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, June 22, 2019
Student-Athlete Miye Oni to the NBA's Utah Jazz
10:00 am edt 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!
Sunday, June 16, 2019
Father's Day and Family Activities
10:48 am edt
In my family, this Father's Day will divide
the four of us for a portion of the holiday--as my wife and our daughter share a specially scheduled activity while our son
has a flag football double-header that I'll attend. But the four of us will be back together for the evening.
A happy holiday to everyone, as we reflect on our blessings.
Saturday, June 8, 2019
National CASA Conference
9:43 pm edt Having started a new job with CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) of Southern Connecticut last month, I recently participated in the national CASA
conference in Atlanta, from June 1-4. Speakers ranged from Bryan Stevenson of the Equal Justice Initiative to Jelani
Freeman (who had been in foster care himself before growing up to work in government) to Patrice Comey (a member of the national
CASA board) and James Comey.
It was both informative and inspiring to hear from colleagues around the country, and to
interact with directors of CASA programs from cities including Los Angeles, Detroit, and Worcester. I also met CASA
folks from, for example, Yellowstone County, Montana; Las Vegas; Arizona; Raleigh, North Carolina; and Chesapeake, Virginia.
With more than 900 CASA programs in 49 states and the District of Columbia, the movement is engaging some 85,000 volunteers
each year--and serving more than 260,000 children who have experienced abuse or neglect.