Sunday, July 27, 2008

Netroots Nation 2008

Originally posted at Daily Kos 7-16-08

Update: Al Gore made a surprise visit, joining Nancy Pelosi onstage to an outburst of applause from the enthusiastic Netroots bloggers.

Thought I'd let you know I'm going to the Netroots Nation Convention (formerly Yearly Kos) in Austin Thursday-Sunday. I've been planning it for a long time and am really excited. There are a lot of great panels and discussions being offered and an opportunity for me to meet some of the people I've been blogging with for the last year. If you have any issues you'd like me to explore, write about, relate to the other bloggers or to some of the politicians who will be there (Nancy Pelosi, Howard Dean, Wes Clark, Rick Noriega, and more), let me know. I've posted a link to the convention program below.

One big question for us all is what is the future for healthcare in our country considering the problems we are experiencing today both as providers, consumers, patients. I will be attending the Netroots Nation panel:

Emerging Trends in Healthcare Online Sat, 07/19/2008 - 1:30pm, Room 19 The conversational landscape of healthcare online has transformed rapidly. New tools and platforms are transforming the ability of a wide spectrum of parties including healthcare providers, patients, consumers, policymakers and experts to connect to talk about solutions to their healthcare challenges. Experts on the frontier will share the new healthcare trends and share their thoughts on the potential applications and implications for the future of American healthcare. PANELISTS: Josh Orton, Ezra Klein, Ash Damle, Melinda Gibson, Julia Eisman

As you know I am focused on the issues of Energy, Economy, and Environment and how they interrelate within a complex system. Through sharing ideas in the Blogosphere, Energize America was formed and we have begun to focus on developing renewable energies as a means of mitigating our current economic troubles. Doing so, we may prevent further environmental consequences of climate change, and prepare for peak oil (or promote oil independence, if you prefer). Energize America through Act Blue is supporting a group of renewable energy friendly candidates, several of which are here in Houston (this includes Rick Noriega for Senate and Michael Skelly for Congress. But I definitely don't want to leave out one to whom I give special kudos, California's Debbie Cook, a strong energy and environment candidate for Congress who is participating in the Netroots panel.

Update: Both Al Gore and Barack Obama voiced these sentiments loud and clear just days after this writing.

In addition, I am, being a "space brat", interested in the revival of NASA and the space program (link below). I was inspired as a child to dream of space exploration by my dad's active imagination and his encouragement of my reading science fiction like that of Arthur C. Clarke. When Sputnik was launched, he got us kids all stirred up to witness this monumental event, tuning in our fifties style floor-model radio to Sputnik's bleep-bleep sounds. At just the right moment he stampeded us out into the front yard to watch it cross our portion of the sky in Victoria, Texas. I will never forget the excitement. Later, when I was a college student, he and I formed an even closer bond working together on the Saturn moon project. He was in New Orleans where the booster was built and I was at the Mississippi Test Facility where it was tested. In writing about this experience at the Daily Kos, I connected with someone whose father worked at the 3rd facility in that project, the one at Huntsville, Alabama. He gave me the name "space brats", saying that's what his dad called the kids of those who worked on the Apollo project--those kids who had been inspired by the great adventure of space travel. Another poster recalled a film being produced in which us older boomers were dubbed as the "Orphans of Apollo" we were abandoned in our hopes and dreams due to a shift in political-economic will.

I see the possibility of reviving the economy and further developing renewable energies (especially solar energy) to replace expensive and declining oil resources by giving some juice to the space program. Once we develop a fossil fuel-free launch system (which is in the works), space travel can be fueled by capture of solar winds . Eventual colonization within our solar system may also mitigate overcrowding of our planet as our population continues to grow exponentially. The complication of declining resources, climate change, potential pandemics, etc. is likely to prompt a massive die-off during this century according to scenarios developed by Futurists. See below a description of the panel on the revitalization of NASA and the space program.

Netroots Agenda (all panels/discussions):

Panels I will be attending:
Energizing America Setting an Agenda for Progress Fri, 07/18/2008 - 9:00am, Room 12 Created, nurtured and developed in the Blogosphere, Energize America has developed innovative approaches to move forward toward a prosperous, climate-friendly society. EA2020 is working at the nexus of the blogosphere, citizen activism, local governance and Congress. This panel will highlight the strengths and weaknesses of this effort, while setting out an agenda for progress. PANELISTS: Jerome Guillet, Mark Sumner, Mark Begich, Debbie Cook, A Siegel, Jeff Merkley.

Progressive NASA and Space Policy Under a New Administration Fri, 07/18/2008 - 3:00pm, Room 19 NASA is in crisis—overburdened, under-funded and inefficient. Yet the progressive legacy of space, which dates back to JFK, is being quietly reborn: NASA can reinvent itself as a critical resource in climate change mitigation; the UN and some in the U.S. military are collaborating to prevent space weapons from becoming an arms race with China; and progressive "NewSpace" entrepreneurs are creating new domestic high-tech jobs. Before 2009, a new progressive space policy needs to be devised and advocated beyond the traditional space constituencies, to upgrade Bush's failing space exploration vision. Who better to initiate this work than the Netroots? PANELISTS: Lori Garver, Chris Bowers, Patti Grace Smith, George Whitesides, Andrew Hoppins.