Five Things: June 4, 2020
It’s only June 4, y’all. Here’s today’s five:
James Mattis stabs Trump in the eye: And courageously says what everyone already knows, which is that Trump is awful and divisive and wants to use the military on American civilians so he can feel big and tough. And yes, I’m giving Mattis a bit of stick here — his insight here is not, shall we say, a new or surprising one — but it does matter that Trump’s former Secretary of Defense is saying it and that in doing so, he’s giving cover for other military folks to come forward and say the same thing (usually when retired). And it has at least put up a roadblock for Trump siccing the military on civilians without pushback, so that’s something. And of course Trump’s petulant response on Twitter takes him look even smaller, if possible. On that score: Mission accomplished, General Mattis.
New York Times writers revolt over Tom Cotton’s op-ed: You know, the one where he, like the good soldier he is, supported Trump’s position on unleashing the military on civilians to make President Trump feel big and strong. I would say that Cotton, a graduate of Harvard Law and a former US Army captain with a Bronze Star, should know better, but if the (heh) cogent example of Ted Cruz shows us anything, being educated and knowledgable takes a back seat when lickspittlery, and early positioning for a presidential run, is involved. At the very least Mattis’ comments stuffed Cotton’s op-ed into the trash where it belongs.
I’m not personally as outraged as others are about the Times publishing the Cotton piece because I think one of the purposes of the op-ed pages are to let people make fools of themselves in public so you can’t say later on that you didn’t know who they showed themselves to be. However, I also acknowledge I am a straight white dude who isn’t out protesting — or reporting on the protests — in an era where the police have declared open season on both protestors and journalists. I’m perfectly happy to cede that I’m probably not the one to be listening to on this particular matter. There’s the theory of how op-ed pages work, and there’s a practical matter of what effect an op-ed will have in the real world. The NYT journalists are rather reasonably concerned about the latter.
It’s hot and humid and our air conditioning is on the fritz: Because of course it is, why wouldn’t it be. The diagnostic guy was here and apparently our outside unit is leaking coolant and they won’t be able to fix it until a week from today, and between now and then we have a bunch of days in the mid/high 80s and low 90s, with humidity to go along with it. This is not great, and also a reminder that the vast majority of humanity had to live without air conditioning and I honestly don’t know how they managed. I wouldn’t do it. Heat sucks. Heat with humidity sucks the will to live.
2020 Time Travel: The first one, which came out a little over a month ago, has comedian Julie Nolke visiting her January self from April. The second one (which came out earlier today) has her April self visited by her June self. Both are worth your time, but if you have to pick just one to watch, watch the second. You’ll have enough context to go on.
When you’ve lost The Rock, you’ve lost America. Yeah, even Dwayne Johnson is all “WTF, dude” anymore. Did I mention it’s just June 4? 26 more days of June, folks. We’re gonna feel them all, looks like.