President Jennifer Hara called the meeting to order at 12:30 PM. After leading members in the Pledge of Allegiance, she turned to Mimi Kanda for the words of inspiration. Mimi reflected on the fact that although there is strife and conflict everywhere, we are all connected to God and all people. If we realize that we are all connected, we will have empathy and compassion for others. God also has a sense of humor, showing Mimi that she is connected to others this week. She tried to add money to her metro card but did not push cancel first, and the money was actually added to the previous user’s card. Connected in all ways!


Secretary Haleh Vaziri identified guests and visiting Rotarians:


  • Past District Governor Bob Parkinson
  • Shadia Garcia, lawyer at Georgetown University and Jennifer Hara’s guest
  • Katarina Varani, who came to hear the guest speaker
  • Michael (Misha) Gill, Managing Director of Luminos LLC and guest of Steven Adkins
  • David Ryfisch, the DC Rotaract Club’s Membership Chair and Climate Change Consultant with the Inter-American Development Bank
  • Andrew Clark, Financial Advisor at Morgan Stanley and guest of Sheldon Ray
  • Stephanie “Tessie” ScottMarjorie Scott’s guest and daughter

Sargent-At-Arms Buz Gorman then congratulated members with birthdays this week: Susan O’Neal on September 28, Lynn Holec on September 30, and Marjorie Ann Scott on October 2. Members with Rotary anniversaries are:  Wilhelmina Bratton, five years, and Ross Grantham, 13 years.

President Jennifer invited Past District Governor Bob Parkinson to make an announcement. He invited all Rotarians to attend the Rotary Leadership Institute classes offered at various times and areas in the District. President Jennifer advised Rotarians to check our club website for details.

President Jennifer invited Rotarian Nancy Riker to speak about the Dictionary Project. Nancy said that the dictionaries will be delivered next week, and volunteers are needed to deliver books to area schools. This is Nancy’s fifth year as chair of the Dictionary Project. 

Other announcements: 

  • Happy Hour at the University Club is tomorrow night from 6:00 to 7:00 pm in the pub, see Irene Koerner or visit the club website for details. (Please note that this event has already taken place.)
  • Movie night is next Thursday, October 9. The movie is The Two Faces of January, and the location has been changed to the Landmark Bethesda Row Cinema at 7235 Woodmont Avenue. Meet at the cinema at 6:30 to pick up tickets, and register online or talk to May Gwinn or Ed O’Brien. 
  • International services grant application forms are available on the club website and are due on Wednesday, November 12
  • On Thursday, October 2 at 6:00 pm, there is planning meeting for Rotary Day—to be held on April 25 in collaboration with the three other District clubs. The meeting is at David Treadwell’s office in the Central Union Mission. See President Jennifer for information. (Please note that this meeting has already taken place.)

Valentine Solis gave his new member talk. Valentine attended Georgetown University, is married with four children, worked in finance in Panama and is now working to develop women’s positions in Latin America. Valentine joined Rotary for three reasons: to cultivate friendships, to work as a good citizen in the community and to develop leadership skills. 

Retired Judge James Robertson—Whither the Right to Privacy?

Ed O’Brien introduced the weekly speaker, Retired Judge James Robertson who left the U.S. District Court in June 2010 and also served on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court from 2002 to 2005. Judge Robertson previously worked in civil rights in Mississippi. He resigned from the FISA Court because he disagreed with the Bush Administration’s implementation of U.S. surveillance policy.

Judge Robertson spoke about the Fourth Amendment Constitutional protection against wiretaps and other sources of surveillance as compared to the right to privacy that is protected by state law but not explicit in the Constitution. The “right to be alone” was first written about by Lewis Brandeis in a Harvard Law Review article. These two policies have developed together over time and will continue to change as needed by society. 

This topic is especially relevant today as private and governmental surveillance activities are covered by the news media—for example, stories about Google and Apple user privacy rights. Judge Robertson predicted that the Supreme Court would probably have to rule on the issue sooner or later. He discussed various Supreme Court cases related to privacy rights, especially regarding telephone number records and governmental GPS tracking of drug dealers.

Judge Robertson recommended the following for those interested in the state of our right to privacy:

  • “Invasion of Data Snatchers,” by Catherine Crump, March 26, on the ACLU website
  • The Circle by Dave Eggers
  • The Unwanted Gaze: The Destruction of Privacy in America by Jeffrey Rosen
  • The Economist magazine’s special report,  “Little Brother”

During the question-and-answer session, JudgebRobertson noted that Google and Apple would probably be forced to unlock user records in the future. He believes that we have a right to privacy, but in reality, we are all open books, and anything that we do is accessible by everybody. He also trusts the government and the system of laws that we have in place.

Adjourned Until Next Week

President Jennifer awarded Judge Robertson our “Trees for the Capital” certificate and announced the lucky raffle ticket sold by Cherry Baumbusch. The winner was Memo Grajales who claimed the small pot of $56. The large pot of $1,018 remains up for grabs at the next meeting!

Thank you to Balraj Gupta and Stu Shalloway for receiving visitors at the Hospitality Table and to Greeter Judith Henderson.

On October 8, our speaker will be Ambassador Olexander Motsyk of the Ukraine.

President Jennifer adjourned the meeting at 1:30.