George Mason in the News

Posted: October 12, 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, Oct. 5, New York Times

Army Enlists Anthropology in War Zones

“In eastern Afghanistan, American paratroopers are fielding what they consider a crucial new weapon in counterinsurgency, the first Human Terrain Team — an experimental Pentagon program that assigns anthropologists and other social scientists to American combat units in Afghanistan and Iraq. In September, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates authorized a $40 million expansion of the program, which will assign teams of anthropologists and social scientists to each of the 26 American combat brigades in Iraq and Afghanistan. Since early September, five new teams have been deployed in the Baghdad area, bringing the total to six. Yet criticism is emerging in academia. Hugh Gusterson, an anthropology professor at George Mason University, and 10 other anthropologists are circulating an online pledge calling for anthropologists to boycott the teams, particularly in Iraq. ‘While often presented by its proponents as work that builds a more secure world,’ the pledge says, ‘at base, it contributes instead to a brutal war of occupation which has entailed massive casualties.’”

Sunday, Oct. 7, Houston Chronicle

Could Kent Lose His Bench?

“For 17 years, U.S. District Judge Samuel B. Kent presided like a king over his court in Galveston, using the power of his pen to write sharply worded opinions that struck lawyers and litigants like lightning. But his behavior in chambers has landed the jurist in serious trouble today. Legal experts are asking whether Kent, 58, has gone too far to remain on the bench — and to be credible deciding sexual harassment cases after being publicly accused of the same behavior himself. In 2001, all cases involving his best friend, attorney Richard Melancon, were reassigned without explanation. In 2005, he was formally rebuked in a 5th Circuit opinion for showing favoritism. In May, he had some cases reassigned again before being ordered to take a leave in August. Ilya Somin, a law professor at George Mason University who clerked at the 5th Circuit, noted that federal judges have limited abilities to discipline a colleague: They can reprimand and reassign cases, but they cannot take away his salary or force him out. Somin said the public record on Kent’s ‘long history of ethical problems’ is significant enough that Congress should look into it.”

Monday, Oct. 8, Washington Post

Car Dealer Tactics on the New-Home Lot

“When the housing market began to weaken, builders responded with incentives such as money toward closing costs and low-interest loans through their mortgage arms, but they did so without cutting their base prices. Faced with a glut of unsold homes and canceled contracts, builders are now turning to tactics typical of car dealerships and department stores. What’s even more unusual is that the deals are often accompanied by deep price cuts, which builders had been reluctant to do up until now. ‘They are using probably whatever techniques and methods to try to sell those houses any way they can,’ John McClain, senior fellow at the Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University, said of the builders.”

Monday, Oct. 8, Los Angeles Times

Can You Your Favorite Candidate?

“The idea that voters select candidates for reasons other than their stances on issues is nothing new. You may agree on the positions with, say, Tom Tancredo or Kucinich but still not want to see either one with their finger on the nuclear button. In a recent cover story in Reason magazine, George Mason University economics professor Bryan Caplan delved into American voters’ cluelessness about economic principles and how that leads them to cast votes against their own interests.”

Tuesday, Oct. 9, Washington Post

Democrats Seek Vindication of Loudoun’s Shift

“Democratic State Sen. Mark Herring’s landslide victory last year, in a district that had for years been led by a Republican, fueled speculation that traditionally red Loudoun County, like the rest of Northern Virginia, was turning purple — maybe even outright blue. But observers say the real test for Herring, and of whether political change has really reached Loudoun, could come Nov. 6. ‘Here’s an opportunity for the Democrats to achieve a solid hold on a formerly Republican seat, and that would be quite an accomplishment,’ said Mark Rozell, a professor of public policy at George Mason University. ‘Just several years ago, nobody would have been thinking about having this conversation. It was widely assumed that Loudoun County was solid Republican and would stay that way.’”

Thursday, Oct. 11, Chicago Tribune

Clinton’s Learning Curve

“The chief question before the country right now is what to do about the 47 million people in the United States who lack health insurance. For years, many conservative experts have proposed a way: making health insurance more affordable by changing how it’s treated in the tax code. In this year’s State of the Union address, President Bush urged that individuals who buy medical insurance get the same tax break that businesses get when they purchase policies for their workers. In his plan, any family that obtains private coverage would get a $15,000 tax deduction. Bush’s solution certainly appeals to his ideological allies. His former chief economic adviser, Harvard professor Gregory Mankiw, has praised the concept. So has Tyler Cowen, a George Mason University economist affiliated with the libertarian Cato Institute.”

Write to at