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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, March 12, 2022

Donor Generosity, and How Private/Nonprofit Institutions Can Complement Public Ones

Groton School's Quarterly alumni/ae magazine includes a piece on my work with Connecticut CASA.

The interview provided a chance to reflect on my experience of benefiting from financial aid and my appreciation of how the generosity of donors--and leadership from Temba Maqubela among others--has expanded such aid over the decades. There is also a keen sense of how such private options are merely a complement to--not a substitute for--investment in public institutions.

10:10 pm est 

Sunday, March 6, 2022

Parenting Teenagers

This is to record two first-time parenting milestones in the last week: practicing driving with my daughter (who recently received her learner's permit), and helping my son shave!  The youngsters are no longer so young...
1:41 pm est 

Saturday, March 5, 2022

Ukraine, Humanitarian Relief, and the late Paul Farmer

Russia's appalling invasion of Ukraine is creating a wave of refugees, as in other contemporary crises from Syria, Yemen, and Afghanistan to Ethiopia, Sudan and elsewhere.  Putin's war of aggression is affecting--among millions of others--friends and family of Connecticut friends who are from Ukraine.  Let us hope the world will rally effectively against Russia, with severe sanctions and by aiding Ukraine in its defense.  Justice for war criminals, and peace to Ukraine!

My wife and I have long supported organizations including the International Rescue Committee and Doctors Without Borders and recently were spurred to donate again.  They are among the best such groups, along with other favorites such as International Planned Parenthood and Partners in Health--whose founder, Paul Farmer, recently died at just 62.  He was a heroic defender of humanity; we need more like him.

12:22 pm est 

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