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Comments: Week of June 29, 2015

1. Honeybees are dying of stress, as David Wallace-Wells described in last week’s cover story (“The Blight of the Honeybee,” June 15–29). The feature left readers justifiably concerned. “Really interesting, scary read on how the death of bees are threatening our food systems,” tweeted Megan Anderle. “I am now worried about bees going extinct,” agreed @afzalALMIGHTY. Twitter user Michael DeAloia thought the piece brought to light an odd juxtaposition. “We live in the Age of Abundance and the Age of Extinction,” he tweeted. “How can this be? Jarring.” Other readers focused on the connection between bee colony collapse and pesticides: “The only mystery about honeybee deaths is who and how much the pesticide industry is paying to keep it a mystery,” tweeted the novelist Caleb Crain. Reader Noah G. Shannon agreed that the piece contained multitudes: “The NYMag story on bees is a great nesting doll,” he wrote. “Apocalyptic fervor, livestock anxiety, misleading data, ag conspiracy …” And many readers just expressed a newfound sense of camaraderie with the insects. “Bees are worrying themselves to death?” asked Eric Christensen. “I’ve found my spirit animal.” “Bees,” wrote Casey Johnston, “they’re just like us.”

2. During last year’s Mississippi primary race between Senate Republican Thad Cochran and his tea-party challenger Chris McDaniel, four McDaniel supporters were arrested for their alleged involvement in a conspiracy to take photos of Cochran’s wife, who was suffering from dementia and residing in a nursing home, as part of an effort to expose Cochran’s rumored affair with his assistant. One of the arrested, a lawyer named Mark ­Mayfield, committed suicide soon after. Marin Cogan’s story about the race and its aftermath (“Ugly,” June 15–29) had readers debating the boundaries of ethical campaigning. “The intensity of the arrests seemed absurd,” wrote commenter Pippenpippen. “But these people lost touch with reality and with humanity. What were they thinking? How could they even consider this sort of intrusion into a sick old lady’s life — making sport of her illness that way. Just to ‘get’ a political opponent? … [Mayfield] should not have been ruined. But he should never have even considered this either. This just goes to show how this sort of wild political hostility overtakes basic humanity.” Commenter Helzapoppn agreed: “Why anyone felt they needed an image of Rose Cochran as evidence of adultery conducted by two people in their mid-70s, or how they expected to translate that into votes for Chris ­McDaniel remains a head-scratcher. Guess this is what happens when the appearance of morality — upholding a reputation as a ‘Christian’ champion of ‘traditional family values’ — transcends real issues that should matter to Mississippians.” Author Lawrence Serewicz saw a larger message in the saga: “Politics is a brutal business,” he tweeted. “We have escaped political assassinations, but politics still kills people.”

3. Pat Jordan’s profile of disgraced referee and successful sports gambler Tim Donaghy raised the hackles of both sports fans and professional gamblers (“Does This Ex-Con Know the NBA Better Than LeBron?,” June 15–29). “We learned two things from the New York profile,” wrote Complex Sports’ Chris Yuscavage. “One: Donaghy seems to be making a lot of money these days thanks to his close ties to gambling (just don’t tell the IRS … or his ex-wife), and two, Donaghy may or may not be a pathological liar who doesn’t tell the truth about anything.” Jon Campbell of the betting site Covers took particular offense at the portrayal of sports ­gamblers in the story. “Jordan says that because Donaghy is successful ‘60 percent of the time’ ... and that ‘means that in the world of sports gambling, the name Tim Donaghy is gold. In the real world, that name is mud.’ Wtf? I don’t know anyone in the sports betting world who’d say Donaghy is the ‘golden boy’ of our industry, as the article’s headline suggests,” Campbell wrote. “If anything, the sports betting world is less forgiving of what Donaghy did as an NBA ref than those in the so-called real world. Sports bettors want a fair shake on the game more than anyone because their hard-earned money is on the line, not just fan pride that tends to fade with time. The statement makes it sound like sports bettors are a bunch of unshaven dudes who don leather jackets in the summertime and are missing two fingers and walk with a limp. It’s such an archaic stereotype … Bettors know the sports gambling world and the ‘real world’ are one and the same.” The staff of was more sympathetic of Donaghy. “Donaghy does sound like a money-hungry sociopath bent on wealth accumulation,” wrote the site’s editors. “But the premise of his very successful handicapping service does prove he at least knows something about the NBA game — and how referees are influencing the results, whether they’re involved on the gambling side or not.” “This guy’s got some terrific insights about how the NBA wants refs to call games,” agreed commenter Cash23. “That said, no way would I ever trust that man with anything.”