Airlines in crisis, addiction, Dave Chappelle Netflix walkout, fake ministers: Top columns

·5 min read

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. Southwest Airlines pilots did not walk out on our passengers. We were stranded, too.

By Michael Santoro

"To have a walkout, you must have a significant increase in pilots failing to show up to work. But the reality is, that data doesn’t exist. There has not been a dramatic spike in pilot sick call rates anywhere in the month of October. What actually happened was Southwest Airlines pilots and flight attendants were stranded away from their homes and families, right alongside our passengers."

2. He was asleep in his car. Police woke him up and created a reason to kill him.

By Sarah Gelsomino

"Rhodes had no reason to jump into Luke's car, let alone to use deadly force against him. The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals held that a jury could find that Rhodes’ decision to shoot Luke had violated his constitutional rights. However, even acknowledging this, the court dismissed Luke’s civil rights lawsuit. Why? Because of the hotly debated, court-created doctrine of qualified immunity."

3. Netflix walkout over Dave Chappelle is not just a matter transgender rights and dignity.

By Leigh Finke

"But then came 'The Closer,' released Oct. 5, and whatever shine one might have applied to the Chappelle brand of comedy was left behind. The comedian spends more than half of the hour-long performance providing commentary on the LGBTQ community, most of it dedicated to transgender women. Chappelle’s routine includes mockery of our appearance, our bodies and our genitals. He defends the transphobic writing of author J.K. Rowling."

Mike Thompson, USA TODAY
Mike Thompson, USA TODAY

4. Marijuana legalization was a mistake. Highly concentrated pot is destroying my son's life.

By Aubree Adams

"Eventually, my son told me he was dabbing, which I had never heard of. A dab (or wax or shatter) is a highly concentrated form of THC, marijuana’s active ingredient. It’s heated and smoked, delivering an instant, overwhelming high. Crack weed, my son called it. He knew it was making him crazy. He wanted to quit, but addiction had him firmly in its grip."

5. A woman was raped on a Philadelphia train and witnesses did nothing. Why?

By Catherine A. Sanderson

"When facing an ambiguous situation, our natural tendency is to look to others to figure out what’s going on. But here’s the problem: If each person is looking to the people around them to figure out what to do, and no one wants to be seen as the person who overreacts (risking feeling foolish and embarrassed), the person in need might receive no help at all. In other words, inaction breeds inaction."

6. Ohio mom becomes a minister in a minute, then signs religious exemptions for anti-mask families.

By Connie Schultz

"As a new minister, Grant has not hesitated to apply her signature to the bottom of those letters: 169 students have been granted a religious exemption from wearing masks even as the pandemic surges, again. School officials stress that this represents around 100 families, in a district of roughly 1,800 students. That caveat will be small comfort to any family of a child who ends up infected with COVID-19."

Mike Thompson, USA TODAY
Mike Thompson, USA TODAY

7. Colin Powell and the what-ifs for the GOP and Black voters

By Austin Bogues

"And unlike some of the Black conservative provocateurs who today primarily market their appeal by opposing causes popular with Black voters, Powell’s politics, while conservative, would have placed him well within the mainstream of Black political thought."

8. Superman will no longer champion 'the American way.' It's sad, but our nation deserves it.

By Jill Lawrence

"If you were a country aspiring to democracy, which is – as Winston Churchill noted – the worst form of government except for all the others, would you set up an Electoral College that lets losers win or a Senate hobbled by minority rule and single senators with axes to grind?"

9. It seems we're running low on all sorts of supplies. But kindness need not be scarce.

By Connie Schultz

"We’re angry at everybody now, it seems, or maybe those evergreen complaints are just irritating me more. Lately, I’ve watched post after post on social media blow up after someone complains about holding the door for a fellow customer who fails to say thank you. Within a dozen responses that ungrateful stranger morphs from rude and inconsiderate into the spawn of Satan and all that is wrong with our world."

10. Our View: Biden should require airline passengers to show proof of vaccination

By the Editorial Board

"While COVID-19 infections are mercifully tracking downward and 57% of the population is fully vaccinated, infections among children remain exceptionally high, and about 1,300 Americans die each day from a disease that is all but preventable if they had been vaccinated."

Opposing View: Flying is already safe. Don't burden airline passengers with vaccine mandate.

By Roger Dow

"A new vaccine requirement, ahead of the traditionally busiest air travel season of the year, would create a logistical dilemma, long lines and added strain for airline and airport workers and the passengers they serve. Such a measure also would disproportionately hurt families with children who are not yet eligible to be vaccinated."

11. I sued Harvard to save my slave ancestors' legacy. Black people own rights to US history.

By Tamara Lanier

"I've since taken Harvard off that pedestal of premiere academic institution. When Ivy League schools speak, the world, sadly, believes them. Harvard used its academic and scientific prominence to subvert Black life and legitimize white supremacy."

You can read diverse opinions from our Board of Contributors and other writers on the Opinion front page, on Twitter @usatodayopinion and in our daily Opinion newsletter. To respond to a column, submit a comment to letters@usatoday.com.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Dave Chapelle, Southwest airlines, addiction, vaccines: Top columns

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