Highlights from Day Two of the 2008 Aspen Ideas Festival

July 2, 2008  • Institute Contributor

Contact: Zachary Hastings Hooper
The Atlantic
202-862-4355 / zachary@rosengrouppr.com
Contact: Jennifer Myers
The Aspen Institute
202-286-1680 / jennifer.myers@aspeninstitute.org
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Aspen Ideas Festival Website: www.aifestival.org
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Highlights from Day Two of the 2008 Aspen Ideas Festival

Aspen, Colorado (July 2, 2008) –The Aspen Institute and The Atlantic today announced highlights from day two of the Aspen Ideas Festival:   


  • “Wall Street is a tremendous misnomer. If you mean Wall Street firms, there were a lot of mistakes made. It is quite obvious that there was too much leverage and liquid assets. That wasn’t all the Wall Street firms. The institutions that lost the money should blame themselves and not the federal government.” –JP Morgan Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon in conversation with Charlie Rose
  • “What we’ve done is we’ve purified the meritocracy in this country – we’ve reduced barriers based on skin color, barriers to women, and we’ve heightened the competition. It used to be really important to be born into a White Protestant establishment family. Now it’s really important to be into an educated family. And the family you’re born into is more important than it was 40 years ago.” –The New York Times’ David Brooks
  • “If you know enough, you can fix it, you can do it better. If you understand the basics of science and technology, you’re not afraid of messing with computers, genetics, and formulations because you understand it. If we really want to drive innovation, we need to actually understand this stuff. And that means that our youth needs to understand it.” –William Swope, corporate vice president and general manager, Intel’s Corporate Affairs Group
  • “The less often you hear the word internet, the more important and integral in your life it will be.” –The Wall Street Journal’s Walter Mossberg 
  • “If you look at successful democracies around the world, it’s hard to find them without strong political parties. When a voter has to choose a leader, the common wisdom is vote the man, not the party. Well, not so clear. There’s a lot to be said for voters who pay attention to party. It tells you about who the person is going to surround himself with.” –Joseph Nye, Sultan of Oman professor of international relations at John F. Kennedy School of Government of Harvard University


  • Tyne Daly and Sandra Day O’Connor kicked off the day at the Mercedes-Benz Sunrise Stretch, a warm-up session taught by one of Aspen’s top yoga instructors. Justice O’Connor then spoke to a group of Bezos Scholars, 12 of the country’s top high school juniors.
  • Damian Woetzel, the New York City Ballet’s former Principal Dancer and the 2008 Harman-Eisner Artist in Residence, gave a special “West Side Story” dance lesson.
  • The New York Times’ Thomas Friedman took in a screening of Two Million Minutes, a film that brings viewers inside the schools, homes, and hangouts of students in China, India, and the United States, where time allocation, intellectual aspirations, and academic effort during their high school years – two million minutes of time – vary widely.


  • U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez and Atlantic Media Chairman David Bradley examine the relationship between the United States and Latin America.
  • Newsweek’s Howard Fineman explores “The Thirteen American Arguments.”
  • The Atlantic’s James Bennet; Slate’s Jacob Weisberg; The Huffington Post’s Arianna Huffington; NewsHour with Jim Lehrer’s Terence Smith; The Washington Post’s Jonathan Capehart; The Colbert Report’s Emily Lazar; and the Aspen Institute’s Charlie Firestone discuss media and the campaign.
  • Adventurer and National Geographic photographer James Balog, through breathtaking photography and storytelling, offers an unprecedented look at retreating glaciers in Greenland, Iceland, Alaska, the Alps, and the Rockies.
  • Cobbler and conversation with Chez Panisse’s Alice Waters and The Atlantic’s Corby Kummer.
  • Stage director Stephen Wadsworth and actress Tyne Daly on poems that change your life.
  • U.S. Representative Diana DeGette (CO) and breast oncologist Ezekiel Emanuel discuss sex, science, and stem cells.
  • Allstate Ideas Exchange: The Atlantic’s Ross Douthat, Matthew Yglesias and Marc Ambinder and The New York Times’ David Brooks discuss the future of party politics.

Video highlights, including clips from The New York Times’ David Brooks on neuroscience and sociology, are available on the Institute’s website at www.aifestival.org/audio-video-library.php.

What’s Ross Douthat’s Big Idea? Find out, join the discussion, and watch the Allstate Ideas Exchange “Is Higher Education for Everyone?” on the Atlantic.com at http://aspenideas.theatlantic.com/.

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 www.aifestival.org. 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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