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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.
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Monday, November 30, 2009

The happy sutra
When you see someone who is happy & well-provided in life, you
should conclude: 'We, too, have experienced just this sort of thing in the course of that long, long time.'
4:09 pm est 

The happy sutra
When you see someone who is happy & well-provided in life, you
should conclude: 'We, too, have experienced just this sort of thing in the course of that long, long time.'
4:08 pm est 

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Mumbai, One Year Later

It's been a year since the brutal attacks in Mumbai, when innocents of many faiths were massacred by fanatic Lashkar Islamists from Pakistan.

Soon afterward, in a post to this blog, I wrote:

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Mumbai and My Family 

“My brother and his family, as well as my wife's family, live in India.  Terrorism has killed more people in that country than in any other besides Iraq since 2004 (and indeed more than in "all of North America, South America, Central America, Europe and Eurasia put together," according to this August 27, 2007 Times of India article with information to that point).  There is reason for grave concern -- both about personal security and about implications for foreign investment, tourism, and economic growth.  The prospect of inflamed India-Pakistan relations is particularly troubling.

Over Thanksgiving, our family gathered -- the day after the Mumbai attacks -- to reflect on our blessings, to share time together, and to hope that those attacks do not signal further escalation in violence in India and South Asia more broadly.  This past summer had already seen bombs in New Delhi neighborhoods, including a market place, my wife and I had been in three years before.  The Mumbai incidents have scores of direct and indirect victims -- Indian (mostly) and foreign, Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Jewish, Christian.  Comfort to their families.

Members of our family will continue to live in India, to do business there and to visit.  We may be shaken and are well aware of its problems.  But our faith in its strengths, its resilience and its future is powerful.   (This 2006 article may be of interest.)”
. . . 

Late in 2009, the outlook for peace and stability in South Asia remains a major concern, with turbulence in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and nearby Iran, not to mention a growing Maoist insurgency within India to compound tensions with its external rivals.

A few New York Times articles from recent weeks:

India's Guard Is Up, but Weaknesses Remain
By LYDIA POLGREEN and VIKAS BAJAJ, November 25, 2009 
“A year after the deadly assault in Mumbai that killed 163 people, the city has made limited security improvements.”
Pakistan Charges 7 Terrorism Suspects a Year After Attacks That Shocked Mumbai
“On eve of the anniversary of the attacks, the indictments mark one of the first steps toward what is expected to be a complex trial.”
Militant Group Is Intact After Mumbai Siege
By LYDIA POLGREEN and SOUAD MEKHENNET, September 30, 2009 
“The group behind the assault in November 2008 has the capability and intent to strike India again, intelligence files show.”
Maoist Rebels Widen Deadly Reach Across India
By JIM YARDLEY, November 01, 2009 
“Indian Maoists, once dismissed as ragtag ideologues, have evolved into a potent and lethal insurgency.”

. . . 

Now it is Thanksgiving 2009 -- just two days after Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visited Washington and days before President Barack Obama reveals his plans for continued U.S. involvement in countering terrorists in Afghanistan. 

Thanksgiving is often viewed primarily as a family holiday.  It is that, but going back to Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 proclamation of the first annual national day of thanksgiving during the Civil War, it is more.   Lincoln envisioned “the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity, and union.”

Today my family will have in mind India – where my brother, sister-in-law, nephew and other relatives are, and to which my wife, mother, and children will be traveling soon.  We will also be giving thanks for the wonders of this country that has brought us together, and for the men and women of the U.S. military risking their lives in today's wars. 

Let us think, too, of the people of Mumbai.  Peace to them. 
6:31 am est 

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Health Care, ConnPIRG

As the outcome of Congressional legislation on health care remained uncertain, an October 25 New York Times article by Reed Abelson described how Small Business Faces Sharp Rise in Costs of Health Care
“Many small businesses say they are facing the steepest rise in insurance premiums they have seen in recent years. . .
an average of about 15 percent for the coming year — double the rate of last year’s increases. . . . The higher premiums at least partly reflect the inexorable rise of medical costs, which is forcing Medicare to raise premiums, too. Health insurance bills are also rising for big employers, but because they have more negotiating clout, their increases are generally not as steep.”

Also, here's mention  of a Connecticut PIRG effort.  ConnPIRG has documented small businesses’ need for better and less expensive health insurance.

September 10 and August 16 posts below addressed health care, while an April 12 post discussed ConnPIRG and Barack Obama’s declaration of himself as a “PIRG guy.”

ConnPIRG, the Public Interest Network, and Environment Connecticut will be conducting a free “activist workshop” on November 8.  Contact Info@EnvironmentConnecticut.org.

7:09 pm est 

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