Mason in the News

Posted: July 27, 2007 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

Following are highlights of national news coverage Mason recently received.

Friday, July 20, CBS News

“Harry Potter” and Magical Realism

“As the seventh and final installment in J.K Rowling’s ‘Harry Potter’ series hits bookstore shelves, the frenzy over the young magician and his chums appears set to reach even more spectacular heights. Reactions to the book highlight the worldwide character of clashes between various forms of traditionalism and modernism. To many religious conservatives, ‘Harry Potter’ represents yet another assault by the mass media, public institutions, and other manifestations of secular culture against their traditional values. Members of other religious movements also find fault with ‘Harry Potter.’ The series is enormously popular in Indonesia, the Gulf States, and many other Islamic countries. But the Wahhabist tradition, as Peter Mandaville, assistant professor of government and politics at George Mason University, and Patrick Jackson, associate professor of international relations at American University, have noted, strongly opposes ‘various esoteric and mystical practices that … entered popular Islamic practice.’”

Saturday, July 21, Houston Chronicle

Sen. Warner’s Iraq Vote Signals Strong Maverick Streak

“When Sen. John Warner, R-Va., a respected Republican voice on defense matters, broke with his party and President Bush over Iraq this month, the courtly, impeccably tailored lawmaker had come full circle — from staunch war advocate to war opponent. In 2002, Warner, former chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, had been the White House’s key player in the Senate, using his gravitas and expertise to convince fellow lawmakers that Saddam Hussein had to be removed by force. Now, with persistent violence in Iraq and a rising U.S. body count, Warner is perhaps one of the most forceful symbols of a war-weary public and waning congressional support. Professor Mark Rozell of George Mason University’s School of Public Policy in Arlington, Va., said Warner ‘has truly angered the religious conservative wing of the GOP and he has done so for years.’ Rozell, author of the book, ‘Second Coming: The New Christian Right in Virginia Politics,’ added: ‘It’s as though Warner stands on his reputation of being independent-minded proudly, and that’s what defines him, not his Republican identification.’”

Sunday, July 22, New York Magazine

Who Wants to Be a Cultural Billionaire?

“If you had to pick between dining out in Stockholm or Port-au-Prince, where would you go? Sweden being one of the richest countries on earth and Haiti being one of the poorest, the choice seems obvious. Bring on the reindeer meatballs! Unwise, says Tyler Cowen, the author of ‘Discover Your Inner Economist,’ and that’s not because he has anything against eating reindeer. If the quality of food is the sole mission, Cowen argues, look for contrary indicators. ‘Iron bars on the windows,’ he writes, ‘and barbed wire on the fences, however bad for the residents or your own safety, are both good signs for the food.’ The magic ingredient, he elaborates, is extreme income inequality, which ensures a large reservoir of cheap labor to grow and prepare the food, as well as a sufficient number of rich people who, being rich, must eat well. Among a new crowd of economists, Cowen, a 45-year-old professor at George Mason University just outside D.C., is a cult hero, insofar as he co-runs an influential blog called You don’t need to be an economist to enjoy it. There are only a handful of posts a day, but the range of ideas is awe-inspiring. Cowen weighs in on everything from ‘wage compression’ — when bosses give raises at a rate below productivity gains — to household pets, arguing that ‘if you must support the life of either a cat or a dog, choose the undervalued cat.’”

Sunday, July 22, New York Times

God ’08: Whose, and How Much, Will Voters Accept?

“Historical precedent and other polling information offer clues that many voters are willing to make at least certain concessions when it comes to a candidate’s religious observance when they pull the curtain behind them in the voting booth. But could voters accept a president who believes in the Book of Mormon? What about one who believes in the Old Testament but not the New? Or one who venerates Muhammad, or Buddha? There does seem to be at least one bottom line for many voters: belief in God. ‘This is a deeply religious nation by many standards,’ said Mark Rozell, a professor of public policy at George Mason University. ‘They want their leaders to be believers. They want them to believe in something higher, to have a moral framework as they lead the country.’”

Sunday, July 22, San Francisco Chronicle

FEMA Lawyers’ Ethics Doubted in Trailers Mess

“The Federal Emergency Management Agency is in hot water again for its treatment of hurricane victims, this time over allegations that the agency covered up health hazards in government-supplied trailers for people who lost their homes. Some experts in legal ethics said congressional indignation should extend to FEMA’s lawyers. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee heard evidence Thursday that the lawyers had opposed testing for formaldehyde gas in trailers occupied by tens of thousands of families uprooted by hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005. ‘The first thing lawyers should do is keep their clients out of trouble,’ said Ronald Rotunda, a law professor at George Mason University in Virginia who has written widely on legal ethics. FEMA is ‘in trouble now, and people may be hurt.’ When it comes to testing property for hazards, Rotunda said, a lawyer’s duty is to advise the client to do whatever is necessary to find out what problems exist and repair them. ‘Willful blindness is something that good lawyers know is unethical and bad lawyering,’ he said. State bar associations can discipline, suspend or disbar lawyers who engage in it.”

Thursday, July 26, New York Times

When Whippersnappers and Geezers Collide

“Summer is the season of culture shock in the working world, when the old guard comes face to face with a next wave of newcomers, and the result is something like lost tribes encountering explorers for the first time. Add to this the favorite fact of human resource managers everywhere: this is the first time in history that four generations — those who lived through World War II, Baby Boomers, Generation X and Generation Y — are together in the workplace. Managers tell stories of summer associates who come to meetings with midriffs exposed, baring a belly ring; and of interns who walk through the halls engaged with iPods. So the de rigueur summer event at many companies now, as much a part of signing on as the human resources forms and the ID card, is a seminar designed to close this generation gap. At Arrow Electronics it is ‘Generations in the Workplace,’ while Michelle Marks, an expert on organizational behavior at George Mason University, calls hers ‘Managing the Challenges of the Gen X and Gen Y Work Force.’ Aflac has ‘Generational Differences.’ All are less than two years old. Much of the purpose is to teach Gen Y the basics, which have often been neglected along the way.”

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