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Comments: Week of June 28, 2010


1. Steve Fishman’s account of Bernie Madoff’s life behind bars at the medium-security prison in Butner, North Carolina (“Bernie Madoff, Free at Last,”June 14–21), was, according to The Wall Street Journal’s Law Blog, “the one magazine article the New York money world is going to be talking about this week.” “A fascinating picture,” agreed John Hudson at the Atlantic Wire. “Well worth reading.” Newsweek was inspired to find out how Madoff’s victims reacted to the article, interviewing one woman who said, “I can’t imagine what kind of a person he really was anyway, how he could have lived that double life for so long.” Most readers were unforgiving of Madoff and appalled by his continual and conspicuous lack of conscience. “For anyone who thought New Yorkers’ ire for Bernie would fade, this profile, despite its humanizing moments, will fail to elicit sympathy,” wrote Joe Coscarelli at Village Voice blog Runnin’ Scared.Public opinion will be the same as it’s been for most, only now, in addition to crimes that are unforgivable, there are words that are unforgettable.” “A fairly unattractive portrait of Mr. Madoff,” the New York TimesDealbook blog concluded. “Seemingly remorseless for his actions and bitter at those he defrauded.” “What did anyone expect? That he’d be understanding about his life sentence?” asked blogger Jeralyn at Talk Left. Others were intrigued by Madoff’s reading choices. Noted Mark Byrne at blog Galleycat: “We don’t know what it feels like to be arrested for a billion-dollar Ponzi scheme, but any Grisham book, where the bad guys always get toppled by the hero, seems like an oddly masochistic choice.”

2. Jennifer Gonnerman’s article detailing the struggles of full-time nannies to win greater workplace rights (“The Nanny Uprising,” June 14–21) elicited sympathetic comments on “Though there are obvious reasons that nannies deserve that this bill pass, it is appalling that there are so many families who treat their nannies with such little respect,” wrote in reader Amy Gittelman. “Our nanny started with us when my son was 15 days old. The only reason I let her go is that my son was going to be in school. She was and is truly wonderful and is welcome in my home at any time.” Not that everyone views the proposals in question as a good idea. “Although these demands [in the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights] are ideal and fair, they would make it impossible for many families to stay in NYC, where most of the parent’s paycheck goes toward the nanny’s salary! The result would be an exodus of families from New York City and less jobs for nannies,” argued one commenter. Lisa Belkin at the TimesMotherlode blog used the article to spark a series of posts and discussion of the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights that went on throughout the week with her commenters.

3. Some corrections to our “Best Doctors” issue (June 14–21): In the index of hospitals for the physicians on the “Best Doctors” list on page 105, Jamaica Hospital Medical Center was left off. Dr. Steven Inglis, a Jamaica physician, is cited under Maternal and Fetal Medicine. In “My Toughest Case: Treating a Contract Killer,” Alice Medalia is identified as a psychiatrist; she’s a psychologist. Finally, there has been some confusion over how the doctors featured in the “My Toughest Case” profiles are chosen. Although Castle Connolly is responsible for the “Best Doctors” list itself, New York Magazine chooses which doctors get feature treatment.

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