Cover image for 250 ways to make America better
250 ways to make America better
Mackler, Carolyn.
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Villard Books, 1999.
Physical Description:
341 pages : illustrations ; 21 cm
Added Author:
Added Uniform Title:
George (New York, N.Y.)
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library E885 .A14 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Destined to incite controversy and conversation from the White House to your own house, the 250 best insights on improving our country--from the editors of George magazine 250 Ways to Make America Better is a selection of essays, cartoons, thoughts, and poems from an all-star cast of Americans. From Ice T to Isaac Stern, Joan Rivers to Rob Reiner, Stephen Ambrose to Mo Vaughn, 250 writers, humorists, entertainers, educators, executives, and, yes, even politicians all say how they would make America better. Radio commentator David Brudnoy maintains that politicians should be forced to be celibate for their entire terms of office; rap titan Sean "Puffy" Combs stresses the importance of the presence of God in American life; cartoonist Roz Chast draws a triptych suggesting we should blow up all the shopping malls, send a certain outspoken conservative into outer space, and bring back chocolate-flavored Life Savers. The political voices in the book run the gamut from William F. Buckley, Jr., to Senator John McCain, from Dr. Joycelyn Elders to Dick Armey. Part inspiration, part information, this book is a fascinating, humorous, and revealing look at the endless possibilities for im proving life in America.

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

YA-As the late John F. Kennedy, Jr., explains in the introduction, this anthology pulls together 250 "...intriguing Americans' suggestions on improving this country....From moguls to moviemakers, right wingers to rabble-rousers, cartoonists to convicts to cookbook authors, we envisioned a convergence of ideas as diverse as the great drama of public life in America." And that is exactly what this thought-provoking and delightful book presents. Where else can you find Rita Mae Brown, Pat Boone, George McGovern, Pete Seeger, Chuck D., and Dr. Ruth all gathered together in one tome, all offering advice about what's good for this country? The short essays-one to two pages in length-are well written, succinct, and, for the most part, sincere and insightful, even if sometimes controversial or impractical. Some entries will surprise readers, as seemingly superficial celebrities offer profound suggestions for improving our land. Teens will be initially attracted to entries by Sean "Puffy" Combs and Ice-T, but will find themselves hooked on the format and also interested in the juxtaposition of inspiration and irreverence, humor and truth that these widely divergent pieces offer.-Becky Ferrall, Stonewall Jackson High School, Manassas, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



8 How can we help improve America? I'll tell you how: by trading places. Have Newt Gingrich and all the ultraconservative politicians who are so strongly opposed to social spending exchange lives--for one month--with the poor people they regard with such disdain. Within that period, send the hard-liners through a series of challenges that require them to perform absolute magic with money. That's right, take them through a battery of survival tests that demonstrate just how costly it is to be poor: force them to rise at 5 a.m. every day to catch several buses from city to suburbs to a job that pays minimum wage; make them pay one fourth of that income to live in run-down, crime-ridden public housing; compel them to provide another large portion of their salaries for day care costs (in this case, for 2.5 children); require them to shop for food and clothing only at neighborhood stores, where prices are dramatically higher than anywhere else; finally, throw in another glitch: medical costs. Then have Newt and the gang catch the bus to a public health center--to sit and wait for hours--to get their rising blood pressures checked.* After thirty days, return the crew of conservatives to their ivory towers on Capitol Hill and ask them to tell us, "How can we help improve America?" --Nathan McCall Journalist/author/professor 9 The loser of a lawsuit should pay the legal fees. These days, as soon as a person feels slighted or injured (physically or emotionally), they look for someone to sue. In this era of extremely diminished responsibility, people are desperately looking for scapegoats. Freedom does not mean that everyone is free to do anything they want. The hope is not to win, but for the quick $50,000--because it's cheaper to settle than to fight. Since people and companies have to settle, insurance costs go up, prohibitive rules increase, and freedom is diminished. Freedom used to mean that one is free to achieve, to dream, to aspire, to think--free to do what is right. By assigning blame elsewhere, people are taking our freedom away. I believe that if the loser had to pay for the lawyers and court costs, people would think a lot longer before automatically blaming someone else for their own mistakes. --Martina Navratilova professional tennis player *Editor's Note: At the time this contribution was written, Newt Gingrich was speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. Excerpted from 250 Ways to Make America Better by George Magazine Editors, Carolyn Mackler All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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