Tuesday, November 30, 2004

I Ran Out For Nukes, Be Back in a Sec...

While Bush dawdles, the supposedly ineffectual European Union, consisting of those "Old Europe" stalwarts France and Germany has stepped in to convinced the government in Iran to voluntarily give up its nuclear ambitions. The deal has flaws, yes. It covers only nuke sites that the world knows about, so Iran might be secretly breaking the agreement as we speak, but, it's more than we've done.

Now for a standard disclaimer: The Iranian government is bad. It mistreats its people, it has fought horrid wars with its neighbors and it's somewhat hostile to America. So, without defending the Iranian government in any way, I have to say that I don't blame them for wanting nukes and I don't think we (including Europe) have a moral leg to stand on in demanding that they not pursue their research.

For one thing, we have tons of nukes and are currently working to develop "low yield" warheads that can actually be used in conventional conflicts. If we're escalating, why shouldn't Iran? I described their government as "somewhat hostile to America" which was an understatement, but how do you think they describe our government? I assume that understated Iranians would say, "somewhat hostile to Iran."

Iran certainly has rational incentives to want these weapons. One was that, while Saddam was in power, Iran and Iraq, who had fought an 8 year war during the 80s, were in an arms race with one another. Remember that, according to CIA Analyst Charles Duelfer, Saddam wanted to appear to have a Weapons of Mass Destruction program in order to intimidate Iran. If Iran believed Saddam's ruse, what would their logical response be?

Around the time that we deposed Saddam and removed that threat for Iran, we were also pointedly NOT deposing Kim Jong Il of North Korea. He has, according to some, now built half a dozen atom bombs. Perhaps Iran learned that having nukes could act as a deterrent to US adventurism? It would be a logical conclusion.

Here's another recent history lesson: Pakistan has nukes. For some reason that fact never spurred us to action against its backwards government. Perhaps Iran learned from that example too?

Finally, we get to the bottom line argument about proliferation and nuclear technology -- it can't be stopped. Nuclear physics is just that, physics. It's as fundamental to the world we live in as Newtonian physics or relativity. People will figure it out, inevitably. They can be slowed down. They can be encouraged to not use the science to make weapons, but only Heisenberg's uncertainty can stop people from figuring out the fundamentals of the atom.

Science has proven over and over again that it can't be stopped.

So, what to do? We can try to make Iran feel less threatened, so that they devote their research to peaceful, rather than military ends. The drawback is that, as I said before, the Iranian government is full of bad guys. Really bad guys. Do we want to be cozy with them? Is that the right thing to do? I have more questions than answers.

I do know this -- we will inevitably find ourselves in a situation where an enemy state has atomic weapon capability and the situation is bound to not be so neat and clean as it was when the US and Russia kept each other locked in a tense balance for fifty years.

We can thank Europe for scrambling to engage and persuade the Iranians while we muck around in Iraq. We can hope that engagement with other countries will deter nuclear ambitions in the future.

Most importantly, I think, we have to not keep the world in such a state of fear that they feel building these weapons is their only hope for security from us. That won't work every time. Someday, we will have to deal with new nuclear enemy. But, I think we can put that day off for a long time by signaling the world to be at ease -- which is something we haven't done since 9-11.

Imperfect, I know. But it seems like proliferation has accelerated in tandem with US aggression. Can't be a coincidence.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Still more on Charles

So, I reacted strongly to the Prince Charles memo not just because I tend to react strongly whenever a pampered plutocrat decides to pass judgment on a working person, but because I think Charles' sentiment betrays the sentiment of many pampered plutocrat towards politics in general -- they see politics, from the politics of education to the politics of taxation, to the politics of war, as a mechanism for the preservation of their own wealth and power.

But, in order to do that, they have to influence what the rest of us think when we think of politics. Here's what I think they want us to think: First, that the political system can't be trusted and is a necessary evil in human life. The idea here is that you should expect nothing good to come out of government, you should simply be happy with it if it causes little harm. They want us to think this because it robs us of faith in politics and government as a tool.

Second, they want all political discussions to not mention topics like happiness, except in passing. Think about it, every month the government releases reports on the numbers of jobs created and lost. The government doesn't even try to track whether or not people like the jobs that have been created. Among all of the government and quasi-governmental agencies managing the economy, is there one that exists to poll people about what kind of economy they'd like to have? I'm not saying you could manage to those wants or expecations, but they could be accounted for.

I mean, next time I see a politician from either side bragging about "job creation" I want to see them asked how many of the jobs created are jobs that they themselves would enjoy.

Third, they want to give the impression that "society owes you nothing" so that folks will expect... nothing.

Fourth, they want to manage your expectations for your own life. This is why Charles is so peeved that everybody wants to live like rock stars, or worse, like a member of the British royal family. Charles would feel a lot more comfortable if you would keep to your place, thank you.

Fifth, they want the phrase "utopianism" to be associated with either fascism or cloudy thinking. Utopia might be an unattainable ideal, but it's still an important goal. Utopian thinking is the opposite of saying, "well, that's how life is."

I think politics can be something more useful than it is today. It's not just a way of ordering the moving parts of government. It could be used as a sort of practical philosophy that is meant to increase the happiness of individuals within a society. I don't think we expect that now. I don't even think we're trying to do it. But I think that would be a worthy enterprise.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Prince Charles -- Suck It!

There’s no doubt that some of the rich and powerful who inhabit the realm of social, political and economic elites take a dim view of the paycheck-to-paycheck living rabble of the industrialized democracies, but they’re usually too guarded to say so. But Prince Charles, the future King of England, provided a life of ease by accident of birth has now said publicly, in response to an employee’s request for a promotion, what most in his position would be, at least, too polite to point out.

From the November 19th, 2004 New York Times:

“It began when Ms. (Elaine) Day told the tribunal that during her time in the prince's employment between 1999 and 2004, she had asked whether the royal household offered a route to promotion for secretaries.

"What is wrong with people these days?" the prince responded with evident exasperation in a memo written in 2002 and made public Wednesday at the tribunal. "Why do they all seem to think they are qualified to do things far above their capabilities?

"This is all to do with the learning culture in schools," it added. "It is a consequence of child-centered education system which admits no failure. People seem to think they can all be pop stars, high court judges or brilliant TV presenters or infinitely more competent heads of state without ever putting in the necessary work or having the natural ability."

It’s not hard to guess why Charlie boy would see things that way, being born as he was into a life without responsibility, subsidized by the British taxpayer and a prodigious family wealth which he did nothing to create. It must terrify Charles to think that the rabble might get uppity and decide that their royal playthings aren’t worth the money. That Charles lacks a sense of irony is evident enough.

But, what about his comments about a “child-centered” education system creating unrealistic expectations in folks as they enter the work force? That really isn’t a new complaint, is it? Just about everyone I know believes that they’re either underpaid, deserve a job in a different field, or deserve more freedom and authority in the job they have. Is that a problem?

Or, is that the way the economy is supposed to work?

Charles seems to be wishing for the days of when people kept their place, where the son of a mill worker would work in a mill, not fail to become Vice President. This belief entirely misses the concept of work. People don’t go to their jobs because they believe they’re ordained to do so. They’re actually making an exchange -- trading some of their time, freedom and creativity for in a transaction that they believe will not only pay money to cover current expenses but will improve the worker’s quality of life in the long term. That’s the trade.

Sometimes, the trade doesn’t work out. Sometimes, people on both sides are frustrated because the phrase “long term” can mean different things to different people. But, that’s still the deal. Labor is provided in exchange for current benefits and future material and non-material improvements. The salary gets a worker to show up, basically, and perform the minimum requirements of the job. It’s the future ambitions that motivate the worker to outperform.

Imagine you take away the “future” part of the trade. A lot of jobs do, of course. They’re called “dead end” jobs. Give Charles his way and every job becomes a dead-ender. In fact, Charles had his way. The result is that an employee leaked an embarrassing memo that he wrote to the press and his reputation has been harmed, yet again.

Funny thing is, I wouldn’t do something like that to any of my bosses. That doesn’t mean I don’t have complaints. It doesn’t mean I think I’m getting everything I deserve. But it does mean that, on some level, I think my bosses want me to succeed, that they’re on my side and that they’re worthy of some loyalty and friendship.

There is, however, a stark difference between school and life. When you’re in high school or especially in college, the authority figures are paid to help you decide on and realize your personal goals. They perform the task with varying degrees of success and certainly with various methods, but the focus of the educational endeavor is clear enough -- give the student enough knowledge and confidence so that they will be able to pursue bliss.

Outside of school, nobody cares about your damned bliss. I found that transition jarring. Heck, I still do. But the answer is not to change the educational system to eliminate the bliss-chasing aspects. The answer is for individuals to realize that the bliss chasing never stops, even as the support structures fall away.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Letter from a Radical Cleric

Josh Marshall at talkingpointsmemo.com brings us a gem of a letter, from "radical cleric" Bob Jones, of Bob Jones University.

I'm going to paste the letter in for you in a moment, with some commentary, of course. But, I want to draw your attention to Josh's new, I think worthy, project -- he's decided to apply the bon mots of Middle East journalism to Americans. How many times have you read that a Middle Easterner who is critical of American policies is a "radical cleric" or "Islamist extremist" or some such variation? Nobody in the American press ever calls Pat Robertson a "radical cleric" or a "Christian Extremist" even though it would be at least as factually accurate as anything written about the Mullahs in Iran. So, let's try, in our own writings, to treat people equally, shall we?

Anyway, here's the letter, with my commentary throughout.

Dear Mr. President:

The media tells us that you have received the largest number of popular votes of any president in America's history. Congratulations!

COMMENT: What Bob wants to say but doesn't is, "See? Speaking here in 2000 wasn't such a bad move! Also, I'm really glad you beat a Catholic. I hate Catholics." More letter...

In your re-election, God has graciously granted America—though she doesn't deserve it—a reprieve from the agenda of paganism. You have been given a mandate. We the people expect your voice to be like the clear and certain sound of a trumpet. Because you seek the Lord daily, we who know the Lord will follow that kind of voice eagerly.

COMMENT: Kerry was a pagan? The election was about paganism? Guess I missed the debate on paganism. More letter...

Don't equivocate. Put your agenda on the front burner and let it boil. You owe the liberals nothing. They despise you because they despise your Christ. Honor the Lord, and He will honor you.

COMMENT: Did he just say that Bush owns Christ? I think he did. "They despise your Christ. Yo, Jesus, Bush owns yo' crack ass! More letter...

Had your opponent won, I would have still given thanks, because the Bible says I must (I Thessalonians 5:18). It would have been hard, but because the Lord lifts up whom He will and pulls down whom He will, I would have done it. It is easy to rejoice today, because Christ has allowed you to be His servant in this nation for another presidential term. Undoubtedly, you will have opportunity to appoint many conservative judges and exercise forceful leadership with the Congress in passing legislation that is defined by biblical norm regarding the family, sexuality, sanctity of life, religious freedom, freedom of speech, and limited government. You have four years—a brief time only—to leave an imprint for righteousness upon this nation that brings with it the blessings of Almighty God.

COMMENT: There must be something in Thessalonians about respecting the electoral college. One thing that isn't in the Bible, even as I look through the chapter called "Judges" is anything about appointing judges. More letter...

Christ said, “If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my father honour” (John 12:26).

COMMENT: Fine. But if Jesus wants to be co-President or something, he should have declared his own candidacy. Shouldn't we have at least been able to scrutinize his Viet Nam record? Where was he? Supposedly, he was on our side, but we lost! More letter...

The student body, faculty, and staff at Bob Jones University commit ourselves to pray for you—that you would do right and honor the Savior. Pull out all the stops and make a difference. If you have weaklings around you who do not share your biblical values, shed yourself of them. Conservative Americans would love to see one president who doesn't care whether he is liked, but cares infinitely that he does right.

COMMENT: Get rid of the weaklings! Get rid of the weaklings! Does Bob want Dubya to make Arnold Schwarzenegger Secretary of Everything? And, the salutation...

Best wishes.

Sincerely your friend,

Bob Jones III

COMMENTARY: Bob Jones thinks HE'S President! Bwahahahahahahahahahahaha!

Thursday, November 11, 2004

With Friends Like These...

One of the most important post-election issues is the Democratic Party's future. Already, there's a chorus of influential Democrats who want to give in on important issues in order to appeal to Middle America. As expected, one of the early memes here is to throw homosexuals aside because same sex marriage is a losing issue. Albert R. Hunt, the lone, regularly published left wing voice on the Wall Street Journal's Op-Ed page offered a couple of insights today that need some counter-commentary from the left side of the spectrum.

Hunt writes: "...more than a few voters in strategically important places, like Ohio, came away thinking John kerry was for gay marriage when he wasn't."

I don't dispute Hunt's facts here. He's probably right. But, what I think really hurt Kerry was not that people thought he was for gay marriage, it was that both he and Edwards sounded like idiots talking about the issue. Kerry and Edwards wanted to, uh, have it both ways. They didn't want to alienate their base by seeming homophobic, and they wanted to capture votes in Middle America by being against same sex marriage. Intellectually, I think both Kerry and Edwards are smart enough to realize that the issue is stupid to begin with and I'm willing to bet that, were they to reveal their thoughts in private conversation they would wonder "Who the heck cares if two men or two women get married." But, they didn't say that. Instead, they took what they thought was a politically expedient position and they looked like a couple of waffling liars doing it.

I suspect that Kerry and Edwards both know that they're on the wrong side of morals and history with their states position on this topic. I think that's why their ability to defend and articulate this position was pretty weak. I also think that looking weak was far more of a hindrance to Kerry than any of his positions were. People voted on image in 2004, not policy. And, really, they usually do.

Now, Hunt goes on to write: "When San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom publicly conducted thousands of Gay marriages, it afforded the Democratic nominee a Sister Souljah opportunity, a chance for moral outrage, not at gays, but at a public official for flouting the law. It never occurred."

Quickly, I'll argue that it never occurred because, as I surmised above, I think Kerry's too smart to have really believed his official position on this issue. But, more important, Hunt's a smart and influential guy who basically advocated "moral outrage" at same sex marriages in San Francisco. Sure, he says the outrage should be directed at a mayor who flouted the law and not the homosexual community. But, that's really a dodge, isn't it? Wasn't the Mayor of San Francisco elected? Why, I think he was! Now, do you think an elected official would do something like perform same sex marriages if the community that elected him would object? I don't think he would. Newsom represented the people of his city. He wasn't flouting the law, he was acting in a democratic fashion, something too few politicians do these days.

And, let's be honest -- had Kerry or Edwards shown moral outrage, even if they phrased the outrage in Hunt's clever way, would the typical American take it that way, or would they take it as the Democrats criticizing the homosexual community? You probably don't have to think long to come to the obvious answer on that. And, of course, that's the answer. Because what Hunt wants is to criticize an unpopular minority without seeming like he's doing so.

Honestly, it's worth losing elections to be right. Let's no forget the death of segregationist George Wallace, a man who had to use his last breaths to apologize for his vigorous defense of an attitude that society abandoned. How many politicians will have to spend their final moments offering a Wallacian apology?

I don't care if this issue is popular or not. We have to support it because its a civil rights issue. When you think about it, there's never been a civil rights opponent who was vindicated by history. They've all, in retrospect, looked like fools or worse.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Obama in 2008? Let's Not Go There Yet...

I like Barack Obama. But, I'm not ready to annoint him as the next Presidential candidate for the left. In 2008, he'll be 4 years into his first 6 year Senate term. That's not enough experience. Yes, he won big in this most recent election but his opponent was Alan Keyes -- a carpet bagger who has no broad appeal in any community and who was probably sent to Illinois with everyone knowing that he'd lose in order to test Obama against a fiery speaker in a national campaign. Obama passed that test, which is good. But, a victory over Alan Keyes in a Senate election in a state where Keyes doesn't even live is not, I hate to say, a big deal.

Obama's original opponent, Jack Ryan, had to pull out of the election when legal documents in his divorce from actor Jeri Ryan revealed that he wanted to have public sex with her in kinky Paris night clubs. Before it was revealed that Jack wanted to do what millions of girl-deprived Trekkies have always wanted to do to "7-of-9," Obama was in a close race. Conventional wisdom says he would have won, but, beating Ryan would have been a better test of Obama's abilities than beating Alan Keyes.

I think Obama can be President some day. I just don't think that day is in 2008. Obama needs to be nurtured and developed as the future of the Democratic Party. He's young and Democrats should be looking to run him in 2012 or 2016. And, for every day over the next 8 to 12 years, the party should be looking at him as the not-too-distant future, positioning him as a national leader, giving him strength and support the whole way.

Here's one big lesson we can learn from the Republicans -- they lived 8 years with Clinton, a man they despised, as President. And they spent that time building the machines that have now won them 8 years of payback. Let's take the long view and let's make Obama part of that. But let's not run him too soon and diminish him.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Why I'm Really Mad At Non-Voters

Part of the conventional wisdom about the 2004 election is that the Republicans did a better job "getting out the vote" than the Democrats did and, given that so many states were close, either side could have won the election, depending on who they got to the polls in the swing states. With all of the attention on those states like New Mexico, Ohio, Florida, Pennslyvania, Nevada (you all know the drill) which could have gone either way, Bush and Kerry supporters in safe states like New York and California, didn't see to feel a pressing need to get out to the polls. Turnout in both states was down, compared to 2000. Only 46% of New York's voting age population turned out to vote, down 1.5% from 2000. New York ranked 46th in the nation in terms of turnout.

Bush won the popular vote, 51% to 48% and now he's claimed a mandate. He's saying that since he ran on a clear platform and won the popular vote, that he need not make concessions to the other side. New York's 31 electoral votes were never up for grabs but, when the third most populous, and Democratically -leaning state is fourth from the bottom in terms of turnout, well, it kind of skews the old popular vote a bit, doesn't it?

We might not use the popular vote to elect our President but the President uses the popular vote in order to claim support and legitimacy. If you lived in a Kerry safe state, planned to vote for Kerry, and didn't get around to it, you made a big mistake and empowered Bush as surely as if you had voted for him. If you lived in a Bush safe state and planned to vote for him but for some reason didn't go, well, you got lucky.

I think it's important to remind "safe" state voters that the popular vote is important. I think that Bush will show us, in his second term, just how easy it is to use even slim numbers to make it seem as if he has a mandate and he'll get a lot done that way.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Hunter S. Thompson says...

"Their army is how much bigger than mine? Three percent? Well shucks, Bubba. Now is the time to establish a network and an attitude. You make friends in moments of defeat. People in defeat tend to bond because they need each other. We can't take the attitude that it's over and we give up. We're still here."

Viva El Gonzo!

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Social Security: Bush's Market Manipulation

So, why do you think Bush wants to move social security dollars into the stock market? He'll tell you its to preserve and save the system which will be threatened by retiring baby boomers.

But let's not forget that moving this money into the market will be impossible without the help of Wall Street's major banks, which will transfer, house, and in some cases manage, the new money. Wall Street's banks do not perform these services for free. The privatization of even a portion of social security assets will be a major boon to Wall Street's firms.

Then, there's the issue of the market in general. To put things in really simple terms, stock prices go up when there are more buyers than sellers. You might hear, during the course of any week, market analysts talking about "money on the sidelines." This is money that investors have kept out of the market as they search for buying opportunities. When that money flows into the market, the market tends to go up because it represents a new wave of buyers.

Social Security is the ultimate pot of "sideline" money. Toss that cash into the market and you can create an artificial boom.

When you buy a stock, you're really buying a piece of a company's assets or earnings. The trick is that the valu of assets doesn't change much from day to day and earnings don't radically change much either. The prices, however, fluctuate daily. So, the result of all this new money entering the market will be to cause a rise in prices while the value of assets and earnings remains the same. The inevitable result, whether it takes a few months or a few years, will be a market collapse. The money will flow in, the bankers will get their fees, the market will rise, those in my profession will write jubilantly about new money millionaires and then the money will dissapear.

Oh, I'm sure they'll tell us they have ways of moving the money into the market a little at a time, so that it will have no affect. I think they'll be wrong. Because whether they move the money in on one day, or little by little over the course of a decade, the Wall Street investors will know the money is on the way and the market will react accordingly.

Think about it this way... why don't major mutual funds announce "We're going to buy $10,000 worth of GE today," before they do it? Because, once investors get wind, they'll buy GE and drive the price up. Mutual funds guard their investment moves rather closely.

Under Bush's plan, with far more money than any mutual fund has -- an amount of money that just by entering the market can move the market, we're going to announce a major gift to Wall Street and THEN give it to them. Did the President sleep through those Harvard Business School classes, or what?

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

It begins...

Yes, everybody's favorite prudish ethicist says that we've entered, quoting Tom Wolfe, "The Great Relearning" that will rebuild our society. Bennett took delight in a marijuana decriminalization law's failure in libertarian-leaning Alaska. He proudly proclaimed that Church-going African Americans are angered by people who think that same sex unions are a civil right and he lauded the 11 states who seem to agree. He wrote, I'm guessing with a straight face, that George Bush "restored honor and dignity to the White House."

Bennett claims Bush has a mandate. A lot of people on the right will be claiming a mandate. Heck, they claimed it in 2000, so why not now? Bennett is unclear about what he wants, exactly to do with this mandate. His implication is that he wants to use Washington and the courts to legislate his brand of morality. He believes it will create a "long, cultural renewal."

That America needs cultural renewal is one of the points I'll grant Bennett. But it doesn't work the way he thinks it does. Bennett wants to regress and stagnate. Culture's only grow, however, through the power of radical ideas that empower an (obviously metaphorical) creative destruction.

To end this on an optimistic note, it is possible that this cultural rebellion from the right is just the last gasp of some old, faded ideas. We can hope. But most of all, we'll have to argue them on every point.

More Important Than Bush's win...

Kerry will concede. Fine. I was never that excited about a Kerry presidency anyway. More important than the election's result is the schism in American society that its brought to light. Bush voters have supported:

1) An Imperial foreign policy.

2) The erosion of social safety nets. Social security is heading towards privatization, Bush's healthcare plan is that you should save more money for healthcare and pay for it yourself.

3) Oppression of lifestyle minorities. 11 states voted to ban gay marriage yesterday.

These three points comprise a vision that a popular majority of the American public believes in. It is the vision of the frontier. It is expansionist in terms of US power abroad. It believes that society owes an individual nothing in terms of providing health and comfort. It believes that the market of money takes primacy over the market of ideas and it believes in "traditional" lifestyles, defined not only biblically, but by centuries of western European tradition.

Republicans used the gay marriage issue to motivate its religious base. It worked. That's why high turnout worked in their favor. What will the Democrats do, going forward? Will they abandon their minority constituency in order to make a grab for the great, rightward-leaning middle? Will they, basically, give up the argument? The Democrats had, sadly, moved to the right over the years. Much as I liked Clinton, his policies were a continuation of Reagan's, just with their own twist. The convergence between Democrats and Republicans created the space for Nader's candidacy in 2000 which resulted in Bush's first victory and, indirectly, his second.

They learned nothing. During the primaries, we were told to compromise on the moderate John Kerry because if his "electability." Thanks for the advice.

We can no longer afford to comrpomise. We're in a battle of ideas now. Every inch we give hands a major victory to what has become, over the course of 20 years, a majority in American culture who want to bring us back to the old, frontier morality where they can enforce normalcy under the guise of decency and erode our social obligations and comforts in the name of liberty.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

One more, quickly while counting

1:24 am and we're down to Ohio and Bush is ahead by 100,000 plus. Here's the Kerry victory scenario... The remaining votes bring Bush's lead down to near 50,000. The 200,000 provisional ballots are counted and they break for Kerry. Kerry wins Ohio. Only hope for this scenario is that Ohio had provisional ballots in 2000 and 90% of them were counted.

Caveat: Kerry trails Bush by 3% of the national popular vote. It's really unthinkable for him to win the electoral college from so far behind.

I'm tempted to start thinking about why he lost rather than if he lost.

Quickly, while the votes are counted...

Looks like the exit polls were too optimistic.

Obviously, we're not done yet.

Talkingpointsmemo reports that the "youth vote" didn't show up. What the Hell? I can understand ignoring Mr. Diddy Combs, but, the animated Eminimem "Mosh" video wasn't enough for you kids? Talkingpoints also reports that Republicans are putting up legal challenge after legal challenge in Ohio, delaying voting even where people are standing on line. As Josh Marshall, the guru behind my favorite blog points out, delays cause people to leave.

CNN's report from the Kerry camp offer up a dour mood. They say they can still win and, even losing Florida (which, they probably will) they can.

But... at midnight eastern time, Kerry is the underdog.

Still,Kerry's witin striking distance. Florida would have made it a lock. But... this election won't be decided by the President's brother. There are still alternate scenarios.