Tuesday, November 23, 2010


On Thanksgivings past, I have written about the ever changing way America celebrates this holiday. We have certainly strayed a long way from George Washington's original proclamation about this being a day of prayer and thanksgiving to God for the blessing and benefits He has bestowed upon our nation. I'm not sure what giant, cartoon-character balloons, parades and NFL football have to do with thanking God, but I loved watching the parades as a kid and still enjoy the Cowboys game while waiting for the turkey. Anyhow, this year I wanted to talk about gratitude itself, and the many ways it is manifested in our lives.

Giving thanks, being thankful. What do these words mean to you? If someone holds a door open for you, gives you a compliment, or passes you the cranberry sauce, saying thank you is just common courtesy, it is not what we are talking about here. Real gratitude comes when you change the focus of your attention. Real gratitude is turning from the universe of me, to think about others.

We spend most every waking hour wrapped up in ourselves; egocentric in other words. I am probably guiltier of this than anyone. What do I want? How does this affect me? Why is this happening to me? How do I get what I want? These are the questions that fill up our thoughts and take up most of our attention. While it is our human nature to focus on ourselves, here is a question you might want to contemplate this Thanksgiving; how did I get where I am today?

As much as we like to think that we are the authors of our success, everyone had some help. Most of us had plenty, even if we don't realize it. Certainly, there was a lot of hard work and effort, but I could not begin to count the hundreds of people who helped me get where I am today. It is easier to recount the individuals who have helped us out, they shared their love, support, and encouragement, gave us a chance, or gave us a second chance. They have a face, they are familiar to us. Sometimes we forget those Americans who came before us, like our founding fathers and our fallen soldiers, whose shoulders we stand on today. We owe so many, so much, it is good that we should stop and give thanks.

Back to George Washington's point; our gratitude should always start with almighty God. When was the last time you sat down to give thanks to God for the blessings in your life?

Like most families in America, before we sit down to eat our Thanksgiving meal, we will say grace and thank God for our families and the meal. Thanksgiving might be one of times, like Christmas and Easter, where people who normally don't say grace, do it out of a sense of tradition, or because it's a special occasion. Let me pose another question. How would our lives change if we reflected on our blessings, and focused on that feeling at least once a day for the next year? I would bet that small change of perspective could lead to the most content year you may have ever experienced.

This year has been a challenge for many in our community. No matter what life brings us this coming year, turning from the universe of me, to appreciating all the people and all the blessings we have, can make every day just a little bit better. And some days, just a little bit better is what we really need.

I feel so grateful today to have a loving family and great friends. To all the people I have met since I started writing this column, thank you. Your encouragement keeps me going. To those who hate my writing, thanks for keeping me on my toes. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Coach Singletary, watchin' the film....

Coach Singletary, that was quite an embarrassing loss yesterday. What happened out there?

Well, I don't want to jump to any conclusions, we will have to check the film and see where we went wrong.

Check to see what coach? I mean it's pretty clear to anyone who watched the game, you were beaten in every aspect of the game. Why do you need to watch the film?

Well, we need to watch the film to see what parts of the film we need to watch closer.

Coach, that really doesn't make any sense.

That's why we have to watch the film!

Is there any chance you could watch the film first, and then hold the press conference so you can answer our questions?

We will check the film to see how we can watch it faster, but we'll just have to watch the film and see.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Sanity will eventually come to California

Americans delivered a message to their political leaders last Tuesday, and here in California, we sent a message too. The message California voters sent to the politicians in Sacramento is; we believe in you to solve our problems, and we gave you all the power you need, so get it done.

Basically, the Democrats just assured themselves a beat-down in the 2012 election. Why? They control everything now. They will not have Republicans to blame in two years. With Jerry Brown sitting in the Governor's seat, Democrats hold huge majorities in both houses, and with Prop. 25' allowing a simple majority to pass a budget filled with higher taxes, Democrats are in complete control of the Golden State. Sound familiar?

If the Democrats succeed in taxing their way to prosperity, they can crow all they want. They will hold political power for generations. By next summer, around budget time, it will become increasingly clear they are not going to succeed. Why? The Democrat's core belief of raising taxes on the "rich" all the while spending money they don't have on programs that don't work has never succeeded, anywhere on the planet. We are about to find out what happens when you take the handcuffs off big government Democrats, backed by public employee unions and liberal special interests, in the middle of recession. This is going to get ugly folks.

As the rest of the country starts to climb out of this economic recession, California will wallow in budget deficits, higher taxes and a continuing toxic business climate. California is borrowing 40 million dollars a day from the federal government to keep unemployment checks flowing. We have sold bonds (borrowed money) to pay for the fantasy of high speed rail, green energy, along with a host of other happy sounding money pits that continue to add to future deficits. California voters have bought into the Democrats' argument that all we really need is never ending stream of ever increasing tax revenues. This scenario is pure fiction, but I guess Democrats can always hope. As I say all the time; hope is not a plan.

Watch the freeways in the next few months; you will see a more than a few moving vans heading out of the Golden State. These are not just backwards rednecks leaving this progressive utopia; many of these folks will be small business owners. You know, the "rich" people who actually create jobs. They will join a not so small group of business owners who have moved to states like Arizona and Texas. These are business friendly states, states who do not paint hard working, successful people as villains who must be punished for their prosperity. They welcome new business to their state with open arms, and they are taking some of the best and brightest from California.

So as business flees higher taxes and crippling red tape, Democrats will be faced with paying back the teachers unions, public employee unions, and the big environmentalist groups with a smaller number of "rich" people to extract taxes from. How will they get all this new tax money? From you and me. Get ready for new taxes on everything. Higher gas taxes, sales taxes, energy taxes, unemployment taxes, car taxes, you name it, and the taxes on it will be going up. Will raising all these taxes bring new jobs to California? According to Democrats, it's a sure thing, you can count on it.

As we have seen from President Obama, Speaker Pelois and Majority Leader Reid, you can print money by the train load, and you can borrow trillions from China, but you can't print jobs. Here is something the Democrats fail to grasp; small business creates the vast majority of new jobs in America. If you want to grow something, grow the private economy. Small business owners are not the ATM for states like California, they are the engine that makes the economy run. Could we not treat them like a piƱata to be smacked around until all the candy falls out. Good grief.

The lesson we should learn over the next two years is this; if you have to choose between bigger business and bigger government, choose the one who makes the money, not the one who spends it. The former makes the latter possible, not the other way around.