Mason in the News

Posted: March 7, 2008 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

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

Friday, Feb. 29, MSNBC “Hardball with Chris Matthews”

Political Fix: Tough Love for Obama in Texas

Michael Fauntroy, assistant professor in the School of Public Policy, was interviewed about Sen. Barack Obama’s comments about effective parenting. [Obama: “So turn off the TV set, put the video game away, buy a little desk or put that child at the kitchen table, watch them do their homework. If they don’t know how to do it, give them help. If you don’t know how to do it, call the teacher. Make them go to bed at a reasonable time. Keep them off the streets. Give them some breakfast. Come on, can I get an amen here?”] “This is from the church of Obama,” Fauntroy said. “I will tell you that message has no particular public policy implications. He was speaking to voters not necessarily in that room, but to voters in suburban Dallas and suburban Houston. [Basically] he’s talking to moderate independent white voters.”

Friday, Feb. 29, Wall Street Journal

Voters Flock to Polls, but Are They Really Reversing a Trend?

“By conventional wisdom, matching the 2004 turnout this November would mark a major reversal of a voting trend. Hosts of academic papers, books and political speeches have been written on the premise that the turnout rate has declined sharply since 1972. Curtis Gans, director of American University’s Center for the Study of the American Electorate, who has studied voting for 32 years, is a leading advocate of this theory. ‘Absolutely, there has been a long-term decline in turnout,’ he said. But today, a lively debate surrounds turnout figures. Michael McDonald, associate professor at George Mason University, argues that there has been no noticeable decline in overall turnout rates from 1972 to 2004. ‘Everyone fretting about turnout-rate declines is misplacing their worries, because a good chunk of it has to do with the way they’re measuring turnout rates,’ he says.”

Saturday, March 1, San Francisco Chronicle

The Rich Are Cutting Back on Luxury as Economy Falters

“The current jitters of the rich touch on a strange truth about prosperity in present-day America: For all the advantages the moneyed have enjoyed during Bush’s polarizing administration, being flush has never had such an oddly common touch. Not only are a whole lot more people achieving substantial wealth now — households with $5 million in assets, not including the house, rose by 26 percent in 2006 alone — but many are doing it by the old-fashioned middle-class routes of resourcefulness, persistence and hard work. ‘Most Americans still have a generally positive view of the wealthy and, rightly or wrongly, believe they too can make it to Richistan someday.’ George Mason University economics Professor Tyler Cowen concurs: ‘The average American holds no grudge against the rich,’ he said, ‘especially now that so many of them are younger and have risen from the middle class.’”

Saturday, March 1, Sunday Herald (Scotland)

Scotland’s Seas and Wildlife at Risk from New Fuel Exploration

“There will be blood, and oil will be to blame. Scotland’s seas and the wildlife they harbor are facing one of the biggest threats they have ever encountered. A massive new search for oil and gas launched by the UK government will put whales, dolphins and other marine life at risk. ‘The latest research shows that the impacts of the kind of seismic surveys planned for Scottish waters may be greater than previously thought, with sounds traveling further, and with higher frequencies being produced,’ said Dr. Chris Parsons from George Mason University in Virginia, U.S. ‘This means many more whales and dolphins will be affected than ministers imagine,’ he added. ‘This kind of exploration and exploitation is entirely unsuitable for Scotland’s nearshore waters.’”

Monday, March 3, “CNN Newsroom”

Barack Obama Trying to Close the Deal

Michael McDonald, associate professor of government and politics, was interviewed by Heidi Collins on voter turnout in Ohio and Texas. “Yes, [this is a big deal]. We’ve had about 41 million people so far participate either in a primary or caucus up to this point. And that’s not including the 1.3 million people, approximately, who’ve already voted in Texas,” McDonald said. “It’s all about convenience. So early voting is one way in which we’ve made it easier to vote. We have also vote centers where people can vote in any polling place within a local jurisdiction, and then in some states like Wisconsin, we just saw high levels of turnout there. Had a lot to do with Election Day registration, where you don’t have to register in advance of the election.”

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