Mason in the News

Posted: March 6, 2009 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

Following are highlights of national news coverage Mason recently received.

Sunday, March 1, Boston Globe

RNC Chairman Plans Turnaround for Battered Party

“Michael Steele, the Republican National Committee’s first African-American chairman, said he believes the historic election of Democrat Deval Patrick, Massachusetts’ first black governor, was more of a cultural phenomenon than a triumph of political ideas. A black chairman ‘is almost exclusively about white moderates,’ said Michael K. Fauntroy, a political science professor at George Mason University. ‘If you’re a moderate white, it’s easier to vote with a party that appears to reflect where the country’s going.’”

Sunday, March 1, New York Times

George Mason University, Among First with an Emirates Branch, Is Pulling Out

“In 2005, George Mason became one of the first American universities to open a branch campus in the United Arab Emirates — but in May, it will become the first to close its campus there, never having graduated a single student. ‘Our partners there changed their policy three months ago with regard to the amount of subsidy they were willing to provide,’ said Peter N. Stearns, the university’s provost. ‘They did not tell me directly, ‘We’re getting hit, you have to understand our situation,’ but given the timing, I think it’s fair to say this was about the economy.’”

Monday, March 2, Washington Post

Networking Franchise Ready to Hook Up City Circuits

“There’s no shortage of events in the Washington region that bring together tech-minded people to mingle and hopefully make deals. [But] investors from other regions may not be investing as much in Washington because the region has a more mature venture capital industry. Last week’s entrepreneur boot camp put on by the Business Alliance of George Mason University was ‘standing-room only,’ said Mark Frantz of RedShift Ventures. ‘What part of that implies there aren’t entrepreneurs?’”

Tuesday, March 3, Dallas Morning News

Don’t Put Too Much Stock in Gun Buyback Program

“Let’s give Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway credit for triggering a buyback program that reeled in 147 guns. Now that we’ve got that accolade out of the way, let’s be brutally honest: It won’t amount to a hill of beans. In 2004, the National Research Council — an arm of the Washington, D.C.-based National Academies — ‘concluded that there is no evidence that these [buyback] programs reduce gun violence,’ said Alex Tabarrok, an associate professor of economics at George Mason University. ‘It is just pure political grandstanding. It really is a waste of time and effort.’”

Tuesday, March 3, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

When Obama Speaks, Do Blacks Hear One Thing, Whites Another?

“Dog-whistle politics was hardly invented by Obama. One of its most deft practitioners lately was President George W. Bush. He regularly borrowed the language of evangelical Christianity and the anti-abortion movement to signal he was simpatico with their beliefs, even as he often avoided obvious displays of support that might turn off middle-of-the-road voters. ‘The code words matter, how you dress matters, how you speak matters; it’s all subliminal messaging, and all politicians use it,’ said Michael Fauntroy, an assistant professor of public policy at George Mason University, who specializes in race and American politics. ‘Ronald Reagan used to talk about making America the shining city on a hill, which is about America as divinely inspired, and it has a deep vein in the evangelical conservative movement. It goes on all the time, and there are so many circumstances when only the target people get the message.’ But Fauntroy said the stakes were higher for Obama, who had to ‘deracialize himself.’”

Tuesday, March 3, Washington Post

Divisive Issues No Longer McDonnell’s First Words

“Conservative social views used to be a staple of GOP gubernatorial campaigns in Virginia, but they’ve come up short in the past two campaigns. In 2001, Republican Mark Earley lost to Warner after campaigning against new taxes while talking up his support for school vouchers and opposition to abortion. Four years ago, Republican Jerry Kilgore campaigned on the death penalty, illegal immigration and abortion. In the days leading to the election, he boasted that he was the ‘pro-gun-owner, anti-tax, limited-government, anti-illegal-immigration, pro-public-safety, pro-death-penalty . . . trust-the-people conservative.’ He lost to Kaine. Even members of his own party say Kilgore lost because he failed to gain credibility on issues suburbanites care about: education, traffic, health care and growth. ‘It’s a very different Virginia today,’ said Stephen Farnsworth, a political analyst at George Mason University. ‘Any politician who is running statewide has to portray himself as a moderate centrist voice.’”

Thursday, March 5, Boston Globe

Preaching God’s Word with an Eye on National Politics

“Rev. Katherine Hancock Ragsdal, an Episcopal priest and executive director of a liberal think tank, preaches the word of God while simultaneously plunging into the affairs of the world, blending the two and often drawing both praise and criticism at the same time. Helen Alvaré, an associate professor at George Mason University School of Law in Virginia, used to work for the Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and she attended various forums with Ragsdale over the years. ‘I guess I find Dr. Ragsdale all about appearances and not at all about substance,’ Alvare said in an e-mail. ‘Her method of promoting legal abortion is to appear at ease and friendly, and to say things like ‘We do babies good’ (referring to her church’s affection for babies). . . . I think ultrasound and genetic sciences have progressed too far for her method of discussion of abortion to be considered ‘reasonable.’”

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