- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 20, 2000

D.C. elector threw away votes of city residents

I am appalled by D.C. elector Barbara Lett Simmons' refusal to cast a vote in the Electoral College. All residents of the city should resent that their votes for president were thrown away in this manner.

Representation of the District in the Electoral College was won by considerable effort throughout the country and required an amendment (the 23rd) to the Constitution. If Mrs. Simmons wished to protest the lack of voting representation for the District (which I agree is an outrage) in Congress, she should have done so by withholding her own presidential vote, not by nullifying mine.

If Mrs. Simmons intended to ignore the demonstrated intent of the voters of this city by not carrying our vote to the Electoral College, she should have stated this before offering herself as an elector so someone who would have fulfilled this responsibility could have been chosen.

Whether the act was premeditated or the result of a last-minute whim, I believe she should be considered too irresponsible to hold other positions of trust in the D.C. Democratic Party or in this city in general.

HAYDEN M. WETZEL

Washington

Unfinished popular vote irrelevant to presidential election results

Scott E. Huch ("Electoral votes allow protest votes," Letters, Dec. 18) is onto something important when he says, "The 'popular vote' for president is meaningless under our Constitution." Not only is that the case, but it is significant to note that a national popular vote total is never actually obtained. Consider that millions of absentee ballots are never evaluated in some states if the number cast can make no difference in the statewide result.

In California, for example, Vice President Al Gore led George W. Bush by several million votes. Mr. Gore won the state, but more than 1 million absentee votes, were not counted. What if those votes broke, say, 700,000 for Mr. Bush and 300,000 for Mr. Gore? Mr. Bush would be declared the national "winner" of the popular vote.

California is not the only state with uncounted votes. It therefore is not accurate to claim that Mr. Gore "won" the national popular vote. We may never know who "won" because states are not required to assemble a final count, only to determine the winner in their state.

Perhaps California and other such states not Florida are where "media counters" need to get to work.

BOB FORD

Covington, Va.

Metro police finally cracking down on unruly eaters

Despite the clamor over the arrest of a 12-year-old for eating french fries on the Metro and the disapproval of the Metro board, I was pleased to read that at last the Metro Transit Police were doing their job ("Metro's board rips arrest of girl, 12," Dec. 15).

I ride the Metro buses and trains every day except Sunday, and I have never gotten on a bus or a train without finding a mess left by a previous passenger. Further, always at least one passenger is eating or drinking, with no sign of the Metro Transit Police. Bus drivers tell me they are not allowed to take any action, and this policy likely applies to train drivers as well.

If the weather is warm, without fail, at least one passenger is drinking a cup of soda or a milkshake. When the rider leaves, the cup is left on the seat. If it's a soda bottle, it will be found rolling around on the floor. Newspapers habitually are left on seats or the floor. I used to think the public transit riders in New York City were bad, but Washingtonians are the worst slobs I've ever seen.

As for the girl's being "carted off in handcuffs," it likely was necessary, considering the way most kids who ride the trains and buses behave.

To those transit police officers who acted on the 14th, I say "Job well done." I only wish there were more like them. It would make riding Washington's public transportation much more pleasant for everyone.

JASON GRANGER

Washington

Morning-after pill is deceptively-named abortifacient

For several years now, every time a news story appears about the morning-after pill, the public is fed the same false description of how it works.

The latest example was on Dec. 6, when the American Medical Association's House of Delegates endorsed making the drug available over the counter. "Taken within three days of intercourse," reported the Associated Press, "the pill prevents ovulation or, if that has already occurred, blocks implantation of a fertilized egg in the uterus."

That's Planned Parenthood propaganda, not scientific fact. It's also biological nonsense.

Fertilized eggs don't implant. Human embryos do. A fertilized egg or zygote is a single-cell stage of development that lasts about 24 hours. When cell division begins, scientists use the terms morula, blastocyst, etc., to describe further embryonic stages. About one week after conception in a normal pregnancy, the male or female embryo (not egg) implants on the nutrient lining of the uterus. If implantation is prevented, a human embryo (not an egg) dies. That's a chemical abortion.

Embryologists and gynecologists know this. Pharmacists know this. Why should their patients be kept in ignorance?

Pills that prevent ovulation are contraceptives. Pills that prevent embryos from implanting are abortifacients. If you think abortifacients ought to be available over the counter, call them by their proper name.

If killing unborn babies this way doesn't bother you, why try to hide the reality by wrapping it in false scientific terminology? We expect lies from Planned Parenthood, but it's about time the news media stopped printing them.

RICHARD O'CONNOR

Pearl City, Ill.

Pakistan's dubious 'olive branch'

The Dec. 17 editorial "Pakistan's olive branch" unfortunately distorts the facts about Jammu and Kashmir on several counts.

First, the editorial ignores the fact that it was Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee who announced the cease-fire in Jammu and Kashmir at the beginning of the month of Ramadan to create an atmosphere for dialogue. This goodwill gesture was welcomed by several groups in Jammu and Kashmir. All this, as well as Pakistan's earlier negative reaction, is on record.

The editorial decision exercised by The Washington Times in ignoring these facts is incomprehensible.

Second, it is incorrect to say the Indian government is not talking to the people of Jammu and Kashmir. The entire purpose of the initiative is to engender this dialogue, and the process is very much under way. This, too, is a matter of public record.

India has continued to maintain its cease-fire in Jammu and Kashmir despite several provocative killings of Indian security personnel and innocent civilians during the holy month of Ramadan by militant groups aided by Pakistan.

India wants to resume a dialogue. Readers of The Washington Times should recall Mr. Vajpayee's historic trip to Lahore, Pakistan, and the subsequent deception by Pakistan through its Kargil misadventure. In July, when a cease-fire was announced in Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan added new conditions to the cease-fire. Its insistence on tripartite talks is in the same vein.

India's record, manifested by our recent initiative, is evident to everyone; Pakistan's olive branch is the one whose genuineness needs to be tested.

NAVTEJ SARNA

Press and information counselor

Embassy of India

Washington

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