Google to buy Motorola Mobile

Google recently announced that it will acquire Motorola Mobile for $12.5 billion. Boston University School of Law lecturer James Bessen is the co-author of Patent Failure: How Judges, Bureaucrats, and Lawyers Put Innovators at Risk.  He offers the following comment on the impact of the deal:

“This acquisition demonstrates that patents today are more about blocking innovation than encouraging it in information technology. Google is not buying these patents because it wants to use Motorola’s innovations. Google already has a highly innovative product and lots of innovation going on. Instead, it is buying Motorola’s patents to prevent Apple, Microsoft, etc., from keeping Google’s innovations off the market.”

Contact Bessen at 617-353-3110;

Perry, Fed, & ‘treason’

Texas Governor Rick Perry, campaigning in Iowa on Monday, responded to a voter’s question on the Federal Reserve, saying “printing more money…is almost treasonous.” Boston University School of Law professor Cornelius Hurley is director of the Center for Finance, Law & Policy and a former counsel to the Fed Board of Governors. He offers the following comment:

“Governor Perry’s talk of treason and his thinly veiled boast of treating someone ‘ugly’ in Texas is horrifying to the many of us with still vivid memories of November 22, 1963. In the race for less than 48 hours and the governor has already debased presidential politics.”

Contact Hurley at 617-353-5427;; Twitter @ckhurley

Weekly roundup of quotes by BU experts on the S&P downgrade: August 8 – August 12

Below is a sampling of quotes by BU experts on the Standard & Poor’s downgrade of U.S. debt for the week August 8 – August 12:

“You add it up, our bond rating shouldn’t be AA+, it should be CCC at this point. I’m not kidding…It’s a scary mix of ingredients…If the market drops any more, this could lead to a double dip. At some point, all hell can break loose on our bond market. If people realize how broke the country is, they may start dumping bonds. This could be a catalyst and interest rates would shoot up. Bank assets would drop and banks would start to fail. People might panic and take money out of their money-market accounts.” (Boston Herald, Markets brace for worst after credit downgrade)

Laurence Kotlikoff, Professor of Economics

“We’ve consistently done too little too late, looked too-short term, said the future would take care of itself, we’ll deal with that tomorrow. Well, guess what? You can’t keep putting off these problems.” (NPR “All Things Considered”, A national debt of $14 trillion? Try $211 trillion)

Laurence Kotlikoff, Professor of Economics

“Everybody has decided that everybody is panicking. So everybody is screaming and getting up and running our of the theater.” (Boston Globe, An avalanche of worry)

Laurence Kotlikoff, Professor of Economics

“What is surprising about the downgrade is not that it happened but that the administration was apparently taken by surprise when it did. After all, S&P had warned the markets in April that US debt was on watch for a possible downgrade. And that was long before Congress and the administration made a spectacle of themselves over the debt-ceiling issue.” (Boston Globe, OPINION: A ham-handed response from the White House)

Cornelius Hurley, Professor of Law

Bank of America to sell Canadian, European credit card business

Bank of America has announced it plans to sell its Canadian credit card business to TD Bank Group, as well as its European credit card business. Boston University master lecturer Mark Williams is an expert on risk management and teaches finance at the BU School of Management. A former Federal Reserve Bank examiner, he’s the author of Uncontrolled Risk: The Lessons of Lehman Brothers. He offers the following comment on the actions of Bank of America:

“A bank that sells such businesses when unemployment and card defaults are over 9 percent is a signal of financial trouble. When BofA bought its credit card business in Canada and parts of Europe, it was hailed as another brick in the North American and abroad strategy. What has changed in the last decade? Bank of America is turning into America’s shrinking bank.”

Contact Williams at 617-358-2789;

Campaign 2012: Will Rick Perry enter the race?

Speculation is strong that Texas Governor Rick Perry will announce on Sunday his intention to run for president in 2012, one day after the Iowa straw poll. Boston University professors John Carroll and Tom Whalen offer their comments on what Perry’s entry brings to the GOP field of presidential candidates.

Contact Carroll at 617-353-3493;; Twitter: @johncarroll_bu

Contact Whalen at 978-888-3131;

Experts available for comment on 10th anniversary of September 11th

With the 10th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon approaching, the following Boston University experts are available to offer comment, insight and analysis on various angles:

Andrew Bacevich, professor of international relations and history, and a retired Army colonel, can offer comment on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the state of American power post-9/11.  He is the author of Washington Rules: America’s Path to Permanet War (2010).  He can be reached at 617-358-0194;

Stephen Prothero, professor of religion, can discuss the role religion has played in the 10 years since 9/11, including the state of Islam in the U.S. today.  He can be reached at 617-353-4426;; Twitter: @sprothero

Kecia Ali, assistant professor of religion, can discuss the evolving state of Muslim/non-Muslim relations.  Contact Ali at 617-353-4465;

Robert Zelnick, professor of journalism and former ABC News correspondent, can discuss media coverage of the attacks and the subsequent War on Terror.  He can be reached at 617-353-5007;

Nick Mills, associate professor of journalism and author of Karzai: The Failing American Intervention and Struggle for Afghanistan, can offer analysis on how U.S./Afghan relations have evolved since 9/11.  Contact Mills at 617-353-3492;

Christopher Daly, associate professor of journalism and author of Covering America, can discuss media coverage of 9/11 and the wars it spawned.  He can be reached at 617-353-4295;; blog:

Neta Crawford, professor of political science, can discuss the “Costs of War” study which she co-directed.  Contact Crawford at 617-353-4040 or

Thomas Whalen, associate professor of social science and an expert on American politics and the American presidency, can offer comment on post-9/11 U.S. politics.  He is a regular contributor to PoliticoArena. He can be reached at 978-888-3131;

Tracey Maclin, professor of law and an expert on Constitutional law, can discuss post-9/11 legal battles over rendition, wiretapping and torture.  He can be reached at 617-353-4688;

David Barlow, professor of psychology and psychiatry and founder of the BU Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders, can discuss post-9/11 terrorism-triggered anxiety and panic attacks.  He can be reached at 617-353-9610;

Thomas Cottle, professor of education and a sociologist and licensed clinical psychologist, can discuss child and adolescent psychology and the effects of growing up in a post-9/11 world.  Contact Cottle at 617-353-6294;

Fed to keep rates low through mid-2013

The Federal Reserve issued a statement on Tuesday pledging it would hold short-term interest rates near zero through the first half of 2013. Boston University School of Law professor Cornelius Hurley is director of Boston University’s Center for Finance, Law & Policy and a former counsel to the Fed Board of Governors. He offers his view on the impact of the FOMC’s low-rate declaration.

“Does anyone seriously think that, if by some miracle the economy began to grow again, the Fed would not raise rates to stem inflation?

“The FOMC gave the credulous equity markets what they wanted to hear, but at what cost? The credibility of the Fed? So asked the three dissenting Federal Reserve Bank presidents.

“Perhaps it would have been better and more transparent for the Fed to have described the ‘policy tools’ it has in its closet.”

Contact Hurley at 617-353-5427 or; Twitter: @ckhurley

Campaign 2012: John Carroll on the Iowa straw poll

John Carroll, assistant professor of mass communication at Boston University’s College of Communication, shares his predictions on the Iowa straw poll.

Contact John at 617-353-3493 or; Twitter: @johncarroll_bu

Earlier posts:

Tom Fiedler on the Iowa straw poll

Tom Whalen on the Iowa straw poll

Campaign 2012: Tom Whalen on the Iowa straw poll

Tom Whalen, an associate professor of social science, is an expert on American politics. He is also a regular contributor to PoliticoArena. In the video below, he gives his predictions on the Iowa straw poll.

Contact Tom at 978-888-3131 or

London riots

As rioting continues to spread in London and surrounding areas, Prime Minister David Cameron announced the deployment of 10,000 police officers. Cameron also recalled Parliament from its summer recess to assist in assessing the situation. Graham Wilson, chair of Boston University’s Political Science Department, and author of “Only in America? American Politics in Comparative Perspective,” offers the following comment:

“This is a profound shock for those who remember the self-disciplined British police of the post-World War II era equipped with nothing more than a truncheon and a pair of handcuffs.

“This rioting is not explained by expenditure cuts, most of which have yet to take effect. It points to a deeper problem in the U.K. — the existence of an underclass, white as much as minority, ill-educated, economically marginal, and at the margins of society generally.”

Contact Graham at 617-523-2540 or