A few more Sunday sermonettes

Happy Sunday. No, I won’t be preaching this morning, but I will be trying my best to speak a few truths.

It easy to blame someone else or some other entity for your troubles. The European Union is not perfect, but has helped many countries through hard times. When they are helpful, country leaders pat themselves on the back. When times are tough, it is nice to have a scapegoat. Relationships are hard work, but countries need to think hard if they want a divorce from the EU before they have the “what do we do now moment?”

Speaking of relationships, the man in the White House tends to have transactional ones. A pundit said he counts few friends saying he touts a “me against the world” mindset. If he keeps on ticking off our allies, this description will be very apt. Unfortunately he will drag the US down with him.

Two of the worst terms in America are RINO and DINO. They mean Republican (or Democrat) in Name Only. They are used by tribal party members as an insult to someone who is not towing the party line. As an unaffiliated voter who has been a member of both parties, I find these labels offensive. We pledge allegiance to the country, not some party. If someone uses this term, do yourself a favor and pay attention to what the target of their labeling is saying. It likely has more veracity than the claimant’s argument.

The United Nations came out with a report Friday defining how Trump’s policies are detrimental to the poor in America. America has a poverty problem that predates Trump. Too many are living paycheck to paycheck and some are even beneath that. This President and Congress’ solution is to give a huge tax break to wealthy people and companies. And, if the repeal of the Affordable Care Act went through, it would have been even worse. America has fallen in the global ranks on upward socio-economic mobility. It matters more to whom you were born than merit in getting ahead.

On a positive note, Costco raised its minimum wage from $13 to $14 an hour and Walmart increased theirs from $9 to $11 an hour. And more states and cities are making planned and new increases. These are steps in the right direction. It would have been nice for Congress to have increased the minimum wage along with the tax decrease which impacts corporations annually. It would have helped pay for some of the lost tax revenue if companies had to increase pay for those in greatest need, plus this money would be spent as they need it more than the 1% group.

Thanks for letting me preach. Any Amens or rebuttals? Other truisms?

A couple more retailers going solar

As solar energy continues its downward trend in cost, it is matched by an upward trend in development. Companies with huge data centers like Google, Apple and Facebook, e.g. have been leading the pack with solar energy to power their buildings. Yet, cost conscious retailers are also tacking solar panels to their roofs.

IKEA was an early adopter with solar panels on 40 of its then 42 US stores. Last November, Walmart announced they would power 400 more stores by solar energy with a goal to be 100% renewable energy powered. In July, Target announced they would follow suit and is powering its 27 North Carolina stores and a total of 180 US stores with solar energy. Target’s goal is to have 500 stores powered by solar energy by 2020. Not to be outdone, Aldi is placing solar panels on ten of its North Carolina stores plus its distribution center.

With tight margins in retail, especially in the grocery market segment, to move down the path of solar energy speaks volumes. A retailer would not do this if it was not value accretive to the bottom line. Although it is still a surprise to many who limit their news sources, solar energy is growing rapidly and is a viable energy source. It is also clean and will avoid the health and environmental risks that come with fossil fuel and nuclear energy. Plus, the solar energy jobs are increasing at a double-digit rate with over 170,000 jobs at year-end 2014.

The future of solar energy is very bright indeed. And, wind energy continues to build on its success in Midwestern US and select other states. So, a little sun, a little breeze and we will be in a much better position to combat climate change and improve our health and environment.