No single paragraph about the present economy's problems gives us more chills that one penned by Berkeley writer Michael Lewis in Saturday's New York Times. Summing up the credit ratings agencies Moody's and Standard and Poor's, which systematically pumped up mortgage-backed bonds and public companies like Lehman Brothers and the American International Group, Lewis writes, "These oligopolies, which are actually sanctioned by the S.E.C., didn't merely do their jobs badly. They didn't simply miss a few calls here and there. In pursuit of their own short-term earnings, they did exactly the opposite of what they were meant to do: rather than expose financial risk they systematically disguised it." No one's seen and told the story of Wall Street's collapse with more terrible clarity than Lewis, whose first book Liar's Poker warned of the financial system's structural problems more than 20 years ago. It's as if he was born for this moment.