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by CareyBot

Mortgage rates are still stuck near 6.75 percent, the financial markets confused and locked up until a blast of argument-resolving data arrives next Friday. Oil down to $123 and natural gas to $9.25 helped stocks for a while, but they still fell apart on no-bottom housing news and a sinking job market. The economy is obviously weakening, but rates are held up by fear that inflation is the greater risk -- even the stock market's Thursday elevator-shaft could not hold down long-term rates. Let us take time for silly-season recognition of government worthies and their efforts to combat our problems. Stagflation? Credit-binge? Housing ex-bubble? Financial-system insolvency? Energy crisis? We're hard at work on it. Whatever. Highest marks to the Fed. In retrospect, Fed Chairman Ben ...