Over the last few months, thenation.com has made an effort to foster a robust and thoughtful comments section befitting the mighty intelligence of our readership. We’re pleased to report that the shoe ads are gone, the name-calling is at a minimum and astute and witty commentary is on the rise. Here are our favorite comments from the last week. Let us know what you think — in the comments!

Dwight Wall: Ari, I note you cite the best part of this speech, and I agree that it is further evidence of how OWS has changed the conversation. I also agree that he needs to go beyond the rhetoric — I felt that the policy statements were vague. For one, I think the idea that we are going to educate our way out of this mess, while important, does not get to the fundamental challenge — we need an economy that provides a living wage to both the skilled and unskilled. He noted the "race to the bottom" in environment, wages, and working conditions yet seemed to take our trade policies off the table. I can’t see how we reverse that race to the bottom without addressing unfair trade practices designed to accelerate that race.
In response to Ari Berman’s “In Osawatomie, Obama Embraces New Populist Moment.” December 6, 2011.

Mailman: Thank you Mr. Nichols! I’m a letter carrier with 14 years of service at the ol’ PO. The Institution has been well documented as a mean-spirited, dysfunctional place to work–so much so that I would give 2 weeks notice tomorrow if I had something better to go to. But I can’t. It is a stable middle-class income with a modest pension, good retirement, healthcare, life insurance, paid vacation and sick leave–all won through the COLLECTIVE BARGAINING agreements with UNIONS. Where else can I get that in this day and age? As the country goes, so goes the USPS I guess. I say give the institution that is the United States Postal Service (that is owned by the American people & controlled by Congress) back to the people. Make it a non-profit cooperative run by the employees with the protections of collectively bargained rights. Congress needs to eliminate the Postal Rates Commission, the Board of Governors, the Postmaster General and his cabinet of officials. They have all contributed to the bloated tedious layers of bureaucracy and implemented dysfunctional changes designed to sabotage the organization. I have seen it for the last 14 years. It is time to show them the door. The Congressman from Oregon is onto something. It is time for the American people to assert their constitutional rights and take back their country and its institutions. We do the work and pay the taxes. Isn’t it fair to have some say in our lives as a nation?
In response to John Nichols’  “The Postal Service Plots Its Own Demise.” December 6, 2011.

John: I agree with everything you point out, but the two largest organizations that do NOT want the Postal System to go away are UPS and FEDEX. I know that sounds odd but both are highly integrated with the USPS. Both companies use the postal system to get to areas of very low package destiny. Because of low density they use the service for what they call the "last mile." All of the people that have laughed at snail mail are going to be in for a bit of a shock when the delivery expenses for all those iMac home deliveries cost about 20-25% more. This has been the crony fascist capitalism that has been going on since Reagan: consolidate the industry and bankrupt whoever is left. USPS is the most recent example but it continues in tech, banking, oil, coal, etc, etc. Crony capitalism and the non-enforcement of the Sherman Act have cost a lot of jobs for certain!
In response to John Nichols’  “The Postal Service Plots Its Own Demise.” December 6, 2011.

PhilW: Who is for helping the country and the rest of the world? The Republican primary voter seems only interested in one thing — a litmus test for what they view as most conservative. It is a tired adage on the part of conservatives that liberals are not really good Americans. Governor/Ambassador Huntsman is a remarkable man with more civility in his little finger than in all of the Tea Party. While liberals can disagree with him on many issues, he is a person who will at least listen to other ideas and a Republican who has a track record of working well with others — unlike Mr. Gingrich.
In response to Ben Adler’s “Conservatives for Jon Huntsman?” December 6, 2011.

Newenglandah: When did "Socialist" become such a pejorative term? Do you like working eight-hour days, forty-hour weeks? Thank a Socialist. Do you like having paid vacation? Thank a Socialist. Both were first proposed by Socialist Eugene Debs and fought tooth and nail by the right wing of the day. What do the "Pledge of Allegiance," the song "America the Beautiful" and the song "This Land is Your Land" have in common? They are all cherished expressions of pride in the United States and all three were written by Socialists.
Though I see myself as a New Deal Liberal, I consider it a badge of honor when someone from the far-right calls me a "Socialist," and I am proud that my region elected Socialist Bernie Sanders to Congress and then to the Senate.
In response to John Nichols’ “How Obama’s Embrace Turned Teddy Roosevelt Into a Socialist.” December 7, 2011.

Eyesofbob: Economic fairness is a social issue. It is also a moral issue. It is also a "values" issue. Please don’t cede ground by using the language as defined by the ultra-rich and their minions.
In response to Katrina vanden Heuvel’s “Andrew Cuomo and the Spirit of Occupy.” December 9, 2011.