Countrywide has been loaning "hundreds of millions of dollars per year through its V.I.P. program to politicians, government officials, business executives, entertainment celebrities and other customers singled out for special treatment."
Included in the group are Banking Chair Senator Dodd and Budget Committee Chair Senator Conrad, though it does not look like they knew they were getting special deals. HUD Secretary Alfonso Jackson, Donna Shalala, and Richard Holbrooke also benefited.
Go free market!
The LA Times fell prey to a somewhat lurid and inaccurate tale about a Judge found with pornographic material on his server. It's intriguing that the story reveals a split between the tech and political blogospheres. TPMMuckraker's Andrew Tilghman posted about the judge, Alex Kozinski, asking the question right off the bat "Does liking porn disqualify a judge from hearing a porn case?"
On BoingBoing and for Larry Lessig, the story is quite different. An angry litigant hacked into the server of the Judge Kozinski and used standard issue forwarded viral emails and videos to smear the judge, relying on the ignorance of the press to report the story. Larry Lessig has some useful commentary. Here's the nub of the case.
Judge Alex Kozinski is a friend of free speech. Now bloggers have discovered his secret online porn stash -- and forgiven him for it. Yes, there's naked women painted like cows, a man fellating himself, and two women hiking their skirts under a "Bush for President" sign...
But the L.A. Times' "neutral" editorial language made it all sound much more sinister than it really is. Looking at the photos, they're clearly standard-issue viral emails. (Apparently his music directory even included two Weird Al Yankovic mp3s and Monty Python's "Lumberjack Song.")
The judge says he didn't know the directory was world-readable, and that many of the images belonged to his college-age son.
The treatment within the two different blogospheres is fascinating.
The NRCC can't get loans. That's actually a very big problem, since the group is the backstop for Republican House candidates defending themselves against a cash-flush and flexible DCCC.
Democrats on Thursday pounced on the lobbying background of Arthur B. Culvahouse, the former presidential counsel currently leading a quiet search for Sen. John McCain's (R-Ariz.) running mate, and its similarity to that of Sen. Barack Obama's (D-Ill.) top VP vetter who resigned Wednesday.
Culvahouse and his firm, O'Melveny & Myers, have lobbied for troubled mortgage firm Fannie Mae, defense giant Lockheed Martin, and Occidental Petroleum, the U.S.'s fourth-largest oil and gas firm.