Qualified immunity stifles truth-telling, Facebook wars, nursing shortages: 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 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 Network Mike Thompson/USA TODAY

— USA TODAY Opinion editors

1.I refused to lie under oath for the state of Arizona, and the courts aren’t on my side

Start the day smarter. Get all the news you need in your inbox each morning.

By Greg Ohlson

“When a witness testifies in court, they take an oath to tell “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” Laws also prevent a witness from being persuaded to give inaccurate testimony or commit perjury. Arizona, for example, makes it a felony to attempt to “influence” the testimony of a witness. As I found out, however, if you work for the government, your superiors can’t be held financially responsible for ordering you to change your testimony and retaliating against you when you refuse.”

2. Boys in crisis: Schools are failing young males. Here’s what needs to change in classrooms

By Christopher Brueningsen

“As a front-line educator who has worked in boys’ schools for 30 years and served as the head of a boys’ school for the past 20 years, I’ve been an unhappy witness to this dilemma. Data supports the claim that boys are falling behind, and dramatically so. For example, there is a growing gender gap in high school graduation rates. According to the Brooking Institution, in 2018, about 88% of girls graduated on time, compared with 82% of boys.”

3. ‘Treat us better’: Nurses flee hospital jobs because working conditions aren’t safe

By Bonnie Castillo

“Our employers play games with their available staffing pool to slash labor costs – including sending nurses home who have reported for their shifts, canceling nurses who are scheduled to work on a daily contract basis, laying off staff from units with a temporarily low patient census, canceling traveling nurse contracts, and failing or being extremely slow to hire for open positions. In states where it’s still allowed, our employers also impose mandatory overtime on nurses.”

4. Every workplace has a Jon Gruden. There should be a higher standard in corporate America.

By Suzette Hackney 

“We know about the supposedly stealth emails and instant messages shared among colleagues and supervisors. We hear the slick comments made during virtual or in-person meetings. We feel the disdain as diversity, equity and inclusion policies are discussed and implemented. Trust me, we know. It’s not paranoia – it’s the burden we bear each and every day.”

5. We need to raise taxes, but do it fairly. And leave existing Roth IRAs alone.

By Max Baucus

“When I chaired the Senate Finance Committee off and on from 2001 to 2013, I both lowered and increased taxes. Cutting taxes was easy and fun – like when we first made the child tax credit partially refundable in 2001. Raising taxes was not, and at the Finance Committee we worked hard to make sure that the tax bills we wrote were fair. Fair to the people who sent us to Congress, whether they voted for us or not. We debated the provisions openly, and I applied the committee rules evenly.  And we did not change the rules in the middle of the game on taxpayers.”

6. Facebook whistleblower finally might force Congress to negotiate policing social media

By The Editorial Board

“The source for much of this toxicity, Haugen revealed, were newsfeed algorithms Facebook developed to encourage healthy interaction, but which in fact funneled to users the kind of provocative content that uses people to spend more time online. More engagement translated into more ads, which translated into more income for Facebook, whose stock value has forever been on the rise.”

Opposing view from Facebook: We agree it’s long past time for Congress to set clear and fair rules for the internet

By Nick Clegg

“We support efforts to bring greater transparency to algorithmic systems, offer people more control over their experience and require audits of platforms’ content moderation systems – which, of course, include algorithms. We also support standards-setting processes that tackle questions like how to measure “bias” in an algorithm that – once established – could be required across the industry.”

7. Massive migrant caravans are on their way. Democrats must move on migration alternatives.

By Carli Pierson 

“But years of foreign sacking and military interventions by the United States and France took an inevitable and massive toll. This, in addition to corruption, dictatorships and ineptitude in the national government, and the doomed-to-fail, self-serving republic of foreign nongovernmental organizations that profited from the development projects, fatally excluded Haitians from their own recovery.”

© USA TODAY Mike Thompson, USA TODAY

8. Hillary Clinton, Louise Penny thriller: An ex-president as dangerous and magnetic as Trump

By Jill Lawrence

“Never mind that when the Republican convention rolls around in 2024, Trump will be 78 (President Joe Biden’s age right now). On Saturday night at the Iowa State Fairgrounds, the former president endorsed 88-year-old Sen. Chuck Grassley, who is running for an eighth Senate term. “He’s a young – very young guy. He’s strong. And he’s very handsome,” Trump said. Never mind that in February, Grassley castigated Trump for “extreme, aggressive, and irresponsible” language about the 2020 election, harassing elected officials and pressuring his own vice president to violate the Constitution to keep him in office.”

9. Ending qualified immunity won’t ruin cops’ finances. It will better protect the public.

By Joanna Schwartz

“I have spent much of the past decade studying qualified immunity. And all evidence points to a single conclusion: Arguments used to preserve qualified immunity – and kill reform efforts – have no basis in reality. Qualified immunity protects officers from being sued for money damages, even if they have violated the Constitution, unless the plaintiff can find a prior court decision with nearly identical facts.”

10. Congress has chance to wipe the slate clean for formerly convicted. They should take it.

By Nathan Deal

“A third of American adults have an arrest or criminal record of some kind. Regardless of the nature of the charge or its disposition in court, that record can be like a scarlet R, haunting people for life as they seek jobs, an apartment or admission to college. Any boss or landlord conducting a background check can see the public record, assume the worst and decline to take a risk.”

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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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Qualified immunity stifles truth-telling, Facebook wars, nursing shortages: Top columns

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