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 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:
October 15, 2007, 6:53 AM EDT

This could be a first: someone accusing Paul Krugman of being insufficiently insulting to conservatives.

That someone is, unsurprisingly, David Shuster, the rabidly anti-conservative MSNBC "correspondent." Shuster is appearing on [was exiled to?] today's "Morning Joe." When it came time to share his "must-read" of the morning, Shuster eschewed Krugman's column, "Gore Derangement Syndrome," observing that "Gore is a little bit passé at this point."

Give Shuster credit for sensing that Americans have had enough of Al, thank you very much. But that didn't stop Mika Brzezinski from citing that same Krugman column as her must-read. Figures. And when she did, Shuster pouted that Krugman hadn't used the pejorative.

View video here.

October 14, 2007, 7:03 AM EDT
It's not as if Frank Rich has a deep and abiding hatred of his nation's leadership, or contempt for his fellow Americans. It's just that he accuses the Bush administration of using tactics worthy of the Gestapo -- the Nazi secret police headed by Heinrich Himmler -- and his fellow Americans of being like citizens of Hitler's Germany who turned a blind eye to the atrocities in their midst.

Those "see no evil' residents of the Third Reich came to be known as the "good Germans," and Rich unsubtly sets the tone for his New York Times column of this morning by entitling it "The 'Good Germans; Among Us."

Rich approvingly cites Andrew Sullivan's claim in last weekend's Sunday Times of London to the effect that "America’s 'enhanced interrogation' techniques have a grotesque provenance":
October 13, 2007, 9:03 AM EDT
The principle that there is a presumption of innocence in favor of the accused is the undoubted law, axiomatic and elementary, and its enforcement lies at the foundation of the administration of our criminal law -- U.S. Supreme Court, Coffin v. United States [1895].
Was [there] enough evidence to find that they were not guilty? -- ABC News, Matter of Martin Lee Anderson [2007].
Forget that musty old 19th-century Supreme Court stuff. According to ABC, there's a new legal standard in criminal cases; at least those in which the MSM is rooting for a conviction. Henceforth, the presumption of innocence is abolished. There shall be a presumption of guilt, and the burden will be on the accused to produce enough evidence to acquit himself.

View video here.
October 13, 2007, 7:29 AM EDT
Sure, Michael Vick has admitted involvement in dogfighting. But did you see how sharp he looked in that suit on the way to the courthouse? And yes, Mark McGwire bombed at those congressional hearings with his "I don't want to talk about the past" skate on steroids, but he's the epitome of what a XXXL Abercrombie & Fitch guy can be.

Inane as those comments are, they at least have the merit of being made by me in jest. But what is Robin Givhan's excuse for her similarly silly glorification of the fashion sense of another disgraced athlete, Marion Jones? For that's exactly what the Washington Post's style maven does in her column of this morning, "Marion Jones, a Success On the Glamour Track, Too".
October 12, 2007, 2:25 PM EDT
Reacting to the not-guilty verdicts in the Florida boot camp case involving the death of a 14-year old African-American boy, CNN anchor Don Lemon found the result "surprising." And both he and CNN reporter Susan Candiotti made clear that they bought into the prosecution's portrayal of the videotape of the incident.

Just before the verdicts came down, there was this exchange [emphasis added].
DON LEMON: How much of a role did this tape play into [sic] this trial?

SUSAN CANDIOTTI: Oh huge. This is the main evidence, isn't it? And as one of the prosecutors said, "there might not be sound on this tape, but it is screaming at you, 'why didn't someone do something?'"

View video here.