Monday, October 27, 2008

Vancouver awards updated

In today’s vote count, Vancity Buzz took over first place, and newcomer re:place Magazine is in second. We’re also trying out a new ballot format – see ballot and blog links.

See also:
- cumulative awards & other info
- vote tally details & history

Sunday, October 26, 2008

UBC update

As mentioned earlier, today only I’m deviating from the usual Thursday schedule for updating the UBC VoterMedia Awards. We’ll be back on Thursdays starting November 6.

Voters kept UBC Insiders in first place, and swapped the places of Devil’s Advocate and Heart of Eden.

Welcome new blog entrant FairVote UBC!

Info and links at

Friday, October 17, 2008

Media Democracy Day at Vancouver Public Library Sat Oct 25

Full programme & more info at

Media Democracy Day 2008 festivities will take place at the Vancouver Public Library, 350 West Georgia Street(map), on Saturday October 25th 2008 from 12 noon to 6 pm. Admission is free and open to everyone.

MDD will include a series of exciting panels, workshops and speakers.

Confirmed speakers include:

*Rex Weyler - Co-founder of Green Peace
*Deborah Campbell - Award Winning Independent Journalist
*David Beers - Publisher – The Tyee
*Gurpreet Singh - Broadcaster on Radio India, freelance columnist for Surrey Now, freelance reporter for South Asian Post
*Michael Tippett - Co-founder of
*Robert Hackett - professor at SFU and author of “Remaking Media”
*Andrea Hayley - president of the Epoch Times Vancouver
*Robert Scales – CEO of RainCity Studios
*Matt Thompson - Campaign Strategist for FreePress, Co-Founder of
*Kate Milberry - Media and Technology Commentator (See her blog)

Our media democracy fair will provide the public the chance to meet local media makers civil society workers, including representatives from:

Campaign for Democratic Media
Community Media Education Society (CMES)
SFU CMNSU (Communication Student Union)

and many more...

[Too bad I'll be out of town that day! :-( ]

Again, full programme & more info at

VoterMedia Finance Blog

I've started a new blog on the financial crisis, at So I'm moving that topic (tagged "Financial System" here) over to there instead. Please take a look and make some comments!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

UBC update; skipping a week

Awards from today’s tally were similar to the previous week – see, which also links to the blogs and to voting detail spreadsheets, how-to-vote info etc.

Since I’ll be in New York all next week (Oct 18-25), I’m going to stretch the next two UBC blog award periods to a week and a half each. Next update will be Sunday Oct 26; after that we’ll be back on Thursdays from Nov 6.

Vancouver awards updated today

As mentioned earlier, today only I’m deviating from the usual Monday weekly schedule for the Vancouver Election Blog Awards. We’ll be back on Mondays starting October 27.

Voters again rewarded five media/blog entrants, this time putting Vancity Buzz back in the money – see ballot for awards & links.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

UBC awards weekly update

I just tallied the votes for October 2 to 9. Students voted these blog awards:

UBC Insiders: $80

Heart of Eden: $60

The Devil’s Advocate: $40

Global Ink: $20

Thank you voters and media! More info and voting details here.

The ballot is now open for voting Oct 9 – Oct 16. If you’ve registered, click here to vote. If not, click here for how to register.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Vancouver awards update; skipping a week

I just tallied the votes for this week’s Vancouver Election Blog Awards. Lowering the award cap from $150 to $100 has shared the wealth a little further – 5 winners this week instead of 4. Beyond Robson remains in the lead; Only Magazine won its first award. See ballot and blog links.

With Thanksgiving next Monday, and me on a trip to New York October 18 to 25, I’m going to stretch out the next two award voting periods to a week and a half each. So next two tally updates will be Thursday October 16 and Monday October 27. Then we’ll be back on a weekly Monday schedule.

I’ll be meeting some of my old Wall Street buddies. We should have plenty to talk about…

Thursday, October 2, 2008

UBC VoterMedia Awards weekly update

Today I counted the votes for the past week. Congrats to UBC Insiders for staying in 1st place, and welcome new entrant Heart of Eden – see blog links and info at

So we now have 4 media/blog entrants and a weekly award pool of $200.

As discussed in earlier posts, I’ve started listing the names of those who voted.

Thanks to all participants!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Links to analyses of financial crisis

Here are some links to expert analyses that I have found helpful for learning about the crisis – history, causes, and proposed policy responses. (Please let me know about other sources.)

1. Paul Krugman’s blog at the New York Times

2. RGE Monitor group blog by various economists

3. 2008-09-23 Princeton economists panel
(Hyun Shin, Markus Brennermeier, Harrison Hong, Paul Krugman, Alan Blinder)
To me, the highlight was Paul Krugman’s explanation (45 minutes into this video) of why the idea that “we need to take the troubled assets off the financial system’s balance sheets” misses the point.

4. 2008-09-25 Harvard law econ finance panel
(Jay Light, Robert Kaplan, Elizabeth Warren, Greg Mankiw, Ken Rogoff, Robert C. Merton)

5. 2008-09-24 ProxyDemocracy Blog post on corporate governance reforms
(Andy Eggers)

Financial crisis discussion kickoff

The current U.S. financial crisis was caused in large part by poor corporate governance and poor democratic governance, so voter funded media reforms can help prevent such disasters in the future. Meanwhile we have to solve the immediate problem of how to achieve short-term and medium-term stability of the financial system. (“We” includes the U.S. government, U.S. voters and people who think about political/economic systems.)

Although my work for the past 12 years has focused on governance (corporate and democratic), before that my specialty was investments: financial economics, derivatives arbitrage, risk measurement and control etc. I worked for Salomon Brothers (now part of Citigroup) and Merrill Lynch (now part of Bank of America) in New York and Tokyo. Before that I was assistant professor of finance at U C Berkeley – see

Thanks to my interest in Japan, I have already spent some time thinking and writing about how a leveraged financial system can overcome the dislocations caused by falling real estate prices. Japan went through that in the 1990s, and took more than 10 years to recover. In 1998 I started writing a paper entitled “How To Transform a Failed Japanese Bank”. I only wrote 4 pages and never published it, but in 2000 I published a summary in section 6 of “Corporate Governance in Japan: A Future Scenario”. Both papers are available at

Rereading those ideas, I think they can be usefully adapted as proposals for solving the current U.S. crisis. So in the coming days and weeks, I plan to post my updated proposals in this blog. I’ll flag them with the tag “Financial System”. I hope you readers of this blog will contribute your ideas, links, questions etc.

Here’s a question for you: Do you know of anyone discussing the idea of eliminating the tax penalty on equity to encourage larger equity cushions in financial firms? This issue has been around for decades, but is anyone raising it as a cause and partial solution for the current crisis?