Page 1

Dayna & Robert Baer: SPIES LIKE US pg 20

Dambisa Moyo: WESTERN FOLLY pg 50

Ted Danson: OUR OCEANS AT RISK pg 54

Dr. Gloria Duffy on WAR MILESTONES pg 62

Commonwealth The






$2.50; free for members We’ve relaunched our web site to be bigger, better, and more useful to you!

Visit us now and find: • • • • •

more video more audio improved search new “My Club Account” features updated news and views

• •

radio schedule plus all of the events, travel opportunities, and more that you have always found online

putting you face-to-face with today’s thought leaders

Inside The Commonwealth Vo lu m e 1 0 5 , N O . 0 4

J U N E / J U LY 2011

page 54

Oceans at Risk “This is easy to say no more offshore drilling to you guys [in San Francisco], but go to Louisiana, go to Texas, go to Alaska and say no more oil drilling. ... It’s very hard when you’re talking about people’s livelihoods.” –Ted Danson

Danson photo by Sonya Abrams, reef by NOAA Photo Library / Flickr






29 Program Information 30 Eight Weeks Calendar

10 American Resolve Sen. John Kerry on budgets

15 How Arabs View the West James Zogby reports

18 Modernizing Medicine Donald M. Berwick’s proposal

20 The Spy Who Loves Me Dayna and Robert Baer reveal life in and after the CIA

48 Dream Come True Belva Davis discusses her career as a broadcasting legend

Editor’s Note Look at us now


The Commons

Events from June 1 to August 31, 2011

The FCC’s spectrum of options

28 Business Council Profile

32 33 47 32

Chevron’s Rhonda Zygocki

49 Letters 58 A Room with Views The Club’s 108th birthday party

About Our Cover: Physicist Michio Kaku’s Commonwealth Club speech took place at his former high school in Palo Alto. It was a homecoming for the scientist who takes us on a tour of the future. Photo by Ed Ritger.

62 InSight Dr. Gloria C. Duffy Milestones in the War


Programs by Region Program Listings Late-breaking Events Language Classes


50 How the West Was Lost Dambisa Moyo looks at the shift

53 Talking About Writing Andre Dubus and Tobias Wolff J U N E/J U LY 2011



Photo by Ed Ritger

Dr. Michio Kaku explains how your life will change over the next 20, 50 and 100 years

Photo by Ed Ritger

Future Life

Commonwealth The

Editor’s Note

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

Look at Us Now


John Zipperer


Vice President, Media & Editorial

Sonya Abrams


Editorial Interns John Dangaran

James Dohnert


Beth Byrne

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 © 2010 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




Illustration by Steven Fromtling

enator John Kerry brought his pitch for an infrastructure bank to The Commonwealth Club this spring, and he cited the builders of the Golden Gate Bridge as inspiration for tackling such a large effort. Even though the project might seem big and fraught with peril, these bridge-building ancestors tell us, we should see the project through to fruition. Our big project over the past year was not quite at the scale of the Golden Gate Bridge, but it was a large one and as necessary as connecting Marin and San Francisco. We have redesigned, re-imagined and rebuilt The Commonwealth Club’s website. With generous support from the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation and the Stephen Bechtel Fund, we were finally able to take on this project that has been on our wish list for years. We teamed up with Pyramid Communications (, a great firm with a solid history of creating websites for nonprofits. They know that nonprofits don’t have unlimited budgets for these kinds of projects, yet nonprofit websites still require lots of features, multimedia, regularly changed content and more. I tip my hat to our friends at Pyramid, who went above and beyond the call to deliver us a website that has earned plentiful praise from users so far. Over the years, we have collected requests and suggestions from our members for what they would like to see changed and improved on the website. Among the top suggestions were improved search, more audio and video, and more readable text. Those and more became must-do items on our list of priorities for the project. The new site is at the same address we’ve always had: When you visit it, you’ll find a site that is larger, more interesting, and more useful. For example, before, we only had time and bandwidth to put audio on the site if the audio had aired on one of our radio programs. Going forward, we are putting almost every Club program’s audio on the website. Also, you can now find many past events on the site, and those events are also linked to their audio and/or video. And it’s still got all of the great upcoming programs that you expect from The Commonwealth Club. What’s next, you ask? Well, wouldn’t it be nice if we had an iPhone and iPad app...

JU NE/JU LY 2011


Commons Mohammad Qayoumi moves to SJ State


Photo courtesy of Mohammad Qayoumi

his summer, California State University, East Bay, President Mohammad Qayoumi will assume a new role as president of San José State University. Dr. Qayoumi, a member of The Commonwealth Club’s Board of Governors, brings to the new job “energy, innovation, progressive vision and ability to connect with students,” said Debra Farar, the CSU Trustee who chaired the presidential search committee. But that’s not all he brings. Qayoumi also has a resume of academic leadership a mile long, including a bachelor of science from American University in Beirut and no fewer than four degrees from the University of Cincinnati (three masters degrees plus a Ph.D.). His professional postings include professorships and academic leadership at California State University East Bay, California State Northridge, and the University of Cincinnati.

The Power of the Microphone Interesting things happen when people talk to each other


hile attending a Club program earlier this year on “Growing Food and Wisdom,” one attendee found out the power of the public microphone. Kevin Warnock wrote on his blog ( about an experience that you only get in a live setting: “Using the audience microphone, I got to ask [speaker Novella] Carpenter where to start on my urban homestead household I’m now forming. ... I am going to ask an audience microphone question at each event I attend at The Commonwealth Club from now on, as an amazing thing happened after the presentation. A nice woman started asking me about my urban homestead plans, and we got to talking. It turns out she’s looking to move and said she’d like to see the place to possibly move in herself. She has raised chickens and studied permaculture, and by her presence at tonight’s talk, it’s clear she has her heart in the right place for the crazy experiment I’m about to embark on. I hope she contacts me, as it seemed like a good fit. “

Yet Another Bay Area Overachiever Physicist unbound


ike Dr. Mohammad Qayoumi (see left), Dr. Michio Kaku gets more done before breakfast than most people accomplish in a week. The Bay Area native makes his home in Manhattan, but we wonder how often he actually gets to sit down at his own dinner table. Immediately after his appearance at the Club, he was due to fly back home, only to head off to Switzerland early the next morning. So The Commonwealth had to ask him: With all of his travel, how does he find time to write bestselling books, host two weekly radio programs, host various TV science

shows, blog and appear on numerous news programs to provide expert commentary? He laughed and said that he had an advantage over other scientists who needed to be in a lab to do their work. “I am a theoretical physicist, so all I need is some paper and a pen and I can do my work from anywhere.” Of course, with that paper and pen (and, presumably, a computer) Kaku writes books, including Physics of the Future, which had landed on the New York Times Best Seller list the day of his Club speech. Backstage before his speech, he mused to us that people say that science books don’t sell, “yet I have now written two books with the word physics in the title that have become best sellers.” We suggested that if he wants to test the new popularlity of science books, his next book should just have a mathematical formula for a title.

J U N E/J U LY 2011



Photo by Roy’s World / Flickr

From President to President

Talk of the Club

Photo by Ed Ritger

First Word Julius Genachowski Chairman, Federal Communications Commission In conversation with Adam Lashinsky, Senior Editor at Large, Fortune Magazine April 14, 2011 LASHINSKY: This spectrum reallocation issue is very confusing, it’s very wonky, yet it’s very important. So, let’s spend a few minutes on it, please. Explain to us what’s at stake, what needs to get fixed, and what your crystal ball is on how it will get fixed. GENACHOWSKI: We have this spectrum gap. The demand from smartphones [and] tablets is rapidly exceeding supply, and when you think about it, it makes a lot of sense. If you think about a smartphone as compared to the old feature phones that people had, we know intuitively that those phones and the web access that they have are putting much more demand on the airwaves when you use it – about 24 times as much. Tablets, it’s actually about 140 times as much. Netbooks, if you plug in a wireless Internet access card, are even more than that. Spectrum is a scarce resource where physics places some real limits on how much data can travel over the airwaves, and to go to this level of increase – 24 times, 100 times – on the same amount of spectrum, it’s actually not doable. Now we’re going to get increases in efficiencies of technology and software, but the gap is so large that we need to free up more spectrum, more capacity to carry all of these signals. The problem is, it would be nice if you showed up at the FCC and, “Congratulations, you’re chairman, here’s your secret warehouse of spectrum, go and auction it off for broadband or put it out there as unlicensed spectrum.” But that warehouse doesn’t exist, and in fact there are no easy pickings on the spectrum chart. What we need to do as a country is reallocate spec-



Julius Genachowski (right) and Adam Lashinsky discuss the power of the spectrum.

trum from existing uses to this new use that’s sucking up so much demand, very happily: mobile broadband. LASHINSKY: To use your metaphor, the spectrum is sitting in warehouses, and the warehouses aren’t being used in some cases? GENACHOWSKI: Yes. LASHINSKY: Before you go on, let me try to unpack my own metaphor there, which is: There are entities, including, prominently, television broadcasters, who own spectrum or have leased spectrum. Would that be a better way of putting it? GENACHOWSKI: Licensed spectrum. LASHINSKY: They have licensed spectrum; they are not using it. The rational thing would be to figure out a way to get them to sell it or give it to someone who does want to use it, right? GENACHOWSKI: Basically, yes. We have an answer in this country to how we make sure that assets flow to their highest and best use: It’s called the free market. By the way, since the early ’90s, free market principles, chiefly through the auction mechanism, have been introduced to the mobile space. Until the mid-1990s, spectrum was allocated either by ... hearings or lottery, and starting in the ’90s, spectrum was auctioned to the highest bidder, and there’s a direct relationship between that decision to implement auctions in the United States and the incredible innovation that we’re seeing now,

JU NE/JU LY 2011

by unleashing market forces on this area of the economy, on these assets. With respect to older allocations of spectrum, they’re still governed by the original FCC allocations. The core proposal that we’ve made is to bring the auction methodology not only to the demand side – where you auction off spectrum to companies that want to use it – but to the supply side. We’ve proposed to run something called an incentive auction, where the supply of spectrum in the auction would come from existing license holders, who would contribute their spectrum to the auction in exchange for a share of the proceeds from the auction, so that it becomes an incentivebased, market-based methodology. LASHINSKY: Voluntarily? GENACHOWSKI: Voluntarily. We have the authority at the FCC to simply reallocate spectrum, to take it back and auction it. We don’t have the authority to steer some of the auction proceeds to the current license holders, to make it a market-based, incentive-based process. This is actually the best way to answer the question of how to make sure the spectrum is being used for its highest and best use. We can do this finally in a way that, as the FCC has done in a number of areas, realigns, reorganizes the spectrum in a way to free up contiguous blocks of spectrum that are most conducive to mobile broadband. Ω

Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow

Club Leadership Photo by Monkey Business Images /

Planned giving is an increasingly popular way to create a legacy that supports the ideas and organizations you find important


ill you leave a lasting legacy? Members of The Commonwealth Club’s Legacy Circle want to ensure that their children and grandchildren can enjoy thoughtful, important, unbiased programming for another hundred years. By planning a legacy gift, their generosity helps to assure a strong and sustainable future for the Club. Your professional advisor can tell you that there are so many ways to leave a legacy. The Club is able to accept bequests, paid life insurance policies, re-

tirement plan proceeds and gifts from charitable trusts. Gifts large and small are important. Estate planning is not only for the wealthy! If you have included The Commonwealth Club of California in your estate plans, please let us know so that we may acknowledge and thank you. We are planning a few special events for Legacy Circle members, but we can only include you if you let us know! Take a moment to complete our short online form at commonwealthclub. org/plannedgift.

Celebrate 80 Years of the California Book Awards June 2 event to note state’s best


ere’s your chance to meet the brightest California literary talents. On Thursday, June 2, the Club’s San Francisco main auditorium will host the 80th annual California Book Awards. Over the years, this event has grown into a popular reception, awards show and book signing – and the easiest way to meet authors. For a list of this year’s winners and a link to the event sign-up page, visit commonwealth

OFFICERS of The Commonwealth Club of California Board Chair Dr. Mary G. F. Bitterman Vice Chair Maryles Casto Secretary William F. Adams Treasurer Anna W. M. Mok President and CEO Dr. Gloria C. Duffy BOARD OF GOVERNORS Massey J. Bambara Ralph Baxter Hon. Shirley Temple Black* John L. Boland J. Dennis Bonney* Helen A. Burt John Busterud* Michael Carr Hon. Ming Chin* Jack Cortis Mary B. Cranston** Dr. Kerry P. Curtis Dr. Jaleh Daie Evelyn S. Dilsaver Lee J. Dutra Joseph I. Epstein* Rolando Esteverena Jeffrey A. Farber Dr. Joseph R. Fink* Dr. Carol A. Fleming, Ph.D. Lisa Frazier William German* Dr. Charles Geschke Rose Guilbault** Jacquelyn Hadley Edie G. Heilman Eugene Herson* Hon. James C. Hormel Mary Huss Claude B. Hutchison Jr.* Dr. Julius Krevans* Lata Krishnan Don J. McGrath ADVISORY BOARD Karin Helene Bauer Hon. William Bradley Dennise M. Carter Steven Falk Amy Gershoni

J U N E/J U LY 2011

Jill Nash Richard Otter* Joseph Perrelli* Hon. Barbara Pivnicka Hon. Richard Pivnicka Fr. Stephen A. Privett, S.J. Dr. Mohammad Qayoumi Dan C. Quigley Toni Rembe* Victor A. Revenko* Skip Rhodes* Dr. Condoleezza Rice Fred A. Rodriguez Renée Rubin* Robert Saldich** Joseph W. Saunders Connie Shapiro* Charlotte Mailliard Shultz Valari D. Staab James Strother Hon. Tad Taube Charles Travers Thomas Vertin Robert Walker Nelson Weller* Judith Wilbur* Dr. Colleen B. Wilcox Dennis Wu* Russell M. Yarrow * Past President ** Past Chair

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




THE NEXT 100 One of our leading scientists reports back from the world’s laboratories on the concepts and technology that will shape our lives and our world between now and 2100. Excerpt from “Dr. Michio Kaku: Physics of the Future,” March 28, 2011. Michio Kaku Host, “Science Fantastic”; Professor of Physics, City College of New York; Author, Physics of the Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100


’m going to give you a guided tour through the future as told to me by 300 of the world’s top scientists that I’ve interviewed. Prediction, of course, is very difficult. That great philosopher of the Western world, Yogi Berra, once said, “Prediction is awfully hard to do, especially if it’s about the future.” But I’m a physicist. We invented the laser; we invented the transistor; we helped to create the first computer; we wrote the World Wide Web; we created television, radio, radar, the MRI machine, the space program, the GPS system. And now we physicists are inventing the 21st century. In my life I’ve had two passions and two role models. First, when Einstein died, everyone was talking about the fact that he couldn’t finish his greatest achievement. I said to myself, “Why couldn’t he finish it? It was a homework assignment, right? Why didn’t he ask his mother? What’s the big deal?” The big deal was that it was supposed to be the theory of everything. An equation that would “read the mind of God.” I said to myself, “That’s for me.” But I had another role model. On Saturdays I used to watch TV and watch



“Flash Gordon.” Rocket ships, aliens, cities in the sky – that’s for me, too. But then I began to realize something. First, I didn’t have muscles and blonde hair, and second, it was the scientists that made it work. The scientists invented the rocket ship, the ray gun and the invisibility shield. Then I began to realize something very important: science, especially physics, is the key to the future. You can’t build rocket ships, you can’t build ray guns, and you can’t have invisibility shields unless you understand the physics behind those things.

Verne’s future


ack in 1863, Jules Verne [wrote] From the Earth to the Moon. You know what? He got the size of the space capsule right to within 10-percent accuracy. He said Florida would be the place where we launch the moon rocket. He said that it would take three days to go to the moon and it would come back and splash in the ocean. He got everything right except the propulsion system, because rockets wouldn’t be invented for many a decade. Some people would say, “That’s a fluke; Jules Verne got lucky predicting the next

JU NE/JU LY 2011

100 years.” Well, in 1863 he wrote another novel about the next 100 years in Paris. It was called Paris in the 20th Century. The book was so preposterous and so fantastic they couldn’t publish it. What did Jules Verne predict that was so incredible no one believed him? When most people lived in shacks, he predicted glass skyscrapers. When long-distance travel meant getting on a horse, if you were rich, he predicted gasoline automobiles; long-distance telecommunication in an era when long distancetelecommunication was yelling at your neighbor. He predicted fax machines and something like the Internet. How could he get it so accurate? Because every time a scientist would come through Paris, he would sit down with them and pump them for information. He was well versed in all of the sciences of 1863. So I said to myself, “Why don’t I sit down with all the scientists who are inventing the future in their laboratories?” No one can predict the future. The best you can do is interview the people who are building the future.


0 YEARS Imagine the world of the 1900s. What would the world of 1900 look like to our grandparents and great-grandparents? How would they view us? Let’s be blunt about this. Life expectancy in the 1900s was in the forties. You were born, you grew up and you died. Most people were dirt farmers back then. High tech was the telegraph, if you were rich, and long distance travel meant the horse, if you had the money. Now, let’s say they could see you right now. You have rockets, car engines with 200 horsepower, atomic bombs and the electrification of the entire planet. How would your grandparents view you today? They would say you were a wizard with rockets, jet planes, electricity and bombs. Lets say you could talk to your grandkids and greatgrandkids in the year 2100. How would you view them? Remember that science accelerates, it doesn’t progress linearly. The amount of knowledge

Ka NA ku pho SA God tos by dar Ed d P Ritg hot er, o a spa nd Vid ce ph eo oto / Fl ickr by

we create roughly doubles every 10 years. So how would you view your own flesh and blood living in the year 2100? You would view them as gods. Remember from high school the gods of mythology? Zeus would think of something and it (Continued on page 24)

J U N E/J U LY 2011



The Massachusetts Democrat decries the Republicans’ budget plans, and he warns that Americans need to understand our country’s decreased ability to change things on the international stage. Excerpt from “Senator John Kerry,” April 1, 2011. john kerry U.S. Senator (D-MA); Chairman, Senate Foreign Relations Committee


hank you for the invitation to come back here to The Commonwealth Club. I particularly respect [your] mission to be the leading national forum for impartial discussions on issues of public importance to our nation. I can actually remember when that used to be the job of the United States Senate. I’m here to talk to you about how we might be able to return it to that. I’m also relieved to be in San Francisco, because I know that when I talk to you about infrastructure, you’ll know I mean building roads and bridges. If I was in Los Angeles, they’d think I was talking about plastic surgery. You have to pick your audiences carefully, folks. T h e truth



JU NE/JU LY 2011

is, there’s a reason for my saying that, because I think you may have a greater appreciation of historic investment, frankly, because you have more of it than many parts of the country. I met with a whole group of energy entrepreneurs, which is a particular topic that we’ll talk about a bit, but you all share a remarkable spirit of entrepreneurial activity and innovation. We share that in Massachusetts. This great city is, of course, the home to one of the marvels of engineering, the marvels of building by Americans, decades in the making: the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s no exaggeration to say that that extraordinary landmark is to many the West Coast equivalent of the Statue of Liberty. It has become a symbol of freedom, a symbol of hope. It is the gateway, the gateway west for ships going to war, for goods going to the marketplace. It is also, on the flipside, the majestic entry into the United States for families, perhaps reuniting, for immigrants coming; it’s a statement about endless opportunities and possibilities, which define

our great country, still. Now, I want to remind you that that reputation of the Golden Gate Bridge that I just described didn’t come without a struggle. When the Golden Gate Bridge was completed, its chief engineer, Joseph Strauss, wrote a poem in which he celebrated the fact, and I quote, that “the mighty task is done.” The mighty task, “Launched ‘midst a thousand hopes and fears, damned by a thousand hostile sneers.” Now, I know how Joseph Strauss felt, because an awful lot of what has been proposed in Washington these days, whether to strengthen our economy to achieve energy independence, to fix our health-care system, or just to put the fiscal house in order, is damned by a thousand hostile sneers – or worse, a thousand filibusters. Now, the tragic wounding of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona in January momentarily shook Washington out of the reflexive pattern of partisan routines, but I’m sad to say only momentarily. Here we are, a couple of months later, having arrived at an extraordinary moment in our history, where a small group of people driven by rigid ideology rather than common sense or reason are threatening to shut down the federal government if they don’t get their way. The folks who bring you the Republican budget, H.R.1 as it’s called, the Republican budget: a statement of values and principles, a statement of where you’re willing to go as a nation. They’re willing to slam the brakes on investments, and the research and development that we so desperately need so America doesn’t fall behind other countries in the global economy. Unlike any farmer of good practice anywhere in the world and any true conservative, it seems that this new crowd is literally content to eat America’s economic seed-corn, even if it means going hungry tomorrow. They’re okay with shutting down the scientific and medical labs that are discovering the secrets of the universe and making breakthroughs in cures for cancer, Alzheimer’s, and a host of deadly diseases that cost us billions of dollars. They’re all right with sidelining the Environmental Protection Agency when all the science is clear and compelling that climate change costs us, now, billions of dollars every year and threatens our national security. They’re ready to shred the safety net that keeps tens of millions of Americans

out of poverty. Those are just some of the all-too-real choices that are hidden behind the seductive simplicity of their rants about the never-ending deficit, which their own policies built up over eight years without one word of objection and which they then added to so flagrantly, undoing the economy of our nation as they allowed Wall Street to run amuck while their foxes guarded the chicken coops. Think about it. Let me assure you, folks, let me assure you that behind the politically staged positioning that you observe in Washington right now, the accusations about who might be responsible for a government shutdown – behind all of that, the stakes for our nation simply could not be higher. We are locked in a fight over what kind of country we’re going to be. What do we intend to define ourselves as in the course of this century? We are in a fight for the soul of our country. Now, the choice they’re offering you, through us, is pretty simple: make cuts that will undermine our strength and standing in the world and hurt our most vulnerable citizens, or they will force a debt crisis for the United States government. It’s a choice that’s not only unacceptable in the most basic ways, it’s unjust, it’s immoral and it’s dangerous. Here we are at a time in our economy when the upper 1 percent of income earners of our nation now take away nearly a quarter of all the nation’s income, every single year. In terms of wealth rather than income, the top 1 percent now boasts ownership of 40 percent of the nation’s wealth. Twenty-five years ago it was 12 percent that possessed about 33 percent of the nation’s wealth, just to give you a sense of what happened.

Death by a thousand cuts


s the rest of America has gone down or clawed viciously just to hold their own, the wealthiest Americans have gone dramatically up. Yet, despite all the evidence, despite all the historical basis of how we got to be who we are as a nation, the House ideologues are threatening to shut down the government if we don’t give them a government of the 1 percent, by the 1 percent, and for the 1 percent. Now, I simply refuse to accept that. I simply don’t believe that the choices that congressional Republicans are giving us today are what the American people voted for last fall. They voted for

honesty, accountability and transparency, but above all they voted for jobs. We’re learning fast and we’re learning the hard way that talking about jobs isn’t the same thing as creating them. Because a report from Moody’s Analytic Chief Economist Mark Zandi – who incidentally happened to advise John McCain during the course of the last campaign, he’s a Republican – shows that the Republican budget would in fact destroy 700, 000 jobs through 2012. It’s not just the existing jobs that this plan would destroy. [In] the House budget plan, you have to look at what they’re specifically proposing to cut, and then you’ll really begin to understand how much this is dangerous, how much it threatens our competitiveness and our well-being as a nation for the long term. Let me describe it: They want to take $1 billion away from Head Start, meaning 157,000 children would go without preschool care. Now, I didn’t realize that we were doing such a good job of preparing our children for the next generation to excel or compete, or that every child in America was getting what they need, that it was time to start to scale back that particular effort. What analysis suggests that America would do better with less parents able to go to work because their kids are in childcare or with fewer children receiving the critical input that every child development doctor will tell you they need in those early stages of life? What analysis is there? None, but that’s what they want to do. They zero out Planned Parenthood funding, decimating the 280 health centers that Planned Parenthood operates. [These are] centers where 90 percent of the work in the country on preventative primary health-care for Americans who can’t get it otherwise is done. What analysis suggests that less preventative health care’s going to reduce disease, increase the well-being of Americans, reduce the cost of the healthcare system? None, but for the ideologues that doesn’t matter. They want to carve $5.7 billion from the Pell grants. Now there’s a really brilliant idea. Give the richest people in the world a tax break without any guarantee that they invest one dime of it here in the United States of America, and then pay for that transfer of wealth from the average American to the wealthiest by taking money away from needy students. That gives new definition to the word

J U N E/J U LY 2011



Photos by Ed Ritger

immoral, in my judgment. The United States has fallen to 12th in the world – we’re not going up, we’re going down – in terms of the percentage of 25- to 34-year-olds with a college education. The last thing we need now is for House Republicans to plan to take away some or all of the Pell Grants that help 9.4 million low-income students be able to go to college so they can go compete in the global economy. Ask any business executive, anywhere across the United States, and they’ll tell you: there’s a crying need for skilled workers in America. You know what? We’re changing our immigration laws, so that we allow more skilled workers to come and live in the United States, because we’re not producing them. Yet, they want to cut the capacity to produce them at a time when too many businesses simply can’t find enough people to compete in the global marketplace. I’ve got to tell you, with our economy facing strong competition from countries around the globe, please tell me, how does it make any sense to make it harder for kids to go to college? Is that going to make us more competitive? Is that going to help our economy create jobs? It is simply beyond question. I’m only touching on a few of the choices. But it is beyond question that the rigidly ideological approach of the House Republican budget, voted for by all but about three Senate Republicans, is going to set our economy back and with it our nation’s future, and it will make us more dependent on foreign skilled workers, and provide an incentive for businesses to take their money overseas and invest and create the jobs where the skilled workers are. It



doesn’t stop there, folks. With 13.6 million Americans out of work, is this the time to cut $2 billion for job training programs that help 8 million adults, many of them 55 years old, 48 years old, at a stage of life where it’s harder to make a transition? Is this the time to cut off their ability to make a transition that has been caused by something over which they had absolutely no control, and in a dangerous world, where everyone talks about homeland security? Is it really a good idea to take $856 million away from our state and local law enforcement agencies and trim the FBI’s budget by $74 million, and how smart is it to cut $1.6 billion from the National Institutes of Health, where we seek to cure diseases? Eight hundred ninety-nine million dollars from energy efficiency and renewable programs, where we seek to increase our security and become energy independent? Just today, I met with 20 CEOs of companies, all of them right here in your backyard, creating jobs, providing an opportunity for the future, helping America to grow. They’re all telling me that [if ] these [programs] get cut, the viability of their deals at the earliest stages, before America creates enough energy demand, will all be at risk. Nine hundred fifty million dollars is going to be cut from clean water. Is that because our water is so clean in America? Because we don’t still get cancer from places that are next door to old toxic waste sites and brown fields? Where’s the rationale for that at a time when we need to reduce disease and increase our citizens’ health? One point three billion dollars being cut from community health centers where we

JU NE/JU LY 2011

help offer the poor the promise of a healthy future. Seven hundred fifty-five million dollars cut from the Centers for Disease Control, where we protect Americans from communicable disease. Our country desperately needs better than a stalled process which delays the very tough decisions that we do need to make [about] how we’re going to reduce our federal deficit while maintaining our important investments in infrastructure, research, education, technology and clean energy. All of the things that will result in the new jobs and bolster our long-term competitiveness. The American people deserve a serious dialogue within the Congress about our fiscal situation, about discretionary spending, about entitlements, and about revenues. What we need to do is work toward a longterm solution to reduce both our current budget deficit and the staggering debt, and yes, we need to reduce federal spending and make appropriate changes to entitlement programs to meet the fiscal challenge. Right now, we are staring at another economic opportunity of actually bigger proportions, extraordinary proportions – we’re staring at it right in our face, and so far, we are doing precious little about it while other countries are racing toward it. The current energy economy, my friends, is a market with 4 billion users today going up to 6, because that’s the planet’s population today, going up to about 6.5 billion in the course of the next 20-30 years, because that will be the population. The fastest [component] of that economy is green energy, projected to be a $2.3 trillion market in 2020. Yet as of today, most of this investment will be in Asia, and not in the United States.

Room for argument


oday, it’s possible for 41 senators representing only about one-tenth of the American population to bring the Senate and the country to a standstill. Now, certainly I do believe the filibuster has its rightful place. I used it personally to stop drilling for the oil in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge, and we won by one vote. I understand the importance of it, but you can’t do it every day. You can’t have it be on every judge, every bill, every day. Even the motion to proceed to debate a bill and so forth. Sixty or more senators ought to be required to speak up and be present and be on the floor and take

part in that debate, and let the American people decide whether it’s worthy of 60 votes, or 40 votes, or more. We went to the moon, so don’t tell me we can’t build a high-speed rail system here on Earth. We split the atom, so don’t tell me we can’t harness energy from the Sun and the wind, and bio-fuels, and reinvent energy. We gave the world the Internet, so don’t tell me we can’t bring wireless Internet to every single American household, like Franklin Roosevelt brought electricity to every American household. Don’t tell me we can’t have an education system, having invented public education, that isn’t once again the envy of the world. What bothers me more than the argument that we can’t do big things anymore is the idea that somehow this rich country can’t afford to invest in its own future anymore. Even in these tough economic times. My friends, the Golden Gate Bridge; there’s a reason I started with that. The Golden Gate Bridge was built during the Great Depression. It was built during years when Americans were standing in breadlines, and one out of every four [Americans] was unemployed. And today, no one can imagine San Francisco without that bridge. Reliable, modern infrastructure like the Golden Gate Bridge has never been a

luxury. It’s the life-blood of an economy; it’s the key to connecting our markets, to moving products and people, to generating and sustaining millions of jobs for American workers. And, this is especially true in the face of global competition. Our competitors are investing more and more, and it’s going to get harder and harder for the United States to catch up if we don’t get going. Other countries are doing what we ought to be doing. They’re racing ahead, because they created infrastructure banks to build a new future for themselves. If we want to keep America the leader in the world economy, we need to make America the world’s builders again, and we need to have our own national infrastructure bank. That’s exactly what the Build Act that I introduced a week ago is going to do: Create a new American infrastructure bank that will leverage private capital, with some small amount of public funds, into loan guarantees and help build the infrastructure and undo the deficit that’s plaguing our nation for decades. Do we give up on the notion that America can lead in the 21st century and cede our leadership to others? Is that what you want? Do we stand by while China invests 9 percent of its GDP [in infrastructure] and Europe invests 5 percent and we invest

barely 2 percent? Or, do we find common ground, with creative thinking, that pushes the curve and remembers that American exceptionalism – that everyone likes to talk about – is not on automatic. It’s a birthright, but not a birthright where you don’t have to do anything. It’s a birthright of opportunity; a birthright for us to seize the moment and do the things we know how to do. America is exceptional, because when it really matters we come together and do exceptional things. When the Soviets were beating us in the space race, President Lyndon Johnson said, “First in space means first, period. Second in space is second in everything.” Today, second in infrastructure is second in everything. Part of our problem is this [congressional] gridlock. But as bad as it is, I know we can reach a bipartisan consensus [for] this infrastructure bank. It is not often that you get Richie Trumka, the head of the AFL-CIO, standing with Tom Donohue, chairman and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce, together in support of any piece of legislation, but they came together the other day to say, “We can do this.” Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison and I, along with our

Senator Kerry on Challenges for American Foreign Policy In his on-stage discussion with Commonwealth Club President and CEO Gloria Duffy, Senator John Kerry elaborated on how the changing international scene affects the ability of the United States and its allies to change nuclear policy and exert pressure where they want. In the senator’s words: There’s a huge imbalance in tactical nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles between Russians and the United States. The Europeans are still concerned about that. And you know, you can’t do these things unilaterally. You really do have to move mutually and you have to work on adequate verification, because there are threats, there just are problems in the world. As energy and resources become more scarce, you watch nations begin to hunker down and act in their own interests. I have spent now 27 years on the Foreign Relations Committee, I’ve watched this transition as we’ve gone from this bipolar East-West, Soviet-Western Cold War, where everything was fairly easy to react to – it was an either them or us, you’re with us or against us kind of situation. Now, we’re much more 19th century, 18th century. You can go back and read the Treaty of Westphalia, and think of Metternich and Disraeli, Bismark and Cardinal Richelieu, state

interest and national interest. That’s where we are. It’s a much harder world. In the United States, a lot of people haven’t caught up with the fact that we don’t have the same kind of leverage. What I worry about, and the reason I talked about what I talked about today, is actually related to foreign policy. If you move to energy independence, you begin to change a whole set of calculations and choices you have with respect to how you behave and what matters in certain parts of the world. If you can begin to strengthen America’s economy more, we have a greater ability to begin to leverage outcomes. In the absence of that strength, other people begin to play and mischief breaks out. In many of the conversations I have had with different leaders in different parts of the world, I can sense already a shift in their calculation about whether, Is the United States serious? Are you really going to be there? How long are you going to stay? Do you really care about this? What’s the staying power of [your] country? All kinds of calculations. And does it really matter to us anyway, because we can just go deal with these other people, and have plenty of fuel and plenty of resources. So we’re dealing with a very different world, and everybody needs to understand that. Ω

J U N E/J U LY 2011



colleague John Warner, are intent on trying to get this passed. We are builders. It’s part of our DNA. We build no matter what, through depression and recession, through surplus, through deficit, through war and peace. If you look at the 20th century, you know it was an American century. A century that saw us build the Panama Canal, rebuilt Europe and Japan after world war, a century in which the highway system was built; miles of asphalt and concrete shaped our countryside, our way of life. A century in which we leaped into space, wired the entire planet for communication, for commerce. That’s the story of the 20th century, and together we need to find the common ground to make the 21st century another American century. Just like the Golden Gate Bridge, it is meeting mighty challenges that has always defined this country, and that is the dream that makes this the United States of America. We’ve got to get back to business, folks.

system was built to support. Bottom line, folks: it’s just not that complicated. Medicare and Medicaid are much more complicated. They will, to some degree, depend on the full implementation of the Obama health-care plan. DUFFY: The New York Times assembled a lot of poll data a while ago, asking Americans where they thought the budget might be cut, and weapons of mass destruction was very high on the list of what people

Question and answer session with Dr. Gloria C. Duffy, president and CEO of The Commonwealth Club DUFFY: You have pointed out that the majority of the Republicans’ cuts are from 12 percent of the budget. So let’s talk about the other 88 percent. Having pointed out that the U.S. budget is largely driven by the cost of Social Security, Medicare, defense, etc., what would you propose to cut in those areas? KERRY: Well, I wouldn’t cut Social Security benefits. I don’t think you have to cut benefits in Social Security, and I don’t think it’s appropriate to cut benefits in Social Security. We can make Social Security whole well through this century. We did it before; we did it with Reagan back in the ’80s. We have to put things on the table. Like, why do we stop asking people to pay into it after $106,000 of income? It doesn’t make sense to me that someone earning $40-50,000 ought to be sending a check to a multi-millionaire in their retirement once they’ve lived well beyond the period that the system was designed to pay out for. Social Security is a wonderful system. We want to protect it. It was designed by Roosevelt at a time when the life expectancy was 62 and you retired at age 65. That’s a pretty good program. That works. But now life expectancy is about 85, so you have people that are living way beyond what the

thought were where too much money goes that doesn’t have a lot of utility. KERRY: We still have hundreds, literally thousands, more warheads that we actually need to legitimately defend ourselves. Most threat analyses say we can do with less if we could get the other folks that possess them to do with less. DUFFY: What’s your assessment of the future of U.S. nuclear power in light of tsunami damage to Japanese reactors? KERRY: The initial question here is: What the hell was anybody doing building six reactors right on an earthquake fault where you have tsunamis? I don’t get it. I don’t think you damn the entire concept as a consequence of such sheer hubris, if not, stupidity. The marketplace is going to have a lot to do with this decision. Right now nuclear power in America anyway is outpriced. It’s just not cost effective, and Wall Street won’t support the funding of some site at this particular instant, I don’t think. If you have sufficient design requirements, sufficient redundancy, sort of a failsafe standard, and particularly with respect to siting of it, it is possible, if it works economically, to be part of the mix. But the marketplace will decide if it works economically. I’m not sure if you could create or meet all those standards of redundancy and failsafe and siting and still wind



“In the United States, a lot of people haven’t

caught up with the fact that we don’t have the same kind of leverage.”

JU NE/JU LY 2011

up being economic. That’s the test, and as solar keeps coming on faster and faster, and wind and alternative renewable, one kind or another, it’s going to really compete against that [nuclear] possibility. But it has to be a part of the mix and consideration right now. DUFFY: Given your role as chair of the Foreign Relations Committee, what do you think of President Obama sending advisors to Libya? Please explain the thought process supporting the theory that the turmoil in Libya possesses a security threat to our country, and what about the congressional role in approving the commitment of U.S. forces abroad. KERRY: The pesident sent a formal notification, which [the law] requires, to the Congress, and we are drafting up an authorization in my committee; whether we need it or not, I don’t know yet. It says that within 60-90 days of the commission of American troops into hostilities, we have to sign off on it or else they have to be withdrawn. Which is good, there’s a check there, and Congress takes it seriously. President Obama was well within, way within, his legitimate authority as president and commander in chief to respond to an emergency – in particular, the way that he did, defined in the limited scope that it is. The president purposefully said America will join in this under the right circumstances. We shouldn’t do it unilaterally. We need to have the UN, and if the UN fails [and] if push came to shove and we needed to do something, we ought to have the Arab League and/or the Gulf states. We got them all, folks. Unexpectedly, the Arab League asked for this intervention. The Libyan opposition asked for this intervention. The Gulf States’ Cooperation Council asked for this intervention. The best thing that could happen in that part of the world is to have transparency and accountability, and a process whereby people can begin to say, “We could have our life dreams fulfilled without having to go blow people up and think that the only thing left is to go to paradise as a martyr.” That’s in our interest, as far as I’m concerned. Because I can foresee this getting worse and bigger, as we go down the road, if you just leave millions of young people in the Muslim world to be unemployed and uneducated, and under the thumb of a dictator who’d be able to direct their anger against us. The best thing you could have is this breakout into the sunshine. Ω

Photo by Name Here

A look at the divisions and unifying ideas of a region to which the West has committed considerable time, effort and treasure. Excerpt from “James Zogby: What Arab Voices Are Telling Us,” October 18, 2010. james zogby Founder and President, Arab American

Institute; Advisor, Zogby International Polling Firm; Author, Arab Voices: What They Are Saying to Us, and Why It Matters


here are several reasons why I thought the book was important to write. One of them came through in a question today from one of the radio shows I did. The question was: “Why do we need to listen to these people anyway? What do they have to offer? They’re just backward and they’re violent and we just ought to ignore them.” The simple fact is we just can’t and we have not. We are so heavily invested in [the Arab] region. I put it this way: In the last 30 years we’ve sent more money, more troops, more weapons; we’ve fought more wars and lost more lives; we have more critical national interests in that region than any other region in the world. Every presidency since the 1970s has risen or fallen on its ability to manage conflict in the Middle East.

Illustration by Steven Fromtling

So it’s not a question of should we or shouldn’t we listen. We have to listen. The problem is we don’t. Let me add a couple of data points to that enormity of our interests in the region. I don’t just mean economic interests. We have 150,000 troops fighting in and around that area. We have not just Israel, which we always like to say is our number-one ally, but we have other countries in the region with which we have been closely allied and have long-standing ties and deep personal ties. A year ago, we asked Americans to point to Iraq on a map. Only a third of those we asked could find it. After having lost a third of our troops, a third of our people know where the country is where 44,000 of our folks died. We asked people to give us the year of Israel’s independence, only about

a third could do that. Two-thirds thought that Iraq and Pakistan were Arab countries. We’re invested in the region, we’re dying in a region, we have interests at stake in a region but most of us don’t have a clue about that region. When I get the question, “All these people are violent, all these people are just religious fanatics. What do I need to know about them for?” The issue is that they’re not. They are like people everywhere, and we have to take time to understand that and that is something we have not done. The fact is the news we get about the Middle East is always bad news. So the impression is that it is a bad-news place. The voices we do hear are the most extreme. It’s as if people in the Middle East were only to listen to Terry Jones, the wacko who was going to burn a Quran. If he defined

J U N E/J U LY 2011



Photo by Ed Ritger

America we’d be in trouble. But the fact is that we have the ability to broadcast a larger message about who we are. The Arab world doesn’t. So in this country, the voices that get heard are the angry ones, the actions that are seen are the murderous ones, and the whole region is therefore defined by stereotypes. Which explains the results we get when we poll Americans about the Middle East. When you ask favorability towards Muslims, among Democrats, it’s about 58/35, and among Republicans it’s 12 favorable, 85 unfavorable. Those are scary numbers about a deep partisan divide, in regard to a region that is critical, as General Petraeus says, to our national security interests. [A third point] is this issue of the myths that dominate our national discussion about Arabs. They’re all angry; Why do Arabs not

“We find that the numberone concern of all Arabs is their job and

economic security. Number two is health care.” have a favorable attitude toward America? What our polls tell us is that two-thirds of Americans think Arabs hate our values. So we looked at all of this and decided to



do some polling in-depth in the region that would help open up a window, if you will, to let Arab voices in. We’ve been doing it now for about 10 years. There is a book that we publish here in America that has been used as a standard guide to dealing with the Arab world. It’s called The Arab Mind by Raphael Patai, and it had generalized conclusions about the Arabs, who they are and how they think. It was the book that led to Abu Ghraib by arguing that Arabs only understand humiliation, and overwhelming violence is necessary to change them and sexual humiliation is the worst form of degradation. The conclusions were there and played out in front of all of us with tragic consequences. The problem is that there is no Arab mind just like there is no Jewish mind. What there are are people that are diverse in and among themselves and in some cases have different attitudes at the same time toward similar events. We talked to people in Morocco, Egypt and Lebanon, and in these talks the local customs in fact took shape. The history of Morocco is different than the history of Egypt, so there’s a different set of cultural values in each country. The local conditions create local uniqueness and I want the uniqueness to speak out, so we asked people about their own countries. What do you think about this? What is the most important thing about your own country? It really is quite striking when you see 4,000 Arabs given open ended questions. I thought of something that Golda Meir

JU NE/JU LY 2011

said: “I feel bad for the other side. We over here, we make music and we make love and we have joy and they only know how to hate and make war.” That image of an angry people, that’s another image that we decided to take on: Are Arabs just angry? Part of the problem is that the only pictures we see are of people shaking their fists and demonstrations of Hamas or Hezbollah or something like that. I got the question today: “You say they like us, then why are they demonstrating all the time? Don’t they do things like normal people?” When we poll, we find that the number-one concern of all Arabs is their job and economic security. Number-two concern is health care, and number three concern is improving the educational system for their kids. Sound familiar? They’re like most people everywhere. If Arabs aren’t all angry and are not all the same, then the other myth is that they’re all so different that they don’t really constitute a world at all. What we find in our polling is something quite different. Yes, they are unique cultures in different ways, and they have different kinds of backgrounds that play out in important ways in shaping them. But there are also some common threads that unite them as a people and those common threads are critical and cannot be ignored. When we ask people how they selfidentify, Arab is near the top in their rating. But when we ask them if Arab identity is important to [them], it is to about 80-85 percent across the board. We ask them what it means to them. It’s a series of common

and shared political concerns that fuse them to the rest of the polity in the region. When we asked Moroccans, “How important is the Palestine issue to you?” Or ask people in the Emirates, or ask people in Egypt or Lebanon or Jordan? It comes in the top ranking among 50 percent to two-thirds of the population. That’s important, and it’s a shared issue. It’s not a foreign policy question to them. It was something that was happening to them far away but speaking to their heart about themselves and about their vulnerability, and it’s a hurt. When America ignores it, we do so at great risk of making huge mistakes as we have continually made in that region. The last of the myths is this issue that Arabs don’t change. I use a story, it’s actually a poem from pre-Islamic times, and I call it the “Frozen Camel.” The poet describes a camel in the desert; the camel is running and the poet senses fear in the camel’s eyes. At one point the camel stops and the poet stops and he looks back and he is afraid of the danger that he has been running from. But as he looks forward, the poet notes fear again because he doesn’t know where he’s going. It’s a situation that’s not just true of the Arab world today but is true about everybody. It actually describes almost every critical period in history. Now, in the Arab world the transformation is so rapid that it has caused this kind of insecurity in many ways. If you look at Abu Dhabi or Riyadh, the first time I went there was in the late 1970s, early ’80s. But if you think about, if you just went back 20 years before, in the ’50s, Riyadh had 45,000 people and it was mostly mud and brick. Today it has 4.5 million people and it works. To think that in just 60 years the rapidness of that transformation of this area into a metropolis with power and water and the arteries of transportation that actually move people in the right direction. It’s almost magical that it works. Abu Dhabi is the same thing, on a smaller scale. It was about 10,000 to 15,000 in the ’50s and today it’s a 1.5 million people. Now what happens in the context of that rapid change is some insecurity. If you want to understand the phenomenon of fundamentalism – the problem with fundamentalism in the South when you go back when you had movements of the sort that we had in the ’20s and ’30s after World War I, you had

more urbanization. What that urbanization meant was that guys coming in from the farm moved into the city and reacted to the city’s ways and looked for a way to purify and be good solid Baptists, because that was the good way and these are the evil city ways. So you have this phenomenon of fundamentalism everywhere in the world. And change is coming; We asked people in Saudi Arabia how they feel about women in the workplace and about three-quarters say that they think it’s a good idea. The book explores the myths, it tells some stories, and it talks about the interests and how we don’t know enough to meet those interests. We’re victims of our own ignorance in that regard, and because of our ignorance our leaders have been able to sell us a bill of goods. If you were a baseball player and had the same batting average as these guys, you wouldn’t be in the minor leagues; you’d be in jail for forfeiting contract. I think there are areas of getting it right that need to be built upon. I wasn’t always a fan of our A.R.D. [Agriculture and Rural Development] programs. But actually what began with Karen Hughes and I don’t want to take a lot of credit for it, but I think some of it came from a long conversation she and I had. Don’t give people what they don’t want. Give them what they are asking for, and let them in part define what sort of aid they want. It’s all like helping the little old lady across the street when she doesn’t want to go. See where she wants to go and then maybe offer her help. We’ve changed our programs. Now our programs are actually partnerships. We ask people in the region what they want, and then we see if we can actually work with them. We find a local partner and we work with a local partner to promote the entrepreneurial training program. I remember one of the things I did in the ’90s was called Builders for Peace with Vice President Gore. I was on the economic summit in Casablanca running the session on the Palestinian economy. We had three members from the Palestinian economy there and at the end of the program they were talking about what they needed to happen and the impediments to economic growth. Some guy comes up to me, he was a very young person, he basically had one job when he got out of school and that

was working for A.I.D. [Agency for International Development], he did it for four years. So he came up to me and said, “I just got the $9.3 million contracts from A.I.D.

“In the Arab world, the

transformation is so rapid that it has caused this insecurity in many ways.” to teach entrepreneurialism to Palestine in the West Bank, could I meet the ministers? I want to talk to them about what my plans are.” I told one of the ministers and he said, “What? That’s the aid they promised us. They never talked to us about this.” Basically the thing is, if you know Palestinians, they don’t need to be taught entrepreneurialism. You know, a couple nickels and they’ll do business with you. They wanted to free up the economic environment to do business, not have some kid who had never held a job in his life teach them how to be entrepreneurs. So now they’ve changed that, and it’s a good thing. I have enormous respect for some of the U.S. corporations operating in the region that are actually some of the best public diplomats we have. One of the people I interview and write about in the book tells me, “We love your country. We sometimes don’t think your country loves us; we sometimes feel like jilted lovers a little bit, but the difference between you and Germany and Japan and China, the other great exporters, is they export products, but you export a way of life and people here want a piece of that.” Which is why they’ll go to a Starbucks, which is why they’ll go to McDonalds. Do they hate our way of life? No. They actually like it; they actually like us as people. But they don’t feel we like them and frankly, if you judge us not by what we say about ourselves but by what we’ve done, the record doesn’t speak well to how we have treated them. Ω This program was made possible by the generous support of Silicon Valley Bank.

J U N E/J U LY 2011



MEDiCINE Warning against “inauthentic” reformers, Berwick explains his priorities. Excerpt from “Modernizing Medicare and Medicaid: How to Upgrade America’s Health Care,” December 14, 2010.

Dr. Donald m. berwick M.D., M.P.P., Administrator, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)


MS [the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services] feels to me day-to-day like three organizations at once. First, it’s a large insurance company. It’s the largest insurer in our country, and [it’s] responsible for making sure that the flows of reports occur for the 100 million people in the programs that we administer. The second component of CMS has to do with this new legislation, the Affordable Care Act,



the most important piece of legislation since Medicare and Medicaid were founded. CMS has a big role in translating that law into rules, regulations and real activity. What I’m bringing to CMS is the third role, and it has to do with the improvement of care in our nation. I proposed a rubric for my time there and the sort of image that I would like to have of CMS: That we will be, and are, a major force and a trustworthy partner for the continual improvement of

JU NE/JU LY 2011

Illustration by Steven Fromtling


the health and health care for all Americans. That’s a carefully worded idea. A major force imagines an organization that is proactive, that is reaching out into the future and not just accepting things as they are, but also helping things get better. A trustworthy partner is key; it is more and more evident to me that no single organization in our entire country – government, private, public, CMS – can do the job we need to do to get America to reach the health-care system that we all want. It has to be done together. And we have to be the best possible partner across all the boundaries that we have, getting all the stakeholders in the health-care system together. A major force and a trustworthy partner for the continual improvement, and that’s important also. It’s all too easy – especially in a stressed status quo – to check the good enough box. That’s not what American health care needs right now; we need a different attitude, an attitude of continued improvement, never done and never finished, no matter what you’ve done or what you’re doing. I’m very interested in helping that organization get oriented toward the continued improvement of care. A major force and a trustworthy partner for the continual improvement of the health and health care – that’s important, also. Health care is the obvious job, because we fund and support the delivery of care, but if you work from the science we have, you know that the access to what we really want – vital lives, long lives, healthy lives – isn’t really achieved through the health-care system. Only 10 percent of the variation of health status can be achieved through health care. The other 90 percent depends on some things we can’t control, like genetics, but a lot of things we can, like behavioral choices. Effects in our environment, social and economic disparities, are the generators of bad health, the things we can do differently to be healthier. I’m interested in a CMS that’s interested in health as well as health care and is thinking very hard about how to build a healthy society that turns to health care only as a last resort, when the health-giving choices of our community and society have been exhausted. Continual health and health care for all Americans, and that’s just a statement of fact. My job is of the well-being of a particular vulnerable subgroup of our country, the 100

million beneficiaries in Medicare, Medicaid and CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program). But I know that to navigate our country together toward the health-care system that we want and need, it would be foolish to pretend that we could shape health care on behalf of the 100 million of our neighbors and not do it for all of us. We’ve got to be partners with all the other stakeholders that are responsible for other members of society. Now, the trampoline for all of that is the Affordable Care Act. It is an extraordinary piece of public policy. The Affordable Care Act is full of answers. It answers the needs of a lot of our neighbors and us. Thirty-two million people who previously wouldn’t have health-care coverage will, one way or another, find health-care coverage through the Affordable Care Act. It’s an answer to them. It’s an answer to people with chronic illness in this country, people who have been told by their insurance company that they are uninsurable because they need care. The Affordable Care Act changes that; over time, all people can have access to coverage. It’s an answer to young people, under 26, who will now be covered by their parents’ policy. They would otherwise find themselves floating as they find their legs in the mature life ahead of them. It helps small business through subsidies. It helps people at the margins of low-income find their way toward insurance. It’s an answer to our country. Providing a sense of security to so many more of us so that we won’t have to wake up in the morning asking ourselves if we’ll have access to the health-care coverage we want. We won’t be bankrupted because of our health-care needs. Along with that set of answers comes a set of questions. The key question with respect to the future is: It’s great that we have better coverage and can get the coverage we want and need, but what care? Coverage of what system? It feels like there are almost two parts to this tectonic change in our stewardship of our health-care system. Phase one is making sure people can get the coverage and care they need; it’s well underway now. But the second phase, one that requires even more dedication, has to do with shaping a care system that is sustainable. We know that the health-care system, as it currently functions, isn’t sustainable and it wouldn’t have been sustainable even if we

didn’t supply the expanded coverage from the Affordable Care Act. It’s not sustainable because of its fragmentation, the fact that we build a health-care system in pieces instead of as an entirety; it exists in events instead of journeys. What we know from science, and certainly our own experiences, is that it’s not what we need. It’s certainly not for those of us with chronic illness or ongoing needs who are making the journey through our health-care system at different times. A sustainable health-care system has to make sense for those who need it today, and unfortunately, our health-care system does not. I’ve talked for years about the three-part aim that I’ve now proposed [should] become the rubric for the achievements of [CMS]. A major force for the continual improvement of the health and health care for all Americans. What do I mean by improvement? I mean three things. One is better care for the sick. Better care for individuals: safe, effective, efficient, timely, equitable care. That’s not an unfair request, and it’s not out of reach. In The New England Journal of Medicine [in the November 25, 2010, issue] is a report from North Carolina by Chris Landrigan and his team tracking 10 hospitals in North Carolina from 2002 to 2007 to study the cause [of ] injuries to patients. This is the harm part, the safety part: People get hurt in hospitals, they get infections they shouldn’t get. They get pressure ulcers that could have been avoided; I visited a senior center that had zero pressure ulcers, so that can be achieved. But we’re not there, and better health care for all individuals would mean a vast investment to make hospitals as safe as they can possibly be, which would be much safer than what it is today. The kind of safety we’ve come to expect from our automobile or in our hotel room should be expected when it comes to our health care too. Patient-centeredness, the dignity to be honored as an individual with respect to what they know and what they can contribute. Timeliness, efficiency, equity – we can do far better, but we’re not there yet. But that’s just one aim; the second aim has to be about the things that bring us into the hospital in the first place. Our heart attacks, strokes, consequences of substance abuse, and the unwise choices we make lead to care in the first place and we can do a ton about that. An enormous percent of things that lead us to illness are things that we can

control. Now, we have been giving lip service to prevention in this country since the words lip service have been invented, but we have not invested in it at the level we could. The Affordable Care Act improves that; we now have, under Medicare, well-adult visits at no cost to the medical beneficiary every single year. That’s the second aim: better care and better health for populations. The third aim is to do it all for less. Lower cost through improvement; that’s the secret. I’m not talking about hurting a single hair on a person’s head, I’m not talking about withholding a particle of data, but through an agenda of improvement we can lower costs of health care. We know it can be done. That’s the three-part goal that I feel properly represents the social need that the Affordable Care Act encapsulates, whether we’re talking about Medicare or another source of support or care for people. Better care, better health, better cost. But all of this will involve change, and I think CMS, in partnership with those many other stewards of health care within our nation who are willing to shoulder the burden of finding a [health-] care system, can do better. That leads me to my final thought, a key word, really: authenticity. Let me explain what I mean. Change is hard, but it’s the only way to improvement. In this enormous industry where so much is invested in the status quo, there will be two different voices for better health. One will be authentic; they’ll be the real partners and want to work together, not just with CMS but also with everybody, to try to birth better care, better health, and lower costs for all Americans. But another voice, hopefully a minority, is inauthentic. Those that are so invested in the status quo that they’re smart enough to grab the new words. But they will only use those words to cloak the current reality. They become cloaks for the status quo, and that’s inauthentic. The partners that I will seek with CMS are the authentic ones, the ones for whom change is not just acknowledged as necessary but also embraced because in the end it’s what we want for our families and ourselves. In that authentic search, you will have no better a partner than CMS and no more willing a colleague than me. Ω This program was made possible by the generous support of the California HealthCare Foundation.

J U N E/J U LY 2011



Two married ex-spies describe life in the CIA and their lives after leaving the spying business. Excerpt from “Dayna & Robert Baer: A Husband and Wife True-Life Spy Story,” March 29, 2011. Dayna & Robert Baer Former CIA Operatives; Authors, The Company We Keep robert rosenthal Executive Director, The Center for Investigative Reporting ROSENTHAL: Dayna, tell us why you joined the CIA. DAYNA: I did my undergrad at Berkeley, then I was getting a masters in social welfare at UCLA. I just went through on-campus recruiting. It wasn’t like they had a booth and CIA people were there recruiting; this wasn’t out in the open. But they had a little poster up somewhere, and I just sort of threw my résumé in a pile. I didn’t read spy books when I was a kid or anything like that, but I was intrigued with the possibility of travel and something a little different from what I grew up with. ROSENTHAL: Robert, one of the interesting things in your book was your very personal account of the impact of your life on your family. Why did you choose to get into that in this book? ROBERT: This book is about alienation.



When I was 10 years old, my mother divorced and took me to Europe for three years. [We] lived in a car essentially, driving all around Europe; we drove to Moscow. So the whole idea of exile, abandonment, leaving family behind was part of my life. It wasn’t something strange. I could get up and leave and go somewhere, and I think that’s why the CIA hired me. I was 22 years old. I was studying Mandarin at Berkeley. I didn’t even have a place to live. I was sleeping on the couch of a friend. He suggested I get a job, and as a joke I called the Federal Center here, and asked for the CIA. Seriously; it was that random. ROSENTHAL: Dayna, tell us how you met and the circumstances of your assignment, and what your first impression was of this guy. DAYNA: Well, first of all, my training was a

JU NE/JU LY 2011

totally different path than Bob’s. I trained to learn how to blend in any situation and be invisible. I went through a lot of weapons training, high-speed driving and crazy skills. You know, you can learn to drive at 70 miles per hour and run a car off the road. All these really useful skills. I was also trained to do a lot of surveillance work: Could you sit at a bus stop for four hours without anybody noticing you – anywhere in the world? A lot of disguise, that type of thing. I was assigned to work for an operation that Bob was doing in Sarajevo. I showed up and I was just told to meet “Harold” at a restaurant in town. I show up, and he’s driving a lime-green car that’s got Orangina plastered down the side. So, the sparks, at first, were not – there was nothing like that. In fact, I was a little concerned for my team’s welfare at that point.

Spy The

Who Loves Me

Photos by Ed Ritger

ROSENTHAL: In the book you get into detail about the placement [in Sarajevo] of the parabolic microphone [a secret listening device] and how it’s monitored. I guess that was one thing you were allowed to describe. ROBERT: Yeah. By the way, every word of the book was cleared by the CIA. It’s just not worth it to be a whistleblower up against the CIA. DAYNA: When you join there, you sign something that says anything you write basically for public consumption has to be cleared by them, so we worked with them for about a year to make sure this book was cleared. It’s also the reason why we can’t really give prepared speeches. ROBERT: We can’t talk from notes. DAYNA: In an apartment building, the parabolic mic can read through walls, across the river, into another building on the other side of the Miljacka River, that runs right through Sarajevo. It was getting us names and addresses, and we were coordinating that with taking photos of license plates. The whole idea was to match it all up and run down who these people were. Once we got this information, then what were we going to do with it? We’re in Sarajevo; it’s not like

you could call the DMV. How do you get where these people live and exactly who their names are? That led into more of what Bob’s job was, and that was to try to recruit somebody. We targeted a local policeman who could help us possibly run traces on the information that we got. ROSENTHAL: This question comes from the audience, about a female’s role in the intelligence world and the unique things you may be asked to do or skills you bring. ROBERT: It’s a lot easier for a woman to carry a pistol, because the last person they suspect in a room if things go bad is the petite woman pulling a pistol and starting to shoot people. As apposed to the guy with a buzz haircut, in a vest, because you immediately suspect him. The CIA has figured this out, how to go invisible when it wants to. DAYNA: It’s so much easier for a woman to do a lot of things. You’re just less noticeable and less suspicious. I did lots of different things. In Athens, I rode a motorcycle that had a camera attached to the back of it, and it was just easier for me to ride it in, a beat-up old motorcycle with a helmet on my head, and park it and turn a camera on to watch something.

There really is a big need and a role for women that makes it easier in the work that I did. My job was called an operations officer, so that really ran the gamut of a lot of different sort of things. A woman in a lot of the countries where Bob worked would have had a lot harder time, not just because that’s the way those cultures worked. ROBERT: They’re male chauvinists. A woman can’t call up a man and say, “Hey, do you want to go out to dinner? I’m not going to tell you why,” and not [have him] think that something else is going on. ROSENTHAL: That’s true here too. ROBERT: I mean, try that in Saudi Arabia. You know, I had women working for me. What I found is that they were more meticulous in their reporting. They’re better at the detail, checking sub-sources, getting the complete story than men are when you’re debriefing somebody. ROSENTHAL: You’re no longer in the agency, but explain your leaving. DAYNA: Like I said, we met during this operation in Sarajevo that went bad. By the way, during that whole operation he did not know my true name. We didn’t connect again until we were back at headquarters

J U N E/J U LY 2011




agents] are better at the detail, checking sub-sources,

getting the complete story than men are when you’re debriefing somebody.” and I was walking down a hallway and he said, “Hey, Riley.” I turned around and said, “Oh, sorry, it’s Dayna.” He asked me to dinner and things snowballed from there. ROBERT: I proposed, “Let’s take a hiking trip in the Alps.” DAYNA: And, for some crazy reason, I accepted. We continued to work for a little over a year after that, but the CIA is a big, huge place, and my job was different from his. I was sent on other operations overseas and he was sent a couple places. We both had former marriages to people outside of the CIA that, in my case, failed because there’s too much alienation and separation. There’s no emails or calling home, because you’re working under a different name. It’s easy to see how those sorts of relationships don’t survive all that. Bob has three children from a prior marriage that didn’t know he was in the CIA until many, many years later. Once we saw that here we were, trying to be a couple – unfortunately, and it may have changed in the years since we’ve gone, it’s very difficult to find a two-career assignment everywhere. Besides, Bob was sort of the Pigpen of the CIA. He always had this little dirty cloud following him around because he was always getting in trouble for one thing or the other. Any chief of a country that was going to take me was going to look twice at taking Bob, because he was always a risky business person. So we’d be separated again, and we’d already been through that and lost marriages. Bob was sort of at the end of his career. He talked me into leaving. I took a leave of



absence, just cause I wasn’t sure how things were going to work out between the two of us. We moved to Beirut right after we left. ROBERT: I promptly got her into trouble. DAYNA: We promptly met a Gulf prince living in exile in Beirut because he was trying to overthrow his country, and we became friends. We went to his house in Damascus. We met his friends, a nice banker and his wife. One night back in Beirut, we were having dinner with the banker and his wife, and the banker leaned over and said, “I’ve got a really good business plan. Let’s borrow money from the Gulf prince, and then we’ll just have him killed and we won’t have to pay it back.” We got home that night, and I said, “This isn’t really a good business plan.” That was another country we had to pack up and move out from very quick. We left all our new appliances and all our new furniture we just bought, figuring we’d certainly spent a while in a rough trade, but we weren’t assassins, and just hanging out with people who were proposing murder for hire was probably not a good idea. We went to Iraq. ROBERT: I told Dayna, “The war is coming in 2003, and my friends live in the western desert in Ramadi. I’ve known them for years, they’re Bedouin, very close, pillars of Saddam’s regime.” I figured the friendship was so close we could go and spend the war with them and wait for the American invasion. DAYNA: ABC News asked us to go do this. ROBERT: Wait for it and film it. They called up one day and left a voicemail, and Dayna picked it up, and it was ABC News saying my contract was ready. But I’d forgotten to tell Dayna.

JU NE/JU LY 2011

DAYNA: So I promptly reprimanded him for that. Then I sort of got over that. Saddam was sort of his focus for a long time, so I know he wanted to be there for the end of Saddam. So I said, “Fine, go.” But ABC could not find a cameraman willing to go with him to Iraq, so he volunteered me. So ABC trained me to use a camera, and we went to Iraq. The journalists were all gearing up and were all moving between Jordan and Beirut and Damascus at the time, waiting for the appropriate time to be able to go on into Baghdad. We met with Bob’s tribal friends in Damascus and discussed how we were going to get across the border, and they were just like, “You take this dirt trail, and you go across the border, and you call us, and we’ll come and pick you up.” ROBERT: The Syrians promptly detained us when we were trying to get across the border. So I had another plan, and that was a Jordanian prince. There’s a smuggling route, and he said, “There’s no problem at all.” So he sat us down for lunch and said he’d found some Bedouin who he’d give 100 sheep and they’d smuggle us across the border. Dayna is still deferring to me on all these plans, thinking I have knowledge of the Middle East. She knew it was a bad sign when we got a call from the tribes saying there was somebody very important who wants to meet us in Ramadi. They couldn’t tell us who it is on the phone. DAYNA: So we made plans to go in, and we were waiting for our truck that we were going to ride in the back of with 100 sheep across the border, and it became a very sad story, because we got an email that the house and compound where we were going to stay had been hit with six American missiles, and all the people were killed, mostly women and children who had all gathered in one room. We pieced together the story from the people who – we did go into Baghdad with ABC News, and then we did go out to the compound to pay our respects and talk to the people who had survived. It was then that we figured out there had been some sort of military connection where they had – ROBERT: A half-brother of Saddam was waiting to meet us, and we heard this much later. In another house was Saddam, and at this point Saddam was on the run. He had heard of me from the coup that I tried in ’95. So they just assume you’re still in the

CIA or can find the CIA. He wanted to cut a deal. So what happened was outside the house we were supposed to stay in, Saddam’s half-brother, Barzan, made a phone call which was intercepted by whichever national security agency, and that’s when they fired the six missiles down the signal. ROSENTHAL: These were men you’d sort of cultivated, and really the meeting was set up to meet you, and they were killed. So how do you react to that? ROBERT: Dayna does the travel plans now. ROSENTHAL: For most Americans, Iraqis are stereotypes. You knew them as people and friends, so part of your life is creating assets, people you work with, and you develop relationships, which most people don’t understand. DAYNA: It’s very much all about relationships and loyalty and trust. In the spying world, you can have all the gadgets or electronic things, but it’s really that human element. That translates into family, too, because we both had losses and estrangement from family because we had been gone for so long and because we weren’t able to tell people where we were or what we did, that spying is a lot like family. If you don’t tend that human element, you’re going to watch what’s of value just slip away. ROBERT: You go away, and you go to strange places, and people are not interested in hearing your stories. They move on. They make other bonds, and you come back a stranger. You just don’t get to win it back. People ask us why we wrote the book, and this is a book about family, a lot of it. Think of the military: five, six deployments, what they’re asking to give up. I don’t support the wars in Afghanistan or Iraq, but I can tell you what the soldiers are going through. ROSENTHAL: Tell us the story of the failed coup you were involved in in ’95. ROBERT: In 1994, I took two congressional aides to northern Iraq. We were smuggled in by the Kurds. This was Senator Bob Kerry’s aide and Senator Glenn’s aide. I took them to the Zab River, which was the dividing line between Iraqi troops and the Kurdish rebels. Bill Clinton was considered indifferent to foreign policy. Senator Bob Kerry and Senator Glenn decided we really have to try to remove this madman, Saddam Hussein.

The plan was to simply decapitate the regime and leave the system in place, avoid an invasion, get rid of a man who was the problem. I said, “Look, if we set up a base in northern Iraq, we can at least get Iraqi military officers, tank commanders, across the border to let us know if they want to get rid of Saddam.” If they ultimately said, “No,” fine, it’s their country. But they would need American recognition. I was sent as chief of this base, with four other CIA people, in 1995. Went across the border, and almost immediately an Iraqi general approached us representing five senior generals in the Iraqi army and said, “We want to get rid of Saddam.” Their plan was to create some fighting in Baghdad. Saddam’s modus operandi was to go to Tikrit, where he had a palace. At that point, we had a colonel that had 12 tanks, and he was going to take them and their commanders and surround Saddam at his palace and invite him to step down or flatten the palace. The national security advisor, Tony Lake, had not been informed of this coup, even though we’d written in black and white the hour it was going to start. It was going to start at 10 o’clock on March 4, but no one had told Tony Lake or the military. The Iranians found out and started sending platforms to the border, went on full alert. The Turkish army went on full alert, and the Iraqi army went on full alert. [General John] Shalikashvili, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, is getting frantic calls saying, “We’re about to have World War III. What’s going on?” Someone told him, “Oh, by the way, the CIA is doing a coup.” He went through the ceiling, called Lake

up at four in the morning and Lake found Clinton and called him into the Oval Office and said, “I can’t be national security advisor if the CIA is doing illegal coups.” He didn’t know anything about these messages. Somebody at the White House calls the attorney general and the FBI. Neither knows that this has all been documented. So my team comes back from Iraq; we’re met by the FBI on murder charges. When you get the national security advisor screaming about you in the Oval Office, you know your career has been sidetracked. ROSENTHAL: You were not a solo actor; you were being directed. ROBERT: Absolutely. I was smart enough to know when I was in Iraq that this was very bad. In the CIA there’s a very strict accounting for messages. So I couldn’t actually take the messages, but I turned to my communicator, a special forces major, and I said, “Copy down every number, the time it came in, and the key wording.” So when the investigation started, no one told the FBI about this, and I pulled these papers out and showed the FBI, and the FBI agents were just furious that they’d been drawn into this fiasco. Could we have gotten rid of Saddam? Maybe. But to go back to our story, once you’ve been investigated in the CIA for murder, you’re working in the basement forever, behind the coffee machine. Ω This program was made possible by the generous support of Sierra Steel Trading.

“Bob was the Pigpen of the CIA. He had this little

dirty cloud following

him around because he was always getting


trouble for one thing or the other.”

J U N E/J U LY 2011



Dr. Michio Kaku (Continued from page 9)

would come to be; by thinking, he could create objects, move objects. There are perks to being a god. Venus had a perk; if you were Venus you’d have a perfect body. Apollo had a chariot. Yes, we will have flying cars by 2100. There is also Pegasus; flying horses and animals that are beyond today’s technology are also a possibility. Arthur C. Clarke, the science fiction writer, once said that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. What I’m going to try to tell you today is that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from divinity. When you learn about Greek mythology, you learn that most of the gods were fools. They spent their time creating mischief. So when we have the power of the gods, will we have the wisdom of Solomon needed to wield this divine power? Let us predict what a computer will look like in the next 20, 50 and 100 years. There is something called Moore’s Law, which simply states that a computer’s power doubles every 18 months. On your birthday, you get a card that sings “Happy Birthday” to you; that card has more computing power than the whole of the allied forces in 1945 combined. Hitler, Eisenhower would have killed to get that chip, and what do you do with it? You throw it away. In 2020, computer chips will be about 1,000 times cheaper, more powerful than they are today. That means a chip will cost about a penny. Ask yourself a simple question: Where do we find electricity today? Electricity is in the floor, in the walls and in the ceiling; electricity is everywhere and nowhere. Where is running water? Running water is under our feet, in the walls and in the ceiling; running water is everywhere and nowhere. How do you pay for it? You meter it. You meter electricity, which is invisible, and you meter running water. That’s the future of the computer. The computer will disappear; it will go into the fabric of our life. It will be everywhere and nowhere, and we will meter it in the cloud. Then after 2020, the Moore’s Law curve collapses, which means that Silicon Valley could become a Rust Belt in 2020. Every decade we have a revolution. In the ’60s, computers were mainframes: huge, gigantic computers the size of a room. In the ’70s, computers were mini computers



JU NE/JU LY 2011

the size of my podium. In the ’80s, it was a PC. In the ’90s, the Internet dominated our discussion. Then, in the 2000s, it was ubiquitous computing, and chips left the computer. When a chip goes into a telephone, it becomes a cell phone. When a chip goes into a typewriter, it becomes a word processor. So ubiquitous computing is when chips disappear into the environment. In the 2010-decade, we will have advanced sensors that can detect cancer 10 years before a cancer forms; beyond that, [we’ll have] the power of a god and mind control over computers.

Staying connected


et’s talk about what the Internet will look like in the future. First of all, the Internet of the next 10 years will be in your glasses. Your glasses will have the ability to recognize people’s faces. So the next time you run into somebody, you won’t have to say, “Who is this person?” Your glasses will say, “It’s Jim, stupid. How many times do I have to tell you? You met him at last year’s conference.” If your friend speaks Chinese, no problem; your glasses will translate Chinese into English as they speak. This is also available today. So Internet glasses will be trendy in the future. Kids will say, “What? You don’t have the latest Internet glasses? You can’t download the movies you want in your glasses?” Models will showcase Internet glasses, and they’ll become an artifact of high fashion. There is a problem here: let’s say you don’t wear glasses. What do you do? If you don’t wear glasses, then you put them in your contact lens. In the future when you have the Internet in your contact lens, you blink and you go online. Who will buy these contacts lenses first? College students who are taking their final exams will line up to get these things. They’ll say, “What? You had to memorize all the sines and cosines? You had to memorize all the amino acids? Why bother? You can look them up anyway.” The second people to buy these things will be artists, because you’ll be able to create anything you want simply by waving your hands. Who else will buy these contacts lenses? Architects. Today it takes weeks to build models of your apartment house, towers and buildings, and if you want to change it, you can forget it, because it will take another few weeks to rearrange all the units. In

the future you’ll simply blink and rearrange these things with your hands. In other words, for you “Star Trek” fans, this is the holodeck. You’ll be able to recreate any environment by blinking. Tourists will simply love these things. The Chinese are taking a huge step in this direction. Outside of Beijing, there is the Summer Palace that is now being animated, so as you walk the grounds you see what it looked like in the 1800s before it was burned down by the French and the British. The military is now looking into this. I flew down to Fort Benning in Georgia with a film crew from the Science Channel. I put on a helmet with an eyepiece and saw the entire battlefield, with friendly forces, enemy forces and airplanes. All of it was in my eyepiece. Now, virtual reality is for children. Children like virtual reality because they can fight against aliens, flying saucers and

“After 2020, the Moore’s

Law curve collapses, which means that Silicon Valley could become a

Rust Belt.”

tles, but you’ll also have X-ray vision. Lets say you’re a fighter pilot on a very expensive fighter jet, and the enemy flies underneath you. At that point you are blind, and you’re dead meat. The enemy is now beneath you and behind you. In the future, we will put a TV camera underneath the airplane, the camera will shoot the image right into your camera lens and you’ll be able to see right between your legs. This is X-ray vision. When a chip jumps into your wristwatch, it becomes an Internet wristwatch. We can put the entire Internet in your wristwatch. When a chip jumps into a telephone, it becomes a cell phone, but we all know that the cell phone has a tiny keyboard. In the future you will simply scroll out of your cell phone intelligent paper. A huge, intelligent, flexible screen will come out with a giant keyboard. This is called flexible paper. Every dot on the screen [will be] a transistor, an organic light-emitting diode. It’s also the future of wallpaper. Our grandkids will wonder, “How did grandma and grandpa live in a world where everything was dumb? Wallpaper was wallpaper and everything was stupid.” Intelligent wallpaper is coming. It’s flexible and has the power of chips, because chips only cost a penny. Have you ever tried to remove wallpaper from a room? I did once, and I’ll never do it again in my life. In the future, you’ll simply go to the wall and say, “Wall,

stuff like that. Adults will have augmented reality. This is how we will live in the next 10 or 20 years. Augmented reality is when you impose virtual information on top of reality, so you always know whom you are talking to, because the biography of the person always appears. This comes in very handy. In The Terminator, remember how Arnold Schwarzenegger would find his prey? His eyepiece would lock onto John Connor and make a printout of his biography. That’s how we will live in the future. You will always know who you’re looking at, whom you’re talking to, what they’re talking about, because it’s translated and interpreted on the fly. The uses of this are enormous. Not only can you see people’s biographies and subtiJ U N E/J U LY 2011



a military weapon was given away for free and changed world history.

Everything’s smarter


change color.” Redecorating your house has never been simpler. Today, pictures in your wallet do nothing. They just sit there in your wallet and look stupid. But in the future, pictures will move in your wallet – because chips only cost a penny. And what will your living room of the future look like? We will have 360-degree wall screens surrounding us. Now, some people don’t like the Internet, because they say it’s cold and mechanical. Some people don’t like technology because it’s dehumanizing to them. When the Internet was first created by the Pentagon, it wasn’t made just so teenagers could Facebook each other. It was a military weapon, a male-dominated military weapon created to win a war against Russia. It was male,


gods can

control things with

their minds – that is, until the computer revolution.” but now the Internet is female. It’s about 51-percent female, in fact. It’s about touching people; it’s no longer about dominating the Soviet Union. In 1989, as the Soviet bloc was breaking up, the National Science Foundation gave away this Internet for free,



V sets will have 3D movies without those clunky glasses. A TV screen has many vertical lines, and each vertical line is a prism. This vertical line splits the image in half; one half goes to your left eye and one half goes to your right eye. That’s how you get 3D television without glasses. What about the office of the future? We will have penny disposable scrap computers. That sounds impossible, right? How can a computer be scrap unless it’s obsolete? It’s because chips will cost a penny; therefore, you’ll scribble on something and then throw it away. As you go from room to room, the scribble follows you; your file follows you as you go from room to room, because your software is in the cloud. Software becomes more important than hardware, because hardware is disposable. Cars of the future will be driverless, because GPS will take over and drive your car. Driverless cars already exist; in fact, I had a chance to drive one. BBC Television put me in [one]. Here I was with two hands on the steering wheel driving this car when the cameraman says, “OK, let go.” I let go of the steering wheel and the car drove itself. There is radar in the fender. This is actually safer than a human being. Human beings get drunk, human beings fall asleep, human beings like to drag race, and human beings like to show off. Computers never show off, never get drunk and never fall asleep, so these computer-navigated, driverless cars are actually safer than human beings. That was the next 10 to 20 years when chips escape into the environment and change our life. But what happens midcentury? Midcentury computers will be so powerful that we will control them with the mind. Just like the movie Surrogates, with Bruce Willis, where we mentally control robots or, of course, Avatar, where we mentally control clones. Telepathy and telekinesis, they are the powers of a god. Only gods can move objects with their minds; only gods can control things with their minds – that is, until the computer revolution. With the computer revolution, we can make toys that read your mind. Boys or girls can put a helmet on their heads that will interpret radio signals, which

JU NE/JU LY 2011

are emitted from the brain, and then from that energize toys. This reminds me of one of my favorite “Star Trek” episodes. On “Star Trek” they land on a planet where there is Apollo, the Greek god. The crew of the Enterprise is overwhelmed because 23rd-century technology is useless against a god. But then they say to themselves, “Wait a minute, there is no such thing as a god. This guy must have a power source.” So they locate the power source. He mentally controls the power source, and the power source does all the magic tricks. They destroy the power source and Apollo the god becomes a mortal. And that’s how we’re going to do it. All of us will have a power source; we’ll access it mentally and it will carry out our wishes. How does it work? You can put a chip in somebody’s brain, someone who is paralyzed, in fact; that chip is connected to a laptop computer and that person can manipulate the laptop. He can write emails and surf the web, even if he is totally immobilized. At Brown University they can take a stroke victim who is, for all intents and purposes, a vegetable that cannot communicate and has tremendous brain damage, put a chip in this person’s brain, and now this person can surf the web. In Japan they go even further than that. You can take humans, put sensors on the human’s head that understand brain patterns and hook it up to a robot. Unfortunately, we don’t have these robots in Japan now cleaning up the reactor accident. Wouldn’t it be great if we had these worker-controlled robots working in lethal radiation fields making repairs? We don’t have that today because this is still very experimental. If we had this today, we could clean up the mess very rapidly. We can also use them as a form of mind reading, to a degree. When you tell the truth, the brain doesn’t light up under MRI scans. But when you tell a lie, you have to know the truth, create the lie, then you have to check the consistency of the lie with all the other lies you’ve been telling all these years, and that is a lot of brain power. Your mind lights up like a Christmas tree. In my book I make hundreds of predictions. Every single one based on a prototype or a demonstration of principle, because I’m not a science-fiction writer. I want hardnosed facts.

Question and answer session with John Zipperer, vice president of media & editorial at The Commonwealth Club ZIPPERER: An audience member asks, Will we be able to read minds in the future? KAKU: We have a certain degree of mind reading even today, because we can read the MRI scans and detect patterns. In Japan, not only do they want to read minds, but they want to photograph dreams. Now, that might sound impossible, but we’ve actually made the first steps in the [scientific] literature to photograph a dream. Some people might have seen Leonardo DiCaprio in the movie Inception, and that’s not out of the question. Here is how you do it: You show a pixel of light to a person and the optical part of their brain lights up; one dot, one pixel, one pattern. Then you move that pixel until, sooner or later, you find the patterns in the back of the brain corresponding to all possible locations of the pixel. Then you put two pixels, and sure enough the locations in the brain are the sum of the two patterns. This means that if you show a collection of pixels, the computer can tell what you’re looking at by looking at your brain scan. So they tested it. They took a patient, they gave them lights in a different pattern – a star or a “U” or a circle – and the computer correctly identified it. The place where you dream is the same place where you see things optically so, in the [research] paper, they said their next step is to photograph a dream. ZIPPERER: We have a question about energy, but I want to first take it to something you’ve been in the news discussing quite a bit lately: the nuclear crisis in Japan. Could you give us an update on where it is now and what you think is happening next? KAKU: The reactors are hanging by a thread right now. Radiation levels are near-lethal in Unit 2. If you stand near the radioactive water in Unit 2, you will come down with enough radiation in one hour to give you radiation sickness – hemorrhaging, vomiting, nausea. If you stay there for six hours, the first deaths will start. But where is the radiation coming from? We think it’s coming from core damage, which also means there’s probably a crack in the containment structure and the vessel, allowing radioactive water to go into the

environment. We’re not sure, because it’s so radioactive, a human can’t go in very long to take pictures. There’s a best-case scenario and a worstcase scenario. The best-case scenario is that the brave firemen can keep shooting hosewater to keep the core and the spent fuel ponds covered with water at any given time. Then it’ll take a few years to clean up the mess. The worst-case scenario is that radiation escalates, workers have to evacuate [because] it’s too dangerous for workers to work there. Then you’re in freefall; without the firemen shooting hosewater into the reactors, the reactor heats up, boils off its water and then, exposed, you have a hydrogen gas explosion or a heat explosion that blows the whole thing apart, and it’s Chernobyl all over again. The nightmare could be even worse than Chernobyl. We have three nuclear power stations that are in various stages of melting down. My solution to the problem is: Do what Gorbachev did in 1986. Gorbachev, realizing that the utility people could not handle the crisis, called out the Red Air Force and they buried the sucker in sand, concrete and boric acid – 5,000 tons worth. I would suggest that the prime minister of Japan remove the utility from leadership, bring in the Japanese air force with helicopters and sand and boric acid and concrete, and bury the reactors in a sarcophagus of concrete. That’s the last resort, but I think we’re coming close to that last resort pretty soon. ZIPPERER: People have been re-evaluating

nuclear power since the crisis began. An audience member asks: What alternative sources of producing energy do you support? KAKU: Nuclear energy is the Faustian bargain. Faust was the mythical figure who sold his soul to the devil for unlimited power. The Japanese have made that Faustian bargain. They don’t have much oil, they don’t have much coal, they don’t have much hydro. So they’ve thrown the dice with nuclear energy, but they fooled themselves with how dangerous nuclear energy potentially is. ZIPPERER: So how long do we have to wait until there is a safe, highly productive alternative? KAKU: Fossil fuels are quite efficient. Pound for pound, oil and gasoline have more energy than a car battery, because gasoline represents concentrated sunlight since the time of the dinosaurs. Very efficient. But, every year, fossil fuels go up in price, because it’s erratic and we’re dependent upon the Middle East. But solar and hydrogen go down every year in cost. In about 10 years’ time, the two curves will cross. When they cross, there will be a sea change, because at that point, it’s economical, it’s profitable to go solar, but not now. Solar power is about twice as expensive, depending on how you count, than oil or coal. Beyond that, by 2030 fusion power becomes an option, where seawater is the basic fuel. Ω This program was made possible by the generous support of National Semiconductor.

J U N E/J U LY 2011



The Commonwealth Club Business Council Profile


Q&A with Rhonda Zygocki, Executive Vice President, Policy and Planning Energy is a fast-changing industry these days. What is Chevron’s approach to staying a leader? Zygocki: While our business is massive and dynamic, success has a lot to do with getting the basics right. That involves operating day-in, day-out safely and reliably, being very good about finding new oil and gas reserves, as well as being able to execute multiple multi-billion dollar projects simultaneously. So when you think about those three things as our basics, we’re a leader in all three of those areas. That says a lot about where we put priority: safety is first and foremost in our operations. It also says a lot about our people. We have a highly skilled and talented workforce around the world, we focus on long-term careers for our employees, and we work hard to ensure that we have a globally mobile workforce in our business, so we can put the right people with the right skills in the right job at the right time. We underpin our strong workforce and asset portfolio with equally strong values. Our values, such as protecting people and the environment, or respecting communities and human rights, really reinforce in us that getting results the right way is the only way. We believe that business and society are inextricably linked. And that leadership in this business is not just about what you give to stakeholders, it’s how you give it. We’re a values-driven company. As our vision states, we want to be admired for people, partnership and performance, not just performance. What do you expect to be the focus of Chevron’s business in the year ahead? Zygocki: Well, 2011 is an interesting year for us. The world needs energy, and more of it. So on one level, we’re going to do what we do every year: focus on producing and developing energy safely and reliably. In 2011, we’re also going to undertake the largest business and social investment in the company’s history. This year, we’ll spend $26 billion alone in a deep queue of projects around the world to meet that demand. For example, one of those projects – the Gorgon Project off of the northwest coast of Western Australia – will not only be one of the largest natural gas projects in the world, but the largest project that will inject and store carbon dioxide. Of course, here in the U.S., getting back to work in the Gulf of Mexico is very high on the agenda this year. We’re a significant operator in the deep water of the Gulf of Mexico, with big developments and exploration projects underway. We worked very hard throughout last year to help the industry raise the bar on operating safely in the deep water and meeting all the new permit requirements for deep water drilling. Here at home in California, we’ll continue to invest in all of our oil and gas operations, our refineries, including energy efficiency and renewables research, and that will include continuing our collaboration with institutions like UC Davis and Cleantech Open to accelerate innovative energy. What are some of the details of Chevron’s social investment programs, and why are they important to you? Zygocki: We have a long history of supporting the communities where we operate around the world. Our approach is not about philanthropy; it’s about partnerships and shared progress. Globally, we focus in three areas: education, economic development and health. You’ll see those same things with respect to our investments here in the Bay Area.

As you can imagine, high on our hiring list are engineers, earth scientists and computer science grads. So recently we’ve partnered with the City of R ichmond, the West Contra Costa Unified School District, and a nonprofit called Project Lead the Way to introduce engineering curriculum to local schools. Hopefully one day we’ll have some Chevron employees come out of that local program. In t he a rea of economic development, we’ve got an exciting new partnership we’ve just Commonwealth started with Grameen America. They are Club Business an innovative microfinance institution that Council Member focuses on microloans to low-income entreCompany: preneurs. Our grant to them will help them Chevron to launch their first West Coast branch right Industry: Energy here in the Bay Area. Headquartered in: San Ramon, In the area of health, we’ve long been California involved in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Our Founded: 1879 partnerships go back many years, first with Number of San Francisco back in the 1980s. They have employees: grown today, with our partnerships ranging 60,000 from the largest private-sector partnership with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, through to multiple partnerships with government agencies in countries in Africa and Asia. This disease impacts many of our largest operations, and it really is in our business interest to help our communities fight it. I can tell you that any progress in this area meets the true definition of shared progress for our business and the community. The Club just turned 108, and Chevron has been a strong supporter for most of those years, currently with the California Innovation series. Why? Zygocki: We both have deep roots in California. We have 10,000 employees and 60,000 jobs that we support indirectly in California. We have a vested interest in the well-being of this state. What brings us together is a shared view that’s core to your mission, in that civil and constructive dialogue is the way to solve problems. Over the years, the open forum that the Club has provided has really showcased issues that are important to Chevron – energy realism, energy efficiency, how to keep California economically competitive – as well as created discussion around how healthy environments, healthy communities, and healthy businesses can coexist. So in a way I believe your mission is actually more relevant today than it was 100 years ago. The need for constructive dialogue is critical, and we look forward to our continued partnership to do just that.

For information on joining The Commonwealth Club’s Business Council, contact Mary Beth Cerjan at (415) 869-5919 or



JU NE/JU LY 2011


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:

MEMBER–LED FORUMS (MLF) Volunteer-driven programs focus on particular fields. Most evening programs include a wine reception.

KQED (88.5 FM) Fridays at 8 p.m. and Saturdays at 2 a.m.

Member-Led Forums Chair

KALW (91.7 FM) Inforum programs on select Tuesdays at 7 p.m.

Dr. Carol Fleming carol.fleming@speechtraining com

KLIV (1590 AM) Thursdays at 7 p.m.

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 Kerry Curtis Marcia Sitcoske GROWNUPS John Milford

KOIT (96.5 FM and 1260 AM) Sundays at 6 a.m. KSAN (107.7 FM) Sundays at 5 a.m. Health & Medicine William B. Grant HUMANITIES George C. Hammond INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS Norma Walden LGBT Stephen Seewer Julian Chang MIDDLE EAST Celia Menczel PERSONAL GROWTH Dr. David K Olkkola PSYCHOLOGY Patrick O’Reilly science & technology Chisako Ress

KNBR (680 and 1050 AM) Sundays at 5 a.m. KFOG (104.5 and 97.7 FM) Sundays at 5 a.m.

Watch Club programs on KGO-DT Plus channel 7.2 or Comcast 194 from 4 – 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Visit for the latest schedule. View streaming video of Club programs at and

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

HARD OF HEARING? To request an assistive listening device, please e-mail Ricardo Esway at or call (415) 869-5911 seven working days before the event. J U N E/J U LY 2011



Eight Weeks Calendar May 30 – July 24 M on


May 30



June 01

6:00 p.m. Dancing on the River 6:00 p.m. Walter Bortz

Postponed Crops, Cattle and Carbon 6:00 p.m. The Pope of Wine 6:00 p.m. Jorge Castenada 7:00 p.m. Muslims and Jews in America




6:00 p.m. FM Afghanistan’s Challenge

6:00 p.m. The Future of Innovation

6:00 p.m. The World Is Dancing 6:00 p.m. Myths About the Railroad




6:00 p.m. FM Exquisite Art of Arthur Szyk 6:00 p.m. FM Michel de Montaigne

11:45 a.m. The California State Budget

6:00 p.m. Brain Plasticity Across the Lifespan

6:00 p.m. Cecile Richards




6:00 p.m. FM The Wagner Problem 6:00 p.m. FM Venus on Fire, Mars on Ice

6:00 p.m. Double Play

2:00 p.m. Chinatown Walking Tour 6:00 p.m. The Health Needs of Children




Independence Day

29 2:00 p.m. North Beach Walking Tour 6:00 p.m. The War Next Door

6:00 p.m. Health Reform Comes to California: Are We Ready?


06 10:00 a.m. Russian Hill Walking Tour 6:00 p.m. Women and Microfinance

Club offices closed




6:00 p.m. FM Nietzche

6:00 p.m. American Museums and the Illicit Antiquities Trade 6:00 p.m. Same Sex-Marriage

6:00 p.m. An Update and Reflection on the Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami






6:00 p.m. The Future of Cloud Computing

6:00 p.m. Omega-3 Breakthrough

JU NE/JU LY 2011

Legend Thu

San Francisco


Free program for members

East Bay


Free program for everyone

Silicon Valley


Members–only program


S at






6:00 p.m. The California Book Awards

Noon FM Why Are Democrats Embattled? Noon FM Salmon Odyssey










1:45 p.m. SF Architecture Walking Tour 6:00 p.m. Enviromental Success Stories

16 6:00 p.m. A New Culture of Learning



6:30 p.m. The Brains Behind the Mind 6:30 p.m. Kim Barker

9:00 a.m. FE Transportation Infrastructure Noon FM Quantitive Easing


July 01















2:00 p.m. North Beach Walking Tour

Noon FM Power Down

6:00 p.m. Farm Together Now

Noon Bastille Day Celebration with Cara Black 1:45 p.m. SF Architecture Walking Tour 6:00 p.m. Threats to American Justice

J U N E/J U LY 2011



Index By Region


June 01 – August 31

Free program for members Free program for everyone Members–only program

San Francisco June wed 01 Postponed Crops, Cattle and Carbon 6:00 p.m. The Pope of Wine 6:00 p.m. Jorge Castenada

THU 23 6:30 p.m.

The Brains Behind the Mind

FRI 24 9:00 a.m. Noon

FE Transportation Infrastruc ture FM Quantitive Easing

MON 27 6:00 p.m.

thu 02 6:00 p.m.

The California Book Awards

FRI 03 Noon Noon

FM Why Are Democrats Embattled? FM Salmon Odyssey

MON 06 6:00 p.m.

Wed 29 2:00 p.m. 6:00 p.m.

North Beach Walking Tour The War Next Door

FM Afghanistan’s Challenge

TUE 07 6:00 p.m.

THU 30 6:00 p.m.

Farm Together Now

The Future of Innovation


The World Is Dancing Myths About the Railroad

WED 06 10:00 a.m. Russian Hill Walking Tour 6:00 p.m. Women and Microfinance

wed 08 6:00 p.m. 6:00 p.m. THU 09 1:45 p.m. 6:00 p.m.

SF Architecture Walking Tour Enviromental Success Stories

Mon 13 6:00 p.m. 6:00 p.m.

FM Exquisite Art of Arthur Szyk FM Michel de Montaigne

tue 14 6:00 p.m.

Cecile Richards

WED 15 6:00 p.m.

Brain Plasticity Across the Lifespan A New Culture of Learning

MON 20 6:00 p.m. 6:00 p.m.

FM The Wagner Problem FM Venus on Fire, Mars on Ice

WED 22 2:00 p.m. 6:00 p.m.

TUE 12 6:00 p.m. 6:00 p.m. WED 13 6:00 p.m.

THU 16 6:00 p.m.

TUE 21 6:00 p.m.

MON 11 6:00 p.m.

THU 14 Noon

Chinatown Walking Tour The Health Needs of Children

FM Nietzche American Museums and the Illicit Antiquities Trade Same Sex-Marriage An Update and Reflection on the Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami

FM Power Down

MON 25 6:30 p.m.

FM What Would Libertarians Do?

TUE 26 5:15 p.m. 6:00 p.m.

De-Stigmatizing Mental Illness Margaret Hoover

WED 27 6:00 p.m. 6:00 p.m.

Jeremy Bailenson FE High Cost Beneficiaries

THU 28 6:00 p.m.

Artists, Statesman and Community

August Mon 01 6:00 p.m. WED 03 6:00 p.m. MON 08 6:00 p.m. 6:00 p.m.

FM Wake up Laughing, Wise up Loving Investing in India Today FM The Philosophy of Yoga in the Bhagavad Gita How Far Would You Go to Save a Marriage?

WED 10 6:00 p.m.

Muslims of India

thu 11 6:00 p.m.

India’s Economic Growth

mon 22 6:00 p.m.

FM Sacred Heritage

TUE 23 6:00 p.m.

Spices of India Cooking and Henna

6:00 p.m.

Bastille Day Celebration with Cara Black SF Architecture Walking Tour Threats to American Justice

TUE 19 6:00 p.m.

The Future of Cloud Computing

WED 24 6:00 p.m.

Bollywood Now

WED 20 6:00 p.m.

Omega-3 Breakthrough

Thu 25 6:00 p.m.

India and Her Fragments

THU 21 2-4 p.m.

North Beach Walking Tour

WED 31 6:00 p.m.


1:45 p.m.

Double Play

Health Reform Comes to California: Are We Ready?

Fri 22 Noon

Foreign Language Groups Free for members. Location: San Francisco Club Office FRENCH, Intermediate Class Thursdays, noon Pierrette Spetz, Graziella Danieli,

Silicon Valley June tue 14 11:45 a.m. The California State Budget

FRENCH, Advanced Conversation Tuesdays, noon Gary Lawrence, (925) 932-2458 GERMAN, Int./Adv. Conversation Wednesdays, noon Sara Shahin, (415) 314-6482

East Bay

ITALIAN, Intermediate Class Mondays, noon Ebe Fiori Sapone, (415) 564-6789


RUSSIAN, Int./Advanced Conversation Mondays, 2 p.m. Rita Sobolev, (925) 376-7889

wed 01 7:00 p.m.

Muslims and Jews in America

THU 23 6:30 p.m.

Kim Barker: The Taliban Shuffle

SPANISH, Intermediate Conversation Tuesdays, noon Isabel Heredia, SPANISH, Advanced (fluent only) Fridays, noon Luis Salvago-Toledo (925) 376-7830



JU NE/JU LY 2011

June 01–02 W ed 0 1 | S a n F r a n c i s c o

W ed 0 1 | E a s t B a y

The Pope of Wine: Alexis Lichine

It’s Complicated: Muslims and Jews in America

Leslie A. Hennessy Jr., Author, The Pope of Wine: The Biography of Alexis Lichine

Salesman, self-promoter, journalist, author, ladies man, war veteran, chateauowner and – above all – French wine enthusiast, Alexis Lichine led a fascinating life and is credited with creating the American market for French wine. In honor of the 60th anniversary of Lichine’s publication The Wines of France, Lichine biographer Hennessy will discuss the wine enthusiast’s intriguing existence and his impact on wine.

Reza Aslan, Co-author, Muslims and Jews in America: Commonalities, Contentions, and Complexities; Contributing Editor, The Daily Beast Aaron Hahn Tapper, Co-author, Muslims and Jews in America: Commonalities, Contentions, and Complexities; Swig Chair of Judaic Studies, USF Aysha Hidayatullah, Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies, USF Sidney Mintz, Rabbi, Congregation Emanu-El

A distinguished panel takes a new look at the innovative ways in which Judaism and Islam have absorbed, and been profoundly altered by, the so-called “American experience.” American Jews and American Muslims have consistently engaged each other in conversation – whether directly or indirectly, constructively or not – in ways that have usually eluded their coreligionists throughout the rest of the world. The members of these two groups often find themselves the focus of a disproportionate amount of media attention, particularly when it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. American Jews and American Muslims struggle with similar inter-communal concerns when it comes to education, politics or even pop culture. Join in a fascinating discussion.

MLF: Bay Gourmet Location: SF Club Office Time: 5:30 p.m. networking, 6 p.m. program Cost: $20 standard, $8 members, $7 students Program Organizer: Cathy Curtis

Location: Lafayette Library and Learning Center, 3491 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette Time: 6:15 p.m. check-in, 7 p.m. program Cost: $22 standard, $12 members, $7 students (with valid ID)

W ed 0 1 | S a n F r a n c i s c o

wed 0 1 | S a n F r a n c i s c o

Jorge G. Castañeda

Crops, Cattle and Carbon

Former Foreign Minister, Mexico; Prof. of Politics and Latin American and Caribbean Studies, NYU; Author, Manana Forever?

Karen Ross, Secretary, California Department of Food and Agriculture Lois Wolk, California State Senator Food Producer TBA

A scholar of Mexico and former foreign minister sheds light on the paradoxes of his native country. Though its people traditionally avoid conflict, Mexico is plagued by violence. It has a conflicted relationship with the U.S. and yet is home to more U.S. expatriates than any other country in the world. Castaneda explores the way Mexicans helped forge their nation, and the ways in which they may hinder its progress.

This program is postponed. Check for a new date. Location: SF Club Office Time: 11:30 a.m. check-in, noon program Cost: $20 standard, $12 members, $7 students (with valid ID)

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 Also know: In assn. with International Relations MLF

J U N E/J U LY 2011



June 02–08 T hu 0 2 | S a n F r a n c i s c o

J une 03–05 | Sonoma County

The 80th Annual California Book Awards

The Valleys of Sonoma: Healdsburg, Dry Creek & Alexander Valleys

Jack Boulware, Co-founder, Litquake – Master of Ceremonies

An Exclusive Bay Gourmet Get Away

Since 1931, the California Book Awards have been honoring literary excellence among authors in the Golden State. At our special awards ceremony, we will bestow gold and silver medals in several categories, including fiction, nonfiction, first fiction, poetry, young adult, juvenile, Californiana and contribution to publishing. Check out the Club’s website for the full list of this year’s winners. Hear from some literary giants and amazing writers. See you at the ceremony! Location: SF Club Office Time: 5:15 p.m. pre-program reception, 6 p.m. awards ceremony, 7:30 p.m. book signing and dessert reception Cost: $20 standard, $15 members Also know: Underwritten by The Bernard Osher Foundation. Special thanks to Dr. Martha Cox and the late Ambassador Bill Lane for their generous endowment, allowing the California Book Awards to take place. Sponsored by Bank of the West

Have you always wanted to know the difference between the wines of these viticultural areas? Our guest speakers will tell you. Join Cathy Curtis, Bay Gourmet Forum chair, as we learn about contemporary landscape design at Cornerstone Gardens; experience literary history at Jack London’s Beauty Ranch; meet George MacLeod, patron of MacLeod Family Vineyard; tour Dry Creek Peach Farm; and enjoy a private tasting given by J Vineyards’ winemaker. Spend two nights in Healdsburg. You will have a great time and learn things about the area you never knew before! Details: Full info at www.commonwealthclub. org/travel. Contact (415) 597-6720 or travel@ to sign up.

F r i 03 | San Francisco

F r i 03 | San Francisco

Why Are Democrats Embattled, and How Can They Win Again?

Salmon Odyssey

Joan Williams, Distinguished Professor of Law, Founder/Director, Center for WorkLife Law, UC Hastings; Author, Reshaping the Work-Family Debate In conversation with Mary Cranston, Firm Senior Partner, Pillsbury

Williams contends that Republicans win working-class votes by tapping class resentments. With descriptions of the class structure of coffee, how child-rearing differs by class, and how the “culture wars” reflect class conflict, Williams makes the case that Democrats can bridge the “class culture gap” and attain a new Democratic majority.

Gary Bobker, Program Director, The Bay Institute Phil Isenberg, Chair, Delta Vision Task Force (invited) James Norton, Filmmaker, Salmon: Running the Gauntlet

The fight to restore salmon runs in the Pacific Northwest involves billions of dollars in public funds and politicking all the way up to the White House. This twisted story is captured in a new documentary airing on PBS this spring. Also this spring, a federal judge is expected to hand down a decision that will shape federal salmon policy in the Columbia River Basin. What impact will that decision have on the region’s ecosystems and economies? Can any lessons be applied to the fierce confrontations between fisherman, farmers and environmentalists in California? Location: SF Club Office Time: 11:30 a.m. check-in, noon program Cost: $20 standard, MEMBERS FREE, $7 students (with valid ID)

MLF: Business & Leadership Location: SF Club Office Time: 11:30 a.m. check-in, noon program Cost: $20 standard, MEMBERS FREE, $7 students Program Organizer: Kevin O’Malley



JU NE/JU LY 2011

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

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

Afghanistan’s Challenge: A View from Ghazni Province

In Other Rooms, Other Wonders

Mohammad Yousef Pashtun, Senior Advisor to President Karzai on Urban Development and National Construction Mohammad Musa Khan, Governor of Ghazni Province Shah Gul Rezaie, Member of Parliament from Ghazni Province

As we approach the 10-year anniversary of the U.S. intervention in Afghanistan, many Americans ponder the human costs of this conflict. Rarely in our calculations do we have direct input from the leaders of Afghanistan who are working the gritty issues and building a working representative government in a troubled land. Come hear the official who is working on urban development and construction issues in Afghanistan address the future of his country and his government. Listen to a female member of parliament speak about the development of democratic institutions and the role of women in Afghan society. And hear the governor of Ghazni province speak to the challenges and opportunities he faces. MLF: Asia-Pacific Affairs Location: SF Club Office Time: 5:30 p.m. networking reception, 6 p.m. program Cost: $20 standard, MEMBERS FREE, $7 students (with valid ID) Program Organizer: Paul Clarke Also know: In association with the Asia Foundation, Hayward-Ghazni Sister City Committee, the Truman National Security Project Educational Institute and the Afghan Friends Network

Daniyal Mueenuddin, an Americaneducated Pakistani, presents this collection of eight interconnected stories, set in Lahore, depicting a place and people plagued by class and ancestral tension and caught between the past and an uncertain future. Come discuss this remarkable book. As a reminder, this is a book discussion group; the author will not be present. MLF: SF Book Discussion Location: SF Club Office Time: 5:30 p.m. program Cost: FREE Program Organizer: Howard Crane

T ue 0 7 | S a n F r a n c i s c o

W ed 0 8 | S a n F r a n c i s c o

The Future of Innovation and Consumer Electronics

San Francisco Architecture Walking Tour

Gary Shapiro, President and CEO, Consumer Electronics Association; Author, The Comeback: How Innovation Will Restore the American Dream In conversation with Richard Watson, Co-founder and Partner, Essential

From broadband spectrum to HDTV, from gaming to Hollywood and social media, innovation is happening through industry, entrepreneurs and technology advances. How is consumer electronics driving innovation in the U.S. and abroad? What lessons can be learned from the electronics industry that can be applied to other segments of the U.S. comeback? Come hear from the head of an organization that represents 2,000 technology companies and produces the International CES Conference.

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

This program is sold out. But keep reading these pages – the Club is excited to offer more walking tours throughout the summer. Location: Meet at SF Club Office
 Time: 1:45-4 p.m. tour, no-host socializing to follow
 Cost: $40 standard, $30 members 
 Also know: Limited to 20. Advance registration required. Tour covers less than one mile of walking. Call (415) 597-6720 with questions.

J U N E/J U LY 2011



June 08–15 W ed 0 8 | S a n F r a n c i s c o

W ed 0 8 | S a n F r a n c i s c o

The World Is Dancing

Myths About the Transcontinental Railroad and the Building of the American West

Julie Mushet, Ethnic Dance Festival Director CK Ladzekpo, Festival Co-artistic Director Patrick Makuakane, Kumu Hula, Na Lei Hulu I Ka Wekiu Emiko Susilo, Director, Gamelan Sekar Jaya Rita Felciano, Dance Writer and Critic – Moderator

San Francisco’s June 2011 Ethnic Dance Festival continues a tradition representing the incredible diversity of ethnic cultures in Northern California. Performers past and present and a documentary video will examine the special ingredients that have created the largest, most diverse gathering of ethnic dance in the United States. MLF: The Arts Location: SF Club Office Time: 5:30 p.m. networking, 6 p.m. program Cost: $20 standard, $8 members, $7 students (with valid ID) Program Organizer: Anne W. Smith Also know: In association with World Arts West, Producer of Ethnic Dance Festival, http://www.

Richard White, Professor of History, Stanford University; Author, Railroaded In conversation with David Kennedy, McLachlan Professor of History, Emeritus

White will reveal the social and economic impact the transcontinental railroad has had on shaping the United States into what it is today. With an iconoclastic perspective, White recasts our understanding of the Gilded Age. Hop aboard as he explores 19th-century politics, greed, corruption, money and corporate arrogance. Location: SF Club Office Time: 5:30 p.m. networking, 6 p.m. program Cost: $20 standard, $12 members, $7 students Also know: In assn. with CA Historical Society

T hu 0 9 | S a n F r a n c i s c o

T H U 09 | San Francisco

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

San Francisco Architecture Walking Tour

Environmental Success Stories: Art, Architecture, Activism

The Exquisite Art of Arthur Szyk

Paul Kephart, President, Rana Creek Living Architecture Lisa Zimmerman, CEO, 7Story Consulting and Design Foster Weeks, President, Clementina Cares

Irwin Ungar, Founder/CEO, Historicana

Explore the Financial District with historian Rick Evans and discover the stories behind some of the city’s remarkable structures, streets and squares. Hear about the architects that influenced the city’s rebuilding after the 1906 earthquake. Discover rooftop gardens, Art Deco lobbies, 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 at a local watering hole. Location: Meet at SF Club Office
 Time: 1:45-4 p.m. tour, no-host socializing to follow
 Cost: $40 standard, $30 members 
 Also know: Limited to 20. Advance registration required. Tour covers less than one mile of walking. Call (415) 597-6720 with questions.



Imagine Living Architecture rooted in art, science and technology that inspires communities. Designer and ecologist Kephart follows his pioneering roof garden at the California Academy of Science with a stunning vertical wall garden in Yerba Buena that transforms the environment for residentsand businesses. MLF: Environment & Natural Resources Location: SF Club Office Time: 5:30 p.m. networking, 6 p.m. program Cost: $20 standard, $8 members, $7 students Program Organizer: Ann Clark

JU NE/JU LY 2011

Arthur Szyk Society curator Ungar will give a PowerPoint presentation based on the recent exhibit, “Arthur Szyk: Miniature Paintings and Modern Illuminations” at the Legion of Honor. Szyk, a self-described soldier-in-art, created profound, intricate works of art. He advocated for many causes, including religious tolerance, racial equality and for the state of Israel. Books, including Szyk’s unique Passover Hagaddah, will be available after the presentation. MLF: The Arts/Middle East Location: SF Club Office Time: 5:30 p.m. networking, 6 p.m. program, 7 p.m. book signing Cost: $20 standard, MEMBERS FREE, students free Program Organizer: Celia Menczel

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

T ue 1 4 | S i l i c o n V a l l e y

Michel de Montaigne: The Philosopher of Improvisation

A Closer Look at the California State Budget

Timothy Hampton, Professor of French; Bernie H. Williams Professor of Comparative Literature, UC Berkeley

The first great “modern” philosopher, Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592) explored the changeable nature of human experience. Montaigne worked out a strikingly modern ethical response to the violence of his day. His essays embrace the limits of human knowledge and virtue. In this Monday Night Philosophy meeting, Hampton explains how the act of writing and the practice of philosophy became inseparable for Montaigne.

F. Noel Perry, Venture Capitalist, Philanthropist; Founder, Next 10 Sarah Henry, Program Officer, Next 10

Join us for an interactive state budget simulation with Next 10 in which you decide how to close the state’s multi-billion dollar budget deficit. Using an updated version of the nonpartisan California Budget Challenge, participants will vote in real-time on some of the tough choices being considered at the Capitol. You decide how the state should fund education, health care and employee pensions – and make decisions about the revenues that fund these programs. Location: Building E, National Semiconductor Campus, 2900 Semiconductor Dr., Santa Clara Time: 11:30 a.m. check-in/boxed lunch, 11:45 a.m. program Cost: $20 standard, $15 members Also know: In association with National Semiconductor Corporation & Next 10

MLF: Humanities Location: SF Club Office Time: 5:30 p.m. networking, 6 p.m. program Cost: $20 standard, MEMBERS FREE, $7 students Program Organizer: George Hammond

T ue 1 4 | S a n F r a n c i s c o

Cecile Richards President, Planned Parenthood Federation of America

W E D 15 | San Francisco

Join The Club

Brain Plasticity Across the Lifespan

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

Adam Gazzaley, Professor, UCSF

This year, Planned Parenthood found itself at the center of a congressional budget debate over abortion that almost shut down the government. Calling it the “most devastating assault on women’s health in American history,” Richards vowed to continue providing affordable health care to women. The daughter of Ann Richards, former governor of Texas, Cecile will speak about the current status of women’s health care in this country and what lies ahead for her organization.

It is now known that our brain changes structurally and functionally in response to our interactions with our environment throughout our lives, not just during critical times like childhood. This modern perspective is called neuroplasticity and scientists are actively exploring the intricacies of this phenomenon. Gazzaley discusses new theories on the topic, such as cognitive reserve, use-it-or-lose-it, and neural efficiency. He will also tackle the hotly debated topic of the impact of brain training and cognitive exercises.

Location: SF Club Office Time: 5:30 p.m. networking, 6 p.m. program Cost: $20 standard, $12 members, $7 students (with valid ID). Premium (seating in first few rows): $45 standard, $30 members.

MLF: Health & Medicine Location: SF Club Office Time: 5:30 p.m. networking, 6 p.m. program Cost: $20 standard, $8 members, $7 students Program Organizer: Patty James

J U N E/J U LY 2011

For more information, visit



June 16–24 T hu 1 6 | S a n F r a n c i s c o

M on 2 0 | S a n F r a n c i s c o

A New Culture of Learning

The Wagner Problem

John Seely Brown, Co-chairman, Deloitte Center for the Edge; Author, The Power of Pull; Former Chief Scientist, Xerox Corp.; Director, Palo Alto Research Center Douglas Thomas, Professor, USC Annenberg School for Communication; Author, Hacker Culture Scott Stropkay, Co-founder and Partner, Essential Kevin O’Malley, CEO, TechTalk / Studio – Moderator

Hans Rudolf Vaget, Professor of German Studies and Comparative Literature Emeritus, Smith College

Gaming, mentorship, increasing connection and design thinking converge in a world of constant change, and they invite us to imagine a future of learning that is as powerful as it is optimistic. By exploring play, innovation and the cultivation of the imagination as cornerstones of learning, our panelists will show you how to create a vision that is achievable, scalable and grows along with the technology that fosters it and the people who engage with it.

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

Come delve into why many knowledgeable observers believe that Richard Wagner was the most controversial artist of the modern era. The man and his work have always been viewed by some with suspicion. This phenomenon – “the Wagner Problem” – has a multiplicity of layers and facets. Vaget will address three of them: Wagner’s purportedly excessive womanizing, his so-called “dilettantism” in the arts, and his anti-Semitism. MLF: The Arts/Humanities Location: SF Club Office Time: 5:30 p.m. networking, 6 p.m. program Cost: $20 standard, MEMBERS FREE, $7 students Program Organizer: George Hammond Also know: In assn. with the SF Opera

M on 2 0 | S a n F r a n c i s c o

T ue 2 1 | S a n F r a n c i s c o

W ed 2 2 | S a n F r a n c i s c o

Venus on Fire, Mars on Ice: Hormonal Balance, the Key to Life, Love and Energy

Double Play: How Dan White Got Away with Murder and Changed San Francisco

Chinatown Walking Tour

Mike Weiss, Author; Former Reporter, San Francisco Chronicle

John Gray, Ph.D., Author, Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus

Come hear from best-selling relationship author Gray, whose Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus sold an astounding 50 million copies. Now, Gray reveals what he says are the associations between hormone levels and happiness and advises us to harness the connections between stress, blood sugar, body fat and behavior to create lifelong passion and health. MLF: Health & Medicine Location: SF Club Office Time: 5:30 p.m. networking, 6 p.m. program Cost: $20 standard, MEMBERS FREE, $7 students Program Organizer: Adrea Brier



In November 1978, San Francisco took a dramatic turn with the assassination of Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk. Come listen to former San Francisco Chronicle reporter Weiss describe those dark days and discuss the striking impact this tragic event had in shaping not only San Francisco but the nation. MLF: LGBT 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

JU NE/JU LY 2011

Enjoy another Commonwealth Club Neighborhood Adventure! Join Rick Evans for a memorable two-hour walk and discover the history and mystery 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 tea during the tour. Location: Meet at Chinatown Gate, corner of Grant and Bush, in front of Starbucks Time: 2-5 p.m. tour Cost: $45 standard, $35 members Program Organizer: Kristina Nemeth Also know: Temple visit requires walking up three flights of stairs. Limited to 20 people. Participants must pre-register.

W ed 2 2 | S a n F r a n c i s c o

T hu 2 3 | S a n F r a n c i s c o

T hu 2 3 | E a s t B a y

The Health Needs of Children in Their Own Words

The Brains Behind the Mind

Kim Barker: The Taliban Shuffle

Patty James, Founder, DirectionFive Health,

In 2010, nutritionist and chef James traveled to 41 states, covering 18,000 miles, interviewing kids from all walks of life about their health. The video interviews and written surveys were sent to Sonoma State University, and now the results are being shared for the first time. Learn what our kids said they need to live healthier lives. Based on what they said, pilot programs begin this summer. MLF: Health & Medicine Location: SF Club Office Time: 5:30 p.m. networking, 6 p.m. program Cost: $20 standard, $8 members, $7 students Program Organizer: Bill Grant

David Eagleman, Neuroscientist, Baylor School of Medicine; Author, Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain Additional Panelists TBA

What is our subconscious mind doing while we pay our bills, write emails and decide between crunchy and smooth at the grocery store? As neuroscientists are learning more and more about our body’s hidden frontier, we have gained fleeting insights into our own intuition, habits and seemingly unexplainable preferences. Neuroscientist Eagleman draws connections between our perception of the world and the hidden functions of the brain. Location: SF Club Office Time: 6 p.m. check-In, 6:30 p.m. program, 7:30 book signing and reception Cost: $20 standard, $12 members, $7 students

Reporter, ProPublica; Former South Asia Correspondent, The Chicago Tribune; Author, The Taliban Shuffle

Barker has reported on, traveled in and lived all over the Middle East, covering major stories such as the assassination of Benazir Bhutto and rising militancy in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The New York Times recently wrote that in The Taliban Shuffle, Barker “has written an account of her experiences covering Afghanistan and Pakistan that manages to be hilarious and harrowing, witty and illuminating, all at the same time.” Location: Lafayette Library and Learning Center, 3491 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette Time: 5:45 p.m. check-in, 6:30 p.m. program Cost: $12 members, $22 non-members, $7 students (with valid ID)

F r i 24 | San Francisco

F r i 24 | San Francisco

U.S. Transportation Infrastructure: Buying the Future

Quantitative Easing: Re-Leveraging of a Nation

Steve Heminger, Executive Director, SF Regional Metropolitan Transportation Commission John Horsley, Executive Director, American Association of Highway and Transportation Officials Bill Millar, President, American Public Transportation Association Asha Weinstein Agrawal, MTI National Transportation Center Finance Director Mortimer Downey, Chair, MTI Board of Trustees; Former Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of Transportation – Moderator

Join a panel of experts as they discuss the current status of the Surface Transportation Act and what that means for transit and interstate highway projects. The Mineta Transportation Institute will also present its latest research on national transportation financing trends. Location: SF Club Office Time: 8:30 a.m. check-in and continental breakfast, 9-10:30 a.m. program, 10:30-11:30 a.m. keynote speech by Polly Trottenberg, Assistant Secretary for Transportation Policy, U.S. Department of Transportation Cost: FREE Also know: Underwritten by the Mineta Transportation Institute

Patrick Yam, CEO, Sensei Partners; MacroEconomist; Academician; Investor; Author

Why are today’s headlines highlighting the current Fed monetary policy of quantitative easing – and is this Fed policy a curse or blessing? Will the increase in monetary supply break the national debt ceiling and heighten inflation? Gain a clear understanding of these issues and what they mean to you, as Professor Yam brings transparency to understanding quantitative easing in his presentation of “Odyssey to Optimism through Knowledge.” MLF: Business & Leadership Location: SF Club Office Time: 11:30 a.m. check-in, noon program Cost: $20 standard, MEMBERS FREE, $7 students (with valid ID) Program Organizer: Kevin O’Malley

J U N E/J U LY 2011



June 27 – July 12 M on 2 7 | S a n F r a n c i s c o

M on 2 7 | S a n F r a n c i s c o

Middle East Discussion Group

Health Reform Comes to California: Are We Ready?

Make your voice heard in an enriching, provocative and fun discussion with fellow Club members as you weigh in on events shaping the face of the Middle East. Each month, the Middle East Member-Led Forum hosts an informal roundtable discussion on a topic frequently suggested by recent headlines. After a brief introduction, the floor will be open for discussion. All interested members are encouraged to attend. There will also be a brief planning session.

Janet Coffman, M.A., M.P.P., Ph.D., Assistant Adjunct Professor, Department of Family and Community Medicine, UCSF Steve McDermott, CEO, Hill Physicians Medical Group; Chairman and CEO, PriMed Management Service Ralph Silber, Executive Director, Alameda Health Consortium Ann Madden Rice, Chief Executive Officer, UC Davis Medical Center – Moderator

The Affordable Care Act aims to bring health coverage to approximately one half to two thirds of California’s 7.3 million uninsured residents. But are we prepared to provide care to the millions that will need access to the system? Will there be enough doctors to care for these new patients? Is our health-care system set up to meet their needs? A panel of experts weighs in.

MLF: Middle East Location: SF Club Office Time: 5:30 p.m. program Cost: FREE Program Organizer: Celia Menczel

Location: SF Club Office Time: 5:30 p.m. networking reception, 6 p.m. program Cost: FREE Also know: Underwritten by the California HealthCare Foundation

W ed 2 9 | S a n F r a n c i s c o

W ed 2 9 | S a n F r a n c i s c o

T hu 3 0 | S a n F r a n c i s c o

North Beach Walking Tour

The War Next Door

Farm Together Now: Portraits of a New Food Movement

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. Location: Meet at Washington Square Park at Saints Peter and Paul Church (Filbert & Powell), along the Muni bus #30 route Time: 2-4 p.m. tour; no-host optional socializing to follow Cost: $45 standard, $35 members Program Organizer: Kristina Nemeth Also know: Limited to 20 people. Must preregister. For questions, call (415) 597-6720.



Charles Bowden, Author, Murder City

Ciudad Juárez, a oncethriving border town, now resembles a failed state, with the city’s murder rate exceeding Baghdad’s. This is just one of thousands of sites of Mexico’s drug war, which has claimed more than 30,000 lives since December 2006, when a U.S.-backed military crackdown on cartels began. Bowden will take you inside Mexico’s drug war. MLF: International Relations 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: Karen Keefer Also know: In association with NorCal Peace Corps Association

JU NE/JU LY 2011

Anne Hamersky, Photographer; Multimedia Producer

Along with authors Amy Franceschini and Daniel Tucker, Hamersky traveled the nation last year capturing the lives of extraordinary people creating a more sustainable food system. The new book Farm Together Now is the product of their cross-country odyssey. Hamersky will share a slide show of portraits from the book that Michael Pollan says “advances the whole conversation about sustainable agriculture and access.” MLF: Bay Gourmet 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: Cathy Curtis

T ue 0 5 | S a n F r a n c i s c o

W ed 0 6 | S a n F r a n c i s c o

W ed 0 6 | S a n F r a n c i s c o

The Tragedy of Pudd’nhead Wilson and the Comedy of Those Extraordinary Twins

Russian Hill Walking Tour

Transforming Lives $40 at a Time: Women and Microfinance, Upending the Status Quo

Come join in a post-holiday discussion of Pudd’nhead Wilson, Mark Twain’s acerbic look at miscegenation and racism in the antebellum South. MLF: SF Book Discussion Location: SF Club Office Time: 5:30 p.m. program Cost: FREE Program Organizer: Howard Crane

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.

Dana E. Whitaker, Principal, Opening Eyes, LLC

Whitaker is an author, photographer and coach committed to helping women realize their potential both professionally and personally. She will explore the intricacies and importance of microfinance in helping to eradicate poverty. What are the challenges and successes both for the sector and for those most affected – the microentrepreneurs themselves?

Location: Meet at corner of Union and Hyde streets, outside Swenson’s Ice Cream Time: 10 a.m. – noon tour; our guide will point out nearby lunch spots after the tour Cost: $45 standard, $35 non-members Program Organizer: Kristina Nemeth 
 Also know: Includes steep hills and staircases, recommended for good walkers. Parking extremely difficult. Limited to 20. Must pre-register.

MLF: International Relations Location: SF Club Office Time: 5:30 p.m. networking, 6 p.m. program Cost: $20 standard, $8 members, $7 students Program Organizer: Alice McKeon

M O N 11 | San Francisco

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

T ue 1 2 | S a n F r a n c i s c o


Science & Technology Planning Meeting

American Museums and the Illicit Antiquities Trade

Join fellow Club members with similar interests and brainstorm upcoming Science & Technology programs. 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. All Commonwealth Club members are welcome.

Jason Felch and Ralph Frammolino, Co-authors, Chasing Aphrodite: The Hunt for Looted Antiquities at the World’s Richest Museum

Denise Schickel, Nietzsche fan

Monday Night Philosophy explores ideas in Friedrich Nietzsche’s Will to Power, including connecting Nietzsche’s focus on selfovercoming to Abraham Maslow’s theory of self-actualization. Schickel will investigate her favorite Nietzschean insights, followed by a Socratic dialogue with George Hammond and an open discussion with the audience. 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

MLF: Science & Technology Location: SF Club Office Time: 6:15 p.m. program Cost: FREE Program Organizer: Chisako Ress

Felch and Frammolino led an investigation of the Getty Museum’s four-decade effort to build a world-class antiquities collection and revealed an astounding case of tax fraud, deceit and controversial acquisition relationships across the Mediterranean. Hear these intrepid reporters reveal some of the most shocking secrets and lies in the art world. MLF: The Arts Location: SF Club Office Time: 5:30 p.m. networking, 6 p.m. program Cost: $20 standard, $8 members, $7 students Program Organizer: Anne W. Smith

J U N E/J U LY 2011



July 12–22 T ue 1 2 | S a n F r a n c i s c o

W ed 1 3 | S a n F r a n c i s c o

T hu 1 4 | S a n F r a n c i s c o

Same-Sex Marriage and Its Equivalents: Recent Developments and Likely Future Trends

An Update and Reflections on the Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami

Bastille Day Celebration with Cara Black

Frederick Hertz, Author; Civil Rights Attorney

Hiroshi Inomata, Consul General of Japan in San Francisco

Author, Murder in Passy and the Aimée Leduc murder mystery series In conversation with Cathy Curtis, Chair, Bay Gourmet Forum

The federal trial over the validity of Prop. 8 is back in the California Supreme Court.What’s happening in the legal work of same-sex relationships, and what is likely to unfold in the coming years? Hertz summarizes recent developments and offers a framework for understanding the changing world of same-sex marital law.

The Japanese earthquake and tsunami have left more than 27,000 people dead, over 135,000 homeless, and damage that the Japanese government says could cost $309 billion to rebuild. Inomata will provide an update on the crisis in Japan, including the most current actions of the Japanese government, and he will discuss its impact on the U.S. and the rest of the world.

Black frequents a Paris little known, off the tourist track, a city she discovers on research trips and interviews with French police, private detectives and café owners. She shares this in her Aimée Leduc investigation series. Each murder mystery is based in a different arrondissement in Paris. Black will share with us stories from her latest book, Murder in Passy, while we enjoy some tastes of France.

MLF: LGBT Location: SF Club Office Time: 5:30 p.m. networking, 6 p.m. program Cost: $20 standard, $8 members, $7 students (with valid ID) Program Organizer: Stephen Seewer

Location: SF Club Office Time: 5:30 p.m. networking, 6 p.m. program Cost: $20 standard, $12 members, $7 students Also know: In association with the Asia-Pacific Affairs MLF

MLF: Bay Gourmet Location: SF Club Office Time: 11:30 a.m. check-in, noon program Cost: $24 standard, $12 members Program Organizer: Cathy Curtis

T hu 1 4 | S a n F r a n c i s c o

T hu 1 4 | S a n F r a n c i s c o

J ul 1 5 – S e p 1 6

San Francisco Architecture Walking Tour

Threats to American Justice

Sacred Heritage: The Paintings of Salma Arastu

Stephen Zack, President, American Bar Association

Drawing from both the Islamic and Hindu faiths, Arastu brings a modern interpretation to her spiritual heritage. Her paintings are a marriage of Arabic calligraphy, miniatures and Indian folk art, richly textured in surface and color. She will be speaking about her artwork on Monday, August 22, at 6 p.m., at the Club office. You can enjoy her artwork on display in the Club office during July, August and September.

Explore the Financial District with historian Rick Evans and discover the stories behind some of the city’s structures, streets and squares. Hear about the architects who influenced the city’s rebuilding after the 1906 earthquake. Discover rooftop gardens, Art Deco lobbies, open spaces and landmarks. This is a tour for locals, with hidden gems you can only find on foot! For those interested in socializing afterward, we conclude at a local watering hole. Location: Meet at SF Club Office
 Time: 1:45-4 p.m. tour, no-host socializing to follow
 Cost: $40 standard, $30 members 
 Also know: Limited to 20. Advance registration required. Tour covers less than one mile of walking. Call (415) 597-6720 with questions.



Lauded as one of the country’s best lawyers in 2011 and the ABA’s first Hispanic president, Zack will discuss underlying threats to the American legal system such as underfunding and political indecisiveness. Come listen to one of the nation’s top legal voices speak about what he sees as a failing system. Location: SF Club Office Time: 5:30 p.m. networking, 6 p.m. program Cost: $20 standard, $12 members, $7 students (with valid ID) Also know: Part of the U.S. Constitution in the 21st Century Series, Underwritten by the Charles Geschke Family

JU NE/JU LY 2011

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

T ue 1 9 | S a n F r a n c i s c o

The Future of Cloud Computing

Special Series this August:

India Now The land of the earliest civilizations has added a growing space program to its national image, revealing its evergrowing role in modern international science and commerce. Still, its ancient allure of art, food, meditation, color and passion is compelling as ever. How do the new and old features of India get along in the modern world? The Commonwealth Club will use the month of August to explore the many sides of this wonderful country. Gold sponsor: Wells Fargo & Co. Silver sponsor: Ernst & Young India Now programs are organized by volunteer members of The Commonwealth Club’s Member-Led Forums.

Timothy Chou, Pioneer in Software on Demand; Author; Former CEO, Oracle On-Demand Simon Crosby, CTO, Datacenter and Cloud, Citrix Systems Gina Tomlinson, CTO, City and County of San Francisco, Department of Technology Abhijit Phanse, CEO, UnitedLayer, Managing Partner, Accelon Capital – Moderator

A panel of tech insiders explores the various forms of cloud computing, the economics of the cloud, and the key technology of virtualization, which enables the abstraction of resources into massive pools that can be tapped on demand. Come explore the challenges of security, privacy, accessibility and the opportunities for efficient resource utilization toward a greener planet. Will the cloud be an on-demand instant gratification engine, the ultimate equalizer bringing the power of the infinite into the hands of a single person, or just the ubiquitous computing model of our increasingly digital life? Will it rain? Will cloud computing become fully adopted as part of everyday computing? MLF: Science & Technology 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: Chisako Ress

W ed 2 0 | S a n F r a n c i s c o

T hu 2 1 | S a n F r a n c i s c o

F r i 22 | San Francisco

Omega-3 Breakthrough

North Beach Walking Tour

Power Down

Adiel Tel-Oren, M.D., C.C.N., D.A.C.B.N

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.

Gary Bloom, CEO, eMeter Engage 360 Speaker TBA Additional panelists TBA

Unsaturated fats (Omega-3, Omega-6) are in our food, supplements and body – for better and for worse. Tel-Oren makes the case that most Omega-3 products are not ecological and contain rancid, polluted oil and have side-effects. Experts quote the literature that some believe has been heavily EPA/DHA-biased and largely ignore the rancidity issue. Tel-Oren discusses naturally stable plant-based Omega-3 and its proven health impact and reveals what the popular Omega-3 oil industries don’t want you to know. MLF: Health & Medicine Location: SF Club Office Time: 5:30 p.m. networking, 6 p.m. program Cost: $20 standard, $8 members, $7 students Program Organizer: Bill Grant

Location: Meet at Washington Square Park at Saints Peter and Paul Church (Filbert & Powell), along the 
Muni bus #30 route 
Time: 2-4 p.m. tour; no-host optional socializing to follow
 Cost: $45 standard, $35 members 
Program Organizer: Kristina Nemeth 
 Also know: Limited to 20 people. Participants must pre-register. For questions, call (415) 597-6720.

Can clean tech make energy efficiency sexy? Providing real-time data in a meaningful way is one key way to give individuals information they can use to make more informed decisions about the power they use at home – wow, that toaster sucks a lot of juice. But appliances aren’t there yet, and several companies have stumbled trying to inform people with one gadget or another. What can smart meters, price incentives and behavioral tools do to reduce demand for electricity? Location: SF Club Office Time: 11:30 a.m. check-in, noon program Cost: $20 standard, MEMBERS FREE, $7 students (with valid ID)

J U N E/J U LY 2011



July 25 – August 08 M on 2 5 | S a n F r a n c i s c o

M on 2 5 | S a n F r a n c i s c o

M on 2 5 | S a n F r a n c i s c o

Middle East Discussion Group

Club Travel: An Information Session

WWLD: What Would Libertarians Do?

Come learn about the Club’s travel programs – from global explorations to more local weekend trips. See what new destinations we are visiting in 2012; learn about our study leaders; and reserve your spot on our next adventure! Travel with the Club – you’ll be in good company.

Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch, Coeditors, Reason Magazine and; Co-authors, The Declaration of Independents

Make your voice heard in an enriching, provocative and fun discussion with fellow Club members as you weigh in on events shaping the face of the Middle East. Each month, the Middle East Member-Led Forum hosts an informal roundtable discussion on a topic frequently suggested by recent headlines. After a brief introduction, the floor will be open for discussion. All interested members are encouraged to attend. There will also be a brief planning session.

Location: SF Club Office Time: 5:30 p.m. check-in, 6 p.m. program Cost: FREE Program Organizer: Kristina Nemeth

MLF: Middle East Location: SF Club Office Time: 5:30 p.m. program Cost: FREE Program Organizer: Celia Menczel

What do health care, same-sex marriage, marijuana law, the budget and social service policies look like on a Libertarian ticket? Authors of a new Libertarian manifesto, Gillespie and Welch offer up principles of “free minds and free markets” as their fix to what’s wrong with America. Come hear how Libertarian solutions for modern America match up against the other platforms. Location: SF Club Office Time: 6 p.m. check-in, 6:30 p.m. program, 8 p.m. networking reception Cost: $20 standard, MEMBERS FREE, $7 students

T ue 2 6 | S a n F r a n c i s c o

T U E 26 | San Francisco

W ed 2 7 | S a n F r a n c i s c o

De-Stigmatizing Mental Illness

Margaret Hoover

Jeremy Bailenson: Infinite Reality

Eduardo Vega, Executive Director, Mental Health Association of San Francisco (MHA-SF) SOLVE Speakers Bureau Educators Laura Kauth, SOLVE Program Manager

Contributor, Fox News; Author, American Individualism: How a New Generation of Conservatives Can Save the Republican Party

MHA-SF Executive Director Vega and his colleagues will explain the effects of stigma and discrimination on mental health. Educators from the Sharing Our Lives: Voices and Experiences (SOLVE) Program will share their compelling stories to teach individuals, communities and organizations how to go about getting help, how to participate in life, and the importance of support and social inclusion.

Hoover lays the groundwork for how the GOP can capture the allegiance of the “fiscally conservative but socially liberal” millennial generation and help solve some of the country’s most pressing issues. Come join Hoover for an impassioned conversation on the future of the GOP and the country.

MLF: Psychology Location: SF Club Office Time: 4:45 p.m. networking, 5:15 p.m. program Cost: $20 standard, $8 members, $7 students Program Organizer: Patrick O’Reilly



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)

JU NE/JU LY 2011

Ph.D., Founding Director, Virtual Human Interaction Lab; Associate Professor of Communication, Stanford University

Advances in our understanding of how the brain works, combined with the explosion of immersive digital technology, could make ideas as far-fetched as total “personality downloads” possible – meaning your great-grandchildren would be able to know and have conversations with you in the future, all in a virtual setting indistinguishable from reality. Bailenson posits that such advances could be here in just five years. MLF: Science & Technology Location: SF Club Office Time: 5:30 p.m. networking, 6 p.m. program Cost: $20 standard, $8 members, $7 students Program Organizers: Chisako Ress/Brad Dolin

W ed 2 7 | S a n F r a n c i s c o

T hu 2 8 | S a n F r a n c i s c o

High-Cost Beneficiaries: Is Our Health Care Failing Those Who Need It Most?

United in Peace: Artists, Statesmen and Community

Panelists TBA

A small number of individuals, most with complex health conditions, account for a majority of the cost for providing care in California. These individuals, the frail elderly, those with multiple chronic conditions – including mental health and substance abuse issues – can benefit from a “high-touch,” coordinated system of care that not only increases the quality of care they receive, but also reduces the high costs of providing care. This panel with discuss the challenges facing these beneficiaries and the healthcare system, and how people can be better served. Location: SF Club Office Time: 5:30 p.m. networking reception, 6 p.m. program Cost: FREE Also know: Underwriter: the California HealthCare Foundation

Thomas Simpson, Director, Afro-Solo Festival Jacqueline Hairston, Jefferson Award Winner

Bay Area Jefferson Award winners Hairston and Simpson and panelists from the arts, politics and clergy will present personalized examples and perspectives on the role of arts as a medium for peace in local and global communities. MLF: The Arts Location: SF Club Office Time: 5:30 p.m. networking, 6 p.m. program Cost: $20 standard, $8 members, $7 students (with valid ID) Program Organizer: Anne W. Smith Also know: In assn. with AfroSolo Festival

M on 0 1 | S a n F r a n c i s c o

W ed 0 3 | S a n F r a n c i s c o

M on 0 8 | S a n F r a n c i s c o

Wake Up Laughing, Wise Up Loving

Investing in India Today

The Philosophy of Yoga in the Bhagavad Gita

Swami Beyondananda, Cosmic Comic

Join Swami Beyondananda for a heart opening presentation and find out why noted author Marianne Williamson has called Swami “The Mark Twain of our generation.” The Swami will also be taking live questions from the audience, so if you have an answerable question, the Swami will have a questionable answer for you. MLF: Humanities Location: SF Club Office Time: 5:30 p.m. reception, 6 p.m. program Cost: $20 standard, MEMBERS FREE, $7 students (with valid ID) Program Organizer: George Hammond

Sunil Asnani, Portfolio Manager, Matthews International Capital Management Jennifer Schatz, Senior Vice President, Marketing, Matthews International Capital management

India’s ability to not only achieve respectable economic growth in a turbulent environment but to do so without injecting mammoth stimulus, demonstrates its inherit resilience, says Asnani. However, blindly investing in anything in India could lead to disappointment. Come learn about growth opportunities as well as the challenges for this country of 1.2 billion people. Location: SF Club Office Time: 5:30 p.m. networking, 6 p.m. program Cost: $20 standard, $8 members, $7 students Program Organizer: Cathy Curtis

Monday Night Philosophy dives deep into dharma, as detailed in the divine conversation between Krishna and Arjuna. Hear as they discuss the byways of yogic philosophy, and delight in Krishna’s failure to convince the warrior Arjuna to do battle with his relatives until Krishna realizes he must forego reasoning and rely on the usual divine persuasiveness of overwhelming power. MLF: Humanities Location: SF Club Office Time: 5:30 p.m. networking reception, 6 p.m. program Cost: $20 standard, MEMBERS FREE, $7 students (with valid ID) Program Organizer: George Hammond

J U N E/J U LY 2011



August 08–31 M on 0 8 | S a n F r a n c i s c o

W ed 1 0 | S a n F r a n c i s c o

T hu 1 1 | S a n F r a n c i s c o

How Far Would You Go to Save a Marriage?

Muslims of India: Their Politics, Identity and Economy

India’s Economic Growth: What Can We Expect?

Rafiq Dossani, Ph.D., Author; Senior Research Scholar, Stanford University

Nirvikar Singh, Ph.D., Professor of Economics, UC Santa Cruz; Author; Member of an Advisory Group to the Finance Minister of India on G-20 matters

Susan Pohlman, Author, Halfway to Each Other

Fueled by faith and a desperate desire to keep their family together, Pohlman and her husband made a decision, during a business trip to Italy, to sign a lease on an apartment on the Italian Riviera, rather than divorce papers. What began as a seemingly crazy idea turned out to be the most significant and transformational decision of their lives. She will take you inside a modern marriage.

India’s 160 million Muslims differ geographically by language, socio-economic status and culture. The Muslim-Indian community shares a common trajectory of challenges in their political power and socio-economic status. Their identity, in the eyes of the average Indian, is evermore monolithic and faith-based. To some politicians, Muslim Indians are now considered a security risk. Dossani will discuss the causes of their challenges and possible future.

India’s economy is projected to grow in 2011 at a rate faster than almost every other country in the world. Is this growth sustainable? What will drive, and limit, its growth? How will it sustain innovation and entrepreneurship? What will be the role of the government? A prominent economist and expert on India will share views on the Indian economy and its future.

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

MLF: International Relations Location: SF Club Office Time: 5:30 p.m. networking, 6 p.m. program Cost: $20 standard, $8 members, $7 students Program Organizer: Norma Walden

MLF: Asia-Pacific Affairs Location: SF Club Office Time: 5:30 p.m. networking, 6 p.m. program Cost: $20 standard, $8 members, $7 students Program Organizers: Cynthia Miyashita and Lillian Nakagawa

M on 2 2 | S a n F r a n c i s c o

T ue 2 3 | S a n F r a n c i s c o

W ed 2 4 | S a n F r a n c i s c o

Sacred Heritage: A Merging of Islamic and Hindu Traditions

Spices of India Cooking and Henna Party

Bollywood Now

Salma Arastu, Artist; Author

Renowned Indian-born Muslim artist Arastu speaks to the contemporary relation of religion to art. In conjunction with her art exhibit at the SF Club office beginning July 15, she will share the inspiration for her imagery, a blending of spirituality, Islamic values and beauty in modern culture. MLF: Middle East/The Arts Location: SF Club Office Time: 5:30 p.m. networking reception, 6 p.m. program, 7 p.m. book signing Cost: $20 standard, MEMBERS FREE, students free (with valid ID) Program Organizer: Celia Menczel



Ranjan Dey, Proprietor, New Delhi Restaurant; Founder, New World Spices

Join us for a special event with acclaimed chef and proprietor of San Francisco’s New Delhi Restaurant. The evening will include a cooking demonstration using Chef Dey’s “speed scratch” style with a masalas spice-blend, sampling of traditional Indian flavors, and henna hand painting. Enjoy a dinner buffet following the presentation consisting of the mouthwatering, showcased dishes. MLF: Bay Gourmet Location: SF Club Office Time: 5:30 p.m. networking reception, 6 p.m. program Cost: $52 standard, $40 members Program Organizer: Cynthia Miyashita

JU NE/JU LY 2011

Bulbul Tiwari, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow, Stanford University

In this special program, Stanford Fellow Tiwari introduces us to historical and contemporary Indian Hindi film. She will provide insight into the significant conventions, economics and genres, including a screening of excerpts from old and new musical film performances. MLF: The Arts/humanities/Middle East 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: Anne W. Smith

T hu 2 5 | S a n F r a n c i s c o

M on 2 9 | S a n F r a n c i s c o

India and Her Fragments: Migrations from Old to New Worlds

Middle East Discussion Group

Minal Hajratwala, Author

The story of India’s 30-million-and-growing worldwide diaspora is reshaping trade, identity and culture all around the globe. Hajratwala will speak on what she says Americans need to know today about the rapidly changing country to which nearly 2 million Americans trace their roots. Hajratwala will draw from the seven years of research that led to her nonfiction book, Leaving India, winner of a California Book Award (Silver) and other literary awards. MLF: International Relations Location: SF Club Office Time: 5:30 p.m. networking, 6 p.m. program Cost: $20 standard, $8 members, $7 students Program Organizer: Linda Calhoun

Make your voice heard in an enriching, provocative and fun discussion with fellow Club members as you weigh in on events shaping the face of the Middle East. Each month, the Middle East Member-Led Forum hosts an informal roundtable discussion on a topic frequently suggested by recent headlines. After a brief introduction, the floor will be open for discussion. All interested members are encouraged to attend. There will also be a brief planning session. MLF: Middle East Location: SF Club Office Time: 5:30 p.m. program Cost: FREE Program Organizer: Celia Menczel

W ed 3 1 | S a n F r a n c i s c o

JUST ADDED! Mon Jul 18

INDOvation: India’s Rise as an Innovation Superpower

The Arab Spring

Navi Radjou, Exec. Director, Centre for India & Global Business, University of Cambridge

India’s pervasive resource and capital scarcity combined with massive diversity and growing connectivity are turning the country into a large-scale, living laboratory where grassroots entrepreneurs and corporations are coming up with frugal inventions that are both affordable and sustainable. Radjou explains how “indovations” have relevance not only within India but worldwide. MLF: Business & Leadership/Science & Technology Location: SF Club Office Time: 5:30 p.m. networking, 6 p.m. program Cost: $20 standard, $8 members, $7 students Program Organizer: Chisako Ress






Nour Ahmadein, Egyptian Student Janet Penley, American Traveller Joel Brinkley, Pulitzer Prize-winning Reporter; Author; Educator – Moderator

Check for more information on this late-breaking program.

The Commonwealth Club is making it very easy to buy books written by many of our great speakers. Just go to our online bookstore at

MLF: Middle East Location: SF Club Office Time: 5:30 p.m. networking reception, 6 p.m. program Cost: $20 standard, MEMBERS FREE, $7 students (with valid ID) Program Organizer: Celia Menczel thecommonwealthclubbookstore Each book you purchase also helps support The Commonwealth Club, the nation’s oldest and largest – and best – public forum.

putting you face-to-face with today’s thought leaders

J U N E/J U LY 2011



COme True

A broadcast legend remembers her start. Excerpt from “Belva Davis: A Bay Area Legend Tells All,” February 10, 2011. Belva davis Broadcast Journalist; Host, “This Week in Northern California,” KQED Television; Author, Never in My Wildest Dreams IN CONVERSATION WITH RAY Taliaferro KGO Radio Host TALIAFERRO: You’re a black woman, and when you take a look at broadcasting, in those days, they didn’t have any of us there, frankly. What made you think that you could cross that barrier? DAVIS: That was not a thought that occurred to me when I was a child. I was concerned with survival. I was concerned with where I was going to sleep at night. I was concerned with whether I could make friends, whether I could break through the barriers of the various households where I was living. But what I learned from that was the ability to go within, to gain strength, to be responsible for myself, having the feeling that what happened to me could be changed by my own behavior. That was a marvelous thing to discover, because children are dependent people, and unless you’re forced to at a young age, you don’t gain the strength of will, of self. So maybe that was the best thing that could have happened to me, because later in life,



those same skills are things that helped me walk into situations where I had no experience – because I had been walking into households where I had no experience – with a curiosity rather than a fear. People who know me and have been my friends and my workmates over the years know that there are very few things that, if it is interesting, I won’t attempt to find out more about and do. TALIAFERRO: It does take something within you to pull it all together and look at the picture a tad bit differently than other people have [seen it], up to the time when you had to confront the picture and said that you’re going to change the picture. DAVIS: Ray, you probably could tell that story just as well as I can, because you’ve lived the same kind of life. That is because we did not see examples of African Americans in high-ranking positions. That was just not the norm. So if you were going to live the dream that Hollywood, the media, the

JU NE/JU LY 2011

Photos by Beth Byrne


magazines portrayed, you had to envision yourself in those positions, because you wanted to be like what the general media said was the good thing. So part of it came from looking at those realities and trying to figure out how you fit in. Now, [when] we think of film or stage or [other] cultural activities, we were excluded, so we had a natural desire to become part of whatever was considered mainstream. I was a reader; I read so much I can’t even tell you what I read or why I read it. I read whatever was available to me. That was where I lived. It was such a great escape. Out of those writings and those theories and I’d say challenges of watching characters overcome various things must have somehow also been part of this building block of getting going. TALIAFERRO: Is broadcast journalism better or worse today than it was when you started? DAVIS: Journalism isn’t worse; management is worse. It’s the model under which journalists have to work that’s at the crossroads right now. We’re doing our work in a totally different atmosphere. When I started, with a critical story we wouldn’t think of going on the air without the old three sources; you had to at least have two to get past the first edit. Having checked our facts carefully – that was the model. Now, if it’s a rumor, you can say it. You don’t even have to say it’s a rumor. That’s not good. But that’s forced on us by the ever-moving news cycle. TALIAFERRO: Who were you the most nervous to interview, and why? DAVIS: Frank Sinatra, known for being short-tempered with the press … was performing at the Cow Palace. He had a trailer inside this big cavernous place. All the male press people were there and I was there. Mr. Sinatra walked to the door of his trailer, stood and looked out at us, and finally he said, “Hey, girly, you!” He invited me in! So I got inside the trailer. I had my little microphone and I was getting it together, and my hands were really shaking. He asked me, “What’s wrong with you?” I said, “Mr. Sinatra, I’m sorry. I’m just nervous, I’m nervous,” and I was going on like that. He said, “Just stop.” I stopped. He said, “Don’t worry about being nervous. You know, the first day I walk out on that stage and I’m not nervous, that’s the day I’ll quit.” I took that – true or not – to heart. Ω

Photo by Sonya Abrams



I am writing to you today in regard to a December 2010 session where Dr. Arthur Brooks of the American Enterprise Institute was the guest speaker. I would like to say that while Dr. Brooks gave a very interesting presentation, I think he fell quite short during the Q&A session. Several questions were submitted for his comment and I found that most, if not all, of his responses failed to really answer the questions posed. Further, his answers served to just iterate his and his organization’s mission, which I understood to be the furthering of wide-open markets as the best, and really only, mechanism to provide for us all and guarantee liberty. Additionally, I feel that Dr. Brooks seriously misrepresented his and his organization’s political leanings. One example of this was Dr. Brooks’ characterization that the AEI is a fairly nonpartisan organization. This is patently untrue – an even cursory examination of AEI shows that its membership and executive ranks are filled with members of the GOP and that well over a majority of AEI’s funding comes from political conservatives and members of the GOP’s rank and file. I have no issue with Dr. Brooks nor his organization having a particular political bent. However, I do take huge exception to him coming to The Commonwealth Club to misrepresent himself, his organization, and their collective theories and position as being nonpartisan without being subjected to at least some degree of scrutiny. I understand that the above is just one example, but there are several others. I think

the mission statement of the Club, coupled with the desire for fair disclosure and equity, all demand that certain claims are validated and if found to even just stretch the truth, then to be met with appropriate rebuttal and clarified in order to ensure our community is truthfully informed. Quoting from this mission statement, the Club strives “ be the leading national forum open to all for the impartial discussion....” With that as a reference, I think Dr. Brooks’ comments, left as-is, do not satisfy the Club’s charter nor its responsibility to its patrons. Just to make sure I didn’t miss anything, I listened to the podcast twice. Additionally, I spent a fair amount of time scouring the Internet to try and find the type of data Dr. Brooks referenced in his discussion as that used in his research. Unfortunately, I have yet to find very much that would be useful in supporting his claims. With all this said, my questions are this: • Does the Club feel it has an obligation to facilitate validation of Dr. Brooks’ statements made as factual representation? • To this end, does the Club find value in either inviting or accepting an offer from someone to present at a Club forum whereby Dr. Brooks’ ideas are discussed further with the intent to separate fact from opinion? • If no to either of the above, does the Club feel, in allowing Dr. Brooks’ comments to stand unexamined, this potentially devalues the Club’s reputation and prominence as one of the nation’s leading intellectual, policy and public affairs forums? I understand that the Club must live by its mission and remain impartial. I also agree that the Club itself should not perform any of the actual groundwork nor materially participate in the examination. However, I do strongly urge the Club to act as a facilitator by providing the venue by which the examination can occur and to also encourage those individuals who are uniquely qualified in these areas to perform this examination. Antonio L. Leding Pleasanton, CA


I must say that I have noticed quite a liberal, left-wing leaning of the Club and what it presents. (Much talk of “carbon footprints,” but nothing from anyone who disagrees with anthropogenic global warming). A striking example just slapped me in the face on page 50 of the April/May edition of your magazine in the title of the Friday, June 3, event, “Why Are Democrats Embattled – and How Can They Win Again?” I would never see in the pages of your magazine, “Why Are Republicans Embattled – and How Can They Win Again?” when it is, indeed, the Republicans who are embattled, hardly the Democrats! Any pretense you may have had at even-handedness is blown by your own words. It is not the place of a true public policy forum to concern itself with either party winning. A public policy forum should present both sides equally, not take sides, as you clearly do, in what you present and how you present it. Pity. Valerie Jo Remley Alamo, CA The titles of programs represent the topic of the speaker; they do not represent the position of the Club – which, after all, does not take a political position, nor does it endorse candidates and legislation. As for a Club program on the GOP’s viability, you might want to listen to the MP3 audio of our program on the future of the California Republican Party. It is online: www. podcast/panel-future-republican-party We produce around 450 programs a year, and within that large mix you’ll find programs all across the political spectrum, plus many nonpolitical programs representing many views. The title and topic of any one program is not a reflection of the Club.

The Commonwealth magazine welcomes letters to the editor. Include your name and address. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.

J U N E/J U LY 2011



one is capital, basically money. The second one is labor, basically the workforce. And the third one is productivity, which I often joke is sort of a cheat sheet for economists; it is everything else that isn’t capital or labor. The reason, however, that productivity is important is because economists think that it explains about 60 percent of why some countries grow and other economies don’t. So it’s a very crucial issue. Policymakers in the United States and across Europe have over the last 50 years specifically designed and implemented policies that have eroded these three key factors. I’d also like you to bear in mind that it’s not just the quantity of labor and capital that matter; it’s also the quality that matters. Therefore, what we see when we compare what is going on in the United States to China or other places in the world, it’s important that our discussion is much more nuanced and doesn’t just focus on the big headline numbers.

With historic shifts underway globally among the economic Capital wealth o let’s talk a little about capital. We powers, can Western nations adjust? A look at their capital, all know where the United States and labor and productivity challenges. Excerpt from “Dambisa European countries are. They are essentially Moyo: How the West Was Lost,” February 17, 2011. characterized by very large debts and very


Dambisa moyo International Economist; Author, How the West Was

Lost: Fifty Years of Economic Folly and Dead Aid


he running theme between [my] two books is unintended consequences – good intentions that our policymakers have that yield bad outcomes. In the context of aid to Africa, we see horrendous pictures in the newspapers, on television, of people suffering from diseases and living very impoverished lives, and we feel we need to do something. The good intention is that we want to do something; the bad outcome is that by using aid, we end up with a huge list of economic problems like inflation, the debt burden and corruption – a lot of the stuff I talked about in Dead Aid. [See The Commonwealth, September 2009, page 8.] Very much in the same way, I’d like to talk about good intentions: things like pensions, like artifacts of the subprime crisis, which is the idea of everyone having housing – which are all good intentions, but [they have] put Western countries, the



United States included, on a precarious path toward economic decline. I want us to suspend our ideological beliefs today. We have become too wedded to what we think we know. Unfortunately that makes us slightly hamstrung, not only when thinking about the problems we’re facing, but also when brainstorming about what the solutions might be. We’re in the middle of quite an inflection point in terms of where we are and where the world is going. In 2050 we can be as many as nine billion people on the planet, and issues of natural resources – like arable land, access to water, access to energy and access to minerals – are some of the things we are absolutely going to have to contend with. It’s therefore essential that we come together and not only find out what the real issues are, but also start to come up with some credible solutions. Economists tend to look at the economy by looking at three key ingredients. The first

JU NE/JU LY 2011

large deficits. This is an unfortunate situation that is not just at the government or public level, but it’s also very much reflected at the individual household level. If you drill down to what has happened in recent years, in particular the subprime crisis, I argue in the book it is really an artifact of the “housing for all” policy, which is a good intention that has, unfortunately, yielded a bad outcome. I understand why policymakers would try to give us all a roof over our head, but the manner in which the government set out a policy environment clearly disincentivized people from doing the right thing. More important, it led to a situation where the average American invested a large proportion of their wealth in a particular sector, in this case the real estate sector, that was artificially made to look attractive by government policy. What did the government do? It kept interest rates low, it built in Fanny Mae and Freddie Mac, for example. It created an environment where there were guarantees in subsidies. And it was these sorts of artificial factors that make the housing sector look much more attractive than other sectors like bonds, stocks,

Photo by Camille Koué

commodities and even cash. Look at where the United States is today versus, for example, China in terms of capital. China has about $3 trillion in reserves, but there’s a more subtle point worth stressing here. In China, a lot of the money is concentrated. While the United States is still a $14 trillion economy and one of the largest economies, it’s definitely much more diffused across pension funds, individuals, hedge funds and so on. That matters, because when governments have to deal with big problems like resource shortages or financial crises, the issue becomes, “How flexible, how capable is your government to do that?” In the case of China, the government has been able to maintain a lot of flexibility by being able to have this access to capital, whereas in the United States, we’ve seen the government is very hamstrung now by a lot of catastrophic errors that have happened, not just in the last few decades, but also over a much longer period. If you move into the labor sector, there are so many things that are cause for concern in the United States and across Europe. With regard to pensions, for example, even at this stage it is pretty unclear how much the United States government owes to us as individuals in terms of pension liabilities. The most recent number I’ve heard is $2.5 trillion. We all know that there is a serious problem emerging; there’s just not enough discourse [about] what is going to be done. There are some estimates that as we move into 2040, there will be a 250 percent increase in the amount of people who are 65 years old or older. That has a serious implication for the pension costs and the health-care costs. Already in the United Kingdom, 75 percent of the cost of the National Health Service is for long-term services associated with people in later life. Now this is not to say we want to shut off the taps, but we do have to understand that the way the pension schemes were structured has decimated industries. In effect, we have built a ponzi scheme where we know the later participants are paying for the older participants, and it’s simply unsustainable. So what are we going to do? Are we going to make sacrifices today for America to be competitive tomorrow? Or are we going to find solutions that help us today but in the longer term make the American government and companies find

many more challenges around pensions? [Regarding] health-care costs, McKinsey has estimated that in the years to come, the United States will have 100-percent health-care-bill-to-GDP [ratio]. It is clearly unsustainable, and a country can’t spend every dime that it earns only on health care. So the question is: What is it exactly we are doing now to tackle issues of obesity and other issues associated with health care in the longer term? These elements act as a drag on society in the long term; the manner in which they were structured absolutely leads to a drag on the broader economy.

Source of national wealth


’m going to spend a minute on education, because I think here too is a very serious problem that everyone is aware of. We’ve heard President Obama and other people talk about how, in one generation, the United States has gone from number one in college graduates to twelfth. You only have to look at the Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development’s statistics. They have something called the Program for International Student Assessment survey and another survey called the Trends in Mathematics Science Study. If you looked at those statistics in aggregate, the United States and many European countries are seriously falling behind in mathematics, sciences and reading. Just to give you an example, the United Kingdom, where I live, has gone from seventh in reading to seventeenth. This is in reading in English, which is their language. In things like mathematics they’ve gone from around eighth to number 24. Why does it matter? The fact is that American society is still the absolute front-runner in innovation, technology and R&D. As I said, there will be nine billion of us on the planet in 2050, and some of the biggest problems are not just about poverty and environmental concerns, but issues around energy and infrastructure that can only be solved by innovation in technological solutions. Just to illustrate, we are living on oil finds from the 1950s and 1960s. Since the 1960s there has not been any major oil find. So clearly just by the fact that America consumes 20-25 percent of the world’s

energy, or 85 million barrels a day, we know it’s going to be hard to live in a free, fair global society when countries like China, India and Brazil are aspiring to the living situation of the United States. Something has to give, and the fact of the matter is we need American innovation up there to help solve these problems. But to solve these problems, America has to create the incentives that drive the innovators and entrepreneurs to try to solve these problems. These people need mathematical backgrounds, they need science and they certainly need education. As someone from Africa, I find it particularly distressing, because I know that people around the world are relying on America getting things right. So the fact that we aren’t investing in education is very distressing. If you look at the demographics of the United States, some of the estimates I’ve seen say we will have a minority population larger than the majority population by 2042. If you look at disaggregated performance in math and science of minority groups, it’s really distressing. We’ve got to get back to that basic value of getting education. It’s not just a priority for America, but also for the rest of the world.

J U N E/J U LY 2011



Photo by Ed Ritger

The Financial Times’ Richard Waters moderated the program with economist Dambisa Moyo

Total factor productivity


hat has happened in the last few decades where productivities are concerned? There have been some gains in the United States, but meanwhile in the last few years, China has posted the largest productivity gains on record. Some people might say that’s not surprising, it’s coming from a low base. But the question then becomes: Has the United States benefited from being part of the international community? Has America given away too much in terms of competitive advantage by having these productivity gains? Now, I’m a free-marketeer. I believe that there are gains to be had in society if we can trade more, [have] free capital movement, movement of labor, and so on. But the fact of the matter is that when America has been open over the last 30 years, many Americans have ended up with more debt, flat real wages and not much of an upside. In fact, professors at the University of Chicago have compared the United States when she was closed from the 1950s to the 1980s to the period when America was really open, which was from 1980 to 2007. They found that GDP growth in these two periods was identical, at 2.1 percent. This is quite distressing for someone like me, because in theory there should be productivity gains and benefits from being much more open, but in practice that’s not the case. The reason we haven’t seen those gains is once again because of policy: good intentions, bad outcomes. What is it that has happened over the past 30 years that has made it impossible for Americans to benefit from the huge windfall of wealth



and improvements that we’ve seen globally? So what happened? It has been a confluence of factors. The government artificially kept interest rates low and encouraged us to invest our money into the housing market, which meant that our money was wrapped up in real estate, and we missed out on other opportunities to invest. I think it’s not the responsibility of government to alter the market and encourage people to invest in one asset class over another. It’s pretty clear, in retrospect, that while China and India and other countries have done exceptionally well, people who have invested in those markets over the last 30 years have benefited from the return on [their] capital. But people who invested in labor have not benefited as much as they could have, and certainly not as much as theory would tell us they should. What choices does America have today? The choice is quite simple. Either the United States is going to stay open to the rest of the world – which is what I would prefer and I think many people would prefer – and by that I mean open to trade, capital flows and the international community. That is, for now, the option that the policymakers have chosen. Things like education, energy efficiency, infrastructure – and infrastructure is the big area where America continues to suffer – the U.S. government has decided to try to solve those problems in the context of being open to the rest of the world. But the problem with this strategy is that it has to be much bolder and much bigger than the pussyfooting around that the U.S. government is doing right now. Three percent of GDP in education is simply not

JU NE/JU LY 2011

good enough. Besides, if you look at the way in which the education sector operates in the United States, it is almost a mirror image of the aid sector and the issues around aid to Africa. We as a society are beholden to vested interests, and people are being rewarded for poor results. It is unacceptable that the grades and the performance and trends that we’re seeing in education in the United States should be ignored, but that is exactly what the education sector is doing in this country. But the second problem with being open and trying to solve things within the context of being open is that it really relies on other countries playing fair. It really relies on China moving her exchange rate. It relies on other countries playing fair where oil is concerned and not manipulating the markets, such as the OPEC countries. But very often governments put their own interests ahead of the international community. This leads me to the second choice, which is that America could become much more closed, which would be a great loss and a big disappointment to many people. Protectionist ideas are very much rampant in the United States already, so the leap toward more protectionism is not that far. We all know that the United States engages in very aggressive protectionism when it comes to agricultural products, for example, against African goods. So could the United States become more protectionist to save the 30 million Americans who are out of work in the manufacturing sector and who arguably will not get their jobs back because they’re simply uncompetitive? Protectionism used to be some kind of a crazy, crackpot, fringe issue, but now it has moved to the center. Ultimately, whether you stay more open or more closed or how you evolve as a society is up to U.S. citizens; it’s got nothing to do with the rest of the world. But I will remind you that FDR in his first inaugural statement [said] that the United States does want to be part of the international community, but that is second to economic stability. My reading of that is that America will absolutely put her national interests ahead of whether or not she will stay a part of the international community. Ω This program was made possible by the Koret Foundation, part of the Principles of a Free Society Series.

TalkING ABOUT WRITING Author photos by Ed Ritger, library by Irish Welcome Tours / Flickr

Two celebrated authors discuss the power of writing fiction and real life. Excerpt from “Andre Dubus in Conversation with Tobias Wolff,” March 16, 2011. Andre Dubus III Author, House of Sand and Fog and Townie IN CONVERSATION WITH TOBIAS WOLFF Author; Professor, Stanford University WOLFF: This was a book of necessity, not of whimsy, or to pass the time, or to fulfill a contract. I’m curious how it began to announce itself to you. DUBUS: I haven’t really read that many memoirs. I’ve read three, [Wolff’s] two and A Moveable Feast. I’m not just saying this because Tobias Wolff is sitting right next to me, but the truth is I didn’t know a memoir could be as powerful or as interesting as fiction until I read This Boy’s Life. For 25 years I have been trying to write this stuff as fiction. I have probably spent seven years trying to write Townie as a novel. My first efforts were horrible. I was still angry at my parents and my lousy little childhood. Then I tried again between two other books I was writing, and it fell apart again. Then I tried again after House of Sand and Fog as fiction. I was trying to capture [this]: I’m 10 years younger than the Vietnam generation, and I’m 10 years older than Generation X. But I had hair down to my waist, I was popping acid, smoking dope, drinking whiskey at 13, and having precocious sex. We were walking and talking like we were counterculture people when really we were just punks getting high. I’m living with my single mom in



a mill town, Vietnam is ending, Watergate is going on. People have nostalgia for the ’70s, but I always remember it as a bleak and horrible decade. I finally came to the conclusion that I’m not the kind of writer that can write fiction that comes from my life. Truman Capote could have a bad cocktail party in Manhattan and write a story about a bad cocktail party in Manhattan. For me it would have to be about really good barbecue in Texas from the point of view of the guy that wants to kill all the white people at the barbecue. I couldn’t be in it. WOLFF: It was a hard upbringing. You had to, eventually, decide you were going to turn your body into an instrument of survival. You [undertook] a regime of exercise and weightlifting. You became a boxer; you fought for money. You not only survived but dominated in the world that you grew up in. At what point [did] you decide to make your mind the instrument of your survival? DUBUS: I noticed violence tends to escalate. The more you do it, the worse it gets. I came close to kicking a guy to death. If it wasn’t for my girlfriend, two more kicks and you would be interviewing me from prison. I just knew that I was creating more

JU NE/JU LY 2011

violence in the world and in my life. I was training for the Golden Gloves down in Lowell. One night I was getting ready to work out when, instead of running to the gym to work out, I brewed some tea and I began to write a scene. I was writing from the point of view of a young woman losing her virginity on the hood of a Trans-Am in the Maine woods in a soft rain. It was so awful. Flaubert said, “A bad book comes just as sincerely from a man’s soul as a good one.” I felt like a valve had released steam from inside me. In a few months I began to write my first story, which again was very awful but sincere. There is that great line from Hemingway: The job of a writer is not to judge but to seek to understand. I was trying to feel other people; I was trying to step inside their own private skin. I’m not saying writing makes people better, because some of the biggest jerks I’ve met are writers, including myself. But writing was putting me in a much more empathic state. Ω This program was made possible by the generous support of The Bernard Osher Foundation.

An award-winning actor explains his dedication to protecting oceans and ocean life. It started with explaining a sick beach to his kids. Excerpt from “Ted Danson: Our Endangered Oceans and What We Can Do to Save Them,” March 22, 2011. Ted danson Actor; Environmentalist; Author, Oceana in conveRsation with greg dalton Director,

Climate One



JU NE/JU LY 2011

to become the largest ocean advocacy group in the world. DALTON: Some people say that climate change is a bigger threat than overfishing. So let’s talk about the warming oceans and about how oceans can be part of the solution. DANSON: Let me go back just a hair and say Oceana focuses on fisheries. When you talk about climate change, the impact it will have on fisheries is huge. We’re overfishing

“Ocean acidification is not


This is one of those things that is pure fact, pure


the top of the food chain. When you talk about climate change, you’re talking about the bottom of the food chain, and you can see how you could actually squeeze the life out of the oceans. Ocean acidification is not arguable. We love to debate whether climate change is real in this country. But this is one of those things that is pure fact, pure science. Since the Industrial Revolution, we’ve had about 30 percent more carbon dioxide in the ocean than before. The problem is that carbon di-

oxide changes the pH balance of the oceans so that the oceans turn, ever so slightly, acidic, which means the terrapods, the sea snails, the corals, all of which use calcium to make their shells, can’t make their shells, because the calcium won’t bind together. Then you start to have a big problem as you start to hit the bottom of the food chain. That’s the biggest problem. DALTON: You’re a marine conservationist. Are you against using the sea as a form of energy, whether as underwater turbines or wind turbines that are off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard or elsewhere? DANSON: No, I’m not. Clearly everyone is nostalgic for the view they had as a kid. But I would much rather see an ocean windmill in front of me than an oil well, or have to deal with this continued oil policy that creates so many problems. It’s ironic that most of the oil wells were placed in neighborhoods that were, by and large, poor. They didn’t have the wherewithal to fight them. I started by fighting an oil well in my backyard because I had the time and the money. Now, it’s us who can afford the ocean view who will have to go “Uh,” because it’s the East Coast where you want to put your windmills. We’re facing that in Nantucket now. But absolutely, we should be doing everything possible – wind power, solar – we should be pouring money into research and development to find stuff we don’t even know about before we allow ourselves to continue to drill offshore and put our fisheries, jobs and tourism in jeopardy.

J U N E/J U LY 2011



Danson photos by Sonya Abrams, ocean by World Resources / Flickr

DALTON: What put you on the path to becoming an advocate for the world’s oceans? DANSON: I grew up in Flagstaff, Arizona. My father was a director, archeologist, anthropologist, teacher; he taught down at the University of Arizona. Then in about ’56 he became the director of the museum and the research center. Scientists from all over the world surrounded us. I was around the digs, I was around skeletons, things like that. It sunk in that there was a lot that came before us; there will be a lot that comes after us. These times that we’re in aren’t just about us; they’re also about our stewardship. Flash forward to “Cheers” in the mid ’80s. I was getting paid a lot and feeling a little guilty. What do I do? I take a walk along the beach in Santa Monica with my daughters, who are eight and four, and we see a sign that says “No swimming, water polluted.” How do you explain that? I didn’t know. It was a gorgeous day with crystal clear water, but I couldn’t go swimming. So I began to ask some questions. At the same time I met a man named Robert Sulnick, who was the head of No Oil Inc. They were trying to [prevent] Occidental Petroleum from digging about 60 oil wells in Will Rogers State Beach, and we came up with a way to defeat them. We became great friends and wanted to continue the conversation. We decided to start American Oceans Campaign. Lo and behold, it became a small but respected ocean advocacy group in Washington and L.A. Ten years ago it merged with Oceana

Climate One’s Greg Dalton (left) quizzes oceans activist Ted Danson.

DALTON: Should there be no more offshore drilling, or should it just be done more safely and specifically in non-sensitive areas? DANSON: My position is no more new offshore drilling, period. Clearly, you’re not going to take the rigs out of the Gulf. But you don’t open up the Arctic Sea. I had this amazing experience in Barrow, Alaska. I got to have an interview with mayor [Edward] Itta. He is in the middle of this fight. He said 12 years ago he got his first indoor bathroom because of oil money. Barrow is tough. That is really subsistence living, and all of a sudden his people were able to have a life that we take for granted because of oil money. Yet their entire culture is based on whaling. Their spiritual heritage is based on whaling, and if you sink an oil well in their sea, you run the risk of destroying their people.

“I’m not recommending

Somali pirates, but it shows that, given the chance, fisheries will


While he’s trying to lift up his people he runs the risk of literally destroying his people by allowing offshore oil drills in his area. DALTON: I’ve been up there, and the people would like a little more comfortable living. Oil, or gas, can bring that more comfortable living. Do people see the risks or do



they just see the money in front of them that may help their material well-being? DANSON: It’s really hard; it’s wonderfully humbling. It is easy to say no more offshore drilling to you guys [in San Francisco], but go to Louisiana, go to Texas, go to Alaska and say no more oil drilling. You’re saying, “I shouldn’t be allowed to put food on my table, I shouldn’t be allowed to get my kids through college, so you can be right about no more offshore drilling?” It’s very humbling, it’s very hard when you’re talking about people’s livelihoods. Mayor Itta’s position was that you have to let science lead the way; he means that genuinely. If you let science and common sense lead the way, you’re not going to sink an oil well. Look what happened in the Gulf. Accidents do happen. DALTON: Let’s talk about overfishing. What are some of the big drivers of overfishing? As India, China and emerging economies continue to grow, the appetite for animal protein is growing. DANSON: We’re being wasteful and destructive. For example, 90 percent of the fishermen across the world do it the old-fashioned way that has been working for centuries. But 90 percent only catch 10 percent of the fish. The 10 percent of the workforce that catch the 90 percent of the fish work on those huge, international, deep sea trawlers. So just talking about jobs, you do the right thing and, immediately, you create way more jobs. These trawlers trawl about half the size of the United States every year and they have these huge nets – some of the nets’ mouths could fit a 747 into them – and they used to

JU NE/JU LY 2011

have to lift the nets when it came to rocks, because it would tear the nets, but they don’t have to anymore. They can roll along the bottom with these huge heavy rollers – it’s so sophisticated – and they churn up what’s underneath and they catch what’s left in their nets. They can take coral reefs, rocks, nooks and crannies, which are the nurseries where the little fish become the big fish that we like to eat, and turn it into a gravel pit. So when you attack the nurseries at that level you will have an impact. Then the stuff the net catches is put on board, and a third of what the world catches is thrown overboard. So there is a huge amount of waste and a huge amount of destruction, because the fleets are so oversubsidized. This country, by the way, doesn’t do this. So you get Democrats and Republicans all agreeing, which is wonderful. It’s an $80- to $100-billion a year landedfish catch worldwide. Twenty-five billion is subsidized, and that’s crazy for any business; it’s like $30 billion, but $5 billion of that goes to science and safety, so $25 billion goes to trying to catch more fish, to going out and doing the wrong thing even more. If you cut subsidies, half the boats in the water would be gone. That’s a really good thing. DALTON: These are state subsidies from other countries trying to support jobs? DANSON: Exactly. The good news is that The World Trade Organization has language in this Doha round [of global trade negotiations] that for the first time ever is willing to cut subsidies. It’s tricky because everyone agrees that you have to cut subsidies, but “It’s not my boats, its his boats over there.” So that’s the argument: Do not fish at barely the margin that it’s sustainable. You need a big buffer zone because it could collapse. Nine out of the 10 big fish that were around when I was a kid in the ’50s are gone. And 90 percent of the tuna is gone, 90 percent of the sharks gone, marlin, swordfish, king mackerel – all gone. So it’s not that we’re fishing with 10 percent of the fisheries that we had in the ’50s, but it’s way diminished. We’ve been pretty good, in this country, about not overfishing what’s left of this huge amount we had in the ’50s. DALTON: Has that affected the price? Usually, when something gets that scarce, the price goes up and that has some effect on consumption. DANSON: Someone had this great line:

“We are eating what our grandfathers used to call trash fish.” We would have never gone after that ugly fish we’ve cleverly called orange roughy, and then gone, “Awe, orange roughy.” We’re eating way down the food chain, and because you can keep putting something on the plate, it looks to us as though everything is fine. We thought aquaculture was, and will be, the answer. Salmon farming is a big problem. Someone told me in Washington State they are getting better at it. But the problem is most of our salmon comes from Chile, where they grind up three to five pounds of wild fish to make one pound of farm salmon. We’re here going, “What’s the problem?” and in the Southern Hemisphere’s local markets you can barely find any fish, and if you do, they’re smaller. And there is a huge amount of antibiotics; they’re getting better at that, but these are antibiotics that we take as last-ditch antibiotics for when we get really sick. In the meantime, they have been proliferated into the fish farms to the point that by the time the virus gets to us, it’s like, “Big deal, I saw that a long time ago.” DALTON: What transparency mechanisms are in place so people can find out what they are eating, if they choose to eat fish? DANSON: Here is one of the things you can do that will make you feel empowered: Become a smart consumer. The Bush administration [said] one out of six – I think it’s currently at one out of ten – women in this country have too much mercury in their system. If they are within childbearing years, they are at risk of giving birth [to a child] with neurological damage. It comes mostly from the fish you eat. It gets into the fish in this country from the coal-burning plants in the Midwest or the chlorine plants that use mercury in the manufacturing of the chlorine molecule. It gets into the gills of the little fish, it’s water soluble, and by the time you eat the big fish it has so much mercury in it that it’s really not good for you. So become an informed consumer. You have the great Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch. You can go online and it will update you on what is healthy for you to eat. You can go to the supermarket and ask them, because in California, by law, they have to post what is healthy for you to eat. Do it for yourself, do it for the fisheries and do it for your kids. You’re only supposed to have the equivalent of a can of tuna a week,

at most, if you’re a woman or child. So educate yourself. You have a huge amount of power. When you’re at a restaurant, go “Sorry, is this farmed salmon?” If they say yes, say, “Sorry, wild salmon is a yes, but not farmed salmon.” You need to become an international activist. You can do the consumer thing, it’s the right thing to do, and it makes you feel empowered. But most of these are policy issues that are governmental and worldwide. So how can you do this in your busy, crazy day? Go online to oceana. org; go to the part where you can become an e-activist. They’re called Wavemakers in our organization. You click a few buttons, here and there, and without even donating any money you agree to become an e-activist. When something happens, in Spain or in this country, we’ll send you a blast and you’ll agree to do this or that. It was 60,000 of you who encouraged the West Coast fishing councils to put aside over 140,000 square miles of ocean floor to bottom trawling – no more bottom trawling in this sensitive area. DALTON: I believe President Bush set aside a huge reserve off the shore of Hawaii. What are some of the top areas that you feel should be preserved that are not currently being preserved? DANSON: Some people say 10 percent of the world’s oceans need to be set aside. I know Oceana is mapping out all along the West Coast areas that have import to the fisheries. Whether it is nurseries or breeding grounds, things have to be preserved to make healthy fisheries. Then they will make their recommendations. Just as an example of how effective that is: CNN had a story about Kenyan

fishermen who had big grins on their faces because Somali pirates had scared away industrial fishing fleets for about five years in that area. So the fish came back overwhelmingly. I’m not recommending Somali pirates, but it shows that, given the chance, fisheries will rebound. Same thing happened after World War II in the North Atlantic. The fish stock just exploded. DALTON: How about the cruise line industry? They’re another source of ocean pollution. DANSON: One of the first things that we did at Oceana was to engage Royal Caribbean. These things are like floating cities, and they go to the most beautiful cities in the world. They go to the reefs; they go to the precious places. I think it was Royal Caribbean to whom Alaska said, “Don’t come in anymore,” because they weren’t treating their sewage enough to not be hurting the little areas that they were going to, so they went off and changed a number of their boats. We engaged them and said, “Will you do all of your boats?” And they said “No,” and we had a big campaign. They now have put $150 million into changing their entire fleet so that their sewage treatment is top of the line. What’s sad is we said, “Great, now can we publicize that?” and they said, “No.” They have an agreement with the other fleets that says anyone that does anything good environmentally will not tout it to embarrass the others. Which is too bad. Ω This program was made possible by the generous support of the San Francisco Business Times.

Danson heard from many audience members with stories to tell about the seas. J U N E/J U LY 2011



Honorees: Janet W. Lamkin, The Honorable Tad Taube & Mary B. Cranston

A Ro

Table convers

The Commonwealth Club’s

108th Anniversary and 23rd Annual

Distinguished Citizen Award Dinner


athering at San Francisco’s historic Palace Hotel on Tuesday, March 15th, hundreds of guests celebrated The Commonwealth Club’s 23rd Annual Distinguished Citizen Award Honorees. Recognized were Mary B. Cranston, Janet W. Lamkin and The Honorable Tad Taube for their numerous and far-reaching contributions to society and respective professions. In memoriam, Club Board Members L. W. “Bill” Lane, Jr. and L. Jay Tenenbaum were bestowed the William K. Bowes, Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award. Additionally, the Club welcomed over 50

of the Bay Area’s most interesting guests, representing the fields of the arts, sports, law, religion, emergency services, health care, education and business – all to give patrons in attendance A Room with Views. Enjoying a fun and festive evening mingling with the honorees and interesting guests of honor, attendees generously contributed to the gala – which has become the Club’s most successful fundraiser in its history – through a live auction. The spirit of the Club, and its mission of presenting a multitude of views year-round, was alive and well in March at the Palace Hotel!

Featuring: Bishop Marc Andrus, Dan A Lloyd H. Dean, Steven Dinkelspiel, Alex Michael Krasny, Ph.D., Lois Lehrman, Ri Dennis Nahat, Eric S. Nonacs, Ronn O The Very Rev. Dr. Jane Shaw, Patricia Splin

oom with Views

sations with some of the Bay Area’s most interesting people!

Ashley, Laurence M. Baer, Shad Balch, Alison Barakat, Dave Barthmuss, John L. Boland, Harold W. Brooks, Hon. Willie L. Brown, Jr., Hon. Ming W. Chin, Belva Davis, x Filippenko, Ph.D., Carol Fleming, Ph. D., Jeff Godown, Violet Grgich, Kirk O. Hanson, Joanne Hayes-White, Janet L. Holmgren, Ph.D., Lance Izumi, Hubert Keller, ichard K. Lyons, Ph.D., Jamis MacNiven, Annie Maxwell, Doug McConnell, Cindy Testa-McCullagh, Donald McQuade, Ph.D., Michael Mina, Christopher Moore, Owens, Joel Parrott, DVM, Tanya McVeigh Peterson, Rev. Stephen A. Privett, S.J., Richard M. Rosenberg, Paul Saffo, Adam Savage, George M. Scalise, nter, Kevin Starr, Ph.D., Ray Taliaferro, Robert Trent Jones, Jr., Brian E. Tucker, Ph. D., Hon. Vaughn R. Walker, Jed York, Colleen Wilcox, Ph.D.
























1. Jean Lane 2. The Palace Hotel 3. Gretchen Tenenbaum 4. Adam Savage 5. Jed York, Mohammad Qayoumi, Roger Wise, Jaleh Daie 6. Emma Lee Twitchell, John Dilsaver, Evelyn Dilsaver, Susan Zetzer, Joel Parrott 7. Hubert Keller, Chantel Keller 8. George Scalise, Mariles Casto, Dennis Nahat, Pat Splinter, Mark Casto, Lois Lehrman, Daniel Diaz 9. Kevin Starr 10. Jeffrey Douglas, Kathleen Brownell, Joanne Hayes-White, Ivan Ruiz 11. Joe Epstein 12. Dr. Gloria Duffy, Tad Taube 13. Chris Moore , Jeff Godown, Todd Travers 14. William Moore, Belva Davis 15. Pitch Johnson, Cathie Johnson, Marc Andrus 16. Dan Ashley 17. Deidra Lieberman, Ray Taliaferro, Carol Fleming 18. Sharon Saunders, Joe Saunders 19. Father Steve Privett, Dennise Carter, Colleen Wilcox 20. Brian Riley, Sara Fiorita 21. David Wilson, Pitch Johnson, Brandon Boers 22. Mary Bitterman, Russ Yarrow 23. Willie Brown, Jan Owens, Ronn Owens 24. Larry Baer, Spalding Ashley, Dan Ashley 25. Christine Carr, Lydia Beebe, Michael Carr, Janet Lamkin, Skip Rhodes 26. Kirk Hanson Photos by Drew Altizer Photography




InSight Milestones in the War Against Terrorism Dr. Gloria C. Duffy

Photo courtesy of Gloria Duffy

President and C.E.O.


ast month, two mile- schools would combat the influence of the madrassahs, or religious stones occurred in schools, which are breeding grounds for Islamic extremism. Almost the war on terror everyone is familiar with this story by now. The Bay Area-based and the associated chal- mountain climber Mortenson wandered into a village in Pakistan lenge of dealing with Is- after a failed ascent of K-2, and promised to build a school there. lamic extremism. The kill- He created a program, funded mainly by individuals and foundaing of Osama bin Laden tions in the United States, to build schools throughout this region, was a dramatic step in and wrote a best-selling book, Three Cups of Tea, about his efforts. diminishing the leadership of al-Qaida. But journalist Jon Krakauer’s Journalist Jon Krakauer, as well as “60 Minutes,” recently exexposé of Three Cups of Tea humanitarian Greg Mortenson as a fraud amined Mortenson’s record and found that he was not where he was a sign of how difficult it is to combat the ongoing influence of claimed to be when he said in his book he was there, he did not the Taliban and other fundamentalists on the streets and in the vil- build the schools he claimed to build or they were not currently lages of the Middle East, Central Asia, North Africa and elsewhere. operating, he mismanaged funds, and so on. It is a distressing story The elimination of Osama bin Laden was an amazingly success- of a grassroots hero with feet of clay. ful operation by the U.S. military. And it was certainly justified. As I was not surprised when I heard that Mortenson’s schools project terrorism expert Brian Jenkins told Commonwealth Club members had not turned out as had been hoped. Part of the reason was clearly in a teleconference on May 9th, bin Laden was a man who spent mismanagement of the project, exaggeration and even malfeasance all his time and effort planning how to kill by Mortenson. But part of the explanation hundreds, thousands and even millions of The killing of Osama bin is also that, as Mortenson made clear in his Americans (the latter through seeking access book, his idea was not overly popular in the Laden was a dramatic to nuclear weapons). regions where his organization attempted to step in diminishing the set up schools. The Taliban was not exactly Bin Laden’s death left al-Qaida without leadership of al-Qaida. thrilled to see secular schools – which, horthe charismatic leader who made it a strong international network capable of executing rifyingly to them, teach girls – established to such devastating strikes as the 9/11 attack in the U.S. It also removed compete with the madrassahs. They made every effort to sideline a source of wealth for financing terrorism. Bin Laden used funds his projects. The schools that were used, according to Krakauer, originally from his family’s construction fortune to finance terrorist to store spinach or hay may be so used due to pressure on local activities, and he raised funds from other wealthy Muslims for the leaders by the Taliban against these schools, and not as a result of cause. One would hope that the U.S. and allied countries are busy Mortenson’s misdoings. confiscating whatever funds belonging to bin Laden they can locate. It is hard to have a positive impact on other cultures from abroad, But the death of this one man does not mean the movement is particularly on the roots of Islamic extremism. It is easy for idealistic dead. Smaller al-Qaida and other terrorist cells around the world American projects to be swept away or perverted by pressures from will continue to attempt more modest attacks, along the lines of local groups who want to undercut the influence of the U.S. and the so-called “Christmas Day” or “underwear” bomber in the U.S. Western ideas at all costs. in 2009. And they will continue to foment a terrorist mentality What the United States can do more effectively to strike at the among poor, uneducated, underemployed and disaffected people roots of Islamic extremism is to be ready when pressures within throughout the Muslim world. Solutions to this problem must Muslim societies build to the point that change is possible. Just such reach well beyond the toppling of al-Qaida’s iconic leader, and even developments are underway in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Jordan, Bahrain, beyond further decapitating the movement through pursuit of its Saudi Arabia and Syria. When this happens, the United States can other leaders like Ayman Al-Zawahiri. help with technology, investments and assistance in establishing a One of the most appealing approaches to combating terrorism democratic system. Helping moderate Muslims seize this moment to at its social roots has been Greg Mortenson’s effort to build secular remake their societies is one of the most important things the United schools in remote areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan. The secular States can do now to combat the long-term threat of terrorism. Ω



JU NE/JU LY 2011

Between Two Oceans:

Panama Canal Expedition Aboard the 132-guest Silver Explorer March 28 to April 4, 2012 • Visit Costa Rica’s Manuel Antonio National Park, one of the most biodiverse areas of the world • Look for capuchin monkeys, howler monkeys and three-toed sloths • Meet with the creators of the Santuario Silvestre de Osa, a rainforest wildlife rehabilitation center • Kayak through tropical mangroves; hike tropical rainforest trails; snorkel and swim amidst colorful sea life • Identify parrots, macaws, hawks, hummingbirds, vultures and the endangered great curassows

• Visit an Embera village in the Darien Jungle • Explore Panama’s three cities with overnight stays in Balboa and Colon • Visit the former Canal Zone and witness ships transit the locks; then, back on board, transit the Panama Canal • Learn from our expert Expedition staff – including naturalists, a historian, anthropologist and oceanographer • Experience 5-star luxury on our all-inclusive ship (including open bar and 24-hour room service) but without the formal attire! CST: 2096889-40

From $3,038 per person, based on double occupancy. For a more detailed itinerary or to book your trip, call (415) 597-6720, email or go to

Purchase event tickets at

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


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







Legacy of the Silk Road Uzbekistan & Turkmenistan October 10-24, 2011


Commonwealth Club Travel



Informed Travel for the Discerning Mind

Commonwealth Club Travel Commonwealth Club Travel Informed Travel for the Discerning Mind

Much has been written about Central Asia’s strategic location and its vast untapped reserves of oil and gas. See for yourself the fabled capitals of Silk Road commerce and survey their modern incarnations, arguably as significant now as when they were at the center of the great trade routes.

Commonwealth Club Travel

• Learn from study leader and Central

Asia expert Ambassador Elizabeth Jones. Her lecture topics will cover contemporary geopolitical issues including U.S. relations in Central Asia, Caspian energy and regional reform.

In Tashkent’s Old Town, visit the private art studio of a sixth-generation Uzbek ceramicist. Discuss Central Asia’s current affairs with a representative of the U.S. Embassy in Tashkent.

• Participate in an exclusive meeting

with the senior advisor for Bukhara’s Ark Museum and learn about the education system in Uzbekistan during our visit to a local school.

• Enjoy an archaeologist-led walking tour of UNESCO-listed Nisa, a major center of the ancient Parthian Kingdom.

Cost: $4,995 per person, double occupancy CST# 2096889-40 Photos by Marina & Enrique, stevebrownd50 / Flickr

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

The Commonwealth June/July 2011  
The Commonwealth June/July 2011  

Superstar physicist Dr. Michio Kaku takes us on a tour of the future by looking at what's actually being tested in scientific labs around th...