The Flywheel

Program for DECEMBER 28th

Google logo

How "to Google" became a verb

Amanda Jones, a product manager for Google (and daughter of Prez Pam) unpacks common words like "search" and "find"—and tells us how Google became a critical tool in the way millions of people use the Internet.

MEETING OF December 21st, 2007

Welcome, Invocation, Thought for the Day

Pam Jones opened the meeting today, asking Glenn “Packs Heat” Daggs to lead us in the invocation.  Glenn prayed for peace on earth.  Rafael Madrigal then led the club in the Pledge of Allegiance. 

Visiting Rotarians and Guests

  • The matching grant Chair of District 5160, explained that 50% of every dollar we donate to Rotary International comes back to our district and is given to various projects as matching grants.  The message: Give often and give generously.

Sunshine Report

  • In Bill Koziol’s absence David K delivered the sunshine report.  Elof was still under the weather but should be better soon.


Leslie Levy again performed recognitions today.

  • Rafael Madrigal celebrated his birthday today and invited people over to his office to enjoy some holiday spirits with him between 2:30 and 5:00 PM.
  • Mike Winter donated $100 today in recognition of something.
  • John Lawlis donated $150 in recognition of his club anniversary.
  • Hank Covell was in the celebrating mood.  He has been married to Dorren for 49 years and has two sons and 3 grandchildren to prove it.  He will be staying at the MAC this evening after dinner and seeing a show at the Masquers playhouse Saturday evening.


  • Earl Brown reported that Leslie Levy has donated over $4,000 to the Rotary foundation.
  • David Brown let us know that the board allocated $1,700 to the Richmond Tech Center and $500 matching grant to the Intereact club.  He also let un know that the raffle raise nearly $15,000 close to a new record.
  • Jan Brown is looking for members that want to participate in a committee that will disburse grant money for Richmond Rotary. She need 3-5 people who are not involved with any grant requesting organizations.

Happy and Sad Dollars

David Brown was elated that this year-end his law firm was going to administer the gift of a $360,000 to GRIP of Richmond and another $2.5M to various charities at the request of a donor who recently died without heirs but in his twilight years had accumulated a $3.5M estate.

Raffle Results

The raffle was not held today.



Democracy/Dictatorship, Republican/Democrat, Islam/West, Israel/Palestine, Conservative/Liberal, Dissident/Patriot, Left/Right

Injured Iraqi ChildAll are words that describe various forms of polarization, and polarization is often the spark that ignites conflict.  You may say this doesn’t exist in my neighborhood.  But today at our little Richmond Rotary Club, we awakened this sleeping giant that exists in all of us.

Jeffery Ritterman, today’s speaker, is different.  He was not wearing a suit. He has a long ponytail, and a defiant "green" kind of swagger to him, which at first glance makes you think that he is the leader of an aging hippie commune—but if not that, certainly a veteran of the 70’s anti-war movement.

In fact, he is an accomplished cardiologist at Kaiser Richmond and has been so since 1981.  But the aging hippie idea wasn’t far off.  In his Kaiser Bio he says “I have a commitment to social and environmental justice issues which has been with me to this day”.   And this man puts his money where his mouth is:  He serves on the Health Advisory Board of the North Richmond Center for Health, and the Contra Costa Health advisory board.  He also serves on the board of Physicians for Social Justice.  Moreover, he regularly speaks about these issues.  He recently delivered a talk entitled “Medical and Human Rights Consequences of the War in Iraq,” to Stanford University School of Medicine in Palo Alto, the Gray Panthers in Walnut Creek, and the Boalt School of Law in Berkeley.

Today he delivered the same talk to Richmond Rotary. Dr. Ritterman started off lauding the “E-Forum” service provided by our very own Tom Butt, who is no stranger to controversy.  (PS, I am also a fan of the E-Forum – insightful, well researched, hard hitting, local news coverage with lots of editorial comment)

Predictably, Mr. Ritterman rattled off facts and showed slides of the health effects the Iraq war has placed upon the Iraqi population.  It wasn’t pretty.  He said:

  • There were no weapons of mass destruction.
  • Prewar sanctions increased the mortality rate significantly in Iraq (illustrated in a series of graphs).
  • Depleted uranium in munitions is implicated in an increase in birth defects – including children born without eyes, something the medical community has never seen before.  Rates of cancers have also inexplicably risen.
  • Many of the health problems currently found in Iraq are caused by water-borne illnesses unheard of in western cities that are free of violence.
  • And on and on he went, showing grisly pictures of the war’s aftermath and stating facts to support his point of view that the United States occupied the low ground in this war, and had made life worse in Iraq, not better.

With steam coming from his ears, Earl Brown could no longer control himself and abruptly interrupted the speaker, claiming that what we were seeing was one-sided, and blatantly political.  Earl then aimed his outrage at Jim Young for arranging such a presentation.  Herb Cole, whose son is on his second tour of duty in Iraq, was in a similar state of uproar, but kept himself under control because Dr. Ritterman is his Kaiser Cardiologist. 

Just as the situation was escalating, President Pam fortuitously noticed that the clock had struck 1:30, and quickly adjourned the meeting. 

Your Rotating Editor, Mark Howe