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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, May 15, 2021

CASA Volunteers Day on May 18, Cooking for CASA with Claire on June 4
 
After CASA of Southern Connecticut's success in the Great Give (thanks to all who donated!)--previewed in an April 23 post--the organization is now preparing for occasions including:
   * CASA Volunteers Day on May 18 and a 

To reserve a spot for Cooking for CASA with Claire, who will conduct an Italian Antipasti Party lesson over Zoom: info[at]CASAsouthCT[dot]org

Also, CASA's YouTube channel was updated, including with videos of a conversation with editor Paul Bass of the New Haven Independent.
12:17 pm edt 

Friday, May 14, 2021

Miye Oni, from Yale Student-Athlete to Utah Jazz Contributor

 

A June 2019 post noted Miye Oni's transition from Yale student-athlete to the NBA's Utah Jazz.  Now in his second season, he is contributing as a key defender and team player on one of the NBA's best squads--while remaining a person of character.

 

Sports journalists have observed that Miye has defied the odds, not just in going from an under-recruited high-school player to the Ivy League to NBA draft pick, but also from a late-2nd round pick to someone actually earning minutes on a top team.

 

Ben Anderson noted that, already as of late April 2021:

"Only 22 players ever drafted 58th overall have appeared in an NBA game and only half of those have ever played in at least 50 games.  With only spot minutes to his name, Oni ranks 10th in career win shares and ninth in win shares per 48 minutes, earning him the title of the 10th most successful 58th pick in NBA history. Only 59 players have ever been drafted with the 58th pick, placing Oni in the top 16 percent of players ever drafted at his spot."  As he continues to play more games, minutes, seasons, Miye will surely ascend further on that list.

 

Chris Forsberg, in writing mainly about two Celtics players (including former UConn player Kemba Walker), recorded that those Celtics have: "the second-best mark in the NBA among all two-man lineups with at least that much court time this season."  According to Forsberg as of May 6,

"Only Utah's Mike Conley/Miye Oni combo has been better (plus-31.4 in 140 minutes) and Oni, it should be noted, is part of four of the top seven two-man units in the league despite playing less than 500 total minutes this season."

 

In those limited minutes, Miye has a tendency--despite modest statistics--measurably to help his team.  Much of what he does doesn't show up in the box score. For example, in a 5/5/21 win over the Spurs, in just 19 minutes, he had 6 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal--and +21!  In Miye's 5 minutes, his team was plus 7 (going from 1 down to 6 ahead) in its 5/7/21 comeback win over Denver.  In a 5/12/21 game vs. Portland, his stat line was modest in 11 minutes, as he made 1 of 2 shots and got a rebound. But his team was +9 in those 11 minutes (even though overall the team lost by 7).  He played aggressive defense on star guards Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, and made the right pass when given the opportunity.

 

Such brief but efficient stints have led to a curiosity that Chris Forsberg highlighted--that Miye Oni was, as of May 6, "part of four of the top seven two-man units" in the entire NBA this season!  He has defended, in those brief opportunities, stars including Portland's Lillard and McCollum, Golden State's Steph Curry, Boston's Jayson Tatum, Denver's Jamal Murray, and Phoenix's Devin Booker.  His all-star teammate Donovan Mitchell offered praise about Miye's play in practice.

 

As mentioned here before, Miye Oni is also--with Brandon Sherrod--one of two ambassadors for the CASA movement in Connecticut, as described in a fall 2020 article.  They appear, with CASA volunteer Dwayne Jackson, on videos on the program's YouTube channel.

8:05 pm edt 

Saturday, May 1, 2021

India's COVID Crisis
 
The horrific spike of the pandemic in India--where hundreds of thousands of positive COVID tests are being registered daily, and thousands of Indians dying every day amid shortages of hospital beds, oxygen, and ventilators--has affected family and friends. With my wife from New Delhi, my brother's wife from Lucknow (in Uttar Pradesh), and a brother-in-law from Tamil Nadu, there have been frequent reports of illness and death.

My parents-in-law remain citizens of India but fortunately have U.S. permanent residency, which may well have saved their lives.  Others haven't been so fortunate, and the increasing political repression by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist government is a related concern.  Mismanagement of the pandemic has been compounded by BJP super-spreader rallies, and criticism of the Hindu nationalist government--by media or by politicians, or even by individuals without power--can now be labeled treasonous.

Since my wife grew up in India, we traveled there four times together, between 2005 and 2016.  I wrote of the 2014 (during Modi's first national campaign) and 2016 visits, and also of a trip to a Gandhi memorial site in Delhi, as well as about U.S.-India ties on the occasion of President Obama's 2015 Republic Day visit to Delhi.

The country's press freedoms and judicial independence have been curtailed in just a few years, Kashmir's autonomy ended, and global companies like Facebook and Twitter as well as NGOs (including those now trying to provide relief amid the COVID crisis) restricted by the Indian regime.  Let us hope both Indians' health, and India's democracy, can recover.
5:44 pm edt 

Friday, April 23, 2021

"Great Give" Begins Now, with Matching Incentives; News

 

As a video on its YouTube channel previews, CASA of Southern Connecticut is participating in the “Great Give” --with matching incentives--April 23-May 5.

Please consider visiting our profile for this Community Foundation for Greater Haven event--with matching incentives based on “unique donors,” as well as sheer dollars.  Separately, the Community Foundation recently became one of CASA of Southern Connecticut's biggest private funders so far, with a $15,000 grant that helps complement our federal grants.

 

Though increasingly reliant on local funds rather than the national grants that provided seed funding, CASA of Southern Connecticut remains part of a proven national network.  The CASA approach was praised by Nicholas Kristof in a November 2020 New York Times column; he wrote: CASA…Volunteers provide support and advocacy for children who sometimes have no one else to trust, while helping them navigate the bureaucracy.

 

The CASA model is among those endorsed at KristofImpact.org.  That CASA model is efficient: 1 staff person supports 30 volunteers, who together serve some 75 children.  Help us grow to serve more!

 

Finally, save the date: Among our Partners Claire Criscuolo of Claire's Corner Copia will lead a June 4 "Cooking for CASA" 6-8 p.m. event, a vegetarian lesson over Zoom to benefit our work.

7:53 am edt 

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Against Ignorance, Hatred, Violence

As a new Stop AAPI Hate organization emphasizes and as recent events underscore, it's long past time to end hatred of and violence toward those of Asian descent.

Days from now will be 53 years since the awful April day that the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated for his courage to challenge entrenched racism.  Dr. King, and other key participants in the movement such as John Lewis (up to his death last year), sought a "beloved community."  Individually, collectively, institutionally, we must continue to create that community.

7:29 am edt 

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