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

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Student-Athlete Miye Oni to the NBA's Utah Jazz

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!
10:00 am edt 

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Father's Day and Family Activities

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.

Also on Father's Day, this is to note that my dad--Richard D. Brown, whose books include Self-Evident Truths: Contesting Equal Rights from the Revolution to the Civil War--recently published an op-ed (co-authored with Ronald Formisano) on the idea of the "heartland" in the U.S.  The piece appears on Medium after versions were published in the Hartford Courant and the Herald Leader (of Kentucky, where Ron Formisano is based).
10:48 am edt 

Saturday, June 8, 2019

National CASA Conference

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.
9:43 pm edt 

Archive Newer | Older