HomeAboutProfessionalVolunteerOpinion ArticlesInspirationContact
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.
Archive Newer | Older

Monday, August 17, 2009

Domestic Violence Awareness

Shocked by the death of their colleague Alice Morrin, Channel 61 TV and the Hartford Courant have launched a series of stories and a blog about domestic violence.

A July 18 post below mentioned Erika Tindill, executive director of the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence and formerly volunteer co-president of Domestic Violence Services of Greater New Haven.

Today, Erika Tindill was featured in an interview posted on the Courant’s new "Overcoming Battered Lives" blog.

In an August 16 Courant article by Josh Kovner and Alaine Griffin "High-Profile Cases Put Spotlight on Domestic Abuse" note the comments of state Rep. Mike Lawlor of East Haven -- a former prosecutor (as is Erika Tindill) – who co-chairs the legislature's Judiciary Committee.  According to Mike Lawlor,

 "When you're talking domestic violence, you're talking social issues more so than criminal justice. . . . We can try to prevent further victimization, to protect women and children and help pull them out of violent relationships, but the criminal justice system is a backstop — it won't touch the root causes."
Kovner and Griffin’s article concludes by quoting Stan Konesky, a retired Branford lieutenant who trains recruits at the Connecticut Police Academy, about the importance of public awareness. 

"We need to do something iconic, like the way the public now recognizes that drunken driving is not acceptable. And we have to get to children earlier, with things like anti-bullying programs, so they don't grow up to repeat the cycle."

A Courant editorial of August 16 addressed "Domestic Abuse: Brutality at Home."  The editorial reminds us, “Tracey Thurman became the first woman in the nation to bring her local police department to court for failing to protect her against her husband. Her successful 1984 suit against Torrington changed Connecticut law, forcing police to arrest abusers instead of just telling them to quiet down.”

. . . . .

Among the pieces I've written over the years about this problem was an October 2008 New Haven Register forum column,  "Domestic Violence No Game"one aim was to make visible what one might call real, respectful, and responsible men.   That is, true masculinity has no room for abuse of loved ones. 

We need to call out this warped behavior, curb it where it exists, and prevent young men from pursuing the abusive path they too often see or even suffer from themselves in their childhood.

8:41 pm edt 

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Health Reform

Below is the text of an August 6, 2009 message that Senator Joseph Lieberman sent me in response to a message submitted through his office website:

“Thank you for contacting me to express your concerns regarding health care reform efforts. I appreciate your taking the time to share your thoughts with me, and I hear and understand your concerns when it comes to health care reform.

Americans today are faced with greater uncertainty than ever before when it comes to their health needs. These concerns often focus around rising medical costs, access to coverage, and quality of care.  With more than 45 million uninsured Americans and health care spending levels that exceed any in the world, our current health care system is unsustainable and one where we reward quantity over quality.  The need for health care reform has been evident for quite some time. We cannot afford to wait any longer to provide Americans with the high-quality, affordable health care they deserve, even though doing so will require making some difficult decisions.

As you may know, various health plans have begun to emerge from Congress, both in the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate.  These initial plans outline key objectives that President Obama has stressed as essential elements to any health care reform plan that might cross his desk.  The President's plan for health care reform addresses the need for protection of a patient's choice of provider and health plan, cost reduction, preventive care, health systems modernization, and long-term care and services.  While the plans that have been discussed thus far in Congress largely reflect the important objectives set forth by the President, final legislation has yet to be approved by the committees that retain jurisdiction over health care reform.

I will continue to work with my colleagues on a bipartisan basis to resolve the remaining issues that are key to reaching a comprehensive final proposal.  A broad coalition is needed when addressing an issue as large, and as important for our nation's citizens, as health care reform.  While, in general, I would prefer not to see a public plan option because of cost concerns and the possibility that it could potentially prevent the formation of the coalition that will be necessary to pass reform, I am very open to all options that have been laid on the table. I am hopeful that my colleagues on both sides of the aisle will come together to achieve meaningful health care reform that expands coverage, reduces costs, and improves the quality of care in our nation.

Please rest assured that I will keep your concerns in mind as we move forward with this important work.  I hope you continue to visit my website at http://lieberman.senate.gov  for updated news about my work on behalf of Connecticut and the nation.  Please contact me if you have any additional questions or comments about our work in Congress.”

The message that I had sent the night before (August 5) had said in part:

“Senator Lieberman,
I understand you are a cosponsor of the Healthy Americans Act and that you are concerned about costs of any health reform, as well as about the preservation of the private insurance market.  I hope that you will find a way to reconcile these legitimate concerns with the establishment of a public option to increase competition, quality, and access to health care.  This year is the time to act, in the way that Social Security and Medicare were created in the 1930s and 1960s.”

Below are a few recent New York Times articles with various perspectives, including that of President Obama himself:

Op-Ed Contributor:  Why We Need Health Care Reform
By BARACK OBAMA, August 16, 2009 
"In the end, health care reform isn't about politics and fear. It's about changing a system that often works better for the health-insurance companies than it does for millions of Americans."

Economic View:  A Public Option Isn't a Curse, or a Cure
, August 16, 2009
An insurance option run by the government would neither invigorate nor destroy the health care system. . . . A public option is neither necessary nor sufficient for achieving the real goals of reform, and those goals are too important to risk losing the war.”

Beliefs:  In Debate Over Health Policy, Some Words Are Seldom Spoken
By PETER STEINFELS, August 15, 2009  
"The philosopher Daniel Callahan talked about the role that bioethics should play in the current debate on overhauling the health care system."

Op-Ed Contributors:  10 Steps to Better Health Care  August 13, 2009
"In studying communities all over America, we have found evidence that more effective, lower-cost care is possible."

Editorial:  Health Reform and Small Business  August 13, 2009
"A vast majority of small businesses and their workers are likely to benefit greatly from pending health care bills. They should be supporting, not opposing, reform."

. . . . .

The Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut is a state-based resource.  SustiNet – enacted over Gov. Jodi Rell’s veto -- is its proposal to control health care costs, save Connecticut’s families and businesses money, and broaden coverage.

11:20 pm edt 

Archive Newer | Older