Meeting in Review: September 11, 2013
On this anniversary of the attacks in New York, the Pentagon, and Pennsylvania, words of inspiration came from Donald Hense. He paid tribute to the sacrifices of the first responders, many of whom now have severe medical conditions. He gave a prayer for peace and understanding.
- Eduardo del Buey, President, Crosshairs Communications, guest of Abe Helal
- Jim Brown, US Treasury, guest of Howard Davis
- Margaret McElvein, Public Outreach and Social Media, Embassy of Australia, guest of Helen Moore
- Bruce McElvein, Washington Properties, guest of Helen Moore
- Catalina Garcia, consultant with the IDB, guest of Hal Vaughn
- Mike Carmichael, consultant, guest of Haleh Vaziri
- Jodi Fischer, President of the Marshall Direct Fund, guest of the Club
- Jane Albrecht, past VP of the Motion Picture Association of America, guest of May Gwinn
- A Visiting Rotarian from Overseas was Vicente Verdadero, past president of the Makati Guadalupe Club in Makati, the Philippines. He is a lawyer, and brought a guest and prospective member, Leona Verdadero, a consultant with the World Bank.
- Visiting Rotarians from the US were, Mary Richardson, a small business owner from Maricopa, CA, and Chris Forrest, from Austin, Texas.
Sergeant at Arms David Treadwell announced the birthdays:
- Andy Boyd, September 11. Currently on a leave of absence due to work travels, his classification is Architecture: Historic Preservation. Andy was sponsored by Bob Shriner when he joined the club in 2003.
- Violet Habwe, September 12. Dr. Violet was sponsored by Clara Montanez when she joined the club in 2009. Her classification is Medicine: Nephrology.
In announcements, Quentin Wodon talked about a fundraiser for a diabetic children’s camp in Bolivia and gave a donation account number. President Shaun gave final instructions for the Habitat for Humanity Build Day, and reminded everyone of Gladys Antezana’s end of summer pool party. Walter Reed Bingo is September 19.
Guest Jodi Fischer came to the podium to talk about the Marshall Direct Fund, formed in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks. It provides educational scholarships and help to families. They have given out more than a thousand scholarships and recently got a $57,000 grant from a Rotary Club.
PP Monica Boner then introduced our speaker, lawyer and author Lanny Davis. She cited his many years of bipartisan public service, his many appearances commenting on events and his column “Purple Nation” on theHill.com website. He has written 4 books including his latest, “Crisis Tales, Five Rules for Coping with Crises in Business, Politics and Life”. He has 4 children and 6 grandchildren.
Mr. Davis told us he had been a Rotarian earlier as a lawyer in Olney, Maryland, and briefly endorsed the Rotary principles.
He departed from his usual book speech, though, moved by the presence of a guest from Pakistan to reminisce about an incident in which he helped Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto obtain a refund of cash paid for the purchase of American F-16 fighter jets. He entertainingly described the informal contacts and negotiations that led to President Clinton finding a way to pay the debt. Davis is a Yale classmate of Hillary Clinton and met later-President Clinton very early in his political career.
Davis moved to another topic clearly very close to him, the problem of preserving one’s personal reputation in the age of the worldwide, eternal, anonymous Internet. He told us about a personal crisis in which he was attacked, calling it like a swarm of bees around his head, angry, nasty and never-ending. Now that there is no cycle of news to work with, a smear can be around the world in a nanosecond. He has dedicated this book to those fighting for truth and fairness.
In questions and answers, he was asked about President Clinton’s lie to investigators. Davis said he was personally furious but later forgiving, based on President Clinton’s contrition. In regard to the Redskins name, an issue he works on with Dan Snyder, he gave Native American opinion polls and suggested we look at history, legacy, reality and intent. Feelings have been hurt, but 9 out of 10 Native Americans are not offended, he reports.
He tells us that he does not approve of hourly billing and works on a retainer. In response to a question about the gray areas of our adversarial legal process, he asserted that he believes that absolute truth does exist and it’s his job to bring out the facts that do the convincing. (This summary may not do his explanation justice, so we should read his book.)
He complimented President Obama’s speech, which changed his mind on Syria. He repeated the famous Martin Niemoller anti-apathy quote. He finished to warm and sympathetic applause.
President Shaun presented the tree certificate, and summoned the raffle container, filled by Heather Jaffan. The $35 pot was won by Bill Dent, who later promised not to spend it all in one place. He drew for the $269 large pot but it was not meant to be.The Hospitality table was staffed by Stu Shalloway, Ted Hamady and Balraj Gupta. The greeter was Shelly Williams. The meeting was adjourned and book sales began to a crowd at a table in the usual place. We went our separate ways in a hot and humid DC afternoon.