Lives in Granbury, Texas.

mark.finkelstein@gmail.com 

Twitter: @markfinkelstein

Pilot, parrots, dogs, tennis.

Latest from Mark Finkelstein
August 9, 2010, 6:41 PM EDT

The liberal lionization of Emma Lazarus' poem has reached laughable new heights.  On this evening's Hardball, guest host Chuck Todd cited the Lazarus lines from the base of the Statue of Liberty . . . as if they had some authority in law!

Todd was debating former GOP congressman Ernest Istook on the proposal some Republicans have floated to recast or clarify the 14th Amendment so as not to grant automatic citizenship to children born in the United States to illegal immigrants.

August 9, 2010, 8:21 AM EDT

"Uncomfortable" was the word of the day at Morning Joe when it came to discussing Michelle Obama's decision to go on a luxurious Spanish vacation in the midst of a recession—and to miss celebrating her husband's birthday with him to boot.

Chuck Todd didn't go into details, but NBC's clearly ill-at-ease political director suggested: that this was a "private decision" by the First Lady; that it wouldn't have made any difference what Pres. Obama's political advisors would have said; and that "you get the sense here that there was something more to this" than pure politics.

Joe Scarborough reinforced Todd's message: "this is part of a bigger narrative, isn't it, about Michelle Obama?"

In contrast, Mark Halperin seemed eager to get off the touchy topic.  When Scarborough asked him about it, Halperin parried with a question to Todd about the positive cards the White House has to play.

August 5, 2010, 7:05 PM EDT

How far have we come from the era of "Dissent Is Patriotic" stickers on the bumpers of your local lefties during the Bush administration?  A host on the second-highest rated cable news network has equated political dissent with . . . assassination.  

On his MSNBC show this evening, Ed Schultz stated:

"Now I'm putting my cards on the table tonight as I do every night. The Republican party is on a mission to politically assassinate the president's agenda across the board.  They want to shoot down everything."
August 5, 2010, 7:24 AM EDT

Odd bit of role reversal on today's Morning Joe . . . 

There was Mika Brzezinski, ripping Charlie Crist as unprincipled for his mid-campaign ditching of the Republican party.  Joe Scarborough, the quondam GOP congressman from the Sunshine State, was in a much more forgiving mood, going so far as to predict that, following in Crist's footsteps, many others would successfully go the independent route.

Mika and Joe's exchange was triggered by the news that Crist's own Lieutenant Governor, Jeff Kottkamp, has endorsed Marco Rubio for Senate.

August 4, 2010, 9:49 PM EDT

Did you think that, with the perspective that time tends to impart, Alan Grayson would have backed off his unhinged allegation that Republicans wanted sick people to die quickly?  Trick question! I did say Alan Grayson.  On the evening's Ed Show, the dippy Dem congressman from Florida emphatically stated that his ugly assertion, made on the floor of the House, was "the truth."

Grayson was responding to the suggestion by Kurt Kelly--one of the seven Republicans vying for the right to knock Grayson off--that by missing a vote on an allocation of funds for our overseas military, perhaps Grayson wanted the troops to die.  Kelly was clearly riffing off Grayson's earlier allegation.  That didn't stop Grayson from taking great umbrage, claiming that the difference between his assertion and Kelly's was that Kelly was lying whereas he Grayson was telling "the truth."

August 2, 2010, 8:43 AM EDT

Of all networks to go on to accuse Fox News hosts of faux anger, Anthony Weiner chose MSNBC.  You know, MSNBC--home to Ed Schultz, who into his mid-40s was a Republican, and who described himself as a "fresh conservative voice" in seeking a GOP congressional nomination.  MSNBC.  Keith Olbermann's hang-out, the man whose stagey histrionics have made him a laughingstock even at his sister network's Saturday Night Live.

Weiner made his allegation in the course of responding to Mika Brzezinski, who asked whether he regretted "losing it" on the House floor last week in a vein-popping diatribe that became an instant YouTube classic. Said Mika savvily: "Come on. You've been on television. You understand how it all works. You knew it would be all over the place. Do you regret losing it?"

An unrepentant Weiner, rather than apologizing for his televised tirade, chose to point the finger at Fox.

August 1, 2010, 8:21 AM EDT

On this weekend's Fox News Watch, panelist Jim Pinkerton proposed a simple way to clear up much of the murk surrounding JournoList.  Let the Washington Post respond to the 20 questions about the matter that MRC head Brent Bozell has posed to the Post's executive editor, Marcus Brauchli, in an open letter.

JournoList was created by lefty blogger Ezra Klein in 2007, who continued to run it after becoming a Post staffer in 2009.

Responding to Pinkerton's proposal, Newsday columnist Ellis Henican, a liberal member of the News Watch panel, swung and missed at Bozell . . . 

July 31, 2010, 10:34 AM EDT

It's "royal." It's of "historic proportions."  It's Chelsea Clinton's wedding, and CBS apologizes for letting actual news get in the way of its breathless coverage.

Anchoring the coverage in Rhinebeck, Early Show weekend co-host Erica Hill, after referring to the event as "America's royal wedding," threw it back to a remorseful Chris Wragge in the studio, who promised to get back to Erica in "just a couple of minutes" after a couple of news items "we have to address."  When she got the ball back, Hill described the wedding as being of "historic proportions."

July 30, 2010, 8:03 PM EDT

Hey, it's Friday night. Time to kick back and enjoy some—unintentional—humor, courtesy Ed Schultz.

Big Ed sees soup lines around the corner if we "continue to follow the Republicans" [sic].  His solution to stave off disaster?  The extension of unemployment benefits. . .  . "endlessly."

Say Ed, are you aware that FDR's New Deal socialism failed to dent the Depression?

July 29, 2010, 9:04 AM EDT

The risk that Afghanistan might once again become a staging ground for al Qaeda attacks on the US?  Meh.

The danger of cross-border raids from Afghanistan into Pakistan that could lead to nuclear weapons falling into the hands of terrorists?  Yawn.

But a US withdrawal from Afghanistan that would lead to a setback for women's liberation there?  Now you've got the liberal media concerned!  Rick Stengel of Time gave a perfect illustration of the phenomenon on today's Morning Joe.  As is his Friday wont, he unveiled the new Time cover, which portrays the heart-rending image of a young Afghani woman who had her nose and ears cut off for fleeing an abusive family and husband.  [Disturbing screencap after the jump.]

July 29, 2010, 8:09 AM EDT

Barack might have some 'splaining to do . . .

Appearing on The View, the president explained to Barbara Walters that he chose to come on the program because it's a show Michelle actually watches. According to PBO, the First Lady is "like eh" about news shows, grabbing the clicker [see screencap after jump] and turning away from them.

Was it really necessary for the President to dis his wife's interest in current events to explain his presence on the show?  Somehow I sense that a Republican president saying something similar would come in for a heap of feminist criticism.  Transcript after the jump.

Willie Geist introduced the segment on today's Morning Joe.

July 28, 2010, 6:07 PM EDT

Pogrom: etymology--Yiddish, from Russian, literally, devastation. "An organized massacre of helpless people; specifically, such a massacre of Jews." -- Merriam-Webster

Chris Matthews has pulled off the rare unassisted triple-play of inanity.  On this evening's Hardball, he:

  1. argued that enforcing the Arizona immigration law would put police officers in danger because illegals caught in a stop would be under tremendous "moral pressure" to use violence to escape;
  2. repeatedly abused a Republican guest.  For the sin of disagreeing with him on immigration law, Matthews variously slimed Arizona state Sen. Rick Murphy as a "B.S. artist," a "hopeless right-winger," and "not serious;" and
  3. most egregiously, claimed that deporting illegal immigrants from the US would constitute a "pogrom."
July 28, 2010, 11:41 AM EDT

Among the many great parodies that Rush Limbaugh airs, a personal favorite is the "ad" for the New York Times [subscription required] in which Rush, serving as spokesman, says "if you want your sleeper cell to sleep safely, read the New York Times."  Rush goes on to catalog the various types of information vital to keeping terrorists safe that the Gray Lady thoughtfully provides in its pages.

Now comes confirmation that the parody is telling a fundamental truth.  On MSNBC this morning, NBC's chief Pentagon correspondent, Jim Miklaszewski stated that foreigners who might otherwise be inclined to provide information valuable to the United States in prosecuting the war on terror refuse to do so because "whatever we tell you is going to wind up on the front page of the New York Times."

Mik made his statement in the context of discussing a report that latest Wikileaks on Afghanistan reveal the name of many informants, putting them at risk for retaliation.

July 28, 2010, 7:16 AM EDT

If only women ruled the world . . .

Striking a blow for her sex, Mika Brzezinski today claimed that the Wall Street meltdown "simply would not have happened" if more women had been in charge.

The Morning Joe co-host was reacting to news that the Dems managed to slip into the recently enacted financial regulation bill a provision--authored by Rep. Maxine Waters--that would create "at least 20 new Offices of Minority and Women Inclusion" with the power to kill government contracts with financial firms not meeting new "diversity standards."

Tina Brown seconded her sister's sentiment, blaming the financial industry's woes on "all this phallic obsession."

What's good for Wall Street is presumably good for Washington, too.  Mika Brzezinski--founder of Feminists For Palin, perhaps?

July 26, 2010, 6:13 PM EDT

Damned if you do, damned if you don't . . .

Imagine if a Republican candidate had been caught on tape praising birthers.  Chris Matthews would have been all over him. So what happens when a Republican candidate is caught on tape criticizing birthers?  Why, Chris Matthews is . . .  all over him, of course. Bizarrely, the Hardball host actually labelled the matter "Macaca 2.0," invoking the incident that--with the help of scores of stories in the Washington Post--brought down George Allen.

The candidate in question is Ken Buck, whom Matthews described as the front-runner for the GOP nomination for US Senate from Colorado.  Matthews rolled audio of Buck calling birthers who confront him with questions about Pres. Obama's birth certificate "dumbasses."

July 26, 2010, 8:31 AM EDT

So there was Robert Gibbs on the White House lawn, defending to Mika Brzezinski the letter from the Obama administration saying it favored a compassionate release of the Lockerbie bomber over a prisoner transfer.  Oh, wait.  That wasn't the White House press secretary—it was Chuck Todd.  Sorry about that. But when you view the video I think you might forgive my error.  Todd certainly came across like a paid administration flack . . .

In the course of his conversation with Mika on today's Morning Joe, Todd labelled "outlandish" the depiction by the Sunday Times of London of the US position as "double-talk."  As Mika continued to press the case, suggesting the US could simply have expressed its implacable opposition to any form of release, Todd complained that it was "easy to back-seat drive" the Obama admin's handling of the matter.  Perhaps most laughably, Todd defended the Obama admin's "delicate" diplomacy by claiming "any administration" would have done the same and raising the what-if of another country trying to tell our government what to do.  You mean, like Pres. Obama's moves to close Gitmo and take other measures weakening US national security because other countries have complained about them?

July 23, 2010, 7:33 PM EDT

What is it with liberals and their violent fantasies? The Journolist has given us a public radio producer imagining herself laughing with glee as Rush dies a painful death, while other members want their political enemies thrown through plate-glass windows.
This evening brings us "comedian" and liberal radio talk show host Stephanie Miller fantasizing about Bill O'Reilly, Glenn Beck and Geraldo Rivera being beaten with baseball bats by drunken Yankee fans.  Miller was a guest on Ed Schultz's week-ending "Club Ed" segment.

July 23, 2010, 9:14 AM EDT

Senators Wanted: Non-believers in big government need not apply.

That would apparently be the classified ad Mark Whitaker would run.  Criticizing Sharron Angle this morning, MSNBC's DC bureau chief sniffed that people like her "are running to be part of a government they don't believe in."

Whitaker made his remark in the course of commenting on a Politico story about Angle walking away from an event without speaking with reporters.  But the bigger story is the MSM mindset that Whitaker exposed: the only people who are worthy of office are those who look at the government in DC and believe in what they see.  Candidates with strong objections to the size and scope of our government, who want to cut it down to size, are unworthy, indeed, illegitimate.

July 22, 2010, 7:25 AM EDT

Jonathan Capehart is the early frontrunner to win my Obama Parrot of the Week, the dubious award I hand out on my local TV show to the media member most wantonly toeing the White House line.

On today's Morning Joe, the Washington Post editorialist, trying to suggest the White House was not involved in the firing of Shirley Sherrod, offered a strained theory of how Sherrod misunderstood what she was being told by a USDA official about the White House wanting her gone.

But when Willie Geist asked the obvious question, Capehart's house of cards largely crumbled, forcing Jonathan to beat a hasty tactical retreat.  It's actually quite amusing: do check out the video.

July 21, 2010, 8:21 PM EDT

Hey, it's been a long day with all this Sherrod stuff.  So let's kick back and enjoy some—unintentional—humor, courtesy Ed Schultz.  On his MSNBC show this evening, Ed advised Dems not to go on Fox News because they'll "beat you up."  Schultz then unleashed a torrent of venom on Andrew Breitbart, saying among—many—other things that Breitbart is a "nutjob" who "makes me sick."

But Schultz began the show by whining because—ready?—Breitbart wouldn't come on Ed's show.