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GRAPHIC: TRIPLE PLAY: Mick Jagger, Charlie Watts and Keith Richards, from left, perform at Fenway Park. STAFF FILE PHOTO BY MATT STONE
LOAD-DATE: September 2, 2005

215 of 675 DOCUMENTS

Copyright 2005 Boston Herald Inc.

The Boston Herald
September 2, 2005 Friday

LENGTH: 681 words

Wise guys;

Green Day look smart playing `American Idiot'

When was the last time anyone stirred up controversy with a music video?

Prince invoking 9/11 in ``Cinnamon Girl''? Didn't work; the single flopped. The girls from T.A.T.U. making out? Caused barely a ripple. Eminem dissing Michael Jackson in ``Just Lose It''? Nobody but Jackson really minded that one.

Green Day, which arrives at Gillette Stadium tomorrow fresh from emerging as the big winner at the MTV Video Music Awards, has got people talking with its new Iraq War-themed video for the song ``Wake Me Up When September Ends.''

It's a dead-serious video dealing with a young man's decision to enlist over his girlfriend's protests - so serious that it commits the cardinal sin of interrupting the song midway through for more dialogue. Other than a vague support-the-troops message at the close, the video hedges its bets politically; saying nothing explicitly for or against the war.

But it's not the politics that have a lot of fans upset: They just think that Green Day has gone sappy.

They may have a point. With its over-the-top sentiment, the video is as far from punk as you can get. The pretty young couple looks like a reject from the ``My So-Called Life'' era, and there's a truly cheesy scene where explosions in Iraq are intercut with fireworks going off behind the band. The most daring thing in the video is the amount of eyeshadow that singer Billie Joe Armstrong dares to wear in public.

Still worse, the video loses the true meaning of the song: It only takes a quick listen to know that Armstrong wrote ``Wake Me Up When September Ends'' about his father's death, not about the war.

Still, the video can't be dismissed that easily. It may look like a soap opera, but the question of whether or not to enlist is a real one for many of Green Day's college-age fans. And it's not one they've seen addressed in any other video.

Two years into a controversial war, few rockers or rappers have dared to risk a statement, pro or con. The war footage in ``Wake Me Up When September Ends'' is more intense than anything you'd see on sanitized network news. And that just might be the point: instead of editorializing, maybe Green Day just wanted to show what that kid would be up against.

Finally, there's the bottom line: A great song can excuse a lot of imperfections in a video. Green Day proved as much last week, when their ``Boulevard of Broken Dreams'' swept the MTV Music Video Awards, picking up a half-dozen trophies. The brooding, artsy video for that song was hardly a landmark; but the song remains terrific. Like ``Wake Me Up When September Ends,'' it has a melodic depth that was unthinkable 10 years ago, when Green Day was best-known for throwing mud around at Woodstock.

As the Dixie Chicks can vouch, being a political band isn't easy nowadays. But somehow Green Day managed to avoid right-wing attacks, even though the title track from ``American Idiot'' is a stronger protest song than anything the Chicks ever recorded.

Still, Armstrong and his bandmates seem a little ambivalent about taking a spokesman's role. They released two strongly political songs as singles, ``American Idiot'' and ``Holiday,'' but followed those with ``Boulevard,'' a song more universal in its self-pity.

Nor has the band left its party-punk roots behind. In fact, Green Day makes a return visit to Gillette on Thursday as stars of the ``NFL Opening Kickoff 2005'' show. That's as all-American as an American Idiot can get. And tomorrow's concert shouldn't be far in spirit from the Woodstock show, give or take the mud. For a time Green Day was playing the ``American Idiot'' album straight through, but has since opted for a more straightforward, greatest-hits format. Instead of deep thoughts, you're likely to see a crowd-pleasing bit where they hand their instruments over to members of the audience. It's business as usual for Green Day, who've somehow managed to be both the dumbest and the smartest band in rock.

Green Day, with Jimmy Eat World and Against Me!, tomorrow at 7 p.m., Gillette Stadium, Foxboro. Tickets are $39.50. Call 617-228-6000 or go to
LOAD-DATE: September 2, 2005

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Copyright 2005 Boston Herald Inc.

The Boston Herald
September 2, 2005 Friday

LENGTH: 380 words

STORM in Brief;

Local schools open to those hit by 'cane

Bay State schools are opening their doors to students enrolled at colleges left ravaged by Hurricane Katrina.

The University of Massachusetts will offer emergency admission to qualified students displaced from the hurricane-battered region. Regis College has offered space for up to 25 students, and Tufts University is freeing up space for a ``significant number'' of Tulane University undergrads, officials said. Boston College is inviting students, especially those from Jesuit and Catholic schools, to apply to its Woods College of Advancing Studies.

Other schools, including Boston and Harvard universities, are considering similar policies.

As many as 350 students from Massachusetts are registered in colleges in New Orleans and Mississippi, said Richard Doherty, president of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts.

** DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - There will be no large-scale shifting of U.S. troops from Iraq and Afghanistan to help with disaster relief in Louisiana and Mississippi, a U.S. Central Command spokesman said yesterday.

Lt. Col. Trey Cate said top military officials are exploring ways to bring individual troops home to take care of families in need without altering the balance of forces in the war zones. But top commanders are unsure if homecoming service members can yet visit areas stricken by Hurricane Katrina due to flooding and evacuations.

In Baghdad, some 3,700 soldiers from the Louisiana National Guard's 256th Enhanced Separate Brigade are preparing to return to their base in Lafayette, La., after spending nearly a year in combat in Iraq. They could be available to help with the relief effort within weeks.

** BATON ROUGE, La. - The Times-Picayune of New Orleans resumed printing the newspaper yesterday, three days after the hurricane forced it to publish online only.

The newspaper said it hoped to print 50,000 copies last night, using the printing facility of The Houma Courier, a newspaper 60 miles southwest of New Orleans.

Since the hurricane struck Monday, the paper has published three electronic-only editions on its Web site, A missing persons forum on the site, started Wednesday morning, had more than 4,000 posts by the end of the day, the newspaper said.

Herald staff and wire reports.
LOAD-DATE: September 2, 2005

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The Boston Herald
September 2, 2005 Friday

LENGTH: 166 words
HEADLINE: Trouble-beset Iraq war vet finally gets reason to smile

Wounded in Iraq twice and told his father has cancer, Marine Lance Cpl. Michael Levinson has been struggling to keep his family together.

Now he can cut loose.

Yesterday, fortune smiled upon Levinson, 21, of Norwood, who won a free vacation for four to Riviera Maya, Mexico, from a contest he didn't even know he entered.

His girlfriend, Laurie Thomas, from Uxbridge, submitted Levinson's name in a Celebration Vacation Contest by Brigham's Ice Cream and iParty.

The contest asked New Englanders to submit their stories on why they deserve a vacation.

Thomas decided to send in Levinson's tale.

``He would give his life for his family and he is so worried and unbelievably stressed about his father's health, and keeping a roof over his family's head,'' said Thomas. ``He hasn't had any time to enjoy himself.''

Levinson's story made the judge's work easy.

``As soon as they read the story, that was it, he won,'' said contest spokeswoman Susan Butler, who said judges considered more than 1,000 entries.
GRAPHIC: SMILING: Norwood Marine Michael Levinson and his girlfriend Laurie Thomas of Uxbridge, won a free trip to Mexico. DAILY NEWS TRANSCRIPT PHOTO BY JAMIE LYN GIAMBRONE
LOAD-DATE: September 2, 2005

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The Boston Herald
September 1, 2005 Thursday

LENGTH: 415 words
HEADLINE: One blogger cuts through fog of war
BYLINE: By Jay Fitzgerald

A former Special Forces soldier is becoming an online media sensation with his vivid and sometimes brutal blog accounts and photos of the daily battles, patrols and raids conducted by U.S. troops fighting terrorists in Iraq.

Michael Yon, 41, a Florida native who now calls Massachusetts his ``home base,'' set off for Iraq earlier this year - paying his own way - in an effort to find out and convey exactly what's going on in the war-torn country.

``Naturally, I had an interest in what was happening in Iraq - I had friends in harm's way,'' Yon said from Iraq in an e-mail interview with the Herald.

``But what spurred me to drop what I was doing, get on a plane and travel here was a growing sense that what I was seeing reported on television - as well as in newspapers and magazines - was inconsistent with the reality my friends (in Iraq) were describing,'' he said. ``I wanted to see first hand.''

What Yon has seen - and reported - is shocking and mesmerizing to many readers of his blog (

Yon has covered GIs in firefights with terrorists, U.S. vehicles hit by roadside bombs, and civilians killed and maimed by enemy attacks.

He not only sends regular written dispatches via his blog, but also carries a camera as an ``embedded blogger'' with the 1-24th Infantry Regiment in Mosul, Iraq.

One of Yon's photos - of a U.S. officer cradling a young girl horribly wounded in a terrorist bomb attack - was flashed across wire services last spring. The picture appeared in numerous U.S. newspapers, including the New York Post's front page.

Yon's blog now attracts about 100,000 daily visitors with combat-intense dispatches like ``The Devil's Foyer'' and ``Angels Among Us.''

His most recent dispatch - ``Gates of Fire'' - starkly describes a mission in which a unit commander, Erik Kurilla, was badly wounded but managed to fend off a terrorist shooting at him at almost point-blank range.

Yon snapped vivid photos of the alleyway firefight before grabbing a weapon and firing off rounds to save his friend - and probably himself.

The Seattle Times has run excerpts of Yon's dispatches, and the blogger has also been interviewed on a number of radio shows, including WRKO's ``Pundit Review.''

Yon's verdict on the war: While it's a savage conflict at times, U.S. and Coalition forces are making slow but steady progress - on and off the battlefield.

Yon, who accepts donations on his site, says comments from readers are ``what has kept me going for the past seven months.''
GRAPHIC: COMBAT COVERAGE: Ex-Special Forces soldier Michael Yon has been covering the Iraq war for his blog, Photo courtesy of Michael Yon
LOAD-DATE: September 1, 2005

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Copyright 2005 Boston Herald Inc.

The Boston Herald
August 31, 2005 Wednesday

LENGTH: 271 words
HEADLINE: Clinton rep to take legal smarts to Baghdad

Harold Naughton Jr., a state representative from Clinton, is taking his expertise in the law to the war zone.

Naughton is heading to Iraq next month with his Army Reserve legal services unit out of Boston to advise commanders on the laws of war, war crime trials and human rights.

``I haven't really had time to think about it,'' the father of four said yesterday. ``I wouldn't say I'm scared. I would say I'm anxious. I'm more concerned about my wife and kids.''

The Democrat who fought for funds for the widow of a fallen Clinton firefighter, said he's now shipping out at the end of September to Baghdad.

He said he will be working primarily in the U.S.-controlled Green Zone in a legal advisory role with the Army's 3rd Infantry.

Naughton enlisted in the Army Reserves shortly after Sept. 11, 2001, and said the possibility of being called to serve in Iraq was always in the back of his mind.

``After Sept. 11 happened, I wanted to serve my country,'' Naughton said. ``I have a wife and four children and a country, a state and a town that have been very good to me and I wanted to make sure I protected that for them.''

Naughton admitted he is somewhat ``concerned'' about what he's walking into in Baghdad.

``Like everybody else, I read about what is going on over there in the papers and on the Internet and I see it on the news and I'm concerned,'' he said. ``But at the same time, I'm proud that I have been asked to go and serve my country. I also have been able to talk with people who have served over there and they tell me about all the good things that are happening like the building of schools, roads and hospitals.''
LOAD-DATE: August 31, 2005

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Copyright 2005 Boston Herald Inc.

The Boston Herald
August 31, 2005 Wednesday

LENGTH: 291 words
HEADLINE: Editorial;

U.N. rights one wrong

Yesterday officials of the United Nations took a baby step toward righting one of the many wrongs committed as part of what we have come to call the Oil-for-Food scandal. Maybe, just maybe, someone at the U.N. gets it.

The world body has asked nine of its own agencies to turn over $40 million in reserves from the Oil-for-Food program to a fund controlled by the new government of Iraq.

Of course, the commission headed by former Federal Reserve Board Chairman Paul Volker, which has been investigating the program for the past nine months, is expected to make its final report next week. It wouldn't be a reach to think that U.N. officials, particularly Secretary-General Kofi Annan, see the wisdom of anticipating recommendations from the Volker Commission.

The Oil-for-Food program was set up during the U.N.-imposed economic sanctions imposed on Saddam Hussein's regime to assure that proceeds from the country's oil production were used to provide humantarian aid directly to Iraq's people. Sadly, however, the program ``fed'' a number of corrupt U.N. bureaucrats and the private sector contractors they did business with. Some are already being prosecuted.

But prosecutions don't fill hospital supply closets or build roads and bridges.

The Associated Press reported yesterday that the Volker Commission found that between $33 million and $45 million in Oil-for-Food proceeds had been allocated to nine U.N. agencies working in Iraq, but never been spent by them in

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