Want to know how bad things are in the housing industry? Look no further than this loony press release from the National Association of Realtors (NAR). It announces a nationwide advertising campaign designed to "counter recent negative housing reports in the media." Does it feature a graph of sales trends? Inventory? Prices? Of course not. It's a kid on a swing. (Awwww.)

This is a typical bromide from the trade group that brought us a never-ending supply of optimistic spin, encouraging people to buy homes as "investments," no matter how over-inflated they were, no matter how bad the financing was. (Hey, you can't blame them. They just want their 6% cut on the biggest financial transaction in your life.)

The trouble is, "negative" is simple reality. Inventory is way up, foreclosures are going through the roof, and prices are dropping at unprecedented rates. But they're still not low enough to bring in buyers, as evidenced by the price-chopping from builders like Ryland Group (NYSE:RYL), D.R. Horton (NYSE:DHI), KB Home (NYSE:KBH) and Hovnanian Enterprises (NYSE:HOV).

I doubt a picture of a kid on a swing will change that.