The Commonwealth February/March 2012

Page 1

The Commonwealth Unbound Unveiled pg 4

Walter Isaacson: THE REAL STEVE JOBS pg 16

Tom Brokaw: NATION ON EDGE pg 51

Dr. Gloria Duffy: INNOVATION, AHOY pg 58

Commonwealth The


February/march 2012

Nada Prouty

American Patriot or Jihad Jane?

$2.00; free for members

Nancy Hellman Bechtle Chairman, Presidio Trust

A Room with Views The Commonwealth Club of California’s 109th Anniversary and 24th Annual Distinguished Citizen Award Dinner

Dr. Steven Chu

United States Secretary of Energy

Susan Desmond-Hellmann, M. D., M. P. H. Chancellor, Distinguished Professor, UCSF

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012 – Palace Hotel, San Francisco For more information or to make reservations, call (415) 597-6700 or visit

Inside The Commonwealth Vo lu m e 1 0 6 , N O . 0 2

f e b rua ry / m a rc h 2012

page 51

Nation on the Edge “Twenty percent of our high school graduates going to college now have to have remedial courses in literacy and in math. We really have to fix education across the board – and that means, from the ground up.” –Tom Brokaw

Photo by Ed Ritger






23 Program Information 26 Eight Weeks Calendar

Introducing our first all-digital magazine: The Commonwealth Unbound

Former CIA agent Nada Prouty reveals her ordeal

A More Perfect Heaven Dava Sobel on Copernicus

12 JFK: A Difficult Hero Christopher Matthews uncovers the unlikely president

16 The Man Inside Apple Walter Isaacson on Steve Jobs

20 Health-Care Reform Comes to California


The Commons

Francis S. Collins sees hope

48 Translating the Saga

28 Program Listings 44 Late-breaking Events 36 Language Classes

Remembering Christopher Hitchen’s private side; bringing back Club luncheons, and more

45 Letters About Our Cover: CIA Agent Nadia Prouty served on the front lines of America’s war against terrorists (even while pregnant). Then she was accused of being in league with the enemy. Cover Illustration by Steven Fromtling.

58 InSight Dr. Gloria C. Duffy Innovation, Ahoy!

How will it be implemented?

46 Biomedical Revolution

Events from February 1 to April 7, 2012



Nordic crime in English

51 The Man Behind the Microphone

Tom Brokaw and Jim Lehrer on American society and politics f e b r ua ry/mar ch 2012



Photo by Beth Byrne


Editor’s Note

Photo by Ed Ritger

Surprised, Accused, Vindicated

Commonwealth The

Editor’s Note

Business offices The Commonwealth 595 Market St., 2nd Floor San Francisco, CA 94131

The Commonwealth Unbound


John Zipperer


Vice President, Media & Editorial

Sonya Abrams




Editorial Interns Katharina Mack

Pria Whitehead

CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS William F. Adams Beth Byrne Ed Ritger Rikki Ward

follow us online The Commonwealth (ISSN 0010-3349) is published bimonthly (6 times a year) by The Commonwealth Club of California, 595 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94105-2805. PERIODICALS POSTAGE PAID at San Francisco, CA. Subscription rate $34 per year included in annual membership dues. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to The Commonwealth, The Commonwealth Club of California, 595 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94105-2805. Printed on recycled paper using soy-based ink. Copyright © 2012 The Commonwealth Club of California. Tel: (415) 597-6700 Fax: (415) 597-6729 E-mail: EDITORIAL POLICY FOR PROGRAM TRANSCRIPTS: The Commonwealth magazine seeks to cover a range of programs in each issue. Program transcripts and question and answer sessions are routinely condensed due to space limitations. Hear full-length recordings of events online at or contact Club offices to order a compact disc.

ADVERtising information Mary Beth Cerjan Development Manager (415) 869-5919



he very first magazine is believed to have been Mercure Galant, which began in France in 1672 and later changed its name to Mercure de France. One of the earliest Englishlanguage magazines was The Gentleman’s Magazine, from Britain. The full name, emblazoned across the top of its inaugural January 1731 cover, is The Gentleman’s Magazine, Or, Trader’s Monthly Intelligencer. We did not have any similar indecision about what to call our newest publication, an all-digital effort we have dubbed The Commonwealth Unbound. “Unbound,” of course, because it is primarily a digital magazine that can be read on desktop computers, Android phones and tablets, iPhones Cover image by Steven Fromtling and iPads, and any other device with a web browser. The pages also can be printed out, for a bit of old-fashioned offline reading. And, if you really love the print experience, you can buy a print copy from our new partners at So I’m very pleased to unveil for you The Commonwealth Unbound. Our goal with this digital magazine was to try things we couldn’t do in our print version, which will continue to be produced. So we have a lot more pages, more color, experimentation with design and layouts, and some new sections. The Commonwealth Unbound includes some speakers to whom we haven’t been able to give space in this print magazine, plus there are some speakers you’ve seen before in your Commonwealth membership magazine. For those speakers who are repeats, we have tried to include portions of their speeches and the audience Q&As that have not been in print before. Who’s in this 116-page digital Unbound magazine? Take a deep breath; it’s a long list: Jack Dorsey, Brien A. Seeley, Ted Danson, David Brooks, Timothy Ferris, Larry Flynt and David Eisenbach, Jeremy Bailenson, John Lescroart, Andre Dubus, Thomas Keller, Robert Reich, Laurie David, Patricia Wells, Margaret Hoover, the founders of Twitter, and other great speakers. There are explorations of cloud computing, preventing people from taking financial advantage of seniors, designer Yves Saint Laurent, graphic novels, and a fascinating look at the controversial (to say the least!) aspects of composer Richard Wagner. You can buy a digital download of the magazine at for only 99 cents, or just search for “commonwealth unbound” on to purchase a full print edition. Then write us at to let us know what you would like to see in future digital editions. We’ll keep the name the same, but we want to mix it up and try lots of different things in The Commonwealth Unbound.

f e br ua ry/mar ch 2012



Talk of the Club Photos by Sonya Abrams & Miles Jackler

In the Wake of Mr. Hitchens Charmer and antagonist

Photo courtesy of Christopher Hitchens


ore than a few pundits quipped that the bad guys were breathing easier after the death of Christopher Hichens. The writer and polemicist relished e n g a g i n g i n v i g o ro u s c o m b a t against enemies. But that reputation for combatitiveness was not reflected in his personality. At the Club, we got to have many interactions with him, because he was a repeat presence on our stage. “In my 10 years at the Club, he is by far one of my favorite speakers,” said Kara Iwahashi, The Commonwealth Club’s associate program director who heads up the organization’s Silicon Valley operations. “He was charming, lived life to the fullest, and – despite what many people might think – extremely down to earth. When he was visiting his family in Palo Alto, he called personally, not through any assistant, to accept our invitation to speak at the Club. And despite his busy schedule – he was leaving after our program to travel to Europe to do research for his memoir – he spent time talking to our members after the program and thanking them for coming. The world has lost a great individual.” H i t c h e n s, 62, passed away December 16 following a fight with cancer.

Bring Back that Luncheon Feeling Meet and greet and eat with Commonwealth Club speakers


lub members who have been with the organization for a couple decades occasionally will speak wistfully about the luncheons they enjoyed attending in the 1990s. The Club’s lunchtime food-and-speaker programs were a staple of downtown San Francisco life for a long time, but they eventually waned in popularity as, among other things, the explosive growth of high-tech companies meant that more people were eating their lunches at their busy desks. But The Family Dinner author Laurie David told the Club in her November 9, 2010, program, “It’s my philosophy that the conversation is just as important as the food. That’s the reason why we’re all sitting together, to talk to each other.” The desire to gather with other interesting people and share food and good discussion inspired the Club last year to adapt the luncheon to the 21st century. Recent sold-out luncheons have included Sen. John Kerry and FBI Director Robert Mueller. A luncheon has been scheduled with FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg on February 6. Don’t miss it, if you’ve got an appetite for conversation.

Every Day Is Cyber-Monday New online store makes buying books and audio simple


nline shopping in the United States reportedly reached a record of $38 billion in the 2011 end-of-year holiday season. The Commonwealth Club played a small but noteworthy part in that with the opening of its own easy-to-use e-commerce shop. The new online store, located at store., made a “soft launch” in mid-December to coincide with the sold-out program featuring Walter

Isaacson discussing his biography of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs (see page 16). For the first time ever, the Club sold downloadable MP3 audio files of the program, which were available in the store within an hour of the progam’s completion. Since then, the store’s digital shelves have been stocked with other popular MP3s, books, and more. That’s a good thing, because estimates for 2012 are for another banner year for e-commerce.

f e b r ua ry/mar ch 2012



plains her A Lebanese immigrant ex A and FBI work as a high-level CI at ruined agent, the bogus case th still loves her career, and why she m “Nada this countr y. Excerpt fro Patri ot?,” Prou ty : Jih ad Ja ne or November 18, 2011. CIA NADA PROUTY Former sed: Agent; Author, Uncompromi on The Rise, Fall, and Redempti tri of an Arab American Pa ot in the CIA


Photos by Steven Fromtling

Al ’ America: Travels Through America’s Arab and Islamic Roots



f e br ua ry/mar ch 2012

CURIEL: Your life is one of the most incredible lives that people will probably meet this literary year. Can you set the stage for us in how and where this all began? PROUTY: I open up the book with a scene. It was 2003, in Baghdad, and I was a CIA covert operations officer. I was given a mission to exit from the Green Zone, gather intelligence, and come back and report the intelligence. I got a call that day from a contact, and the contact told me that he needed to see me immediately. I told him I would, and I did just that. There’s a process when you leave the Green Zone. I’ve got my Glock, I’ve got my Colt Commando, I’ve got my handheld radio, I’ve got my GPS, and I’ve got my bulletproof vest. Within the Green Zone I picked up a junker car. The reason I wanted to drive a junker car is that I did not want my SUV to be highlighted outside the Green Zone, because you would be known as American and you would be targeted. I get out of the Green Zone, I conduct the meeting, I gather intelligence – and at that time intelligence was really important, because it was about planned attacks. We wanted to give enough information to our troops patrolling the streets for them not to be targets of attacks, whether it’s a sniper, an explosion, whatever it was. So I finish the mission, and I’m on my way back. At that time, in 2003, cars would line up right outside of the Green Zone, and they would be ushered in, one car at a time. They would ask you for your ID and all of that.

My car broke down right at the entrance of the Green Zone. I [was wearing] an abaya to disguise all my weapons and hide all my stuff, and to hide the baby, because I was pregnant, too. So I radioed for help, and I was waiting for help. The Iraqis are all parked behind me, and they’re just beeping, “Get out of the way!” and yelling at me, and I did not want to get out of the car, because I didn’t want them to see my weapons. So, one at a time, I ushered them [ahead of me], and they passed, and I was the last car. Then, I saw him. There was a Marine, looking at me suspiciously. I was in a suspicious car, and he didn’t know why I had been parked there for such a long time. So he starts approaching me, one step at a time. My heart’s beating, and I said to myself, “Oh, my God, I think he thinks I’m the bad guy.” He gets his weapon – he still hasn’t pointed it at me yet – and he’s walking toward me, saying, “Get outta the car; get outta the car!” and I’m rolling down the window that doesn’t really work, and I’m screaming, “I’m American! I’m American!” There was nobody there at the time to see me, but I was screaming – because I wouldn’t scream that way in front of the Iraqis. So I’m screaming, “I’m American! I’m American!” and I thought, “Oh, let me grab my badge, which is stuck deep down inside under my bulletproof vest and all my disguise.” So as soon as I grab my badge, what is he thinking? I’m going to blow him up. I’m pulling a detonator, and I’m going to blow him up. So he lifts his weapon; points it right in my face; finger that was resting on the frame of the gun moves right to the trigger; and he is ready to shoot me. He’s sweating; I could see the sweat. I’m drenched in sweat; you would think I just got out of the shower. I kept saying, “OK.” I put my hands up. I thought I was going to die, but I didn’t. So I put my hands up, and I started talking to him. I said, “Let me reach for my badge. One second; let me reach for my badge,” and just engaging him in this conversation gave him a little pause, so I slowly reached down, and I got the badge, and I showed it to him. He’s shaking a little bit; I’m trembling like a leaf; and then he says, “Welcome to the Green Zone,” and he lets me in. This is back in 2003, and these are the circumstances for both the CIA officers that would leave the safety of the Green Zone to collect intelligence, and the circumstances for men and women in the military. You

really don’t know. So after that incident, we changed the way we approach the Green Zone to let the folks that are protecting the Green Zone know, basically, that we are the good guys. I can’t tell you how we changed it, but I can tell you that we did change it. CURIEL: Your life seems like it’s a cross between the Bourne adventure series and maybe Syriana. But you were studying to be an accountant. A professor told you you might want to think about a career in the FBI. At that point, you had been in this country five years or so, so you hadn’t thought about saving lives on such a global scale. Here you were actually saving lives, but also having your life in jeopardy. PROUTY: I’ll back up a little bit. I was born in Lebanon, a war-torn country, and I was also born to an abusive father. I was attending the American University of Beirut when the last round of bombing closed up the school, so I decided to apply and come to the States and get my education. My thought at the time was, I was going to come to get educated, and I was going to go back to Lebanon and show people. I was going to get a job; I was going to become independent. But I came to the States, and I started studying accounting at Detroit College. My dad had planned an arranged marriage for me. I did not want to be part of that arranged marriage, and when I came here, my father did not financially support me. As you know, the foreign student tuition is very expensive. I was working as a waitress. I was making a whole $2.50 an hour. I tried to make ends meet, and I tried to save money. I ate the leftover foods of the customers, because I just couldn’t afford to buy food. I shoveled snow, and I did everything possible, but I was not able to afford the college student tuition. So I went back to the Arab-American community in Dearborn, Michigan – you get a lot of advice from the Arab-American community. I was talking to a colleague, and I said, “I can’t afford the college tuition. I’ve done everything I can. Every hour that I’m not in school, I’m working. What can I do?” So the advice started coming. One of them’s like, “If you sell drugs – you don’t have to do drugs – but if you sell drugs, you’ll make a lot of money.” I’m like, “No, I don’t want to do that.” Another [piece of ] advice: “I bet you make a lot more tips if you work as a

f e b r ua ry/mar ch 2012

(Continued on page 22)






f e br ua ry/mar ch 2012

A young astronomer rediscovered a revolutionary truth about the universe. Then he delayed publishing his story for decades. Excerpt from “Dava Sobel: A More Perfect Heaven,” November 7, 2011. dava sobel Author, Longitude, Galileo’s Daughter, and A More Perfect Heaven:

How Copernicus Revolutionized the Cosmos; Science Writer

Space photos by NASA Jet Propulsion Lab, Copernicus illustration courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, Sobel photos by Ed Ritger


got the idea of writing this book in 1973, because that was the 500th anniversary of [Nicolaus Copernicus’] birth. I remember reading an article about him in Sky & Telescope that talked about how he finally got convinced to publish his insane idea. A stranger came to talk to him about his ideas, pushed him to do what he’d avoided doing his whole life. He got the notion of a suncentered plan for the cosmos – which at that time was a most unpopular idea – as a young man. He wrote about it to a few people he knew would be interested. This was how scientists disseminated their ideas in an age before scientific journals. They wrote letters, and then the scientists who received those letters could copy them over and send them to other people, and the ideas spread around slowly. That kind of activity is what made Copernicus’s reputation known, even though he had no kind of university affiliation – no community of scholars – near him anywhere in Poland that he could talk to about these ideas. Everything was by Latin correspondence. He outlined his plan, that it would make a lot more sense for the earth to be in motion around the sun, even though it doesn’t seem to be moving, and that he was at work on a book that would explain the whole idea and give the background math, and that would come eventually. People began to know he was at work on this project. Some people think it took Columbus – who made his voyages while Copernicus was a college student – to convince everybody that the earth was round. This is a fiction created by Washington Irving in the 19th century. People have always known that the earth was round. It is really obvious. Because if you travel very far from north to south, you see different stars coming up; you’d see ships sailing away, they disappear from the bottom up, and when they come home, they appear from

the top down. Every now and then, a lunar eclipse happens; you actually see the shadow of the round earth falling on the surface of the moon. People have been observing eclipses and recording them and predicting them since the 8th century B.C. From our vantage point on the planet, it really looks as though everything is moving around us. We don’t have any sense that we’re moving. If you throw something in the air, it doesn’t land 100 feet behind you. So how could we be moving? These kinds of commonsense notions of stability really made Copernicus worry about publishing his idea widely. Copernicus had a predecessor on the notion of a sun-centered system, and that was Aristarchus in the 3rd century B.C. He wrote a book about this idea that the earth was in motion around the sun, and he understood that that meant the stars would have to be much farther away than people thought, because for the earth to go all the way around the sun every year, you would see some change in the stars – they would look bigger or smaller or closer together – and we don’t see that. Aristarchus understood all of those things; the problem was that his book disappeared in antiquity. Another book he wrote, on the sizes and distances of the sun and the moon, survived, and Copernicus read that book. But the only trace of Aristarchus’ sun-centered system was in a book by Archimedes, called The Sand Reckoner, in which he refers to Aristarchus’ idea and explains it in a long paragraph. But that book did not come into Europe, get translated into Latin, and get published until a year after Copernicus died. Ptolemy was the reigning authority on astronomy. He had written a book in the 2nd century that was still considered the authoritative word on astronomy in Copernicus’ time, the late 15th through the middle of the 16th century. Even Ptolemy had said that in some way, it would make sense for the

f e b r ua ry/mar ch 2012



earth to move than to try to think of all the stars and planets all going around this one tiny little sphere, except the motion of the earth was too ridiculous even to consider. Ptolemy’s book made mathematical explanations for the motions of the planets. It violated an ancient belief about the heavenly motions, that they should proceed in uniform speed in perfect circles. Of course, they don’t really move that way. So if you’re looking from the earth and trying to create a system that accounts for all their motions, you’ve got to bend the rules somewhere, and Ptolemy did that. He figured the motions from a point that wasn’t really the center. This really bothered the Arabic astronomers of the 13th century, and they worked to revise Ptolemy’s math. Copernicus definitely saw this work. He was a student at a time when manuscripts were coming to Europe from all over the world, and he was aware of this work and actually lifted it for his own calculations. However, the Islamic astronomers never switched places between the earth and the sun; they didn’t see any need to do that. That was what Copernicus did. Somehow he saw the footprint of the earth’s motion in the patterns of the other planets, and he just tried it to see what would happen. When he put the sun at the center, the planets lined up in order of their speed, which must have struck him as something totally wonderful, because it gave a reason for the planets to have different speeds: It had something to do with their distance from the sun. Before that switch, people didn’t know the order of the planets; if earth was at the center, then the moon is



the first thing to go around, and after that, you were hard-pressed to say whether [the next planet] is Mercury, Venus, or the sun. When you get beyond that, the rest of the order works out, but it’s foggy in the middle. With the sun in the center, it made complete sense. He had a fully developed system that must have struck him as reality. In his time, people didn’t think you could discover anything real or true about the heavens. For him to think he understood the actual structure of the universe was a gigantic claim.

The path to going public


opernicus’s great book, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, had been dismissed by Arthur Koestler in The Sleepwalkers as the book nobody read. Owen Gingerich thought that probably wasn’t true, and he has made a lifetime career of tracking down all the extant copies of Copernicus’s book. He has been able to prove that everybody read his book. Copernicus made the sun stand still in his theory, but that was the text from the Book of Joshua that he most worried about, because he knew people who didn’t understand astronomy would use the Bible against him, would twist chapter and verse to discredit him. One of the questions he most expected to be asked was, “If the sun is standing still at the center, as you claim, why did Joshua have to tell it to stand still?” I wanted to go to Poland and see all the places Copernicus had lived, because he left a very thin historical record. There’s his book; there are some other pieces that he published about astronomy; but there are only 17 letters. Galileo left 1,000 letters, so

f e br ua ry/mar ch 2012

17 letters is not much, and I was looking for anything else that would help me get to know him better. He lived up on the northern coast. [In] 2005, I was on a trip to see an eclipse in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. One night at dinner, I sat next to a young Polish mining engineer. I told him I was going to be making a trip to his country; I was working on a project about Copernicus. I’ve always maintained that amateur astronomers are the most generous people. They just love to take the telescope out somewhere, and have people who’ve never looked through one come by and get a thrill. So I’m chatting with this young man about my trip, and it didn’t take him five minutes to say, “You must give me the dates of your travel. I will get the time off work, and I will be your translator and guide.” I had no idea how much I would need a translator and guide, so it was really a good thing that he offered to do that for me. He actually did it twice, and refused any kind of payment – just a wonderful companion. His name is Thomasz Mazur, and we saw many wonderful things together: all the castles where the knights lived, the birthplace museum of Torun, where Copernicus was born. [Copernicus made] a few scientific instruments that helped him establish the positions of the planets against the background stars or in relationship to the moon. It has sighting veins, and you look through those at an object, and as you’re sliding this



the footprint of the earth’s motion in the patterns of the other planets. He tried to see what would happen.” arm along the other one, when you get the object lined up, then you have a reading – an angular measurement above the horizon. Another thing he was doing was dealing with the peasants. The Church owned all the land and would rent it out to the peasants so they could raise their crops and animals. The peasants nominally owned their parcels

of land, so they could deed them to their children or they could sell them to a neighbor. Copernicus had to travel all around these thousands of acres and record every such transaction and collect the rent. That was something I found very useful to help establish his character, because you can see in the way he settled disputes among the

“The last thing Copernicus needed was a heretic

in his house. He was already in trouble with the bishop.” peasants that he was extremely fair to them. [In the building] where he lived, on the wall that was open to the light, he fashioned [a] sundial. With this instrument he was able to figure out the exact length of the year. This was another big problem. There were problems with the calendar; the length of the year had been miscalculated, so Easter was falling out of sync with the seasons, and the popes were eager for calendar reform and were periodically asking all the astronomers to contribute their ideas on how to fix the calendar. So he was working on that. He was also interested in economics, because, in the process of collecting all this money from the peasants and seeing the kind of currency that was circulating, he realized all the abuses of the coinage. There were minting privileges in many cities, and local governors could just issue new coins whenever they felt like it with a lower content of silver. You can imagine what happens. The coins have the same face value as the others, but they weigh less and have less silver, so smart people hoard the coins with the more silver in them, because they can always take them to the goldsmith and get them melted down. They spend the less valuable ones. Copernicus wrote a treatise on that and other problems with the coinage. The Polish senate ... actually listened to him and implemented his changes. Right around the time Copernicus was writing this treatise about money, Martin Luther published his complaints about

Church practices. Things really began to change in Europe. Copernicus, being Catholic [and] working for the Catholic Church, soon felt the pressure of the new evangelist religion, and neighboring bishops sometimes converted to Lutheranism, so Copernicus’s diocese became more and more isolated. Meanwhile, Copernicus’ idea got more and more widely known. [A] map was published in the early 1530s, a good 10 years before his book finally came out. [On the map], up at the North Pole, and down at the South Pole, there are little crank handles on the earth – [with] little cherubs actually turning the cranks. So the idea is abroad that maybe the earth is not quite as stationary as people have thought. In 1539, Copernicus suddenly received a visit from a young German mathematician. Rheticus was 25 years old. He showed up at Copernicus’s door having heard about this idea. He was an outcast, because the bishop had grown so paranoid that he had issued an edict banishing Lutherans from the diocese. The last thing Copernicus needed was a heretic in his house. He was already in trouble with the bishop because of his female housekeeper. Three of the 17 letters are about the bishop’s anger and outrage over the presence of this unmarried woman in his house, so Copernicus was forced to send her away. He no sooner gets rid of her than the Lutheran arrives to encourage him to publish the book he has avoided publishing all this time. By some finagling, they managed to keep Rheticus in residence for two years. He obviously convinces Copernicus; he brings him observations of the planet Mercury that Copernicus had not been able to make himself – so that was another encouragement – and he wrote his own summary of Copernicus’s theory and had it published just to see what would happen. Now what would the reaction be? It is written as a letter to the man who told Rheticus about Copernicus’s ideas. They got this published in 1541, and nothing happened. The world didn’t explode. That was another inducement to Copernicus to publish the full-blown treatise. They had a lot of work to do on the manuscript. One thing Rheticus had to do was copy the entire manuscript. It’s a great big book, 400 pages printed, but Copernicus obviously did not want to part with his

original; he had had it his entire life, and he insisted on keeping it. This manuscript still survives, which is so unlikely, because at that time, in the printing process, the manuscript got distributed among the various typesetters, and each one worked on his part and then threw the pages away. The manuscript no longer existed once there was a printed book. But Copernicus insisted on keeping his. The book, today – if you find one at auction – costs upwards of $2 million. So what price do we put on the original manuscript? That’s why they keep it in a safe, and of course for its own protection from insects, floods. We were able to request several openings of the manuscript. It’s bound, and a curator brought it in and opened the book to [a] page [showing a diagram]. The real manuscript not only shows the diagram, but he continues writing around the diagram. It’s beautifully done in his tiny, neat handwriting. When we saw this page, we both gasped, because there’s a hole in the middle of the page. If you draw concentric circles with a pair of compasses, you get a hole in the middle of the page, and that, really, was the moment I felt I had seen him brush through the room. Then it was over, and we had to leave. Walking out of the building, Tom said, “It was just like an eclipse. It was over too soon, but you’ll never forget it.” This program was made possible by the generous support of Levi Strauss & Co.

f e b r ua ry/mar ch 2012



a difficult hero a difficult hero

Lionized by Democrats and Republicans since his death, JFK still remains an enigma in many ways. Matthews uncovers the Kennedy who defied the odds to become president. Excerpt from “Chris Matthews in Silicon Valley,” November 8, 2011. Chris Matthews Host, “Hardball with Chris Matthews,” MSNBC;

Author, Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero

David Kennedy Donald J. McLachlan Professor of History,

Emeritus, Stanford University - Moderator KENNEDY: You [have] touched on the matter of Kennedy’s chronic and several illnesses. Do you want to say a little more about that? MATTHEWS: You could cry if you understood the guy. He was a far greater hero



than he ever let us know. He’s young: he has scarlet fever, he has asthma, he has what for a long time in high school they thought was leukemia. He’s always having his blood count tested, and his mother never visits him; his mother has no time for him, apparently.

f e br ua ry/mar ch 2012

JFK photos by U.S. Gov / Wikimedia Commons, Matthews photo courtest of MSNBC


[Jacqueline Kennedy] said, a week after he was dead – in the notes I was able to get from her interview with Theodore White that never got published – [that his mother] never loved him. She liked being the mayor’s daughter, the ambassador’s wife, but never loved him. That was Jackie’s view of Rose Kennedy. Jack was much more merciless; he said his mother was a nothing. [He had] a pretty frightening youth, I’d say; very much an old English kind of youth: sent away to school with no love, and even though he was dying, he thought he’d never have his mother visit him. He [also] had something wrong with his stomach. Nobody knew what it was. He said it was a “knot” in his stomach, and it never went away. They thought it was leukemia, then they thought it was colitis – I guess it was colitis – and he would always get steroids. The great historian Bob Dallek got the medical records: The steroids that he was taking for years for the colitis really got to his bone structure, and it began to degenerate. That was his real problem; it wasn’t being hit by a Japanese destroyer, so much. He should never have been approved for service in the PTs [patrol torpedo boat service], but he was able to sneak in basically with the help of his father and the senator from Massachusetts, David I. Walsh. He was able to get PT service. But here’s a guy that had to sleep on either a table or a plywood plank because he couldn’t stand sleeping on a regular bed. He had to wear a sciatic corset. All the time in the Navy, he was dressed like this. He would be running around saying, “Do you have a needle and thread? I’ve got to work on my corset, fix my back.” It got much worse after they were rammed and cut in half by the Japanese destroyer, and he was in the hospital for the whole next year – 1944 – and you can’t find anything about him except that he was in the hospital. He got down to about 125 pounds. Then he got the Addison’s Disease. It came in in 1947, the first time he had the Last Rights. He was in London; Pamela Harriman got him to the hospital. The doctor said, “This kid doesn’t have a year to live.” He had it strike again in ’51, when he was on a Far Eastern trip with Bobby. Bobby actually first became interesting to Jack at that time because Bobby saved him. He became his protector that trip and got him to a military base in Okinawa. [Jack] had

the second episode of Addison’s and he had the Last Rights again. Of course, he had the Last Rights again in ’54 when he had the back operation. There’s a great scene I was able to get for the earlier book I had done on them; Nixon’s Secret Service guy described [Richard] Nixon’s crying in the car for his friend Jack. Of course, Kennedy lived all his life at the edge, you know? He was a very distant guy – very detached from people – and frighteningly powerful because of it, because he wasn’t moved by the emotions of those around him, which actually saved us in ’62 [during the Cuban Missile Crisis]. KENNEDY: You quote his friend Charlie Bartlett: “I don’t know how to say it, but Jack wasn’t, sort of, in love with humanity. He was cool.” That passage reminded me of a famous remark made 200 years ago about Alexander Hamilton: he loved his country, but not his countrymen. MATTHEWS: He had a lot of interesting buddies. Lem Billings, whom he met in high school, who became his first real friend when he was sick and lonely, actually substituted for his parents. Joe Kennedy would say that that Lem moved in with his tattered suitcase then and never left. He had a room at the White House. Now, isn’t that interesting? You’re married to a person, but you have this other person from your gender who lives with you, who’s always there. It’s a fascinating story; everybody just said, “Oh, Lem Billings, he’s sort of here.” If you read all the Kennedy books, like all of us have, you hear this name “Lem Billings” and you ignore it. Well, Lem Billings lived there. He was his really close friend. He couldn’t stand being alone with Jackie for a whole weekend, so he’d always have a pal show up. He always had to have somebody else for dinner, and when he was alone and Jackie wasn’t there, he would have Dave Powers stay ’til 11 o’clock at night and put him into bed, and then he’d say his prayers at the bedside. When Dave told me that years ago, that he said his prayers every night, I said, “Oh, yeah, I can’t put that in the book; nobody’s going to believe it.” Then Jackie put it in her tapes, about how he would say his prayers. She thought it was just superstition. She wasn’t religious, really. Jack would actually be a real Catholic, and he would go through these devotions of going to confession, right to the end.

Nobody noticed he did it, but he would go to confession all the time, even if he had to sneak into line with some other guys with Massachusetts accents so the priest wouldn’t know for sure it was him. One time the priest said, “Mr. President,” and he got really turned off by that. He would light candles when the lost child Patrick died at birth. He was so broken up by that, he would sneak off after the Harvard-Columbia game and go pray at his dead son’s graveside in Brookline, and it was very difficult for him to pray – or to kneel – because it always killed him even to lean over and pick up something. He did the same thing with [his sister] Kathleen. He was very “old church.” He would always go to church in the Navy – well, when you’re facing death in the Navy, it makes sense that you’d go to church a lot. He’d always go to the other island for mass. One of these guys at Princeton was an Augustinian chaplain; he would go to church when he was at Choate all the time. But going to confession right to the end and praying every night on his knees, and never wanting to be alone – he is accessible. If you read the book, you’ll say, “I can’t identify with a prince, but I can get to know this guy. He is somebody I think I know, I think I am in a way.” I found it very much like I could figure myself out to be. Without figuring I’m Jack Kennedy, I think some of this stuff is very familiar to me as a Catholic. I told this to the archbishop of one of our major cities. I said, “How do you figure a guy that’s messing around with all these women and yet very devotional?” and he looked at me like I was crazy, like, “What else is new? I think I know these guys by the millions.” KENNEDY: Let’s talk a little more about his Catholicism. Obviously, he was the first Catholic president. MATTHEWS: Are you Catholic or Protestant? KENNEDY: What do you think? MATTHEWS: I think you’re Catholic. KENNEDY: You’re right. It’s a truism, isn’t it, that he was the first Catholic president, but in a sense you could also say that he was the last Catholic president, in the sense that his election kind of just took a lot of the air out of the balloon of anti-Catholicism, and it transformed, I think, the American Catholic community’s sense of itself. That’s something probably you felt as a young person growing up, as I

did. What was your family’s reaction to that? MATTHEWS: Well, we were a Republican family, so I’m not sure how many votes he got. I was Republican as a kid; my dad was definitely Republican. I asked, “Dad, are you voting for Kennedy?” and he said, “No,” and I said, “But he’s Catholic,” and he said, “Yeah, but I’m a Republican.” [In California] it’s not very ethnic, so people don’t think about the neighborhood stuff like back East. The tribalism isn’t so prevalent out here. It wasn’t just Catholics; it was Jewish people – a lot of people felt that the door had been swung open in ’60, that he opened the door for a lot of people. In fact, that was the great Kennedy strength: the we aspect of it as opposed to he. It wasn’t a solo act. When he came through that door, his whole war generation came through the door. The young officer was back to lead all the Catholics, the Jewish people, the Polish Catholics, the Italians – all the different ethnic groups felt that the door was opening for them. It was a whole difference. Finally, you didn’t have to be a Protestant guy to be running the country. I think it really meant a lot to a lot of people, especially Jewish people. I think they really felt that the monopoly was broken, and it was a very important thing to feel you could be part of a country that wasn’t monopolized by one group. KENNEDY: Is it fair to make the analogy that Barack Obama is the first black president and the last black president, in the sense, again, that race will not ever again be as big a factor? MATTHEWS: Well, [Obama’s story is] an immigrant story too. I think Barack Obama benefited from the immigrant narrative as well. He wasn’t just a southern guy with a regular American name like Joe Washington or somebody from the South that moved north. He didn’t have that internal immigration story behind him; he had his own story: Hawaii, and the prep school in Hawaii, and the Ivy League, and the white mother from Kansas and that sort of home-grown, Midwestern background. He had a lot of strains to who he is. He does, and maybe that’s what’s difficult for him. He can do a lot of crossing over, but he doesn’t have a lot of penetration. He’s able to relate to us in a very light way; there’s no deep personal thing there. Kennedy, on the other hand, was still a “Mick.” He was still an Irish guy with a certain atti-

f e b r ua ry/mar ch 2012



tude about the country and the way it should be run: a tough guy’s attitude. The great line about Bobby was wonderfully unassimilated. He was a kid from a James Cagney movie, you know, the Bowery boys, almost. Tough. So was Reagan; I met him a few times. He had some of that, too, that “Mick” attitude: “You wanna fight? I’m ready.” KENNEDY: Didn’t Cardinal Cushing tell Kennedy just before his inauguration, “You’ve got some Harvard in you, and you’ve got some Irish, and you’d better be more Irish than Harvard”? MATTHEWS: Actually, Nixon said that, too. But I think the religion thing: He wasn’t that religious in the sense of his life. His manner of living was hard to figure. The best part of my book is the love stuff with him and Inga Arvad, this Danish movie star he was in love with. Very romantic letters from the South Pacific; the way he related to her is right out of the movies. Of course, Jack Kennedy was right out of the movies, as a war hero, and he had a tremendous personal sense of responsibility that comes through that is so unemotional but so dominant in his life. Here’s a guy who, when his boat is cut in half, at two o’clock in the morning, with no radar, no moon, no stars, pitch black, he instinctively dives out of the bow of the boat that’s still surfaced, and he goes looking for the guys who were in the stern. He finds one guy who’s badly burned – three quarters of his body, really horribly burned: Patrick McMahon; he was 42 years old, the engineer, who had actually sunk down below into the water, and had looked up and seen the burning gasoline all around him. Jack, through all this hell, grabs this guy and pulls him back, almost against his will, because the guy said, “I’m giving up,” and [Jack] said, “No, you’re not giving up,” and pulls him back by his strength – and he was not a big guy, Jack – to



the part of the boat that’s still afloat. It’s pretty far away by then; it had drifted far, and they’re in the high seas. Then he goes and finds this guy Harris who’s all ready to give up; his leg’s gone, or something – it’s all messed up – and Jack pulls his sweater off and somehow gets

it. Then he pulled out his knife, and cut the strap of Pappy McMahon’s life jacket, and put it in his teeth. As Pappy said afterwards, “It was like he had done this all his life.” He just puts the strap in his mouth and for four hours he carries this guy on his back, and his back is in terrible shape, and Pappy doesn’t even know how bad off his back is; just through force of will, he saves this guy’s life. He ends up on the “Kennedy was an Irish guy beach, and he vomits – he’s exhaustwith a certain attitude ed – and the about the way the country next thing h e k n ow s , should be run: a he’s got a 38 pistol and .” a flashlight a n d h e ’s heading out him confident into the channel again to try to flag down a again; he wants to PT boat that night, and he gets swept away, live again. The guy says, ends up on another island, swims back the “Leave me alone; I’m fin- next morning, gets these guys, swims to ished, Kipper.” It’s out of the movies, another island – with Pappy on his back – these guys giving up their lives, and he says, then swims to another island, finally finds “No, you’re not giving up your lives.” He water and brings it back. saves these guys by force of will and gets It’s an amazing human story of committhem on this boat. ment and courage, and word of this kind of He says, “Let’s have a vote; we’re going to behavior gets around. I think it’s the first have to decide what to do. There’s nothing time in his life he was in true command. in the book about this. What do we do?” Anybody here who’s been in the service There’s the top of the boat – it’s flipped over, knows that’s when you really get confidence, like a turtle – and they’re out in the middle and you can lead men in battle; you can lead of the seas, and they’re in Japanese waters, them into battle and home safely. He was and they know the Japanese will torture the able to do that. Also, he got to hang around hell out of you before they kill you, so they’re for the first time in his life with the nonthinking, “Oh.” He says, “It’s up to you elite. They had the weed leaguers, not just guys; I don’t have anything to live for.” Then, the Ivy Leaguers: the guys who went to Ohio one of the other guys – McGuire, who’s a State and different big state universities. Catholic buddy of his – says, “You’ve got They called themselves the weed leaguers. He a lot to live for.” But he says, “I don’t have got to know other guys; they were all pretty any kids; you guys make up the decisions.” elite – they were all college guys, which was So they decide to swim for four miles to the a big deal in that generation, just to be a colnearest island. They wanted to pick a small lege guy – but he got to know a lot of guys, island – a plum-pudding island – because and it made him much more democratic. they didn’t think the Japanese would be When he went to run for Congress, he was there, and they’d have a few days, maybe, be- able to do it. Meet people. fore they’d get picked up, before the Japanese KENNEDY: You don’t do it explicitly in the got them. So they found a plank – an eight- book, but you’ve done it here this evening, and foot plank – and Jack said, “The five guys you certainly did it in your Time magazine that can’t swim: hang onto this, and don’t piece: you use John F. Kennedy, whom you separate under waters.” He wanted to make clearly admire, as a kind of measuring rod to sure the non-swimmers were going to make take the measure of the current president and

f e br ua ry/mar ch 2012

tough guy’s attitude

the current state of the country. So a lot of the talking sports, and the local people couldn’t questions that have come from the audience believe how friendly they were. They took here go to that comparison. I’ll just give you the train back at midnight to Washington; a sample of one of them. How do you think they flipped a coin for who got the bottom J.F.K. would have fared in today’s Twitter and bunk. I would love to see that right now, YouTube media world and today’s extreme that picture of those two guys back from the ideology of the Republican Congress? war, junior naval officers talking about the MATTHEWS: Well, it was a better time coming Cold War. All through the night, back then. I think he would’ve adjusted, talking, top bunk to lower bunk, about a you know? So, if you’re talking about his war that didn’t have a name until two weeks personal life, he would have adjusted. I later when Bernard Baruch gave it its name: think he would’ve been very good at it. I the Cold War. They were very aware, both think some people are classics. Jack Kennedy of them, of what was coming, and what had would always be great; he could walk on the to be done to avoid another war. stage right now, and he’d be Jack Kennedy KENNEDY: So they sized each other up and blow us away. I think Bill Clinton’s like very early on. that. I don’t think he’s exactly as classy, but MATTHEWS: Yeah, they were the two he is classic. He’s a recognizable figure. But smart guys in the class. [Jack] was beyond charm. Jackie called him KENNEDY: We’ve lost that sense of Nixon. “Magic,” in the second person – like, “OK, MATTHEWS: Nixon became embittered Magic” – because he would walk into a room and broke bad. He was taking to extreme and the room would swoon, men and women some of the methods of politics that he both. Of course, Jack called it his Big P., his should never have done. He got very bitter. big personality. He’d put it on when he had Last summer I talked to Jean Smith, Kento walk into a room. He would adopt this nedy’s last sibling, and she said that Kennedy higher level of charm. He would laugh about believed that Nixon was the most brilliant it, but he knew he had it. I think it would man in the Senate. These are facts. He told work today, and I think we’d love it. Charlie Bartlett, the guy who Obama’s got a bit of the charm; that smile introduced him to Jackie is magic. I don’t think he has the we part. Kennedy, the New He has the he part, not the we part. Being Year’s Eve before a leader is not the same as being a star. You the election in can be a star without being a leader, “Kennedy’s sister said and I guess you can be a Kennedy believed that leader without being a was the star. We’ve man in the had generals like that. I Senate. These are facts.” think we’ve had generals who are stars, like Patton, but they’re not all stars. 1960, that if he KENNEDY: I think – and I’m sure a lot lost the primaries, of people share the opinion – that Nixon he’s voting for Nixon. and Kennedy are just about totally opposite These are facts I came upon; personalities, but they actually had quite a you can connect the dots, and you can be high regard for each other. uncomfortable with these facts, [but] he was MATTHEWS: They had their first debate the guy who walked over with the campaign in 1947, in McKeesport, Pennsylvania. contribution to Nixon when he ran [his U.S. They took the Capital Limited train out Senate campaign] against Helen Douglas. there. They were recognized to be pals, sit- [Kennedy] couldn’t stand Helen Douglas. ting around having burgers afterwards and KENNEDY: Let’s go back to “magic.”

Nixon brilliant


Would Kennedy’s magic – after 1964, were he to have been reelected – have been able to be as effective in that second term as Lyndon Johnson was? MATTHEWS: I think Johnson had the grieving of the country going for him, and the sense of guilt that everybody felt, certainly people on the Right. I was on the Right as a kid; I felt it. Anybody on the other side must’ve felt, “Well, we’d better give them a break.” Remember, there’s only two Republican senators, I believe, who voted against civil rights. The Republican Party of 1964 was a moderate party. It was a northern party, a western party; it wasn’t this southern party that it’s become. It was the southern Democrats who voted against civil rights. It was a totally different environment; it was a better environment. Johnson was able to exploit that grieving very effectively for civil rights, voting rights, Medicare. But Jack had all that stuff lined up, and he was quite wonderfully impulsive about civil rights. He stood up to [Mississippi Governor] Ross Barnett, and that’s where political toughness comes in: standing up to Ross Barnett with the federal troops, standing up to [Alabama Governor] George Wallace. What he did against a lot of resistance was really admirable, and of course when he got on the phone with Mrs. King in the fall of 1960, when her husband was arrested and hauled off into the countryside – that was the first time a president really reached out and said, “We as a country are for civil rights.” Then he gave the great speech in June of ’63 which just said, “In America, the Constitution is as fundamental as the Bible. We have to be for civil rights.” It had never been said before. This program was made possible by the generous support of Wells Fargo.

f e b r ua ry/mar ch 2012



[ [ e d i s itnhe man

e l p p a

LASHINSKY: In your previous interviews, you have described Steve as petulant. My observation on that is that when my fiveyear-old daughter refuses to put on her shoes before going to school, she’s being petulant. ISAACSON: There’s a big difference. LASHINSKY: You do not describe a petulant man in this book. ISAACSON: He had a passion, a petulance, an impatience. I do think it was connected



escribes the d n o s c a a Is r Biographe Apple and d e d n u o -f o man who c st valuable o m e th it from later made rld. Excerpt o w e th in s,” brand lks Steve Job a T n o s c a a Is “Walter , 2011. December 14 the Aspen

cson CEO, O, CNN; a s is r e t l E wa airman and C er Ch Institute, Form teve Jobs ime; Author, S T r, o it d E er Form itor at k y Senior Ed de s in h s a L or, Insi Adam agazine; Auth M e n tu or F e, Larg erator Apple – Mod

to the artist sensibility that wanted to really make insanely great products. And he was kind of binary. Either something was insanely great, or it totally sucked, and nothing in between. I do think that that leads you to be brittle, rather impatient, sometimes brusk. Somebody just walked up to me and said, “I work at Apple, and I sort of met Steve Jobs. He cut in front of me in the café to grab some food.” I said, “Did he

f e br ua ry/mar ch 2012

say ‘I’m sorry’?” He said, “No.” But that’s Steve. You can’t separate that from the fact that he was a total genius; he made awesome products; and I hope the narrative of the book is that you’ll look at a guy who admits to being really tough, rough on people, a jerk at times, but as it goes along, he develops and inspires a team that becomes incredibly loyal to him and, over and over again – whether it’s the Mac, the

Jobs photo by Albert Watson, Apples by Steven Fromtling

iMac, the iPod, the iPhone, the iPad – just makes awesomely great products. You can’t separate the personality from the perfectionism, the passion, that made these products. LASHINSKY: Cutting in line in front of somebody in the cafeteria is not nice. It’s repugnant behavior; it’s the kind of behavior we teach our children not to do, and in your book, you have far stronger anecdotes. Telling his PR woman, at midnight, after she’s gone out to find him the kind of flowers that he wants – ISAACSON: Cala lilies – LASHINSKY: – that she looks like s--t. That is just not admirable behavior. ISAACSON: If you were listing the 1,000 adjectives for Steve, nice would not be [one of them]. Kindness would not be up there. I told him, “Why are you that way, Steve?” and he said, “This is who I am. This is the way I am.” People say, “Well, he didn’t put a license plate on there. He sometimes parked in the handicapped [spot], or he cut in line.” He actually seemed to live as if the normal rules didn’t apply to him. That’s not what you want to teach your six-year-old – or, for that matter, my 21-year-old – but it also leads you to be the type of person you can celebrate, and “here’s to the misfits, the crazy ones, those who” – you know, the “Think Different” ad – and if you believe the rules don’t apply to you, sometimes you’re able to bend reality. You’re very nice; I’m pretty nice, at times. I would never have been able to make the iPad. So you’ve got to just live with the whole package there. I’m not defending being not nice. I’m just saying, I could have sugar coated it. You’ve written in the Fortune stories anecdotes that are just as bad. You don’t want to sugar coat a book; you want it to be brutally honest. I’d say, “Why are you this way to people?” And he’d say, “I’m brutally honest, because the price of admission to being in the room with me is, I get to tell you you’re full of shit if you’re full of s--t, and you get to say to me I’m full of s--t, and we have some riproaring fights and that keeps the B players, the bozos, from larding the organization. Only the A players survive.” The people who do survive say, “Yeah, he was rough.” They say things even worse than “He cut in line in front of me,” but they say, “This was the greatest ride I’ve ever had, and I would not give it up for anything.” So you’ve got to see

both sides. Some people say, “You know, it’s really bad; he cuts in line,” or “He doesn’t have a license plate.” I say, “Wait a minute; we’re living in a world where people intentionally made collateralized debt obligations with junk in it that destroyed people’s earnings, and they still get celebrated.” This is not evil; this is just being a tough, petulant person. If you want real evil, there are people in this world who still get on the cover of Fortune magazine, who really do bad things. LASHINSKY: Fair enough. We’re not

“If you were listing the

1,000 adjectives for Steve, nice would not be one of them. Kindness would not be up there.” even… I shouldn’t have agreed to that so readily. ISAACSON: Not you; you’ve never been on the cover. LASHINSKY: I’m not focused on the cover subjects of Fortune other than Steve Jobs, for the moment. I don’t think there’s any question that we admire Steve Jobs and Apple for what he accomplished and what the company accomplishes, but the question is, Should we – and do you, as his biographer – admire him for this side of him that is… I want to say “not admirable,” but that’s the question I’m asking you. Being hurtful to people for no apparent reason is different from being tough in a business meeting about the quality of your ideas. ISAACSON: Well, if you ask if I admire it, no. Do I think it’s necessary to be a good boss? No. Is my book supposed to be a handbook or a how-to book on how to be a good boss? No. That’s your book. Mine is just a biography. He once said to your editor, Andy Serwer at Fortune, and John Huey, when he was trying to kill a story that you may have worked on at Fortune – about his cancer treatment and everything else, he finally said, “What do you have in the story?” and Serwer told him, “It’s in the book,” and finally he said, “So, wait a minute. You’ve discovered that I’m an a--hole? Why is that

news?” He was self-aware; he was tough. I say in the very beginning, in the introduction, [that] he’s not a saint [or] a package for emulation, but he’s a true genius who was able to connect creativity to technology; create a team that he drove like crazy, and those who were part of that team became loyal and incredibly good. He took a company 90 days away from bankruptcy in 1997, and by the day he retired it was the most valuable company on Earth. He also cut in front of people in the cafeteria a lot. Don’t cut in front of people. And by the way, if you get a chance to make the most valuable company on Earth, do that too. LASHINSKY: One last pass at a similar topic – and then I’ll move on. Do you think that he imprinted this element of his personality onto the company? Apple has a reputation for roughing up its partners, its suppliers, even its customers from time to time – so clearly this has been successful. So should we admire them as a company for this when they behave badly the way he behaved badly, and will it last? ISAACSON: I’m not sure. I won’t accept the premise that Apple is a bad company. Over the years, from Microsoft and AT&T on, [companies] have all run afoul with the Justice Department and anti-trust [laws]. I do think he’s actually created a company [whose] main signature is that the people there care about product more than profit, and they care about connecting the humanities – the beauty and design – to technology and engineering. On the last day at Apple for Steve Jobs, he goes into the boardroom to turn in his resignation as CEO. It’s a pretty moving scene. He’s quite ill at that point, and at one point somebody on the board starts joking about Hewlett Packard, and how HP had gotten out of the tablet business that day, and was messing up the personal computer line business, didn’t know what they were doing. Steve says, “Wait a minute; let’s not joke about that. Bill Hewlett gave me my first job when I was 13 growing up in the Valley, and he and David Packard thought they had made a company that would last for generations. They made a company that wasn’t just making oscillators or instruments or then calculators, or then computers; they were making a company that would keep making great products, generation after generation. And those bozos there screwed

f e b r ua ry/mar ch 2012



exactly right.” We live in a country in which people sometimes cut corners, believe it or not. LASHINSKY: Did he have a vision of how well the company would do without him, and what’s your opinion of how well the company will do without him? ISAACSON: Well, actually, I mean, your opinion’s more important, since you’re writing [the] future, and I’m just a biographer. Steve does have a bit of a magical way of thinking; I mean, he feels he can bend reality to his desire. I think he thought he was going to outrun the cancer. He had done so for eight years; he had targeted therapy after targeted therapy; and I think even this summer, he said, “There’ll be more; I’ll get to the next lily pad; I’ll outrun the cancer.” LASHINSKY: He used that expression, “lily pad”? ISAACSON: Lily pad. He even said to me, on our last meeting – he was very ill, and resting – after awhile he looked up at me and he said, “There are going to be parts of your book I don’t like,” and it was more a question than just a statement. I said, “Yeah.” I was kind of looking forward to engaging him. He said, “Well, don’t worry; I wanted an independent book. I didn’t want it to feel like an in-house book. But I’m not going to read it for a year. I’ll read it a year from now.” His way of magical thinking is so extraordinary that I remember sort of smiling, and thinking, “OK, that means he will get to the Veteran biographer next lily pad. He will Isaacson has also be around for anothexplored the lives er year, two years, of Benjamin Franklin three years.” He and Albert Einstein. had a way of making you believe, a n d most o f

Photos by Ed Ritger

it up. That is what we don’t want to have happen at Apple.” At Apple, you have ingrained in the DNA not just being tough on suppliers, but driving engineering to make a product as insanely great as it can be. I love Amazon, for example. I order my clothing from Amazon. But they didn’t go insanely great when they made the Kindle Fire. They didn’t sit the way Johnny Ive and Tim Cook and Phil Schiller Isaacson and Scott Forrester highlighted would do, over and the personality that drove Jobs over again, saying, to the top of the “No; we have to business world. start over; the curve is not perfect; this butt o n isn’t



f e br ua ry/mar ch 2012

the time it worked, starting at Atari when he told Steve Wozniak, “You can make this in four days,” when they were doing Breakout [for] one of the video games. Woz said, “No, this is going to take four weeks,” and

“Steve does have a bit of a magical way of thinking; I mean, he feels he can

bend reality to his desire.”

Steve said, “No, no, no. You can do it in four days.” Woz said, “Well, that was a reality distortion field, and I did it in four days.” Wendell Weeks, who runs Corning Glass, [is] a really great CEO. Steve Jobs, when he does the iPhone, decides he doesn’t want plastic; he wants really tough glass on it. They don’t make a glass that can be tough like they want. Finally somebody says to him – ’cause they were making all the glass in China for the fronts of the stores – says, “You oughta check with the people at Corning. They’re kinda smart there.” So he flies to Corning, New York. He sits there in front of the CEO, Wendell Weeks, and says, “This is what I want: a glass that can do this.” Weeks says, “You know, we once created a type of process.” They created something called “Gorilla Glass.” Steve said, “No. Here’s how you make really strong glass,” and Wendell says, “Wait a minute. I know how to make glass. Shut up, and listen to me.” Steve, to his credit, shuts up and listens, and Wendell Weeks describes the process that makes Gorilla Glass, and Steve then says, “Fine. In six months, I want enough of it to make” – whatever it is – “a million iPhones.” Wendell says, “I’m sorry; we’ve actually never made it; we don’t have a factory to make it; this was a process we developed, but we never had a manufacturing plan to Isaacson was do it.” Steve looks at him and says what he interviewed by said to Woz 20, 30 years earlier: “Don’t be Adam Lashinsky, afraid. You can do it.” I flew to Corning, who will speak at because I just wanted to hear this story; the Club Feb. 15 Wendell Weeks tells me, “I just sat about the inner there and looked at the guy. He workings of Apple.

The ballroom was filled kept saying, ‘Don’t be afraid. You to overflowing with can do this.’” Weeks said he called Silicon Valley folks his plant in Kentucky that was making eager to learn more glass for LCD screens, and said, “Start about the late the process now, and make Gorilla Glass.” Steve Jobs. That’s why every iPhone in your pocket, and every iPad, has gorilla glass made by Corning. This is the reality distortion field that is part and parcel of a guy who doesn’t believe the rules apply to him, even the rule t h a t about never cut in line. y o u LASHINSKY: Of course, Corning uses this w o u l d in their marketing now. They market Gorilla do a head Glass for other customers. snap three You crystallized something for me about or four times Good manners might entrepreneurs, which is that they ask people an hour when not have been Jobs’ to help them do things that no one else h e w o u l d s a y strength, but attendees thought could be done. I heard that Henry something brutally found Isaacson to be Luce once heard that the Donnelley Plant honest. It wasn’t like a living example of in Chicago could do color printing, only he didn’t like Bill Gates; graciousness. nobody was doing color printing [of interior he would just say what pages] for magazines. I think it was when he really thought, which is, he wanted to start Life; it wasn’t for Time “Bill Gates is better at phioriginally. They said, “No, no. We can’t do lanthropy; he never cared about that.” He said, “Yes, you can. We’re going making great products.” That’s to do it very soon,” and they did it. unfair; I think Microsoft has made ISAACSON: Right. It’s the epigram of my great products, but Microsoft and Bill book. There was a line at the end of the 1997 Gates never had the artistic passion, the “Think Different” ad. In fact, at the funeral desire to make it so beautiful, to link the his daughter read it, the “Here’s to the crazy humanities and technology the way that ones, the misfits, the rebels,” and the last line Steve was driven. is “and those who are crazy enough to think LASHINSKY: Is there an anecdote you can they can change the world are the ones who share about the Apple organization after do.” And that’s what Steve Jobs was. Jobs that highlights your belief that the h i m LASHINSKY: One of the audience ques- distance between Apple and its competitors t o tions is, Did he discuss with you what he is sustainable? Johnny intended to do with his wealth beyond give ISAACSON: I do think that he has put a Ive, who it to his family? is the greatJobs refused to ISAACSON: No. I’ve asked, and that was est industrial read the book until the one thing I couldn’t crack. I don’t know designer of our “ a year after it was what he did philanthropically – what he era, and to people published, but did was not public. I think it’s quoted that like Scott Forrester, at all like Steve Jobs, he died before he was not exactly praiseworthy of people who’s great with the the book saw who talked a whole lot about philanthropy mobile operating sysbut he’s an awesomely print. and said, “I think it’ll leverage philanthropy tem software, and Eddie to do other things,” or Bill Gates’s giving Q., who’s great with the good CEO with a pledge. When Bill Gates was calling him content stuff, and Phil Schiltotally different manner.” to do it, he said, “Naw. I’m not going to ler and many others, you have do that.” a team that seems to me – and I LASHINSKY: Did he ever comment on don’t play the stock market, but – Gates’s career shift into philanthropy? top-notch team in place, and I do think that that seems to me that it can continue ISAACSON: He said, “He’s much happier he did not try to replace himself by saying, with multiple people the vision that in philanthropy, because he didn’t care that “Who’s the next Steve Jobs?” Tim Cook, as Steve had. much about making great products.” Steve you know, is not at all like Steve Jobs, but actually liked Bill Gates, in a way, and re- he’s an awesomely good CEO with a totally This program was made possible by the generous spected Bill Gates. An essence of Steve Jobs is different manner. But when you connect support of The Bernard Osher Foundation.

Tim Cook is not

f e b r ua ry/mar ch 2012



Health-Care Reform Comes to California Illustration by Steven Fromtling

Experts look at how the Golden State will be affected by national health-care changes. Excerpt from “Health Reform: Is California Ready?,” June 27, 2011. janet coffman Assistant Adjunct Professor, Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of California, San Francisco; Principal Analyst for Medical Effectiveness, California Health Benefits Review Program, Phillip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies steve mcdermott CEO, Hill Physicians Medical Group; Chairman & CEO, PriMed Management Services; Former CEO, MedAmerica ralph silber Executive Director, Alameda Health Consortium ann madden rice CEO, University of California Medical Center, Sacramento – Moderator RICE: Given what’s happening in the state to implement the Affordable Care Act , what are California policymakers doing right now to prepare for effective reform in California? COFFMAN: I’ll touch on three things that are among the most important. First is the health insurance exchange. Among the 48 states that did not previously have a health insurance exchange prior to the Affordable Care Act, California was the first to enact legislation to create the exchange; that was enacted last fall. Since then, five other states have started exchanges. The Exchange Board [has] begun to meet in earnest, hire a staff, and really shape the exchange with the goal of having it ready before 2014 to begin enrolling people. The



health insurance exchange is primarily for those who have been in the individual insurance market, or the small group market, and is a way to pool those people, negotiate better health plans and provide subsidies to make coverage more affordable. Second, in the realm of Medi-Cal, the state last fall obtained a waiver from the Federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to do a number of things, including establishing a low-income health program that will, prior to 2014, begin enrolling low-income adults who have previously had great difficulty obtaining coverage. Third, in terms of the health work force – you know, the physicians, nurses, and other health professionals needed to provide care to the newly insured

f e br ua ry/mar ch 2012

– last fall, the state established a Health Workforce Development Council that is assessing the state’s needs and making plans for addressing them, particularly in the area of primary care, where the state already has a short supply of providers. RICE: Steve, there’s been a lot of talk about team-based care, patient-centered medical homes, and accountable care organizations, among others. Can you explain some of these changes? What are providers doing here in California to prepare for these new approaches to delivering care? MCDERMOTT: The move toward coordinated care, or team care, and accountable care is something actually that’s been pioneered here in California for the past 25-30

years. Kaiser began with it after World War II, but it was basically a closed system. When I was forming Hill 28 years ago, it was to create a coordinated, accountable regional delivery system building on independent physicians. I saw the value of the Kaiser model, but that was a closed model, and there were lots of independent doctors in independent hospitals. I would have to say that I was a very young man at the time – I was probably 18 years old – so it was a bit ahead of the time. But the delegated model in California is very alive and well: in addition to the Kaiser population, there are about 6-7 million people in California that are covered by these accountable care organizations, and in the health-care reform legislation, the term accountable care organization was actually built on the California model. That said, pulling that off outside of California, beginning from scratch with independent doctors on a fee-for-service system, is going to be tough going. We use capitation here, and we’ve had a lot of experience doing it. I would say that, in that respect, having fallen by the wayside, particularly during the Bush administration, California is back in the news and back in the vanguard in terms of the right thing to do in health care, in building these coordinated, team-based systems; accountable care systems; population health; prevention; and whatnot. We stretched ourselves probably in the early 1990s by doing a lot of things, by jumping ahead of ourselves a little bit, and this time I think we’re going at this ‘2.0’ if you will, meaning more mature, more sophisticated, with a layer of pay for performance on top. We’re actually measuring, with public report cards, the quality and the cost-efficiency of programs competing with one another. RICE: Ralph, community health centers and other safety net providers have traditionally borne a disproportionate burden in caring for uninsured patients. As more Californians have access to health insurance, what do you think the role of some of the safety net providers might be? SILBER: There are about 7 million uninsured Californians today. The best numbers we have from UCLA are about 2.1 million of those people [who] will qualify for Medi-Cal in 2014, assuming that the folks in Washington don’t change their mind about this program. So that’s about 2 mil-

lion additional people put into our current state-run program for low-income people. An additional 1.7 million uninsured Californians will be eligible to purchase health insurance through the exchange, and those folks will be eligible for some amount of public subsidy, trying to bring the price of buying that insurance a little lower. About 1.2 million Californians will have the opportunity to purchase insurance through the exchange, but without any subsidy because their incomes are over 400 percent of the poverty level. If they can afford it, they’ll have a better opportunity than they have today to buy coverage. In the best-case scenario, assuming that the legislation is not destroyed at the federal level, assuming all the people I just talked about either receive free coverage or subsidized coverage or full pay for their coverage, we’ll still have Californians – most of whom because of their immigration status won’t qualify for any coverage at all; in spite of the legislation’s effort to make health insurance more affordable, I feel pretty confident that we’ll still have hundreds of thousands of Californians who won’t be able to afford coverage. On the one hand, we’re talking about millions of additional people having some coverage, but also, probably still millions of Californians without coverage. One of the things we’re trying to do right now is [address the fact] that there’s about 900,000 people in California who are eligible for Medi-Cal, but who are not enrolled in the program because it’s a fairly difficult process. I’d say if you take your college application, your home mortgage application and your life insurance application and roll those together, that’s what your experience is like applying for Medi-Cal. We’re trying to get everyone who is currently eligible onto the program. California got permission from the federal government to start some of these expansions of insurance coverage earlier. On July 1 most of the counties in California [were able to] start enrolling some low-income people into a sort of modified insurance program. On January 1, 2014, when the Medi-Cal expansion goes in place, hopefully [we will have] a good chunk of those 2 million people who will become newly eligible already sort of in the system, so we can flip the switch and they’ll have their insurance effective on that day. The other thing that we’re all trying to do

is figure out a better way to provide health care. There’s no way we’re ever going to have enough physicians to provide care the way we do now for all of these newly eligible people. Steve’s talked about accountable care organizations and care coordination. We’re all involved in trying to figure out more efficient ways, whether that’s through use of technology, phone visits, group visits, having people see health educators, seeing other kinds of providers. But the only chance we have to make this real is to change how we provide care and, quite honestly, to try to lower the cost of providing care, because even with this reform in place, the cost of health care in the United States is really skyrocketing and is unsustainable. RICE: Can you provide some insight on how the new care will be financed, some of the provisions of the Accountable Care Act in California? SILBER: The challenge is that our state and federal governments are in very bad financial shape. California has already passed, and will soon enact, significant reductions in the Medi-Cal program. You’ve already heard about the low reimbursement. Starting in the fall, essentially all Medi-Cal providers are going to be cut by 10 percent. There’s going to be a limit of seven physician visits a year if you’re on Medi-Cal in California. So we have two different planes of reality here. The bill that was passed in Washington does have financing mechanisms – it has reductions in the growth of Medicare; it has various new tax revenues – but that reality is overshadowed. The financing of [Medicaid] is in serious doubt because of the situation both in Washington and [in California]. One of the reasons I started by saying how many people are supposed to be added to Medi-Cal in the program is because that is the biggest chunk of people. The federal health-care reform is really built on the backbone of the Medi-Cal program, which is underfunded to begin with, and is about to be cut at the state level and at the federal level. I think we’re all sort of doing what we’re supposed to do to try to get ready, but there is a financial reality that is going to hit us soon, that’s really going to question our collective ability to pull this off. This program was made possible by the generous support of the California HealthCare Foundation.

f e b r ua ry/mar ch 2012



Nada Prouty (Continued from page 7)

topless dancer.” I’m like, “No …” I did not want to do that. Finally, someone said, “If you marry an American citizen, you would be considered a resident, and you would be

“I decided I wanted to

give back to my adopted country and

serve my adopted country.” paying the resident tuition; you wouldn’t be paying this super high tuition.” Things got really bad, and I ended up doing just that. After staying in the country, the one thing that I did not plan on is falling in love with America. I hadn’t thought about it when I first came here; I hadn’t really considered living in the States for the rest of my life.



But it was the everyday things that I fell in love with. I was free to say whatever I wanted. A cousin of mine [in Lebanon] had criticized the Syrians and the next day disappeared, was killed. We don’t know, to this date, what happened to him. So I was free to express my opinion; I was free to wear whatever it is that I wanted to wear. Between the freedom and the democracy that we have here – it’s hard for someone who has not had these in-love feelings with the country of their birth to explain it. I guess the best way I could say it is [that] if you haven’t experienced injustice, you really don’t know what justice is. I decided to go through with the sham marriage, and after falling in love with the States, I decided I wanted to give back to my adopted country and serve my adopted country. I applied to the FBI and was accepted for the position of special agent. Now, I did list that sham marriage on that first page of my FBI application, and I called them to discuss the circumstances, and I was told not to worry about it. For the two years that it took to complete my FBI background [check], this never came up, so I thought that they had adjudicated it. They had accepted me [in spite of ] my past bad deed. It wasn’t a strange thing for me, because of the application at the time. The standards were, if you’ve done marijuana 15 times or less, you can still apply to the FBI. Or, if you’ve done hard core drugs three times or less, you can still apply for the FBI. So I thought, “OK, well, I’ve made a mistake; I was 19.” So I applied and they took me in. When I first got there, because I was an accounting student, I thought, “Here

f e br ua ry/mar ch 2012

I am; I’m ready to sit on a desk, and I’m going to find out where people are hiding the money.” But instead I ended up chasing the terrorists. There’s a little bit of switching there, for an accountant [to go] from desk work to actually being out on the field. I was assigned a squad that investigated crimes against U.S. citizens and U.S. interests overseas. Within just a couple of months after I got there, I was interviewing Hani al-Sayegh – he was indicted for his role in the 1996 Khobar Tower bombings, where 19 of our servicemen died – and shortly after that I was in London on the investigation of the 1998 kidnapping of U.S. citizens and British tourists in Yemen, and then after that it was the USS Cole – I arrived there the day after the bombing. I had so many different cases. The two other cases that come to the top of my head were the 2003 bombing of three apartment buildings targeting Americans in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and the last assigned case, [which] was the 2002 assassination of Laurence Foley, U.S. foreign aid diplomat in Jordan, who was gunned down in front of his house. The plot was planned by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who later became very famous for his role in al-Quaeda in Iraq. So I did a lot of these FBI investigations, reporting to the crime scene, bag tag. Obviously I worked on 9/11, the Pentagon [attack]; my office was a little less than five miles from the Pentagon, and I arrived to the Pentagon to secure the scene to start conducting the investigation. CURIEL: So far, Nada, you’ve talked about the “rise” part. Can you get into a little bit of the “fall” part? The “fall,” in this sense, is of you being accused – falsely, in so many ways – of betraying the country; and accused by people who, it turns out, had political agendas. PROUTY: In 2003, I had been exposed a lot to CIA officers overseas, because my work was about 90 percent overseas. One of them told me, “You work for the FBI; you come and investigate crimes overseas.” I said, “Yes.” He said, “You arrive after the fact. Why don’t you join the CIA, where you can collect intelligence to prevent that attack, so people don’t have to come here and do this investigation?” And I did. I joined the CIA. I worked for the CIA for a number of years, and I came back to the CIA headquarters and was getting ready to go [to] a

my baby girl’s life in danger in Baghdad for so long; I was shot at several times. I remember we’d get out of the Green Zone, or would be on a mission, or whatever it is, she’d be kicking left, right and center, like, “Be careful, Mom.” So, you know, I had a lot of guilty feelings, and that caused a lot of stress on her. She could read body language; kids are very good at that. I had to make a decision as a mom; I had to make a decision as a wife; and I had to make a decision [as to] whether I would be killed or not. Who was going to raise my daughter? I had already thought about that once before, when I was in Baghdad, and I had to have that discussion. I felt very, very guilty, and with that last threat, I plead guilty. I plead guilty to the immigration charges to which the statute of limitation had long expired, and I had listed it on my [FBI] application; I thought everybody knew about it. Where they figured, “Oh, we just discovered this,” it just made no sense to me. But that was part also of twisting your arm to plead guilty to something you didn’t do. The other charge that I plead guilty to was accessing an FBI system without authorization, but that wasn’t enough for them. They went to the media; they leaked all kinds of information to the media that I was a spy for Hezbollah, and that was a very rough period for my family. The press were camped outside of our house for weeks at a time; neighbors would not talk to me; my daughter was stressed. I would drop her off at the school, and I wanted to talk to a teacher. I wanted to tell them, “ You know, my kid is stressed,” and they wouldn’t talk to me; they’d just walk away from me. Friends, both from the FBI and the CIA – not all of them, but some of them – just wouldn’t want to talk to

Unlikely U.S. Spooks The work of a spy is a secretive affair. But some spies gained fame (or infamy) for their non-spy work: Klaus Barbie: The notorious “Butcher of Lyon” was a Nazi war criminal believed to have been directly responsible for the deaths of 14,000 people. But after the war, he fled to South America, where he provided intelligence to the American and, later, to the German governments. Eventually extradited to France, he was tried and imprisoned for WWII crimes. Bob Barr: After working as a CIA analyst during the 1970s, Barr would go on to serve in Congress as a conservative Southern Republican before switching to the Libertarian Party, running as its 2008 presidential candidate. Moe Berg: The future Major League Baseball player worked with the CIA and its precursor, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). William F. Buckley, Jr.: Before he made his name as an author, commentator and father of late-20th century American conservatism, Buckley worked for the CIA in the early 1950s, becoming lifelong friends with his boss, E. Howard Hunt. Julia Child: During and immediately after the second world war, Child worked in the OSS. She later found fame by revealing France’s culinary secrets. Arthur Goldberg: The future U.S. Supreme Court justice and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations had served in an OSS unit in World War II, developing resistance to the Nazis in occupied countries. Kermit Roosevelt, Jr.: The grandson of former President Teddy Roosevelt worked for the CIA; he coordinated the 1953 overthrow of Iran’s democratically elected government. Written by John Zipperer.

f e b r ua ry/mar ch 2012



Photo by modenadude / flickr

second place – I can’t tell you where it is, but I was learning Farsi, and I became a fluent Farsi speaker – and then this is when the fall happened. I was doing such a great job for the CIA at headquarters that I was getting kudos from the White House. Federal prosecutors in Detroit had this dream that I was guilty of passing intelligence to the terrorist group Hezbollah. They didn’t have any evidence, and I didn’t know why they were going after me at the time. [Not] until later did I figure out that there was a political motivation behind it. They started with their investigation, and they did all the techniques that I – having been on the inside – am familiar with. These techniques are long investigation; it drains you of your financial resources. As a government worker, let me tell you: we don’t make a lot of money. You really have to love your country and have your heart in the mission to do that kind of work. It was one threat after the other. They went after my family, went after my friends, to put a lot of pressure for me to basically plead guilty to something I did not do. They devised a scheme where every time I’ve used my U.S. passport to travel overseas, on the government’s behalf – to be in harm’s way – they were going to charge me with a felony, because it’s fraudulent use of a U.S. passport. They were very proud to have counted the hundreds of times that I’ve traveled on the government’s behalf, and that was going to put me in jail for the rest of my life. They were very proud that they were able to do that. And I fought and I fought. I’m like, “I can’t say that I did something I didn’t do. How could you?” Deep down, I was very torn. Why would I say that I believe in the justice system? Why would I, in a sense, betray the justice system and say that I did something that I didn’t do? The last threat came through, and that threat was: “We’re going to deport you to Lebanon, and we’re going to tell everyone that you work for the FBI and the CIA.” For anyone slightly familiar with what that really means, it is plain and simple; it’s a death threat. And I had a child. And I had a lot of guilty feelings, because I had put

me. It was a very, very rough time. CURIEL: Valerie Plame, who was outed as an undercover agent, wrote a blurb for the back of your book: “Nada Prouty served our country loyally with distinction, and, as universally acknowledged by her colleagues, with great personal courage as a CIA covert officer.” Now, like Valerie Plame, who also went through a kind of redemption, your redemption has been not without some low points. But there has been a redemption, and I have to say that the redemption was instigated by you as well. Redemption, for example, starts with a “60 Minutes” profile of you. Why did they do that? Because you approached them. You don’t give up. Instead of having your father arrange a marriage for you, you arranged your own marriage. That’s what you did. PROUTY: Yes. It was a really bad time. And then the CIA conducted an investigation. You don’t want to be part of a CIA counterintelligence investigation. Basically, it was two weeks [in which] I had to explain everything from the day that I was born until the day that I was talking to the CIA officer. They concluded the investigation. There are two parts of the investigation. The first part is the unclassified part, and it’s available as part of the public record. I was exonerated. The second part, which is the classified part that I don’t have access to but the former CTC chief on “60 Minutes” alludes to it, and he said, “She was completely exonerated.” I was [fined] $750 for an investigation that cost the taxpayers – I estimate it [at] hundreds of thousands of dollars. Anyway, that’s not a good return on your investment, from an accounting standpoint here. The judge on the day of the sentencing had requested additional information from the prosecutor’s office. He said, “OK, she plead guilty to viewing a document. Did she print it out?” “No, she didn’t print it out.” He started asking more and more questions, and he had come to the conclusion that this really was a setup. The day of the sentencing was a movie scene. I’m standing in front of the judge. He rebuked the prosecution team. The prosecutor’s office, every two or three months, would leak some more information to the media, and all of it would start all over again. On that day, all of the media is in the court; the judge had letters that were written on my behalf from FBI agents, from CIA



officers, from people that have supported me from day one, from higher ups – I can’t tell you who they are, but very senior CIA folks. He took that, and he looked at the media, and he said, “For any one of you here that wants to write about Nada Prouty –” Poof! He throws it at them. He said, “Read this before you write anything.” You would think, after all of this – after all this exoneration – things would change. But that actually angered the prosecutors, so

“The judge started asking the prosecutors more and more questions, and he had come to the conclusion that

this was a setup.” they started putting more pressure on me. They said that I was not allowed to travel outside a 50-mile radius from my home. They froze my bank accounts. Just playing games. You would think, “Now she’s been exonerated; now this is all good.” No. I believe that they were so afraid that the truth is going to come out and expose them, that they wanted to put so much pressure on me, that I would leave to Lebanon and disappear. The truth will disappear with me. For a CIA officer, you’re trained to avoid the media, so it was a very, very hard decision for me to return the call from “60 Minutes.” Everybody under the sun had called me, and they wanted to have an interview. Every show – radio, TV shows from overseas – and I had refused to talk to anyone. I wanted to give the government the chance to correct its actions. Finally, I decided I have given everybody a chance to correct what has happened. Nobody was doing it. I was just forgotten. So I contacted “60 Minutes,” and I didn’t know it at that time, but I was told, “You get on ‘60 Minutes’ for two reasons: you’re really, really good; or you’re really, really bad.” They thought I was really, really bad. [“60 Minutes”] conducted an investigation, too, and when they saw all the information that was out there, they were [surprised]. They are not supposed to

f e br ua ry/mar ch 2012

show their feelings, but I could just feel that their blood was boiling. I appeared on “60 Minutes,” and shortly after that, people looked back into the case. They reviewed what has happened, and [eventually] the [U.S.] attorney general, the director of the CIA, and the secretary for homeland security all signed a memo to grant me back my U.S. person status, because part of the deal is that I was stripped of my U.S. citizenship. They all signed a memo to grant me back my – and I’m currently pursuing – my U.S. citizenship. CURIEL: You were raised in the Druze tradition, right? One of our audience members asks about this sense of being Druze, and where that situates you in the overall religious scene. Druze are often seen as being a sect of Islam, when in fact it’s much more complicated than that. Also, you talk about converting to Catholicism. How did that play into your Americanism, as it were? PROUTY: There’s not one good description to explain the Druze, and I was not brought up Druze, but it’s a combination of Christianity, Islam and Buddhism. It’s a secretive religion. In fact, I don’t know a lot about the faith. You receive information about the Druze life at the wise age of 40. My parents did not practice it; I went to an evangelical school, and this is when I embraced Christianity, as a child. CURIEL: You’re sort of a minority in Lebanon, so you’re used to being the outsider. As a woman, especially, when you’re treated – PROUTY: Yes. The culture views women as second class citizens. One of the stories that I describe was [how] the boys are allowed to bully the girls. This is how they earn their, I don’t know, dominance. In our home, it went a little bit further. My brother is the youngest, and in order to allow him to learn how to become a good, strong male, my parents would hold down the girls and allow him to beat us. I think it’s what made me a survivor, and I think that’s the one thing the Detroit prosecutors did not count on: my ability to survive. I take the positive from growing up in such a culture, demeaning to women, and growing up with an abusive family. I just use it for my daily survival. [I’ve learned] how not to be a parent, from my parents. This program was made possible by the generous support of Bank of America.


For up-to-date information on programs, and to subscribe to our weekly newsletter, go to



The Commonwealth Club organizes more than 450 events every year – on politics, the arts, media, literature, business and sports. Programs are held throughout the Bay Area.

Prepayment is required. Unless otherwise indicated, all Club programs – including “Members Free” events – require tickets. Programs often sell out, so we strongly encourage you to purchase tickets in advance. Tickets are available at will call. Due to heavy call volume, we urge you to purchase tickets online at; or call (415) 597-6705. Please note: All ticket sales are final. Please arrive at least 10 minutes prior to any program. If a program is sold out and your tickets are not claimed at our box office by the program start time, they will be released to our stand-by list. Select events include premium seating; premium refers to the first several rows of seating.

STANDARD PROGRAMS Typically one hour long, these speeches cover a variety of topics and are followed by a question and answer session. Most evening programs include a wine and cheese reception.

PROGRAM SERIES FOOD LIT showcases pre-eminent chefs and cookbook authors and often includes a mouth-watering meal or tasting. GOOD LIT features both established literary luminaries and upand-coming writers in conversation.

RADIO, Video and podcasts

INFORUM is for and by people in their 20s and 30s, although events are open to people of all ages.

Hear Club programs on about 200 public and commercial radio stations throughout the United States. For the latest schedule, visit In the San Francisco Bay Area, tune in to: KQED (88.5 FM) Fridays at 8 p.m. and Saturdays at 2 a.m. KRCB Radio (91 FM in Rohnert Park) Thursdays at 7 p.m. KALW (91.7 FM) Inforum programs on select Tuesdays at 7 p.m. KOIT (96.5 FM and 1260 AM) Sundays at 6 a.m. KLIV (1590 AM) Thursdays at 7 p.m. KSAN (107.7 FM) Sundays at 5 a.m. KNBR (680 and 1050 AM) Sundays at 5 a.m. KFOG (104.5 and 97.7 FM) Sundays at 5 a.m.

MEMBER–LED FORUMS (MLF) Volunteer-driven programs focus on particular fields. Most evening programs include a wine reception. Member-Led Forums Chair Dr. Carol Fleming carol.fleming@speechtraining com FORUM CHAIRS 2011 ARTS Anne W. Smith Lynn Curtis ASIA–PACIFIC AFFAIRS Cynthia Miyashita BAY GOURMET Cathy Curtis SF BOOK DISCUSSION Howard Crane BUSINESS & LEADERSHIP Kevin O’Malley ENVIRONMENT & NATURAL RESOURCES Ann Clark Marcia Sitcoske GROWNUPS John Milford

Health & Medicine William B. Grant HUMANITIES George C. Hammond INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS Norma Walden LGBT Stephen Seewer

Watch Club programs on KRCB TV 22 on Comcast & DirecTV the last Sunday of each month at 11 a.m. Select Commonwealth Club Silicon Valley programs air on CreaTV in San Jose (Channel 30). View hundreds of streaming videos of Club programs at and

Julian Chang MIDDLE EAST Celia Menczel

Subscribe to our free podcasting service to automatically download a new program recording to your personal computer each week:

PSYCHOLOGY Patrick O’Reilly


science & technology Chisako Ress

To request an assistive listening device, please e-mail Ricardo Esway at or call (415) 869-5911 seven working days before the event. mar ch/f e b r ua ry 2012



Eight Weeks Calendar February 01– March 25 M on




01 Noon California’s Water Future 5:30 p.m. Humanities West Book Discussion: The Brothers Karamazov, by Fyodor Dostoevsky FM 6:00 p.m. Where is America Headed?




12:30 p.m. Margaret Hamburg, FDA Chief: Can Safety and Innovation Coexist? 5:30 p.m. Solar by Ian McEwan FM 6:00 p.m. Club Volunteer Orientation FE

5:15 p.m. Empowerment and Dementia

6:00 p.m. Her Dimitar Sasselov: The Life of Super-Earths




6:00 p.m. The Key for Finding and Keeping Love 6:00 p.m. Cheating to Get Ahead

6:00 p.m. Inside Apple 6:15 p.m. Science & Technology Planning Meeting FE

Noon Cruising 55 FM 6:00 p.m. Marriage in the 21st Century FM 6:00 p.m. Connectome: How the Brain’s Wiring Makes Us Who We Are FM


6:30 p.m. Is Marriage for White People?



6:00 p.m. Emerging African Markets 6:00 p.m. Must Politics Be a Dirty Business? 7:00 p.m. Dr. David Agus: The End of Illness

6:00 p.m. Thomas Donohue, CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce




6:00 p.m. Magic Theatre Virgin Play Reading: Pen/Man/Ship FE 6:00 p.m. Voyages of Scientific Discovery with the Mars Exploration Rovers FM 5:30 p.m. Middle East Discussion Group LB

Noon Food Addiction 6:00 p.m. Eisenhower’s Legacy LB

5:30 p.m. Humanities West Book Discussion FM 6:00 p.m. The College-Industrial Complex and the Future of Higher Education 6:00 p.m. From Durban to Rio




6:00 p.m. T.C. Boyle FM 5:30 p.m. The Swerve by Stephen Greenblatt LB

7:00 p.m. The Future Is Better than YouThink 6:00 p.m. Getting Ahead: Three Steps to Take Your Career to the Next Level

6:00 p.m. GM CEO Dan Akerson




6:00 p.m. George Hammond: Time and Eternity FM 6:30 p.m. Vivek Ranadivé: The Two-Second Advantage

2:00 p.m. Poisons in the Press: Deciding for Yourself What’s ‘Safe’ 6:00 p.m. Only Connect: Dramaturgy and Shakespeare’s Living Theater

6:00 p.m. The Creative Destruction of Medicine




6:00 p.m. A Historian Walks into an Archive FM

7:00 p.m. Understanding the Science and Senses of What you Eat Noon Jennifer Granholm and Dan Mulhern 6:00 p.m. Building a Charismatic Personal Brand

Noon Avoiding Over-Treatment: Practical Steps for Laymen



f e br ua ry/mar ch 2012


San Francisco East Bay Silicon Valley



Free program for members Free program for everyone Members–only program Late breaking event


S at






1:45 p.m. Chinatown Walking Tour

Noon Power Plays: Media Roundtable FM Noon Developing Leaders for a Complex World










1:45 p.m. Russian Hill Walking Tour 6:00 p.m. The End of Impunity 6:30 p.m. Brandon Jew and His Hot Chef Posse 6:30 p.m. What It’s Like to Be the Muslim Next Door in Silicon Valley FE

Noon The Rise of Turkey FM




March 01



6:00 p.m. Russell Feingold

Noon Covering Carbon FM

6:00 p.m. George Shultz, Sam Nunn, William Perry: The Nuclear Chessboard, 2012 1:45 p.m. San Francisco Architecture Walking Tour

Noon 15th Annual Travers Ethics Conference LB


04 1:00 p.m Make Macarons with Chez Pim










6:00 p.m. Turing’s Cathedral 6:30 p.m. Social Networks and the Death of Privacy FE 6:00 p.m. New Approaches to Patient Care and Advocacy

15 1:45 p.m. North Beach Walking Tour 5:00 p.m. Maharaja Caravan 6:00 p.m. Mountain Lions and Humans 6:00 p.m. John Yoo: Taming Globalization

22 6:00 p.m. Dr. Laurie Santos, The Monkey Whisperer: The Evolution of Irrationality – Insights from Monkeys

f e b r ua ry/mar ch 2012



February 01-07 W E D 01 | San Francisco

W E D 01 | San Francisco

W E D 01 | San Francisco

California’s Water Future

Humanities West Book Discussion: The Brothers Karamazov, by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Robert Reich: Where is America Headed?

David Zetland, Author, The End of Abundance

How should California manage its water in the future and which incentives will motivate the biggest changes in conservation and agricultural efficiency? Which water policies and practices have backfired? Join water economist David Zetland for a fresh perspective on how we can manage our most precious resource in the 21st century and what we can learn from past mistakes. MLF: Environment/ Natural Resources Location: SF Club Office Time: 11:30 a.m. check-in, noon program Cost: $20 standard, $8 members, $7 students (with valid ID) Program Organizer: Christie Jordan

Join us to discuss Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov, with one eye on the Jungian archetypes on display in this Russian classic. The discussion will be moderated by Denise Schickel. Needless to say, the author will not be present. MLF: Humanities Location: SF Club Office Time: 5:30 p.m. discussion Cost: $5 standard, MEMBERS FREE Program Organizer: George Hammond

Professor, Goldman School of Public Policy, U.C. Berkeley; Former U.S. Secretary of Labor; Author, Aftershock

Having served in three national administrations and hailed as one of the 10 most effective cabinet secretaries of the last century by Time magazine, Reich is one of the nation’s leading experts on work and the economy. Come join us as Reich lays out his unabashed thoughts on the current administration, the nation’s economy and its cloudy future as another presidential election looms. Location: Fairmont Hotel Gold Room, 950 Mason St. (at California) San Francisco Time: 5:15 p.m. check-in, 6 p.m. program Cost: $20 standard, $12 members, $7 students Premium: $45 standard, $35 members Also know: Photo provided by Michael Collopy

THU 02 | San Francisco

F R I 03 | San Francisco

F R I 03 | San Francisco

Chinatown Walking Tour

Power Plays: Media Roundtable

Developing Leaders for a Complex World

Enjoy another 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 and the famous Fortune Cookie Factory. There is a short break for a tea sample during the tour. Location: Meet at corner of Grant and Bush, in front of Starbucks, near Chinatown Gate Time: 1:45 p.m. check-in, 2–5 p.m. tour Cost: $45 standard, $35 members Also know: Temple visit requires walking up three flights of stairs. Limited to 12 people. Participants must pre-register. Photo by H Sanchez/Flickr. Operates rain or shine.



David Baker, Reporter, San Francisco Chronicle See Website for Additional Panelists

Smart meters, tiered pricing and net metering are bringing big changes to the way California generates and pays for electricity. Reporters covering the energy beat will discuss the state’s power plays and what’s at stake for consumers and companies. Location: SF Club Office Time: 11:30 a.m. check-in, noon program, 1:00 p.m. reception Cost: $20 standard, MEMBERS FREE, $7 students (with valid ID)

f e br ua ry/mar ch 2012

Dr. Jennifer Berger Garvey, Partner, Cultivating Leadership; Author, Changing on the Job

How can we address the shortage of real wisdom and leadership in organizations and develop people who are more sophisticated, thoughtful and nuanced? Using real-world examples that bring concepts to life, Garvey will offer tools to change the way you think about leadership and adult growth, and a set of building blocks to support realizing your fullest potential and growing the capacities that organizations need. MLF: Business & Leadership Location: SF Club Office Time: 11:30 a.m. check-in, noon program, 1 p.m. book signing Cost: $20 standard, $8 members, $7 students Program Organizer: Kevin O’Malley

M O N 06 | San Francisco

M O n 06 | San Francisco

Margaret Hamburg, FDA Chief: Can Safety and Innovation Coexist?

Solar by Ian McEwan

M.D., Commissioner, Food and Drug Administration Susan Desmond-Hellmann, M.D., M.P.H., UCSF Chancellor; Arthur and Toni Rembe Rock Distinguished Professor – Moderator

We will be discussing a work of contemporary fiction, Ian McEwan’s Solar , for our book discussion. Solar is an engrossing and satirical novel that focuses on climate change, focusing on one man’s ambitions and self-deceptions. The author will not be attending this discussion.

FDA chief Hamburg has been tasked with the difficult job of ensuring the safety of everything we consume. With a background in medicine, science and public health, she is well-positioned to meet the myriad challenges facing the FDA. As New York’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene commissioner, Hamburg improved services for women and children, instituted needle-exchange programs to reduce the spread of HIV, created the first public health bio-terrorism defense program in the nation and curbed the spread of tuberculosis. As head of the FDA, Hamburg stresses the need to strengthen regulatory science to evaluate the safety and efficacy of products more quickly. Learn what she has planned to help keep the nation, its food and medicine supply safe and to strike a successful balance between patient safety and the needs of the biotech industry.

MLF: San Francisco Book Discussion Location: SF Club Office Time: 5:30 p.m. program Cost: $5 standard, MEMBERS FREE Program organizer: Barbara Massey & Howard Crane

Location: SF Club Office Time: 11:30 a.m. check-in and luncheon, 12:30 p.m. program (Please note lunch will be completed prior to start of program) Cost (includes lunch): $50 standard,$40 members; Commonwealth Club Leadership Circle Members should register by calling Oona Marti in the Club’s Development Department at (415) 597-6714

M on 0 6 | S a n F r a n c i s c o

T U E 07 | San Francisco

Club Volunteer Orientation

Empowerment and Dementia: How Best to Engage Those with Memory and Behavioral Challenges

The Club can’t function without the dedication of its volunteers. Help us keep public discussion alive. Event volunteers assist with greeting, ticketing, receptions, ushering, question cards and timing programs for radio broadcast. If you’d like to attend the next volunteer orientation, please email The privilege of volunteering is reserved for Club members. Please include your name and contact information in the email. Location: SF Club Office Time: 6 p.m. orientation Cost: Free

Jane Mahakian, Ph.D., President/Founder, Aging Matters, Inc. Cathy Murphy, Owner, Home Instead Senior Care San Francisco

Through Aging Matters, Mahakian’s basic principles of care involve promoting selfesteem and independence above all. She will discuss how to help promote emotional well-being of older persons with memory impairment through self-empowerment and validation. Murphy will introduce the life journal to develop and use when caring for seniors with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. The life journal stimulates communication, preserves memories and establishes points of reference to use for managing difficult behaviors. Come learn from the experts excelling at helping those with dementia needs. MLF: Grownups Location: SF Club Office Time: 4:45 p.m. networking reception, 5:15 p.m. program Cost: $20 standard, $8 members, $7 students (with valid ID) Program Organizer: John Milford Also know: In association with San Francisco Village

f e b r ua ry/mar ch 2012



February 08-15 Podcasting Subscribe to our podcasts! Receive a new program recording each week. It’s free! For more information, visit

W E D 08 | San Francisco

WED 08 | East Bay

Dimitar Sasselov: The Life of Super-Earths

Ralph Richard Banks: Is Marriage for White People?

Professor of Astronomy at Harvard University; Founder and Director, Harvard Origins of Life Initiative

Jackson Eli Reynolds Professor of Law, Stanford Law School; Author, Is Marriage for White People?

The discovery of a new Earth, or other world, may be in our future, says Sasselov. In the past year, we have witnessed unprecedented breakthroughs in the seemingly unrelated fields of synthetic biology and exo-planetary astronomy. Sasselov aims to highlight these groundbreaking findings and explain how what we learn in the laboratory informs our investigation of the universe, and vice versa.

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Stanford Law School Professor Banks will tackle that oh-so-controversial institution: marriage. His recent book, Is Marriage for White People? How the African American Marriage Decline Affects Everyone, explores the deterioration of marriage in America and its implications for family and romantic relationships. Join us for an intimate look at the changing nature of nuptials.

MLF: Science & Technology Location: SF Club Office Time: 5:30 p.m. networking, 6 p.m. program, 7 p.m. book signing Cost: $20 standard, $8 members, $7 students Program Organizer: Chisako Ress

Location: Lafayette Library and Learning Center, 3491 Mt. Diablo Blvd. Lafayette, CA 94549 Time: 5:45 p.m. check-in, 6:30 p.m. program Cost: $22 standard, $12 members, $7 students

M on 1 3 | S a n F r a n c i s c o

M O n 13 | San Francisco

Cruising 55

Marriage in the 21st Century

Roland Hwang, Director of Transportation Programs, NRDC Mary Nichols, Chair, California Air Resources Board Chris Paulson, VP of Strategy, Coda Automotive Bill Reinert, National Manager, Toyota

Ralph Richard Banks, Jackson Eli Reynolds Professor of Law, Stanford Law School; Author, Is Marriage for White People?

In a striking change from years past, U.S. automakers stood with President Obama last year to support the biggest increase in auto fuel economy standards ever. The new rules call for a fleet average of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025, which means about 43 miles per gallon in real-life driving. California is joining the parade to higher efficiency this year. How will automakers meet the new requirements? Which companies have an edge? Will consumers have more choices for gas hybrids and pure electric vehicles? Join us for a discussion peering into the future of the auto industry. Location: SF Club Office Time: 11:30 a.m. check in, noon program, 1:00 p.m. reception Cost: $20 standard, MEMBERS FREE, $7 students (with valid ID)

On the eve of Valentine’s Day, Monday Night Philosophy wades into controversial waters about the institution of marriage. How important is it to society and culture? How have the ever-churning marital waters been particularly stirred up in the latter half of the 20th century? Ask family law professor Banks your own questions about the ideas discussed in his book and other issues currently affecting the institution of marriage. Location: SF Club Office Time: 5:30 p.m. networking, 6 p.m. program, 7 p.m. book signing Cost: $20 standard, MEMBERS FREE, $7 students (with valid ID) Program Organizer: George Hammond



f e br ua ry/mar ch 2012

M O N 13 | San Francisco

T U E 14 | San Francisco

Connectome: How the Brain’s Wiring Makes Us Who We Are

Cheating to Get Ahead

Sebastian Seung, Ph.D., Author, Connectome: How the Brain’s Wiring Makes Us Who Are

Are we simply the products of our genes? Seung says otherwise. The MIT professor has found what he calls the nexus of nature and nurture: the network of connections between neurons in the human brain. He will take you inside his ambitious quest to model what he calls the Connectome, which, if successful, would uncover the basis of personality, intelligence, memory and disorders such as autism and schizophrenia. Location: SF Club Office Time: 5:30 p.m. networking, 6 p.m. program, 7 p.m. book signing Cost: $20 standard, MEMBERS FREE, $7 students (with valid ID)

David Callahan, Senior Fellow, Demos; Editor,; Author, Fortune of Change and The Cheating Culture David DeCosse, Director of Campus Ethics, Markkula Center for Applied Ethics Santa Clara University – Moderator

Cheating has become more common in nearly every sector of our society: business, education and sports. Though there have always been those who cut corners, David Callahan, bestselling author of The Cheating Culture, shows that cheating on every level from the highly publicized corporate scandals to Little League fraud has risen dramatically in the last two decades. Why all this cheating and why now? Is it a dogeat-dog economic climate? How much has rising economic inequality and insecurity contributed to cheating? Have Americans lost faith in the social contract and the rules governing society, so that they feel more license to cheat and make up their own rules? Come hear how this epidemic of cheating threatens the level playing field so central to American democracy. Location: SF Club Office Time: 5:30 p.m. networking reception, 6 p.m. program, 7 p.m. book signing Cost: $20 standard, $12 members, $7 for students (with valid ID)

T U E 14 | San Francisco

W E D 15 | San Francisco

W E D 15 | San Francisco

The Key for Finding and Keeping Love

Inside Apple: How America’s Most Admired and Secretive Company Really Works

Science & Technology Planning Meeting

Jena LaFlamme, Creator, Jena Wellness Center and

A special Valentine’s program to explore the greatest missing ingredient in finding and keeping love: pleasure! Learn how and why the more pleasure you take in your life, the more appealing you will be to your partner (or date) and the more your love will shine and sizzle. Join us for a light-hearted evening with lectures and interactive exercises for singles and couples of all stripes. MLF: Business & Leadership Location: SF Club Office Time: 5:30 p.m. networking reception, 6 p.m. program Cost: $20 standard, $8 members, $7 students (with valid ID) Program Organizer: Kevin O’Malley

Adam Lashinsky, Senior Editor at Large, Fortune

In a 2008 Fortune cover story entitled, “The Genius Behind Steve: Could Operations Whiz Tim Cook Run the Company Someday?” Lashinsky predicted that Tim Cook, then an unknown, would eventually succeed Steve Jobs as CEO. Come hear the secret systems, tactics and leadership strategies that allow Apple to churn out hit after hit and inspire a cult-like following for its products as well as predictions for the future in the post-Steve Jobs era.

Join fellow Club members with similar interests and brainstorm upcoming Science & Technology programs. All Commonwealth Club members are welcome. We explore visions for the future through science and technology. Discuss current issues and share your insights with fellow Club members to shape and plan programs for the months ahead. MLF: Science & Technology Location: SF Club Office Time: 6:15 p.m. planning meeting Cost: FREE Program Organizer: Chisako Ress Also know: Photo by flickr user Sapperlott

Location: SF Club Office Time: 5:30 p.m. networking, 6 p.m. program, 7 p.m. book signing Cost: $20 standard, $12 members, $7 students

f e b r ua ry/mar ch 2012



February 16-21 Write Us Pleased at what you see in these pages? Outraged? Send a letter to the editor! We welcome your thoughts and suggestions. Letters The Commonwealth Club 595 Market Street, 2nd Floor San Francisco, CA 94105

T H U 16 | San Francisco

T H U 16 | San Francisco

Russian Hill Walking Tour

The End of Impunity

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 twohour 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. Location: Meet in front of Swensen’s Ice Cream Store located at 1999 Hyde Street at Union. Tour ends about six blocks from the Swensen’s Ice Cream Shop, at the corner of Vallejo and Jones. Time: 1:45 p.m. check-in, 2– 4 p.m. tour Cost: $45 standard, $35 members Also know: Steep hills and staircases, Parking difficult. Limited to 20. Must pre-register. Tour operates rain or shine.

David John Scheffer, LL.M., Professor of Law; Ambassador at Large, War Crimes Issues; Author, All the Missing Souls

The masterminds of atrocity crimes in modern times are facing fewer choices as war crimes tribunals and outraged citizens seek both justice and political upheaval. Scheffer, America’s first ambassador at large for war crimes issues and author of an inside look at war crimes tribunals, discusses atrocity crimes past, present and future and how the fate of indicted leaders will be an international trial or vengeful retribution. MLF: International Relations Location: SF Club Office Time: 6 p.m. program Cost: $20 standard, $8 members, $7 students Program organizer: Alice McKeon

T H U 1 6 | S i l i co n Va l l e y

T H U 16 | San Francisco

What It’s Like to Be the Muslim Next Door in Silicon Valley

Brandon Jew and His Hot Chef Posse

Mohammad Qayoumi, Ph.D., President, San Jose State University; Member, Commonwealth Club Board of Governors Muhammed Chaudhry, President & CEO, Silicon Valley Education Foundation Sumbul ali-Karamali, Lawyer; Author, The Muslim Next Door: The Qur’an, the Media, and that Veil Thing Raaina Mohsen, Executive Director, Cities Association of Santa Clara County Barbara Marshman, Opinion Pages Editor, San Jose Mercury News – Moderator

A panel of leading Silicon Valley executives, educators and entrepreneurs will share their stories and perspectives surrounding the experience of growing up Muslim in the American context. Both anecdotally and analytically, panelists will explore the impact that their Muslim identity has had on their personal and professional assimilation into American society. The speakers will provide insight into some of the nuances of the Islamic faith and will discuss many of the misconceptions commonly associated with their religion. Location: Tech Museum of Innovation, 201 South Market Street, San Jose Time: 6:30 p.m. program Cost: FREE Also note: Cosponsored by the Santa Clara County Office of Education, the Santa Clara County Library, the San Jose Public Library, and the Tech Museum of Innovation.



f e br ua ry/mar ch 2012

Brandon Jew, Executive Chef, Bar Agricole Additional Panelists TBA

Fresh chefs have put a bright spin on San Francisco’s rich culinary tradition with innovative cooking techniques, exotic usage of local products and a lot of individual style. Come whet your appetite with Brandon Jew and his posse of hot chef pals, and stay tuned to our website for tickets to the post-panel, premium pre fixe dinner with the speakers! Location: SF Club Office Time: 6 p.m.check-in, 6:30 p.m. program, 7:30 p.m. networking reception Cost: $25 standard, $15 members, $7 students; Primium (includes dinner): $100 standard, $85 members Also know: Limited, 5-course prix fixe dinner prepared by chelf line-up. See website for info

F R I 17 | San Francisco

T U E 21 | San Francisco

The Rise of Turkey

Emerging African Markets: A Golden Opportunity for the Golden State

Anastasia Ashman, Entrepreneur; Cultural Essayist; Editor, Tales from the Expat Harem: Foreign Women in Modern Turkey Steven West, Ph.D., Fulbright Scholar to Turkey; Professor of Turkish Studies and Cross Cultural Communication Bonnie Joy Kaslan, Honorary Consul General, Turkish Republic, S.F. Bay Area Joel Brinkley, Professor of Communication, Stanford University; Foreign Affairs Columnist; Former Pulitzer Prize Winning Foreign Correspondent, The New York TimesModerator

Amidst the turmoil of the Arab Spring, Turkey has arisen as a powerful force in the Middle East. The distinguished panel will discuss the nation’s culture and its sometimes bitter past, the growing influence of religion in Turkey, and her frayed alliances. In addition, the panelists will discuss how Tayyup Erdogan, Turkey’s dynamic prime minister, is becoming one of the most powerful voices in the troubled region. Location: SF Club Office Time: 11:30 a.m. check-in, noon program, 1 p.m. book signing Cost: $20 standard, MEMBERS FREE, students free (with valid ID) Program Organizer: Celia Menczel

Dr. Landry Signe, Banting Fellow, Stanford University; Lecturer, Continuing Studies

Emerging African markets represent a golden opportunity for Californian corporations in several attractive sectors. Signe will present an overview of the new transformations, attractive business opportunities and strategies to transform opportunities into superior values and return on investment while contributing to poverty alleviation and fostering Africa’s development. MLF: International Relations Location: SF Club Office Times: 5:30 p.m. networking, 6 p.m. program Cost: $20 standard, $8 members, $7 students Program Organizer: Linda Calhoun

T U E 21 | San Francisco

T U E 2 1 | S i l i co n Va l l e y

Must Politics Be a Dirty Business?

Dr. David Agus: The End of Illness

Ann Ravel, Chair, California Fair Political Practices Commission; Former U.S. Deputy Attorney General, Torts and Consumer Litigation Fabian Núñez, Consultant, Mercury Public Strategy Firm; Former Speaker, California State Assembly Kirk Hanson, Executive Director, Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, Santa Clara University – Moderator

Director, USC’s Westside Cancer Center; Professor of Medicine, USC Keck School of Medicine; Co Founder, Navigenics; Author, The End of Illness

Pundits and politicians alike have expressed concern about the poisonous atmosphere in the 2012 election season. They anticipate ethics charges by candidates against one another, as well as an out-of-control process, including independent expenditures and wild charges that will turn off the public to the point where participation in the electoral process will sharply diminish. How bad has politics gotten at both the state and national levels? What steps can improve and further democratize the election process? Join the head of the California Fair Political Practices Commission and prominent former elected officials as they discuss whether political campaigns can be ethical or whether ethics and politics are by nature mutually exclusive. Location: SF Club Office Times: 5:30 p.m. check-in, 6 p.m. program Cost: $20 standard, $12 members, $7 students (with valid ID) Also Know: Part of the Charles and Louise Travers Series on Ethics and Accountability

Agus asks why we aren’t better at curing illness and insists that we must embrace a totally new view of looking at our health to prevent and combat heart disease, cancer and autoimmune disorder. He offers a practical health guide to better understand the human body and takes on some myths and misconceptions about the benefits of vitamins and supplements, foods, and the role of DNA. Location: Schultz Cultural Hall, Oshman Family JCC, 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto Time: 6:30 p.m. check-in, 7 p.m. program, 8 p.m. book signing Cost: $20 standard, $12 members, $7 students Also know: In assoc. with The Oshman Family JCC

f e b r ua ry/mar ch 2012



February 22- March 01 T H U 23 | San Francisco

W E D 22 | San Francisco

Thomas Donohue, CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce: The State of American Business 2012

George Shultz, Sam Nunn, William Perry: The Nuclear Chessboard, 2012

Thomas Donohue, president and CEO of the world’s largest business federation, will address the most serious challenges facing the U.S. economy and identify specific ideas for creating jobs in California and the United States. He will offer a business perspective on the 2012 elections and discuss the role his organization plans to play in the national dialogue. Location: SF Club Office Times: 5:30 p.m. check-in, 6 p.m. program Cost: $20 standard, $12 members, $7 students (with valid ID)

George Shultz, Former U.S Secretary of State under President Reagan William Perry, Former U.S. Secretary of Defense under President Clinton Sam Nunn, Former U.S. Senator, Georgia (1972-96), Co-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Nuclear Threat Initiative Philip Taubman, Consulting Professor, Stanford University Center for International Security and Cooperation; Former New York Times Washington Bureau Chief; Author, The Partnership: Five Cold Warriors and Their Quest to Ban the Bomb – Moderator

Three distinguished statesmen discuss their vision for international security in these precarious times. Secretaries Shultz and Perry and Senator Nunn will assess the current state of nuclear threats, including Iran’s drive to build a bomb, the North Korean nuclear weapons program, and future prospects for limiting the spread of nuclear materials and eventually eliminating nuclear weapons. Location: SF Club Office Time: 5:15 p.m. check-in, 6 p.m. program Cost: $20 standard, $12 members, $7 students. Premium: $45 standard, $30 members Also know: In Association with Ploughshares Fund

T H U 23 | San Francisco

M O N 27 | San Francisco

M O N 27 | San Francisco

San Francisco Architecture Walking Tour

Magic Theatre Virgin Play Reading: Pen/Man/Ship

Voyages of Scientific Discovery with the Mars Exploration Rovers

Explore San Francisco’s Financial District with historian Rick Evans. 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! For those interested in socializing afterward, we will conclude the tour at a local watering hole. Location: Galleria Park Hotel, 190 Sutter St. Time: 1:45 p.m. check-in, 2–4:30 p.m. tour Cost: $40 standard, $30 members Also know: Tour operates rain or shine. Limited to 20 people. Participants must preregister. The tour covers less than one mile of walking in the Financial District. Questions? Call (415) 597-6720. Involves stairs.



Magic brings its artistic staff and one of the candidates for next season’s main stage to The Commonwealth Club. Hear the very first reading of a new play and meet the director and playwright, who will hold a conversation with the audience after the reading. The play “Pen/ Man/Ship” comes from playwright Christina Anderson. Location: SF Club Office Cost: FREE ($12 donation suggested) Time: 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. program Also know: Part of the Club’s Good Lit Series, Underwritten by the Bernard Osher Foundation.

f e br ua ry/mar ch 2012

William J. Clancey, Chief Scientist, Human-Centered Computing Intelligent Systems Division, NASA Ames Research Center

For more than seven years, scientists have been doing fieldwork on Mars. Working through programmed robotic laboratories called the Mars Exploration Rovers, they have a virtual experience of being on Mars. Clancey explains that the “robotic geologists” are not the rovers, but the scientists who have imaginatively projected themselves into the body of the machine. MLF: Science & Technology Location: SF Club Office Time: 5:30 p.m. networking, 6 p.m. program Cost: $20 standard, MEMBERS FREE,$7 students Program Organizer: Chisako Ress

T U E 28 | San Francisco

W E D 29 | San Francisco

Food Addiction

Humanities West Book Discussion: Mission to China: Matteo Ricci & the Jesuit Encounter with the East

Michael Prager, Author, Fat Boy Thin Man Nicole Avena, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, University of Florida Eric Stice, Ph.D., Senior Research Scientist, Oregon Research Institute Vera Ingrid Tarman, Ph.D., Medical Director, Renascent Elissa Epel, Ph.D., Associate Professor, UCSF Department of Psychiatry Andrea Garber, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of California

Addiction is about brains, not just about behaviors. We all have the brain reward circuitry that makes food rewarding; it’s a survival mechanism. In a healthy brain, these rewards have feedback mechanisms for satiety or “‘enough.” For some, the circuitry becomes dysfunctional such that the message becomes “more.” Michael Prager, author of Fat Boy Thin Man, will begin the discussion telling his very personal story of recognizing and then seeking treatment for his food addiction. Leading researchers and clinicians will discuss many aspects of this important topic MLF: Health & Medicine Location: SF Club Office Times: 11:30 a.m. check-in, 12:00-3:00 p.m. program Cost: $25 standard, $15 members Program Organizer: Patty James

In the 16th century, the vast and sophisticated empire of China remained almost unknown to the West. As global trade expanded, legends fed the fantasies of European merchants, and the Catholic Church imagined the saving of millions of souls, but the first Jesuits in China confronted enormous challenges when they settled in the fabled Forbidden City. Lynn Harris will moderate this discussion of Mary Laven’s fascinating book. The author will not be present. MLF: Humanities Location: SF Club Office Time: 5:30 p.m. program Cost: $5 standard, MEMBERS FREE Program Organizer: George Hammond Also know: In association with Humanities West

W E D 29 | San Francisco

W E D 29 | San Francisco

T H U 01 | San Francisco

The College-Industrial Complex and the Future of Higher Education

From Durban to Rio

Russell Feingold

Tom Heller, Executive Director, Climate Policy Initiative; Professor, Stanford Law School Additional panelists TBA

Former U.S. Senator (DWisconsin); Author, While America Sleeps: A Wake-up Call for the Post-9/11 Era

For the first time ever, developing and industrialized countries are crawling together toward a new treaty to reduce greenhouse gases. Though there is serious doubt that a meaningful global deal will ever materialize, supporters of the UN process find hope in an agreement struck in Durban to craft by 2015 a new deal to replace the Kyoto Protocol. With the Rio + 20 conference on the horizon, join us for a conversation with top experts surveying international efforts to wean the world off fossil fuels.

Widely known for his efforts to spur campaign finance reform during his 18 years as a U.S. senator, Feingold was the only senator to oppose the Patriot Act of 2001. In Feingold’s forthcoming book, While America Sleeps, the former senator offers his account of what he sees as America’s recent mistakes and advances a realignment of objectives designed to build a successful global future.

Michael Ellsberg, Author, The Education of Millionaires; Blogger,

Our education system is imploding, and self-education may be a key component of what will replace it. Ellsberg has spent the last two years interviewing the world’s most successful people who did not complete college—including WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg and fashion designer Marc Ecko. He shares insights about selfeducation and the higher education crisis in this provocative, challenging lecture. MLF: Business & Leadership Location: SF Club Office Time: 5:30 p.m. networking, 6 p.m. program, 7 p.m. book signing Cost: $20 standard, $8 members, $7 students Program Organizer: Kevin O’Malley

Location: SF Club Office Time: 5:30 p.m. check-in, 6 p.m. program, 7 p.m. networking reception Cost: $20 standard, $12 members, $7 students

Location: SF Club Office Time: 5:30 p.m. networking , 6 p.m. program, 7 p.m. book signing Cost: $20 standard, $12 members, $7 students; Premium: $40 standard, $40 members Also know: Part of the Geschke Family Series on the U.S. Constitution in the 21st Century

f e b r ua ry/mar ch 2012



March 01-08

Foreign Language Groups

On Display Now at The Club

Free for members Location: SF Club Office FRENCH, Intermediate Class Thursdays, noon Pierrette Spetz, Graziella Danieli, FRENCH, Advanced Conversation Tuesdays, noon Gary Lawrence, (925) 932-2458 GERMAN, Int./Adv. Conversation Wednesdays, noon Sara Shahin, (415) 314-6482 ITALIAN, Intermediate Class Mondays, noon Ebe Fiori Sapone, (415) 564-6789 RUSSIAN, Int./Advanced Conversation Mondays, 2 p.m. Rita Sobolev, (925) 376-7889 SPANISH, Advanced (fluent only) Fridays, noon Luis Salvago-Toledo, (925) 376-7830

January 16 – March 1

Stephen Joseph: Photographs from the Muir Woods Centennial Project

The Art of Living Black: Fortune Sitole – Mixed Media Artworks

Joseph is a distinguished California landscape photographer whose work has been widely featured in books as well as exhibited at the Oakland Museum of California, the Ansel Adams Gallery in Yosemite Valley, and the Fine Arts Museum of the San Francisco Legion of Honor. In 2007, he was named the Muir Woods National Monument Centennial Photographer. His work will be on display in the Club lobby during January and February.

Sitole recreates the black South African townships of his childhood by combining scavenged materials. Scenes of everyday life emerge from wood, sand, aluminum, paint, sticks and bottle caps. Fortune’s exhibition is part of the Bay Area’s annual tribute to African American artists, The Art of Living Black. Come enjoy his work on display in the Club office during January and February.

MLF: The Arts Location: SF Club Office Time: Regular Club business hours Cost: FREE Program Organizer: Lynn Curtis

MLF: The Arts Location: SF Club Office Time: Regular Club business hours Cost: FREE Program Organizer: Lynn Curtis

F R I 02 | San Francisco

SU N 0 4 | S a n F r a n c i s c o

Covering Carbon

Make Macarons with Chez Pim

Felicity Barringer, The New York Times Mark Schapiro, Center for Investigative Reporting/ Carbon Watch Additional panelists TBA

Chez Pim, Food Blogger,

California’s scheme to reduce carbon pollution is forging ahead even though Washington, D.C., and other states have hit the brakes on similar efforts. How is the state’s main climate law, AB 32, holding up in a national political environment hostile to any environmental regulations? How well are the mainstream news media covering the complex and murky world of carbon trading? Are the media giving people who deny basic climate science too much voice? We’ll discuss the news media and climate disruption with leading reporters on the beat. Location: SF Club Office Time: 11:30 a.m. check-in, noon program, 1:00 p.m. reception Cost: $20 standard, MEMBERS FREE, $7 students (with valid ID)

Through the popularity of her food blog, Pim has appeared on TV shows such as “Iron Chef America” and “Martha Stewart.” As an accomplished home cook and baker, she has been featured in publications from The New York Times to Bon Appétit. It has been said that Pim has perfected the art of making macarons, those lovely meringue-based confections sandwiched with a delectable array of fillings such as ganache, butter cream or jam. By the end of this handson workshop, you too will be able to delight your friends with this elegant French confection. Location: Hands On Gourmet Kitchen, 2325 3rd Street San Francisco, CA 94107 Time: 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. program Cost: $140 standard, $128 members Program organizer: Cathy Curtis



f e br ua ry/mar ch 2012

M O n 05 | San Francisco

M A R 0 5 - M AY 0 3

T U E 0 6 | S i l i co n Va l l e y

T.C. Boyle

Stephen Joseph: Four Points of the Compass – Landscape Images from Around the Bay

The Future Is Better than You Think

Stephen Joseph is a distinguished California landscape photographer whose work has been exhibited at the Oakland Museum of California, the Ansel Adams Gallery in Yosemite Valley, and the Fine Arts Museum of the San Francisco Legion of Honor. In 2007, he was named the Muir Woods National Monument Centennial Photographer. Photographs of Mt. Diablo, the Sonoma Coast, Muir Woods and Yosemite will be exhibited.

In 1996 he founded the X Prize Foundation, which stages incentivized prize competitions to facilitate collaboration across national and corporate boundaries. A firm optimist, Diamandis seeks to convince the readers of his forthcoming book of the ever-increasing opportunities available to global societies. He will speak about his life’s work and discuss the work of other groundbreakers currently at the helm of innovations.

Location: SF Club Office Time: 5:30 p.m. networking, 6 p.m. program, 7 p.m. book signing Cost:$20 standard,MEMBERS FREE, $7 students Also know: Underwritten by Bernard Osher Foundation

MLF: The Arts Time: Normal SF Club Office hours. Cost: FREE Program organizer: Lynn Curtis

Location: Schultz Cultural Hall, Oshman Family JCC; 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto Time: 6:30 p.m. check-in, 7 p.m. program, 8 p.m. book signing Cost: $20 standard, $12 members, $7 students

T U E 06 | San Francisco

W E D 07 | San Francisco

T H U 08 | San Francisco

Getting Ahead: Three Steps to Take Your Career to the Next Level

GM CEO Dan Akerson

Turing’s Cathedral: The Origins of the Digital Universe

Dan Akerson, Chairman and CEO, General Motors

George Dyson: Science Historian; Author, Turing’s Cathedral, Baidarka and Project Orion

The American auto industry is adding jobs and helping spur sluggish economic growth. Does that mean General Motors is on track to pay off its government loans this year? Can the Chevy Volt overcome its battery problems and drive the “new GM” into the future? China is looming as a big market and also a source of powerful new competitors. Will China beat the U.S. in the race to develop and deploy cleaner transportation technologies? Join us for a conversation about the future of mobility with the chief of America’s largest carmaker.

Dyson sheds new light on the group of scientists and their government-funded lab at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton that started it all. The computer that they built not only led directly to the hydrogen bomb, but also the 20th-century technology that came to be the digital universe we know today.

Author, When the Killing’s Done; Distinguished Professor of English, University of Southern California

Renowned author T. Coraghessan Boyle has written 22 novels, many of which probe the relationship between contemporary human civilization and the natural world. His latest work, When the Killing’s Done, gives a harrowing fictional account of the battle that ensues when two ideologically opposed environmentalists disagree over the fate of an islands’ species. Come hear Boyle share his thoughts on the making and implications of this powerful book.

Joel Garfinkle, Founder, Dream Job Coaching, and Garfinkle Executive Coaching; Author, Getting Ahead

Top executive coach Garfinkle reveals his signature PVI model: perception, visibility and influence – the same model he’s used with thousands of executives who’ve taken advantage of his business and executive coaching and consulting services. See if this approach can help you become an invaluable, and noticeable, resource for your company and clients. MLF: Business & Leadership Location: SF Club Office Time: 5:30 p.m. networking, 6 p.m. program, 7 p.m. book signing Cost: $20 standard, $8 members, $7 students Program Organizer: Kevin O’Malley

Peter Diamandis, Ph.D., Chairman and CEO, X Prize Foundation; Co-author, Abundance: The Future Is Better than You Think

Location: SF Club Office Time: 5:30 p.m. check-in, 6 p.m. program, 7 p.m. reception Cost: $20 standard, $12 members, $7 students; Premium: $45 standard, $30 members

MLF: Science & Technology Location: SF Club Office Time: 5:30 p.m. networking 6 p.m. program, 7 p.m. book signing Cost: $20 standard, $8 members, $7 students Program Organizer: Chisako Ress Also know: in accociation with Mechanics Institue

f e b r ua ry/mar ch 2012



March 08-14 T H U 0 8 | S i l i co n Va l l e y

T H U 08 |San Francisco

Social Networks and the Death of Privacy

New Approaches to Patient Care and Advocacy

Lori Andrews, Law Professor, Illinois Institute of Technology Chicago-Kent College of Law; Author, I Know Who You Are and I Saw What You Did

I Know Who You Are and I Saw What You Did, is a manifesto of the right to privacy in the face of recent developments in social media. This new book brings to bear meticulous research and a firm call to action. Come listen as Andrews delves into detail about her book, her career and her mission.

Jennifer Brokaw, MD; Founder, Good Medicine Sean Duffy, Co-Founder and CEO, Omada Health

Many Americans today are dealing with chronic illnesses, trying to navigate through insurance, to decide what treatments are best or most affordable, and what decisions to make for themselves and their families. To address the issue of patient-oriented health care, we are bringing together Dr. Jennifer Brokaw, founder of Good Medicine Consult & Advocacy, and Sean Duffy, founder of Omada Health, to share their first-hand perspectives on preventative care, patient advocacy and consultation, and the future of the health-care system in America. Location: SF Club Office Time: 5:30 p.m. networking reception, 6 p.m. program, 7 p.m. book signing Cost: $20 standard, $12 members, $7 students (with valid ID) Also know: Photo by a.drian

Location: Lucas Hall, Santa Clara University; 500 El Camino Real, Santa Clara Time: 6:30 p.m. program, 7:30 p.m. signing Cost: FREE Also note: In association with the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, Santa Clara University.

M O n 12 |San Francisco


SHOP ONLINE WITH THE COMMONWEALTH CLUB Visit our new store for 99 cent audio downloads, autographed books, Club memorabilia, and more! 38


f e br ua ry/mar ch 2012

George Hammond: Time and Eternity Author, Rational Idealism

Monday Night Philosophy focuses on the very unfocused ideas we have about time and eternity. Alluring, yet confusing, even their scientific versions allow for responsibility-escaping backward movement in time. Clarity is achieved by using the underlying, and more coherent, concept of the continuum of change. But clarity has its price. Several of our fondest assumptions dissolve in its wake. MLF: Humanities Location: SF Club Office Time: 5:30 p.m. networking, 6 p.m. program Cost: $20 standard, MEMBERS FREE, $7 students (with valid ID) Program Organizer: George Hammond

M O n 1 2 | S i l i co n Va l l e y

T U E 13 | San Francisco

Vivek Ranadivé: The Two-Second Advantage

Poisons in the Press: Deciding for Yourself What’s ‘Safe’

Founder and CEO, TIBCO Software; Co Author, The Two-Second Advantage: How We Succeed by Anticipating the Future

Really successful people are good at making accurate predictions just a little faster and better than everyone else. Ranadivé captures the essence of this notion and illustrates how organizations do this every day to gain a competitive edge. Learn how customers across every industry are moving from “I Wish I’d Known” to “I See it Coming.” Location: Four Seasons Hotel, 2050 University Ave East Palo Alto, CA Time: 5:45 p.m. networking, 6:30 p.m. program, 7:30 p.m. book signing Cost: $20 standard, $12 members

Linda S. Birnbaum, Ph.D., Director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Kent R. Olson, M.D., Medical Director, California Poison Control Center John Incardona, Supervisory Research Toxicologist, Northwest Fisheries Science Center Philip Wexler, Technical Information Specialist, National Library of Medicine’s Toxicology and Environmental Health Information Program Chris Bowman, Chairman, Environment-Energy News Initiative, Capital Public Radio Marla Cone, Editor-In-Chief, Environmental Health Sciences Janet Raloff, Senior Editor, Science News Jane Kay, San Francisco based environment writer

When the news media report on contamination in the air, drinking water or food supply, the public understandably demands to know straight away, “Is it safe?” A distinguished panel of toxicologists and environmental journalists will discuss why the question defies straightforward answers, what’s keeping the public in the dark, and how citizens can make informed decisions on toxic risks in the absence of certainty. MLF: Health & Medicine Location: SF Club Office Time: 1:30 p.m. check-in, 2:00-3:30 p.m. program Cost: $20 standard, $8 members, $7 students (with valid ID) Program Organizer: Bill Grant

T U E 13 | San Francisco

W E D 14 | San Francisco

Only Connect: Dramaturgy and Shakespeare’s Living Theater

The Creative Destruction of Medicine

Philippa Kelly, Ph.D., Resident Dramaturg, California Shakespeare Theater; Author, The King and I Jonathan Moscone, Artistic Director, California Shakespeare Theater - Moderator

Eric Topol, M.D., Director, Scripps Translational Science Institute

In The King and I, Australian author and dramaturg Philippa Kelly strives to bring Shakespearean scholarship to a wider public. Weaving a compelling personal story of her own relationship to “King Lear,” she brings the 16th century play and playwright into dialogue with universal themes of loss and redemption. Lauded by award-winning critic Stephen Greenblatt as “an original and deeply personal book” and “a meditation on the contemporary relevance of Shakespeare’s most searing tragedy,” Kelly will discuss dramaturgy and how the best theater productions connect us to larger themes of humanity, understanding and love. Location: SF Club Office Time: 5:30 p.m. networking reception, 6 p.m. program Cost: $20 standard, $8 members, $7 students (with valid ID) Also know: Kelly is the study leader on the Club’s forthcoming trip to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, June 12-16. Part of the Club’s Good Lit Series underwritten by the Bernard Osher Foundation.

Pioneering cardiologist and geneticist Topol says that medicine is poised to go through its biggest shakeup in history. Topol describes how wireless technology will enable doctors to remotely capture moment-to-moment vital signs, fundamentally altering how doctors treat their patients, how we engage with our own health, and how new treatments are invented. MLF: Health & Medicine/ Science & Technology Loccation: SF Club Office Time: 5:30 p.m. networking, 6 p.m. program, 7 p.m. book signing Cost: $20 standard, $8 members, $7 students Program Organizer: Chisako Ress

f e b r ua ry/mar ch 2012



March 15-22 T H U 15 | San Francisco

T H U 15 | San Francisco

T H U 15 | San Francisco

North Beach Walking Tour

Maharaja Caravan

Mountain Lions and Humans: Can they Co-Exist?

Join another Commonwealth Club Neighborhood Adventure! Explore vibrant North Beach with Rick Evans during a two-hour walk through this neighborhood with a colorful past, where food, culture, history and unexpected views all intersect in an Italian “urban village.” In addition to learning about Beat generation hangouts, you’ll discover authentic Italian cathedrals and coffee shops.

The MLF Arts Forum’s festive evening starts at the Gallery4N5 at 863 Mission St. to meet with the consul general of India for a toast. From there, we’ll head to the Asian Art Museum to view the Maharaja Exhibit with perspectives from hosts Bhrigu Raj Singh and Sudeep Rao. Then we’ll sit down for dinner at 8:30 p.m. at New Delhi Restaurant at 160 Ellis, where chef & owner Ranjan Dey will prepare a special Royal Feast for our “Maharaja Caravan.”

Location: Saints Peter and Paul Church, 666 Filbert, between Columbus and Stockton. Please meet at 1:45, depart by 2. Time: 2-4 p.m. tour; no-host optional socializing to follow Cost: $45 standard, $35 members Also know: Limited to 20 people. Must preregister. For questions, call (415) 597-6720. Operates rain or shine.

MLF: The Arts Location: Asian Art Museum (and other locations)- 200 Larkin St. San Francisco Time: 5:00 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. Cost: $85 standard, $75 members Program Organizer: Anne W. Smith and Sudeep Rao Also know: In association with Asian Art Museum; Gallery4NS; New Delhi Restaurant

T H U 15 | San Francisco

M on 1 9 | S a n F r a n c i s c o

T U E 2 0 | S i l i co n Va l l e y

John Yoo: Taming Globalization

A Historian Walks into an Archive

Understanding the Science and Senses of What you Eat

Professor of Law, University of California, Berkeley; Co-author, Taming Globalization

Susan Reverby, Ph.D., Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies, Wellesley College

Barb Stuckey, Author, Taste What You’re Missing

Drawing a parallel between current demands and the changes faced by Americans during the rise of nationalism in the early 20th century, Yoo and co-author Ku call for a revised approach to the U.S. Constitution. Yoo will appear at the Club to discuss the viewpoints and proposals outlined in Taming Globalization. Location: SF Club Office Time: 5:30 p.m. networking, 6 p.m. program, 7 p.m. book signing Cost: $20 standard, $12 members, $7 students



On October 1, 2010, the U.S. president and Health & Human Services apologized to the Guatemalan government for inoculation syphilis studies done by the U.S. Public Health Service in 1946-48. Reverby uncovered the unpublished studies while doing research for her book on the infamous Tuskegee Syphilis Study. She will discuss her findings, what has happened since the apology, and why it matters. MLF: Health & Medicine/ International Relations Location: SF Club Office Time: 5:30 p.m. networking,6 p.m. program Cost: $20 standard,MEMBERS FREE,$7 students Program Organizer: Norma Walden

f e br ua ry/mar ch 2012

Zara McDonald, Founder and Director, Felidae Conservation Fund; Entrepreneur; Conservationist

These keystone predators (also called pumas) play a critical role in maintaining the health and biodiversity of our ecosystems. However, human development is increasing the number of encounters and conflicts between humans and pumas, and it is multiplying tensions in our local communities. Come hear wild cat conservationist Zara McDonald give an engaging presentation about Bay Area mountain lions and the latest work underway to protect them. Location: SF Club Office Time: 5:30 p.m. check-in, 6 p.m. program Cost: $20 standard, $12 members, $7 students Program organizer: Marcia Sitcoske

Professional food developer Stuckey shares her vast knowledge to help us better understand the science of taste. Learn how to develop and improve your tasting palate by discerning flavors, detecting ingredients and creating new taste combinations. Location: Sobrato Conference Center , 1400 Parkmoor Ave San Jose, CA Time: 6:30 p.m. check-in, 7 p.m. program, 8 p.m. book signing Cost: $15 standard, $10 members, $5 students

T U E 20 | San Francisco

T U E 20 | San Francisco

Jennifer Granholm and Dan Mulhern: What Candidates Should Be Discussing that They’re Not

Building a Charismatic Personal Brand

Jennifer Granholm, Former Governor, Michigan; Distinguished Practitioner of Law and Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley; Host, Current TV, “The War Room with Jennifer Granholm”; Co-author, A Governor’s Story: The Fight for Jobs and America’s Economic Future Dan Mulhern, Distinguished Practitioner of Business and Law at UC Berkeley; President of Granholm Mulhern Associates; Co-author, A Governor’s Story: The Fight for Jobs and America’s Economic Future

The former Democratic governor of Michigan and her husband, a noted expert on leadership, critique Republican and Democratic candidates and offer insight into how voters can force them to focus on issues that matter most in 2012. Location: SF Club Office Time: 11:30 a.m. check-in, noon program, 1 p.m. book signing Cost: $20 standard, $12 members, $7 students (with valid ID)

Ellen Looyen, Branding Commentator, KGO Radio; Author, My Personal Brand Advantage

Learn from “America’s Leader in Personal Branding” (The NYC Conference Board) on how to position yourself as the expert in your field and share your personal brand story to influence others. Learn her ideas of how to apply the “Eight Elements of Charismatic Influence” to exude the confidence, emotional intelligence and presence of a powerful and persuasive leader. MLF: Business & Leadership Location: SF Club Office Time: 5:30 p.m. networking, 6 p.m. program Cost: $20 standard, $8 members, $7 students Program Organizer: Kevin O’Malley

W E d 21 | San Francisco

T H U 22 | San Francisco

Avoiding Over-Treatment: Practical Steps for Laymen

Dr. Laurie Santos, The Monkey Whisperer: The Evolution of Irrationality – Insights from Monkeys

Mark Houston, MD; Author, What Your Doctor May not Tell You About Hypertension and What Your Doctor May not Tell You About Heart Disease Pamela Smith, MD, MPH; Director, Center for Healthy Living and Longevity; International Speaker; Author, HRT: The Answers and Vitamins Hype or Hope

The paradigm of Western medicine focuses on disease management. Interventions typically come when organ damage is identified. At that time medications are given to modify the symptoms. Allopathic medicine and insurance companies have been slow to incorporate research looking at interventions that address the causes of illnesses rather than the damage that follows years later. This program will include steps to take to prevent/reverse atherosclerosis, hypertension, and the worse crippler of all, dementia. MLF: Health & Medicine Location: SF Club Office Time: 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Cost: $20 standard, $12 members, $7 students (with valid ID) Program Organizer: Bill Grant

Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychology, Yale University; Director, Yale’s Comparative Cognition Laboratory

Santos, who has been called “the Monkey Whisperer,” studies the roots of human irrationality by watching the way our primate relatives make decisions. She’ll discuss her recent work on “monkey economics” and will show that some of the silly financial choices seen in humans can be observed in monkeys too. Come hear the intriguing thoughts of the woman recently voted one of Popular Science magazine’s “Brilliant 10” Young Minds. Location: SF Club Office Time: 5:30 p.m. check-in, 6 p.m. program Cost: $20 standard, $12 members, $7 students Also know: Science/ Technology Forum

f e b r ua ry/mar ch 2012



March 26- April 04 M O n 26 | San Francisco

M O n 26 | San Francisco

Esther Koch: What You Need to Know Before You’re 65 – A Medicare Primer Medicare Aging Network Partner, The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid

2011 marked the year the first Boomers turned 65 and qualified for Medicare. For most, a true understanding of what these benefits are, how to determine what options are best for you, and how to actually sign up is not clear at all. Learn the realities of what you can expect, and more important, what not to expect. MLF: Grownups Location: SF Club Office Time: 4:45 p.m. networking, 5:15 p.m. program Cost: $20 standard, MEMBERS FREE, $7 students Also know: In association with San Francisco Village Program Organizer: John Milford

T H u 29 | San Francisco

From courtrooms to diplomatic enclaves, youth advocates are clamoring to make their voices heard. Climate Progress dubbed 21-year-old college student Abigail Borah the “Durban Climate Hero” for her appeal for faster action at a recent UN climate conference. Other advocates are filing suits claiming the U.S. and state governments have a legal responsibility to protect the atmosphere for future generations. Join us for a conversation with youth trying to build a cleaner future starting now. Location: SF Club Office Time: 5:30 p.m. check-in, 6 p.m. program Cost: $20 standard, MEMBERS FREE, $7 students (with valid ID)

John D. Kuhns, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, China Hydroelectric Corporation; Author, China Fortunes

Author of China Fortunes, a novel about his China adventures, Kuhns will describe his fortunes made and lost in the Middle Kingdom as it transformed from strict communist rule to a freewheeling market, and give insight into the complexity of working in China’s energy sector. MLF: Asia Pacific Affairs Location: SF Club Office Time: 5:30 p.m. networking, 6 p.m. program, 7 p.m. book signing Cost: $20 standard, $8 members, $7 students (with valid ID) Program Organize: Cynthia Miyashita

Ice Cream Social with an Attitude

Enjoy another 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. There is a short break for a tea sample during the tour. Location: Meet at corner of Grant and Bush, in front of Starbucks, near Chinatown Gate Time: 1:45 p.m. check-in, 2–5 p.m. tour Cost: $45 standard, $35 members Also know: Temple visit requires walking up three flights of stairs. Limited to 12 people. Participants must pre-register. Photo by H Sanchez/Flickr. Operates rain or shine.


Abigail Borah, Student, Additional panelists TBA

China Fortunes: An American Pioneer’s Adventures in China’s Energy Trade

T H u 29 | San Francisco

Chinatown Walking Tour


Speaking Youth to Power

T U E 27 | San Francisco

Jake Godby, Chef and Co-owner, Humphrey Slocombe Ice Cream; Co-author, Humphrey Slocombe Ice Cream Book Sean Vahey, Operations Manager and Co-owner, Humphrey Slocombe Ice Cream; Co-author, Humphrey Slocombe Ice Cream Book

Known for its intense, sweet and savory flavors and its high-quality ingredients, Humphrey Slocombe Ice Cream might surprise you by ending up on top of your “best of ” list once you’ve tried it. A favorite of many hard-core ice cream addicts and those seeking the occasional indulgence, it’s become a San Francisco institution in just two years. Sean and Jake will share their success story along with some of their delicious ice cream! MLF: Bay Gourmet Location: SF Club Office Time: 5:30 p.m. networking reception, 6 p.m. program, 7 p.m. book signing Cost: $22 standard, $8 members Program organizer: Cathy Curtis Also know: Underwritten by the Bernard Osher Foundation

f e br ua ry/mar ch 2012

T H U 29 | San Francisco

Join The Club

Move Your Money!

Membership is open to all. Support for The Club’s work is derived principally from membership dues.

Diana Dykstra, President/ CEO, California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues Kristen Christian, Social Media Activist; Leader, Bank Transfer Movement

For more information, visit

A tidal wave of cash has spilled into credit unions as consumers have revolted against bank fees and foreclosures. We’ll discuss the credit union movement with Diana Dykstra, president and CEO of the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues. She will be joined by Kristen Christian, who conceived of Bank Transfer Day and ignited a social network movement, inspiring tens of thousands of consumers to “quit their bank” and move to what they expect to be more consumer friendly credit unions. MLF: Business & Leadership Location: SF Club Office Time: 5:30 p.m. networking reception, 6 p.m. program Cost: $20 standard, $8 members, $7 students (with valid ID) Program Organizer: Stephen Seewer Also know: In association with California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues

M O n 02 | San Francisco

W E D 04 | San Francisco

Lighting up Lives with Solar Power

Humanities West Book Discussion: Pompeii and Herculaneum

Laura Stachel, M.D., M.P.H., Co-Founder and Executive Director, We Care Solar Ned Tozun, Co-Founder and President, d.light Two award-winning social entrepreneurs discuss their solar projects that help save lives in developing nations. d.light is an affordable solar light that replaces kerosene lamps that have badly burned bodies and homes. We Care’s solar suitcase provides hospitals light at night, replacing surgery by flashlight. Stachel and Tozun have recently been featured in magazines and on television for their products that save lives of many individuals. Hear why they decided to produce these items and what it took to do so. MLF: International Relations Time: 5:30 p.m. networking reception, 6 p.m. program Cost: $20 standard, MEMBERS FREE, $7 students (with valid ID); $8 NorCal Peace Corps Association members Program Organizer: Karen Keefer Also Know: In association with NorCal Peace Corps Association

At the height of the Roman Empire in 79 AD, a massive volcanic eruption from long-silent Mount Vesuvius tragically destroyed Pompeii and Herculaneum, creating an archaeological snapshot of everyday life in two very different towns. Buried, lost and forgotten for centuries, the ruins of the bustling city of Pompeii and the nearby seaside resort of Herculaneum were accidentally rediscovered in the 18th century, triggering a wave of popular excitement about Roman art and culture. MLF: Humanities Location: SF Club Office Time: 5:30 p.m. program Cost: $5 standard, MEMBERS FREE Program Organizer: George Hammond Also know: In association with Humanities West.

f e b r ua ry/mar ch 2012



April 04-05 W E D 04 | San Francisco

T H U 0 5 | S i l i co n Va l l e y


Robert Shiller: Finance and the Good Society

Jonah Lehrer: How Creativity Works

Middle East Discussion Group

Columnist, The New York Times; Author, Finance and the Good Society

Contributing Editor, Wired; Author, How We Decide and Imagine: How Creativity Works

World-renowned economist and New York Times bestselling author Shiller will join us to discuss his new book, Finance and the Good Society, in which he argues in favor of a renewed approach to finance. Shiller encourages citizens and public leaders alike to reconsider the realm of finance in light of its past, present and potential contributions to society. Location: SF Club Office Time: 5:30 p.m. networking, 6 p.m. program, 7 p.m. book signing Cost: $20 standard, $12 members, $7 students

Acclaimed science writer and popular blogger, Lehrer helped us learn about our decision making process in his bestselling book How We Decide. Now he delves into the human mind to decipher the anatomy of imagination and explore the new science of creativity with Imagine. Find out what cities and companies are doing to double our creative output and make our culture more creative. Location: Schultz Cultural Hall – Oshman Family JCC, 3921 Fabian Way Palo Alto, CA Time: 6:30 p.m. check-in, 7 p.m. program, 8 p.m. book signing Cost: $20 standard, $12 members, $7 students

The Commonwealth Club Comes to the iPhone Imagine having The Commonwealth Club in your pocket at all times. Now you can, with the brand-new Club app for iPhones. The Commonwealth Club app was created in response to member requests to have a handy way to know what events were happening today, tomorrow, and in the near future. This app gives users a handy two-week preview of upcoming events in a scrolling listing. To get more information, simply click on the event in the list that interests you, and you will get a complete writeup. If you haven’t yet purchased tickets, you can either click a link to go to the full website or use the app’s “contact us” feature to call our reservations line right then and there. The Club app works on iPhone and iPod Touch; it will also display on iPads. The app requires iOS 4.3 or later. The free app can be downloaded from iTunes: id470633201?mt=8 Stay tuned for more iPhone and Android apps.



f e br ua ry/mar ch 2012

Mon Feb 27 tue Feb 28

Eisenhower’s Legacy

Daniel Sharp CEO, Eisenhower Foundation fri mar 02

15th Annual Travers Ethics Conference Mon Mar 05

Book Discussion

The Swerve, by Stephen Greenblat Mon Mar 26

Middle East Discussion Group THu Mar 29

Water World Check Club website for full details on these exciting late-breaking events!


Club Leadership

The Integrity Gap

Just a brief note to say thanks [to Dr. Gloria Duffy] for writing your December Insight piece. I think you (and Callahan) are spot on. For me personally, I first sensed it in the ’80s as Yuppies seemed ever more inclined to do whatever it took to succeed and get their way. But it does seem to have progressively gotten ever worse since then. I am hoping I am only one of many who acknowledge your column and Callahan’s efforts – and that things may just begin to turn around. Steve Pease Sonoma, CA I was very impressed with your editorial in the Dec.-Jan. edition of The Commonwealth magazine. Your comments on the need for integrity in a healthy national economy were particularly valuable. I’m hoping that the Commonwealth Club might have more programs on the topic of developing more honesty and integrity (e.g., Thomas Sedlacek’s appearance in Oct.) in our society. Robby Taine San Francisco, CA

Modest Moderators

Kudos to Greg Dalton and Professor Mariano Florentino-Cuellar, who are two of the best moderators the Club has had. Not only do they listen to what the speaker(s) say(s) and interact with cogent responses, but they also pose numerous audience questions (via question cards) by consolidating them into similar topical areas. By so doing, more audience members have their inquiries answered versus those moderators who ask numerous questions that only they are interested in,leaving little if any time for audience questions. Karen Keefer Redwood City, CA The Commonwealth welcomes reader letters. Include your name and address. Letters may be edited for length and clarity. Email:

HAVE YOU JOINED THE LEADERSHIP CIRCLE? As you glance through the great calendar of programs in this issue, we’d like to consider upgrading your membership to the Leadership Circle this year. Members of the Leadership Circle (those who make annual gifts to the Club of $500 and above) are invited to bring a guest and attend most programs in our San Francisco Club office for free. You can also attend most events in Lafayette and in the Silicon Valley as our guest. For those events when you are asked to pay the membership price, you will receive preferred seating. In addition, you’ll receive invitations to private receptions, often with the speaker, before select events. You can make your Leadership Circle contributions monthly, quarterly, or through a one-time gift of $500 or more. If you would like to hear more about the Leadership Circle please call Penny Eardley at (415) 597-6709 or go online to

OFFICERS of The Commonwealth Club of California Board Chair Maryles Casto Vice Chair Anna W.M. Mok Secretary William F. Adams Treasurer Lee J. Dutra President and CEO Dr. Gloria C. Duffy BOARD OF GOVERNORS Dan Ashley Jill Nash Massey J. Bambara Richard Otter* Ralph Baxter Joseph Perrelli* Hon. Shirley Temple Black* Hon. Barbara Pivnicka John L. Boland Hon. Richard Pivnicka J. Dennis Bonney* Fr. Stephen A. Privett, S.J. Helen A. Burt Dr. Mohammad H. Qayoumi John Busterud* Dan C. Quigley Michael Carr Toni Rembe* Hon. Ming Chin* Victor A. Revenko* Jack Cortis Skip Rhodes* Mary B. Cranston** Dr. Condoleezza Rice Dr. Kerry P. Curtis Fred A. Rodriguez Dr. Jaleh Daie Renée Rubin* Evelyn S. Dilsaver Robert Saldich** Lee J. Dutra Joseph W. Saunders Joseph I. Epstein* George M. Scalise Rolando Esteverena Connie Shapiro* Jeffrey A. Farber Charlotte Mailliard Shultz Dr. Joseph R. Fink* George D. Smith, Jr. Carol A. Fleming, Ph.D. James Strother Lisa Frazier Hon. Tad Taube William German* Charles Travers Dr. Charles Geschke Thomas Vertin Rose Guilbault** Robert Walker Jacquelyn Hadley Nelson Weller* Edie G. Heilman Judith Wilbur* Hon. James C. Hormel Dr. Colleen B. Wilcox Mary Huss Dennis Wu* Claude B. Hutchison Jr.* Russell M. Yarrow Dr. Julius Krevans* Lata Krishnan * Past President ** Past Chair Don J. McGrath ADVISORY BOARD Karin Helene Bauer Hon. William Bradley Dennise M. Carter Steven Falk Amy Gershoni

f efberbua ry/mar ch r ua ry/mar ch2012 2012

Heather M. Kitchen Amy McCombs Hon. William J. Perry Ray Taliaferro Nancy Thompson


45 45

l a c i d e bi om n io t u l o v re

t he

Illustration by Steven Fromtling

Human longevity is increasing by about one year every six years. Collins gives a glimpse at the scientific initiatives that are fueling that expansion. Excerpt from “A Revolution in Biomedical Innovation,” October 3, 2011. Francis S. Collins M.D., Ph.D., Director, National Institutes of Health


e’re on a curve of increasing life expectancy in the U.S., [adding] about one year every six years. Specifically cardiovascular disease has been greatly reduced in the last 40 years, by 60 percent for heart attack deaths, greater than 70 percent for stroke deaths. That’s a remarkable thing to be able to say. You can draw a direct line from research that NIH supported that taught us what really were the risk factors for heart disease and stroke and what to do about it. All of the things that we are all now taking care of in terms of our own attention to preventing those diseases – such as making sure your cholesterol is not [out of ] whack and watching your blood pressure – are a direct consequence of those research studies. Look at HIV AIDS: 20 years ago a diagnosis of HIV positivity in a young person translated into a death sentence, the expectation was that your life span might extend another 18 months. Today, a person



diagnosed as HIV positive at age 21 has an average life expectancy of age 70. That’s been a collaborative effort between NIH researchers working with the private sector to develop the antiretroviral therapies. Cancer is not one disease; it’s hundreds of diseases. [But] we are now seeing cancer rates falling about one percent each year, and that’s been going on now for about 10 years.

The right direction


et me just highlight a few areas where these advances are particularly promising. One is the marriage of medical research and technologies; the ability to ask really comprehensive questions about the human cell and what happens in various perturbing situations has come a huge distance because of the ability to apply high-throughput technologies to answer such questions. The Human Genome Project, which stretched out over 13 years, ultimately yielded up the sequence of that first human genome, the DNA instruction book, for

f e br ua ry/mar ch 2012

about $400 million just for the sequencing part, and then other costs to invent the technology to get there and a variety of other activities. We can now sequence your genome, or mine, for about $8,000. Let me tell you about Nick. Nick was born in Wisconsin about six years ago, but over the course of the first few months of his life developed a really debilitating kind of intestinal condition, which in an adult would be called Crohn’s disease, an inflammatory bowel disease, developing multiple fistulas, went through more than a hundred surgeries [and] was wasting away from the effects of all of this. Nobody could figure out what was wrong. His caregivers, reasoning that they had no other real options to get a diagnosis, looked at his DNA sequence across all of the genes in Nick’s genome. They found, in one of the genes on his X chromosome, a previously undescribed glitch that actually would cause that gene not to be functional. They discovered this was a gene that had been involved previously in a rare case, in a couple of individuals, of a blood disease, but never in intestinal disease. They reasoned, by looking at those cases and what they knew about the gene, that what might actually give Nick a hope of survival was a bone marrow stem cell transplant. That’s obviously a risky procedure, but they didn’t have much choice; he underwent that transplant. Today Nick is playing T-Ball. He

recovered all of his intestinal functions; he is now eating hamburgers. This procedure has essentially cured him of what otherwise was going to be a fatal disease. That’s just one example. I could cite you quite a few others where the ability to apply this kind of survey across the whole genome has provided answers that otherwise would have been elusive. You should expect that the cost of sequencing your genome will drop below $1,000 in the next three or four years. There will be a lot of interest at that point in having each of us have that information determined, placed in our medical record, available then for decision-making if we are trying to practice better prevention; or if we fall ill, and that information might be useful in guiding therapy. The area where perhaps that will have the largest implication in the next few years is cancer, because cancer is a disease of the genome. Cancer comes about because of mistakes in the DNA that are acquired mostly during life, though there are also hereditary risk factors for cancer. In a project that NIH is sponsoring called The Cancer Genome Atlas, we’re aiming to identify all the ways that a good cell goes bad. We’re looking at the 20 most common cancers, starting with brain tumors, ovarian cancer and lung cancer, and then moving on to the others. In each instance [we are] identifying tumor samples from at least 500 individuals who also have given a blood sample, so we can see the difference between the cancer cells and that individual’s normal instruction book and cataloguing what we find, looking for repeating themes of reasons why that cancer has arisen that might then be actionable. The goal is to identify new targets for therapy and to identify how some of the therapies that have been around for a while could be used more rationally. If you have cancer and you know exactly in your cells what are the drivers of that [cancer], and you have a list of drugs whose targets are known, wouldn’t you want to put that information together and design your own chemotherapy, aiming specifically at your cancer instead of a one-size-fits-all approach, which has traditionally been the best we have? This is personalized medicine. Ultimately we want to personalize a lot of what we do, because we all have special molecular signatures of the illnesses that strike us; you’d

want to take advantage of that as soon as you have the evidence to do so. Another area of enormous interest scientifically is stem cells and the ability to understand the signals that convince a cell of one type to evolve into another type; particularly to take cells that are pluripotent – which means they have the potential to become almost any cell of the body – and create that kind of therapeutic opportunity. The most dramatic development in this scene over the last five years has been the recognition that we can take a skin cell from any one of you, add just the right cocktail of four very specific genes, and convince that skin cell to go back in time and essentially become pluripotent. You can then convince

“Cardiovascular disease has been greatly reduced in the last 40 years, by 60

percent for

heart attack deaths.” it to become any other cell that you might need. You can see immediately the potential there. If you have diabetes and you need to have your pancreas cells replaced that have lost their ability to make insulin, take that skin cell, make it pluripotent and then give it the right set of signals to become that pancreatic island cell that you need – and it’s your cell, so you’re not going to reject it. If you have sickle cell anemia: same idea. That’s already been done in the mouse; there is no reason, theoretically, that this couldn’t be done in the human.

Industrial medicine


ecause the science has come along in dramatic ways in the last few years, the time is right for NIH in partnership with biotech companies, pharmaceutical companies, advocates, the FDA and all sorts of other partners, to step in in a new way. That’s what this new Center for Advancing Translational Sciences is all about. The idea is to have NIH take the pipeline itself as the scientific problem; where are the bottlenecks? How could we achieve the goal

of getting through those bottlenecks more efficiently, without so much loss? How could you figure out whether you started with the right target? How could you figure out when you have a compound that looks sort of promising? Will it be safe in humans? How could you design a clinical trial so you can get an answer quickly and inexpensively, instead of spending years and patients’ time to get that answer? Let me give you one example: drug safety. When you’re doing research and you have a good idea about a drug for cancer, how do you decide whether it’s safe to give to that first human in a trial? In a standard approach, which has been used for decades, you test that compound in a variety of systems. Some of them are in test tubes and some are in animals. You see if there is any [indication]that there might be toxicity to the liver, the heart and so on. If you see such a signal, that’s the end of that project. We know that system doesn’t work that well. There are compounds that are lost in that pipeline; they probably would have been safe in humans, but once you’ve seen an animal signal, you’re done. We also know, because we see it all the time, that compounds that appear to be safe in animals, when you give that to a human, that first person ends up with a toxic side effect that could be quite serious. We’d like to do better. Is there a way to test human cells without having to test humans? You bet. Remember what I just said about stem cells? The ability to take skin cells and convince them to be liver cells or heart cells or muscle cells – we know how to do that now. Why don’t we bring together the engineering capabilities of Silicon Valley and build a chip and on that chip is not electrons and silicon but actually cells, designed in a way that you can then flow a molecule across it, a candidate drug, and ask the question with a variety of sophisticated read-outs: Do we make the cells unhappy? If so, are they unhappy in a way that predicts toxicity? People have already done versions of this of a simpler sort. We just announced 10 days ago a collaboration between NIH, the FDA and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to work together on designing this chip to test for drug toxicity. This program was made possible by the generous support of the California HealthCare Foundation.

f e b r ua ry/mar ch 2012



Photo by Tate Moss / Flickr




f e br ua ry/mar ch 2012

In a look behind the scenes of international publishing, translators discuss some of the most popular Scandinavian novels to come to the United States. Excerpt from “From Smilla to Salander: An Odyssey in Translating Nordic Crime Fiction,” November 8, 2001. steven t. murray Translator, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

TiIna nunnally Translator,

Smilla’s Sense of Snow

in conversation with sedge thomson Radio

Host, “West Coast Live”

THOMSON: How did you meet? You’re a married couple, [and] you translate all these amazing books from around the world. NUNNALLY: I was working for Scandinavian Airlines in Seattle, but before that, I had studied at the University [of Washington] in Scandinavian Studies. I was working on a doctorate, and I went to a conference on Scandinavian literature to hear someone else who happened to be on the same panel as Steve. Afterward, he had talked about running a small press, so I went and asked him for a job as a translator, and he was not interested at all. THOMSON: In the work, or the person? NUNNALLY: I wasn’t too sure. But then I was speaking Danish to another guest. Steve told me afterward that it was because I spoke such good Danish that he decided to ask me out for lunch. THOMSON: How many languages do you know fluently, Steven? MURRAY: I know all the Germanic ones pretty much, Spanish, and a little Russian. THOMSON: [Let’s talk about your company,] Fjord Press. You had a very exhilarating time working as an independent publisher before – I think as you put it – you decided to let somebody else bother about the printing and distribution of the books.

MURRAY: Well, I hadn’t thought of calling it exhilarating. It was certainly expensive. THOMSON: But what did you hope to do with that press? MURRAY: We wanted to bring in some new, mainly Danish, authors, a few German, that nobody had ever heard of, and then we got into doing the classics. We just rifled the classics of Scandinavian literature as much as we could, because they were public domain and we didn’t have to pay anybody for the rights. That was just ideal for a small press. NUNNALLY: We never made any money at Fjord Press. But since then, we’ve had to acquire a business sense, because translators don’t have agents, so we have to negotiate all of our own contracts. THOMSON: I remember being in a reading group [with] a group of writers in the 1980s and reading Smilla’s Sense of Snow. In a way, the author kind of freaked out to find himself on the world stage, didn’t quite understand what you were doing in the translation. What are the issues when you bring somebody’s work into, in essence, sort of an alien land, an alien landscape? NUNNALLY: We always like to say that our first loyalty is to the book. Not even to the author, certainly not to the publisher, and maybe not even to the reader. Our first loyalty is to the book, because we have to give you the book in English. It’s a very big responsibility, because if you have a poor translation, you can ruin an author’s chances to come out into the world. We’re talking about so-called “small” languages: Danish, Swedish, Norwegian. For those authors to get into English is a very big deal. All of a sudden, they have a huge audience instead of just, you know, several million people who can read their books. We like to say that it’s kind of like a musician playing a piece. It’s an art. It’s definitely an art; it’s not a science. So we have to listen to the music of the book, and hope that we can then convey it to you as the reader, as close as possible to that original sound that we had in our head when we read it. THOMSON: Smilla’s Sense of Snow, [known in the United States] by that title, was called what in the UK? NUNNALLY: In the UK, it was called Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow, which is actually closer to the original Danish title but does not sound quite so good in English as Smilla’s Sense of Snow, at least in my opinion.

THOMSON: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was in the original Swedish… ? MURRAY: Men Who Hate Women – which is really the theme of the whole trilogy. THOMSON: How was that title of the book received – with the idea of coming to, say, an American or an English audience? MURRAY: Well, obviously, the British publisher did not receive it well. He probably thought it sounded like Men Are from Mars or some kind of self-help book, or maybe a psycho-babble book. He decided he wanted to have a series with the girl going through – instead of women, of course, it had to be the girl – and so he took the second title, which really was The Girl Who Played with Fire, and he altered the first and third titles to fit the series idea. THOMSON: The third title about the hornets’ nest [originally] was something about the castle in the air collapsing? MURRAY: Actually, it was something like, The Castle in the Air that Was Blown Up. NUNNALLY: That doesn’t work. MURRAY: Kind of an unwieldy title. THOMSON: How did you first come in touch with the publishers? Were [you] sought out to translate the trilogy? MURRAY: I had known the foreign rights head at [Swedish publishing house] Norstedts in Stockholm for many years. We had worked together but never found a project we could work together on. Then they got a brand new foreign rights manager, and then these books came in – just fell into their lap; soon thereafter, Stieg Larsson died, and they also sold the movie rights to Yellow Bird Films in Ystad. I think Henning Mankell is one of the partners there. [Swedish writer Mankell, author of the popular Kurt Wallander series of mystery novels, was a founder of Yellow Bird Films. – Ed.] THOMSON: Ystad is the setting for the Wallander mysteries, a kind of a coincidence you must have enjoyed. MURRAY: Yeah. I had done three of Henning Mankell’s mysteries before that, so they knew who I was. They called up and said, “We need three books translated really fast. How fast can you do them?” I said, “How long are they?” They said, “Oh, 600, 700 pages each. Can you do them in three months?” I said, “No. How about nine?” THOMSON: You’ve described them as a stack of 2,700 pages. MURRAY: Yeah; in manuscript.

THOMSON: When you first took a look at this manuscript, at what point did you feel, “This is a really fine story. This is going to be good,” and do you leaf through the manuscript looking at what problems might be ahead, or do you just sort of take it on? MURRAY: Not at all. I just read a few chapters, see if it’s a style that I can replicate, something I’d be comfortable doing. [With the Larsson novels,] I read maybe 150 pages, and I was totally hooked, like most people. THOMSON: Did you read it at the same time, Tiina? NUNNALLY: No. Since we do the same languages – it’s really fortunate – we can edit each other’s work. So I didn’t read it until Steve had finished the first draft, really. THOMSON: How did he describe it as you were going along, over breakfast? NUNNALLY: The one thing that we both thought about Stieg Larsson’s writing is that he had a very American – not so much attitude but American way of writing, of expressing himself. The Swedish was so close to American English that we thought, “This will be really good in American English.” MURRAY: Yeah, [Larsson] was a big expert on American science fiction and mysteries. Not having met him, I don’t know, but definitely from his writing, he loved to use American phrases, which he threw into the book in Swedish. Now they’re invisible, of course, because it’s all in English. THOMSON: There are certain words that show up in the book like forsooth and anon,

“We both thought

Stieg Larsson had a very American – not so much attitude but American way of writing.” – Murray and so on. MURRAY: Not mine! Not gallimaufry, either. THOMSON: So what were these words doing in a book that you translated? MURRAY: Those were inserted by the British editor, who is from Scotland originally, so he has a few archaic notions about what

f e b r ua ry/mar ch 2012



sounds good. Forsooth – I mean, who says that? Actually, I did find out later that they do say “See you anon” in Scotland. It’s still a word that’s in use, amazingly enough. THOMSON: How did that relationship go? You’ve worked through 2,700 pages; you

“Occasionally we do feel like we have to take


names off the book if it doesn’t represent our work.” – Nunnally

have a sense of how the book is to sound, the tone, where you place the language; and then you find out that somebody’s been changing words behind your back? MURRAY: Well, that didn’t happen for at least six months afterward, after I heard that a British publisher had bought it instead of an American that I had hoped would buy it and retain the American flavor. He sent me 135 pages with his editing and said, “Take a look at this. What do you think?” I just totally hated most of it, so I said, “Well, this is going to be a problem.” THOMSON: So what did you do about it? What could you do about it? MURRAY: Actually, I made a mistake there. I didn’t write back immediately and say I hated it. I just let it ride, waiting for the rest to show up. It didn’t show up, and in August they emailed me and said, “We’re going to the printer next week.” I said, “What? I haven’t seen the rest!” They said, “We assumed that you approved of it, since you didn’t say anything about the sample.” I said, “Unfortunately, I didn’t.” THOMSON: So there was a change that you made, then, for your own interests, about the translator’s name. MURRAY: Oh, yeah. Well, we went back and forth, trying to figure out what to do about this, and he said he could give me 10 days to look over the first 700 pages and argue about every tiny thing he had changed. I said, “You know, I have another book due in two weeks, so I don’t have time to do this.” Eventually I just said, “Forget it. I’m just going to have to use a pseudonym,” because



this, to me, doesn’t represent my work, and I have a reputation to protect, and as far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t represent Stieg’s tone, which I had found to be very American. THOMSON: What name did you choose? MURRAY: I chose Reg Keeland. We had done a book in the early ’90s, our first Swedish translation. It was a thriller, and a large, nameless New York house had edited about a fourth to a third of it out. They thought the author was too repetitive. You know, they took out stuff that “didn’t matter,” like the main character’s motivation. We made up a name for that one, Thomas Keeland, because we were embarrassed to say this was a translation; it was just a version. Keeland comes from our hometowns, the last syllables thereof: Milwaukee, and Oakland. There you go. THOMSON: Tiina, you sometimes write under the name of Felicity David. NUNNALLY: Felicity David is one of my translator pseudonyms. We don’t like having pseudonyms, because we think that translators should get credit for their work, and we work hard to get credit for translators. But occasionally we do feel like we have to take our names off the book if it doesn’t represent our work, if it’s something serious like that. THOMSON: You translated a Nobel Prize laureate and changed, really, the reputation of this writer, who had been translated into very archaic, almost Middle Age language – as in [the] Middle Ages – and you brought it up to date in some way that sort of revivified [it]. Could you tell us about this writer? NUNNALLY: This is Sigrid Undset, a Norwegian woman writer, one of the very few women writers to win the Nobel Prize – I think there are only twelve so far. So I was really disappointed to see how badly her work was represented in English. Steve was the one who pointed it out to me; he said, at one point years ago, “Have you ever looked at Sigrid Undset’s Kristin Lavransdatter and how it’s actually written in Norwegian?” I said, “No.” So I looked at it, and I was just appalled. The original translators decided that – since it’s set in medieval times, in Norway – that the language should reflect that in some way, and [that] it should sound archaic. But that is not how Sigrid Undset wrote it. She writes this beautifully clear, straightforward Norwegian. For years, people have told me that they just couldn’t read that book, even though

f e br ua ry/mar ch 2012

they thought they should, because she won the Nobel Prize. So I was really thrilled when Penguin called me up out of the blue and asked me if I would do a new translation. I know it’s a lot closer [to the original Norwegian text], and I hope that people can see that. There’s a really interesting debate on Amazon between the readers about the old versus the new Kristin Lavransdatter translation. Some people absolutely hate my version of it, and say that I’ve “modernized” it. If you read Norwegian, you know I haven’t modernized it; I’ve actually just brought it closer to the way it was. THOMSON: Can I give an example? “But elsewhere in the Dale ‘twas not the use for the master’s womenfolk of the great manors to abide themselves at the sæters. Kristin knew that if she did it, there would be talk and wonderment about the folks. ‘In God’s name, then, they must even talk. Sure it was that they that gossiped about her and hers whether or no.’” NUNNALLY: You can hardly read it. THOMSON: Read us your translation. NUNNALLY: “But elsewhere it wasn’t customary for the women of the gentry on the large estates to go up to the pastures. Kristin knew that if she did so, people would be surprised and would gossip about it.” THOMSON: So which, in your view, then, is authentic, and represents the book? NUNNALLY: There’s no question about it. That’s probably the worst translation I have ever read, the original English translation of Kristin Lavransdatter. It doesn’t make any sense to me, because the translators had to first translate it from Norwegian into their own modern English, and then they had to take another step and translate it into this archaic language which they made up. It’s not even a real medieval language, which would have been [at least] a better choice. MURRAY: It’s like a fake Elizabethan, really. NUNNALLY: Yes. It was a totally fake, artificial language. I once wrote an essay comparing translation to art restoration; it’s kind of like you try to get rid of the old dirt and dust that’s accumulated on some of these classics, which were poorly translated originally, and hope that you can get down to the real painting so you can show people what it’s supposed to be. This program was made possible by the generous support of General Motors.

Brokaw photo courtesy of Tom Brokaw, microphones by Audio-TechnicaUK and jschneid / Flickr


f e b r ua ry/mar ch 2012

The Man Behind The Microphone



The greatest generation made post war America possible. What have the ensuing generations done with this inheritance? Excerpt from “Tom Brokaw in Silicon Valley,” November 21, 2011. tom brokaw NBC Nightly News Special Correspondent; Author, The Greatest Generation, Boom! and The Time of Our Lives: A Conversation about America in conversation with dan ashley Anchor, KGO

Photos by Ed Ritger

News; Member, Commonwealth Club of California Board of Governors



f e br ua ry/mar ch 2012

ASHLEY: Tom and I just met for the first time. What he doesn’t realize is that in my 25 years in broadcasting, he’s been one of my mentors and he didn’t even know it. So I’m delighted to be with you here today. The book is The Time of Our Lives. What was the genesis of this book? BROKAW: A combination of things. First of all, much to my surprise, I turned 70. Having written about the greatest generation, I’m constantly thinking about the imprint of other generations on their time. Then we had the turn of the century. The 20th century was The American Century. Shortly after we became the 21st century, we were catapulted into the two longest wars in our nation’s history, in Iraq and Afghanistan, and we had 9/11. There was a kind of disorientation in the country. Then in the spring of 2009, I really started to think about it seriously. I went to Dresden, Germany, which had been firebombed to within an inch of its life in World War II and then lived 40 years behind communist lines. Now it’s a city struggling with its rebirth, but it’s an integral part of a unified Germany. I met our new young president, Barack Obama, an African-American. I covered the civil rights movement. I don’t think in our wildest optimism that we expected to see an African American president in my

lifetime. We stood there in Germany, which had been divided, which had been the axis of evil for much of the ’30s and the ’40s. He was going to Dachau with my friend Elie Wiesel to visit the camp. Then he was going to Normandy, where I had been the day before, for the 65th anniversary of the greatest invasion in the history of mankind. It did nothing less than begin to save the world, really. I walked away from that thinking, This is not just another ordinary presidential interview that I’ve been doing; I’ve been doing them for a long time, I have been at the intersection of so much change in my personal and professional life. We emerged from all of that, this country and this world, in a much different fashion than we went into it. Especially America. World War II in so many ways essentially made the country. We were, at the end of the Depression, still on our backside, more or less, in terms of industrial might. We were largely an agricultural economy, trying to figure out how we fit into the world. Then after World War II, we were a colossus and we built what we have today, and we’re all the beneficiaries of that. Then you add on to it that I became a grandparent. I was thinking, What am I going to leave my grandchildren? I know what my grandparents left for me; what do I leave for them? And that was the beginning of it. It played right up against what we’re all witnessed to and very frustrated by, which is the gridlock in our political culture, the polarization that has frozen America in place just at the time when we can’t afford to let that happen. We’re facing objectively a much, much different world than we were just 20 years ago. We have China, Brazil, India, Russia – emerging markets around the world. It’s a smaller world with more people. So I’ve tried to kickstart a conversation about what we do from here on out. ASHLEY: The Super Committee is apparently on the verge of annoucning a failure today of trying to reduce the deficit. You refer to gridlock; this is the kind of frustration I think many Americans feel, that this group in Washington, charged with this task, was able to come up with nothing. BROKAW: I really didn’t believe we could become as polarized as we have been. Congress is now in single digits, in terms of people having confidence in them.

We ask 1 percent of our population to fight the two longest wars in our history. They are taking 100 percent of the bullets for the other 99 percent of us. What do we say to them about how we’re behaving at home? They’re mission-oriented; they come from all over America, they find a way to fight together, and to solve problems and win hearts and minds. They do that all day every day and they’ve been doing it for 10 years, often in multiple tours. Now they’re coming home – we hope – to what turns out to be a broken economy and a broken political system. It’s a terrible commentary – on everyone. I think it’s time for the rest of us to reenlist as citizens. We’re going to have to step forward here, because they’re not getting the job done. We’re going to have to put pressure on them to get the job done. ASHLEY: What does that mean? What sacrifices, what contributions should people be looking to make? BROKAW: I’m very attached to California. This is where I started my career. Out children were born here; one went to Berkeley, one went to Stanford. I used to say that was very similar to having one who was a member of the Grateful Dead and one who was a member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. California is on the leading edge of everything. Unfortunately, right now it’s on the leading edge of not being able to get things done. You have a $14 billion budget deficit in this state. The cuts are going to be draconian when they come, and unfortunately they’re going to cut right into what has made this a great state: its higher education system, social services, that have knitted this place together. You’re sitting here in Silicon Valley, which is the great bubble in America, quite honestly. I’ve come out here to do two or three stories about how Silicon Valley has made itself immune from these other pressures. But, just outside of here, they exist. You’ve got communities in California declaring bankruptcy. There’s got to be a real urgency about it. One of the things that I think needs to happen is [with] the special interest groups, which are so narrowly defined, because they are financed with big money and then they can use bloggers and the internet to unleash what I call a “jihad” against candidates and their representatives. If you’re a prison guard

and you don’t vote exactly the way I want you to, I have no use for you. If you’re a member of the NRA, or if you’re prochoice, that becomes your litmus test. Nothing else counts. Therefore we become less than the sum of our parts. So I’ve been suggesting there’s a need for what I call the coalition for common ground or for higher ground, in which people who are frustrated by all this and may not see everything the same way but know there’s a greater good here, have to get together. I’ll just leave you with one thought that surprises audiences: What do you think about the Tea Party? They played by the rules. They got angry, they got organized, they got to Washington, they’ve stayed onmessage, and they’ve stayed disciplined. As a result, in the vacuum in which we now live, they have power way out of proportion to their numbers. Only about 12 percent of the public in all the polling say that they support what the Tea Party stands for, but they’re driving the political dialogue on the Republican side right now. There needs to be a concurrent or concomitant movement from the middle to counter that. It is time for us to rise up and say “enough” in some fashion. ASHLEY: Tom, as you talk about in the book, and as we know from experience, it didn’t use to be this way, this demonization

“California is on the leading edge. Unfortunately, right now it’s on the leading

edge of not being able to get things done.” of the other side. “Not only do I disagree, but you’re evil for feeling the way that you do.” There’s always a constellation of factors for something like this. In your estimation, how did we evolve to this point? Was there a trigger point? BROKAW: I don’t think it’s a trigger point. I think the new technology has a lot to do with it. You can unleash, as I described earlier, a jihad through blogging. Every senator, every congressman, every public

f e b r ua ry/mar ch 2012



servant now has somebody just monitoring what is being said about them. They live in an exaggerated state of terror as a result of it. It only takes a couple keystrokes to mount that kind of a campaign. It doesn’t even have to be credible. You just get it going, and you can’t get it reeled back in. The other thing is that money is bigger than ever. As a result, all these individual special interests across the political spectrum have a lot of money, and money is the mother’s milk of politics. When Ronald Reagan got elected in 1966, that was the first big assignment I had in California. He was going up against a very smart, very liberal California Democratic Assembly led by Willie Brown, Bob Moretti – all those young turks. And after about three months [one of the Democrats] came to me and said, kinda wide-eyed, “We can do business with this guy, you know? We can go in there, close the door and get things done. He listens to us and we have

to listen to him. We know that he won, and we’re going to find a way to do that.” For the next eight years, they did. It wasn’t perfect, but by and large they were able to move this state along the lines that it needed to be moved along. Now it’s best summed up by a [passage] that I have in the book: About four years ago I was in Washington, two really button-bright young men came up to me. I recognize the types: they had blue suits, red ties and white shirts, and they were just eager beavers on Capitol Hill. [They] said, “Mr. Brokaw, we want to talk with you about the old days.” I think that they meant 1998; I’m not sure. I said, “What do you want to know?” One of them said to me, “I’m a Republican, he’s a Democrat, he’s my best friend. We go to Georgetown every night, drink beer and argue politics until late. We both work for congressmen. His boss won’t talk to my boss, my boss won’t talk to his boss. Was it always like that?”

I said, No, quite the contrary, you know. During the constitutional crisis of Watergate, at the end of the day when the sun went down, across the aisle Democrats and Republicans would say, “If this doesn’t work out, how do we plan for the transition? What are the issues that we need to be thinking about? About impeachment, how we get that done.” And any number of other times in our lives we’ve been through that. To go back to Ronald Reagan, when he got to the White House, conservatives were not very happy, because he opened a direct line to speaker [Tip] O’Neill on the Hill. My friend Jim Baker was his White House chief of staff and one of Tip’s staff members was Chris Matthews, who was his press secretary at the time. He said “About twice a week, I’d look on the back end of the room, and there’d be Jim Baker, who slipped up from the White House and he wanted to give the speaker a heads-up on what they were planning for the next week, in case they

The Great Debates

The veteran presidential debate moderator reflects on their meaning and role in choosing our national leader. Excerpt from “Jim Lehrer in Silicon Valley,” October 19, 2011. jim lehrer Former News Anchor, PBS “NewsHour”;

Author, Tension City: Inside the Presidential Debates, from Kennedy-Nixon to Obama-McCain

KENNEDY: If there was an entrance exam for presidential candidates that had one question, what would that one question be? LEHRER: I don’t think I’m smart enough to answer that, because if you had one question, it would largely depend on the context. If you were to date it right now, and what would be the question you would ask right now? It would have to be something about, What are you going to do about the growing disparity of wealth in the United States of America? KENNEDY: There’s another audience question I’ve been dying to ask you. Of the people you’ve seen up close in these debates, which of them struck you at the time as the most presidential? I’ll give you some time to think about that – LEHRER: No way in hell I’m going to answer that! KENNEDY: Here’s a little more concrete version of that. Which



f e br ua ry/mar ch 2012

in conversation with David kennedy Donald J. McLachlan Professor of History Emeritus, Stanford University

of the people that you’ve dealt with in the 11 debates that you’ve moderated took best advantage of the occasion? LEHRER: That’s a great question. There are several examples. John Kerry, even though he didn’t win, I thought he, as a debater, took advantage particularly of the first debate with George W. Bush in 2004 – that I moderated – in Coral Gables, Florida. Iraq had already happened. The word on Kerry was that he wouldn’t do very well because he couldn’t talk concisely, and I thought that he took real advantage and he changed the polling numbers dramatically with his performance in that debate. I think that George W. Bush, in the way that he handled some of the kind of interesting ways that Al Gore decided to attack [him], handled himself very well in a way that was very positive and helped him.

Photo courtesy of Jim Lehrer

were any issues so they can work them out.” That’s how it’s always worked on whatever level. We’ve lost that now. I have a phrase that grows out of the West. If you’re a cattle rancher, when you get a new calf, you ear-tag the calf; you put an ear-tag on with a number, so you know how to identify that calf. We now ear-tag everybody in America. They get ear-tagged as a conservative, or they get ear-tagged as a liberal, and they are stuck in that position which has been imposed on them from the outside. As a result, if you watch Fox News, and you have a liberal on, there’s a sneer. If you watch MSNBC and they have a conservative on, there’s a sneer. That’s fine, but we’ve got to have a broader playing field than that, so we can have real discussions between people who are moderates. The greatest gains that I’ve ever seen in American life come from people who were able to stay within their ideology, but always understand that they didn’t have all the answers. My

definition of patriotism is: Always believe in your country, and always believe that it can be improved. ASHLEY: You focus a lot in the book about education and your grave concerns about where public education is in the United States. BROKAW: I really believe that education is a currency of the 21st century. I mean that’s going to help define who we are, and it’s really a matter of national security. We have to educate everybody, because we’re competing in a different environment now. I talked to Jeff Immelt, who runs GE; and we were looking at the Reagan recession, when he first took office to try to get inflation under control. [The Reagan administration] cracked down [on inflation], we had high unemployment for quite a while, two years in his administration. When they came out of it, then they had kind of a clear plain field ahead of them.

The first one, Nixon and Kennedy, which I was not there for, probably decided the outcome of the election. But that had primarily nothing to do with substance. It had to do with the fact that Nixon had been sick, he looked terrible, and he wouldn’t allow makeup. Someone put some powder on him, but there was some sweat over his lip. He looked terrible. He looked sick, which he was. People who listened to that debate thought Nixon won, hands-down; people who saw it on television thought Kennedy won it hands-down. In that case, Kennedy used the debate to his advantage. Chris Matthews has written a book about Jack Kennedy [see page 12]; one of the things he talks about is that in the first debate, Bobby Kennedy – who you remember was the manager of that campaign – knew that Nixon was a little bit feverish and intentionally had the heat turned up in the studio. KENNEDY: What about your opinions of the Republican debates? LEHRER: I think they’ve been certainly performing their purpose, which is to weed out the candi-

Now, we’ve got China, the number two economy in the world, and it’s come from nowhere to be number two. We’ve got India,to say nothing of Brazil, Russia, as well, they’re called the BRIC nations. And then you’ve got Korea, we’ve got a rising economic base in South America. Same thing is happening in all the old Soviet satellite states. The countries that are in trouble are the traditionally strong countries of Western Europe, for example, and the United States. Those are the objective realities that we’re dealing with. The way you’re going to solve that is have a better educated populous, encouraging entrepreneurship and innovation and an ability to work anywhere in the world, but especially here at home. Modern manufacturers say that they can’t get a good work force out of the American system, because young people coming out [of school] are challenged, frankly, in terms of math and reading skills. Twenty percent of our high school graduates going to col-

dates. There were 40 of these things in 2008, Democrat and Republican, because there was no incumbent. In 2008, it was dramatic; Barack Obama was the worst debater on the stage. Chris Dodd, Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton were all better debaters than Obama. But each debate after that, Obama kept getting better and better, and by the time they went to their final debate, Obama was pretty good. In the Republican [debates], the most dramatic case is Rick Perry. He just announces [his candidacy], and suddenly he’s the frontrunner. But then he’s in a debate and he’s no longer the front runner; he goes into another debate and he’s even less of a front runner. That’s solely the result of the people seeing him perform. You could argue – and smart people have argued – that that’s not fair, how somebody handles him- or herself in that kind of situation shouldn’t be a way to judge somebody as president of the United States. I would argue the contrary. f e b r ua ry/mar ch 2012



lege now have to have remedial courses in literacy and in math. We have a big boom going on in community colleges, which is a good thing, because they can teach job skills for the modern manufacturing place, and they’re also good bargains. But we really have to fix education across the board – and that means, from the bottom up. For too long we let the lower socioeconomic classes to their own devices. Those of us who could would move to the suburbs or send their kids to private schools and leave everybody else behind. That no longer is acceptable. What is encouraging is that this issue now is on the agenda. The people are paying attention, and they’re trying a variety of ways of addressing it: charter schools, taking on the teachers’ unions, trying to find a common ground, mayors becoming responsible for the school systems, so you know whom to hold accountable for at election time if it doesn’t work. More and more public-private partnerships [are] going on, private corporations are moving into cities and [are] getting involved with the school systems because they need workers, and they need educated consumers who can make enough money to afford their goods. ASHLEY: From the audience: What are your views on the increasing income disparity between the middle class and the rich? I’ll dovetail onto that some questions about the Occupy movement that’s going on currently. BROKAW: Well, it’s a big issue and it is a sobering view at the moment, because you can’t have a society that has such gaps. You know, David Brooks has written about this. I think he said 25 years ago it was very little difference between those who are in the upper middle class and the middle class in terms of divorce and objectives and dreams that they have in their lives. That’s all changed enormously. I saw some numbers today in which the top 1 percent of the population between 1979 and 1997 gained 225-percent income growth. Well, the middle class gained 40 percent. People are aware of that. There’s a lot of discussion about, “We don’t want to have class warfare.” Well, we’ve got class warfare. Because we’ve got a class that’s making a lot of money, and I happen to be one of them. I kind of won what I call the Lottery of American Life. I’m utterly conscious of that. I also have a brother who retired as a crew chief on a telephone company. He’s



living in a different place than I am. We talk about this a lot in our family. Then I have a daughter who is a doctor in San Francisco, married to a doctor in San Francisco. She said, “I’m the first generation that’s moving down, not up.” Because of the cost of

“There’s a lot of discussion, ‘We

don’t want

to have class warfare.’ Well, we’ve got class


housing and the cost of education and all the other things, which is true. So there are a lot of tectonic plates that are in play here, and what we don’t want them to do is reach a critical mass in which we have real class warfare. Occupy Wall Street. I’ve looked at Chicago, I was just in San Francisco, been in New York, obviously, and looked at it. It’s absence of theme, at the moment – what is that you want here? A lot of people kind of gravitated to the tent cities because, frankly, a lot of them are just adrift in our society. I would have thought that they would have strengthened the leadership earlier and sharpened up the message about what they wanted and how they wanted to achieve it. That has not happened yet, so I don’t know

f e br ua ry/mar ch 2012

quite where it goes. We had this conversation this morning in San Francisco. There are a lot of good people on Wall Street. We need Wall Street, and we need a financial services industry that can help provide bonds for communities and help provide capital for entrepreneurs to come online. I think that the responsible, credible senior statesmen of Wall Street should start now [addressing this]. ASHLEY: You mentioned David Brooks. He said that the United States will be Greece in 10 years. Do you agree with that? BROKAW: I don’t think we’ll get as far as Greece, but Greece is a perfect example of the conditions that we’re living. Greece got the flu and we’re in danger of getting pneumonia. That had never happened to us before. There’s so much connectivity in the world now and it all happens at warp speed. Here’s a little country where most people don’t pay their taxes and they don’t really produce anything, and they got into a lot of trouble, because they were along for the ride as well and we found out that – bang! – a lot of our financial institutions were invested in their bonds and a lot of their instruments of debt, and we were in debt. That will continue. Just today, in the Financial Times, the Chinese were saying that they’re very, very worried about another global recession. I’ve been talking in the past week or so with economist in New York, and we’re not out of this yet. We’ve got work to do. But there’s no sense of urgency in Washington about it. You don’t have this in Northern California, but in Southern California they have the Santa Ana winds. I think we need Santa Ana winds blowing across the state of California that have an odor to them, and they’re very hot, as a reminder of what the budget deficit is here. It’s $14 billion. That is going to have enormous consequences, short- and long-term, on this state: for the next generation, for the costs of education, for the services that will be cut. Just as we got in trouble not managing well the expansion of both public and private debt, we can get in equal trouble by not managing well the reduction in services and the skillful way that we manage our way out of this. This program was made possible by the generous support of Chevron.

The Black Sea:

Crossroads of Culture Romania, Ukraine, and Turkey Aboard the all-suit e 114-gues , t Corinthia n II July 18 28, 2012

The magnificent Black Sea region is the home of many pivotal events in world history, from the fall of Constantinople to the fall of the Soviet Union. • Sail from Athens to Constanta, Romania’s main port, and explore the ruins of Tomis Danubius. (Optional pre-trip extension in Athens.)

• Experience the rock-tombs of the Pontic Kings carved into vertical cliffs overlooking the city of Amasya.

• Learn from our onboard educational • Discover the famous Potemkin team, including Captain Alfred Steps in Ukraine’s Odessa. McLaren, who will discuss the cultural • Visit Yalta and Sevastopol, crucible and natural history of the Black Sea, and historian Dr. Maxim Tarnawsky, of the Crimean War. a specialist in Ukrainian history, • Sail to the seldom-visited north language and culture. coast of Turkey to explore Trabzon, and admire the spectacular frescoes • Also performing onboard will be that adorn the Rock Church within the legendary pianist and conductor Leon Fleisher. Sumela Monastery. Twenty years after the end of the Cold War, gain extraordinary insights regarding the evolving countries and cultures of Eastern Europe. Cost: from $7,895 per person, based on double occupancy CST: 2096889-40 photos (clockwise) by chodaboy, fudj, soderboy & hellsinky2012 / flickr

Want to travel with the Club to Cuba? A few rooms are available on our April 13-20 program. Please see our website for additional dates and details.

For Information & Reservations: visit call (415) 597-6720 email

InSight Innovation, Ahoy! Dr. Gloria C. Duffy Photo courtesy of Gloria Duffy

President and C.E.O.


n a globalized world, America’s that diminishes our own economy. prosperity depends to a great But solving the HB-1 visa problem is one more issue that seems degree on our competitive- to get the U.S. Congress and the federal government, as the Brits so ness. We must continue to pro- pithily put it, twisted up in their knickers. No solutions have been duce the goods – from Hollywood forthcoming despite two decades of discussion of this problem. films to new pharmaceuticals to digital hardware and software – that Meanwhile, China and other competitors are busy hiring the U.S.the rest of the world wants to buy. More than anywhere else in the trained engineers and businesspeople we eject every year. country, the Bay Area and California are home to the engines of Now a Sunnyvale-based enterprise has stepped forward, backed innovation that create the products the U.S. exports. initially by PayPal founder Peter Thiel, with an innovative approach The technology sector, especially, demands well-educated and to this problem. Called Blueseed, the concept is to have a floating trained personnel, both entrepreneurs who invent products and start platform, probably a retired cruise ship or a barge, fitted out as companies, and workers who design and produce the goods. Other live-work space for foreign engineers and entrepreneurs, anchored countries are an important source of this talent, and each year the 12 miles off the coast of the Bay Area in international waters. It is U.S. draws tens of thousands of students and temporary workers described as like a floating Googleplex or other high-tech company from India, China, Japan, Europe and elsewhere. We educate them campus, with wireless everywhere, exercise facilities, food service here in the Bay Area at our many fine universities, and train them and other amenities. You can read about this concept at through short-term work at our Blueseed would provide ferry The federal government is not high-tech companies. service from the offshore pod for And then we kick them out of solving major problems or updating workers to Silicon Valley, or for the United States, sending them entrepreneurs to go ashore to meet home to use this knowledge to start U.S. laws and practices to reflect the with venture capitalists or start-up realities of the 21st century. or staff companies in their home teams for new companies. These incountries that compete with U.S. dividuals would obtain short-term businesses. The U.S. government will issue only temporary work tourist or business visas, which are easier to get than longer-term or student visas to these foreign visitors, under the theory that if work visas. they stayed in the United States, they would be taking jobs away There are of course both technical and political issues that would from U.S. citizens. There is a cap of about 117,000 annually on the need to be solved to bring the concept into being. How would number of HB-1 visas that allow foreigners to work temporarily in such a vessel be moored safely in the open ocean? How much time the United States. This is a tiny number, given that there are about would it take to ferry residents to San Francisco or Silicon Valley 6 million high tech jobs in the United States. and would this be practical on a daily basis? How would it be asIn Silicon Valley, university and corporate leaders have been sured that the businesses started by Blueseed residents were in fact lamenting the HB-1 limits for years, trying to convince Congress based in the U.S. and contribute to the U.S. economy? And there to reform this situation so that they can get the workers they need. would of course be taxation issues. The notion that foreign tech industry employees are taking jobs It sounds like a slightly wacky idea. But let’s put it bluntly. The away from Americans is an outdated, mid-20th century concept. federal government currently is not solving major problems or updatToday the tech industry has more demand for workers than there are ing U.S. laws and practices to reflect the realities of the 21st century. employees available in the U.S. workforce. Foreign-born tech work- The kind of paralysis special interest groups are exerting in Congress ers live in the United States and contribute to the U.S. economy, is quite visible on the issue of work visas, with narrow interests swaying and they start companies based in the United States that employ U.S. policy in their direction, while preventing what is good overall for Americans and create profits for our economy. A Harvard Business our economy. Outside-the-box solutions must be found, and Blueseed School study has found that HB-1 visa holders register a significant is an idea that creatively addresses the needs of our regional economy. number of patents. By sending U.S.-educated and trained workers It is an entrepreneurial, problem-solving approach, of the kind that is home after a few years, we are in fact underwriting competition needed to bust through the current public policy impasse.



f e br ua ry/mar ch 2012

Founded in 1935, the Tony Award-winning Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) in Ashland, Oregon, is among the largest professional nonprofit theaters in the nation.

June 12-16, 2012

• Attend four plays and enjoy lively

with Shakespeare expert Dr. Philippa Kelly

Philippa Kelly, resident dramaturg

discussions with study leader Dr. for California Shakespeare Theater and author of The King and I. • Explore OSF’s three stage auditoriums on a theatre tour. • Enjoy prologues and private discussions with company members. • Learn about Ashland’s history during a walking tour and take in the town’s vibrant culinary and art scenes. • Stay 4 nights at the Ashland Springs Hotel, steps away from the festival doors.

How is Shakespeare relevant today? In the spirit of The Commonwealth Club, we invite you to watch, listen, learn and discuss! Cost: $1,495, per person, double accommodations. $400 single room supplement. Limited to 25 people. CST: 2096889-40 posters designed by Owen Jones and Partners, Ltd., photography by Jenny Graham, featuring (l to r) Alejandre Escalante, John Tufts & Tala Ashe.

In Production This Year: Hear Dr. Philippa Kelly speak at the Club on March 13. See the events listing or our website for more details! For Information & Reservations: visit call (415) 597-6720 email

The Commonwealth Club of California 595 Market Street, 2nd Floor San Francisco, CA 94105

Purchase event tickets at


or call (415) 597-6705 or (800) 847-7730 To request full travel itineraries, pricing, and terms and conditions, call (415) 597-6720 or email


The State of American Business 2012

Feb 23

George Shultz

Former U.S Secretary of State

Thomas Donohue CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

William Perry Former U.S Secretary of Defense Sam Nunn Former U.S. Senator; Co-Chairman and CEO of the Nuclear Threat

Donohue will address the most serious challenges facing the U.S. economy and identify specific ideas for creating jobs in California and the United States. He will offer a business perspective on the 2012 elections and discuss the role his organization plans to play in the national dialogue.

Three distinguished statesmen discuss their vision for international security in these precarious times, assessing the current state of nuclear threats and future prospects for limiting and eventually eliminating nuclear weapons.

for event details, see page 34

March 1

Russell Feingold Former U.S. senator; Author, While America Sleeps: A Wakeup Call for the Post-9/11 Era

The Nuclear Chessboard 2012

for event details, see page 34

April 12

Rachel Maddow Host, The Rachel Maddow Show; Author, Drift

Feingold was the only senator to oppose the Patriot Act of 2001 and the first to propose a concrete timetable for the dissolution of American troops in Iraq. He is also a major opponent of financial deregulation, cosponsor of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, and founder of Progressives United. The former senator offers his account of what he sees as America’s recent mistakes and advances a realignment of objectives designed to build a successful global future.

Special Rhodes Scholar, AIDS activist, host of her own Event MSNBC politico program, Rachel Maddow adds ‘author’ to her list of credentials with her new book, Drift. In it, she takes on the debate between civilian life and the war machine, explaining how American culture has become militarized and why the continuous growth of our national security sector has put us in an untenable position.

for event details, see page 35

for event details, visit