ISSUE | KANE MUTINY

Party's voice can make a difference

I agree with Congressman Robert Brady's criticism of state Attorney General Kathleen Kane for her handling of the bribery probe of state lawmakers from Philadelphia ("Brady calls Kane 'asleep at the switch,' " Dec. 18). There is something particularly unsavory about elected officials being recorded receiving envelopes stuffed with cash and other gifts - officials who then claim they thought they were simply birthday gifts or that they have no recollection.

Those who hold public office also hold a public trust. While those accused individuals are innocent until proven guilty, as elected officials, they forfeited that public trust.

When these revelations first came to light, Brady, in his role as city Democratic chairman, should have immediately withdrawn all party support for these representatives and found candidates more deserving of the public's trust. Instead, we heard nothing. Could it be that Brady also fell asleep at the switch?

|Joe Markham, Abington, wanaca@comcast.net

ISSUE | THINKERS

Summon the muse, stimulate the mind

In my own humble way, I identified with certain aspects of Albert Einstein's personality as outlined in Paul Halpern's recent commentary ("Einstein was not the tweeting sort," Dec. 7). Although I've come very close to solving some of the most basic mathematical equations in college (or high school) - if not calculus - as a fellow violinist, I have a creative side that exhibits itself in my dozen or so original songs, and another dozen or so fiddle tunes that I've composed as a traditional Irish music entertainer.

Without my hours of solitude before and/or after gigs (and interludes with friends and family), I simply wouldn't have the time or the inclination to follow my muse, and, like Einstein, I almost resent the buzzing of my (necessary) cellphone . . . as just happened while writing this letter.

Einstein was evidently efficient as a patent clerk, which gave him time to think. And one of my favorite singer-songwriters, John Prine, was an equally efficient letter carrier - a pursuit that enabled him to write songs during solitary rounds on his route. Perhaps more of us should forgo the technological toys of modern society and attempt to tap into our creativity.

|Cletus McBride, Bensalem, cletus916@aol.com

ISSUE | UNIONS

Wolf ethics cause

Gov.-elect Tom Wolf should build on ethics proposals he's already made by putting an end to one of the most unethical arrangements harming Pennsylvania's workers and taxpayers: unions' automatic deduction of money to be used for political purposes from state workers' pay.

|Tom Bako, senior officer, Commonwealth Foundation, King of Prussia

ISSUE | CUBA-U.S. RELATIONS

Taking another tack makes sense

For 50 years, the United States has pursued the same policy with our Cuban neighbors to the south, but nothing has changed ("Cuba's ripe for change," Dec. 21). Perhaps it is time to change that policy. Kudos to President Obama for trying to look at things in a new light.

|Joyce Weiss, Wynnewood

Missed opportunity for freedom reforms

As oil prices plummet, Russia and Venezuela, erstwhile underwriters of the Cuban dictatorship, can no longer afford to subsidize that particular brand of tyranny ("A new day for Cuba relations," Dec. 18). It would have been the perfect time to forcefully demand - as part of a grand bargain - that the Cuban people have freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, freedom to form political parties, and free elections - not to mention freedom for the thousands of political prisoners now held in the Castro brothers' jails.

But what did we get for the Cuban people for reestablishing diplomatic relations? Zilch, nada, bubkes.

|Mike Davis, Wynnewood

Win this one for the Gipper

Stodgy politicians who cling to old grudges and still seek to divide nations have had their day. The world is moving into the 21st century. To U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) and his intolerant colleagues, America should rephrase the words of the Gipper: Mr. Rubio, tear down that wall.

|K.B. Kofoed, Drexel Hill

ISSUE | STUDENTS AT RISK

Deadly habit of heartless drivers in a rush

With the tragic death of a child killed because, police say, a driver ignored the flashing lights and extended stop arm on a school bus, it raises the question of how anyone could miss the flashing lights and the extended sign ("Girl, 16, killed as SUV passes Bucks school bus," Dec. 18).

On television, there have been videos broadcast of drivers going up on sidewalks to get around a stopped school bus. Recently, while I was stopped for a school bus, the drivers behind me honked their horns.

Is any appointment so important that it's worth risking injuring or even killing a child?

|Dave Savage, Collingswood

Life-altering mistakes on the road

The comment by Bensalem's public-safety director, Fred Harran, that the fatal bus accident involved "two sets of lives" and that the driver whose car struck the teen is "not going to get that out of his head," seemed misplaced ("Girl, 16, killed as SUV passes Bucks school bus," Dec. 18). Because there are no mulligans and no do-overs for victims, my thoughts are with the victim, Minete Zeka, and her family and friends.

|Mark Arnold, Ambler

ISSUE | OFFICERS' DEATHS

Lone shooter solely to blame

The murder of two New York City police officers was reprehensible, but efforts by some to blame the murders on nonviolent protests of police actions are without merit ("Tensions rise after officers slain," Dec. 22). The protesters had every right to highlight apparent bias in law enforcement and the justice system.

There is always a possibility that people with nefarious motives will misinterpret what is being said. Blame lies solely with the individual who committed this heinous act.

|Bill Fanshel, Bryn Mawr, wfanshel@hotmail.com

ISSUE | HOLLYWOOD

Trouble started with the script meeting

The trailer for The Interview convinced me not only that it was a film in bad taste, but also that it was proof of an American arrogance that has grown increasingly distressing ("Northern exposure," Dec. 19). In discussions about Sony withdrawing the movie, I haven't heard anyone question the thinking behind the film itself. How would we react if a film were made by another country depicting one of our presidents as the target?

|Marie Conn, Hatboro, mconn56@yahoo.com