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Comments: Week of April 16, 2018

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1. With essays by Jonathan Chait and David Cay Johnston and an exhaustive calendar of “501 Days in Swampland,” New York catalogued the boundless greed and graft that have become the hallmarks of the Trump administration (“The Stench of It,” April 2–15). “For Trump,” dsimon commented, “everything is transactional, so he believes that everything is transactional for everyone else. He can’t seem to imagine anyone acting out of a sense of public service or the general good.” Larry Slonim responded, “Lawsuits need to be filed and pressed in the federal district and appellate courts by state attorneys general. It’s so far proven to be the only effective avenue left to the public.” Steve Spaulding tweeted, “It’s clear that norms discouraging abuses of power and conflicts of interests are simply not enough. We need new anti-corruption laws to stamp out this kind of behavior.” Among the entries in the calendar were former event planner Lynne Patton’s role at the Department of Housing and Urban Development and EPA administrator Scott Pruitt’s many ethics controversies. A hud spokesperson clarified that Patton does not have direct authority over subsidies to a housing complex in which Trump owns a stake, and added that Patton has recused herself from any involvement in that development. Soon after publication, the New York Times reported that White House chief of staff John Kelly had ] encouraged President Trump to fire Pruitt. Geri Spanek lauded New York for its cover: “Kudos to the artist for capturing his true character with such pinpoint accuracy.” But for some readers, the image] depicting the president with a porcine appendage caused far more] outrage than the myriad abuses of power detailed inside. Peggy Grandy wrote, “Just wanted you to know I threw your magazine in the garbage when I saw the cover. If you can’t respect the person, at least respect the office he represents.” Frank Wareham added, “I have no love for Donald Trump, and am embarrassed by his actions often. Your cover, though, was vile. I am appalled that you would characterize a sitting president in that way.” Others took issue with the image for very different reasons: Mary Donaghy wrote, “Pigs are peaceful, intelligent, loving, empathetic, harmless.&rdquo


2. When a teenager became an informant to save himself from a life in MS-13, he unwittingly gave ice all the evidence it needed to begin deportation proceedings against him, Hannah Dreier reported for New York in collaboration with ProPublica (“The Betrayal of Triste,” April 2–15). Scott Hechinger at Brooklyn Defender Services responded, “This is ludicrous on so many levels, but also transparently exposes how Trump’s claimed concern about MS-13 & ‘violent criminal aliens’ is no more than a front for his xenophobic impulses.” And immigration lawyer Matthew Kolken tweeted, “This sets a very bad precedent and merely serves to dissuade immigrant communities from assisting law enforcement.” While Henry faces almost certain death if he’s deported to El Salvador, for now, at least, he’s been given a reprieve. After the story was published, the judge declined to issue a ruling in Henry’s hearing. Instead, he gave the teen’s lawyer a list of evidence and testimony he wants to see before deciding the case next month, suggesting that he would be open to an asylum claim.

3. “The American dream of the open road is increasingly being revealed as a dead end,” Christopher Bonanos wrote in his reflection on a Park Slope car crash that killed two young children (“A Crash, Not an Accident,” April 2–15). Janette Sadik-Khan, former NYC transportation commissioner, responded: “The sickening deaths of two children in Park Slope, caused by a woman with a record of dangerous driving, is as painful as the fact that drivers who kill rarely face any serious legal consequences. New York traffic deaths have plunged over the last decade not because we are more cautious drivers, but because street design has been increasingly based upon the assumption that we are not. Pedestrian- and bike-friendly islands, wider sidewalks, bollards, and lanes force drivers to slow down — and provide physical protection against drivers who don’t. Also plunging is the public’s tolerance of traffic deaths until we reach zero. Until then, we must continue to work through the pain to prevent the needless tragedies occurring daily not just in mediagenic Park Slope, but in every neighborhood.”


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