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, July 20, 2012

Margin Call

Commentary By Ron Beasley

I watched the movie Margin Call tonight. It is a fictional account of what went on at Lehman Brothers when it collapsed.

A respected financial company is downsizing and one of the victims is the risk management division head, who was working on a major analysis just when he was let go. His protégé completes the study late into the night and then frantically calls his colleagues in about the company's financial disaster he has discovered. What follows is a long night of panicked double checking and double dealing as the senior management prepare to do whatever it takes to mitigate the debacle to come even as the handful of conscientious comrades find themselves dragged along into the unethical abyss.

The problem of course was the mortgage backed securities that tranched good loans with really bad ones.  It took time to put these together so the company became very over leveraged.  The old risk management models no longer worked as the risk management head and his protégé discovered.  The CEO described these "assets"  as bags of odorous excrement.  Lehman went down but the government could not let anyone else go down so we got TARP.  Of course the problem is that the banks are still sitting on billions of dollars of bags of odorous excrement and at some point they will hit the proverbial fan.

Wall Street was attracting people from many disciplines at this time.  The protégé  that discovered this problem had a PhD in rocket propulsion - he really was a rocket scientist.  When asked how he found his way to Wall Street he answered it payed a lot better and it's all about numbers and numbers are numbers.

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