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Iraq for a year. He knows what to watch out for. He's dead-on in his assessment of the dangers. There's a big weight on his shoulders.

``I spoke to a sergeant who spent six months in Iraq. He took a break out of country for a week. His first night away, he started sobbing. He realized that for the first time in months he didn't have to be on guard every second. For the first time, he understood the pressure he'd been under.''

``Over There'' is another in a series of big breaks in Palladino's career, which he traces back to the children's acting classes he started when he was a preteen.

He had a major role in the 2000 submarine drama ``U-571'' as ``a character who questions authority, not always from a place that's correct. I spent five months in Malta and Rome, and two weeks after I got home, I go `E.R.'

``I didn't come from money. My father is a heating contractor, my mother taught school. We weren't poor, but we didn't spend big either. When I first started getting money from acting (after graduating from Marymount Manhattan College), I put it in the bank instead of buying a new car like everybody else.

``Then when I left `E.R.,' where I played this cocky, obnoxious guy, I couldn't get a job because everybody thought I must be a cocky, obnoxious guy myself. Eventually work began to come in again, like `Joan of Arcadia,' a film I've got coming out called `Dead & Breakfast' and now `Over There.' ''

But can ``Over There'' run and run? ``M*A*S*H'' lasted 11 years while the Korean War ran only three.

``Obviously, I'd love this war to reach some successful conclusion tomorrow,'' Bochco said. ``Even if it ended tomorrow, though, it wouldn't impact our ability to continue, if the audience still wanted to watch.''

Palladino added, ``I hope people get attached to this squad. As for how the real war would affect the show, we hope our men and women can leave Iraq. I think everybody hopes that. If and when that happens and we're still on the air, maybe the unit could go somewhere else.''
LOAD-DATE: July 24, 2005

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Copyright 2005 Boston Herald Inc.

The Boston Herald
July 23, 2005 Saturday

LENGTH: 163 words
HEADLINE: State issues `Gold Star' plates

Leo and Sue Boule of Dracut were presented with the first ``Gold Star'' state license plate yesterday in honor of their son, Matthew, who was the first Bay State soldier to be killed in action in Iraq.

``I was driving down the road one day and I saw all these Boston Red Sox plates, I thought, `If they and Save the Whales could have one, why not make a plate for those who gave everything?' '' Sue Boule said, recalling the moment she was inspired to begin pushing the state to mint the plates.

Along with state Rep. Colleen Gary (D-Dracut) and Registry of Motor Vehicles spokesperson Amy O'Hern, Boule lobbied for two years for the creation of the plates.

``People need to know that we are out there,'' Boule said. ``It keeps our memories alive.''

The new ``Gold Star'' plates are free and available to all Massachusetts residents who have lost a family member during combat.

``Our next project will be to urge the United States Post Office to reissue a `Gold Star' stamp,'' Boule said.
GRAPHIC: PROUD PARENTS: Leo Boule attaches the first `Gold Star' license plate issued in Massachusetts to his car as his wife, Sue, looks on. STAFF PHOTO BY PATRICK WHITTEMORE

BOULE: First Bay State resident killed in Iraq.
LOAD-DATE: July 24, 2005

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The Boston Herald
July 20, 2005 Wednesday

LENGTH: 200 words
HEADLINE: Army pilots armed to combat heat

NATICK - Flying over the Iraqi desert, Army helicopter pilots know about heat that makes this week's baking temperatures in Massachusetts look balmy.

But the scientists at the U.S. Army Soldiers Systems Center in Natick have given them a secret weapon.

Liquid-cooled vests, part of the Air Warrior Microclimate Cooling System, have been used by helicopter pilots in Iraq for the past year and this summer will be part of a test program to keep roasting soldiers cool in armored Humvees.

``We flew 5.5 hours in 120 degrees, and it worked awesome,'' an Army helicopter pilot wrote in an e-mail to Natick Labs.

Air crews wear the vest against their skin and under body armor and their flight suits. The tubing in the vest connects to a hose, which plugs into the cooling and pumping unit that sends 65 degrees of relief around the crew's torsoes.

Natick Labs is now developing a cooling system for ground pounders. A prototype is roughly half the size of a canteen, battery-powered, weighs less than 3 pounds and connects to the liquid-cooled vest - perfect for infantry.

Natick Labs also is testing a version of the helicopter system on soldiers in Humvees, where the armor pushes temperatures up to 160 degrees.
LOAD-DATE: July 20, 2005

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The Boston Herald
July 19, 2005 Tuesday

LENGTH: 329 words
HEADLINE: Editorial;

The case against Saddam

It would be easy to lose sight of the fact that the pathetic old man now sitting in an Iraqi prison and washing his own socks is, in fact, a world class monster.

But soon the world will be reminded of the many crimes of Saddam Hussein as he stands trial in the first of a series of cases being prepared against him for his crimes against his people.

The first such trial to be brought before the Iraqi Special Tribunal and announced over the weekend, is - as Saddam's crimes go - a relatively small, self-contained horror. It involved the murders of some 150 men and boys in the town of Dujail, about 35 miles north of Baghdad. The massacre followed an assassination attempt against Saddam in 1982. Iraqi prosecutors said they decided to make this the first case because it involved a ``discrete event'' and one backed up with official documents and eyewitnesses.

The case, likely to come to trial in September, is also expected to document the roundup of some 1,500 other town residents, mostly women, children and the elderly, who were imprisoned in the desert while Saddam's soldiers laid waste to their land.

The destruction of Dujail was merely a warm-up for Saddam of crimes to come - the murders of tens of thousands of Kurds later that decade and the mass murder of some 150,000 Shiites in 1991. Trials for those crimes - of Saddam and his murderous cohorts - will follow.

There are still those who would have preferred that Saddam be tried by an international tribunal, much like the Hague proceedings still going on against former Yugoslav strongman Sloboban Milosevic. But there is something very right about the Iraqi people having this happen in their midst and before their own eyes.

None of this is easy. Even today witnesses are being threatened by the remnants of Saddam's loyalists.

Their courage is to be applauded. So too is the bravery of America's own sons and daughters who by helping to topple one of the world's worst dictators have made this day possible.
LOAD-DATE: July 19, 2005

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The Boston Herald
July 19, 2005 Tuesday

LENGTH: 734 words
HEADLINE: Letters to the editor

Hear this, Krauthammer

Charles Krauthammer would seem to have very selective hearing, because Sept. 11 was pretty loud in pointing up dissatisfaction in the Muslim world with U.S. foreign policy (``It's time for Muslim world to speak out,'' July 15).

This administration speaks of freedom and democracy, yet Israel is treated better than any of our red states. We even back up Israel in treating the Palestinians like dirt. Such actions get noticed.

Now, the Israeli/Palestinian rivalry seems small potatoes, compared to Iraq, yet there will be no peace in that part of the world until the United States starts promoting freedom for all peoples and stops being so two-faced.

Larry Schafer, Newton

Carr not `brilliant'

After reading Howie Carr's column on Mayor Thomas Menino's speaking ability, it struck me that the mayor and Carr are living proof that a brilliant man isn't necessarily articulate and an articulate man isn't necessarily brilliant (``Menino mayor or may not speak right, so listen up,'' July 15).

Martin Lord, Medford

Patients at risk

wonder if the editorial writer would feel the same if it were his or her mother lying in a hospital bed waiting for pain medicine while her nurse was busy attending to an elderly patient who'd accidentally pulled out an IV and was bleeding profusely because he was receiving blood-thinning agents for a heart condition (``Nursing mandates no fix,'' July 14). This is reality today with no safe staffing guidelines in place.

The comment that we are tying the hands of hospital caregivers by fining hospitals that fail to meet the requirement is ludicrous. Better working conditions mean more RNs will be willing to work more hours. Nurses who have left the field will be willing to come back. Perhaps we should suggest that people driving recklessly, endangering public safety, not be given a fine because it would hurt them financially and if they couldn't afford to drive to work, it would hurt the economy.

In reply to retaining staff with signing bonuses and higher pay, it is a well-documented fact that good working conditions create not only good morale, but also a higher rate of staff retention. As an RN who loves her profession, I want to improve working conditions to retain good nurses and improve the safety of patients.

Asserting that staffing levels in Nantucket Cottage Hospital should be different than in Mass. General is a dangerous assumption. Consider that Mass. General is a teaching hospital and already has more staff on hand. Safe staffing ratios would bring the quality of care in both hospitals to acceptable levels. Are we to assume that patients in Nantucket are any less important or sick than patients at Mass. General

Dominique Muldoon, Winchendon

Wide margin for error

Massachusetts requires pharmacies to fill prescriptions with generic drugs unless the name brand is specified by the doctors (``RX for OT,'' July 15). Doctors don't use generic names when talking to patients. The general public usually can't pronounce the generic names, let alone identify them. Drug interaction problems caused by confusion with the names has probably left patients in unnecessary pain or even death. It's dangerous when sick people are taking six, 10 or 15 pills a day. We pay for and swallow the drugs. The choice of generic or brand-name prescriptions should be ours to make.

Josephine Severino, Scituate

A truce broken

One has to admire Dr. Laura Galaburda and her fellow gays for their gall. That's about all they've got (``Gay vets challenge Don't Ask, Don't Tell' in court,'' July 9).

The ``Don't Ask, Don't Tell'' policy (which, until the Supreme Court says otherwise, is constitutional) was, and is, the compromise whereby an unwilling military agreed to accept gays. Galaburda and others violated the agreement by coming out of the closet. They have no right to demand that someone fulfill the terms of an agreement that they violated themselves.

B.J. Figueredo, Gonic, N.H.

Fallout is patronage

It was with great interest that I read Peter Gelzinis' column about the state trooper who was removed from bomb detection duty at Logan Airport because he was promoted (``Veteran statie promoted - then booted from Logan,'' July 13).

This would be like promoting a surgeon so he could dump bed pans. It will take at least a year to replace him. Who wants to bet his replacement is a politician's niece, brother-in-law or friend.

Francis Doherty, Waltham
LOAD-DATE: July 19, 2005

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Copyright 2005 Boston Herald Inc.

The Boston Herald
July 19, 2005 Tuesday

LENGTH: 461 words

Roll with the punches;

Wheelchair rugby star Mark Zupan tackles life in `Mudrerball'
BYLINE: By Stephen Schaefer

He's been hailed as summer's most unlikely action hero and, for once, that's not hype.

After all, blond, tattooed Mark Zupan, the ferocious star player of the U.S. Paralympics rugby team - who is front and center in the new film ``Murderball'' - is confined to a wheelchair.

But this amazing documentary makes it clear that Zupan, his teammates and their opponents, can be as ferocious and as dazzling as a Mad Max on the court in their souped-up, specially constructed chairs. Or off.

`` `Murderball' shatters many misconceptions,'' Zupan said in a recent interview, ``including the one that a wheelchair precludes having a sex life. We're normal guys and we have good-looking girlfriends.''

Doesnt the movie show how the team will use the sympathy card to pick up girls in a bar?

Zupan couldnt help smiling. You gotta use your assets. If that works well, (expeletive) use it.

Now 30 and engineer in Texas, Zupan recalled the accident in 1993 that changed his life. He got drunk while celebrating a college soccer victory, then passed out in the back of a pickup owned by his friend Chris Igoe. Later Igoe took the wheel, not knowing Zupan was in the back. ``He got lost as he drove, I'd say 15 miles, and spun out,'' Zupan said. ``I was thrown out of the back of the pickup truck, over a fence and into a canal where I spent 14 1/2 hours hanging onto a branch until somebody found me.''

Zupan soon learned he'd broken his neck and was paralyzed. ``I was angry at the world,'' he said. ``You're 18 years old and (paralysis) has taken away your freedom. You're in a body that you used to be comfortable with and now it's foreign. But what's good about wheelchair rugby is that it gives you that competitive edge. . . . Wheelchair rugby has changed my life. I've done more in a chair than out of a chair and I wouldn't change it.''

Touted as the summer's break-out documentary, ``Murderball'' explores Zupan's relationship with Igoe, whose life was also catastrophically changed by the accident. ``It wasn't Chris' fault - he didn't know I was back there. I forgave him right away,'' Zupan said. ``But he had to come to grips with it. Every time he saw me he thinks, `I did this to him.' But you reassure him; I tell him, `Look, this is the best thing that ever happened.' He can understand that. We've had a tumultuous relationship, but the movie has definitely brought us closer.''

Zupan hopes ``Murderball'' will be not only an eye-opener but an inspiration. In one of its most emotional moments, he and his teammates visit a military hospital to encourage permanently disabled veterans. ``The guys who come back from Iraq, if we can give them an avenue to do something like this, well, it's great,'' he said. ``It's great to see people's eyes light up.''

And that's not hype.
LOAD-DATE: July 19, 2005

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Copyright 2005 Boston Herald Inc.

The Boston Herald
July 18, 2005 Monday

LENGTH: 138 words
HEADLINE: Bless those bikes

Bobby Maguire, 3, of Revere has his bike blessed along with all the big boys' bikes at the Sixth Annual Motorcycle and Classic Car Blessing Fund-raiser at Revere Beach yesterday.

The event was held to benefit veterans and their families who have been adversely affected by the war on terrorism, by raisng money for the ``Helping Hands for Heroes'' fund of the Weber Foundation of Helping Hands, Inc.

``Today's event was a tremendous success. Next year we are planning to expand the event to three days in an effort to raise more money for this important cause. We can only hope that the war on Iraq will be over by then, but in the meantime, the needs of veterans and their families must be met,'' said Gayle Wintus, a member of the executive board of Helping Hands for Heroes Fund of the Weber Foundation. Staff photo by Nancy Lane

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