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.  He spent ten days in Iraq in November, 2006, mainly in Anbar Province. Email:

Latest from Mark Finkelstein
December 19, 2007, 7:25 AM EST
Talk about the dog that didn't bark . . .

As soon as I realized that Maureen Dowd's column of today, "Rush to Judgment" was indeed about Rush Limbaugh's recent observations about Hillary's looks, I braced myself for the backlash.

Surely Dowd would seek to unload on Rush for having said, in commenting on an unflattering photo of Hillary [displayed here] that turned up on Drudge, "will this country want to actually watch a woman get older before their eyes on a daily basis?” Added Rush “men aging makes them look more authoritative, accomplished, distinguished. Sadly, it’s not that way for women, and they will tell you.” And Hillary “is not going to want to look like she’s getting older, because it will impact poll numbers, it will impact perceptions [so] there will have to be steps taken to avoid the appearance of aging.”

And so I continued to read, and wait, and wait -- for the comeback that never came.
December 18, 2007, 1:34 PM EST - Media Research CenterAs noted here, Chris Matthews yesterday named former Iowa governor Tom Vilsack a member of Hillary's "eunuchs chorus," people he derided for "saying whatever the Clinton people told them to say." Today, Matthews might be claiming vindication. In an MSNBC interview with Andrea Mitchell, Vilsack parroted Hillary's word-'o-the-week--"change"--no fewer than eight times.

View the edited video clip of Vilsack crooning Hillary's "Change Chorus" here.
December 18, 2007, 8:50 AM EST

You'd hardly expect the chief Washington correspondent of business channel CNBC to negatively stereotype economic conservatives. But appearing on today's Morning Joe, the urbane John Harwood did just that.

View video here.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: [Huckabee is] a different type of evangelical. It's not the evangelical in American politics that's traditionally been very conservative economically. Obviously a lot of people at the Wall Street Journal don't like this guy.

HARWOOD: Oh yeah!
December 17, 2007, 9:57 PM EST

Despite his war wounds, can Bob Kerrey still kick Chris Matthews' butt? We might soon find out, because on this evening's Hardball Matthews lumped Kerrey into a group of Clinton sycophants he derided as "castratos" and a "eunuch chorus."

Chris was kvetching about the way a variety of Hillary Clinton supporters including Kerrey have lined up to take shots at Barack Obama. In endorsing Hillary yesterday, the former Nebraska senator went out of his way to draw attention to Obama's Muslim background.

View video here.

December 17, 2007, 1:06 PM EST

Is Hillary Clinton's campaign still communicating with Billy Shaheen? And does Hillary still consider Obama's youthful drug use a relevant campaign issue? Clinton wouldn't say this morning. Hillary sandwiched her evasions between two moments of mirth and hilarity on today's Morning Joe.

View video here.

Earlier in the morning, Hillary began her Today interview with David Gregory with a smile. Perhaps it was an intervening cup or two of strong coffee, but by the time she chatted with the Morning Joe crowd a bit later, Clinton was downright manic. Hillary was in full cackle as she attempted to laugh off her slippage in the polls. She ended the interview with some guffaws about the trials of waking up early on the campaign trail.

But in between, when it was Mika Brzezinski's turn to ask about continued communication between her campaign and Billy Shaheen, and the relevance of his allegations to the campaign, Hillary turned suddenly grim-faced [see image below] and evasive.

December 17, 2007, 9:57 AM EST

Is the MSM turning on Hillary?

Clinton began her Today interview with David Gregory with the radiant smile on display here. But it wasn't long before an irate Hillary was demanding "no, wait a minute" when things didn't go to her liking.

That's what a few minutes of serious Gregory grilling did to Clinton this morning. It was by far the most intense -- dare-I-say aggressive -- examination of Clinton I've seen this campaign season.

Throughout, Hillary clung as if to a life preserver to the endorsement she received from the Des Moines Register, whose editor is that same mirthless Carolyn Washburn who moderated the past week's debates. Strict School Marms of the World, Unite!

But Gregory kicked off his questioning by discounting the endorsement's value and things went downhill from there. Add the rough ride Gregory gave Clinton to the battering she took yesterday as noted here, here and here, and it's hard to escape the conclusion that the MSM has had it with Hillary.

View video here.

December 16, 2007, 8:11 PM EST
It's been a rough day for Hillary. First, as noted here, she was drummed from pillar to post on ABC's "This Week." NewsBuster Noel Sheppard then detailed here how Chris Matthews' crew raked her over the coals. Now, completing Hillary's troika of tribulation, the CBS Evening News has gotten into the act.

The development being reported was ostensibly positive for Hillary: the Des Moines Register today endorsed her. If CBS had stopped there, it would have been a plus for the Clinton campaign. But unfortunately for Hillary . . . the Evening News decided to play clips of Clinton on the stump in Iowa.
December 16, 2007, 1:28 PM EST

Worst job in America this morning: Clinton campaign staffer assigned to inform Hillary of her treatment at the hands of ABC's "This Week" panel.

From moderator George Stephanopoulos to former Gore campaign manager Donna Brazile, to the husband-wife tandem of Jay Carney of Time and Claire Shipman of ABC, to conservative sage George Will, it was a decidedly downbeat take on Hillary's fortunes.

View video here.

December 16, 2007, 6:37 AM EST

The devil made Larry do it.

Don't blame Lawrence O'Donnell for his ugly anti-Mormon rant. It was really the fault of O'Donnell's fellow panelists. That's Frank Rich's take on the unseemly episode on the McLaughlin Group a couple Fridays ago.In his NY Times column of today, Rich claims that O'Donnell was:

pushed over the edge by his peers’ polite chatter about Mitt Romney’s sermon on “Faith in America.” [Emphasis added.]


December 15, 2007, 12:18 PM EST

Gail Collins might not be as crude as Billy Shaheen. But in her own Grey Lady way, the NY Times columnist has recycled the insinuation that transformed Shaheen into an ex-Hillary co-chair.

Let's first have a look at Shaheen's statement, as reported by the Washington Post:

"The Republicans are not going to give up without a fight ... and one of the things they're certainly going to jump on is his drug use." Shaheen said Obama's candor on the subject would "open the door" to further questions. "It'll be, 'When was the last time? Did you ever give drugs to anyone? Did you sell them to anyone?'" Shaheen said. "There are so many openings for Republican dirty tricks. It's hard to overcome."

Compare and contrast with this paragraph from the end of Collins's column of today, "Barack’s Blast From the Past" [emphasis added]:

December 15, 2007, 8:39 AM EST

It's official: Time magazine hates Dick Cheney.

Last week, I noted here that two of Time's Top 10 Editorial Cartoons of 2007, including it's # 1 pick, took shots at the Vice-President. This morning, two Time editors turned up on the Today show to discuss more picks from Time's collection of 50 Top 10 lists. And speaking of taking shots . . . .

View video here.

Today weekend anchor Amy Robach's guest was Time's Arts & Entertainment Editor Belinda Luscombe [pictured below]. After discussing the Top Song of the year ["Rehab" by defiant druggy Amy Winehouse] and Top Gadget [iPhone], talk turned to the Top Magazine Cover.

December 14, 2007, 4:37 PM EST

Those Clinton campaigners sure know how to slip the "subliminable" shiv in. Yesterday, chief Hillary strategist Mark Penn managed to work "cocaine use" into his comments while supposedly disassociating the campaign from charges of Obama drug use made by Hillary's New Hampshire chairman. See video of Penn in action here.

Today, it was the turn of Hillary supporter Evan Bayh to whack Barack while pretending to take the high road. A bit after 3 PM ET this afternoon, the Dem senator from Indiana with the Eagle Scout aura [who might well have his eye on the VP slot] was being interviewed by MSNBC's Norah O'Donnell about the current turmoil in Camp Clinton.

View video here.

December 14, 2007, 9:01 AM EST

Is the MSM deciding that Hillary is irreparably-damaged goods and that it's time to move on to a Dem with a better shot at winning the White House? You might think so after the Today show's dismemberment of the Clinton campaign this morning.

Andrea Mitchell kicked things off with sharp stiletto heel.

View video here.

December 13, 2007, 8:36 PM EST

This is getting wild . ..

The Iowa caucuses might be a few weeks off, but MSNBC pundits have already cast a resounding "no" vote in a referendum on Hillary's credibility. A bi-partisan consensus of blatherers today rejected the Clinton campaign's denial of involvement in NH co-chair Bill Shaheen's raising of Barack Obama's past involvement with drugs.

Meanwhile, things are getting downright nasty among top consultants to the frontrunners' campaigns . . . and Barack made Hillary regret her latest cackle.

View video here.

December 13, 2007, 8:35 AM EST

Claiming that someone is less popular than venereal disease is a quintessential hit below the belt. So if you were counseling a candidate to hit her opponent above the belt, the last person you'd suggest she hire is a guy who just compared someone to an STD . . . unless you're Chris Matthews.

Matthews's advice to Hillary Clinton is to hit Obama above the belt . . . by bringing in Paul Begala, the man who just this week used the VD comparison to slur President Bush.

The Hardball host was a guest on this morning's Today.

View video here.

December 12, 2007, 9:41 PM EST

Yeah, it was a yawner. Even so, in its coverage of today's GOP debate the MSM has overlooked one notable nugget: Mike Huckabee's fervent espousal of a radical egalitarianism that, at least in this NewsBuster's view, reflects a fundamental misreading of the Declaration of Independence and a departure from conservative principles.

View video here.

December 12, 2007, 1:17 PM EST

Mika Brzezinski: back on the crime beat with another loopy liberal take on reality . . .

Yesterday, the resident lefty on the Morning Joe panel -- defying the facts of the volunteer guard who stopped the Colorado church shooter -- labeled as "the most inane thing" she'd ever heard the notion that one armed citizen could make a difference.

Today, in a breathtaking bit of revisionist history, Brzezinski tried to credit notoriously lax former Mayor David Dinkins rather than Rudy Giuliani for making NYC safe. So fierce was the return fire from Chris Matthews and Joe Scarborough that, as pictured here, Mika ultimately took refuge under a sheaf of paper.

View video here.

December 11, 2007, 9:59 AM EST - Media Research CenterDon't confuse Mika Brzezinski with the facts. She's anti-gun and is not about to let some stunning counter-evidence change her mind.

If ever there was an illustration of how an armed citizen can make a difference, it is the case of Jeanne Assam, the brave woman who took out the killer at the New Life Church in Colorado Springs. And yet . . .

On today's Morning Joe, Mika -- in newsreader mode -- dutifully reported the incident. But when Joe Scarborough sought to draw the logical inference, Mika put her anti-gun foot down.

View video here.

December 11, 2007, 7:35 AM EST
What do you know? Time magazine ran a list of the Top Ten Editorial Cartoons of 2007, and the only American political figures coming in for lampooning were . . . conservatives.

Four of the cartoons were not explicitly political [sex habits of the elderly, contaminated products from China, VA Tech shootings, Barry Bonds steroids scandal].

But of those that satirized political figures, all were Republicans or conservatives:
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.