George Mason in the News

Posted: May 25, 2007 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

Following are highlights of national and international news coverage George Mason recently received.

Friday, May 18, Financial Times

World Bank Affair ‘Sign of U.S. Impunity’

“The controversial nature of Paul Wolfowitz’s tenure at the World Bank can be traced to a culture of impunity and U.S. exceptionalism that has characterized the Bush administration and dominated the direction of its foreign policy, according to academics and former officials. Janine Wedel, a professor at George Mason University’s school of public policy, says the Bush administration fast earned the reputation of trampling over the rules. ‘Wolfowitz, with the neoconservative ethos that American power can reshape the world, is part of this culture. The idea is that our values and our needs and our demands trump everyone else’s, that we can do what we want because we are Americans,’ she said. ‘Wolfowitz is part of the neoconservative core, with a long record of trying to privatize U.S. foreign policy to carry through its agenda,’ commented Wedel, who is writing a book on the ‘shadow elite’ of the networked neoconservatives. ‘This group often runs rough-shod over established standards and practices.’”

Sunday, May 20, Washington Post

Area Graduates Get Their Last Assignment

“On a day in which thousands of graduates from Georgetown University and George Mason University were honored in separate ceremonies, Virginia’s governor used the story of the commonwealth’s founding settlers to inspire his state’s graduates to explore new worlds. Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) told nearly 7,000 George Mason University graduates that the recent 400th anniversary of Jamestown is an opportunity for them to reflect on all that Virginians have accomplished since then and all that they can accomplish as they begin the rest of their lives. ‘Those of you who are graduating here, in one sense, are not going to have the opportunities that those 104 Jamestown settlers had,’ Kaine told students assembled at the Patriot Center in a speech interrupted numerous times by applause. ‘You’re not going to find new worlds or new territories on a map. But 400 years after the founding of Virginia, there are still new worlds. There are still new worlds of research and knowledge and innovation. There are still new worlds of economic opportunity and entrepreneurship.’”

Sunday, May 20, Washington Post

Some Colleges Want to Curb Flow of Data to Magazine

“A group of college presidents, fed up with the annual U.S. News & World Report list of top colleges, has begun pressuring colleagues to limit the information they provide to the magazine and eliminate any mention of the list when promoting their schools. George Mason University President Alan Merten says he believes that some colleges engage in ‘dishonest behavior’ when they submit data. For example, he says, some schools won’t submit SAT scores for provisional students. And some schools don’t start tracking students until the beginning of the second semester. ‘You know something is wrong when they say they have 98 percent retention rates,’ Merten says. ‘It just can’t be.’”

Monday, May 21, BusinessWeek

The Poverty Business

“In recent years, a range of businesses have made financing more readily available to even the riskiest of borrowers. Greater access to credit has put cars, computers, credit cards, and even homes within reach for many more of the working poor. But this remaking of the marketplace for low-income consumers has a dark side: Innovative and zealous firms have lured unsophisticated shoppers by the hundreds of thousands into a thicket of debt from which many never emerge. Nobody, poor or rich, is compelled to pay a high price for a used car, a credit card, or anything else. Some see the debate ending there. ‘The only feasible way to run a capitalist society is to allow companies to maximize their profits,’ says Tyler Cowen, an economist at George Mason University. ‘That will sometimes include allowing them to sell things to people that will sometimes make them worse off.’”

Tuesday, May 22, Washington Post

‘Weaponizable’ Gas for Your Backyard Barbecue

“Starting June 8, makers and sellers of the colorless, odorless, flammable gas and other chemicals face a new Department of Homeland Security rule requiring them to complete a secure online survey assessing whether they are a high-risk target for terrorists. If so, they must make security fixes or face $25,000-a-day fines or be put out of business. In the case of propane, the association asked the department not to include the gas in the rule because it is ‘non-weaponizable.’ It has already been exempted from similar security requirements by the Environmental Protection Agency for accidental releases of chemicals, the trade group said. The cost and benefits of many of the department’s previous rules have been hard to assess since it is almost impossible to predict an attack, or whether one will ever occur, said Veronique de Rugy, senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. The center supports free-market approaches and limited government.”

Wednesday, May 23, Wall Street Journal

Buying Long: Why Market Optimists Say This Bull Has Legs

“Historically, most bull markets have run their course in three or four years. That means, recent stock-market highs notwithstanding, the current one should be on its last legs. But just seven years after the great bull market of the 1990s thudded to a halt, a small group of seasoned investors — including some with no vested interest in selling stock — believe the U.S. market is in the midst of another long period of gains. Vernon Smith, an economics and law professor at George Mason University, knows a stock bubble when he sees one, and he says he doesn’t see one now. Smith’s work on how individuals behave in simulated markets helped spawn a vast branch of economics, for which he shared the 2002 Nobel economics prize. Some of his experiments demonstrate how investors inflate market bubbles, how the bubbles pop and how people behave afterward. He has found that, once investors inflate a bubble and endure a crash, they are unlikely to repeat the mistake until memories fade. In a lab setting, almost any group of subjects, including businessmen studying in an executive MBA program and professional stock traders, will create a bubble if given adequate cash, Prof. Smith found.”

Thursday, May 24, Nigerian Tribune

2007 Polls under International Spotlight

“Widespread international condemnation of last month’s elections in Nigeria took a new turn over the weekend in the United States, where a post-election forum in Washington, D.C., saw the expression of countervailing comments between presidential aides from the federal government and local and international observers of the election. Besides, a distinguished and veteran American scholar on Nigerian politics, John Paden, Robinson Professor of international studies at George Mason University, expressed concern that Nigeria was sliding to a one-party state with the declared results of last month’s voting in the country. He added that it is important for the international community and all concerned to ‘really monitor the next phase’ of legal petitions arising from the elections.”

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