10 of our top columns this week: ICYMI

In today’s fast-paced news environment, it can be hard to keep up. For your weekend reading, we’ve started 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. Is Donald Trump a declining parody or a terrifying threat? Mastio & Lawrence on CPAC 2021

By David Mastio and Jill Lawrence

“Donald Trump emerged from his luxurious Palm Beach exile to wallow in the warmth of devotees at the Conservative Political Action Conference 170 miles away in Orlando. Is he a spent supernova, or a giant barely submerged land mine that could obliterate the landscape at any time? Either way, we’ve seen our future. There will be no avoiding him. Deputy Editorial Page Editor David Mastio and Commentary Editor Jill Lawrence consider his Sunday speech, all 90-plus minutes.”

2. Not a fair fight: Our athlete daughters shouldn’t have to compete with transgender women.

By Frank Mir and Terry Schilling

“Participation in sports has had a positive impact on countless young women, helping them to develop leadership skills and learn to work together as a team. Striving to be the best is the goal, and valuable opportunities can stem from the competition. However, these lessons and opportunities would be seriously endangered if transgender women are allowed to compete in girls’ sports. Indeed, the entirety of women’s athletics would be deeply imperiled.”

3. In COVID vaccination race, no one, especially the most vulnerable, should miss this shot

By The Editorial Board

“More than 50 million Americans have received at least one vaccination, at an average of 1.82 million shots a day in the past week. That’s plenty to meet Biden’s December pledge of 100 million injections in his presidency’s first 100 days, but far short of the 2 to 3 million shots per day needed to reach herd immunity this year. (Biden flirted in January with raising the goal to 150 million in 100 days, but backed off.)”

Fast Vaccine (Photo: Pat Bagley/The Salt Lake Tribune)

4. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona: Here’s my five-point plan to get students back in school full time

By Miguel Cardona

“We must continue to reopen America’s schools for in-person learning as quickly and safely as possible. As secretary of Education, this is my top priority. On Tuesday, President Joe Biden announced steps to accelerate school reopening nationwide by treating in-person learning as the essential service that it is and prioritizing educators for vaccinations in every state in the country.”

5.  Trump lost because ‘character counts.’ That’s why his CPAC speech won’t change anything.

By Michael Medved

“Many dispirited Republicans, still struggling to accept Donald Trump’s decisive and legitimate defeat in last November’s election, have begun pondering what they might have done differently to have produced a different result. After all, their nominee needed to draw only an additional 65,013 votes, distributed strategically in four close races — Georgia, Arizona, Wisconsin and the second Congressional district of Nebraska — to have eked out another Electoral College victory (270-268) while still losing the popular vote by a margin of 7,000,000.”

6.  Nod or blunder? No CPAC 2021 apology for a stage shaped like a white supremacist symbol

By Chris Truax

“As difficult as it is to get your head around, the stage at CPAC 2021 last weekend was built in the shape of a rebranded swastika, something called an odal or othala rune. This symbol was incorporated into SS uniforms and is frequently used by white supremacists. Neo-Nazis get tattooed with this thing. It was even on display at the 2017 Unite the Right protest in Charlottesville. Here’s a picture of the CPAC stage next to a picture of a Nazi uniform. Judge for yourself.”

Idol Worship (Photo: Bill Day/FloridaPolitics.com)

7. Nurse: I’m correcting COVID conspiracy theories inside and outside the health care industry

By Katherine Buaron

“As a community nurse in and around Chicago, I have been personally and professionally thrust into the role of social media fact-checker for my patients. I live in the intersection between health care and science and a misinformed public. I don my often-painful N95 mask, tie my hair back and evaluate patients every day. I field patient questions about microchipped syringes, and offer overly simplified explanations about the bureaucratic logistics of scientific research and vaccine development. In moments I attempt to educate patients on cell biology, immunology and microbiology — subjects I’ve taken years to study.”

8. Everyone counted these kids out. But this young football team battles high odds, defies expectations

By Suzette Hackney

“On a warm and sunny March evening, little ones gleefully chased each other at Tarkington Park while just weeks into their 2019 spring season, the Indy Steelers youth football league ran drills. Ball security. Blocking and tackling. Stance and movement. High knees. And the dreaded field sprints. Over and over again they sprinted until about 6 p.m., when at least 14 gunshots reverberated near the crowded basketball court in Indianapolis.”

9. For Andrew Cuomo, there can be no sexual harassment double standard. He should resign.

By Lauren Leader and Gretchen Carlson

“There is no place for sexual harassment or abuse of power in any American workplace — be it in business or politics. This is a basic and simple standard. No one, no matter where they work or what they do, should be subject to harassment or hostility from a co-worker, and especially not from someone in a position of power. Those who report harassment should not be forced to leave their jobs in order to avoid harassment. That is why, if the allegations against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo are true, he must resign.”

Governor Cuomo Is #NotMeToo by (Photo: R.J. Matson)

10. Nigeria is trapped in a cycle of kidnappings and thousands are missing amid predatory practices

By Joe Parkinson and Drew Hinshaw

“Shortly after midnight last Friday, gunmen burst into the dormitory of a girls boarding school in Northwest Nigeria and rekindled a nightmare that, for most of the world, had lain dormant for almost seven years. In the Government Girls Secondary School of the small town of Jangebe, hundreds of students had been sleeping in bunk beds when they heard gunshots followed by voices ordering them to gather in the courtyard. Fifty-five ran and hid in a bathroom or behind furniture where panicked parents found them hours later. By then, about 300 of their classmates, ages 11 to 17 had been marched into a forest.” 

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.

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