Upcoming Events

Mon 10/20

Image - Matt Bai: When Politics Went Tabloid

Matt Bai: When Politics Went Tabloid

Date: Mon, October 20, 2014
Time: 12:00 PM
Author explores the history of the 24-hour news cycle.

Matt Bai, National Political Columnist, Yahoo News; Author, All the Truth Is Out: The Week Politics Went Tabloid; Twitter @mattbai
Doug Sovern, Political Reporter, KCBS Radio - Moderator

At a certain point in this country’s media history, the 24-hour news cycle was born – Bai asserts that it was with the Gary Hart scandal in 1987. As a presidential hopeful, Hart was caught in a few compromising photographs with a gorgeous and young model. The end of his presidential aspirations was the beginning of the tabloidization of news, says Bai. He’ll discuss the media’s current fixation on personal character over public legislation when it comes to politicians. A key point in Bai’s discussion will be Hart’s true political legacy, rather than the salacious fall from grace for which he’s remembered.

Image - Cult or Benign Cure-all? Life in Transcendental Meditation’

Cult or Benign Cure-all? Life in Transcendental Meditation’s Hidden Society

Date: Mon, October 20, 2014
Time: 5:15 PM
A member will describe her life in the secret society.

Gina Catena, MS, CNM, NP; Contributor and Speaker, International Cultic Studies Association

Catena will describe her life in the secret society that hides behind Transcendental Meditation. Drawing from 50 years and three generations of family influenced by TM’s founder, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Catena says that TM’s well-funded marketing programs hide an underbelly with mystical teachings, advanced celibate programs, a world government with golden-crowned Rajas and legal controversies. The meditation program made famous by the Beatles guru now makes inroads into public schools and the Veterans Administration through the David Lynch Foundation. Listeners can draw their own conclusions.

Image - Science & Technology Organizational Meeting

Science & Technology Organizational Meeting

Date: Mon, October 20, 2014
Time: 6:15 PM
Opening for the new chair to lead the Forum in 2015.

The Club’s Science & Technology Member-Led Forum has an opening for the new chair to lead our Forum in 2015 and beyond. Both long-time and new Club members are welcome! If you are interested in being considered, please bring (1) your resume and (2) a one-page essay on why you would like to serve as the chair of the Science & Technology Member-Led Forum. Also, please attend as many Member-Led Forum events as possible prior to attending this organizational meeting.

Image - Ferguson, The Bay Area and Beyond: A Conversation About Race and Justice
This event is Sold Out

Ferguson, The Bay Area and Beyond: A Conversation About Race and Justice

Date: Mon, October 20, 2014
Time: 6:30 PM
Difficult questions about racial profiling and accountability.

Brittany Ferrell, Ferguson Activist & Organizer, Millennial Activists United
Tef Poe, Ferguson Activist & Organizer, Hands Up United; Hip Hop Artist
Torey Russell, Ferguson Activist & Organizer, Hands Up United
Alexis Templeton, Ferguson Activist & Organizer, Millennial Activists United
Phil Agnew, Executive Director, Dream Defenders
Michelle Alexander, Civil Rights Attorney; Social Justice Advocate; Author, The New Jim Crow
John Burris, Civil Rights Attorney
Jari “Sojari” Bradley, Slam Poetry Performer
Michael McBride, Lead Pastor, The Way Christian Center, Berkeley CA; Director of Urban Strategies, PICO National Network
Van Jones, Host, “Crossfire”; Former Special Advisor for Green Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, White House Council on Environmental Quality

Watch the livestream of this program via The Commonwealth Club's YouTube Channel:

On Saturday, August 9, unarmed black teenager Michael Brown was killed by Darren Wilson, a white police officer, in Ferguson, Missouri. The killing inspired protests, outrage and organizational efforts from communities across the country. It has also prompted a national dialogue over such issues as the systemic criminalization of young black men, racial power disparities and how the American justice system can best protect the civil rights of all.

This event will bring together friends and neighbors of Michael Brown, civic organizers and activists, legal experts and national civil rights leaders, all with on-the-ground experience. Hear their views of what happened in Ferguson, its legal and social ramifications, and their thoughts on how non-violent civic engagement can help address these institutional challenges.

Tue 10/21

Image - Avi Melamed

The War in Syria

Date: Tue, October 21, 2014
Time: 12:00 PM

Avi Melamed, Israeli Middle East Strategic Intelligence Analyst
Robert Rosenthal, Executive Director, Center for Investigative Reporting - Moderator

As the death toll tops 190,000, over three million refugees have fled from Syria into neighboring countries. Avi Melamed, a former Israeli official for Arab affairs, will discuss the history of the war in Syria, offering his thoughts on why the conflict is considered one of the most dramatic events in the history of the Middle East. He will also discuss the possible global ramifications of this war and how its outcome will shape the region for decades to come.

Image - Francis Fukuyama: Political Order and Decay

Francis Fukuyama: Political Order and Decay

Date: Tue, October 21, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
Why some regions have thrived and developed more quickly than others

Francis Fukuyama, Olivier Nomellini Senior Fellow, Stanford University’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies; Author, Political Order and Political Decay: From the Industrial Revolution to the Globalization of Democracy
Dr. Stephen Krasner, Professor of International Studies; Freeman Spogli Institute Senior Fellow; Hoover Institution Fellow, Stanford University - Moderator

Fukuyama discusses the essential question of how societies develop strong, impersonal and accountable political institutions. Fukuyama follows the story from the French Revolution to the so-called Arab Spring and the deep dysfunctions of contemporary American politics. He examines the effects of corruption on governance, and why some societies have been successful at rooting it out. He  also explores the different legacies of colonialism in Latin America, Africa and Asia, and offers a clear-eyed account of why some regions have thrived and developed more quickly than others. He boldly reckons with the future of democracy in the face of a rising global middle class and entrenched political paralysis in the West.

Image - Latino/a Culture, Heritage and Conservation for the Environment

Latino/a Culture, Heritage and Conservation for the Environment

Date: Tue, October 21, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
Explore this community's history of conservation.

Adrianna Quintero, Senior Attorney; Director, Latino Outreach, Natural Resources Defense Council
Gary Segura, Professor of American Politics and Chair of Chicano/a Studies, Stanford University
Anita Martinez, Retired College Educator; Environmentalist; Community Health and Safety Activist
Jose González, Founder and Director of Latino Outdoors
Lisa Hoyos, Director and Co-founder of Climate Parents

Most people don't automatically label Latinos and Latinas as environmentalists. A deeper look at family, home and community values reveals a long-standing generational commitment to conservation and the wise use of everyday resources in daily life. California's changing demographics all point to a tremendous potential for local, national and worldwide political environmental progress as we listen and learn about the conservation practices of our Latino and Latina families and communities.

Image - Eating for Life: The Longevity Kitchen

Eating for Life: The Longevity Kitchen

Date: Tue, October 21, 2014
Time: 6:30 PM

Rebecca Katz, Chef; Educator; Author, The Longevity Kitchen and The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen

In conversation with Cathy Curtis, Chair, Bay Gourmet Member-Led Forum; Vice President of Board of Directors, CUESA

Wondering how you can eat your way to a longer life? Nationally recognized culinary translator and nutrition expert Rebecca Katz has put together more than 100 recipes that highlight the top superfoods proven to fight the most chronic conditions in her latest cookbook, The Longevity Kitchen. Author of the award-winning cookbook The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen, Katz is the founder and director of the Healing Kitchens Institute at Commonweal, which focuses on educating individuals on the healing power of the kitchen and creating healthy connections with food. Join Katz for a discussion on how to increase your longevity through tasty recipes, such as roasted asparagus salad with arugula and hazelnuts or yogurt berry brûlée with almond brittle.

Image - Innovating Women: The Changing Face of Technology

Innovating Women: The Changing Face of Technology

Date: Tue, October 21, 2014
Time: 7:00 PM
In the U.S., only 14 percent of engineers are women

Vivek Wadhwa, Fellow, The Arthur & Toni Rembe Rock Center for Corporate Governance, Stanford University; Co-Author, Innovating Women
Kim Polese, Chairwoman, ClearStreet Inc.
Alison van Diggelen, Host of “Fresh Dialogues”; Contributor, BBC — moderator
Additional panelists TBA

How have some of the world’s most outstanding women found success in the tech industry? What wisdom can they share about thriving in a male-dominated environment? Women are continuing to close the gender gap in the workplace, yet only 14 percent are engineers in the U.S. and even fewer serve at the executive level.

Join our panel of executives and entrepreneurs as they highlight opportunities and share their experiences, strategies and insights to support women in the tech industry.

Special thanks to 

Wed 10/22

Image - Dr. Atul Gawande

Dr. Atul Gawande

Date: Wed, October 22, 2014
Time: 12:30 PM
Author, Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End

Atul Gawande, Author, The Checklist Manifesto and Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End; Staff Writer, The New Yorker; Professor, Harvard Medical School, Harvard School of Public Health

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

Gawande tackles the question of how medicine can not only improve life but also the process of its ending. Modern medicine, dedicated to prolonging life, inevitably runs counter to the natural condition of aging and death. Nursing homes, hospitals and doctors, in the process of provide the aging and dying with the best care, continue to pin patients to railed beds and carry out devastating procedures that ultimately extend suffering.

A practicing surgeon and MacArthur fellow, Gawande addresses his profession’s ultimate limitation, arguing that quality of life is the desired goal for patients and families. Gawande offers examples of more socially fulfilling models for assisting the infirm and dependent elderly, and he explores the varieties of hospice care to demonstrate that a person's last weeks or months may be rich and dignified. Gawande asserts that medicine can comfort and enhance our experience even to the end, providing not only a good life but also a good end.

Image - Tech meets Neuroscience: A Vision of the Future of Medicine and Educatio

Tech Meets Neuroscience: A Vision of the Future of Medicine and Education

Date: Wed, October 22, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM

Adam Gazzaley, M.D.; Ph.D; Founding Director, Neuroscience Imaging Center, Associate Professor in Neurology, Physiology and Psychiatry, UCSF

A fundamental challenge of modern society is the development of effective approaches to enhance brain function in both healthy and impaired individuals, and some people have serious concerns about the ability of either our current education or health-care system to meet this challenge. Gazzaley will share a vision of the future in which video games integrated with technological innovations in software and hardware are used as an engine to harness brain plasticity and enhance our cognitive abilities, thus reducing our reliance on non-specific drugs to treat neurological and psychiatric conditions and allowing us to better target and personalize our educational efforts.

Image - Common Core Education Summit: The Crux of the New K-12 Standards

Common Core Education Summit: The Crux of the New K-12 Standards

Date: Wed, October 22, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
American education stands at a crossroads.

Susan H. Fuhrman, Ph.D., President, Teachers College, Columbia University; Founding Director and Chair, Management Committee, Consortium for Policy Research in Education; President, National Academy of Education
Michael Kirst, President, California State Board of Education; Professor Emeritus, Education and Business Administration, Stanford University
Christina Lunde, Teacher, Olive Elementary School, Novato Unified School District; Literacy Coordinator, North Bay International Studies Project, Sonoma State University
Louis Freedberg, Executive Director, EdSource – moderator

As the K-12 new Common Core State Standards are rolled out this school year across California and the nation, American education stands at a crossroads. Will the Common Core serve as a catalyst for better teaching and deeper learning? What challenges have California and other states faced in implementing the Common Core, and what will it take to ensure that the new standards genuinely succeed.

Go to LGBT MLF Roundtable Discussion

LGBT MLF Roundtable Discussion

Date: Wed, October 22, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM

The past week has been momentous for LGBT activists, as U.S. courts overturned laws disallowing same-sex marriage in Alaska, Utah and North Carolina, and the Supreme Court declined to hear the appeals of states seeking to prohibit same-sex marriage, tacitly increasing the number of states in which same-sex marriage is legal to 30. With even historically conservative states such as South Carolina likely to follow suit, it is clear that the public’s view of same-sex marriage is definitively shifting. However, the final legality of these new marriages is far from settled, as officials from some of the affected states continue to press for what they see as their right to intervene in a matter of state legislation. To help others remain informed of these important developing issues, please assist us in planning our LGBT-related programming by joining us for our upcoming organizing meeting.

Image - Steven Johnson comes to The Commonwealth Club of California

Steven Johnson: Six innovations that Made the Modern World

Date: Wed, October 22, 2014
Time: 7:00 PM
Discussing the history of innovation

Steven Johnson, Author, Where Good Ideas Come From and How We Got to Now: Six Innovations That Made the Modern World; Twitter @stevenbjohnson
Stephen Ciesinski, Vice President and General Manager, SRI International - Moderator

From the printing press to Wi-Fi, popular science writer Steven Johnson explores the history of innovation and examines where these ideas came from and how they moved from idea to existence. From a simple concept, bizarre coincidence, or surprising accident, hear more about some of the most brilliant inventions that have revolutionized the world in which we live.

Johnson is the co-creator and host of the “How We Got to Now” PBS series premiering this fall on KQED.

Thu 10/23

Image - San Francisco Architecture Walking Tour

San Francisco Architecture Walking Tour

Date: Thu, October 23, 2014
Time: 1:45 PM
Hidden gems you can only find on foot!

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!

Image - The Return of George Washington

The Return of George Washington

Date: Thu, October 23, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM

Edward Larson, Author, The Return of George Washington; Professor of History, Pepperdine University

Did George Washington retire to Mount Vernon after winning the Revolutionary War? Did he stay out of politics until he was drafted to become the first president? Edward Larson argues that, during his so-called "lost period," George Washington remained the indispensable person behind the movement toward a stronger union based on a constitution. Come hear how this founding father quietly worked behind the scenes to lay a secure foundation for our long-lived democracy.

Image - U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz

U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz

Date: Thu, October 23, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
A conversation with one of America's top power players.

Ernest Moniz, U.S. Secretary of Energy

Love it or hate it, fracking is changing the way America powers its economy. Thanks to fracking, the United States is now the world's largest petroleum producer, something unthinkable a few years ago. Coal is down, but not out. Nuclear's knees are buckling due to low natural gas prices and the fallout from Fukushima. Researchers and investors are looking for big breakthroughs in storage technology and sucking carbon out of smokestacks.

In Silicon Valley the buzz is about the Internet of Things and merging information technology with energy. Previous attempts to marry those two didn't end well. Is this time different? What are the promising areas for innovation and creating new jobs and economic growth? What role should the U.S. government play in discovering new fuels and getting them to market?

Join us for a conversation with one of America's top power players.

Image - Linda Rottenberg in Conversation with Reid Hoffman: Think Big

Linda Rottenberg in Conversation with Reid Hoffman: Think Big

Date: Thu, October 23, 2014
Time: 6:30 PM
“If people aren’t calling you crazy, you aren’t thinking big enough.”

Linda Rottenberg, CEO and Co-founder, Endeavor; Author, Crazy Is a Compliment
In conversation with Reid Hoffman, Co-Founder & Executive Chairman, LinkedIn

“If people aren’t calling you crazy, you aren’t thinking big enough.” – Linda Rottenberg

Linda Rottenberg has spent her career helping innovators think big. Nowadays, no matter the industry, the startup mindset is king: take risks, adapt, do it quickly. Having cofounded the leading organization devoted to mentoring fast-growing businesses, Endeavor, Rottenberg has seen this movement take shape and is chronicling the steps to success in her latest book, Crazy Is a Compliment. Endeavor entrepreneurs generated $6 billion in revenue and provided 225,000 jobs in a single year. Join us for a blend of inspiring stories and practical tools for getting started and doing it big.

Rottenberg will be joined in conversation by Reid Hoffman, Founder of LinkedIn. Join us to learn how to “derisk” your risk.

Fri 10/24

Image - California’s Contributions to Culinary Publishing

California’s Contributions to Culinary Publishing

Date: Fri, October 24, 2014
Time: 12:00 PM
An explosion of culinary publishing and speculation about cookbook publishing's future.

Bill LeBlond, Former Editorial Director of Food and Wine, Chronicle Books
Michael Carabetta, Creative Director, Chronicle Books
Margo True, Food Editor, Sunset Magazine
Jenny Wapner, Senior Cookbook Editor, Ten Speed Press
Joyce Goldstein, Author, California Food Revolution – Moderator

Our expert panel discusses California’s contributions to culinary publishing and distinct impact on cookbook writing and design in the United States. Early in the 20th century, Sunset magazine began publishing articles about California food and continues to focus on ingredients and local flavors of the West. In the 1970s, Ten Speed Press published The Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen, introducing meatless eating to multiple generations of Americans. Major developments in cookbook design also were pioneered at Chronicle Books, where food editor LeBlond began working with cookbook author James McNair. They launched a series of cookbooks that would redefine categories and become known for photography across multiple subjects, offering a feast for the eyes as well as the table. The panel will review factors influencing an explosion of culinary publishing, evolving cookbook design, and speculation about cookbook publishing's future.

Mon 10/27

Image - Middle East Discussion Group

Middle East Discussion Group

Date: Mon, October 27, 2014
Time: 5:30 PM

Make your voice heard in an enriching, provocative and fun discussion with fellow Club members as you weigh in on events shaping the face of the Middle East. 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.