Derek Chauvin, Afghanistan, 'straight pride,' the filibuster and other top columns

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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. May Derek Chauvin's lack of remorse as he heads to prison be his final insult to George Floyd

By Suzette Hackney

"But Chauvin will be held accountable. It started with the conviction and it ended Friday with a lengthy prison sentence. I won't quibble with Cahill's decision; he went above sentencing guidelines. Derek Chauvin will have years to think about his laundry list of uncaring actions during incarceration. Is it justice? No, of course not. Justice would mean that systems are in place to ensure that state-sanctioned murders can't be committed against any American."

2. Christians, let's stop fighting each other and serve our neighbors in need instead

By Chris Palusky

"Just imagine if we Christians were primarily known for these action items: loving God, loving our neighbor, and serving orphans and widows. I’m optimistic enough to believe Christians across denominations, with different doctrinal beliefs, can unify around these commands."

3. Chauvin sentencing not enough. Police oversight must be put in the hands of the people.

By Miriam Aroni Krinsky and Brendan Cox

"In over-policed communities most impacted by police misconduct, reform is a matter of life and death. And while we hope the Biden administration will help fuel federal efforts to promote the transformation of policing, the reality is that we already know one fundamental way to improve policing and respect the community’s voice, and it doesn’t require federal action – for police accountability to become the expectation and not the exception, we must put it in the hands of the people. "

Fourth of July
Fourth of July

4. Tempted to turn your home's soaring equity into cash? Don't do it lightly: Fannie Mae chair

By Sheila Bair

"At the same time, rising prices have helped drive an increase in cash-out refinancing, where homeowners refinance to a lower mortgage interest rate while also taking money out by tapping into their increased home equity. In fact, according to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac data, in 2020 approximately $185 billion of equity was extracted through cash-out refinances – the most since 2007, right before the Great Financial Crisis."

5. LGBTQ Pride Month: Don't you dare say we need 'straight pride'

By Chris Hanna

"Hate crimes motivated by hate of gender identity, especially against trans people, rose 20% from 2018 to 2019 – almost definitely an underestimate as not all crimes are reported and not all reported crimes are properly identified. The American Medical Association in 2019 called this an “epidemic,” a term then-candidate Joe Biden would repeat in October 2020 just before the election."

6. Voters didn't elect us to do nothing and blame the Senate filibuster. Get rid of it.

By Val Demings

"The filibuster threatens the freedoms of every American, no matter the color of your skin, your gender, ZIP code, political party, or how much money you have (or don’t have) in the bank. The filibuster doesn't just mean a minority of senators can block critical legislation on everything from voting rights to the minimum wage. The filibuster undermines the basic principle that makes our democracy work: government of the people, by the people, for the people."

7. Female underwater photographer: Our world's marine ecosystems are beautiful, but fragile

By Renee Grinnell Capozzola

"As a Southern California native, I grew up with the ocean as an integral part of my life. With a background in biology and art, and a love of animals, scuba diving became the perfect addition to my passion for travel. As I visited some of the most remote parts of the world, I developed a real appreciation for marine organisms and their ecosystems and capture that in my photography. My goal is for my images to help the public become aware of our need to protect our fragile marine ecosystems and encourage others to take care of our oceans."

Infrastructure failures
Infrastructure failures

8. Republicans are terrified of Capitol attack truths and Democrats must find out why

By Kurt Bardella

"The Republican strategy for the Jan. 6 attack is to pretend it didn’t happen. Rep. Andrew Clyde of Georgia has used the phrase “normal tourist visit” to describe the events of a violent insurrection. Never mind there's a photo of him on the House floor trying to barricade the doors to protect himself from those “tourists.” Other Republicans have labeled those who wanted to "hang Mike Pence” as “patriots.” It’s possible that some Republicans in Congress even gave tours to insurrection planners, who may have used those tours to scout the layout of the Capitol."

9. This July Fourth, America will leave Afghanistan independence in its death throes

By The Editorial Board

"The latest U.S. intelligence assessment is that the government in Kabul could collapse in six months, according to The Wall Street Journal. And the top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Austin "Scott" Miller, told reporters Tuesday of his concern that the nation could devolve into civil war once NATO troops leave."

10. Do you add the tip to your credit card receipt? The server may not get the gratuity you intended.

By Connie Schultz

"For the first time in 16 months, I walked into a restaurant to meet a friend for lunch. What a moment. The hostess greeted us like family and a tag team of waitstaff buzzed around our table. We couldn’t stop smiling. Life was inching its way back. By the time I left, I had remembered what I didn’t miss about eating out. All it took was a conversation with our server, starting with a question I’ve been asking waitstaff for nearly 20 years now: If we leave your tip on the credit card, do you get the full amount?"

11. Overturning Bill Cosby sex assault conviction is difficult to accept, but the right decision

By Njeri Mathis Rutledge

"Criminal justice is less about justice for victims than it is protection for the accused. The Constitution, particularly the Fifth and Sixth Amendments, is filled with protections for those accused of a crime – including the right to a public jury trial, to an attorney, to confront witnesses, an impartial jury and against self-incrimination. The idea of victim’s rights did not develop until much later through statutes. In the end, the person responsible for fighting for the victim is the prosecutor."

12. Not a joke or a bore: After Florida condo collapse, can we take infrastructure seriously?

By Jill Lawrence

"It is not clear what caused the catastrophic failure, but building experts are weighing climate change impact as a possible factor – including rising tides, flooding, corrosion, cracked concrete, a sinking building, 40-year-old building standards inadequate to current challenges, and a 2018 report that found problems but did not spark the proper urgency. Repairs were finally about to begin, nearly three years later."

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: Derek Chauvin, Afghanistan, Pride month, the filibuster: Top columns

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