Comments: Week of October 28, 2019

1 For New York’s latest cover story, Gabriel Debenedetti, Jonathan Chait, Olivia Nuzzi, and Madison Malone Kircher examined the state of the impeachment inquiry (The World After the Whistle-blower,” October 14–27). The giant-peach cover caught many eyes: “Such an epic cover,” ameliadimz wrote on Instagram. “Finally, indeed!” added alisha39. “Thing is, it won’t happen,” prisonescapee cautioned. Ad Age’s Ann-Christine Diaz wrote, “A symbol that many of us associate with a childhood literary treasure now takes a gruesome turn.” Of Chait’s proposed articles of impeachment, Jack D. Weiss wrote, “This article should be sent to Nancy Pelosi and all members of the Senate and House. All they have to do is read, copy and paste.” Many readers responded to Nuzzi’s dispatch on how Republicans are viewing the proceedings with some level of exhaustion: “This is utterly depressing,” tweeted @janzentina. “This is Trump’s genius: civic paralysis via anesthesia,” added the New York Times’ Jesse Wegman. Others commented on developments after the magazine was published: Andrew Hoffer wrote, “[Trump] has managed to outdo himself since by committing an even worse offense — crimes against humanity. By abandoning the Kurds and our own military in the field, not to mention destroying a state of balance that has for five years countered the chaos endemic to the region, he shouldn’t just be facing a trial in the Senate. He should be sitting in the Hague.”

2 In “One Night at Mount Sinai” (October 14–27), Lisa Miller told the story of Aja Newman, who was sexually assaulted at the hospital by a “rock star” emergency-room physician. Jodi Kantor, the New York Times reporter who helped expose Harvey Weinstein’s predation, wrote, “This story … goes in my personal canon of the very best #metoo writing. Stay until the end.” Vice’s Anna Merlan tweeted, “I wrote about this when the victims first came forward and was treated to a barrage of defensive emails from the doctor’s friends about how he would never, how dare I, how dare these women, etc.” Esther Choo, an emergency-medicine physician and professor, wrote: “There is a narrative out there about the fallen superstar. Lisa Miller resisted it. Centering this story on Aja means we cannot avoid the ‘grotesque’ horribleness of what happened and the many ways we ensure she is powerless within the walls of healthcare.” In an open letter to Aja Newman, TIME’S UP Healthcare wrote, “Your story has already galvanized critical conversations within our community. All of health care must confront, head-on, the factors that allowed you to be assaulted and permitted disbelief thereafter … We cannot thank you enough for your unflinching courage. We have to do better, and we promise to try.” Marissa Hoechstetter, who has spoken out about being sexually assaulted by her OB/GYN and worked with New York assemblywoman Aravella Simotas to introduce bills to protect patients, commented, “Medicine is ripe for abuse, and a study on sexual misconduct by doctors estimated that fewer than 1 in 10 victims report. We cannot expect what is essentially a self-regulating industry to improve on its own. What is their incentive if we keep writing off stories like mine or Aja’s as aberrations?”

3 Bliss Broyard documented the lives of several people in Stockton, California, the first U.S. city to test run universal basic income (“What Would You Do With an Extra $500 a Month?,” October 14–27). The author Dani Shapiro wrote, “The talk about UBI during the debates got me curious how it actually impacts people’s lives, so it was interesting to read these five case studies of people who are getting $500 a month in Stockton.” The writer and filmmaker Victoria Bouloubasis called the stories a “thorough and very human look into what happens when universal basic income is put into practice.” Stockton mayor Michael D. Tubbs wrote to us, “Before his death, Dr. King advocated for a guaranteed income. His dream is now becoming a reality in my hometown of Stockton. So far, we’ve found that recipients are spending the $500 just like you and I would: on food, utilities, and rent. I hope you see like I do that the best investments government can make are in our people.” Matt Zwolinski, the director of the Center for Ethics, Economics, and Public Policy at the University of San Diego, is unconvinced by the study: “I am a vocal supporter of a basic income guarantee. But I am skeptical that we can learn much of value about how a large-scale basic income would work from the Stockton experiment. A large body of data already supports the conclusion that recipients of cash transfers generally do not spend the money on ‘vice’ goods, but because 40% of the money in Stockton is received in cash, we have nothing more reliable than self-reports to determine how recipients spend it. Moreover, because the experiment is only 18 months long, it does not tell us much about how recipients might change their behavior in response to permanent transfers, for instance by greatly reducing their participation in the labor market. The Stockton experiment is good storytelling, but poor social science.”

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*This article appears in the October 28, 2019, issue of New York Magazine. Subscribe Now!

Comments: Week of October 28, 2019