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Comments: Week of January 12, 2015

1. “The tragedy in Bed-Stuy highlighted the high-wire act that came to define de Blasio’s first year in City Hall,” wrote Chris Smith in his column on the critical relationship between Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYPD commissioner Bill Bratton (After the Killings,” December 29–­January 11, 2015). Some readers found it hard to square de Blasio’s support of demonstrators protesting the killing of black men by police officers with his support of the police officers themselves. “All of the mayor’s statements since Saturday”—the day two NYPD officers were killed in Brooklyn—“supporting the police have a very forced, pro forma ring to them,” wrote foereel. “He told the police that they were predators and that kids should be wary,” wrote lawtroneo. “He fanned the flames and his rhetoric will be his undoing. Right or wrong, those two deaths will be forever associated with de Blasio.” Others stepped up to defend the mayor: “Anyone who associates these deaths with de Blasio is too naïve to look at the facts,” wrote ­djstubbs, “and acknowledge the recklessness of a determined madman.” Commenter mollysgaga saw the events of the past year as signs “that police training needs drastic improvement. If cops were trained to persuade people by talking, [Eric] Garner would never have been put in a choke hold. If cops were trained to shoot to disable instead of kill, the 12-year-old [shot by police in Cleveland] may have lost a hand or foot instead of his life.”

2. “Even if co-workers aren’t supporting or inspiring or engaging you—even if they’re outright antagonizing you, in fact—they often serve a hidden function: They make you strive, make you expect more from yourself, make you realize more is possible professionally,” wrote Jennifer ­Senior in her piece on the benefits of a traditional office environment (To the Office, With Love,” December 29, 2014–January 11, 2015). New York commenter fannika thought the article spoke only to creative office environments. “Most office jobs are not creative hubs of collaboration where each employee from bottom to top gets to benefit from helping each other ‘forge an identity,’ ” fannika wrote. “There is a reason why the office has a lousy reputation. There is a reason why Office Space was so spot on and popular. Most people have to perform ­repetitive and meaningless tasks with the expectation of enthusiasm for the ­company’s ‘culture’ and ‘values,’ which are mostly vacuous statements enforced by mediocre middle management.” The article also prompted commenters to discuss the difficulties of self-employment. “All I remember about when my husband was self-employed was how hard it was to get companies to pay for the work,” wrote OutOfTime. “Those times when the work ebbs, the phone doesn’t ring, and I stare at my computer are rare but they do occur,” added rayward. Though some people, pointed out commenter RichardGrayson, are better suited to freelancing. “I’m not one of them,” he wrote, “but I’ve known some very talented and very smart people who seem physically or ­mentally unable to show up at an office at a certain time every day … Also, you may underestimate how many ‘office’ workers spend time working off-site or traveling. ­Employment is more varied than the paradigm you set up here.”

3. Mark Jacobson’s profile of the ­potential presidential candidate ­Senator Bernie Sanders (Bernie Sanders for President?,” December 29, 2014–­January 11, 2015) sparked a heated debate on Sanders’s presidential fitness. “To those who question Sanders’s viability as president,” wrote midwest88, “I ask them to come up with someone else who is willing to directly address the faults of the current system and counter with practical solutions that deviate from the country’s current bastardized democracy model that favors corporations over rank and file citizens.” Others took a more cynical ­approach to his entry in the race. “Clinton needs practice facing real live opponents and not scarecrows,” wrote maxwells­crossing. A few commenters thought he’d be better suited in the VP slot for another progressive stalwart: “Warren/Sanders 2016,” chirped NinNewYork.