Upcoming Events

Thu 4/6

Image - The White House

Trump's First 100 Days: Part Three

Date: Thu, April 06, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
Evaluating the crucial first few months of the new administration

Panelists TBA

Brian Watt, Morning News Anchor, KQED—Moderator

How will President Trump’s 100-day action plan impact our domestic and foreign affairs, health care, education, environment, immigration, economic and trade policies? Who are the new people leading the country and how will they impact public policy? What role will all forms of media play as they cover the new administration? Join The Commonwealth Club and KQED for part three of a four-part series of programs that address the first 100 days of the Trump administration and how this period will shape America over the next four years and beyond. 

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

Image - Speaker photos

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. 

Tue 4/18

Image - Paul Hawken

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.

Image - Krista Tippett

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

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.

Image - #GrabYourWallet

#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
Sarah Soule, Professor of Organizational Behavior, Stanford Business School
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

Image - Monadnock Building

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!

Image - Dr. Elisabeth Rosenthal

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.

Mon 4/24

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. 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

Image - David Dalin

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.

Image - Texas flags and wind power

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

Image - Chris Whipple

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

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.

Thu 5/4

The Witches: Salem 1692

Date: Thu, May 04, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
Account of Salem witch trials

Stacy Schiff, Pulitzer Prize Winner; Author, The Witches: Suspicion, Betrayal, and Hysteria in 1692 Salem

The Witches is Pulitzer Prize winner Stacy Schiff's account of a primal mystery. Women's suffrage, Prohibition and the Salem witch trials are three rare moments when women played a central role in American history, and in Salem it was adolescent girls who stood at center stage. The panic began during a raw Massachusetts winter, when a minister's niece began to writhe and roar. The panic spread quickly, as neighbors accused neighbors, husbands accused wives and parents, and children accused each other. The witch trials ended less than a year later, but not before 19 men and women had been hanged and an elderly man crushed to death. Drawing masterfully on the archives, Schiff introduces us to the strains of Puritan adolescent life and the vulnerability of wilderness settlements adrift from the mother country, and she brilliantly aligns them with our own anxieties: religious provocations, crowdsourcing and invisible enemies.

Mon 5/8

Samin Nosrat and Wendy MacNaughton: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking

Date: Mon, May 08, 2017
Time: 7:00 PM
Learn how to cook using salt, fat, acid and heat

Samin Nosrat, Chef; Author, Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking; Twitter 
Wendy MacNaughton, Columnist, The California Sunday Magazine; Illustrator, Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking; Twitter

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

Samin Nosrat has taught everyone how to cook—professional chefs, children and even Michael Pollan—by mastering just four important elements: salt, fat, acid and heat. In this program, Nosrat will share her kitchen philosophy of making meals delicious by enhancing, balancing and adding texture and flavor. Hear the hows and whys of what good cooking can be.

Nosrat trained under Alice Waters at Chez Panisse and has been called “the next Julia Child” by NPR’s All Things Considered. MacNaughton is a renowned illustrator and contributed 150 images and infographics to the book.

Tue 5/16

Rugged Individualism

Date: Tue, May 16, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
Why rugged individualism still exists

David Davenport, Hoover Institution Research Fellow, Former President of Pepperdine University, Co-author of Rugged Individualism

In Rugged Individualism, Davenport and Lloyd analyze the history of American individualism, from its earliest roots in the Christianity of the Colonial period to the present day. In spite of the closing of the western frontier; the shift from an agrarian to an industrial economy; the rise of Progressivism, the New Deal, the Great Society and the Reagan Revolution; federal education reform; and growing income inequality, rugged individualism has continued to survive as an American cultural icon. Davenport argues, though, that our ever more stifling federal government and overwhelming national debt may leave no room for rugged individualism to survive.

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.

 

Tue 5/23

Image - Brown

Willie Brown: Annual Commonwealth Club Lecture

Date: Tue, May 23, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
Annual lecture by Mayor Brown

Willie Brown, Former Mayor, San Francisco; Former Speaker, California State Assembly

Former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown will give his annual lecture on national and regional political trends. A two-term mayor of San Francisco and legendary speaker of the California State Assembly, Brown is widely regarded as one of the most influential African-American politicians of the late 20th century. He has been at the center of California politics, government and civic life for an astonishing four decades.

Wed 5/31

Image - The White House

Trump's First 100 Days: Part Four

Date: Wed, May 31, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
Evaluating the crucial first few months of the new administration

Panelists TBA

Mina Kim, Anchor and Host, KQED—Moderator

How will President Trump’s 100-day action plan impact our domestic and foreign affairs, health care, education, environment, immigration, economic and trade policies? Who are the new people leading the country and how will they impact public policy? What role will all forms of media play as they cover the new administration? Join The Commonwealth Club and KQED for the final program of our four-part series of programs that address the first 100 days of the Trump administration and how this period will shape America over the next four years and beyond.

Tue 6/6

Golf Courses, the Environment and Water Conservation: The New Reality

Date: Tue, June 06, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
The future of golf courses

Don Chelemedos, PGA General Manager, Presidio Golf Course
Brian Nettz, GCSAA Superintendent, Presidio Golf Course

While some people may think of the golf industry as one of waste and excess, recent climate changes and resources have required golf course operators to rethink their strategy when it comes to golfing, natural resources and adjustments for changing golf courses and game environments. Join the operations team from the Presidio Golf Course as they discuss water conservation, sustainable environmental improvements and the model the Presidio Golf Course has created for current and future golfers, environments and the golfing industry.