The Times quotes from an analyst’s 2007 e-mail included in the “blistering” SEC report. It’s the Quote of the Day:

“It could be structured by cows and we would rate it,” an analyst wrote in April 2007, noting that she had only been able to measure “half” of a deal’s risk before providing a rating.

Here’s one from 2006:

“Let’s hope we are all wealthy and retired by the time this house of cards falters.”

Any hope the credit-ratings folks had to survive the credit crisis with their very profitable business models intact just died.

Sale or Bury

Steve & Barry’s, a department-store-sized shopping mall “anchor” will file for bankruptcy protection today, the Journal says on B1 and the Times on C1. It’s talking to Sears about a “bailout or partial sale.”

The papers say it’s bad news for mall owners because it could be forced to close all of its more than 270 stores. It’s also bad news for the 16,000 or so employees, most of whom will lose their jobs.

Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at