OPINION

A suburban woman's call to Democrats, racism in the courthouse, and other top columns

From unruly passengers, Astroworld, infrastructure and microchipping to poor polling, here are some of our top opinion reads you may have missed.

USA TODAY

In today's fast-paced news environment, it can be hard to keep up. For your weekend reading, we offer you in-case-you-missed-it compilations of some of the week's top USA TODAY Opinion pieces. As always, thanks for reading, and for your feedback.

— USA TODAY Opinion editors

1. The rule for unruly passengers? One strike and you're off the plane. Permanently.

By The Editorial Board

"A passenger uses a racial slur to berate an African-American flight attendant over wearing a mask. Another on a separate flight pummels a flight attendant's face, knocking out two teeth. And on a third flight, a passenger lies on the floor, grabs a flight attendant by the ankles and pushes his head under her skirt. All three cases are among more than 5,000 since January in what has become the worst year of unruly passenger behavior in the history of air travel."

Opposing view. Unfriendly skies: Stressed passengers, not alcohol, are why conflicts on planes have soared

By Christopher R. Bidwell

"Continued enforcement of the Transportation Security Administration’s mask mandate ... has surprised, frustrated and even upset travelers, especially as states and cities lifted those mandates. Despite all the attention on the role of alcohol, Federal Aviation Administration data indicates that only 6% of incidents involve alcohol. Airports continue to work with airlines to educate travelers about the FAA’s prohibition on passengers drinking their own alcohol onboard aircraft."

2. Why did public officials defer to Travis Scott's sovereignty while people died?

By The Editorial Board

"A review of Houston Fire Department logs by USA TODAY reporter Rick Jervis showed that even before Scott took the stage at 9:15 p.m. — in a temporary venue erected on parking lots of the county's sprawling NRG sports and entertainment complex — hundreds of concertgoers had already been treated for injuries from crowds surging past barricades."

3.  Infrastructure was once a crashing bore. Now it symbolizes our sick, violent politics.

By Jill Lawrence

"America has turned into a place where it’s risky to look out for the people you represent in Congress, who may be in dire need of clean water or a power grid that doesn't collapse in a storm. It's risky to give a political "win" to a president from the other party. Some of your own leaders and colleagues have it in for you. They're ready to get you kicked off committees or contested in a primary, or post your phone numbers on Twitter – and let their inflamed supporters take it from there."

Mike Thompson, USA TODAY

4.  Microchipping your pets doesn't have to be expensive. Paying for registration is a scam.

By Dr. Gary Michelson

"When I had my rescue Whippet microchipped – the most reliable means of permanent pet identification and return to owner – the veterinarian charged me $75 for the microchip and the "procedure." That was in 2005. I was unaware that the "procedure" was nothing more than a subcutaneous injection, similar to any other injection that a cat or dog might receive, such as puppy shots or rabies vaccination."

5. From a suburban mom to fellow Democrats: We're good teammates. Take us seriously.

By Rachel Vindman 

"The 2020 election was my first on Team Democrat. ... I was all in. I appeared in a political ad warning people of what can happen when an unprincipled politician leverages power to come after your family. ... I wasn’t the MVP of the election, nor did I desire to be, but I sincerely wanted to be a good team member. I think I was but that has not stopped some from questioning the longevity of my dedication, criticizing me for being a late-comer, and deliberating over whether I can pass the progressive 'purity' tests (spoiler alert: I likely cannot)."

Mike Thompson, USA TODAY

6.Don't trust the polls: Pollsters are increasingly unable to predict American thought

By Ross K. Baker

"The excuses trotted out by pollsters after the election in 2016, in which Hillary Clinton was predicted to be an easy winner, were a combination of two lame explanations: The first is that the polls were correct as far as the national electorate was concerned – Clinton did win the popular vote – but that state-level polls were inaccurate. The second was that missing the level of Trump’s support was the result of respondents not being upfront with pollsters."

7. College professors have a right to provoke and upset you. It's a part of learning.

By Daniel Diermeier

"When Vanderbilt Chancellor Alexander Heard was criticized in the 1960s for inviting controversial figures such as Black Power leader Stokely Carmichael to speak on campus, he responded that “young people, and especially young people in college, cannot be shielded from the winds of opinion in our world. The university’s obligation is not to protect students from ideas, but rather to expose them to ideas, and to help make them capable of handling, and, hopefully, having ideas.”

Mike Thompson, USA TODAY

8. Americans' conversation about police reform isn't going away. Here's an updated look.

By David Mastio 

"As people absorb the Supreme Court's recent about face on qualified immunity, there's still a drumbeat of new cases and opinion around the country. It's a key issue in the national conversation on police reform. It's the topic of an ongoing series at USA TODAY Opinion, an issue in political campaigns, fodder for state lawmakers and an item on numerous court dockets."

9.  Joe Biden wants your boss to force you to get vaccinated. That's not how it should work.

By Katrina Trinko 

"Yet, instead of celebrating this good news, President Joe Biden is now putting a huge amount of pressure on unvaccinated Americans to get the vaccine, regardless of whether it violates their beliefs or even just what kind of medical treatment they want to pursue. What happened to the noble American tradition of respecting the rights and values of the minority, of not demanding absolute conformity? Where is our tolerance?"

10. Black pastors helped guide this nation's moral conscience. We shouldn't keep them out of court.

By Ben Crump 

"The parents of Ahmaud Arbery suffered the unspeakable loss of their son, who was hunted down, cornered and shot for being a Black man jogging in a white neighborhood. This is every Black parent’s worst nightmare and constant worry. They deserve the balm that Black pastors can provide. One hundred or even 1,000 would not be too much.