Mark Finkelstein has a B.S. from Cornell University, an Ed.M. and a J.D., magna cum laude, from SUNY Buffalo, and an LL.M. from Harvard Law. In 2011, Mark moved to Pecan Plantation, Texas from his long-time home in Ithaca, NY where he hosted "Right Angle," an award-winning local political talk show. Mark is an aviation buff and holds an instrument rating.  Mark spent ten days in Iraq in November, 2006, mainly in Anbar Province. Email: mark.finkelstein@gmail.com
 

Latest from Mark Finkelstein
October 24, 2007, 9:23 PM EDT
Was it just a slip of the tongue, or did Josephine "Josie" Hearn of Politico just let her liberal slip show? On this evening's "Tucker," she sure seemed to wax enthusiastic over a positive poll result for Hillary.

Norah O'Donnell subbed for Tucker Carlson on his MSNBC show this evening, and talk turned to the latest LA Times|Bloomberg poll, which put Hillary at 48%, with Obama at 17% and Edwards trailing with 13%. Norah invited Hearn to comment.
NORAH O'DONNELL: Josie, it just shows she's continuing her wide margin on just about every demographic, right?
October 24, 2007, 5:45 PM EDT

See Update at Foot -- FEMA Administrator flatly debunks Garamendi

Good on Tamron Hall.

On the one hand, as I've noted here and here, Hall let her liberal leanings show more than once when serving as a "Morning Joe" panelist. But the MSNBC anchor is also the daughter of a career Army man, and clearly knows and respects the military.

When Dem John Garamendi, the California Lt. Gov., appeared on MSNBC this afternoon, Hall took the occasion to challenge him over the misleading remarks about the California National Guard that he made yesterday to Chris Matthews during an interview in which he also spoke most ungraciously, as I noted here, about Pres. Bush's impending visit to California.

October 24, 2007, 1:18 PM EDT
It might not be as sexy as an item about an MSM anchor exposing his liberal bias. But if there's one thing I'd encourage conservatives to read, consider and act on in the blogosphere today, it is the Patrick Ruffni column "Information Gaps on the Right" at Hugh Hewitt's blog.

Ruffini's fundamental point is the need for professionalized, conservative "feeder blogs," sites that "tee up" information for other blogs. Ruffini points to Think Progress as a model from the left of what this should be:
October 24, 2007, 7:47 AM EDT

See update at foot -- ESPN teases football player for dressing like Tinky Winky.

Like a youngster stubbornly unwilling to admit that the Tooth Fairy isn't real, Keith Olbermann seems unable to accept that Tinky Winky is gay. Perhaps the MSNBC host should check with some of his more sophisticated friends.

On last night's show, Olbermann imagined he was having fun at this NewsBuster's expense, mocking my item from earlier this week, Gay Dumbledore: Somewhere, Jerry Falwell Is Smiling.

View video here.

October 23, 2007, 6:50 PM EDT
President Bush has shown that he can be empathetic, sensitive and decisive. But those qualities eluded him for days after Hurricane Katrina . . . He didn't cancel his vacation until two days after Katrina struck and didn't visit the region until four days after the storm. -- "A compassionate Bush was absent right after Katrina", USA Today, 9-9-05
USA Today's broadside is typical of the MSM criticism leveled at Pres. Bush for his failure to visit New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. So, now that President Bush has announced that he will be visiting California on Thursday while the wildfire flames are still burning, naturally the MSM and Dems will put politics aside and laud his decision, right?

I did say "the MSM and Dems."

View video here.

October 23, 2007, 10:05 AM EDT

The genius of Rush Limbaugh is his ability to distill wisdom into kernels that make sense to millions of Americans. He gave good examples of that talent in the course of his appearance on today's "Morning Joe."

Rush began by praising CNBC's Erin Burnett, a frequent "Morning Joe" contributor.

View video here.

October 22, 2007, 6:00 PM EDT

File this one under "Mental Images We Could Do Without."

Discussing her attempt to straddle the Iran issue, Chris Matthews has accused Hillary Clinton of a "wide stance." For some time, the "Hardball" host has been making the point that while Hillary now claims she voted for the 2002 Iraq resolution only for purposes of authorizing more diplomacy, at the time everyone and his uncle knew that it was a war authorization.

For example, interviewing Hillary advisor Howard Wolfson on "Hardball" back in July, Matthews stated: "Anybody who didn't think we were going to war in the months leading up to the war in Iraq wasn't paying attention."

Today, Matthews employed the infelicitous metaphor for purposes of accusing Hillary of pulling a similar stunt on Iran.

View video here.

October 22, 2007, 1:21 PM EDT
"It’s a children’s show, folks. To think we would be putting sexual innuendo in a children’s show is kind of outlandish." -- spokesman for Itsy Bitsy Entertainment Co., which licenses Teletubby characters in the United States.

Yeah, outlandish. I mean, how could anyone imagine there could be undisclosed gay characters in pop-culture materials for children? That Jerry Falwell, what a Christian conservative crank! We all remember how the MSM rightly unloaded on him when he suggested that the Teletubby Tinky Winky could be a hidden homosexual, because "he is purple, the gay pride color, and his antenna is shaped like a triangle, the gay pride symbol." Not to mention that he carried a purse. What ridiculous speculation!

October 22, 2007, 8:41 AM EDT

Careening from the accusatory to the adoring, there was only one constant in Ann Curry's interview of Benazir Bhutto aired on this morning's "Today": an over-the-top emotionalism that had the show's news anchor lurching from shouted accusations to the verge of tears.

Curry is in Pakistan this week, and scored an exclusive with Bhutto, whose triumphal return to the country where she has served as Prime Minister ended in tragedy as terrorist bombs on her motorcade route killed about 140 people. Curry began her interview by focusing on Bhutto's feelings of responsibility for those deaths. While the transcript is telling, only the video completely conveys Curry's mawkish meltdown.

View video here.

October 20, 2007, 4:50 PM EDT

During rendition of the national anthem when the flag is displayed, all present except those in uniform should stand at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart. Men not in uniform should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart. -- United States Code, Title 36, Chapter 10, Sec. 171

Turns out that not wearing a flag lapel pin isn't the only way Barack Obama chooses to show he's a different kind of Democrat.

Have a look at the photo from the October 1, 2007 edition of "Time." It shows Obama, Hillary and Bill Richardson at the Steak Fry of Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) on September 17 in Indianola, IA during [according to the photo caption] the National Anthem. Richardson and Clinton have their hands on their heart. But not Obama. Does he perhaps believe that, like wearing the flag pin, the hand on the heart isn't "true patriotism"?

View video of anthem-playing here, showing that Obama never placed hand over heart. Warning: prepare ears for fingernails-on-blackboard rendition of anthem.

October 20, 2007, 1:58 PM EDT

Given his show's modest ratings, it's unlikely that Keith Olbermann would be in a position to make a multi-million dollar donation to charity anytime soon. But let's imagine he did. Do you think that, in a segment on a related subject, NBC might find a moment to mention Olbermann's generosity?

So do I.

But "Today" managed to get through its report this morning about Rush Limbaugh's auctioning off of the Harry Reid letter . . . without mentioning that Rush has publicly pledged to match the $2.1 million winning bid.

View video here.

October 19, 2007, 6:51 PM EDT

A few days after 9-11, President Bush, in an impromptu moment on the White House lawn, referred to the war on terrorism as a crusade. What does that have to do with the vile claim Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.) made this week that Pres. Bush sends our soldiers to Iraq to have their heads blown off for his "amusement"?

Nothing that I can see. But on this afternoon's "Hardball," Chris Matthews dredged up that and a couple other statements from the president's past and staged a segment asking whether they were worse than Stark's line. Note the graphic in the screencap, in which MSNBC absurdly asks "who should apologize, Rep. Stark or Pres. Bush?"

View video here.

October 19, 2007, 7:42 AM EDT
Did I miss the joke? Was there something funny about what Pete Stark (D-Calif.) said on the floor of the House, claiming that President Bush sends our soldiers to Iraq to get their heads blown off for his amusement? Craig Crawford can apparently see some humor in it.

Crawford appeared on today's "Morning Joe," and while the MSNBC political analyst certainly didn't approve Stark's statement, he did try to soft-pedal it, smilingly portraying it as just one more outburst from a congressional scamp.

View video here.
October 18, 2007, 8:12 PM EDT

Hillary Clinton doesn't just want to give us all free healthcare and fix things in Iraq. No, she's set her sights much, much higher -- nothing short of "repairing the world." At least, so says her avid supporter, Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY).

In the wake of Hillary's "National Women's Finance Council Summit," a campaign event in which she explicitly appealed to women to vote for her because of her sex [raising $1.5 million along the way], Lowey was a guest on this evening's "Tucker." Host Carlson was prodding the congresswoman to explain just what it is about a woman president that would be different from a man.

View video here.

October 18, 2007, 7:38 AM EDT

A voguish Dem theme is that America's reputation in the world has been eroded and that the next Dem president will restore it. Hillary Clinton has gone so far as to propose appointing Bill as a "roving" [I'll say] ambassador for such purposes. We can safely ignore such fluff as so much presidential-season silliness. A great nation's reputation is forged not by its goodwill ambassadors, but by its actions.

But while the bad-mouthing of America might be written off as so much election-year posturing, there is in fact an important, ironic lesson to be drawn, and it was on display during today's "Morning Joe." For her "must-read" of the morning, Mika Brzezinski chose a USA Today column by Alan M. Webber, "From afar, America resembles a 2nd-rate power", and paraphrased this paragraph from it:

View video here.

October 17, 2007, 1:31 PM EDT

It took 15 years to become official, but Carole Simpson has now confirmed what we always suspected: she's a Clinton backer. Readers will recall that during the 1992 campaign, the then ABC News anchor moderated a presidential debate in which she made life uncomfortable for Bush 41, notably with her snide "who would like to begin, the 'education president?'" poke.

According to this Boston Globe article, back in 2003 Simpson was "eased out" of her anchor chair in favor of Elizabeth Vargas. Simpson has now taken a teaching position at Emerson College in Boston, and last night turned up at a Clinton campaign stop in Salem, New Hampshire, where she proceeded to endorse Hillary's presidential bid. Here's how "First Read," a frequently-updated analysis of the day's political news from the NBC News political unit, reported it [emphasis added]:

October 17, 2007, 7:37 AM EDT
He might be a middle-aged white guy from the Mountain West, but Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) suddenly understands the travails of people stopped for "DWB": driving while black. In the course of his interview with Matt Lauer, aired last night and excerpted on this morning's "Today," Craig tried to play the profiling card.
MATT LAUER: The fact that these motions seemed to replicate a well-established sequence of signals for soliciting anonymous sex, it's a coincidence?
View video here.
October 16, 2007, 9:03 PM EDT
The MSM's McCain mania of 2000, the hysteria of the Straight Talk Express, might be history. But some of the liberal media's infatuation with John McCain clearly lives on. It was on display during today's "Hardball" in Chris Matthews's friendly, respectful interview of McCain. The most telling point came as Matthews suggested that compromising his principles exacts a psychic cost from McCain, whereas Mitt Romney does so without problem. Matthews began by teeing up a very comfortable question for the Senator from Arizona.

View video here.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: On the questions of who's the real Republican, now the issue has come up here with Romney saying he's from the Republican wing of the Republican party. He stole the phrase obviously from Howard Dean, when he was "the Democratic wing of the Democratic party." Is that a fair claim?
October 16, 2007, 7:33 AM EDT
When it comes to global-warming alarmism, it takes a lot to make Al Gore look moderate. Even the IPCC, the UN group that shared the Nobel with him, predicts on average a sea-level rise only 1/12th as high as the 20 feet by 2100 that Gore has forecast.

But when it comes to sky-is-burning scaremongering, the former Veep has met his match in the person of Paul Epstein. The scenario he sketches in his "Looking back"column in today's Boston Globe is so wildly alarmist that you could imagine a sci-fi movie Hollywood honcho rejecting it as too implausible.

As far as Epstein's concerned, the apocalypse can't wait till 2100 He looks back from only next year to predict the following litany of environmental disasters:
October 15, 2007, 12:48 PM EDT
Stand aside, Sherlock Holmes: the inquisitive Conservative Belle is at it again. After catching David Shuster out over his inquisition of Rep. Marsha Blackburn, the blogging belle trained her sights on Media Matters's fundraising practices. And now, a response she has received from an investigator at the Maryland Secretary of State's office, and reproduced in her blog of today, strongly suggests that Media Matters is in violation of the state's laws on soliciting contributions.

CB, as we like to call her, had initially raised the question in this post of October 6th. Media Matters has been sending out emails containing links to its fundaising page. This would clearly seem to constitute a solicitation. Yet as per CB's digging, Media Matters had not complied with all the registration requirements in Maryland, and under the state's law, would be prohibited from soliciting in the state.

To test her theory, she sent an email to the Maryland Secretary of State's Office, and today received this reply: