Joe Biden’s meeting with Putin, vaccine passports, nightclub shootings, and other top columns

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. I said I couldn’t stand Indian food. Then a Twitter friend took me to dinner.

By Tom Nichols

“It all started in 2019, when in response to an open invitation from a user on Twitter to post our most controversial food takes, I decided to bypass all the hatred for mayonnaise and other foods, and to fire off a zinger about the cuisine of an entire subcontinent. ‘Indian food,’ I said, ‘is terrible and we pretend it isn’t.'”

2. Cruise industry tanks: DeSantis’ mixed messaging leaves business grounded

By Philip Levine

“Yet when partisan politics get in the way of good intentions, policies and people suffer needlessly. Exhibit A: Florida. First, Gov. Ron DeSantis uses a libertarian, free-market approach to keep the state open while others closed shut. Now he’s doing an about-face, dictating rules to ailing cruise companies who want to set sail swiftly and safely.” 

3. Don’t get ‘woke,’ get serious about saving democracy. The Civil War can still be lost.

By Connie Rice 

“To my fellow Americans I have an urgent alarm: Stop distractifying over ‘wokeness’ and deal with the wolf at the door. Firing folks over ‘forbidden’ words or views is absurd.  Shaming the interracially clueless is counterproductive. But arguing ‘wokeness’ right now is the strategic equivalent of Titanic musicians debating preludes.”

No guns allowed (Photo: USA TODAY Handout)

4. My best friends were murdered at Pulse nightclub. I survived to fight for them.

By Brandon Wolf

“Gunshots – endless gunshots – filled my ears. I crouched in a dark corner of the bathroom. The smell of blood and smoke singed my nose. Finally, I made a break for the door. I didn’t look right; I didn’t look left. I just ran. When I dialed Drew’s number over and over, no one picked up.”

5. Softball is no longer a sleeping giant. Just hear the Women’s College World Series roar.

By Jon Patricof, Cheri Kempf

“Over the past weeks, softball fans have marked the end of stellar collegiate careers for the likes of Giselle Juarez, Sis Bates, Dejah Mulipola and Carrie Eberle. But the end of this chapter of their careers marks the start of another one and a chance for fans to continue to follow them: All four were among 12 selected in our first college draft and have been invited to join Athletes Unlimited Softball’s second season, which starts this August and will air on CBS Sports Network and Fox Sports.”

6. Joe Biden, the U.S. president who in Geneva didn’t shame America like Trump in Helsinki

By The Editorial Board 

“If anything, the contrast with Trump’s 2018 summit was so stark, it was almost as if roles were reversed. Putin, who spoke to the news media first, complimented Biden as experienced, professional and a man of ‘attractive’ moral values. ‘It seems to me we did speak the same language,’ Putin said.”

Stop the steal (Photo: USA TODAY Handout)

7. No, the federal seizure of Colonial Pipeline ransomware payments did not ‘break’ Bitcoin

By Andrea O’Sullivan 

“Ransomware attacks happen frequently, but they usually don’t shut down gasoline sales on much of the East Coast. These cyberattacks target systems by encrypting or shutting users out from computers until they pay the attackers. Many businesses have had to deal with the headache of ransomware, and it can be more cost effective to just pay the attackers, as Colonial Pipeline eventually did.”

8. Use education standards for police to lower rates of brutality, improve profession

By Meme Styles 

“Like many of their predecessors, 21st century police reform advocates are emotionally intelligent, data driven, socially aware and relentless in the pursuit of justice for all – especially those historically and disproportionately impacted by police brutality. Accountability is their armor, and evidence is their driver.”

Older vehicles on US roads (Photo: USA TODAY Handout)

9. He’s on the left. I’m on the right. Here’s what we learned talking to each other about America.

By Tim Swarens 

“To me, that’s sad because coworkers ought be able to share a lunch room without fear of political strife. It’s alarming because people will put up with bullying — and it is bullying when we’re forced into silence to keep the peace — for only so long.”

10. Our backyard is home to a family tree of love, second chances and the importance of nature.

By Connie Schultz

“This yard of trees is our map, perhaps, for our grandchildren. It is a story of love and resilience that began with a marriage of second chances and grew into our version of a family tree.”

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 [email protected].

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