GWU Issues Management

A blog established for the George Washington University School of Political Management's Issues Management course.

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Location: Washington, D.C., United States

A middle aged white guy, who likes to think, talk and, too infrequently, write about politics, religion and gadgets.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

What Would Wal-Mart Do....?

Actually, the question is, "What would you do?"

First there was this story, a week or so ago, about a brain damaged woman (a Wal-Mart employee) sued by Wal-Mart to recover medical expenses paid by them. This is a fairly routine practice known in the legal community as subrogation. No matter, the facts here are grim.

Then Wal-Mart reversed course.

What do you think of Jeff Jarvis' take, found here?

- Posted by Pat Cleary

Saturday, March 22, 2008

New Walmart Blog

Check out the new Walmart blog. Click here to see the blog. Click here to see a New York Times article about it.

What's its significance? Please draw upon some of what we learned about Walmart earlier in the course to inform your comments.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

More Walmart

Here's a link to a site called "Americans for Wal-Mart," a pro-Wal-Mart site. Therein it says:

"In 2004, Wal-Mart bought $18 billion worth of goods from China. By contrast, the company spent $150 billion with 61,000 suppliers here in the United States, supporting some 3 million supplier jobs in this country."

...Food for thought, inexpensive food...

- Posted by Pat Cleary

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Update on Target

Looks like they are learning the error of their ways. Check it out.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Target to Bloggers: DROP DEAD!

Click here to read a short article describing Target's policy toward blogs and bloggers. If Target asked you for your opinion on this approach and inviting your recommendations going forward, what would you say? Support your advice with some factual citations on the significance of the blogosphere for companies.

For Next Week....

Note that I didn't put "Wal-Mart" in the title of this post, else it'll come up in a thousand Google news feeds and searches in Bentonville and trigger a whole bunch of questions.

No matter, that's the topic. Here's a very interesting article from the Washington Post a few years back by the thoughtful and respected Sebastian Mallaby about Wal-Mart. Here's a link to their website, "Wal-Mart Facts," so you can get a better feel for their side of the story.

And of course, so Bill doesn't have to do it, here's a link to "Wake Up Wal-Mart ," the union group that's been waging war on the world's largest retailer, including working with plaintiff's law firms to file all the many class action suits that you read about.

Hope this all triggers some more thought on our favorite topic of the week. See you next Thursday.

- Posted by Pat Cleary

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Sunday Paper: Issues Roundup

Some interesting issues raised in articles found not on front pages of today's Washington Post and New York Times. Take a position and comment, imagining that you are manging the issue for one side or the other:

-- A growing number of Americans are hitting the limits on their health care policies after experiencing chronic medical conditions. If you're an advocate for the chronically ill, what are your key points? What if you are an insurance company? What is their obligation to pay? Ought there be any limits at all?

-- Harvard and Yale (among others) have moved to make college more affordable by cutting costs for some students and substituting grants for loans. Isn't this laudable? Yet some colleges are grousing that it might force them "to use more of their financial aid dollars to compete for the best middle-income students rather than to bring in the neediest." If you represent Yale or Harvard, how do you position your school? What if you are the spokesperson for a college that has concerns with this approach?

-- The New York Times reports on a new Arizona law that disallows financial aid and in-state tuition rates to any college student who can't prove their legal residence status. In-state tuition runs $65 per credit hour as compared to $280 per credit hour for out-of-staters. Says a Republican state representative, "Denying the in-state tuition, besides being fair to residents, also deters illegal immigrants from coming here." But the Dean of Admissions at the University of Arizona says, "It’s likely that there are hundreds of high school senior or college-age students whose plans for college have been compromised... And it’s likely there are thousands in K-12 who will no longer make those plans because the cost of university is now out of reach or they fear deportation if they attempt to attend school." A fourth generation Mexican-American says simply, "I see it as a very cruel law." Imagine you represent an immigration control group. What are your key messages? What about a pro-immigration group? What are the various implications of this initiative?

-- Posted by Pat Cleary

Monday, January 21, 2008


Welcome to Issues Management, Spring 2008. Our first class bodes well for a lively and interest semester. I appreciate the class involvement I've seen so far. We are a small, but scrappy, group.

The word of the early stages of this campaign is "change" and maybe the word that carries us all the way to November. Read the article I've posted on The Blackboard which is a kind of rumination on the word "change."

Then discuss.

How do you react to the candidates chant of "Change, change, change?"

What "issue" is addressed by this approach to campaigning and does repeating the word change help "manage" that issue?

Which candidates are credible when promising change and which are not?

Address any of these questions or post some other reaction you might have to the article before class on Thursday evening.