Upcoming Events

Mon 5/18

Image - Charles Murray: Rebuilding Liberty

Charles Murray: Rebuilding Liberty

Date: Mon, May 18, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Using America’s unique civil society to put government back in its box.

Charles Murray, W.H. Brady Scholar, American Enterprise Institute; Author, By the People: Rebuilding Liberty Without Permission
David Davenport, Research Fellow, Hoover Institution — Moderator

Part of the American Value Series. Underwritten by the Koret Foundation.

Is American freedom being gutted? Acclaimed social scientist and bestselling author Charles Murray says we can no longer hope to roll back the power of the federal government through the normal political process. By his count, the Constitution is broken in ways that cannot be fixed even by a sympathetic Supreme Court, our legal system is increasingly lawless and unmoored from traditional ideas of “the rule of law,” and the legislative process has become systemically corrupt no matter which party is in control.

By the People’s hopeful message is that rebuilding our traditional freedoms does not require electing a right-thinking Congress or president, nor does it require five right-thinking justices on the Supreme Court. Instead, Murray argues that that rebuilding can be done by the American people, using America’s unique civil society to put government back in its box.

Tue 5/19

Image - Ken Walsh: Presidents and the Cult of Celebrity

Ken Walsh: Presidents and the Cult of Celebrity

Date: Tue, May 19, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM
With long-time Chief White House Correspondent

Ken Walsh, Chief White House Correspondent, U.S. News & World Report; Author, Celebrity in Chief: A History of the Presidents

Walsh joined the U.S. News & World Report in 1984 as a congressional correspondent and has covered presidential politics since 1986. Walsh is one of the longest-serving White House correspondents in history, having traveled to more than 70 countries and conducting numerous interviews with presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H. Bush and Ronald Reagan.

Walsh says, since the beginning of the Republic, presidents have needed to be celebrities and build on their fame. This fame has allowed them to get things done by propelling their agendas and rallying public support for themselves as national leaders. Come hear behind the scenes tales about the intersection of the presidency and pop culture.

Image - Unicef CauseTech: Crowd-sourcing Global Innovation for Good

Unicef CauseTech: Crowd-sourcing Global Innovation for Good

Date: Tue, May 19, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM

Sharad Sapra, M.D., Director, UNICEF Global Innovation Centre
Lisa Nash, Chief Marketing Officer, Thrive Networks; CEO, Blue Planet
Wayne Ferreira, CEO, EcoloBlue

From access to clean water to disease prevention to education, millions of people around the world are in desperate need of innovative technologies and products that fulfill their basic human needs. CauseTech is a landmark initiative to crowd-source breakthrough ideas, inventions, products and emerging technologies, bridging the private and public sector into a global open innovation ecosystem.

Through collaborative thinking, they seek to adapt and deploy inventive technology solutions that can help UNICEF scale its efforts to meet the ever-growing needs of the poorest and most vulnerable and excluded children across 190 countries. Focusing on access to water, health care, nutrition and energy, our panel will showcase the power of community and the early success of work being done through this initiative.

Wed 5/20

Image - Elder Financial Abuse Prevention

Elder Financial Abuse Prevention

Date: Wed, May 20, 2015
Time: 5:15 PM
With San Francisco D.A. George Gascón

Elizabeth Landsverk, M.D., Founder, ElderConsult
George Gascón, San Francisco District Attorney
Helen Karr, Elder Abuse Specialist - Moderator

May is the month to focus on the prevention of elder financial abuse. The city’s top legal authority, D.A. George Gascón, has made combating elder abuse a top priority. To take a proactive approach to halting abuse and bringing offenders to justice, he made the White Collar Economic Crimes Unit responsible for prosecuting financial crimes against seniors. Just last year, his office became the first in the country to successfully convict in two blessing scam cases, schemes that target elderly Chinese women. Gascón is joined by Dr. Elizabeth Landsverk, a private practitioner who has collaborated with the D.A. to addresses elders’ needs, and moderator Helen Karr, who has focused her entire law career on the issue of elder abuse.

Thu 5/21

Image - San Francisco Architecture Walking Tour

San Francisco Architecture Walking Tour

Date: Thu, May 21, 2015
Time: 1:45 PM

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 - Kelly McGonigal: The Upside of Stress

Kelly McGonigal: The Upside of Stress

Date: Thu, May 21, 2015
Time: 7:00 PM

Kelly McGonigal, Health Psychologist; Lecturer, Stanford University; Author, The Upside of Stress: Why Stress Is Good for You, and How to Get Good at It

We’ve all heard stress can make us sick, but can it be a good thing? McGonigal debunks stress myths and shares how it can make us stronger, smarter and happier.

So stop losing sleep – you don’t need to get rid of stress, she says, just learn how to embrace it.

Tue 5/26

Image - Andrew Hodges: Alan Turing - The Man Who Inspired "The Imitation Game"

Andrew Hodges: Alan Turing - The Man Who Inspired "The Imitation Game"

Date: Tue, May 26, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM

Andrew Hodges, Professor, Senior Research Fellow, University of Oxford; Author, Alan Turing: The Enigma

It is only a slight exaggeration to say that the British mathematician Alan Turing saved the Allies from the Nazis, invented the computer, and anticipated gay liberation by decades – all before his suicide at age 41. Turing’s revolutionary concept of a universal machine, which he realized in 1945 with his electronic design, laid the foundation for the modern computer. Even more critical at the time, Turing played a leading role in breaking the German Enigma ciphers during World War II, a scientific triumph that helped to swing the course of the war in the Atlantic. At the same time, Turing, despite his wartime service, was eventually arrested and forced to undergo a humiliating treatment program – all for trying to live honestly in a society that defined homosexuality as a crime. Join us for insights into this remarkable man with the author of the book behind the Oscar-nominated film The Imitation Game.

Image - Richard Thaler and Hal Varian: Behavioral Economics

Richard Thaler and Hal Varian: Behavioral Economics

Date: Tue, May 26, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM

Richard Thaler, Behavioral Science and Economics Professor, University of Chicago; Author, Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics; Twitter @R_Thaler
Hal Varian, Chief Economist, Google; Twitter @halvarian
George Anders, Contributing Writer, Forbes; Twitter @GeorgeAnders – Moderator

Traditional economics assumes rational actors. Our lived experiences, however, tell us otherwise: real people are often error-prone individuals rather than Spock-like automatons. Whether buying concert tickets or applying for a mortgage, we all make decisions that deviate from assumed rationality standards. We misbehave, and our misbehavior has serious consequences. Dismissed at first by economists as an amusing sideshow, the study of human miscalculations and their effects on markets now drives efforts to make smarter decisions in our personal lives, our businesses and our governments. Thaler and Varian, economists of the information age, discuss the intersection of economics and psychology, and offer innovative strategies to approach an increasingly complex world.

Wed 5/27

Image - Rise of the Robots

Rise of the Robots

Date: Wed, May 27, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
What course will our future will take?

Martin Ford, Author; Software Developer; Computer Designer

Artificial intelligence is already well on its way to making “good jobs” obsolete: many paralegals, physicians and even – ironically – computer programmers are poised to be replaced by robots. As technology continues to develop, more and more traditional jobs will be shed. Unless we radically reassess our economic and political systems, some fear that this transition to extreme automation could result in massive unemployment, stark inequality and the implosion of the economy itself. Martin Ford, a successful Silicon Valley entrepreneur, offers both a vision of this new technology and a call to arms to face its implications, made more potent by Ford’s own integral role in creating the automated future he describes. His warning rings clearly: robots are coming, and we must decide now what course our future will take.

Dr. Sylvia Earle: One Big Ocean

Date: Wed, May 27, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
An ocean pioneer.

Sylvia Earle, Ocean Explorer; National Geographic Explorer in Residence; Founder, Mission Blue and SEAlliance
Greg Dalton, Founder, Climate One – Moderator

Dr. Sylvia Earle – fondly dubbed “Her Deepness” by The New York Times – holds the women’s record for the deepest ocean dive and has led more than 100 undersea expeditions, logging more than 7,000 hours underwater. Formerly chief scientist of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Dr. Earle has garnered countless international honors and played a leading role as researcher and educator capable of crossing any barrier – whether it be linguistic, geographic or a seemingly impassible ocean depth.

Thu 5/28

Image - Russian Hill Walking Tour

Russian Hill Walking Tour

Date: Thu, May 28, 2015
Time: 1:45 PM

Join a more active Commonwealth Club Neighborhood Adventure! Russian Hill is a magical area with secret gardens and amazing views. Join Rick Evans for a two-hour hike up hills and staircases and learn about the history of this neighborhood. See where great artists and architects lived and worked, and walk down residential streets where some of the most historically significant houses in the Bay Area are located.

Image - Former San Francisco Giant Bengie Molina and Joan Ryan

Former San Francisco Giant Bengie Molina and Joan Ryan

Date: Thu, May 28, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
An inspiring true story

Bengie Molina, Former MLB Catcher (2007-2010), SF Giants; Co-author, Molina
Joan Ryan, Media Consultant, SF Giants; Co-author, Molina
In conversation with Roy Eisenhardt, Lecturer in Sports Law, UC Berkeley Law School; Former President, Oakland A's

Good Lit event underwritten by the Bernard Osher Foundation

The inspiring true story of the poor Puerto Rican factory worker, Benjamin Molina Santana, who against all odds raised the greatest baseball dynasty of all time: Molina's three sons – Bengie, Jose, and Yadier – have each earned two World Series rings, which is unprecedented in the sport, and his story is told by one of them, Bengie.

Bengie was the least likely to reach the majors. He was too slow, too sensitive and too small. But craving his beloved father’s respect, Bengie weathered failure after deflating failure until one day he was hoisting a World Series trophy in a champagne-soaked clubhouse. All along he thought he was fulfilling his father’s own failed dream of baseball glory, only to discover it had not been his father’s dream at all.

Mon 6/1

Book Discussion: Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking by Anya Von Bremzen

Date: Mon, June 01, 2015
Time: 5:30 PM

A witty, warm and engaging book about Russians and the food obsessions of Soviet life; it is also a culinary history of the Russian Revolution and its consequences. In the great tradition of Russian memoirs, it presents a view of the country's past and culture in the mode of “laughter through tears.” A delicious read complete with recipes.

Tue 6/2

Digital Gold, The History and Future of Bitcoin

Date: Tue, June 02, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With reporter and author Nathaniel Popper

Nathaniel Popper, Reporter, The New York Times; Author, Digital Gold

Believers in Bitcoin see it as a potential basis for a financial system free of banks and governments. So far it has made millions for some people and prison terms for others. National banking regulators are just beginning to set rules and regulations for bitcoin in light of recent scandals and its use by criminal enterprises.

Popper, who has covered the intersections between Wall Street and Silicon Valley for The New York Times, wrote Digital Gold, a best seller on the history of Bitcoin, the digital money and financial technology that is used globally. Join us for a discussion on the history and future of bitcoin and its impact on financial markets.

Wed 6/3

Image - A Passion for Paris: Romanticism and Romance in the City of Light

A Passion for Paris: Romanticism and Romance in the City of Light

Date: Wed, June 03, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM
With author David Downie

David Downie, Author, A Passion for Paris

Downie seeks to uncover why Paris has reigned as the world's most romantic city for over 150 years. In his combined memoir, history text and travelogue, Downie takes us through Paris' secluded parks, artists' studios, cafés and streets—many unchanged in centuries—while walking hand-in-hand with Victor Hugo, Flaubert, George Sand, Baudelaire, Balzac and many others. Downie finds hidden sources of Paris' chic, glamorous allure in its bizarre culture of heroic negativity, and in the carefree atmosphere created by its subversive literature extolling rebellion, mayhem and melancholy.

Image - Gary Schlossberg: Forecasting the Economy at Mid Year

Gary Schlossberg: Forecasting the Economy at Mid Year

Date: Wed, June 03, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With Wells Fargo's Senior Economist

Gary Schlossberg, Senior Economist, Wells Capital Management; Former researcher, U.S. Treasury and Federal Reserve Board

Gary Schlossberg analyzes the economic, financial and investment environments for a fee-based, institutional money manager with over $340 billion in assets under management, Wells Capital Management (WCM), along with groups within Wells Fargo & Co. He also consults with the organization’s customers and internal professionals and is a member of WCM Policy and Liquidity Management strategy committees. Schlossberg is known for his well-packaged presentations on economic business and is quoted in The Financial Press. He also appears on business radio and TV programs in the U.S., Japan and in the U.K. Hear him here next.

Thu 6/4

I Never Knew There Were so Many Stars: San Francisco Ninth Graders at Camp Mather in the Sierras

Date: Thu, June 04, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM

Erik Rice, Supervisor, College and Career Readiness, San Francisco Unified School District
Vanessa Varko-Fontana, Community Health Outreach Worker, John O'Connell High School Ninth Grade Students from John O'Connell High School
Laura Page, Arts and Education Program Manager, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission - Moderator

In association with San Francisco Public Utilities Commission

In spring of 2015, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission and the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department are bringing students from San Francisco's Mission District to Camp Mather in the Sierras. For the second year in a row, students will swim, hike and learn about Hetch Hetchy, the Sierras, our national and state forests and explore mountain environments, stars in the skies and opportunities for work and careers. Join our panel to learn about students' adventures in discovering forests, rivers, lakes, wild life, horse trails and nature's wonders.

Sun 6/7

Image - A Sunday with Judy Blume

A Sunday with Judy Blume and Molly Ringwald

Date: Sun, June 07, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Called "the queen of YA" by The Washington Post

Judy Blume, Author

In conversation with Molly Ringwald, Actress, Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink; Judy Blume Enthusiast

“My only advice is to stay aware, listen carefully, and yell for help if you need it.” – Judy Blume

Judy Blume, called “the Queen of YA” by The Washington Post, releases her first book in 15 years, In the Unlikely Event, this June. Blume – prolific, controversial, beloved – is a literary iconoclast whose novels have been among the first to discuss teen sex, masturbation, menstruation and divorce. For two generations of preteen girls, Blume’s books have addressed the most intimate questions of love, loss and growing up.

Judy Blume will discuss her latest book, her career spanning eight decades of writing, children empowerment and her favorite stories about the young and young at heart.

Mon 6/8

Image - A God That Could Be Real

A God That Could Be Real

Date: Mon, June 08, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
A fresh approach to an ancient topic.

Nancy Ellen Abrams, Author 

Many people find it hard to put their faith in a god that is based upon their own beliefs, without any external evidence. As a philosopher of science, lawyer, atheist, environmental activist and wife of the astrophysicist Joel Primack, Nancy Ellen Abrams was one of them – until she surprised herself by asking the question: "Could anything actually exist in our strange and counterintuitive universe that is worthy of the name God?" Shedding traditional religious conceptions, she builds on the idea of emergence, a powerful new scientific concept that cuts across many fields and hones in on the complex relations inherent in our universe. Come experience a fresh approach to an ancient topic that has intrigued scientists and theologians.

Tue 6/9

Avoiding the End-of-Life Medical Conveyer Belt

Date: Tue, June 09, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM
The seemingly contradictory specialties of critical care and palliative care.

Jessica Nutik Zitter, M.D., Contributor, The New York Times, Atlantic Monthly and Huffington Post

In conversation with Mark Zitter CEO, Zitter Health Insights

Thirty percent of Americans die in ICUs hooked up to machines, despite their preferences to the contrary. Dr. Jessica Nutik Zitter practices the seemingly contradictory specialties of critical care and palliative care. She sees a medical system geared toward treating individual organ systems rather than caring for whole patients. Dr. Zitter’s New York Times columns illustrate the challenges patients and their families face and provide specific steps individuals can take for better end-of-life experiences. She will be interviewed by Mark Zitter, who co-founded a telephone counseling service for patients with life-limiting illnesses.