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 14, 2014, 7:39 AM EDT

Chris Christie might have millions of admirers across the country, people who love the Jersey governor's blunt style. But among the Republican media and political elites who populate Morning Joe, Christie's a no-hoper.

That's what Joe Scarborough divulged on today's Morning Joe.  Said Scarborough: "off the air in Republican circles . . . nobody thinks Christie can win."[

October 13, 2014, 11:21 AM EDT

"All our kids"—well, except for the ones who won't have a chance to build a life at all, thanks to Wendy Davis' ardent support of abortion . . .

As a loyal member of the Wendy Davis email list, I just received today's fundraising message from the campaign, touting the fact that First Lady Michelle Obama has cut a radio ad for Davis. The email highlights the portion of the ad in which Mrs. Obama says Davis supports education "because she wants to give all our kids a chance to build a better life for themselves and for their families."

October 11, 2014, 12:43 PM EDT

Melissa Harris-Perry proudly portrays her MSNBC show as "Nerdland."  But has it devolved from a cozy academic coffee klatsch for lefties into something else?

To discuss the issue of relations between police and black Americans, with the backdrop of Ferguson and a shooting this week in St. Louis, Harris-Perry had as a member of her panel Mychal Denzel Smith. On the one hand, Denzel Smith would appear, as a writer for The Nation, to fit the Nerdland bill.  But a review of his Twitter feed reveals that two days ago Denzel Smith tweeted: 'F---.The.Police." And late last month he tweeted "I'm for prison abolition."

October 10, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT

Whatever liberal leanings he might have, sometimes the political animal in Chuck Todd just can't contain itself.  Take today's Morning Joe, where Todd absolutely annihilated Alison Lundergan Grimes, Dem candidate for senator from Kentucky, for her refusal to say whether she voted for Barack Obama for president.  

Todd ripped Grimes as "ridiculous," then twice declared that she had "disqualified herself."  Ouch!  Even Mika Brzezinski was embarrassed by Grimes' cringe-worthy performance, as you'll see in the screengrab.

October 10, 2014, 7:32 AM EDT

Remember when dissent was patriotic?  When people like Hillary Clinton screeched that "we have a right to disagree with any administration?" Forget about it.  That's so, like, 2003. You know, when George W. Bush was President.  

Things are different today.  Now, criticizing a sitting president is wrong. Very wrong.  Just ask Joe Scarborough, who on today's Morning Joe accused Leon Panetta of a "lack of character" for criticizing President Obama in his book and public appearances.

October 9, 2014, 8:08 AM EDT

Elite Dems across America might be scuttling away from Barack Obama.  But the president can count on at least one man to stand by him: MSNBC's Thomas Roberts.  On today's Morning Joe, Roberts accused Leon Panetta of criticizing President Obama for base motives: "getting paid" off his book, and currying close ties with Hillary Clinton.

Roberts' lame attempt to undermine Panetta came after Joe Scarborough and Mark Halperin [citing Ron Fournier] said Panetta's criticism of Obama echoes what elite Dems from Washington to Hollywood are saying in private—but are afraid to express in public.

October 7, 2014, 8:28 AM EDT

Early in today's Morning Joe, teasing Chris Matthews' upcoming appearance, Mika Brzezinski admonished "you two be nice now." They weren't.  Yet again, the two MSNBC hosts came to verbal blows.  The detonator wasn't political differences.  Instead, the two MSNBC hosts squabbled over personal supremacy like a pair of eighth-grade boys in the schoolyard.  Matthews was on a riff, offering a extended rundown of his predictions on the various Senate races. 

After going down the entire list of contested races once, giving his predictions, Matthews circled back to go over them yet again.  Scarborough had enough, but Chris didn't want to let Joe stop him, and the squabble was on.

October 6, 2014, 7:48 AM EDT

Remember this the next time you see a report by Ayman Mohyeldin.  The man NBC sends to report on doings in Muslim countries around the world can't say which extremism—Christian, Jewish or Muslim—poses the greatest current threat to civilization.

When Joe Scarborough posed that very question to the NBC reporter on today's Morning Joe, Mohyeldin punted. Instead of talking about current threats,  Mohyeldin reached back almost 1,000 years, countering with talk of the Crusades.

October 2, 2014, 9:07 AM EDT

Not saying President Obama should be jittery about Andrea Mitchell jumping the White House fence anytime soon.  Even so, the prez would have reason to be concerned if such a generally staunch ally as Andrea openly laughed at his lack of credibility.

View the video and judge for yourself.  On today's Morning Joe, Republican Rep. Matt Salmon predicted that President Obama would send ground troops into Syria sometime after the November elections. Andrea asked "despite the president's promises?"  To which Salmon replied "he also promised if you like your insurance you can keep it.  Come on."  Much mirth and hilarity on the set ensued. Andrea can be seen laughing heartily.  Was she doing so at Salmon for spouting GOP talking points, or was she laughing at President Obama's lack of credibility?

October 1, 2014, 6:23 PM EDT

On his MSNBC show today, Schultz gave an emphatic "yes" in answer to this question from a viewer: "do you think the hateful rhetoric from Republicans puts President Obama and his family in danger?"

Really? Are there any Republicans in particular that Schultz wants to see charged as co-conspirators with White House fence scaler Omar Gonzalez?  Does Ed favor restrictions on Republicans' free speech rights?  Can Schultz cite examples of the sort of "hateful rhetoric" he has in mind?  We don't have the answers to any of those questions.  Ed contented himself with blithely answering yes to the viewer's question, thereby making an ugly and unsubstantiated accusation.

October 1, 2014, 8:27 AM EDT

Imus would call it a "tension convention." There was palpable friction among members of the Morning Joe team today on the question of whether Secret Service Director Julia Pierson was an affirmative action hire. By the end, the almost unfailingly affable Willie Geist was smirking in frustration at Mika Brzezinski.

When Brzezinski first broached the sensitive-for-liberals subject, she suggested that she was going to go further than her male colleagues dared. But by the time she circled back to the topic, Mika had for some reason lost her nerve. She was suddenly so cautious that Donny Deutsch chided her for raising the issue "softly." Things came to a head when Mika, suddenly trying to sound tough, asked Willie whether it was "illegal" for her to ask why Pierson got her job. Willie, having suggested no such thing, could only smirk and look off camera for support in response to Mika's non sequitur of a question.

September 30, 2014, 8:36 AM EDT

With about a month to go before the elections, let's loosen up our lever-pulling arms by inviting NewsBusters readers to vote on the lamest excuse offered by three Morning Joe panelists today for President Obama's failure to heed the intelligence about the threat ISIS posed. 1. Columbia prof Dorian Warren: congressional intelligence committees are to blame for not raising the issues with President Obama. 2. Mike Barnicle: James Clapper is to blame for not assembling the intelligence to the point that it got the president's full attention. 3. Eugene Robinson: not fair to blame the president considering there could have been 15 things in the intel briefing that day deserving urgent atention. 4. Bo the dog ate President Obama's intel briefing. OK, scratch that one; I made it up.

September 29, 2014, 8:36 AM EDT

Score one for Joe Scarborough.  The Morning Joe host today unleashed a tirade against the FBI for treating as a case of "workplace violence" the beheading by a fanatical Muslim convert of a fellow worker in Oklahoma.  Scarborough lashed out at the FBI's political correctness in claiming that there was "no indication" that the suspect, Alton Nolen, was copying the recent ISIS beheadings.

Said Scarborough: "how stupid does the FBI really think we are? Who exactly are they afraid of offending?"  Political correctness, in its more innocuous manifestations, can be good fodder for humor.  But our government becomes so hobbled by PC that it cannot call Islamic fanaticism by its name, then political correctness becomes a grave threat to our national security.

September 22, 2014, 9:19 AM EDT

Could the "Islamic" in "Islamic State" be a clue?  Not for John Kerry.  Appearing on today's Morning Joe, our clueless Secretary of State insisted that what drives ISIS is a "radical, extremist, cultish" philosophy, but not—perish the thought!—a "religious attitude."

Kerry was of course echoing the analysis of that noted theologian, Barack Obama, who two weeks ago declared that ISIS is "not Islamic."  In fairness, Presidents George W. Bush and Clinton have expressed similar sentiments.  For a thorough debunking of the ISIS/Islam-deniers, see here.

September 21, 2014, 9:44 AM EDT

Should Fauxcahontas be flattered . . . or furious?  The title of Elizabeth Warren's new book is "A Fighting Chance," a "rabble-rousing" rant by the populist from the Harvard faculty lounge.

So here comes Hillary Clinton, who in a speech this week just happened to say "I want every one of our children to feel that they are inheriting the best of America ... that this country is on your side; that this country will give you the fighting chance, the fair shot you deserve." Pure coincidence? Not when it comes to American's most calculating politician.  Not when Hillary lifts the line from the woman whose name is bruited about as potentially offering Clinton her most serious challenge for the Dem nomination.

September 16, 2014, 9:42 PM EDT

Paging the MSNBC PC police! On his All In show this evening, Chris Hayes used some indubitably un-PC language to dismiss concerns that ISIS or other terrorist groups might be infiltrating across our porous southern border.

Huffed Hayes: "in the years since September 11, there have been occasional stories of this type. Sort of, a kind of girl talk mash-up of the fear about the border and the fear about terrorism being fused together."  The fear of terrorists coming across the border is "girl talk?"  Off to the re-education camp with Chris!

September 16, 2014, 8:14 AM EDT

What's next, Mika?  Giant alligators in the sewers of New York City?  On today's Morning Joe, Mika Brzezinski perpetuated the hoary urban legend that domestic violence spikes on Super Bowl Sunday.

Brzezinski's blunder came in the context of the panel's discussion of the NFL's domestic violence mess. Arguing that football is a violent game and that "there's a connection" with what happens at home, Mika continued, "domestic violence on Super Bowl Sunday. We've seen the numbers. Why is that?" Actually, Brzezinski has apparently not seen the numbers, since that myth has been thoroughly debunked, often by organizations fighting domestic violence, as here, here and here.

September 15, 2014, 6:12 PM EDT

Can Touré Neblett not see the incandescent irony of his statement?  His show-ending rant on The Cycle today condemned the censorship of the shocking images of war. Railed Touré: "we're blocked from seeing so much of the cost of war, of the evil of war as if we are too sensitive or squeamish or unable to handle the graphic truth."

Touré focused on one particular photo, taken by photo-journalist Kenneth Jarecke during the first Gulf War, deploring the fact that AP refused to publish it. Incredibly, Touré  then proceeded to . . . censor the photo himself, declaring that it's "so graphic I can't show it to you now."  Hello?

September 15, 2014, 8:53 AM EDT

Ever since the Ray Rice elevator video went public, Morning Joe has been in a state of sustained moral outrage over the NFL's mishandling of the issue of domestic violence.  All well and good.  But things turned testy this morning when a New York Times reporter turned the tables on Joe and Mika. Allen Schwarz asked if they should march into the office of the NBC Chairman and demand that the network stop supporting the NFL by broadcasting its Sunday night games.

After first jokingly suggesting that the camera on Schwarz be turned off, Scarborough got seriously snippy.  When Schwarz didn't hear Scarborough say "right" in agreement with something the reporter said, Scarborough responded "I said right.  It means I'm agreeing with you.  You don't have to be so defensive. You can just relax."  Scarborough continued taking shots at Schwarz after the reporter left the air.

September 13, 2014, 2:02 PM EDT

Phyllis Bennis is a defender of Iran and its nuclear ambitions, and wants Israel wiped off the map, to be replaced by a single Palestinian state. So naturally she's a Melissa Harris-Perry fave.

Appearing yet again today on Harris-Perry's MSNBC show, Bennis put her radical views on display, arguing that many US soliders aren't truly volunteers, but are "forced in by poverty and lack of other opportunities."  "That's absolutely ridiculous," responded Iraq war veteran Earl Catagnus Jr.