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The liquefied natural gas tanker Inigo Tapias makes its way through Boston Harbor past downtown Boston in Jan. 2004. Every few days, tankers like this one carry 33 million gallons of liquefied natural gas to a plant in Everett. And for each trip, the Coast Guard coordinates an armada of protection--a helicopter, police divers, marine patrol, environmental police, fire-fighting tugs, city police boats, Coast Guard vessels. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
WASHINGTON: The main purpose of the modern political convention is to produce four days of televised propaganda. The subsidiary function, now that nominees are invariably chosen in advance, is structural: Unify the party before the final battle. In Cleveland, the Republicans achieved not unity, but only a rough facsimile.