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1 of 675 DOCUMENTS

Copyright 2005 Boston Herald Inc.

The Boston Herald
December 30, 2005 Friday

LENGTH: 137 words
HEADLINE: Editorial;

Free and fair voting in Iraq

American and Iraqi officials could assert all they wanted that the Dec. 15 parliamentary elections in Iraq were fair. But until the United Nations said it, the naysaying was inevitable. And even WITH the U.N. endorsement, which came this week, there were howls of protest from religious Sunnis fearful that their power will be diminished in the new government.

But the elections were ``transparent and credible,'' according to Craig Jenness, who conducted the review on behalf of the U.N. There were complaints of irregularities, yes, but only one for every 7,000 courageous Iraqis who cast a ballot. ``We at the U.N. see no justification for a rerun of the election,'' Jenness said. The Sunnis should put aside their demands for a ``do-over,'' and focus on building a government in which they are fully and fairly represented.
LOAD-DATE: December 30, 2005

2 of 675 DOCUMENTS

Copyright 2005 Boston Herald Inc.

The Boston Herald
December 30, 2005 Friday

LENGTH: 452 words

These gems will rock your world

It's almost 2006 - have you resolved to see better films next year? Beantown makes it easy to keep that promise.

Tip your hats to the Human Rights Watch International Film Festival (Jan. 19-28); three local venues will celebrate the power of the human spirit.

The Museum of Fine Arts kicks off the event with ``Sisters in Law,'' a film from Cameroon by Kim Longinotto and Florence Ayisi. In a small Muslim village, two African women - one a state prosecutor, the other a court president - rally to fight injustice against their gender. Witty and resilient, the powerhouse figures represent a small voice overcoming obstacles of epic proportions.

Don't forget to hop on over to Brookline, where the Coolidge Corner Theatre will be holding a special screening of ``Mardi Gras: Made in China'' on Jan. 23. Tracing the trail of those ever-mirthful beads found in New Orleans every year, the film flips back and forth between the factory in China where the baubles are made to the revelers using them to party on Bourbon Street. Fat Tuesday never looked so silly.

On Jan. 22, the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem hosts a triple-feature, including ``The Liberace of Baghdad,'' a spectacular look into the life of an acclaimed Iraqi pianist, his divided family and the American dream that keeps him alive. In the war-torn country, Samir Peter performs in deserted hotel bars rather than concert halls. With two of his children in the States and a pro-Saddam daughter refusing to leave, will he ever achieve his desires?

All these heavy-handed themes can take a toll on the soul, so take a break to see the one and only Tommy Lee Jones at the Harvard Film Archive on Jan. 27. ``The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada'' director will discuss his latest critically acclaimed flick and will no doubt have audience members on the edge of their seats.

The Coolidge isn't too shabby with its own special guest appearances booked for the month. Rudy Ray Moore - also known to the world as the wisecracking superhero Dolemite - will be on the premises Jan. 13 at midnight for a special screening of his second flick, ``The Human Tornado.'' Perhaps the wackiest, craziest and most eye-popping selection in the man's portfolio, the indie adventure finds Dolemite on the run and trying to save his friend Queen Bee, a nightclub owner threatened by a horde of mafia thugs.

Please, don't forget to continue to support a Harvard Square gem, the Brattle Theatre. It's not a hard thing to do when the arthouse sanctuary will be showing three classic Muppet movies: ``The Great Muppet Caper,'' ``Muppets Take Manhattan'' and ``The Muppet Movie,'' in a new 35mm print, tomorrow through Thursday. Nurse your aching head and start the year off right.
LOAD-DATE: December 30, 2005

3 of 675 DOCUMENTS

Copyright 2005 Boston Herald Inc.

The Boston Herald
December 27, 2005 Tuesday

LENGTH: 770 words
HEADLINE: Letters to the Editor

Talk is cheap

``Urgency is needed to improve public schools,'' (Dec 20) is an understatement. Today there are over 16,000 students in 25 schools that have failed to make adequate yearly progress in any of the last six years, according to the federal No Child Left Behind Act. The teachers' unions are largely opposed to any potential solution that may tie pay to performance or harm carefully negotiated contracts that focus on automatic pay raises and work rules.

Bold action is needed to turn around our underperforming schools. One way to do this is to solicit bids from all groups interested in taking over an underperforming school. Bidders could include the existing school board, a group of teachers, a social service agency such as The Salvation Army, a foundation, a private group or business. The Department of Education could require that each bidder guarantee a certain level of performance in average MCAS scores. If the bidder exceeded its guarantee, then it would receive a bonus. If not, there would be an equivalent penalty. All guarantees would be protected by a surety bond required of each successful bidder.

Twelve years after the promise of education reform, 16,000 students still are not getting their one shot for a decent education. Let's act.

- Lovett C. Peters, Founding Chairman, Pioneer Institute for Public Policy

Editorial out of focus

The Herald's support for pay-per-channel regulation (``Let's unbundle cable TV,'' Dec. 4) may initially sound like a great idea. However, overwhelming evidence shows it would actually hurt consumers.

More than 100 cable channels representing diverse genres and audiences told Congress that their very existence depends on the opportunity to be seen by most subscribers - something pay-per-channel regulation would eliminate.

In addition, 16 community groups representing African-Americans and Latinos said a la carte could have devastating effects on Hispanic and African-American channels and, ``were such regulations in place previously, networks such as BET, TV One, Si-TV and others could not have survived.''

Instead of pay-per-channel's diminished diversity, shrinking channel choice and higher costs, today's new digital technology, increasing availability of ``on-demand'' offerings and variety of competitive cable and satellite packages provide Americans with the best television choices in the world.

- Rob Stoddard, Senior Vice President National Cable and Telecommunications Association, Washington, D.C.

No connection here

The Herald reports, ``Some neighbors said Kim Blackhall had exhibited signs of mental illness'' prior to the murder of her mother. (``Woman found slain, daughter arrested,'' Dec. 20). What is the connection? Do the Herald and the neighbors believe that mental illness causes crime and violence?

Making a nonsensical connection between crime and psychiatric illness demonizes all persons with such illnesses. The Herald might as well report that neighbors said Kim Blackhall ate Cheerios for breakfast every day, suggesting that as a cause of what she is accused of doing.

- Roy Bercaw, Cambridge

Time to shelter them

On Dec. 19, after a cold but cheerful time at the Frog Pond on the Common, I participated in the homeless census (``City, volunteers mount annual homeless count,'' Dec. 20). I needed to see the impact of soaring housing costs. I saw.

What I find most upsetting is that I know with the right funding and broader backing, we can put a large dent in homelessness. We can develop affordable housing for homeless vets, single moms and those young professionals who often choose other cities because of housing costs.

Sending a rocket to the moon is hard. Feeding, housing and finding jobs for our own people shouldn't be. I am not saying we should turn our backs on Iraq. I am saying our priorities are skewed but still fixable.

- Nathan Spencer, Brighton

Bush unrestrained

So columnist Cal Thomas doesn't mind the president violating the rights of Americans, having unlimited powers and having no oversight or judicial review (``In war on terror, enemy can be us,'' Dec. 21). Thomas rants about the undue delay in seeking judicial oversight of allowing eavesdropping on Americans by Americans without offering any shred of evidence this is unduly burdensome. Thomas claims that having the government eavesdrop on its citizens without any oversight will help stop terrorism. Well I agree it will help stop terrorism; that's why Hitler, Stalin, Lenin, Saddam and every other tyrant employed this tactic. It's also why we must remember the words of FDR: ``The only thing we need to fear is fear itself.''

- Chad F. Affsa, Whitman
LOAD-DATE: December 27, 2005

4 of 675 DOCUMENTS

Copyright 2005 Boston Herald Inc.

The Boston Herald
December 26, 2005 Monday

LENGTH: 350 words
HEADLINE: Local Marines called to duty

New England's only Marine Reserve combat force - a storied grunt battalion manned by local cops, jakes, tradesmen and professionals - has been called to the fight in Iraq.

``I'm looking forward to it. It's what I've trained for. I'm a Marine,'' said Cpl. Danny Foley, 24, of West Roxbury.

The young infantryman is one of more than 1,000 Marine reservists assigned to units in Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire and Connecticut who gathered last week at the Devens Reserve Forces Training Area in Ayer to load their weapons and gear. Together, they make up the 1st Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment.

After a few days' leave over the holidays, the battalion ships out to a desert training base in California for three months before heading to Iraq. The local Marines have orders to team up with Iraqi security forces in Al Anbar Province, a notorious hot spot where hundreds of Marines and soldiers have been killed.

But these proud leathernecks say they're eager to do their duty.

``If you make an oath, you have to honor it,'' said Staff Sgt. Kenneth Seney, 31, of New Bedford.

One evening after the deployment orders came down, with their two kids tucked in bed, Seney and his wife talked about what would happen to the family if were killed. The veteran Marine fired off a few jokes to lighten the conversation.

``I told her with two life insurance policies, she could buy a new daddy for the kids,'' quipped Seney, a supervisor with Belmont Springs in civilian life.

Sgt. Jason Fragoso, 24, of Roxbury will have to put off law school for a year to answer Uncle Sam's call.

``I'm just going with a positive attitude, hoping to do the best I can for those people and for this country,'' Fragoso said.

Sgt. Jamil Brown, 32, of Dorchester had finished his hitch in the Marines and was getting on with his civilian career at U.S. Airways. The Corps asked him to re-up for the Iraq deployment.

``I feel I'm needed, so I'll go,'' the soft-spoken warrior explained.

Brown, who has nine brothers and a sister, will lead a squad of Marines specializing in electronic communications. Their safety falls on his broad shoulders.
GRAPHIC: GODSPEED: After spending the holidays with family, Marine Staff Sgt. Kenneth Seney will head to Iraq. STAFF PHOTO BY TARA CARVALHO
LOAD-DATE: December 26, 2005

5 of 675 DOCUMENTS

Copyright 2005 Boston Herald Inc.

The Boston Herald
December 25, 2005 Sunday

LENGTH: 563 words


Right-to-die case, celeb scandals big in 2005, too

Three months later, the images still haunt, not only for their horror, but for their disorienting effect: the corpse of a disabled man, propped in his wheelchair along the side of a road, a throng of refugees stranded in the Superdome, a mother and child huddled on a rooftop, surrounded by the sea.

Surely this could not happen in America. This could not happen in the wealthiest country on earth.

No other story in 2005 gripped the nation more than Hurricane Katrina, not only because of the devastation it caused, but because of the vast divide it exposed between the country's haves and have-nots - and the enduring capacity of Americans to respond from the heart.

Katrina swept through the Gulf Coast, devastating New Orleans and other parts of the bayou. The outcome has a shameful simplicity: Those who had the money and means escaped and survived; those who had nothing were left to fend for themselves. A probe continues into why officials ignored warnings about the toll a hurricane of such magnitude would take and why, once it happened, they took so long to respond.

But although Katrina dominated headlines, on the national front, there was no shortage of major events in 2005. Among them:

- Two Supreme Court seats opened up with the deaths of Chief Justice William Rehnquist and the impending retirement of Sandra Day O'Connor, leaving President Bush with a unique opportunity to leave his mark on the nation's highest court. John Roberts quickly won congressional approval to replace Rehnquist. But Bush's second nominee, White House counsel Harriet Miers, who had never been a judge, withdrew after persistent questions about her qualifications. Confirmation hearings will be held next month for the president's third nominee, federal Judge Samuel Alito.

- The feeding tube that had kept coma patient Terri Schiavo alive was removed after an unprecedented legal battle over the brain-damaged woman's care. Schiavo died 13 days later.

- Gas prices topped $3 a gallon in the wake of Hurricane Katrina - and oil companies enjoyed record profits, sparking accusations of price-gouging.

- Former Ku Klux Klan leader Edgar Ray Killen was convicted in connection with the slayings of three civil-rights workers 41 years ago in Mississippi.

- Municipal employee and church leader Dennis Rader pleaded guilty and got 10 life terms for the ``BTK'' - his own moniker, for Bind, Torture, Kill - serial killings that terrorized the Wichita, Kan., area.

- Former WorldCom chief Bernard Ebbers was convicted of engineering the largest corporate fraud in U.S. history and sentenced to 25 years in prison.

- Americans rejected President Bush's attempt to privatize Social Security.

- A special prosecutor launched a probe into who leaked the name of a CIA agent whose husband criticized the Bush administration's rationale for the invasion of Iraq. When the investigation homed in on Deputy White House Chief of Staff Karl Rove, Bush backed down from his pledge to fire the culprit, but vice presidential aide I. Lewis Scooter Libby resigned after being indicted in connection with the scandal.

- Comedian and former ``Tonight Show'' host Johnny Carson died on Jan. 23.

- Celebrity scandals, including the trial and acquittal of pop star Michael Jackson on child-molestation charges and the Brad Pitt-Jennifer Aniston-Angelina Jolie love triangle got far more ink and air time than they deserved.
GRAPHIC: DEATH DEBATE: Terri Schiavo's relatives fought a bitter battle over the right to remove her feeding tube. AP file photo/Schindler family photo

CARSON: Comic legend

JACKO: Beats charges
LOAD-DATE: December 27, 2005

6 of 675 DOCUMENTS

Copyright 2005 Boston Herald Inc.

The Boston Herald
December 25, 2005 Sunday

LENGTH: 435 words

Terrorism, killings rage around globe

The occupations of Lebanon and the Gaza Strip came to historic ends in 2005. But across the world, peace proved an elusive goal.

Kashmir felt nature's fury as an earthquake devastated the capital, killing tens of thousands.

But nothing proved as lethal as the human hand.

Terrorism cut swaths of destruction in Britain, Gaza and

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