Thursday, March 5, 2015

"American Politics" discussion topics for Monday, March 9 at the North Shore Senior Center

Given these four options, which may have the best chance of restricting Iran from building a nuclear bomb: (1) do nothing; (2) increase sanctions; (3) take military action; (4) continue to negotiate?  Are there any other options?

Did Netanyahu indicate which option he feels is best for Israel?

If negotiations fail, will Iran move forward more quickly to go nuclear…or less so?

In what ways might stiffer sanctions stop Iran from moving forward to go nuclear?

Netanyahu says Iran is Israel's "public enemy #1". Is Iran the same risk to America? Are there benefits to us (i.e., help against ISIS) if Iran has closer ties with America? Must America and Israel always be on the same page?

Might Netanyahu’s strong speech actually help Obama achieve a better deal?

Ultimately, if there is no deal with Iran, and there are negative consequences, (i.e., war?) do Netanyahu and Congressional Republicans now "own" this?

Did Netanyahu's speech strengthen, weaken, or leave relations with America the same?

In what ways did Netanyahu's speech help Israel? How might it have hurt Israel?

Would it be in America's best interests if Israel were to elect a new leader?

Netanyahu: “Jews, come home!” Do Jews need to “escape” Europe out of fear? What does this say about Europe’s progress since the horrific days of Nazi Germany?

DHS funding needed Democrat votes to pass--breaking Boehner's
"Hastert rule" calling always for enough GOP votes to pass bills before bringing a bill before the House. Will Boehner use this approach more frequently now to get things done?

Hillary Clinton, while Sec. of State, used her own private email services vs. government email possibly in violation of federal law. How important is this issue? How harmful is this issue to Hillary?

The Justice Department issued a scathing report calling out racism in the Ferguson police force. How deep seeded is racism in America?

57% of America now approve of using ground forces against ISIS. Obama wants Congress to grant him specific War Powers to combat ISIS. Who should have the authority to take action--or decide NOT to take action--Congress, or the White House? What Presidential decision would be in the best interests of the country when America is divided on this specific issue?

Given broad support for Keystone, has Obama pandering too much to environmentalists by vetoing the pipeline bill? Is the President, in his belief in the importance of the environment, disregarding the present needs facing the country (jobs, energy security, safe transportation, etc.) for the possible long-term minimal difference in the planet’s ecology?

Did Scott Walker misspeak when he appeared to compare Wisconsin union members to ISIS terrorist...or was it a smart move to win the Conservative Base...and the nomination?

Would America elect a President who says he/she didn't believe in Evolution?

Dr. Ben Carson, likely GOP Presidential candidate, says that homosexuality is a matter of choice. Your thoughts.

By winning the Mid-Term elections so significantly, are Republicans correct in believing America rejected Obama’s more liberal agenda and want to see more Conservative approaches? Or is something else going on?

Can Republicans govern effectively without reconciling conflict between“establishment” and “tea-party” Conservatives?

Regarding the environment and climate change: who is more “unreasonable”—those who 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? Is the biggest concern to our environment public apathy?

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 and not defense, while counting on America to "cover their back"?

A Maryland couple is in trouble with its town for raising "free range kids"--allowing their 10 and 6 year olds to walk freely without parental supervision. Should parents have the right to make this kind of decision? Weren't WE free-range kids?

How important a role will foreign policy play in the 2016 campaign?

Only 46% of U.S. kids younger than 18 years of age are living in a home with two married heterosexual parents in their first marriage. This is a marked change from 1960, when 73% of children fit this description, and 1980, when 61% did, according to a Pew Research Center analysis. Your thoughts

Monday, February 23, 2015

"Great Ideas" is discussing "Zionism--Implementation in Israel" on Thursday, April 9, 2015. We meet at the Northbrook Village Hall.

Mark Gelfeld is on vacation.  Great Ideas meets next on April 9

Note: there will be Current Events discussions March 12 and 19.

There will be NO discussion sessions March 26 and April 2 due to Early Voting in Village Hall.

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, April 9, we continue looking at Day 2 of the 1967 Six Day War on Slide 366.

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

Important Information About Our Discussions


  • 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


    There will be "Current Events" discussions for the first three weeks of March - March 5, March 12 and March 19.  (Mark will be on vacation.)

    March 26 - No "Great Ideas" - Early Voting in Village Hall

    April 2 - No "Current Events" - Early Voting in Village Hall


    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.

    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.