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.


Friday, June 8, 2012

Clean Coal Pornography

By John Ballard

Next time you see one of those beautiful, slick   propaganda pieces   commercial messages from the coal industry that may look like public service announcements, remember INSTITUTE INDEX: The real obscenity of mountaintop removal by Sue Sturgis in Facing South. 

The snip below from the Denver Post and photo link are from two of the many links in her report. This is the photographer's description of the photo. 

IMGP0001[1]Erica and Rully must bathe their daughter, age 5, in contaminated water that is the color of tea. Their water has been tested and contains high levels of arsenic. The family attributes this water problem primarily to the blasting which they believe has disrupted the water table and cracked the casing in their well, allowing seepage of heavy metals into their water, and also to the runoff from the mountaintop removal sites surrounding their home. The coal company that mines the land around their home has never admitted to causing this problem, but they do supply the family with bottled water for drinking and cooking. Contaminated and colored water has occurred in other coalfield communities. 

Go now and check out the tawdry details.
They are obscene, sure enough, but in the political sense of the word. 

An award-winning coal-mining activist was questioned for 45 minutes by police on suspicion of child pornography after U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn's energy and mineral resources subcommittee decided a photo she submitted of a child in foul bathwater was inappropriate.

Maria Gunnoe of West Virginia had been invited by Lamborn � a Colorado Springs Republican and the subcommittee's chairman � to testify at his hearing Friday on the Spruce Coal Mine in her state. It was the fourth time Gunnoe had been in front of the committee and the second time she had been there at the behest of Lamborn.

Gunnoe, a grandmother, said that when she has spoken to the committee previously, she never felt as if members made eye contact, so she decided to bring a photo by a freelance photojournalist of a child taking a bath in dirty water � allegedly polluted by coal mining � to put up on the panels above her head.

"I was drawn to the photo because I think it really captured what happened here," Gunnoe said from her home Tuesday.

Lamborn � who leads the energy and mineral resources subcommittee under the House Committee on Natural Resources � said he heard about the photo before the hearing and decided to pull it from the planned presentation without looking at it. As chairman of the subcommittee, he is in charge of the hearing, the witnesses and the staff.

"I accept the judgment of professional staff," Lamborn said Tuesday. "If it's inappropriate, I don't think I should be viewing it. The fewer people who viewed it, the better."

Lamborn on Tuesday said he still hadn't seen the photo and didn't intend to. As committee rules dictate, Gunnoe e-mailed the photo to the GOP committee staffers about 8 a.m., two hours before the hearing started. When she arrived on Capitol Hill, she was told by the same staffers that the photo was inappropriate and she could not display it during her testimony.

"I asked them why, and they just kept saying it was inappropriate. There were no more answers than that," Gunnoe said. "I just let it go because the hearing was about to start."

The photo by award-winning photographer Katie Falkenberg was part of a photo essay about the effects of mountaintop removal coal mining. It is taken from above a 5-year-old in West Virginia bathing in murky orange water. The child's face is not identifiable, and Falkenberg says the parents were in the room when the photo was taken and granted permission for the photo to be used at the hearing.


  1. Thanks, One Fly. The image original was at a professional photographer's site which does not allow copies. But since your link has a url I copied it here. It's stealing, I know, but under the circumstances I don't expect the photographer to object.