Monday, June 29, 2015

"Current Events" discussion for Thursday, July 2, 2015. We'rse back at the Library in the new Pollak Room!

In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in all states.  The Court's action protects the rights of Gays. What about the rights of those who strongly oppose same-sex marriage--especially those with religious objections? Are they at risk--and are they now the minority that those in the majority should protect?

What do you make of significant, smart Republican leaders--including Presidential Candidates-- saying "we should abolish the Supreme Court"...and "we shouldn't follow this law"? 

In a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court upheld Obamacare. Justice Scalia says the Court was simply looking over the law's errors in order to save Obamacare. "Normal rules of interpretation seem always to yield to the overriding principle of the present Court: The Affordable Care Act must be saved," Scalia said. Your thoughts.

Is the Roberts Court proving to be more Liberal than Conservative? Has the Supreme Court become too powerful? While not elected, their decisions are contrary to actions voters have driven.

Will Republicans continue fighting to repeal and replace Obamacare, or join those who want to fix it?

What are thoughts regarding President Obama's "Amazing Grace" eulogy? Are we seeing an "unshackled" President, not worried about the next election?

The Confederate battle flag is under attack even by Republicans.  Are we making progress on bridging racial divide?  Or are we seeing an over-reaction, with talk of possibly taking down statues of Confederate leaders?  

"Racism, we are not cured of it," President Obama said. "And it's not just a matter of it not being polite to say nigger in public. That's not the measure of whether racism still exists or not. It's not just a matter of overt discrimination. Societies don't, overnight, completely erase everything that happened 200 to 300 years prior." Was it appropriate for President Obama to use the "N" word in context of the Charleston shootings?

Why does Rush Limbaugh say "the next battle will be over our United States flag"?

Is it appropriate for the Media to ask Presidential candidates to give us their position on this flag issue...or is it just a "gotcha!" question that's self serving by the Media?

What is the significance that since 9/11 more Americans have been killed by non-Muslim extremists than by jihadists?

How will Trump's entry into the Presidential race affect the GOP nominating process?

What do you make of Bernie Sanders surge? Is Hillary running more to the Left than most Americans are today? Is she any closer to "the Center" than Jeb Bush?  Should Joe Biden run?

Obama's Trade Bill has moved forward, with Republicans taking the lead. What are the pro's and con's?

Is Sen. McConnell proving to be a more effective Majority Leader than Sen. Reid?

This time, will the Charleston killings lead to any kind of gun control measures?

What is the status of the "BDS Movement"? Is it grounded only in prejudice...or is it in any way a valid criticism of Israel?

Your thoughts about Illinois having a possible gov. shut down.

Republicans, in particular, are deeply critical of Obama’s handling of events in the Middle East.What more are critics saying should be done, or done differently? Is the World better off because America got deeply involved and eliminated Arab dictators? Or does Democracy not work in the Middle East, and only dictators can rule effectively? In short, what shouldAmerica’s role be in the Middle East?

The administration's new policy of allowing families of hostages to pay ransom may put more Americans at risk. Was it a mistake?

Should Pete Rose be judged by his superior ball-playing abilities and forgiven for his gambling and admitted into the Hall of Fame?

Ben Affleck pressured PBS to not disclose the fact that his ancestors owned slaves when airing its popular "Finding Your Roots". Your thoughts.

Rand Paul endorsed a flat income tax of 14.5% on incomes over $50,000 after a few deductions . He also endorsed the elimination of the estate and gift tax. Good idea?

What is the significance of the Pope speaking out, officially, on Climate Change? Should religious leaders stick with moral issues?Is this a moral issue?

Rachel Dolezal says she isn't Black..."but I'm definitely not White". Why is this issue important?

The FDA has banned all trans fats. Your thoughts.
America is becoming less religious.Are we becoming less moral?
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”?

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?

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

The Treasury plans to put a woman on our $10 bill in 2020. Which women should be considered?

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?

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Monday, June 22, 2015

"Great Ideas: Israeli History" on Thursday, July 9, 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

We will discuss fallout after the 1967 Six Day War.
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

"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.