They were the first to fall in the long trail of financial market dominos this year. When the federal government stepped in and took over failing loan giants Fanny Mae and Freddie Mac, the markets took a deep breath and plunged. The millions in severance Fannie and Freddie paid to their CEOs? Just icing on the cake. But as citizens and cartoonists alike were soon to find out, it was only the first of a series of financial blunders to pummel the economy.