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SPA in the Media - Fall 2009

Thurber Speaking

Health Care Support

James Thurber, director of the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies, was quoted in a Bloomberg News article about the push for Republican support of President Obama's health care reform plan and the risks involved in losing a bipartisan bill. "There's not very many moderates," he said. "You move to the middle and you start losing people, significant people." View the entire article.

SPA faculty provide expert commentary on policy, government, health care, justice, and other important issues to national and international media.

Previous Editions

Summer 2009

Crime Data


Lynn Addington, professor of Justice, Law & Society, was quoted in Detroit News about a recent FBI report that shows a decline in crimes for 2008. Addington said the data may not be an accurate reflection because of a history of flawed reporting. “In the early 1970s, Philadelphia was kind of notorious for having police-generated crime drops,” she said, adding that in 2008, the numbers may have been greatly affected by the financial crisis.

Senator Edward Kennedy


James Thurber, director of the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies and a neighbor of Kennedy’s, appeared in a WRC-NBC 4 television news segment and spoke during a 15-minute, in-studio interview with WAMU’s Kojo Nnamdi Show about Kennedy as a friend as well as his endorsement of President Obama at a rally held at American University. "That made the difference in this campaign. [For] campaign professional’s sake, that's what turned it," he said. "We're very proud of the connection with Kennedy here at American University." View the video or listen to the interview.

NASA's future

Budget Cuts for Space Travel

Howard McCurdy, professor of Public Administration and Policy, was quoted in an Associated Press article about how NASA’s budgeting matters may prevent the launch of future space exploration programs. More than 100 news outlets, including U.S. News and World Report, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and MSNBC.com, syndicated the article. "The problem is the size 14 foot in the size 10 shoe," he said. "It's just really hard to fit it all in. A lot of the assumptions made in 2004 (for the Bush plan) have just not materialized." View the entire article.

Maryland and Rainbow Flag


David Lublin, professor of Government, was quoted in a Baltimore Sun article about the growing need for the state of Maryland, which is considered one of the more progressive states in the nation, to legalize gay marriages, and the factors blocking the decision. "African-Americans, who are a key part of the Democratic coalition, are much less supportive than many other Democratic voters," he said. "There are many African-American legislators in the Democratic coalition, and while some are very supportive there are others who are prominent opponents. The same is true for many legislators with significant Orthodox Jewish populations." View the entire article.

Heavy Lifting in Congress

James Thurber, director of the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies, was quoted in Time Magazine on the topic of how current issues for prominent Democrat lawmakers may weigh against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats' future congressional campaigns. "These are powerful people in the power structure in the House," he said. "They are also Pelosi's friends. If she does not let the Ethics committee do objective and aggressive work she undermines her political capital and the integrity of the ethics review. She leaves an opening, a wedge issue, for the Republicans in 2010." View the full article.


Leading government executives

In his opinion piece for Government Executive, Robert M. Tobias, director of the Institute for the Study of Policy Implementation, discussed the importance of initiative and leadership from the executive branch of the federal government. "Although many presidents have talked about the need to improve executive branch performance, President Obama is the first to assume personal leadership responsibility for doing so," he wrote. "Without that impetus from the chief executive officer of the executive branch, there is unlikely to be the kind of change many have talked about but none so far has effected." View the entire article.

Honduras Flag

A Positive Turning Point

William LeoGrande, dean of the School of Public Affairs, was quoted in a Miami Herald article about the future of Honduras with the presence of Costa Rican President Oscar Arias serving as mediator, following the oust of Honduran President Manual Zalaya. ''He was very skilled in getting the various warring parties together in Central America and convincing presidents to accept settlements that were arguably not in their interests,'' LeoGrande said, adding that Arias also brings the skill of refusing to accept a decline to his political table dealings. "He's adept at identifying the commonalities in people's stated positions and then holding them to those," he said. View the entire article.

Bush Signing

Ideology Over Diversity

Jennifer Segal Diascro, a professor of Government, released a report coauthored with a political science professor at Oregon State University that George W. Bush's judicial appointments stressed ideology over diversity. The research, explored in an Asian News International article, stated that 78 percent of Bush’s appointees were men, 22 percent were women, and 82 percent were Caucasian—minorities made up 18 percent. "Bush cared about diversity, but it was not his first priority," Diascro said. "There is a tendency, and we see this across the political spectrum, to use bench appointments to gain clout with certain voters." View the entire article.

Faculty Achievements

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Justice, Law & Society
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