Last year 2.2 million Americans filed for foreclosure. Predator lenders were making risky loans at a level never before seen. Wall Street was packaging said loans into securities and spreading the risk across the entire economy. The CEO of Counrtywide, the nations largest mortgage lender, sold 138 million dollars of Countrywide stock in an eight month period right before the price of the stock tanked by 80%. Were our leaders looking the other way? Last week the story of how Jim Johnson, as CEO of the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae for short) accepted millions of dollars in sweetheart loans from Countrywide Mortgage at below market interest rates. Now Senator Kent Conrad, head of the Senate Budget Committee admits he unknowingly accepted a sweetheart loan from Countrywide and wants to atone by giving 10,500 dollars to charity.

Counrtywide is being tight lipped about the VIP program citing customer privacy, but already we know the list included Chris Dodd, Barbara Boxer, Son of House Speaker Pelosi, former secretary of Housing and Urban Development Alphonso Jackson, former secretary of of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala and former UN ambassador and assistant secretary of state Richard Holbrooke.

I think we're just beginning to scratch the surface of a very big story.

PS..last night I watched a program on CSPAN about the use of new technologies to cover the 2008 campaign, moderated by Judy Woodruff. The panel discussion was mainly about old vs. new media (newspapers & magazines vs. youtube & bloggers). Many bloggers have risen to the point where they think of themselves as equal to, or greater than, those in traditional media. I am not in that camp. I am an illustrator. I spend my days drawing pictures and I have no time, budget or inclination to venture out and dig up a story. I love old Media and support it by buying papers, magazines and watching informative television. As the above story shows, elected officials often don't have the public interest in mind and while our nation is busy watching Obama Girl and skateboarding pets on Youtube, it's real reporters that dig up the stories that help inform us as a nation.

A big thanks to journalists.

  1. June 16, 2008 -

    Another stellar portrait. I agree--I think we're going to hear a lot more about this in the future... The Judy Woodruff program sounds interesting! I like her.