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
April 26, 2013, 8:59 AM EDT

Carl Bernstein claimed that because he's Jewish, he could accuse "Jewish" neo-cons of talking George W. Bush into starting an "insane" war against Iraq.  Joe Scarborough wasn't so sure. H/t NB reader Paul J.

Jewish neo-cons?  The single most salient statement from the pre-war period was that by CIA Director George Tenet, who personally told President Bush that Saddam Hussein's possession of WMDs was a "slam dunk."  So which temple does Tenet attend?  What?  He's Greek Orthodox?  Never mind. Joe Scarborough offered a strong rebuttal to Bernstein's allegations. View the video after the jump.

April 26, 2013, 7:44 AM EDT

As per his 1994 NRA questionnaire, Joe Scarborough: Opposed an assault weapons ban.  Opposed expansion of background checks.  Opposed limitations on magazine sizes.  Today, he supports all such measures.  

So how would you describe his two very different sets of opinions?  Why, as being "very consistent," of course--if you're Joe Scarborough. On today's Morning Joe, responding to the NRA's promulgation of the NRA questionnaire he submitted in 1994 as an aspiring Republican congressman, Scarborough did indeed claim that his positions today, despite the multiple flip-flops, are "very consistent."  View the video after the jump.

April 22, 2013, 3:46 PM EDT

Everyone knows about the terrible backlash against America Muslims after 9-11, so it's understandable for Muslims to be worried about a post-Boston bombing backlash, right?

What?  There was no major backlash against Muslims in 2001 or thereafter?  American Jews suffer far more religion-based attacks than Muslims every year?  Then why did Andrea Mitchell today exclaim that Muslims were "understandably" very worried about a backlash?  View the video after the jump.

April 22, 2013, 11:01 AM EDT

In theory, it was a straight news article from the Associated Press: a man trying to rob a gun store in a Russian city opened fire, killing at least six people.

But AP managed to work a pro gun-control message into its article.  Read more after the jump.

April 22, 2013, 8:42 AM EDT

Joe Scarborough has dropped the f-word on live TV.  But does he dare drop the I-word: Islam?

On today's Morning Joe, Scarborough to his credit rejected the maudlin pseudo-introspection of those [including panelist Richard Haass] who would somehow blame America's failure to integrate the Tsarnaev brothers into society for their decision to bomb the Boston Marathon. Scarborough didn't hesitate to call the Tsarnaevs "beasts." Instead of blaming society, Scarborough blamed the brothers' "evil" and "radicalism." But Scarborough stopped short of naming the radicalism for what it is: radical Islam. View the video after the jump.

April 21, 2013, 9:39 AM EDT

You think Tamerlan and Dzokhar Tsarnaev's roots in Chechnya—which has produced radical Islamist terrorists responsible for some of the bloodiest attacks of modern times—might have something to do with the brothers having carried out the Boston Marathon bombing?  Don't be foolish.

Nope. Where the Tsarnaevs came from had "nothing to do" with the bombings.  These were just two guys who were either depraved, crazy or both.  At least, so said Baher Azmy on today's Up With Steve Kornacki on MSNBC. Azmy is head of the "Center for Constitutional Rights", founded by radical lawyer William Kunstler. View the video after the jump.

April 20, 2013, 2:07 PM EDT

MSNBC circling the wagons? This NewsBuster is in no position to say that the FBI made a mistake by deciding not to monitor Tamerlan Tsarnaev after having interviewed him in 2011, acting on inquiries from Russian intelligence regarding his possible radical Islamic ties.

But by the same token, MSNBC host Alex Witt is in no position to say the FBI didn't make a mistake.  Yet Witt has pre-emptively proferred an excuse for the FBI's decision.  Speaking with investigative reporter Michael Isikoff on her show this afternon, Witt, alluding to the FBI's decision not to monitor Tsarnaev, declared: "hindsight is 20-20."  View the video after the jump.

April 18, 2013, 9:13 AM EDT

Oh irony, oh hypocrisy!  Joe Scarborough opened today's Morning Joe by singing the praises of NBC's Pete Williams for not jumping onto the story that other news outlets were reporting yesterday that an arrest had been made in the Boston Marathon bombing.  Scarborough condemned journalists "far more interested in getting it first than getting it right."

But mere minutes later, Scarborough rushed to accuse former Republican congressman Chris Cox of "lying" in his role as NRA spokesman, and said he was ashamed of him. If Scarborough had taken a moment to research the matter and get it right, he would have realized he had the wrong Chris Cox.  The NRA spokesman is not the former congressman. Scarborough grudgingly admitted his mistake about an hour later in the show.  View the video after the jump.

April 18, 2013, 7:42 AM EDT

In the health-care insurance debate, one of the mantras of the left is to condemn those evil, greedy insurance companies that would charge higher rates to people with "pre-existing conditions."

But in a commercial aired on last night's Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC, there was "Progressive Insurance," whose chairman Peter Lewis is a huge donor to liberal causes including Moveon.org, condemning as "rate suckers" people with bad driving records who drive up good drivers' rates!  View the video after the jump.

April 15, 2013, 8:42 AM EDT

Credit Joe Scarborough not just for devoting a significant Morning Joe segment to the Gosnell abortion-murder trial today--but for declaring that he will have a reporter covering the trial--Joe Slobodzian of the Philadelphia Inquirer--back again tomorrow and throughout the week.

Ed Rendell—who was governor of Pennsylvania from 2003-10 while many of the horrors unfolded and the clinic went uninspected—was on today's Morning Joe panel.  Scarborough questioned Rendell as to how this could have happened on his watch. Rendell claimed he knew nothing of the goings-on in the abortion clinic, that it was a question of bureaucratic bungling, and that he came under no pressure from abortion advocates to look the other way.  View the video after the jump.

April 13, 2013, 9:44 AM EDT

Do you oppose President Obama's gun control proposals?  Well then, you must not be against gun violence.  So suggested a guest this morning on the new MSNBC show, Up With Steve Kornacki.

Leah Gunn Barrett [insert wisecrack on middle name here], of "New Yorkers Against Gun Violence," was trying to explain away why Second Amendment advocates do so well politically.  According to her, gun "enthusiasts" are single-issue voters with good grassroots organization. In contrast, "people who are against gun violence" aren't as well organized.  View the video after the jump.

April 10, 2013, 9:08 AM EDT

Maybe MSNBC was trying to deflect some of the controversy surrounding Melissa Harris-Perry's previous "Lean Forward" promo by pushing out a new one. MH-P had provoked outrage in that earlier promo by proclaiming that "kids belong to their communities," not to their parents.

But if anything, the new promo aired during today's Morning Joe just adds fuel to MH-P's socialist fire. While claiming to defend meritocracy, Harris-Perry could only grudgingly admit that the most successful should earn "a little more." She then proceeded to proclaim as a right "health care, education, decent housing and quality food at all times."  From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs, anyone?  View the video after the jump.

April 10, 2013, 7:47 AM EDT

With his penchant for ripping Republicans rather than Democrats, Joe Scarborough likely long ago ruined his chances of winning a Republican primary.  But the Morning Joe host today jokingly acknowledged how particularly tough it would now be, after Harry Reid yesterday approvingly quoted him on the Senate floor.

Ever since Newtown, Scarborough has been waging a daily campaign for gun control, repeatedly scourging Republicans for their opposition to President Obama's proposals. Quoth Reid: "Scarborough tears into GOP filibuster on gun bill, and I quote, 'is anybody awake in my party?'" View the video after the jump.

April 9, 2013, 11:42 AM EDT

On a day largely devoted to remembering Margaret Thatcher, one of the 20th century's greatest conservatives, would it really have been too much for Morning Joe to have had on at least one conservative guest to discuss her legacy?  Apparently, yes.

Morning Joe's lineup of political guests today leaned 100% left: Jon Meacham, Al Hunt, Cokie Roberts, Sen. Tim Kaine, former Obama aides Robert Gibbs and Melody Barnes, Tony Blair, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Mayor Michael Nutter, Eugene Robinson, Maureen Orth and Joe Klein.  Joe Scarborough sometimes like to boast in such circumstances that his presence more than counterbalances the liberal avalanche.  But on the major political issue of the day, gun control, Scarborough was just one more voice among many ripping Republicans for their opposition to President Obama's proposals. More after the jump.

April 4, 2013, 9:17 AM EDT

Campbell Brown appeared on today's Morning Joe to promote her campaign against violence in entertainment media.  But while she made some solid suggestions, it was Joe Scarborough who took matters a quantum leap further, calling Quentin Tarantino "a pornographer of violence."

In line with her op-ed in yesterday's Wall Street Journal, Brown criticized President Obama, post Newtown, for focusing almost exclusively on gun control while largely ignoring the issue of violence in media.  She encouraged him to pull a Sister Souljah/Nixon-to-China and use his extraordinary ties with Hollywood to bring pressure on media makers to deal with the extreme violence they purvey.  But it was Scarborough who used the strongest language, repeatedly calling Tarantino a pornographer, accusing him of coarsening America's culture, and asking when America is going to start calling out people like him. View the video after the jump.

April 3, 2013, 1:25 PM EDT

I find that the Washington Post's Chris Cillizza usually plays things pretty much down the middle, and subscribe to his Fix email blast.

So it came as an unpleasant surprise to find in my inbox a little while ago a Cillizza email, linking to his current Fix column, tthat referred to Mark Sanford as "the turd in the political punch bowl."  Cillizza repeated the line in the column itself. View the screengrab after the jump.

April 3, 2013, 8:42 AM EDT

I say "political integrity expert," you say "Eliot Spitzer."  I say "you're kidding me, right?"

Rachel Maddow actually got off to a good start last evening in her segment on political sleaziness, ripping politicians both Dem and Republican for a variety of venal sins.  But of all the people to bring on as your expert to discuss how to raise the moral bar . . . Client 9?  Surely you make mirth, Ms. Maddow! View the video after the jump.

April 2, 2013, 9:31 PM EDT

Married congressman texts pics of his private parts to other women but brazenly denies it. How would you characterize the fact that he was eventually forced to resign?  

If "bum rap" springs to mind, you are on the same wavelength as Michelle Goldberg of Newsweek—and probably should seek immediate professional help. Goldberg's assertion, made on day deux of Chris Hayes's new MSNBC show, was even too much for David Axelrod.  View the video after the jump.

April 2, 2013, 6:00 PM EDT

Check out the photo of Kim Jong Un found in a CBS News article.  The legend reads: "March 31, 2013 photo released by Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) and distributed in Tokyo April 1, 2013 by Korea News Service shows North Korean leader Kim Jong Un giving speech during plenary meeting of central committee of ruling Workers' Party in Pyongyang, North Korea / AP." Note that the Korea News Service is the official North Korean news agency.

Yo, North Korean media dudes: your photo makes the Supreme Nork look like a dork, as if he's wearing a dunce cap!  View the photo of President Obama after the jump to get an idea of how the media should properly portray a truly revered leader!

April 2, 2013, 8:58 AM EDT

A question with a more obvious answer might yet be asked on national TV this morning, but someone's going to have to try very hard . . . On today's Morning Joe, during a segment on the Atlanta school-test scandal, Mike Barnicle actually wondered out loud why more top college grads take jobs with high-tech firms like Google, or in the financial-services sector, instead of teaching.

Barnicle had earlier declared that standardized tests don't teach kids how to think.  Might Mike have taken one such test too many in his day?  When Willie Geist gently pointed out the obvious to Mike—the difference in pay—Barnicle blubbered that he understood such was a given. So why ask?  View the video after the jump.