Blue Commonwealth Logo

Advanced Search

Make a New Account



Forget your username or password?

Become a Supporter
Like Blue Commonwealth? Want to help keep it running?
Contribute Today, and help keep our blog ad free!

Blog Roll
7 West
Albo Must Go
Anonymous is a Woman
Article XI
Assembly Access
Augusta Free Press
Bacon's Rebellion
Blue Ridge Data
Blue Virginia
Byrne-ing Up the Internet
Central VA Progressive
Coarse Cracked Corn
The Daily Dogwood
Dem Bones
Equality Loudoun
Fairfax City Dems
WaPo - The Fix
Getting Around
Great Blue Heron
The Green Miles
Heartland of Va
Leesburg Tomorrow
Left of the Hill
New Dominion Project
Not Larry Sabato
Ox Road South Blog
Penning Thoughts
Powhatan Democrats
Renaissance Ruminations
River City Rapids
Rule .303
Shad Plank
Southeast Virginia
Star City Harbinger
Too Progressive
United States of Jamerica
VB Dems
VB Progressives
Virginia Dem
The Virginia Democrat
WaPo - Virginia Politics Blog
Vivian Paige
Waldo Jaquith
Waldo's VA Political Blogroll

Username: RichardWard
PersonId: 251
Created: Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 10:47:28 AM EDT
RichardWard's RSS Feed

Jumping in the Pool in VA-08 -- Last Call

by: RichardWard

Tue Nov 17, 2009 at 16:48:53 PM EST

First, see this link:


As Matthew Berry, a pro-LGBT candidate for the Republican nomination in the Eighth District of Virginia is a former Supreme Court clerk, I imagine that the skewering of James Moran has just begun.  

There's More... :: (0 Comments, 227 words in story)

The Democratic Party should be the party of morals, not the GOP

by: RichardWard

Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 14:34:50 PM EDT

This diary, authored by a Deeds supporter, responds to Deeds' recent attacks on McDonnell's abortion positions, as well as the comment made by Aznew (blogger for the The Virginia Democrat) below the break. The continued tolerance of the progressive Blue Commonwealth community for those who are not afraid to question the acts of our leadership, and the rare atmosphere of respectful discourse on this site, are greatly treasured and appreciated.  

There's More... :: (3 Comments, 1695 words in story)

09.12.09 March on Washington

by: RichardWard

Fri Aug 14, 2009 at 10:24:18 AM EDT

While the first one was a non-event, this one looks like it is for real.  My parents asked if they could stay at my place (yes, there is a reason that I can sympathize with other points of view, but at least we both agree that Congress really needs to be fixed). A Saturday in the heat of September is a silly day to have a protest -- will anyone notice?

Sponsored by some usual suspects, including Freedom Works Foundation and National Taxpayers Union.


1. What is the symbolism of your logo?

It was a purposeful decisions to create a defiant image, raised fists against the statist policies of Congress and the president. I think it's an edgy symbol that communicates the anger and the defiance of the protests happening around the country since early February.

We have to make sure this is a protest against what's going on in DC, and we have to convey that image to the country and the world. I fear that if we start to lose that edge, the politicians won't take us as seriously, and will write us off. We've been studying and applying the tactics of the left for a long time, and although we despise their bad ideas, they have us beat when it comes to symbolism, activism and dominating the public debate.  We can learn from them and co-opt their symbols, some of their messages and even their tactics.

We have to remember that this is a March on Washington, which should conjure up images of the street protests in other countries. If we want the politicians to pay attention, we believe it is imperative that we keep our edge, tailor our message narrowly and maintain the populist imagery.


3. Who can attend the March on Washington?

Anyone that believes in limited government, and wants to see lower taxes, less government and more freedom.

Ironically, the logo looks like it was stolen from some Stalinist regime.  

Discuss :: (5 Comments)

Is 100% Pro-Choice a Progressive Value? (response to Aznew on the Backwards Bob string)

by: RichardWard

Wed Aug 12, 2009 at 11:13:07 AM EDT

...As for Creigh on choice, his record is crystal clear -- just look at his votes. You are right -- his position is vitrually identical to yours, I believe.

As for being 100% pro choice -- abortions -- even late term abortions -- ought to be a decision solely between a woman and her health care provider in all cases. Exactly what part of that formulation is objectionable?

Or, do you think it appropriate for the General Assembly to decide what kinds of medical care ought to be available to you.

The whole late-term abortion issue (the so-called misnamed partial birth abortions) is only so much bullshit that the anti-choice movement uses as a wedge issue. My understanding is that virtually every late term abortion that occurs is because of health risk to the mother, although if McDonnell has his way, some medically necessary procedures may be criminalized by legislative fiat.


For the record, my personal position on abortion is that it should only be performed in very rare cases, such as serious danger to the health of the mother or siblings in a multiple pregnancy.  While I am Catholic, I can easily base such a position on scientific or humanist grounds.  However, I do not believe that it would be wise to impose such a conservative (or arguably progressive) position on a secular society with widely divergent opinions on the matter.  If abortion is completely banned, abortion rates can even go higher -- see modern day Brazil as an example.  Outside of requiring monthly maternity tests (which believe it or not has been practiced by a country, I think it was Romania), how would you enforce such a ban?  Abortions can be easily performed by cheap pills which are used for other legal indications.  An early abortion in Brazil is asking someone for a pill which costs about a dollar (the same method in the U.S. costs about $400, because of highly suggested medical monitoring).  

That being said, "100% choice" is a really bad idea.  We don't have "100% choice" in many other less controversial areas of the law--such as, where can you cross the street-- so why should we have "100% choice" on abortion.  We have pedestrian crosswalks to: 1) protect the pedestrian, and 2) protect others.  Similarly, reasonable abortion restrictions protect both the mother, and another (the fetus/child), from the influences of others (a waiting period can help in this regard), doctors which perform abortions for profit taking motives (e.g., second opinion requirements), and from procedures which are dangerous to the mother's health (Dr. Tiller's MOLD technique).

Susan Kellom, the head of the Alexandria Democratic Committee, recently indicated in a advertisement for a August 10th event that Deeds was 100% pro-choice.  Deeds' blog comments indicate that he is 100% pro-choice, i.e., "up to a woman, her family, her doctor and her spiritual advisor".  (Note: interesting that the decision is also "up to" her family and spiritual advisor.)  I certainly do not see the moderate abortion position in Deeds that I suspected, e.g., based on his prior votes on partial birth abortions.  Instead, I see a candidate who would support extreme legislation such as the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA), legislation which could arguably wipe all reasonable legislation off the books, including legislation which could prevent elective third trimester abortions.  

Also, I believe you are greatly mistaken about the past with regards to late-term abortions.  It is my understanding that Dr. Tiller (and likely others) performed many third trimester abortions that were elective in nature, usually relying on "mental health of the mother" for a rationale. How else, in 1995, could Dr. Tiller "have some experience with late terminations: about 10,000 patients between 24 and 36 weeks and something like 800 fetal anomalies between 26 and 36 weeks in the past 5 years."  See

I somewhat agree with you today that the late-term abortion issue is a "[BS]" "wedge" issue -- however, if we adopt 100% pro-choice, we could easily go back to a time when it was not an issue.  If Dr. Tiller's own words were correct, he performed 9,200 abortions on viable children/fetuses lacking fetal anomalies in a five year period.  For each of these abortions, he would receive a sizable payment -- for example, before he was murdered (a reprehensible act) he would receive $5000 or more for a late-term procedure -- a late-term procedure which appeared to be more dangerous for the woman than even natural childbirth.

After spending 15 days in the NICU, and seeing children of 24 week gestation, I cannot in anyway support a return to the effectively "100% choice" policies of the 1990s.  After seeing the pain my wife went through in childbirth, I cannot support making perhaps uninformed mothers and profit-hungry "doctors" 100% responsible for making late-term abortion choices, when such "choice" often results in more pain than childbirth in a hospital.  There needs to be reasonable regulation.  So yes, I would have the General Assembly decide a mechanism by which an elective (not medically necessary) third-trimester, or even second-trimester abortion, would be permitted or conducted.    

In short, I think one is burying their head in the sand if they think that "100% choice" is a Progressive value, let alone a mainstream value. Most of "Progressive" Europe does not permit elective abortions beyond the first trimester, while a "100% choice" (or FOCA) regime practically allows all abortion until natural childbirth.  But, even in the U.S., most agree that, at least, a third trimester fetus/child should be protected in almost all circumstances, with rare exceptions, such as to save the life of the mother and/or other children in a multiple pregnancy.  

However, such a child has no protection under our current Constitution -- it is generally up to the states under Roe v. Wade to provide such protections.  This is what concerns me about Deeds' words on abortion to date.  Words matter.  He should use them to clarify his position on abortion.

Thanks again for your comments,


Discuss :: (4 Comments)

Who will oppose Jim Moran in the 2010 VA-08 primary?

by: RichardWard

Fri Jun 12, 2009 at 21:11:37 PM EDT

I see a primary challenge as inevitable:


Of course, based on the at least $175,000 Jim generously gave his brother Brian for the governor's race, maybe Jim is not planning on running for an additional term.  

But just in case:

1) Do you think that someone should run against Jim in the 2010 primary?

2) If so, who would you draft to do so?

There is a poll below if you would like to remain anonymous.    

Discuss :: (6 Comments)

Dr. Tiller may have performed some heroic acts, but is not a hero

by: RichardWard

Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 14:19:02 PM EDT

This diary is prompted by Rusty's piece describing a Vigil in DC for Dr. Tiller.  I understand his point of view, and its basis, but cannot support its underlying message -- a seemingly hard, unequivocal call to preserve essentially unrestricted abortion rights until birth.  Calling Dr. Tiller a hero ignores his arguably cowardly acts of performing third trimester abortions on the most weak in our society, viable fetuses.  Some of these abortions were carried out in very questionable situations, e.g., on the basis of "depression/anxiety" in the mother, or because of non-fatal defects such as Down's Syndrome, or operable deformities (e.g., heart valve defects).  And in my experience, maybe the some of the defects really did not exist.

In my view, there is no real distinction between a 34 week old fetus and a newborn child.  A natural or induced child birth is actually safer than Dr. Tiller's procedures at that point. A 34 week old fetus is viable, and may be able to breathe on his/her own after a natural birth.

Accordingly, if you cannot kill a newborn child with Down's Syndrome, you should not be able to kill one of 34 week gestation in-utero. If you cannot kill a newborn with a heart defect after birth, you cannot kill one of 34 week gestation in-utero.  And of course, if a post-partem depressed mother cannot kill her newborn child, then she should not be able to kill her viable 34 week old fetus.  

I am sensitive to this 34 week mark it was the gestational period relevant to a few of the heartbreaking Dr. Tiller stories I read.  It was also when my most recent child was prematurely born.  He was fully human, cried, and just needed a bit of breathing support for a few days.  I was feeding him, changing his diaper, burping him, taking his temperature, and rocking him to sleep within a week (although he just usually passed out because he hated to have his diaper changed, and had little energy because of his anemia).  However, if one medical group would have had their way, he may have been terminated during his second trimester because of his "strawberry shaped" head and my wife's complicated twin pregnancy.  Because we let our children "choose" whether they would live, at least one of the twins are alive today.      

Dr. Tiller was criticized because he performed controversial late term abortions that few others would perform.  Even most Democrats, including President Obama, do not approve of the most controversial of his practices, or would not if they knew all of the facts.  Nearly all Democrats and Republicans similarly condemn his murder, and should.

I think Dr. Tiller thought he was doing the right thing, and maybe even thought he was doing "God's work."  In some instances, maybe he was.  But the fact that he was one of a select few to provide highly controversial late term abortion services should be an indicator of what others generally think about those services.  

If the Democratic Party is to retain the millions of generally pro-life voters who voted for Obama in the last election, like myself, messages supporting abortion, especially late term abortion, should be softened.  Gallup now identifies most voters as pro-life, as opposed to pro-choice.  The vast majority of voters are opposed to partial birth abortions, and by extension, would likely oppose any other procedure which terminates the life of a viable fetus.  President Obama recognizes this, and seems to be steering us in a right direction of compromise.  

He may recognize that if the Dr. Tillers of this country no longer perform the most controversial procedures for profit, much of air gets sucked out of anti-abortion arguments. Would one really oppose partial birth abortion if it was the most humane method to save the life of a mother?  Would we bombarded with pictures of late-term fetuses if it were illegal to abort those fetuses unless the mother's health depended on it?  

A picture of an 8 week old embryo, or a 12 week old fetus, would not nearly be as effective to the anti-abortion cause.  To voters, if "If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck."  To those who have had the privilege of viewing an ultrasound, a second trimester fetus looks like a person, moves like a person, and responds to stimulus like a person. To most, it would be improper to terminate that life.  

To those viewing a sonogram of a 12 week old fetus, the argument for preservation of life becomes less compelling, but it is still strong.  The most powerful pro-life tool to date has been the 3D-Ultrasound, which shows the true humanity of even those 12 week old fetuses, let alone the second trimester ones.  As I have discussed earlier, I believe that this is a humanity that Democrats should strive to protect, lest they seriously damage their generally superior platform of protecting the most weak in our society. I think a 8-12 week abortion compromise is coming at some point, like it or not.  

I mourn Dr. Tiller's unfair, unjust, and untimely death.  I also pray for his friends and family.  I admire what I believe were his good intentions. But I cannot suppress a feeling that he is closer to Hitler than a hero.  

I realize that this feeling is controversial, and perhaps unproductive to arriving at compromise.  But there is a reason that Hitler's atrocities against mentally and physically disabled children are part of the Holocaust Museum. At the museum, you are instructed to "Remember What You Saw."  To many, if not most, atrocities against a 34 week old fetus, are on the same level, and arguably worse and less humane, than the atrocities against children depicted at the museum, or again, would be perceived so if all the facts of third trimester abortion were known.  The disabled children killed by Hitler were diagnosed as being a burden on society, and then killed.  The fetuses killed by Dr. Tiller never even had the chance to prove their worth.    

In short, Hitler, Dr. Tiller, and Dr. Tiller's murderer all likely had some good intentions.  That does not make them heroes.


Discuss :: (11 Comments)

We need more like Kathy involved in the Abortion discussion

by: RichardWard

Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 12:24:56 PM EDT

In reference to Kathy's recent diary posting, it was refreshing not to see so much vitriol from a pro-choice or pro-life position.  If there were more that discuss this very difficult issue as she does, maybe we could come up with solutions which would minimize abortions, yet improve the lives of unfortunate families who are faced with the situation discussed by Used2Bneutral.  

As a male, in the past I would not speak on this subject.  However, as a father of eight (more on this later), I feel as if I must present a counter-point.  This is my first post.

We were faced with the "dead fetus" scenario in 2007. At 12 weeks, one of our twin boys had a distended bladder, and the other had a "strawberry shaped" head.  The attitude of the sonographer was that there was little hope for survival, and we were counseled to at least terminate the "distended bladder" son, and to consider terminating both. At 18 weeks, it was all but assured that at least one child would die.

Having the "choice" to terminate one or more pregnancies was extremely painful.  Ultimately we chose to do nothing, outside of precautionary measures such as bedrest.  Both sons were born in January 2008.  While one son only lived about an hour, and I had to make the call to take him off of life support to end his suffering, we at least gave him a chance. There is also some peace that comes with natural death, as opposed to the hypoxic/chemical/rendering deaths that took place in Dr. Tiller's clinic. That is not to say that we have entirely healed from the ordeal.

After viewing sonograms of our eight children (two of which are alive today), and looking into the science of neonatology, I cannot help but believe that the fetus/child has some human rights.  My personal view is that humanity, and human rights, begin at conception, and do not end until natural death. While I do not feel as if anyone should be able to impose that Catholic-based view on others in this secular country, I do think there needs to be some reasonable consideration of the rights of the fetus/child at some time in the gestational cycle.  

Perhaps the criteria should be the same as that for ending life -- if there is a heart beat and active/viable brain function, then human rights must be considered in any decision to terminate life.  Of course, this still permits medically necessary late term abortions in tragic "dead/dying child" situations -- but these abortions can and should be performed in hospitals, not clinics like Dr. Tiller's.  By no means should a pregnancy be allowed to seriously threaten the life of a mother.  But there is a point where there is some responsibility for our society to prevent/minimize suffering in the unborn.  After seeing many premature children (our surviving child was in the NICU for 15 days), it is very evident that children in the third trimester can and do feel pain. Dr. Tiller faced such criticism because he caused pain with his techniques.  I watched my child struggle to breathe and ultimately die of hypoxia. I can't imagine the pain of a child who is gradually or suddenly ripped from their life support in-utero.

I have been a Democrat for about 4 years, gradually seeing the light after overcoming my Southwest Ohio roots. In suburbia, it is easy to  believe in small government.  After moving into the City, and learning about the law, I now realize how many things (and people) fall through the cracks when government is too small and does not regulate enough.

While I agree with the Party on most issues, I would like to see the party take a more reasonable line on the abortion debate which is consistent with their underlying principle of regulating to protect the poor, weak, and defenseless. Plus, in my view, science will not allow us to keep up the legal fiction that the fetus/child does not have rights.  

Ultimately, this issue should be handled by our legislatures, not at the business end of a gun (which I strongly condemn).

My opening suggestion is that a law and/or constitutional amendment be passed that establishes when human rights exist in a fetus, and qualifications on that right.  This could resolve the well-recognized hole in the Roe v. Wade decision, i.e., that it fails to consider whether the fetus/child has Constitutional rights.  Thirty-six years of vitriol and violence since the decision have gotten us nowhere.

Any suggestions?


Richard Ward
Alexandria, VA

Discuss :: (15 Comments)
Recent Comments

Blue Commonwealth is a community forum for the discussion of political issues of interest to Virginians.
The opinions expressed by users of this website do not necessarily reflect the views of Blue Commonwealth or its editors.
Powered by: SoapBlox