San Jose-area residents can catch last night's popular program with Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen beginning May 6 at 7:00 p.m., on CreaTV (Channel 30).
The sold-out program featured Allen and was moderated by Stanford University President John Hennessy.
For those of you not in the South Bay, the program will begin airing on The Commonwealth Club's radio network beginning May 27, according to our radio schedule. You can find your local member of our radio network on our list of participating broadcast stations.
The White House issued this news release today that involves The Commonwealth Club's own Wendy Wanderman, our associate program director.
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 27, 2011
President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts
WASHINGTON – Today, President Barack Obama announced his intent to appoint the following individuals to key Administration posts:
· Judy Gaynor, Member, Commission on Presidential Scholars
· Richard P. Herman, Member, Commission on Presidential Scholars
· Robert Langer, Member, President’s Committee on the National Medal of Science
· Wendy Wanderman, Member, Advisory Committee on the Arts for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
· Thomas E. Wheeler, Member, President’s Intelligence Advisory Board
President Obama announced his intent to appoint the following individuals to key Administration posts:
Judy Gaynor, Appointee for Member, Commission on Presidential Scholars
Judy Gaynor is currently a co-founding Member of the Chicago Committee of Human Rights Watch and a Member of the Advisory Committee of the Children’s Rights Division. Ms. Gaynor was previously a consultant for Senators Adlai Stevenson and Paul Simon. From 1997 to 2003, she was Executive Director of the Chicago International Film Festival. Ms. Gaynor has served on the boards of Business and Professional People for the Public Interest and the Illinois Arts Alliance. In addition, she served on committees for the American Civil Liberties Union, the Chicago Foundation for Women, Facing History and Ourselves, and the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs. Earlier in her career, Ms. Gaynor was a schoolteacher in Chicago. She holds a B.A. from the National College of Education.
Richard P. Herman, Appointee for Member, Commission on Presidential Scholars
Richard P. Herman is currently an educational consultant. Mr. Herman recently retired, following nearly 50 years as a founding Director of Windsor Mountain International (formerly Interlocken International Camp & Educational Travel), an organization that hosts local and international youth in experiential educational, residential, and travel programs with a focus on Community Service Learning. He also founded and directed the Educational Opportunities Fund of New Hampshire which provides scholarships for deserving youth. Mr. Herman served on the boards of the New Hampshire Children's Alliance, the American Camping Association and Bard/Simon's Rock Early College. He holds a B.A. in History from the University of Massachusetts and an M.A. in Education and Counseling from Northeastern University.
Robert Langer, Appointee for Member, President’s Committee on the National Medal of Science
Robert Langer is the David H. Koch Institute Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has written more than 1,100 peer reviewed articles, has approximately 800 issued and pending patents worldwide, and is one of the most cited engineers in history. Dr. Langer is the recipient of the 2006 National Medal of Science, the 2002 Charles Stark Draper Prize, and the 2008 Millennium Prize. In 1998, he received the Lemelson-MIT prize, the world’s largest prize for invention, for being “one of history’s most prolific inventors in medicine.” Dr. Langer received his Bachelor’s Degree from Cornell University in 1970 and his Sc.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1974, both in Chemical Engineering.
Wendy Wanderman, Appointee for Member, Advisory Committee on the Arts for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Wendy Wanderman is an entertainment professional who has specialized in the production and marketing of motion pictures. She currently serves as the Associate Program Director for The Commonwealth Club of California, the nation's oldest and largest public affairs forum, where she is responsible for the organization’s programming in San Francisco. She was the executive producer of the Bill Couturie documentary, "Into the Fire" for the History Channel and the executive producer of the 2001 Warner Brothers release, "Sweet November." Ms. Wanderman received her M.B.A. from Columbia University and her B.A. from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
Thomas E. Wheeler, Appointee for Member, President’s Intelligence Advisory Board
Tom Wheeler is a Managing Director at Core Capital Partners, a venture capital firm that invests in companies focused on information technology, communications, digital media, and technology-enabled services. Before joining Core Capital in 2005, Mr. Wheeler was CEO of the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association and previously served as President of the National Cable Television Association. As an entrepreneur, Mr. Wheeler has founded multiple companies offering cable, wireless, and video communications services. He is the only person inducted into both the Cable Television Hall of Fame and the Wireless Industry Hall of Fame. Mr. Wheeler is currently Chairman of the U.S. State Department’s Advisory Committee on International Communications and Information Policy and Chairman of the FCC’s Technology Advisory Council. He is a former Chairman of the Foundation for the National Archives and a former Trustee of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, to which he was appointed by Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. Mr. Wheeler holds a B.S. in Business Administration from The Ohio State University and is a recipient of the University’s Alumni Medal for national and international career achievement.
Stanford President John L. Hennessy will moderate our program in Palo Alto tonight with Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. Tickets are getting scarce for that event, but if you want to get your share of Hennessy sans Allen, you might be interested in a conference Hennessy will be heading up at his university on May 11.
BiblioTech: Bringing Humanities Ph.D. Innovation to Silicon Valley, will take place on May 11 at Stanford. Hennessy will open the conference, which will examine the important role of doctoral students in the success of Silicon Valley.
Speakers include Vivek Ranadivé, chairman and CEO of TIBCO; Patrick Byrne, chairman and CEO of Overstock.com; June Cohen, executive producer of TED Media; John Hagel, co-chairman of Deloitte Center for Edge Innovation; Damon Horowitz, in-house philosopher and director of engineering at Google; Marissa Mayer, vice president of Consumer Products at Google; Michael Moritz, managing partner at Sequoia Capital (and the moderator of the Club's program last fall with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner); Dr. Vishal Sikka, CTO at SAP; Vivek Wadhwa, entrepreneur and academic; Tim Connors, founder and managing partner at PivotNorth Capital; Konstantin Guericke, co-founder of LinkedIn; Indra Mohan, CEO of BuyNowTv, Inc; Marc Phillips, CEO of Searchforecast.com; and Bob Tinker, CEO of MobileIron.
The event is free and open to the public. Visit the Stanford conference website for more information.
By James Dohnert
Last week California lawmakers asked the question: Why are local businesses leaving the Golden State for the Lone Star state? "Why does Chief Executive magazine rate California the worst state for job and business growth and Texas the best state?" said GOP Assemblyman Dan Logue during a recent fact-finding trip to Texas.
This year, 2011, has already seen 70 businesses leave California for greener pastures. Fourteen of those 70 businesses ended up in Texas. Why? It may have something to with California’s higher taxes, or regulatory climate, or even laws intended to help employees. "You can't build in California, you can't manage in California and you have to pay a big tax," said recent Texas convert and CEO of Hardee’s Restaurants Andy Puzder, talking to legislators.
California has environmental laws intended to keep an already vulnerable ecosystem in check while Texas does not. And it’s California’s progressive environmental protection policy that may be losing it jobs. According to Hardee’s CEO Puzder, it takes six months to two years to secure permits to build a new Carl's Jr. restaurant in the Golden State, versus the six weeks it takes in Texas. (Carl's Jr. and Hardees are owned by the same company.) "The red tape is ridiculous," said B. Knightly Homes Managing Partner Mark Tolley.
An example of the sort of regulations businesses are leaving behind can be found in a California law that requires overtime pay after an eight-hour day, rather than a 40-hour work week. Such regulations, Puzder believes, wreak havoc on flexible work schedules based on actual need. But the straw that broke the camel's back for former California businesses may have been the tax code. While California taxes are some of the highest in the country, Texas has no income or capital gains tax at all. And though Texas and California are both suffering from budget deficits, it’s the lone star state that has no plans to raise taxes.
So after all is said and done, there is pressure for California lawmakers to choose between creating more businesses-friendly laws for the sake of jobs, or continuing to put a priority on citizen focused legislature. Where do you stand on the issue? Does job creation need to become the priority in California? Sound off in the comments section below. Also be sure to checkout upcoming Commonwealth Club lectures that may touch on the issue, such as:
Join former two-term San Francisco Mayor (and former state legislative speaker) Willie Brown on May 26 for a discussion on the future of state and federal politics.
Hear what California Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein has to say about the state's climate policy going forward and the country's foreign policy in a special Climate One discussion on April the 27th.
On May 3, hear about the challenges the new Mayor of San Francisco is facing and his plans for dealing with them.
By James Dohnert
Greg Mortenson is a former mountaineer, best-selling author, globally recognized philanthropist and former Commonwealth Club speaker. His non-profit organization, Central Asia Institute, is dedicated to promoting and supporting community-based education in remote regions of northern Pakistan and Afghanistan. He’s written two New York Times best-sellers, one of which he discussed in his September 24, 2008, speech to the Club.
Last week, he was accused of lying in his memoirs and making false claims about building schools in the Middle East. “We found there are serious questions about how millions of dollars have been spent, whether Mortenson is personally benefiting, and whether some of the most dramatic and inspiring stories in his books are even true,” declared Steve Kroft on last Sunday's "60 Minutes." Mortenson stands accused of fabricating some of the most compelling stories in his memoir, Three Cups of Tea, and, worse, using his organization's money for private gain.
While Mortenson and his organization continue to state that "60 Minutes" is incorrect, the real issue may be how this affects other non-profits in the field. The lack of transparency and possibility of fabrications could hurt non-profits looking for donations to further causes in the Middle East. Will the alleged actions of Mortenson cause donors to think twice next time they open up their checkbooks?
Hopefully not, and hopefully upcoming events at the Commonwealth Club will lead possible donors to get more educated on some of the most pressing issues in the Middle East.
On April 25th join the Commonwealth Club for the Middle East Discussion Group
Make your voice heard in an enriching, provocative and fun discussion with fellow Club members as you weigh in on events shaping the face of the Middle East.
Also come visit the Club on May 6th for Conversations with Terrorists: Their Views on Politics, Violence and Empire
Veteran journalist Reese Erlich will take you inside the U.S.-led war on terror. Drawing on first-hand reporting in Northern Ireland, Columbia, Spain and the Middle East, Erlich challenges the definition of “terrorist” and argues that yesterday’s terrorist may be today’s national leader, and today’s freedom fighter might be tomorrow’s terrorist.
And be sure to listen to the Commonwealth Club speech by Greg Mortenson from 2008, where he discusses the infamous stories.
By James Dohnert
It went down to the wire, but Congress was able to avoid a partial government shutdown last week. After months of political negotiations, a national budget for 2011 was agreed upon on April 8.
The budget will cut more than $38 billion in government spending this year, but it is just the beginning of a larger budget discussion. "I do believe that we will have, what we'll call a bridge continuing resolution passed tonight to ensure the government's open," announced House Speaker John Boehner with just an hour to go before a government shutdown.
The passing of the budget was just a start as the long-term debt of 2012 continues to loom. It is, as the House Speaker put it, “ a bridge” for continued budget discussions. The major question for the budget now is where the cuts are going to come from. Republicans are calling for an overhaul of Medicare and Medicaid to reduce spending, while Democrats are hoping for an increase in taxes on the wealthy and strategic cuts to reduce the budget.
So no matter how the budget plays out, more cuts are to be expected. With that in mind, take a look at one of America's most hotly debated governmental programs –- national health care -- and join the Commonwealth Club for upcoming discussions on the topic.
Chris Ham, professor of health policy and management at the University of Birmingham, will discuss the lessons U.S. politians could learn from England’s health care system. Ham will focus on “accountable care organizations” and how they can improve coverage and manage costs. Join Professor Ham on April the 12th.
Dr. Walter M. Bortz will discuss his plan for a better U.S. health-care system. He argues that profit has becomes more important than human well-being, and he suggests a system that puts patients first. Hear the Doctor speak on May 31st.
And don't miss: Also, be sure to check out what former presidential candidate Senator John Kerry had to say on the topic of the national budget at a recent Commonwealth Club event.
By James Dohnert
As California attempts to balance a budget $15.4 billion in debt, it is students who may be among the hardest-hit. "We're facing the worst financial situation the CSU has ever had," said Trustee Bill Hauck, chairman of the university system's finance committee.
The CSU's plans might exclude 10,000 students from attending a school in the system in an attempt to save $60 million next year. That is on top of a roughly $250 million payroll reduction for a university staff that has already shed 4,145 faculty members and staff positions through layoffs and attrition since the state's fiscal crisis began in 2008.
But in an economic climate like today, what other options are there? What can we expect in the coming year and what can we do to achieve the best possible outcome?
The Commonwealth Club hopes to answer these question and others with upcoming lectures like:
Join fellow Californian’s and a panel of experts in a brainstorm session intended to fix the Golden State. This two-hour event is your chance to take part in government reform and learn the issues at the core of our financial crisis.
Visit with new San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and learn what he plans for the city. Join The Commonwealth Club for the mayor’s lecture on all things San Francisco politics.
This is a Commonwealth Club members-only special event: Join former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown Jr. for an in-depth discussion on the future of California politics. Hear his expert opinion and learn how he believes California will deal with its fiscal mess.