Friday, December 30, 2011

Another contest.

To submit or not. 

Doing final edits to chapters for submission to the San Francisco Writers Conference, Indi Contest. Entries are due by 1/4/2012 (by mail) here is the site for those interested:

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Timothy Grant interview in BlueCat

Some writers are just into novels. Others such as me dabble in screenwriting, short stories, poetry and political banter. The wider range of writing interest the more media that lures with subliminal, or outright statements, of must haves to be the best ever.
Rules and technicalities can vary according to sources, and unless one has a ton of capacity to assimilate, and a coffer to spend on learning to feel confident, one has to make careful choices. There are invaluable books on all kinds of writing media and a plethora of sites and online magazines. Most are littered with what to buy; a few actually give nifty free information. 
In searching for good writing sites, I feel inundated, but have discovered that what will move a reader or audience cannot be learned; it comes inspired by having something valuable to say, or from experience, or razor edge truth. Also found some sites where without having spent my savings I am given pearls and confidence such as in BlueCat: a screenwriting competition site that has a free newsletter, workshops, videos, articles and interviews. I haven’t taken BlueCat workshops, nor am I affiliated to give the site a plug for profit. I am just a practicing writer, with a lot to say and grateful for sites that help me write.
In the BlueCat interview with Timothy Grant, I found wisdom and freedom to write without fear of the critic - as if I would rather do something else if my writing is not marvelous. It is impressive when a writer such as Grant says:

I fight a nasty internal judge every step of the way. It's like having Simon Cowell standing over my shoulder saying: "Shit, shit, shit" in response to every word that I type. 

So I have to trick him by saying: "I'm going to write a shitty screenplay that nobody will ever read." My inner judge is satisfied that I have finally agreed to my own worthlessness and quiets a bit. It's crazy, but it's the only way I can get anything done.

Blue Cat is the Official Newsletter of the Bluecat Screenplay Competition. The website offers screenwriters information on websites, videos and articles and the newsletter is free.

Monday, December 19, 2011

On truthing.

Although the web and blogs overflow with truthing, getting soul naked, after reading a post by Lynda Williams on Clarion, Writer’s Craft #51 – Making Lemonade DECEMBER 19, 2011 
I posted: “it takes courage to write about hardships, thank you for writing a lot of truth. We all can benefit and help others from writing our own truths.” However, I still want to and think that it is ok to dress our dragons in fiction and decorate our dungeons.

Self-published authors find e-success –

Self-published authors find e-success –

As self-publishing success entices more writers, is agent lure, and submitting to traditional publishers, with the bated-breath of expectation and dread, passé?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Book TV | Top Nonfiction Authors and Books

Book TV | Top Nonfiction Authors and Books

Today is American History TV. Book TV offers lots of writing data from authors prospective. Just listen to Max Hasting a historical author interviewed about his book "Inferno: The World At War, 1939-1945". Hastings talked about how in war those that suffer the most are children, the old, and women. Hastings has authored over twenty books, said that the first 50-thousand pages are the hardest, and he writes when he has "something to say", not, for money.

Friday, December 09, 2011

List of contests and more at MovieBytes

At MovieBytes screenwriters can read articles, find contests and information. 

The Writer’s Digest Conference in New York

The Writer’s Digest Conference in New York, January 20 - 22, 2012 at the Sheraton New York Hotel promises "influential agents, innovators and creative minds in the publishing world all willing to share their insider know-how" with writers. The website lists, speakers, authors discovered and information on the "pitch slam".


Blue Cat is the Official Newsletter of the Bluecat Screenplay Competition  
Contests submission for the year are closed. I did not submit my screenplay because I was snot ready. The website offers screenwriters information on websites, videos and articles and the newsletter is free.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Innovators in Literature: Instant Replay, Part 2

Innovators in Literature: Instant Replay, Part 2

Ploughshares is also having an EMERGING WRITER'S CONTEST that includes fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. The winning award is $1,000 and publication.
"Since 1971, Ploughshares has been committed to promoting the work of up-and-coming writers." Log in to Ploughshares "online submission manager between February 1st and April 2nd Submit 3-5 poems; nonfiction and fiction entries should be under 5,000 words. Fee is $20."

Dare To Be A Great Writer

Dear Marta C. Masis,
Congratulations! Your very first review on Amazon has been posted to the site. Thanks for taking the time to write about your experience with this item. Every day millions of shoppers on Amazon rely on customer reviews like yours to make smart buying choices. As you write more reviews that other customers find to be helpful, you have a shot at becoming one of our celebrity top reviewers.
Would you like to add more to your review?
Product Image
~Writers Digest Books
4.6 out of 5 stars (21)
5.0 out of 5 stars Dare To Be A Great WriterDecember 5, 2011
This review is from: Dare to Be a Great Writer: 329 Keys to Powerful Fiction (Paperback)
Dear Mr. Bishop, I still have the four-page review you wrote on my fledgling angel novel. Your praise on my prose and suggestions to improve are forever the wings that carry me when I feel discouraged. Remember that December in 2002, not long after you passed away? I had looked all day for a copy of "Dare To Be A Great Writer". My last stop was a secondhand bookstore and while shuffling through the dusty shelves your book, LITERALLY, fell on my foot? Thank you, always.

Successful Partnerships: Information about Lupus

Successful Partnerships: Information about Lupus

A friend shared this site with me and I think it is very important for those suffering with memory loss, rashes,fatigue, body pain, hair-loss and other such symptoms to look at this site.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

“Been There Done That”: Writers Digest University

“Been There Done That”: Writers Digest University: FREE: Seven Secrets Of Successful Self_Published AuthorsKeithOgorek

Writers Digest University

FREE: Seven Secrets Of Successful Self_Published AuthorsKeithOgorek

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

“Been There Done That”: The Magic of Christmas

“Been There Done That”: The Magic of Christmas: A great film by a local film-maker to watch with the kids!

The Magic of Christmas
A great film by a local film-maker to watch with the kids!

Sunday, November 13, 2011


DAVID GOYER Screenwriting Lesson

SHELDON TURNER Screenwriting Lesson

PAUL HAGGIS Screenwriting Lesson

TED GRIFFIN Screenwriting Lesson

JIM UHLS Screenwriting Lesson

CALLIE KHOURI Screenwriting Lesson

Screenwriter SCOTT ROSENBERG: Tricks of the Trade

Screenwriter NIA VARDALOS: Tricks of the Trade

Screenwriter BILLY RAY: Tricks of the Trade

Screenwriters LOWELL GANZ & BABALOO MANDEL: Tricks of the Tr

Screenwriter JOHN HAMBURG: Tricks of the Trade

Screenwriter JOSE RIVERA: Tricks of the Trade

Screenwriter NICK KAZAN: Tricks of the Trade

Screenwriter PAUL HAGGIS: Tricks of the Trade

Screenwriter STUART BEATTIE: Tricks of the Trade

Screenwriter SHELDON TURNER: Tricks of the Trade

Screenwriter DAVID GOYER: Tricks of the Trade

Screenwriter JIM UHLS: Tricks of the Trade

Screenwriter TED GRIFFIN: Tricks of the Trade

Screenwriters GANZ & MANDEL: Tricks of the Trade

Screenwriter JOSE RIVERA: Tricks of the Trade

Screenwriter CALLIE KHOURI: Tricks of the Trade

Screenwriter NICK KAZAN: Tricks of the Trade

Screenwriter MARSHALL HERSKOVITZ: Tricks of the Trade

Screenwriter NIA VARDALOS: Tricks of the Trade

Screenwriter NIA VARDALOS: Tricks of the Trade

Screenwriter BILLY RAY: Tricks of the Trade

Screenwriter PAUL ATTANASIO: Tricks of the Trade

Screenwriter BRUCE JOEL RUBIN: Tricks of the Trade

Screenwriters KURTZMAN & ORCI: Tricks of the Trade

Screenwriter DAVID SELTZER: Tricks of the Trade

Screenwriter SIMON KINBERG: Tricks of the Trade

Screenwriter JEFF NATHANSON: Tricks of the Trade

Screenwriter ED SOLOMON: Tricks of the Trade

Screenwriter ED SOLOMON: Tricks of the Trade

Screenwriter PETER TOLAN: Tricks of the Trade

Screenwriters PETER and BOBBY FARRELLY: Tricks of the Trade

Screenwriters PETER and BOBBY FARRELLY: Tricks of the Trade

Screenwriter JONATHAN HENSLEIGH: Tricks of the Trade

Screenwriter SUSANNAH GRANT: Tricks of the Trade

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

WRITING CONTESTS, Screenwriting Contests, Poetry Contests, Journalism Competitions

WRITING CONTESTS, Screenwriting Contests, Poetry Contests, Journalism Competitions
As I prepare to enter some writing contests I can't help but wonder if what I have heard is true: 1) that contest are rigged 2) that contest judges and or contest sites use entires to make up their own stories 3) use contest only to get revenue. Comments are welcomed and appreciated.

Carve Magazine

Carve Magazine

Tell us a Story...

Carve is seeking the highest quality literary short fiction (short stories). We want emotional jeopardy, soul, and honesty. Craft and control are tantamount to our connection to the characters. We highly recommend reading our most current issues to get an idea of what we're looking for.
» Please submit only one short story. Wait for a response before you send another. Please see sidebar for current response times.
» We do not accept genre fiction or poetry; novel excerpts only if it stands alone as a short story. We have a soft word count limit of 10,000 words.
» We accept simultaneous submissions. Please let us know if it is accepted elsewhere; we'll send you congratulations. (We know how hard it is to get published out there!)
» Please note, Carve readers are careful and thorough. Though we can't accept every story, we may feel compelled to offer comments or suggestions on some stories we return. Because of this, our response time may be lengthy.
» We pay our contributors as funds allow. Compensation varies between $20-$50 for your story. All authors are paid the same rate per story within a single issue.
How to Submit

We do not accept submissions by email.
We now utilize Submishmash to handle online submissions. This simple service allows you to track your submission and makes communication between submitters and editors more streamlined. There is no fee for creating an account on Submishmash, however we charge a $3 reading fee. This is comparable to the cost of postage, including a SASE, for mailed submissions.
There is no fee for mailed submissions. (But you still have to pay for postage.)
For printed submissions, please mail via USPS to:
Carve Magazine
P.O. Box 701510
Dallas, TX 75370

Include a brief cover letter and contact information. Provide S.A.S.E. for response (or email if international submission.)

The California Writers Club

Call for Entries! 
Fault Zone: Words from the Edge, an anthology of short stories, will be published this fall by the SF/Peninsula Branch of California Writers. Non-members of our branch are encouraged to submit their short stories in our writing contest. Your piece should relate to the anthology’s theme in some way. Interpret as you wish and have fun. We can’t wait to see it! 
First Prize is $300 and publication in our Fault Zone anthology. Second Prize is $100. Third Prize is $50. Contest deadline is Sept 30, 2011. Reading fee is $15. 
Previously published work will be considered. Novel excerpts must stand on their own. 
Submission Guidelines:  
Hard Copy Mailed In Submissions: 
Submit 2 copies of your short story or stand-alone novel excerpt. Title and author should be on each page, as well as page number. Include word count on first page. 
Please submit work typed, double-spaced, 12 pt. Times Roman, with standard margins.  
Word limit: 2,500 max. (more or less, within reason). Shorter entries are encouraged!  
Mail to: SF/Pen CWC, P.O. Box 853, Belmont, CA 94002 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Criminal-E: Les Edgerton interview: Just Like That

Criminal-E: Les Edgerton interview: Just Like That: "Just Like That by Les Edgerton £3.50/$4.99 Amazon UK , Amazon US Les Edgerton is an ex-con who was a writer even when he was robbing folk..."

My comments: Ok that was a mind-blast. I’ve already done the get out and do so I “plop” my “ass into a chair and write” about all kinds of things.
You do “write great frickin’ dialog” and tell what you mean and mean what you say.
I also like dark but not a fan of crime novels, “like kittens or some such crap” protagonists. I will read Killshot by Elmore Leonard and Harry Crews’ A Feast of Snakes and Camus’ The Stranger because you consider them “perfect books” if I can’t get past the first 10 pages I stop reading a book.
I write poetry and some say that my writing is to “poesy” I think it all depends on what I’m wiring.
I LOL, because I belong to a “writer’s clubs” that you think “a vast number of these folks shouldn’t be published... ever. They’re not writers for the most part; they’re typists.”
I love your “This is an art form in which practitioners should either be geniuses” That folks who “take some classes, read some craft books, maybe get an MFA (now, that’s a huge crock, and I have one and would have spent the money and time more wisely on a hooker)”
That “many writers who actually are good turn to self-publishing lately.” I think is because publishing houses and agents want only done deals. Your mentioned “new kids on the block like Bare Knuckles Press, Snubnose Press, StoneGate Publishing” gives me hope.

Monday, May 30, 2011

To live and to love.

“Decluttering isn't just simplifying your life.
It's having a vision, setting new priorities
and using those notions to get rid of obstacles.”
—  Peter Walsh


Wednesday, May 04, 2011

EC Charges Six Executives With Financial Fraud at Brooke Corporation



Washington, D.C., May 4, 2011 – The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged six former leading executives affiliated with a Kansas-based financial corporation with hiding critical information from investors and conducting a financial fraud.
The SEC alleges that senior executives at Brooke Corporation and two subsidiaries – whose line of business was insurance agency franchising and providing loans to franchisees – misrepresented their deteriorating financial condition in filings to investors and other public statements in 2007 and 2008. Meanwhile, behind the scenes they engaged in various undisclosed schemes to meet almost weekly liquidity crises, and falsified reports and made accounting maneuvers to conceal the rapid deterioration of the loan portfolio."

Red Room's strategic partner, the Huffington Post Media Group.

"CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS FOR HUFFINGTON POST Red Room's strategic partner, the Huffington Post Media Group, wants to publish Red Room's best bloggers. Are you an expert on something? If not, do you have a personal story that would make a great blog? We've placed hundreds of articles by Red Room writers through this partnership. Whether about parenting, pets, or politics, some articles reached more than one million readers each! Find out more and submit your writing.Email Red Room Executive Editor Gina Misiroglu now»"

Monday, April 18, 2011


I say, "stay in the NOW" to myself a lot lately. When I feel pulled into so much I want to do and needs to be done I let me be in the NOW. Feel myself walk out of yesterdays and tomorrow into a beautiful expanse of calm acceptance and vast opportunities. I do what I can and needs to be done NOW. Some things take care of themselves, can be postponed, or new opportunities arise to deal with them. The NOW is a magical place that frees me to make the best of NOW. Much can be going wrong, according to my expectations or plans, but if I say, "How am I doing NOW?" chances are that I can relax in knowing that right NOW is all I have for NOW and that it is a blessing not to have to deal with yesterday or tomorrow. Although, yesterdays overlap into today and I can make plans for tomorrow. When things are going well, I can truly enjoy the pleasure of NOW without the past or future. NOW is all I actually have and that acceptance just makes me more present in my life and what I want to do and can or cannot do right NOW.

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Doors - Touch Me

Taxation without representation

We are entitled to equitable taxation. The working class is TAXED WITOUT REPRESENTATION.

Millioniares-to-Trillionaires have lobbyist, attorneys, accountants that shelter them and fight so they pay little to no tax. M-and-Ts pay more in amount but not in percentage. That is UNFAIR TAXATION because a $5000 tax bill to a worker is a huge dent in budget, to a mill-trill is less then the price of a trinket or dinner. In addition, homeowners must get to declare loss on mortgage equity just as corporations take losses on investments.

We need equitable tax brakes. We need to declare a loss on mortgage equity loss and not pay taxes on our loss just as corporations deduct their losses. 

The Gap Band - Burn Rubber

The Gap Band - Outstanding

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Ryan’s plan sounds like the tactics of a coward.

No guts to confront: 1) health and perk benefits that elected officials and their families receive for a lifetime. 2) Medicaid and Medicare for millionaires before they put it in trusts or give in order to get on the public dole. 3) Fair taxes from corporations and millionaires when working folks pay up to 35%.
Ryan's plan IS from "politics of the past“ same REPUBLICAN government for the profit of the profiteers not, for the people by the people. No cuts on: 1) special interest, subsidies and perks for active and retired politicians. 2) Private military or 3) on trillions from military spending.
War, healthcare and government for profit are sinking the country. Insanity is repeating the same. So stop: 1) raiding the Social Security fund. 2) Attacking our unions 3) insourcing and outsourcing workers to take our jobs.Fill our coffers by 1) Tax in imports to the level that All countries tax our exports. 2) GROW OUR JOBS, made in America and defend our Unions, 3) Reinstating the draft and increase the salaries and benefits for our military and familiesto raise a military appreciated beyond lip-service.
Ryan, your plan takes from the American workforce like abusive parents continue to crush their children. Making America’s middle-class, into mules to carry the biggest burden because they don't have the lobbyist or the resources to fight back: it is the plan of a coward.
But like the bully on the schoolyard, voters must punch-out the bully to stop the bulling.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Darrell Steinberg to introduce bill to force Kings to repay loan Read more:

Thank you Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg for plans to introduce legislation this week to make the OWNERS of the Kings, not the team, repay a $77 million loan to Sacramento a loan they should pay whether the Maloofs move the team or not.
Sacramento could save and grow a lot of jobs with 77 Million.
Across the country, there are teams owned by taxpayers. The Kings is privately owned, but subsidized by Sacramento taxpayers and the billionaire owners have many investments, and not enough is put back into the KINGS to make the KINGS a winning team.
Is Sacramento ready for a Sacramento owned team?
Green Bay Packers: one of the NFL's best teams "a community project, intended to promote community welfare...its purposes shall be exclusively charitable."
Harrisburg Senators: owned by Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, “center of a redevelopment initiative. Citing the ballpark as the major link.”
Memphis Redbirds: the only professional team recognized by the IRS as a nonprofit, tax-exempt, charitable organization with “programs that foster amateur sports, enhance education and teach life skills for the future."
Rochester Red Wings and Syracuse SkyChiefs: Two fan-owned teams in upstate New York: "Both teams sold stock to the community" and are owned by "8,000 shareholders, most of whom own fewer than five shares.
Toledo Mud Hens a part of Toledo's heritage the "civic leaders in 1965 created the Toledo Mud Hens Baseball Club non-profit corporation. The team is now permanently rooted in Toledo."
Sacramento might be ready to won their on team!

Public defenders' group fights county layoffs

Say thank you to a public defenders group for stopping the GOP from feeding to the Tbs California's civil service jobs. The first shift sought by Corporate America for privatizing civil service jobs. The second is to take them overseas where they can work them for cents on the dollar and make millions just as they do with privatized armies, prisons, etc. "In the lawsuit, the Sacramento County Attorneys' Association said the cuts violate a provision of the county charter that regulates the county's ability to outsource services".

Daily Thought for 04/05 | Real Simple

“Service to others is the rent you pay for living on this planet.”

Marian Wright Edelman

Daily Thought for 04/05 | Real Simple

Daily Thought for 04/05 | Real Simple

Andy Dooley NEW DVD - PREVIEW!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Wisconsin Protests: State Police Pursue Democratic Lawmakers Boycotting Vote

Before Walker won Wisconsin had no deficit. Walker won because of Tea-party support and promising 250,000 new jobs to Wisconsin in his first term. No jobs yet instead Mr. Walker got Wisconsin in a deficit by things like passing $117 million in tax breaks for businesses and then claimed an emergency that requires sacrifices from unions employees. Walker intentions are to change Wisconsin’­s fair labor traditions­. Some wonder how much of Walker’s win was because of voters funded by the Tea-party just like the Tea-party is bringing in protesters from other states now; is that possible?
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Real Losers In A Government Shutdown

President Obama let the Boehners shut the government down! DO NOT GIVE INOT THEIR BLACKMAIL! Their ransom means killing the working class and the poor with unjust cuts to the people. They just lick the boots of those who feed them like strays. Why is the Tea-party supporting taking jobs from America? Why is the Tea-party in favor of death panels by healthcare for profit? Why are is the Tea-party against women's healthcare­? Why is the Tea-party against education, good jobs for the working class, civil servants and unions? Why is the Te-party supporting the takeover of Medicare and Social Security? ARE THE REPUBLICAN­S AND TE-PARTY UNDER A FOREIGN MANDATE TO TOPPLE THE USA?
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

"Since Obama took office.The percentage "getting better" is now 40%"

Go to the bottom for the summary chart. Remember these findings the next time some politico cites 'what the people overwhelmingly want'. Pay close attention to which party most often spouts data that is contrary to the Gallup results.
"The State of the Union Speech and Public Opinion
A public opinion review of 19 issues raised in President Obama's 2011 address
by Frank Newport
Page: 12
PRINCETON, NJ -- Gallup reviews public opinion on 19 issues raised in President Obama's 2011 State of the Union address.
1. Bipartisanship
"New laws will only pass with support from Democrats and Republicans. We will move forward together, or not at all -- for the challenges we face are bigger than party, and bigger than politics."
Americans support the general idea of bipartisanship and cooperation across party lines. They are more likely to align themselves with a "compromise to get things done" position than a "stick to principle" position when asked where they stand on a 5-point scale anchored by these two options.
Americans strongly desire that their political leaders work together. They want President Obama to work to get things done with Republicans even if it's not exactly what Democrats want. They also want Republican leaders in Congress to work with Obama and Democratic leaders to pass new legislation that both parties can agree on.
Americans are not optimistic that things will get better, however. Half say the government will be about the same now that the Republicans are in control of the House. Americans are also not convinced that the intermingling of Democrats and Republicans sitting in the House during the State of the Union address signaled a new era of cooperation.
2. Economy Improving
"We are poised for progress. Two years after the worst recession most of us have ever known, the stock market has come roaring back. Corporate profits are up. The economy is growing again."
The majority of Americans continue to say the economy is getting worse rather than better -- although the proportion of Americans who say it is getting better is now higher than at any time since last spring, and much higher than in 2009 when Obama took office.The percentage "getting better" is now 40%, compared with 19% in January 2009.
Gallup's Economic Confidence Index, which takes into account current economic assessments as well as views of the direction of the economy, has been at a three-year high in recent weeks.
3. Worry About Jobs
"I've heard it in the frustrations of Americans who've seen their paychecks dwindle or their jobs disappear -- proud men and women who feel like the rules have been changed in the middle of the game."
Americans are more likely to name jobs or unemployment as the nation's most important problem than any other issue. The percentage mentioning jobs is slightly higher today than it was a year ago (29% vs. 22%) and is more than twice as high as it was in January 2009 when Obama took office.
Americans' assessments of the job market are barely improved from last year. Only 13% say now is a good time to find a quality job, compared with 9% in January 2010, and 13% in January 2009.
American workers, however, do see a more positive picture at their places of employment in terms of hiring trends. Today, 29% of workers say their company is hiring, while 19% say their company is laying people off. In January 2009, the same numbers were 24% and 27%, respectively.
4. Investing in Clean Energy
"We're telling America's scientists and engineers that if they assemble teams of the best minds in their fields, and focus on the hardest problems in clean energy, we'll fund the Apollo projects of our time."
Gallup in March 2009 found three-quarters of Americans (77%) in favor of the government's promoting energy production from alternative sources of energy.Gallup has also found a solid majority of Americans saying they had taken steps in the past year to make their homes more energy efficient, though most cited economic savings, not the environment, as the reason. From a slightly different perspective, Americans overwhelmingly favor new legislation that would provide incentives for using solar and other alternative energy sources.
5. Eliminate Oil Company Subsidies
"We need to get behind this innovation. And to help pay for it, I'm asking Congress to eliminate the billions in taxpayer dollars we currently give to oil companies. I don't know if you've noticed, but they're doing just fine on their own. So instead of subsidizing yesterday's energy, let's invest in tomorrow's."
Almost two-thirds of Americans in January 2011 said they favored a new energy bill that would expand drilling and exploration for oil and gas. Additionally, in 2009, Americans were slightly more likely to favor increasing the government's financial support and incentives for producing energy from traditional sources such as oil and gas than they were to favor decreasing such government support.
At the same time, Gallup's annual update on the image of business and industry sectors shows that the oil and gas industry has the most negative image of any of a list of sectors tested -- suggesting that efforts to reduce subsidies for oil companies would not be met with a large public outcry.
6. Replace No Child Left Behind With "Race to the Top"
"And Race to the Top should be the approach we follow this year as we replace No Child Left Behind with a law that's more flexible and focused on what's best for our kids."
Americans generally appear to favor revision of No Child Left Behind more than its total elimination. Sixteen percent of Americans in a January 2011 Gallup poll favor eliminating No Child Left Behind totally, while 41% say it should be kept, with major revisions. Whether the "Race to the Top" approach qualifies as a major revision is unknown.
Americans in general support the idea of federal involvement in education.
Previous Gallup research from August 2009 showed that of those who are familiar with NCLB, a large majority say either that it has had no effect on students' education or that it has made it worse. Parents of school-aged children are a little more positive about the impact of the law than are those who do not have children in school. Those who claimed to be very familiar with NCLB are most strongly convinced that it has had a negative impact.
7. Teacher Respect and Training
"Let's also remember that after parents, the biggest impact on a child's success comes from the man or woman at the front of the classroom. In South Korea, teachers are known as "nation builders." Here in America, it's time we treated the people who educate our children with the same level of respect. We want to reward good teachers and stop making excuses for bad ones. And over the next 10 years, with so many baby boomers retiring from our classrooms, we want to prepare 100,000 new teachers in the fields of science and technology and engineering and math."
Americans' top two recommendations in 2009 for how to improve K-12 education in the U.S. are improving the quality of teachers (17%) and focusing more on basic curriculum (10%). Americans also generally have high regard for the honesty and ethics of teachers.
8. Illegal Immigration
"Now, I strongly believe that we should take on, once and for all, the issue of illegal immigration. And I am prepared to work with Republicans and Democrats to protect our borders, enforce our laws, and address the millions of undocumented workers who are now living in the shadows. I know that debate will be difficult. I know it will take time. But tonight, let's agree to make that effort."
Americans give a relatively low priority to illegal immigration. Thirty percent say is it extremely important priority for the new Congress, putting it 12th on a list of 15 issues. Only 6% mention it as the most important problem facing the country today.
Given a choice, Americans have a slight preference for halting the flow of illegal immigrants into this country rather than dealing with illegal immigrants already in the country.
9. Expelling Young Illegals
"And let's stop expelling talented, responsible young people who could be staffing our research labs or starting a new business, who could be further enriching this nation."
Americans are opposed to a plan that would "give some illegal immigrants living in the U.S. a path to legal status," by a 55% to 43% margin.
Americans generally favor rather than oppose a law that would grant legal status to illegal immigrants brought to the United States as children if they join the military or attend college -- the major thrust of the DREAM Act legislation proposed in Congress last year.
10. Invest in Infrastructure
"We'll put more Americans to work repairing crumbling roads and bridges. We'll make sure this is fully paid for, attract private investment, and pick projects based [on] what's best for the economy, not politicians."
Given a choice, Americans are least in favor of generally increasing stimulus spending as a way of dealing with the U.S. economy, and much more in favor of reducing the deficit, increasing taxes on the wealthy, and cutting taxes in general.
11. Overhaul Corporate Tax System
"I'm asking Democrats and Republicans to simplify the system. Get rid of the loopholes. Level the playing field. And use the savings to lower the corporate tax rate for the first time in 25 years -- without adding to our deficit."
It is unclear whether Americans favor lowering the corporate tax rate, given that more than 6 in 10 feel that corporations pay too little in federal taxes.
12. Improve New Healthcare Law
"Now, I have heard rumors that a few of you still have concerns about our new healthcare law. So let me be the first to say that anything can be improved. If you have ideas about how to improve this law by making care better or more affordable, I am eager to work with you."
Most Americans favor making changes in the healthcare law passed last year, including 24% who say it needs major changes, 29% who say it needs minor changes, and 32% who would like to see it repealed entirely. Only 13% would keep it as it is.
Healthcare is third most likely to be mentioned as the "most important problem" facing the country, although well behind jobs and the economy.
13. Freeze Annual Domestic Spending for the Next Five Years
"I am proposing that starting this year, we freeze annual domestic spending for the next five years."
This proposal received mixed reactions in a Jan. 26, 2011, poll when compared with the Republican plan to go further and cut back government spending. Thirty-nine percent supported Obama's proposal, while 41% supported the Republican alternative.
In general, it is unclear how much priority Americans put on reducing spending. The deficit has increased as a problem in Americans' eyes, but still ranks well behind the economy, unemployment, and healthcare in terms of mentions as the most important problem facing the country.
14. Reducing Healthcare Costs, Including Medicare and Medicaid
"This means further reducing healthcare costs, including programs like Medicare and Medicaid, which are the single biggest contributor to our long-term deficit."
Only a quarter of Americans are satisfied with the "total cost of healthcare in this country," making it reasonable that Americans would favor an effort to reduce healthcare costs in general.
When Americans are asked what the most urgent health problem facing the country, cost comes in second behind access.
Americans, however, are strongly opposed to cutting government spending for Medicare, which suggests that there would be opposition to efforts to reduce healthcare costs if that meant a reduction in benefits for Medicare.
15. Strengthen Social Security for Future Generations
"To put us on solid ground, we should also find a bipartisan solution to strengthen Social Security for future generations."
This recommendation is very general, which makes it harder to match with American public opinion. Recent polling does show that almost two-thirds (64%) of Americans say Social Security should not be cut as part of an effort to cut government spending.
This is despite the fact that 60% of Americans in previous polling -- and a higher proportion of younger Americans -- do not believe Social Security will ever pay them a benefit.
Other Gallup polling last year found agreement with the general principle that the major entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare will create major economic problems in the years ahead if no changes are made to them.
In terms of ways of fixing Social Security, and assuming that there is no change for those 55 and older, Americans are most in favor of the rich either paying more into the system, or getting less out of the system when they retire. A majority of Americans oppose the two most obvious fixes: increasing Social Security taxes in general, or reducing Social Security benefits in general.
16. Increase Taxes for Wealthiest 2% of Americans
"And if we truly care about our deficit, we simply can't afford a permanent extension of the tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% of Americans. Before we take money away from our schools or scholarships away from our students, we should ask millionaires to give up their tax break."
Most research shows that Americans approve of the idea of increasing taxes for the wealthiest Americans.
17. Simplify Individual Tax Code
"In fact, the best thing we could do on taxes for all Americans is to simplify the individual tax code. This will be a tough job, but members of both parties have expressed interest in doing this, and I am prepared to join them."
Three-quarters of Americans in January said they favored a bill that would "overhaul the federal tax code."
Taxes are, however, not a high-priority issue when Americans are asked to name the most important problem facing the country.
From Americans' personal viewpoints, there is less negativity about federal taxes than might be expected. The percentage of Americans who say the amount of taxes they personally pay is "fair" is at 59%. Just under 50% say the amount they pay personally is too high, one of the lower readings on this over the decades.
18. Reorganize the Federal Government to Make It More Competitive
"In the coming months, my administration will develop a proposal to merge, consolidate, and reorganize the federal government in a way that best serves the goal of a more competitive America. I will submit that proposal to Congress for a vote -- and we will push to get it passed."
Gallup has not asked Americans specifically about merging, consolidating, or reorganizing the federal government. Given the generally low esteem in which the average American holds the federal government, however, it is a good estimate that the public would favor almost any reorganization that made the government work better.
Gallup's annual update on Americans' ratings of business and industry sectors shows that the federal government has thesecond-most-negative image out of 25 sectors tested (only the oil and gas industry is lower).
Americans were also highly likely to volunteer negative responses when asked last year to indicate the first thing that came to mind when they heard the phrase "the federal government." These negative images included "too big," "confused," "corrupt," and "incompetent."
19. Bring Troops Home From Afghanistan
"This year, we will work with nearly 50 countries to begin a transition to an Afghan lead. And this July, we will begin to bring our troops home."
Americans generally support the idea of withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan. In a November poll, a majority of Americans said either that troops should be withdrawn in accordance with a timetable that would have all troops out by the end of 2014, or that troops should be withdrawn sooner. A January poll showed that Americans favored speeding up "the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan" by a 72% to 25% margin.
At the same time, Americans remain positive about the overall decision to involve U.S. troops in that country, with a majority saying such involvement was not a mistake. This stands in contrast to U.S. military involvement in Iraq, which Americans do consider to have been a mistake.
January 2011: Support for and Opposition to a List of Actions Congress Could Take This Year
Ps. sent to me by a reader.