Friday, May 22, 2015

"Great Ideas: Israeli History" on Thursday, May 28, 2015. We meet in the Northbrook Library Pollak Room

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 5/28 we will continue discussing the Israeli attack of the USS Liberty during day 4 of the 1967 Six Day War at slide #390.
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

"American Politics" discussion topics for Monday, June 1 at the North Shore Senior Center

Governor Rauner is trying to get the legislature to adopt a budget with what he calls “business” legislation. Among his proposals is to cut benefits for workman’s compensation, making it more difficult to file lawsuits against businesses and he also wants a constitutional amendment to cap what he broadly phrases "unreasonable damages.", pass a right to work law, tighter restrictions on unemployment benefits, pension reform, freeze property taxes, and term limits. (Term limits cannot be passed by the legislature, but must have a constitutional amendment) He has said he would agree to raising minimum wage if the legislature would agree to these proposals. Are these proposals good for Illinois?

The number of illegal immigrants in America is dramatically down. In what ways might this change the political debate?

Why do we consider the war against ISIS America's war? How great a threat is ISIS to America's homeland? Would more involvement by America lead to any better outcome?

Has America been too involved in the Middle East—or not involved enough? Republicans are critical of Obama's ISIS strategy and are calling for a significant increase in US ground troops. They argue that Iraq was "under control" under Bush, and became lost to ISIS when Obama withdrew.

Is the World better off because America eliminated Saddam Hussein?

Rand Paul: “The Hawks in my Party created ISIS”.  Can a more "hawkish" candidate win in 2016 when America appears anti-involvement? How should the next President deal with Iraq? Jeb Bush and other GOP hopefuls are conflicted. Many still believe invading Iraq was not a mistake regardless of WMD's. In fact, Jeb says his brother will be his key advisor on the Middle East. Hillary can avoid talking about this, for now.

Will Iran “win” in the Middle East without the bomb? Does Iran even need the bomb to continue to establish itself as THE dominant force in the Middle East?

Must Israel change...something? - The Vatican officially recognized the state of Palestine. While Jews everywhere decry the Pope’s decision, most countries and most Americans support Palestinian statehood. Is this anti-Semitism? Or must Israel move closer to a Two State Solution?

Gov. Walker says that his not having a college degree is an advantage, because most Americans have no degree. "It's elitist to believe otherwise." Is he correct? Your thoughts about Walker...and other apparent GOP front-runners: Bush, Rubio, Paul?

Nebraska, a Conservative state, has abolished the Death Penalty.  Your thoughts.

What’s the importance of the Boston Bomber receiving the death penalty?

Is the Obama/GOP Trade Deal bad for America?

America is becoming increasingly less religious--especially with younger Americans. What is the significance? If we are becoming less religious, are we becoming less “moral”? Is "morality" itself changing?

Most Americans feel that the Clintons "play by their own set of rules". Yet Hillary’s approval ratings are high—and Bill’s are even higher. Is Hillary “Teflon-proof”? If so, why? Hillary Clinton has avoided answering any serious questions for a month. Is she hurting more than helping her election prospects?
The Patriot Act is set to expire at month’s end. Should it be extended, or allowed to die?

ABC's George Stephanopoulos donated $75,000 to the Clinton Foundation...while conducting interviews and hosting a presidential debate without disclosing his donation. Can he still be ABC’s anchor for significant political news stories…or has he lost credibility?

The North Korean leader executed his defense minister using anti-aircraft weapons...and recently appeared to test a ballistic rocket launched via submarine. How should America deal with North Korea's unpredictable leader and this nuclear risk?

Conservatives believe Liberals support a "welfare state", pandering to inner city Blacks with "hand-outs" to "buy" votes. Are such comments racist...or do they accurately reflect what appear to be failing Liberal policies?

What are the pro’s and con’s of developing more Low Income Housing on the North Shore?

Mike Huckabee disputes what he calls the "notion of judicial supremacy", arguing that states would have the final say on gay marriage regardless of whether the Supreme Court rules that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry. Your thoughts.

Is it time to put a woman on our $20 bill? Is Harriet Tubman the right woman to honor? She was an African-American abolitionist, humanitarian, and during the American Civil War, a Union spy.

Most Americans do not support late-term abortions. Should reproductive rights be strictly decided by a woman and her doctor…or should they be guided by federal law?

Ten years ago America was judged 4th in the world in addressing infrastructure problems--today we are 24th. China invests 9% of GDP on infrastructure, India 8%...while we spend 2%. What is stopping us from moving forward?

There is a perception, from both Whites and Blacks, that Race Relations are worse than they have been in decades. Are things truly worse? If so, what are the causes? How might having a Black President affect race relations? Liberals seem more supportive of the Black community’s concerns about policing. Conservatives seem more supportive of Law Enforcers’ concerns. As a presidential election issue, which Party may have the advantage?

During Michelle Obama's college commencement speech she addressed the slights of racism she has endured throughout her life. Critics suggest the speech was yet another example of the White House dividing the country on issues of race. Was it wrong for the First Lady to include such racial remarks?

Which Presidential Candidate in either Party might best address Education?

For the first time in years, Congress has passed a Budget driven by Republicans--cutting expenses, and balancing the budget. Your thoughts.

How do you feel about the recent North Shore/Advocate hospital merger?

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Important Information About Our Discussions

"Current Events" and "Great Ideas" are back at the library!
We meet in Pollak Rooms A & B--with a capacity of 90-100 people.  You can bring in covered cups, mugs, etc. with coffee. Food is not allowed. There are vending machines in the lobby area right outside the Pollak Room if you wish to purchase a beverage. The library will not be providing coffee.


At times, during discussions, participants mention an internet article of interest. This page will list such links. Contact Ron Mantegna if you want to suggest a link appropriate to a specific discussion topic.

3/19/15 "Current Events"  During discussion of Race , Mike Hamblet suggested this very informative piece from The Economist on Hispanic population increases in America:

11/20/14 "Current Events" - When we were discussing Immigration, Bill Domm said the following link gives a good, balanced description of what "undocumented person" means.