The iPod Tax: This is How We Win

This is a gift on so many levels. New York governor David Paterson doesn't seem to have the stones to hike sales and income taxes across the board, so the result is a series of 88 tax increases on services people use every day -- like iTunes downloads and taxis:

The record labels couldn't do it, but New York's Governor wants to make Apple (AAPL) iTunes shoppers pay more than 99 cents per song.

Much of Wall Street is gone now and so are the fat tax revenues it used to earn for New York state.

In order to close a resulting $15.4 billion budget gap, New York Govenor David Paterson wants proposed 88 new fees and taxes.

Among them, an "iPod tax" on the sale of downloaded music and other "digitally delivered entertainment services."

The Daily News reports that the the Governor also wants to tax movie tickets, taxi rides, soda, beer, wine, cigars and massages. Clothes under $110 would also lose their tax exemption. Cable and Satellite TV would become subject to sales tax.

This is eerily reminiscent of the sky high Dinkins-Cuomo hotel occupancy tax rates. When Rudy Giuliani cut them, it sent an immediate signal that New York was open for business, literally and figuratively. Our candidate for governor, and it could be Giuliani, now has a ready-made issue: kill the iTunes tax. And restore a sense in which New York is one state, not an agglomeration of petty interests to be bought off by tax differentials. Comically, Paterson is going to force you to drink diet soda by taxing it less and directing the proceeds to obesity prevention. (No word yet on Albany's obese state budget.)

This is a template that could resonate state-to-state. As Soren has detailed, the states face an unprecented fiscal emergency. And most statehouses are now controlled by Democrats. Many governor's seats will be open -- a lingering impact of the 1994 tidal wave when so many states pressed the reset button, electing and re-electing Republicans. Their 2002 replacements, mostly Democrats but some Republicans, are now largely term-limited.  

This necessitates three things. First, governor's races should be a massive focus of attention in then next two years. Instead of being a sideshow for the next RNC, in their typical DC-centric quest to prop up our numbers in the Senate and House, we should be putting most of our eggs into winning statehouses and salvaging what we can out of the 2010 redistricting cycle in state legislatures.

Second, Republicans at the state level need to get their story straight on tax increases and bailouts. No Republican looking to run statewide in 2010 should have any complicity in "revenue enhancements" or any suggested federal bailout of the states so we can plausibly seen as agents of change and claim a mandate for smaller, more responsible government at the state level.

Third, with out-of-control health care costs being a big driver of spending at the state level, will the GOP put forward a compelling agenda on controlling health care costs? The health care debate at the federal level has focused mostly on the question of access -- but the problems people experience most directly are on different axes: cost and quality. With waste accounting for up to half of U.S. health care spending, it is the states -- as the biggest direct consumers of health care -- that have the biggest incentive to do something about it. Will any of them step up and do something radical?

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With all these new and

With all these new and  insane taxes, I wonder how many people in NYC are going to go to NJ in order to quench their need for HFCS laden Coke?  Seems to me that in the areas where it is geographically convienent to cross the border a lot of people are going to do that. Until Corzine and Rendell jump on the "Tax The Air We Breath" bandwagon all Patterson has done is increase the revenue of his neighbors.

Tax an activity and the people will find ways not to pay.

PLCB begs to differ

then again, there are legal consequences to jumping Rendell's border.


i dont know if i'd call nj/pa/conn tax shelters :P

they're trapped!

Great article!

Great article!

What a dumbass

Yeah sure, tax those digital downloads. Then see how quickly people in our generation give you the finger and start pirating them again, just because.

What's funny is that this tax would definitely disproportionately affect low to middle class income families much more than upper class.

i'm more concerned about the clothing tax

nobody needs to get music. that's an elective thingummy.

I tell you...

...if we can just stick to our message of smaller government, less taxes, stronger economy, Obama and the Democrats will play right into our hands. All we need is a good communicator.

Any suggestions?

ex animo



It's not the messaging per se

It's the problem of follow-through.

You are right.

Which is why we need to come together on the internet to form a united conservative party. Actually, I am proposing that all three major political divisions come together into their separate groups on the internet, just for that reason -- to keep our elected officials honest.

I have set out just a working model at The National Online Party. But if we could get a few thousand online members together in each Congressional district, it would be enough to create a check and balance to our present system.

The problem is, once in office, the elected official becomes prey to all the special interests, and by far the largest group is the government workers themselves, at all levels,  AFSCME members all.

ex animo



david david david...

the real problem is blackmail. you didn't think these SPECIAL interests wanted to give out free money, without any guarantees, didja?

I think you are correct.



Congratulations! You have seen my point. They all want their two cents worth. So where does that leave us? But if we, the people, can come together online to form a People's special interest, we could help insure our elected officials did the right thing for the right reason. It wouldn't matter whether you join the Left party, the Independent party, or the Right party. When political parties accurately reflect the political aspirations of their members, all will seek the common good.

I am studying Drupal at present. I want to go lower then precinct level, but perhaps not as low as street level. Each Congressional district will be divided up by precincts, and each precinct will have its own web page with polling functions, forums and e-mailing connection to all members for the three seperate divisions in each precinct. Since Drupal is open source, hoisting will be the only real cost, and I think I can get static advertising to foot most of that bill eventually.

The real issue is how to link each system up in a way that will bring forth the best ideas and jettison the bad ones. But in the end, simply having two or three thousand people networked together in each Congressional district should be enough to make its presence felt.

If nothing else, it has turned out to be a real good source for discussion for our little group of web designers and IT geeks. Heck, just discussing how best to redefine Robert's Rules for the Internet has turned out to be quite a challenge, a challenge we still haven't been able to easily meet.

As an example, if you are holding an online deliberative meeting, what would be a quorum? How long would the meeting last? Who can make a motion, and how would a motion be made online?

I can say this much from our little study group on the subject of deliberative online meetings, this whole area of online deliberative groupware really needs to be developed further before we can really bring the random nature of the internet into creative focus -- to gain the wisdom of the crowd rather than suffer the delusions of the Pied Piper.

ex animo



Radical Change in Healthcare Spending??....Not gonna happen.

Anytime a Republican or a Conservative attempts to make any kind of change to any entitlement program or any program near and dear to the hearts of liberals, the liberal establishment SCREAMS foul and works to immediately villainize the person/group seeking change.  Until we have an effective means of countering this tactic, we will never get any meaningful change (radical or not).  Even the most basic simple changes are beaten down with the BIG LIBERAL stick and the general public seems to buy it.

I just hope people “get it” before the Federal Govt goes bankrupt!

D. Peterson

twitter - @dpeterson329




George Bush did more to move the country toward that day

If the Federal Government goes bankrupt, it will becasue George Bush gave it a great big ol' shove in that direction. Wake up and smell the coffee - it is 2008 and screaming "Liberal! Liberal!" no longer works in politics. The country just voted the most liberal member of the Senate into the White House. We need ideas, not just Rush Limbaugh rhetoric. We also need to clearly and publicly repudiate George Bush.

You remind me a lot of Rising Tide

Are you two related? 

Hey genius, I have never uttered a single word about any person whether it be Bush or Rush.  This line is getting to be tiring.  Will you please come up with a new one?

The point is, the libs cry foul against anything anyone has ever wanted to change relative to their beloved entitlement programs.  Even if one tries something as simple as holding the line on budget increases, they cry foul.  They claim we are trying to starve the hungry children etc.......Does that ring a bell with you genius? 

Don't put words in my mouth.  And for the record, conservatives are not exacly proud of the Bush presidency when it comes to fiscal policy.  He has spent money like a drunken liberal Democrat.



Wheresas scoial conservatives

Whereas social conservatives are known for their reasonableness whenever anyone has ever wanted to change one of their beloved social strictures.

Fair Enough

Fair enough.  I'll give you that a point. 

But most of the time, Conversatives and Libertarians believe the majority of social issues should be decided at the state level and not the Federal level.  We believe the 10th Ammendment gets trampled on, on a daily basis.  I'm not talking about RINO's, I'm talking about true Republicans, Conservatives, and to some extent Libertarians as well.




I agree.

Rush Saves America

Obviously, Rush doesn't need me to defend him.

That said, aren't you aware we just ran a Colin Powell style "moderate" candidate who lost pathetically?

And, if Rush style conservatism is a loser, why did the GOP win when we listened to him in 2000 and 2004 and why did we lose when McLame ignored him in 2008?


because kerry was a schlemaizel.

and you didn't win 2000, according to your beloved free markets. Only according to an activist Supreme court.

McCain lost when he became "generic republican" -- people hate generic republican.

If Rush style conservatism is a winner

then why did McCain win the primaries?

that is because

the right cannot articulate how their health plans will benefit average people. analyze mccain and palin (did she even mention it) during the debates....nothing about the sick moms needing it for their kids, or how if you lose your job you don't get's always about money . and healthcare is a huge deal with big can't make changes and expect people to be ok with it. The GOP needs someone who can be positive, specific and walk people through the worst case scenarios. the wall street journal had a great article about mccains health plan....unfortunately mccain and palin never took the time to say the same things.

This is the Precursor To The Most Important Financial Issue.

The "ipod tax" ironically, is the most important financial issue we are facing.  The current financial issue is nothing compared to that.  For the current financial issue, ultimately, all we are doing is printing more money, decreasing the value of the dollar, and setting ourselves up for inflation.  Horrible but known quantities.  Furthermore, all we have to do is change General Accounting Principles (GAP) and voila, mess solved.

The ipod tax however, flirts with Interstate Commerce, and that is a core principle to our democracy.  You see, when you purchase something over the internet, although it seems like it is on your computer, the transaction is actually originating in the state that server / company resides in.  If a state wants to tax something that originates in another state, then that is a violation of the interstate commerce act.  Our forefathers, in 1864 i believe, already visited this we will once again.

Secondly, if taxes are applied, net neutrality comes into play.  Cable operators (comcast) are now trying to charge consumers a fee based upon the amount of data being transferred.  i.e. when you goto youtube, you transfer video data, etc.  If there is a tax on that...then there are even more problems.

Fundamentally, if one is charged for internet usage, there is an immediate violation in truth in advertising.  i.e. you don't know how much data you will be downloading when you visit a web page.  Should you pay for the data downloaded as part of the advertising portion of the webpage?  Should you be warned about how much it will cost to "view" the web page.  Taxing that is impossible...and there is a huge discussion about to be taking place..

This "ipod tax" issue will open up the doors on a wide range of issues...from online cigarette taxes to book purchases.  What states can and cannot charge

Interstate Commerce Act will definitely be tested....and other subsidiary acts might be rendered null and void.  so...the "ipod tax" will probably become the precursory issue to fundamental change in american capatalism with regards to interstate commerce.



Good grief.

(1) The Interstate Commerce Act in no way precludes State A, in which a consumer resides, from taxing a transaction with a vendor whose principal place of business is in State B.  This is the case regardless of whether the transaction occurs over the Internet.

(2) "Net neutrality" has absolutely nothing to do with the amount of data being transferred, either at the consumer level or otherwise. It has to do with the speed of data transfers, and the propriety of an ISP shaping traffic to throttle or privilege transfers of certain types of content, possibly based on fee arrangements with content providers.


Good Grief....You're Wrong

Net Neutrality has everything to do with volume of data....You need to examine what is being done in texas by comcast.  Due diligence please.

 US Supreme Court's numerous cases regarding state taxes on interstate commerce have turned on the four-prong test it articulated that year in Complete Auto Transit v Brady. Under that test, which replaced a prohibition on direct taxes of interstate commerce, a state tax must concern an activity with a 'substantial nexus' to the taxing state, fairly relate to state-provided services, tax only activities connected to the taxing state, and not discriminate against out-of-state businesses.

If you'd like to review substantial nexus...

US Supreme Court's numerous cases regarding state taxes on interstate commerce have turned on the four-prong test it articulated that year in Complete Auto Transit v Brady. Under that test, which replaced a prohibition on direct taxes of interstate commerce, a state tax must concern an activity with a 'substantial nexus' to the taxing state, fairly relate to state-provided services, tax only activities connected to the taxing state, and not discriminate against out-of-state businesses.

"Net neutrality" has nothing

"Net neutrality" has nothing to do with volume of data.  To quote Tim Wu, who invented the term: "The debate centers on whether it is more 'neutral' to let consumers reach all Internet content equally or to let providers discriminate if they think they'll make more money that way."

"Net neutrality" is, as I said, about the propriety of ISPs throttling or privileging traffic, possibly based on fee arrangements with content providers.  What Comcast -- and Cox -- were doing in Texas was throttling peer-to-peer file sharing.  The fact that a specific type of traffic was being throttled is why it implicated "net neutrality," not because of the file sizes concerned.

Learn something about the subject before you accuse others of not doing due diligence.

As far as your armchair-lawyering is concerned: Complete Auto Body was a Commerce Clause case (or, more specifically, a "dormant Commerce Clause" case), not an Interstate Commerce Act case.  It upheld the propriety of State A taxing transactions that occurred in State B.  If New York wants to tax the iTunes downloads of state residents, Complete Auto Body will almost certainly permit them to do so.




A Comcast insider tells me the company is considering implementing very clear monthly caps, and may begin charging overage fees for customers who cross them. While still in the early stages of development, the plan -- as it stands now -- would work like this: all users get a 250GB per month cap. Users would get one free "slip up" in a twelve month period, after which users would pay a $15 charge for each 10 GB over the cap they travel. According to the source, the plan has "a lot of momentum behind it," and initial testing is slated to begin in a month or two."The intent appears to be to go after the people who consistently download far more than the typical user without hurting those who may have a really big month infrequently," says an insider familiar with the project, who prefers to remain anonymous. "As far as I am aware, uploads are not affected, at least not initially." According to this source, the new system should only impact some 14,000 customers out of Comcast's 14.1 million users (i.e. the top 0.1%).

GB stands for gigabyte of data, which is 1024 X 1024 MB of data...WHICH IS THE AMOUNT OR VOLUME OF DATA. 

DORMANT CLAUSE......applies to things which haven't been ruled upon with regard to interstate commerce.  Your statement "almost certainly" IS AN OPINION.....

Now go back to the Daily Kosmonaut.

Not exactly true

Net neutrality is a complicated issue. The main concern the Left has is that corporations, using deep packet inspection, will either degrade or deny connections to websites they don't like.

I'm fine with rates based not only on size of the pipe, but amount of data downloaded off that pipe. That's not necessarily the biggest issue related to net neutrality.

last i checked, that was already happening with usenet

... finding a place that will let you download pr0n costs a lot more than the "you're just after text, right?"

(rather hoping that this doesn't devolve into an "is porn moral" pie fight)

Your CAPS LOCK kung fu is strong

However, your argument's kung fu is weak.

Definitions of network neutrality

At its simplest network neutrality is the principle that all Internet traffic should be treated equally.[7] Net neutrality advocates have established three principal definitions of network neutrality:

Absolute Non-Discrimination: Columbia Law School professor Tim Wu: "Network neutrality is best defined as a network design principle. The idea is that a maximally useful public information network aspires to treat all content, sites, and platforms equally."[2] University of Michigan Law School professor Susan Crawford states that a neutral Internet must forward packets on a first-come, first served basis, without regard for quality of service considerations.."[8]

Limited Discrimination without QoS Tiering: United States lawmakers have introduced bills that would allow quality of service discrimination as long as no special fee is charged for higher-quality service.[9]

Limited Discrimination and Tiering: This approach allows higher fees for QoS as long as there is no exclusivity in service contracts. According to Sir Tim Berners-Lee: "If I pay to connect to the Net with a given quality of service, and you pay to connect to the net with the same or higher quality of service, then you and I can communicate across the net, with that quality of service."[1] "[We] each pay to connect to the Net, but no one can pay for exclusive access to me."[10]

Your contract with your ISP may have a monthly traffic cap. You can always change ISPs. If the backbone provider, say Comcast, decides traffic going to Google will be slowed down ("throttled") while traffic going to Microsoft will not be, then that violates network neutrality as the network is managing traffic flow irrespective of any service contract with the consumer.

BTW: Comcast sucks.

Slight problem with non-discrimination

Is that some applications are much more time-sensitive than others (VoIP, VTC). I'm ok with the third definition, not the second. I don't think ISPs should deliberately LOWER the rate of switching certain kinds of packets, but I'm ok with elevating the priority of certain packets.


A monthly downstream bandwidth consumption limit has nothing to do with "net neutrality", sorry.  You can continue to claim otherwise, but you'll continue to be wrong, and telling me to go back to the Daily Kos -- I wouldn't cross the street to urinate on a Kossack if he was on fire -- is about the most misaimed and idiotic attempt at a slam imaginable.

As for the dormant Commerce Clause applying "to things which haven't been ruled upon with regard to Interstate Commerce", suffice it to say that you were apparently absent the day they taught law in law school.


I never understand the hate for Daily Kos

Sure, alot of people that frequent there are either left-left or radical left, but there's many discussions from different people. You get a few dumbasses, and a few virulent partisans (see the Caroline Kennedy affair and those who don't dare to question Obama), but you'll usually see a few different ideas for the big issues, backed up by people with good amoutns of knowledge and facts.

To be fair, I think it's at least slightly more civil than some right wing blogs I've seen like FreeRepublic and Michelle Malkin's page.

I registered for Daily Kos

I registered for Daily Kos just over four years ago shortly after the Democratic convention at which John Kerry reported for duty. I explained that I was a libertarian who considered economic and  property rights to be first-order liberties of the same stature as First Amendment expressive freedoms, and that while I was sure that we (me and the site regulars) would have profound political disagreements, I hoped we could have some respectful back-and-forth that gave them some insight into why I, and people like me, typically end up voting Republican with noses held; while simultaneously giving them an opportunity to persuade me to instead vote for Democrats with nose held.

The first, last, and only diary entry I wrote was on the subject of gun control, in which I attempted to build the case that support for gun control was not only unwise as a political calculation, but actually contrary to the values ostensibly underlying modern American liberalism. I reiterated that the diary entry was an argument rather than an assertion, and that I'd welcome dialogue that challenged my premises and forced me to re-think and refine the piece.

Instead, what I got was several pages of unhinged, profane screeching and accusations that I was an infant-murdering misanthrope fascinated by phallic instruments of war due to sexual inadequacies. How dare I question the received wisdom that guns = bad?

The entire lot of them can die in a fire, for all I care.

Please provide the link

Please provide the link to your diary, I'd like to see these pages of abuse.

Did you get banned?  Or does that only happen on RedState?

No, I didn't get banned. The

No, I didn't get banned. The posture of The Powers That Be was ambivalence: in their view there was nothing ban-worthy about what I'd posted, but the foaming-at-the-mouth response to it was something I just should have anticipated, so grow a thicker skin.

No link: once the nature of the site became clear to me, I deleted both my posts (the "introduction" as well as the offending one) and set the account password to a random string.  Why preserve any of it for posterity?  As proof it occurred?  I'll see if I can pencil some time in to my busy schedule to give a shit whether you take my word for it.

What a shame.

I've been looking for evidence that the Daily Kos is the hate-filled cesspool that people say it is.

However, it is nice to know that you don't post there any more becasue you choose not to, not because someone has decided that you should be banned.

I got banned

For a comment I made.

I believe the comment went something like, "You reveal yourself more through your actions than through your words," or something to that effect.

I got banned from Street Prophets first, then from Daily Kos.  I think some of the people from Street Prophets went trolling through there looking for me.


Here's the comment that got me banned

By their works, you shall know them.You have shown yourself more clearly than my words might ever indict you. 

Sorry, I don't believe you

So I went to your link and there is your comment, with no negative ratings (hide ratings or HR).

Here is how people get banned from Daily Kos:

"If enough of a user's comments are hidden, the site will automatically ban that user. Banning means that a user can no longer post diaries or comments, or give out recommends. The exact algorithm for determining how many comments are enough to trigger autoban is not publicly known. Kos has, however, stated that the determining factor is the number of comments that are hidden, not the number of troll-rates that each individual comment receives. In other words, once a comment has entered the Hidden Comments section, additional Hides have no effect. Since Trusted Users are limited in the number of hide ratings they can issue per day, it is recommended that they refrain from "piling on" additional Hides to an already-hidden comment."

So, please search your memory: did you really get "banned", or did you just decide not to bother any more?

Go look

and read down through the thread.


I was really, honest-to-goodnessly banned-- cannot comment, cannot post. 

I did

You have no HRs, there is nothing in the rest of that thread that indicates your are banned or that the other members think you are banned. More importantly, when I go to this page I can still see your original comment - so you didn't even have one comment hidden.

You are either confused or the vicitim of a programming bug. Take it up with admin, I'm sure they will be happy to reinstate you.

your searchfu needs more work. I posted below

what really got him banned -- sockpuppettry. I.e. having a second account just to rec yourself up so you don't get banned.

That is untrue


what the HELL did you say to get yourself banned from street

prophets? They're a pretty dovish group, from what I can see. "get along, and anyone's welcome" etc etc.

And dude, you weren't even troll rated for that one! people were just freaking confused....

 * (1+ / 2-)

Recommended by:
Belvedere Come Here Boy
Hidden by:
Ray Radlein, Lisa Lockwood

Thank goodness the hall monitor came by to check on me and feel me up.

by Progressive Traditionalist on Wed May 07, 2008 at 03:07:41 AM PST


As I note, many of your comments and threads were uprated by what looks to be a sockpuppet. That's probably what caused you to be booted. Also, unnecessarily hostile posting -- which is probably what riled streetprophets. pastordan turned into Angry Pastor (we're thinking hulk style here)

The reference to pizza (1+ / 2-)

Recommended by:
Belvedere Come Here Boy
Hidden by:
mcfly, TruthOfAngels

is a personal joke meant to someone in particular.

I suppose you're not that someone in particular.

by Progressive Traditionalist on Wed May 07, 2008 at 02:31:21 AM PST

[ Parent ]

I don't think this one deserved hiderating, myself, but I didn't bother to read your whole screed, and if people saw sockpuppet, they hr the user.

OH< Just as a HELPFUL HINT :: Adam committed bestiality in the Garden of Eden. And It Was Not A Sin. Curious as to what you have to say about that.

Just looking at your comment history, it's likely that the admin removed you for having a sockpuppet "Belvedere come here boy" and not an automatic removal for being a jerk.

err... wow.

When you only get troll rated by the Conservative Christian who posts on Street Prophets, yeah, you deserve the whole boatload of fish. Because you didn't even bother to read the guidelines on the site. That's a nice site. As in Play Nice or Else. When I'm on there, I try to mind my tongue (and apologize if I fail)

But I loved the last comment on that diary you made, and I think if you sent a nice note to pastordan apologizing and saying "I didn't realize the rules were quite so strict" then you might be allowed back. Because that's how nice people play.


Wrong on two counts

One I did e-mail pastor dan.

I still have the e-mail here.  This was from 3-27-08.

Let me re-print the entirety of it:

Not a hope in hell.


As for the sockpuppet excuse, that is so lame.

That other blogger is someone I have never met.  I don't know who it is other than someone that liked my writing.

If you look at what that person had written though, you would see that it is clearly not myself, as both the selection of topics, the style of writing, and other things are not even similar.

&btw, am I supposed to have 2 laptops, 2 ISPs, etc., so I can sit there and comment on the same thread as 2 different people?

Give me a break.

Now you sound like some kind of paranoid weirdo.

Get over it.

It happened.


Not the first place I've ever blogged.  I've had 3 blogs on my own-- The Anti-Fascist, The Roving Ellipsis, & 1 other-- and I've been a team member on the Big Brass Blog and the UnCapitalist Journal.

Now, all of a sudden, I'm supposed to be someone else entirely.

I have a feeling if someone were to look at the ISP info for both users, they could see a distinct difference.

Belvedere Come Here Boy is from someplace in No. Illinois, iirc.  I am not. 

Street Prophets is, without doubt, the most intolerant group...

...of people I have ever seen, bar none.

Go over to Xpatriated Texan and ask him why he removed all of his posts from Street Prophets.


Banned or not

I sure didn't see alot of 'hate' in the comments in response to yours. Some comments about being a troll/sockpuppet, but nothing too venomous.

Then look on the posts

This is the post that got me banned from Street Prophets:

The comments of intolerance from Street Prophets have been deleted from that site.

Here's the recap: Some weirdo pagan was offended.


Here's the other post from DKos:

In this one, I picked up a troll, Translator.

Look at the reactions to the troll.

This is on MY diary!!


The venom is abbreviated, but venomous nevertheless. 

Yes, there's some venom

But some people who just think Belvedere is a sockpuppet of yours, or that your diary was too offensive.

Are there some crazies? Sure. But no more so than I see on FreeRepublic or Malkin's site, as I said above, where there seems to be much more frothing of the mouth.

It might be due to age differences. How old are you Progressive? I'm 27, and I think most young people come to expect harsher-than-usual comments on the internet (after all, there are downsides to the 'anonymous' thing.)

do you still have it saved on your computer somewhere?

I'd love to see it...