This Week In the News…

Posted: June 18, 2004 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

Friday, June 11, Chronicle of Higher Education

Left Out Online

“Mr. Cuffee’s college experience is an example both of the benefits of technology and of the barriers that someone with disabilities can encounter. George Mason is a leader in disabilities technology, running an extensive program to make all facets of the university accessible to those with disabilities. The university’s home page is set up for ‘screen readers,’ programs that read Web pages aloud for blind users. A wheelchair icon on the home page leads to a description of the university’s online-accessibility policies, which can be read by a screen reader.”

Friday, June 11, Associated Press

Reagan’s legacy among minority groups conflicted, complex

“Reagan also considered weakening the Voting Rights Act and initially didn’t want to declare Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday a national holiday, said Roger Wilkins, history and American culture professor at George Mason University in Virginia. The impact on black voters was clear: Reagan won 11 percent of the black vote in 1980 and just 9 percent in 1984, Wilkins said. ‘He was a very cordial person, but his indifference and even contempt was palpable. He was president for eight years, and he never once met with the Congressional Black Caucus, not once,’ Wilkins said.”

Friday, June 11, The San Diego Union-Tribune

A Nation Pays Its Respects

“‘I think you’d have to go back to the Kennedy funeral for a similar outpouring,’ said James Pfiffner, a professor at George Mason University in nearby Fairfax, Va., and an expert on the presidency. ‘If you didn’t remember the 1980s, you might think Reagan was popular with everybody.'”

Saturday, June 12, the Times (London)

Could you stomach this?

“In the eat-all-you-can fests in America, one competitor, despite being dwarfed by her rivals, eats them all under the table.

The ‘sport’ can be traced back to 19th century American county fairs, says the historian Peter Stearns, of George Mason University. Today fat people generally are treated with suspicion—why can’t they control themselves? But don’t blame the pie-eating competitions. Professor Stearns says: ‘I have no evidence that competitive eating contests come to enough of the public’s attention for it to affect eating habits one way or another.'”

Sunday, June 13, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Clinton presidency rated mostly good

“‘In the long run, that [scandal] will be much lower in visibility,’ said James Pfiffner of George Mason University in Fairfax, Va….’Clinton didn’t simplify things like Reagan did. He understood the complexities of issues,’ said Pfiffner of George Mason. ‘His confrontation with Newt Gingrich and the 104th Congress was a major, important policy battle. Clinton showed he was shrewd and smart and able to convey to the public what he wanted to do.'”

Monday, June 14, Business Week

Red vs. Blue: The Few Decide for The Many

“Many of the distortions can be traced to the Electoral College, set up by the Founding Fathers partly to shield against unfiltered democracy—then equated with mob rule. The College was also designed to preserve the power of small states by giving them a higher percentage of electoral votes than their populations would warrant. Finally, the College was a sop to Southerners, who were given credit for each slave at the rate of three-fifths of a free voter, magnifying the power of white property owners in Dixie. ‘These compromises were the basis of the Electoral College,’ says George Mason University Professor James P. Pfiffner. ‘But they are not relevant any more.'”

Monday, June 14, Advertising Age

Don’t blame ads: Kids view fewer food commercials

“The second study, from Todd J. Zywicki, director of the Federal Trade Commission’s Office of Policy Planning, and a law professor at George Mason University in Virginia, looked at teens. Mr. Zywicki cited research showing that the percentage of eighth, 10th and 12th graders who watch four or more hours of TV a day on weekdays has been dropping since 1991. The data come from the government’s Monitoring the Future study done by the University of Michigan as tracked by Child Trends Databank.

‘Kids today are playing more video games, watching more videos. They may have more screen time, but they see less ads,’ he said.”

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