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Practically Idealistic blog
The title for this blog originated with use of the term “practical idealist” in this 1996 opinion piece, which asked: “To what kind of work should a practical idealist aspire?” A century and a half earlier, Emerson, in his 1841 essay Circles, wrote: “There are degrees in idealism.  We learn first to play with it academically. . . .  Then we see in the heyday of youth and poetry that it may be true, that it is true in gleams and fragments.  Then, its countenance waxes stern and grand, and we see that it must be true.  It now shows itself ethical and practical.”  Mahatma Gandhi embraced practical idealism in the 20th century, as did UN Secretary General U Thant.  Al Gore invoked it in a 1998 speech. In the context of this blog, the term is meant to convey idealism tempered but not overwhelmed by realism: a search for the ideal on a path guided by common sense.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Literacy News, September 29 Forum

The New Haven Independent has news on the Literacy Coalition’s board of directors, among other developments in local reading, technology access, and volunteering efforts.

Previewed in the article is a September 29 event, part of a Literacy Forum series, on: “Language, Bilingualism, and Literacy – in School and Beyond.”  More information on the panelists speaking at this free event is at LiteracyEveryday and that site’s blog.  

RSVP: info@literacyeveryday.org

9:43 am edt 

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Previewing “Self-Evident Truths”

My father, Richard D. Brown, is completing a book for publication in early 2017.  The title is Self-Evident Truths: Contesting Equal Rights from the Revolution to the Civil War.

A description and early reviews appear here.

Earlier posts, in August 2013 (August 31, regarding the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington) and July 2012 (July 4, connecting Memorial Day and “sacrifice” to Independence Day), mentioned my father and his work.

10:05 am edt 

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Community Policing and the “Cop of the Week”

New Haven Police Department (NHPD) Officer Mike Haines has earned well-deserved recognition as the “cop of the week.”

Some neighbors and I recently had occasion to meet him when he and Sgt. Shafiq Abdussabur, among others, thoughtfully joined us for a block party.  Officer Haines made an excellent impression and demonstrated a particular rapport with the children who were in attendance.  He, and the sergeant, inspire confidence; our city needs to champion law enforcement officers like these individuals.

The “cop of the week” series is one of the many strengths of the New Haven Independent, along with investigative reporting and, more broadly, a community orientation with a capacity for sustained follow-up.  Let’s support independent, and Independent, journalism.

7:42 am edt 

Sunday, July 24, 2016

“Convention Memories: Another Clinton, Another Age”

The New Haven Independent published my reflections nearly a quarter of a century after attending the 1992 Democratic National Convention: “Convention Memories: Another Clinton, Another Age.”

A version, with additional photos, also appears at Medium.

9:04 am edt 

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Decrying Violence, Seeking Peace

Alas, violence in every city and state, not to mention atrocities abroad, can happen on a daily basis.  This blog has decried it before.

Still, it was sad to learn of the shooting deaths last week of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and the Dallas police officers protecting a peaceful protest.

President Obama always seems to strike the right note and balance when he makes statements under the pressures of such events, but it’s awful that he keeps having to do so. 

Friday morning, I texted a friend of mine (whose birthday had been the day before) who happens to be a police officer as well as African American.  I wrote of “terrible news this week from Baton Rouge, Minnesota, and now Dallas.”  He replied, “It surely is my friend – some individuals in society just don’t get it…”

9:40 am edt 

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