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 Chris Arnold / NPR
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.
As Arizona officials prepare to apply the one provision of the state's immigration law upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, some local authorities doubt they can properly enforce it.
"We will do our best to enforce the law. But we are in uncharted territory on this issue," Tucson Police Chief Roberto Villasenor said in a statement released by the Police Executive Research Forum, a nonprofit organization of police chiefs. The group says the law "will seriously undermine local law enforcement."
At long last, big-time college football has a playoff, if you want to call four teams a playoff. Today, a committee of university presidents agreed to a system that replaces the current Bowl Championship Series beginning in 2014.
NPR's sports correspondent Tom Goldman joins me now. And, Tom, this is something that college football fans have wanted for years. President Obama has said he wants this championship game. What do you know about the deal?
Two big pieces of news in Mexico's presidential race today:
-- A new poll finds that the PRI's Enrique Peña Nieto has maintained a big lead over his rivals Andrés Manuel López Obrador and Josefina Vázquez Mota. The election is this Sunday and a few polls before this one showed Obrador had narrowed the gap.
If the partners in love happen to be living in a nursing home, there are even more challenges. And if they're showing signs of dementia, then things get really tricky.
Although no law forbids intimate relationships between people with dementia in nursing homes, staff and family members often discourage residents from expressing their sexuality, says a recent report in the Journal of Medical Ethics.