Tag Archives: Ken Reid

Right to Life March Falls on Deaf Ears as Dobbs Makes Abortion Issue More Difficult for Republicans

by Ken Reid

The 50th annual pro-life march took place in DC January 19; it has been held every year since 1974, the year after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Roe v. Wade, that women had a constitutional protection for abortion, and thus negated 50 state laws regulating the procedure.

It was cold and snowing, but thousands of committee pro-lifers showed up; could have been 100,000. I was not there, but the media coverage was quite limited.

You would think the pro-life movement won with the June 2022 “Dobbs” Decision, which overturned Roe and put the regulation of abortion back to each state. But alas and alack, that is not the case.

Abortion, as I wrote after “Dobbs,” still continues but is down in numbers since 1991 due to the advent of better ultrasound, home pregnancy tests and public education about unwanted pregnancies. There are no back-alley coat-hanger abortions, as the histrionic pro-abortion forces predicted, and if anything, prolife forces seeking six-week bans and the like are being flustered by the political process.  

The abortion drug, Mifeprex, was approved in 2000 and now comprises a majority of all abortions in the U.S. – only for use up to 10 weeks of pregnancy. A pending Supreme Court case may determine if the drug stays on the market or will be subject to state review  – thus negating the Constitution’s “commerce clause” and federal pre-emption, and creating more havoc in this nation. 

I don’t expect that to happen. Some 626,000 abortions occurred in 2021, the most recent year the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has numbers 

Anti- abortion groups continue to press their cases with state legislatures for. restrictions and some want a national ban by Congress, which is counter to “Dobbs” and has no chance of passage. Continue reading

The “Chanukah Dilemma”: Is the Menorah a Religious or Political Symbol?

Chabad-Lubavitch of Williamsburg Rabbi Mendy Hebor leads a menorah lighting at William and Mary.

by Ken Reid

Thursday night is the final night of Chanukah, the eight-day Festival of Lights that I (and millions of Jews across the world) celebrate, to mark the miracle that occurred when the 2nd temple was restored following a rebellion by religious Jews against secular Hellenistic Jews and their Greek-Syrian allies in the 160’s BCE.

Because of the Oct. 7 terrorist attack on Israel, in which 1,200 Israelis and other nationals were murdered by Hamas thugs, Chanukah has a really special meaning this year – bringing “light” to conquer the “dark” (i.e. Hamas).

But while the ongoing war has united Israelis, and probably most Jews worldwide, there is a deep divide in the U.S. and other nations on whether Israel’s response in Gaza is inhumane; some 18,000 Gazans have died in Israel Defense Force (IDF) aerial bombing and ground attacks.  The pressure, mostly from the far Left, for a permanent ceasefire keeps pressing on,  

Enter the controversy about lighting a menorah in public at a recent Williamsburg arts festival.

There, the board of the festival voted not to allow CHABAD of Williamsburg to light a menorah at the festival, thinking it was a one-sided political statement for Israel.  Arguments also were made that this is a religious holiday, and the festival was to be secular – although Christmas decorations and Christmas stuff abounded there  But then a sop was thrown at Rabbi Mendy Heber to have a pro- ceasefire message there as equal time.

Kerry Dougherty’s  article on the controversy is here  but a more detailed article in the Jewish Telegraphic Agency is worth reading. too  

Chabad moved the menorah lighting to the William & Mary campus, but the incident went viral.  Gov. Glenn Youngkin denounced the arts festival’s ban and Chabad has complained to the Virginia attorney general’s anti-Semitism task force.

Is the menorah a religious or political symbol, both, or neither? Continue reading

Most ‘Diverse’ General Assembly in Virginia History Takes Over in January

by Ken Reid

The new post-redistricting Virginia General Assembly that will take control in January, probably with a Democrat majority, will be the most ethnically, racially and religiously diverse group of legislators in Richmond in history, and about ¼ will be female.

In addition, some 52 of the 140 members of the General Assembly will be totally new to the State Capitol – most never having served in any elected office before.

This make-up is largely due to the huge number of retirements from the last GA, which was primarily forced by bipartisan redistricting in 2021, where a number of incumbents were placed in the same district and chose not to run against each other for re-election.  

Whites will be the minority in the  Democrat Caucus in each house, which also could be a first.  The House of Delegates as a whole will be 67% white,  down from 78% after the 2017 “Blue wave” elections,  when Republicans maintained control by a coin toss – and that’s because the overwhelming number of Republicans are white.

In the State Senate, 30 of the 40 senators will be white in 2024, largely due to the Republican presence.

This analysis, based on examining the biographies of the new GA members on Ballotpedia, shows the following breakdown, though one race (the 82nd house race between incumbent Republican Kim Taylor and Democrat challenger Kim Adams) is headed to a recount with Taylor ahead by 78 votes   Continue reading

Ranked Choice Voting Bills Die in General Assembly

by Ken Reid

All bills in the Virginia General Assembly to allow ranked choice voting (RCV) for town council, school board and constitutional officer elections, plus presidential primaries, were passed by indefinitely Feb. 7 by House and Senate committees, essentially being killed for this legislative session.

Even in the Democrat Senate, the RCV bill was killed unanimously.

I was disappointed: HB1751, to allow RCV in local and school board races was offered by Republican Del. Glenn Davis of Virginia Beach, as there has been widespread opposition to RCV by Virginia Republicans. However, there was some evidence RCV could have helped GOP candidates who lost recent Virginia Beach City Council elections, so maybe that’s why he patroned it. Continue reading

Ranked-Choice Voting in Virginia? Not Yet (Except Maybe Primaries)

by Ken Reid

A ranked-choice voting system (RCV) is an alternative electoral process that allows people to vote for multiple candidates on a ballot in order of the voter’s preference. RCV has been adopted in at least 60 jurisdictions across the nation, including statewide and federal elections in Maine and Alaska.

Should Virginia counties and cities adopt RCV for upcoming November elections, or should this newfangled system of voting be used only in primaries?

My answer to that question is “no” — but RCV may have some benefit in open primaries where both Democrats and Republicans select a nominee. It is definitely not suitable for local races.

I’ll go into more detail later, but my main concern is that it would be unwise to introduce RCV at a time when polls show some four in 10 voters already do not trust our elections. The majority of those skeptics are pro-Donald Trump Republicans who believe the 2020 election was stolen from him. However, in addition to former President Trump’s bellyaching about his 2020 loss, there are also activists on the left who believe there is ongoing voter suppression. Ranked-choice voting could feed into that belief.

Ranked choice voting (which was also used by the Republican Party of Virginia in its last two statewide drive-thru conventions and by the 10th District’s congressional convention last spring) means the candidates are ranked in order of the voters’ choice. It is being touted for use in primaries to ensure nominees are confirmed by a majority; by states that have runoff elections to obviate people voting twice (as happened in Georgia); and in town and city council “multiple candidate” races where voters are asked to vote for up to three nominees for council and one for mayor.

In 2020, Virginia’s Democrat-controlled General Assembly passed legislation allowing ranked-choice voting and requiring the State Board of Elections to issue regulations on its implementation. The law presently allows ranked-choice voting only for “elections of members of a county board of supervisors or city council.” It cannot be used in elections for constitutional offices, school boards, or mayoral and town council races. So far, Arlington is the only Virginia county to approve ranked-choice voting for its primaries in 2023. It has not approved the method for general elections.

Continue reading

Three Virginia Counties Are Great Places for Black People to Live

by Ken Reid

In the aftermath of the nationwide orgy of riotous violence perpetrated by supporters of Black Lives Matter due to George Floyd’s killing at the hands of Minneapolis police in May 2020, both the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors and Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) School Board issued resolutions of “apology” for how blacks were mistreated in the past.

“Although we recognize that we have yet to fully correct or eradicate matters of racial inequality, we hope that issuing this apology with genuine remorse is a valuable step followed by additional actions,” the apology, issued in September 2020, read.

WUSA Channel 9 reported that the “Loudoun County NAACP President [Michelle Thomas] said racial issues run so deep in LCPS that they were stepping in to initiate town halls, adding that the school system had been on its radar for five decades since the integration of Black students into the school system.”

A year later, in her annual State of the County address, County Chair Phyllis Randall, the first African American woman elected to the position, said 2020 was a year of “a long overdue reckoning on systemic racism that has plagued America since its birth.”

Thomas’ activists pushed for a Comprehensive Equity Plan and the Action Plan to Combat Systemic Racism. The result, as we all know, was top-down revision of the school curriculum in Loudoun along lines of anti-racism and critical race theory, which has wreaked havoc among parents and helped Republicans win back Richmond in 2021.

But according to The Black Progress Index: examining the social factors that influence Black wellbeing (just released by the liberal Brookings Institution in D.C.), Virginia’s three largest counties are great places for African Americans to thrive. About 1,677 counties were ranked. Continue reading

Impact of Supremes’ Roe v. Wade Ruling Way Overstated

Photo credit: Netblogpro

by Ken Reid

Should Governor Glenn Youngkin succeed in getting the Virginia General Assembly to curb abortion in Virginia from 25 weeks of pregnancy (at present) to 15, some 97% of abortions will still be protected, according to 2019 stats from the  Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

In addition, in six of the eight states which had pre-Roe v. Wade abortion bans, which have now become law again, an overwhelming majority of abortions will continue because abortion drugs (like Mifeprex – generic, mifepristone) –- cannot be outlawed. The only state with a trigger law where only 39% of abortions would continue is Missouri, based on data from the CDC.

In two states, Ohio and Texas, which have enacted restrictions after six weeks of pregnancy, CDC data indicates abortion through Mifeprex could conceivably cover 62% and 80% of abortions in those states, respectively.

About 54% of all abortions in 2019 were by abortion drugs, not surgery. Not all 1st trimester abortions can be done via drug, but the numbers are increasing and I will explain shortly why the states can do little about it.

I covered the drug and device industry for the trade press for 35 years, so I have some expertise here. Since the Supreme Court overturn of Roe was leaked in early May, I have written several articles, including a letter in The Washington Post,  about how this decision is really a wash for both sides – but these facts have not entered the news cycle or TV punditry. You can read one of these articles here.

Here are my arguments: Continue reading

It’s Easy to Love an Insurgent Without a Voting Record

GOP candidates in the 10th who lost the nomination to Hung Cao (in dark blue jacket) show unity at a rally for him last week.

by Ken Reid

Leave it to GOP primary voters in Virginia to support the no-name insurgent candidates over incumbents who have demonstrated an ability to win elections. A case in point – the 10th congressional district GOP firehouse primary May 21.

The supposed frontrunner, Prince William Supervisor Jeanine Lawson, lost badly despite raising more than $900,000 in donations and key endorsements — Delegate Dave LaRock, R-Loudoun, former state senator Dick Black, and former Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.

Hung Cao, a Vietnamese immigrant and retired Navy captain with a distinguished career and life story, was nominated with about 7,700 votes, Lawson, 5,000, Brandon Michon, 2,000 or so, as of the ninth ballot, in rank-choice voting.

Cao ran a superlative campaign, and got Asians, veterans and parishioners in Leesburg megachurch Cornerstone Chapel (where he belongs) to vote for him. He raised about $500,000, largely from Vietnamese across the nation. I think he can beat incumbent Representative Jennifer Wexton; but Lawson, a female with a solid base in Prince William County, would have been the stronger nominee. Continue reading

Does Loudoun Need a Police Department?

Phyllis Randall (left) and Mike Chapman (right). Photo credit: Loudoun Times

by Ken Reid

The latest battle between the Left and Right in Loudoun is not over CRT, but PD – as in, “police department.” Should Virginia’s most-populous county transfer key law-enforcement functions from the elected sheriff to a newly created civil-servant police chief?

No crime problem in Loudoun is driving this debate. No scandals, budgetary issues, or layoffs are afflicting the sheriff’s office. Loudoun (population 423,000 and growing) is among the wealthiest in the nation.

Rather, this is a conflict between the three-term Republican Sheriff, Mike Chapman and Democrat Board Chair Phyllis Randall, now in her 2nd term, primarily over her desire to have a Police Oversight Board, which Chapman, like most law-enforcement heads, opposes.

The Democrat-controlled Board, which probably had the votes to put the issue to the voters, opted instead to hire the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IAPD) to study the matter and determine the costs. Continue reading

The AG Should Investigate Portsmouth Political Corruption

by Ken Reid

Philosopher David Hume once said: “The corruption of the best things gives rise to the worst.” That may be the fate of the Portsmouth, population of 93,000, in the absence of outside oversight.

In the wave of protests over George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police in 2020, Portsmouth activists called for tearing down a 127-year-old monument to Confederate war dead. City Council deferred a decision to remove the two statues, as  required by law. In June a mob proceeded to topple one and behead the other. Portsmouth city police pressed charges against several high-profile participants. Although the charges were withdrawn, the subjects turned around and sued the city.

Rather than litigate the suits, the city awarded $300,000 earlier this year to state Senator Louise Lucas, D-Portsmouth, who is the Senate Pro Tempore and de facto Democrat political boss of Portsmouth. The remaining $150,000 was divided between 10 influential demonstrators, whom columnist Kerry Dougherty called the “Portsmouth 10.”

These include Portsmouth School Board Vice Chair LaKeesha Atkinson, an employee in the public defender’s office, and several city NAACP leaders. Among 19 arrested in the protest was the public defender, Brenda Spry. She was later confirmed by the General Assembly to be a judge — a decision that was decried by then-Delegate Jason Miyares before he was elected Attorney General. Continue reading