Are Hipsters are Ruining Wine?

In this month’s Wine Spectator, Matt Kramer’s column includes a keen cultural observation as he bemoans the lack of grace in so many new reds. Is this trend the fault of the hipster, who values weird over good?

“Is this yet another instance of wine geekery, a topsy-turviness where, by the standards of hipster wine culture, esoteric means good and familiar means bad?”


There’s long been a cultural contingent (call them hipsters, bohemians, decadents, or what have you) who have rallied to the cry of épater la bourgeois, to use the French phrase–to skewer the conventional sensibilities and complacencies of the middle class. Modern-day wine hipsters would rather be caught drinking a Bud Light than be seen with a Cabernet Sauvignon.”

A nice encapsulation of the hipster ethos there. But Kramer goes on to suggest that perhaps the other reason that “weird” wines are gaining popularity is that so many full-bodied reds are becoming too full-bodied. These statement pieces are “too much of a good thing,” and wine enthusiasts want a break.

A Human Trombone

It is not a good thing for a country to have a professional yodeler, a human trombone like Mr. Bryan as secretary of state, nor a college professor with an astute and shifty mind, a hypocritical ability to deceive plain people, unscrupulousness in handling machine leaders, and no real knowledge or wisdom concerning internal and international affairs as the head of the nation.

-Teddy Roosevelt on President Woodrow Wilson and his secretary of state William Jennings Bryan. To apply the same sentiment to our current President does not seem inaccurate.

David Plouffe Just Sent Me an Email

Here’s what it said:

Friend —

On Wednesday evening, President Obama will deliver his first State of the Union address. It comes at a critical moment.

We must regroup, refocus, and re-engage on the vital work ahead. So let’s watch it together at a State of the Union Watch Party in your neighborhood.

We’ve hit some serious bumps in the road recently in our march toward change. We always knew it would be difficult, but this past week has definitely been a hard one, for all of us.

But this movement didn’t come so far without making it through some challenging times. It’s at moments like these when we need you most. People are hurting. Our country is at a crossroads, and in communities like yours all across America we must all fight for the progress our families and businesses need to thrive.

The President’s resolve has never been stronger to keep fighting for health insurance reform, for lasting job creation, and to rein in the big banks and fight the undue influence of lobbyists. Wednesday’s speech will be a pivotal moment for us all to get on the same page and continue the fight together.

In just two days, OFA supporters like you will be gathering at State of the Union Watch Parties in living rooms and community centers across the country. You can share ideas and experiences — and I’ll be joining on the phone for a special strategy huddle before the speech.

Find and RSVP for a State of the Union Watch Party near you:

I hope you can join us,

David Plouffe

P.S. — Volunteers have set up hundreds of Watch Parties over the last few days. But if there isn’t one yet near you, just sign up to host one yourself. It’s easy and fun, local OFA organizers will help you with any questions you have, and it’s an incredibly important way to let supporters near you be part of the action:

Federalist vs. Anti-Federalist

I’m not going to go into depth too far on this, as doing so would probably require writing a book. Regrettably I haven’t the time for that at the moment. Anyhow, I have been reading Joseph Ellis’ Pulitzer-winner Founding Brothers, which reviews some of the key conflicts that arose after the implementation of the Constitution. The conflicts stemmed primarily from ongoing disagreements about the role of the federal government. Sound familiar? The battle cries of today’s Tea Party movement come to mind, as do the boisterous arguments of the disciples of Ron Paul’s 2008 Campaign for Liberty. In Ellis’ book, he examines among other things how the Congress was at loggerheads in 1790 over the idea of the Federal government assuming the war debts of the states. Treasury Secretary Hamilton, a reasonably competent economist, recognized an urgent need to consolidate the national debt, get in good standing with the states’ debtors, nationalize the economy, and put the national debt to work. Anti-federalists, and the Southern states in general, saw this is a dastardly power-grab by the federal government. Virginia, for one, was apoplectic over the thought of the fact that assumption would leave it with a net loss–it would end up paying more for other states debts than it would hand over to the federal government. Furthermore, it directly challenged the independent Spirit of ’76. We fought the British to win freedom, they argued; not to have power centralized in a despotic federal government. The states were sovereign, not subservient to a central government.

And so the anti-federalist cry went then, and variations thereof were heard when other issues arose when the nation was in its infancy. According to Ellis, the assumption debate ended up being resolved behind closed doors through a deal wherein southern states gave in to assumption after securing the concession of some numerical voodoo regarding the debts and the establishing of the nation’s permanent capital in the south (in DC). As we can see, little has changed since then. Our debates over stimulus, healthcare, cap-and-trade, etc. occur along similar lines of division between competing schools of thought regarding the federal government’s role. It is highly illuminating to revisit the arguments of the early years of the United States not simply because they have so many similarities with our contemporary debates, but because they are simpler questions that are less removed from the core philosophies that drive the arguments. Getting down to the meat of those philosophies makes us I think better equipped to understand contemporary questions. Unfortunately, it seems as if the only people who take the time to understand the genesis of all this are academics and the hobbyists like myself–not the politicians and commentators who have a louder voice in the national debate.

I challenge you to go back to history and look at the debates going on then with regard to the role of government. Understand the core philosophies underlying these debates. The parallels with contemporary politics are fascinating. Big government was as big a concern then as it is now among conservatives. And the biggest problems of the days got solved back then in much the same way as they do now–not in open debate but with deals cut behind closed doors.


Here’s wishing you and yours an awesome Christmas and a stellar 2010!

Remember that the magic and mystery of Christmas comes not from the material things we enjoy this time of year but rather it comes from the miracle of Jesus’ birth and his sacrifice that provided us with Salvation.

John 3:16

God Bless you all!

MoveOn Hates Joe Lieberman

Just received an email from “–Nita, Carrie, Wes, Steven, and the rest of the team” at asking me to help them get the word out to all Connecticutians that Joe has got to go–that “he can’t be reasoned with. Most of all, Joe Lieberman can’t be allowed to stay in the U.S. Senate.”

“It’s outrageous,” they fume. “Joe Lieberman is single-handedly blocking our best chance at strong health care reform in years!”

I think they might have meant “best chance at strong big government power grab in years.” Whatever it is they desperately pine for, the message is consistent from MoveOn—anyone who crosses their path will be attacked mercilessly with a campaign funded by hundreds of thousands of $5 donations from MoveOn’s army of misguided hipsters and do-gooders.

The height of folly would be to misunderestimate MoveOn. According to the warm and fuzzy little email, “In less than 24 hours MoveOn members have donated an astounding $650,000 to send Lieberman home for good. That’s awesome—thank you!”

Can you donate $5 today?


When one is a member of an organization, he or she soon realizes that seldom does everything done to achieve that organization’s goals go according to plan. Sometime this is the result of outside forces–things that members of the organization have no control over. Many other mishaps are the result of mistakes made by members of the organization. In all but the rarest of organizations mistakes are a fact of life–phone calls someone forgot to return, incorrect items shipped, data entered incorrectly, etc.

Sometimes these mistakes create minor nuisances, but sometimes the effects of certain mistakes can put into jeopardy the ability to achieve the organizations goals. These are the moments when members of the organization that have to deal directly with cleaning up the mess must put forth exceptional effort to overcome it. This individual will, however, most likely have to rely on the help of other members of the organization to achieve this. Here is where those members have a chance to shine.

I call those who shine given these opportunities MVPs. The principles of teamwork apply perfectly. These MVPs earn this moniker by reacting calmly in crisis, by developing creative solutions, by cutting through red tape, by sacrificing their time.

In a sea of mediocrity and underachievment, those who shine deserve recognition, most of all from those who benefit from their dedication and ability. Kudos to the MVPs that have helped me out of jams.