Is Race Still the “Third Rail” of Talk Radio?

In the April issue of Townhall Magazine, where this column originally appeared, Tom Tradup explains why the conservative movement has to do a better job of long-term engagement with minority communities.

When House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) recently guested on Bill Bennett’s “Morning in America,” he made what he surely thought was a cogent, uncontroversial observation about poverty in the United States. “We have got this tailspin of culture, in our inner cities in particular, of men not working and generations of men not even thinking about working,” Ryan stated.

Suddenly, Ryan found himself the vortex of charges of “racism,” and suggestions that his remarks on the inner city and men not working were “code words” for black. New York Times columnist Charles Blow pronounced Ryan’s language “horrific.” And once again, an elected official had touched the so-called third rail of American politics: race.

As talk radio rallied to Ryan’s defense, another racially-tinged observation was made: virtually all of the voices countering attacks of racism by Ryan belonged to Caucasians. Raising the question: why aren’t more talk radio hosts in America black?

The answer, according to industry insiders, could lie with the GOP. “Too many years of election-cycle-only-visibility,” says David Webb, who hosts a weeknight talk show on Sirius XM.

“The Republican Party has to do a better job of long-term engagement in the black community,” Webb explained. “A needed to develop talk radio’s bench of black conservatives. “If the GOP can win over the community, the talkers/advocates tend to develop.”

While liberal persons of color abound in national talk media, including MSNBC’s Rev. Al Sharpton and Washington, D.C.- based talk radio host Joe Madison, black conservatives are still a fairly rare commodity on talk radio.

Conservative economist Walter Williams has filled in for market leader Rush Limbaugh but remains a guest host, at best. Denver conservative host Ken Hamblin, who billed himself as “The Black Avenger,” simply walked away from the format in 2003. And one-time WLS/Chicago host Mel Reynolds, elected to two terms in Congress but later convicted on misuse of campaign funds as well as sex with an underage intern, was last seen being arrested in Zimbabwe on pornography charges.

“Talk radio faces a two-pronged challenge,” Southern California-based talk consultant Jack Christy tells Townhall.

“Liberals historically draw low ratings, but experienced black conservative hosts are in short supply.”

So if talk radio is to broaden its appeal to minority audiences, it will need to create and develop ethnic talent, including

Hispanic conservatives, locally and nationally.

Cleveland attorney Peter Kirsanow, a member of the United States Civil Rights Commission, is an African-American conservative whose credentials include guest hosting Bill Bennett’s national morning show. He recently premiered

“The Kirsanow Report,” a daily commentary on Cleveland talk station WHK-AM.

Station general manager Mark Jaycox says it is a mutually rewarding project. “Peter and I first met at our “Constitution Under Fire” event back in the fall. A week after the event, he reached out to us. In our conversations, we explored ways he could be involved with us locally, and in short order, “The Kirsanow Report” was born: a daily 60-second feature that runs five times daily.”

Webb also believes the bottom line is focusing on content, rather than race. And if the communicator of Conservative ideas happens to be a minority, it is a bonus.

“Over the years, Fox, CNN and other networks have asked me to provide my analysis and opinion,” Webb explains.

“It’s understandable that if the issue is specific to the black community I will be asked, in the same manner that a woman will be asked, to provide perspective on a women related issue.”

But Webb adds that listeners, whatever their race, will gravitate to hosts, guests, and callers who focus on issues that

resonate with the core talk radio audience.

“Talk about keeping a family structure (not just social values),” Webb advises. “And even blended families to counter the single parent crisis, education, reducing crime in inner cities, free enterprise, employment, and bringing back companies to provide jobs.”

In defining the game plan for talk radio to attract more minorities on and off the air, Webb sounds eerily like… well… Paul Ryan. Maybe American media has a bright future after all. •

Tom Tradup is Vice President of News & Talk Programming at the Dallas-based Salem Radio Network. He can be reached at ttradup@srnradio.com

The Obama Administration Trolls

Someone in the lefty press is catching on.

Slate's John Dickerson points out that the Obama administration routinely "trolls" the GOP -- that is, deliberately misstates information about matters of public concern in order to keep what they consider favorable topics foremost in the public mind. Dickerson uses the topic of the "wage gap" as one example; I would use the topic of voting rights as another. In other words, the president and his administration are giving the press and the people purportedly factual information that they actually know is untrue as part of a deliberate strategy.

As Dickerson points out, there is something breathtakingly cynical about this approach. Not only is it wrong, it degrades the office of the presidency, and undermines whatever trust Americans still have in their elected officials -- a troubling phenomenon for a democratic republic.

Although his successors will reap the whirlwind, President Obama has obviously decided he doesn't care: The strategy is perfect to foment unrest and agitation by keeping low-information voters in a perpetual state of indignation against the GOP, and thus at least incrementally increases the chances that turnout among Democrat groups won't be as low this fall as many fear.

But it may also explain why, as Katie noted below, 60% of Americans think their President is lying to them about things that matter. After all, they're not stupid, and perhaps the President ultimately will come to realize that seeking to exploit fear powered by ignorance isn't really the best strategy for a leader to choose.

As with so many of his other policies, by choosing this course, the President is sacrificing the long-term good of this country for his own, short-term political objectives. Sad. And destructive.

Poll: 60 Percent of Americans Think Obama Lies on Important Issues

According to new polling released by Fox News, the vast majority of the country believes President Obama lies on important issues.

About six in ten American voters think Barack Obama lies to the country on important matters some or most of the time, according to a Fox News poll released Wednesday.

Thirty-seven percent think Obama lies “most of the time,” while another 24 percent say he lies “some of the time.” Twenty percent of voters say “only now and then” and 15 percent “never.”


It isn't just Obama's typical foes who think he's less than honest, Democrats and single women aren't too confident in his truth telling abilities either.

The number of voters saying Obama lies “most of the time” includes 13 percent of Democrats. It also includes 12 percent of blacks, 16 percent of liberals, 31 percent of unmarried women and 34 percent of those under age 30 -- all key Obama constituencies.


For President Obama, these numbers don't matter much, but they do matter for Democrats up for election this year who have been avid supporters of Obama's policies. Democratic support for Obamacare in particular continues to weigh on the minds of voters, especially voters who have lost the healthcare plans they were promised they could keep.

Watch: Al Qaeda Holds a Gigantic Meeting in Yemen

You'd think at this point these guys would be afraid of meeting out in the open like this for fear of getting pummeled by a drone, but apparently Al Qaeda wasn't too worried about that during a recent outdoor meeting of hundreds of terrorists in Yemen. The content of the video reminds us again that for these Islamists, attacking the United States and other western targets comes as part of their jihad and radical religious beliefs. More from the Washington Post:

A video that recently surfaced on Islamist militant Web sites shows a large group of al-Qaeda fighters — including the terrorist network’s second in command — taking part in a brazen open-air gathering, apparently unconcerned about the prospect of being struck by a U.S. drone.

U.S. officials said that the video appeared to be both recent and authentic and that analysts at the CIA and counterterrorism agencies are scrutinizing it for clues to potential plots. The officials declined to say why there had been no U.S. strike or whether U.S. spy agencies were even aware of the gathering before the video emerged.

At one point in the footage, al-Qaeda’s leader in Yemen, Nasir al-Wuhayshi, issues a warning that the organization remains focused on attacking the United States. “We must eliminate the cross,” Wuhayshi said, according to a translation of the video, adding that “the bearer of the cross is America.”


And now time for a flashback courtesy of President Barack Obama: "Al Qaeda is on the path to defeat!"

Conservative Texas Group Fighting Lone Star Political Police to Keep Donors Secret

A First Amendment battle is being waged in Texas right now that has national implications. Empower Texans, a taxpayer watchdog group that informs citizens about how their representatives in Austin are voting, has become the target of an IRS-style attack by the political Left and moderate Republicans to silence conservative voices.

Because the Texas Ethics Commission is currently trying to force the group to reveal its donor list, Empower Texans filed a federal lawsuit to protect their constitutional rights.

Lawyer and lobbyist Steve Bresnen led the effort against Empower Texans, but complaints were officially filed to the Ethics Commission by two Republican lawmakers, Rep. Jim Keffer and the now former-Rep. Vicki Truitt, both of whom had performed particularly poorly on the organization’s Fiscal Responsibility Index (see links for their grades). They also shared a common political consultant: Steve Bresnen.

In the complaint, Keffer and Truitt took issue with the fact that because people donate to Empower Texans, a 501(c)(4), and because the group has decided to engage in independent expenditures, they qualify under state law as a political action committee, which would then force Empower Texans to disclose their donor list. Additionally, they said that because Empower Texans scorecards lawmakers at the end of the legislative session, and because the group has an online page that puts out a weekly newsletter, Empower Texans’ President Michael Quinn Sullivan should file as a lobbyist and pay an annual fee to the government.

Elizabeth Graham, director of Texas Right to Life, says there’s actually a personal vendetta at play in some cases. “Disgruntled legislators who are not representing the views of their constituents are mad that we’re going and telling their constituents—our members, citizens of Texas—how they vote. And they’re using [Sullivan] as an example,” she said. “If they can silence him, then the rest of us might be intimidated to stop telling people how they vote.”

After sitting on the complaint for 20 months, a closed-door hearing finally took place in 2013. The Commission told Sullivan that the problem could all go away if he wrote a check, filed some reports, and became a licensed lobbyist.

“We refused,” Sullivan’s attorney Trey Trainor told Townhall, “because he’s not a lobbyist and they’re [Empower Texans] not a PAC, and if we did that, it would have just burdened other organizations that come along.”

Empower Texans has had no choice but to go to federal court, fighting on First and Fourteenth Amendment grounds, to protect the donors to 501(c)(4)s from being disclosed.

“I mean, when these people give their money, they’re told your name’s not gonna be disclosed,” Trainor said.

Texas Right to Life, Texas Home School Coalition, and Texas Eagle Forum plan to file motions to intervene in the suit on the side of Empower Texans to protect the ability of donors to be able to give money anonymously.

The Ethics Commission sought so much information in the initial round of subpoenas, including Empower Texans’ donor list and the email addresses of the group’s subscribers (for public record), that federal judge Sam Sparks said he “[knew] of no courtroom in the land that those subpoenas would be approved,” calling them “absurd” and “overbroad.”

Despite this, the Ethics Commission came back with subpoenas that were even more expansive, going from three pages to nine. And even after sitting down with the attorney general’s office several times offering to ratify the documents they have from the complaints, they haven’t been interested.

“I think it’d be easy to look at this and say, ‘ah, well, this is some skirmish in Texas between conservatives and [the] establishment, stinks to be them,” Sullivan said, before cautioning that if this happens in Texas, it will happen in other states too.

“Bad ideas spread like weeds in the garden in spring.”

John Moore, who is the chief lawyer and head of the Ethics Commission’s enforcement division, said at the last hearing that the constitutional issues don’t matter in the proceedings, and that it’s not an issue the commission needs to be concerned with in addressing the complaints.

“And so they’ve taken our arguments about the Constitution, about the rights of people to associate freely, the rights of organizations to basically inform the public of what’s going on through new media, don’t matter. The First Amendment doesn’t matter in these cases,” Trainor explained.

And it’s easy to see why moderate Republicans and the Left want the information.

“It’s all about being able to go on a witch hunt and track down the people who are funding these operations, and go to their employers and go to the people that they associate with, and put pressure on them because these groups are very effective at moving the Texas Legislature,” Trainor said. “We had a nationally recognized pro-life piece of legislation, we’re one of the best states in country for parental rights in homeschool issues, we’re a very fiscally conservative state that’s got a great business environment because the [grassroots] advocacy that goes on. … The groups on the Left are losing, and they’re losing because of [conservative grassroots organizations’] ability to go out and speak to the public, and now they want to quell that ability to speak to the public by figuring out who’s funding these operations.”

In 2013, left-leaning Republicans and members of the Texas Democratic Party tried to push legislation that would do much the same: force conservative nonprofits to reveal the names of their donors. Since SB 346 also had a special exemption for labor unions, however, ideological motivations can’t be ignored. Fortunately, Gov. Rick Perry vetoed the bill last spring, saying it would “have a chilling effect” on freedom of association and freedom of speech.

“At a time when our federal government is assaulting the rights of Americans by using the tools of government to squelch dissent it is unconscionable to expose more Texans to the risk of such harassment, regardless of political, organizational or party affiliation,” he said.

Undeterred, however, the Texas Ethics Commission in February posted for public comment new rules that would essentially do what Gov. Perry vetoed and what they’re trying to accomplish through the subpoenas issued to Empower Texans.

“If you think of Obamacare, what [President Obama] can’t pass through legislation, he’s doing through agency rules,” Graham said. “I mean, the conservative Legislature actually voted against the bill, Perry vetoed the bill, and the agency is now trying to adopt its own rules despite having no legislative authority.”

In the end, this case isn’t about proving whether or not Empower Texans is a political action committee. It’s about how the political effectiveness of Empower Texans, and other groups like them, can be neutered.

The battle seems far from over, but one thing, as Sullivan said, is clear: “They picked on the wrong Texans.”

Win: VA Community College System to Change 'Free Speech Zone' Policy

A system of 23 community colleges in Virginia is about to become more in line with the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The Virginia Community College System (VCCS) is seeking to alter its policy on free-speech zones in response to a lawsuit brought by student Christian Parks.

Last September, Thomas Nelson Community College prohibited Christian Parks from expressing his Christian beliefs in a large courtyard of the college. An officer from the college’s police department told him he must stop preaching because the content of his speech might offend someone. School officials then told Parks that his speech violated the Student Code of Conduct and VCCS policies.

The Alliance Defending Freedom lawsuit, Parks v. The Members of the State Board of the Virginia Community College System, explains that sidewalks and open spaces on campus are areas where students have broad free speech rights, including the right to express their views anonymously and spontaneously.

The First Amendment prohibits laws which limit free speech and the free exercise of religion; however, many college campuses put in place codes which violate the U.S. Constitution.

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) recently surveyed 427 schools across the nation and found that more than 58 percent “substantially prohibit protected speech.” The good news is that these restrictive policies have been declining for six consecutive years, and this recent lawsuit sparked yet another victory:

In a court filing last week in support of a motion from both sides to put the lawsuit on hold, the community college system said it would not enforce its current policy as it works to develop a new student policy.

"Both parties desire to suspend the … current policy in order to allow (Parks) and all other students to speak freely on campus" until a new policy is adopted, the joint filing said. With continuing talks between the Alliance and the state's attorney general's office, "counsel for the parties believe that they may be able to reach an amicable settlement in this case."

A proposed settlement is expected by early May.

Obama Admin Downplays Boston Bombings?

The detached, emotionless statement given by Press Secretary Jay Carney on Tuesday sums up what is wrong with the Obama administration. On the anniversary of the Boston bombings, a national tragedy, the spokesman for this administration said the bombings were "mostly important in Boston."

The logic is unmistakable. When the United States is attacked on its own soil by foreign Islamic extremists, it’s a localized incident. When a man in Florida defends himself with a gun, it’s a nationwide outrage. Why can’t Obama show the same emotion and stern decisiveness when talking about the torn and bloody bodies covering the marathon route, as when he’s imagining what his son would look like?

Anyone looking at Obama’s record on addressing national crises sees the same thing. Whether it was the bizarre "beer summit" early in his presidency, or the suspiciously tearless crying after Sandy Hook, if an incident doesn’t further his popularity or political agenda, Obama discards it. It’s better to mourn the worst terror attack since 9/11 in secret if your motivation is holding on to a deteriorating liberal base.

Americans who understand the threat of Islamic terror will remember the Boston bombings openly, with or without the president.

Fox News Launching New Daytime Show Featuring Katie Pavlich

Fox News on Wednesday announced plans to introduce a new show to its afternoon lineup, “Outnumbered,” which will air weekdays at noon and feature a rotating ensemble of four female hosts and one male host, according to Media Bistro. Townhall’s News Editor and Fox News Contributor Katie Pavlich will be part of the rotating cast of panelists.

In the new daytime lineup, “Happening Now,” anchored by Jon Scott and Jenna Lee, will split into two one-hour blocks at 11am ET and 1pm ET. “America’s News Headquarters,” which has had a temporary place in the lineup since the primetime shuffle last year, will no longer air on weekdays.

Harris Faulkner and FBN’s Sandra Smith will be the rotating hosts that will lead news coverage on “Outnumbered.” Other women featured will be Kimberly Guilfoyle and Andrea Tantaros, along with Fox News contributors Jedediah Bila, Katie Pavlich and Kirsten Powers. The solo male panelist will vary each day.

“Outnumbered combines a distinctive group of FOX talent with unique experiences and insights that will make for compelling news programming,” Fox News Senior Vice President Jay Wallace said in a statement. “We look forward to once again pushing the envelope with the addition of this new show and are confident the revised line-up will only strengthen the FNC brand.”

The show will debut April 28.

MSNBC Accuses State of Forcing Women to Leave Children in Hot Car

Shanesha Taylor, an Arizona woman, left her two year old and six month old children locked in a very hot car for about 45 minutes while she was being interviewed for a job. Someone noticed one of the children crying hysterically and sweating profusely, and police arrested Taylor when she returned to her car. While her children appeared to have escaped serious harm and have been removed from her custody, she is being charged with felony child abuse and faces up to seven years in prison.

According to MSNBC host Chris Hayes, however, it is Arizona's fault this woman left two of her three children in a car as the state had cut child daycare services.

There is a petition circulating asking the county to drop the charges against Taylor, as she was at a job interview at the time.

During the MSNBC segment about the case, Hayes went on a rant saying that American policy towards the poor is "skilled and efficient" at punishing them, citing examples of people attempting to cheat on their taxes (which is illegal), possessing marijuana (also illegal), and leaving their children unattended in cars (again, illegal). These laws don't "punish the poor," they punish the people who break them. Being poor has nothing to do with marijuana possession, tax fraud, or child endangerment. An average of 38 children die each year due to heatstroke in a car. A vast majority of these children are under the age of three. Taylor is lucky her children aren't dead or seriously injured.

While this story is certainly heart wrenching and it's easy to feel sorry for Taylor, who was attempting to better her life, it's more more heart-wrenching to realize that this woman's lack of responsibility very nearly killed her children. It is foolish for Hayes to blame the state for the actions of the mother. If Taylor were to get the job, she would have to find some option for daycare as well. It is not the state's job to ensure that Taylor has other options besides leaving her children in a sweltering vehicle. That would be the literal definition of "nanny state."

Income Inequality Institute to Pay Infamous Class Warrior $25,000 per Month to Do Basically Nothing


I generally refuse to link to Gawker. Today I'll make an exception. This is delicious:


In late February, the City University of New York announced that it had tapped Princeton economist and New York Times blogger Paul Krugman for a distinguished professorship at CUNY’s Graduate Center and its Luxembourg Income Study Center, a research arm devoted to studying income patterns and their effect on inequality. About that. According to a formal offer letter obtained under New York’s Freedom of Information Law, CUNY intends to pay Krugman $225,000, or $25,000 per month (over two semesters), to “play a modest role in our public events” and “contribute to the build-up” of a new “inequality initiative.” It is not clear, and neither CUNY nor Krugman was able to explain, what “contribute to the build-up” entails. It’s certainly not teaching. “You will not be expected to teach or supervise students,” the letter informs Professor Krugman ... (After his first year, Krugman will be required to host a single seminar).


So this publicly-funded university offered Paul Krugman $225k over nine months to essentially preside as a public face of its in-house institute that studies -- ahem -- income inequality. In exchange for the money, Krugman will provide his presence, play a "modest" role in CUNY public events, and "contribute to the build-up" of the initiative to combat -- ahem -- income inequality. Oh, and he'll host one solitary seminar. On top of his salary, the university will furnish the left-wing columnist and economist with $20,000 in fringe benefits, including travel expenses. In a separate email, a CUNY official makes it fairly explicit that they're effectively just handing him a bunch of cash for access to his "brand:"


Along with the offer letter, CUNY released dozens of emails between Krugman and university officials. “Perhaps I’m being premature or forward,” the Graduate Center’s President, Chase Robinson, tells Krugman in one of them, “but I wanted you to have no doubt that we can provide not just a platform for public interventions and a stimulating academic community­—especially, as you will know, because of our investments in the study of inequality—but also a relatively comfortable perch.” Which is undeniably true: $225,000 is more than quadruple New York City’s median household income.


Translation: Please let us shower you with money. (Some of which has been extracted from New York taxpayers -- whose burden, incidentally, Krugman would like to increase). In response to a Twitter challenge from a lefty buddy of mine, I want to make clear that I'm not objecting to a prominent, successful person being compensated -- or even over-compensated -- by an institution. My thoughts exactly:



Setting aside Krugman's odious, reactionary politics, the dude won a Nobel Prize and enjoys a major platform at the New York Times. He's profiting handsomely from his achievements. Conservatives aren't the ones who typically bellyache about this sort of thing. Paul Krugman is. A cursory online search reveals a treasure trove of blog posts and columns from the former Enron adviser decrying the "one percent" and egging on the Occupy movement. None has a more enjoyable title, though, than Krugman's essay -- from this past January, no less! -- entitled, "The Myth of the Deserving Rich." In the piece, Krugman allows that people earning, say, between $200,000 and $300,000 may be perfectly innocent, then slaps down the idea that the really rich deserve their success. What is Paul Krugman's aggregate annual income, I wonder? Whatever the answer, I am highly amused that a man who's raking in a quarter-million bucks for what boils down to a ceremonial position once penned a piece about rich people not deserving their wealth. I'd recommend that Krugman offer a masters course in irony during his two-semester "comfortable perch" at CUNY -- but again, he's not required to teach.

North Korean Officials Demand Removal of "Disrespectful" Kim Jong Un Poster...From London Barbershop

When a British salon owner and his son hung up an unflattering poster of Kim Jong Un (read: a pretty typical-looking poster of him) as a means of enticing west Londoners to get their haircut at a discounted price, they didn’t expect two shadowy bureaucrats from North Korea’s embassy to show up and demand they take it down. But that’s reportedly what happened, according to the Guardian. The emissaries from North Korea were apparently livid when they saw their dear leader looking rather foolish (as he normally does), and thus fired off a letter to Britain’s Foreign Office exhorting them to (ahem) “stop the provocation”:

Some background:

"The day after it went up two Asian-looking guys wearing suits turned up. One was taking pictures and the other taking notes," said Nabbach. "I said to my client at the time, 'I think they are North Korean officials.'

"Then they came in. They asked: 'Who put that picture up?' I said I did.

He said the pair told him the poster was disrespectful and must come down. "They said: 'That is a country's national leader.' I explained to them we often used pictures of celebrities, Lady Diana, Victoria Beckham. I told them: 'Listen, this is not North Korea. This is England.'

"They asked for my name and I told them they would have to get their solicitors for that."

Nabbach said he asked them to leave, and later reported the incident to his local police station. The two did not identify themselves as being from the North Korean embassy, he said. But a Metropolitan police spokesman said: "I can confirm that the North Korean embassy have contacted us and that we are in liaison with them. Officers spoke to all parties. No offences have been disclosed."

The real injustice here would be if these hairdressers were ordered by the British government to take down the poster, and bend to the sensibilities of Kim Jong Un's breathless cronies. It would be a gross violation of free speech. And yet, the AP reports the poster has already been taken down:

We haven't had any trouble since then. If anything, the poster has become a tourist attraction," he said Tuesday - but by Wednesday afternoon the salon was shut and the poster was not visible in the window. The salon's phone rang unanswered.

Police said they had spoken to both parties and determined no crime had been committed.

Alas, Fox News reports the owners chose to take down the poster voluntarily, in part because it, er, “blocked out the light,” or something.

What a sad day for the West when we can’t publicly shame Kim Jong Un anymore without bending to (what seems to be) political pressure. After all, with a mop like that, it’s not as if some public chiding isn't well-deserved.

Oregon Pro-lifers Start 'Drive-Thru' Pledge to Stop Taxpayer Funding of Abortion

The only thing that makes Tax Day worse is finding out where exactly your tax dollars are going. Sadly, some of our hard earned money is funding abortions. That’s where pro-lifers in Oregon come in. On Tax Day, activists rallied in church parking lots throughout the state to get drivers to stop and sign their Stop Taxpayer-Funded Abortion pledge.

From the Oregon 2014 Citizen Initiative press release (please note the rather significant deadline date):

Organizers have set a goal of gathering 150,000 signatures by Mother’s Day — May 11 — in order to put their measure up for a public vote. If that goal is not met, volunteers will continue to gather signatures until the final deadline on June 30. A minimum of 116,284 signatures are required to qualify for the November ballot, and about 50,000 signatures have been turned in by volunteers so far.

If approved by voters, the initiative would prohibit using public funds for elective, non-medically necessary abortions. Currently, around 4,000 abortions each year are publicly funded with state tax dollars through the Oregon Health Plan.

Chief Petitioner Jeff Jimerson explained why the group used Tax Day to encourage much-needed action:

“Tax Day seemed like an appropriate time to draw attention to this issue,” Jimerson added. “Most people have no idea their tax dollars are funding thousands of elective abortions.”

The initiative managed to collect hundreds of signatures on Tuesday, Jimerson wrote in an email to Townhall.

This humble effort in Oregon is an important step pro-lifers must take on a national level to expose how Americans are unwillingly subsidizing abortions, particularly through the oft-sainted Planned Parenthood.

Just how much? Try $1.5 million per day. Although the organization tries to claim abortion is only 3 percent of its services, it’s hard to defend that when looking at these numbers: abortions made up 93.8 percent of Planned Parenthood's pregnancy services in 2012 and for every adoption referral, the business performed 149 abortions.

Hopefully pro-life efforts across the country will be successful in directing dollars away from abortion clinics. Tax Day is already tragic enough.

Are You Ready For Senator Kathleen Sebelius (D-KS)?

Kathleen Sebelius has tendered her resignation as Health and Human Services secretary, ending what can only be described as a rocky and embarrassing tenure in the Obama cabinet. Many of us, of course, just assumed she would retire from public life after resigning. But the New York Times is floating the idea that she might actually seek public office this fall. Democrats apparently want her to run for a U.S. Senate seat in her home state of Kansas, where she served as governor from 2003 until 2009. Her would-be opponent, incumbent Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS), is beatable, they claim, and his overly critical (although perhaps justified) attacks on her managerial competence last October makes Democrats all the more hungry to unseat him:

In her darkest hour last fall, Kathleen Sebelius suffered one of the deepest cuts from an old family friend who accused her of “gross incompetence” over the rollout of the Affordable Care Act and demanded that she resign as secretary of health and human services. Now she is weighing revenge.

Ms. Sebelius is considering entreaties from Democrats who want her to run against that old friend, Senator Pat Roberts, Republican of Kansas.

Several Democrats said this week that Ms. Sebelius had been mentioned with growing frequency as someone who could wage a serious challenge to Mr. Roberts, 77, who is running for a fourth term and is considered vulnerable. One person who spoke directly to Ms. Sebelius said that she was thinking about it, but added that it was too soon to say how seriously she was taking the idea.

Meh. I doubt she jumps in. She’s suffered one too many humiliations since October 1 to be a viable contender in 2014. She’d also have to declare her candidacy by June 2, which doesn’t give her a whole lot of time to make up her mind. And there are other reasons, too. The Times points out the president performed rather poorly in Kansas when he ran for re-election in 2012, garnering less than 40 percent of the vote; plus, a Democrat hasn’t represented Kansas in the upper chamber since 1939.

I’m fairly certain Democrats could find a less toxic candidate to challenge Roberts, albeit with less state name ID, than Sebelius.

Nominating her would be a mistake.

Awkward: Senate Democrat Stumbles Over Obamacare Talking Points


As someone who makes part of his living on television, I can attest that delivering a strong, polished message under the bright lights isn't as easy as it looks. That's why my heart generates automatic pangs of empathy when people lose a train of thought at an inopportune moment (with this fairly recent example being perhaps the most painful to watch). In spite of his blowhard leftism, I can't enjoy what should be some delicious schadenfreude over Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse's (D-RI) unfortunate struggles on Fox News Sunday -- although I'm not overly disappointed that the Free Beacon flagged and posted the clip. Things get really bad about 30 seconds in:



Rather than belabor Whitehouse's stammering (he's been a busy boy, hasn't he?), I'll simply point out that his "evidence" in support of Obamacare is (a) an anecdote about a single mother who's benefited from the law (weren't Democrats just complaining about governing by anecdote on Obamacare, even though they do so all the time?) and (b) laudatory comments about "filling the donut hole" on Medicare's prescription drugs benefit. While that second point, once he finally spat it out, may sound attractive to seniors, its reality is far less attractive to taxpayers and people with a stake in Medicare's solvency. Avik Roy broke it down in 2012:


In order to guard against these problems of overspending and overutilization, Congress incorporated a critical feature into Part D. The drug plan would require seniors to pay a share of their drug spending below a certain level, so as to ensure that they had “skin in the game” and would be discouraged from wasteful spending. Seniors were required to pay for 25 percent of drug spending below a certain level ($2,830 in 2010) and 100 percent of drug spending in a middle level (between $2,830 and $6,440). After spending through the middle level, seniors would only pay 5 percent of any additional costs. It’s that middle level, where seniors pay 100 percent of the costs, that came to be derisively known as the “donut hole.” The thresholds were designed by actuaries who mined actual drug usage statistics to identify the optimal price points...This cost-sharing system has worked astonishingly well. Medicare Part D has spent 30 percent less money than the Congressional Budget Office originally projected it would. Last year, it became the first federal health program in memory in which spending actually decreased from year-to-year. Obamacare closes the donut hole.


Obamacare takes one of the most efficient elements of "Medicare as we know it," and breaks it, apparently in the quixotic hope of making seniors less suspicious of the new law. Incidentally, while some liberals are rejoicing over a new CBO report indicating that Obamacare's subsidies will cost the government less than previously projected, the real actuarial picture is effectively unchanged. Here's former CBO director Douglas Holtz-Eakin:



Among the parade of negatives embedded in CBO's blockbuster February report, Democrats aren't likely to talk about the nation's deficit trajectory, as confirmed by this week's update:


The nation is doomed to return to trillion-dollar shortfalls by 2024 if lawmakers don't alter existing tax and spending policies, congressional auditors warned on Monday. The culprits? Rising health care costs, an aging population, growing interest payments on federal debt, and an expansion of federal subsidies for health insurance, according to the Congressional Budget Office. This rising debt would have serious consequences, CBO warns. Federal spending on interest payments would increase considerably, and lawmakers would have less flexibility to use tax and spending policies to respond to unexpected challenges.


Policy-makers in Washington must exercise prudence by resisting the politics of now, in order to secure the future. This would require making slightly difficult choices at present to head off the painful austerity that's headed our way. One party has proactive solutions in mind; the other does not. I'll leave you with the latest Obamacare poll results, courtesy of The Economist and YouGov (headlined 'Obamacare: Still Divisive , Still Disliked):



The poll found that 29 percent of respondents support expanding the law, with 44 percent favoring repeal. Just 14 percent support the law as-is.

BREAKING: New Emails Show Lois Lerner Was in Contact With DOJ About Prosecuting Tax Exempt Groups

According to new IRS emails obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request from Judicial Watch, former head of tax exempt groups at the IRS Lois Lerner was in contact with the Department of Justice in May 2013 about whether tax exempt groups could be criminally prosecuted for "lying" about political activity.

"I got a call today from Richard Pilger Director Elections Crimes Branch at DOJ ... He wanted to know who at IRS the DOJ folk s [sic] could talk to about Sen. Whitehouse idea at the hearing that DOJ could piece together false statement cases about applicants who "lied" on their 1024s --saying they weren't planning on doing political activity, and then turning around and making large visible political expenditures. DOJ is feeling like it needs to respond, but want to talk to the right folks at IRS to see whether there are impediments from our side and what, if any damage this might do to IRS programs. I told him that sounded like we might need several folks from IRS," Lerner wrote in a May 8, 2013 email to former Nikole C. Flax, who was former-Acting IRS Commissioner Steven T. Miller's chief of staff.

"I think we should do it – also need to include CI [Criminal Investigation Division], which we can help coordinate. Also, we need to reach out to FEC. Does it make sense to consider including them in this or keep it separate?" Flax responded on May 9, 2013.


After this email exchange, Lerner handed things off to Senior Technical Adviser and Attorney Nancy Marks, who was in charge of setting up a meeting with DOJ.

Just a few short days later on May 10, 2013, Lerner admitted and apologized for the inappropriate targeting of conservative tea party groups during an American Bar Association Conference after answering a planted question. Further according to Judicial Watch, "In an email to an aide responding to a request for information from a Washington Post reporter, Lerner admits that she “can’t confirm that there was anyone on the other side of the political spectrum” who had been targeted by the IRS. She then adds that “The one with the names used were only know [sic] because they have been very loud in the press.”

In other words, only conservative groups were being looked at for criminal prosecution.

Last week news broke that Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings' staff was in contact with Lerner about the conservative group True the Vote, despite denying any contact occurred. In this specific instance of Lerner discussing possible criminal prosecution of tax-exempt groups through DOJ, Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse seems to have been the person to get the ball rolling.

On April 9, 2013 during a Senate Judiciary Hearing, just one month before the targeting scandal broke, Whitehouse asked witnesses from DOJ and the IRS why groups that had possibly "made false statements" about their political activities had not been prosecuted. On March 27, 2013, just days before the hearing took place, Lerner described the purpose for the hearing to IRS staff in an email.

"As I mentioned yesterday -- there are several groups of folks from the FEC world that are pushing tax fraud prosecution for c4s who report they are not conducting political activity when they are (or these folks think they are). One is my ex-boss Larry Noble (former General Counsel at the FEC), who is now president of Americans for Campaign Reform. This is their latest push to shut these down. One IRS prosecution would make an impact and they wouldn't feel so comfortable doing the stuff," she wrote. "So, don't be fooled about how this is being articulated – it is ALL about 501(c)(4) orgs and political activity."

Lerner later acknowledged pursuing prosecutions of these groups would not fit well with the law.

“These new emails show that the day before she broke the news of the IRS scandal, Lois Lerner was talking to a top Obama Justice Department official about whether the DOJ could prosecute the very same organizations that the IRS had already improperly targeted,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement. “The IRS emails show Eric Holder’s Department of Justice is now implicated and conflicted in the IRS scandal. No wonder we had to sue in federal court to get these documents.”

This post has been updated.

Editors note/correction: A previous version of this post stated and implied Lois Lerner contacted the DOJ about criminal prosecution when the emails state she in fact got a phone call from DOJ about the issue. While she was clearly in contact with DOJ about criminal prosecution for tax exempt groups, DOJ initiated the contact in this specific instance. Emails also show Lerner and Flax responded to both recommendations by Senator Whitehouse and DOJ to look into criminal prosecution. The headline to this post has also been updated.

Michael Bloomberg Pours $50 Million Into New Gun 'Safety' Organization to Counter NRA

Here we go again. Former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg has announced today he will be dumping $50 million into a new gun "safety" organization and campaign.

The new organization, Everytown, will house gun control groups Moms Demand Action, Mayors Against Illegal Guns and others. The organization is being touted as a direct counter to the National Rifle Association. From the New York Times:

Michael R. Bloomberg, making his first major political investment since leaving office, plans to spend $50 million this year building a nationwide grass-roots network to motivate voters who feel strongly about curbing gun violence, an organization he hopes can eventually outmuscle the National Rifle Association.

Mr. Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York, said gun control advocates need to learn from the N.R.A. and punish those politicians who fail to support their agenda — even Democrats whose positions otherwise align with his own.

“They say, ‘We don’t care. We’re going to go after you,’ ” he said of the N.R.A. “ ‘If you don’t vote with us we’re going to go after your kids and your grandkids and your great-grandkids. And we’re never going to stop.’ ”

He added: “We’ve got to make them afraid of us.”

Bloomberg has already spent millions of dollars trying to do this exact thing in different ways and has failed. He plans to target states like Colorado with this new campaign, despite losing historic recall elections to Second Amendment advocates last fall after lawmakers voted for gun control legislation. Over the past decade, Americans' appetite for more gun control has been waning.

Founder of Moms Demand Action Shannon Watts told the times she wants to get women to the polls on the issue of gun control, a tough task considering women's firearms ownership is up 77 percent since 2005.

A survey conducted by the National Shooting Sports Foundation found that 73 percent of gun dealers reported an increase in female customers in 2011, as well as the previous two years. In 2005, just 13 percent of gun owners were women. Today, that number is 23 percent--a 77 percent increase in 7 years.

And then there is this gem from Bloomberg:

“I am telling you if there is a God, when I get to heaven I’m not stopping to be interviewed. I am heading straight in. I have earned my place in heaven. It’s not even close.”

After Censoring Gosnell Movie, Kickstarter Rejects Another Pro-Life Project

Kickstarter is a crowdfunding website designed to allow people with all kinds of backgrounds to raise money for a project. Recently, Kickstarter censored the Gosnell Movie, a project by veteran filmmakers Phelim and Ann McElhinney. The movie is based on the true life story and grand jury report of America's most prolific serial killer and abortionist Kermit Gosnell. Kickstarter argued the description of the film submitted to the website, specifically the wording “pledge because of 1000s of babies stabbed to death," needed to be altered in order to comply with community standards. McElhinney and McAleer refused and moved their project to Indiegogo to raise funds instead. So far they've raised $800,000 of their $2.1 million goal.

But it seems the Gosnell Movie isn't the only pro-life project either rejected or censored by Kickstarter. Just a few short days after McElhiney and McAleer moved their film to Indiegogo, another pro-life project was rejected by the company. The project, created by activist Jason Vaughn, is called Stolen Moments.

It’s a simple idea. Everyone has a story to tell. Our stories are made of a special moments throughout our lives. Stories come from both the good and bad moments. Yet, due to abortion we’ve lost millions of potential moments in our lives. Moments that would be part of our story. Moments that were stolen from all of us.

We want to share through a series of short videos some of those moments we’re all missing because of abortion. It’s an idea I’ve fallen in love with and I think once you see what God has laid on our heart to create you will as well.

It’s thrilling to be at the point where we have a great crew assembled and to be ready to raise the funds. We were all set to launch and then got this upsetting news.

I love Kickstarter. If you look at my profile then you’ll see I’ve backed over two dozen campaigns in the last couple of years. They pioneered crowdfunding.

There are two great campaigns I’m promoting right now for some great friends. (Polycarp and Red, White, Blue, & Green)

*Update: Red, White, Blue, & Green has ended their Kickstarter to stand in solidarity with StolenMomentsCampaign.com

What worries me though is not only can I not understand their reasoning for rejecting Stolen Moments, but they also happened to reject another film that has some talk about abortion in it. I’m hesitant to call it a pro-life film because I don’t think the creators would consider it as such.

The team that did FrackNation is looking to make a documentary on the abortionist and serial killer, Kermit Gosnell. For those that haven’t heard about Kermit Gosnell it isn’t really a surprise. He slaughtered thousands of born babies after they were born. This is a story that needs to be told and deserves your support.

Apparently you’re allowed to discuss incest and porn, but Kickstarter isn’t a fan of people telling the true story about babies being ripped apart after birth.


Although Kickstarter rejected Gosnell Movie and Stolen Moments, it approved a film glorifying former late-term abortionist George Tiller and other abortionists like him currently performing the procedure. A reward for donating to the film includes, "mailing you a bouquet…of colorful condoms, arranged like the most beautiful flowers you’ve ever seen!" Here is a short description:

Dr. George Tiller of Wichita, Kansas, was a faithful church-goer and a father of four. He was also one of the only doctors in the country who performed late-term abortions for women, and in 2009, he became the eighth American abortion clinic worker to be assassinated since Roe v. Wade. With his death, there are now only four doctors in the country who provide late-term abortions for women. AFTER TILLER goes inside the lives of these physicians, who have become the new number-one targets of the pro-life movement, yet continue to risk their lives every day to do work which many call murder—but which these doctors believe literally saves lives.

Kickstarter CEO Yancey Strickler denies censoring Gosnell Movie and said the company was simply asking for compliance with community guidelines. Apparently condom bouquets and late-term abortion doctors meet Kickstarter community standards but films exposing the horrors of Kermit Gosnell and the abortion industry are just too much to handle.

"Every private business has the right to discriminate for any reason they want," Vaughn said in an interview. "But they should be open about such discrimination and not try to hide it through false guidelines."

Guess What Your Income Tax Would Have Been in 1862

Five percent— in 1862 any American making more than 10,000 dollars a year handed only five percent of their income over to the government. Well, times have changed…a lot. The Tax Foundation gathered a list of statutory tax rates spanning from more than 150 years ago to today.

In 1862 only two brackets existed:

Today, there are seven tax brackets, with the top income earners handing almost 40 percent of their annual earnings over to the government:

These rates have fluctuated greatly over the years. The first income tax dates back to 1861, when Congress passed the Revenue Act to help pay for the expenses of the Civil War. The tax was repealed a decade later, according to the Library of Congress:

However, in 1894 Congress enacted a flat rate Federal income tax, which was ruled unconstitutional the following year by the U.S. Supreme Court because it was a direct tax not apportioned according to the population of each state. The 16th amendment, ratified in 1913, removed this objection by allowing the Federal government to tax the income of individuals without regard to the population of each State.

The Federal government has been reaching into the pockets of Americans all across the nation, ever since. In the the 1950s the statutory top marginal tax rate rose to more than 90 percent! Thankfully this is not currently the case, however the government is still claiming a huge chunk of our paychecks, and an increasing amount of it is going towards entitlement programs.

The Heritage Foundation used the following graphic to reveal that almost 50 percent of tax dollars go towards entitlement programs:

Barack Obama Marks Passover With A Picture Of Himself

Passover, the Jewish holiday celebrating the Exodus of the ancient Israelites from their slavery in Egypt, began at sundown on Monday. And, like clockwork, Barack Obama’s wished everyone a ‘Happy Passover’ with, you guessed it, a picture of Barack Obama.

Here’s a list of just a few other times President Obama has celebrated or commemorated situations with photos of himself:

-The Grand Canyon’s Birthday

-Anniversary of the day Rosa Parks refused to move to the back of the bus.

- JFK Assassination anniversary

- Nelson Mandela’s death

-The birthday of Obama’s Chief of Staff, Denis McDonough

- 71st anniversary of Pearl Harbor attack

-Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day

-Honoring Neil Armstrong

You get the idea….

Narcissist in chief.

Heartache: Wendy Davis Getting Crushed in Texas


Surprise: Texas voters aren't particularly excited about electing a tax-and-spend liberal whose claim to fame is filibustering a widely-supported bill to ban sixth-month abortions. With a grain of salt due to its provenance, feast your eyes on the latest polling out of the Lonestar State (which Katie covered earlier here):



Republican Greg Abbott -- currently the state's Attorney General -- leads by 14 points, with Davis struggling in the mid-to-high 30's. Recall that Davis got swamped in heavily Hispanic areas along the southern border in the Democratic primary. She leads Hispanics by just ten points in this poll. Abbott leads among men by 21 points (perhaps some Texas men sympathize with Wendy's ex), and eight among women. Davis has also experienced a stark reversal on personal favorability:



Abbott is sitting at (+13), with Davis limping along at (-14). Women view her roughly just as unfavorably as men. Maybe she'll turn things around after her secretive meeting with President Obama, with whom she declined to appear in public. As a tip of the hat to Texas tweeter Will Franklin, be sure to read his recent analysis of Texas' exceptional public education stats, which continue to compare very favorably with similarly-situated California on both costs and student outcomes. As for Democrat-aligned PPP's polling in Texas, their track record is...interesting. Dan McLaughlin delivers this fun juxtaposition:



The only worrying element of this survey is that the under-45 crowd skews toward Davis. Meanwhile, is Al Franken in trouble in Minnesota? A new poll shows President Obama deep underwater in the state, with Obamacare doing significant damage to the Democratic brand. Incumbents Mark Dayton (Governor) and Franken (Senate) fare better than Obama does, but neither one looks invincible. Franken, a former SNL writer and performer, has gone out of his way to cultivate a sober and serious image since he first sought elective office in 2008. He's generally eschews national interviews, and appeared to deliberately excise silliness from his daily diet ever since an infamous run-in with Mitch McConnell. But deep down, it looks as if he's still Stuart Smalley:



"Goshdarnit, fewer voters like me."

The Astounding Tax Rates On America's Poor

One of the difficulties of devising social safety net programs is dealing with what are called "welfare cliffs" - as low-income people move up the income ladder, they see government benefits phase out. Many of these welfare benefits, like the Earned Income Tax Credit, are administered through the tax code. That results in sky-high effective marginal tax rates. There are a few different ways to try to mitigate this, but it's certainly not clear that the federal government is doing it correctly.

The Congressional Budget Office analyzed marginal tax rates that affect different income levels under 2012 tax law and found that people just above and below the poverty line in America can face the highest marginal tax rates:

What this means is that there are massive work disincentives for Americans who are just working themselves out of poverty. As the Heritage Foundation's Salim Furth wrote:

...futility of work for a single parent with one child[:] If he does not work at all, he receives $19,300 in government benefits. If he instead earns a salary of $30,000—which is full-time work at $15 per hour—he has disposable income of $28,000. This means that he is working full-time for only $8,700 per year more than if he did not work at all, making his effective take home wage $4.35 per hour ($8,700/2,000 hours per year). Is it rational to expect someone to work hard for such a low wage?

And Furth had an accompanying chart similar to the CBO's:

This is largely a function of the welfare state, but it's illustrated nicely by the fact that so much of our welfare state spending is now done through the tax code. The Tax Policy Center had a good report, "The War on Poverty Moves to the Tax Code," [pdf] explaining this - you can see the rise of tax code welfare policy like the Earned Income Tax Credit:

.

There are two ways to flatten the disincentive cliff - by increasing subsidies further up the income ladder or increasing them lower down the income ladder. It's difficult to increase the subsidies lower, as some of this welfare assistance is based on working. Increasing them higher often gets absurd, which is why we see Obamacare subsidies available to families making more than $80,000 per year. There's also, of course, the option of making the benefits as a whole less generous, or of disentangling them from work. This is why Milton Friedman was drawn to the idea of replacing the welfare state with a "negative income tax" - the disincentives would still be there, but would be less gradual as a low-income worker moved up the income ladder.

What is clear, however, is that welfare cliffs are real, and are a real problem - and on tax day, it's important to highlight the problem of welfare cliffs, and that policymakers need to be thinking of them as they design new policies.

Network News Stations Leave out Major IRS Scandal Updates Last Week

Last week, new developments were made in the case of the IRS-Tea Party scandal, but according to all of the network news channels, these were not important enough to be covered. IRS official Lois Lerner received a criminal referral from the House Ways and Means Committee and new emails surfaced, proving she fed tax information on a targeted group to Rep. Elijah Cummings. But both ABC and NBC news did not feel this was news worthy and gave ZERO coverage to these developments.

CBS This Morning kept it brief with a 90 second report on Thursday. This was the only showing on any network news channel about the scandal. What’s even more absurd is that these news networks had plenty of opportunity to cover the updates, but apparently felt the American people didn’t need to know.

In fact, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen appeared on ABC’s World News on Friday, but the host spent time asking about long wait times on the agency’s phone line instead of asking questions about the scandal. It’s Tax Day today and yet still no one found the time to ask the pressing questions.

You ask about the Sunday shows, well no, none of them could address the latest news on the IRS targeting scandal. Isn’t the whole point of those shows to wrap up and analyze the news of the last week? Isn’t this kind of important?

As not all Americans are lucky enough to have cable, many rely on getting their news from these network channels. How is it that the American people don’t need to know about the unfair bias at the IRS? The network news channels should be focusing on reporting the news straight to the viewers, and it is frankly irresponsible for them not to.

Greg Abbott Beating Wendy Davis in Texas Among Women

Texas Attorney General and Gubernatorial Candidate Greg Abbott is beating State Senator and feminist hero Wendy Davis in the Lone Star State...among women. According to new data from the left leaning Public Policy Polling, Abbott is not only leading Davis with overall voters, but by a whopping eight percent among female voters.

Further, Davis' has an overall 47 percent unfavorable rating while Abbott enjoys a favorable rating of 40 percent. Among women, Davis' approval favorable rating is just 32 percent.

Going into this race, Davis was defined by her pro-late term abortion stance. At the time of her now infamous filibuster and before she announced her bid for governor, Davis was at odds with Texas women, and women in general, over the issue. The overwhelming majority of women support a late-term abortion bans and strict regulations on abortion clinics. I'm sure lying about how she made her way as a "single mother" didn't help win her any votes, either.

Biden to #BostonStrong Survivors: “You’re Living Proof that America Can Never, Never be Defeated”

Today marks the one year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings. On April 15, 2013, hundreds of people were injured, and three were killed, when two home-made bombs exploded near the finish line. Vice President Joe Biden traveled to Boston today to participate in the commemoration ceremony, delivering remarks and reflecting upon the courage of the survivors and the resiliency of the city of Boston.

“I’ve never witnessed a tribute [like] I heard today,” he said. “Let me say to those quote ‘survivors’ [those who spoke before him]. My God you have survived and you have soared. It was worth it, I mean it sincerely, just to hear you speak. You are truly, truly inspiring. I have never heard anything so beautiful.”

“I really mean it,” he added.

Then, speaking directly to the victims and their families, he conceded that mere words were not enough to convey the depths of their struggles over the past 12 months. But at the same time, he hopes they at least know that their courage and example have been an inspiration to the nation.

“I know that no memorial, no words, no acts can fully provide the solace that your hearts still yearn to acquire. But I hope it eases your grief a little bit,” he said. “You’re living proof that America can never, never be defeated.”

On a somewhat lighter note, he told the audience of survivors, family members, first responders, and politicians that he was never a Boston sports fan growing up -- “you got the living hell kicked out of you [if you were],” he said -- but he nevertheless admired Boston’s sense of community and its unwavering commitment to its citizens.

“You have become the face of America’s resolve not unlike what happened on 9/11,” he said.

He went on to say that he had traveled all over the world as vice president -- some 900,000 miles. And that everywhere he went, people were familiar with the city of Boston, and the remarkable way in which they responded to the bombings.

Terrorists, however, could not bask in the damage they had wrought, he said; in fact, they had only made Bostonians more committed to the ideals the country was founded upon: pluralism, tolerance, and freedom.

“Terrorists try to make us afraid,” he intoned. “If they instill enough fear [they think] we will change. And it infuriates them that we refuse to bend.”

He continued:

“What makes me so proud to be an American is that we have never ever yielded to fear," he said. "Never."

"Just look [at] what you’ve done.”

One Year Later: Reactions to the Boston Marathon Bombing

It's been a year since two bombs were detonated near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three and injuring 264. A shooting three days later by the perpetrators of the bombing left a policeman dead, and the ensuing hours-long police standoff and manhunt had the entire city on edge until suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was finally captured by police. Here are some reactions to the anniversary:

The Boston Globe organized a photo at the finish line of the marathon composed of survivors, runners, first responders, bystanders, medical personnel, and notable figures in Boston.

Many organizations and people tweeted using the "#bostonstrong" hashtag:


Former Boston Mayor Thomas Menino gave tribute to his city's resiliency at a memorial service today:

"I want you to hear this solemn promise: When lights dim and cameras go away, know that our support and love for you will never waiver."

Vice President Joe Biden echoed his sentiment:

"America will never, ever, ever stand down. We are Boston. We are America. We respond, we endure, we overcome, and we own the finish line."

ESPN dedicated its Sports Center Featured segment on the healing effect Boston's professional sports teams had on the people of Boston. The Boston Red Sox earlier this year honored the people of Boston and their resilience on Opening Day.


The White House also announced that the president will be partaking in a moment of silence at 2:49 p.m., the time of the first explosion.