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
October 15, 2013, 8:04 AM EDT

Nicolle Wallace is the perfect MSNBC kind of Republican: the kind who isn't sure if she opposes Obamacare.

On today's Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough was seeking to make the point that while Republicans are divided over tactics, they are ideologically united in opposition to Obamacare.  To demonstrate his thesis, Scarborough asked Wallace whether she supports Obamacare, taking it for granted that she would express her opposition.  Amazingly, Wallace responded that she "wasn't sure anymore," then quoted her [former Bush aide] husband who had wondered "what do we hate about it?" She did then catch heself and admitted to not supporting Obamacare on the grounds that the government is not a competent deliverer of healthcare.  Too late: Wallace had already betrayed her RINO roots.  View the video after the jump.

October 14, 2013, 9:14 AM EDT

Did you really have to be a pluperfect political prognosticator to have foreseen that none of Herman Cain, Michelle Bachmann or Donald Trump was going to be the 2012 Republican presidential nominee?

Yet on today's Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough—by way of establishing his fortune-telling street cred—boasted of having made those predictions, before proceeding to claim that: 1. Ted Cruz will not be the 2016 Republican nominee; and 2. there's a "very real chance" that Cruz will break from the GOP and run as an independent.  View the video after the jump.

October 10, 2013, 8:24 AM EDT

Can you tell that "Bulgarian," "Sunbeam," and "Vladivostok" are different words?  Congratulations: you're smarter than the Obamacare website!  Just for fun, I tried to create an Obamacare account at Healthcare.gov this morning.  At 6:48 AM CDT, I had no trouble getting in. Things were going swimmingly . . . until it came time to choose security questions and provide answers.  

As you'll see from the screengrab, I was informed that my account could not be created because "two or more answers to the security questions cannot be the same. You must provide distinct answers to the chosen security questions."  President Obama, Secretary Sebelius, or anybody else out there, please tell me, which of the following words are the same: "Bulgarian," "Sunbeam" and "Vladivostok"? Because those are, as you'll see from the screencap after the jump, the three answers I gave.  Note: the first time I tried and failed, I supplied real answers, but for purposes of this blog, when I tried again I used fanciful ones.  Didn't want the whole world to know that my favorite cuisine is actually Indian. Oops!] More after the jump.

October 8, 2013, 7:53 AM EDT

Poor Carl Bernstein: he's suffering a bad bout of MSM nostalgia. He longs for the good old media days when the news was dominated by the likes of the New York Times, the Washington Post and the then three broadcast networks. They could slam Republicans with impunity, without any conservative media counterweight.

In covering the shutdown, today's media culture, kvetches Carl, is just too darn fair and balanced in its treatment of those lying, McCarthyite Republicans. That's why President Obama and the congressional Dems' poll numbers are surprisingly bad.  Such was Carl's complaint on today's Morning Joe. View the video after the jump.

October 4, 2013, 9:17 AM EDT

Imagine that Jeff Bezos asked his vice-president for sales IT how many people had purchased products from Amazon the day before, and the veep said he'd get back to him "in a few weeks."  How many nanoseconds do you think that hapless employee would last in his job?

But on today's Morning Joe, there  was the Obama admin's David Simas, sporting the lofty title of Deputy Senior Advisor for Communications and Strategy, smiling insouciantly while saying that it would be a "few weeks" before the Obama admin would say how many people had signed up for Obamacare. Conclusion: either: 1. the Obama admin's information technology planning and implementation is grossly incompetent; and/or 2. President Obama doesn't want Americans to know just how few people have signed up for Obamacare--particularly in the young-and-healthy demographic, upon whose willingness to make the uneconomic choice of signing up the entire house of cards hinges. View the video after the jump.

October 3, 2013, 2:20 PM EDT

Quick: how much were Social Security, Medicaid and food stamps cut by the sequester? Zero, you say?  Those programs were exempted from sequester cuts, and Medicare was reduced by only 2%? Correctomundo!  

So what was Andrea Mitchell thinking when she claimed on her MSNBC show that the sequester "gutted" social programs? You tell me.  View the video after the jump.

October 3, 2013, 12:03 PM EDT

In one insulting swoop, Joe Scarborough managed this morning to impugn the intelligence of his viewers and of Republicans.

According to Scarborough: "I know a lot of people aren't really smart out there."  As for Republicans, Scarborough said he felt sorry for them "because they should have paid more attention in school. They wouldn't be so easily confused by 140-character statements."  All this was preface to his suggestion that President Obama accept the Republican proposal to fund such things as NIH, taking the issue of kids with cancer off the table.  Ironic, given that earlier in the show, Scarborough said "if I were the President I wouldn't negotiate." View the video after the jump.

October 2, 2013, 8:13 AM EDT

Move over, Lord Voldemort.  Ted Cruz has taken your place as the man so evil he must not be named .  .  .

Today's Morning Joe featured a strange trope in which Cruz was being unmistakably referred to by various members of the panel, but, at least in the first hour, never mentioned by name.  Instead, Joe Scarborough, Mike Barnicle and Willie Geist variously alluded to Cruz as "one Republican senator specifically" or as one of "a couple of Republican senators" or "certain members of the Senate."  Why the aversion to calling Ted Cruz by name?  Were the Morning Joers trying to deprive Cruz of publicity?  View the video after the jump.

October 1, 2013, 8:12 AM EDT

Seems the shutdown is already frazzling folks.  Though some of it might have been for show, tempers seemed to truly flare on today's Morning Joe. An on-air spat broke out, with Joe Scarborough in one corner, and Mika Brzezinski and the Washington Post's Eugene Robinson in the other.  

Fed up with what he described as a "paid advertisement for Obamacare" by Brzezinski and Robinson, Scarborough insisted on giving his side of the story.  He predicted that Obamacare will fail, as major employers opt to pay fines instead of providing health insurance to their employeees. That in turn will cause millions of people to be dumped into federal programs. The end result, said Scarborough, will be the disappearance of private health insurance within ten years and a complete government takeover of the program.  View the video after the jump.

September 30, 2013, 2:03 PM EDT

Why do Dems need Debbie Wasserman-Schultz when they've got Andrea Mitchell?  There was no mistaking Mitchell's anger on her MSNBC show today as she scolded Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz .  "Get real," reprimanded Mitchell, twice telling Chaffetz the Republican bill delaying the implementation of ObamaCare was "dead on arrival."

For good measure, Mitchell put the onus on Republicans to cave in order to avoid "hurting people."  View the video after the jump.

September 30, 2013, 7:54 AM EDT

The list of things on which Barack Obama has been wrong goes on to the crack of doom.  But there's one thing on which the President is surely right. In devising his strategy for dealing with the shutdown, the prez can count on the MSM to blame Republicans.

Mark Halperin bared the president's calculus on today's Morning Joe, saying the Obama admin has little incentive to negotiate because it believes a "sympathetic" press will blame Republicans like they did in the 1990s, accusing them of being "obstructionist."  View the video after the jump.

September 29, 2013, 4:25 PM EDT

As a blogger, I subscribe to the email lists of some organizations whose goals I do not, shall we say,  necessarily embrace.  Among them is Organizing For Action, the successor to the 2012 Obama campaign.  As you can imagine, although I read OFA's messages with interest, I don't succumb to its frequent appeals for funds.

You might think OFA might let me loaf along in peace, but no.  Just now arrived an email I'd call kind of creepy.  Start with the subject line [emphasis added throughout]: "Mark: Not an OFA donor".  Whoah: so this is more than just a generic pitch to all freeloaders: they're calling me out by name! The body of the message informs me that "according to the records associated with this exact email address," I haven't donated.  "Exact email address"? Yikes!  They've got me nailed dead to rights!  More after the jump.

September 29, 2013, 9:16 AM EDT

It's a classic example of the MSM's use of sympathetic individual anecdotes to manipulate public opinion in favor of more and bigger government. Today's Good Morning America segment on the looming government shutdown, narrated by former New York Times reporter Jeff Zeleny, offered the stories of just two people, both African-Americans, both of whom might be hurt by a government shutdown. And check out the screen graphic: not to dramatize things or nuthin', but ABC plaintively wonders how federal workers would "survive."

ABC could have balanced its report with stories of younger people who will see their health insurance premiums double or more if ObamaCare is implemented. But why would Good Morning America want to go there?  View the video after the jump.

September 28, 2013, 8:02 AM EDT

To imitate the inimitable James Taranto: HA HA HA HA. Politico has cleared MSNBC host Alex Wagner of any conflict of interest stemming from her impending marriage to Sam Kaas, the Executive Director of First Lady Michelle Obama's "Let’s Move!" initiative.

According to Politico's Dylan Byers [emphasis added], "We won't call this a conflict of interest because who doesn't love a man who can cook, and really, the White House Chef and Let's Move! role is arguably rather apolitical. Many a White House chef has served multiple administrations from either side of the spectrum."  Uh, yeah, but Kaas is a former White House chef.  He now works directly for the First Lady on her signature initiative.  Is there anyone out there naive enough to believe that Wagner won't be even less apt than previously to criticize anything relating to her husband's boss—or her husband's boss's husband?  More after the jump.

September 27, 2013, 8:22 AM EDT

Could Chris Hayes, the eggheady MSNBC host, be a secret admirer of conservative firebrand Ted Cruz?  The question arises in light of Hayes' new "Lean Forward" promo.

In it, Hayes hails those with "the courage to look power in the eye and say 'no.'"  Quick: in the current political context, who comes to mind?  View the video after the jump.

September 26, 2013, 8:09 AM EDT

Pundits and politicians are normally so slick that they can weasel their way out of even the most glaring of contradictions. "Depends on what the meaning of is, is," anyone?  So it's particularly delicious, to use Noel Sheppard's trademark phrase, to see a talking head left absolutely cornered, babbling without response, when caught in the hypocrisy of a double-standard.

On today's Morning Joe, former Obama car czar Steve Rattner passed along the Obama admin line that negotiating with Republicans over raising the debt ceiling "is like negotiating with terrorists."  With catlike quickness, Joe Scarborough pounced: "so you're saying Barack Obama was a terrorist in 2006 when he said he refused to raise the debt ceiling?"  The cornered Rattner had no comeback, actually asking Mika Brzezinski of all people to "help me out here," then resorting to the lame "it's complicated" line. View the amusing video after the jump.

September 24, 2013, 8:26 AM EDT

Drag a $100 bill through MSNBC and there's no telling what you'll find.  On today's Morning Joe, the ever-classy James Carville likened GOP primary voters to low-quality prison inmates.

Carville made his asinine analogy in responding to Joe Scarborough's suggestion that Republicans can still prevail in coming election cycles if they do the "smart thing." Carville said the situation reminded him of what Lester Maddox said the problem was in the Georgia prison system: the quality of the inmates.  According to Carville, the GOP's problem is the quality of Republican primary voters.  View the video after the jump.

September 19, 2013, 7:58 AM EDT

A Morning Joe kind of Republican?  With Joe Scarborough absent today, was Nicolle Wallace assuming the role of the Republican who gets more satisfaction from ripping fellow members of her party than in criticizing Democrats? 

Wallace mocked congressional Republicans who are trying to defund ObamaCare, analogizing them to two-year olds on scooters racing into traffic against a red light.  She suggested that the "adults" in the party need to restrain them.  View the video after the jump.

September 18, 2013, 9:08 AM EDT

A member of the MSM moving to the Obama administration?  A "natural extension" indeed! Nancy Gibbs, the new Time editor, has really let the cat out of the bag.  Appearing on Morning Joe today, she described the move of her predecessor, Rick Stengel, from Time to a State Department job in the Obama administration, as a "natural extension" for him.

Now it's true that Gibbs couched her remarks in terms of Stengel's role in both jobs being that of telling "America's story around the world." More accurately, Gibbs might have said that Stengel has always seen his job as telling Barack Obama's story in the most favorable light.  View the video after the jump.

September 17, 2013, 8:34 AM EDT

Imagine that George W. Bush had decided to proceed with a harsh, partisan speech attacking Democrats for "hurting people," despite a scene of mass murder unfolding just 3.5 miles away.  On today's Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough imagined just such a scenario, and came to the inescapable conclusion: his own MSNBC network and the MSM at large would be "killing" W for his insensitivity and poor judgment.

Panelist John Heilemann of New York magazine grudgingly agreed that Scarborough's assessement was "kinda fair."  But Mika Brzezinski empathized with our poor president: he was in a "horrible position."  View the video after the jump.