Sun, 28 October 2007
my best-known novel: The Plot to Save Socrates
and Brian Charles Clarke says The Plot to Save Socrates "resonates with the current political climate . . . heroine Sierra Waters is sexy as hell . . . there's a bite to Levinson's wit" -- in Curled Up With A Good Book
Mon, 22 October 2007
Category:Politics -- posted at: 4:44am EST
Sun, 21 October 2007
Welcome to a very special Episode - #47 - of Light On Light Through ... our first year anniversary party! Lots of surprises, special guests (see guest list, below), a contest in which you can win a copy of my novel, The Plot to Save Socrates ... never-before-revealed facts such as how I came up with the name Light On Light Through - what it means - and much more...
->And listen for debut play of promo for Diane Kreinbring's RonPaulFanCast podcast at end....
The Plot to Save Socrates - my latest novel
Fri, 19 October 2007
As you know, I devoted 50-minutes of my Intro to
Communication and Media Studies class last month at Fordham University
to a lecture about the mass media's mistreatment of Ron Paul. Although
Ron Paul is now getting much more media attention, the mistreatment
continues - as evidenced, to give just one example, of CNBC's taking down of a post-debate poll
which Ron Paul won - and this means that people who value our
democratic system need to continue to keep a wary eye on our media, and
call them out when necessary.
1. Consider Ron Paul’s Presidential campaign the Source of communication. Using the Shannon-Weaver model, explain all the steps that the campaign must go through, in order to reach its Destination, the American people. Make sure you address each step in the process, as well as what can (and did) go wrong in the process, and possible remedies for addressing this. (Option: If you like to do this analysis for another Presidential candidate, that would be acceptable, but make sure you have specific examples to present.)
The exam was open book, and the students had a choice of questions. I don't know yet how many chose to answer this one.
The crux of the correct answer was that the media misreporting of Ron Paul constitutes noise in the Channel, and the best way of remedying that is providing feedback - meaning, let the media and the world know that such misreporting is unacceptable.
I'll keep you posted on how my students do on this question (without, of course, revealing any names.)
Category:Politics -- posted at: 6:37pm EST
Mon, 15 October 2007
I'll be putting out a special edition on that day. Help me celebrate - and promote whatever you're doing - by sending me a 10-second mp3 of congratulations. Feel free to mention & promote whatever is important to you. Mention how you know me (we're Twitter friends, whatever).
Send the mp3 to Paul@LightonLightThrough.com
You can put in music, just talk, whatever you like.
More details in my two recent episodes of Light On Light Through - A Modest Proposal and Celebrating Sputnik...
Category:Cosmos -- posted at: 3:22am EST
Sun, 14 October 2007
The Plot to Save Socrates - my latest novel
Sat, 13 October 2007
One of the most serious issues of our time - pardon the pun - is the FCC's unconstitutional crackdown on broadcasting for allegedly "indecent" programming. The heavy fines levied by the FCC made it impossible for Howard Stern to continue on traditional radio. He had to watch everything he said.
Fortunately, Sirius Satellite Radio provided a great alternative, which has proven to be even better than the original. Howard Stern has finally found his element on Sirius Radio - a free environment, in which his mind can work and express itself at full, incisive, hilarious speed.
Sirius also gives you exclusive coverage of the NFL, NBA, and NASCAR, more than 130 channels of programming, 69 music channels with no commercials, and Martha Stewart.
You do need a special radio to hear Sirius, and the Sirius Stiletto 10 Satellite Radio is one of many cool models available. The Stiletto doesn't need to be docked in your car or at home - you can take it anywhere - and it gives you live portable reception of Sirius Radio shows, stores up to 10 hours of Sirius Satellite programming, and has lots of other useful features.
It's not just satellite radio - it's out of this world.
this is a sponsored post
Category:sponsored posts -- posted at: 4:34pm EST
Sat, 13 October 2007
Marshall McLuhan died on the last day of 1980 - not only years before there was micro-blogging and blogging, but a few years before e-mail and commenting on Web pages.
In 1986, I wrote a piece for the IEEE Transactions of Professional Communications entitled Marshall McLuhan and Computer Conferencing, in which I said that the pithy, aphoristic bursts which characterized his writing - his great works from the 1960s consisted of chapters often not more than a page or two in length - were actually a form of web writing ("computer conferencing") decades before the Web and online communication emerged.
Just the other day, I realized something more about McLuhan's writing. The memorable titles he gave to his short chapters - for example, "The Medium is the Message" in Understanding Media (1964) or "Nobody ever made a grammatical error in a non-literate society" in the Gutenberg Galaxy (1962) (which has 107 of these gems) - were actually micro-blogs.
Blogging in his page-or-two chapters, micro-blogging in the titles or "glosses" (his term) he gave them. All of this back in 1962 and 1964.
McLuhan was in touch with a mode of expression, a vehicle of the human intellect, which was clear and percolating in his mind, even though the technology of its delivery was still decades away from invention.
Category:Technology & Society -- posted at: 4:29pm EST
Sat, 13 October 2007
I wrote the following on another blog back in March. In view of the growing number of Ron Paul supporters - people who believe we should take the Constitution and its restrictions on government seriously - and Al Gore's winning the Nobe Prize yesterday, my modest proposal that we should work to support the best candidates in each of the two major parties seems more viable and relevant than ever...
The approach most people take to Presidential elections is, pick a candidate - if you can - one candidate, and support him or her to the hilt. If your candidate fails before getting the nomination, you may or may not switch to another, and go through the same process.
If your chosen candidate is a Democrat, you likely will have little real interest in the Republicans, except to hope that they choose the weakest person to run for office. And vice versa - if your favorite candidate is a Republican, all you likely will care about regarding the Democrats is what they can do, presumably unintentionally, to help your Republican candidate win.
But does this approach get the best out of our democracy?
I'm trying something a little different this time around. I am going to try to pick my favorites in both the Democratic and the Republican fields, and do whatever little I can to help them get nominated. If I'm lucky enough to see both nominated, I'll then decide whom to vote for in the general election.
So far, here are my favorites, and why:
Al Gore: pluses: his election would correct the deep injustice of the 2000 election, he was anti-Iraq-war from the beginning, he is genuinely interested in science to improve our human condition; minuses: I'm concerned that he may be in favor of Congress's crackdown on "indecency," given his wife Tipper's history on this issue
Barack Obama: pluses: he was anti-Iraq-war from the beginning, he would bring a Kennedy-esque youthful vitality to the White House, it would be healthy for America to have an African-American President; minuses: not enough experience, and untested on many issues
*John Edwards: see below for note added on April 21, in which I've including Edwards in my Democratic favorites
Ron Paul: pluses: he was anti-Iraq-war from the beginning (and, better than Gore and Obama, was in office at the time, and voted against the war resolutions), he is a vigorous defender of the Constitution and the First Amendment, he is an opponent of government censorship, he's in favor of private enterprise in space (so is Gore); minuses: he's in favor of states (but not the Federal government) banning abortion (I'm in favor of a women's right to choose), an opponent of gun control (I agree that the Second Amendment is consistent with Paul's position - I'm in favor of amending it), urged US neutrality in Israeli-Hezbollah war.
So, there you have it. I currently consider myself a supporter of all three candidates. Regarding Gore and Obama, I would certainly be happy with a Democratic ticket that had them both (Gore for Pres, Obama for VP), and I would be happy with a ticket that had either for President. Regarding Ron Paul: at this point, there is no other Republican even remotely as good, in my view.
Regarding the minuses for all three candidates: I'll keep researching their positions and records, and of course be on the look-out for new developments. And I'll also be open to any new candidates, or to any dramatic shifts in all of the candidates currently in the field, but I'm not holding my breath for either.
*Added 21 April 2007 - John Edwards' Favorite Book is I. F. Stone's The Trial of Socrates. If find this so impressive - indicative of a love a freedom of expression, and a philosophic depth - that I now include Edwards along with Gore and Obama as Democratic candidates for President that I could enthusiastically support.
25-minute podcast of this Modest Political Proposal
Category:Politics -- posted at: 4:08pm EST
Fri, 12 October 2007
Open Letter to CNBC Managing Editor: Apologize to American People about Your Taking Down of Ron Paul Poll, or Resign
To: Allen Wastler
Managing Editor, CNBC.com
From: Paul Levinson, PhD
Professor & Chair, Department of Communication and Media Studies
Fordham University, NYC
re: your An Open Letter to the Ron Paul Faithful of October 11, in which you explain why you took down your poll, conducted after the Michigan Republican Presidential debate, and featured on your web site
1. You invite comments and response to your Open Letter, and provide an e-mail address. Since your action is, in my view, a matter of great public concern, I am not only e-mailing this response to you, but publishing it in my InfiniteRegress.tv blog and here on LightonLightThrough.
2. I am not one of the "Ron Paul Faithful". Although I greatly admire many of his positions, especially his support of our Constitution, I have not yet endorsed any candidate, and am indeed on record as urging Americans to support the best candidate in each of our two main parties, so as to give us the best choice in the general election. You are welcome to see my How About We Look for the Best Candidate in =Both= Parties for details.
2a. I am writing to you, therefore, as a professor, scholar, and observer of media and politics, with a keen interest in seeing the press serve our democracy as Thomas Jefferson and our Founding Fathers intended - that is, by providing us with the truth wherever possible.
3. Let me now address the issues you raise in your Open Letter:
You write that "these Internet polls are admittedly unscientific and subject to hacking".
True, but the "scientific" polls - the ones that rely on random sampling - are subject to error, as well. See, for example, the famous poll that predicted that FDR would lose the 1936 Presidential election.
Also, while the Internet may indeed be subject to hacking, do you have any proof that hacking took place in this case? You further say that your "poll was either hacked or the target of a campaign". Again, your proof?
You further say that "[t]he next day, our email basked was flooded with Ron Paul support messages. And the computer logs showed the poll had been hit with traffic from Ron Paul chat sites. I learned other Internet polls that night had been hit in similar fashion."
None of the above actions are "hacking". You owe Ron Paul's supporters and the American people an apology.
Indeed, the fact that the polls reflected votes "from Ron Paul chat sites" does not even support your conclusion that your poll was "the target of a campaign" - conceivably some of the votes that came from the sites could have come from people who had come to the sites, impressed by what they saw of Ron Paul in the debate, and then went on to cast their votes in your poll. Does that sound to you like "a campaign"?
You further say that Ron Paul's supporters, presumably including anyone who voted for Ron Paul in your poll, "also ruined the purpose of the poll. It was no longer an honest 'show of hands' -- it suddenly was a platform for beating the Ron Paul drum."
What do you suppose influences public opinion in any election campaign? What is your definition of an "honest show of hands"? Is a potential voter who expresses support for a candidate, because that potential voter already liked that candidate prior to a given debate, somehow not "honest"? If what you wanted to measure in your poll was how previously undecided people felt about the performance of candidates in the debate, why did you not say so in your poll, and devise some way of measuring this? (For example, trying to identify a sample of undecided voters beforehand, and then asking them for their preferences after the debate?)
Instead, you conclude your Open Letter with the following: "When a well-organized and committed 'few' can throw the results of a system meant to reflect the sentiments of 'the many,' I get a little worried. I'd take it down again."
Again, you offer no evidence whatsoever that anything in the poll was "thrown," and you similarly offer no evidence about how "few" of the "many" were composed of Ron Paul supporters.
Indeed, you offer no evidence of anything, really - just supposition and innuendo - and that gets me more than a little worried, about your competence and capacity to be Managing Editor of CNBC.com's website.
If something needs to be "taken down," it may well be your position as Managing Editor. I call upon you to either apologize to the American people, or step down.
Category:Politics -- posted at: 12:55pm EST
Tue, 9 October 2007
Here are some of the highlights and lowlights in the Republican Presidential debate which concluded a fw hours ago in Michigan. It was on CNBC, and will repeated tonight at 9pm on MSNBC:
Fred Thompson: started out nearly comatose, and then settled in. But he's fuzzy on most of the issues, and looks like Dwight David Eisenhower on a bad day. His best moment was responding to a pretty good crack by Romney, about the Republican debates being like Law and Order - a big cast, and Fred Thompson comes in at the end. Thompson smiled and said, pretty good, and I thought I was going to be the best actor up here.
Mitt Romney: his response to whether the President needs to consult Congress before going to war - Romney said he'd leave that to the attorneys - was one of the lowest points, not only in this debate, but in American history, period. (See Ron Paul's response to this, below.)
Rudy Giuliani: his response about whether the Internet required FCC-like cultural policing was troubling, to say the last. He's not in favor of creating new government agencies, but he might look into it, if the problem doesn't subside. But, what's the problem? No one disputes the need of police to go after predators, on and off line. The question was about the "cultural" problems of the Internet (porn?) and what should be done about that. A better answer would have been: "The FCC is unconstitutional even as a regulator of broadcasters. The last thing I would do is extend its violation of the First Amendment to the Internet." Too bad Ron Paul didn't get a chance to answer that question. Fortunately, Ron Paul did get a chance to respond about the President going to war...
Ron Paul: his finest moment was his outrage over Romney's gibberish about consulting attorneys. Read the Constitution, Ron Paul said - it clearly says that Congress, not the President, has the power to declare war.
You don't need to be a lawyer to understand that. You need to be just minimally literate.
Also admirable was Ron Paul's unwillingness to blindly support whoever gets the Republican nomination - that nominee would need to stop following Bush's disastrous and unconstitutional foreign policy.
It's rare indeed to hear a political candidate in either party speak such plain truth to the American people, and to the world.
Category:Politics -- posted at: 9:31pm EST
Sat, 6 October 2007
The Plot to Save Socrates - my latest novel
Thu, 4 October 2007
This is the lecture I delivered to my "Introduction to Communication and Media Studies" class at Fordham University last Friday, September 28, 2007, about the media misreporting of Ron Paul.
The lecture, with student questions at the end, was about 50 minutes. It's divided into five parts on the YouTube video: 1. history of polling ... ABC May 2007 misreporting of Ron Paul ... 2. ABC continues misreporting Ron Paul (early August 2007).... 3. Mark Levin urges disinformation against Ron Paul on ABC radio ... Kucinich gets cropped ... the First Amendment ... 4. Hannity & Colmes misreport Ron Paul on Fox News ... reasons behind all of this ... 5. I answer student questions ...
Note that the above is, of course, current only as of September 28, 2007, and contains no mention of ABC affiliate WMUR TV in New Hampshire failing to cover the Ron Paul "Family Day" rally on September 30...
Category:Politics -- posted at: 12:13pm EST
Tue, 2 October 2007
Sputnik celebrates its 50th anniversary this Thursday, October 4 - the first artificial satellite to circle the planet. It was soon followed by Sputnik 2 (dogs in space, 1958), first human in space (Yuri Gagarin, 1961), Telstar (first telecom satellite, 1962), and then we walked on the Moon (Armstrong and Aldrin, 1969).
Notice that I didn't say
Soviet or US above, because it doesn't really matter. Humans in space
is what counts. But everyone of course knows that Sputnik - Russian for
"fellow traveler" - set off the space race which we in the US
eventually "won" in 1969. Prior to then, Telstar was our only first
Category:Cosmos -- posted at: 11:34pm EST
Mon, 1 October 2007
The Free Market News Network reports that WMUR neglected to cover Ron Paul at his "Family Day" rally in Manchester, New Hampshire this past weekend. WMUR is a state-wide television operation, with headquarters in Manchester.
What struck me most about this was not the lack of coverage itself - infuriating and undemocratic, as it is - but the fact that WMUR is an ABC affiliate!
Just this past Friday, at the lecture I delivered to my "Intro to Communication and Media Studies" class at Fordham University (we'll have the video up on YouTube soon), I detailed a series of outrageous ABC misreportings of Ron Paul since May - ranging from leaving him out of poll results to publishing misleading photographs that made his supporters seem far fewer at a rally in Iowa than they actually were. But I concluded, in an effort to be fair, that ABC seems to have been improving in the accuracy of its reporting lately, with Fox guilty of the worst recent transgressions.
But here we are, once again, with a national ABC television affiliate apparently up to the same old business. If the Free Market News story is correct - and it's been up online more than a day with no opposing comments offered - then ABC is continuing to dig itself into a hole it may never get out of.
Because, whatever happens in this election, the shameful performance of ABC News at so many junctures - regarding mostly Ron Paul, but also, at least once, Dennis Kucinich - will not be forgotten. Indeed, I expect it will be a section in many textbooks about media and politics. I know I certainly will be putting something about this in my next edition of The Soft Edge: A Natural History and Future of the Information Revolution.
See reviews of the most recent edition of The Soft Edge.
Category:Politics -- posted at: 11:50am EST