I’m in a talk today by Barbara Boxer at the Microsoft SVC campus. I don’t really know that much about her (I can’t even recall if she’s the junior or senior senator from CA — I think junior), but as this introductory speaker has said, it’s her second term and she serves on the “High Tech Working Group” as well as the Commerce Committee. The thing I’ve always noticed about the demeanor of people in “high places” is their posture and Senator Boxer was no exception. It seems they’re so relaxed and poised. One of the really interesting stories she passed along was when she was giving a talk at a big pharma company where a young man in the audience told her that he was still paying 8% on his college loans and was unable to refininace them. So, she took that back to congress and introduced a bill to allow students consolidate and refinance their federal loans. She talked also for quite a bit on the importance of pervase broadband. Her ideas on the futre, roughly is: reneweed commitment on basic sciences (build the national research labs, etc), renewed funding and size and duration on size and grants for NSF to graduate research, the “Make College Affordable Act” to make college loans/tuition tax deuctable (? — didn’t quite catch it), and a digital summit between tech leaders and goverment to build technology into poor communities.