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
December 24, 2013, 5:53 PM EST

The Declaration of Independence? Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?  Meh. That's so, like, 18th century.  No, Ed Schultz has come out with a new declaration of what he calls the Four Pillars of American Life: health care, jobs, education and equality.

Schultz promulgated his manifesto on the year-in-review episode of his MSNBC show today. View the video after the jump.

December 23, 2013, 7:48 AM EST

After Martin Bashir lost his MSNBC job for making a vile anatomical suggestion, you might think that others at the "Lean Forward" network would be circumspect about engaging in comparable crudeness.

But that didn't stop John Heilemann on today's Morning Joe. Whereas Bashir's remark focused on the beginning of the alimentary canal, Heilemann's went to its other extremity. Asked how he'd deal with Senator Rand Paul's theory that extending unemployment benefits does the unemployed a disservice, Heilmann said "I'd tell Rand Paul to stick that where it belongs." View the video after the jump.

December 21, 2013, 1:19 PM EST

Today's Melissa Harris-Perry show on MSNBC, with Joy Reid guest-hosting, displayed a "Pope" poster of Pope Francis in the style of Shepard Fairey's "Hope" poster of Barack Obama made famous in 2008.

The show featured a long segment analyzing the Pope's critique of capitalism.  What's the message of the poster and of MSNBC's decision to display it? That Pope Francis and Barack Obama share a critique of capitalism? That Barack Obama is himself a Pope-like figure? Something else?  View the video after the jump.

December 18, 2013, 6:30 PM EST

All those sanctimonious tears shed by Democrats over how the government shutdown hurt Americans? Turns out they were of the crocodile variety.

Ed Schultz gave away the game in opening his MSNBC show tonight. Avoiding another shutdown is "bad news" for Democrats, said Schultz.  View the video after the jump.

December 16, 2013, 10:06 AM EST

In her continuing campaign to promote Elizabeth Warren's presidential prospects, Mika Brzezinski has attempted to recruit an unlikely ally: Steve Rattner.

Rattner--President Obama's former "car czar"--is an investment manager and what passes for a moderate in the modern Dem party.  The notion that he would support leftist Elizabeth Warren in a Dem primary is far-fetched to say the least.  But Mika told Rattner he would "root" for Warren "because you will do that for me."  A compliant Ratter replied that he would "do anything" for Mika. View the video after the jump.

December 13, 2013, 10:08 AM EST

Joe Scarborough made a point of mentioning that until today, his MSNBC show hadn't discussed the Obama selfie at the memorial service for Nelson Mandela.  Morning Joe's way too highbrow for that kind of stuff, don't you know, particularly when it might reflect badly on Barack Obama.

But when the crew finally got around to it today, opinion from Joe to Mika to Ed Rendell to Thomas Roberts was unanimous: there was nothing to criticize.  Mika made her point by seeking to snap a selfie with Scarborough, as Joe jokingly showed her the hand.  View the video after the jump.

December 11, 2013, 9:38 AM EST

Nicolle Wallace played the quintessential DC insider on today's Morning Joe, proclaiming herself a "groupie" of both conservative Senator Tom Coburn and liberal partisan David Axelrod, while also saying she was "inspired" by Paul Ryan's leadership in forging a budget compromise deal.

But the Sooner senator wasn't letting the inside-the-Beltway bonhomie blunt his criticism, saying the budget deal "sells out" what needs to be done, and gives up "core values." View the video after the jump.

December 10, 2013, 9:24 AM EST

Wow! File this one under: what would have been the MSM reaction to a conservative who had made the same un-PC statement?  

On today's Morning Joe, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, discussing the way American children have fallen behind children in other countries in academic achievement, and are coddled, handed trophies for non-achievement and protected from stress, said: "stress will be not understanding the thick Chinese accent of your first boss. That will be stress."  View the video after the jump.

December 9, 2013, 9:41 AM EST

Things got testy between Joe Scarborough and Howard Dean on today's Morning Joe over the issue of the Dem party moving left.  In a particularly unkind cut, Scarborough accused Dean of spouting "Carl Bernstein nonsense," while Dean tried to shut Scarborough down, bleating "blah, blah, blah, blah, blah."  Adding spice to the mix, Mika Brzezinski made clear her great regard for lefty Senator Elizabeth Warren, saying she'd make a "formidable" presidential candidate. 

The fracas was detonated by a discussion of a Wall Street Journal op-ed by a centrist Dem group called "The Third Way," which argued that following proposals from Warren and far-left, newly-elected NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, would be electorally "disastrous" for Dems.  That in turn engendered a New York Times article about infighting among Dems, reporting among other things that Warren is using "hardball" tactics to intimidate banks supporting The Third Way. View the video after the jump.

December 5, 2013, 9:15 AM EST

Martin Bashir was fired from MSNBC this week for his ugly scatalogical suggestion about Sarah Palin. But there was Chris Matthews on the same network this morning using a barnyard epithet to attack another Republican. On today's Morning Joe, Matthews called John Boehner's comments on divided government "pissant."

That p-word has apparently become a favorite Matthews meme in attacking Republicans.  MRC's Tim Graham recently noted that Matthews used it against Rand Paul. View the video after the jump.

December 4, 2013, 8:26 AM EST

Call it a case of interview envy--in the context of an ongoing feud between two MSNBC hosts.

There has been bad blood between Joe Scarborough and Chris Matthews for years, as here, here and here.  On today's Morning Joe, Scarborough took the occasion of Chris Matthews' impending interview of President Obama to mock the way Matthews' on-air schedule has shrunk. In a particularly low blow, Scarborough even compared the Hardball host to Regis Philbin.  View the video after the jump.

December 2, 2013, 8:29 AM EST

Potemkin Village, anyone?  Joe Scarborough has offered a scathing simile for the new-'n-improved Obamacare website.  On today's Morning Joe, he likened the site to the set of a Hollywood Western--pushing back the facade reveals that there's nothing behind it.

Even former Obama spox Robert Gibbs—proudly sporting an Auburn jersey—acknowledged that big chunks of the system, including the payment mechanism for subsidies, haven't even been built.  So people can go to the site, receive the illusion that they have obtained coverage, only to find that there is no follow-through.  View the video after the jump.

December 1, 2013, 12:18 PM EST

Being a leftist of the Obama ilk, you have to assume that Congressman Keith Ellison thought he was doing President Obama a favor in offering his interpretation of the president's "if you like your plan, you can keep it" line, as well as his subsequent non-apology apology.

But on today's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos," Ellison wound up putting words in the president's mouth that quite literally added insult to injury.  Ellison first falsely claimed that Pres. Obama had said "if you like your decent insurance, your insurance that works, then you can keep it." Obama of course never said any such thing. Moreover, according to Ellison, by his apology Obama meant "if you misunderstood what I was trying to say, I'm sorry."  So the fault lies not with Obama for having blatantly misled the American people. No, it's those ignorant Americans—too dense to dig the real meaning of the great man's words—who are to blame. View the video after the jump.

November 26, 2013, 9:52 AM EST

How shambolic of a smoking ruin is the Obama presidency?  When Tina Brown surveys the wreckage, the best—the best!—thing she sees, the thing she believes will be Barack Obama's shining legacy, is his handling of Iran and Syria, which she declares to be "smart," and of course, "nuanced."

The Obamacare catastrophe? Not to worry.  On today's Morning Joe, Brown assured us that those problems are "transient." No, look over here, at President Obama's masterful handling of foreign policy! Yes, years from now, when the minor hiccups of the Obamacare rollout will be long forgotten, people will still be marvelling at how well Barack Obama dealt with Iran and Syria.  View the video here.

November 25, 2013, 8:30 AM EST

Joe Scarborough has suggested that President Obama's poor poll numbers made him "desperate," driving him to agree to a deal with Iran on its nuclear program that Scarborough criticized as "bad" and even "horrible."

Scarborough described recently speaking with someone who said that no president with approval ratings under 40% should be allowed to do a deal. Reminds me of doctors' warnings not to sign legal documents while under the effects of some medications.  Said Scarborough of unpopular presidents: "they get desperate, they really do."  View the video after the jump.

November 22, 2013, 9:39 AM EST

Sure, he was careful to couch it.  But the bottom line is that Zbigniew Brzezinski believes that Iran is willing to abandon its goal of acquiring nuclear weapons.

Jimmy Carter's former national security adviser offered that opinion in response to questioning by former RNC Chairman Michael Steele on today's Morning Joe.  Brzezinski also claimed that the recent round of negotiations have been "serious, substantive" and that the Iranians have been "accommodating."  View the video after the jump.

November 21, 2013, 9:11 AM EST

If only "Republican" Nicolle Wallace would be as critical of Democrats as she is of members of her own putative party . . . On today's Morning Joe, Wallace—adviser to Sarah Palin during the 2008 campaign—decided that in order to praise Republican governors, she had to pound Republicans in Congress.

Wallace took her shot at congressional Republicans in the course of discussing Chris Christie ascension as head of the Republican Governors Association.  Wallace praised Republican governors as "our stars . . . the people that can speak English." In contrast, according to Nicolle, "you go to Washington and somehow Republicans are speaking another language." View the video after the jump.

November 20, 2013, 5:52 PM EST

Ed Schultz knows nothing about misdemeanor sentencing guidelines . . . Playing the race card over the arrest and conviction of Republican congressman Trey Radel for cocaine possession, Ed Schultz has claimed there is "no doubt" that an African-American who committed the same crime "would be facing jail time."

Really? Radel's crime was a misdemeanor, and he was a first-time offender. It would be highly unusual for anyone pleading guilty under such circumstances to be sentenced to jail time. DC jails could not possibly hold all the low-level misdemeanor drug offenders. View the video after the jump.

November 20, 2013, 9:05 AM EST

Was someone holding Mika Brzezinski's shoe collection hostage?  Because something obviously forced the Morning Joe host, against her will, to devote two lengthy segments today, totalling more than 2.5 minutes, to the story of scandal-ridden Toronto Mayor Rob Ford.

With Joe Scarborough away, Mika was in charge. After airing the second long segment she complained "I can't believe he's still in the news.  It doesn't make sense."  Hmm.  Kind of reminds me of another liberal complaining about what was done on his own watch.  View the video after the jump.

November 19, 2013, 2:47 PM EST

When conservatives appear on MSM shows, they regularly get raked over the coals. Frustratingly, the conservative guests rarely call their interviewers out for their obvious lefty bias.

So it was refreshing to see Republican Congressman Chaffetz of Utah refuse to let Luke Russert's liberal slant slide. In the guise of a question, Russert, subbing for Andrea Mitchell on her MSNBC show today, confronted Chaffetz with a contentious bit of editorializing against the "Ted Cruz, Mike Lee rabbit hole." Chaffetz called Russert on it: "That was a loaded question there, Luke!" View the video after the jump.