George Mason in the News

Posted: September 21, 2007 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

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

Friday, Sept. 14, USA Today

GOP Candidates Ignoring Minorities

“Three of the four leading Republican presidential candidates turned down invitations to a PBS debate this month at a historically black college in Baltimore, leading moderator Tavis Smiley on Thursday to accuse them of ignoring minority voters. ‘I understand why they wouldn’t want to go,’ said Michael Fauntroy, a public policy expert at George Mason University in Virginia and author of a new book called ‘Republicans and the Black Vote.’ Nevertheless, he said, skipping the forum will turn off moderate suburban voters and squander the chance to speak unfiltered to an integrated national TV audience. There would be plenty to talk about, Fauntroy said. He said black voters may have special concerns about the Katrina recovery or the justice system, for example, but ‘they have the same concerns as everyone else in terms of national security and the economy.’”

Sunday, Sept. 16, Washington Post

Nixon (Ford, Wilson, Taft, JFK, LBJ . . .) Slept Here

“Two houses that have been owned by former presidents were offered for sale recently. The sprawling Tudor manor in tony Wesley Heights is where Richard M. Nixon is believed to have written the famous ‘Checkers’ speech that saved his candidacy for vice president. The other residence is the suburban Alexandria split-level where Gerald Ford lived as he prepared to step into the presidency when Nixon resigned in 1974. They are among at least two dozen area houses that presidents, past presidents and presidents-to-be have called home. Virginia has 10 more, including the well-known ones at Mount Vernon (Washington), Monticello (Jefferson) and Montpelier (Madison). Most of these houses were just way stations for men on a lifelong march toward the White House, said Rick Shenkman, associate professor of history at George Mason University and author of a book about presidential ambitions. Some disguised the locations of their boyhood homes to boost their chances of electoral success, he said. To appeal to the masses, William Henry Harrison said he lived in a log cabin, but he had been born at Berkeley Plantation on the James River, near Williamsburg.”

Sunday, Sept. 16, Washington Post

Fairfax Race Stirs Power Debate

“Unlike chief elected officials in the District and Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, Fairfax’s head of government is largely a ceremonial figure. Although he is the sole member of the Board of Supervisors elected countywide, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Gerald E. Connolly (D) has no more power by law than his nine colleagues who represent geographical districts. The supervisors’ seats are also up for reelection. Together, Connolly and the board set policy while day-to-day operations of government are managed by their appointee, County Executive Anthony H. Griffin. Connolly and Baise say the system is sound. ‘When somebody shows me it’s broken, we’ll fix it,’ Connolly said. Yet there is a persistent minority view that Fairfax has grown too large and complex to be without an elected chief executive. If it were a city, advocates argue, its 1 million residents would make it the nation’s 10th-largest, just ahead of San Jose. ‘This is the leader of a county more populous than several states,’ said George Mason University political scientist Mark Rozell. ‘It just doesn’t make sense.’”

Monday, Sept. 17, New York Times

The Wisdom of Sales Trend Predictions

“The Sloan Center for Internet Retailing, part of the University of California, Riverside, will announce a new web site tomorrow relying on so-called prediction markets to foretell online sales and other Internet-related trends, like the shopping sites most likely to survive, or the popularity of ‘World of Warcraft.’ In doing so, the Sloan Center is adopting a method of online research that off-line companies have used widely in recent months, but one that is not in broad use to study Internet sales. Robin Hanson, an economics professor at George Mason University and a consultant to companies building prediction markets, said: ‘A lot of new business plans are based on this idea. There’s a big trend in this area, with people thinking this is cool.’ But Mr. Hanson said he was skeptical about many of the dozens of businesses he had seen forming around the concept, because outside of topics like politics, movies or sports, few subjects would entice people to render carefully considered opinions. ‘It’s kind of like a job,’ he said.”

Monday, Sept. 17, Washington Post

Rejuvenating Loudoun

“Loudoun County seems to have everything going for it. It is one of the fastest-growing counties in the United States, it has posted a dramatic increase in jobs, and it enjoys the nation’s second-highest median household income, right behind Fairfax. But to young-adult residents the county may have at least one glaring flaw: It looks slightly middle-aged. Worried that the county could appear less than charming to a vital part of the workforce, Loudoun’s Department of Economic Development has flagged the attraction of 20-somethings as an issue. Loudoun natives never have to leave if they don’t want to, said Stephen Fuller, director of the Center of Regional Analysis at George Mason University. ‘The traditional pattern of suburbanization is that people leave to find high-paying jobs,’ Fuller said. ‘Good jobs were in urban centers. That has moved out and spilled out to Loudoun because of the highway system and airport.’ Mixed-use and town center developments could propel growth and encourage younger workers to stay in Loudoun after they leave the office.”

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