George Mason in the News…

Posted: December 17, 2004 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

Following are highlights of national news coverage George Mason received during the past week:

Friday, Dec. 10, The Sydney Morning Herald

Greed Is All We Need

“For centuries the church has used this story to warn against avarice—one of the seven deadly sins. But attitudes towards greed are no longer so clear cut. In fact, some economists argue greed is an appropriate, even essential, ingredient of modern capitalism. Walter Williams, an economics professor at George Mason University in the United States, says greed does ‘wonderful things’ and the public good is promoted by people being selfish. ‘Greed produces preferable outcomes most times and under most conditions,’ he says. By reconstructing greed as a virtue, economists such as Williams have contributed to a linguistic transformation.”

Sunday, Dec. 12, The Washington Post

Local Laws Already Bar Alterations

“In New York, officials are confident they can protect vintage buildings without easements, said Mark Silberman, general counsel for the city’s landmarks commission. ‘We are by far the biggest, most sophisticated historic preservation commission in the country,’ he said. ‘The landmarks commission will not allow the facades of these buildings to be ruined.’ Relying on nonprofits as a final line of defense is unwise, George Mason University professor James D. Riggle said. Nonprofit trusts are reluctant to sue their contributors, he said. ‘The first time you sue one of your prominent donors, you’re done,’ he said.”

Monday, Dec. 13, Computerworld

Some Find Sale Hard to Swallow

“A senior developer at a law firm in Cleveland, who asked not to be identified, said that close to 100 percent of the firm’s PCs are from IBM and that he thinks the firm will continue to buy IBM-branded systems from Lenovo. But he added that the sale of the PC unit to Lenovo is a bad idea. But Daniel Menasce, a professor of computer science at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., wasn’t surprised by the sale. ‘The profit margin on PCs is slim,’ he said. ‘IBM makes its money on selling solutions to its customers.'”

Monday, Dec. 13, Chicago Tribune

Companies’ Defamation Lawsuits Put Activists on Defensive

“Within the legal community there are divisions about the merits of companies suing individuals for slander. Stephen Presser of Northwestern University’s School of Law said courts should not jump to conclusions that there is ‘a conspiracy to silence citizens.’ Dan Polsby, who teaches law at George Mason University, said the suits ‘have a bad odor. To be punishing people for engaging in what surely they recognize as privileged speech or privileged hyperbole is over the top. And they’ll probably sue me for saying that,’ Polsby said.”

Tuesday, Dec. 14, The Washington Post

Mining Scores for Nuances in Improvement

“Some districts in Maryland and Virginia are experimenting with value-added assessment, but neither state nor any D.C. school has adopted it. The growth of value-added assessment has been accompanied by scholarly debate over its usefulness and validity. George Mason University educational psychologist Gerald W. Bracey, summarizing several studies in his research column for the December issue of the magazine Phi Delta Kappan, said value-added assessment ‘rests on what appears to me to be an untested hypothesis: good teachers raise test scores. Given the hysteria about test scores created by the high-stakes testing juggernaut…it is easy to see how that hypothesis might be mistakenly taken for an assumption.'”

Tuesday, Dec. 14, USA Today

Oracle Victorious in Quest for PeopleSoft

“While Oracle and PeopleSoft feuded, SAP made inroads in the market. ‘SAP seems to be the main winner,’ says J.P. Auffret, a business professor at George Mason University. ‘There have been and will be quite a few “losers,” possibly PeopleSoft customers and certainly PeopleSoft employees and management.'”

Wednesday, Dec. 15, The Washington Post

Keeping Faith in Reform

“But as the leverage of secular reformers ebbs, Kadivar is among the few who remain a serious threat to the religious leadership because he, too, wears a white clerical turban. ‘As a cleric, he speaks with more authority to the community of believers. He also reflects the split within the clerical community that is the repository of power in Iran,’ said Shaul Bakhash, author of The Reign of the Ayatollahs, who teaches at George Mason University.”

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