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
March 12, 2014, 8:06 AM EDT

As an embarrassed Joe Scarborough said, Mika Brzezinski didn't have her "filter on" this morning. On today's Morning Joe, Brzezinski broke out a lurid tale of how as a young woman she had been held "hostage" by the son of the President of Lebanon, who apparently had hijinks on his mind.

Scarborough had just teased Mika with a variation on his running joke of how she vacations in the south of France. Joe jibed that in retaliation for France's sale of warships to Russia, Ukraine notwithstanding,  Mika would be imposing personal sanctions on France by cutting back her weekend trips there from 26 to 23 yearly.  In response, Brzezinski described how 25 years ago, the son of the President of Lebanon held her "hostage" in the south of France, took her to porn flicks, and bought her bikinis "with only one piece." View the video after the jump.

March 10, 2014, 8:11 AM EDT

Here was the Morning Joe panel bemoaning Ted Cruz's supposed incivility at CPAC in allegedly insulting war hero Bob Dole, when up pops Mike Barnicle to ask "what does it say about CPAC, where the most popular speaker they had, the one who received the most rousing reception is a moron, Sarah Palin?"

A bit later, Mika Brzezinski piled on, calling Palin a "multi-million dollar moron."  When Joe Scarborough challenged her, saying "you don't think that, right?", Mika didn't retract her slur, saying only that Palin is "savvy in selling a message that makes a lot of money." View the video after the jump.
 

March 7, 2014, 9:43 AM EST

$10 an hour?  $20?  Let's make everyone rich and call it an even $100! 

As a proud member of the email list of Organizing For America, the successor organization to the Obama campaign, I just received a message, next to a big photo of the President, stating "Our minimum wage is at a historic low, and millions of full-time workers are struggling just to get by."  The message then invites recipients to fill in a blank answering this question: "What do you think the minimum wage should be?" Image after the jump.

March 7, 2014, 8:26 AM EST

Mika Brzezinski has a jaded view of why young Americans choose to join the military.  According to the Morning Joe host, they do so "if they need the money."

Brzezinski made her comment on today's show during a segment on a book comparing the values and beliefs of the various generations of Americans. When Joe Scarborough challenged her doing-it-for-the-money claim, saying that many serve "for all the best reasons," Brzezinski began to back down.  Mika also suggested that her fellow panelists didn't know many people serving in the military, which might say more about the MSM bubble in which they exist than it does about the millenial generation. View the video after the jump.

March 1, 2014, 8:23 AM EST

Perhaps because President Obama is looking pitiably weak in his mano a mano with Vladimir Putin over the Ukraine,  ABC News chose to bury the story during today's Good Morning America.  Incredibly, the show-opening teaser didn't mention the Ukraine--but did highlight the latest on The Real Housewives of New Jersey.  As the program unfolded, and before saying a word about the Ukraine, GMA inexcusably chose to air segments on rain in California, snow in the North, a laser being shined into a plane's cockpit, an airplane bird strike, the arrest of a Mexican drug lord, the cause of Philip Seymour Hoffman's death, and Mardi Gras in Brazil.

When GMA finally got around to the most serious story in the world right now, it did its best to protect President Obama.  Two nights ago on FNC, Charles Krauthammer did a devastating take-down on President Obama's feeble statement, saying “the Ukrainians, and I think everybody, is shocked by the weakness of Obama’s statement. I find it rather staggering.”  So how did GMA's reporter Alex Marquardt describe the Obama statement? As a "harsh warning."  Gag me with a kalashnikov, and view the video after the jump.

February 28, 2014, 2:51 PM EST

Reading the transcript isn't enough. Roll the video, listen carefully, and at the end you'll catch Ronan Farrow's nervous little laugh as he asks an African-American guest whether, in assessing movie-industry diversity, it "matters" that Steve McQueen, the black director whose film has been nominated for an Oscar, is British.

Such are the PC pitfalls once one wades into the bog of diversity bean-counting.  But beyond the specific subject matter, Farrow's teensy twitter suggests, as other critics have noted, as here and here, how green and unsure of himself is the young man MSNBC hopes to make a star. View the video after the jump.

February 21, 2014, 8:11 AM EST

What's missing from this list of people Mika Brzezinski blasted on today's Morning Joe for "making a lot of money at the Olympics" while Vladimir Putin's suppression of democracy in the Ukraine unfolds: "the people performing there, the people competing there, the people sponsoring there"?

Did somebody say NBC, Mika's own parent network? Give that guy a gold medal!  To whom does Mika think "the people sponsoring there" are paying their millions to promote their products?  Has Mika not noticed that regular programming on MSNBC itself has been pre-empted by the Putin Olympics? View the video after the jump.

February 17, 2014, 8:08 AM EST

So who's being the sexist?  Mika Brzezinski went ballistic on today's Morning Joe over Republicans like Rand Paul raising Monica Lewinsky in the context of a possible Hillary presidential run, calling them "sexist" and "misogynistic."  But in the course of her rant, Mika mockingly referred to such Republicans as "little peanuts." Hmm.

Did Mika need to use such suggestive, demeaning language in making her point? You have to view the video to get just how derisive was Mika with her "little peanut" line. View the video after the jump.

February 14, 2014, 8:09 AM EST

You know this is the story the liberal media is dying to tell: Obamacare--The Triumphant Comeback!  So like the dove returning to the Ark, there was the BBC's Katty Kay, guest-hosting today for Mika Brzezinski on Morning Joe, first to proclaim the good news.

Based on the latest enrollment numbers, Kay enthused "amazing how quickly we are starting to see the Obamacare story change its tone."  Really?  Tell us, Katty: of the people who have enrolled in Obamacare, how many have actually paid their premiums? And what percentage were healthy young people, needed to avoid an actuarial disaster?  Take your time; we'll wait.  View the video after the jump.

February 11, 2014, 8:15 AM EST

It remains to be seen what damage if any the papers of Hillary's close friend Diane Blair will do to Clinton's presumed presidential candidacy. But Andrea Mitchell made one thing clear this morning: if there is anything there [or anywhere else for that matter] that is potentially harmful to Hillary, Mitchell and her MSM cohorts are ready to ride to Clinton's defense.  

On today's Morning Joe, Mitchell trotted out the hoary "taken out of context" chestnut in response to revelations in the Blair papers, such as that Bill Clinton's campaign advisors viewed Hillary as "ruthless." Mitchell also promoted Hillary's excuse that the Lewinsky affair was due to the "stress" that Bill was under.  Right.  View the video after the jump.

February 10, 2014, 8:24 AM EST

Pot, kettle, hello? If Dems wanted to find someone to attack Chris Christie's credibility for claiming he didn't know what was going on in his administration, couldn't they have found someone less vulnerable than Robert Gibbs? After all, Gibbs served as spox for Barack Obama, the man who has made an art form out of claiming he only found out about his admin's latest scandal when he read about it in the paper.

But there was Gibbs leading with his chin on Morning Joe today, asking "how many times can [Christie] play the card of 'I had no idea this was going on in my own office?" Joe Scarborough was only too happy to oblige Gibbs with a haymaker to his rhetorical jaw: "Robert, it's getting to the point he is starting to sound like Barack Obama." View the amusing video after the jump.

February 7, 2014, 12:02 PM EST

As a proud Texas Democrat--OK, as a proud conservative blogger living in Texas--I am subscribed to the email list for Wendy Davis' campaign for governor.  I received the campaign's latest missive this morning, from campaign manager Karin Johanson.

The email was entitled "What Karl Rove said about Wendy."  Can't fault the fundraising strategy behind the headline.  Include the name of the left's favorite Texas bogeyman.  Check.  Suggest lurid details designed to lure the reader in.  Check.  There was just one problem: the message never states "what Karl Rove said about Wendy."  It claims that Rove is "attacking her," that he's part of an effort "to drag Wendy through the mud," that Rove "doesn't care" about women's stories. And of course the email asks for $$ to help fight these "attacks."  But when it comes to stating "what Rove said"?  Nada!  View the email and more after the jump.

February 6, 2014, 2:58 PM EST

What do you mean "us," Kemosabe? If Howard Dean wants to push a job-killing agenda of higher taxes and other redistributionist claptrap, that's his business.  But could he please spare us the faux populism?

In an email Dean sent out earlier today touting the "Inequality For All" house parties his DFA group is organizing [and what sounds like more fun than getting together to gripe about what other people have?], Dean wrote [emphasis added]:  "These 'Inequality for All' Watch Parties are just the kind of action we need to start leveling the playing field between the 1% and the rest of us." After the jump, view the record of just what a member in good standing of the 1% Howard Dean really is.

February 6, 2014, 9:23 AM EST

Was Bill Kristol kidding—just throwing a sop to the not-inconsiderable ego of his host—or could he have been serious?  On today's Morning Joe, unveiling his line-up of the nine Republicans he sees running for president in 2016, Kristol included none other than Joe Scarborough himself.

But in an unkind cut to someone prospectively facing the famously conservative GOP primary electorate, Kristol described Scarborough as "filling the Huntsman lane" and representing a "Morning Joe conservatism." Ouch! As interesting as were Kristol's nine [which included Sarah Palin] were the names he left off his list, including Paul Ryan and Marco Rubio.  View the video after the jump.

February 5, 2014, 8:15 AM EST

Give Sam Stein credit for being an honest liberal.  Confronted with the CBO's findings about the disastrous job-killing effects of Obamacare, Stein didn't try to spin the unspinnable.

On today's Morning Joe, Donnie Deutsch invited Stein to play a game of Mad Men.  Deutsch first sketched out a 30-second ad making the case against Obamacare--that contrary to what President Obama had said, you can't choose your provider and the program costs the country two million jobs.  Deutsch then invited Stein to give the 30-second ad in response.  Said Stein, much to the amusement of the panel: "The 30-second response is something like: 'Please change the subject to something else.'  What do you want me to say?" View the video after the jump.

February 4, 2014, 8:44 AM EST

Two possible presidential candidates.  Although there's no evidence of it on the record, some have accused the first of closing bridge-access lanes for political purposes.  The other failed to respond to pleas for help, four Americans died in Benghazi, and her response was a petulant "what difference does it make?"

So where do those two candidates stand as we look to 2016?  In the case of Chris Christie, his candidacy is "over" and he "doesn't belong in the conversation."  Hillary Clinton?  Her biggest problem is fighting an air of "inevitability." Such was the collective wisdom of today's Morning Joe panel. But to what degree have the fates and status of the two candidates been shaped by the MSM?  Where would Hillary be, for example, if she were a former Republican Secretary of State with the Benghazi catastrophe on her record? View the video after the jump.

February 3, 2014, 9:11 AM EST

Could the GW bridge scandal be causing internal friction at MSNBC?  On today's Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough upbraided Chuck Todd for "wild speculation" in the matter.  

Scarborough's slap at Todd came in response to the NBC political director's suggestion that, based on a photo showing Christie and Wildstein together at a September 11 event--it was "very likely" that Wildstein--in an effort to curry favor with Chris Christie--had told the governor what he had done with the lane closures.  View the video after the jump.

February 1, 2014, 8:55 AM EST

The reluctance of abortion-rights advocates to call the procedure by its name, and their preference for euphemism, is legend.

To the euphemistic lexicon of "pro-choice," "women's health," "reproductive freedom," etc. ad nauseum, Charles Blow has made the latest contribution.  His New York Times column of today speaks of Republican candidates opposing "a full range of reproductive options for women." More after the jump.

January 31, 2014, 8:09 AM EST

You really have to listen to Mika Brzezinski's voice rising as if in a question as she pronounces the very last word in an excerpt from a Wall Street Journal column—and watch the expression on her face—to appreciate how utterly baffled, befuddled and bewildered she seems by the simple notion that increasing the cost of hiring motivates employers to automate their operations.

The column, "The Employee of the Month Has a Battery," noted that restaurant chains like Chili's are introducing tabletop ordering devices and eliminating server positions. Author Michael Saltsman makes the incontrovertible argument that "policy makers are encouraging the switch to technology by increasing the cost of hiring."  But just listen to Mika pronounce that last word, and watch the ensuing expression on her face, to see how the notion leaves her at a complete loss.  View the video after the jump.

January 30, 2014, 8:05 AM EST

Although to date there has been no evidence directly tying him to either matter, Chris Christie has been accused of playing politics with the GW bridge closure and the granting of hurricane-relief funds to Hoboken.  So naturally it's fair game to analogize Christie to the head of cinema's most infamous, murderous crime syndicate.

Fair game, if you're MSNBC that is.  Today's Morning Joe segment on Christie treated viewers to a 'Govfather' logo, based on the famous puppet-master logo from "The Godfather."  View the video and images of the original and MSNBC logos after the jump.