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Iraq for the final stretch of a second voluntary extension of duty. ``I want to continue my work there,'' Moulton said last week when asked why he didn't come home in February.

His work now involves training Iraqi security forces under Lt. Gen. David Patraeus. As an infantry officer, Moulton led his platoon in the first wave of the invasion of Baghdad. They then were assigned to secure and rebuild Hillah.

``I felt an obligation to do my part,'' Moulton said, of his decision to eschew a career in the corporate world. ``It's an important part of being a citizen.'' He believes one reason those who attend elite prep schools and the Ivy League don't choose military service is because of a ``lack of exposure'' and a culture in which ``service isn't valued as highly today as it used to be.''

In a speech to Phillips Academy, another alma mater, Moulton said, ``If it sounds romantic or glorious, you've got it all wrong. Life is never the same after you learn to discern the difference in smell between burning trash and burning bodies.''

But, ``You can make a difference, and you don't have to wait for wealth or fame to do so. . . Often it's not a lot more complicated than simply stepping up to the plate.''

Moulton is due back home for good in September. But someday, he says, he wants to take his family to Iraq. ``It's a beautiful country.''

This young officer is unique. Or is he? Maybe we'll find out if Summers steps up to the plate, too.

Virginia Buckingham's column runs Tuesday and Thursday. Talk back at
LOAD-DATE: July 26, 2005

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Copyright 2005 Boston Herald Inc.

The Boston Herald
July 25, 2005 Monday

LENGTH: 212 words
HEADLINE: Slain actress' fiance vows to finish film
BYLINE: By Jessica Fargen

The grief-stricken fiance of an Emerson College student gunned down during a mugging in New York City has pledged to finish his once-betrothed's filmmaking dream.

Nicole duFresne, a 28-year-old actress and playwright who graduated from the Boston school, was slain Jan. 27 by a teenager who tried to mug her friends on a Lower East Side street.

Now, duFresne's fiance, Jeffrey Sparks, said he will complete ``Widowed'' - a documentary about people who lose spouses or mates to war or violence, -a film duFresne never had a chance to start, he told the New York Post.

``I'm living my life for Nicole - it's our project,'' he said.

Sparks, 35, is driving a motorcycle and his camera and microphones to Fort Hood, Texas, to interview spouses who have lost soldiers in the war in Iraq. He wants to move to Germany and travel to Iraq to interview Iraqi widows and widowers who've lost loved ones in the war.

He hopes to sell the film to HBO in about two years, when it is done.

DuFresne, Sparks and another couple had just left the bar Max Fish around 3:15 a.m. when four teens approached them. One tried to steal her friend's purse and ultimately shot duFresne. The muggers made off with a cell phone and a handful of credit cards.

Rudy Fleming, 19, is charged with duFresne's murder.
LOAD-DATE: July 25, 2005

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The Boston Herald
July 25, 2005 Monday

LENGTH: 434 words

`Over' the top';

Bochco cable series dramatizes Iraq war but lacks context

``Over There.'' Series premiere tomorrow at 10 p.m. on FX. ** (out of four)

The Army won't be using ``Over There'' in any recruiting drive.

The new drama from Steven Bochco (``NYPD Blue'') follows a group of young soldiers as they ship out to Iraq and get their first taste of war.

Their idealism offers no protection from enemy gunfire, incompetent commanders and betrayal from back home.

In the harrowing opener (tomorrow at 10 p.m. on FX) co-written by Bochco and Chris Gerolmo and directed by Gerolmo, the fresh meat, ranging from a Cornell graduate to a new mother, are pinned in a trench, under fire from insurgents hiding out in a mosque. The soldiers can't advance; they're not even supposed to return fire. Enduring the hellish standoff makes for tense television. When one soldier breaks off from the group to relieve herself, all hell breaks loose.

The carnage is shared sparingly, but it arrives with a detail never seen before on the small screen. A man running toward the soldiers is practically vaporized in a bloody explosion. His feet kick out from under him and then fall to the ground.

These soldiers are so innocent, so in over their heads, you know something bad is coming, and Bochco and Gerolmo do not disappoint. A beer run goes wrong, and the most naive among them pays a terrible price.

It is a stark, unrelenting premiere - ruined almost completely by the second episode, scheduled to air Aug. 3.

``Over There'' twists into soap opera as one soldier is reunited with the father who abandoned him. Seems Dad went out for a pack of smokes six years ago and never came back. (Hey, the same thing happened to Nelson Muntz on ``The Simpsons.'') One stateside wife comforts herself with booze and promiscuity. And in a nod to balance, an Arab-American soldier (Omid Abtahi) joins the unit and proves to be so heroic he lacks only a Spider-Man costume.

The only familiar face among the cast is the one that doesn't belong. Erik Palladino - an actor fired from ``ER,'' where the standards are so low you need to check for a pulse - stars as Sgt. ``Scream'' Silas. Judging from the results, Palladino's idea of acting seems to involve sucking down six Red Bulls before every scene.

For a current events drama, ``Over There'' omits one element that might be considered crucial-: any discussion about the politics behind the war. The Arabs here seem to think the Americans are invading for oil; at least one American just wants to kick some ass. But in robbing context to ``Over There,'' the show is neutered of the very relevance it seeks. Instead of being timely, ``Over There'' seems out of place.
LOAD-DATE: July 26, 2005

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The Boston Herald
July 24, 2005 Sunday

LENGTH: 564 words

Peaceful Muslims: We'll do our part
BYLINE: By Marie Szaniszlo

Moments after the interfaith service eulogizing the dozens of victims of the London bombings had ended, the woman confronted the imam in the vestibule of Trinity Church in Copley Square.

Talal Eid, the religious director of the Islamic Center of New England, listened politely as she demanded to know what he was doing to help stop Islamic extremism, before a church member stepped in and ushered the woman out.

``I think this is the government's job to stop terrorism, not my job,'' Eid said later. ``My job is to cooperate if I see something suspicious.''

If his tone is somewhat defensive, that is, one could argue, understandable. As terrorists around the globe continue their carnage in the name of Islam, pressure is mounting on Muslims to not only condemn the attacks, as Eid and others have done repeatedly, but to also fight for the soul of a religion that increasingly is being hijacked by extremists.

``The war on terror has to be more than a military fight,'' said Kamal Nawash, president of the Free Muslims Coalition in Washington, D.C. ``At its heart, Muslim terrorism is an ideological war. And ultimately, only Muslims can stop it.''

In May, the coalition sponsored an anti-terrorism rally that attracted thousands of Muslims to the capital. And it is developing a curriculum for Islamic schools, using the Koran to discredit what Nawash calls the ``sick ideology'' terrorists use to justify mass murder. One group can only do so much, he concedes. And he does not mince words in his assessment of the overall Muslim response to terrorism.

``The Muslim leadership has not done its fair share, and what they have done has been useless,'' he said. ``What good is it to take out ads in newspapers non-Muslims read and make speeches non-Muslims hear? It's a public-relations ploy to prevent backlash.''

Nawash attributes the failure of some Muslim leaders to take more aggressive action to a combination of incompetence and a preoccupation with the victimization of Muslims, from the time of the prophet Mohammad to the Arab-Israeli conflict and the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

``The truth is many Muslims share this ideology; they just think they're going about it the wrong way,'' he said.

One of the ironies those people overlook, Nawash said, is that the majority of the victims of Islamic terrorism are Muslims. But logistically, getting any message out in the Muslim community can be difficult because it lacks the structure of hierarchical religions such as Catholicism, said Rabia Harris, coordinator of the Muslim Peace Fellowship in Nyack, N.Y.

``There have been endless numbers of condemnations'' of the attacks, Harris said. ``But Islam is probably the most disorganized of the major religions. It's not uncommon for one congregation to have virtually no contact with another only a few miles away. So coordinating anything on a local level, much less a national or global one, is a challenge.''

The Islamic Society of North America is pushing for more coordination and openness among mosques. Although that would not end extremism, it would be a beginning, Eid said, because one of terrorism's prerequisites is secrecy, and the veil cannot be lifted by strangers.

``People who say there are legitimate reasons (for terror) can say that from now until the day they die, and they will still be wrong,'' he said. ``They are doing it in the name of my religion. They have no right.''
GRAPHIC: OUTSPOKEN: Imam Talal Eid, religious director of the Islamic Center of New England, condemns extremists' attacks but says it is the government's job to stop terrorism. Staff photo by Angela Rowlings
LOAD-DATE: July 24, 2005

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The Boston Herald
July 24, 2005 Sunday

LENGTH: 634 words
HEADLINE: watch this!
BYLINE: By Amy Amatangelo

Must Watch: Who does FX think it is? HBO? The basic cable network continues its buzz-worthy drama streak with the premiere of Steven Bochco's ``Over There'' on Wednesday at 10 p.m. The series is a blistering look at a group of young men and women on their first tour of duty in Iraq.

Today, July 24

- Sing it with me now. Come on, come on. Take it. Take another little ``Pizza My Heart'' now baby. Michael Badalucco, Shiri Appleby and Dan Hedeya star in this ABC Family movie about star-crossed pizza makers at 7 p.m.

- Kelly Ripa adds another line to her resume when she guest stars on husband Mark Consuelos' show. Ripa plays the girlfriend of a wealthy businessman in ``Missing'' at 10 p.m. on Lifetime.

Tomorrow, July 25

- Michelle Trachtenberg, best known as Dawn on ``Buffy the Vampire Slayer,'' stars in ``The Dive From Clausen's Pier'' at 9 p.m. on Lifetime. Will Estes and Sean Maher also star in this adaptation of Ann Packer's moving novel.

- We can't believe the kids on ``Laguna Beach'' are for real either. Because I know I didn't look this good in high school. The show returns for a second season at 10 p.m. on MTV.

Tuesday, July 26

- Let's have a moment of collective honesty. Sean Hayes is and always has been the best thing about ``Will & Grace.'' Now Hayes and his producing partner Todd Milliner premiere their new reality series, ``Situation: Comedy,'' at 8 p.m. on Bravo. The series gives amateur writers the chance to create their own sitcom.

- The limited series ``Empire'' comes to an end at 10 p.m. on WCVB (Ch. 5). But fret not, hunky Jonathan Cake, who starred as Tyrannus, will be back on TV this fall in NBC's new drama ``Inconceivable.'' Alas, next time he won't be in a toga.

Wednesday, July 27

- The recent phenomenon of replacing deceased music stars via a reality show competition is unsettling, don't you think? In ``R U the Girl With T-Boz & Chili,'' premiering at 8 p.m. on WSBK (Ch. 38), the surviving members of TLC search for a singer to replace Lisa ``Left-Eye'' Lopes.

- Carmen Electra is Six on ``Tripping the Rift'' at 10 p.m. on the Sci Fi Channel. She plays, and this is a direct quote, a ``sexy, brilliant, cyborg love slave.'' Alas, boys, the show is a cartoon, so it's just Carmen's voice you'll be treated to. So sorry about that.

Thursday, July 28

- David E. Kelly has long been a reality show opponent. But you know that old adage, if you can't beat 'em, learn how to make money off of 'em. In Kelley's ``The Law Firm,'' premiering at 9 p.m. on WHDH (Ch. 7), 12 lawyers compete for a $250,000 prize. But we know what happens on Kelley's legal dramas. Our advice: Stay away from elevator shafts, co-ed bathrooms and skinny girls in embarrassingly short miniskirts.

- How will ``That '70s Show'' survive without Topher Grace? We have no idea. Grace begins his exit from the series in this episode (8 p.m. on WFXT, Ch. 25), which finds Eric contemplating taking a teaching job in Africa.

Friday, July 29

- Did you miss the funniest half-hour of the season? Check out the ``Good Grief'' episode of ``Arrested Development'' at 9:30 p.m. on WFXT. George Sr. is allegedly dead, causing GOB to lose his pants (you have to watch to understand). Bonus points if you can spot the ``Charlie Brown'' visual shout-out.

- Ed O'Neill reunites with Katey Sagal in ``8 Simple Rules'' at 8 p.m. on WCVB. O'Neill guests as Cate's old college boyfriend.

Saturday, July 30

- Not many reality shows bear repeating, especially because viewers already know the outcome. But the amazing ``The Amazing Race'' is the exception. Catch a repeat of the Emmy-winning reality show on the Game Show Network at 9 p.m.

- Really there's no excuse for not watching ``Veronica Mars.'' If you missed it on Wednesday, check out television's most underrated series at 10 p.m. on WSBK. Come on! Everyone is doing it.
LOAD-DATE: July 24, 2005

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Copyright 2005 Boston Herald Inc.

The Boston Herald
July 24, 2005 Sunday

LENGTH: 687 words
HEADLINE: War cry;

Palladino gives a shout out to our heroes `Over There' in Iraq
BYLINE: By Bart Mills

Over the din of battle, through the fog of confusion, one voice is heard loud and clear in FX's new Iraq war drama, ``Over There'': that of ``Sgt. Scream,'' the unit's surrogate parent, mentor and all-round yenta.

Erik Palladino, 37, who plays the leather-lunged noncom, said, ``This isn't a cocky, ego-driven character like I played on `E.R.' Sgt. Scream is driven by a huge, overwhelming sense of responsibility for the individuals in his squad.

``He yells at them a lot because he wants them to respect him. Maybe then they'll listen to him when their lives are threatened. `Like' doesn't factor into it.''

``Over There,'' premiering Wednesday at 10 p.m., is an effort to depict the minute-to-minute terror and heroism of the men and women fighting in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The hit-and-run nature of the conflict generally restricts TV news to buildups and aftermaths of action, so FX uses drama to bring the blood and guts into our living rooms. Each episode has its own special moment of sickening carnage.

What is the show's point of view?

``Some of the characters have a right-wing point of view, others come from the left,'' Palladino said. ``That's life, and that's America.

`` `Over There' depicts specific men and women in combat. What people who watch get out of it will mainly be what they put into it. I mean, they'll selectively perceive what happens, because the show doesn't come to conclusions. At the end of the day, it's ambiguous.''

Producer Steven Bochco, the show's co-creator (with Chris Gerolmo), pioneered TV's realistic, even-handed treatment of cops' lives with ``Hill Street Blues.''

``When FX came to me,'' Bochco said, ``My first response was, `I'm not your guy.' ''

Eventually he signed on, aiming ``to create compelling characters and watch them in extreme situations. We worked very hard to avoid staking out any political position.''

Palladino's character falls squarely into the gruff-grunt Hollywood tradition of inspired leaders whose love for those they lead is manifested by apparent hatred.

``Sgt. Scream can never let his guard down,'' the Yonkers, N.Y.-born actor said. ``He's been in

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