Mason in the News

Posted: February 1, 2008 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

Friday, Jan. 25, CNN Newsroom

Democrats Are in South Carolina

Michael Fauntroy, professor of public policy at Mason, was interviewed by Tony Harris on CNN Newsroom about the Democratic primary in South Carolina becoming a primary about race politics. “Race is the undercurrent in America’s ocean of culture. And I don’t see how race could ever have been avoided in this. I think that race was a part of this as soon as the candidate field was set. It was latent. It was an undercurrent, if you will. But it was eventually going to rear its head and I can’t understand why people are so surprised. What I see going on here is somewhat akin to a transition from adolescence to adulthood in which it’s sometimes awkward and other times it’s contentious, but it has to be done. We have groundbreaking candidates running. And somebody has to be first. So there’s going to be this tension.”

Friday, Jan. 25, Time

The Democrats’ Turnout Triumph

“As the Super Tuesday mother lode of primaries and caucuses fast approaches, both the Democratic and Republican races for the presidential nomination are equally tight, with no clear front-runner emerging for either party. At least four factors are driving turnout: wide-open races for both party’s nominations, the historic candidacies of both a black man and a woman, a general concern about the direction of the country and rising economic anxiety. Michael McDonald, a political scientist at George Mason University who studies voter participation, pointed in particular to Barack Obama, whose age and cross-party appeal has helped attract unusual numbers of independents and young people to Democratic contests. As of now, he says, independents are breaking for Democrats by a ratio of two to one. ‘One of the reasons why independents and young people are voting in a Democratic nomination process where they normally would not be involved is that there is an attractive candidate for them,’ McDonald said.”

Friday, Jan. 25, MSNBC Hardball

Political Fix

Michael Fauntroy, professor of public policy at Mason, was interviewed by Chris Matthews on Hardball about the influence of Bill Clinton on Hillary Clinton’s bid for the presidency. “I think [Bill Clinton] is alienating people who are likely not supporting the Clintons to begin with — people who are on the fence or have already decided they don’t like the Clintons, these folks are likely already to be off the reservation for the Clintons. In my opinion, what Bill Clinton is doing is what a husband should do to support his wife. In some respects, you could make the argument that he hasn’t gone far enough. Now, I’m not prepared to make that argument. I think he could potentially pay a price in November, but as it stands right now, he’s doing what a husband should.”

Friday, Jan. 25, Financial Times

Cash for Answers

“For commercial innovations, we now rely on patents to encourage and protect innovators. Basic research is funded not by prizes but by grants. But prizes were once the standard way of encouraging basic research. According to Robin Hanson, an economist at George Mason University, more than twice as many 18th-century scientific societies paid for results using prizes or medals than paid for effort with grants. As that changed, scientific societies sometimes ignored the wishes of donors, or even had the wills of deceased donors voided, in order to hand out grants rather than the prizes specified. The standard historian’s explanation of this trend is that once science became a profession rather than the province of rich amateurs, prizes were no longer a suitable way of funding innovation. Hanson is not convinced. ‘Most academics who study the issue of prizes have focused on what a prize does to the behavior of researchers, versus a grant.’”

Sunday, Jan. 27, New York Times

Rethinking the Meat-Guzzler

“Animal welfare may not yet be a major concern, but as the horrors of raising meat in confinement become known, more animal lovers may start to react. And would the world not be a better place were some of the grain we use to grow meat directed instead to feed our fellow human beings? Real prices of beef, pork and poultry have held steady, perhaps even decreased, for 40 years or more (in part because of grain subsidies), though we’re beginning to see them increase now. But many experts, including Tyler Cowen, a professor of economics at George Mason University, say they don’t believe meat prices will rise high enough to affect demand in the United States. ‘I just don’t think we can count on market prices to reduce our meat consumption,’ he said. ‘There may be a temporary spike in food prices, but it will almost certainly be reversed and then some. But if all the burden is put on eaters, that’s not a tragic state of affairs.’”

Wednesday, Jan. 30, NBC 4

Thousands of Applicants Turn Out for Gaylord Job Fair

“Thousands of job applicants walked the red carpet at a massive hiring event at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center at National Harbor in Prince George’s County on Wednesday. While unemployment is low in the region, economists said that doesn’t reflect what’s really going on. ‘We created 44,000 new jobs last year of these kinds of workers, but below the radar are all the part-time workers,’ said Stephen Fuller, a professor of public policy at George Mason University. ‘About 30 percent of all workers in the Washington area are part-time, self-employed or contract workers, and a lot of them are tied to the slowdown in the real estate industry.’”

Thursday, Jan. 31, USA Today

Actions Don’t Match ‘Green’ Attitudes

“Just a slim majority of Americans consider global warming ‘a very serious problem,’ despite an avalanche of publicity on the issue, and many aren’t even taking the ‘green’ actions they support, a nationwide survey suggested today. ‘Clearly, there’s a lot left to do in raising awareness,’ says Edward Maibach, senior author of the survey, who heads a center on climate change and communication at George Mason University. The poll of more than 11,000 Americans, thought to be the largest ever done on climate change, reveals a gulf between public perceptions and the scientific consensus that the phenomenon poses threats. In the survey, 62 percent considered global warming a serious danger. Those who are doing the most to reduce their own ‘carbon footprint’ see the problem and also believe their actions can make a difference.”

Thursday, Jan. 31, Washington Post

Mapping Home Prices in Montgomery

“In Montgomery County, how badly you are feeling burned by the real estate downturn has a lot to do with the Zip code in which you live. In Rockville, for example, the average price of existing homes in the 20853 Zip code, an eastern stretch of the city along Norbeck Road, fell more than 17 percent in the fourth quarter of last year. But just a few miles away, in Rockville’s more central 20850 Zip code, the average price rose 12 percent. ‘There is a lot of granular difference in the county,’ said Stephen Fuller, a professor at George Mason University’s [Center for Regional Analysis]. ‘Montgomery is actually doing pretty well overall, but it does have these pockets of softer market conditions. Bethesda, Silver Spring, those areas are still pretty good markets,’ Fuller said. ‘Farther out, Germantown, Gaithersburg, there are just fewer and fewer people interested in those markets, and they’ve had to cut their pricing.’”

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