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
December 10, 2007, 6:05 PM EST

Just in case you thought Paul Begala's boorishness knew any bounds . . .

Bill Clinton's former adviser was a guest on the Situation Room this afternoon on CNN. Talk turned to the strategy Republicans should adopt in upcoming special elections.

WOLF BLITZER: How much of a lightning rod -- you're an expert on this subject -- will Hillary Clinton be for Republicans out there, cause they're already, in some of these special elections that are coming up, they're already pointed to her to try to help Republican candidates?

View video here.

December 10, 2007, 7:21 AM EST

As Republican primary campaign slogans go, "Endorsed by Frank Rich!" might not be a candidate's strongest play. But for better or worse Mike Huckabee is essentially stuck with it after Rich's NYT's column of yesterday. The ostensible theme of "The Republicans Find Their Obama" is that Republican voters are leaning toward Huckabee for the same reasons that Dems are trending to Obama: that both men are relatively young, speak across racial lines, are witty and avoid hyper-partisanship.

But dig down a bit deeper, and it appears that Huckabee's real appeal for Rich is that, social issues aside, he is the most liberal of the GOP frontrunners. Making his case for Huckabee, Rich goes so far to dabble in Christian theology [emphasis added]:

December 9, 2007, 7:28 AM EST

Steve Fraser might look mild-mannered, but when it comes to economic doomsaying, he is the Rocky Marciano of recession, the Tiger Woods of turndown, the David Beckham of depression.

Speaking of bending one, Fraser's LA Times column of today, "Symptoms of an Economic Depression," twists U.S. economic data into a harbinger of impending doom. Fraser begins by falsely claiming that "no one wants to utter the word 'depression.'" In fact, Fraser himself, a left-wing labor historian, wants not merely to utter it, but to bellow the word with a 10,000 megawatt bullhorn. Why? Because, as he gleefully predicts in that same column:

This perfect storm [of a bad economy] will be upon us just as the election season heats up, and it will inevitably hasten the already well-advanced implosion of the Republican Party.
December 8, 2007, 10:57 AM EST
Lawrence O'Donnell, already infamous for his in-your-face rant at John O'Neill of the Swiftboat Veterans, is at it again. This time, the object of O'Donnell's obloquy is Mitt Romney, and in particular his Mormon religion. Appearing on last night's McLaughlin group, O'Donnell indulged in an angry, protracted condemnation of Mormonism.

Excerpts:
  • This was the worst political speech of my lifetime. Because this man stood there and said to you "this is the faith of my fathers." And you, and none of these commentators who liked this speech realized that the faith of his fathers is a racist faith. As of 1978 it was an officially racist faith, and for political convenience in 1978 it switched. And it said "OK, black people can be in this church." He believes, if he believes the faith of his fathers, that black people are black because in heaven they turned away from God, in this demented, Scientology-like notion of what was going on in heaven before the creation of the earth.
View video here.
December 7, 2007, 8:17 AM EST
NewsBusters.org --- Media Research Center"We'll go to a revival and then go to Guantanamo Bay and torture some people just for fun." -- David Shuster on evangelicals, 12-7-07


So astonishingly malicious were the words of David Shuster today that they leave me at a loss for words of my own. So let's just say it simply: David Shuster is an anti-evangelical bigot.

Video (0:35): Real (991 kB) and Windows (1.11 MB), plus MP3 audio (274 kB).

December 6, 2007, 12:12 PM EST

Pat Buchanan was very moved. Chris Matthews "heard greatness this morning." Joe Scarborough said Romney "hit it out the park." But with his speech on faith this morning, Mitt clearly didn't make a believer out of Sally Quinn, doyenne of the DC establishment and wife of former WaPo editor Ben Bradlee.

SALLY QUINN: I have to say that I'm really stunned because I think it was an obliteration of the idea of the separation of church and state. He eliminated anybody who was a doubter, an atheist, an agnostic, a seeker. It's like, if you believe in God or Christ, if not, you're not.

View video here.

December 6, 2007, 8:09 AM EST

After the Venezuela referendum, I 'd been waiting for the first MSMer to make an invidious comparison between Hugo Chavez and George W. Bush.

Didn't take long:

"[D]emocracy was alive and vital in Venezuela on Sunday in a way foreign to President Bush’s America."

That's Roger Cohen writing in today's New York Times, reacting to Chavez's apparent acceptance of the referendum results that turned thumbs down on his "reforms" that would have effectively made him dictator.

The Times's "International Writer-at-Large" is careful to temper his praise of Chavez with some boilerplate criticism, calling him a "strongman" and a "menace." But, time and again, Cohen returns to his theme: that democracy is more alive and well in Venezuela than in the U.S. under President Bush.

Excerpts:

December 5, 2007, 8:23 PM EST
Following the recent GOP debate in which CNN chose to air a YouTube question putting candidates on the spot as to their belief in the literal truth of the Bible, there was much breast-beating as to the inappropriateness of religious tests for office.

But that didn't stop Tucker Carlson's two liberal guests this evening from taking potshots on religious grounds at President Bush and Mitt Romney.

View video here.

Liberal talk radio shot host Ed Schultz was first, mocking President Bush's faith:
December 4, 2007, 12:07 PM EST

Can I get an "argh"?

As detailed here, "Abu Omar al-Baghdadi" was long-ago outed as a figment of al Qaeda-in-Iraq's imagination, a transparent attempt to give a home-grown flavor to the foreign-controlled AQI operation by claiming that the non-existent Baghdadi, supposedly an Iraqi, was AQI's leader.

But despite the debunking of the bogus Mr. Baghdadi, the environmentally-sensitive Reuters recycles him today in its story "Al Qaeda-linked leader orders Iraq bombings".

December 4, 2007, 8:13 AM EST
That Hillary Clinton -- such a prankster! Yes, if there's one thing Hillary is known for, it's her great sense of humor and light touch. So when she included Barack Obama's statements as a third-grader and kindergartner in her press release for purposes of demonstrating he was lying when he said he hadn't long harbored presidential ambitions, we should have all realized it was just one more of Hillary's rib-ticklers. Too bad that gullible old MSM let itself get spun.

That in essence is what Mark Penn [file photo], Hillary's chief strategist, would have people believe about the press release Clinton put out two days ago. Penn appeared on today's Morning Joe, and talked soon turned to the release. No fewer than four times, Penn tried to pass off the to-all-appearances dead serious kindergarten citation as a "joke":
December 3, 2007, 10:37 AM EST

Update 12-03 | 1:55 PM: Barack fires back; claims Hillary becoming "more desperate and negative by the day." See complete update at foot.

Are Hillary's internal polling numbers telling her staffers that she's in big trouble? That's the provocative theory that Chris Matthews floated on today's Morning Joe.

Host Joe Scarborough asked what could have caused Hillary and her senior aide Howard Wolfson to go on the attack against Barack Obama this weekend, respectively questioning his character and accusing him of maintaining an improper political "slush fund." In response, Matthews conjectured that Hillary's helpers have looked at the polling data . . . and seen her support "crashing."

View video here [with apologies for mediocre video quality.]

December 3, 2007, 7:36 AM EST

Returning to the airwaves this morning after a seven-month exile, Don Imus seemed intent on demonstrating two things. First, that he was unequivocally contrite concerning the comments he had made about the Rutgers University women's basketball players that resulted in his firing. Second, his contrition notwithstanding, he wasn't going to change his irreverent ways when it came to the country's political leaders.

To prove his iconoclastic bona fides, Imus concluded his monologue by observing "Dick Cheney is still a war criminal, and Hillary Clinton is still Satan."

Listen to audio here [with apologies for the mediocre sound quality.]

But before ending on that defiant note, he took several minutes to describe his meeting with the women of the Rutgers team, and the way the entire experience had changed him.

Excerpts from Imus's remarks:

December 2, 2007, 12:31 PM EST
The Democrats are better at understanding the impact of globalization on working people in America. The wages that have been arrested and halted in their growth, while, you know the boys in investment banking are making 10 times the average income of an American. I think the Democrats understand the consequences of it more than the Republicans and, frankly, another disagreement I've got with Republicans is that they are compulsive interventionists. They seem to have learned nothing and forgotten nothing from what happened in Iraq when they are talking about doing the same thing in Iran. -- Pat Buchanan, November 29, 2007

The next time you hear the MSM defending itself against charges of a lack of balance by pointing to Pat Buchanan's presence on its panels, remember his statement above. On globalization, Pat echoes the Seattle street protesters, seasoned with some John Edwards "Two Americas" rhetoric about Wall Street fat cats. On foreign policy, Pat sounds like someone auditioning for Secretary of Peace in Pres. Kucinich's cabinet.
December 2, 2007, 8:09 AM EST
"A camel is a horse designed by committee." -- ascribed to Sir Alexander Arnold Constantine Issigonis.

Perhaps the only thing more likely to yield ungainly results than a committee designing a horse is a Democrat designing a Republican presidential ticket. David Broder tries his hand at it in his WaPo column today, "Principles Amid the GOP Pack. The result is a double-humped dromedary known as McCain-Huckabee.

December 1, 2007, 8:50 AM EST
OK, this is getting downright weird. Not one, not two but now three Gail Collins columns within three weeks dealing in one way or another with Rudy Giuliani's sentimental attachments. On November 8th came the suggestively-headlined "Pat Loves Rudy," about the Robertson endorsement. As observed here, that column contained Collins lurid allusion to Rudy "busy committing adultery." Just two days later, as noted here, Collins captioned her column about the Kerik indictment "Rudy and Bernie: B.F.F.’s" ["Best Friends Forever," in the lingo of groovy gals like Gail].

November 30, 2007, 9:49 PM EST

Keith Olbermann: new Puritan? Perhaps.

Unless memory fails it's hard to recall Keith condemning Bill Clinton for his flings on grounds of morality. But when it comes to a Republican presidential candidate, has the Countdown host gone Cotton Mather on us?

Newsweek's Jonathan Alter was Olbermann's guest on this evening's Countdown to discuss the issue of Giuliani's accounting for the expenses of his security detail accompanying him on trips to Long Island, assertedly for purposes of visiting his then girlfriend and wife-to-be Judith Nathan.

View video here.

November 30, 2007, 8:25 AM EST

So that's why they call it "the graveyard shift."

There's little the MSM likes more than to report the latest thing that's bad for us. Today's news brings a double-header of doom: night shifts and salt.

First, the AP reports that the UN's World Health Organization will soon list working the night shift "as a 'probable' cause of cancer."

Then Reuters informs us that the Center for Science in the Public Interest, arguing that excessive salt in Americans' diets is a major factor in high blood pressure and increases risk for heart disease, is urging stricter regulation of salt by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

November 30, 2007, 7:15 AM EST
A conservative comedian [yes, there are some], appears at a venue in a heavily-white suburb at a campaign event for a white candidate and tells his audience composed overwhelmingly of people of pallor they'd be embarrassed if they supported a black candidate and the white candidate won, saying "Oh no. I can't call him now. I had that black guy. What was I thinking?"

What are the odds the MSM would laugh it off?

But when Chris Rock does the equivalent on behalf of Barack Obama, the MSM raises nary an eyebrow. Rock appeared last night at an event for Barack Obama at Harlem's famed Apollo Theater and said:
"You'd be real embarrassed if he won and you wasn't down with it. You'd say, 'aw man, I can't call him now. I had that white lady. What was I thinking?'"

View video here.

November 29, 2007, 7:24 AM EST

Update | 8:05 AM: Hillary's Howard tries to weasel out. See update at foot.

Like Rudy and Romney going after each other over immigration last night at the GOP debate, MSNBC was taking some jabs at rival CNN this morning on the issue of the gay questioner who turned out to be a member of Hillary Clinton's campaign.

"Morning Joe" host Joe Scarborough scoffed at the notion that no one at CNN was aware of retired Brigadier General Keith Kerr's involvement with the Clinton campaign.

View video here.

November 28, 2007, 7:19 PM EST
NewsBusters.org - Media Research CenterTheir infidels are committing suicide by the hundreds on the gates of Baghdad . . . Be assured, Baghdad is safe, protected. There are no American infidels in Baghdad . . . There is no presence of American infidels in the city of Baghdad. -- Saddam's Information Minister Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf, AKA "Baghdad Bob."

Not bad, Bob. But if you want to see how flackery is done at its supremely sycophantic best, you should have tuned into tonight's "Tucker" to catch Lanny Davis's act, as he defended Bill Clinton's claim to have opposed the Iraq war "from the beginning."

View video here.