Upcoming Events

Mon 11/30

Explore the World from The Commonwealth Club

Date: Mon, November 30, 2015
Time: 5:15 PM
A one-hour planning meeting.

All interested Club members are welcome to attend our bimonthly, one-hour planning meetings of the International Relations Member-Led Forum. We focus on Europe, Latin America, Africa and worldwide topics. Join us to discuss current international issues and plan programs for early 2016.

Middle East Discussion Group

Date: Mon, November 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.

Image - Week to Week Political Roundtable and Member Social

Week to Week Political Roundtable and Member Social 11/30/15

Date: Mon, November 30, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Lively, intelligent, and fun political discussion

Carson Bruno, Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University; Twitter  
Carla Marinucci, Politico California Playbook; Twitter  
James Taylor, Ph.D., Director of African American Studies and Professor of Political Science, Department of Politics, University of San Francisco 

The year's almost over; one big election is behind us, but 2016 is racing toward us at top speed.

Join us as we explore the biggest, most controversial, and sometimes the surprising political issues with expert commentary by panelists who are smart, are civil, and have a good sense of humor. Join our panelists for informative and engaging commentary on political and other major news, audience discussion of the week’s events, and our live news quiz!

And come early before the program to meet other smart and engaged individuals and discuss the news over snacks and wine at our member social (open to all attendees).

Tue 12/1

Image - Nob Hill Walking Tour

Nob Hill Walking Tour

Date: Tue, December 01, 2015
Time: 1:45 PM
A neighborhood adventure with Rick Evans

Explore one of San Francisco’s 44 hills, and one of its original “Seven Hills.” Because of great views and its central position, Nob Hill became an exclusive enclave of the rich and famous on the west coast who built large mansions in the neighborhood. This included prominent tycoons such as Leland Stanford, and other members of the Big Four. Highlights include the history of four landmark hotels: The Fairmont, Mark Hopkins, Stanford Court, and Huntington Hotel. Visit the city’s largest house of worship, Grace Cathedral, and discover architectural tidbits and anecdotes about the railroad barons and silver kings. A true San Francisco experience of elegance, urbanity, scandals and fabulous views.

Pope Francis: Climate Change and the Poor

Date: Tue, December 01, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
The moral dimensions of climate change

Kenneth Weare, Ph.D, Adjunct Professor of Social Ethics, University of San Francisco; Board Member, San Francisco Archdiocesan Board of Education; Former Director, School of Pastoral Leadership, Archdiocese of San Francisco; Board Member, Catholic Charities CYO Board of Directors; Pastor, St. Rita Catholic Church

Dr. Weare will discuss Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home, which offers a moral argument on climate change that also includes a profound concern for the poor as a teaching on both global warming and global poverty. He describes Pope Francis’ focus on the moral dimensions of climate change in addition to the contributions from scientific researchers and environmental experts worldwide over the years.

Weare’s lecture will highlight the key elements of his moral analysis and evaluation, including creation theology, integral ecology and the socio-political and economic realities constituent to the challenge of climate change.

Wed 12/2

Image - What You Need to Know Before You're 65: A Medicare Primer

What You Need to Know Before You're 65: A Medicare Primer

Date: Wed, December 02, 2015
Time: 5:15 PM
Wirth gerontologist Esther Koch

Esther Koch, MBA, Gerontologist; Founder, Encore Management; Aging Network Partner, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid

If you are approaching the Medicare qualifying age of 65 and Medicare seems like one big alphabetical maze to you, you are not alone. Come hear what every boomer needs to know before they turn 65 to successfully navigate Medicare. Learn the ABCD’s of Medicare, the realities of what you can expect (and what not to expect) and what options might be best for you.

Confronting ISIS: A Town Hall

Date: Wed, December 02, 2015
Time: 7:00 PM
What to do?

Joseph Felter, Ph.D., Senior Research Scholar, CISAC Research Fellow, Hoover Institution; Retired U.S. Army Colonel; Special Forces
Dr. Abbas Milani, Director of Iranian Studies, Stanford University; Research fellow, Hoover Institution
Sergey V. Petrov, Consul General of the Russian Federation, San Francisco
Dr. Gloria Duffy, President and CEO, The Commonwealth Club—Moderator
Additional Panelists TBA

Paris. The Russian passenger plane. New threats against New York and Washington. The international threat and tension levels haven’t been this high since 9/11.

What can the United States and the world do to most effectively confront ISIS at this crucial juncture? Join us for an interactive town hall and a dialogue with our expert panel.

Image - The Art of Being Brave: Women in Film

The Art of Being Brave: Women in Film

Date: Wed, December 02, 2015
Time: 7:00 PM

Brenda Chapman, Academy Award-winning Director, Brave; Director, The Prince of Egypt
Zoë Elton, Director of Programming, Mill Valley Film Festival

Brenda Chapman and Zoë Elton are leaders in the film industry. Brenda was the director of animated films The Prince of Egypt and Brave, a film she conceived of to inspire young women to lead. Zoe is the director of programming at the amazing Mill Valley Film Festival. Brenda and Zoë will talk about film, animation, women’s leadership and how cartoons display essential aspects of our world and our roles within it.

Check in begins at 7:00 p.m. with complimentary hors d'oeuvres and cash bar; program begins at 7:45 p.m. and ends promptly at 9:00 p.m.

Thu 12/3

Image - Chef Joanne Weir in Conversation with Chef Gary Danko

Chef Joanne Weir in Conversation with Chef Gary Danko

Date: Thu, December 03, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM

Joanne Weir, Chef and Owner, Copita Tequileria y Comida; Host, "Joanne Weir’s Cooking Confidence"; James Beard Award Winner for Best Cookbook, 2005; Author, Kitchen Gypsy: Recipes and Stories from a Lifelong Romance with Food
In conversation with Gary Danko, Chef and Principal, Restaurant Gary Danko; James Beard Award Winner for Best Chef-California, 1995 and Best New Restaurant, 2000

This program is sponsored by Wells Fargo and is part of the Good Lit Series underwritten by the Bernard Osher Foundation.

Chef, cooking instructor, and television host Joanne Weir has inspired legions of home cooks across the globe with her California-Mediterranean cuisine. In Kitchen Gypsy, the James Beard Award-winning author offers the recipes and lessons that have shaped her culinary career, including the 140-year-old lighting cake recipe handed down from her great-grandmother. The author of more than 20 cookbooks and the host of two popular PBS series, Chef Weir is the recipient of numerous awards, including the very first IACP Julia Child Cooking Teacher Award of Excellence and the 2005 James Beard Best Cookbook award for Weir Cooking in the City.

Join these two powerhouse chefs as Weir takes a trip down culinary memory lane, sharing stories from her days cooking with Alice Waters at Chez Panisse, traveling and teaching throughout Europe and becoming the California chef she is today. Wells Fargo

Image - P.J. O'Rourke

P.J. O'Rourke

Date: Thu, December 03, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Entertaining and provoking political satire!

P.J. O’Rourke, H.L. Mencken Research Fellow, Cato Institute; Author, Thrown Under the Omnibus; Twitter  
Melissa Caen, Contributor, CBS SF (“Mornings with Melissa”); Attorney; Twitter

P. J. O’Rourke has had a prolific career as one of America’s most celebrated humorists. From his early pieces for the National Lampoon, through his classic reporting as Rolling Stone’s International Affairs editor in the ’80s and ’90s, and his witty political satire, P.J. has been entertaining and provoking readers for years.

Fri 12/4

Image - Sisters in Law

Sisters in Law

Date: Fri, December 04, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM
Inside the friendship between the first two female Supreme Court justices

Linda Hirshman, Lawyer; Cultural Historian; Author, Sisters In Law

Part of the Good Lit series, underwritten by the Bernard Osher Foundation.

Hirshman tells the fascinating story of the intertwined lives of Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the first and second women to serve as Supreme Court justices. Their relationship—between Republican and Democrat, Christian and Jew, western rancher’s daughter and Brooklyn girl—transcends party, religion, region and culture. Her dual biography includes revealing stories about how these trailblazers fought for their own recognition in a male-dominated profession and then reshaped the legal framework of modern feminism, including employment discrimination, abortion, affirmative action and sexual harassment. Hirshman's use of personal anecdotes also brings these two very different personalities into focus, revealing a moving story of a remarkable friendship. 

Mon 12/7

Book Discussion: Keynes Hayek: The Clash that Defined Modern Economics

Date: Mon, December 07, 2015
Time: 5:30 PM

Nicholas Wapshott is a journalist who writes insightful and entertaining books on a variety of subjects ranging from the life of Peter O’Toole to political economy. As John Cassidy wrote in The New Yorker, “I defy anybody—Keynesian, Hayekian, or uncommitted—to read [Wapshott’s] work and not learn something new.” Cassidy went on to describe the battle between the Keynesian economic theory of the need for government spending in times of economic turn down, vs. Hayekian philosophy that government attempts to intervene are both pointless and potentially dangerous. This conflict plays directly into the free-market arguments of today over the virtues of the use of government intervention to stabilize markets.

The book ads ideas for the continuing discussion between those who would privatize Social Security and those who would expand it, or for those who are against raising taxes for any reason compared to those who believe that increased taxes allow people to live a more fulfilling life.

This is a book discussion; the author will not be present for the discussion.

Image - Kermit Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt's Great Great Grandson

Kermit Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt's Great Great Grandson: TR's Vision and How It Shaped America

Date: Mon, December 07, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM

Kermit Roosevelt III, Professor of Constitutional law, University of Pennsylvania; Great Great Grandson of President Theodore Roosevelt; Author, Allegiance, the Award-winning Novel In the Shadow of the Law, and The Myth of Judicial Activism 
Roy Eisenhardt, Lecturer, U.C. Berkeley School of Law; Member, The Commonwealth Club’s California Book Awards Jury—Moderator

Part of the Club’s Good Lit Series, underwritten by the Bernard Osher Foundation.

Kermit Roosevelt will present a dynamic account of President Theodore Roosevelt’s distinctive constitutional vision and the way it has shaped modern America. We owe much of our modern Constitution to Theodore Roosevelt—and his cousin Franklin, who saw the final victory of Theodore’s vision. Kermit does say that both Roosevelts overlooked one significant point, the need for strong judicial protection of minorities. Drawing on government documents and personal revelations that informed the writing of Allegiance, a gripping historical novel centered around civil rights violations in World War II, Roosevelt brings alive a pivotal moment in our constitutional history that affects the Supreme Court and American citizens to this day.

Please join Kermit Roosevelt as he takes us on a journey through a century of progress, stumbles, and endeavors in American politics while examining the profound value of staying true to our American ideals.

Tue 12/8

Image - Perception and Deception: Understanding Misunderstandings Across Culture

Perception and Deception: Understanding Misunderstandings Across Cultures

Date: Tue, December 08, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM

Joe Lurie, Executive Director Emeritus, International House, UC Berkeley

Inspired by a West African proverb that says, “The stranger sees only what he knows,” Lurie shares a feast of cross-cultural stories and misadventures, exploring the deeper cultural messages that escape people who hear largely what they’re used to hearing and see mostly what they’re used to seeing. Gleaned from his years of research, travel and managing Berkeley’s International House, Lurie’s cross-cultural experiences reveal how perceptions and cultural filters affect the way people understand others. One reviewer of Lurie’s book observed, “Already I can hear the reader calling out to a friend across the room, ‘Wait, you’ve got to hear this!’”

Image - David Gregory

David Gregory

Date: Tue, December 08, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Who do we want to be and what do we believe?

David Gregory, Former Moderator, NBC’s “Meet the Press”; Author, How’s Your Faith?: An Unlikely Spiritual Journey; Twitter

In conversation with Rev. Alan Jones, Dean Emeritus, Grace Cathedral

Join Gregory as he probes various religious traditions to better understand his own faith and answer some of life’s important questions: Who do we want to be and what do we believe? David’s journey has taken him inside Christian mega-churches and into the heart of Orthodox Judaism. He’s gone deep into Bible study and asked tough questions of America’s most thoughtful religious leaders. David approaches his faith with the curiosity and dedication you would expect from a journalist accustomed to holding politicians and presidents accountable.

Image - Michael Finney and Adam Levin

Michael Finney and Adam Levin: Tips for Protecting Ourselves in the Cyber World

Date: Tue, December 08, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM

Adam Levin, Chairman and Founder, IDT911; Chairman and Co-founder, Credit.com; Author, Swiped: How to Protect Yourself in a World Full of Scammers, Phishers, and Identity Thieves
In conversation with Michael Finney, Consumer Reporter, “7 On Your Side,” KGO San Francisco

With the holiday season just around the corner, it’s time to be more on guard than ever when it comes to money and identity. Data breaches and identity theft are increasingly a fact of life—something that can’t be stopped with simply aggressive spam folders or unique passwords. Adam Levin, a longtime consumer advocate and identity fraud expert, offers his new book Swiped as an essential guide to surviving online security, providing practical information on how to minimize risk, monitor your identity and manage the damage.

Join Levin as he sits down with consumer reporter Michael Finney to discuss a strategy for dealing with identity theft this holiday season and beyond.

Wed 12/9

Image - New Member Reception December 9

New Member Reception December 9

Date: Wed, December 09, 2015
Time: 5:30 PM

Are you new to the Club? Just want to explore and check it out? Come take a peek, meet other members and staff and learn about all The Commonwealth Club offers. Experience firsthand how The Commonwealth Club has become the nation’s leading public forum. Bring a friend and explore the Club together!

Mon 12/14

Image - Nimat Hafez Barazangi

Women’s Identity and Rethinking the Hadith

Date: Mon, December 14, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM
Uncovering unjust practices

Nimat Hafez Barazangi, Ph.D., Visiting Fellow, Cornell University
Dina Ibrahim, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts, San Francisco State University

Barazangi will discuss her work in Muslim and Arab women's education, identity development and belief studies as well as feminist and gender issues. She will sign her newest book, Woman’s Identity and Rethinking the Hadith. She describes this book as a first step in a comprehensive attempt to contrast Hadith with the Qur'an to uncover unjust practices concerning women and gender issues.

Image - Mark Twain's Chronicle of Young Satan

Mark Twain's Chronicle of Young Satan

Date: Mon, December 14, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM

Benjamin Griffin, Editor, Mark Twain Project, UC Berkeley

Monday Night Philosophy plays its iconoclast card. Mark Twain’s Chronicle of Young Satan—a late work that he left unfinished—has a passage in which the “angel” Satan forms people out of clay, and gives them life, only to kill them. Twain’s literary source was the Apocryphal New Testament published by William Hone in 1821, by way of an 1867 article by—Mark Twain.

In its time, Hone’s book was a scandal, and it remained one. Mark Twain eventually became an inventor of biblical apocrypha himself: the “diaries” of Adam, Eve, Shem and Methuselah, and his letters of Satan. Mark Twain’s treatment of the clay-people episode in his re-writing of the Infancy Gospel, despite Twain’s habitual railing against “The Moral Sense,” is strictly moral. Twain asks: Shall human beings expect better treatment by the gods than mosquitoes can expect from humans? And he recognizes that the advent of a truly omnipotent child would, in reality, be a disaster for human society, and uses that to critique the theological commonplace that “apparent evils” are wrought by God for our own benefit, if we only could see.

Image - Week to Week Political Roundtable and Holiday Social 12/14/15

Week to Week Political Roundtable and Holiday Social 12/14/15

Date: Mon, December 14, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Our special year-end political wrap-up!

Melissa Caen, Contributor, CBS SF (“Mornings with Melissa”); Attorney; Twitter  
C.W. Nevius, Columnist, San Francisco Chronicle; Twitter  
Additional Panelist TBA

It's our annual holiday special social hour followed by a special year-end edition of our popular Week to Week political roundtable. We'll discuss the biggest (and some of the oddest) political news of the day with intelligence and wit, and you'll get to meet other interested and interesting people.