Thursday, May 27, 2010

Newest Issue of The Commonwealth Is Here! Science, Presidential Controversy, & More

The Commonwealth, the members' magazine of The Commonwealth Club of California, has just released its June/July 2010 issue, and you can see the cool cover image below. Below that is the complete contents listing, so you know what to expect when the magazine arrives in your mailbox in a day or two.

The cover image is a rather dystopic vision of radical climate change, and it illustrates an article from a panel discussion about some controversial alternative approaches for dealing with the global issue. Geoengineering has drawn vociferous opposition from many environmentalists and climate-change activists. What exactly is it? Is it a solution or a diversion? Read the cover story and find out.

From Commonwealth Club of California

The contents:

From the Archives: Author Mary Doria Russell, from 2008

ime for a literary break. This article is from author Mary Doria Russell's March 17, 2008, speech and audience Q&A at The Commonwealth Club of California in San Francisco. It was published in the June 2008 issue of The Commonwealth magazine, the member magazine of The Club.

From Commonwealth Club of California

From Commonwealth Club of California

Friday, May 21, 2010

Leon Panetta on the CIA, Intelligence Agency Politics

News reports on yesterday's resignation of Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair have noted the sometimes testy relationship between Blair and Leon Panetta, the director of the CIA. When Panetta spoke at The Commonwealth Club on October 23, 2010, he was asked by Commonwealth Club President and CEO Dr. Gloria Duffy about their working relationship.

You can watch Penetta's response here, or watch the entire program with CIA Director Panetta:

Audio of Author Scott Turow

Here's your Friday literary diversion to welcome the weekend: Writer Scott Turow, author of (among many books) Presumed Innocent, discusses writing the sequel, Innocent.

Turow visited The Commonwealth Club in San Francisco May 6, 2010. Click here to listen to the audio of this event.

Do you love books? Check out The Commonwealth Club's 79th Annual California Book Awards.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Dennis Blair Resigns as National Intelligence Director

Just 16 months into his tenure as director of America's national intelligence system, Adm. Dennis Blair has resigned.

His move comes after a year of controversy in what is unlikely to ever be an uncontroversial position. BBC News notes that "His term of office saw the Fort Hood shooting, the Christmas Day bomb plot and the failed Times Square bomb plot. He drew fire for the Christmas Day plot when he said special interrogation teams promised had not yet been formed. This was despite a decision to form the teams months earlier. The final straw may have been the report from the Senate Intelligence Committee, which came out this week, citing 'systemic failure' across U.S. intelligence."

Blair's exit from the hot seat at the center of a very politicized line of work takes place after "a series of high-profile clashes with the CIA" and that damaging Senate report, according to NPR.

Blair addressed The Commonwealth Club on September 15, 2009, describing his role, the threats facing the United States and its interests, and more. You can watch the video of his speech and the audience Q&A below.

Offshore Drilling on the Hot Seat

News analysis, by Allison Vale

In the minds of millions of Americans, offshore drilling has been an issue of patriotism, a politically charged declaration of our independence from foreign oil and not an issue of environmental protection. Survey after survey has shown that a big majority of Americans agree that relying on foreign oil is bad and energy independence is good. But differences arise when people are confronted with the challenge of just how we’re going to achieve energy independence and what is the best source of energy to replace foreign oil.

Enter a catastrophe of epic proportions, also known as the oil that continues to seep into the Gulf of Mexico. It may just prove to be the one of the worst spills in United States history. As a result, new surveys are showing Americans re-evaluating their affection for offshore oil drilling, and politicians have begun distancing themselves from the idea.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Club Speaker and Electric Vehicles Expert on Ronn Owens Show

Yesterday, The Commonwealth Club hosted a special two-hour panel discussion on the status of electric vehicles. The program was underwritten by the Mineta Transportation Institute.

Before the afternoon program, one of the panelists, Mark S. Duvall, the director of electric transportation at the Electric Power Research Institute, gave some background on this important topic during an appearance on KGO Radio's Ronn Owens Morning Show. To listen to the interview and call-in program, go to the KGO Radio web site and click on the link for the 10-11 am program.

If you missed the program at The Commonwealth Club, our member magazine, The Commonwealth, will be publishing an excerpt in an upcoming issue. But even before that, keep an ear open for it on The Club's radio network, which will be airing the discussion.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Victor Davis Hanson on War and the World

The study of history began as purely military history, notes Victor Davis Hanson, a Hoover Institution senior fellow and the author of The Father of Us All. "There was no such thing as history apart from war." But, he argues, we have given military history short shrift, in our modern desire to perfect a Western world and make it free of conflict.

Hanson spoke to The Commonwealth Club on May 3, 2010, about war and its impact on society. You can watch the entire speech and audience Q&A session in the HD video below, in which he discusses the role of war in the world, what has and hasn't changed, and what it means for the conduct of nations.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Inforum's "Rise of the Graphic Novel" Panel


 Graphic novels have been earning fans and even intellectual respect at least since Art Spiegelman's groundbreaking Holocaust retelling in the 1980s, Maus. Over the years, we've gotten Persepolis, Fun Home, Watchmen, Berlin, and much more. Today, there's an exciting new generation of comics creators working in the graphic novel format.

Learn the connection between Gene Yang's dating life and comics in this May 11, 2010, panel discussion by The Commonwealth Club's Inforum division. Taking part in the panel are Yang, the creator of American Born Chinese; Andy Hartzell, creator of Fox Bunny Funny; Lark Pien, creator of Long Tail Kitty, and colorist of American Born Chinese; Dash Shaw, creator of Body World and Bottomless Belly Button; and Summerlea Kashar, acting director of the Cartoon Art Museum.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

AARP's A. Barry Rand on Priorities for Older Americans Today

AARP CEO A. Barry Rand came to The Commonwealth Club March 18, 2010, to talk about the issues facing older Americans today: work, health care, mobility, government assistance, politics, and more.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Jerry Weintraub on Soviet Funerals, Matt Damon, and Waking up Coated in Candy

It's been said before, but let's prove it here: Hollywood people are not like us. They can be ... so much more interesting, or at least their stories can be.

Veteran Hollywood producer Jerry Weintraub recently visited The Commonwealth Club of California in San Francisco, and he regaled the audience with stories about sitting next to a rogue's gallery of Soviet-era dictators at a state funeral, getting pranked by George Clooney, working with the Ocean's Eleven (and Twelve, and ...) crowd, and more.

Monday, May 3, 2010

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom Quizzed by Gloria Duffy

This past year has been a one of big transitions for San Francisco's second-term mayor, Gavin Newsom. When he sat down at The Commonwealth Club for a conversation with Club President and CEO Dr. Gloria Duffy on April 7, lots of people were just as interested in hearing his thoughts about his bid to be the state's next lieutenant governor as they were in hearing his comments about San Francisco.