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HEADLINE: Letters to the Editor

Colliding emotions

The front page photos and headlines were sobering (June 28). Herald photographer Nancy Lane appropriately captured the love and hate.

The Rev. Fred Phelps' platform carries no weight. God hates nothing but sin itself. The public would be better off ignoring those so-called Christians or whispering a prayer that they realize they hurt only themselves.

Thank you, Nancy Lane, for the awe-inspiring photo of a soldier weeping. Multiple thanks to the Piper family, who gave us another reason to be grateful for what we have.

- Joe Rizzo, Raynham

Bring troops home

President Bush says we should stay the course in Iraq (``Bush insists war is worth U.S. sacrifice,'' June 29). His suggestion is nonsensical and dangerous for our security at home and our economic well-being abroad.

If this administration wanted to support our troops, it would bring them home from this unjustified war that does nothing but fuel more hatred and increase the likelihood of another attack like 9/11.

Where's our exit strategy?

- Akira Kamiya, Jamaica Plain

Accident clarified

I'm writing to correct the story about my son's accident (``Hingham boy, 10, killed in N.H. bicycle accident,'' June 7). I did not watch in horror as Luke lost control because it happened in a split second out of my view. But, I'm still in shock having come to him lying on his back on the side of the road as though he were asleep.

On June 22, I road my bicycle down Cathedral Ledge Road at about the same time the accident occurred, so I could experience what my son saw and felt. There was a length of gradual incline. He could have easily stopped there, but he was feeling exhilarated. He had the best bicycle - tuned with excellent brakes and ideally fit. Together, for years, we had ridden roads like this in Maine. When I followed him on the day of the accident with my car lights on, I stayed back a safe distance, but I did observe he was controlling his speed by feathering his brakes. He was staying to the right side of the road, and he was absolutely in control.

Emulating him on my ride, I did not find the downhill portion of any more challenge than other roads we had ridden together. Why he braked so hard is a mystery. I have a strong sense based on observations during my ride, along with a very strong spiritual bond, that he was trying to avoid an animal. Chipmunks scampered onto the road several yards from me, and I also saw a deer near the road. Luke's bicycle was unscathed. It was clear no human or machine was involved.

He never wanted to harm another living creature. That's what I know to be true. My 10-year-old son, Luke, went straight to heaven, brimming with happiness, and without any pain, far too young.

Four days after the accident a black bear cub was seen by visitors at the top of Cathedral Ledge, precisely where we took our last photos together. There's plenty of wildlife to be seen there.

- Richard McDermott,

Westbrook, Maine

Ruling beatable at home

I have seen several polls registering voter disapproval of the Supreme Court's ruling on eminent domain (``Court: Your home not your castle,'' June 25). I believe the ruling can be defeated by any state legislature passing a law prohibiting takeover of private property by a private developer. Our Legislature should do so next term.

- John Krogstad, Burlington,

Thanks for Beckham

I, too, want to express my displeasure at the loss of Beverly Beckham's column. It was the only one I read, and I looked forward to the personal touch she brought. I especially cherish her stories about phases of life such as ``sweet 16.'' I felt like she was in my home and heart writing what I thought for each milestone. She will be missed, but I will share her columns with my daughter as she has children.

Beverly, thanks for the many stories.

- Janet Squillante, Plymouth

Rove revelations

Here are some alternative views that Karl Rove did not include in his speech (``Slouching toward oblivion,'' June 25):

The suicide bombers of 9/11 were religious fanatics and did not represent any nation.

The Bush administration prepared for, and executed, a war against the wrong enemy.

The Iraq invasion squandered post-9/11 international good will while strengthening the religious fanaticism of our enemy.

It is not passion that makes some conservatives irrational, it is their fundamentalist dogmatic thinking.

- Tom Larkin, Bedford
LOAD-DATE: June 30, 2005

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The Boston Herald
June 30, 2005 Thursday

LENGTH: 153 words
HEADLINE: Soldiers show support for Sox
BYLINE: By Jesse Noyes

Bay State soldiers stationed in Iraq will be taking to the airwaves to deliver an important message: ``Go Red Sox.''

Starting Friday morning WEEI Sports Radio (AM-850) will broadcast pre-recorded greetings from 10 Massachusetts soldiers.

The troops say hello to friends, family and the Sox.

``Some of (the soldiers) talk about how they miss being able to watch the Red Sox,'' said Jason Wolfe, WEEI's programming director. ``One guy ripped Yankee fans.''

Catching a Sox game is tough for soldiers in the Middle East. But many have been able to stay on top of the team's stats this season since WEEI started streamlining its broadcasts online last April. The station doesn't Webcast actual game broadcasts.

Many area soldiers are listening to WEEI's sports talk shows to keep up on the Red Sox' progress, Wolfe said.

The messages will run on a rotating basis during the morning, midday and late afternoon commute for seven days.
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The Boston Herald
June 29, 2005 Wednesday

LENGTH: 231 words
HEADLINE: State reps: Get rid of Patriot Act, nukes

While measures dealing with sex offenders and tax cuts languish on Beacon Hill, a group of mostly Democratic lawmakers passed toothless resolutions to repeal the controversial Patriot Act and wipe out America's nuclear weapons.

The two resolutions recently passed by the Joint Committee on Rules will be forwarded to Bay State Sens.

Edward M. Kennedy and John F. Kerry and Massachusetts congressmen but carry no official weight. Resolutions are often sent by state legislatures to their Washington delegations to express a stance on an issue.

Rep. Marie Parente (D-Milford), who serves as vice chairwoman of the House Rules Committee, refused to sign the petitions, citing a lack of information on foreign policy at the state level.

``Without the information on which our military leaders formulate national security policies, it is not possible for local or state officials to reach an informed decision on these important matters,'' said Parente, who has a nephew in Iraq. ``I will not sign resolutions memorializing the Congress or other public officials to act on matters of defense and national security.''

Several states have passed resolutions opposing the USA Patriot Act, a federal law that opponents argue has eroded civil liberties and freedom. Forty-two mostly Democratic Bay State lawmakers signed the resolution, and 16 signed the measure calling for an end to nuclear weapons.
LOAD-DATE: June 29, 2005

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The Boston Herald
June 29, 2005 Wednesday

LENGTH: 94 words

Marine memorial set at Chicopee High

A wake and memorial service will be held this afternoon at Chicopee High School for Marine Capt.

John Maloney, who was killed in Iraq earlier this month.

It was unclear last night if members of the Westboro Baptist Church, a Kansas hate group, planned to demonstrate near the high school today as they did Monday at the Marblehead funeral of Green Beret Christopher N. Piper.

Maloney's wake will be from 1 to 3 p.m. followed by a memorial service. He will be laid to rest Friday in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

Compiled from Herald staff and wire reports.
LOAD-DATE: June 29, 2005

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The Boston Herald
June 29, 2005 Wednesday

LENGTH: 296 words
HEADLINE: Editorial;

Bush on Iraq: Terrorists will fail

The American people have the vision and the patience to see the stabilizing and rebuilding of Iraq through. They understand, as President Bush clearly does, 9/11 didn't change this country it reminded us who we are.

``The terrorists do not understand America. The American people do not falter under threat and we will not allow our future to be determined by car bombers and assassins,'' the president said last night from Fort Bragg.

But like any partner in a huge endeavor, Bush knows the public deserves an honest assessment of the road just traveled and the road ahead. Unlike some members of Congress who gloss over the good news to dwell on the bad, Bush offered both. ``The work in Iraq is difficult and dangerous. Like most Americans, I see the images of violence and bloodshed . . . our progress has been uneven but progress is being made,'' he said.

Unlike most of us, he has been to Walter Reed Army Medical Center and faced the consequences of his decisions. He has met vital young men and women learning to walk again or trying to accept they never will.

They will not walk so that 8 million Iraqis could go to the polls and vote in a free election. They will not walk so Iraqis can draft a new Constitution and vote in national elections in December. They sacrificed ``a measure of their youth'' so millions could be free.

``Amid all this violence, I know Americans ask the question: Is the sacrifice worth it? It is worth it, and it is vital to the future security of our country,'' Bush said.

``Some wonder whether Iraq is a central front in the war on terror. Among the terrorists, there is no debate,'' Bush said.

Is it worth it? Ask the soldiers at Fort Bragg, at Walter Reed, in Iraq and Afghanistan and you will hear the same answer. Yes.

Americans are listening.
LOAD-DATE: June 29, 2005

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The Boston Herald
June 29, 2005 Wednesday

LENGTH: 213 words
HEADLINE: New iRobot PackBots will better track terrorists

Cave-dwelling terrorists first confronted PackBot in Afghanistan right after the Sept. 11, 2001, World Trade Center attacks.

Then thugs in both Afghanistan and Iraq had to deal with the updated bomb-fighting PackBot EOD.

Now, a new-and-improved PackBot Explorer robot is expected to be unveiled today by Burlington's iRobot Corp.

The small robotic wonder - which tools around on tractor-like treads - can act like a ``prairie dog,'' lifting itself up on small flippers and extending a ``head'' to record video and take audio soundings of possibly nearby terrorists.

``It looks Martian-like,'' said Joe Dyer, executive vice president and general manager of iRobot.

With its swiveling square head and camera-lens eyes, PackBot Explorer might look like something out of ``War of the Worlds.''

But it could also be something out of a terrorist's nightmare.

Costing about $90,000 each, PackBot Explorers can wheel into caves where GIs might be hesitant to go for safety reasons.

It can also check for insurgents while in tall grass or behind a sand dune.

About 200 PackBot robots are now deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. IRobot - which also makes the robotic vacuum cleaner Roomba for consumers - is turning out about 30 to 40 PackBots a month for the Pentagon, company officials said yesterday.
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The Boston Herald
June 28, 2005 Tuesday

LENGTH: 1014 words

State's film feud fades to black with new agency
BYLINE: By Gayle Fee and Laura Raposa

The ugly dispute over who is in charge of film production in the state appears to be over - and the winner is, Gov. Mitt Romney.

The $23.9 billion state budget sitting on Romney's desk contains language establishing a new state film office under the gov's Executive Office of Economic Development.

``The office shall be the primary governmental office or agency to facilitate motion picture production and development within the commonwealth,'' the measure reads.

The new budget leaves funding for Robin Dawson's Mass. Film Bureau on the cutting room floor. The budget language also appears to put Mark Drago and the Mass. Sports & Entertainment Commission out of the film biz.

If, as expected, Romney signs off on the measure, it will put an end to an embarrassing public feud that insiders say was hurting the state's chances to attract major motion pictures.

``It's a good conclusion,'' said Senate Minority Leader Brian Lees, who proposed the measure. ``We worked with the House and the Sports Commission and everybody felt it was important to have a state agency to be in charge of film and to let the Sports Commission handle sports.''

Lees said the new film office will have an executive director who will be the state's official point person for film production. The budget also leaves intact funding for Drago's position at the Sports & Entertainment Commission and sources say he'll be told to refocus his efforts toward attracting major sporting events to the state.

What is not known, however, is whether Drago will go quietly. Yesterday, his people were insisting he would remain in charge of film and that the new office was inconsequential. But Dawson's people begged to differ.

``Saddam Hussein thinks he's still in charge of Iraq, too,'' said film bureau flack George Regan.

Meanwhile, Dawson, the former head of the state film office, said she's not interested in returning to that role but promised to work with the new agency.

``It's a step in the right direction to get Massachusetts back on the map in Hollywood,'' she said. ``And the Film Bureau will work with the new person and office to create the most efficient resource for the film industry.''

The film feud sprouted after Gov. Jane Swift cut Dawson and the film office out of the state budget back in 2002. Undaunted, Dawson started the Mass. Film Bureau, a privately funded non-profit agency that did much of the work she had been doing at the state.

But in 2003, Romney wanted to bring in Don Stirling, whom he worked with on the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City, to head the Sports Commission. So Drago, who had that gig, was put in charge of film. And the rest is veddy ugly history!

It got so bad that at one point Dawson wrote to Romney accusing Drago of threatening the crew working on Martin Scorsese's set-in-Boston flick, ``The Departed.'' And Drago threatened to sue her for defamation.

All of which was NOTamusing to the governor or the legislative leadership.

Romney is expected to announce his budget vetoes on Thursday and aides say he'll review the proposal. So do stay tuned.

Tracked down

``The Departed'' director Martin Scorsese chowing on braised wild boar and rigatoni with the rels at Lucca on Hanover Street . . . Matt Damon, galpal Luciana Barroso and buddies swilling Stella Artois at Sonsie . . . Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler and a boatload of pals docking their tub at car-czar widow Barbara Boch's dock on the Vineyard and repairing to the Hot Tin Roof to check out Jim Belushi's show . . . ``Cheers'' postman John Ratzenberger and his daughter also being hosted by Mrs. Boch during a Vineyard holiday . . . Funnygal Whoopi Goldberg back behind the bar at Captain Carlo's in Gloucester . . . Funny filmmakers Peter and Bobby Farrelly dining at Balance on the Vineyard . . . Horror honcho Wes Craven, Midnight Farmgal Tamara Weiss and drummer Rick Marotta fueling up at GM Ben de Forrest's table at Balance before heading up the street to the Offshore Ale House to hear pal Carly Simon and her son, Ben Taylor, do an abbreviated show for Carly's birthday . . . New England Patriots dynamic duo Dan Koppen and Lonie Paxton working the female crowd at Tia's . . . ``Baywatch'' hunk David Chokachi charming the ladies at a Duxbury fund-raiser for Jordan Hospital, where his dad is a doc . . . ``Black Irish'' actors Michael Angarano and Tom Guiry dining at Ray Bourque's Via Valverde . . . WZLX-FM mid-day host Carter Allen enjoying special guest privileges (his pal is bassist Roger Glover) at the Deep Purple show at the South Shore Music Circus . . . Mayor Tom Menino sampling some of chef Peter Palumbo's apps at Venezia in Dorchester . . . And Menino stylin' with French designer Phillipe Starck at the groundbreaking of luxury condos in the South End . . . Vintage Red Sox pitchman Dennis Eckersley greeting disabled kiddies and their rels at Ironstone Farm in Andover . . . and departing Disney dictator Michael Eisner and the missus dining at the Boston Harbor Hotel. . . .

Side tracks

Apropos of nothing:

- No handbags or cell phones of any type were allowed into last night's ``War of the Worlds'' sneak preview at Loews Boston Common. Guess Steven Spielberg doesn't want the World to get a sneak peek!

- Ex-New Kid on the Block Donnie Wahlberg's TV pilot, a '70s cop drama based on the real-life New York detectives who inspired the ``French Connection,'' didn't get picked up by NBC. We're devastated.

- Attention hard-luck homeowners! A casting team from ``Extreme Makeover: Home Edition'' is homing in on a casting call at the Square One Mall in Saugus on July 5 & 6 from 4 to 8 p.m. Bring a completed application (download it from, a videotape or photos of the house and the family and, more importantly, a compelling story to the call.

- And in other reality-TV casting news, Donald Trump's boardroom scouts for ``The Apprentice 5'' will be at Jordan's Furniture in Natick July 9. Wristbands will be handed out at 9 a.m. and the interviews start at 10 a.m. Download an application at - and get fired up!

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