George Mason in the News…

Posted: December 23, 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:

Sunday, Dec. 19, The Arkansas Democrat Gazette

Moderate Senators to Control Filibusters

“Ultimately, the power of moderates will be decided by their ability ‘to cooperate with each other and resist pressures from their parties,’ said James Pfiffner, government professor at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. He is not at all confident about their ability to do so. ‘It’s going to be very difficult for moderates to resist those pressures,’ Pfiffner said.”

Sunday, Dec. 19, Pittsburgh Post Gazette

Dissident Iranian Cleric Out on His Own

“Kadivar’s younger sister, Jamileh, was a leading reform member of parliament until the Council of Guardians barred her from running again this year. 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 in Fairfax, Va.”

Monday, Dec. 20, The Washington Post

A Special Status Examined; Economists Differ on Value of Government Charters

“Wallison’s view is widely shared in the private-sector secondary mortgage market, where competitors chafe at Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s government-sponsored benefits. But even with the problems at the two companies, Congress is not expected to change Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s structure or charters, experts and lawmakers said last week. That’s because both companies, with their vast size and peculiar status, have put down deep roots in the financial system. Tinkering with their business could cause unintended consequences, said Jay Cochran III, a research fellow in regulatory studies at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. ‘One would hope that we could have real change,’ he said. ‘But that remains to be seen. It’s really a political question.'”

Tuesday, Dec. 21, The Washington Times

Belly Laugh Is Good Medicine; Humor Can Lessen Stress

“‘In the healthy individual, the prefrontal cortex plays a key role in something being humorous quite independent of triggering laughter,’ says James Olds, director of the Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study, a center for the study of neuroscience located at George Mason University in Fairfax. He holds a doctorate in neuroscience. If humor is funny enough to cause laughter, the frontal lobe where the prefrontal cortex is located can trigger the pleasure center (discovered in the hypothalamus in 1956 by [Dr.] Olds’ father, James Olds) that moves the appropriate muscles in the face and throat. ‘So it feels good to laugh,’ [Dr.] Olds says. ‘Laughter can be positive in terms of therapy. If you get someone to laugh, you produce in them very naturally a feeling of joy.'”

Wednesday, Dec. 22, Christian Science Monitor

Travelers Who Strive to Do No Harm

“Definitions of ethical tourism, often loosely referred to as ecotourism (which now encompasses cultural and political issues as well as environmental), vary widely and this makes meaningful stats hard to come by. But according to the World Tourism Organization (WTO), ecotourism now makes up a 20 percent slice of global tourism and is growing three times as fast as the industry as a whole. Academics who study the industry suggest that percentage needs a big asterisk behind it. David Weaver, professor of tourism management at George Mason University, says it’s critical to distinguish between ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ ecotourism. The latter might include a trip to a seaside resort or an air-conditioned bus ride through a game preserve-activities he calls ‘ecotourism lite,’ which display an interest in the environment without the real ethical dimension.”

Write to at