Thursday, April 16, 2015

"American Politics" discussion topics for Monday, April 20 at the North Shore Senior Center

Key congressional leaders have agreed on legislation to give President Obama special authority to finish negotiating one of the world’s largest trade accords, opening a rare battle that aligns Obama with Republicans against a broad coalition of Democrats. The“fast track” bill allows the White House to pursue its planned Pacific trade deal. Trade unions, environmentalists and Latino organizations oppose this, arguing that past trade pacts failed to deliver on their promise and that this effort will harm American workers. Your thoughts.

Sen. Corker has hammered out a compromise deal calling for Congressional oversight of the Iranian deal. 61% of Americans say they support the Iran deal…and 65% say they don’t want Congress to block it. If Congress kills an agreement, will it ultimately increase or decrease Iran's risk to Israel?

A majority of Americans do not approve of Obama's handling of foreign affairs...yet Americans clearly do not support greater military intervention supported by most Republicans. Who is on the "winning side" of this apparent contradiction?  

Why do Senate Republicans continue to hold up the vote on Loretta Lynch for AG? Are they losing support with Americans?

What do some Conservatives mean when they say they want to "take back America"? Take it back...from what? 

Republicans have begun a well-orchestrated "full-court press" against Hillary. She certainly is fair game--and politics isn't softball. But will hammering Hillary, as the GOP has against Obama be effective in lowering her approvals below that of Republicans, which are in the tank?

Will we see the Republican Congress focus more on what makes their policies better for America than just criticizing Obama...and now, Hillary?

What are your thoughts regarding Sen. Rubio's announcement that he is running? How do you see his chances?

Is Obama right to establish more normal relations with Cuba, and removing Cuba from America's list of countries supporting terrorism?

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?

What do you feel may be the Republican Party's best opportunity to attract more voters in 2016: to broaden its "White Male" base by appealing more to minorities and women...or by appealing even more to White Males?

53% of Americans say they have “unfavorable” views of Islam.Are Muslims being treated unfairly, given that only a tiny percentage is self-proclaimed terrorists? Is this “prudence” or “prejudice” on the part of most Americans?

Illinois is broke. Should services, like haircuts, be taxed to generate revenue?

Should laws be changed to allow cities, like Chicago, to file for bankruptcy?

How do you feel about Gov. Rauner's comments attacking the integrity of the Illinois Supreme Court and Illinois' entire justice system?

Chicago Public Schools have a budget deficit of $1.1billion and might not be able to open classes this fall.What needs to be done? What should Rahm do?

The GOP has been in control of the Congress since January and the country has been waiting for evidence that it can govern.What do you think are the obstacles for the GOP Congress?Is it the division in the party or the Dems in the Senate? When will we see a successful vote in the House and Senate on the 2016 budget, confirmation of the new Attorney General, passage of the debt ceiling extension, Doc-fix, passage of the Human Sex Trafficking Act, for example?

The Supreme Court refused to hear a case challenging a Wisconsin 2011 law requiring voter I.D.This is a victory for Gov, Walker who signed the legislature into law.How does this affect his 2016 chances?

President Obama is calling for an end to “conversion” therapies for gay and transgender youth.Your thoughts.

Monica Lewinsky is making news again by taking up the cause of cyber-bulling.Monica has imminent knowledge of being bulled in news stories, political, and entertainment media.She has gotten very favorable reviews of these appearances and apologizes from the likes of Bill Mahr and David Letterman. What do you think of cyber-trolls who spout these insults?Is this a free speech issue or just one more illustration of our coursing language and manners?

"Great Ideas" is discussing "Zionism Implementation in Israel" on Thursday, April 23, 2015. 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, April 23, we will continue looking at the 1967 Six Day War (Day 2) at 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

Monday, April 13, 2015

"Current Events" discussion for Thursday, May 7, 2015. We will be back at the Library in the new Pollack Room!

Beginning in May, "Current Events" (May 7) and "Great Ideas" (May 14) will be back at the library!

Final touches are being taken care of now, after which the staff will receive tours, instructions in the use of various equipment, etc. We will meet in Pollak Rooms A & B--with a capacity of 90-100 people.  You can bring in covered cups, mugs, etc. with coffee.There will also be 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.

Topics for May 7 will be posted several days before we meet.



Thursday, March 6, 2014

Important Information About Our Discussions


Important Note from Northbrook Library: Beginning May 1, "Current Events" and "Great Idea" will be back at the library!
Final touches are being taken care of this week, after which the staff will receive tours, instructions in the use of various equipment, etc. We will meet in Pollak Rooms A & B--with a capacity of 90-100 people.

You can bring in covered cups, mugs, etc. with coffee.There will also be 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.


LINKS RELATED TO RECENT DISCUSSION TOPICS

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: 

http://www.economist.com/news/special-report/21645996-one-american-six-now-hispanic-up-small-minority-two-generations-ago

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.

http://magazine.beloit.edu/?story_id=245808&issue_id=245741