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Katie Couric's Notebook: Where America Stands

There's an old saying about optimism that goes something like this...a pessimist sees a dark tunnel...an optimist sees a light at the end of the tunnel...and a realist sees the train coming down the track.

Being a glass-half-full person myself, I was heartened by the results of a recent CBS News Poll, indicating that 56 percent of Americans are in fact optimistic about the next few years.

That said, fewer than half of those surveyed believe their opportunity for success is better than their parents' generation.

At CBS News, we've begun a network-wide effort to assess exactly Where America Stands right now...on issues ranging from jobs to the military to healthcare.

We'll present not just the problems...but the possible solutions...as this nation heads into a brand new decade.

Optimism is a necessary fuel to keep the train moving forward....and realistic information is the key to keeping it on the track.

That's a page from my notebook.

I'm Katie Couric, CBS News.