|The Summary of the March 16th Meeting
The Rotary Club of San Jose held its weekly meeting at the San Jose's Rotary Summit Center.
The greeting line was staffed by the Youth Exchange Committee chaired
by Carl Salas ably assisted by Beach Pace. The Youth Exchange Committee
coordinates international exchange experiences for high school students
as part of the Rotary International Youth Exchange; arriving students
are hosted and others are selected to participate.
Larry presided over the Club's 4830th meeting. We joined with Phil
Strong and the piano of Paul Tumason in singing God Bless America.
Our "Wisdom for the Day" came from Carl Honaker. His thoughts related
to the Foundation for a Better Life a non-sectarian privately founded
foundation that dispenses wisdom on TV in the form of commercial; and
the net, the latter at
quotes were wonderful, but in the spirit of his comments visiting the
website and review the aphorisms will be your best reward.
John McLeod reported on news and shared some humor. The News: DOW down;
the tragedy of the Japanese earthquake and its aftermath. The tidal
activity produced 25 M damage to the Santa Cruz harbor. Such difficult
times need humor and John was at his best even in the Irish and lawyers
were its source. Two men are at a pub. One says "I'm Scotch-Irish." "Me
too," says other. "Dublin," says the first. "Same for me,' says his
companion. "St. Mary's High School, class of '72," says the second.
"Remarkable, me as well," says the first. A third patron enters and asks
the bartender who else is at the pub, "Just the McLeod twins," he
answers. Now to the lawyer's joke: real reason for St. Patrick's
sainthood: he drove all the lawyers out of Erie.
Badgers Kathy Gallagher and Meghan Hoorigan introduced themselves and
served as holders of the traveling mics for Rotarians with guests and
| Larry requested Cindy Faulkner come to the podium to report on the success of our Annual Event, the Club's primary fund raiser. She was as gracious in her thanks as the numerous Rotarians who contributed to that success by generous contribution and participation she had stand. Grand total raised $180,000! Great job!
Rich Robinson introduced our newest member, prominent lawyer, Revolutionary war buff, and University of Chicago law grad, Richard Alexander. Welcome, Dick.
Suzanne St, John-Crane showed a video of the Club's After Hours outing at CreaTV with various members being interviewed. It ended with Jerry Silva's answering that he became a member after addressing the Club in fear and being made very welcome.
Scott Seaman, one of San Jose's finest, encouraged participation in the Job Shadow program extolling the mutual benefits accruing to Rotarian and students.
The annual Rotary Fishing day is set for April 30th.
If you would like to donate to the immediate on-the-ground aid in Japan please contact your local Red Cross or Salvation Army, but if you would like to donate to Rotary International for the recovery and reconstruction you can donate to the "Rotary Japan and Pacific Islands Disaster Recovery Fund" at www.rotary.org More details to follow in your Bulletin.
Next week's speaker is Hank Greely who is a leading expert on the legal, ethical, and social issues surrounding health law and the biosciences. He will talk about the Revolution in Neuroscience: Reading Your Mind.
Speaker for March 30th is Christa Gannon who founded Fresh Lifelines for Youth (FLY) which provides teenage criminals with positive role models and enables them to turn their lives around.
Larry brought out the rather infamous Rotary wheel and members began to hold or hide their wallets. And whose number should come-up but that of John Danner. It turns out our esteemed member's brainchild and organization, Rocketship Education, was the recent recipient of the John P. McNulty Prize of $100,000. The Mission of the McNulty Prize is to celebrate extraordinary young leaders who are making creative, effective and lasting contributions to their communities. John Danner's pioneering efforts at a unique hybrid education model, transforming elementary education by building high-performing, scalable, sustainable schools in high-need neighborhoods convinced the Prize judges to select Rocketship Education as the winning program from an array of global challengers. So poorer John was winner of the Prize but "loser" under the Bert George instrument of unintended consequences and duly "fined "$1,000.
John came to the podium to introduce today's speaker. The Honorable Michael K. Powell served as Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission at a time of revolutionary change in technology and communications. He was appointed by President Clinton in 1997 and was designated Chairman by President Bush in 2001. Chairman Powell previously served as the Chief of Staff of the Antitrust Division in the Department of Justice. Prior to joining the Justice Department, he was an associate in the law firm of O'Melveny & Myers. Chairman Powell clerked for the Honorable Harry T. Edwards, Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. He graduated in 1985 from the College of William and Mary with a degree in Government and earned his J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center. Powell is currently a Senior Advisor of Providence Equity Partners and was recently selected CEO of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA). He sits on the boards of Cisco and AOL as well as the Aspen Institute and America's Promise.
The subject of today's talk was billed as "the need for making FCC regulations effective in the 21st Century." It was much, much more. Broadly we are in a new and transforming age. Our child might be referred to as "homo digitalis" and our era that of the "informational". Both are revolutionary; raise arcane, complicated and fundamental issues about who we are collectively and individually and what each of us and our society may become. It is a period of tension and one where good and bad may have a common source or sources.
When a power outage occurred in Maryland, Powell's youngest son so used to electrical energy to power X-box, Television were flummoxed by the event; but creative enough to use the 12 volt electric system in the van to power up! The age of the digital has transformed the way we live; and therefore us. It effects a new social Metronome with information transmitted instantly at its base and as its meter. Broadband affects every aspect of our activities and portends of a vastly changed world. Our communications have become less based on location and more on the personal. A telephone call need no longer need the announced inquiry: "Powell residence, Michael here, to whom do you wish to speak." The recipient of the call on "his/her" cell phone is person, "It's Me, leave a message" is the new announcement.
Of major significance is that the revolution takes place in an environment where the legal system eventually must resolve conflicts. Ordinarily that system works within discrete "baskets" of law, related but self-contained. But those baskets do not fit the significant reach and effects of broadband where legal principles may conflict (privacy vs. security; free speech vs. order; person vs. community; etc.). It is much like the proverbial larger round peg being forced into a smaller square hole. So a new paradigm may be required to adjust rights, powers and duties.
True to his word, the speaker left plenty of room for questions; and the questions were insightful.
1. Why do the courts play such an important role? The FCC is a unique entity with substantial authority, where the statute governing it permits appeal directly to a federal appeals court. The rules and regulations of the FCC and their developments raise ambiguities in law and to resolve them is a judicial function. Decisions and regulations of the FCC impact the economy creating winners and losers and therefore naturally engender litigation.
2. What issues arise from government seeking to have an "off-switch" over the internet. New inventions create opportunities for good and evil. Accordingly significant policy issues arise: security vs. order; freedom vs. order; choice: good vs. bad. Even if the government had the authority and exercised it recent events suggest human inventiveness create prompt "workarounds" by those who object.
3. NPR. Taking government money politicizes the matter and creates tensions, even if its local stations that primarily benefit. The NPR structure may be at fault. But diversity in the editorial and newsrooms is never a bad idea and its absence is likely to create conflict. Thus the Juan Williams firing revealed possible systemic problems within NPR.
4. Area codes. Changing them raises hackles because people identify themselves through them; the "personal" element in the new world of communications. Hence his mother and mother complained to the speaker about area code changes!
5. Net neutrality. The speaker asked for a definition and of course that is part of the problem. The matter revolves around two powerful forces: who is to control and money: who is to be paid and by whom. The participants in the dispute are the service-provider/carrier (e.g. ATT, Verizon), the providers of information (from search engines to web sites), and the end-user (in most cases, us). As to money, none likes to pay while all like to be paid. As to control it relates to both content and payment. Assume two content providers: the XYZ website and the ZYA website and one network provider. Who pays the network provider and what is paid for? Is network provider required to be neutral or may it make preferences as to the content providers? Such conflicts make net neutrality a central but difficult collection of issues.
Larry in concluding the meeting described the speaker as notable, impressive, provocative, interesting, informed and knowledgeable. Indeed he was.
[see http://www.ocf.berkeley.edu/~raylin/whatisnetneutrality.htm ]
Photos by Bob Beaulieu