Carter's DeedJimmy Carter, often derided in the...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Carter's Deed

Jimmy Carter, often derided in the past and recently criticized The Sun and others for meddling in foreign policy, has given President Clinton an opening to maneuver out of the dangerous and growing gridlock with the North Korean regime, and at the same time achieve the U.S. objective of de-nuclearizing North Korea.

Mr. Clinton had become increasingly boxed-in with regard to his options vis-a-vis North Korea. The choices had been narrowed to two: sanctions, dangerous and unworkable as China and Japan will not support them; and military force, which could precipitate the very situation it purports to prevent.

Mr. Carter, a true statesman and expert negotiator, whose position gives him the flexibility the Clinton administration lacks, has allowed the adversaries to save face, offering North Korea the diplomatic recognition it desires, and giving Mr. Clinton the chance to capitalize on this opportunity for a negotiated settlement and at least the perception of international statesmanship.

Critics charge that North Korea may later drop out of the talks or renege on an agreement. While this is arguable, it is conjecture. To continue the hard-line posturing while failing to explore alternatives when they are presented would be unconscionable.

North Korea is hardly the only nation which might make "irrational" use of nuclear weapons and is highly unlikely to do so. The real threat is here and now, a particularly nasty war involving not only the United States and North Korea, but likely South Korea and possibly Japan and China as well.

For now, Jimmy Carter has defused a potentially catastrophic HTC situation and bought Bill Clinton some time to deal with this formidable adversary.

R. E. Lee Lears

Annapolis

Fathers

It was enjoyable to see Sara Engram place men in a somewhat favorable light (column, June 19), even as a token gesture on behalf of Father's Day. But please, can't we avoid all the nurturing pap which she uses in her "studies show" column?

In the past, fathers provided offspring, mainly the males, with instruction on shooting, hunting, driving, sex, swearing etc., while mothers did all that stuff about nurturing.

Today it is different. Children are not supposed to be instructed in such barbaric behavior as hunting etc., so males have largely lost their main function except as whipping boys to exonerate single-mothers who do not discipline children.

We all know that mothers are bread-winners, more educated, and some even have senses of humor. We can see that mothers are gradually replacing fathers in all the important categories.

Mothers dress like males, drive like males, cuss like males and apparently can drink them under the table as well. The only thing they still retain is their phony techniques in dress and makeup used to attract a man, which is still the uppermost aim of the female psyche.

But it won't be long before we will have baby supermarkets where women can select children with all the correct genes. No husband will be needed. And sexual activity will retain its proper place as a recreational pastime.

I guess Ms. Engram felt obliged to acknowledge males, even though their place in society continues to diminish. To go a step further than Mike Littwin (column, June 17), Father's Day will soon be surpassed by Arbor Day in the hearts and minds of nurturing Americans.

You'd think after a couple thousand years of raising kids within the family that we would have gotten on the right track by now.

I guess we still need all these social scientists to explain the proper relationships within what we loosely define as a family.

God help us.

R. D. Bush

Columbia

Ticket Scalpers

Ticket scalping is not a time-honored tradition, as its advocates would have you believe, but a nuisance to the fans, ball club and city.

While scalping is the result of the free market system, it results in honest people being unfairly taken advantage of. Scalpers make a killing on good seats for those games which are in hot demand, such as opening day or the All-Star game.

To increase profits, scalpers buy as many tickets as they can for those hot seats. The average fan is held hostage to scalpers' ransom on game day.

Scalping is an oddity to the sports world. Imagine being greeted by a confrontational hustler trying to pawn off two balcony seats to the opening of the Baltimore Symphony at Meyerhoff Hall?

What about standing outside the Lyric chanting, "Need two! Need two!" And when was the last time you felt comfortable selling your extra ticket to "Jurassic Park" on opening night?

Think about the absurdity of scalping your plane tickets at Baltimore-Washington International Airport on Thanksgiving. "Yeah, I know $3,000 is a bit high. But today is the day before Thanksgiving, and these two tickets are on the last flight to leave for Miami before the airport closes down for this blizzard!"

What Peter Angelos, the Orioles and the Baltimore City Council have proposed is a reasonable, fair and workable solution to ticket scalping. The proposed law puts teeth into the existing ban against ticket scalping in Baltimore.

What's more, the Orioles have proposed a ticket buy-back plan. If you have extra tickets on game day, the club will sell these returned tickets at face value. Everybody wins.

It is true that the law won't put an end to scalping. But at least fans won't have to put up with those annoying scalpers as we enter the park.

Tony Girandola

Baltimore

Why Abortions Drop

In reporting the Alan Guttmacher Institute's findings that the "number of abortions performed in the United States fell in 1992 to the lowest level since 1979," The Sun (June 16) cited the reasons advanced by the Guttmacher researchers.

They ranged from "a greater acceptance of unwed motherhood" and greater use of contraception, to the "national campaign of anti-choice terror and violence" which may have caused women to "feel intimidated to use abortion services for fear of public reprisals."

I submit that the real reason for the small decline (4 percent) in yearly abortions -- from 1.6 million yearly to "just" 1.53 million -- is far simpler and less sinister.

From 1980 to 1992, the female population aged 15-24 declined by more than 15 percent.

That age bracket, according to the Guttmacher Institute's own statistics, accounts for two-thirds of all U.S. abortions yearly.

Because of the "birth dearth" years from 1968-1977, the female population aged 15-24 was more than 3 million less in 1992 than in 1980.

Applying the age-specific abortion rates to that age bracket, one readily calculates that yearly abortions in 1992 should have declined by more than 150,000 from the 1980 level due to the lesser number of potential aborters aged 15-24.

Similarly, the decline in the abortion rate -- from 1980's 29 abortions per 1,000 women of reproductive age (15-44) to 1992's 26 abortions per 1,000 -- is easily explained by reference to the underlying population statistics.

Whereas the 15-24 age bracket declined from 1980 to 1992, the cohort aged 35-44 increased by more than 50 percent, or some 6.75 million women during that time interval.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, women aged 35-44 account for just 6 percent of U.S. abortions yearly.

With a decline in the numbers of women most likely to abort, and an even larger increase in the numbers of women least likely to abort, there is little mystery as to why the U.S. abortion rate has recently declined.

Nonetheless, despite available evidence explaining the small decline in U.S. abortions, the Guttmacher Institute and its Planned Parenthood parent, as well as the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League, would rather propagandize and hype the situation, even stooping to blaming pro-life demonstrations.

James A. Miller

Gaithersburg

The writer is director of research for the Population Research Institute, an arm of Human Life International.

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