Enron Writ Large - By Kevin D. Williamson - Exchequer - National Review Online: "Standard & Poor’s decision to downgrade the long-term outlook for U.S. sovereign debt came as a shock. It shouldn’t have. Credit-rating agencies (CRAs) such as S&P are a government-chartered cartel, with constraints on competition and a customer base guaranteed by statute. They are the sleepy backwaters of the financial world — and they are always the last to know. As one investment strategist put it to me this morning: We’ve been watching this train go by for a while now, and this is the caboose"