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Steve Heimoff| Wine Blog

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The radical anti-gay right and Donald Trump

 Mark As Read    

  Some years ago I got my name on an electronic mailing list from an organization that calls itself “Public Advocate of the United States." Despite its official-sounding name and logo, it has nothing to do with the U.S. government but is in fact a rabidly right wing hate group whose primary obsession is promoting […]

Cold weather, Charlotte’s web, and, yes, Trump

 Mark As Read    

  It’s been cold in Oakland lately—cold by our standards, anyway, if not by those of the upper midwest. I heard an interview today on NPR with Thomas Friedman, who referred to his fellow Minnesotans as the “frozen chosen,” an apt description, I suppose, when the temperature is fourteen degrees below zero, as it will […]

No matter what happens with the Dakota Pipeline, Trump is a loser

 Mark As Read    

  The Dakota Access oil pipeline is another of those issues I haven’t taken a solid stand on, until now, due to my philosophy: I’m not going to have a position on a complicated topic I haven’t studied and don’t understand. It seems to me that too many people on both sides, red and blue, […]

Republicans have a new thing to declare war on

 Mark As Read    

  Three days in the life of the developing necrosis of this incoming administration hardly leave one knowing where to start in writing about the Almanack de Gotha of horrors daily emanating from Trump Tower, or should I say, from the man himself, who to be precise occasionally ventures beyond the escalator of his gleaming […]

Benziger Family Winery: five new reviews

 Mark As Read    

  I’ve followed Benziger’s fortunes for decades, and one thing I can say, they’re always striving to boost quality. The Benziger family began with the hugely successful Glen Ellen Winery, which pioneered “fighting varietals,” before launching their boutique Benziger brand, which they sold to The Wine Group in 2015. These five wines are the fir...

The fish rots from the head down: Trump and his voters

 Mark As Read    

  A Mr. Jack Hamilton, from Silverdale, Washington, wrote a letter to The Wall Street Journal the other day that is so miasmic, so lacking in self-understanding, that I just have to reply. Hamilton’s letter is about a column by the redoubtable Peggy Noonan—a sarcastic right winger who worked for Reagan and the first Bush—who […]

What Fred Trump taught his son, Donald, about real estate

 Mark As Read    

  [The following is based on a true story] [Flashback: Winter 1963. The Wilshire Apartments, Queens New York. The apartment building’s owner, Fred Trump, is meeting with his rental agent, Stanley Leibowitz. Accompanying them is Fred’s 17-year old son, Donald.] FT: So how are we doing on rentals, Stan? SL:  Pretty good, Mr. Trump. We’re […...

An open letter from me to gun freaks

 Mark As Read    

  Some of us got into a bit of a kerfluffle at a Facebook page I won’t identify, to protect the owner’s privacy. S/he had written approvingly about the new “smart gun” technology that the New York Times recently editorialized about, urging that they at least be given a chance, if for no other reason […]

What happens when the President is a pathological liar?

 Mark As Read    

  Donald Trump’s addiction to lying is well-known to most Americans, so his recent assertion that “millions of people voted illegally" in the election will come as no surprise. After all, this is the person who said that "thousands and thousands" of Muslims cheered in New Jersey after the Sept. 11 attacks. The real question […]...

Thanksgiving’s over. Trump isn’t…yet

 Mark As Read    

  Happy Nov. 28! What's your favorite part of the Thanksgiving holiday, Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday, or Black Friday? They’re all such fun days to spend money. I’d be hard-pressed to pick just one, but I’d have to say that, for me, personally, it’s Black Friday! The crowds, the traffic, the lines–it's all so […]...

Thanksgiving

 Mark As Read    

  This isn’t a very thankful time for many of us. Our side lost. I, personally, believe the country as a whole lost, and furthermore I believe that History will agree. A friend of mine, a peaceful man of Latino heritage, told me today he’s thinking of buying a gun, for the first time in […]

On the American obsession with wealth and the Trump phenomenon

 Mark As Read    

  Don’t get me started on the irony—or hypocrisy—of the Wall Street Journal, which has a weekend section called “Mansions” that’s an eat-your-heart-out, too-bad you-can’t have it ode to pool houses, chandeliers and thread counts. Then, yesterday, they had a front-page article, “Advertisers Search for Middle America,” explaining how Americans a...

(1) New Pinot Noirs, old friends in San Francisco (2) On Fighting Drumpf

 Mark As Read    

Part 1 A Pinot Noir tasting in San Francisco You can take the boy out of the wine business but you can’t take the love of the business out of the boy. Or something like that. Anyway, although I formally retired from my career on Sept. 2, I still have “wine in my blood,” so […]

Trump: lies, truth and post-truth

 Mark As Read    

  What is truth? Pontius Pilate famously asked, suggesting its slipperiness. Twenty centuries later, the comedian Stephen Colbert coined the word “truthiness” to convey the sense of statements that were not really true, but that nonetheless “felt right” to the speaker.  A dictionary, Merriam-Webster, chose “truthiness” as its word of the year ...

Postmortem: Putting IPOB into Perspective

 Mark As Read    

  I’ve been hard on the Republican Party for being such ideological purists that they can’t compromise with Democrats (or anyone else) on anything. So in my guise as the F.F.W.C. (former famous wine critic), along the same lines I have a few observances about In Pursuit of Balance. IPOB, as many of you know, […]

Will Oakland Kill Its Infant Marijuana Industry?

 Mark As Read    

  For years, my town of Oakland has been at the center of the commercial marijuana business in America. Downtown is studded with medical marijuana clinics and small shops selling paraphernalia. (I, myself, have had a medical marijuana card for a long time.) Oakland’s pot entrepreneurs were forward-looking visionaries who never doubted that pot...

An open letter to the lady quoted in the weekend’s Wall Street Journal

 Mark As Read    

  She was in a front-page article, “The Places That Made Trump,” which purported to explain the point of view of Rust Belt voters who abandoned the Democratic Party to elect Trump President. Out of respect, I’m not using her name, although it’s right there in the link; I’ll call her Miss Smith. Dear Miss […]

Trump to Democrats: Go f**k yourselves!

 Mark As Read    

  I’m hearing from trump supporters, like a tea party commenter on Facebook, who writes: “Give him (Donald) a chance. I think he's in this for the right reasons.” To which I reply, “What kind of chance did you teabaggers give President Obama? You hated on him from day one, you blocked and obstructed his […]

Republicans: Leave Hillary Alone!

 Mark As Read    

  My peeps are all shocked and saddened, of course, by this Trump thing. Everyone is wondering what to do next. One school of thought is, let Trump govern, or try to; when his voters see nothing changing, they’ll realize he’s no more effective at fixing things than Democrats, so maybe that will topple the […]

Election Day!

 Mark As Read    

  I’m writing this Monday evening, and I’m feeling better about the outcome. I now think Hillary will win. (I don’t know about the Senate.) So, here’s my Winners and Losers of this election. But first, a little fun: Well, I think it's funny. LOSERS CNN. Americans have been turning away in droves from this […]

Down to the wire. And if he wins…?

 Mark As Read    

  Well, tomorrow’s it. This horrible election season will be over. God knows it’s been hard on all of us, I know. I, myself, have not been able to watch any of the news channels for the last two weeks: too upsetting. It’s actually affected my physical health. And me, the biggest political junkie in […]

On Trump’s criticism of the Clintons’ wealth

 Mark As Read    

  One of the biggest Republican attacks against Hillary Clinton, and Bill too, is how rich they’ve gotten since leaving the White House in 2001. Yes, they are rich: by some estimates, more than $100 million. Their wealth has been one of Trump’s main targets. I saw a pro-Trump T.V. ad, aired during the fabulous […]

The Hatch Act and James Comey’s shame

 Mark As Read    

  What is the Hatch Act? It is a 1939 law named after a lifelong Democrat, Carl Hatch, who was U.S. Senator from New Mexico for sixteen years before being elevated to the Federal bench by President Truman. Hatch, who was chairman of the Senate Committee on Privileges and Elections, was bothered by partisan political […]

Three new wines from Vina Robles

 Mark As Read    

  I’ve long had a soft spot for Paso Robles. When you think of how far they’ve come over the last 10-15 years, it’s just amazing. One used to think of this inland Central Coast region as too hot for fine wine, but that was a huge mistake. I’m glad that I recognized its potential […]

The vast rightwing conspiracy, 2016-style

 Mark As Read    

  Back in the 1990s, Hillary Clinton famously referred to the “vast rightwing conspiracy” that formed to take her and her husband, President Bill Clinton, down. That conspiracy was led by conservative radicals who today have morphed into what is known as the alt-right, a branch of the Republican party that, twenty years ago, was […]

That upcoming Trump University trial: Trump doesn’t want jurors to hear the evidence

 Mark As Read    

  Imagine you’re a juror at the upcoming class action trial against Trump University, scheduled to begin Nov. 28 in San Diego federal court. The now-defunct Trump University, you’ll recall, was the phony “real estate school” that promised to teach students “the secrets of real estate success.” It bilked hundreds of them out of tens […]

Do red wines get higher scores than whites due to “bias”?

 Mark As Read    

  Is there “a critical bias toward red wines” among wine critics? That’s the thesis of a thought-provoking study that examined 64,000 scores from leading publications and found some fascinating tendencies: reds score higher than whites red wines are over-represented above 90 points whites are over-represented below 90 points So pronounced were...

Tax shelters for the rich, and the Republicans who want to keep them secret

 Mark As Read    

  In a little-noticed event, a high-ranking United Nations official is urging the world “to make the elimination of tax havens a priority to ensure that corporations, billionaires and ‘kleptocrats’ pay their fair share of taxes.” The richest one percent is hiding “as much as $32 trillion…held offshore in secrecy jurisdictions escaping just tax...

Exposed: The secret Trump-Duterte tapes

 Mark As Read    

  Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte has made international headlines with his inflammatory rhetoric, extra-judicial killings of drug dealers and users, and, most recently, his announced “severing of ties” with the U.S. (since walked back)—all of which makes Donald J. Trump his number one fan! Wikileaks has just published a recording made of a...

Trump and Goebbels: “Ve Vill Vin!”

 Mark As Read    

  March, 1945 was not a good time for Hitler’s Nazi government. The war was essentially lost: Russian troops pouring in from the East, British and American troops from the West. Allied air power had reduced scores of German cities to rubble: Berlin, the capital, had no electricity, no transportation, and no food. The German […]

When it comes to gays, Christians should be apologizing

 Mark As Read    

  Some of my readers, especially on Facebook (where this blog also appears, as well as on Twitter and Huffington Post) have accused me of hating on Christians. Well, that’s a serious allegation, so please allow me to defend myself. As a gay American, I’ve been told my entire life by Christians that I, and […]

On the eve of destruction, Republicans turn against each other

 Mark As Read    

  With little ammunition remaining to fend off the impending disaster to their party and candidate, Republican Trump supporters are resorting to the most specious and rhetorical of arguments. Consider, for instance, the Wall Street Journal’s William McGurn. He’s a longtime columnist for the newspaper, which allows us to take a peek at his trac...

How the Democrats will get dead people to vote for Hillary

 Mark As Read    

  Scene: Shady Grove Cemetery, Tallahassee, Florida. Nighttime. An office – darkened, no light except for the moon through the window. A desk with chair, filing cabinets. The desk is littered with files scattered haphazardly. The room is empty, except for the ticking of a grandfather clock. Suddenly: SMASH The sound of a window breaking. [R...

Why does Julian Assange want Trump to win? An analysis

 Mark As Read    

  It’s a puzzle, isn’t it? Assange's Wikileaks has been devoting pretty much all its time to publishing hacked emails to or from or about Hillary Clinton and her senior staff, obviously to the delight of the Trump campaign. But no one is asking, Why is Assange so anti-Hillary? What is Wikileaks, anyhow? Its website […]

When Hillary wins, who will convince Trumpsters not to wage civil war? Hint: It’s not who you think

 Mark As Read    

  Last Friday I blogged about the possible response by the Trump party after he loses the election. My post was, of course, pure fantasy, a scary dystopian hallucination of societal breakdown and violence. Over the weekend, however, just such a scenario has been increasingly considered by many others. I Googled “trump election civil war” [R...

Dec. 9, 2016: a historical perspective on the election, one month later

 Mark As Read    

  Following his landslide loss in the election, Trump threatened to take his self-declared “movement” to the streets—a threat taken in earnest by his die-hard supporters, who warned of “revolution” and “civil war” were he to go down to defeat. Which, of course, he did. Hillary Clinton garnered 391 electoral votes to Trump’s 147, and […]

Evangelical women could hold the key to electing Hillary

 Mark As Read    

  An evangelical preacher and a conservative billionaire walk into a bar… It sounds like the beginning of a joke, but there’s no punch line, really, just a sort of nostril-pinching stench to the whole affair. The preacher would be Dr. James Dobson, founder of “Focus on the Family,” who said that gay marriage signals […]

Women love Hillary, but what’s up with men?

 Mark As Read    

  Women are preferring Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump by huge, unprecedented margins, while men prefer Trump, although by margins far less, according to data collected by fivethirtyeight.com. POLL WOMEN MEN CBS News Clinton +18 Trump +11 CNN Clinton +14 Trump +4 Fairleigh Dickinson Clinton +24 Trump +7 Fox News Clinton +10 Trump +7 Google [...

Two Petite Sirahs from Retro Cellars

 Mark As Read    

  Retro Cellars is a good winery and they make good Petite Sirah, with both a Napa Valley and a Howell Mountain appellation. I always gave them pretty high scores: generally low 90s, and always with a Cellar Selection recommendation. Petite Sirah is, of course, a very particular wine; you have to be in the […]

For the Republican Party find its way back, it has to get rid of evangelicals

 Mark As Read    

  Political parties in America are remarkably hardy. They have proven themselves to be adaptable to the most far-ranging circumstances. The Republican Party has gone through many crises since its founding (in 1854). It has enjoyed periods of near-monopolistic control (1860-1912) and periods when it seemed like an endangered species (1932-1952)...

Repubs show classic Freudian avoidance behavior, try to distract from Hillary’s surge

 Mark As Read    

  In Freudian psychoanalysis, there’s a defense mechanism, called reaction formation, “in which emotions and impulses which are anxiety-producing or perceived to be unacceptable are mastered by exaggeration (hypertrophy) of the directly opposing tendency.” (Wikipedia) One example of reaction formation is Stockholm Syndrome: when a hostage deve...

Dear Mike Pence: Take your Christian homophobia and shove it!

 Mark As Read    

  This is what Pence said in the early 1990s: "Homosexuals are not as a group able bodied. They are known to carry extremely high rates of disease brought on because of the nature of their sexual practices and the promiscuity which is a hallmark of their lifestyle." And this is what he said as […]

Use the word “killary”? Face it, you’re really sick

 Mark As Read    

  As my readers know, I’m hardly a fan of the Wall Street Journal. I read it to see what the other side is saying—usually lies and smears against Democrats. But every once in a while, they surprise me. For example, the other day, Dorothy Rabinowitz, a rightwing columnist, came out firmly against Trump and […]

Hey Julian Assange: Instead of gossiping about Hillary’s emails, why don’t you get Trump’s taxes?

 Mark As Read    

  Trump has had such an awful week that I hardly have to write about him to make people loathe him. This latest smear of PTSD vets is right up (or, more correctly, down) there with his insults to John McCain, Gold Star mothers and other military families. But why should anyone be surprised? Donald […]

Peggy Noonan: how a speech writer uses rhetoric to lie

 Mark As Read    

  There’s a rhetorical device people use to defend an unpopular or ludicrous point of view by comparing it to its opposite and then saying that both points of view are bad. For example, on MSNBC lately, they’ve had the rightwinger, Hugh Hewitt, claiming that there are no good choices in the upcoming presidential election. […]

Trump criticizing Bill Clinton’s sex life? Bring it on!

 Mark As Read    

  We don’t know whether Trump himself or his surrogate deplorables will introduce Bill Clinton’s sex life into the campaign, but the latest reporting suggests that it’s coming. So desperate is the Trump camp to find something, anything to keep their candidate from tanking that they’re even willing to go “there.” The question is, why? […]

The rightwing media wants birtherism to go away as an issue. Gee, I wonder why

 Mark As Read    

  Hugh Hewitt is a bombastic rightwing talk show host, so rightwing in fact that he is pro-Trump even though Trump tore him a new one last year by calling him “a third rate radio announcer,” thus proving that, like a broken clock, even Donald Trump can occasionally be right. For some bizarre reason (perhaps […]

The dog that didn’t bark: Why Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal didn’t pick a debate winner. Plus: Trump’s tax plan

 Mark As Read    

  Not only did Tuesday's WSJ not say who won, they didn’t even mention the debate in their editorials or in opinion pieces. It’s like the historic Clinton-Trump smackdown never happened. Why the silence? Well, the answer is obvious: Hillary crushed Trump, and not even the WSJ’s most violent attack dogs dared claim otherwise. So […]

Pissed off at black people? You’ll probably vote for Trump

 Mark As Read    

  If Trump wins this thing it will be in large part because of the way white and Asian voters interpret the state of black America. Yesterday there was a Facebook video making the rounds. It was of a rather angry middle-aged white woman, who said she was “in real estate,” decrying the condition of […]

From the Diary of Kimberley Strassel

 Mark As Read    

  Dear Diary, Well, I just wrote my 47th column on Hillary’s emails. They’ve all been pretty much the same—Hillary is a she-devil who did bad things and is crooked. Only I did come up with a clever new slogan: I called 2016 “the year of the Democratic email dump.” Of course, just between me […]

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