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!

cka2nd: "Thank you for another interesting column on the death penalty, Mr. Mitchell.
‘…suggesting that prison staffers be allowed to refuse to take part in the death process.’
It will be interesting to see who on the religious right, which has been pushing for the "Right of Conscience" for anti-contraception and anti-abortion pharmacists and medical personnel, supports this right of refusal or not. I actually think the Catholic Church could and will get on board, but I wouldn’t hold my breath for too many of the evangelicals and fundamentalists."
In response to Greg Mitchell’s Wardens Who Protested Troy Davis’s Execution: A Rare Breed. September 24, 2011

J85250: "I think the core of her argument (America is still a very racist country) is sound but the extrapolation (liberals are unhappy with Obama because of residual racism) is not.

I voted for Obama and I will almost certainly vote for him again, just as I did for Bill Clinton.  However, I am also deeply disappointed in Obama’s consistent tacking right when he should have tacked left.  The continuity of US policy between Bush and Obama, particularly in the areas of the economy and defense is rather remarkable and what it shows is that our government maintains an illusion of democracy while simultaneously presenting voters with two allegedly diametrically opposed choices.

Nonetheless, America remains a very racist country and the criticism from large sections of the right is clearly and undeniably racist, particularly such memes as "he" is using "our" plane, spending "our" money. etc.

I recently moved back to the US after living overseas for many years and I now reside in a red state (for the first time).  I have been absolutely shocked by the level of racism in this state. In California or New York, racism is present but kept in the shadows.  Here in red state America, it’s blatant and frequently vocalized.

Although I think the author is over-reaching in her analysis (there are countless perfectly valid reasons for liberals to be disenchanted with the President), the fact that pieces like this engender such fury supports her core argument."
In response to Melissa Harris-Perry’s The Epistemology of Race Talk. September 26, 2011.

Zaguan: "My son has been down there protesting since Day 1. I was astounded by Bellafante’s "coverage" of these protests.  So was the NY Times readership.  Comments posted on the Bellafante piece were uniformly scathing. Even the comments picked out by the Times editors as a representative sample contained NOTHING but critical commentary of this ludicrous bit of (sham) reporting.

Police activity has been horrific if one is to give footage captured and posted on YouTube any credence.

Meanwhile, MSNBC is covering Wall Street events well.  So is Kieth Olbermann. Unfortunately, when I pulled up the Olbermann piece on YouTube, I discovered an image of my son in handcuffs on the footage that went along with the coverage!"
In Response to Allison Kilkenny’s Correcting the Abysmal ‘New York Times’ Coverage of Occupy Wall Street. September 26, 2011.

Kbrown2225: I cannot believe the attacks upon the USPS from the right. What are they going to go after next, public libraries? I am glad you point out that the crisis is caused by the prefunding mandate, but even beyond that the USPS is not a business designed to make money. It is a public service designed to do a necessary job. Saying the USPS loses money and should be cut is like saying the fire department or police department loses money and should be cut. It makes no sense. Also, what is it about Republicans and their hate of Americans having decent paying jobs?
In response to John Nichols’ Save the Post Office’ Movement Defends ‘the Human Side of Government. September 27, 2011.

Kamitch: "This is an excellent discussion, hitting the right note about why black women may feel alienated from SlutWalks, but also suggesting the power of embracing them anyway by quoting the woman who reminds us to question the politics of respectability. Still, what’s most helpful about this piece is the insistence upon the need for a "healthy marriage of substance and spectacle." You’ve articulated a standard to strive for, and your activism certainly points the way—while acknowledging that your work is in a long-standing tradition among women of color. A real gift."
In response to Salamishah Tillet’s What to Wear to a Slutwalk. September 28, 2011

rrenon: "If we remember back (in my lifetime) to the time of public lynchings in the South, or the mid-1940’s Detroit race riots (pogroms, actually), I’m not so sure we’re more cruel now than we’ve been in the past. It’s just that the cruelty is now cloaked under the respectable guise of ‘conservatism.’"
In response to Jonathan Schell’s Cruel America. September 28, 2011.

Arnnmann: "Here’s one possible explanation: I think the right has developed over the decades reflexive habits to spite the "peace and love" generation of the 60s. Not that that kind of hatred didn’t already exist. But it’s now put on official display to mock us.

The odd thing is, many of the citizens who support the death penalty and other such barbarisms don’t exhibit that kind of cruelty in their personal lives. To them, it’s just a kind of acting out. But to us, that kind of acting out has consequences beyond simply ruining the lives of individual human beings.

To take liberties with a Greek poet: the boys throw stones at frogs in sport, but the frogs die in earnest."

In response to Jonathan Schell’s Cruel America. September 28, 2011.