Jocks Rule, Nerds Drool

Elon Musk, didn’t improve nerds’ image when he tweeted that a diver who assisted in rescuing 12 boys trapped in a cave in Thailand was a pedophile. Mr. Musk later apologized, and said he had been angry with the diver for criticizing Mr. Musk’s design of a mini-submarine to rescue the boys.

.. The notion of nerds being kinder than other men fades faster every day. Part of that has to do with the way nerd culture has subsumed popular culture. Some of the most popular movies in America are based on comic books. If it was a little nerdy to spend too much time on the internet in the ’90s, well, everyone is now on the internet essentially all the time.

.. Nerds are the overdogs now. If they got into tech early, they’re obscenely wealthy, and all of America now likes the stuff they enjoyed as kids. But they’re not wielding that power in a way that is especially kind or thoughtful.

.. So what about their old schoolyard nemeses, those heartless bullies — the jocks?

Well, they suddenly seem pretty great by comparison.

Last week, another N.B.A. player, Stephen Curry, raised over $21,000 through a live-streamed event to help benefit the family of Nia Wilson, a young woman who was stabbed to death at a train station in Oakland, Calif.

In June, the former N.F.L. player-turned-actor Terry Crews gave Senate testimony in which he spoke about having been sexually assaulted and warned against the “cult of toxic masculinity” that led him to believe he was more important than women.

.. And of course there’s Colin Kaepernick, the former 49ers quarterback, who drew national attention to police brutality by kneeling during the national anthem.

.. None of these guys sound like the heartless, monosyllabic brutes pop culture made jocks out to be. They sound like the kind of men who would patiently listen to you and commiserate after a nerd sexually harasses you.

.. These jocks are deeply decent men standing up to bullies in power. Just like nerds in old movies used to do.

Richard Rohr: Vocation

The gift you carry for others is not an attempt to save the world but to fully belong to it. It’s not possible to save the world by trying to save it. You need to find what is genuinely yours to offer the world before you can make it a better place. Discovering your unique gift to bring to your community is your greatest opportunity and challenge. The offering of that gift—your true self—is the most you can do to love and serve the world. And it is all the world needs. —Bill Plotkin [1]

Vocation does not come from willfulness. It comes from listening. . . . That insight is hidden in the word vocation itself, which is rooted in the Latin for “voice.” Vocation does not mean a goal I pursue. It means a calling that I hear. . . . I must listen for the truths and values at the heart of my own identity. —Parker Palmer [2]

.. The motivating energies of ego and soul are very different. The soul’s impulse comes quietly and generously from within; we do not look for payment, reward, or advancement because we have found our soul gift, our inherent gladness. To be an oblate—someone who is offered—is quite different from seeking security, status, or title.

.. I have found it difficult over the years to tell people when something is not their gift; it is usually very humiliating for the person to face their own illusions and sense of entitlement. One sign that something is your vocation is that you would do it for free, even if there is no reward or social payoff. This clarifies a vocation quite quickly.

The Paul Ryan Difference

The Speaker’s career shows the power of ideas in politics.

His policy chops and listening skills helped rally the fractious GOP House into a governing majority rather than merely an opposition to Barack Obama. They developed the “Better Way” reform platform in 2016, and in this Congress they’ve passed most of it through the House and much into law.

.. The irony is that Mr. Ryan has become a target of the populist and Trump right though few in Congress have fought harder or longer for conservative reform.

.. The reason the New York Times and Washington Post loathe him is precisely because he takes ideas seriously and can persuade his colleagues. That makes him far more of a threat to the left than is any talk-radio host.

.. But entitlement reform is inevitable given the fiscal realities, and Mr. Ryan’s ideas are still a roadmap for the future.

.. They have railed against Mr. Ryan as a totem of “the establishment,” which was always more epithet than argument. Mr. Ryan knows that the point of politics is to win power to pass your agenda, not remain in feckless opposition to the supposedly unreformable entitlement state.

.. Mr. Ryan has already raised $54 million in campaign cash for his fellow Members this Congress, and their fate is tied far more to Donald Trump’s approval rating than to Mr. Ryan’s candidacy.

.. Win or lose in November, Republicans will have to find a leader who can lead their conference. Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and whip Steve Scalise are the main early contenders. Both are known more for their electoral skills than policy knowledge.

.. Now is also the moment for the Freedom Caucus to step up. North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows is never short of suggestions for the leadership. How about trying to actually lead? Run for Majority Leader and show if you have the votes for a way forward that is more productive than being a critic on cable.

.. Paul Ryan developed his views about an optimistic, governing conservatism in the Jack Kemp-Ronald Reagan era, and he worked in the vineyards to find his moment.

Putin Unveils Nuclear Weapons He Claims Could Breach U.S. Defenses

Russia has developed nuclear weapons capable of penetrating U.S. defense systems, the country’s president, Vladimir Putin, said Thursday, sharpening rhetoric against the West and raising the prospect of a new arms race with Washington.

In language reminiscent of the Cold War, Mr. Putin used his annual state- of-the-union address to boast about Russia’s military prowess and show off a series of new armaments, including intercontinental ballistic missiles and underwater drones.

“Efforts to contain Russia have failed,” he said to Russia’s political elite gathered in the Kremlin’s St. George’s Hal

.. Mr. Putin said would consider any nuclear attack on its allies an attack on Russia and would launch an immediate response

..  “Russia’s growing military might is a reliable guarantee of peace on our planet because it ensures the strategic balance in the world.”

.. The Trump administration has warned that Russia and China are moving to modernize and expand their nuclear arsenals in a bid to “return to Great Power competition.”

.. The U.S., he said, had exploited Russia’s economic, political and military weakness after the collapse of the Soviet Union to ignore Moscow’s views, including by moving the North Atlantic Treaty Organization closer to Russia’s borders.

No one listened to us. Listen to us now,”

.. Mr. Putin said the Syria campaign had allowed the military to show off the results of a modernization program he launched in 2011. “The whole world knows the names of our newest airplanes, submarines, air-defense systems,” he said.

.. Ivan Konovalov, an independent defense analyst in Moscow, said the speech demonstrated how quickly Russia’s arms industry is developing.

“It is developing some of the best weapons in the world, and the United States, if they want to maintain parity, has to answer the challenge quickly,” he said.