Of all the corporate thing I did down in Texas for 3 days, the thing that stuck with me the most was the presentation down by a represntative of the Timothy Plans. I went to the seminar "Meeting Customers' Values" thinking it was about investing in environmentally positive, socially responsible, social justice, non-terrorist (etc. etc) funds. Nope. This was about investing in biblical principles, knowing your money is not going to alcohol, tobacco, gambling, porn, abortions, some other elements of the entertainment industry, and the 'gay agenda'. When the presenter began his discussion, it sounded like a nice broad approach to the concerns of the room: "Do you think... too much materialism, too much violence and sex, too loose morals...". I was going along for the ride. When he said "do you worry about investing in the gay agenda or people who promote it", I had to do all in my power to not laugh at him or stomp out of the room. I could not believe he used that term in this day and age and did not feel ashamed, repeating the phrase over and over again.
However a person wants to invest is up to them. I want to go over 2 exclusions here: alcohol and tobacco. I know it is not Christian or whatever to get drunk or to be a glutton of these products, but where in the bible does it say to not smoke? to not drink at all? Is not Christianity a faith built on a Last Supper where Jesus broke bread and shared wine? Is not one of Jesus' most famous miracles the turning water into wine miracle? I found these exclusions stupid. If they wanted to exclude abortion, porn, "gay agenda, and other loose moral entertainment companies, fine, that kind of flows with a Christian, biblical frame of mind. To exclude smoking and drinking on biblical grounds is weak.
My challenge to them is this: why exclude those companies but include companies that exploit workers in foreign countries? That is not Christian. Why not exclude companies that use child labor? That is not Christian. Why not exclude producers of food high in fat and sugar which creates millions of food gluttons in society? This seems rather hypocritical on their part to exclude smoking & alcohol producers but not crappy food producers. This left an inkblot in my mind. I could not move beyond this for hours.
One other reason for the trip was a company that my firm is trying to do business with is moving their HQ & manufacturing from NJ to Texas. The cost of doing business in NJ just rose too high through taxes, NJ TDB costs, employee costs, and retaining good people (incentives by Texas helped). They do good, technical manufacturing of an export-competing product. In the move from NJ to Texas, they are going to expand their employee headcount from 60 to 150 employees. It's a small drop in the employment bucket, but it's a 60 person loss for NJ of good jobs, a 150 person gain for Texas, and construction jobs in building their new facility. It would be great if other companies considered moves like this rather than just farming out manufacturing to other nations.
All in all, that visit got me thinking about an idea which will not sound too new to some people. People have recently be throwing around the thought that if people will be induced to use plug in hybrids at a reasonable cost, they might need to have smaller batteries, which would hold a smaller charge. A problem is recharging midday. Some folks have stated employers could set up charging stations in parking lots provided through solar panels to somehow make money for the employer. I do not know how many employers would be up for this, but some could turn parking lots into solar power "farms" (same for building rooftops for that matter). I do have an idea (laugh if you want):
The spark hydrant. Like a fire hydrant but for electricity. There could be multiple plug ins for multiple cars, a credit card swiper for charging customers and a solar panel array above the station. Problem is what to do with the electricity while no car is plugged in? Tie this into the grid and sell the electricity to the power companies. While it is possible with current solar effiency rates, it would be even better with effiency rates above 25. If we as a nation are to move away from fossil fuels, we need an infrastructure to handle this change. This is just a little idea I had while scorched by the sun in Texas for 3 days. My other idea was "Why the heck don't we build giant solar panel farms in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Utah and becoe the leading producer of energy in the world". If there is a nation that is innovative to make this happen, it is the USA.
...if not, the totalitarian overlords of China will force this through production when we deem it foolish.