If you didn't get a chance to catch it, Steve Kroft had a great story on "60 Minutes" last night about CDSs, the now infamous credit default swaps that have brought the US economy to the brink of implosion. This is the clearest explanation of these things that I've seen, a lot more clear than the Wikipedia article I just linked to. You can watch it here or read the text of the report. Either way, if you're a relative simplton about such things, you'll have a better grasp of it.
Only one quibble--well, actually, more than a quibble, a strong objection: the story laid blame for the deregulation of the financial industry on Alan Greenspan and Bill Clinton. This is patently incorrect. The culprit is the Republican party and that genius of financial acumen Phil Gramm, who at the last minute tacked a near-300 page amendment into an appropriations bill that had to be passed. This amendment is what undid regulations of the banking industry that had been in place since the Great Depression and let the banks and greedy sharks on Wall Street loose to do their nefarious deeds. I have talked about this before, right here.