Created by the federal government during the Great Depression, Fannie Mae became a Washington powerhouse: a highly profitable, private company, protected by the government and boasting huge lobbying clout. But today, Fannie Mae has essentially become a ward of the state.
Credit Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP
While Fannie Mae's public image has been tarnished since the housing collapse, executive Kimberly Johnson says she actually likes "being at the center of the storm."
The collapse of the housing market has led to plenty of finger-pointing in Washington. Two easy targets are Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
These government-backed mortgage giants had to be rescued by taxpayers and now owe the government $188 billion. Still, Fannie and Freddie, which currently make the vast majority of home loans possible, are crucial to supporting the housing market right now.
Framed in my library is a sketch that LeRoy Neiman dashed off of me on the back of a menu, when he was watching me speak several years ago. LeRoy, who died the other day, was somewhat better known for another sketch, the "nymphette" that has appeared in Playboy since 1955 — but, of course, he's ever famous for simply being our most celebrated sports artist.
The writer Nora Ephron has died. Over the course of six decades, she chronicled the lives of women in newsprint, in books, on the stage and on screen. She was 71 years old, and died of complications from a blood disorder. She's best known for romantic comedies such as "Sleepless in Seattle" and "When Harry Met Sally," but she also brought to the big screen Karen Silkwood and Julia Child.