Upcoming Events: Free for Members

Mon 4/3

Image - Waiting for Electricity

Reading Californians Book Discussion Group: Waiting for the Electricity by Christina Nichol

Date: Mon, April 03, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
Book discussion group

Waiting for the Electricity by Christina Nichol begins in the republic of Georgia. The novel is about a humble maritime lawyer, Slims Achmed Makahvili. The Communists are long gone, but there are no jobs in the cities—and when there are jobs, employees aren’t compensated. When they are compensated, it’s because the jobs are . . . not strictly scrupulous.

Makahvili discovers an application for a small internship program sponsored by Hillary Clinton. His letters to her describe his eagerness to bring efficiency and opportunity to his homeland, replacing his friends’ and relatives’ decadence, lethargy and unsavory business practices. After Makahvili is chosen for the internship and finally arrives in America—in a utopian San Francisco—he decides his loud, bickering family and his anguished, joyful country no longer seem so grim.

The book has been described by author Norman Rush as a “triumphant, sustained, comic performance.” He adds: “I can’t recall a contemporary American novel anywhere near as funny.” The Wall Street Journal describes the book as “endearing and dryly hilarious.”

Image - Islam

What Does It Mean to Be Muslim?

Date: Mon, April 03, 2017
Time: 7:00 PM
Being Muslim in America

Sumbul Ali-Karamali, Author, The Muslim Next Door
Maha Elgenaidi, Executive Director, Islamic Networks Group
Jihad Turk, President, Bayan Claremont Islamic Graduate School
Joe Simitian, Supervisor, Santa Clara County—Moderator

What does it mean to be a Muslim? Join us for this special community forum to learn more about misconceptions as well as Islam as a religion and an identity in modern American and abroad.

Co-presented by the office of Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian

Thu 4/13

Image - Reid

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.

Mon 4/17

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
Mason Garrity, Vice President of Strategy, 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.

Mason Garrity has over eight years experience in digital marketing, originally getting hooked at Kayak.com in college. Leading 3Q Digital's consulting and strategy practices, he works with the Bay Area’s most innovative companies and achieves growth goals through performance marketing. Prior to 3Q, Garrity co-founded Noosphere Marketing, an online marketing firm in New York City and received a degree in economics from Pomona College. Nikesh Desai is the co-founder and CEO of InvestingChannel, an interactive media platform that aggregates independent financial news. Prior, Desai 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. 

Wed 4/19

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.

Mon 4/24

Image - Middle East

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.

Image - Bridget Ford

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. Bridget Ford will offer valuable historical perspective from the Civil War era, this country’s greatest test of unity and moral purpose. Drawing from her recent book, Bonds of Union, Ford will show how diverse Americans worked to create a stronger, more inclusive nation that prevented the country’s permanent dissolution. Her talk will focus on the establishment of publicly funded schools for all children, and the new Republican Party’s critical involvement in that effort in the 1850s. She will argue 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. 

Wed 5/17

Image – Detail of Penguin edition of Antony and Cleopatra

Humanities West Book Discussion: Antony and Cleopatra, by William Shakespeare

Date: Wed, May 17, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
Book discussion group

Join us to discuss "Antony and Cleopatra," the famous Elizabethan play by the legendary English playwright about the infamous Roman general who would be Caesar, and the even more famous, legendary and infamous last pharaoh of ancient Egypt—even if she was really Greek. Discussion led by Lynn Harris.

 

Mon 5/22

Image - Middle East

Middle East Forum Discussion

Date: Mon, May 22, 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.

Image - Islam

Women and Islam

Date: Mon, May 22, 2017
Time: 7:00 PM
Understanding women and Islam

Sumbul Ali-Karamali, Author, The Muslim Next Door
Maha Elgenaidi, Executive Director, Islamic Networks Group
Joe Simitian, Supervisor, Santa Clara County—Moderator
Additional Panelists TBA

What does it mean to be a Muslim woman? Join us for this special community forum to learn how Islam intersects with gender in today’s world.

Co-presented by the office of Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian