Upcoming Events

Thu 4/13

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Journalist T.R. Reid: How to Clean up the U.S. Tax System

Date: Thu, April 13, 2017
Time: 12:00 PM
Rewriting the U.S. tax code

T.R. Reid, Correspondent, The Washington Post; Commentator, National Public Radio; Author, A Fine Mess: A Global Quest for a Simpler, Fairer, and More Efficient Tax System

On the eve of the annual tax deadline, here’s a program that promises to provide ammunition for the next time you complain to elected officials about the hassles and inequities of the U.S. tax system.

Noted journalist T.R. Reid points out the following: Last year, Americans spent more than 6 billion hours and $12 billion filing their taxes. In the Netherlands, the average filing time is 15 minutes; in Estonia, it takes 7 minutes. According to Reid, Congress has given its members various tax breaks and deductions that other Americans never receive. In Slovakia, by contrast, government representatives pay 5 percent more in tax. Reid goes on to say that U.S. billionaires can pay relatively very little tax—and sometimes no tax at all. France, Norway and Switzerland all have wealth taxes designed to reduce economic inequality.

Historically, there have been total rewrites of the U.S. tax code every 32 years—in 1922, 1954 and 1986. This means the next rewrite is due in 2018, and Congress and President Trump will need to begin revamping the code this year. Can they write a new tax code that is both fair and simple? Can they cut tax rates and still bring in the revenue required? According to Reid, this can be done. In this program, he’ll detail exactly how America can rewrite the tax code, in this case learning from other democracies around the world.

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How Leaders Can Gain Competitive Advantage Through Lessons from History

Date: Thu, April 13, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
Lessons from generals throughout history

Barry Strauss, Bryce and Edith M. Bowmar Professor in Humanistic Studies, Department of History at Cornell University; Visiting Scholar, Hoover Institution; Author

In his book, Masters of Command: Alexander, Hannibal, Caesar, and the Genius of Leadership, Strauss draws lessons from the experiences of history’s greatest generals. Strauss explains that a key component of these leaders’ successes was their ability to inspire loyalty from their troops. They did so by leading by example and, in turn, earned their soldiers’ trust and respect. In this program, Strauss will apply these lessons to today’s executives who strive to outperform competition and create an engaged, high-achieving workforce.

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This event is Sold Out

Sam Altman: Social Change and Startups

Date: Thu, April 13, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
Sam Altman and social change

Sam Altman, President, Y Combinator; Co-chairman of OpenAI
Nellie Bowles, Silicon Valley Correspondent; Moderator, Vice News Tonight

Sam Altman, 31, has been one of Silicon Valley’s brightest stars for years as a founder, investor and president of Y Combinator. But, more recently, Sam and Y Combinator have both been making headlines for their involvement in some of today’s most contentious political and social issues.

Y Combinator’s new "basic income project," based in Oakland, will give 100 families a minimum wage with the goal of exploring alternatives to the existing social safety net. Sam has also been an outspoken critic of the Trump administration and has backed "track Trump," an online tool that monitors the promises President Trump delivers on, and those on which he comes up short. Y Combinator also recently welcomed the ACLU into their winter 2017 class and will help the ACLU turn its recent $24 million donation haul into concrete actions and organizational growth. Finally, Sam is in the beginning stages of a new project focused on finding a way to reduce housing costs through the creation of a smart city prototype.

Sam was named president of Y Combinator, Silicon Valley’s largest startup incubator, in 2014. Y Combinator’s portfolio includes heavyweights, such as Airbnb, Dropbox and Stripe. Sam began his tech career as CEO of Loopt, which was acquired in 2012 and was included in Y Combinator’s first round of funded companies in 2005. Sam is also a personal investor in several of today’s most successful startups, including Airbnb, Stripe, Reddit, Asana and Pinterest.

Join INFORUM, Sam and moderator Nellie Bowles of Vice for an insightful and timely conversation about tech, politics and everything in between.

Mon 4/17

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The Future of Digital Marketing

Date: Mon, April 17, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
Challenges and opportunities for the next year

Pete Kim, CEO, MightyHive
Nikesh Desai, CEO, InvestingChannel
David Rodnitzky, CEO, 3Q Digital
Anneka Gupta, CPO, LiveRamp—Moderator

Digital marketing is constantly evolving with incredible advancements in technology, partnerships, acquisitions and new strategic thinking. Ad-blocking, artificial intelligence, programmatic media buying, and big data are constant buzzwords we hear about the marketing landscape. Join this panel of experts across agency, publishing and technology as they discuss the biggest challenges and opportunities ahead for the next year.

David Rodnitzky is founder and CEO of 3Q Digital. Prior to 3Q Digital, he held senior marketing roles at several Internet companies, including Rentals.com, FindLaw, Adteractive and Mercantila. Nikesh Desai is the co-founder and CEO of InvestingChannel, an interactive media platform that aggregates independent financial news. Prior, Nikesh co-founded the consultancy Giant Step Strategies and served as VP of business development at TheStreet.com. An influential figure in advertising technology, Pete Kim has worked with the world’s largest advertisers on improving marketing strategies across every industry vertical. He has held senior positions in product management, sales, and business development at Google and Yahoo!. Moderator Anneka Gupta is chief product officer of LiveRamp, where she oversees the execution and strategy of LiveRamp’s roadmap. 

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David Callahan: Digging Deep into Philanthropy—the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Date: Mon, April 17, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
Getting ahead in the modern era

David Callahan, Ph.D, Princeton; Founder, Demos Think Tank; Founder, Insidephilanthropy.com; Author, The Givers: Money, Power, and Philanthropy in a New Gilded Age

David Callahan is the author of seven previous nonfiction books, including: The Cheating Culture: Why More Americans Are Doing Wrong to Get Ahead and Fortunes of Change: The Rise of the Liberal Rich and the Remaking America. His latest investigation focuses on elite philanthropists. While media attention focuses on famous philanthropists such as Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and Charles Koch, Callahan says thousands of donors are at work below the radar promoting a wide range of causes, converting fortunes into influence, with deep impact on government policy. Come hear about a power shift in American society that Callahan says has implications for us all.

Tue 4/18

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Paul Hawken: How to Drawdown Now

Date: Tue, April 18, 2017
Time: 12:00 PM
Environmental plans that are politics-proof?

Paul Hawken, Author, Drawdown, Environmentalist

Just as the climate community is freaking out about their news feeds on social media, author and advocate Paul Hawken says he has compiled a list of 100 climate solutions and technologies that are Trump-proof. These are proven approaches already being deployed by local and state governments, cities and businesses. The wide-ranging list includes carbon farming, net-zero buildings, bike infrastructure, bioplastics and family planning. Drawdown is a digital education platform, a game plan and a call to action. It could also be called healthy Prozac for your climate anxieties.

Join us for a conversation about carbon as the element that creates connections in nature and is not the enemy.

Climate One Connect
Audience members are invited to engage in breakout group conversations led by the speakers for 20 minutes following the program. We hope you’ll take part in this unique opportunity to delve deeper with the speakers.

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Krista Tippett: Heart, Mind and Spirit

Date: Tue, April 18, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
Insights about living

Krista Tippett, Host, "On Being"; Author, Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living; Twitter  
Rev. Alan Jones, Dean Emeritus, Grace Cathedral San Francisco—Moderator

Note: Each ticket comes with a copy of Krista Tippett's book, Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living

The heart of Krista Tippett’s work on her NPR program and podcast, "On Being," has been to shine a light on people whose insights kindle in us a sense of wonder and courage. She interviews a variety of people, including scientists, poets, activists and theologians from an array of faiths who have all opened themselves up to Tippett's compassionate yet searching conversations. In her latest book, Becoming Wise, Tippett distills the insights she has gleaned from these luminous conversations into a master class about living.

Join us for an enlightening discussion about her work and insights into her fiercely hopeful vision of humanity for this century.

Wed 4/19

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Let's Talk About Death: Get Ready, Get Set, Go

Date: Wed, April 19, 2017
Time: 5:15 PM
Topics related to end of life

Suzette Sherman, End of Life Speaker; CEO, Founder and Blogger, SevenPonds
Sally Shannon, End of Life Coach and Consultant; Home Funeral Guide, Threshold Coaching and Consulting

Historically, Americans have been culturally conditioned to avoid the subject of death. We are reluctant to talk about it, and many of us have not even thought about how we want to live at the end of our lives. As a result, the vast majority of people approaching the end of life are completely unprepared to die. 

In this presentation, Sherman and Shannon will review ways that participants can plan appropriately for the end of life. Topics covered will include: advance directives; Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST); home funerals; and options for disposition, including cremation and green burial. They will also discuss dying at home, voluntarily stopping eating and drinking, and California’s recently enacted End of Life Options Act.

Image - detail of book cover of Cleopatra

Humanities West Book Discussion: Cleopatra, by Stacy Schiff

Date: Wed, April 19, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
The story of one of the most intriguing women in history

Join us to discuss Cleopatra by Stacy Schiff, the Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer who brings to life one of the most intriguing women in human history. Though the palace of the last queen of Egypt actually did shimmer with onyx, garnets and gold, it was richer still in political and sexual intrigue. Cleopatra died young, at 39, but first married two brothers, dispatching one in a brutal civil war while they were still teenagers, and poisoning the other, before eliminating a sister as well. She had a son with Julius Caesar and three children with Marc Antony, complicating but probably prolonging wealthy Egypt's fatal embrace by the relatively uncivilized Romans. In a masterly return to classical sources, Schiff boldly separates fact from fiction to rescue the magnetic queen whose dramatic death ushered in a new world order. Discussion led by Lynn Harris.

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#GrabYourWallet: Effective or Just Feel-Good Revenge?

Date: Wed, April 19, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
How to create a cleaner economy

Shannon Coulter, Co-Founder, #GrabYourWallet Boycott
Annie Leonard, Executive Director, Greenpeace USA; Founder, Story of Stuff
Greg Dalton, Founder and Host, Climate One

The campaign to pressure retail companies to distance themselves from Trump brands claimed victory when Nordstrom dropped Ivanka Trump’s brand and Uber CEO Travis Kalanick resigned from the president’s business advisory council. But what did the campaign really accomplish other than a “gotcha moment"? Isn’t it good for Trump to be influenced by business leaders grounded in reality?

Research shows some of the campaigns designed to pressure companies have mixed results. Some win, a few get traction and then fizzle, and many never go anywhere. Have you heard of a campaign to pressure banks financing the Dakota Access Pipeline opposed by Native Americans? We didn’t think so. In one success story, Facebook was pressured to run its data centers on clean energy rather than coal. Greenpeace cleverly used Facebook for its "unfriend coal" campaign, and ultimately the tech giant pledged to gradually move to 100 percent clean power.

Join a conversation on pressuring companies and personal brands. What works, what doesn’t and what can you do if you care about putting your money to work in the move to a cleaner economy.

Thu 4/20

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Our Toxic World: Is It Making Us Sick?

Date: Thu, April 20, 2017
Time: 12:00 PM
Toxins in our daily lives

Andrew Campbell, MD, Former Medical Director, Medical Center for Immune and Toxic Disorders; Former Medical Director, Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Center; Editor-in-Chief, Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, Advances in Mind-Body Medicine, The International Journal of Complementary and Alternative MedicineNatural Solutions

Toxins are everywhere. They're in our personal care and cleaning products, sofas, carpets, and clothes. Before some women leave the house, they may put on over a hundred toxic products. Most of these toxins have not been studied for their safety and cause harm at doses lower than previously thought. They are synergistic, causing greater harm when combined. Dr. Campbell points out that certain countries will not import American meat or food due to the high level of harmful substances fed to our animals or used on our crops. Come to this forum and learn more about toxins.

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San Francisco Architecture Walking Tour

Date: Thu, April 20, 2017
Time: 1:45 PM
Walking tour

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 who 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!

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Dr. Elisabeth Rosenthal: Getting Big Business out of Health Care

Date: Thu, April 20, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
Understanding the health-care system

Dr. Elisabeth Rosenthal, Editor-in-Chief, Kaiser Health News; Author, An American Sickness: How Healthcare Became Big Business and How You Can Take it Back; Twitter

p>It is well documented that our health-care system has grave problems, but how, in only a matter of decades, did things get this bad? Dr. Elisabeth Rosenthal spells out in clear and practical terms exactly how to decode medical doublespeak, avoid the pitfalls of the pharmaceuticals racket and get the care you and your family deserve. She takes you inside the doctor-patient relationship, explaining step by step the workings of a profession sorely lacking transparency and breaks down the monolithic business into its individual industries—the hospitals, doctors, insurance companies, drug manufacturers—that together constitute our health-care system.

Dr. Rosenthal explains for the first time how various social and financial incentives have encouraged what she calls a disastrous and immoral system to spring up organically in a shockingly short span of time. The system is in tatters, she says, but we can fight back.  An American Sickness is the frontline defense against a health-care system that many people fear no longer has our well-being at heart.

Fri 4/21

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Battle For Syria: International Rivalry in the New Middle East

Date: Fri, April 21, 2017
Time: 12:00 PM
Competing for influence in Syria

Christopher Phillips, Ph.D in International Relations, London School of Economics; Senior Lecturer in International Relations (with an Emphasis on Contemporary Jordan and Syria), Queen Mary's College in London; Author, The Battle for Syria
Jonathan Curiel, Journalist—Moderator

Phillips will discuss The Battle for Syria, his latest, highly praised book, and how six external protagonists, including the U.S. and Russia, have competed for influence in Syria—a key battleground. Philips, who founded the Syria and Its Neighbours Policy Initiative, has called the Syrian tragedy a disaster of global proportions and the greatest human catastrophe of the 21st century.

Mon 4/24

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Mastering Migraines: Neuroscience Nutrition and the Art of Avoiding Your Triggers

Date: Mon, April 24, 2017
Time: 12:00 PM
Natural ways to combat migraines

Steve Blake, ScD, Faculty Nutritional Biochemist, Hawaii Pacific Neuroscience; Research Scientist; Author, Mastering MigrainesParkinson’s Disease: Dietary Regulation of DopamineVitamins and Minerals DemystifiedA Nutritional Approach to Alzheimer’s Disease; Co-author, Mosby's Drug Guide for Nurses

True migraines involve not only pain, but also often nausea and light sensitivity. They may occur many times each month. To reduce the frequency and severity of migraines, one can identify the most common food and nonfood triggers, avoiding personal triggers. We will explore many scientific approaches that may help to reduce reliance on migraine drugs. For example, ginger root tea can not only help with nausea, but it was also found to lower migraine pain just as much as the powerful drug sumatriptan. You will learn many ways to lower excitability in the brain, potentially reducing migraine attacks. From ice packs on the back of the neck to coenzyme Q10, Blake will outline some of the many safer, natural remedies for migraine headaches with the goal of helping you to become free from migraine pain.

Blake recently finished a clinical study successfully using nutrients to combat neurodegeneration. He also authored Diet Doctor, software used to analyze dietary nutrients. For more information, visit: www.DrSteveBlake.com

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Middle East Forum Discussion

Date: Mon, April 24, 2017
Time: 5:30 PM
Discussion group

The Middle East Forum discussion group—which primarily covers the Middle East, North Africa and Afghanistan— has been meeting monthly for nine years. We are not a debate group. Each month we discuss timely, cultural subjects in a civil atmosphere with respect for others and their opinions. Students are particularly welcome.

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Bonds of Union

Date: Mon, April 24, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
The tensile strength of national connections

Bridget Ford, Professor of History, California State University, East Bay; Author, Bonds of Union: Religion, Race, and Politics in a Civil War Borderland

Americans today worry that social and political divisions threaten our democracy and our futures together, bound by one nation. Bonds of Union offers valuable historical perspective from the Civil War era, a period in which the ties holding Americans together frayed and then broke. But Ford shows the ways diverse Americans maintained and strengthened the connective tissue that held them together, even at a time of extreme division and bloodshed. The focus of her talk will be the establishment of publicly funded schools for all Americans, and the new Republican Party’s critical involvement in that effort in the 1850s. She demonstrates that the United States has a longer, deeper history of imagining an inclusive society than we typically imagine, one that stretches back to the decades before the Civil War.

Tue 4/25

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Jewish Justices of the Supreme Court, from Brandeis to Kagan

Date: Tue, April 25, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
Jewish justices of the high court

David Dalin, Ph.D., Author, Jewish Justices of the Supreme Court, from Brandeis to Kagan

Dr. Dalin will cover the lives, legal careers, judicial legacies, and Jewish background of the eight Jews who have served or who currently serve as justices of the U.S. Supreme Court: Louis D. Brandeis, Benjamin N. Cardozo, Felix Frankfurter, Arthur Goldberg, Abe Fortas, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer and Elena Kagan, who was appointed by Barack Obama in 2010. He will also discuss how Woodrow Wilson's historic appointment of Louis D. Brandeis in 1916 began the tradition of a "Jewish Seat" on the Supreme Court, and the role that antisemitism did or did not play in these eight Justices' legal careers and Senate confirmation hearings.

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Texas Surprise

Date: Tue, April 25, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
The Lone Star State's energy leadership

Skip Averitt, Chair, Texas Clean Energy Coalition; Republican Former State Senator
Greg Dalton, Founder and Host, Climate One
Additional Speakers TBA

When Californians think of Texas, images of JR Ewing and pump jacks quickly come to mind. But the Lone Star State is greener than you think. It leads the country in wind power, thanks to a law signed by Governor George W. Bush. Texans also claim the state can comply with President Obama’s Clean Power Plan with technologies and policies already on hand. Ranchers and former oil men are dipping their toes into renewable energy. What else is in the clean energy pipeline?

Join a conversation with Texas energy leaders about fossil fuels and renewables in America’s most prominent energy-exporting state.

Thu 4/27

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Journalist Chris Whipple: Secrets of the White House Gatekeepers

Date: Thu, April 27, 2017
Time: 12:00 PM
The power of the gatekeeper

Chris Whipple, Documentary Filmmaker; Author, The Gatekeepers: How the White House Chiefs of Staff Define Every Presidency
Joe Garofoli, Senior Political Writer, San Francisco Chronicle; Twitter —Moderator

Can Donald Trump, the ultimate outsider, learn how to be an effective president? According to author and documentarian Chris Whipple, Trump cannot be effective unless he empowers a strong chief of staff to take charge of his White House and execute his agenda.

Drawing on his extensive interviews with two former presidents and 17 living chiefs of staff, Whipple says this is one of many lessons learned by such diverse figures as Dick Cheney, Rahm Emanuel, Donald Rumsfeld and Leon Panettta. Whipple says chiefs of staff, often referred to as "the gatekeepers," can make or break an administration. Whipple will offer new insight into our understanding of presidential history—from how James Baker’s expert managing of the White House, the press and Capitol Hill paved the way for the Reagan Revolution to how Watergate, the Iraq War and even the bungled Obamacare rollout might, conversely, have been prevented by a more effective chief. Come hear a fascinating look at this unique fraternity and the inner workings of the White House.