January Monthly Gathering – Vladimir Putin: Corrupt! Competent! Environmentalist(?)!

Until the weather becomes more predictably amenable to meeting in person, Southeast Michigan Mensa will be presenting a series of free lectures on Zoom. Attendees need to pre-register by clicking on the following link: https://tinyurl.com/SEMM-0122-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 may be limited, so please pre-register early. 

Let’s take a look at the career of Vladimir Putin, an autocrat who publisher Henry Quinlan, this month’s speaker, describes as corrupt, yet competent, and (Yes!) an environmentalist! While many in the West look at Putin as unscrupulous and dictatorial, among the Russians his approval rating in July 2020 was 60%! Russia’s high confidence in Putin has been the result of numerous positive achievements under his leadership. For instance, who would believe that Russia may well become a leading producer of food? It’s a real possibility, and one of many results of Putin’s competence. But there are also reasons for wariness on the part of the West. 

Mr. Quinlan’s presentation will include a full examination of:

  • Putin’s policies and actions that could lead to a new “Cold War!”
  • The opening of the Northern Passage and its impact on international trade.
  • The points of conflict within the Arctic Council and the Paris Accords.
  • The role of China in supporting Russia’s goals.
  • Putin’s environmental concerns and actions
  • The significance to the rest of the world of growth in Russia’s Autonomous Jewish Region, after years of decline.
  • What’s in Russia’s future.

Henry M. Quinlan has been involved with the former Soviet Union and Russia since 1986 and has made more than 60 round trips. He lived in Moscow from 1990 to 1995, and witnessed the collapse of the Soviet Union. Last question to Quinlan in an FBI interview in 2016: “How does it feel to be a buddy of Putin’s?”

Mr. Quinlan is owner and publisher of Omni Publishing Company, and has 40+ years of varied experience publishing books. He is a graduate of Boston College and Suffolk University Law School.  Notable among the books that he published are: “My Life in Space” by Wally Schirra; “Rebound” by KC Jones, coach of the Boston Celtics; “My Dad the Babe”by Babe Ruth’s daughter Dorothy Ruth Pirrone; “The Cops are Robbers” by Kevin Stevens, which was featured on CBS’s “60 Minutes” and made into an HBO movie.

While engaged in a publishing venture in the former Soviet Union, Mr. Quinlan was asked by President George H.W. Bush to organize the publishing of the children’s book, “Make Way for Ducklings” in Russia in 1991, and the erection of the statues, “Make Way for Ducklings” in Moscow.

Sound interesting? Join us on January 15 to learn more about Vladimir Putin, perceptions of him from inside Russia, and Russia’s evolving role in the world community. The Zoom room opens at 6:30pm for mingling. The program starts at 7:00pm.If you’d like to participate, YOU’LL NEED TO PRE-REGISTER by clicking on the following link: https://tinyurl.com/SEMM-0122-Gathering . The event’s Zoom URL and instructions for connecting will be displayed on the page when you register and sent to you by email.

Announcing Winter Bash 2021

Southeast Michigan Mensa’s Winter Bash is coming Saturday, November 13, 2021. 

Featuring: A chance to mingle with Mensans and guests who will actually get your jokes! All you can eat: pizza, salad, soft drinks, beer, wine, dessert, and munchies! Stuff to do: eat, socialize, games– bring your favorites!

Visit the Winter Bash page for ticket information.
Early bird pricing ends on November 11th.

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

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.

Let’s Get This Party Started — Kicking Off Our New Gen X SIG

Are you an current member of Mensa around the SEMM area who was born between 1961 and 1981?  If so, we are looking for you! SEMM is starting up a brand-new Gen X SIG this spring. Beginning in March, we’ll be having a monthly SEMM Gen X zoom gathering so that we can hang out and have fun from the safety of our homes.  We’ll enjoy things like virtual escape rooms, ’80s trivia, and any other entertaining things we can think of.  Considering that we’re Mensans, I’m sure we’ll think of a lot. 

As the pandemic winds down and in-person events become possible, there’ll be lots of activities planned to bring us all together.  We’ll do things like dinners out, board game nights, card games, picnics, billiards, bowling and kayaking.  If you haven’t already completed the Gen X SIG interest survey, click here to fill it out and let us know where you are and what kinds of activities you’d like to take part in. It’s the first step in joining the fun. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions about the new Gen X SIG, send an email to semmgenxsig@nullgmail.com

The March SEMM Gen X monthly gathering is an escape room hosted by Tony Pak on Thursday, March 18th at 7 pm Eastern.  If you are an active SEMM Gen Xer and would like to attend, please see our announcement on Mensa Connect.