Upcoming Events

Thu 3/26

Image - Russian Hill Walking Tour
This event is Sold Out

Russian Hill Walking Tour

Date: Thu, March 26, 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 - Deep Decarbonization of the United States

Deep Decarbonization of the United States

Date: Thu, March 26, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With scientist Jim Williams

Jim Williams, Chief Scientist, Energy and Environmental Economics (E3)

Is it possible to greatly reduce the carbon emissions of the United States and still maintain a vigorous economy? Concern about climate change impacts on the environment and economy is leading to innovation as scientists seek new ways to reduce carbon emissions. Dr. Williams and his team at E3, along with researchers at Berkeley Lab and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, have completed an assessment of the technical and economic feasibility of reducing U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. Their work is based on a detailed sector-by-sector, region-by-region, year-by-year analysis of the infrastructure changes, technology requirements and costs of a low-carbon transition.

The work was sponsored by the Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project (DDPP), an international collaboration with research teams from the 15 largest GHG emitting nations, who are developing long-term scenarios for decarbonization in their own countries. The DDPP aims to advance the climate dialogue by providing decision makers with a more concrete understanding of what limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius would mean for their countries, states and businesses.

Image - Jane Harman:

Jane Harman: What Are America's Best Strategies in Combatting Global Threats?

Date: Thu, March 26, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Her perspective on urgent national security priorities.

Jane Harman, Former U.S. Representative

 

Today, non-state actors and unconventional warfare dominate the global threat landscape: ISIL, Boko Haram, hackers for hire and the “little green men” haunting eastern Ukraine. The United States needs – and lacks – clear strategies equal to those challenges. What role should American intelligence play? How can we develop a strong strategic narrative, one that meets young people where they are? What are the best economic and diplomatic tools in our kit? And what about the use of force and new military technologies, like drones and cyber-weapons? During her nine terms in Congress, Harman served on major security committees: eight years on Intelligence, eight years on Homeland Security, and six years on Armed Services. Now the head of Washington's Wilson Center, she will give her perspective on urgent national security priorities facing the United States. 

 

Image - Gretchen Rubin: Happiness and Habits

Gretchen Rubin: Happiness and Habits

Date: Thu, March 26, 2015
Time: 7:00 PM
With author Gretchen Rubin

Gretchen Rubin, Author, The Happiness Project and Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives; Twitter: @gretchenrubin
Angie Coiro, Talk Show Host, KGO Radio - Moderator

Humans are creatures of pattern – we repeat our standard behaviors over and over again every day. Rubin, a bestselling author, columnist and blogger, believes that when we change our habits, whether good or bad, we change our lives. But how do we effect this change? Through research and experimentation, Rubin offers a framework of different strategies to fit our individual personalities. Whether you are an “upholder,” “questioner,” “obliger” or “rebel,” come experience how every individual can lead a happier and more productive life.

Mon 3/30

Image - Middle East Discussion Group

Middle East Discussion Group

Date: Mon, March 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 - Cannabis Healing Our Kids: A New Paradigm for Recovery

Cannabis Healing Our Kids: A New Paradigm for Recovery

Date: Mon, March 30, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM

Thalia Michelle, Executive Director, Mothers Advocating Medical Marijuana for Autism; Co-Founder, The Thinking Moms Revolution
Felicia Carbajal, Co-Founder, California Cannabis Advocates; Educator; Activist
Amanda Reiman, Ph.D., MSW; Manager, Marijuana Law and Policy, Drug Policy Alliance; Doctoral Fellow, National Institute of Health
Christie Dames, CEO, TechTalk/Studio – Moderator

There's a whole new movement emerging around the medical uses of cannabis for children. Amazing success stories have created a new wave of advocates – including parents, scientists, and elected officials – for this radical new approach that is being used to fight cancer, epilepsy, autism and genetic disorders. Yet, despite the health solutions that cannabis treatments offer, will they ever become part of the medical mainstream? Join us for a discussion with experts and advocates on the challenges facing the movement and the unfolding opportunities for a collaborative system to better heal our kids.

Tue 3/31

Image - Regional Transit Governance Seminar

Regional Transit Governance Seminar

Date: Tue, March 31, 2015
Time: 8:30 AM
With transportation experts and public officials.
Metropolitan regions are the economic engines of our nation and public transit is the machinery that enables the largest metropolitan areas to function, compete effectively for employers and labor, and foster innovation. The ability of transit organizations to respond to changing and expanding demands varies across the industry and is shaped to a large extent by individual governance and organizational structures. This seminar brings together transportation experts, transit operators, and public officials to discuss:
 
  • Regional transit governance challenges and how they affect performance outcomes, such as system integration, investment decisions, and customer orientation.
  • Best practices that shape development and growth in several urban areas.
 
This event will begin with an overview of the newly released Eno/TransitCenter report, “Getting to the Route of It: The Role of Governance in Regional Transit,” and “Seamless Transit,” SPUR’s most recent transportation policy report. A panel discussion will follow.
 
Welcome:
Karen Philbrick, PhD, Executive Director, Mineta Transportation Institute
 
Topic Overview:
Hon. Jim Beall, Chair, California Senate Transportation Committee
 
“Getting to the Route of It: The Role of Governance in Regional Transit”:
Joshua Schank, President and CEO, Eno Center for Transportation
 
“Overcoming Transit Fragmentation”:
Ratna Amin, Transportation Policy Director, SPUR
 
Moderator: 
David Bragdon, Executive Director, TransitCenter
 
Panel Discussion:
David Armijo, General Manager, AC Transit
Cindy Chavez, Vice-Chair VTA; Member, Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors
Grace Crunican, General Manager, Bay Area Rapid Transit
Steve Heminger, Executive Director, Metropolitan Transportation Commission
Rick Ramacier, General Manager, Central Contra Costa Transportation Authority
Ed Reiskin, Director of Transportation, San Francisco MTA
Image - John Hargrove:  Beyond Blackfish

John Hargrove: Beyond Blackfish

Date: Tue, March 31, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Provocative views on the relationship between orcas and humans.

John Hargrove, Former Killer Whale Trainer; Star, Blackfish; Author, Beneath The Surface: Killer Whales, SeaWorld and The Truth Beyond Blackfish

John Hargrove’s career as one of the most experienced orca trainers in the world spanned the course of two decades. He worked with 20 different whales, on two different continents, and at two of SeaWorld’s U.S. facilities, where he was promoted to the highest level of trainer and given elite access to the parks’ most dangerous whales.

After two of his fellow trainers were killed by orcas in marine parks, Hargrove says he came to the realization that marine parks are not only dangerous for trainers, but also physically and psychologically detrimental to the whales themselves on an irreversible level. After he left SeaWorld, Hargrove became the star of the documentary Blackfish, airing widely on CNN, which tells the story of one particular killer whale that killed several people in captivity.

Hear his provocative views on the relationship between orcas and humans, and bring your questions.

 
Image - David Boaz: The Libertarian Mind

David Boaz: The Libertarian Mind

Date: Tue, March 31, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
A conversation on this growing ideology.

David Boaz, Executive Vice President, The Cato Institute; Author, The Libertarian Mind: A Manifesto for Freedom

Boaz has played a key role in the development of the libertarian movement in the United States. In addition to being a frequent guest on national television and radio shows such ABC’s “Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher” and NPR’s “Talk of the Nation,” Boaz has also written several books, the most recent being The Libertarian Mind, a guide to the history, ideas and growth of this burgeoning political movement. Join Boaz for a conversation on this growing ideology as he addresses everything from the campaigns of Ron Paul and Rand Paul to issues of national security and the 2008 financial crisis.

Wed 4/1

Image - Barney Frank

Barney Frank

Date: Wed, April 01, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM

Barney Frank, Former Member of Congress (D-MA); Author, Frank: A Life in Politics from the Great Society to Same-Sex Marriage; Twitter @BarneyFrank

How did a disheveled, intellectually combative gay Jew with a thick New Jersey–Massachusetts accent become one of the most effective politicians of his time? In Frank, a candid and witty political memoir, Barney Frank relates his journey from the outskirts of New York City to Boston’s city hall to the U.S. Congress, where he played a vital role in the struggle for personal freedom and economic fairness for more than four decades. With his trademark directness and insight, Frank explores the emotional toll of living in the closet and how he became the first member of Congress to voluntarily disclose his homosexuality. He chronicles his lifelong struggle against inequality, which culminated in co-writing the most significant Wall Street regulations since the Great Depression. Join the discussion with this quirky and robust political figure.

Image - Humanities West Book Discussion: To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and

Humanities West Book Discussion: To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918

Date: Wed, April 01, 2015
Time: 5:30 PM

Join us to discuss To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918, by Adam Hochschild. It has been a century since the start of the Great War, whose cultural aftermath is still influencing us. Yet it remains relevant to ask if the solutions to the illusions that led to trench warfare are still eluding us a century later. Discussion led by Lynn Harris.

Image - Week to Week Political Roundtable

Week to Week Political Roundtable and Member Social 4/1/15

Date: Wed, April 01, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
It's no April Fool's joke! Political talk can be smart and fun and civil.

Panelists TBA

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).

Image - Our Food, Our Health, Our Planet

Our Food, Our Health, Our Planet

Date: Wed, April 01, 2015
Time: 7:45 PM
With Ken Cook and Gary Hirshberg

Ken Cook, President & Co-founder, Environmental Working Group
Gary Hirshberg, Chairman, Stonyfield Farm
Gibson Thomas, Publisher & Editor-in-Chief, Edible Marin & Wine Country - Moderator

Every day more people are deciding that they want to take control of their health and the impact they have on the planet by taking control of their diet. The problem is, eating healthily and sustainably can often seem like an overly complex process. Is there a way to fill your grocery cart so that you can eat well and not harm the environment? Looking for guidance, we turn to Ken Cook, a preeminent environmentalist at the forefront of agriculture and food policy, and Gary Hirshberg, an agricultural entrepreneur who grew a seven-cow organic farming school into a wildly successful organic yogurt company. Cook and Hirshberg will discuss what issues we need to care about, and what choices we can make to maintain our health and the health of our world. 

Thu 4/2

Image - Chinatown Walking Tour

Chinatown Walking Tour

Date: Thu, April 02, 2015
Time: 1:45 PM
With Rick Evans

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 4/6

Image - Book Discussion: You Are One of Them: A Novel About Secrets, Betrayal, and the Friend Who Got Away, by Elliot Holt

Book Discussion: You Are One of Them: A Novel About Secrets, Betrayal, and the Friend Who Got Away, by Elliot Holt

Date: Mon, April 06, 2015
Time: 5:30 PM

Though Russia figures in this book, the subtitle best describes the work: A Novel About Secrets, Betrayal, and the Friend Who Got Away. Set in Cold War America and post-Soviet Russia, it is a mystery at the heart of which lies the story of the affection between girls and young women, love and loss. Inspired by the media sensation surrounding the letter of an American girl, Samantha Smith, to Yuri Andropov, the book has intrigue, plot twists, and ambiguity.

Image - Tim Gunn at The Commonwealth Club

Project Runway's Tim Gunn: How We All Can Make It Work

Date: Mon, April 06, 2015
Time: 7:00 PM
Wisdom and guidance from the fashion teacher.

Tim Gunn, "Project Runway" Cohost; Author, The Natty Professor: A Masterclass on Mentoring, Motivating and Making it Work; Twitter @timgunn

Tim Gunn is known for his kind but firm approach in providing wisdom, guidance and support to design hopefuls on Lifetime’s "Project Runway." Having begun his fashion career as a teacher at Parsons, The New School for Design, Tim knows about mentorship and how to convey invaluable wisdom in an approachable, accessible manner. Join Tim for a candid, inspirational and witty discussion of life’s lessons — from the runway to the classroom to the therapist’s office and beyond. Grab your tickets quickly to avoid hearing us say, “You’re out.”

Tue 4/7

Image - Technology's Coming Role: In-Home Caregiving

Technology Coming of Age: In-Home Caregiving

Date: Tue, April 07, 2015
Time: 5:15 PM
A panel discussion with Moli Steinert, Executive Director of SteppingStone

Richard G. Caro, Co-founder, Tech-enhanced Life, PBC
Brad Kreit, Research Director, Institute for the Future
Christina Irving, LCSW, Family Caregiver Alliance
Moli Steinert, Executive Director, SteppingStone Adult Day Health - Moderator

The sheer number of baby boomers who will turn 65 in the next decade will result in a historic demand for caregivers, which might not be met by human resources alone. Meanwhile, innovations in the domain of the Internet of Things have led to an unprecedented number of devices connected to the Internet. Can technology play a more meaningful role in supporting caregivers and care recipients? How can we harness these innovations to create new home health strategies for individuals as they age?

During this discussion, we will hear from caregiving experts from San Francisco’s SteppingStone Adult Day Health as well as technology experts and futurists from the Institute for the Future and Tech-enhanced Life to explore how these disparate realms will collaborate in the next decade and create new approaches to caregiving.

Image - Barry Royden: Reflections of a CIA Spy

Barry Royden: Reflections of a CIA Spy

Date: Tue, April 07, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
What does it take to work for the CIA?

Barry Royden, Former Director of Counterintelligence, CIA
Matt Levine, CEO and Managing Director, SourceUSA  — Moderator

What does it take to work for the CIA? Royden will share his experiences of what works, how it’s done and the process of recruiting and handling agents. He offers his thoughts on the CIA’s role in counterterrorism as well as spy motivations and their common personality types. Join Royden as he highlights his years at the CIA, including major counterintelligence cases such as Robert Hanssen, the FBI special agent convicted in 2001 of spying for Russia.

Wed 4/8

Image - Barry Eichengreen

Barry Eichengreen

Date: Wed, April 08, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
Professor of Economics and Politics at UC Berkeley

Barry Eichengreen, Professor of Economics and Politics, UC Berkeley; Author, Hall of Mirrors: The Great Depression, The Great Recession, and the Uses – and Misuses – of History

The two great financial crises of the past century are the Great Depression and the Great Recession. Both occurred against the backdrop of sharp credit booms, dubious banking practices, and a fragile and unstable global financial system. When markets went into cardiac arrest in 2008, policymakers invoked the lessons of the Great Depression in attempting to avert the worst. The question, given this, is why didn't policymakers do better? Hall of Mirrors, Barry Eichengreen's monumental twinned history of the two crises, provides the farthest-reaching answer to this question to date. Hall of Mirrors is both a major work of economic history and an essential exploration of how we avoided making only some of the same mistakes twice. It shows not just how the "lessons" of Great Depression history continue to shape society's response to contemporary economic problems, but also how the experience of the Great Recession will permanently change how we think about the Great Depression.

Image - Dining Practices Around the World

Dining Practices Around the World

Date: Wed, April 08, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With Syndi Seid, Founder of Advanced Etiquette

Syndi Seid, Founder, Advanced Etiquette

Have you ever been afraid of committing an unintentional cultural faux pas at a business dinner? Or perhaps you’re just curious about how different cultures around the world approach eating? Back by popular demand is our resident etiquette expert, Syndi Seid, to lead us through a lively discussion on how people dine in different countries. She’ll touch on the similarities and differences of eating with your hands, chopsticks and flatware, so for added fun, bring your own pair of chopsticks and a spoon, knife and fork to practice how to properly use these items. We’ll also be discussing how to eat appropriately with your hands so as not to be perceived as a barbarian! Seid's prior Commonwealth Club appearances sold out, so be sure to make your reservations early.