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Merry Christmas From AGORACOM

Posted by AGORACOM at 12:23 PM on Monday, December 24th, 2007

To all of our clients, members and friends celebrating Christmas, we wish you a very Merry Christmas. I could babble on about the meaning of Christmas but if a picture speaks a thousand words, then you’ll enjoy some of these great Christmas images I found around the web:

Regards,
George

Mayor Miller Of Toronto Thinks Americans Will Listen To His Handgun Demands. This Is Not April 1st.

Posted by AGORACOM at 8:13 PM on Monday, November 26th, 2007

I’ve just watched Toronto’s Mayor Miller on the evening news following 3 more gun murders this weekend and feel I have to act on behalf of all citizens who are insulted by his “it’s time to lobby the US government” solution.

I just sent the message below to his office via e-mail, as well as, John Oakley of AM 640.

UPDATE #1 (November 27, 2007): The Mayor’s office did not respond. John Oakley, on the other hand, read my letter on air this morning.

UPDATE #2 (June 14, 2008): The blood shed has now extended beyond his “constituency”. 2008 has turned into Toronto The Violent, including the murder of Oliver Martin, one of my own colleagues.

Regards,
George Tsiolis
A man of average intelligence but plenty of common sense.

=======

I neither own a gun, nor support gun ownership beyond hunting purposes.

However, I am intelligent enough to know that the Second Amendment to the US Constitution declares the individual right of citizens to keep and bear arms. If his answer to Toronto gun-related murders is to change US laws, then the man is truly an idiot.

Or is he?

Given the fact he is a lawyer, I don’t believe for a minute that he actually believes in his solution. If Bill Clinton and the Democratic Party could not make a meaningful dent in US gun regulation (see “Lasting Effects” section), he knows full well that a Mayor from Toronto has no chance of even getting standing on the issue. If he gets a janitor in Washington to hear him out, I’ll pay for his haircuts in 2008.

His US solution is nothing more than a smoke screen to avoid dealing with the real problems surrounding his constituency – and he knows it. It isn’t fooling anyone other than his voter base … and it isn’t hurting anyone other than them.

Rather than providing solutions that get tough on crime (i.e. hiring more police officers and arming them with the means to battle criminals) – solutions that would upset his voter base – he prefers to talk a big game and blame an easy but untouchable target.

Shame on him for providing his supporters with phantom solutions as they die in the streets. They deserve more from the man they elected mayor. At the very least, they deserve a “solution” with at least as good a chance as a 6/49 lottery ticket.

Yours truly,
George Tsiolis, LL.B

Weekend Stuff – Colbert “Google Bombing” Is Funny and An Eye Opener

Posted by AGORACOM at 7:50 AM on Saturday, April 21st, 2007

Stephen Colbert is the funniest thing on TV since Johnny Carson. His combination of humour and pranks is second to none, including being banned by Wikipedia and affecting the outcome of online polls in small European countries (links within the main story below). 

His latest feat was to game Google by engaging in “Google Bombing” so that he would rank first for search results of “giant brass balls“.  Rather than explaining it all, I’ll let you read about it here because my real point to this post – besides givingyou some great weekend funny reading – is the fact that any concerted group of average people can still outsmart the most sophisticated algorithms and systems.  One can argue that Stephen Colbert is a rare example because he hosts a very popular show with millions of viewers – but here are a couple of examples of gaming the Google system by ordinary netizens.

Colbert’s Google bombing was both funny and an eye opener.  Hopefully most future cases will continue to be motivated by the need to make the rest of us laugh.

Best,
George

Imus vs. Free Speech vs. Discussion Forums

Posted by AGORACOM at 9:24 PM on Friday, April 13th, 2007

I have to chime in on the Don Imus controversy because it is a topic that we have to deal with at AGORACOM every so often.  Specifically, the issue of free speech.

My position on this matter is clear as day. People can say what they want, when they want but not necessarily where they want.  In the case of Imus, he can launch www.nappyheadedhoes.com and go to town on the topic all day long. You may not read it, you may not agree with it, the world may hate it and the government might prefer people like him evaporated off the face of the earth.  However, the right to free speech means he can’t be shut down by anybody.

On the other hand, when you work for a network that strives to earn a profit, that network has the unfettered right to fire you for any such comments. Why? Networks don’t guarantee free speech.  Only the government does.  Networks only obligation is to shareholders and when advertisers started pulling their dollars, they correctly showed Imus the door. 

Make no mistake about it, if advertisers weren’t pulling their ads, Imus would be on the air the day after his two-week suspension was done.  Corporations need to pay their bills and create shareholder value.  Social agendas are a diiiiisssstaaaaant second.

Hence, why AGORACOM retains the right to terminate any member at any time for breaking any of our 6 rules of use.  We’re here to provide a great service for the majority of investors and small-cap public companies that want to engage in constructive two-way dialogue – including constructive criticism.  But if you’re going to come online and cause problems, you’re expendable.

CBS, MSNBC and other corporations through time have proven this on several occasions. 

Paul Kedrosky has an interesting slant but I don’t agree that the lesson here is the digital trail of all your views and comments. Had Imus made the comments weeks or months back and they came back to haunt him today, it would hold true but this was done with lightning speed.

Mark Cuban looks at it from a strict dollars and sense point of view.

Regards,
George