The Thinking Life: How to Thrive in the Age of Distraction

Here is a great book that we think you would enjoy.  You can find it on Amazon HERE.


The Thinking Life: How to Thrive in the Age of Distraction

by P. M. Forni

In this topsy-turvy world, who among us has the luxury to sit down in a quiet place and think about the life we want to live? Author P. M. Forni makes an extremely compelling case as to why we must find the time to make an earnest self-examination of the important things in our life.

Why? Because, “If life is valuable,” says Forni, “it only makes sense to attend to it constantly.” And giving attention to the present moment is one way to seek relief from the frenzy and inefficient acts of multi-tasking that seem to be today’s norm. In 12 short chapters, the author packs a lot of solid advice and reflective questions to put the reader on a path to maximize the abilities of attention, reflection, introspection, positive and proactive thinking, self-control, creative thinking, problem solving and self-knowledge.

Tino Cuellar is named by California governor for California Supreme Court

If you attended our 2012 retreat in San Francisco, you may remember Tino Cuellar from the Center for International Security and Cooperation.  He spoke with us about the Mexican drug and other cartels.  He made the news today when he was nominated to the California Supreme court.

Jerry Brown names law school professor to California Supreme Court

Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday nominated a Mexico-born Stanford Law School professor to the California Supreme Court, moving to replace one of the high court’s most conservative, retiring members with a Democrat.

Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar, who will replace retiring Justice Marvin Baxter, is Brown’s second selection to the court of his third term, both appointees coming from the halls of academia. Brown appointed Goodwin Liu, then a UC Berkeley law professor, in 2011.

Cuéllar, who previously advised President Barack Obama on immigration matters, would join Liu as the only Democrats on a court dominated by Republican appointees. But its composition is becoming increasingly liberal under Brown. The Democratic governor has one more vacancy to fill, to replace Justice Joyce Kennard, who retired earlier this year.

Cuéllar was a special assistant for justice and regulatory policy in the Obama White House in 2009 and 2010 and was co-chair of the Obama transition’s immigration policy working group in 2008 and 2009, the governor’s office said. He worked in the Clinton administration’s U.S. Treasury Department from 1997 to 1999.

“Tino Cuéllar is a renowned scholar who has served two presidents and made significant contributions to both political science and the law,” Brown said in a prepared statement. “His vast knowledge and even temperament will – without question – add further luster to our highest court.”

Cuéllar was born in Matamoros, Mexico and as a young boy walked across the border each day to school in neighboring Brownsville, Texas, the governor’s office said in a prepared statement. He moved with his family at age 14 to California’s Imperial Valley, where he graduated from Calexico High School.

He told The Stanford Daily last year that “when you grow up on the border, you realize that a legal demarcation has such a huge effect in distinguishing one country from another, for example, and the whole structure of law shapes who’s a citizen and therefore who counts in one society or another.”

Cuéllar’s appointment stands to relieve pressure on Brown to appoint a Latino justice. Carlos Moreno, who was the court’s only Latino member, retired in 2011. The chairman and vice chairman of the California Latino Legislative Caucus, state Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, and Assemblyman Luis Alejo, D-Watsonville, respectively, issued a joint statement praising the decision.

“Indeed, he will bring a critical perspective, reliable judgment and even temperament to one of the most vital and challenging positions of service,” the lawmakers said. “Mr. Cuéllar’s nomination will also add to the diversity of the Supreme Court which should reflect the diversity of our state, including its vast Latino population.”

Cuéllar has spoken publicly on the national immigration debate in his role as a professor at Stanford. With public support growing for major immigration changes, he told the Bay Area News Group in January that “immigration reform is more likely now than it has been in decades.” According to the report, he said, “Many people on both sides will be primed to keep their eyes on the big picture.”

Cuéllar has also studied education funding and school standards, significant concerns of Brown’s. He co-chaired a panel created by Congress to advise the Department of Education on disparities in education, and in a forward to the panel’s report last year, he and co-chair Christopher Edley, former dean of UC Berkeley’s law school, lamented leaders they said “decry but tolerate disparities in student outcomes that are not only unfair, but socially and economically dangerous.”

“Our nation’s stated commitments to academic excellence are often eloquent but, without more, an insufficient response to challenges at home and globally,” Cuéllar and Edley wrote.

The commission recommended funding pre-kindergarten programs for all poor children within 10 years.

Cuéllar received a bachelor’s degree from Harvard College, a law degree from Yale Law School and a doctorate in political science from Stanford University, the governor’s office said. He has taught at Stanford since 2001 and was co-chair of Stanford’s Center for International Security and Cooperation from 2011 to 2013.

Through a spokeswoman, Cuéllar declined to comment, referring reporters to the governor’s prepared statement.

In that release, Cuéllar was quoted as saying, “I am enormously honored by Governor Brown’s nomination, and if confirmed, I look forward to serving the people of California on our state’s highest court.”

Brown is widely expected to win re-election this year and could have even greater impact on the court with an additional four years to nominate justices. He made controversial judicial appointments when he was first governor, from 1975 to 1983, but his appointment of Liu was praised by legal scholars.

Cuéllar’s appointment requires confirmation by the state’s three-member Commission on Judicial Appointments, which consists of Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, Attorney General Kamala Harris and Justice Joan Dempsey Klein, presiding justice of the state courts of appeal.

If confirmed, Cuéllar will appear on the Nov. 4 ballot for voter approval.

Cuéllar is married to U.S. District Judge Lucy H. Koh of the Northern District of California. They have two children. The Supreme Court position pays $225,342 a year.


Philanthropic Profile of the Month: Philippe Cousteau

151-COUSTEAU_6868_crop-2People assume that fame and fortune came easily to me because my grandfather was Jacques Cousteau, but nothing could be further from the truth. My father died before I was born and my sister and I inherited very little except our mother’s indomitable spirit. My grandfather left his entire estate to his second wife, who had little affection or loyalty to the descendants of his first marriage. She even sued to prevent us from using our own name! Though we retained the right; the experience of fighting for my own name was not pleasant, but it was ultimately empowering. I learned to be resilient, tenacious and creative. Perhaps this early struggle explains why my life mission is to help all people find their power to change the world.

Even though I never knew my father, I had his films. My mother made sure I understood and inherited his passion for the earth and the sea and his spirit of adventure. She also made sure I had a good education.  Following the legal challenges we faced, my sister Alexandra and I decided to carry on our father’s legacy by starting a non-profit to support young environmental leaders, EarthEcho International.

EarthEcho International’s mission is to empower youth to take action to restore and protect our water planet. We are developing a new generation of environmental leaders through education and service learning. Our programs link young people and educators with prominent organizations working on water and ocean health.

I love my work at EarthEcho, but I don’t like constantly fundraising. In this depressed economy, philanthropic dollars are hard to find. Foundation grants and small donations are not providing enough money to solve our greatest challenges. A few years ago I realized that we need to find new and innovative models to finance our work. A friend of mine suggested trying to use the financial markets to fund non-profit work. We came up with the idea of a socially responsible investment fund that donated part of its management fees to a foundation.

After more than a year of researching different types of funds, I knew I wanted an affordable, accessible and low-risk vehicle. Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) are affordable and liquid so, I decided to create an actively managed, diversified ETF. I had the good fortune to meet Noah Hamman at AdvisorShares, who was looking to add a sustainable fund to their stable of ETF’s. Together we created the Global Echo ETF (NYSE: GIVE)

GIVE is designed for any investor who wants to support global sustainability and also wants steady returns. GIVE contributes 1/3 of its management fee to fund the GlobalECHO Foundation, which provides resources for work in three key areas: support for the lives of women and children, the expansion of micro-enterprise, and education for environmental sustainability on a global basis.

At the Clinton Global Initiative in September 2012 GlobalECHO announced its first commitment to provide funding for the Panzi Hospital in the Democratic Republic of Congo.  The Panzi Hospital, founded by Dr. Mukwege in 1999, is world-renowned for its work on reproductive health support to survivors of sexual violence. The GlobalECHO Foundation will contribute funds to provide solar panels for the entire hospital, bringing a reliable source of renewable energy to the hospital.

Ever since I accompanied my grandfather on an expedition as a child, I have dreamed of being an adventurer and a social entrepreneur. Now, my whole life feels like an adventure. I’ve helped launch EarthEcho International to support young environmental leaders and now the GIVE ETF and GlobalEcho Foundation. I’m also a special correspondent for CNN International where I travel as the host of their Going Green series, and I am working with the University of Virginia to develop an interactive game that simulates the impact of individuals and communities on water resources. I wake up in the morning and think, “Wow! I am changing the world!”  But the greatest reward for me is seeing the happiness on my mother’s face. I owe everything to her courage, tenacity and faith. She taught me how to stand up for myself and be bold, and that has been my most precious inheritance.

Find the original article with commentary HERE.

Road Safety Message

L3 member, Spencer Douglass, found this great video.

French green lentil salad

We love being able to share these healthy recipes with you.  If you try any of the recipes we provide, we would love to hear what you thought about it.

Try out this delicious sounding recipe from Mayo Clinic.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 4-inch-piece celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 4-inch-piece carrot, peeled and finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seed
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seed
  • 2 cups vegetable stock, chicken stock or broth
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup French green lentils, picked over, rinsed, then drained
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley, cut into strips
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


In a large saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, celery and carrot and saute until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, mustard seed and fennel seed and saute until the spices are fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add the stock, water, lentils, thyme and bay leaf. Raise the heat to medium high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover partially and simmer until the lentils are tender but still firm, 25 to 30 minutes. Drain the lentils, reserving the cooking liquid. Transfer the lentils to a large bowl and discard the bay leaf.

In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, mustard and 1/4 cup of the reserved cooking liquid. (Discard any remaining liquid or reserve for another use.) Whisk in the remaining olive oil.

Add the vinaigrette, parsley, salt and pepper to the lentils and toss gently to mix and coat evenly. Serve warm.

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