Fireworks Over Aspen–Highlights from Day Four of the 2008 Aspen Ideas Festival

July 4, 2008  • Institute Contributor

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Fireworks Over Aspen
–Highlights from Day Four of the 2008 Aspen Ideas Festival–

Aspen, Colorado (July 4, 2008) – As fireworks are set to fly above Aspen, the Aspen Institute and The Atlantic today announced highlights from day four of the Aspen Ideas Festival.


  • “We’re going to live with risk for a very long period of time. We need to develop a set of rules that are somewhere between complacency and hysteria.” – Michael Chertoff, U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security
  • “I want to gently suggest to you that this might not be adequate advice.” –The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg to Michael Chertoff regarding current homeland security recommendations about what to do if a nuclear attack occurs
  • “I don’t think you can have a dialogue with somebody when you put a precondition out there telling them what you want. We should talk to people before going to military options.” –General Colin Powell
  • America has a problem and the world has a problem. America has lost its way in recent years; bad habits have weakened our society’s ability and willingness to take on big challenges. The world also has a problem. It’s becoming hot, flat, and crowded. I am convinced that the best way for America to solve its big problem and the best way for America to gets its groove back is for America to take the lead in solving the world’s problem.” –The New York Times’ Thomas Friedman
  • “The green economy can no longer just be a place where affluent people spend money. It must be a place where ordinary people can earn money.” – Van Jones, Founder and President, Green For All; Co-Founder, Ella Baker Center for Human Rights
  • “We’re all for democracies but I think we’ve got to get in the frame of mind that people are going to watch what we do as a model much more than listen to what we tell them to do. I think we’ve got to show by example.” – Senator Sam Nunn, Co-Chairman and CEO, The Nuclear Threat Initiative
  • “The public school system needs to update the curriculum. They’re teaching us how to be workers. Not how to own businesses.” –Michael Dean, vice president, National Alumni Council, Youthbuild USA
  • “You hear a lot about there’s no silver bullet. However, we firmly believe there’s a diamond in the rough. The diamond in the rough is energy efficiency. Part of our role is proving it can be done.” –Rhonda Zygocki, vice president of policy, government and public affairs, Chevron Corporation
  • “The military sees itself as an elite warrior force and a draft undermines that.” –The Atlantic’s Robert Kaplan
  • “We have a real problem with ‘a cure.’” –Anthony Fauci, director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health


  • Admiral Gary Roughead, 29th chief of Naval Operations, spoke to an overflowing crowd during panel discussion about Iraq and the future national security challenges confronting the U.S.
  • Thomas Friedman and Alma Powell attending a live broadcast of WNYC’s The Brian Lehrer Show, which featured an interview with Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez and a panel on the 21st-century workforce with Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings, Wendy Kopp of Teach For America, and philanthropist Eli Broad.
  • General Colin Powell and Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter seen chatting at the start of a session on the presidency and the Constitution.
  • Adventurer and National Geographic photographer James Balog walking viewers through images of glacial recession and breakage—some the size of 3,000 Capitol buildings—off of Ilulisat, Greenland.


  • ”Notes to a President”: A live taping of WNYC’s The Brian Lehrer Show with Supreme Court Judicial Clerk Joshua Hawley, U.S. Representative Jane Harman (CA), Stanford professor and Pulitzer-prize winter David Kennedy, and Center for American Progress CEO John Podesta
  • A presentation by Douglas Schoen of an exclusive poll on what America wants from this election
  • A look at sports and American society with USA Today’s Christine Brennan, New York Mets CEO Fred Wilpon, sports economist Andrew Zimbalist, Olympic gold medalist Harrison Dillard, and ESPN’s John Walsh
  • Actress Tyne Daly, Condé Nast Portfolio’s Dana Thomas, and The New York Times’  Alex Kuczynski discuss youth, beauty, and the 21st century quest for perfection
  • Allstate Ideas Exchange: The Atlantic’s Matthew Yglesias, Megan McArdle, Michael Hirschorn, and Marc Ambinder, along with Project Agape Co-founder and Chairman Sean Parker, sort out digital storytelling and the future of journalism
  • An intimate evening with three award winning poets: Kay Ryan, Tony Hoagland and Dana Gioia                         

Video highlights, including a clip of “Food, Fuel, and Forests,” are available on the Institute’s website at

Read Clive Crook’s notes from Aspen, join the discussion, and watch Allstate Ideas Exchange including “The Future of Party Politics,” “Is Higher Education for Everyone?” and “What do Evangelicals want in 2008?” at

Run in partnership with The Atlantic, the Aspen Ideas Festival features more than 250 leaders from the fields of arts, science, culture, religion, philosophy, economics, and politics in a deep and inquisitive public discourse on the most invigorating ideas and issues facing the world today. For more information about other events open to the public, a complete list of confirmed speakers, and passholder information, please visit Sponsors for the 2008 Aspen Ideas Festival include Allstate, Altria, Boeing, Booz Allen Hamilton, Chevron, Ernst & Young, Intel, JPMorgan, Mercedes-Benz, and Thomson Reuters.

Since it was founded 150 years ago, The Atlantic has helped shape the national debate on the most critical issues of our times, from politics, business, and the economy, to technology, arts, and culture. The Atlantic’s parent enterprise, Atlantic Media Company, is a Washington, D.C., based publishing company whose flagship properties include The Atlantic, National Journal, and Government Executive. With more than 3 million readers among the ranks of business, politics, government and academia, the publishing properties of Atlantic Media enjoy a prestigious reputation, acquired through 150 years of publishing top-quality American literature and journalism.

The Aspen Institute, founded in 1950, is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering enlightened leadership and open-minded dialogue. Through seminars, policy programs, conferences and leadership development initiatives, the Institute and its international partners seek to promote nonpartisan inquiry and an appreciation for timeless values. The Institute is headquartered in Washington, DC, and has campuses in Aspen, Colorado, and on the Wye River near the shores of the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland. Its international network includes partner Aspen Institutes in Berlin, Rome, Lyon, Tokyo, New Delhi, and Bucharest, and leadership initiatives in Africa, Central America, and India.


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