Commonwealth Club of California Podcast
Summary: The Commonwealth Club of California is the nation's oldest and largest public affairs forum. As a non-partisan forum, The Club brings to the public airwaves diverse viewpoints on important topics. The Club's weekly radio broadcast - the oldest in the U.S., dating back to 1924 - is carried across the nation on public radio stations and is now podcasting. Our website archive features audio of our recent programs, as well as selected speeches from our long and distinguished history. This podcast feed is usually updated twice a week and is always un-edited.
This event is the latest in the San Francisco Foundation’s series on People, Place and Power. Being a teenager is difficult in the best of times, but the universal work of figuring out your identity, your passions, and your path and place in the world can be even more daunting for some. Youth of color, immigrants, LGBTQ community members, and those with disabilities or in low-income households are just some of the populations who face unique challenges. Place those against the backdrop of a Bay Area where inequality is rising, long-time residents are being displaced and the tech sector (literally) towers above, and you’ve got a whole generation grappling with unprecedented questions. So how are young people surviving and thriving in a changing region? What happens when their identities are intersectional and don’t fit into a simple narrative? How are they raising awareness on critical issues to change perceptions, influence policy and spur civic engagement—and how can we better listen? Bay Area youth will take the stage to tell us just how they’re addressing questions of representation, activism and equity as they grow up in this beautiful region of contradictions. Join us to hear the next generation speak for themselves. NOTES Presented in association with KQED Program made possible by the foundation’s Bay Area Leads Fund
Located in the geopolitically important Caucasus region of Eastern Europe, Georgia serves as a vital U.S. ally and a gateway for American companies to access Eurasian markets. Georgia, the birthplace of wine, is bordered to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, and to the south by Turkey and Armenia. Georgia regained its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, and for more than 25 years, its government has been a representative democracy. Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze will address U.S.–Georgia bilateral relations and further strengthening the strategic partnership between the two nations, as well as the role Georgia plays as a stable democratic stronghold in its region. He will also discuss Georgia’s championing of sustainable and inclusive economic development and provide a perspective on advancing America’s commercial interests in Eurasia and beyond. Under Bakhtadze’s leadership, Georgia seeks stronger economic ties with Silicon Valley and the United States. Bakhtadze has been prime minister of Georgia since June 2018. He is committed to strengthening democracy and fostering a vibrant and sustainable economy. He has helped advance Georgia’s integration into the European Union and NATO, standing shoulder to shoulder with allies to strengthen global security. Domestically, Bakhtadze introduced a green economy agenda and lean government initiative that reduced the number of ministries and redirected budget expenditures to social programs. He has launched a comprehensive reform program to overhaul the country’s education system and pledged to allocate 6 percent of GDP to boost human capital development and empower sustainable economic growth. Prior to becoming prime minister, Bakhtadze served as minister of finance of Georgia. In this role, he carried out a number of reforms to simplify banking regulations and the country’s tax system. From 2013 to 2017, Bakhtadze worked as a CEO of JSC Georgian Railway, earning a place for Georgian Railway as one of the leaders in the industry. This program was produced in association with World Affairs of Northern California.
In late May, millions of Europeans will head to the voting booth for elections that will determine the future of the European Union (EU). As the Brexit controversy deepens and a violent populism rises in several European countries, this year's parliamentary elections will be decisive for the EU’s survival and instrumental in how major powers, including the United States, are affected. Please join renowned economist, academic and author James K. Galbraith in a discussion of economics, politics and the state of the European continent after the critical elections. He will be in conversation with the UC Berkeley philosopher Hans Sluga, an expert in political philosophy, to celebrate the book launch of A Vision for Europe: an international collaboration of writers, theorists, artists, political leaders and activists who have joined forces in one groundbreaking volume of exclusive writing to show how the rising tides of nationalism can be tempered; the migration crisis managed; climate change combatted; and a better, fairer democracy built for all Europeans. The book, with additional contributions from leading political and cultural figures across the globe, including Yanis Varoufakis, Naomi Klein, Slavoj Zizek, Elif Shafak, Ken Loach and Jeffrey Sachs, will be available at the event. Overview of Speakers: James Kenneth Galbraith is a professor at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs and the University of Texas as well as a member of the Executive Committee of the World Economics Association. A prolific writer whose work has been featured in The Nation, The New York Times and The Washington Post, his books include The Predator State (2008), Inequality and Industrial Change (2001), and Created Unequal: The Crisis in American Pay (1998). Hans D. Sluga is an academic specializing in analytic and political philosophy who has taught and lectured for the University of California and University College London. His writing has appeared in numerous academic journals and collections across the world in multiple languages, and his books include Politics and the Search for the Common Good (2014), The Cambridge Companion to Wittgenstein (1996), and Philosophy and Politics in Nazi Germany (1993).
In a rich and varied career that has included roles as U.S. secretary of state, secretary of the treasury and secretary of labor, George P. Shultz has aided presidents, confronted national and international crises, and argued passionately that the United States has a vital stake in promoting democratic values and institutions. In speeches, articles, congressional testimony and conversations with world leaders, he has helped shape policy and public opinion on topics such as technology, terrorism, drugs and climate change. The result is a body of work that has influenced the decisions of nations and leaders and impacted the lives of ordinary people. In his newest book, Thinking About the Future, Secretary Shultz has collected and revisited key writings, applying his past thinking to America’s most pressing contemporary problems. In the more than half a century since Shultz entered public life, the world has changed dramatically. But he remains guided by the belief that “you can learn about the future—or at least relate to it—by studying the past and identifying principles that have continuing application to our lives and our world.” Here’s a rare chance to hear from one of America’s most respected statesmen.
Join us for this voyage spécial to Paris, with three travel writers who share their love of all things Parisian. They will talk about their own adventures and also read excerpts from a new edition of Vignettes & Postcards from Paris, the award-winning anthology originally created at Shakespeare and Company bookstore. Come enjoy a discussion of Parisian literary and creative culture of the past and present. MLF Organizer: George Hammond MLF: Humanities
Have you ever taken an underground sewer tour in San Francisco? Or wandered through a labyrinth where the land meets the sea? Secret San Francisco unlocks these secrets and other little-known stories about our city’s most enduring icons. You’ll find out about the real crookedest street, local windmills and an airport for flying boats. Along the way, you’ll encounter bizarre and often hilarious history, including the origins of Burning Man, Santa Con and the fight to legalize public nudity. And did you know that San Francisco was the site of the last American duel? Carlson takes you places locals would rather keep to themselves—that is, if they even knew about them! MLF Organizer: George Hammond MLF: Humanities
Four years ago, 21 student plaintiffs sued the U.S. government for violating their constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property by failing to act on climate change. On the other side of the world, 15-year-old Greta Thunberg initiated a global youth strike for climate, prompting 1.6 million students in over 120 countries to leave school in protest of adult inaction. Will this global surge in youth climate action be enough to influence the decisions of industry and fossil fuel interests, let alone the current presidential administration?
In 1953, Robert Cutler—the first person appointed to be national security advisor to the president, and one of the closest aides to new President Dwight Eisenhower—helped put into effect an executive order that destroyed the lives of thousands of federal employees just because they were homosexual. What was not known at the time is that Cutler himself was gay. Come hear Cutler's great-nephew, Peter Shinkle, tell what he found out about Cutler, his life, and his impact. Peter Shinkle worked for 19 years as a reporter at various news organizations, including most recently the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He covered the federal court system and wrote investigative stories on subjects ranging from improper disposal of radioactive waste to contamination spread by a lead mining company. Shinkle is the great-nephew of Robert Cutler. It was during a family vacation in 2006 that his mother, Judith Cutler Shinkle, and his aunt told him that their "Uncle Bobby" was gay. That sparked a 12-year endeavor to explore the story of the man who was one of President Eisenhower's closest advisors. Join us as Michelle Meow brings her long-running daily radio show to The Commonwealth Club one day each week. Meet fascinating—and often controversial—people discussing important issues of interest to the LGBTQ community, and have your questions ready.
What does it mean to be a journalist in 2019? Scott Pelley, a longtime CBS anchor and "60 Minutes" correspondent, knows better than most. In his new book, Truth Worth Telling: A Reporter’s Search for Meaning in the Stories of Our Times, he reflects on his years of experience, what it means to report the truth, and how this era of fake news and free speech controversies is still the best time to be a reporter. Pelley's book is founded upon an eloquently simple premise: “Don’t ask the meaning of life. Life is asking, what’s the meaning of you?” To answer this question, Pelley recounts the most formative moments of his career: standing with firefighters at the collapsing World Trade Center; advancing with American troops into combat in Afghanistan; his conversations with numerous world leaders. In moments as adrenaline inducing or heart wrenching as these, what is the duty of a journalist? How can a reporter navigate the emotional response to their experiences while also providing an unbiased and nuanced view of the situation? Join us for a conversation with the person most fit to answer these questions. This program is part of our Ethics and Accountability series, underwritten by the Travers Family Foundation, with additional support from the Bernard Osher Foundation for our Good Lit programs.
After eight years of Republican control, the blue wave of 2018 put Democrats back in charge of the U.S. House and made Representative Adam Schiff chair of the House Intelligence Committee. With broad power and jurisdiction, Schiff’s committee oversees the nation’s intelligence agencies, from components of the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security, Justice, and the CIA. While his investigations and public comments have made him one of the president’s favorite Twitter targets, Schiff has defended them as vital to American security. As one of the leading Democrats in Congress, Schiff’s voice is one of the most important coming out of Washington, D.C. With their new majority, how will Democrats lead until the 2020 election? How will the completion of the Mueller investigation impact domestic politics? Join us for a timely and important conversation about politics and the integrity of the American political system.
This week, our in-studio guests will be Brett Andrews of the Positive Resource Center and Sherilyn Adams of Larkin Street Youth. They will discuss the challenges and rewards of working in the nonprofit sector. Join us as Michelle Meow brings her long-running daily radio show to The Commonwealth Club one day each week. Meet fascinating—and often controversial—people discussing important issues of interest to the LGBTQ community, and have your questions ready.
This program is part of our Good Lit series, underwritten by the Bernard Osher Foundation. Adam Savage is a maker. From his elaborate Comic-Con costumes to a 1,000-shot Nerf gun, he has built thousands of projects as a special effects artist and co-host of the hit TV show “MythBusters.” Savage will highlight some of his memorable ideas and shares what inspires him to build, make, invent, explore and above all else create. Savage spent 14 years as the popular co-host of “MythBusters.” He currently stars on Tested.com’s YouTube channel and is the host of “MythBusters Jr.” In association with Wonderfest ** This Program May Contain Explicit Language **
When Nancy Pelosi first ran for political office at the age of 47, she wasn’t new to politics. From the time she spent helping her father while he served as the mayor of Baltimore, working for Jerry Brown’s presidential campaign or serving as the Democratic Party chair of California, she developed skills that would propel her to the peak of American politics. As the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, she is now the most powerful woman in the political history of the United States. In the first 100 days of the 116th Congress, Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats have worked on their “for the people” agenda, passing legislation to clean up corruption and restore ethics to Washington, D.C., a bipartisan background checks bill, and what many Democrats call a landmark paycheck fairness bill. House Democrats are also pursuing a bipartisan infrastructure deal, looking at ways to expand and protect the right to vote, tackling climate change, and lowering health care costs and prescription drug prices for all Americans. This progress comes as Democrats welcome the most diverse caucus in the history of Congress, including more than 100 women in the same Congress that America will mark 100 years since women won the right to vote. Speaker Pelosi says this diversity is a strength that enables Democrats to more fully represent the values and voices of the American people and deliver progress in their lives. How will the Democratic Party try to recreate the success it saw in the 2018 midterm elections? As America heads toward the presidential election in 2020, join us for a conversation with the iconic face of the Democratic Party, and bring your questions.
Join us for an evening to recognize community leaders advocating for immigrant rights. Immigration has become the central social issue of our time. A rise in anti-immigrant policies and rhetoric are creating instability for immigrants, including many here legally. Advocates argue that those most in need are being turned away at the border, detained, and their families separated with no clear path to follow. Yet for centuries, immigrants have come to America expecting a place of refuge, hope and opportunity. During the program, the following organizations and community leaders will be recognized: CAIR SF (Council of American Islamic Relations–S.F. Chapter), Transgender Law Center, African HRC, Immigrant Legal Resource Center, and the National Domestic Workers Alliance. Plus live music from three immigrant singers during the program: Flash is a 23-year-old metal-rock artist who hails from Nepal. He was the lead guitarist of the local band named Beside The Coffin. He immigrated to America three years ago to escape religious and political persecution. Flash is a creative, multi-instrumentalist who plays lead guitar, bass, drums and piano. He writes and produces his own music and is currently finishing an EP to be released at the end of 2019. He is one of the subjects of a documentary film currently in production with a working title “In a Flash,” which documents the lives of three music artists who use their music to escape, engage, and dream big while navigating the harsh realities of immigrant life in America. Igor Chudak is 26 years old and originally hails from Russia. Igor moved to the United States when he was 21 years old to escape the Russian persecution against LGBTQ people. In 2014, he released his first mini-album entitled “Inception.” He is currently a member of the San Francisco Gay Man’s Chorus and is about to release his first American EP entitled “Out of Faith.” Igor has developed a drag queen alter ego named "Mila Knockabitch," the supposed sister of Melania Trump, and has a Youtube comedy series called “Russian Concussion.” He is part of the advisory council of the LGBT Asylum Project. Tookta is a Thai Molam (folk, country) singer. She started singing at the tender age of 12 years old. Her sound and genre is specific to the Isaan region of Thailand. She has performed for an audience of more than 100,000 on Mother's Day for Thailand's queen. In addition to a successful career as a Molam singer, Tookta has also performed as a popular stand-up comedian. She immigrated to the United States 2 years ago and is now beginning a new chapter in her life and career.
The speakers will survey the retirement living options available in the Bay Area, from living at home to choosing a communal living option. Learn the key decision points in comparing rental, equity-based options, entry fee communities and assisted living. A spreadsheet answering frequently asked questions will be provided. Subsidized, low-income housing options will not be included in this program. MLF Organizer: Denise Michaud MLF: Grownups