March 23rd, 2009
03:17 PM ET

Anything with the word "toxic" in the name sounds like a winning plan to me

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/03/23/art.getty.geithner.side.jpg]

Jack Gray
AC360° Producer/Writer

I’m excited to hear the government is buying up the country’s toxic assets.  Don’t mind me as I jump to the head of the line.  I mean, I think we can all agree I never should have given financial backing to that Jimmy Carter impersonator.  She was just awful.

And that Robert Frost video game seemed like a good investment at the time, but, in retrospect, it probably was rather tacky to have a digitized version of the poet say “I have miles to go before I sleep” right before he shot a carjacker.

I could accept responsibility for my own financial mistakes, but – as is the American way – I prefer to blame others.  In no particular order:  Betty White, Prince Charles, anyone who works at CNBC and, of course, John Stamos.

I also blame my dog, Sammy, whose voracious appetite for check fraud and Ecstasy forced me to pawn the Oscar I stole from Meryl Streep.

My financial stress is further exacerbated by the fact that I still haven’t won the Powerball jackpot.  Don’t feel bad for me, though.  Feel bad for the people at the lottery commission.  They’re the ones who obviously hate America.

I guess before I get too excited about our toxic assets being bought up I should consider the reality in Washington:

It’s unclear how much support President Obama is going to get for his plan.  Gone are the glory days when the president would go up to Capitol Hill and members of Congress would cheer and throw their underwear at him.  Sure, Senator Dodd still does, but even he has downgraded from silk to cotton.

To be clear, not all my assets are toxic.  True, my American Express bill is a bit radioactive – somewhere in between glowing in the dark and sprouting a tail.  But I have done my part to stimulate the economy.  And by that I mean I bought a Snuggie.  I was a bit wary at first, but as soon as I saw the commercial I realized I had wasted precious years not hanging around a campfire draped in billowy, oversized fleece with my arms just inches from a roaring flame and flying embers.

I also recently bought an iPhone.  Because I am nothing if not a trendsetter.

Anyway, as with everything the government does, I’m sure that this whole toxic asset thing, too, will go smoothly.

Unless of course it doesn’t.  In which case, look for Tim Geithner on a reality show near you.


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Filed under: 360° Radar • Economy • Jack Gray • Treasury Secretary
soundoff (40 Responses)
  1. Sharon S

    Well Jack aren't you special a Blackberry and iphone? CNN is paying you WAY too much money to be able to afford both!
    So can I work for CNN now? LOL

    I just wanted to say Please teach Anderson Cooper some computer skills the boy keeps losing his icon pic on his blog!!! Makes no sense to me he can trample through jungles do these crazy and wonderful interviews but has no skill with a computer!?

    Jack your the man!!! Keep up the good work you always brighten my day even if it ends up being my night instead! Some of us are still busy believe it or not!

    March 24, 2009 at 6:50 am |
  2. Roweena D'Souza

    Now we would not want all the toxicity to go away, a little bit is good for ya'... and how can you forget toxic Britney Spears?

    Jack, great post as always and you should try the Shazam application on your iPhone, it can recognize any song and then some...

    March 24, 2009 at 6:03 am |
  3. Ron Illinois

    I would like to offer "For Sale" my 401K for what it was worth a year ago.

    All the funds in my portfolio seem rather "Toxic" recently.

    You guys do a great job investigating and reporting, I only wish you had law enforcement powers.

    I think we should lock up all of these rich crooks and let someone else "Bail" them out. This is not a rescue – its a giveaway.

    March 24, 2009 at 12:39 am |
  4. La Mujer

    I realized I had wasted precious years not hanging around a campfire draped in billowy, oversized fleece with my arms just inches from a roaring flame and flying embers.

    And marshmallows. Don't forget the marshmallows.

    March 23, 2009 at 11:18 pm |
  5. Jolene, St. Joseph, MI

    Senator Dodd wears underwear? I would never have figured....

    So, what apps. did you download to your iPhone? Share please....

    iBeer is one of my faves.....it's right up there with iFart. Who said you can't have fun with your iPhone?

    Thanks for the smiles today!

    March 23, 2009 at 10:38 pm |
  6. Leigh, Charlotte, NC

    I do believe that if Steve Jobs was Treasury Secretary we would be out of debt and stimulated in 12 months. And as you will learn, it is not an iPhone. It is a GodPhone! My husband rues the day he bought it for me. "If only I showed that much interest in the other....instruments..... in the house.

    March 23, 2009 at 7:40 pm |
  7. Don, WA

    I think I saw Timothy Geithner wearing a prototype Snuggie on one of those "Star Trek" sequal TV series years ago.

    March 23, 2009 at 7:14 pm |
  8. Pati Mc Camp Hill, PA

    I prefer to blame...Congress – regardless of whether or not they throw underwear. What a visual...yikes! Now that is toxic.

    March 23, 2009 at 6:06 pm |
  9. Vanessa, TX

    Hey Jack! I, too, have contributed to our economy! I have the Blackberry and an iPhone..I much prefer the iPhone..but whateve. So, you fell to the Snuggie craze, huh? Wow, so does this mean you have to share w/ Sammy? lol We have the Texas Lottery, we don't have Powerball but for some reason, even if I don't play it, I still hope for a chance to win...
    *x fingers* 🙂
    Very funny blog, Jack..(sorry it took me a while)..You have every right to be mad at anybody that works for CNBC, and even Betty White (I have always been suspicious of her) but John Stamos? Uncle Jesse, really?
    Anyway, enjoy the rest of your evening..Luv ya lots 🙂

    March 23, 2009 at 6:00 pm |
  10. Tammy, Berwick, LA

    Thanks for the laugh. Toxic assets sound a lot like the Sicilian Catholic guilt that comes attached with the money in my maternal grandmother's will.

    This morning I helped law enforcement and fellow co-workers sweep my classroom and lockers near my room for potential pipe bombs when my school received a threat. How was that for a thrilling Monday? When kids think texting a threat to multiple schools is funny, we have bigger problems than toxic assets in the world. There really is a story somewhere in all this about the state of America's future.

    After the last months I've had thinking about taking a flight to NYC for spring break and forgetting my part of the world exists for a few days. I'll be doing my part to help the economy. No Snuggie needed. Just chocolate. And really good West Side Story tickets.

    March 23, 2009 at 5:59 pm |
  11. Chris Sosa - Boston, MA

    My Visa bill passed radioactive last month. It is now a full-grown monster that beats me to a pulp on the last Thursday of each month. I may be bloodied and bruised, but I persevere.

    Who is behind this disturbing monstrosity Bank of America calls a "bill," you ask? Don't look at me. The real culprits are Sony, Britney Spears, and Anderson Cooper. Yes, I called out Anderson on his own blog. That's what he gets for participating in speaking engagements with ticket prices that reach to the heavens.

    The very bank that once tossed credit at me like party favors now hands me a twig and wishes me luck in my battle.

    But I hold out hope that one day the lottery commission will see the error of their ways. And when they do, I expect a grand apology... and a large check. I will then march to my local ATM, deposit that check, and declare that victory is mine.

    Until that day, I'll be hiding in my humble abode and continuing to inform credit collectors that Chris Sosa died.

    March 23, 2009 at 5:58 pm |
  12. La Mujer

    Leave Betty White alone.

    March 23, 2009 at 4:59 pm |
  13. Jennifer - Michigan

    @BettyAnn – You're so funny! Hope your ankle/foot is healing well. Sounds like you're doing fine – just checking Obama self! Have a great day!

    March 23, 2009 at 4:58 pm |
  14. Rose

    How is the Snuggie working out? Do they make Snuggies for dogs?

    Thanks for getting "Uncle Jesse" and the song, "Toxic" by Brittany Spears stuck in my head this afternoon.

    Funny post...thanks for a good laugh today!

    March 23, 2009 at 4:55 pm |
  15. Heather,ca

    Thanks Jack. Its hard to find things to laugh and smile about these days. I can always look to you for that. I think many of us have a wallet full of toxic assets we would love to get rid of. Not gonna happen.

    March 23, 2009 at 4:48 pm |
  16. BettyAnn, Nacogdoches,TX

    Super Snuggies Jack!
    I have a lot of snuggies. They are called robes turned around backwards. Trust me on this I have been laying down for almost 6 weeks. Don't get ripped off!
    That Sammy has some issues. X? You certainly have your plate full with her. My crooked tooth Peki mix Granddog was caught in my nightstand (while I was wearing my robe backwards) stealing pain killers and xanax. It would not have been so disturbing if he were not drinking sake.
    Whatever happened to the good ole days when you could make your dog happy with a milk bone?
    What a world, what a world~
    You know, who the hell even needs Jack Frost? We have Marilyn! The best 360 poet!
    One last thing before I go to the gym to work my "upper body". I don't know about that stimulus package, but inspite of what you think about Texas you hear "Obama" a lot.
    For example: I bought a whole case of beer and I drank it Obama self!
    See you later Jack and Thank you for the smiles.
    All the best to you and your drug ridden dog. ( no fleas?)
    XO's and tail wags

    March 23, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  17. Scott Hornsby

    Perhaps your snarkiest most random blog yet. I heard a rumor that you are cutting back on sugar. Has that made you saltier?

    March 23, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  18. Lilibeth

    Thanks, Jack! Now I'm leaning towards the iPhone. It's good to get an opinion from someone who has both a BB and iPhone. Happy birthday to me!

    Edmonds, Washington

    March 23, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  19. Jack Gray

    @Lilibeth: I have a BlackBerry and an iPhone. I much prefer the iPhone. But if you go with the Blackberry, I've found the Curve to be a good model. The Bold is also nice, though more experience. I've heard nothing but bad things about their touch-screen Storm.
    @Marilyn: you are quite the poet, thanks!
    @Meredith: eww, you went there. I'm pushing back my dinner by an hour.

    March 23, 2009 at 3:55 pm |
  20. Pamina

    Hi Jack,
    I too am stressed about the fact that I have not yet won the lottery. Things would be so much better if I did.
    I will be interested to see Secretary Geithner and the reaction of the committe to his plan. He could probably use an image consultant, maybe Bill Clinton would be up for the job?
    Have a good day and thanks again for making me smile!!

    March 23, 2009 at 2:38 pm |
  21. Isabel

    Good afternoon, Jack!

    Monday in expectation. In America. In Brazil. In my work!
    Have heart!

    But I have a question. I and more than half of the galaxy. Lol
    How much an active toxic really worth? How to evaluate them properly?
    We're talking hundreds of billions of dollars of taxpayers' money at stake.

    The government presented a plan to buy these securities. The government will take this loss, because the conclusion was that if he didn't take the injury, the confidence in the financial system, will be compromised in a way unacceptable and we are facing the possibility of a collapse without proportions.

    But it is so hard the government swallow downthrow these assets toxic, but if this were not done the consequences would be incalculable front of the magnitude of the crisis.
    The crisis is giving arguments for the line of thinking that defend the existence of a greater degree of regulation and government intervention in markets.

    I don't see an improvement until the end of the year. For me there will be a slowdown in overall credit, and with it, a scenario of two to three years without growth in the global economy.

    Governments, in general, only have to take care not to have an intoxication, with many toxic being launched in the market.

    Not much to remember that Intoxication is a range of symptomatic effects produced when a toxic substance is ingested or comes in contact with the body. And what are these symptomatic effects?

    March 23, 2009 at 2:28 pm |
  22. Marilyn from MO

    Here I go again!

    Toxic assets, toxic waste, toxic credit and toxic dumps.
    The government thinks that we're all chumps.

    Republican, Democrates – all sound the same to me.
    They just all want to be on TV.

    Jack, if even Sammy is getting in on the act,
    We're all in big trouble, that's a fact.

    "They" say we should go out and spend.
    No house, no car – makes no difference my friend.

    AIG exec's making big bonuses for doing lousy work,
    Congress loading everything with pork

    They don't realize what's going on out here.
    We're lucky to afford a once a week beer.

    Obama, Geithner and all of the rest,
    Hope they can get us out of this mess!

    Jack, all of this thinking makes my head spin,
    Guess I'll go watch 360 on CNN!

    March 23, 2009 at 2:19 pm |
  23. Lilibeth

    “Toxic assets” is an oxymoron, isn’t it? I’ve heard that phrase before and I laughed the first time I heard it. Good for you for buying an iPhone. With that purchase, along with your Snuggie, you’ve done your part to stimulate the economy. For my part, I’m thinking of buying a Blackberry (don’t know which kind though, any suggestions?). I’ve resisted one all this time, but my birthday’s coming up, and heck, I’ve always bought everyone in my family birthday presents, but never for myself. Have a great day,

    Edmonds, Washington

    March 23, 2009 at 1:47 pm |
  24. Mike G

    How about the government eases up on the student loan interest they are making. I believe that is what is "killing" americans. Along with health care bills and mortgages how does anyone keep up with the ridiculous amounts of interest on their student loans. Really now...i just paid a $160 monthly student loan bill (small to some i know) and $6.68 cents of that went to the principal balance!!!! How will i EVER get that paid off?? Unless for some reason someone decides to pay me 100 thousand a year i will NEVER get caught up. I hope the government doesnt buy weapons for the useless war with my $153.41.

    March 23, 2009 at 1:44 pm |
  25. Michelle D. Fonthill,Ontario

    Hi Jack

    Long time no blog nice to have you back on ! I love your funny stories
    Your stress level is rising to the biloing point eh i echo that sentiment. Please stop bad mouthing Betty White or Prince Charles .Poor Sammy you don't feed him enough so he ate all your profits ha! You are tech savvy and I bet Anderson is jealous of your I phone he probobly would wait until it was bigger and better than original -ha tell him i said that !

    Bye Jack
    Michelle D.

    March 23, 2009 at 1:21 pm |
  26. Adriana RM Atlanta

    I understand the lament. But what do you want them to do.

    March 23, 2009 at 1:15 pm |
  27. Jennifer - Michigan

    Good morning Jack. Yeah right, buying up toxic assets is a great idea, if you want to be on the losing end of the deal. Geez, anyway.....what a mess. Keep playing that powerball; you'll be cruising around in your new yacht in no time. So, you got an iphone ey? Is it all it's cracked up to be?
    Hope you had a great weekend. Spring's here and the weather should be getting warmer soon I hope. Have a great week! Funny post today.

    March 23, 2009 at 1:05 pm |
  28. jazz3k

    The more I think about this...I've done my part in terms of stimulation.

    ipod (tax free of course), and a new home theater tuner/amp for watching movies at home, instead of jocking for position in the parking lot, shoveling out $10.00 to park, $11.50 for the movie, and $15-20 for the munchie food.

    Viva, the economy...but others need to jump in with their two cents. (if they have it).

    March 23, 2009 at 1:04 pm |
  29. thegreenjar

    I am having tough time keeping with all the new programs being launched at Washington. Toxic or non-toxic, every plan sounds good in paper but is not clear enough for American people to understand. Let me put it this way, I lost my job back in Jan and my AMEX bill has crossed the point of no return. It's not even good at toxic wasteland anymore.
    So unless we start seeing some positive changes in the economy, I have a feeling we will be taking it to the streets soon.

    March 23, 2009 at 1:03 pm |
  30. Meredith Shamburger

    I have one question for Sen. Dodd: boxers or briefs?

    March 23, 2009 at 1:02 pm |
  31. jazz3k

    OMG that was witty, but so how I feel about life and the environment around me.

    Nice commentary!

    March 23, 2009 at 1:01 pm |
  32. Alicia - Portland, OR

    So what you're saying is that had it been called Nick & Norah's Toxic Playlist you would have loved it. Oh and why do they even bother calling them iPhones. The next one should be called iSocialize, iTwitter, iFacebook, iText, etc. because really, who uses their phone as a phone anymore?

    March 23, 2009 at 1:00 pm |
  33. Rikki, Fargo, ND

    Good morning Jack!...well its still morning here for another 6 minutes! 🙂

    We're working to stay dry here but I took a few minutes to read your blog and I just wanted to throw out there that you are in fact a trendsetter...you've started a Twitter craze! 🙂

    March 23, 2009 at 12:57 pm |
  34. Jayme, Detroit

    As someone from the seeping open wound that is Michigan, I have to say Jack, you always find a way to look toward the silver lining. And for that, I thank you. A great post as always. The Snuggie kills every time. Especially when it envelops you in the middle of the night and suffocates you with it's sleeves alone.

    March 23, 2009 at 12:43 pm |
  35. Mary Peterson

    Whoa. We were in Bed, Bath & Beyond just this weekend and they had a *huge* display of Snuggies. There was even a sample (ew) that you could try on (with the unwashed masses!) Is the universe trying to tell me something? 2 Snuggie references in as many days? How very Celestine Prophesy. Which of the 3 fine colors did you select?

    I also got my husband an iPhone. He LOVES it and it drives me crazy. (more so because now he naturally wants to upgrade when the newer one comes out and, like thousands of others, is currently out of work, and that shouldn't seem like such a lofty goal (to upgrade one's iPhone) but now it does...) Our 2 1/2-year-old manipulates it perfectly. I'm convinced it was designed for tiny fingers. Or elves.

    I'll have you know I just happen to be online, eating my Mini Wheats, when this posting came on. I'm telling you in case you mistake me for your newest big fan, or something. 😉

    Finally, this is MDuette from Twitterland and if you need a dork to round out your numbers, or you'd like to randomly brighten this rain-soaked corner of the country, feel free to follow me. I won't mind.

    March 23, 2009 at 12:40 pm |
  36. Michael "C" Lorton, VA

    All that I can say is that "toxic is as toxic does." Purchasing toxic assets--like taking stricnine with the hopes of curing your disease,-–of buy the way--are you interested in buying the Brooklyn Bridge?--I'm selling--if you are buying.

    March 23, 2009 at 12:37 pm |
  37. vanessa from silver spring, MD

    Funny blog today Jack. What did John Stamos ever do to you? lol. I hope this toxic asset thing works.

    March 23, 2009 at 12:33 pm |
  38. Amanda Walton Fort Erie, Ontario

    What's not toxic these days from the soil to the sky and everything in between, at least you have a Snuggie for those bad news days you just want nothing more to do then crawl into something secure and hide away. The campfire makes it feel that much cozier, take it from me. It's to bad we can't hide out tucked away somewhere until the storm blows over and all the toxic assests turns green in more ones then one.

    Enjoy this spring day Jack and your snuggie too.

    Stay Safe

    March 23, 2009 at 12:31 pm |
  39. Cindy

    If it were all just that easy we'd all be in line with our hands out to get back our wasted money on ridiculous things. But hey..we are dealing with a government that hands out cash like crazy to Wall Street no strings attached so we may get lucky!! Nah..you know we won't get any bailouts. All we'll get is the shaft and a HUGE bill that is getting larger by the day.

    Don't blame Sammy for your money woes! We all know that you make her work that bar for tips and then you take it all from her to buy your IPhones and such with! Poor Sammy is working herself to the bone..no wonder she drinks so much! LOL

    OK..you really need to get a snuggie and post a pic of yourself in it. I am sure you can't look as ridiculous as those people on TV wearing them. LOL Who would want one of them I mean really!? All you have to do is put on your robe backwards and viola..a snuggie!!


    March 23, 2009 at 12:30 pm |
  40. Annie Kate

    Hey Jack,

    Glad to see you are back and are blessing us with your wit again. The blog isn't the same without you.

    So you haven't won the powerball either. We must be paddling the same sinking boat on that one. If I ever win it will probably be the day after I die and it won't be transferable to my children. Of course, knowing them they may take me to the taxidermist and have him fix me up to where I can at least look a little alive to claim the prize.

    So Congress was throwing their underwear at Obama – talk about toxic! No wonder Obama went on the road – he was probably on underwear overload. I was going to suggest that Congress do like they do at Madri Gras with the beads but I got a mental image of Nancy Pelosi doing the traditional Madri Gras activities and it was not pretty – you probably don't want to even think about that one.

    Have a good one and thanks for the great post!

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    March 23, 2009 at 12:27 pm |