Pot, Online Poker Dominate As Americans Pose Questions To Obama On Facebook
On a day dedicated to smoking marijuana, President Barack Obama will likely sidestep any questions about legalizing the drug when he engages Wednesday afternoon in an online townhall event through Facebook.
Facebook users have been encouraged to post questions on the wall for the event for Obama to answer. The company will handpick questions for Obama to answer beginning at 1:45 p.m. PDT. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg will host the live online event.
A brief scan of some of the likely several thousand questions submitted as of Tuesday night shows a strong presence of advocates for legalizing marijuana use and legalizing online poker. Last week, the Justice Department indicted and shut down several online poker sites. Lawmakers are generally divided on the issue. The Justice Department under Obama has shut down illegal medical marijuana dispensaries throughout the country. Proponents of both policies say the federal government could raise billions in revenues by regulating and taxing the industries.
There were some gems among the questions Facebook will sift through ahead of the event, including "What can you do to allow more Mark Zuckerbergs to proliferate in our country, that is to say, how can we stimulate the rapid growth of companies to facilitate job growth and our overall GDP that our country desperately needs?"
Obama could also face questions about improving the corportate and individual tax structures, the protests in the Middle East, the ongoing mortgage crisis, the difficulty of small business owners in securing loans and the loss of American jobs in favor of overseas workers.
Other questions in the basket of those likely to be selected:
- "What can be done to reverse the ever widening income gap in our nation between the rich and the poor and to rebuild our middle class?"
- "Unions were created in part because of egregious exploitation of workers. Unions at times have hindered economic growth due to strict protocols and rigidness. What is your opinion of the balance? Is there a middle ground? What are the alternatives?"
- "Shouldn't we be giving *more* money to the schools so that they can make it possible for this generation to solve problems we have now that perhaps we cannot solve for ourselves yet."
Facebook, which has stepped up its federal lobbying arm in recent months, had its own problems on the eve of the event. Hundreds of users reported on Twitter and Facebook that email notifications had magically been turned on in their user settings. If gaffes like these continue to add up, the company could lose political capital.
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