Archive for October, 2004
A new political group that has been quietly organizing for a year or so, is gaining increasing notoriety in Massachusetts politics. Progressive Democrats of Massachusetts (an outgrowth of the unsuccessful 2002 gubernatorial campaign of Robert Reich) is assisting several candidates for state offices, while seeking to build a strong progressive electoral capacity in the Democratic Party. (I am proud to be a founding member of PDM.)
Much is at stake. Republican Governor Mitt Romney has fielded an unprecedented number of challengers to incumbent democratic legislators. These candidates, as well as GOP incumbents and candidates for open seats, have received significant assistance from the Republican National Committee — which has reportedly funneled three million dollars into the Massachusetts Republican Party to bankroll these campaigns. Romney and his allies plan an assault on the independence of the state judiciary in the wake of the Goodridge decision of the Massachusettes Supreme Judicial Court, that legalized gay marriage.
One PDM-backed candidate, Carl Sciortino, narrowly won the September Democratic primary against the conservative incumbent, state Representative Vincent Ciampa. Since there was no Republican candidate, it appeared Sciortino would be the new representative from Somerville. Ciampa is now running a sore loser write-in campaign. He is running hard, and has a chance of winning. Sciortino, an openly gay man, ran on a broad progressive platform — including support for marriage equality. But a virulently anti-gay group called the Article 8 Alliance, has distributed leaflets all over the district supporting Ciampa, a fierce opponent of marrige equality, and attacking Sciortino as a “homosexual extremist.”
PDM and other groups are rallying to help Sciortino. Please visit the PDM web site to find out how to contribute to Sciortino’s campaign, or to help in other ways.
Other PDM-supported candidates in tight races that could use extra help include:
Ed Augustus of Worcester — in a tight race for an open state senate seat against a wealthy conservative Republican.
Katherine Clark of Melrose — running a spirited campaign against a wealthy incumbent Republican state senator.
Monica Palacios-Boyce — running an strong race for an open seat for state representative from the Palmer area.
Pam Resor — a progressive incumbent state senator facing a strong challenge from a conservative Republican in a suburban Boston district.
Peter Vickery — who won the Democratic primary for the western Massachusetts seat on the 8-member Governor’s Council (the body in Massachusetts that confirms judicial nominations), is now in a tight race against a well-funded, anti-abortion former Democrat.
Please visit the PDM web site to find out how to help these candidates.
When the governor of Massachusetts nominates someone to a judgeship, (including the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court), the nomination goes to the eight-member Governor’s Council for confirmation. The Governor’s Council is an elected body, and for the first time in 30 years, there is a vacancy for the seat from Western Massachusetts. The race for this seemingly obscure office is shaping up as one of the hottest and most important in the state — even as many activists and media outlets are giving it scant attention.
One of the main issues dividing Democratic candidate Peter Vickery and independent Aaron Wilson, is that Vickery is pro-choice — and Wilson has avoided the question. Wilson has gone so far as to tell The Springfield Republican newspaper that he does not feel that choice, and other fundamental matters of civil and constitutional rights, are relevant to the job of picking judges.
However, Wilson apparently did not demur when it came to answering the only question on the questionnaire of Massachusetts Citizens for Life:
“As a Governor’s Council member, would you support the nomination of justices who would protect the right to life of each human being from conception to natural death?”
Massachusetts Citizens for Life is the state affiliate of the National Right to Life Committee — by far the largest and most influential antiabortion lobby in the country.
Wilson, a former democrat who is running as an independent, apparently hopes to attract both conservative Democratic and Republican votes, while trying not to alarm pro-choice voters. Whatever else he may be, he is a stealth anti-abortion candidate.
The contrast could not be clearer since Vickery has been upfront and unequivocal in his support for a woman’s right to choose from the beginning.
Vickery has an excellent chance of winning. He has a strong base of support in Western Massachusetts, and he is working closely with the campaigns of the rest of the Democratic ticket — who are pro-choice down the line. But Wilson is outspending him by about 3-1 in the closing weeks with an expensive advertising blitz. Vickery needs our help. Contributions can be made by credit card from anywhere in the state and anywhere in the country. A last minute infusion of cash could be decisive in this race.
The campaign also needs volunteers: (413) 549-9933
Let’s not allow a stealth antiabortion candidate to slip into this office — an office that Peter Vickery calls the “last firewall” for protecting our constitutional rights in Massachusetts.
Mainstream journalists who have studied the anti-Kerry propaganda film, “Stolen Honor,” have yet to find that the film constitutes “news” by any standard. Even the Sinclair Broadcast Group that plans to air all or part of the film on 40 stations around the country, has backed off the idea that the film is news in and of itself. Now the news angle is a “discussion” of the film. Of course the project is irretrievably tainted, as many legitimate news organizations have determined.
Seems to me what is news is that the company is so determined to air the smear; company reputation and stockholder interests be damned.
Here are excerpts from two mainstream news examinations of the film.
Dana Stevens, a writer for Slate, exposes the propaganda techniques used in the film: “Stolen Honor is the kind of show you might come across at 2 a.m. as a paid infomercial on a local-access channel and leave on for a few minutes out of sheer fascinated disgust. It’s a sleazy little piece of work, a cunning act of libel-by-insinuation that introduces no facts that have not been public information for at least 30 years. The first 20 minutes consist of interviews with Vietnam POWs recounting their torture at the hands of the their Vietcong captors, with only one reference to John Kerry—a still photo of him testifying at the Winter Soldier hearings. Capitalizing on the moral revulsion provoked by these mental images of torture, the film spends the remainder of its 42 minutes trying to transmute that sense of outrage into a primal disgust with John Kerry himself. Its persuasive tactic is essentially one of brainwashing: By juxtaposing the occasional shot of Kerry’s face (at the hearings, at an antiwar rally also attended by Jane Fonda) with the gruesome torture stories of surviving Vietnam POWs, the filmmaker hopes to leave the impression that Kerry is responsible for their suffering.”
On Wednesday, The New York Times talked with mainstream historians and found no factual basis for the film’s charges against Kerry. “The accusations include that he singlehandedly prolonged the Vietnam war, worsened the torture of prisoners of war, and ultimately caused countless, needless deaths with his antiwar activism 30 years ago. The film is rife with out of context and incomplete quotations from Mr. Kerry and other antiwar veterans. Several historians said many accusations in it were not provable or stretched far beyond reality.”
Meanwhile, boycott activists are continuing to press advertisers to pull their ads from Sinclair-owned stations.
The market responded with a big bounce for the stock price of Sinclair Broadcast Group on Wednesday following the company’s announcement that it had repackaged its anti-Kerry program to more resemble news. But it only bounced about half-way back from losing 17% of its value since it announced that it would air the anti-Kerry propaganda film “Stolen Honor.”
Originally, the hour-long special program was to include the 42 minute film, followed by a panel discussion. Now the program is going to use excerpts of the film and include a panel discussion. The market’s response to what critics consider to be cosmetic changes may, however represent wishful thinking on the part of the investor community. Indeed, boycott activists and wary advertisers appear to be unmoved.
Most of the businesses that have pulled thier ads from Sinclair stations seem to have been local and regional businesses like law firms, car dealers and restaurants. But national advertisers have been feeling the pinch too.
The Associated Press reported on Wednesday that: “U.S. Cellular Corp., the nation’s eighth largest wireless telecommunications provider, has asked Sinclair affiliates not to run its commercials two hours before, during and after the program’s airing, said President and CEO John E. Rooney. Nationwide Insurance said it “plans not to advertise during this perceived politically motivated program if Sinclair Media elects to broadcast it without fair and equal opportunity for response.” And Regis Corp., an operator of haircutting salons, said it has asked Sinclair not to run any of its ads near or during the program.”
Burger King issued a statement late Wednesday that indicates it was unimpressed with Sinclair’s news makeover. The company says it “will not permit its advertising to air during certain politically controversial programming on the Sinclair Broadcast Group’s television stations. Burger King Corporation does not endorse any candidate or political party. This action will only affect one day of advertising in a total of nine local markets in which the Company had previously scheduled local media advertising.”
Reuters reported: “What the market perceives is that Sinclair has backed down — and now all the problems will go away,” said Blair Levin, an analyst at Legg Mason. Levin said it was unclear, though, whether the company’s critics would be appeased by the company’s move and the potential impact of the controversy on its advertising.”
Indeed, far from being appeased, Nick Davis, founder of the Boycott Sinclair Broadcast Group web site, stated in a press release: “Our goal is full surrender, not a broadcast on FCC-regulated public airwaves that skirts the responsibilities of free and fair reporting and violates equal time standards.”
Meanwhile, local businesses, the advertising backbone of the company, are still pulling out. For example, a front page story in The Daily Hampshire Gazette in Northampton, Massachusetts reported on Wednesday that at least five area businesses have pulled advertising from WGGB, (Channel 40) the Sinclair-owned station in Springfield, Massachusetts: Dana Automotive, Kaoud Oriental Rugs of Holyoke, radio stations LAZER 99.3 and Rock 102, and Atkins Farms. Keith Parvich, the general sales manager of Dana Automotive told the Gazette, “As a heavy advertiser, we were concerned about how our relationship with Channel 40 was being percieved — this is a very dangerous precedent for a station to be setting, Parvich said. We aren’t here to take any political side and alienate our cutomers.”
Sinclair Broadcast Group’s troubles continued to mount, even as it’s stock precipitously dropped again on Tuesday. On a day when the company sought to make it appear to be conceding ground to critics of its decision to air an anti-Kerry propaganda film on its 62 stations this week, things went from bad to worse.
Not only are critics not buying the company’s announced make-over of the controversial program, but a group of stockholders is suing, charging that company executives engaged in partisanship and insider trading against the interests of shareholders.
The company’s difficulties are epitomized by a The New York Times report in Wednesday’s edition that among other things notes that “The company, already suffering from a sluggish advertising climate, has had its stock price fall by almost 17 percent and its market capitalization drop by $140 million in the last week and a half. The Times also reports that “The Burger King Company announced that it would pull all its commercials from Sinclair stations all day on the date the program is broadcast. “Burger King wants to maintain neutrality during this election,” said Eric Anderson, a spokesman.
Meanwhile, thanks to scrutiny the company has brought on itself, investors have discovered that several top Sinclair executives and a member of the board unloaded almost all of their stock just before the “Stolen Honor” flap caused the company’ stock to tank. William S. Lerach, an attorney for the stock holders told reporters that he is not alleging that the company knew that running “Stolen Honor” would ruin the company — the company’s value was steeply declining anyway. However, these top insiders were able to save themselves millions of dollars, and make the many dubious businesses involving “Stolen Honor,” while holding almost no stake in the company itself.
In an apparent effort to appease advertisers and investors, the company announced on Tuesday that it would not air the anti-Kerry film “in its entirety,” but that the hour-long program would include a panel discussion. Of course, that is what was planned all along, as the company itself says in its press release. It appears what the company has done is to repackage the program and give it a title — but it still includes the anti-Kerry film as the core of the program. The company has also decided not to air the program on about 20 stations, in cities where Sinclair owns more than one station in a market. That leaves 40 stations that plan to air the anti-Kerry propaganda program. The program will also now air on only one date and time: Friday, October 22, 2004 at 8:00 P.M. Eastern time, instead of at variouis times on different stations across the week.
While some publications have published stories that Sinclair has reversed itself and is not actually airing “Stolen Honor,” others see through the fog.
“Sinclair is packaging ‘Stolen Honor’ as news and directing its stations to run a program about it, uninterrupted, in prime time Friday night,” the Columbia Journalism Review editorialized on Tuesday. “In a last-minute maneuver, the company announced today that the repackaged program would bear the title “A POW Story: Politics, Pressure and the Media.” The editorial concludes however the program is “not news; it’s propaganda, which no amount of re-packaging will effectively hide.”
Nick Davis who runs the Boycott Sinclair Broadcast Group web site writes, “Folks, we’re close but we’re not there yet. The move to a new Friday “documentary” is not nearly enough to let us yield, not yet. We have now nearly 100 advertiser pullouts, with more coming in daily. Remember,” he continued, “it was the work of you that caused the stock price to fall. We can succeed in this. We’re so close, and we will not give in. Keep fighting.”
Sinclair Broadcast Group is getting a bad rep on Wall Street due to a history of poor performance and what analysts view as a disastrous business decision to air an anti-Kerry propaganda film on all of its 62 TV stations this week. A boycott of Sinclair’s advertisers is snowballing, and other unforseen troubles of the company’s own making are bringing wave after wave of unwanted bad publicity.
The stock value of the corporate giant is in free fall. According to some accounts, the company has lost 11% of its value since the company announced its decision to air the controverisal film. A major story on the front page of The New York Times business section on Monday morning detailed stock analysts’ concerns about the unwise politization of the media company, and predicted the very political and economic backlash the company is now experiencing.
Sinclair stock has dropped every day since the company ordered is stations to air the anti-Kerry hit piece — 8% on Monday alone. Knight Ridder Newspapers reported that when the stock market closed on Monday, “The stock has fallen 53 percent this year. It dropped 7 cents, or 1 percent, on Friday to close at $7.04. It traded at a 52-week low Monday of $6.49. Before Sinclair’s plans to show the documentary more than a week ago was first reported, the stock was at $7.50.”
It appears that its only going to get worse for the shrinking media giant.
MoveOn.org is emailing members urging them to question mutual funds and pension funds that are heavily invested in Sinclair.
The Baltimore Sun reported that the DC Bureau chief for Sinclair Broadcasting, Jon Lieberman publicly denounced the film as “political propaganda” and told his bosses he would not participate in presenting it as news. Lieberman’s statement epitomizes the view of most of those who are outraged by Sinclair’s dictatorial decision, “it’s not about right or left,” he said, “it’s about what’s right or wrong in news coverage this close to an election.” He was later fired by Joseph DeFeo, Sinclair’s vice president for news, and “escorted out of the building,” according to CBS News. Now, of course, Leiberman is a hero to journalists everywhere for speaking up for journalistic integrity, and will undoubtedly be featured by every media major and minor media outlet in the U.S. this week.
News outlets nationwide were already running the story about how Kenneth J. Campbell, a University of Delaware professor and a decorated veteran of the war in Vietnam has filed a libel suit against Carton Sherwood, the producer of the film at the center of the controversy. Campbell claims that the film shows him at a 1971 war protest with a voice-over that claims many of those who took part in the event were later “discovered as frauds” who “never set foot on the battlefield, or left the comfort of the States, or even served in uniform.” Campbell says he will add Sinclair to the libel suit if it airs the film this week.
Meanwhile, the boycott continues to gather momentum, and media reports continue to surface examples of businesses that have withdrawn their advertising. For example, HER Real Living, a real-estate company with 30 offices in Central Ohio, has pulled its ads from Sinclair’s local Fox and ABC affiliates.
The North Carolina law firm of Henson and Feurst also says that is has withdrawn its advertising according to a letter posted on The Daily Kos. Attorney Thomas W. Henson wrote, “We spend each day fighting for these rights for our clients against companies and industries that abuse their power, and do not approve of a company which chooses to violate its use of the public airwaves in a manner inconsistent with our constitutional liberties.”
The Sinclair story may very well shape up to be the most spectacular corporate meltdown in recent American history.
The extraordinary decline in the stock value of the Sinclair Broadcast Group and the rise of the Sinclair advertiser boycott, may be one of the most important trends in the popular media reform movement aimed at the problems caused by concentrated ownership of mass media.
One could argue that the massive publicity the company has received since it ordered its 62 stations to air an anti-Kerry propaganda film, cuts both ways –
Similarly, liberal financier Sheldon Drobny, one of the owners of Air America Radio network wrote on Friday that Sinclair’s poor performance over time is due largely to the “politcal agenda” of the company’s CEO David Smith. Drobny thinks that “the company will be forced to change its programming or sell it’s valuable TV licenses to another company if Smith does not get his act together.”
While the Boycott Sinclair Broadcast Group web site now claims “over 50 confirmed advertiser pullouts from Sinclair, including at least one large national advertiser” the site has a policy of not revealing the names of companies that have pulled out — “Unless they have specifically instructed me to do so. At this time, I have no such instructions.”
The media and others, however, are not bound by this unusual choice. The Flint (Michgan) Journal reported on Friday that a Detroit law firm had pulled its ads from the only Sinclair affiliate in the state.
The Daily Hampshire Gazette (Northampton, MA) reported on Saturday that Democratic candidate for Governor’s Council (the body that picks judges in Massachusetts) has pulled his planned ads from the Sinclair owned station in Springfield, MA. “They have a first amendment right to broadcast it,” said attorney Vickery, “and Democrats have the First Amendment right to refuse to subsidize it.”
The Cincinatti Enquirer reported on Friday that a local pizza chain is pulling its ads for a day from the local Sinclair station.
The (Portland) Press Herald reported that a credit union that advertised on the Portland station was also joining the boycott.
While some of these decisions were made earlier in the week, as detailed on These advertiser lists are especially useful, since calls and emails to local stations are routed to Sinclair headquarters, which is happy to receive all the flack in its electronic waste baskets. The local Sinclair-owned stations have no say in the central decision making of the tightly held, Smith family-run company.
The corporate media behemoth Sinclair Broadcast Group is about to learn a lesson of the marketplace faster than you can say Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.
Sinclair is, of course, the now infamous owner of 62 television stations, that has ordered its stations to preempt their regular prime time program schedule next week to air a virulently anti-Kerry film titled “Stolen Honor.” Sinclair claims the film is legitimate “news,” but critics and independent journalism experts say that it not only flunks the smell test by any reasonable standard, but that it has been widely available on DVD for some time, and in no way qualifies as “news.” (Ever seen a segment of 60 Minutes available on DVD in advance of its broadcast?)
Anyway, the company directive, unprecedented in the history of television news, has provoked so much outrage that the company’s stock price is falling and an organized boycott of it’s advertisers is underway. News accounts and activity on blog sites suggests that the rolling disaster the company has brought upon itself is gathering speed.
Salon.com reports: “Sinclair’s stock, which is already underperforming, dragged down by the weight of the company’s enormous debt, a consequence of mismanagement at the top, drooped even more following the “Stolen Honor” announcement. And that comes on the heels of the stock hitting its 52-week low in late September. (Sinclair trades for roughly $7. In 1995 the stock traded for $45, and that was before the late ’90s stock market surge.)”
Salon also reported that it was unable to get through to Sinclair for comment because the company’s phone line was jammed.
Numerous efforts to persuade Sinclair not to air the anti-Kerry hit piece are now under way. For example, the organization Media Matters, suggests that people who have investments in mutual funds or pension funds that in turn own stock in Sinclair, let the funds know of their views. And at the Boycott Sinclair Broadcast Group site, one can find the contact information for many of the companies that advertise on Sinclair owned stations.
This almost instant and escalating effort may be unprecedented in American history for having been so rapidly, powerfully, and decentrally organized. I have already read reports that a law firm in Flint, Michigan, and a furniture store in Minneapolis have dropped their advertising on the Sinclair owned stations. A blogger on the The Daily Kos reports that Sylvan Learning Centers has also yanked thier ads.[UPDATE: the boycott group now reports 40 companies have pulled thier ads. A comprehensive source for information about the Sinclair situation can be found on The Daily Kos, including the names of a number of companies that have pulled out, and some of those that have refused.]
One dimension of the sleazy attack video is the political pedigree of the film’s producer, Carlton Sherwood, who previously wrote a book about Korean cult leader, Rev. Sun Myung Moon, the purpose of which, according to documents obtained by PBS’ Frontline, was to “silence critics.”
Even if Sinclair caves and agrees not to run the film, or agrees to air a positive portrayal of Kerry as well, (which has been offered by a film maker), the campaign against the company has already added strength to an existing effort by the Northampton, Massachusetts-based media reform organization Free Press to address the company’s long record of abuses of the public airwaves. The group is is organizing challenges to the broadcast licenses of a number of Sinclair owned stations.
The Free Press also appears to be the best one stop shop for finding the various anti-Sinclair campaigns.
What we are seeing may be a case study in rapid corporate self-destruction that will fascinate business school students for years to come.
Expect a conservative revolt at the polls. Conservative leaders are going public with their outrage at the betrayals of the Bush administration over what they consider to be bedrock conservative principles: Fiscal restraint; avoidance of unnecessary foreign wars and entanglements; low taxes; personal privacy, and more.
Item: Former Rep. Bob Barr (R-GA) has been battling the administration on the excesses of the Patriot Act from the beginning. He was a speaker a the presidential nominating convention of the far-right Constitution Party, and he recently told the media he could not vote for Bush.
Item: Former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice, Roy Moore has been touring the country with Constitution Party candidate Michael Peroutka – much to the consternation of fellow Republicans.
Item: The Lone Star Iconoclast, the weekly newspaper of Bush’s home town of Crawford, Texas broke with Bush and endorsed Kerry. “He let us down,” wrote W. Leon Smith, the Reaganite editor and publisher.
Item: Doug Bandow of the conservative/libertarian Cato Institute, has posted a major article on Salon.com titled Why Conservatives Must Not Vote for Bush. While some conservatives will send a protest vote to the Constitution Party, the Libertarian Party, or even Ralph Nader, Bandow is up front that it would be better for conservatives if Kerry is president. His basic argument is that on the issues of primary concern to conservatives, Kerry could hardly be worse. More importantly, he believes that if the Republicans control both houses of Congress, they will provide a check on Kerry on everything from the budget to judicial nominations. Kerry will have to deal.
Bandow notes that many conservatives are horrified by Bush’s record on the budget deficit and the disastrous war in Iraq. He cites Dan Devine of the American Conservative Union, who says, “A rational conservative would calculate a vote for Kerry as likely to do less damage fiscally.”
“Iraq, already in chaos, is no conservative triumph,” writes Bandow. “The endeavor is social engineering on a grand scale, a war of choice launched on erroneous grounds that has turned into a disastrously expensive neocolonial burden.”
“Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction, contrary to administration claims,” Bandow continues, “and no operational relationship with al-Qaida, contrary to administration insinuations. U.S. officials bungled the occupation, misjudging everything from the financial cost to the troop requirements.”
Still, there is no question that many, probably a vast majority of conservatives are loath to vote for Kerry. But Bandow makes clear that of those who are also loath to vote for Bush, merely not voting for Bush, (by staying home or casting a protest vote) does not necessarily defeat Bush. Obviously, the only way to be sure that Bush is no longer president, is to vote for Kerry. In some ways, conservatives share the same dilemma as those progressive voters who are horrified about Bush, (for overlapping, but also very different reasons) but are also loath to vote for Kerry and are tempted to vote for Ralph Nader or Green Party candidate David Cobb.
No one can say what people will do in the privacy of the voting booth. But one thing is certain: many intelligent, thoughtful, and conflicted conservatives and progressives, whatever their differences, are deeply concerned about the state and direction of the country. I think they may surprise the world, and maybe even themselves.
Politicians often seem to be trying just a little too hard. For example, they seem to invoke faith and God more than most people. When some of them get consistently carried away, people often wryly note that they seem to be running for preacher rather than public office. Some pols go even farther. George Bush and some fellow GOP leaders, act like they believe they are literally God’s prophets, holding forth not only on their own Faith, but castigating their opponents as puppets of The Evil One. (On a good day, they try to be subtle about it.) But when the time comes to appear more statesmanlike, the surrogates gather like storm clouds on the horizon.
As I write, the primarily protestant Christian Right, in tandem with certain far right-wing Catholic Bishops, are gearing up for a final assault on the religious faith of John Kerry. Many people will follow these leaders to varying degrees, and they will be looking for people who, well, don’t agree.
Some moderate and liberal Christians may occasionally find themselves at something of a loss for words in such discussions around the neighborhood, and around the water cooler. Fortunately, help is on the way. A group called Christians for Kerry/Edwards has put together a web site chock full of useful resources and links to progressive religious organizations. They have some tips for getting through that ride on the elevator — or wherever one might happen to be trapped — with folks whose notion of Christianity has become conflated with the policies and ambitions of certain Republican candidates.
For those who seek a little more adventure in their elevator rides, there are also Christians for Kerry/Edwards buttons and tee-shirts available.
Christians for Kerry/Edwards also provides deeper rationales for the conversations that go beyond the elevator — as well as statements that Kerry and John Edwards have made about how their personal faith has informed their lives and their notions of public service.
The group points out that Mr. Bush, who had made much of his Christian faith, originally ran as a “compassionate conservative.” They discuss the notion of Christian compassion in this context and emphasize their view that Christian compassion is more about deeds than words. By that measure, they find that Bush has been long on talk and short on deeds in the face of growing human suffering in the U.S. and in the world. Kerry on the other hand, is offering a roster of deeds he would seek to accomplish if he were president. So when Kerry talks about his plan for America, Christians for Kerry/Edwards are hearing a roster of the kinds of deeds they would hope and expect from a fellow Christian.
The strength and clarity of the compassionate Christian views of Christians for Kerry/Edwards make for a refreshing read. They are likely to equip many a beleaguered Christian liberal with what they need for politically adventurous rides on the elevator, and beyond.