Putin! jumps the shark

Tom Clancy’s Putin! began its run on December 31, 1999, as a spin-off of the political-military thriller, The Hunt for Red October. V.V. Putin (named I.Y. Putin in the original series) debuted in the first pages of the novel

For the hundredth time Ramius told himself that Putin was the perfect political officer. His voice was always too loud, his humor too affected. He never allowed a person to forget what he was. The perfect political officer, Putin was an easy man to fear.

… and while he appeared to have be killed by Captain Ramius in the opening minutes, the pilot episode of Tom Clancy’s Putin!├é┬árevealed that he had been secretly smuggled out of the ship, and transferred to political duties inside the Kremlin. Though some critics raised questions as to the likelihood of his rise to the presidency, paralleling another Tom Clancy character, the first seasons of Tom Clancy’s Putin! were promising. Mysterious helicopter crashes, Muslim rebels, and even Wall Street Shenanigans combined to entertain viewers turned off by The War On Terror (starring Kiefer Sutherland).

On-set problems led to a defection of much of the writing staff, however, and as years rolled on qualities suffered. The Rigged Re-election subplot of 2004 was derided as particularly improbable, as writers had previously established Putin’s popularity with the Russian people. Attempts to attract younger viewers with a radiation poisinong subplot also faired ill, as many criticized the “cartoonish” and “needlessly theatrical” methods off killing of periphrial characters.

The unorthodox decision to kick off the last full season of Tom Clancy’s Putin! on January 1 (instead of the early fall or early spring convention used by other networks) likewise did poorly. Advertising executives universally criticized the unorthodox decision to debut the Marching through Georgia subplot of Tom Clancy’s Putin! opposite The Beijing Olympic Games, resulting in depressed viewershp, and audiences were left frustrated that heavy foreshadowing implying that Putin would hang series-regular Saakashvili “by the balls” came to naught. Finally, the writers’ decision to have Putin lose billions in sub-prime assets, while an effort to keep the show topical, struck audiences as simply requiring too much suspension of disbelief.

Heavy promotions for “The All New Season of Tom Clancy’s Putin!!” do not appear to be paying off for the show’s producers. The revelation that Putin’s enemies were being organized by a secretative cabal of Communist-Nazi anti-immigration activists caused Robert Ebert to exclaim, “Tom Clancy’s Putin! has lost touch with all history, logic, or sense.” Likewise, Putin’s reaction to a a loss of his credit cards with a plan to make his own credit card company introduced a slap-stick, absurdist humor that alienated the long-running series’ few original fans.

(The last one of these is true, by the way)

MOSCOW: So you don’t like how the world’s largest credit rating agencies rate your economy? Create your own.

That’s what Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin proposed at a cabinet meeting Monday.

“All of us understand the enormous influence enjoyed by rating agencies and the drastic effects their mistakes, let alone abuses, may have,” Putin said, according to a government transcript.

With Russia’s economy sinking, the ruble battered, its markets hammered by investors and its sovereign credit rating downgraded, Putin has complained his country isn’t getting a fair shake.

He told ministers that Russian companies and the government was too dependent on international agencies like Standard & Poor’s, Fitch and Moody’s.

Read the full article, as Associated Press

What is the difference between Sirius and Citi?

Obama is choosing to allow Sirius to go bankrupt, while choosing to bail out Citi’s stockholders

IN SIRIUS TROUBLE – New York Post
Nearly two years to the day after announcing a plan to merge, Sirius XM Satellite Radio is plunging headlong into bankruptcy, The Post has learned.

Washington has allowed many firms, such as VeraSun, to go bankrupt. But Obama once again emphasized his deisre to prevent the shareholders of Citibank from experiencing the cost of failure.

For a taste of the cataclysm Citi’s reckless investment in subprime mortgages nearly caused, start watch from 2:20 to 3:45 in this video (h/t Weekly Standard).

The Citibank apologists at CNBC of course would protest, saying CitiBank has already lost “all” of its value. But of course it has not: Citibank’s stock price is non-zero. Further, one of the lessons of this financial crisis is that markets are as irrational as humans are: even if Citi’s stock price would decline to 99% of its original value, the difference between losing 99% and 100% is mentally a lot bigger than the difference between losing 98% and 99%.