Upcoming Events: San Francisco

Mon 3/16

Image - The Impact of the Affordable Care Act on Women

The Impact of the Affordable Care Act on Women

Date: Mon, March 16, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Health care experts delve deep into the Affordable Care Act.

Carlina Hansen, Executive Director, Women’s Community Clinic
Claire Brindis, DrPH, Director, UCSF Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies
Alice Huan-mei Chen, M.D., M.P.H., Chief Integration Officer, Director of the Center for Innovation in Access and Quality, and Director of the eReferral Program, San Francisco General Hospital; Professor of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco — Moderator

On January 1, 2014, many of the health reforms mandated by the 2010 Affordable Care Act were set to take effect, including free access to preventive health services for 47 million women across America. One year later, there continues to be lively discussion on the success of the 2014 roll out of Obamacare and what changes Americans – particularly women – have seen in their health care these past 15 months. Join our panel of health care experts as they delve deep into the Affordable Care Act, its roll out and continued progress, and discuss what this law truly means for women across the United States.

Tue 3/17

Image - The Allure of Irish Dancing

The Allure of Irish Dancing

Date: Tue, March 17, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
Michael Dillon of the Dillon Magh Adhair Academy of Irish Dance

Michael Dillon, ADCRG, Dillon Magh Adhair Academy of Irish Dance

Come celebrate St. Patrick's Day with a demonstration of Irish dancing by championship-level dancers from a renowned Bay Area dance school. Dillon, an Ard Diploma Coimisiuin le Rinci Gaelacha (a teacher certified by the worldwide governing body of Irish dance), will also explain the history that permeates this detailed and disciplined dance culture. This will be the perfect pre-pub experience, as you are sure to leave with your feet tapping out a jig — or maybe even a reel.

Image - The Internet Is not the Answer

The Internet Is not the Answer

Date: Tue, March 17, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With author Andrew Keen

Andrew Keen, Author; Executive Director, FutureCast; Senior Fellow, CALinnovates; Host, “Keen On”; Columnist, CNN
Elizabeth Stark, Founder, StartBitcoin.org - Moderator

The advent of the Internet ushered in one of the greatest shifts in society since the Industrial Revolution. There are many positive ways in which the Internet has contributed to a more open and dynamic world – think of how easy it is today to keep up with events from around the world, conduct business on a global scale or order the exact product you need by merely tapping a screen. We are, however, less aware of the Internet’s deeply negative effects on our psychology, economy, and culture. From the rise of big data companies to the increasing attempts to monetize almost every human activity, the Internet continues to reconfigure our society – often at great cost. Andrew Keen, a 20-year industry insider, shows us the tech world with all its imperfections, and explores how we can mitigate the unpleasant and unforeseen aftershocks that result from the reshaping of our society.

Wed 3/18

Image - Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman: The Untold Story of Psychiatry

Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman: The Untold Story of Psychiatry

Date: Wed, March 18, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM

Jeffrey Lieberman, M.D.; Lawrence C. Kolb Professor and Chairman of Psychiatry, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons; Author, Shrinks: The Untold Story of Psychology

Psychiatry has come a long way since the days of cruelly chaining "lunatics" in cold cells and parading them as freakish marvels before a gaping public. However, the path to legitimacy for "the black sheep of medicine" has been anything but smooth. Through a period that saw hydrotherapy, lobotomies and primal screaming regularly used as treatments, psychiatry has endured serious growing pains on its way to becoming an accepted evidence-based profession. Dr. Lieberman traces the history of the field, from its birth as a mystic pseudo-science to its maturity, all the while arguing that we should dispel the stigma linked to mental illnesses and treat them as diseases rather than as unfortunate states of mind.

Image - Wills and Trusts in Film

Wills and Trusts in Film

Date: Wed, March 18, 2015
Time: 5:15 PM
Age-old estate planning questions raised in the popular movie A Thousand Acres

John E. O’Grady, Esq., 2012 Chair of the Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law Section, Bar Association of San Francisco

Attorney and mediator O’Grady discusses the latest approaches to the age-old estate planning questions raised in the popular movie A Thousand Acres, a contemporary retelling of Shakespeare’s “King Lear.” He’ll show relevant clips to explore creative ways to protect your property rights and plan for your care and financial security without giving up control of your affairs. There is no need to see the movie in advance.

Image - Socrates Café
This event is Sold Out

Socrates Café

Date: Wed, March 18, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
Discussion of philosophical issues.

The Humanities Forum brings Socrates Café to The Commonwealth Club. It will be held every third Wednesday evening for the discussion of philosophical issues. At each monthly meeting the group's facilitator, Bob Enteen, will invite participants to suggest topics, which are then voted on. The person who proposed the most popular topic will briefly explain why she or he considers the subject interesting and important. An open discussion will follow, ending with a summary. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Thu 3/19

Image - Waterfront Walk

Waterfront Walk

Date: Thu, March 19, 2015
Time: 1:45 PM

Join Rick Evans for his new walking tour exploring the historic sites of the waterfront neighborhood that surrounds the location of the future Commonwealth Club headquarters. Hear the dynamic stories of the entrepreneurs, controversial artists and labor organizers who created this recently revitalized neighborhood. This two-hour tour will give you a lively overview of the historic significance of this neighborhood and a close look at the ongoing development.

Image - The Streets of San Francisco: Policing and the Creation of a Cosmopolita

The Streets of San Francisco: Policing and the Creation of a Cosmopolitan Liberal Politics, 1950-1972

Date: Thu, March 19, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
Christopher Agee, Assistant Professor

Christopher Agee, Assistant Professor, History Department, University of Colorado, Denver

During the Sixties, the nation turned its eyes to San Francisco as the city's police force clashed with the free speech, civil rights and sexual liberation movements. More than just one-time flare-ups, these street-level conflicts forced Americans (and San Franciscans) to reconsider the role of the police officer in democratic society. Historian Christopher Agee explores the influential ways in which San Francisco liberals provided a solution that championed both broad diversity and strong policing by turning to the police as partners and granting them a powerful tool: the use of discretion.

Image - Tom Hayden: Why Cuba Matters

Tom Hayden: Why Cuba Matters

Date: Thu, March 19, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Author and Activist

Tom Hayden, Activist; Director, Peace and Justice Resource Center; Author, Listen, Yankee: Why Cuba Matters; Twitter @tomehayden

In the wake of President Obama’s momentous move to reestablish diplomatic relations with Cuba, one of America's best-known voices of political and social activism offers fresh insight into one of history's most enigmatic relationships between nation states. He draws upon his own past as a revolutionary student leader whose efforts to mobilize political change in the U.S. mirrored a simultaneous radical transformation in Cuba. He explores the great opportunity both countries now have to finally find common ground to the advantage of Cubans and Americans alike.

Fri 3/20

Image - Future of Afghanistan

Future of Afghanistan

Date: Fri, March 20, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM
A panel of young Fulbright scholars.

Rohila Jalali, B.A., Business Administration
Nangyalai Attal, B.A., English Language and Literature, 2014 UN Youth Courage Awardee
Akmal Siddiqu, B.A., Finance and Management
Ihsanullah Shagiwal, B.A., Business Administration
Atta Arghandiwal, Author, Lost Decency: The Untold Afghan Story – Moderator

A panel of young, dedicated Fulbright scholars hailing from Afghanistan and studying critical business and management fields at San Francisco’s Golden Gate University consider their nation’s future and their own personal goals for when they return to their beloved homeland. The three men and one woman are compelling figures: Rohila, who grew up in a Pakistani refugee camp, worked for USAID in Afghanistan; Nangyalai, a recent United Nations Youth Courage Awardee, pushed his government for labor reform; Akmal is a leader in the developing Afghan telecommunications industry; and Ihsanullah has taken on roles for the Afghan government and numerous international aid organizations. Regardless of their varied backgrounds, all are guided by a commitment to gender equality and open entrepreneurial opportunity in shaping Afghanistan’s development.

Image - How Environmental Factors Induce Autoimmune Disorders

How Environmental Factors Induce Autoimmune Disorders

Date: Fri, March 20, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM
Steps you can take to maximize your health.

Aristo Vojdani, Ph.D., Founder, Immunosciences Lab

A remarkable connection exists between the gut and brain, co-dependent parts of the complex immune system. Through bidirectional signaling, helped along by intestinal microbiota, the brain and gut are capable of affecting each other’s functions. Studies have shown that intestinal microbiota even play a significant role in shaping how the brain is wired and have linked these microorganisms to autoimmune diseases and brain-linked disorders such as autism, depression and anxiety. Also important: The autoantibodies triggering autoimmune disorders can be detected 5 to 10 years before the actual onset of disease. Dr. Vojdani, a distinguished immunologist, will discuss the environmental and dietary factors influencing this process and what steps you can take to maximize your health.

Image - Talib Kweli: Race, Justice and Hip Hop

Talib Kweli: Race, Justice and Hip Hop

Date: Fri, March 20, 2015
Time: 7:00 PM
With the lyrically gifted and socially aware rapper.

“The length of black life is treated with short worth.” – Black Star 

Amadou Diallo, an unarmed West African immigrant, was shot 41 times by four police officers in 1999. In response, Talib Kweli organized Hip Hop for Respect  to speak out against police brutality, assembling 41 emcees to represent the 41 shots fired. Now, 15 years later, and in the wake of the deaths of Eric Garner, Michael Brown and countless others, Talib continues to speak out against the militarization of the police force, the prison industrial complex, and institutionalized racism. Considered one of the most lyrically gifted and socially aware rappers of our time, Talib feels that artists have a responsibility to the communities that support their careers.  

Hear from Talib Kweli about his experience in Ferguson, the connection between hip hop and civil rights, and what he’s learned from 20 years in the music business.  

Tue 3/24

Image - Shelby Steele: Equality and Justice
This event is Canceled

Shelby Steele: Equality and Justice

Date: Tue, March 24, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM

Shelby Steele, Senior Fellow, The Hoover Institution; Author, Shame: How America’s Past Sins Have Polarized Our Country

The United States today is hopelessly polarized. The political right and left have hardened into rigid and deeply antagonistic camps, preventing any sort of progress. Amid the bickering and inertia, the promise of the 1960s – when many people came together to fight for equality and universal justice – remains unfulfilled.

Shelby Steele writes that the roots of this impasse can be traced back to that decade of protest, when in the act of uncovering and dismantling our national hypocrisies – racism, sexism, militarism – liberals internalized the idea that there was something inauthentic, if not evil, in the American character. He says the result has been a half-century of well-intentioned but ineffective social programs, such as affirmative action. Steele believes that not only have these programs failed but they also have in almost every case actively harmed America’s minorities and poor. Ultimately, Steele argues, post-60s liberalism has utterly failed to achieve its stated aim: true equality. Liberals, intending to atone for our past sins, have ironically perpetuated the exploitation of this country’s least fortunate citizens.

Image - Power Ball: T. Boone Pickens

Power Ball: T. Boone Pickens

Date: Tue, March 24, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Chairman & CEO, BP Capital

T. Boone Pickens, Chairman & CEO, BP Capital
Greg Dalton, Vice President of Special Projects & Director, Climate One - Moderator

The collapse of oil prices has once again driven the American energy industry from boom to bust. However as U.S companies lay down their rigs T. Boone Pickens thinks supply will contract and prices will head back toward $100 a barrel in the coming year. Other observers say slowing economies in China and Europe could tame oil demand and keep prices around $50 or $60 a barrel.
What do low gasoline prices mean for the US economy? What does $2 gasoline mean for renewable fuels and cutting carbon emissions? 
Join us for a conversation with a legendary oilman about powering America’s economy,  pursuing energy independence and the new geopolitics of oil.

Wed 3/25

Image - The Universe's Plastic Planet Called Earth

The Universe's Plastic Planet Called Earth

Date: Wed, March 25, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
Plastic is everywhere!

Anna Cummins, Executive Director and Co-founder, 5 Gyres Institute; Elected Fellow, Sings World Quest, 2011; Noted Researcher in World Wide Plastic Contamination

Betsy Rosenberg, Creator and Producer, The Green Front/Progressive Radio Network; Green Blogger, HuffPro; Commentator, Fox News

For decades throughout the world, plastic and plastic materials designed to last forever have entered our lives and the worldwide environments in which we live. Plastic is everywhere from plastic bags and wrappings to plastic toys, furniture, household and manufactured items that we buy, use and throw into mountains of non-disposable, non-destructible and non-reducible man-made trash. Today worldwide landfills, oceans, dump sites and beaches are already packed with plastic products that contain large and microscopic particles – polluting earth, ground and air sources and resources. Join our speakers in the discussion of the worldwide use of non-destructible plastic that pollutes our environments and our lives with trillions of tons of manufactured plastic that are sold, used and discarded throughout the world and will not go away.

Image - Tavi Gevinson: INFORUM’s 21st Century Visionary Award

Tavi Gevinson: INFORUM’s 21st Century Visionary Award

Date: Wed, March 25, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Maybe the most influential 18-year-old in America.

Tavi Gevinson, Editor-in-Chief, Rookie Magazine; Editor, Rookie Yearbook Three; Broadway Actress, “This Is Our Youth”

In conversation with Daniel Handler, aka Lemony Snicket, Author; Screenwriter; Accordionist

It’s quite possible that Tavi Gevinson is the most influential 18-year-old in America. Despite the fact that she just graduated from high school, her résumé includes blogging phenom, magazine editor, writer, movie actress and Broadway star. At age 11, she started Style Rookie, a blog that garnered the attention of fashionistas the world over and has since spawned a corresponding online culture magazine, Rookie, three annual yearbooks and a nationwide tour. Frequently dubbed a wunderkind, Tavi is both a hero to teen girls everywhere and a leading creative voice in the digital era, covering topics – from astrophysics and Carl Sagan to how to wear a leotard “without giving a damn” – through a smart, modern, feminist lens. Join us as we honor Tavi Gevinson and her singular voice with INFORUM’s 21st Century Visionary Award.

Thu 3/26

Image - Russian Hill Walking Tour
This event is Sold Out

Russian Hill Walking Tour

Date: Thu, March 26, 2015
Time: 1:45 PM

Join a more active Commonwealth Club Neighborhood Adventure! Russian Hill is a magical area with secret gardens and amazing views. Join Rick Evans for a two-hour hike up hills and staircases and learn about the history of this neighborhood. See where great artists and architects lived and worked, and walk down residential streets where some of the most historically significant houses in the Bay Area are located.

Image - Deep Decarbonization of the United States

Deep Decarbonization of the United States

Date: Thu, March 26, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With scientist Jim Williams

Jim Williams, Chief Scientist, Energy and Environmental Economics (E3)

Is it possible to greatly reduce the carbon emissions of the United States and still maintain a vigorous economy? Concern about climate change impacts on the environment and economy is leading to innovation as scientists seek new ways to reduce carbon emissions. Dr. Williams and his team at E3, along with researchers at Berkeley Lab and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, have completed an assessment of the technical and economic feasibility of reducing U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. Their work is based on a detailed sector-by-sector, region-by-region, year-by-year analysis of the infrastructure changes, technology requirements and costs of a low-carbon transition.

The work was sponsored by the Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project (DDPP), an international collaboration with research teams from the 15 largest GHG emitting nations, who are developing long-term scenarios for decarbonization in their own countries. The DDPP aims to advance the climate dialogue by providing decision makers with a more concrete understanding of what limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius would mean for their countries, states and businesses.

Image - Jane Harman:

Jane Harman: What Are America's Best Strategies in Combatting Global Threats?

Date: Thu, March 26, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Her perspective on urgent national security priorities.

Jane Harman, Former U.S. Representative


Today, non-state actors and unconventional warfare dominate the global threat landscape: ISIL, Boko Haram, hackers for hire and the “little green men” haunting eastern Ukraine. The United States needs – and lacks – clear strategies equal to those challenges. What role should American intelligence play? How can we develop a strong strategic narrative, one that meets young people where they are? What are the best economic and diplomatic tools in our kit? And what about the use of force and new military technologies, like drones and cyber-weapons? During her nine terms in Congress, Harman served on major security committees: eight years on Intelligence, eight years on Homeland Security, and six years on Armed Services. Now the head of Washington's Wilson Center, she will give her perspective on urgent national security priorities facing the United States. 


Mon 3/30

Image - Middle East Discussion Group

Middle East Discussion Group

Date: Mon, March 30, 2015
Time: 5:30 PM

Make your voice heard in an enriching, provocative and fun discussion with Club members as you weigh in on events shaping the face of the Middle East, North Africa and Afghanistan. Each month, the Middle East Member-Led Forum hosts an informal roundtable discussion on a topic frequently suggested by recent headlines. After a brief introduction, the floor will be open for discussion. All interested members are encouraged to attend. There will also be a brief planning session.