Successful Businessman Gary Tharaldson launches his book "Open Secrets of Success"

Tuesday, April 3 at 4:30 PM - 7:30 PM CDT

13th Ave S, Fargo, ND 58103-3301, United States
"This is a phenomenal story of Gary Tharaldson's incredible accomplishment. Starting with nothing, he built over 400 hotels by himself, no partners-more than any single individual worldwide. What an inspiration to young people across the country!" -- Rudy Ruettiger, motivational speaker and subject of the 1993 film "Rudy," ranked among the top inspirational movies by the American Film Institute. "Gary is so down-to-earth, he's actually subterranean. I was one of the fortunate ones because Gary shared everything with us: his building costs and operating numbers, which were tops in the industry, and how he produced them." -- Bruce White, Chairman, Founder and CEO of White Lodging.
You can order your copy on Amazon by clicking on the link below:

Mission Complete, We Carry On!

Dow surges 200 points after strong jobs report

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shortly after the opening bell in New York.

Billy Graham, America's pastor, has died

 Photo: Larry W. Smith, Getty Images)

by Cathy Lynn Grossman, Special for USA TODAY
The world's best-known evangelist, the Rev. Billy Graham, has died. He was 99.

From the gangly 16-year-old baseball-loving teen who found Christ at a tent revival, Graham went on to become an international media darling, a preacher to a dozen presidents and the voice of solace in times of national heartbreak. He was America's pastor. 

Graham retired to his mountain home at Montreat, N.C., in 2005 after nearly six decades on the road calling people to Christ at 417 all-out preaching and musical events from Miami to Moscow. His final New York City crusade in 2005 was sponsored by 1,400 regional churches from 82 denominations.

Presidents called on Graham in their dark hours, and uncounted millions say he showed them the light. He took his Bible to the ends of the Earth in preaching tours he called "crusades." Even now, anywhere a satellite, radio, TV, video or podcast can reach, his sonorous voice is probably still calling someone to Christ.

Though Graham's shoes could likely never be filled, his son, Franklin, has taken over in some aspects—leading The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and becoming a confidant of President Donald Trump, including speaking at his inauguration.

But Franklin's message has swayed from his father's, leaving a mixed legacy for the Graham name.

Franklin has mocked both Islam and LGBT rights. He uses his following on social media to raise funds for "persecuted Christians," boycotts businesses that use gay couples in advertisements and blasts the separation of church and state as as the godless successor to Cold War communism.
But his father's words for years offered peace and perspective.

On the National Day of Prayer and Remembrance following the 9/11 attacks, Billy Graham spoke of the "mystery of iniquity and evil," of "the lesson of our need for each other" and, ultimately, of hope.

"He was so real, he made Christianity come true." observed Susan Harding, an anthropologist at the University of California-Santa Cruz. "He was homespun, historical and newsworthy all at once. He could span the times from Christ to today, from the globe to you, all in one sentence."

Grant Wacker, a Duke University professor of Christian history, says Graham represented, "what most decent churchgoing people thought and ought to think."

His reputation was untouched by sex or financial scandals. When anti-Semitic comments came to light as transcripts of conversations with Richard Nixon surfaced, Graham was promptly and deeply apologetic.

He never built a megachurch, set up a relief agency, launched a political lobby or ran for office. Yet he redefined American Protestant life by popularizing Christianity's core message — Christ died for your sins — downplaying denominational details and proclaiming the joys found in faith.

Graham was, however, drawn to power. Eventually, he met, prayed with, comforted and joked with 12 U.S. presidents, and Graham learned to walk a tightrope.

He found a fine balance that allowed him to become America's pastor, Democrat or Republican. North or South.

When President Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky came to light, Graham called for forgiveness. 

Clinton told Peter Boyer of The New Yorker, "He took sin seriously. But he took redemption seriously. And it was incredibly powerful the way he did it."

Former president George W. Bush has said it was a conversation with Graham that turned him from his drinking ways when he was young.

"I've never called him on a specific issue but his influence is bigger than a specific issue, as far as I'm concerned. He warms your soul," Bush told an ABC 20/20 special on the preacher and politics.

Graham emphasized the joy to be found in belief, in contrast to evangelists such as Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson who routinely issued glowering condemnations of politicians or blamed natural disasters on modern culture. However, Graham did take an uncharacteristically political stand before the 2012 presidential election. He authorized full page ads in major newspapers in October urging people to vote for politicians who opposed same-sex marriage on "biblical principles."

He brought to the microphone a "corny but effective humor," Wacker says, which made him a convivial talk-show guest. Graham logged more than 50 radio or television interviews with Larry King alone. YouTube has a tape of Woody Allen interviewing the evangelist, who draws almost as many laughs as the caustic, agnostic comedian.

The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association he founded, now led by his son, Franklin, used every communications innovation possible to carry the Gospel to any willing heart on Earth. More than 214 million people in 195 cities and territories heard God's call in Graham's voice and witnessed him deliver the Gospel in person or by satellite links. His projects included founding Christianity Today magazine in 1956 and writing more than 30 books.

High among his numerous honors: The Congressional Gold Medal awarded to Billy and Ruth in 1996, the Presidential Medal of Freedom awarded to him in 1983, and the Templeton Foundation Prize for Progress in Religion in 1982. He even has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

"Fundamentalists saw him as excessively liberal, and liberals saw him as too literalist in talking about sin and salvation. His wonderful balance between them is critical to his legacy," says John Wilson, editor of Books & Culture, a sister publication of Christianity Today magazine

Graham's last decades were slowed by illness and injury. He was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 1989, felled by broken bones, bouts of hydrocephalous and rounds of pneumonia.

Age, illness and bone-breaking falls had left him struggling to deliver 20-minute sermons. 

Graham's last crusade, in June 2005 in New York City, drew 242,000 people to Flushing Meadows; 8,786 made a new commitment to Christ and thousands more renewed or rejoiced in their faith.

Then he retired to his Montreat, N.C., mountaintop log cabin home (where his five children grew up mostly without their traveling father) to spend his days with his beloved wife, Ruth. They shared Bible study, devotions and an endless recycling of the movie musicals she loved to watch. Those were bittersweet days, with Ruth bedridden and Billy relying on a walker. Their frequent prayer was, "Help me, Lord."

At her funeral in June 2007, Graham called Ruth the finest Christian he ever knew.

Graham lived through the explosion of religious diversity in America, the rise of the human potential movement and the trend to personalized spirituality. He also lived to see many tire of lonely seeking or a high-minded hopscotch from church to church, religion to religion.

Yet he remained steadfast in his response. In 1996, when he and Ruth were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, he once more shared his faith in God with some of the most powerful men on Earth:

"As Ruth and I receive this award, we know that some day we will lay it at the feet of the one we seek to serve."

Mark Levin's new Fox News program to launch Sunday night

Levin has authored seven books, including the New York Times best-seller "Rediscovering Americanism and the Tyranny of Progressivism," released earlier this year.
Fox News, CNN and MSNBC have beefed up their programming on weekends in recent years after largely airing repeats of weekday shows or offering up specials or documentaries in the Saturday and Sunday prime-time hours. 

Small-business confidence hits record high in 2018 after Trump tax-reform win

Small-business confidence is surging in 2018 as optimism rises among small-business owners about the newly enacted tax-reform package, according to the latest CNBC/SurveyMonkey Small Business Survey, released Tuesday.

The CNBC/SurveyMonkey Q1 Small Business Confidence Index saw an increase of five points, from 57 to 62, a record high and the largest quarter-to-quarter move the index has seen since CNBC and SurveyMonkey began measuring last year. This is the first survey since President Donald Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act into law on December 22, 2017.

In the Q4 survey, small-business owners were split evenly on the core question about the effect that tax policy would have on their business. Opinions have shifted significantly: Twice as many now expect changes in tax policy to have a positive rather than negative effect on their businesses. Forty-six percent of those surveyed say tax policy changes will have a positive effect, up from 38 percent in the fourth quarter. The number of those saying tax policy changes will have a negative impact fell sharply, from 36 percent in the fourth quarter to 23 percent in the most recent survey.

Half of small-business owners are now expecting to see tax cuts in 2018.

Confidence rose among almost all demographic groups, with the largest increases coming from companies with five to nine employees, and small-business owners ages 35–44 and 55–64.

The CNBC/SurveyMonkey data underscores other polling from advocacy groups, including the
conservative lobbying group the National Federation of Independent Business. Its latest monthly optimism report for January 2018 showed the second-highest level of sentiment since Trump took office. The report also had its highest yearly average ever in 2017.

"These numbers are historically high," Juanita Duggan, president and CEO of the NFIB, told CNBC.

"This shows small-business owners are more than just optimistic, they are ready to grow their business."

The National Small Business Association, a nonpartisan lobbying group, also recently released its Year-End Economic Report for 2017, which found that more than half of small-business owners feel the national economy is doing better than it was just six months ago. This is compared to 43 percent who reported the same in December 2016, and only 20 percent in December 2015. In addition, 59 percent said they anticipate economic expansion in the next year, and more than one-third of small-business owners said they felt very confident about the future of their own business, the highest level in more than a decade.

"I think the jump in optimism isn't just due to tax reform, but largely due to the economy doing better," said Molly Day, vice president of public affairs for the NSBA. "Certainly, the tax-reform piece is helpful, but in reality I think small businesses are just now starting to digest what it means for their business."


Health care and hiring remain big challenges

Despite the optimistic outlook, challenges remain on Main Street. Small-business owners are looking to Washington for progress on additional issues, including health-care reform. CNBC and SurveyMonkey found that 30 percent of business owners say they want Congress to tackle health care, with 2 in 10 now reporting the cost of employee health care as the most critical issue facing their business. The NSBA's data also found the cost of health insurance to be the most significant challenge to the future growth and survival of small firms.

"I think that because of the cost of health care, hiring among the smallest businesses won't be changed significantly," Day said. She added that in the NSBA's opinion, tax reform isn't done.

"There was a tax cut, but very little was accomplished in terms of small-business parity with larger businesses," Day contended. "Complexity wasn't touched at all, and the administrative burdens of health care are actually a bigger problem for small firms than the financial cost of taxes."

She added: "The growing debt is still a major concern for small-business owners."

Another key area of concern for small businesses is finding skilled labor. In the NFIB's data, the quality of labor is now the top issue. Hiring is challenging, and more businesses are raising wages in order to hang on to the workers they have. The NFIB reports worker compensation is at its highest
level since 2000.

The CNBC/SurveyMonkey online poll was conducted Jan. 29 through Feb. 5, 2018, among a national sample of 2,080 self-identified small-business owners ages 18 and up, across a wide swath of industries. Respondents were selected from the nearly 3 million people who take surveys on the SurveyMonkey platform each day using its online polling methodology. Responses have a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percentage points.

The Small Business Confidence Index is calculated on a scale from 0–100 and is based on the responses to eight key questions. A zero indicates no confidence, and a score of 100 indicates perfect confidence.