West Wing
Mandatory Minimums

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Mandatory Minimums

It's a bright and sunny Tuesday morning; Toby and Sam are arguing as they cross a tree-lined boulevard. Sam is saying that something is racist and a red herring; Toby understands. Sam says, "It's a way of looking like you're tough on crime without assuming the burden of being tough on crime." Toby still understands, but insists that they do things one at a time. Sam thinks they don't have time to only do one thing at a time. He says he's talking about treatment and mandatory minimums and says again that "it" is a red herring and racist. Toby instructs Sam, "When you speak to the President, I want you talking about treatment. I want you talking about treatment versus enforcement and I don't want you to stray from that." Sam asks, "Toby, is this what you meant when you said. 'Sam, you're completely in charge of this?'" Toby replies, "Yes, I meant you're completely in charge of this, in the sense that you are subordinate to me in every way!" He suddenly stops and asks where "this place" is; Sam asks, "What place?" Toby's looking for the "breakfast place," which Sam indicates is on the last street they were on. Toby wants to know why Sam didn't say anything. Sam says, "We were having a nice conversation." Toby looks mildly annoyed and takes off in the opposite direction.

Leo is seated at a table on a lovely outdoor patio; Margaret is standing up fussing with her #2 pencils. I suddenly feel a strong desire to fix her up with NYPD Blue's Danny Sorenson, who has quite an intense fixation on office supplies himself. She's wearing this Laura Petrie flip with a wide headband. I can't quite decide if she's hip enough to pull off this cute retro style or if it's just weird on her. I'm leaning toward "weird." It's not like I have any better idea of how she should wear her hair, so maybe I'll just shut up about it. She finally sits down and fusses a little bit more before settling down. Leo, who's probably quite used to this routine, finally says, "All set there?" She nods. Josh shows up with Donna in tow, complaining about why they couldn't meet closer to the office or at the office or order in some food. Yes, Josh, it's a really harsh life you're being forced to lead there, having a breakfast meeting on a beautiful patio on a nice day, instead of eating mediocre bagels at your desk. My heart bleeds. Donna makes a point of stating that Josh is wearing a nice suit and that they should call it his "Joey Lucas suit." Josh is annoyed, and insists it's his "regular Tuesday suit." Ever anal, Margaret's interest is sparked. "You assign your clothes days of the week?" Anyone else would be laughing, but I think Margaret's a little cheesed off that she never thought of such a thing. Josh is vigorously denying any particular motive for wearing the suit as Toby and Sam finally arrive. As they sit down, Leo asks them, "Talk to me about drugs." Toby says that they can make a case for treatment versus enforcement and they're ready to go to the President. Sam adds that they're also ready to go to the President with mandatory minimums on crack versus powder cocaine. Leo tells him to take things one step at a time. Sam complains that that was what Toby told him. Leo says Toby's right. A little petulantly, Sam asks, "Does anyone remember that I was put in charge..." Leo interrupts and says, "It was an honorary kind of thing, Sam." Margaret hands Leo a call on his cell phone; Leo tells her to write down the names he says: "Dalton, Dawson, Foxworthy, Greer, Morgenthau, Stackhouse, Sugarbaker." I note that they're in alphabetical order, which should please Margaret. She asks what she should do with those names, and Leo instructs her to hold on to them until he asks for them. Toby cryptically tells Leo, "It's exactly the right thing to do." Leo replies, "From anybody but me." At this point Josh decides to interject with an announcement that he doesn't have suits for specific days of the week, and that he's just wearing a regular suit. Sam says it's a nice suit. Donna says, "Sure it's a nice suit. It's his Joey Lucas suit." Josh, predictably: "Donna!" She says, "I'm beginning to regret not getting the waffles." Leo, losing patience, says, "I'm beginning to regret having hired any of you! We have a forty-two percent job approval rating and you're talking about waffles, and something with Josh I don't understand...." Donna volunteers that he got dressed up for Joey Lucas; Leo is surprised that Josh got dressed up for a meeting with a guy named Joey. This comment makes me realize that Leo never met Joey, did he? He wasn't around for her visit to the White House and he didn't get to go to California. Josh responds that Joey Lucas is a woman, and he didn't get dressed up for her. Donna interjects that it's his regular Tuesday suit. Donna is clearly very secure in her job, because the amount of lip she dispenses would get a lot of people fired, or at least merit them a crack across the mouth. Anyway, Leo attempts to keep them on track by reminding them that they can't make any mistakes this week. Josh tells Leo to calm down; Leo insists that he's perfectly calm. Sam says, "You're not calm, Leo, you're acting like a nervous hooleelia." At least that's what the closed captioning says. I've never heard this word or any word like it. Someone on the boards suggested that the word is related to or derived from the Yiddish word choleria. However (pedantry warning...just skip ahead two paragraphs if you want to get on with the recap already), my source defines choleria as having two meanings...

  1. (A curse) "To hell with..." One of the juicy curses, a choleria meant, "A plague upon you" and whatever additional disasters the wisher could conjure up. "A choleria should possess him!" "A man like that -- a choleria upon him!"

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