George Mason in the News

Posted: January 12, 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.

Friday, Jan. 5, Boston Globe

Plea May Not Push Finneran from Post

“If he pleads guilty in federal court to obstruction of justice as expected this morning, Massachusetts Biotechnology Council president Thomas M. Finneran would become a felon and could face disbarment – but could also survive as president of the state’s top life-science lobby. ‘There’s a short-term hit’ from a plea deal, ‘but it could be the kind of thing that people would just forget about, too,’ said David Hart, a lobbying specialist at George Mason University who lived in Boston for 20 years.”

Sunday, Jan. 7, New York Times

The Incredibles

“In past eras, good high schools provided the educational foundation for an intellectual awakening in college. But for the mostly affluent students in private and competitive public schools – from T.J. (as Thomas Jefferson is known) to urban intellectual cocoons like Bronx Science and Stuyvesant – high school has become the defining academic experience. The much-touted leap to higher education has become more of a lateral step, or even a letdown. Advanced Placement is no longer the zenith of academic challenge. Now there are ‘post-A.P.’ courses, for which a good grade in the A.P. course is the prerequisite. At Thomas Jefferson, students choose among 14 post-A.P. courses, including a new class on bionanotechnology that studies the relationship between small biological systems and technology. Most telling is that several advanced math courses – for example, ‘Complex Analysis,’ which blends abstract math with practical applications in physics, electrical engineering and fluid modeling – are taught by Robert Sachs, a math professor and former department chair at George Mason University. Dr. Sachs uses the same text for some high school and college classes and says ‘Complex Analysis’ covers the same material a college junior or senior would take.”

Sunday, Jan. 7, San Francisco Chronicle

Many Evangelicals Cringe at Doomsayer’s Prophecies

“In the past, Pat Robertson, founder of the once-powerful Christian Coalition, has called for the assassination of a political leader and predicted tsunamis, but last week, he said God spoke to him and revealed that a massive terrorist strike would happen in the United States in late 2007. Robertson’s controversial rhetoric over the past few years contrasts with his historical significance to Christian conservatives. The son of a U.S. senator, Robertson ran for president in 1988. Though unsuccessful, he was able to draw in a wide network of supporters and donors, said Mark Rozell, a professor of public policy at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. Robertson kept those networks alive after the election, taking the mass mailing list and creating what would become the roots of the Christian Coalition. Robertson chose Ralph Reed to be the public face of the Christian Coalition. ‘It was a real genius political move,’ said Rozell, who has followed Robertson’s career for more than three decades. ‘Robertson is just too toxic. … Ralph Reed put a very benign face to the political movement. Everyone wants to get away from the characterization in the mainstream culture that evangelicals believe some pretty loony things. There’s this real sense that the Christian Coalition mainstreamed the religious right. But a lot of people feel that Pat Robertson has reinforced negative stereotypes that evangelical Christians have worked hard to eliminate.’”

Sunday, Jan. 7, New York Times Magazine

Happiness 101

“One Tuesday last fall I sat in on a positive-psychology class called the Science of Well-Being – essentially a class in how to make yourself happier – at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. The class was taught by Todd Kashdan, a 32-year-old psychology professor whose area of research is ‘curiosity and well-being.’ Kashdan bobbed around the room or sat, legs dangling, on his desk beneath a big PowerPoint slide that said ‘The Scientific Pursuit of Happiness’ as he took the students, a few older than he, through the various building blocks of positive psychology: optimism, gratitude, mindfulness, hope, spirituality.”

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