Thursday, October 16, 2014

"American Politics" discussion for Monday, November 3, 2014 at the North Shore Senior Center

How do you see the Governor's Race shaping up? The 10th District House Race?

How would you assess Obama's handling of the Ebola  situation?

Should that nurse have been quarantined? Was Christie right in ramping up concern?

Is President Obama a "reckless dictator", or a "disengaged wimp", both, or...what?   Why do most Presidents suffer low approval in Year 6?

How do you feel American will see McConnell as Senate Majority Leader?

What do you see as the highest priorities for Republican controlled Congress?  Do you see gridlock continuing or a diminishing?

Is President Obama over-reacting to President Bush's foreign policy strategies?

How can we put more income in the hands of Middle/Low-income workers--who are likely to spend it and help drive the economy?  Higher minimum wage can't be the only answer.

The Pope says evolution and the Big Bang are real and not inconsistent with his view of God.  Your thoughts.

"The thing about BiBi is he's a no-vision "chicken-****", says an Obama official, not hiding displeasure with Israel's West Bank settlement policies.  Will there be a show down with Israel should an agreement be reached with Iran on their nuclear program? 

Apple CEO Tim Cook comes out as Gay.  What is the significance?

An FBI "sting" operation in Las Vegas was set up by cutting internet service to a room with a suspected illegal gambling operation...and then the Feds entered as "service men", and made arrests.  Clever law inforcement operation?  Or disgraceful abuse of civil rights?

Why doesn't the United States establish normal relations with Cuba?

Many Western European nations have very Liberal (socialistic?) welfare policies. Does America facilitate this by essentially being the Defense "safety net" for these nations? Can they plow more resources into welfare while counting on America to "cover their back"?

Is the U.S. Economy headed in the right direction or going the other way? How does the dramatic drop in oil prices affect us?

What is the significance of the pro-Democracy Hong Kong protests?

What are the ramifications of Drones—“boots in the air”—increasingly doing more of our fighting?

Who is more“unreasonable”—those who totally deny that climate change is “real”…or those who want us to spend a zillion dollars (that we don’t have) to make what might be just a minimal difference?

A "gender inclusive" school district in Lincoln Nebraska says we need to drop using terms like "boys and girls" and call kids by something more "gender inclusive", like "purple penguins". Is this progress in recognizing how our understanding of gender and sexuality is changing...or political correctness run wild?

Should we impose travel restrictions to reduce risk of Ebola? Are the reasons practical, or political, why the President is not restricting travel from West Africa to the U.S.?

America is a historic "melting pot"--better yet, a "salad"--unique in the world. Yet, many Americans today see any expansion of our Diversity via more liberal immigration policies as weakening, not strengthening, our country. Who would be at risk by our adding more Americans, by revising immigration policies, to what is a nation created by immigrants?

Is Joe Biden a net plus or a net minus? Is Joe a "loose cannon"...or just saying what Obama can’t say but feels needs saying?

Would it help Hillary if she had tough competition for the 2016 nomination? What is your opinion of ex-Senator Jim Webb as a Presidential Candidate?

An Indiana family was stopped by police officers for a seat-belt violation. After refusing to exit his car for 13 minutes, one officer smashed the window and tasered the driver. Was the officer's action justified, given the possible risk to his safety...or was this excessive force?

Federal officials are considering a proposal to ban mentioning the Washington Redskins on radio and television. The FCC chairman is considering a ban on the controversial name. Good idea...or are we being too politically correct?

Monday, October 13, 2014

"Current Events" topics for Thursday, November 6, 2014. We meet at the Northbrook Village Hall.

Note:  There will be no  "Great Ideas" discussion on  Thursday, 10/30 due to Early Voting at Village Hall. 

Note: to help us make more informed decisions when voting for judicial candidates, retired Judge Shelvin Singer suggests we refer to recommendations made by the Illinois State Bar Association. Open this link and click on Cook or Lake County for ISBA evaluations. FYI, Early Voting begins on Monday, October 20:

Discussion topics for November 6 will be posted here several days before we meet.

Monday, October 6, 2014

"Great Ideas" is discussing "Zionism--Implementation in Israel" on Thursday, November 13, 2014. We meet at the Northbrook Village Hall.

Please note that for the remainder of 2014 "Great Ideas" meets only once each month on the 2nd Thursday due to Early Voting in Village Hall and Holiday closings.

Here is a link that will allow you to review, download and print the slides we will show and discuss at each session: IsraeliHistory

On Thursday November 13 we will continue discussing internal Israeli politics, inter-Arab relations, the effect of the U.S. & U.S.S.R on the region and the run-up to the 6-day war of 1967 beginning with slide 300. Also added to the bibliography is Michael Oren’s book "Six Days of War : June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East", which is highly recommended.  

Below is a list of books mentioned during our sessions:

  • "The Making of Modern Israel 1948-1967" by Leslie Stein
  • "Palestine and the Arab-Israeli Conflict" by Charles D. Smith
  • “The Iron Wall: Israel & The Arab World” by Avi Shlaim
  • “Transformative Justice: Israeli Identity on Trial” by Leora Bilsky
  • "Six Days of War : June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East" by Michael Oren

  • “The Secret War Against The Jews: How Western Espionage Betrayed the Jewish People” by John Loftus and Mark Aarons
  • “A Safe Haven: Harry S. Truman and the Founding of Israel” by Allis Radosh and Ronald Rados
  • "Truman" by David McCullough
  • “Louis D. Brandeis: A Life” by Melvin Urofsky
  • “The Prime Ministers: An Intimate Narrative of Israeli Leadership” by Yehuda Avner
  • “George C. Marshall” by Forest Pogue (a 4 volume work- the most definitive biography)
  • “1948: A History of the First Arab-Israeli War” by Benny Morris
  • “Woodrow Wilson: A Biography” by John Milton Cooper, Jr
  • “A Peace to End All Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East” by David Fromkin
  • "Constantine’s Sword: The Church and the Jews": A History by James Carroll
  • “In the Garden of the Beasts” by Erik Larson
  • “My Promised Land - The Triumph & Tragedy of Israel” by Ari Shavit
  • "A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide" by Samantha Power
  • "The Physician" by Noah Gordon
  • "Start-up Nation: the Story of Israel's Economic Miracle" by Dan Senor and Saul Singer
  • "Eichmann in Jerusalem: a Report on the Banality of Evil" by Hannah Arendt
  • "The Eichmann Trial" by Deborah Lipstadt
  • "The House on Garibaldi Street" by Isser Harrel
  • "Son of Hamas: A Gripping Account of Terror, Betrayal, Political Intrigue, and Unthinkable Choices" by Mosab Hassan Yousef

              Thursday, March 6, 2014

              Northbrook Library Discussion Groups have moved to Northbrook Village Hall during Library Renovation.

            • Renovation of Northbrook library meeting rooms began in March 2014 and will continue for approximately one year. The Library will remain open during this renovation.

            • Click this link to visit the Northbrook Library website, take a short "virtual tour" and see details about the renovation:

            • During this time, "Current Events" and "Great Ideas" will be held next door at the Northbrook Village Hall at the usual 10-11:30am time.
            • We meet in the Village Hall Board Room on the first floor
            • Please do NOT park in front of Village Hall. Park at the Library or across the street If you have a handicap sticker you can park in the south lot in back of Village hall for better access to the board room.
            • Coffee will NOT be provided, but you are welcome to bring your own in a covered cup

            • Thursday dates when we will NOT meet:

              October 30 - No "Great Ideas" - Early Voting taking place in Village Hall

              December 25 - Christmas Day - No "Great Ideas" - Library Closed

              January 1 - New Year's Day - No "Current Events" - Library Closed