I've been posting about the rating agencies (Moody's, Fitch, S&P) for months.  They and the bond and mortgage insurers (MBI, Ambac, a few others) are at once the source and the cause of the financial calamity in which we find ourselves now--and in which we and others will find ourselves for a long time to come.  This calamity will not be cured by gestures by the Fed or the SEC or the Secretary of the Treasury or the Congress or the World Bank or other international monetary agencies.  No one will be immune from its conseqences. 

The fact is that, while thousands of financiers are culpable, only a relative few are truly responsible for what was actually mass and collective forgery of grades and a few others who guaranteed the value of the vehicles, taking the triple AAA and double AA imprimaturs at face value, and insuring them,

The New York Times has performed a magnificent service in publishing Roger Lowenstein's classically elegant and comprehensible explanation of the debacle that we can confidently debit to Moody's. 

Here it is.