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.
At 37 years old, Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg already has a few firsts under his belt. In 2011 and at the age of 29, he was elected mayor of South Bend, IN, making him the youngest mayor of a U.S. city with at least 100,000 residents, and the first openly gay municipal executive in Indiana. In December 2018, he announced his 2020 campaign for the presidency and is now the first millennial and the first openly gay presidential candidate. With fellow politicians like President Barack Obama touting him as the future of the Democratic Party, Buttigieg is seemingly in for an incredible year. Join INFORUM for a conversation with the presidential hopeful, moderated by Mother Jones Editor-in-Chief Clara Jeffery, as they discuss Buttigieg’s quickly rising star, the importance of representation in American politics, and his desire to be the “fresh start” he feels our country needs.
A 100+ years ago, no one might have imagined putting a dam in a national park. But San Francisco did just that after the 1906 earthquake and fire. Building the O'Shaughnessy Dam was not easy. Some fought the process; others still want to see the dam dismantled. Yet, for more than a 100 years, the dam has been the water center for San Francisco and millions of Californians who rely on pure water and clean energy. But can our Hetch Hetchy water and energy systems survive a changing climate? Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Jim Yager will share his new documentary film, Water from the Wilderness, about the past, present and changing climates and times. MLF ORGANIZER NAME Ann Clark NOTES MLF: Environment & Natural Resources
It is not news that UC Berkeley is under continual financial pressure due to a challenging mix of increased enrollment, insufficient state funding and a tuition freeze. But by July 2019 Berkeley is expected to return to a balanced budget and financial health, and Chancellor Carol Christ is already looking to the future. Hear her discuss a new vision for undergraduate education that goes beyond the completion of assignments to immersion in the discovery and the creation of knowledge. Christ’s signature Initiatives include: translating UCB’s research into inventions, governmental policies and services that advance the greater good; emphasizing research initiatives like Chan Zuckerberg Biohub, which span the old dividing lines between disciplines, departments and even institutions; supporting the exploding interest in data science across the full range of academic disciplines; implementing a new free speech policy that sustains a commitment to the First Amendment while supporting the campus community’s values and protecting Berkeley’s actual operations from unnecessary disruption; and promoting diversity as an essential element for a campus that seeks to embody and represent California and that needs to prepare students to succeed in a multicultural world. MLF ORGANIZER NAME George Hammond NOTES MLF: Humanities
The Bumpy Road to Two Percent Ten years into a historic economic expansion, inflation remains surprisingly subdued. Is this a problem or a benefit? San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank President Mary Daly will talk about navigating this debate and finding clarity as a policymaker. Daly became president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco on October 1, 2018. In this role, she participates on the Federal Open Market Committee, bringing the 12th district’s perspective to monetary policy discussions in Washington, D.C. Daly is a widely respected expert on labor markets with an unusual breadth of personal experience. She dropped out of high school at the age of 15, working in a doughnut shop and at Target before a friend persuaded her to earn a general education diploma. She worked her way through college at the University of Missouri–Kansas City, then earned a doctorate from Syracuse University before joining the Fed in 1996. Prior to her appointment to president, Daly served as the bank’s executive vice president and director of research. Daly has become a strong voice for increasing diversity among the leadership ranks of the Federal Reserve System by building the pipeline of women and minorities entering the economics profession. Come hear a unique perspective from an official responsible for supporting a safe, sound and stable American financial system.
A fable: A man is seen riding a horse galloping at top speed, careening through the main street of town. His friend shouts to him as he goes by, “Where are you going?” “I don’t know,” the man yells back. “Ask the horse.” If this story seems familiar, if you're scrambling to find your path, or if you have the sinking feeling that you're doing a great job on what is probably the wrong path, then consider taking a contemplative, spiritual pause—a chance to reflect and reorient—with Yogacharya Ellen Grace O'Brian. O’Brian—ordained in the path of Kriya Yoga by Roy Eugene Davis, direct disciple of Paramahansa Yogananda—will lead a discussion of how to find one's life's purpose from a spiritual perspective. We'll look at how to find that purpose, and how to move towards its realization. O’Brian will show us a way to meditate and will share some surprisingly useful, millennia-tested methods for staying focused on one's goals even when tired, overwhelmed, doubtful or resistant. MLF Organizer Name: Eric Siegel MLF: Personal Growth
Representative Joe Kennedy III, at just 38, has already made a name for himself in Democratic politics. Elected in 2012 to his first term representing Massachusetts, he quickly rose to prominence as one of the younger voices in Congress. He gained new national recognition when he was chosen to give the Democratic response to the 2018 State of the Union and recently introduced Senator Elizabeth Warren (D–MA) when she made her public announcement to run for president of the United States in the 2020 election. Since he took office, Kennedy has leveraged his role to champion economic and social issues locally and nationally, including American manufacturing, workforce development, a livable minimum wage, affordable health care, mental health and addiction care, civil rights, immigration, and energy costs, with a focus on bipartisan efforts. He is a member of the influential House Energy and Commerce Committee and chairs Congress’ Transgender Equality Task Force. Locally, Kennedy remains closely in touch with his constituents by committing to his ongoing Tour 34, an initiative where he holds constituent office hours in all 34 Fourth District municipalities. Join us for a wide-ranging conversation with a rising star of the Democratic Party about the future of a new generation of politicians and the key challenges facing the American people today.
Now appearing on stage in an international drama of cultural identity, global politics and an intergenerational clash of cultures, Tony Award-winning actor BD Wong stars as the coach of a Chinese basketball team facing his former mentor, the coach of an American team. Tim Liu and Arye Gross co-star in this acclaimed play from Bay Area playwright Lauren Yee. Join us for a lively discussion with Wong, Liu and Gross about their careers, this play, and more. Gross, Liu and Wong are appearing in "The Great Leap" at American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) in San Francisco from March 6–31.
Following President Trump’s second summit with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, what does the future hold for relations between South and North Korea as well as between both Koreas and the United States? Here is a chance for a rare visit with the U.S. and South Korean Ambassadors who are closely involved with these issues. They will discuss the economic and political relationship between the United States and South Korea and the outlook for diplomacy with North Korea and the entire region. On August 30, 2017, Cho Yoon-je was nominated as the Republic of Korea’s ambassador to the United States by President Moon Jae-in. Cho was part of the emeritus faculty at Sogang University’s Graduate School of International Studies. He completed both a master’s and doctorate in economics at Stanford University. Harry B. Harris Jr. was sworn in as U.S. ambassador to the Republic of Korea on June 29, 2018. Prior to his nomination, Harris was an admiral in the U.S. Navy, serving as commander. U.S. Pacific Commander Harris graduated from the Naval Academy and went on to receive an MPA from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and an MA from Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service. From January 2017 until April 2018, he was the U.S. Navy’s longest-serving Naval Academy graduate still on active duty. In association with the Korea Economic Institute of America Ambassadors’ Dialogue program
What does it take to get people off their phones and into the outdoors? Research has shown the deleterious effects of electronics on weight, sleep, and cognitive development in children. Other barriers like income and proximity to nature make access to the outdoors extremely challenging for some families. Meanwhile, doctors have started prescribing hikes over medications, and terms like “forest schools” and “unstructured playtime” are new buzzwords. So how do we encourage outdoor curiosity and conservation in a generation raised on screen time?
Education Week magazine reported in 2017 that among all states, California’s K–12 public education ranked 41st in conditions that help children succeed, 39th in school finance and 30th in achievement. So what can we expect in 2019? In a major upset against his opponent Marshall Tuck, Tony Thurmond was elected California State Superintendent of Public Instruction this past November. He was the endorsed candidate of the California Democratic Party and all five 2018 California Teachers of the Year. He previously represented the 15th Assembly District, which encompasses the northern East Bay. Thurmond became the second African-American to hold the office and fourth African-American to win statewide office in California following Wilson Riles. Prior to being elected to the Assembly in 2014, he was a member of the Richmond City Council, a board member of the West Contra Costa Unified School District and social services administrator. Come hear his plans for improving California’s schools. In association with CALMatters
If you are approaching the Medicare qualifying age of 65 and Medicare seems like one big alphabetical maze to you, you are not alone. For most, a true understanding of how Medicare works, what options are best for you, and when or how to sign up is not clear at all. Learn the ABC and Ds of Medicare as well as the realities of what to expect and what not to expect. Here’s what every boomer needs to know before they turn 65. MLF Organizer: Denise Michaud MLF: Grownups
Join us for a special edition of The Michelle Meow Show at The Commonwealth Club, as we welcome the director and the choreographer of "Falsettos," the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical now running at SHN Golden Gate Theatre from March 19–April 14. "Falsettos" tells the story of a charming, intelligent, neurotic gay man named Marvin, his wife, lover, son, their psychiatrist, and the lesbians next door. James Lapine wrote the book and directed the Broadway musical Falsettos in 1992. His extensive experience on stage and film includes directing the films Impromptu (written by his wife, Sarah Kernochan), Earthly Possessions, and Custody. His decades of work on and off Broadway have earned him many honors, including the Tony Award, the Drama Desk Award, and the 2015 Mr. Abbott Award from the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation "in recognition of a lifetime of exceptional achievement in the theatre." Spencer Liff has been a resident choreographer for the past nine seasons of "So You Think You Can Dance" on the Fox network, where he was twice nominated for an Emmy Award for outstanding choreography. His other TV credits include the "One Day at a Time" revival, "Dancing With the Stars," "2 Broke Girls," "Parks and Recreation," and many other programs. His stage credits include serving as choreographer for the critically acclaimed Broadway revival of "Spring Awakening," and providing the musical staging for the Tony Award-winning revival of "Hedwig and the Angry Inch," starring Neil Patrick Harris. He won the 2008 Fred Astaire Award as best male dancer on Broadway for his role in "Crybaby." Last minute adds: Special guests William Finn and Jordan Roth! ** This Podcast May Contain Explicit Language **
Jackie Speier was 28 when she joined congressman Leo Ryan’s delegation to rescue defectors from cult leader Jim Jones’ Peoples Temple in Jonestown, Guyana. Ryan was killed on the airstrip tarmac, and Speier was shot five times at point-blank range. While recovering from what would become one of the most harrowing tragedies in recent history, Speier had to choose: Would she become a victim or a fighter? The choice to survive against unfathomable odds empowered her with a resolve to become a vocal proponent for human rights. From the formative nightmare that radically molded her perspective and instincts to the devastating personal and professional challenges that would follow, her memoir, Undaunted, reveals the perseverance of a determined force in American politics. Deeply rooted in Speier’s experiences as a widow, a mother, a congresswoman and a fighter, hers is a story of true resilience, one that will inspire other women to draw strength from adversity in order to do what is right—no matter the challenges ahead. This program is part of our Good Lit series, underwritten by the Bernard Osher Foundation.
Twenty years after Written in Stone was first published, the questions it asked are more relevant than ever. Is it Stalinist for a formerly communist country to tear down a statue of Stalin? Should the Confederate flag be allowed to fly over the South Carolina state capitol? Is it possible for America to honor General Custer and also the Sioux Nation, both Jefferson Davis and Abraham Lincoln? Indeed, can a liberal, multicultural society memorialize anyone at all, or is it committed to a strict neutrality about the quality of the lives led by its citizens? Levinson considers the tangled responses of ever-changing societies to their monuments, drawing on examples from Albania to Zimbabwe, Moscow to Managua. He looks at social and legal arguments regarding the display, construction, modification and destruction of public monuments. And he asks what kinds of claims the past has on the present, particularly if the present is defined in dramatic opposition to its past values. He also addresses how a culture might memorialize its historical figures and events in ways that are beneficial to all its members, adding a thoughtful and crucial voice into debates surrounding historical accuracy and representation. MLF Organizer Name: George Hammond MLF: Humanities
Join us as we discuss the biggest, most controversial and sometimes the surprising political issues with expert commentary by panelists who are smart, are civil and have a good sense of humor. Our panelists will provide informative and engaging commentary on political and other major news, and we'll have audience discussion of the week’s events and our live news quiz! And come early before the program to meet other smart and engaged individuals and discuss the news over snacks and wine at our members social (open to all attendees).