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With Trump…Even the Wine is Fake

At the Infomercial which passed for a victory speech Tuesday Night after winning in Michigan, Trump hawked his supposed “successes” in business.

A group of products which largely already failed, including “Trump Steaks” which went out of business, “Trump Magazine” which published only 8 issues before folding, Trump Vodka – which failed in 2007, and “Trump Water” which has never been sold commercially.

Lastly was Trump Wine – an overpriced mediocre vintage, which in terms of acreage is one of the larger Vineyards in Virginia…But in sales, doesn’t scratch the Top 5, although it does in volume produced. That means a lot of overpriced, bad wine siting on shelves. The wine has never scored above the low 80’s in any of the industry ratings like Wine Spectator, which puts it at $20-40 a bottle in the category of expensive cooking wine. To those unaware, Virginia has a long and storied history in wine production, and now, after some fits and false starts early on in re-establishing the industry in the state – now produces high quality wines competitive with those from California and Washington. Trump Vineyards best vintage, their bubbly Rose wines don’t carry Trumps name at all, but that of the founder, Patricia Kluge.

I mean…Can you imagine the President of the United States giving a speech to the United Nations…And hawking Trump Blenders in the middle of the speech to the collected world leaders?

Trump Swill…Turns out the Winery claims no relationship whatsoever to Donald Trump other than name.

Trump Wine Is Built on Acres of Lies

While Donald Trump may be famous for his litany of ridiculous boasts and exaggerations, his latest claim to be a top winery owner—made during his speech after the Detroit and Mississippi primaries—may be one of his most laughable.

It’s certainly a perfect example of how The Donald seamlessly mixes truth with fiction to form a narrative that manages to sound plausible when delivered in 30-second sound bites.

Despite begging the assembled media to fact check his statement about the financials of Trump Winery (what else would he call it?), Trump still made a few major mistakes in his description of the establishment.

For one, he claimed the vineyard was “close to 2,000 acres,” while in fact Trump Winery’s own website states that it’s a 1,300- acre estate. And, no, the establishment is not located next to the “Thomas Jefferson Memorial.”

We will assume Trump was talking about Monticello, Thomas Jefferson’s home (not the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C.), which is actually several miles from his winery.

His most grandiose claim was that Trump Winery was the “largest winery on the East Coast.”

His 200 planted acres certainly make the winery sizable and the largest one in Virginia by property size. But when discussing the size of a wine or spirits brand, the yardstick is typically case sales, not acreage. (Would you measure an automaker’s size by the square footage of its plant or how many cars it sells?)

One reason for this is the size of the vineyard may not matter given that many wineries buy grapes instead of growing them. “The largest vineyard in Virginia? Maybe. The largest producer? No,” says Jerald O’Kennard the director of the Beverage Testing Institute, which reviews wines and runs wine competitions. “It’s just semantics.”

According to the Virginia Wine Board, Trump Winery is in fact not even the state’s top producer by volume—it falls in the top five. The state’s largest producers are Williamsburg Winery and Chateau Morrisette, which readily admits to buying grapes from a network of Virginia growers.

Trump also failed to give an accurate history of the vineyard. During the press conference he said that media mogul John Kluge, “built one of the great vineyards of all time.”

As it turns out, it was really Kluge’s ex-wife, Patricia, who started the vineyard. You might excuse the mistake except that Patricia stayed on to make the wine after Trump bought the property.

It’s also hard to imagine why Trump would bring up his winery as an example of his business acumen given how well his eponymous vodka worked out.

In 2006, to great fanfare, he introduced Trump Vodka (what else would he call it?) in a statuesque bottle with a garish gold label designed by famed graphic designed Milton Glaser.

The launch party, according to New York Magazine, was emceed by rapper Busta Rhymes and, as you can imagine, featured a mix of hired models and “a bunch of middle-aged, slightly overweight white guys.”

Trump was characteristically optimistic about the brand, forecasting that his version of the classic vodka tonic, the Trump & tonic would be a huge hit. The closure of the brand in 2011 was quite a bit less glamorous, with the vodka quietly disappearing from store and bar shelves.

 
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Posted by on March 10, 2016 in The Clown Bus

 

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Millionaire or Felon – The Cannabis Industry vs Carceral State

Interesting video on the ONLY Black legal Marijuana entrepreneur in Colorado…

 
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Posted by on February 26, 2016 in The Post-Racial Life

 

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The Story of Terri Upshaw, and a Family Who Would Not Accept

This one is getting some press in DC due to the imminent opening of a new Tadich Grill in Washington, DC. To be honest, I’ve never heard of the Tadich Grill in San Francisco – but have visited the city and area well enough to have frequented French Laundry (you may have to sell your firstborn for the price of a meal…But it is that good), Saison, and Quince…and have never seen the joint on any Michelin or Zagat lists. Got my eye on Restaurant at Meadowood for my next visit to the area. Perhaps it is the DC equivalent of “Old Ebbit Grill” est 1856, or the more plebian “Ben’s Chili Bowl” est 1958, which have fueled everybody from the Presidents to street sweepers in the city for generations – but are not highbrow enough to make the connoisseur lists…

Terri Upshaw was the wife of departed NFL great, and NFL Player Union head Gene Upshaw – who was probably on the top 10 list of the most respected people in sports. Her family owned the Tadich… And apparently disowned her after her marriage to Gene. The impact of that disownment, and refusal to even meet as a family with Terri and Gene’s kids is raising a few eyebrows in DC, and doesn’t bode well for their new venture. And the competition is tough.

 

Terri and husband, Gene Upshaw

Lonnae O’Neal: Terri Upshaw says she had to choose between family and love

Sometimes emotion gets the better of Terri Upshaw, and she appears softer, more vulnerable, younger than her 55 years. Then she regains her composure and continues, in spare, straightforward language, to tell the kind of story we think doesn’t happen anymore in modern America. A dark family story that syncs with a national racial history we like to tell ourselves we’re well beyond.

She talks about being raised in the upper-middle-class Buich family, who owned San Francisco’s famed Tadich Grill. She calls her upbringing strict, loving and marked by expressed disdain for people who weren’t white or Christian. A fellow might be “a great guy” if he came into the restaurant, but you knew never to bring one home, she says. “I didn’t understand it, but I didn’t question it,” Upshaw says. “I lived in a house where you didn’t question.”

As a young woman working as a hotel catering manager, she met an older football player. An African American. They hit it off and became friends. Then more. He retired, accepted a job in Washington and asked her to move with him. They’d dated for eight months without her family knowing, and she had to make a decision.

“I was scared,” Upshaw recalls on a recent afternoon near her home in Northern Virginia. She says she broke the news to her brother and sister first. “They said, ‘I can’t believe you’re doing this.’ They said our parents would be livid, upset, disappointed, embarrassed, ashamed.”

Tadich Grill in Washington, DC

Word got back to her father. She remembers how much she sobbed in that final family meeting with her parents and siblings. She was 23 and pleading for love — both theirs and her own. She thinks her mother and siblings were crying, but it has been so long. Only the final message was clear.

When she told her father that she had decided to follow the black man she loved to Washington, she says, “he told me that’s it — you’re out of the family. Change your last name, and don’t ever call us again.”

It was 1983. They married in 1986.

The black man was the legendary Gene Upshaw, whose 15-year career as a guard for the Oakland Raiders landed him in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. During 25 years in his equally famous second act as the controversial head of the National Football League Players’ Association, he helped usher in free agency, which led to an explosion in player salaries. Upshaw died in 2008, days after he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. The union headquarters in Northwest Washington is named Upshaw Place in his honor.

Terri Upshaw says she has not heard from her family in decades, true to their final message. While visiting San Francisco a few years ago, she saw a news report that Tadich Grill would open a D.C. location, and last month it did, to great fanfare. Guests included prominent members of Congress and a Supreme Court justice.

Her parents, now in their early 80s, and siblings have never met Upshaw’s sons, 28 and 25. She says they didn’t reach out when her husband died. She says that she has tried over the years to make contact with her family — that they ignored her at her grandmother’s funeral. When her oldest son was 3 months old, she says, she took him to her parents’ house and was ordered to leave.

There is surely another side to this, because there are always sides and layers to all of our stories. There is perhaps a heartache, a wish for a daughter’s well-being that was not properly expressed, but it is difficult to know because numerous calls, voice mails, text messages and messages left for the Buich family and sent through Tadich Grill executives explaining Upshaw’s contention and requesting comment were not returned. Her sister, reached by phone, declined to comment.

Tadich Grill, DC

Upshaw, who had never spoken publicly about the rift, says she is telling this story now, in response to a reporter’s query, because with the new restaurant, she is talking more to friends and “it sounds archaic,” she says.

It sounds like the kind of extreme racial story we don’t want to think happens anymore, although what’s closer to the truth is that both extreme and casual racism are all around us, even in some of our most solid American success stories….Read the rest here

 
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Posted by on November 16, 2015 in The Definition of Racism, The Post-Racial Life

 

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Go Girl! Black Women Fastest Growing Entrepreneurial Segment

Don’t like not being recognized for your contribution at big company?

Start your own.

Black women increasingly are doing just that, despite obstacles in terms of venture or bank financing.

Black Women-Owned Businesses Skyrocket By 322 Percent In Less Than 20 Years

 

African-American women are the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs in America, a new study reveals.

The 2015 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report released this week found that the number of women-owned businesses grew by 74 percent between 1997 and 2015. That’s 1.5 times the national average of business growth to be exact.

Meanwhile, the growth in the number of businesses specifically owned by black women is outpacing that of all women-owned firms, the report says. The number of black women-owned businesses has grown by a whopping 322 percent since 1997. Today, black women own roughly 14 percent of all businesses in the country owned by women, which tallies to around 1.3 million businesses, according to the report.

“While nationally African American women comprise 14% of all women-owned firms, African American women comprise a greater than average share of all women-owned firms in Georgia (35%), Maryland (33%), and Illinois (22%),” the report says.

Statistics show that throughout these 1.3 million companies, nearly 300,000 workers are employed and the businesses generate an estimated $52.6 billion in revenue. When digging into the number of black-owned businesses overall, 49 percent are owned by women.

Businesses owned by black women also top the charts in revenue growth when compared to other minority women-owned firms proving that their economic clout is ever-growing.

 
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Posted by on July 2, 2015 in The Post-Racial Life

 

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The Mack Truck That Hit Paula Deen

Have to say I’ve certainly enjoyed cooking up a Paula Deen recipe or two. Most of her food is guaranteed to send you heart doctor into apoplexy over your sky high cholesterol…

But it was so damn good!

 

Paula is authentic deep South. Unfortunately for some folks that carries a lot of racial baggage. Some of that baggage is in the form of using distasteful racial epithets in common conversation between folks sharing the same background. Usually anymore when there is nobody else around to overhear.

Now, Paula – like myself is old enough to have lived through some of those bad old days of segregation. Led by racist and segregationist Democrats and Dixiecrats making a last stand at the schoolhouse door, folks from her world tried to stop folks from my world from having equal rights.. Attacking and abusing Civil Rights workers at the Lunch Counters. At the worst, even murdering them as they drove down back country roads. There are those who followed those very same Dixiecrats to the Republican Party, where that type of racism was made safe by Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan for their kind as amply demonstrated even today.

And then there are a lot more Southern  folks who left those ignorant attitudes with the times- even though they seldom to be quite enough in the majority to get elected…

Decent people seldom do anymore.

So…Paula has said some racist things. And judging from how quickly the companies who were partners in her business empire are scrambling  for the door – there is a lot more “bad acting” that hasn’t hit the presses that they are afraid will be uncovered.

But in the scale of things…Whose racism has done more damage t America, Paula and her well used butter dish and southern fried sympathies…

Or the 4 racist thugs in robes and their Uncle Tom sitting the highest court?

Now…Don’t gt me wrong. I don’t feel sorry for Paula. But the reason has a lot less to do with her racism and a lot more to do with a lack of professionalism. Professionalism?

Yeh. When you run a multi-million dollar business – You don’t get to make an ass of yourself like Dan Cathy of Chick Fil A – without some hurt coming down from some pissed customers…And partners who know what it takes to run a business and don’t want to be hit by the shrapnel of an idiot imploding.

Obviously Chick Fil A agrees with Mr Cathy’s lack of professionalism because he is still there.

Since in Paula’s case she is the company, Paula is going to have to suffer the consequences.

 

 

 
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Posted by on June 28, 2013 in The New Jim Crow

 

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Tammy Duckworth Hammers a Fraud!

At least the woman progressives are being real in terms of standing up for their principles. In this one, during a Congressional Hearing on companies which benefit from Small Business Set Asides for disabled Veterans (In tax hack Darrel Issa’s Committee no less), Tammy unloads on a guy who has fraudulently represented himself as a disabled vet to take advantage of the program…

 

 
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Posted by on June 26, 2013 in American Greed

 

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Signs of Life in Detroit

Been hearing rumbles of this for a while. The first thing I heard about was some very creative groups working in the area of urban farming, who were leading the country with revolutionary concepts on hanging urban landscapes. It appears that Detroit may be “catching fire” again with creative talent, drawn by the low rent, and possibilities to chart their own space.

Two years ago, the renowned graffiti artist Revok moved from LA to Detroit Josh Harkinson

Graffiti Artist Revok

Detroit may be down… But it ain’t dead quite yet.

How to Bring Detroit Back From the Grave

“Warning! This city is infested by crackheads. Secure your belongings and pray for your life.” So reads a hand-scrawled sign just off I-75 in Detroit, where a post-apocalyptic cityscape of looted and charred homes has come to represent a sort of sarcophagus of the American Dream.

But beyond simply fueling murders and bribery scandals, decades of hard times have finally birthed new signs of life here in the Motor City, as its gritty neighborhoods attract a burgeoning community of artists, hipsters, and socially minded entrepreneurs. “With a little bit of motivation, you can make anything happen here,” says Jason Williams, a.k.a. Revok, a renowned Los Angeles graffiti artist turned Detroiter, whose lively murals adorn walls not far from the crackhead sign. “It’s all about the reality that you create for yourself.”

For those willing to brave the nation’s most dangerous major city, Detroit offers a tight-knit and successful creative community. The birthplace of Motown and techno still manages to turn out chart-busting artists like Eminem and Jack White. And growing numbers of bohemians have found that a few thousand dollars will buy them a classic brick townhouse or a loft in an art-deco skyscraper. Where old buildings have fallen, hundreds of urban gardens sprout.

Detroit is hardly the first city to lure urban homesteaders with access to cheap and artfully crumbling buildings. The same formula revitalized (and eventually gentrified) neighborhoods such as the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn and San Francisco’s Mission and Dogpatch districts. The big difference in Detroit, however, is that its economy blew a rod long ago, triggering an exodus of more than half the city’s population—last year, it lost another 28,000 people. Barely a quarter of those who remain have a degree from a four-year college. During my recent visit, local elected leaders were warning that the city could run out of money—within the week.

Last year, in Guernica magazine, Wayne State literature professor John Patrick Leary cautioned against what he called “Detroitism,” the fetish for urban decay mixed with utopianism, “where bohemians from expensive coastal cities can have the $100 house and community garden of their dreams.” But Detroit offers much more. Here is a city that foretold the woes of America’s middle class—and spent decades searching for a path out of its recessionary wilderness. Forget the clichés about heirloom tomatoes and check out these four examples of creative Detroiters who are making a difference

The Power House Gina Reichert

Meet the Power House and the new “Hood Cat” changing neighborhoods a brick at a time

 
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Posted by on June 16, 2012 in The Post-Racial Life

 

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