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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.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Barack Obama, Leading Citizen (and a Modest Example of Citizenship)

Tonight, President Barack Obama gave a compelling, poignant farewell address that my wife, children, and I will watch together this weekend (they were asleep and missed it in real time tonight).  His call for active, informed citizenship resonates. 

Beforehand, early this morning, my own modest effort at engaged citizenship was to send messages to each of Connecticut's U.S. senators, Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy.  Those notes thanked the senators “in advance for scrutinizing Donald Trump's nominees for Cabinet positions.” I argued:

“Trump's flagrant disregard for standards of ethics -- in his own family's conflicts of interest as well as potentially those of his nominees -- should demand attention.

That the President-elect still hasn't released his tax returns should arouse great suspicion.  What is he hiding?

His sympathetic relationship with Russia and Vladimir Putin seems more than a curiosity.  Potentially, Trump's defense of Russia/Putin could be an indicator of a grave compromise of our country's interests and values. 

Regarding his Cabinet nominees, many -- with the apparent exceptions of Defense, Homeland Security, UN Ambassador -- are radical choices with conflicts of interest among the issues of concern...

10:14 pm est 

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Blood Month, Too

 

January is not only National Mentoring Month, as recognized January 1 (below); this is also National Blood Donor Month, as the New Haven Register noted about local blood needs.

10:30 pm est 

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Mentoring, throughout the Year

In the final weeks of his presidency, Barack Obama has again proclaimed January “National Mentoring Month.”  This effort, consistent with his “My Brother's Keeper” initiative that will endure beyond his administration, raises awareness about the many ways that adults can build mentoring relationships to support young people's development.

More information is available at sites including Serve.gov/Mentor, the National Mentoring Partnership, and LiteracyEveryday.

3:47 pm est 

Saturday, December 31, 2016

A Year of Medium

The website Medium, to which I've been contributing occasionally, continues to grow.

Channels for the Huffington Post and Sports Illustrated (the Cauldron) have published or recommended a couple of pieces.

2:45 pm est 

Saturday, December 10, 2016

"On the Media"

 

The WNYC radio program “On the Media” has been as timely as ever in recent weeks, addressing issues including the integrity of elections, and truth vs. fiction in the news and via social media.

12:19 pm est 

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