I read various economic blogs regularly (another aspect of my general geekiness) and thought you might be interested in these two articles, as they are comparatively clear about our current mess.
Number one: "The ticking time bomb in the U.S. banking system is not resetting subprime mortgage rates. The real problem is the contractual ability of investors in mortgage bonds to require banks to buy back the loans at face value if there was fraud in the origination process. And, to be sure, fraud is everywhere..."
Number two: "When big operators take on a lot more risk than they otherwise might -- they drive faster, perhaps, because they know their car has anti-lock brakes -- it tends to raise the danger stakes for the system as a whole. Millions of dollars of losses can break the bank at a few unlucky firms. Billion -- or even trillion -- dollar failures can bring down the whole house of cards, especially given the dense network of dependent relationships that exists in the global financial arena."
I do think the sub-prime fiasco is the trigger for the fourth turning.