Hello to all from Arctic Alaska.
These are exciting times in planning and local innovation. Scores of local communities, including some in Alaska, are passing resolutions against the Patriot Act or some parts of it, and some local librarians and officials are refusing to cooperate.
Also, San Francisco and then Chicago Mayors are expressing support for same-sex marriage. There are also local concerns expressed about some lax federal environmental standards, and against federal offshore oil leasing, for example. some local communities are curbing sprawl and revitalizing central city and old industrial areas, even as the federal highway system expands.

Local communities are encouraging energy efficient buildings and transportation, including the growth of bike and pedestrian-friendly areas.
We are used to globalization and the idea that new ideas come from Washington, DC, think tanks or large corporations.
But I would offer that each and every local community has so much potential for innovation. Lessons from one can enrich many others.
We as planners can be right in the middle of such an effort.
My home community Barrow has harsh winters and several months without the sun, but still active outdoor festivals and programs, including the farthest north scale model of the solar system, boardwalks, trails, etc.
Stay involved!!! And have fun too!
Earl