Farewell. The Flying Pig Has Left The Building.

Steve Hynd, August 16, 2012

After four years on the Typepad site, eight years total blogging, Newshoggers is closing it's doors today. We've been coasting the last year or so, with many of us moving on to bigger projects (Hey, Eric!) or simply running out of blogging enthusiasm, and it's time to give the old flying pig a rest.

We've done okay over those eight years, although never being quite PC enough to gain wider acceptance from the partisan "party right or wrong" crowds. We like to think we moved political conversations a little, on the ever-present wish to rush to war with Iran, on the need for a real Left that isn't licking corporatist Dem boots every cycle, on America's foreign misadventures in Afghanistan and Iraq. We like to think we made a small difference while writing under that flying pig banner. We did pretty good for a bunch with no ties to big-party apparatuses or think tanks.

Those eight years of blogging will still exist. Because we're ending this typepad account, we've been archiving the typepad blog here. And the original blogger archive is still here. There will still be new content from the old 'hoggers crew too. Ron writes for The Moderate Voice, I post at The Agonist and Eric Martin's lucid foreign policy thoughts can be read at Democracy Arsenal.

I'd like to thank all our regular commenters, readers and the other bloggers who regularly linked to our posts over the years to agree or disagree. You all made writing for 'hoggers an amazingly fun and stimulating experience.

Thank you very much.

Note: This is an archive copy of Newshoggers. Most of the pictures are gone but the words are all here. There may be some occasional new content, John may do some posts and Ron will cross post some of his contributions to The Moderate Voice so check back.


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Lowest Common Denominator

By BJ Bjornson

Not many easier ways to show just how the American middle class has found itself an increasingly rare species these days than this story about American Airlines filing for bankruptcy.

AMR said agreements with its workforce forced it to spend $600m (�384m) more than other airlines on staff costs.

. . .

It was the only one of the major US airlines operating international routes not to file for bankruptcy after the September 11th terrorist attacks.

Its competitors have successfully used bankruptcy to restructure their labour contracts and cut costs.

. . .

Mr Horton said the board had unanimously decided to file for bankruptcy on Monday night.

He announced that American would be looking to change its employees' terms and conditions. "We plan to initiate further negotiations with all of our unions to reduce our labour costs to competitive levels," he said.

So basically the system has been set up to reward those who failed first and could use that failure to stick it to their employees, ultimately forcing their competitors to do the same to remain competitive.

Little wonder that things just keep spiralling downwards.


  1. If I'm not mistaken ordinary real citizens also don't get the same treatment as corporate unreal citizens when they go to bankruptcy court which I'd suspect aids and abets more real citizens joining the lower classes. I thought BO was going to change this - i.e. modify the bankruptcy law signed into force by W. He said he would during his campaign against McCain back in 2008 and he may and I'm not aware of it.

  2. My guess is that American's bankruptcy filing is to shift the company's pension liability to PBGC, a move which cannot happen otherwise. A quick search turned up this...
    "Every other airline used bankruptcy to wipe out pension liabilities and other costs (although Continental did preserve its pension benefits)."
    Unions may cooperate but both management and labor know that getting defined benefits pensions off the books helps both. It's the equivalent of a gift to whatever company emerges from the "reorganization." 401k plans are replacing pensions.
    PBGC is privately funded but government-sponsored, similar to how FDIC insures bank deposits up to a limit. Highly compensated covered employees will take a hit, but most will not, except that all future years of employment will add nothing to whatever benefits have accrued.
    Company-funded pensions are relics of the past, replaced by employee-funded retirement arrangements.