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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.”  John Dewey and 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.

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Encouraging Blood Donors

Last month, the Connecticut Mirror published my op-ed encouraging additional people to consider donating blood if they are eligible to do so.  Subsequently, Hearst papers — the Connecticut PostStamford AdvocateDanbury News-Timesand Greenwich Time — also published the piece, as did the Good Men Project.  A version is at Medium, too.

According to the Red Cross, just 3 of 100 Americans donate blood—a figure that leaves ample opportunity for improvement and impact...
9:42 am edt 

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Training in Worcester

I recently returned from a week of CASA training in Worcester--which has a well-established program serving hundreds of children in that Massachusetts county.  Thanks to the colleagues who helped us (twelve actual volunteers, along with me as a staff observer/participant); CASA of Southern Connecticut will benefit.
8:28 am edt 

Sunday, August 4, 2019

More Mass Gun Violence, Domestic Terrorism, White Nationalism
 
I awoke this morning to news of two more mass shootings, in El Paso and Dayton--how sadly familiar, with white nationalism (at least in El Paso) apparently blended with terrorism.  As has been true for years, expanded background checks have to be the utter minimum in terms of needed action.  Condolences to the victims' family and friends.
10:43 am edt 

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Summer Learning and the Opportunity Gap

Summer Learning Week is July 8-13.  Last year, I wrote this related piece, citing various New Haven as well as national organizations.  The "opportunity gap" -- and the need to address it, including through summer learning -- unfortunately remains an urgent priority.
9:24 pm edt 

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Student-Athlete Miye Oni to the NBA's Utah Jazz

On June 20, Yale's Miye Oni became the first Ivy League basketball player to be drafted by the NBA in nearly a quarter of a century.  A political science major who just completed his junior year (and who helped lead his Yale team to an Ivy League title, in a March 17 win noted here), he has arranged to earn his Yale degree over the next year or two while pursuing his professional basketball career.  He was drafted by the Golden State Warriors and then traded to the Utah Jazz.  His Yale coach, James Jones, has said Miye is "an outstanding talent and a better person."  Congratulations and best wishes to this student-athlete and terrific young man!
10:00 am edt 

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