Monday, April 21, 2014

"Great Ideas" is discussing "Zionism - Implementation in Israel" on Thursday, April 24, 2014

Here is a link that will allow you to review, download and print the slides we will show and discuss at each session: IsraeliHistory

If you are interested in the plans for the library renovation click the following link for a video.

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.
There was an interesting March article in the New York Times that touches on many of the issues we have been discussing. Click the link below.

On April 24 we will continue to focus on 1957-1963. We’ll discuss politics, relations with Arab neighbors, relations with the U.S., other foreign policy issues and the bomb. After that discussion we will get into the Eichmann Trial and Hannah Arendt’s controversial analysis in her book "Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil".

There was a new PBS series called the Story of the Jews that aired recently. Those who have "On Demand" can view this series any time. You can also view episodes and review some interesting information using the following links:

This PBS show was based on the new book of the same title by Simon Schama who also happens to be the narrator of the show.

Below is a list of books mentioned during our sessions:

  • “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
  • "The Making of Modern Israel 1948-1967" by Leslie Stein
  • "Palestine and the Arab-Israeli Conflict" by Charles D. Smith
  • “Transformative Justice: Israeli Identity on Trial” by Leora Bilsky
  • “In the Garden of the Beasts” by Erik Larson
  • “My Promised Land - The Triumph & Tragedy of Israel” by Ari Shavit
  • “The Iron Wall: Israel & The Arab World” by Avi Shlaim
  • "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

Thursday, April 10, 2014

"American Politics" discussion topics for Monday, April 28, 2014.

Note: disregard the NSSC Calendar that shows "American Politics" as not meeting on April 28. We ARE meeting on Monday, April 28 for a regular discussion session.

Critics say NAFTA has hurt American workers. Yet, we have no trade agreements with China, and our trade deficit continues to grow.  Clearly, we are in a global economy.  How should we address this, given that President Obama is negotiating new trade agreements?

The Supreme Court has approved state bans on affirmative action for college admissions.  How do you feel about this?

The Illinois Senate passed State Sen. Dan Biss’ Secure Choice Savings Program Act, allowing more than 2.5 million Illinois workers access to retirement savings plans through their employers. It would allow 3% of paychecks to be invested in something similar to IRA’s. Your thoughts.

Are Seniors being "greedy" by continuing to expect entitlement benefits that, by most accounts, won't be there for our children and grandkids?

Looking at the ways Seniors need to sustain their lives in retirement with various financial general, how have those of us living on the North Shore fared under President Obama?

The Supreme Court agreed to review a case where a political opponent placed a billboard ad which was a lie. Some states have statutes that say this is unlawful. Is this protected speech?
Do we punish our kids less while praising them more…so they grow up to be spineless, soft and ill-prepared for the stresses of adult life?

A Northwestern professor suggests that returning war Veterans--especially Vietnam Vets-- face challenges that lead some to join or form White Supremacy groups...or become "Lone Wolfs".  Many Veteran groups are outraged.  Your thoughts.

Laszlo Bloc is responsible for hiring 100 new Google employees each week.  Laszlo is increasingly hiring people without college degrees.  He argues for general cognitive ability—understanding and applying information and thinking in a structured and logical way.  He believes basic computer skills are more important than what you know or where you learned it.  Your thoughts.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren: “We can't bury our heads in the sand and pretend that if 'big government' disappears, so will society's toughest problems. That's just magical thinking -- and it's also dangerous thinking. Our problems are getting bigger by the day and we need to develop some hardheaded, realistic responses. Instead of trying to starve the government or drown it in the bathtub, we need to tackle our problems head-on, and that will require better government." What do you think of Warren’s message?

Do you support Illinois reserving $100 million for an Obama Library (in light of our state's horrible fiscal condition)? FYI, publics funds like this were used to help build the Lincoln Museum in Springfield.

Has Kerry been a more effective Secretary of State than Hillary Clinton? What were Clinton’s major accomplishments as Secretary of State?

How do you see the Senate races shaping up?

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).

Should the government provide free birth control so that no company needs to make that decision?

Indiana is the latest state to pull out of federal Common Core program. Critics resent the control of local school board decisions shifting to Washington and the lack of higher requirements for Stem curriculum (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).

Is the Environmental movement losing some of its steam? Critical articles are appearing in NYT, WP, WSJ, The Nation, Mother Jones on the positions taken on Keystone Pipe line, fracking revolution and recent Pew study on “millenniums” regard for the movement. Is this a case where the results of the cause were being defined by the extreme elements and the problems are not as "earth-shaking" as environmentalists are saying? Who is more right?

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 2013 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
  • Coffee will NOT be provided, but you are welcome to bring your own in a covered cup

  • Here are future Thursday dates when we will NOT conduct discussions:

    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