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
February 18, 2015, 9:23 AM EST

Latest dispatch from President Obama's Department of Terrible Deeds in the Name of Christ . . . Morning Joe invited the State Department spox Marie Harf on today to give her a chance to clarify what she said to Chris Matthews about the US being unable to "kill our way" out of the ISIS problem and the need to focus on the "root causes" of terrorism.

After brushing off the suggestion by General Michael Hayden that she'd like a "mulligan" on those remarks, Harf attempted to distract from the focus on Islamic terrorism. Discussing this week's White House summit on "extremism," Harf cited the Lord's Resistance Army led by Ugandan Joseph Kony. Huffed Harf: "I don't remember people talking about that as much anymore, but that's a Christian militant group."

February 18, 2015, 7:13 AM EST

There are still 10 months to go in 2015, but Mike Barnicle is a strong frontrunner for Clumsiest Comment of the Year.

In a Morning Joe segment today on ISIS outrages, and shortly after mentioning the atrocity in which ISIS burned dozens of people to death in Iraq, Barnicle said that the complexity of dealing with ISIS makes "you want to set your hair on fire."

February 17, 2015, 7:23 AM EST

Mike Barnicle: proud member of the Barack Obama "terrible deeds in the name of Christ" school of moral blindness . . . 

Joe Scarborough opened today's Morning Joe with a protracted and impassioned plea for America—and in particular President Obama—to call out radical Islam by name. Mika Brzezinski was dubious, citing unspecified "difficult times" in the past when presidents used the wrong language. But taking Mika's misgivings a giant step further, Mike Barnicle flatly declared that we can't call radical Islam by name because "we're the Crusaders."

February 16, 2015, 9:13 PM EST

If once is an MSNBC aberration, is twice is a trend? Earlier today we reported on Ed Schultz getting surprisingly angry over the Obama administration's weakness in confronting ISIS, calling the situation a "religious war."

Just two hours later, Chris Matthews sounded a similar alarm, saying "if I were ISIS I wouldn't be afraid . . . the American people are getting humiliated . . . it sounds like we can't stop it." Have we reached a watershed moment among normally dutiful MSM supporters of President Obama?

February 16, 2015, 5:48 PM EST

Holy schnikes: was that really Ed Schultz, or has the soul of Norman Schwarzkopf suddenly assumed control of the MSNBC host's body?

On his show this afternoon, Schultz—discussing the latest ISIS outrages—stunningly declared that we are in a "religious war" in which we haven't been "strong enough," and repeatedly raised the possibility that ground troops might be necessary to defeat ISIS.

February 16, 2015, 8:01 AM EST

Joe Scarborough says he doesn't want to be "torn to shreds online" for analogizing the threat of radical Christianity to that of radical Islam.  Simple solution: stop analogizing the threat of radical Christianity to that of radical Islam.

On today's Morning Joe, Scarborough twice suggested such parallels, analogizing radical Islamists to "ultrafundamentalist Christians who believe every single word of the Bible has to be interpreted in the exact ways which could also lead to some violence." A bit later, Scarborough circled back, saying "it doesn't matter what faith you're in," that a literal reading of scripture attracts the outcasts of society, for better or "for much worse."

February 12, 2015, 7:15 AM EST

What a snob!  On today's Morning Joe, Howard Dean, a product of fancy prep schools and Yale, suggested that Scott Walker was unfit to be president because his lack of a college degree rendered him "unknowledgeable."

Dean's disdain for the un-diplomaed came during a discussion of Walker having declined, during his recent trip to the UK, to state whether he believes in evolution.  Joe Scarborough was incredulous at Dean's diss, pointing out that people such as Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg never finished college.  To which list might be added super-successful and knowledgeable people from Rush Limbaugh to Steve Jobs.

February 11, 2015, 8:21 PM EST

Imagine a Fox News host making an unflattering remark about some aspect of Hillary Clinton's appearance. Now imagine the MSM going into 24/7 outrage mode.

But on tonight's Hardball, Chris Matthews casually referred to Chris Christie as "the fat guy from New Jersey." And in walking back the crack, Matthews actually compounded his mistake.  Rather than acknowledging that it's simply wrong to insult someone for his obesity, Matthews instead observed that he shouldn't call Christie a fat guy, because "he's losing weight." So fat cracks are fine if the target is actually fat?

February 11, 2015, 8:21 AM EST

Joe Scarborough is shocked by the outpouring of "sheer hatred, snarkiness and snideness" directed at Brian Williams. 

On today's Morning Joe, Scarborough drew a contrast between himself, who as an opinion person has to expect much criticism, and Williams, who he claimed reported the news in a "straight" way.  But as Newsbusters and our parent MRC has carefully documented, Williams has been anything but a "straight" reporter of the news. Like so many of his MSM brethren, Williams had a distinctly liberal slant.

February 9, 2015, 7:12 AM EST

Joe Scarborough's defense of Brian Williams amounts to a warning to people in the media and politics: I know a lot about many of you, too.

On today's Morning Joe, Scarborough ominously said: "in over a decade in this news business, it is fair to say looking straight in the camera, I've seen a lot, I know a lot, and I know that there are very few people in this industry or in politics that could live by the standard of perfection. Cast the first stone? I would be careful."

February 5, 2015, 8:33 AM EST

Should the United States not send arms to help Ukraine defend itself against Russia because our country would be angered if Russia armed Mexico against Texas?  A strange analogy, no?  

But it's the one Joe Scarborough made on today's Morning Joe: "what is Vladimir Putin's response going to be to the United States arming Ukraine? Certainly I would guess no better than, you know, the Russians arming Mexico with weapons against Texas."

February 3, 2015, 8:31 AM EST

Rand Paul to reporter: "Calm down a bit here, Kelly. Let me answer the question." Joe Scarborough to guest: 'Let me finish my sentence and then you can be a condescending liberal Emanuel." The two responses sound similar, don't they? Two guys getting frustrated by their interlocutors' interruptions. 

The irony is that Joe Scarborough devoted a segment on today's Morning Joe to rapping Rand Paul for "shushing" that reporter, whereas a bit later in the show, Scarborough himself shut down a guest with such similar language.

February 2, 2015, 10:58 AM EST

On today's Morning Joe, Donny Deustch defended Mike Huckabee's statement that he can be friendly with gays although he doesn't share their lifestyle, in the same way he can be friendly with people who drink alcohol, use profanity, or like classical music or ballet, even though he doesn't engage in or enjoy those activities.

But when Joe Scarborough stated that for thousands of years Christians and Jews have believed that homosexuality is not a preferable way of living, Deutsch protested "where did Jews say it's not okay to live that way?"  Scarborough and Mark Halperin pointed out to Deutsch that the prohibition is in the Old Testament.

January 30, 2015, 8:46 AM EST

You say "Jeb Bush," Thomas Roberts says "the Kouachi brothers." 

It's got to be one of the strangest political Rorschach test results of all time. On today's Morning Joe, Roberts claimed that Jeb Bush would have a "big onus" around his neck if he runs for president "because if we hear 'Bush' we're automatically going to go to people bringing up the Kouachi brothers and their photos of Abu Ghraib that radicalized them about Iraq."

January 29, 2015, 8:29 AM EST

Ayman Mohyeldin has suggested that Chris Kyle, the real "American Sniper," was a "racist" whose military missions were nothing less than "killing sprees." 

With opinions like that, you might imagine Mohyeldin to be some unhinged bloviator from the bowels of the anti-American far left. Or, an NBC foreign correspondent [who formerly worked for Al Jazeera] who regularly reports on events in the Middle East.  Which is exactly what he is.  Ayman vented his bile on today's Morning Joe.

January 26, 2015, 8:43 AM EST

On today's Morning Joe, Nicolle Wallace was asked to comment on conservative columnist Byron York's panning of Palin's speech as "long, rambling, and at times barely coherent." York's column also passed along criticism of the speech by a number of Iowa Republicans.  Wallace said that it was interesting to see York come "full circle," since back in 2008 he had been a Palin defender, blaming the campaign for the way she was packaged.  Wallace then doubled down with this dig: "This is who she is. This to me is evidence that she has finally shed every last one of those annoying handlers." Reeoorw!  

January 23, 2015, 8:18 AM EST

On today's Morning Joe, commenting on the arrest of Dem NYS Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver on bribery charges, Rattner claimed that "they don't pay these guys full-time salaries. They pay them, I think, $112,000 a year."  

January 22, 2015, 9:12 AM EST

Jim VandeHei sees dead people. On today's Morning Joe, the Politico honcho agreed with Joe Scarborough's suggestion that Chris Christie is like Bruce Willis in The Sixth Sense: [politically] dead but doesn't know it.

Ironically, Scarborough distanced himself from his own suggestion, twice saying that he didn't believe it. But when he asked his guest if the characterization was fair, Vandehei replied "I think it is. At best he's a live man stumbling."

January 20, 2015, 11:37 AM EST

Tuning into the middle of a Morning Joe segment today, at first I assumed that MSNBC's Ari Melber was chatting with the Oscar nominees.  But no, turns out Melber had scored interviews with President Obama's SOTU speechwriting team. You'll excuse my confusion. As you'll see, just like the Oscar hopefuls, the SOTU writers appear to be a panorama of people of pallor. 

January 16, 2015, 9:32 AM EST

Interesting: Cuba's Bureau of Tourism sponsored a three-minute promo on today's Morning Joe. Oh, wait, no.  That was NBC itself, in the person of Kate Snow, with a smiley, unrelentingly upbeat segment promoting the glories of tourism in Cuba that will now be possible for Americans under President Obama's executive order relaxing former restrictions.

Snow's segment—entitled 'Bienvenidos a Cuba' just like a travelogue—had it all: beaches, dancing in the streets, cigars, rum, beer and all those nifty vintage cars potentially available to collectors. So, you ask, what did Snow have to say about the repressive Communist regime that continues to rule Cuba?  Nada, naturally.  Don't harsh the Cohiba mellow, compadre!