THICK as THIEVES? Senator Frank Lautenberg Stands Behind Big, Bad Bob Menendez

almost 1000%, sounds like.

New Jersey Democratic Sen. says ‘it’s too bad’ if Menendez is guilty

Sen. Frank Lautenberg offered a less than full-throated defense of fellow New Jersey Democrat Sen. Bob Menendez on Thursday.

If there are infractions as they are reported, it’s too bad,” Lautenberg told reporters, according to the local news site


Whole lotta love lost there, apparently…

Sitting In A Rio Sidewalk Cafe

So back to Rio after 2 glorious days in Buzios, time for some real local flavor at a popular tapas-style bar Chico e Alaide …this looks tasty


I hoped this would be tasty, in a different sort of way


it tastes completely different from Guinness; this has a sweet caramel fruity flavor, not a lot of carbonation despite the thick creamy head. Didn’t do a lot for me but it was cold and alcoholic, so it covered 2 important categories.

It was raining a bit so happily we were under the awning


and the beer and squid salad was arriving


very yum, not at all fishy or rubbery


followed by


which was a deep fried flavorful bean composition topped with bacon. Oh yeah.

And then some pulled beef atop potatoes and a rich gravy


Daughter devoured a very very tender pounded thin steak and fries


I had as many chopps as I could (“chopp” (pronounced “schop”) is the Brazilian style of serving draft beer: a light lager served very cold in smallish (6-8 oz) glasses that get refilled very often; a great refreshing way to have beer in a hot climate. As a family we vowed to go “chopping” as often as possible!)


the next morsel they brought was simply divine tasting and beautifully presented:


isn’t this awesome? A small pumpkin filled with shrimp, herbs and catupiry cheese


it was adorable to look at and even more adorable to consume. Woe to the next folks I have over for dinner at Chateau Bingley, for ye shall be eating out of gourds!

and we had more chopps


as a side note, we had to laugh as we were sitting there drinking beer and eating all these wonderful little plates of food because right next door to us was…


oh yeah, sign me up for that

as a final nibble before we left I decided I really needed some sausages fried with onions


I did! I really really did!

Keeping with our theme of “never stop eating” for dinner that night we went to Sushi Leblon for, er, sushi





all very very good and fresh. The real fun was the people watching, especially Brunette de Vil who was fiercely guarding the door and not letting just any old riff raff in to scrounge for a table.

Which meant lots of people had to wait outside in the summery showers.

Care to Wager on the Odds

…of a stay of execution?

Reagan’s home could become a parking lot for Obama’s library

CHICAGO, Illinois, January 25, 2013 – A new Cold War is brewing here in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood and it has nothing to do with the frigid temperature.

The apartment building at 832 E. 57th Street was once the Chicago home of a boy who would become a President.

No, it’s not Barack Obama of Hawaii. It was at the apartment’s first floor window that a young Ronald Reagan looked out upon the world.

But some powerful Chicagoans are planning to demolish Reagan’s historic home. Is it politically motivated? Is Mayor Rahm Emanuel behind the move?

It Was So Nice

We spent a full day there doing no kinds of nothing


One funny story: there was this odd group of people, who were writers/editors of some sort, and they were sitting all day just to the left of me here in this photo working on one fellow’s novel. He was a oh a mid-late 50s shortish, dumpyish, somewhat potbellied (more than moi certainly) sort of of fellow with spiky white hair. When Daughter wandered over to join me for lunch she said “That guy give me the skeevies. He’s trying to convince those girls that he’s Simon Cowell (editor’s note: Claude looks more like Simon Cowell than this guy did) and he can get them on America Idol. He’s pathetic.”

So that was our entertainment for lunch.

and then we went over to a friend’s house for some yummies


cheese, bacalhau, various types of cured ham, wine…

and finished the evening at 1 or so at a beachside bar.

I could get used to this tropical lifestyle.

A’ Course, I Loves Me Some Fleurty Girl

She owns this bang-up little Nawlins biz.

But the piece is cute as a button anyways!

Quote Of The Day

Mike Oldfield

And then when Tubular Bells came out, I was massively successful and I thought I wouldn’t have to worry about money any more. But with success comes all sorts of problems.

The tax rate was horrendously high in the Seventies, and the royalties, especially those from abroad, took years to filter through. So even though Tubular Bells was a worldwide number one album, I had to ask to be put onto the Virgin payroll at £25 a week and to get luncheon vouchers to use in cafeterias for a free lunch. Then when the first million came in, I remember having to pay £860,000 in tax. Can you believe it?

Can’t wait to bring back those happy Fair-Share days of the 70s!

Not Busy In Buzios

The next day we drove to the resort town of Buzios, which is about 2 hours or so east of Rio.

When we got there we were hungry, shockingly, so we stopped at a lovely tropical-style place called Restaurant Gisele.

Pasteis with shrimp



smoked little sausages sauteed with an onion broth


grilled pork loin with fried bananas


“shrimp” really isn’t the right word for these beasts, is it?



they were ginormous. And good.

And they really set us up nicely for the view from the Hotel


what’s not to love about flower petals…in the toilet





Buzios is an extremely relaxing town.

For dinner that night we just ate at the fancy pizza restaurant at the hotel. We ordered a bottle of wine and then perused the menu, noticing that they had a ‘special’ where you could get two pizzas plus a bottle of the house wine. We ordered that and the waiter was sort of embarrassed and said that, ahem, the bottle of wine we had already ordered and were demolishing wasn’t part of that special, to which we laughed and said “no worries, bring the second bottle because it won’t go to waste!”

And it didn’t.

Oh, Soooo Not Acceptable

And utterly hilarious.


Secretary of State Lurch is official.

We’re doomed.

ths update: In maudlin celebration of which, let’s revisit a great moment in Swilling History, shall we? That creative, co-operative Swill effort which became known in the annals of Kerry History as:

‘Smoke on the Water:A Cambodian Christmas‘

There’s some good f*cking writing in there, if I do say so myself. One example you’ll see when you click through…

tree hugging sister says: February 10, 2005 at 6:23 pm

As I watched the swirling black waters, lulled into a trance by the erotic, rhythmic chug, I had a sudden vision of the future and it’s face was…Nixon! Horrified, I jerked awake and realized it had been Rich Little all along. Whew! My painful buttocks eased their alarmed clenching. Weak with relief, I sniffed the air for traces of the enemy…and the sweatband of my hat…


I’ll bet my magic hat you agree.

Bet They Needed That Washer

…when they pooped their drawers…

Just in Case You Were Confused WHAT Country Obama’s the PRESIDENT OF

…for clarity’s sake: it’s NOT ours.

No Deal – Obama: No Border Security Before Path to Citizenship

President Barack Obama is set to reject the key compromise at the heart of a bipartisan deal on immigration reform announced by eight Senators yesterday. The president, who will deliver an address later today in Las Vegas, NV outlining his own immigration ideas, is reported to oppose linking a “path to citizenship” for illegal immigrants, a Democrat demand, to stronger law enforcement and better border security, a Republican demand.

There ya go.

Bira Bira on The Wall

Sometimes when you’re on a vacation the last thing in the world you want to do is get in a car and schlepp about on a Sunday morning, especially when it’s 90+ outside and there are scurrilous and unfounded rumors about that you were drinking at a samba club until 2am the previous evening.

But there are also in life some things that you simply must do, and in this life if you are in Rio then you must get in the car and drive 45 minutes south to a little seaside village glued to a steep slope over looking a nature preserve. The town’s name is Barra de Guaratiba.

The restaurant is Bira de Guratiba.

My Bride and I first came here in 1998. We were in Rio for basically a long weekend. We flew overnight, got off the plane, were picked up at the airport, dropped our bags at the hotel and drove down to Bira for our welcome lunch. Whether it was the jetlag or the 5 caipirinhas or some mystical combination of both it was one of the finest meals I’d ever had and I knew on this trip we had to go back. I admit I was somewhat nervous that after all these years it would understandably not live up to our memories and Daughter, after hearing us talk about it for so long, would not be amused about being dragged about so.

The drive took longer than anticipated, as there were some accidents plus a lot of Sunday beach traffic but we got there and the view was everything we remembered


you can see the ocean to the left and then as we pan in see the estuary. Much of the seafood here is caught here; it’s amazingly sweet and fresh


it’s also a very civilized place, as you can see by this floating bar


speaking of which


One of the glories of Brazil is the language: Portuguese mixed with indigenous Indian vocabulary and sprinkled with enough English to make you giggle. The above is a perfect example. In English we call it ‘passion fruit.’ The Brazilians call it “maracuja”, and even better they pronounce it “mah-rah-koo-ZHA” which just rolls off your tongue in a delightful fashion.

But even more delightful is the above, a caipirinha made not with lime but with maracuja. Oh my oh my, is that ever tasty.

And it led nicely into the first appetizer, which was a platter of fried prawns with garlic and oil


They were huge.

And tasty.

And soon gone.

and followed by what to me is one of the simplest yet finest dishes I’ve ever had: the Vinagrete Misto


so elegantly simple: fresh shrimp, octopus and mussels in a vinaigrette with chopped onion, tomatoes, lime and some cilantro. So simple yet so completely dependent on the freshness of the seafood, and this was as fresh as it could be, with that sweet slightly salty tang of the ocean still clinging to every morsel.


the orange ones are the females, btw.

But then it was on to the main courses:

a Moqueca de Camarão (shrimp with coconut milk)


Moqueca de Robalo com Camarão (fish and shrimp with coconut milk)


all served with a hearty amount of Pirão (which is a creamy manioc/fish based sauce)


plates don’t get much happier than this


and we just ate and ate and enjoyed the views, the nature. It was and still is fabulous.

After such a wonderful meal we drove languidly back to Rio and stopped on a seaside overlook just south of Leblon for a few pictures

This is a fancy Sheraton resort tucked into the cliffs; I’ve always thought it rather oddly sited


and this is a view the other way, back towards Leblon with Ipanema on the far right


I’m sorry to say that for dinner that night I forgot to take the camera, which is a pity. We ate at CT Boucherie, which is a french steakhouse not far from where we were staying. It was outstanding. It was so good in fact that Daughter annoyed me greatly by eating all of her steak, all of it, and leaving none for me.


So I’m Thinking the Sheriff

…should run for mayor, eh?.

Sheriff who urged residents to learn how to use firearms blasts mayor’s ‘Dirty Harry’ criticism

…Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett lashed out at the ad. His office said in a statement: “Apparently Sheriff David Clarke is auditioning for the next Dirty Harry movie.”

Clarke, in an interview Monday with Fox News, brushed off the criticism.

“Personally I’ve never seen the Dirty Harry movie — but if that’s all the mayor can come up with, that’s pretty weak,” he said. “I think that what’s going on in the city of Milwaukee on his watch is kind of, you know — it looks like he doesn’t have much to say, he doesn’t have much to offer and that’s okay.

My job is to protect the public,” he said.

How nice a public official knows what his job definition is and actually ACTS on it.

Saturday, Here In The Jardim

Rio has many many wonderful charming old buildings that really show some classic architectural lines. Sadly, she is also cursed with a lot of modern crap.

Like this thing


Yes, that’s the cathedral. Blech.

For most folks the sight of that place would be a stomach-turning event. For me it reminded me that my stomach wanted food. Oh sure, we went to Corcorvado and the monastery of São Bento (which is simply STUNNING, by the way: founded in 1590, the current building was finished in 1671 I think. The woodwork is divine. When we got there there was a service in progress: 10 monks chanting. It was very very lovely. But no photos allowed.)

But it was lunch time, and we had heard about a lovely area of Rio called Santa Teresa. There, tucked in against the hillside, is the wonderful Restaurante Aprazivel.

Daughter and I were in heaven when they brought the appetizers of little grilled sausages inside pão de queijo


My Bride appreciated the reasonable size of the beer bottles


then we had some grilled heart of palm


with some pesto drizzled on, natch


Daughter had some fish with okra, rice and beans


My Bride had some lovely picanha with beans and farofa


Me? I had some goat and mushrooms.


As I said, the place is tucked into a hillside and plays perfectly into the tropical vibe


There are several different eating levels offering different views of the city down below.

The kitchen is fairly open and centrally located so the smells waft hither and yon most enticingly.


Speaking of enticing, when one is one vacation one must have dessert: Daughter had mangos


My Bride had sauteed bananas and ice cream


I had guava gelato


Ah, the stress I encumber myself with for You, Dear Readers!

After lunch we decided we needed a nice walk, and there is no place nicer than the Jardim Botânico for that.

But first, to help you navigate the park, please allow me to translate some of the signs there for you.



This is an especially important message for small children, for it says “Don’t piss off Granma”, and if you want that ice cream at the end of a hot day walking around you’d better follow that advice.

Now I know Rio is a big city and one hears a lot about crime there. And it’s true, the crime can be bad. Here in the Jardim they have developed a special Elite Anti-Crime unit:


“Warning: These Turtles Are Murderers”

Now that you’ve gotten a feel for the Portuguese language you can fully appreciate the lovely 3 foot wide lily pads


oddly-shaped trees


ginormous stands of bamboo


that are scattered about, as well as all the lovely tropical bromeliads and orchids








and really really tall Royal Palms


But plants get boring, so we went back to the hotel, took a nap, and stayed out until 2 at the Rio Scenarium, listening to Bossa Nova and Samba


fun stuff all around!

This Is Kind Of Cool

But also rather sad and a little pathetic

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Like vinyl records and skinny ties, good things eventually come back around. At NASA, that means looking to the Apollo program for ideas on how to develop the next generation of rockets for future missions to the moon and beyond.

Young engineers who weren’t even born when the last Saturn V rocket took off for the moon are testing a vintage engine from the program.

How far NASA has fallen.

Flying Down To Rio By The Sea

Ah, Rio! Rio by the Sea-o!

Hey, Bambino, turn that ol’ jet turbino…


The flight into Rio’s main airport isn’t the thing of legend or romance, is it? But hey, who cares? Because an hour later we were in our hotel, the girls were powdering their noses and I was staring at this


the first of many, I can assure you.

Our hotel was right on Leblon, and the view (when it wasn’t raining) out the dining room window was exceedingly pleasant


It was raining on and off when we got there so the beach wasn’t too crowded, and more importantly it was cooler: the week before we arrived Rio hit 115, and I was not looking forward to that!


For dinner the first night we ate at Satyricon in Ipanema. After being on a plane for a gazillion hours we wanted something light, so we stuck with a simple meal of caipirinhas, lobster sushi


and shrimp they called ‘scampi’…lots and lots of them


and some mussels that looked like they had grown up near a nuclear plant


everything was very simply prepared and amazingly sweet and fresh.

Yums all around.

Kinda Tickled

My wineglasses make a brief appearance during a News Journal video at last night’s Pensacola Mall Ball, benefiting Sacred Heart’s le Petit Enfants Foundation.

El Mayoro Bloombito Gets Dishy With the Full Moon

And the Court Says…


Court says Obama recess appointments invalid

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A federal appeals court on Friday invalidated President Barack Obama’s “recess” appointments to a labor board last year, ruling that the move was unconstitutional and dealing a blow to Obama’s strategy of bypassing Senate Republicans.

The three appointments to the National Labor Relations Board in January 2012 were made while the Senate was out of town but potentially available to act on them.

“Considering the text, history, and structure of the Constitution, these appointments were invalid from their inception,” the panel said.

RACISTS!! RacistsracistsRACISTS!!!!!!

This Is Just Odd

Scummy, depraved, and just head-scratchingly odd

The presumed new chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee may have more explaining to do about his personal foreign relations. Documents from the FBI obtained by the Daily Caller and published online indicate that the one or more of the prostitutes that Menendez allegedly frequented in the Dominican Republic may have been underage. They also show that Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) provided the information to the FBI and also informed ABC News of the information — and yet neither went public with it prior to the election. But was that to protect Menendez, or because the source never quite delivered the goods?

We’ll just have to see what if any pans out from this.

But I certainly rest easily at night knowing that the Vigilant Defenders Of Truth in the MSM will actively delve into this story.

Spam Of The Day

The following time I read a blog, I hope that it doesnt disappoint me as much as this one. I imply, I know it was my option to read, but I actually thought youd have one thing attention-grabbing to say. All I hear is a bunch of whining about one thing that you might repair when you werent too busy on the lookout for attention.

Feinstein’s Gun Ban Gets Introduced Today

The one line that really BURNS MY ASS?

Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s office confirmed that she will be introducing in the Senate Thursday a new version of the so-called assault weapon ban. A spokesman said the full text will be released at a press conference on Thursday.

The California Democrat intends to expand on the ban that expired in 2004, by including handguns and shotguns, in addition to rifles. She would decrease from two to one the number of cosmetic features on a gun to have it be considered an “assault weapon.” This means that if a gun has just one item like a pistol grip or bayonet lug, then it is illegal. Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law the same ban in New York last week.

Furthermore, instead of grandfathering in current firearms, she would create a national gun registry

for the government to track lawful gun owners

Magazines would again be limited to 10 rounds.


We’re close to being the criminal class now. Thank you again, Obama voters.

Call ALL your reps, or get back on the Ruger site. And we’re ~ as hard as it is to say ~ joining the NRA, for the first time EH-VAH.

I’m done with these assholes.

The Chicago Tribune has Issued a Correction

…for a TRULY EGREGIOUS case of ignorant assault weapon fearmongering in an article of theirs. Specifically, this bloodboiling graphic:

Recognize that little loop, children of mine? The one that FOR SURE isn’t a “grenade launcher”? Compound the labeling libel injury by idiot verbiage like, “…allows the weapon to be used like a spear…” and you can see where they might have, as they so deftly put it in the mea culpa, “automatically raises[d] questions about our credibility.” Think? I suppose so, if you had any.

Here’s the whole, unbelievably arrogant “oopsie” and READ THE COMMENTS, which, quite rightfully, rip them a new…slinghole.

Sunset On Hoth



taken on the boat going home last night.

“How to Take Nicholas Burns to School in One, Short PBS Segment”

By Danielle Pletka

Watch Taking Stock of Arab Spring, North Africa Turmoil on PBS. See more from PBS NewsHour.

In Light of Benghazi Hearings, Taking Stock of Arab Spring, North Africa Turmoil

NICHOLAS BURNS, Former U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs: Well, Jeffrey, I thought it was a commanding performance by Secretary Clinton. She was well informed. She was a master of the detail in all the briefings.

And she took responsibility, which was the right thing to do. She said that she will implement all the 29 recommendations of the accountability review board. Now, I think that the Republicans there obviously had a right and I think they had an obligation to ask tough questions, because this was a disaster for the American Foreign Service to lose four people in one day, including Ambassador Chris Stevens…[two more paragraphs of talking]

JEFFREY BROWN: All right, let me stop you there.

NICHOLAS BURNS: How do we now go after the terrorist groups?

JEFFREY BROWN: OK. You have put them both on the table then.

Let me get Danielle Pletka in.

First, what do you think of what unfolded today with Secretary Clinton in the …

DANIELLE PLETKA, American Enterprise Institute: Well, I think Nick was right. The secretary has obviously got a great command of the facts. She’s a good speaker. She’s authoritative. And she was a member of Congress. She knows how to handle her former colleagues.

But it really was a lot of sound and fury signifying not very much. She didn’t really answer questions about what happened in the run-up to the attack, why our response wasn’t better. And all of these efforts to direct us to move forward and to learn these lessons really fail to understand that the way we move forward is by acknowledging exactly what went wrong.

Just saying “I take responsibility” is admirable and sounds gutsy, but it doesn’t really mean you’re taking responsibility.

JEFFREY BROWN: But what about what Nick Burns says, that there’s now been this review? It’s looked at it. It’s come up with many recommendations. And that is — what she’s saying is, in a sense, that’s the way to move forward is to implement it and learn from what happened.

DANIELLE PLETKA: Well, it’s a very Washington perspective. You know, we have our blue-ribbon commission. We appointed the right generals and former diplomats.

The truth is that what happened, and the reason this became a scandal is not just because of the absolutely dreadful murder by terrorists of four people serving their country. It was because the White House and the State Department and many others insisted for a full week after the attack that occurred on Sept. 11th that it was the responsibility of a film and the response to a film, and not a terrorist attack.

Now, the American people, not the Congress, not the secretary, they deserve answers, and those answers really haven’t been forthcoming, and they were not on show today.

Interestingly enough, Jeffrey Brown seems to give the lion’s share of time to Pletka, perhaps because Burns’ responses mostly consist of “that’s unfair!” Even PBS hosts can only work with so much of that material before they run of out cover?

Her comment on Obama’s “policy of retreat” is especially damning:

DANIELLE PLETKA: Well, not responding is the answer.

I think the entire trend has been troubling. And I think Benghazi was merely a symptom of a larger policy of retreat, of unwillingness to deal with the challenges that we’re facing from al-Qaida, because it’s not just in the Maghreb. It’s not just in Libya and in Mali and in Algeria. It’s also in Yemen. It’s in Sinai. It’s in Iraq. It’s, of course, in South Asia and Afghanistan and Pakistan.

JEFFREY BROWN: But in what ways do you see us retreating, specifically in North Africa, in Maghreb?

DANIELLE PLETKA: Well, I think it’s nice that Nick said that we should thank the French, and absolutely the French have interests in Mali as well.

Apparently, the administration is really struggling right now about how much support to provide to the French, not on the ground, but merely on the question of refueling their flights.

If we’re not even willing to do that, it does beg the question about how willing we’re going to be to step up to this challenge in the Maghreb.

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