- By Blake Hounshell
Blake Hounshell is managing editor at Foreign Policy, having formerly been Web editor. Hounshell oversees ForeignPolicy.com and has commissioned and edited numerous cover stories for the print magazine, including National Magazine Award finalist "Why Do They Hate Us?" by Mona Eltahawy. He also edits The Cable, FP's first foray into daily original reporting, and was editor of Colum Lynch's Turtle Bay, which in 2011 won a National Magazine award for best reporting in a digital format.
Blake joined Foreign Policy in 2006 after living in Cairo, where he studied Arabic, missed his Steelers finally win one for the thumb, and worked for the Ibn Khaldun Center for Development Studies. Blake was a 2011 finalist for the Livingston Awards prize for young journalists for his reporting on the Arab uprisings, and his Twitter feed was named one of Time magazine's "140 Best Twitter Feeds of 2011." Under his leadership, in 2008, Passport, FP's flagship blog, won Media Industry Newsletter's "Best of the Web" award in the blog category. Along with Elizabeth Dickinson, he edited Southern Tiger: Chile's Fight for a Democratic and Prosperous Future, the memoirs of former Chilean president Ricardo Lagos, published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2012.
A graduate of Yale University, Blake speaks mangled Arabic and French, is an avid runner, and lives in Washington with his wife, musician Sandy Choi, and their toddler, David. Follow him on Twitter @blakehounshell.
In yet another radical move, the U.S. Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department announced $800 billion in new financing Tuesday.
The first $600 billion, from the Fed, is going toward purchases of debt guaranteed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and other government-sponsored mortgage institutions.
With the second $200 billion, the Fed and the Treasury will provide support for securities related to credit-card debt, student loans, car loans, and small-business loans.
The news sent 30-year mortgage rates down to 5.5 percent, spurring a wave of refinancing.
“This is a win-win,” Susan Wachter of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School told the Wall Street Journal. “It will directly increase demand for housing and help with the downward spiral in home prices.”
According to the New York Times, however, “the program would do little to reduce the tidal wave of foreclosures” that is roiling the markets, because those foreclosures are mostly taking place among mortgages that aren’t backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.
U.S. Presidential Transition
President-elect Barack Obama intends to keep Robert Gates as defense secretary, at least for now.
Former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker will likely be tapped to lead a new financial advisory panel.
Helene Cooper points out that the role of incoming Vice President Joe Biden remains largely undefined.
Sri Lanka’s army expects to storm the headquarters of the Tamil Tigers soon.
Middle East and Africa
Iran announced the test launch of a new rocket, the “Kavosh 2.”
Libya is sending an aid ship to break Israel’s blockade of Gaza.
Palestinian security forces are having some effect in Hebron.
Europe’s attempts at fiscal stimulus are widely seen as too small to be effective.
The people of Greenland voted overwhelmingly in favor of increased autonomy from Denmark.
Political analysts see Russia’s joint naval exercises with Venezuela as a challenge to Obama.
The mayor of Vladikavkaz, North Ossetia, was killed by unknown gunmen.
Amid tensions, the Iraqi parliament is expected to vote on the troop agreement with the United States.
President-elect Obama holds his third press conference of the week. President Bush will be pardoning the Thanksgiving turkey.
Photo: KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images