Upcoming Events

Wed 9/7

Image - Steven Hill

Expand Social Security Now!

Date: Wed, September 07, 2016
Time: 5:15 PM
A plan to defend and expand Social Security

Steven Hill, Senior Fellow, New America Foundation; Holtzbrinck Fellow, American Academy in Berlin; Author

Three-quarters of Americans depend heavily on Social Security in their elderly years and nearly half would be living in poverty without it. But as important and popular as it is, Social Security has become a political football. A well-financed campaign — supported by conservatives, special interest groups, and even leading Democrats — has lobbied for cuts and significant “entitlement reform,” falsely proclaiming that Social Security is going broke. Policy expert Steven Hill argues that Social Security not only should be defended, it should be substantially expanded.

Learn about his proposal to double the monthly benefit and how to pay for it by closing many of the tax loopholes and deductions that disproportionately favor the wealthy few.

Thu 9/8

Image - Chinatown Walking Tour

Chinatown Walking Tour

Date: Thu, September 08, 2016
Time: 1:45 PM
Join us for a neighborhood adventure

Enjoy a Commonwealth Club neighborhood adventure. Join Rick Evans for a memorable midday walk, and discover the history and mysteries of Chinatown. Explore colorful alleys and side streets. Visit a Taoist temple, an herbal store, the site of the first public school in the state, and the famous Fortune Cookie Factory.

Mon 9/12

Longevity Explorers Discussion Group: Better Aging. You. Your Parents.

Date: Mon, September 12, 2016
Time: 1:30 PM
Solutions to challenges of aging

Richard G. Caro, Ph.D., Facilitator

This regular discussion group explores new and emerging solutions to the challenges of growing older. Not only do we uncover interesting new products at the intersection of aging and technology, we also conduct a series of ongoing deep-dive discussions into topics such as brain health, apps for seniors, hearing and wearables for seniors. The results of our discussions will be shared with a larger community of older adults interested in improving their quality of life through our partner in this initiative, Tech-enhanced Life, PBC. The discussions are facilitated by Dr. Richard Caro, whom many of you have heard speak at prior Grownups forum events.

Image - Karen Paget

Patriotic Betrayal: Inside a Secret CIA Campaign

Date: Mon, September 12, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM

Karen Paget, Author, Patriotic Betrayal: The Inside Story of the CIA’s Secret Campaign to Enroll American Students in the Crusade Against Communism

Monday Night Philosophy considers the social ramifications of a democratic society allowing internal spying. In 1967, Ramparts magazine exposed a CIA secret: a decades-old project to enroll American students in the crusade against communism by suborning the National Student Association. Patriotic Betrayal tells a story filled with self-serving rationalizations, layers of duplicity, and bureaucratic double-talk. Author Karen Paget, herself a former member of the NSA, mined hundreds of archival sources and declassified documents, and interviewed more than 150 people, to uncover precisely how the CIA turned the NSA into an intelligence asset during the Cold War. Her answer throws a sharp light on the persistent argument about whether America’s national security interests can be secured by skullduggery and deception.

Tue 9/13

Image - Steven Campbell

A Blinding Flash of the Obvious: Rewiring Your Brain for Success

Date: Tue, September 13, 2016
Time: 5:15 PM
Changing your mind

Steven R. Campbell, M.S., Information Systems

Campbell presents an eye-opening look at the latest research on how our brains conform to the messages we give it: When we optimize those messages, our brains will literally rewire themselves again to create new, positive self-images of who we want to be.

This is formally called “neuroplasticity.” Understanding this could open doors to creating more success in our health, personal relationships and in our businesses.

It's not magic...it's science! The speaker will share practical knowledge of cutting-edge brain research on creating success, better health, loving relationships and overcoming your fears as well as an understanding of the surprising power of thinking differently when you mess up.

Image - Week to Week Political Roundtable and Member Social

Election 2016 Political Roundtable: A Week to Week Special

Date: Tue, September 13, 2016
Time: 7:00 PM
A special South Bay edition of our popular politics roundtable

Larry Gerston, Ph.D., Professor of Political Science, San Jose State University; Political Analyst, NBC Bay Area; Author, Reviving Citizen Engagement, and The Road to Hana
Additional Panelists TBA

This program is sponsored by the Applied Materials Foundation.

It's a special edition of our political roundtable. We'll gather local experts for commentary on the candidates, referenda and issues of concern to the South Bay, and we'll take a look at statewide and national campaigns.

We'll 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 refreshments at our member social (open to all attendees). 

Wed 9/14

Image - John Dearborn

Navigating the Health Care Crisis

Date: Wed, September 14, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM

John Dearborn, M.D.

The United States is in the midst of a crisis in health care. With the many advances in biomedical technology and pharmacology, fueled by research in academia and industry, we have never been better cared-for and are enjoying longer productive lives. But the growing cost of delivering that care, especially for an aging population, has us in the middle of a battle between the health-care delivery system and third-party payers, including Medicare. Premiums have soared, and coverage has waned to keep the insurers in the black, but Medicare has been badly underfunded for decades.

Can physicians and hospitals strike a balance between high-quality care and cost that will ease the strain on our wallets yet still keep us healthy and active? This has been the focus in the joint-replacement realm at Washington Hospital in Fremont for nearly 20 years, and the results have been astounding.

The Future of Work

Date: Wed, September 14, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM
How do we create good jobs for everyone?

Panelists TBA

Sponsored by the San Francisco Foundation as part of the People, Power, Place Series, which addresses access and equity in the Bay Area.

As the economy has improved across the Bay Area, not everyone has benefitted equally from economic gains and job growth. In fact, many haven’t benefitted at all. While there is seemingly no shortage of high-paying jobs for workers with advanced degrees and a surplus of low wage jobs with little hope for advancement, there simply are not enough jobs that pay a wage that provides safety, security and hope for a better future. In this session, we will bring together leaders from the advocacy community and the business world to talk about what it will take to create good jobs that allow people to make a meaningful contribution to their community and the local economy, and to build a better life for their kids. San Francisco Foundation

Image - Arlie R Hochschild

Anger and Mourning on the American Right

Date: Wed, September 14, 2016
Time: 7:00 PM
A journey into red America

Arlie R. Hochschild, Ph.D., Professor Emerita, Department of Sociology, University of California, Berkeley

In Strangers in Their Own Land, the renowned sociologist Arlie Hochschild embarks on a thought-provoking journey from her liberal hometown of Berkeley, California, deep into Louisiana bayou country. In the right-wing world she explores, Hochschild discovers powerful forces that override self-interest, as progressives see it, and help explain the emotional appeal of a candidate like Donald Trump.

Hochschild draws on her expert knowledge of the sociology of emotion to help us understand what it feels like to live in “red” America. Along the way she finds answers to one of the crucial questions of contemporary American politics: Why do the people who would seem to benefit most from “liberal” government intervention abhor the very idea?

This program includes complimentary light hors d'oeuvres and a cash bar from 7-7:40.

Thu 9/15

Image - North Beach Walking Tour

North Beach Walking Tour

Date: Thu, September 15, 2016
Time: 1:45 PM
Join us on a neighborhood adventure

Join another Commonwealth Club neighborhood adventure! Explore vibrant North Beach with Rick Evans during a two-hour walk through this neighborhood with a colorful past, where food, culture, history and unexpected views all intersect in an Italian “urban village.” In addition to learning about Beat generation hangouts, you’ll discover authentic Italian cathedrals and coffee shops.

Image - Peace Corps program

Let It Begin Here: Peace Corps and Problem-Solving at the Last Mile

Date: Thu, September 15, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM
Swords into ploughshares

Carrie Hessler-Radelet, Director , U.S. Peace Corps
Karl W. Eikenberry, Ambassador; William J. Perry Fellow in International Security, Center for International Security and Cooperation, Stanford University

With contrasting backgrounds of peace and war, Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet and Ambassador Karl Eikenberry will engage the audience in a dynamic, informational conversation on the power of relationships in international development.

Hessler-Radelet has served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Samoa, executive director to the Special Olympics in The Gambia, and HIV/AIDS advisor in Indonesia, prior to her employment as vice president and director of the Washington, D.C., office for John Snow, Inc. Ambassador Eikenberry is a retired U.S. Army lieutenant general who had commanded and held staff positions in airborne, ranger and mechanized infantry units in the United States, Korea and Europe, before serving two tours of duty in Afghanistan, and his appointment as U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan.

Learn from these two leaders how to make swords into plowshares.

Fri 9/16

Granada: A Pomegranate in the Hand of God

Date: Fri, September 16, 2016
Time: 12:00 PM
Remembering a time and place of interreligious amity

Steven Nightengale, Author, Granada: A Pomegranate in the Hand of God
Jonathan Curiel, Journalist; Author—Moderator

Nightengale will share insights from his beautifully written book Granada: A Pomegranate in the Hand of God, which describes his family's adventurous, rewarding move to an ancient neighborhood in Granada with its charming lifestyle, beautiful gardens and fascinating history so greatly influenced by Muslim and Jewish immigrants. He will also trace Granada's remarkable past when Christians, Muslims and Jews lived together, in relative harmony during a truly impressive time of important scientific, artistic, poetic and mathematical achievements, until religious fundamentalism and power hunger ended that marvelous period.

Image - Steve Forbes

Steve Forbes: Where Are the Country and Economy Headed?

Date: Fri, September 16, 2016
Time: 12:00 PM
What does America need next?

Steve Forbes, Chairman and Editor-in-Chief, Forbes Media; Author, Reviving America: How Repealing Obamacare, Replacing the Tax Code and Reforming the Fed Will Restore Hope and Prosperity

With a turbulent presidential election and Brexit on the horizon, a leading conservative voice offers his thoughts on the political and economic climate in the United States and the world. Steve Forbes is chairman of Forbes Media, which publishes Forbes magazine, with a circulation of nearly 1 million readers domestically and 5 million worldwide. In both 1996 and 2000, Mr. Forbes campaigned vigorously for the Republican nomination for the presidency. Key to his platform were a flat tax, medical savings accounts, a new Social Security system for working Americans, parental choice of schools for their children, term limits and a strong national defense. Forbes continues to energetically promote this agenda. Here’s a chance to hear his views on how to make the country stronger and Americans more prosperous.

Mon 9/19

Image - Don George

The Way of Wanderlust

Date: Mon, September 19, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM

Don George, Travel Writer; Author, The Way of Wanderlust: The Best Travel Writing of Don George

A professional travel writer and editor for the past four decades, Don George has explored the furthest corners of the world. In his book, The Way of Wanderlust, George includes many of his adventurous tales from the last 40 years—climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, ascending Yosemite’s Half Dome, a moving homestay experience in Cambodia. The former travel editor for the San Francisco Examiner and the San Francisco Chronicle, George founded the Wanderlust section of Salon.com and was recently the global travel editor for Lonely Planet Publications.

Hear George reflect upon his global expeditions and reignite your own wanderlust.

Being Well While Dying

Date: Mon, September 19, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM

Ira Byock, M.D., Palliative Care Physician; Founder and Chief Medical Officer, Institute for Human Caring, Providence Health and Services; Professor of Medicine and Community & Family Medicine, Dartmouth

Americans tend to consider illness and dying as fundamentally medical problems. Doctors and nurses focus their attention on alleviating suffering at end of life. But though suffering is undeniably part of illness and dying, with good palliative care many people retain a capacity for subjective well-being through the end of their lives. Dr. Byock will explore the surprising possibility of contentment and joy in dying and the implications for our understanding of full and healthy living.

A renowned author, Dr. Byock has appeared on NPR's "All Things Considered," CBS "60 Minutes," "Fox and Friends," and PBS "The News Hour."

Tue 9/20

Image - Matthew Fox

Matthew Fox: Evolution of Religion Toward a Broader Spiritual Path

Date: Tue, September 20, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM
A view of changing spiritual approaches

Matthew Fox, Ph.D., Episcopal Priest; Author, Original Blessing, The Reinvention of Work, A Spirituality Named Compassion, A Way To God: Thomas Merton's Creation Spirituality Journey, and Meister Eckhart: A Mystic-Warrior for Our Times

Dr. Fox sees an ongoing, rapid shift from formal religion toward a broader-based, gender-neutral path that includes Eastern spirituality, the Wisdom Tradition in the Hebrew Bible, respect for the Earth and native traditions, and awe about nature and creation. Former Dominican priest Matthew Fox, "the most-read theologian in North America," has written more than 30 books on the topic, selling more than 1.5 million copies in dozens of languages. He will discuss the causes of this shift and show how, for example, the four paths of Creation Spirituality can bring joy, life, spiritual depth (and dance!) to the practice of spirituality. He will also discuss other traditions and the works of the Roman Catholic theologians and mystics Thomas Merton, Hildegard of Bingen, and Meister Eckhart.

Come to the Club to experience how, in the words of Merton, "our real journey in life is interior; it is a matter of growth, deepening, and of an ever-greater surrender to the creative action of love and grace in our hearts."

Wed 9/21

Image - Ross King

Mad Enchantment: Claude Monet and the Painting of the Water Lilies

Date: Wed, September 21, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM
Claude Monet—the man, the times, and the art

Ross King, Author, Mad Enchantment: Claude Monet and the Painting of the Water Lilies

This program is part of our Good Lit series, underwritten by the Bernard Osher Foundation.

We have all seen—whether live, in photographs or on postcards—Claude Monet's legendary water lily paintings. They are in museums all over the world and are among the most beloved works of art of the past century. Yet these soothing images were created amid terrible personal turmoil and sadness. As World War I exploded within hearing distance of his house at Giverny, Monet's personal losses piled up and formed the tragic backdrop of his last and largest creations. Using letters, memoirs and other sources, Ross King reveals a more complex, more human, more intimate Claude Monet than has ever been portrayed, and firmly places his water lily project among the greatest achievements in the history of art.

Thu 9/22

Image - Kimberly Balsam

At the Crossroads: Oppression and Resilience in Diverse LGBT Communities

Date: Thu, September 22, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM
A psychological perspective on justice and oppression

Kimberly F. Balsam, Ph.D. Professor; President-Elect, APA's Division 44; Co-Director, Center for LGBTQ Evidence-Based Applied Research, Pacific Graduate School of Psychology, Palo Alto University

The past five years have been times of rapid change for LGBT communities in the United States. With the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in 2011 and the Obergefell v. Hodges Supreme Court decision in 2015, LGBT people have experienced rapid gains in visibility, acceptance and legal rights. However, this progress has disproportionately advanced the well-being of those who are white sexual minorities, leaving issues of racial and ethnic diversity, social class and gender identity in the margins. Further, the recent shooting in Orlando highlights the ongoing oppression, including violence and fear of violence, that LGBT individuals must still contend with on a daily basis.

These developments have led many to argue that we find ourselves at a crossroads in LGBT history that requires new paradigms that will broaden justice to more people. Balsam will discuss psychological perspectives on oppression and resilience, offering a lens through which to envision the path forward in this challenging and ever-changing social context.

Mon 9/26

Image - Ayesha Curry

Ayesha Curry: The Seasoned Life

Date: Mon, September 26, 2016
Time: 12:00 PM
Recipes for the whole family

Ayesha Curry, Food Network Host, "Ayesha’s Homemade"; Author, The Seasoned Life: Food, Family, Faith, and the Joy of Eating Well

This program is part of our Good Lit series, underwritten by the Bernard Osher Foundation.

In The Seasoned Life, Ayesha Curry will share 100 of her favorite recipes and invite readers into the home she has made with her two daughters and her husband Stephen Curry. Ayesha knows first-hand what it is like to be a busy mom and wife, and she knows that for her family, time in the kitchen and around the table is where that balance begins.

She has something for everybody. The simple, delicious recipes include Cast Iron Biscuits, Smoked Salmon Scramble, Homemade Granola, Mom's Chicken Soup, Stephen's 5 Ingredient Pasta, and plenty of recipes that get the whole family involved—even the little ones!

Middle East Forum Discussion

Date: Mon, September 26, 2016
Time: 5:00 PM
Discussion group

The Middle East Forum discussion group—which primarily covers the Middle East, North Africa and Afghanistan—has been meeting monthly for more than eight years. We are not a debate group; we are a discussion group.