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I can assure you that those of us from the hinterlands (I am originally from Ohio) are very happy that another Ivy League--educated Justice, this time from New York, is going to the Supreme Court. But seriously: the idea that the high court represents this great, broad, diverse country is ludicrous.

Ellen Cummings, NORWALK, CONN.

Specter's Backfire

Re Joe Klein's column "Opportunism Costs" [May 24]: In his ads, Senator Arlen Specter told the people to elect him "because there's much more work to be done." One of the reasons there is much more work to be done is the expensive Big Government policies, featuring mammoth debt, that Specter wholeheartedly adopted when he felt the need to ingratiate himself with his new Democratic Party. Thank heavens his chicanery did not work.

Oren Spiegler, UPPER ST. CLAIR, PA.

That's No Happy Meal!

My heart dropped into my stomach when I read "Cancer, Cancer Everywhere" [May 24]. As a parent, I am bewildered about what I am supposed to do with this information. I am also angry that it is left on my shoulders. Why is food that is harmful, even deadly, to children permitted in our schools? Why is plastic-wrapped, sugary processed food even allowed to be marketed to children with cute cartoon characters and misleadingly healthy-sounding labels like "low fat"? We as parents try our best to navigate confusing labels, scary reports like this one and our children's tastes. However, the system is rigged against us. We need transparency in labeling, as well as education about what is healthy and what is really in the food we are giving our children.

Nicole Betancourt, NEW YORK CITY

Attacking Bullying in School

Thank you for highlighting, in "Kindness 101," an antibullying program that deserves much praise for efforts to teach children about empathy and kindness [May 24]. My third-grader was fortunate in being able to participate in Roots of Empathy (ROE) this year, and the lessons learned from Baby Ryan created some wonderful discussions outside the classroom. Teaching and encouraging children to express how they feel through language is an essential tool if we are to raise socially and emotionally competent children. Too bad there isn't an adult version available for the governor of Arizona.

Glynnis Vaughan, SEATTLE

We take very seriously our responsibility to teach children reading, writing and math but often skip over the importance of teaching them how to engage socially and empathize with others. ROE is an excellent primer, and all of our nation's schools could benefit from it. But remember: while empathy and social skills may be taught in the classroom, parents reinforce the same lessons at home. There is no more important homework.

Harold S. Koplewicz, NEW YORK CITY

Language, Language!

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