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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

UNITED STATES OF CORPORATE AMERICA



   The richest companies in the USA by state.


State by State Breakdown:


Alabama – Regions Bank


Location – Birmingham, AL


Revenue (Billions) – $5.89


Alaska – Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation


Location – Juneau, AK


Revenue (Billions) – $4.44


Arizona – Avnet, Inc.


Location – Phoenix, AZ


Revenue (Billions) – $25.45


Arkansas – Wal-Mart Stores


Location – Bentonville, AR


Revenue (Billions) – $476.29


California – Chevron Corporation


Location – San Ramon, CA


Revenue (Billions) – $228.84


Colorado – Arrow Electronics, Inc.


Location – Englewood, CO


Revenue (Billions) – $21.35


Connecticut – General Electric


Location – Fairfield, CT


Revenue (Billions) – $146.04


Delaware – E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company


Location – Wilmington, DE


Revenue (Billions) – $36.14


Florida – World Fuel Services Corporation


Location – Doral, FL


Revenue (Billions) – $41.56


Georgia – Home Depot International, Inc.


Location – Atlanta, GA


Revenue (Billions) – $85.53


Hawaii – Hawaiian Electric Industries, Inc.


Location – Honolulu, HI


Revenue (Billions) – $3.23


Idaho – Micron Technology, Inc.


Location – Boise, ID


Revenue (Billions) – $9.07


Illinois – Archer Daniels Midland


Location – Decatur, IL


Revenue (Billions) – $89.8


Indiana – WellPoint


Location – Indianapolis, IN


Revenue (Billions) – $71.02


Iowa – Transamerica Life Insurance Company


Location – Cedar Rapids, IA


Revenue (Billions) – $19.64


Kansas – Sprint Communications, Inc.


Location – Overland Park, KS


Revenue (Billions) – $34.56


Kentucky – Humana, Inc.


Location – Louisville, KY


Revenue (Billions) – $41.31


Louisiana – CenturyLink, Inc.


Location – Monroe, LA


Revenue (Billions) – $18.09


Maine – Hannaford Bros. Co.


Location – Scarborough, ME


Revenue (Billions) – $3.98


Maryland – Lockheed Martin Corporation


Location – Bethesda, MD


Revenue (Billions) – $45.35


Massachusetts – Liberty Mutual Holding Company, Inc.


Location – Boston, MA


Revenue (Billions) – $38.5


Michigan – General Motors


Location – Detroit, MI


Revenue (Billions) – $155.42


Minnesota – Cargill, Inc.


Location – Wayzata, MN


Revenue (Billions) – $136.65


Mississippi – Sanderson Farms, Inc.


Location – Laurel, MS


Revenue (Billions) – $2.68


Missouri – Express Scripts Holding


Location – St. Louis, MO


Revenue (Billions) – $104.09


Montana – Stillwater Mining Company


Location – Billings, MT


Revenue (Billions) – $1.03


Nebraska – Berkshire Hathaway


Location – Omaha, NE


Revenue (Billions) – $182.15


Nevada – Las Vegas Sands Corp.


Location – Las Vegas, NV


Revenue (Billions) – $13.76


New Hampshire – Sprague Resources LP


Location – Portsmouth, NH


Revenue (Billions) – $4.6


New Jersey – Johnson & Johnson


Location – New Brunswick, NJ


Revenue (Billions) – $71.31


New Mexico – Presbyterian Healthcare Services


Location – Albuquerque, NM


Revenue (Billions) – $2.05


New York – Verizon Communications


Location – New York, NY


Revenue (Billions) – $120.55


North Carolina – Bank of America


Location – Charlotte, NC


Revenue (Billions) – $101.69


North Dakota – MDU Resources Group, Inc.


Location – Bismarck, ND


Revenue (Billions) – $4.46


Ohio – Cardinal Health


Location – Dublin, OH


Revenue (Billions) – $101.09


Oklahoma – Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores, Inc.


Location – Oklahoma City, OK


Revenue (Billions) – $26.09


Oregon – Nike, Inc.


Location – Beaverton, OR


Revenue (Billions) – $25.31


Pennsylvania – AmeriSourceBergen


Location – Chesterbrook, PA


Revenue (Billions) – $87.95


Rhode Island – CVS Caremark


Location – Woonsocket, RI


Revenue (Billions) – $126.76


South Carolina – Sonoco Products Company


Location – Hartsville, SC


Revenue (Billions) – $4.48


South Dakota – Sanford Health


Location – Sioux Falls, SD


Revenue (Billions) – $3.1


Tennessee – FedEx Corporation


Location – Memphis, TN


Revenue (Billions) – $44.28


Texas – Exxon Mobil


Location – Irving, TX


Revenue (Billions) – $438.25


Utah – Huntsman Corporation


Location – Salt Lake City, UT


Revenue (Billions) – $11.07


Vermont – Keurig Green Mountain, Inc.


Location – Waterbury, CT


Revenue (Billions) – $4.35


Virginia – Freddie Mac


Location – McLean, VA


Revenue (Billions) – $81.22


Washington – CostCo Wholesale


Location – Issaquah, WA


Revenue (Billions) – $105.15


West Virginia – West Virginia University Hospitals, Inc.


Location – Morgantown, WV


Revenue (Billions) – $1.38


Wisconsin – Johnson Controls, Inc.


Location – Milwaukee, WI


Revenue (Billions) – $42.73


Wyoming – Cloud Peak Energy, Inc.


Location – Gillette, WY


Revenue (Billions) – $1.39

Saturday, June 21, 2014

ANOTHER REASON TO BE CAREFUL WITH DEMOCRACY

   Emmanuel Saez of the Economics Department at the University of California, Berkeley, published a fascinating report in September 2013. The title of the essay was Striking It Richer: The Evolution of Top Incomes in the United States. According to the report, it turns out that all those extremely wealthy people who want to thwart the economic policies of the Obama Presidency are working against their own interests. Between the years 2009 and 2012, real incomes of people in the top one percent of the population rose by 31.4% while the remaining ninety-nine percent of the people in the United States saw increases of a mere 0.4%, making this the first economic recovery in history that saw benefits not being accrued by the majority. 
    Lunatic Reagan revisionists love to lie about how great the American economy was during the Dipper's eight year reign of terror, neglecting to mention October 18, 1987--henceforth known as Black Monday. Ask John Boehner about Reagan's $220 billion deficit, if you care to do so.
   When Papa Bush strutted into office in 1989, unemployment was at 5.4%. When he left it was at 7.3%. 
    By the time Clinton left office in 2001, unemployment had fallen to 4.2%. There was no deficit. We had a surplus.
   Bush Junior wasn't about to let a surplus go to waste. Before he got into the business of trying to raid the Social Security system, he gave tax cuts to billionaires, gave grandpa three hundred bucks in rebate money, and spent over one trillion dollars on two wars, neither one of which made the world--much less America--any safer.
   All that money concentrated into so few hands under Barack Obama kind of leads a person to wonder if the reason the Koch boys and their allies hate the man so much possibly has more to do with race that policies, but there I go being accusatory again.
   In the process of all this redistribution of wealth upward into a messy ruling class, public schools have taken a ferocious beating, due in no small part to the dreaded No Child Left Behind nonsense. The legislative provisions of the NCLB demanded that all students in every school must be proficient in reading and mathematics by 2014, including students with special needs, students whose native language is not English, students who are homeless and lacking in any societal advantage, and students who have every societal advantage but are not interested in their schoolwork. If those students are not proved proficient by standardized testing, their schools and teachers suffered the consequences. This was not so much an attempt to revitalize public schools as it was to hasten their demise. While to some extent this drive has been successful (there have been massive school closings in most major metropolitan cities in the U.S.), the simple truth is that rather than a decrease in the number of students attending public schools, the percentages have actually increased. In 1995 the percentage of public versus private attendance was 88.3% to 11.7%, while in 2009 it had risen to 90% versus 10%. 
   So is all the alarm about the shift to private schools just a bunch of unwarranted brouhaha? Nope. 

      The above chart, brought to you by the National Center for Education Statistics, suggests that in several parts of the country, public school enrollment will actually increase in the near future. What the chart does not address is how come. Is it possible that those with  pleasant incomes will be moving their children to private schools while the other ninety-nine percent swelter in the cesspool ovens of lower education? Yep. 
    That has been one of the goals of the last several Presidential Administrations: transforming schools from institution of learning and critical thinking  into facilities for memorization and automation. 

Monday, June 16, 2014

A FEW WORDS ABOUT NELSON ALGREN

   My advice is to never associate compromise with weakness. Many big men have found themselves better off as a result of meeting other big men halfway, although at the moment I can think of no examples to support this claim. In any event, one need not be of superior physical stature--or even a man, for that matter--to be willing to compromise. As for myself, I admit to having given in part way as the necessary occasions presented themselves. However, I will not admit to having liked it. So whenever I can avoid it, I do. One must, as it were, draw a line in the sand. To do less--to abandon one's principles at only the slightest prompting--is, I believe, an indication of a shallow soul. Whatever else may be said of me, my soul is every bit of six feet deep--or tall. I've never been certain which.
   I too am six feet tall and only 165 pounds soaking wet or toweled dry. If I suffer from anything physically, it is what I call the skinny man's belly. You show me a skinny man of a certain age and I will show you a fellow with a belly that extends beyond his chestline--unless, of course, he compromises with himself and sucks the stomach in so as to impress someone else. Often that someone else will turn out to be someone who will eventually discover that the man was holding it in all along, a discovery which can only be a disappointment to both parties.
    It was a young lady named Markita who first pointed out to me that I was a skinny man with a bit of a belly. That was just the way she put it. "A bit of a belly." Usually she would say this within a context of "You are so not my type with your skinny body and your belly--now, Phil, you do have a bit of a belly--but I like you anyway even though I'm damned if I can say how come." I say without bragging that that kind of thing used to happen to me all the time. Perfectly fine women who could accommodate themselves with far more attractive men than me would for whatever reason scratch their own heads in wonder as to why the hell they were sitting on a sofa with me instead of any of the guys they normally found themselves yearning to undress. It is neither boasting nor false modesty to admit that I haven't any idea why this has happened. I do not ask gravity why it works. I just go along with the process. So it is with women.
   At some point or other I simply decided that I was not going to pretend to have a thirty-two inch waist when what I clearly had was a thirty-four inch waist, so I loosened my belt one notch, kept my shirttail tucked in, and let the stomach breathe. 
   That memory of the wonderously honest and hilarious and imperfectly attractive Markita fluttered through my mind as the three men pressed me back against the inside barn wall, using their rifles as prods, while their leader, Burt Hwang, with flop sweat shining on his upper lip, demanded that I renounce Islam and support the Crackerbarrel Faith. Had I been inclined toward compromise--as many a gallant and brave man before me has been, rest assured--I might have decided to save myself and utter the words Hwang wanted to hear. But that line in the sand thing kept calling me back, just as the ebony glow of darling Markita had called me across the hotel floor one night years earlier. If I hadn't compromised for her--and I had really liked her a lot--I sure as hell wasn't going to give an inch for this fundamentalist religious zealot and his three rude boys and their entire television news station full of right wing belligerence. So I whispered some gibberish just to get Burt Hwang to lean in close and then, with a swollen lip grin, I said, "You stupid fuck. I'm no Islamist. I'm not a member of any organized religion. I'm a Methodist. Now get these three butterflies off me before I cut out their eyes."
   I spent the next seven weeks in considerable discomfort. Or else we all walked off arm in arm having a good laugh at one another's expense. I forget which. The specifics don't matter that much. 
   All of this came back to me unbidden as I sat at a traffic light this afternoon, waiting for the left turn arrow to go green. On the near right street corner danced a man in a clown outfit, complete with makeup, spinning a sign that suggested people should sell their gold inside the shop behind him.
   Waiting for that light to change, I remarked to myself, "Phil, you have been through a lot of ugly situations in this life, along with many beautiful ones. None of the beautiful ones would have been worth doing that, and it would not have been worth doing that to get out of the bad ones." Then I said, "Hey, stupid, any greener, ya could mow it."
    So I had to add an item to Nelson Algren's Rules for Life, taken from his 1956 novel A Walk on the Wild Side. His three rules were (1) Never play cards with a man named Doc; (2) Never eat at a place called Mom's; and (3) Never sleep with someone whose problems are worse than your own. My addendum to those three reads: Never dress up like a clown hocking gold trade-ins in Phoenix in the summer time. 
   I cannot recommend Algren and his book too enthusiastically. As the writer himself said, the book asks why people who have been lost sometimes develop into better human beings than those who were never lost at all. Maybe he should have asked that guy on the street corner today. The next time I see that guy, maybe I will too. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

An amateur's movie review, by guest commentator, Lisa Ann

The Pope of Greenwich Village

This evening I had the pleasure of watching The Pope of Greenwich Village with my best friend, Phil Mershon, creator and editor of Philropost.  I would like to thank him for suggesting the movie and allowing me to express my opinion here, being that I posted on Facebook that I thought is was a B+ grade movie.

I thought this movie was very entertaining from the beginning because of the "rat-pack-mafia-New York-genre" that is apparent from the opening credits.  The Sinatra music plays throughout the movie and is a great back-drop for the film itself.  Unfortunately, sometimes a Sinatra song is needed to carry the story when the script and production trips all over itself in a rather clumsy way.

The characters are played very well by the actors in the film, unfortunately it would seem that the 8 million dollars budgeted for this film was aimed more at gaining an audience who would pay to see the famous names and ignore the fact that the story is somewhat lame.  I will repeat myself and say that the movie is entertaining because the famous actors play their parts well.  However, it seems as if each actor is trying to show-boat over the other actors.  The exception being Daryl Hannah who's striking beauty and tight exercise leotards do not keep her from being forgettable in this film. (She was great in Splash , but that could have been the mermaid outfit.)

Really the main characters are Mickey Rourke and Eric Roberts. Mickey Rourke plays the part of Charlie, and Eric Roberts plays the part of Paulie.  They are cousins in an Italian family and are cast into roles of the stereotypical-mob-influenced-hustlers that are always necessary in a movie with Sinatra and New York in the same script.  Charlie is the older and more reasonable of the two bumbling cousins who you are tempted to think may be on the honest end of the hustle, but never seems to quite get past the threshold.   Rourke plays this part very well because it doesn't seem as if he is trying to steal the show; while, Roberts, who plays the part of Paulie is over the top with his antics and over-acting.  

The other main characters in the movie are Burt Young, Geraldine Page and Jack Kehoe.  Burt Young plays the nasty mafia boss," Bed-Bug-Eddie", and Geraldine Page plays the part of the drunken-hard-nosed mother of the dirty cop played by Jack Kehoe.  They all do a reasonable job with the script, but all three are over-acting to the hilt.  Kenneth McMillan, a character actor, who plays the part of Barney, the safe-cracker is played well and is really the only character who brings genuine emotion to the show.

In summary, I would recommend this film for it's entertainment value.  It is a fun-mafia-flick with great music.  The violence is not grotesque, though implied; the curse words are used only when appropriate; and the Sinatra music is wonderful.  I would not recommend this film for someone who is looking for a thought-provoking movie.  The over-the-top performances simply do not out-weigh the lackadaisical story. Thank goodness for Sinatra.

And with that, I will once again thank Mr. Phil for allowing me as a guest on his show, and hope I am invited back.
---------Lisa Ann Terzo  6/11/14  




WHAT IS YOUR NAME? WHAT IS MY NAME?


They say we're old and most senile
Our diapers soiled while we just sit and smile.

Well, we're not wearing Depends yet
So little honey you don't have to fret.

They say Social Security won't pay the bills
and chances are we've had our share of thrills.

Hey, those young punks can go to hell
Both of us retained our sense of smell.

Hey. What is your name?
What is my name?

Now we've got Prozac to wake us up
And we have Cialus to shake us up.

So if you're sad 'cause nature doesn't call
That doesn't mean we can't have a ball.

So let them say our music's old
Every song I hum with you is solid gold.

You've a walker, I've a cane
The more things change the more they stay the same.

Hey, what is your name?
What is my name?

I've got you to cut my hair
I've got you to spit and swear
I've got you to plant a rose
I've got you to pick your nose
I've got you to lose the keys
I've got you to cough and sneeze
I've got you and you can bet
that I've got you and won't forget. . . 

Hey, what is is your name?


Sunday, June 1, 2014

NEGOTIATING WITH OURSELVES

   

   The party out of power (there's only two options, remember) always howls when the United States government negotiates with terrorists. The media invariably rediscovers the mantra/slogan: We never negotiate with terrorists. Time for a fast history lesson: We negotiate with terrorists all the time. 
   Reagan gave the Iranian government billions in armaments in a failed attempt to gain the release of U.S. hostages being held in Lebanon. In 2007 the Bush Junior administration negotiated with Sunni insurgents to stop bombing our troops and join the fight against Al-Qaeda in Iraq. 
   We are not alone in this. In the 1990s, the British government maintained backdoor negotiations with the Irish Republican Army. In 1988, the Spanish government negotiated with a Basque separatist group that had bombed a shopping mall. Even the staunch Israeli government negotiated the Oslo Accords in 1993. 
   So why is Obama taking heat for releasing five Taliban schemers to gain the release of a U.S. soldier? Why? Because that is what the government out of power tends to do. With only two parties in power, the suckers--I mean voters--have to have a clear choice. The Republicans are simply trying to make it clear where they stand. Where they stand is opposed to whatever Obama supports. Because Obama is at best a political moderate, this means the Republicans and their Tea Party masters have to move very far to the right. After all, they were not going to present themselves as a liberal alternative to the Democrats. When Obama comes out for healthcare, the Republicans endorse disease. When Obama supports the Bush bailout, the Republicans support bankruptcy. When Obama favors wait and see with the Ukraine, the Republicans call for annihilation. And when Obama negotiates to get a prisoner released, the GOP yearns for imprisonment. Obama calls for clean air, the Reps beg for pollution. 
   This is to be expected. What may be unexpected is the degree to which the Republican Party has moved to the extreme right. This may be unexpected, but it should not be a surprise. Moderation within the Democratic Party always results in extremism within the Republicans. Clinton was a moderate and he yielded the most fascist-like administration in our life times (so far). Carter was a moderate and his offspring was the despicable Reagan regime. On the other hand, domestic policy-wise, Lyndon Johnson was a liberal whose presidency gave us what in retrospect has shown itself to be the quite moderate Nixon team. 
    For the Democrats, the choices appear to be nonexistent. If a liberal Democrat, such as George McGovern, gets his party's nomination, he gets tarred by the other side as a weakling pacifistic socialist, just as Michael Dukakis did in 1988. So rather than having the courage to negate this, the Democrats cave in on their so-called principles and rig the game with "super delegates" so that nowadays only a Clinton or Obama-style politician has any chance at all of getting the nod. Anyone who steps to the left (Jill Stein, Ralph Nader, etc) gets bashed by the Dems as an election spoiler. 
    What we get is very boring political seasons that run on forever and become an industry unto themselves. Voting rights are lessened and a lot of people grow cynical and before long the bastard ideological offspring of the Reagan-Bush real axis of evil infiltrate every cubbyhole of American life, in turn making it easier for the presumed moderates to get away with spying on the people, waging wars in secret, and impoverishing the masses, if I may use such a class-based term. 
   So when we tire of the extreme right, it behooves us to resist the stretched rubber band effect and move just as far to the left as we dare, lest we wind up with another set of preordained choices in 2016, choices that come down to bad versus worse.