Upcoming Events: San Francisco

Mon 5/18

Image - Charles Murray: Rebuilding Liberty

Charles Murray: Rebuilding Liberty

Date: Mon, May 18, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Using America’s unique civil society to put government back in its box.

Charles Murray, W.H. Brady Scholar, American Enterprise Institute; Author, By the People: Rebuilding Liberty Without Permission
David Davenport, Research Fellow, Hoover Institution — Moderator

Part of the American Value Series. Underwritten by the Koret Foundation.

Is American freedom being gutted? Acclaimed social scientist and bestselling author Charles Murray says we can no longer hope to roll back the power of the federal government through the normal political process. By his count, the Constitution is broken in ways that cannot be fixed even by a sympathetic Supreme Court, our legal system is increasingly lawless and unmoored from traditional ideas of “the rule of law,” and the legislative process has become systemically corrupt no matter which party is in control.

By the People’s hopeful message is that rebuilding our traditional freedoms does not require electing a right-thinking Congress or president, nor does it require five right-thinking justices on the Supreme Court. Instead, Murray argues that that rebuilding can be done by the American people, using America’s unique civil society to put government back in its box.

Tue 5/19

Image - Ken Walsh: Presidents and the Cult of Celebrity

Ken Walsh: Presidents and the Cult of Celebrity

Date: Tue, May 19, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM
With long-time Chief White House Correspondent

Ken Walsh, Chief White House Correspondent, U.S. News & World Report; Author, Celebrity in Chief: A History of the Presidents

Walsh joined the U.S. News & World Report in 1984 as a congressional correspondent and has covered presidential politics since 1986. Walsh is one of the longest-serving White House correspondents in history, having traveled to more than 70 countries and conducting numerous interviews with presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H. Bush and Ronald Reagan.

Walsh says, since the beginning of the Republic, presidents have needed to be celebrities and build on their fame. This fame has allowed them to get things done by propelling their agendas and rallying public support for themselves as national leaders. Come hear behind the scenes tales about the intersection of the presidency and pop culture.

Image - Unicef CauseTech: Crowd-sourcing Global Innovation for Good

Unicef CauseTech: Crowd-sourcing Global Innovation for Good

Date: Tue, May 19, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM

Sharad Sapra, M.D., Director, UNICEF Global Innovation Centre
Lisa Nash, Chief Marketing Officer, Thrive Networks; CEO, Blue Planet
Wayne Ferreira, CEO, EcoloBlue

From access to clean water to disease prevention to education, millions of people around the world are in desperate need of innovative technologies and products that fulfill their basic human needs. CauseTech is a landmark initiative to crowd-source breakthrough ideas, inventions, products and emerging technologies, bridging the private and public sector into a global open innovation ecosystem.

Through collaborative thinking, they seek to adapt and deploy inventive technology solutions that can help UNICEF scale its efforts to meet the ever-growing needs of the poorest and most vulnerable and excluded children across 190 countries. Focusing on access to water, health care, nutrition and energy, our panel will showcase the power of community and the early success of work being done through this initiative.

Wed 5/20

Image - Elder Financial Abuse Prevention

Elder Financial Abuse Prevention

Date: Wed, May 20, 2015
Time: 5:15 PM
With San Francisco D.A. George Gascón

Elizabeth Landsverk, M.D., Founder, ElderConsult
George Gascón, San Francisco District Attorney
Helen Karr, Elder Abuse Specialist - Moderator

May is the month to focus on the prevention of elder financial abuse. The city’s top legal authority, D.A. George Gascón, has made combating elder abuse a top priority. To take a proactive approach to halting abuse and bringing offenders to justice, he made the White Collar Economic Crimes Unit responsible for prosecuting financial crimes against seniors. Just last year, his office became the first in the country to successfully convict in two blessing scam cases, schemes that target elderly Chinese women. Gascón is joined by Dr. Elizabeth Landsverk, a private practitioner who has collaborated with the D.A. to addresses elders’ needs, and moderator Helen Karr, who has focused her entire law career on the issue of elder abuse.

Thu 5/21

Image - San Francisco Architecture Walking Tour

San Francisco Architecture Walking Tour

Date: Thu, May 21, 2015
Time: 1:45 PM

Explore San Francisco’s Financial District with historian Rick Evans and learn the history and stories behind some of our city’s remarkable structures, streets, and public squares. Hear about the famous architects that influenced the building of San Francisco after the 1906 Earthquake. Discover hard-to-find rooftop gardens, Art Deco lobbies, unique open spaces, and historic landmarks. This is a tour for locals, with hidden gems you can only find on foot!

Tue 5/26

Image - Andrew Hodges: Alan Turing - The Man Who Inspired "The Imitation Game"

Andrew Hodges: Alan Turing - The Man Who Inspired "The Imitation Game"

Date: Tue, May 26, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM

Andrew Hodges, Professor, Senior Research Fellow, University of Oxford; Author, Alan Turing: The Enigma

It is only a slight exaggeration to say that the British mathematician Alan Turing saved the Allies from the Nazis, invented the computer, and anticipated gay liberation by decades – all before his suicide at age 41. Turing’s revolutionary concept of a universal machine, which he realized in 1945 with his electronic design, laid the foundation for the modern computer. Even more critical at the time, Turing played a leading role in breaking the German Enigma ciphers during World War II, a scientific triumph that helped to swing the course of the war in the Atlantic. At the same time, Turing, despite his wartime service, was eventually arrested and forced to undergo a humiliating treatment program – all for trying to live honestly in a society that defined homosexuality as a crime. Join us for insights into this remarkable man with the author of the book behind the Oscar-nominated film The Imitation Game.

Image - Richard Thaler and Hal Varian: Behavioral Economics

Richard Thaler and Hal Varian: Behavioral Economics

Date: Tue, May 26, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM

Richard Thaler, Behavioral Science and Economics Professor, University of Chicago; Author, Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics; Twitter @R_Thaler
Hal Varian, Chief Economist, Google; Twitter @halvarian
George Anders, Contributing Writer, Forbes; Twitter @GeorgeAnders – Moderator

Traditional economics assumes rational actors. Our lived experiences, however, tell us otherwise: real people are often error-prone individuals rather than Spock-like automatons. Whether buying concert tickets or applying for a mortgage, we all make decisions that deviate from assumed rationality standards. We misbehave, and our misbehavior has serious consequences. Dismissed at first by economists as an amusing sideshow, the study of human miscalculations and their effects on markets now drives efforts to make smarter decisions in our personal lives, our businesses and our governments. Thaler and Varian, economists of the information age, discuss the intersection of economics and psychology, and offer innovative strategies to approach an increasingly complex world.

Image - Is California Losing the Race for Global Innovation?

Is California Losing the Race for Global Innovation?

Date: Tue, May 26, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
Urgent challenges for Bay Area firms.

Robert D. Atkinson, Ph.D.; President, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation

Growing threats to California’s leadership in global innovation pose urgent challenges for Bay Area firms as well as national, state and local policymakers. California has already fallen to third position behind other U.S. states in innovation competitiveness. California’s biotech leadership is under threat from higher government R&D investment in countries like China and Scandinavia and more attractive regulatory regimes in markets such as Europe. In IT China’s rising export prowess and its growing restrictions on sales by foreign firms limit future growth and put increased pressure on margins. European regulators hold very different views on everything from Google’s competitive behavior and the safety of GMO crops to the need to let data cross national borders. In an array of emerging IT applications such as health, smart cities and mobile finance, foreign nations lead America. To top it off, Washington is consumed in political struggles, leaving little space for a robust innovation and competitiveness agenda.

In an informal dialogue, we will discuss the gamut of challenges, their potential impact and actions needed to sustain U.S. and California innovation-based competitiveness.

Wed 5/27

Image - Rise of the Robots

Rise of the Robots

Date: Wed, May 27, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
What course will our future will take?

Martin Ford, Author; Software Developer; Computer Designer

Artificial intelligence is already well on its way to making “good jobs” obsolete: many paralegals, physicians and even – ironically – computer programmers are poised to be replaced by robots. As technology continues to develop, more and more traditional jobs will be shed. Unless we radically reassess our economic and political systems, some fear that this transition to extreme automation could result in massive unemployment, stark inequality and the implosion of the economy itself. Martin Ford, a successful Silicon Valley entrepreneur, offers both a vision of this new technology and a call to arms to face its implications, made more potent by Ford’s own integral role in creating the automated future he describes. His warning rings clearly: robots are coming, and we must decide now what course our future will take.

Image - Dr. Sylvia Earle: One Big Ocean

Dr. Sylvia Earle: One Big Ocean

Date: Wed, May 27, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
An ocean pioneer.

Sylvia Earle, Ocean Explorer; National Geographic Explorer in Residence; Founder, Mission Blue and SEAlliance
Greg Dalton, Founder, Climate One – Moderator

Dr. Sylvia Earle – fondly dubbed “Her Deepness” by The New York Times – holds the women’s record for the deepest ocean dive and has led more than 100 undersea expeditions, logging more than 7,000 hours underwater. Formerly chief scientist of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Dr. Earle has garnered countless international honors and played a leading role as researcher and educator capable of crossing any barrier – whether it be linguistic, geographic or a seemingly impassible ocean depth.

Thu 5/28

Image - Russian Hill Walking Tour

Russian Hill Walking Tour

Date: Thu, May 28, 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 - Cuba in the 21st Century: Capitalism or Socialism?

Cuba in the 21st Century: Capitalism or Socialism?

Date: Thu, May 28, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With professor Juan A. Triana Barros

Juan A. Triana Barros, Professor, Havana University and Polytechnic Institute of Havana

As the U.S. moves toward removing economic sanctions and restoring relations with Cuba, what will be the impact on the Cuban economy? What types of economic reforms have already taken place in Cuba? What is planned in terms of private ownership and a private business sector? How does the country plan to build a new type of Cuban socialism within the context of a global open market? Come hear economics professor Juan Triana discuss the history of Cuba’s socio-economic system and the implications of today’s reforms.

Image - Former San Francisco Giant Bengie Molina and Joan Ryan

Former San Francisco Giant Bengie Molina and Joan Ryan

Date: Thu, May 28, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
An inspiring true story

Bengie Molina, Former MLB Catcher (2007-2010), SF Giants; Co-author, Molina
Joan Ryan, Media Consultant, SF Giants; Co-author, Molina
In conversation with Roy Eisenhardt, Lecturer in Sports Law, UC Berkeley Law School; Former President, Oakland A's

Good Lit event underwritten by the Bernard Osher Foundation

The inspiring true story of the poor Puerto Rican factory worker, Benjamin Molina Santana, who against all odds raised the greatest baseball dynasty of all time: Molina's three sons – Bengie, Jose, and Yadier – have each earned two World Series rings, which is unprecedented in the sport, and his story is told by one of them, Bengie.

Bengie was the least likely to reach the majors. He was too slow, too sensitive and too small. But craving his beloved father’s respect, Bengie weathered failure after deflating failure until one day he was hoisting a World Series trophy in a champagne-soaked clubhouse. All along he thought he was fulfilling his father’s own failed dream of baseball glory, only to discover it had not been his father’s dream at all.

Mon 6/1

Book Discussion: Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking by Anya Von Bremzen

Date: Mon, June 01, 2015
Time: 5:30 PM

A witty, warm and engaging book about Russians and the food obsessions of Soviet life; it is also a culinary history of the Russian Revolution and its consequences. In the great tradition of Russian memoirs, it presents a view of the country's past and culture in the mode of “laughter through tears.” A delicious read complete with recipes.

Image - 84th Annual California Book Awards Ceremony

84th Annual California Book Awards Ceremony

Date: Mon, June 01, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
Some of California’s most gifted writers!

The Book Awards is sponsored by Bank of the West.

Since 1931, The Commonwealth Club has honored the Golden State’s literary giants at the California Book Awards. At our special awards ceremony, we will bestow Gold and Silver medals in several categories, including fiction, non-fiction, first fiction, poetry, young adult and juvenile.  Come hear from some of California’s most gifted writers. See you at the ceremony!

 

Tue 6/2

Digital Gold, The History and Future of Bitcoin

Date: Tue, June 02, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With reporter and author Nathaniel Popper

Nathaniel Popper, Reporter, The New York Times; Author, Digital Gold

Believers in Bitcoin see it as a potential basis for a financial system free of banks and governments. So far it has made millions for some people and prison terms for others. National banking regulators are just beginning to set rules and regulations for bitcoin in light of recent scandals and its use by criminal enterprises.

Popper, who has covered the intersections between Wall Street and Silicon Valley for The New York Times, wrote Digital Gold, a best seller on the history of Bitcoin, the digital money and financial technology that is used globally. Join us for a discussion on the history and future of bitcoin and its impact on financial markets.

Wed 6/3

Image - A Passion for Paris: Romanticism and Romance in the City of Light

A Passion for Paris: Romanticism and Romance in the City of Light

Date: Wed, June 03, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM
With author David Downie

David Downie, Author, A Passion for Paris

Downie seeks to uncover why Paris has reigned as the world's most romantic city for over 150 years. In his combined memoir, history text and travelogue, Downie takes us through Paris' secluded parks, artists' studios, cafés and streets—many unchanged in centuries—while walking hand-in-hand with Victor Hugo, Flaubert, George Sand, Baudelaire, Balzac and many others. Downie finds hidden sources of Paris' chic, glamorous allure in its bizarre culture of heroic negativity, and in the carefree atmosphere created by its subversive literature extolling rebellion, mayhem and melancholy.

Image - Gary Schlossberg: Forecasting the Economy at Mid Year

Gary Schlossberg: Forecasting the Economy at Mid Year

Date: Wed, June 03, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With Wells Fargo's Senior Economist

Gary Schlossberg, Senior Economist, Wells Capital Management; Former researcher, U.S. Treasury and Federal Reserve Board

Gary Schlossberg analyzes the economic, financial and investment environments for a fee-based, institutional money manager with over $340 billion in assets under management, Wells Capital Management (WCM), along with groups within Wells Fargo & Co. He also consults with the organization’s customers and internal professionals and is a member of WCM Policy and Liquidity Management strategy committees. Schlossberg is known for his well-packaged presentations on economic business and is quoted in The Financial Press. He also appears on business radio and TV programs in the U.S., Japan and in the U.K. Hear him here next.

Thu 6/4

Image - Medical Innovation: How Can We Get the Right Technology at the Right Pri

Medical Innovation: How Can We Get the Right Technology at the Right Price?

Date: Thu, June 04, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM
Is medical technology too expensive?

James C. Robinson, Professor of Health Economics and Chair of Berkeley Center for Health Technology, UC Berkeley

Innovation is the engine that drives quality improvement in health care, but also the unsustainable growth in expenditures. The life sciences industry creates a remarkable pipeline of new drugs, devices, and diagnostics, but too often these are used on the wrong patient, at the wrong time, or at the wrong price. In his new book, Purchasing Medical Innovation, Professor Robinson analyzes the roles of the Food and Drug Administration, Medicare and private insurers, physicians, hospitals, and consumers as purchasers of effective but expensive technologies. Is medical technology too expensive? Who should – and will – decide? One of America’s leading health policy experts, Dr. Robinson is noted for bringing real-world experience to policy debates and scientific rigor to the professional and industry world.

I Never Knew There Were so Many Stars: San Francisco Ninth Graders at Camp Mather in the Sierras

Date: Thu, June 04, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM

Erik Rice, Supervisor, College and Career Readiness, San Francisco Unified School District
Vanessa Varko-Fontana, Community Health Outreach Worker, John O'Connell High School Ninth Grade Students from John O'Connell High School
Laura Page, Arts and Education Program Manager, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission - Moderator

In association with San Francisco Public Utilities Commission

In spring of 2015, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission and the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department are bringing students from San Francisco's Mission District to Camp Mather in the Sierras. For the second year in a row, students will swim, hike and learn about Hetch Hetchy, the Sierras, our national and state forests and explore mountain environments, stars in the skies and opportunities for work and careers. Join our panel to learn about students' adventures in discovering forests, rivers, lakes, wild life, horse trails and nature's wonders.