Mason in the News

Posted: March 27, 2009 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

Following are highlights of national news coverage Mason recently received.

Friday, March 20, Kansas City Star

Obama Speaks to Iranian People in Video Message

“In an unprecedented video message released Friday on the celebration of the Persian new year, President Barack Obama speaks directly to the Iranian people and government, saying his administration ‘is now committed to diplomacy that addresses the full range of issues before us’ and that that the process ‘will not be advanced by threats.’ Shaul Bakhash, a professor of history and an Iran expert at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., said that Obama is sending ‘quite a significant message’ that strikes a respectful tone that contrasts with former President George W. Bush’s approach. ‘This is not framed as an attempt to go over the head of the Iranian government to speak to the people,’ he said. ‘The really interesting thing is whether the Iranian government will understand this for what it is meant to convey, which is a reaching out, and to respond appropriately,’ Bakhash added. ‘If they don’t, it’s a great opportunity missed.’”

Sunday, March 22, Christian Science Monitor

Obama Redeploys His Grass-Roots Network to Push Budget

“[Many Americans are] helping President Obama win the votes he needs to pass his record $3.6 trillion budget. Thousands of volunteers across the country took to the streets over the weekend at Obama’s behest. They knocked on doors, stood in front of stores to collect signatures, and urged their neighbors to call their congressman. ‘What the Obama team is trying to do is far beyond what any president has tried to do before. Take the enthusiasm and activism that helped him win the presidency to help him win his political agenda,’ says Stephen Farnsworth, a professor of communication at George Mason University and the author of ‘Spinner-in-Chief: How Presidents Sell Their Policies and Themselves.’ ‘People tend to be very jealous of their time. What Obama is asking is not cost-less – it’s very different from … nodding when FDR says something you like on the radio.’”

Sunday, March 22, Consumerist

Walking Away from Your Mortgage, Not So Bad After All

“Great news, distressed homeowners! If you aren’t eligible for the President’s homeowner assistance package and can’t negotiate a better deal on your mortgage, the New York Times says that turning in the keys and leaving your home may not be the end of your financial world. The Times mapped out a guide for dealing with the various players controlling your mortgage… Your Credit Score: Yeeaahhhh, no way to escape this one. You’re going to take a big nasty hit and it’s going to stand out on your credit report for seven years. If it’s your only black mark, don’t sweat it too much. FICO may have to change their algorithm to downplay foreclosures. ‘To the extent that foreclosure doesn’t predict future behavior as much as it did in the past, you’d expect that the FICO algorithm would change to adjust for that,’ said Todd J. Zywicki, a law professor at George Mason University.”

Sunday, March 22, Washington Post

What’s the Big Idea?

“Looking to cut fat from the federal budget? Consider closing some of the 1,000 military bases the United States maintains abroad. That’s what Hugh Gusterson, a professor of anthropology and sociology at George Mason University, suggests in an online column for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Closing some of the bases would save billions, Gusterson argues, citing none other than former defense secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, who in 2004 estimated a savings of $12 billion if the United States shut 200 foreign bases. Gusterson says that most foreign bases were built during the Cold War and serve an outdated strategy.”

Sunday, March 22, Washington Post

County Poised for Innovation, State Official Says

“With a university in its back yard, research projects brewing and a business park dedicated to technology-based companies, Prince William County is in a good position to compete in the global market, Virginia Secretary of Technology Aneesh P. Chopra said last week. ‘A key component of innovation is the presence of a four-year research institution,’ he said in an interview after the event. ‘George Mason University’s life sciences campus in Prince William and the research and development projects around it are absolutely the cornerstones and foundations of a vibrant and innovative community.’ Chopra said faculty members at universities locally and across the state often have a wealth of ideas that could turn into companies. At Mason, for instance, professors Lance Liotta and Chip Petricoin are among the nation’s leading researchers in cancer and molecular medicine.”

Tuesday, March 24, Washington Post

In Peru, Former Leader’s Lengthy Human Rights Trial Nears End

“Attorneys for former president Alberto Fujimori, accused of human rights violations involving state-sponsored killings and kidnappings, plan to present concluding arguments this week. Then comes Fujimori’s closing statement. If Fujimori is convicted, his sentencing — he could face up to 30 years in prison — is expected by mid-April. ‘This is a major step forward,’ said Jo-Marie Burt, a Latin American studies professor at George Mason University who has been an observer of Fujimori’s trial. ‘Peru is a country in which impunity has been the norm. Powerful people have routinely gotten away with all sorts of things, ranging from massive corruption to grave violations of human rights.’”

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