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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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Saturday, July 23, 2011

Congressional Legislation, Teachers Institutes

Yesterday, a two-week Intensive Session concluded at Yale for public school teachers participating as National Fellows in seven national seminars (mentioned here in a May 8, 2011 post).

There is also news of Congressional legislation to create a competitive grant program to establish Teachers Institutes in additional states throughout the nation.  The Senators’
and Representatives’ plan is modeled after the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute®.

Congressmen Chaka Fattah and Jesse Jackson Jr. and Senator Christopher Coons are among the sponsors and cosponsors of this legislation, introduced by Connecticut
s U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal and Joseph Lieberman and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro.
A September 26, 2010 post mentioned related news, including about STEM education in particular.

5:05 pm edt 

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Health, Food, Land, Trust

Last year, a July 31, 2010 post among others mentioned Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign.  Earlier posts, such as on February 17, 2010, had cited resources including the Food Project, a sponsor of the Real Food Challenge.  October 2010 posts – specifically on October 17 and October 12 – addressed related nutritional and health issues, as well as farm policy.  Now I am curious to see the documentary film Farmageddon: The Unseen War on American Family Farms.

Regarding the preservation of open space in Connecticut, former State Rep. James Spallone wrote a July 1 letter opposing a controversial land swap and urging Gov. Dannel Malloy to veto a land conveyance bill.  The governor has now signed the bill.  While there is still a possibility developers will fail to obtain the necessary local permission within two years to proceed with the project, I share Spallone’s view; the proposal should not have been included in the land conveyance bill. 

On June 21, while noting my support for much of what the Malloy administration is doing amid difficult fiscal circumstances, I wrote the following to the governor:

“…[The land-swap measure serves a] constituency more private than public, and far too narrow to warrant the troubling precedent that would be set. This exchange would violate a DEP policy that land obtained for the public benefit ‘shall not be exchanged’ unless it meets stringent criteria unmet in this case…. [L]eadership can still ensure that principles of conservation and the long-term public trust prevail over a pernicious political move that would only erode that trust.”

1:26 am edt 

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Bloody Good

Previously here, a December 31, 2010 post among others noted the need for blood, particularly during vacation periods, when school-based and corporate blood drives are scarce.

The American Red Cross offers many opportunities for volunteers to donate blood; I did so today.  A fundamental reason to give blood is that few eligible donors do so – about 5 percent of them, according to the Mayo Clinic, while Red Cross data indicate about 38 percent of the U.S. population is eligible.  Even if these sources may not define eligibility quite the same way, there is much room for improvement.  Giving blood is a relatively painless process that helps the approximately 5 million patients per year who receive blood in the U.S., according to 2006 Red Cross figures. 

Nearly every Friday afternoon, the New Haven Red Cross chapter house holds a blood drive at 703 Whitney Avenue.  Call 1-800-RED-CROSS or visit www.RedCrossBlood.org.

1:21 pm edt 

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