October Monthly Gathering – Domestic Terrorism: Threats, Government Policies, And Responses

The events of January 6, 2021 at the US Capitol served as a stark example of the evolving threat of domestic violent extremism in the United States. In response, new initiatives and programs have been announced by the Biden administration, the Departments of Defense (DoD), Homeland Security (DHS), Justice (DOJ), the FBI, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), as well as a new senior domestic counterterrorism position at the National Security Council (NSC). All demonstrate an increased focus on the problem.

This threat has ebbed and flowed in intensity over the past several decades, with some experts suggesting the more recent manifestation of what the country is currently experiencing started a decade ago, if not earlier. This discussion, led by Javed Ali, former National Security Council Senior Director for Counterterrorism, will provide perspectives on the threat landscape, the policy and legal framework on domestic terrorism, and possible new approaches that can help reduce the threat in the future.

Please join us at 7pm (EDT) on Saturday, October 16, for a discussion of what top justice and homeland security officials call today’s most dangerous terrorism threat.

Javed Ali is an associate professor of practice at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy. Ali brings more than 20 years of professional experience in national security and intelligence issues in Washington, DC. He held positions in the Defense Intelligence Agency and the Department of Homeland Security before joining the Federal Bureau of Investigation. While at the FBI, he also held senior roles on joint duty assignments at the National Intelligence Council and the National Counterterrorism Center, and the National Security Council under the Trump Administration. Mr. Ali holds a BA in political science from the University of Michigan, a JD from the University of Detroit School of Law, and an MA in international relations from American University. He writes and provides commentary across a number of media sites and platforms, including MSNBC, CBS, CNN, ABC, The New York Times, The Washington PostThe Hill, and Newsweek.

WHEN: Saturday, October 16, 2021

5:30pm: The ExComm business meeting begins. All Mensa members are welcome to attend
6:30pm: Mingling begins
7:00pm: Program starts

ADMISSION: (Exact change appreciated)
Adult Mensa members: $4, Adult guests: $5; Children 13 and under: $3
Mensa members receive free admission in the month of their birthday

LOCATION:
Northwest Unitarian Universalist Church in Southfield
23925 Northwestern Hwy
Southfield, MI 48075

We ask that you help us to provide a safer live meeting environment for all by wearing a face mask.

If you are unable to attend in person, join the Zoom presentation! Zoom attendees need to pre-register by clicking on the following link: https://tinyurl.com/SEMM-1021-Gathering, The event’s Zoom URL and instructions for connecting will be sent to those who are pre-registered, about an hour before the presentation. The Zoom room opens at 630pm for mingling.

Following the presentation, join us for dinner at Buddy’s Pizza, located at 31646 Northwestern Hwy., in Farmington Hills, Just northeast of Middlebelt Rd.

September Monthly Gathering – China: Existential Threat to the U.S. or Overhype?

Republicans across the political spectrum, from moderate Senator Mitt Romney to hardcore former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, have decreed that China poses an existential threat to the United States. While President Joe Biden hasn’t gone that far yet, his national-security team has maintained the previous administration’s hardline policies toward Beijing. A recent Gallup poll shows nearly 80% of Americans hold unfavorable views of China — a number that will only rise if it is proven that the new coronavirus leaked from a Chinese lab. And what about the prospect of China displacing America as the world’s largest economy? Meanwhile, China’s diplomacy largely entails an adversarial and confrontational attitude toward foreign diplomats, an accusatory and provocative domestic and foreign propaganda campaign and an assertion of its military power onto its neighbors. This has been spurred on by the fanning of nationalist flames in China and the view of Chinese citizens that the West pushes them around. So, are Americans’ worst fears about China justified, just paranoia, or something in between?

To help answer these and other questions about China join us at 7pm Saturday, September 18, when our guest speaker Gus Mondalek will guide us through an evaluation and discussion of China’s potential threats to the U.S. and the rebalancing of power in the far east, and southeast Asia.

Our speaker, Gus Mondalek, is descended from a family of secular religious scholars whose personal history is a conduit between East and West. Born in Kuwait to an expatriate family, he spent his formative years in Lebanon during that country’s civil war. He is a graduate of the American University in Beirut, and holds multiple advanced degrees from Lawrence Technological University. 

WHEN: Saturday, September 18, 2021

5:30pm: The ExComm business meeting begins. All Mensa members are welcome to attend
6:30pm: Mingling begins
7:00pm: Program starts

ADMISSION: (Exact change appreciated)
Adult members: $4, Adult guests: $5; Children 13 and under: $3
Members receive free admission in the month of their birthday

LOCATION
Northwest Unitarian Universalist Church in Southfield
23925 Northwestern Hwy
Southfield, MI 48075

We ask that you help us to provide a safer live meeting environment for all by wearing a face mask.

If you can’t attend in person, join the Zoom presentation! Zoom attendees need to pre-register by clicking on the following link: https://tinyurl.com/SEMM-0921-Gathering,The event’s Zoom URL and instructions for connecting will be sent to those who are pre-registered, about an hour before the presentation.

Following the presentation, join us for dinner at Buddy’s Pizza, located at 31646 Northwestern Hwy., in Farmington Hills, Just northeast of Middlebelt Rd.

August Monthly Gathering – The Constitution, January 6, and Its Aftermath

On Wednesday, January 6, 2021, the United States Capitol was stormed by supporters of President Donald Trump, in an attempt to disrupt the joint session of Congress, assembled to formalize President-elect Joe Biden’s election victory.

Was this insurrection? Rebellion? An attempt by Citizens to defend the constitution against a government run amok?

Also, why have charges against those arrested for their activities on January 6 included (to date) specific acts, such as breaking into the Capitol, assaulting the Capitol Police, destroying government property, and the like, but NOT sedition or insurrection?

Join us on August 21 for an analysis and discussion of the events of January 6, their legal implications, their motivations, and their possible impact on the future of democracy in the United States. Leading the discussion will be former Wayne State distinguished professor of law, Robert A. Sedler.

At Wayne, Professor Sedler taught courses in Constitutional Law and Conflict of Laws. Prior to coming to Wayne State in 1977, he was Professor of Law at the University of Kentucky. Professor Sedler received his A.B. and J.D. degrees from the University of Pittsburgh. He is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and the Order of the Coif, an honor society for law school graduates. In 2005, he was elected to the Wayne State University Academy of Scholars, which is the highest recognition bestowed upon faculty members by their colleagues. He served as President of the Academy during the 2007-2008 academic year. In April 2019, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel appointed Sedler a special assistant attorney general.

Please note that this program will be presented live and on Zoom. The live presentation will take place at:

Northwest Unitarian Universalist Church in Southfield
23925 Northwestern Hwy
Southfield, MI 48075

Doors open at 630pm. The program begins at 7pm. Admission: $4 for Mensa Members, $5 for non-Mensans. For the comfort and safety of all; We ask all those attending to please wear a mask.

Following the presentation, please join us for dinner at Buddy’s Pizza, located at 31646 Northwestern Hwy., in Farmington Hills, Just Northeast of Middlebelt Rd.

If you’d prefer to participate on Zoom, you’ll need to pre-register by clicking on the following link: https://tinyurl.com/SEMM-0821-Gathering ,The event’s Zoom URL and instructions for connecting will be sent to those who are pre-registered, about an hour before the presentation. The Zoom room opens at 6:30pm for mingling.

June 19 Monthly Gathering — Aphrodisiacs: Forbidden Foods and Beverages

Until it is deemed once again safe to return to meeting as a group, Southeast Michigan Mensa will be presenting a series of lectures on Zoom. Attendees need to pre-register by clicking on the following link: https://tinyurl.com/SEMM-0621-Gathering . The event’s Zoom URL and instructions for connecting will be sent to those who are pre-registered, about an hour before the presentation. The number of attendees will be limited, so please pre-register early. 

Aphrodisiacs: Forbidden Foods and Beverages

The association between food and sexuality is primal, but some foods are reputed to have more aphrodisiacal qualities than others. Throughout the centuries, emperors and everyday folk alike have ingested, imbibed, sprinkled, or applied almost every conceivable substance in the hope of promoting desire. Whether to encourage a lover, revive a lagging libido, or pique pleasure and performance, lovers the world over have sought aphrodisiacs. But which ones have the greatest reputations (and why?) and do any of them really work? Culinary expert Chef Larry Canepa, will lead us through a fun sassy, informative and delicious presentation of aphrodisiacs, and their related myths and legends.

Chef Larry P. Canepa, is a Certified Culinary Educator, who provides comprehensive and engaging culinary education workshops, and cooking demonstrations, throughout Arizona. His 40+ years of experience includes management and operation of restaurants, hotels and resorts. For over 30 years, Chef Canepa has operated Dinner at Eight, specializing in community and private cooking classes, food and beverage demonstrations, and Food Studies seminars. For more information, please see: facebook.com/dinner8, or email Chef Canepa at: Dinner8@nullyahoo.com

PLEASE NOTE before deciding to attend: This program deals with adult subject matter. Although the program will be tastefully presented, please do not attend if you think you might find the content offensive.

The Zoom room opens at 6:30pm for mingling. The program starts at 7:00pm. Bon Appetit!

May Monthly Gathering – Dark Side of the Mitten: Crimes of the Michigan’s Powerful and Powerful Criminals

Until it is deemed once again safe to return to meeting as a group, Southeast Michigan Mensa will be presenting a series of lectures on Zoom. Attendees need to pre-register by going to: https://tinyurl.com/SEMM-0521-Gathering. The event’s Zoom URL and instructions for connecting will be sent to those who are pre-registered, up until about an hour before the presentation. The number of attendees will be limited, so please pre-register early.

Mild-mannered Midwestern Michigan:  The land of lakeside cottages, auto industries, pasties—and murder?

Michigan’s past has a more sinister side than what’s commonly displayed on roadside historical markers. Come along for an evening of grim, gritty, and occasionally bone-chilling stories of the state’s dark side. There will be past and present blood-and-money tales of criminal intrigue, suspense or just plain awfulness. Tales that sound like film noir, but were played out for real, against Michigan’s familiar background.

So please join us on Saturday, May 15, when Tom Carr, author of Dark Side of the Mitten:  Crimes of the Powerful and Powerful Criminals in Michigan’s Past and Present, will guide us through a usually hidden world; sharing tales of the dark side of some famous Michiganders.

In his book, Carr presents 42 illustrated stories about Michigan’s strange and outrageous past, all told with his signature humor and irreverence. This is his third book in the “Blood on the Mitten” series, this time tackling the unsavory, the quirky and the downright ghastly actions of some of this state’s immortal figures. Mr. Carr is an independent writer and journalist in Northern Michigan who spent 25 years in daily newspapers, primarily the Traverse City Record-Eagle. He’s won journalistic awards for his investigative reporting, feature writing, breaking news and humor columns, and often covered police, courts and crime.

The Zoom room opens at 6:30pm for mingling. The program starts at 7:00pm.