Thursday, September 29, 2016

"American Politics" discussion topics for Monday, October 3 at the North Shore Senior Center

Debate: in which ways did Trump help himself?  In which ways did Trump hurt himself?

Debate: in which ways did Hillary help herself?  In which ways did Hillary hurt herself?

How important is “experience and competence” vs. “change agent, outsider” in this election?

Is America “a disaster”—i.e., jobs, economy, foreign policy, crime, race relations, politics?

Does being a woman help or hurt Hillary more with voters?

How will talking about Bill's "bimbo eruptions" affect the campaign?

Will Bernie’s supporters eventually support Hillary?  Will Gary Johnson supporters stick with him, or switch if they feel their vote may decide a close election in Battleground states?  

Do most Republicans now support Trump?

If turnout is low given high negatives for both candidates, who might that favor?

Why did Donald Trump change his mind regarding Obama being born in America?

How important are issues raised about Trump's Foundation? What about business interests that could be conflicts?  And tax returns? Should Trump make public the IRS letter that he received notifying him that there will be an audit?

Both candidates have made public some of their health reports. Do we need to know more?

What’s the risk of another government shutdown?

Congress overrides Obama's veto of 9/11 bill allowing families to sue Saudi Arabia. What kind of "Pandora's Box" does this open?

Musk wants to SpaceX to begin colonizing Mars in 2022.  Your thoughts.

Your thoughts on the passing of Shimon Peres.

Discuss the Illinois Supreme court decision regarding a citizen initiative to re-map the district. The court again refused to review its prior decision regarding this issue. What can or should be done?

The N.C.A.A., responding to a contentious North Carolina law that curbed anti-discrimination protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, will relocate all championship tournament games scheduled to take place in the state over the coming academic year, the organization.

With Congress now back in session, there remains a question of extending funding for the debt. There have been threats of another closing of the government. The big issue is combining funding for Zika and Planned Parenthood. What is the chance of this occurring?

Family income has increased to $56,500 which is more than $53,700 which it reported in 2014. Discuss this.

Discuss the almost 6% increase in job income in urban areas and a 2% decrease in other areas.

Current Events discussion topics for Thursday, October 6 at the Northbrook Library

Topics for October 6 will be posted several days before we meet.

Monday, September 26, 2016

"Great Ideas: Israeli History" on Thursday, October 13 in the Northbrook Library Pollak Room

Here are two links that will allow you to review, download and print the slides we show and discuss at each session:

Israeli History: Zionism through 1967:

Israeli History: Post 1967:

On October 10 we will continue our discussion of Israeli history  in 1973 with the prelude to the Yom Kippur War.

FOR FUTURE DISCUSSION….May 14, 1948 Israel set a course into the future, based in part upon the following words etched into the country’s Declaration of Independence:

THE STATE OF ISRAEL will be open for Jewish immigration and for the Ingathering of the Exiles; it will foster the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; it will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions; and it will be faithful to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.
  • Which of these objectives is Israel well on its way to realizing? Which of them have proved most elusive?
  • What elements are part and parcel of a country that has been “developed for the benefit of all its inhabitants?”
  • How would you define “freedom of conscience?”
  • If you were to have the chance to revise this paragraph in 2016, would you make any additions? Would you take anything out?

Below is a list of books mentioned during our sessions:

  • "The Arab-Israeli Wars" by Chaim Herzog
  • "Kissinger and the Yom Kippur War" by David Morse
  • "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
  • “Eichmann Before Jerusalem: The Unexamined Life of A Mass Murder” by Bettina Stangneth
  • "Jaffa Beach" by Fedora Horowitz
  • "Operation Thunderbolt:  Flight 139 and the Raid on Entebbe Airport, the most Audacious Hostage Rescue in History", by Saul David
  • "Abba Eban", A Biography by Asaf Siniver
  • "Jerusalem: The Biography" by Simon Sebag Montefiore
  • "The Way to the Spring: Life and Death in Palestine" by Ben Ehrenreich
  • "Jabotinsky" by Hillel Halkin
  • "Doomed to Succeed: The U.S. Israel Relationship from Truman to Obama" by Dennis Ross 
  • "The Angel: The Egyptian Spy Who Saved Israel" by Uri-Bar Joseph

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Important Information About Our Discussions

"Current Events" and "Great Ideas" meet at the Northbrook 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.