Monday, September 29, 2014

"Current Events" topics for Thursday, October 2, 2014. We meet at the Northbrook Village Hall.

President Obama: “We underestimated ISIS…and overestimated the will of the Iraq army to fight them.” Yet our Intelligence community and high-profile Media reporting had been sending clear signals early of ISIS risks, and of a totally inept Iraq army.  Did the administration simply "blow it", in the same way President Bush "missed" 9/11?

What differences and similarities are there between the Bush/Cheney approach to fighting terrorism, and President Obama’s?

President Obama has talked and acted much "bolder" in recent days—no ambivalence nor hint of “leading from behind” against Islamist terrorism. Has he changed because it’s the right tactical move for America…or is it just pure politics to help Democrats?

Will—should?—America provide ground troops against ISIS? 

Should Congress declare war?  Does it matter that ISIS is more an “idea” than a “nation”?

President Obama praised a Muslim group that is speaking out vigorously in social media against Islamic terrorists.  Yet other Muslims say this kind of attention presumes that all Muslims are somehow collectively responsible for Islamic extremism.  Your thoughts.

What are the ramifications of America arming the Syrian rebels?

How might America’s actions against ISIS affect our talks with Iran?

That armed White House intruder made it all the way to the East Room and could easily have had access to the First Family.  What should Obama do about his Secret Service?

That Oklahoma beheading: act of terrorism, or "workplace violence".  Why does it matter?

How effective has Eric Holder been as Attorney General?

In what ways might globalization affect Putin's abilities--and willingness--to try to rebuild the old Soviet empire?

Why, here in the 21st Century, and in one of the more affluent areas in America, have two Deerfield High School students contracted whooping cough?

Should the Treasure Department act to deter corporate inversions—stop companies from moving off shore to legally reduce their tax expenses? (After all, don’t WE try to legally save on our taxes?)

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

Is it appropriate to use tax dollars to pay for President Obama's--or any Presidential library?

The uninsured rate has dropped to the lowest level since the 90's. Is Obamacare working?

What’s your opinion about the House race in the 10thCongressional District?

Who is ahead today in the governor's race? Who is running the more negative campaign?

What are the chances that Rahm won’t get 51% of the vote, leading to a run-off? If Karen Lewis runs, how much support might she receive? What about Alderman Bob Fioretti's chances?Any others?

Has the Illinois Senate race has tightened? The Sun-Times shows Durbin with a 7% lead, while other polls show Durbin with a much larger lead.

Clearly, America is a historic "melting pot" or "salad", unique in the world. Are many Americans now seeing our Diversity as a weakness and not a strength? If so, who then is a "typical American"?

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?

The July, the D.C. Circuit Court ruled that people in the 36 states that use the federal health insurance exchange as part of the Affordable Health Care Act would be ineligible for subsidized insurance. But now the full D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals has agreed to re-hear the case. Your thoughts.

Senate Republicans blocked a constitutional amendment limiting campaign spending by outside groups, saying the proposal would limit free speech. The vote was 54 to 42 in favor of limiting debate on the proposed amendment, falling short of the 60 votes needed. All Democrats in the chamber voted in favor of advancing the proposal, all "nay" votes came from the GOP. Your thoughts.

Many celebs discovered that the internet “Cloud” was hacked and nude photos were secured. What does this say about security of the“Cloud”? What does it say about putting nude photos on line?

A North Carolina death row inmate exonerated by DNA evidence was once held up by Justice Scalia as an example of someone who deserved to die. Your thoughts.

Is the issue of teacher tenure a winning issue for Republicans?

The typical American family is about 1/3 poorer than a decade ago. Net worth was $88,000 in 2003 vs. $56,000 in 2013, primarily due to the dramatic decline in housing. What are the ramifications?

The Supreme Court says police must obtain a warrant to search your cell phone. What do you feel was the greater risk--to your personal freedom, or to your personal security?

What are the ramifications of America's birthrate having dropped from just under 4 in 1957 to just over 2 today? (2.1 birth rate is considered the right number to replace both parents over their life).

Germany's Merkel said spying on allies is a waste of time as she promptly kicked out America's top spy. What's the point of spying on Germany? Are our relations with Germany more important than any secrets gleaned by spying?

Monday, September 8, 2014

"Great Ideas" is discussing "Zionism--Implementation in Israel" on Thursday, October 9, 2014. We meet at the Northbrook 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 October 9 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 287. 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.  

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

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

              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