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.  He spent ten days in Iraq in November, 2006, mainly in Anbar Province. Email: mark.finkelstein@gmail.com
 

Latest from Mark Finkelstein
September 8, 2014, 9:04 PM EDT

On MSNBC's Ed Show, NOW President Terry O'Neill gives a glum assessment of Wendy Davis' chances of winning her race for Governor of Texas: "this has always been very much an uphill battle."

September 8, 2014, 10:51 AM EDT

Joe Scarborough scoffs at Thomas Friedman's suggestion that the way to confront ISIS is for the US to adopt a carbon tax and permit oil exports.

September 7, 2014, 3:52 PM EDT

In his inaugural episode as moderator of Meet The Press, Chuck Todd hits President Obama with a question from the left on the president's decision to postpone the granting of amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants until after the November, 2014 congressional elections: "what do you tell the person that's going to get deported before the election that this decision was essentially made in your hopes of saving a Democratic Senate."

September 6, 2014, 7:38 AM EDT

Rachel Maddow frets about all President Obama has on his plate and concludes: "aren't you glad you're not President?"

September 2, 2014, 11:04 PM EDT

UPDATE: Maddow has posted a misleading tweet trying to cover up her mistake.  See after the jump.

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Another embarrassing mistake by Rachel Maddow. This time Rachel has revealed her unfamiliarity with some simple world geography. On her MSNBC show this evening, discussing President Obama's impending trip to one of the Baltic states--Estonia--Maddow told anecdotes of "the last time a US President visited the Balkans."  Whoops!

Maddow waxed on about how the last time an American president visited the "Balkans," it was George W., visiting Albania.  Rachel recounted the story of how W's wrist-watch disappeared when he waded into a crowd of Albanian well-wishers.  With malicious glee, Maddow mentioned that in honor of his visit, the Albanians erected a tall statue of W with a "teeny, teeny, teeny, tiny little head."  How tiny must a melon be not to contain the difference between the Balkans and the Baltics?  View the video after the jump.

August 29, 2014, 12:31 PM EDT

Of all the names that it would be embarrassing for an MSNBC network host to blank on, Rick Perry's would have to be at the top of the list.  How countless many times has the Lean Forward network had fun at Perry's expense over his "whoops" moment during a 2012 presidential debate?

But that unfortunate fate befell Jose Diaz-Balart today, hosting his own new MSNBC show.  The topic was the way in which Ted Cruz and Perry would potentially fight over Texas donor dollars if they were to both run for president.  Diaz-Balart got Cruz's name without problem, but when it came time for Perry's, Diaz-Balart stumbled multiple times before giving up and just generically referencing him as the "Governor of Texas."  Whoops indeed! View the video after the jump.

August 29, 2014, 9:17 AM EDT

Alexander the Great.  Stonewall Jackson. George S. Patton. To this list of some of history's greatest military strategists, a new name must be added: that of Barack Obama.  That is, if you agree with Joe Scarborough's take on President Obama's statement at yesterday's press conference that "we don't have a strategy yet" regarding possible attacks on ISIS in Syria.

According to Scarborough, speaking on today's Morning Joe, President Obama's "no strategy" statement was "straight out of The Art of War where when you were weak, you make your enemies think you were strong. When you were strong, you make your enemies think you were weak." It's what Scarborough would have done, he told viewers, if he were president. When Sam Stein said that he couldn't tell if Joe was joking, Scarborough assured him: "I'm serious. Dead serious . . . I am dead serious.  I am not joking."  View the video after the jump.

August 23, 2014, 9:55 AM EDT

Dial MSNBC for Murder . . . The Lean Forward network is the place to go if that's the way you want to hear the death of Michael Brown described.  On August 12th, NB'S Ken Shepherd noted that Chris Hayes didn't utter a peep of protest when a Missouri state senator called Brown's death an "execution-style" killing.  Three days later on MSNBC, Luke Russert called Brown's death "murder" before catching himself.  

It's happened again.  On today's Up With Steve Kornacki, guest L. Joy Williams pointedly called the Brown death "murder."  Did Kornacki challenge his guest's assertion in any way? Of course not.  At the end of her statement, Kornacki blandly posed a question to Williams about poll results.  Courageous journalism, Steve!  View the video after the jump.

August 19, 2014, 9:10 AM EDT

Like what?  Seriously, Mika Brzezinski, when you claim as you did on today's Morning Joe that Barack Obama has done "great things" on race, precisely what do you have in mind? H/t NB reader Ray R.

Was it choosing to make the racist Reverend Wright his personal pastor?  Appointing Eric Holder as Attorney General?  Accusing the Cambridge police of acting "stupidly" in the arrest of a black man?  Complaining about Americans who dislike him because they don't like the idea of a black president? Inviting Al Sharpton to the White House?  Really, Mika, we want to know.  View the video after the jump.

August 15, 2014, 3:58 PM EDT

Was it a simple mistake, or more deeply revealing of how Luke Russert regards events in Ferguson, MO?  With Chuck Todd on his way to Meet The Press, Russert hosted MSNBC's Daily Rundown today.

Speaking with NBC reporter Ron Allen, on the scene in Ferguson, Russert said: "the big news this morning is we expect to hear for the first time the name of the officer who was involved in the murder of Michael Brown -- or the killing of Michael Brown."  H/t reader Charles B. View the video after the jump.

August 15, 2014, 8:35 AM EDT

The look on Al Sharpton's face was that of a mischievous cat who had just swallowed the canary. It came right after the Right Reverend concluded his remarks about Rand Paul and Hillary on today's Morning Joe.

Sharpton's gist was that, by speaking out on race [in a Time op-ed] in ways unaccustomed for Republicans, Paul presented a challenge to Hillary to clarify her own civil rights record.  Sharpton suggested that "many of us in the civil rights community" question the Clintons on race, citing triangulation, the Sistah Souljah moment, and Hillary's position on the Omnibus Crime Bill.  View the video after the jump.

August 14, 2014, 8:17 AM EDT

Inevitability, my eye.  If Republicans can't defeat Hillary Clinton in 2016 [assuming she gets there], they should be brought up on charges of political malfeasance.

So lacking is Hillary in the most basic of personal political prerequisites that even Morning Joe called her "canned" and cringeworthy.  The panel was commenting on an excruciating clip of Clinton prior to her hug-it-out dinner with President Obama last night.  Watch it if you dare, but the panel's point was a larger one--that there is something about Clinton's public persona as to be seriously off-putting.  View the video after the jump.

August 13, 2014, 9:37 AM EDT

President Obama is more "forceful" and "stubborn" about playing golf than he is about pushing through his policy agenda.  That was Dana Milbank's take on today's Morning Joe.  

As Joe Scarborough described it, earlier this week the normally left-leaning Milbank enjoyed a "12-minute honeymoon" with conservatives after his Washington Post column called Obama's decision to go golfing while the world burned an example of "tone deafness" if not outright "stupid stuff."  Milbank doubled down on the notion today with his suggestion that the president cares more about making it to the first tee than enacting his policy positions.  Milbank seemed frustrated with Obama's fecklessness. But if the president's love of the links keeps him from pushing his policies, conservatives should be saying "play on, Mr. President!"  View the video after the jump.

August 10, 2014, 9:13 AM EDT

Fore left! Q. Is there any news professional who doesn't know that, out of respect for military families, President George W. Bush gave up golf not long after the Iraq war started?  A.  Yes.  Dan Harris, weekend Good Morning America co-host.

Harris' ignorance—or intentional disregard of the facts—was displayed during a segment today's GMA after Jonathan Karl reported that President Obama hit the links within an hour of landing at Martha's Vineyard and just hours after making a statement about US attacks on ISIS forces. After Karl said that Woodrow Wilson, in office during WWI, had played more golf than any other president, Harris claimed "George W. Bush played his fair share of golf during the Iraq war as well."  In fact, as noted above, W renounced golf in August, 2003, saying "I don't want some mom whose son may have recently died to see the commander in chief playing golf . . . I feel I owe it to the families to be as -- to be in solidarity as best as I can with them. And I think playing golf during a war just sends the wrong signal."  But defending Obama was apparently more important for Harris than the facts.  View the video after the jump.

August 9, 2014, 10:26 AM EDT

Today's New York Times op-ed page includes a wide-ranging interview on foreign policy that Thomas Friedman conducted with President Obama.  Let's break down some of the low-lights.  Excerpts from interview in italics, with my comments following. And sure, when President Obama said "I don't worry about Israel's survival," he explained his insouciance in terms of Israel's military might.  But was he telling a deeper truth?

Obama made clear that he is only going to involve America more deeply in places like the Middle East to the extent that the different communities there agree to an inclusive politics of no victor/no vanquished.

LOL.  Yup, lions laying down with lambs any day now. So is Obama really saying that the US will not be involved in the Middle East ever again?  And how does he square his statement with the attack he ordered on ISIS?  Isn't that all about vanquishing them? More after the jump.

August 7, 2014, 9:31 AM EDT

It's different when the MSM puts a Republican inside a bullseye, because, uh . . . Remember when in 2011 voices on the left from Keith Olbermann to Paul Krugman to the Huffington Post among many others suggested that Sarah Palin was at least partially to blame for the shooting of Rep. Gabby Giffords because Palin had put out a map of House seats with bullseyes depicting districts, including Giffords',  that Republicans were targeting?  Krugman for example wrung his hands over the "climate of hate" that Palin and others on the right were supposedly fomenting, and predicted growing political violence in the years ahead.

Will those same leftists condemn the Daily Beast, which today featured a photo of Rand Paul inside a big red bullseye over a story headlined "Rand Paul = Democrats’ Enemy #1."  Enemy #1?  Bullseye?  Oh, the humanity! View the photo after the jump.

August 4, 2014, 8:45 AM EDT

Isaiah 1:18: "Come now, and let us reason together." Joe Scarborough: My critics are "morons, and I can call them that."  The notoriously thin-skinned Morning Joe host is at it again.  Scarborough typically dings those who dare differ with him as Cheetos-chompers living in their mothers' basement. But Scarborough escalated the hostilities this morning, declaring that those who criticize his stance on Israel are "morons," and that he has been pro-Israel since the days that his critics were having their behinds wiped by mom.

Scarborough had caused a firestorm last week when, as NewsBuster Connor Williams reported, he accused Israel of "indiscriminate" attacks on Gaza.  Scarborough again made the "indiscriminate" accusation this morning, and no doubt anticipating additional criticism, launched his pre-emptive strike.  View the video after the jump.

August 1, 2014, 9:17 AM EDT

Do Gaza civilians support Hamas' military operations that use them as human shields and store weapons in their schools and mosques?  Ayman Mohyeldin would have you think so.  On today's Morning Joe, the NBC reporter claimed that among Gazans, Hamas' military wing is "very highly revered."

To which Israeli spokesman Mark Regev had a stunning comeback: "I mean, if you walk down the street in Gaza with an NBC camera and you ask people, well, was Hamas shooting from this building that the Israelis targeted? No, everyone will say, of course, not. Because you have a regime that is ultimately authoritarian and violent to its own people and they have that ability to control the message. It's like walking down the street in Cuba with a camera and saying do you like Fidel Castro? What can people say?"  View the video after the jump.

July 31, 2014, 9:16 AM EDT

Latest dispatch from the Department of Too Much Information: Thomas Roberts wants you to know that if diagnosed with low-T, he would take a testosterone supplement "without hesitation."

More surprising is Roberts' reckless attitude.  Asked whether testosterone's possible health risks would dissuade him from taking the hormone, Roberts replied: "No. I want to live today, I will borrow from tomorrow."  Roberts' startling admission came during today's Morning Joe segment on Time's current cover story, "Manopause," which looks into the testosterone-supplement boom and its associated dangers.  Roberts' statement shocked his fellow panelists. View the video after the jump.

July 30, 2014, 9:50 AM EDT

There are days when Mika Brzezinski will surprise you.  Take Morning Joe today, and Brzezinski's comments on the news that ESPN had suspended Stephen A. Smith for a week for his comments about women "provoking" domestic violence.

Said Mika: "I think it's too bad we can't have a conversation without people exploding, because I think he was trying to make a point. It might have been inartful but there was a point to what he was saying that is absolutely valid and has value."  Surprising, no?  View the video after the jump.