Most of it won't surprise you: the northeast and the rust belt states, along with California, are losing residents at incredibly high rates. Most of the south and southwest is gaining. Texas, Florida, Arizona, and Colorado lead the way in total wealth gained due to migration. Some are surprising, though: Washington State, for example, has been a fairly large gainer. And the outlier in the South is Louisiana.
The news isn't new to conservatives. Michael Barone wrote over two years ago on Townhall:
Californians have responded by leaving the state. From 2000 to 2009, the Census Bureau estimates, there has been a domestic outflow of 1,509,000 people from California -- almost as many as the number of immigrants coming in. Population growth has not been above the national average and, for the first time in history, it appears that California will gain no House seats or electoral votes from the reapportionment following the 2010 Census.
Texas is a different story. Texas has low taxes -- and no state income taxes -- and a much smaller government. Its legislature meets for only 90 days every two years, compared to California's year-round legislature. Its fiscal condition is sound. Public employee unions are weak or nonexistent.
More on the Texas/California distinction has been in the news recently, though, as Texas Gov. Rick Perry last month promoted the policies that have turned Texas into an economic machine while California continues to struggle. "I hear building a business in California is next to impossible," Perry said. "See why our low taxes, sensible regulations and fair legal system are just the thing to get your business moving to Texas."
The Tax Foundation also put together an interactive calculator so that anyone can see where people are leaving ad where they're going last month in conjunction with a piece debunking some progressive objections to migration arguments:
no one claims that at the very moment someone whispers “tax increase” one thousand millionaires head to the border. What really happens is that these higher tax burdens cause wealth and income to flee to states and countries with lower burdens and higher economic growth over time. High-tax states such as Vermont, Michigan and Missouri have not been magnets for jobs over the long run. Look over at Europe, which is once again scaring investors. It is a continent with excellent climate, culture and an educated workforce, but its high taxes and spending have stalled population and economic growth for a decade or more. America will go that way if we continue down the same path, driving out investment, businesses, and jobs.
I spoke with Texas State Comptroller Susan Combs at CPAC last weekend to discuss the Texas process of state budgeting and how she helps keeps the Texas books balanced:
The Senate passing a budget, of course, is by far the more miraculous occurrence, and certainly a rarer one. A 15-seed upsetting a 2-seed in the NCAA tournament is nearly a yearly occurrence: Lehigh upset Duke just last year, for example. Harry Reid's Senate, despite being legislatively binding, has refused to even offer up a budget since 2009.
This Senate budget passed 50-49, with four Democrats joining a unified Republican opposition to oppose it. It's not hard to see why even the Democrats would be hesitant about this budget. It replaces the spending cuts in sequestration with cuts to military defense and tax hikes. All told, there's over $1 trillion in tax hikes. Due to all the spending, the Senate budget spends over $700 billion more than the Republican budget over the next ten years on interest payments on the national debt alone.
Democrat Sens. Max Baucus (Mont.), Mark Pryor (Ark.), Kay Hagan (N.C.) and Mark Begich (Ak.) all voted against the Senate budget. Every one of those faces a re-election battle in 2014 and didn't want to have to go to the American people and explain why they voted for a massive tax hike without even attempting to get spending under control.
If the budgeting process weren't broken, what would happen now is that both the Senate and the House would move to conference, where they'd come up with a unified, consensus budget, then go back to their respective chambers for a final vote before sending it to the President. But the budgeting process is broken. The Democrats did this mostly for show (and because they're legislatively required to, though that hasn't stopped them from refusing to offer a budget up in the past) and the United States government will continue operations under a continuing resolution rather than a full-fledged budget.
So let's just enjoy this moment. It's rare, but precious. The Senate passed a budget.
Members of Congress and members of both the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic teams came together on Tuesday to hold a free-throw shooting contest to raise awareness for the Congressional Olympic & Paralympic Caucus - and, of course, to award a crown to the best free-throw shooter in Congress.
Teaming up with an Olympic or Paralympic athlete each, the official contest would combine shooting scores of both the representatives and the athletes - a point that was proven moot when Olympic basketball champion and current member of the WNBA's Connecticut Sun hit 33 free throws in a row, sealing the competition for her and her teammate Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.).
Congressman Jared Huffman (D-Calif.) took home the unofficial title, however. He shot 70% from the line - a perfectly respectable percentage for even professional ballplayers - before the last ball, at which point he got to shoot until he missed. He had hit ten more in a row before missing. "This is getting kinda dull," he said, trash-talking the other members of Congress in the middle of his impressive performance.
The other members struggled to put together shooting performances that could rival Huffman's. Most showed up clad in their office clothes - not exactly friendly to athletic competition - and none broke 50% on their first ten shots.
Eight members of Congress participated - here are the results:
8. Congressman Scott Garrett (R-N.J.)
Athletic background: none.
Garrett, as pictured above, took a few tips from Olympian Kara Lawson before taking his shots.
0 for 2
7. Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.)
Athletic background: none
Ros-Lehtinen took her cues from one of the greatest free-throw shooters of all time in Rick Barry and shot underhanded. She struggled to find the basket, however, and the voting alarm went off right as she finished up her round. "Saved by the bell," she said, laughing, on her way out of the room. "Next year."
0 for 10
6. Congressman Dave Reichert (D-Wa.)
Athletic background: played football at Concordia Lutheran College. Reichert, the chairman of the caucus, was excited to try his luck.
3 for 10
5. Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.)
Athletic background: basketball and volleyball player at Illinois college.
Bustos came to ball. She was the only member of Congress attired in athletic shoes. She seemed disappointed in her 30% shooting performance, though.
3 for 10
4. Congressman Gene Green (D-Tex.)
Athletic background: unknown.
3 for 10
3. Congressman Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.)
Athletic background: unknown
If the members were making a team, Crowley would have played center. His performance at the line was a workmanlike 40%.
4 for 10
2. Congressman John Carney (D-Del.)
Athletic background: Quarterback of his state championship-winning high school football team, All-Ivy League QB at Dartmouth.
The reigning champion, Congressman Carney was all business. A hush came over the room, however, as he finished up his round, and the judges conferred on whether he was on his ninth or tenth attempt. Carney pleaded and received one more shot. On that last shot - the "moneyball," or shoot-until-you-miss shot - he swished it, and went for five more in a row. His unofficial percentage, though, after his first ten shots, was at 40%.
4 for 10.
1. Congressman Jared Huffman (D-Calif.)
Athletic background: Three-time All-American volleyball player at UC-Santa Barbara.
Huffman shot 70% from the line before going on a streak of ten in a row to end his run. Easily took home the title.
7 for 10
The author once went 42/50 from the line in his college free-throw shooting contest, coming in third place. So he knows a bit about free-throw shooting contests.
We here at Townhall have our own little pool going (don't ask about our respective picking abilities - please), but just for the benefit of you, the conservative reading public, I've compiled what I'm calling "The Free Speech Guide to March Madness." For while the NCAA tournament is a lot of fun, political correctness gone mad in America's institutions of higher learning is not.
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) keeps a list of some of the universities that most egregiously limit students' First Amendment rights. From speech codes to conduct handbooks to politically-driven protest policies, universities across the country routinely go overboard in promoting political correctness - and punishing students for nonconformity. FIRE rates universities on a red-yellow-green scale of friendliness to free speech - and we're bringing you theri ratings, team by team for March Madness.
Bucknell University was named to FIRE's Red Alert list after a conservative student group's protests against affirmative action policies and President Obama's stimulus plan were repeatedly shut down or forbidden by administrators using flimsy or patently false excuses. After the Bucknell University Conservatives Club (BUCC) had three events censored in two months, including the distribution of "Obama Stimulus Dollars" and affirmative action bake sales, the students turned to FIRE for help.
Michigan State University
Michigan State University (MSU) joined FIRE's Red Alert list after finding student government leader Kara Spencer guilty of "spamming" and misuse of university resources for criticizing the administration's plan to change the school calendar. Spencer had carefully selected and e-mailed 391 faculty members to encourage them to express their views on the proposed changes. Despite the fact that Spencer merely wished to alert a small percentage of the campus community—roughly 8 percent of MSU's faculty—to an important administrative decision, MSU found her to be in violation of the university's Network Acceptable Use Policy and of engaging in an "unauthorized" use of the MSU network. After FIRE intervened, MSU dropped the charges but made its policy even more restrictive.
An important note: Michigan State was recently downgraded to Yellow from Red for important corrections to their speech code violations. The above is merely a good representation of how a school becomes a Red violation school.
For the sake of convenience, here's the rules that we've used to pick each school:
1.: The better rating wins: Green ratings beat yellow, yellow beat red. Pretty easy.
2.: In the case of a tie in the rating, the higher seed wins. This is to keep our bracket from getting, well, too crazy.
3. Schools without a rating will be treated as in-between yellow and red. There are precious few schools with green ratings from FIRE, which just reflects that free speech on campuses across the country is in pretty bad shape. But it wouldn't quite be fair to put unrated schools in the red category either - they haven't done anything to get there. So we'll assume an intermediate rating between yellow and red for unrated schools.
4.: The play-in games in the round of 64 are treated as
We're still going to end up with a bit of a wacky bracket. There are only two schools in the tournament this year - James Madison University and the University of Mississippi - who got green ratings, and only one of those is not a play-in game team. Regardless, brackets are crazy - you might win with one like this! I've noted what teams are red, yellow, and green on the small brackets below:
Some notables before we begin: The East and West regionals are tied with the most "Red Light" schools, with 7 apiece out of 16 teams. These include such free speech violators as Harvard, Notre Dame, Ohio State, University of Miami, and Syracuse. Duke, the school that everyone loves to hate, gets only a Yellow warning from FIRE.
Two of the NCAA tournament's #1 seeds - Louisville and Kansas - get red ratings from FIRE. Parents beware!
Our free speech Elite Eight schools are Duke (2) and Oklahoma State (5) out of the Midwest regional, Ole Miss (12) and Arizona (6) out of the West regional, UNC (8) and Florida (3) out of the South regional, and Indiana (1) and Colorado (10) out of the East regional. Ole Miss, as the only green-rated school from FIRE, is your free speech tournament champion. As the Columbus Dispatch reported:
Sparky Reardon, dean of students at Ole Miss, said this was case in Oxford prior to the beginning of the spring semester, when the university found out it had been given the "green light."
"The only thing that was holding us back was the wording in our policy," Reardon said. "That is the case with a lot of people, too. It's just not understanding the words and expressions regarding free speech."
Find the final free speech bracket below - I used ESPN's bracket creation tool to fill this out.
The average grade that Cause of Action gave Obama Administration departments was a C-, with two cabinet-level institutions - the Department of Defense and the Department of Commerce - receiving failing grades.
"President Obama himself actually made a pledge that his Administration would be the most transparent in history," Cause of Action's communications director Mary Beth Hutchins told Townhall. "There's a great inconsistency among federal agencies in how they're responding to folks who just want to know what's going on in the federal government and how taxpayer dollars are being used."
Appearing at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) might cause some controversy. Would Cause of Action be as hard on a Democrat as on a Republican? "It's hard to speculate on what would happen if someone else was in office," Hutchins said. "[But] what we found is that the current state of transparency is pretty weak."
Watch Hutchins' entire interview with Townhall below:
Townhall will bring you exclusive interviews with some of the most influential members of the conservative movement throughout the day, so stay tuned to Townhall's CPAC coverage! The conference will be streaming LIVE at C-SPAN starting at 11:45 AM.
Meanwhile, read some of our preview coverage. Katie Kieffer ran down some of the need-to-know facts last week on Townhall:
There will be over 200 speakers and 30 panels at CPAC 2013. Plus, networking opportunities, job fairs and movie screenings. There will be a diverse mix of conservative and libertarian speakers and attendees. With speakers ranging from Sen. Rand Paul to Dr. Ben Carson, this is sure to be an electrifying event.
Many of this year’s CPAC speakers are talented in their own right outside of their political celebrity, which makes them all the more attractive and engaging. For example, both Paul (ophthalmologist) and Carson (neurosurgeon) are medical professionals. Did you know that Carson was the first surgeon to successfully separate conjoined twins? He led a 70-member surgical team for 22 hours to operate on twins bonded at the back of the head.
These are just two of the high-caliber speakers you will hear from at CPAC 2013: individuals who built something positive and entrepreneurial on their own. Yes, they did, President Obama.
Meanwhile, Jonah Goldberg, Debra Saunders and Derek Hunter addressed a few of the mini-controversies that CPAC has faced this year. In spite of this, Goldberg will be speaking on a panel Thursday afternoon - about some of those controversies!
Stay tuned to Townhall for the best and most comprehensive coverage of the largest and most important annual conservative conference.
John Brennan has been confirmed today as Obama's director of the CIA after a dramatic 12-hour filibuster by Sen. Rand Paul on the Senate floor yesterday demanding answers. Sen. Paul's communications team declared victory after Eric Holder sent a letter to Paul today saying that no, President Obama does not claim "the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil."
This is a more direct answer than Eric Holder gave to Paul earlier this week, in which Holder said "it is possible, I suppose, to imagine an extraordinary circumstance in which it would be necessary and appropriate under te Constitution and applicable laws of the United States for the President to authorize the military to use lethal force within the territory of the United States," and quoted Pearl Harbor and 9/11 as examples of when the federal government would conceivably resort to military force.
The Obama Administration, however, has been incredibly slippery in how it defines the terms of war in the global war on terror. So while it sounds nice that if an American isn't "engaged in combat," she'll be safe, that still leaves the Obama Administration a lot of wiggle room. And precious little oversight.
The Obama Administration has maintained the authority to use force against "al-Qaida and associated forces outside the area of active hostilities." Translation: the Obama Administration can go after bad guys everywhere. The President also retains the authority to determine who the bad guys are: the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force gives the President broad latitude to determine what "nations, organizations, or persons... planned, authorized, committed, or aided" the terrorist attacks of 9/11. The AUMF also allows for the use of force on those who "harbor" such organizations or persons, "in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism."
As Paul said yesterday on the Senate floor when discussing the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki, the rules of who might "aid" al-Qaida have become increasingly vague in the internet age:
Were I a juror, I would have voted that [al-Awlaki] was committing treason and I wouldn't have had trouble at all with a drone strike on him. But if we're going to take by extension the standard we used in putting him on the list, that he was a sympathizer, an agitator and a pain in the royal you-know-what on the Internet, there's a lot of those people in America, if that's going to be our standard. That's why I would feel a little more comforted if it weren't an accusation by a politician that unleashes Hellfire missiles. I would be a little more comforted and I think we would all sleep a little better in our house at night if we knew before the Hellfire missile comes down, a policeman would come to your door and say, we accuse you of this.
These issues continue to come down to oversight. The Obama Administration reserves the right to determine who the enemy combatants are, where the battlefield is, and whether someone constitutes an "imminent threat." All without oversight or checks and balances.
It's easy to remember the presidency of George W. Bush, when Republicans defended executive branch activities that take place without oversight, as well. Sen. Paul brought this up - and said he would have objected as strenuously to the expansion of executive power under the Bush Administration as he does under the Obama Administration.
This isn't new. The Bush Administration did some of this, too. When the Bush Administration tried to grab power, though on the left and some of us on the right were critical. When they tried to wiretap phones without a warrant, we raised a ruckus. Many on the right and many on the left. There was a loud outcry against President Bush for usurping, going across due process, not allowing due process, not obeying the restraints of warrants. Where is that outcry now?
What may be the necessary legislative step to curtailing some of the expansions of executive power that President Obama has claimed is to reform or repeal the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force. "They take that authorization of use of force to mean pretty much anything," Paul said on the floor yesterday. Eric Holder's brief letter today shouldn't have changed anything. If the Obama Administration still claims the authority to unilaterally assert who qualifies as an "enemy combatant" - anywhere in the world, including the borders of America - then Paul's nightmare scenario of an American sitting in a cafe in America being targeted with a drone strike, without trial or oversight, is still a possibility, thanks to the broad interpretation given to the AUMF.
Indeed, the Wall Street Journal today asserted that if Anwar al-Awlaki were living in Virginia rather than Yemen, President Obama would have had the authority to use lethal drone force on him.
The President can designate such a combatant if he belongs to an entity—a government, say, or a terrorist network like al Qaeda—that has taken up arms against the United States as part of an internationally recognized armed conflict... Such a conflict exists between the U.S. and al Qaeda, so Mr. Holder is right that the U.S. could have targeted (say) U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaki had he continued to live in Virginia.
John Brennan has been confirmed as President Obama's CIA director. Senator Rand Paul briefly raised the profile of President Obama's legally and morally questionable drone warfare program yesterday in his marathon filibuster session. Paul got what he said he wanted - a letter from Eric Holder - but the Obama Administration has today backed off its expansive claims of executive power. The Obama Administration claimed the power to label and assassinate enemy combatants yesterday - including Americans in America - and continues to maintain that power today.
Today at 11:45 AM, Kentucky Sen. Ran Paul took to the Senate floor to filibuster John Brennan, who is President Obama's nominee to lead the CIA. President Obama's recent nominees have faced rocky roads - Chuck Hagel for Defense more than all the others - but none rose to the level of a grandstanding filibuster.
And it's not because of Benghazi.
No, leading Republicans made their Benghazi stand against Sen. Chuck Hagel. But Sens. Lindsay Graham and John McCain finally relented and allowed a vote on Hagel to go through. John Brennan has been a leading voice on President Obama's drone program. The drone program has largely been criticized by civil libertarians due to its secrecy and the Obama Administration's refusal to give solid answers on how and why certain people get targeted for the program.
Sen. Paul was joined three hours into his filibuster by Sen. Mike Lee (Utah) and Sen. Ted Cruz (Tex.), successively, to really hammer home the obfuscations of the Obama Administration when it comes to the legal regime under which drones can be used. [UPDATE: As of 4:30 pm, Sens. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), and Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) have joined in as well. Wyden's participation officially makes this a bipartisan filibuster of President Obama's nominee.]
Guy wrote earlier on the Administration's slippery legal answer about the use of drones on American citizens inside America. What's troubling is that, basically, President Obama has not provided an answer on his legal authority to assassinate American citizens inside America:
An American president order the use of lethal military force inside the US is "entirely hypothetical, unlikely to occur, and one we hope no president will ever have to confront," Holder wrote.
This is fairly alarming - something that Sen. Paul has said many times during his current filibuster. "When we ask the President, 'can you kill Americans on American soil with drone strikes?'... it should be an easy answer."
Paul admits that his task is impossible. John Brennan will likely be confirmed as CIA director. "Ultimately, I can't win," Paul said. "There's not enough votes... I've chosen to make a stand on this one. And not so much on the person, but because of the principle on this." His goal is to raise awareness about the drone program - and the secrecy, abuse and obfuscations that the Obama Administration has engaged in, such as the following:
16-year-old American citizen Abdulrahman Al-Awlaki was killed in a drone strike in Yemen in 2011. As reported by the Washington Post, "no one in the Obama Administration, Pentagon or Congress has taken responsibility for his death, or even publicly acknowledged that it happened."
Anwar al-Awlaki is the highest-profile American citizen targeted by the drone program. He was a senior member of al-Qaeda and a chief propagandist for the organization. Abdulrahman al-Awlaki was Anwar's 16-year-old son - and someone that the Obama Administration has never claimed was a terrorist or an "imminent threat" to the security of the United States.
Sen. Paul referenced Conor Friedersdorf's work for The Atlantic, where he's been one of the foremost voices on the abuses of the Obama drone program. In the piece "Obama's Execution of the Drone War Should Terrify Even Drone Defenders," Friedersdorf writes:
The Obama Administration isn't just assassinating an unprecedented number of individuals. It is doing so in a secret, unaccountable manner that lacks transparency or a meaningful check on the power of the executive... Most important of all, is it imprudent to give this president and all future presidents the unchecked power to kill in secret? Or does human nature and the framework of checks and balances devised by America's founders suggest that multiple layers of oversight is the wiser course?
The Obama Administration has answered these questions indefensibly, but the president's defenders go right on defending his drone program with the inadequate argument that it is theoretically justified.
Sen. Paul also pointed to Kevin Williamson's work for National Review - in which he noted that the logic that President Obama has given on the drone program should be worrisome for Americans concerned about the First Amendment.
If sympathizing with our enemies and propagandizing on their behalf is the equivalent of making war on the country, then the Johnson and Nixon administrations should have bombed every elite college campus in the country during the 1960s. And as satisfying as putting Jane Fonda on a kill list might have been, I do not think that our understanding of the law of war would encourage such a thing, even though she did give priceless aid to the Communist aggressors in Vietnam. Students in Ann Arbor, Mich., were actively and openly raising funds for the Viet Cong throughout the war.
The question of whether al-Awlaki in fact took up arms against the United States is unanswered, at least in my mind. The evidence suggests that he was very much the “bin Laden of the Internet” rather than a man at arms. What perplexes me is that so many conservatives trust the same government authorities who got it so spectacularly wrong about al-Awlaki the first time around — feting him at the Pentagon, treating him as an Islamic voice of reason — to get it right the second time around. This is not a libertarian criticism but a conservative one. It is entirely possible that the same unique strain of stupidity that led to al-Awlaki’s being invited to the Pentagon as an honored guest of the U.S. military is alive and well in the Obama administration. This is precisely why we have institutions such as the separation of powers, congressional oversight, and trials. Killing a U.S. citizen in the heat of battle is one thing, but Al-Awlaki was not killed in a battle; he was not at arms, but at breakfast. Enemy? Obviously. Combatant? Not obviously.
These are the reasons why Republicans are filibustering President Obama's nominee for CIA. It's notable that many in the conservative defense policy establishment have largely brushed aside the concerns being raised by Sen. Paul today. Marc Thiessen, a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, told Townhall that "there is more than enough [legal] justification for the drone program." Steve Bucci, defense analyst with the Heritage Foundation, told Townhall "I don't have any problem and neither does Heritage with the policy and the program that's been run. We think it's kind of settled legal ground from the previous administration."
Throughout the debate over if and how to replace the sequestration spending cuts that have officially gone into effect, President Barack Obama pushed for what he called a "balanced" plan of spending cuts and tax hikes to attack deficit reduction, and scolded his Republican antagonists for not agreeing to his proposed tax hikes. It's been a common theme for the President for a couple of years now - acknowledging that deficit reduction is a priority while continuing to push for "balance." Expect to see it further in the coming debate over an operating budget for the federal government.
Barack Obama last week said "I'm not a dictator" in a response to reporters who ask why he hasn't been able to work out a deal with Republicans. News articles have been headlined "Republicans Refuse to Compromise." All this despite the fact that Barack Obama has gotten everything he wanted out of deficit reduction.
In President Obama's 2011 fact sheet on his budget goals, the White House wrote:
Balance Between Spending Cuts and Tax Reform: The President’s framework would seek a balanced approach to bringing down our deficit, with three dollars of spending cuts and interest savings for every one dollar from tax reform that contributes to deficit reduction. This is consistent with the bipartisan Fiscal Commission’s approach.
Since 2011, major deficit reduction has totaled... exactly what the President wants. The American Enterprise Institute's Jim Pethokoukis critiques Steven Rattner's New York Times piece that contains a chart detailing major deficit reduction efforts since 2010. And in the three pieces of deficit reduction that have occurred since President Obama's April 2011 fact sheet, there have been $2.1 trillion in spending cuts and $700 billion in tax hikes - exactly the approach that President Obama wanted.
If we take the center-left media's characterization of the Republican Party as one of all-cuts, then it's plain to see that the deficit reduction enacted has been one of complete capitulation by the Republican Party to President Obama's stated position.
It's possible that President Obama believes his stated position of three-to-one spending cuts-to-tax hikes ratio is in and of itself a compromise from what he'd actually institute if he were a dictator. That's a position he'd rather not make public, obviously. And that's also not how negotiations work. (It's entirely possible that President Obama is a very poor negotiator, though.) If the sequestration legislation were to be replaced with "a balanced plan," then the total deficit reduction ratio since April 2011 would consist of more tax hikes than even President Obama has claimed to want.
Republicans, according to the media, are the intransigent ones in this scenario. It's President Obama, however, who's gotten everything he's wanted so far out of deficit reduction.
It's not necessarily the case that the midpoint between Congressional Republicans' stated position and Barack Obama's stated position is the right one. But deficit reduction measures as they stand right now have firmly gone for the President. One side has been doing some compromising - and it ain't the White House.
The White House agrees with the 114,000+ of you who believe that consumers should be able to unlock their cell phones without risking criminal or other penalties. In fact, we believe the same principle should also apply to tablets, which are increasingly similar to smart phones. And if you have paid for your mobile device, and aren't bound by a service agreement or other obligation, you should be able to use it on another network. It's common sense, crucial for protecting consumer choice, and important for ensuring we continue to have the vibrant, competitive wireless market that delivers innovative products and solid service to meet consumers' needs.
Derek Khanna is a former Republican Hill staffer who has been one of the driving forces behind the effort. He wrote earlier for Townhall on the push for cell phone freedom, and said in a statement today:
This is terrific news. It shows the power of the people to affirmatively act to fix policy rather than just stop bad policy. We the people have this power when we come together to fight for positive, common-sense solutions. This is a major affirmative victory for the digital generation that stood up against censorship of the internet through SOPA a year ago. The work of this movement is not done, now Congress must follow through - and it will require continued activism and engagement from average people who made this possible. I commend Sina Khanifar for creating this petition, and the many coalition members who joined in this effort including Public Knowledge and the National College Republicans.
Whether or not this push ends in actual action from the White House remains to be seen. But this is an important step in the process.
UPDATE: Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R.-Utah) has stated he's going to move on the cell phone unlocking project:
Working on leg to unlock your mobile phones.It is a freedom issue.You own the phone, you should be able to unlock it. .@derekkhanna— Jason Chaffetz (@jasoninthehouse) March 5, 2013
Baucus & Hatch Grill IRS Commissioners Who Don't Know Anything: "That's A Lie By Omission" | Greg Hengler