Well, it seems that the S&P actually did lower the US' debt rating. I'm reminded of reading about the ratings agency guys in Michael Lewis' The Big Short that they were the short-bus guys. The ones who couldn't get jobs at the investment houses.
Looking at this, this, and this, I can see where that impression arises.
And this is also kind of amusing. I'm too lazy to look it up, but I wonder what Apple, with their $76B in cash has for a rating. You've got to think that when cash on hand is enough to keep the company running for multiple years, that the odds of bankruptcy (and that's what the rating is supposed to measure) is pretty low.