George Mason in the News

Posted: January 5, 2007 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

Following are highlights of national news coverage George Mason recently received.

Wednesday, Dec. 27, All Africa (East African/All Africa Global Media)

Eritrea-Ethiopia Tension Fueling Somalia’s Crisis

“The derailed Ethiopia-Eritrea peace process is the key factor fueling the growing threat of war inside Somalia, according to a new report issued on Dec. 14 by the Council on Foreign Relations, an influential think-tank based in New York. Fighting in Somalia between the Transitional Federal Government, (TFG) supported by Ethiopia, and the Union of Islamic Courts, backed by Eritrea would in turn involve not only Ethiopia and Eritrea, warns the report titled, ‘Avoiding Conflict in the Horn of Africa: U.S. Policy Towards Ethiopia and Eritrea.’ Such a conflict ‘has the potential to spread across borders into Kenya and Djibouti,’ says the report’s author, Professor Terrence Lyons of George Mason University in the U.S. state of Virginia. The United States should apply stronger diplomatic pressure on all parties to help avert that outcome, Lyons suggests. Washington’s close identification with Ethiopia is dangerous for the United States and not beneficial to either Ethiopia or the TFG, he adds.”

Wednesday, Dec. 27, Associated Press

NASA Seeks to Reverse Youth Apathy to Manned Space Exploration

“Young Americans have high levels of apathy about NASA’s new vision of sending astronauts back to the moon by 2017 and eventually on to Mars, recent surveys show. Concerned about this lack of interest, NASA’s image-makers are taking a hard look at how to win over the young generation – media-saturated teens and 20-somethings growing up on YouTube and Google and largely indifferent to manned space flight. At an October workshop attended by 80 NASA message spinners, young adults were right up there with Congress as the top two priorities for NASA’s strategic communications efforts. George Whitesides, executive director of the National Space Society, a space advocacy group, said the agency could pick the crews for the moon and Mars trips earlier so the public can connect the faces with the far-off missions of the future. ‘You can take advantage of these personalities and these stories about triumph over adversity to create heroes, if you will,’ said workshop leader Peggy Finarelli, a former NASA official who is now a researcher at George Mason University.”

Wednesday, Dec. 27, ABC News: Good Morning America

President Gerald Ford Passes Away

Richard Norton Smith, scholar-in-residence in the Department of History and Art History and the School of Public Policy, discussed the life and legacy of former President Gerald Ford.

Wednesday, Dec. 27, PBS: The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer

President Gerald Ford Passes Away

Richard Norton Smith, scholar-in-residence in the Department of History and Art History and the School of Public Policy, participated in a panel that provided historical perspectives on Ford’s presidency. Other panelists were former Press Secretary Ron Nessen, Michael Beschloss and Ellen Fitzpatrick.

Sunday, Dec. 31, New York Times

Politics, Economics and Time Bury Memories of the Kazakh Gulag

“In Kazakhstan today, a large percentage of people have parents or grandparents whose life trajectories were savagely rewired by deportation and imprisonment in the camps. But memories of the gulags are fading in a growing economy. Steven A. Barnes, an assistant professor of history at George Mason University who has studied the gulags in Karaganda, insists that history’s relevance to society is exactly why remembering Kazakhstan’s painful gulag past is so important. ‘In the post-Soviet space, the trip from remembering to forgetting has been remarkably swift,’ he said. ‘Perhaps such public forgetting would seem less problematic if not for the fact that it enables strong, authoritarian rule that clamps down on basic human rights like freedom of speech and the right of assembly.’”

Sunday, Dec. 31, Los Angeles Times

Tech’s Mixed Message

“The old sports adage says there’s no ‘I’ in ‘team.’ But for the information technology industry, there’s no ‘team’ in ‘IT.’ Unlike most major industries, high tech has no all-encompassing trade association to push its agenda at the White House and on Capitol Hill. ‘It definitely would help if they’d all be singing from the same song sheet,’ said a congressional aide, who requested anonymity to avoid a backlash from the associations. ‘They could be a lot more united in their message.’ David M. Hart, an associate public policy professor at George Mason University, agreed. In a 2003 study, he found that the proliferation of tech trade groups had mirrored the industry’s dramatic rise in recent decades – from 10 groups in 1980 to 28 by 2000.”

Wednesday, Jan. 3, USA Today

Words Show Iraq Fraying ‘Code of Silence’

“An interview with former President Gerald Ford with The Washington Post in July of 2004 was released shortly after Ford’s death. Ford said he ‘very strongly’ disagreed with Bush’s justification for the war and would have pursued sanctions and negotiations rather than order an invasion. ‘I don’t think I would have gone to war,’ Ford said in the interview with Bob Woodward. Criticism by former presidents is rare, says Richard Shenkman, a historian at George Mason University and author of ‘Presidential Ambition.’ Most ex-presidents, recalling their travails in office, are reluctant to add to the burdens of successors, he says. ‘It’s a fine line that they walk,’ he says, but one that sometimes has been crossed.”

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