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Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001.

Called the ``Massachusetts G.I. bill,'' Romney's legislation raises Guardsmen's pay from $75 to $100 a day and increases state death benefits from $5,000 to $100,000.

Additionally, the state would cover the premiums for $250,000 worth of life insurance for Guard members.

``This is, in fact, the least we can do,'' Romney said to rousing applause at the swearing-in of Army National Guard Brigadier Gen. Oliver Mason Jr. as the new adjutant general of the Massachusetts National Guard.

``Today, more than ever, we need patriots to take an oath, as I am doing today,'' Mason said after receiving congratulations from Romney and retiring guard Adjutant Gen. George Keefe.

Romney praised Keefe for ``cleaning house'' and leaving the state National Guard in ``great shape.''
GRAPHIC: APPRECIATED: Sgt. John Brown of Quincy strolls past equipment at the Dorchester armory. He and his fellow Guardsmen will benefit from legislation filed by Gov. Mitt Romney that hikes pay and education aid. STAFF PHOTO BY JOHN WILCOX
LOAD-DATE: May 25, 2005




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Copyright 2005 Boston Herald Inc.

The Boston Herald
May 25, 2005 Wednesday

ALL EDITIONS
SECTION: EDITORIAL; Pg. 033
LENGTH: 514 words
HEADLINE: Op-Ed;

Chirac flushed with ineptitude
BYLINE: By RACHELLE COHEN
BODY:

Newsweek - at least the current international edition - may be on the verge of redeeming itself with its latest cover story.

Sure, the American edition of the magazine is still smarting from that ill-sourced and ultimately retracted story about military intelligence officers at Guantanamo flushing a Koran down the toilet. But the international edition has now decided to rip up what's left of the career of French President Jacques Chirac and flush it down the porcelain (and we don't mean Limoges).

Those who are still chowing down on ``freedom'' fries are going to love a cover story entitled ``Europe's Dinosaur'' that raises the question: ``Is France's Jacques Chirac dragging his country down?''

If Newsweek had intended to plant a big wet kiss on President Bush's posterior, it couldn't have timed this one better.

``Even if Chirac's opposition to the American-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 was obstructive, divisive and ultimately ineffective, it marked one of the high points of his popularity at home,'' Newsweek wrote.

``Yet, after 40 years in politics and 10 as president, Chirac's footwork has gone flat. The public is weary of his bobbing and weaving, and deeply wary of his promises,'' the article continued, not letting go of a sumo-wrestling metaphor it insisted on torturing into submission along with the French president.

The article noted Chirac promised to cut unemployment, which is down only marginally from 11.4 percent when he took office to 10.2 percent today. His term doesn't expire until 2007, but at the moment some 72 percent of voters don't want him to run again. And a scheduled May 29 referendum on a new European constitution is widely expected to go down in a perceived slap at Chirac himself.

The article is accompanied by some particularly delightful photos - a kind of Chirac political family album. One shows a youthful Chirac as prime minister in January 1976 with an equally youthful Saddam Hussein in Baghdad, no less. A later photo shows him side by side with another loathsome war criminal, Serbian tyrant Slobodan Milosevic.

And not to pile on or anything, the magazine solicited a commentary by British Member of Parliament Denis MacShane, who also served as an EU minister from 2002 to 2005. His assessment?

``France has had its worst decade of economic growth since World War II. Poverty is increasing. . . And Chirac has weakened France on the world stage, in contrast to all his predecessors.''

And MacShane reveals that in February 2003, Chirac met with British Prime Minister Tony Blair on the Normandy coast (apparently without any sense of irony there) and assured him that ``he would not leave America and Britain to go it alone'' in Iraq. That pledge lasted no more than a few weeks.

Well, freedom fries may be off U.S. menus now, yes, those glorious white burgundies are too good a deal to pass up, but those still harboring just une petite animosite can still speak out.

NewsweekInternational.com is holding a ``live vote'' on Chirac's future. As we say here in Boston, vote early and often.

Rachelle Cohen is editor of the editorial pages.
LOAD-DATE: May 25, 2005




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The Boston Herald
May 23, 2005 Monday

ALL EDITIONS
SECTION: NEWS; Pg. 010
LENGTH: 377 words
HEADLINE: Town voters take on national concerns
BYLINE: By LAURA CRIMALDI
BODY:

In an age of worries about terrorism and the ongoing conflict in Iraq, Town Meeting voters across the state are tackling issues fit for the United Nations and Congress - testing the fabric of the centuries-old institution.

From Milton to Williamstown, voters are weighing in on the USA Patriot Act and the Iraq war between their votes on local budgets and zoning bylaws.

Taking up national issues in a local forum has drawn ire from some who believe those matters don't belong on the Town Meeting floor.

But supporters of acting locally on global matters reach back to the Stamp Act - the hot pre-Revolutionary War issue of 1765 - to make the case for the relevance of their efforts to take action at the lowest, most traditional level of participatory government.

``I think the citizens that bring these forward say these are local matters because they affect our lives,'' said Nancy Murray, education director for the Massachusetts' American Civil Liberties Union.

Williamstown last week joined 52 other communities in passing a resolution opposing the USA Patriot Act.

Williamstown's Town Meeting was also one of several local bodies that approved a separate article calling for the withdrawal of Massachusetts National Guard units from Iraq.

Meanwhile, in Milton, voters also approved a resolution opposing the USA Patriot Act, but not without a bitter fight.

``We know that most of the business of Town Meeting has to do with budgets and zoning bylaws, but what does it mean to swear an oath to protect the constitution when the USA Patriot Act is undermining our very rights?'' said Geoffrey Wilkinson of Milton, who coauthored the anti-Patriot Act resolution. Another group of Milton townies recently organized themselves as the Article 55 Team to fight Wilkinson's measure.

Several western Massachusetts towns also have taken action this spring on a resolution demanding the return of Massachusetts National Guard units serving in Iraq.

Response to the resolutions has been mixed.

In Belchertown, where the measure was defeated, opponents argued a foreign policy debate over Iraq has no place at Town Meeting.

But Madeline Casey, the Belchertown peace activist who sponsored the out-of-Iraq resolution, countered, ``We are citizens of the country as well as the town.''
LOAD-DATE: May 23, 2005




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The Boston Herald
May 22, 2005 Sunday

ALL EDITIONS
SECTION: NEWS; Pg. 005
LENGTH: 303 words
HEADLINE: Cheers greet Marines in Hub
BYLINE: By Casey Ross
BODY:

Marine Col. Ron Johnson keeps the names in his pocket, a long list of privates and lance corporals who didn't make it home.

``I wish I could show you all their faces,'' Johnson said during a solemn ceremony in South Boston yesterday. ``These men were some of the strongest and brightest America had to offer. We lost 18 the first time (in Iraq) and 36 the second time. I will never forget them.''

As he spoke, more than 350 Marines from the 24th expeditionary unit stood in formation before him, ready to return to Iraq next year for their third tour in the desert war zone.

The sacrifices of those soldiers and the dozens who died in the fighting were commemorated yesterday by hundreds of South Boston residents who cheered during a parade down East Broadway and then cried at a wreath-laying in Medal of Honor Park.

``We open our arms and our hearts to welcome you home into our community of South Boston,'' said Tom Lyons, a member of the Southie Vietnam Veterans Memorial Committee. ``. . .The sad irony is it takes the reality of war for the general public to realize what it means to wear that uniform.''

The 24th expeditionary unit, based at Camp Lejeune, N.C., lost 54 soldiers in some of the most intense war zones in Iraq; 400 soldiers in the unit suffered injuries during the fighting.

On Thursday, the 24th arrived in Boston aboard the USS John F. Kennedy aircraft carrier for a weekend of rest before heading to New York for Fleet Week. Many of the soldiers visited historical sites and relaxed in local restaurants as Bostonians thanked them for their service.

``It sure feels good to be home in Boston, I'll tell you that,'' said Col. Johnson, who is from Massachusetts. ``This is the best reception I've ever received in my 30 years in the Marine Corps.''

The 24th is expected to return to Iraq by next spring.
GRAPHIC: SALUTE: Rachael Elliott of New Hampshire, right, and Matt Tallent of Boston cheer as Marines march in South Boston. Staff photos by David Goldman

SUPPORT: Kathy Narbonne, right, whose son is in Iraq, gets a hug from Lisa Holzeman.
LOAD-DATE: May 22, 2005




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Copyright 2005 Boston Herald Inc.

The Boston Herald
May 22, 2005 Sunday

ALL EDITIONS
SECTION: NEWS; Pg. 008
LENGTH: 281 words
HEADLINE: Young soldier: `Protect, fight'
BYLINE: By Thomas Caywood
BODY:

Seventeen-year-old Shavonne Santiago of Chicopee recently raised her right hand and enlisted in the Massachusetts National Guard knowing full well she could be signing on for a tour in Iraq.

``I am nervous. I'll be honest. But we joined knowing that was expected of us. If it's go gonna help out, then OK,'' Santiago said last weekend at Camp Edwards.

Her class of 22 young men and nine young women had barely arrived at the post to begin military training when Sgt. Major Mark ``Hurricane'' Foster told them to forget about the Guard's signing bonuses and education benefits.

``The reason you are here is because we are a nation at war. You know what a terrorist is?'' Foster said, hands behind his back. ``He's been trained to kill you.''

After three years of war in Afghanistan and Iraq, the U.S. Army and the Army National Guard are struggling to replenish their ranks.

The Army fell well short of its recruiting goal for the third month in a row in April. The Army National Guard has missed its recruiting goal nationally in every month of the fiscal year.

Santiago stepped forward to become a Guard helicopter mechanic at a time when her peers are steering clear of military service.

``Since a kid, it was something I really wanted to do,'' the high school senior said. ``Protect, fight. Have a good time.''

Bridgewater State College student Paul Marcia, 21, of Pembroke, enlisted as a combat engineer. He left for basic training Monday.

``The big thing for me was the $10,000 signing bonus,'' said Marcia, who knows it's unlikely he'll serve out his hitch without getting deployed somewhere overseas.

``If it happens, it happens,'' he shrugged. ``I'll go over and do whatever I got to do.''
LOAD-DATE: May 22, 2005




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The Boston Herald
May 22, 2005 Sunday

ALL EDITIONS
SECTION: THE EDGE; Pg. 045
LENGTH: 664 words
HEADLINE: watch this
BYLINE: By Sarah Rodman
BODY:

It's a big week of season finales, but none is bigger than the wrap-up of the shenanigans on Wisteria Lane on ABC's ``Desperate Housewives.'' In addition to answering some burning questions, creator Marc Cherry piles on the intrigue with the introduction of yet another housewife, Betty Applewhite, played by the redoubtable Alfre Woodard. Meet the new neighbor tonight at 9 on (WCVB, Ch. 5).

Today May 22:

- It might take place about 120 years before ``Housewives,'' but the second season finale of HBO's ``Deadwood'' should be just as explosive as Swearengen (Ian McShane) upsets his neighbors, again, at 9 p.m.

- Say goodbye to ``Dr. McDreamy'' (Patrick Dempsey) as ABC's breakout medical drama ``Grey's Anatomy'' concludes its midseason run. The prognosis is good for nebbishy George (T.R. Knight) as he finally gets a girl, if not the one he's pined for all season, at 10 p.m. on WCVB (Ch. 5).

Tomorrow May 23:

- There are only two hours left in Jack Bauer's fourth worst day ever, and Fox's ``24'' doubtlessly will pack a lot of punch into the final 120 minutes, at 8 p.m. on WFXT (Ch. 25). Thankfully, no cameos from Kim or cougars are expected.

- Ephram (Gregory Smith) is off to Europe, Andy (Treat Williams) may be off to Chicago and Bright (Chris Pratt) wonders if he's off his rocker to like Hannah (Sarah Drew) in the season finale of WB's ``Everwood,'' at 9 p.m. on WLVI (Ch. 56).

Tuesday May 24:

- The last two boxers on NBC's ``The Contender'' duke it out for $1 million on the reality show's live finale from Caesar's Palace, at 8 p.m. on WHDH (Ch. 7).

- In their latest, but likely not last, reality television spectacle, ``Boston'' Rob Mariano and Amber Brkich of ``Survivor'' and ``Amazing Race'' infamy tie the knot in the Bahamas courtesy of CBS in the appropriately titled ``Rob and Amber Get Married,'' at 9 p.m. on WBZ (Ch. 4).

Wednesday May 25:

- Here's our advice to TV junkies who want to be in the know around the water cooler tomorrow: Tape the two-hour finale of Fox's ``American Idol,'' at 8 p.m. on WFXT (Ch. 25), and watch the two-hour season ender for ABC's ``Lost,'' at 8 p.m. on WCVB (Ch. 5). You can always peek at the last 10 minutes of ``Idol'' before you go to bed, but you'll need to see every twist and turn on that nutty island to properly discuss how producer J.J. Abrams resolved the castaways' first season.

Thursday May 26:

- It's only been one night, but apparently the TV Guide Channel already has caught up with the gang from ``American Idol'' in its special ``Idol Stars: Where Are They Now?'' The scrolling listing station hosts this update on contestants from the first three seasons at 9 p.m. Mario Vazquez is still promising that we'll hear from him real soon.

- A&E takes a look at the sometimes scary world inhabited by five female journalists covering the Iraq war in ``Bearing Witness,'' at 10 p.m.

Friday May 27:

- Sweeps is officially over, so your broadcast network pickings just got slimmer than the winner of ``America's Next Top Model.'' You can check out a leftover episode of ABC's now-canceled ``Complete Savages'' at 8:30 p.m. on WCVB (Ch. 5), or NBC's ``Law and Order: Trial By Jury'' on WHDH (Ch. 7) at 10 p.m., to remind yourself you didn't miss anything.

Saturday May 28:

- You just had to watch the ``American Idol'' finale didn't you? If you're kicking yourself for missing the ``Lost'' finale - or if you just want to pore over the details one more time, you're in luck. ABC re-airs the whole two-hour she-bang, at 8 p.m. on WCVB (Ch. 5).

- Every small town has a big story, according to HBO's tagline for its adaptation of Richard Russo's Pulitzer Prize winning novel ``Empire Falls.'' The ``it's not TV'' people enlisted the help of some seriously big names for this terrific two-parter, including Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, Ed Harris and Helen Hunt. Among them, these actors have racked up a whopping 19 Oscar nominations. The first part of this tale of a dying Maine town begins tonight at 9 and concludes tomorrow at 9 p.m.
LOAD-DATE: May 22, 2005




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The Boston Herald
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