Haunting images

Now that former President George W. Bush has taken up painting, here is a subject idea for him: portraits of every U.S. service man and woman killed or wounded in Iraq because our clueless leader wanted to play soldier ("Giving W an A for effort," April 20). That's thousands of portraits, so Bush should get started right away.

Wade Petrilak, Warminster

Walking treasure

The late Inquirer art critic Edward J. Sozanski was himself a work of art, so immersed in the beauty and passion of art ("Sharp eye, considered opinions," April 20). He was the knight who charged into the thick of what is good art, not afraid of controversy when criticizing the Barnes Foundation move. By critiquing every form of art, Sozanski brought attention to how we are enriched by the art that surrounds us. With a wise and discerning eye, he articulated in the highest journalistic manner art's importance.

Philip Lustig, Downingtown, plustig4@verizon.net

Gaseous comment

Nowhere does UIL Holdings Corp. chief James P. Torgerson make any commitment regarding consumer rates for natural gas or offer any comparison to our Philadephia Gas Works services ("UIL says hello to Phila.," April 20). It seems that most acquisitions result in the consumer being screwed. I suspect that this will be the case again, so I hope the city's sale of the gas works doesn't go through.

Claire Donohue, Philadelphia

Winter aftermath

During the last snowstorm, I blew out two tires in a pothole on Lancaster Avenue in Paoli to the tune of $350. Except for a few minor repairs, the state Department of Transportation has neglected a road on which drivers need to constantly swerve to avoid the next gaping hole. I know that they will not pay for my new tires, but PennDot leaders should be called to task for their abysmal post-winter performance.

Edward C. Auble, West Chester, edauble@aol.com

Way out West

It's amusing that George Parry believes the U.S. House could be the nonpartisan voice of reason after the numerous, costly, political witch hunts since Republicans gained a majority (" 'High Noon' over turtles," April 21). The federal Bureau of Land Management confrontation in Nevada has nothing to do with the desert tortoise, and this is not the 1870s. If rancher Cliven Bundy paid his grazing fees, his cattle would be free to roam. Instead, he has been breaking the law, and federal employees were charged with upholding a court order. Thank goodness for the wise action by the BLM to avert a potential disaster brought on by a lot of ill-advised people with guns. My fear is that this will only encourage more irresponsible militia-type behavior.

Bill Maginnis, North Wales

Suffer the children

Perhaps this month was chosen to highlight child sexual assault because of T.S. Eliot's declaration in "The Waste Land" that "April is the cruelest month." Sadly, for the one in four girls and one in six boys who will be sexually abused before turning 18, the poet's sense of hopelessness seems inescapable. Most sexual abusers know the child they abuse, about one-third are related, and more children suffer sexual abuse than is ever reported. Why are these shocking realities - what Eliot might call a "heap of broken images" - not seen, understood, and addressed? As one who has worked with adults abused as children who are left unable to respond to caring sexual love, I believe there are two main reasons: The topic is so upsetting and horrific that people understandably want to withdraw from it, and sexual abuse is so rampant that those who have been abused find it easier to live in denial. Let's work together to offer hope and safety to our suffering, terrifed children. Awareness is a first, essential step.

SaraKay Smullens, Philadelphia