In a guest post at the Freakonomics blog, economists Doug Diamond and Anil Kashyap explain the current financial crisis in FAQ form. For example, here’s the nut of the problem with Fannie and Freddie:

Fannie and Freddie were weakly supervised and strayed from the core mission. They began using their subsidized financing to buy mortgage-backed securities which were backed by pools of mortgages that did not meet their usual standards.

Elsewhere at the New York Times, Paul Krugman explains why the bailout plan the Treasury Department is floating is a bad idea: see No deal and Thinking the bailout through.