Mason in the News

Posted: December 19, 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, Dec. 12, USA Today

Obama’s Calls to Lawmakers ‘Unheard of’

“Recent Democratic presidents have blown their political capital by irking Congress on matters of policy and protocol. Carter demonstrated a ‘tin ear’ when he began his presidency with a crusade against water projects championed by congressional leaders of his party, said James Pfiffner, a George Mason University professor who has studied presidential transitions. Obama, who campaigned against ‘earmarks,’ special projects for individual congressional districts, could make the same mistake, Pfiffner said, ‘if he were to use up political capital and alienate members’ with an early push to make good on his pledge.”

Sunday, Dec. 14, Chicago Tribune

Parents Hoping to Emulate Barack and Michelle Obama

“The fascination with the future First Family is not new. The American public clamored to hear reports of Teddy Roosevelt’s rambunctious children, and Benjamin Harrison’s grandson, ‘Baby McKee,’ helped the president counter his image as a cold fish, said Richard Norton Smith, a presidential scholar at George Mason University. And, of course, there are the Kennedys, who introduced a new generation to White House family life with little ‘John John’ and Caroline living in ‘Camelot.’”

Sunday, Dec. 14, CTV News (Canada)

Sartorial Assault on Bush in Iraq: Analysis by Solon Simmons

Solon Simmons, assistant professor at the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, commented on the shoes thrown at President Bush by an Iraqi reporter during a press conference in Baghdad. Simmons said this demonstrates the mixed feelings in Iraq about the U.S. presence and the enormous challenge faced by President-Elect Obama, who may face similar criticism.

Monday, Dec. 15, Washington Post

Trade Groups Regroup

“Associations are struggling to fill budget gaps — trimming staffs, downsizing national conventions and trade shows, replacing meetings with ‘webinars,’ and either slashing dues to prevent a further membership slide or raising them to replace lost revenue. Nearly 95,000 people in the region work for associations, and the organizations represent one out of 10 jobs in the District. The sector accounts for 2.5 percent of the region’s $370 billion economy, or about $9.25 billion, analysts say. That’s more than the $7.4 billion, or 2 percent share, generated by the hospitality industry. While the extent of the problem has yet to be determined, some analysts say a significant slowdown in meetings and convention business could further weaken what many consider one of the most robust regional economies in the nation. ‘If they don’t have a meeting here, that hurts us,’ said Stephen S. Fuller, who as director of the Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University studies the Washington area economy. ‘It will reduce hotel occupancy and it will cost restaurant jobs and revenue,’ he said.”

Monday, Dec. 15, Washington Post

Local Job Growth May Fade

“The Washington region is expected to end the year with as many as 36,000 more jobs than last year, despite a slowly increasing unemployment rate, putting it among a handful of large metropolitan areas nationally with positive numbers. But analysts are forecasting a much dimmer outlook for next year, saying a rush of layoffs bearing down on the region over the next several months may bring a six-year span of job growth to an end. ‘Only four regions had positive job growth,’ said John McClain, senior fellow at the Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University, adding that the fourth is Boston with about 18,000 new jobs. All the other large metropolitan areas, major population clusters connected socially and economically, ‘have had net losses in jobs,’ he said.”

Wednesday, Dec. 17, Newsweek

Obama Wants to Talk to Iran. But Are They Ready to Listen?

“Obama’s post-election interviews (NBC) make clear that after eight years of avoiding direct diplomacy, the United States is ready to talk with Iran’s ruling mullahs. But whether Iran will listen to what Washington is pitching is another matter. Karim Sadjadpour, an Iran expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, argues that ‘successful engagement with Iran will require a direct channel of communication’ with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, no small task given the Iranian regime’s historic resentment of American policies. Yet as George Mason University scholar Jack Goldstone writes in a Dar al-Hayat, ‘Obama must not only signal his willingness to talk, but also a willingness to change U.S. policies.’ There is no shortage of opinion on what those policies should be.”

Wednesday, Dec. 17, USA Today

Pioneering Mind-set at George Mason Produces New HGH Test

“Just as George Mason University’s athletics program was overshadowed in the Washington, D.C., region — never mind the nation — until its men’s basketball team made a surprising run to the NCAA Final Four two years ago, the school’s medical research program had worked in relative obscurity until a major breakthrough this summer. Two [George Mason University] professors whose primary interest had been cancer research developed the first urine test for human growth hormone. Working outside the Olympic movement, outside the traditional research environment of a university-backed teaching hospital, and 20 miles outside the university’s main campus in Fairfax, Va., Emanuel ‘Chip’ Petricoin and Lance Liotta moved directly to the forefront of international sports’ anti-doping efforts. They also furthered — at least for now — their university’s high-risk, high-reward pursuit of national renown and future income. ‘From the early days at [George Mason University], it’s taken an entrepreneurial spirit,’ says Alan Merten, the university’s fifth president since its founding in 1972. ‘You don’t go from nowhere to a school this large in 36 years without that kind of mind-set.’”

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