Commonwealth Club members were invited by email to participate in a free, members-only teleconference this morning from 9-10 am Pacific time. You can submit your questions for the speakers by using the comment section for this blog post. Our moderator, Commonwealth Club President & CEO Dr. Gloria C. Duffy, will select as many questions as she has time to ask the speakers.
Tax the wealthy? Cut public pensions? Create infrastructure projects and jobs? Raise or lower the debt ceiling? Cut defense spending? Stimulate tech and green sector innovation? How to bring the U.S. economy back to a higher and stable growth path continues to bedevil economists, business leaders and policymakers. The unpredictability of the economy makes business and personal decisions difficult. Hire or not? Retire or not? Invest or not?
Last week the New America Foundation released a White Paper on the U.S. economy, "The Way Forward: Moving From the Post-Bubble, Post-Bust Economy to Renewed Growth and Competitiveness," authored by Daniel Alpert (managing partner with Westwood Capital in New York), Robert Hockett (a professor of law at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY) and Nouriel Roubini (an economist at Princeton University). The paper evaluates the steps taken so far to stimulate the U.S. economy, and it recommends three specific strategies for addressing the continuing economic challenges. Their recommendations have already stimulated discussion in The New York Times.
Does "The Way Forward" as presented by the White Paper make sense, and if so, how can it be implemented? We look forward to in-depth discussion and your questions for Daniel Alpert and Robert Hockett on "The Way Forward."
In an exclusive excerpt on The Daily Beast from her memoir, No Higher Honor, former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice tells the story of her meeting with the now-dead Libyan dictator Muammar Gadaffi during the Bush administration's second term. Gadaffi was clearly infatuated with her; she writes, "At the end of dinner [in Gadaffi's private kitchen, he] told me that he’d made a videotape for me. Uh oh, I thought, what is this going to be? It was a quite innocent collection of photos of me with world leaders—President Bush, Vladimir Putin, Hu Jintao, and so on — set to the music of a song called 'Black Flower in the White House,' written for me by a Libyan composer. It was weird, but at least it wasn’t raunchy.
Rice explains the political importance of delaying and then having a meeting with the Libyan leader, who, she notes, referred to her as his "African princess." Rice, a member of The Commonwealth Club's Board of Governors, spoke to the Club in October 2010 about her previous book and her upbringing in the segregated South. You can watch a video of that event on the Club's website.
No Higher Honor will be published by Crown on November 1, 2011.
The New York Times reports that the United States seriously considered using some form of cyberwarfare in its campaign to topple the Libyan regime of Muammar Gaddafi. The intention would have been to undercut the Libyan government's ability to counter Western airstrikes in the country.
The idea was shelved, however. According to the Times:
[A]dministration officials and even some military officers balked, fearing that it might set a precedent for other nations, in particular Russia or China, to carry out such offensives of their own, and questioning whether the attack could be mounted on such short notice. They were also unable to resolve whether the president had the power to proceed with such an attack without informing Congress.
Some people might find that reasoning curious, considering the widely held assumptions that cyberwarfare is already occurring, with reports of infiltration and cybertheft of U.S. government, military, and commercial secrets appearing in the news with surprising regularity.
In fact, Mark Bowden will discuss "The First Digital War" in his October 24 program at The Commonwealth Club of California. The event, which will be moderated by Brian Hackney, CBS 5 correspondent for "Eye on the Bay," will take place at 6 p.m. in San Francisco. (Tickets are still available.)
We're said to report the passing last week of Roger Kennedy at the age of 85. Kennedy was the former director of the National Park Service and, before that, the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History.
You can watch a video of his 2007 appearance at The Commonwealth Club at Fora.tv. He talked about "The Politics of Disaster," discussing the ways the United States handles (and mishandles) emergencies.