When I last posted at roughly 2 in the afternoon, American stock indices were down roughly 2 1/2.  Two hours later the Dow is down just above 5%. The NASDAQ and the S & P 500 have sunk nearly 6%.

One thing is sure: no one is getting comfort from the bailout.

Or, as a smart and stylish writer at the Times put it this morning, "When the White House brought out its $700 billion rescue plan two weeks ago, its sheer size was meant to soothe the global financial system, restoring trust and confidence.  Three days after the plan was approved, it looks like a pebble tossed into a churning sea."