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:

Latest from Mark Finkelstein
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.

October 12, 2007, 8:29 AM EDT

Sure, we know when we're being used. The folks at "Morning Joe" are well aware that if baring some liberal leg is likely to cause us to cover them, mentioning NewsBusters by name virtually guarantees that an item will follow here in short order. But if the MSNBC show wants to play the homely-if-roundheeled high school girl striving for attention, NB is happy, as the popular QB of liberal-media busting, to oblige.

And so it was that on this morning's episode, newsreader Mika Brzezinski, much like the girl at the beach who "accidentally" lets the bikini strap slip, made a transparently intentional "mistake," confusing Dick Cheney with Darth Vader. That in turn prompted host Joe Scarborough, in mock horror at Mika's exposure of too much liberal skin, to call for NewsBusters. The incident occurred during Mika's 6:11 A.M. EDT newsreading of an otherwise innocuous item.

View video here.

October 11, 2007, 9:20 AM EDT

Surprise! Mika Brzezinski, far from criticizing Jimmy Carter's excoriation of the Bush adminstration, applauds it . . .

View video here.

In a free-swinging democracy such as ours, rare are the restraints on political speech by our elected representatives. One exception are rules of decorum, such as those governing the House of Representatives that prohibit members from speaking in negative personal terms about their colleagues and other officials.

There is a similar, unwritten rule by which former presidents do not criticize their successors. And while the occasional lapse has occurred over the history of the republic, no president has so thoroughly trashed the tradition as Jimmy Carter, who has made stinging criticism of the Bush administration a virtual art form. Earlier this year, for example, Carter publicly labelled the Bush administration "the worst in history."

The Kvetcher-in-Chief is back at it again.

October 10, 2007, 10:46 AM EDT
With politicians and newspapers like they have in California, it's no wonder the state has become a magnet for millions of illegal immigrants. The latest lunacy? The legislature has enacted a bill giving illegals scholarships to state universities. And the Los Angeles Times predictably wants Gov. Schwarzenegger to sign it into law.
October 9, 2007, 7:12 AM EDT
Jonathan Chait is one of the Founding Fathers of Bush Derangement Syndrome. Way back in '03, the New Republic senior editor authored one of BDS's early, seminal works: "The Case for Bush Hatred," whose very sentence was the subtle: "I hate President George W. Bush."

Ah, but Jonathan Chait isn't a mere one-hatred man. As of this morning, we can conclusively state that in addition to his animus toward our nation's chief executive, Jonathan Chait also hates lower taxes.
October 8, 2007, 10:54 AM EDT

Joe Scarborough: MSNBC's kind of Republican. The sort who not only tells a Democrat he's "very badly" needed in Washington. Who not merely expresses the desire to write him a campaign check. But who even volunteers [tongue-in-cheek, one would hope] to do illegal check-bundling for him a la Norman Hsu.

After recently putting in an embarrassingly sycophantish performance when interviewing Hillary Clinton, Scarborough was back ingratiating himself with another Dem today. Interviewing former Nebraska senator Bob Kerrey on "Morning Joe," talk inevitably turned to the possibility of Kerrey seeking a Senate seat again. Scarborough waxed wildly enthusiastic.

View video here.

October 8, 2007, 8:20 AM EDT
"This is Anne Jones, reporting live from the headquarters of the ACLU, where the organization has issued a 'DEFCON 1 Threat-to-the-Constitution Alert' in the wake of a Republican presidential candidate's call for the creation of God's 'kingdom on earth.' We're speaking with ACLU representative Amanda Rogers. Ms. Rogers, now that a Republican candidate has brought the wall that separates church and state crashing to the ground, can our constitutional system be saved?"

"Anne, I'm afraid the answer is a resounding 'no,' at least, not if someone who thinks like this, and who sadly reflects the thinking of his entire party, is elected president. Fortunately, there are candidates from another party who respect the constitutionally decreed separaration of church and state."

"Thank you, Amanda; very frightening stuff. Now back to our studio, where we'll be breaking into our regularly-scheduled programming throughout the day to bring you updates on this unfolding crisis. I'll be back a little later with an interview with the pro-Constitution group 'People for the American Way,' which has called the Republican candidate's statement 'the gravest threat to America since the presidency of Ronald Reagan.'"
OK, perhaps I exaggerate just a tad with this apocryphal dialogue, but you get the point. The MSM would surely be in full threat-to-the-Constitution cry if ever a Republican presidential candidate had said exactly what Barack Obama did yesterday:
October 6, 2007, 7:03 PM EDT
Blogger "Conservative Belle" has a penchant for getting to the bottom of stories. You'll remember that a couple weeks ago, she discovered that the fallen soldier whose name David Shuster blamed Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) for not knowing had his official residence in another district.
October 6, 2007, 3:13 PM EDT
There's no media nook safe from liberal bias, not even sports reporting

Ever heard of New York Daily News sports writer Filip Bondy? Neither have I. But browsing through Google News this afternoon I saw a link to a story by Bondy that caught my attention: " Marion Jones drags others into selfish, steroid mess".

The gist is that it was selfish of Jones to elbow her way onto the 2004 4x100-meter Olympic relay team. Since she knew she had been taking steroids, she must also have realized that any medal the team won was in danger of being forfeited. Good point.

But then, from out of left field, this gratuitous shot [emphasis added]:
October 5, 2007, 4:55 PM EDT

Jack Cafferty opened his CNN "Situation Room" shtick today at 4:07 p.m. EDT by asking about Larry Craig:

Which was worse? Making sexual advances toward a police officer or lying to the whole world by saying you're going to resign your Senate seat and then announcing you're not going to resign?

Answer: saying you don't want Craig to resign because you "can't wait" for televised hearings describing all the lurid details of what happened in that stall.

Which is exactly what Cafferty went on to do.