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
November 14, 2007, 7:05 AM EST
Q. Who could possibly be "surprised" that in choosing women to date, college-aged men tend to prefer beauty over brains?

A. An Ivy League professor.

What is truly surprising is that Maureen Dowd thinks this commonplace about men's preferences has implications for Hillary's campaign strategy. Dowd propounds her odd theory in her column of this morning, "Should Hillary Pretend to Be a Flight Attendant?"

November 13, 2007, 5:55 PM EST
In the most florid criticism I can recall a network "correspondent" leveling at a major party presidential candidate, MSNBC's David Shuster has branded Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.) a border-control "fanatic."

The editorializing came in the course of Shuster's report during today's 5 PM ET "Hardball," which included an update on the GOP primary.
DAVID SHUSTER: No television commercial in Iowa is generating as much heat as the one just unveiled by Republican Tom Tancredo, a border-control fanatic.

View video here.

November 13, 2007, 1:15 PM EST
Barbara Walters wanted "The View" audience to understand that she normally disagrees with Bill O'Reilly. But when it came to his views on child-rearing, Walters had to admit that she largely agreed with the Factor host. And that depressed her.

O'Reilly, the father of two young children, appeared on today's View to promote his new book on child-rearing and related issues, Kids Are Americans Too.

View video here.
November 13, 2007, 7:32 AM EST

America will have no one to blame but itself if it doesn't seize the opportunity to elect Barack Obama. That was the essence of a comment Michelle Obama made to Mika Brzezinski in the course of an interview the MSNBCer conducted with the candidate's wife in Iowa over the weekend.

The comments aired on today's "Morning Joe" during the 6:30 AM ET half-hour.

View video here.

November 12, 2007, 6:59 PM EST

UPDATE: 11-13 9:35 AM: Did Hillary answer a second planted question at the event? See foot.

What did Hillary Clinton know about the planted question in Iowa and when did she know it?

The Clinton campaign and apparently Clinton herself are denying she had any idea she was calling on a plant. But according to information in the New York Times, Clinton campaign aides had in fact prompted her to call on the plant.

At 10:51 AM ET this morning, MSNBC anchor Tamron Hall interviewed Hillary campaign co-chair Tom Vilsack, the former Dem governor of Iowa.

TAMRON HALL: Senator Clinton herself said she knew nothing about this and promised it would not happen again . . .

TOM VILSACK: Obviously Hillary Clinton does not condone the planting of questions; she did not know that this young person had been given that question.

View video here.

Vilsack elaborated on his answer later in the interview.

November 12, 2007, 9:05 AM EST

UPDATE, see below: Shuster says "watch the wink."

Sometimes, the smallest gestures are the most significant . . .

Have a look at the freeze-frame. It shows the moment at which the young woman in Iowa this weekend is retaking her seat after posing that planted question to Hillary about climate change. As you'll see, she's flashing someone a conspiratorial wink and smile. "Morning Joe" rolled the video of the moment at 6:43 and 7:01 AM ET today and MSNBC has been replaying throughout the day.

But for a driver's license and a wink, was a nomination was lost?

Video: Real (648 KB) or Windows (716 KB), plus MP3 (112 KB)

November 12, 2007, 6:52 AM EST

Guess I won't be calling Mika Brzezinski a "newsreader" again anytime soon. The "Morning Joe" panelist went to Iowa over the weekend and scored an in-depth interview with Michelle Obama that elicited a highly-controversial suggestion from the candidate's wife. According to Mrs. Obama, her husband isn't polling better among African-Americans because in the back of their minds, many blacks think "others" are better.

View video here.

November 11, 2007, 1:13 PM EST

Should I be worried? I just agreed with something Neal Gabler said. On yesterday's Fox News Watch, the liberal media critic opined that the MSM is backing Benazir Bhutto over Pervez Musharraf in the current Pakistan crisis -- and not for the loftiest of motives.

And could Hillary fall prey to the scenario that brought down Michael Dukakis?

View video here.

November 11, 2007, 9:57 AM EST

How overmatched were the two lukewarm-at-best Republicans that "Today" tossed in against two partisan Dems this morning? If NBC scheduled this unfair a fight for Sunday Night Football, Al Michaels would be calling the play-by-play between the New England Patriots and the proverbial Little Sisters of Mercy.

The Today show's farce of a "voter panel" was invited to discuss politics and the state of the country this morning. With tens of millions of voters to choose from, NBC can of course contrive any cross-section it wants. So the views expressed by the participants say relatively little about the mood of the country -- but a lot about the network's own political bias.

View video here.

November 10, 2007, 2:07 PM EST

Just two days ago, Gail Collins christened her column about the Pat Robertson endorsement "Pat Loves Rudy."

As I observed then, "a conservative columnist writing the equivalent might well be condemned for making an unsubtle appeal to homophobia. But Collins will surely get a pass in PC quarters, since it's a well-established fact that liberals are incapable of prejudice."

Then comes today's column -- and I'll be darned if Collins hasn't done it again.

November 9, 2007, 8:02 PM EST

Liberals wouldn't lift a finger to stop the torturing to death of an unborn child. But put a terrorist [or a baby seal, for that matter] in the block and watch them spring into sensitive-soul mode.

Rosa Brooks epitomizes the mindset in her current LA Times column, "Torture: the new abortion." Her notion is that among Republicans, the new litmus test for presidential candidates is not opposition to abortion but support for U.S. officials who order the "torture of prisoners."

November 9, 2007, 8:21 AM EST

"Green Week" at "Today" came in with an Al Gore roar but went out with a travelogue whimper. What happened?

View video [from MSNBC site] here.

On Monday, "Today" kicked off Green Week with an Al Gore interview in which he proclaimed there was no room for dissenting voices on global warming. Over at MSNBC the same day, an NBC environmental "correspondent" urged viewers to vote for candidates with an environmentalist agenda.

But this morning, "Green Week" at "Today" went out on a mysteriously innocuous note. Gone, at least during the crucial first-half hour, was the environmentalist crusading, replaced by little more than a travelogue. Instead of global warming, the focus was Ann Curry's personal accomplishment in Antarctica [note the screen graphic].

November 9, 2007, 6:59 AM EST
Being against the war after she was for it, could it be soon be time for Hillary to be for it again?

The question arises in light of the findings by Charles Franklin [pictured here] at Pollster.com. According to his November 6th Pollster.com analysis, there has been a "remarkable" shift, in a positive direction, in public opinion on the war in Iraq.

Excerpts from Franklin's Ten Months of Opinion Change on War and More [emphasis added]:
November 8, 2007, 6:53 PM EST
Hillary Clinton is a "moral conservative." Don't believe it? Ask Amy Sullivan. The Time editor said so on this evening's "Tucker." Let's permit the dialogue between Tucker Carlson and Sullivan to speak for itself. But come back after the transcript to learn some interesting factoids about Ms. Sullivan's background.

View video here.
November 8, 2007, 12:53 PM EST

When Rush Limbaugh opened today's show by mentioning that the New York Times had relegated to page A19 the story of the ridding of Al Qaeda-in-Iraq from all of Baghdad, I actually thought he might be joking. Surely not even the Times could be so brazenly biased as to bury such a huge story reflecting the success of the surge.

But, sure enough, Rush was right. Page A19 is precisely the remote location to which the Times banished the story. And to further diminish the number of people who would learn the good news, the paper stuck this bland headline on it:

November 8, 2007, 6:34 AM EST

Over the course of his political career, Bill Clinton was literally and figuratively embraced by countless pastors, most of whom presumably went to their pulpits on Sunday to preach traditional values, including marital fidelity. If memory serves, neither Gail Collins nor other liberal pundits noted any irony in people of the cloth endorsing the spectacularly straying Clinton.

But let a preacher praise a Republican with a personal history, and Gail Collins thunders like Billy Sunday with a bad migraine. Here's the opening paragraph of her "Pat Loves Rudy" in today's New York Times [emphasis added]:

November 7, 2007, 3:36 PM EST

My October 20th item, "Obama: No Hand on Heart for National Anthem," focused on a "Time" photo of Barack Obama in Iowa in September at Sen. Tom Harkin's steak fry. In contrast with the other candidates, Obama was shown not placing his hand over his heart during the playing of the national anthem. A reproduction of the photo is seen here, as displayed on today's "Morning Joe."

Video from November 5 "Morning Joe" (2:02):
Real (1.50 MB) and Windows (1.26 MB), plus MP3 audio (952 kB).

I believe I may have been the first person in the blogosphere to discuss the story. Fox News subsequently made reference to the matter on a couple shows, but to my knowledge no other major news shows picked it up. Yet the story took on a life of its own. The item here continued to attract thousands of new readers every day [over 107,000 hits at last count], dozens of other sites picked it up, and emails began circulating that included the photo. I've received far more email about it than for any other item I've posted. Although some people have written to criticize the item, the great majority of the messages are critical of Sen. Obama. This story has clearly touched a nerve with many Americans.

November 7, 2007, 7:27 AM EST

UPDATE: Mark appeared this morning on the G. Gordon Liddy show to discuss this and other issues. Listen to audio clip here.

OK, class, someone tell us: what's been the attitude of the New York Times and the elite media at large toward democracy-building in Iraq?

What's that, Johnny? That it was naive for George Bush to imagine that democracy was attainable in a Muslim country riven by religious and ethnic factions? Correct.

OK, then, who'd like to predict the Times's reaction to Pres. Bush's measured response to the curtailing of democracy in Pakistan by Pervez Musharraf, perhaps our most important ally in the region in the war against terrorism?

What's that, Janie? Pakistan being another Muslim country riven by religious and ethnic factions, George Bush has adopted the appropriately pragmatic course?

November 6, 2007, 5:58 PM EST

Is it conceivable that Bill Clinton doesn't want Hillary to win? Chris Matthews floated the possibility on this afternoon's "Hardball."

View video here.

At the top of the show, Matthews played a clip from Bill Clinton's remarks last night to the American Postal Worker's Union. Clinton analogized the criticism of Hillary's evasive debate performance last week in Philly to the Swiftboat ads on John Kerry and attacks on Al Gore and former Dem senator Max Cleland.

November 6, 2007, 11:19 AM EST

Is nothing sacred, not even the samba?

Yesterday we were griping about the way NBC's "Green Week" crusade had infiltrated a perfectly good NFL football game. Today brings news that not even the presumably politics-free "Dancing With the Stars" is immune from BDS.

"Morning Joe" today twice rolled tape from last night's "Dancing with the Stars" in which Len Goodman, a Brit who is the head judge, managed to sneak in a shot at President Bush. He was speaking to a dancing pair, apparently after their performance.

View video here.