it turns out, there are now quite a few laws that regulate this activity, some of which went into effect just days ago. If you aren’t careful, however, some stores will ignore the laws and charge you pretty much whatever and whenever they want. Here’s what you need to know.

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We the People Wants to Start Replying to Less Bull&@%!#*$

In a move that I am sure was inspired by too many petitions calling for Death Stars and such, the White House’s online petition site We the People has raised the threshold for getting an official response from the Obama Administration from 25,000 signatures to 100,000 signatures. At the time of this writing, only one out of the 273 petitions on the site has hit this mark – a petition with well over 300,000 signatures calling for the Westboro Baptist Church to be officially designated as a hate group. This makes sense, because anybody with a soul would support that.

Ultimately, I think this move is justified; the White House has had to pen 96 responses to petitions so far, including the really ridiculous ones. For example, one asks for Obama’s impeachment for four reasons that are basically just completely false. The White House responded as such, and in a very civil manner at that. Now, this change does not mean that the White House won’t be monitoring all the petitions that are put up, but hopefully it means that they will be able to dedicate much more time to organizing and creating effective responses to the petitions that actually cross the 100,000 signature threshold.

Sure enough, there is also a petition to lower the threshold back down to 25,000. Read the White House’s official justification after the break. In the mean time, check out Obama’s direct response to the WTP petition concerning gun violence below. No matter where you stand on the issue, it is nice to know that this website is actually paid attention to.

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No Death Star for America

Several weeks ago, I wrote about an awsome petition posted on the White House’s official site We the People that asked for America to build a death star. Because that petition gained 25,000 signatures within a certain time limit, the Obama Administration has to respond to it. Well, sure enough, they did – and in a pretty hilarious way.

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The $1 Trillion Coin

In another startling display of unconventional citizen action, a new petition has been started on We the People, a site that is quickly becoming one of our favorites here at *AT*. Unlike the past petitions we have covered though, this one actually seeks to solve a real problem – and that problem is the debt ceiling. Solution? Have the US Treasury Department mint a coin worth $1 trillion. *Sigh*…I’m no economist, so this one will take a while to pick through folks.

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“If Pot Falls from the Sky…”

Congratulations, Washington and Colorado; you did it. Whether you voted for it or not, your ability to possess and smoke marijuana for recreational purposes is now an unchallenged right – at least as recognized by state and local governments. If you are a Washingtonian, midnight last night was the first time you could light up legally in the state, or in any state for that matter. But where do state and federal law enforcement officials stand on the issue of enforcement? What does this mean for the illegal marijuana trade? And, when is it your state’s turn? I attempt to (figuratively) clear the air on these questions after the break.

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