PAKET UMROH BULAN FEBRUARI MARET APRIL MEI 2018




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Dua keluarga telah terlibat perkelahian lantaran merebutkan sebuah lahan minyak milik Pertamina Depo Banuayu di Terminal Bahan Bakar Minyak (TBBM) Kecamatan Lubuk Batang Kabupaten Ogan Komering Ulu (OKU), Sumsel.

dalam insiden berdarah itu, tiga orang telah dibawa ke rumah sakit karena mengalami luka bacokan. Sementara satu orang menjadi korban dalam peristiwa rebutan lahan tersebut.

Korban yang diketahui bernama Nasarudin (50), ia tewas di tangan Mer (30) yang tak lain merupakan tetangga korban. Nasarudin telah diketahui tewas karena mendapat tikaman dari Mer yang lebih muda 20 tahun darinya.

Kasus penusukan ini lantas masuk ke pengadilan Baturaja. Sidang dipimpin Hakim Ketua Jimi Maruli, dengan didampingi oleh dua hakim anggota Hartati dan Madela N Sai Reeve .

Dalam dakwaan yang telah dibacakan oleh Jaksa Penuntut Umum (JPU) Depati, karena pengakuan terdakwa dalam persidangan terkesan yang tidak mengakui perbuatannya padahal tindakan terdakwa menghilangkan nyawa orang lain dinilai sangat tidak manusiawi. "Kami telah menjerat terdakwa dengan pasal 338 KUHP tentang penganiayaan yang menyebabkan orang lain meninggal dunia dengan ancaman hukuman maksimal 20 tahun penjara," kata Depati.

Meski begitu, selama persidangan sikap terdakwa yang selalu kooperatif dan berkelakuan baik selama di tahan. Serta pertimbangan lain seperti terdakwa yang juga merupakan tulang punggung keluarga, JPU akhirnya memutuskan menuntut terdakwa 10 tahun penjara.

"Kami juga telah memberikan kesempatan kepada terdakwa untuk dapat menyiapkan pembelaan dalam tempo sepekan," kata salah satu majelis hakim.

Rebutan lahan minyak, dua keluarga saling bacok

Alhamdulillah

Kata Wisata menurut bahasa mengandung arti yang banyak. Akan tetapi dalam istilah yang dikenal sekarang lebih dikhususkan pada sebagian makna itu. Yaitu, yang menunjukkan berjalan-jalan ke suatu negara untuk rekreasi atau untuk melihat-lihat, mencari dan menyaksikan (sesuatu) atau semisal itu. Bukan untuk mengais (rezki), bekerja dan menetap. Silakan lihat kitab Al-Mu’jam Al-Wasith, 469.

Berbicara tentang wisata menurut pandangan Islam, maka harus ada pembagian berikut ini,

Pertama: Pengertian wisata umrah dalam Islam.

Islam datang untuk merubah banyak pemahaman keliru yang dibawa oleh akal manusia yang pendek, kemudian mengaitkan dengan nilai-nilai dan akhlak yang mulia. Wisata dalam pemahaman sebagian umat terdahulu dikaitkan dengan upaya menyiksa diri dan mengharuskannya untuk berjalan di muka bumi, serta membuat badan letih sebagai hukuman baginya atau zuhud dalam dunianya. Islam datang untuk menghapuskan pemahaman negatif yang berlawanan dengan (makna) wisata.

Diriwayatkan oleh Ibnu Hani dari Ahmad bin Hanbal, beliau ditanya tentang seseorang yang bepergian atau bermukim di suatu kota, mana yang lebih anda sukai? Beliau menjawab: "Wisata tidak ada sedikit pun dalam Islam, tidak juga prilaku para nabi dan orang-orang saleh." (Talbis Iblis, 340).

Ibnu Rajab mengomentari perkataan Imam Ahmad dengan mengatakan: "Wisata dengan pemahaman   ini telah dilakukan oleh sekelompok orang yang dikenal suka beribadah dan bersungguh-sungguh    tanpa didasari ilmu. Di antara mereka ada yang kembali ketika mengetahui hal itu." (Fathul-Bari, karangan Ibnu Rajab, 1/56)

Kamudian Islam datang untuk meninggikan pemahaman wisata dengan mengaitkannya dengan tujuan-tujuan yang mulia. Di antaranya

1.      Mengaitkan wisata dengan ibadah, sehingga mengharuskan adanya safar -atau wisata- untuk menunaikan salah satu rukun dalam agama yaitu haji pada bulan-bulan tertentu. Disyariatkan umrah ke Baitullah Ta’ala dalam satahun.

Ketika ada seseorang datang kepada Nabi sallallahu alaihi wa sallam minta izin untuk berwisata dengan pemahaman lama, yaitu safar dengan makna  kerahiban atau sekedar menyiksa diri, Nabi sallallahu alaihi wa sallam memberi petunjuk kepada maksud yang lebih mulia dan tinggi dari sekedar berwisata dengan mengatakan kepadanya, “Sesunguhnya wisatanya umatku adalah berjihad di jalan Allah.” (HR. Abu Daud, 2486, dinyatakan hasan oleh Al-Albany dalam Shahih Abu Daud dan dikuatkan sanadnya oleh Al-Iraqi dalam kitab Takhrij Ihya Ulumuddin, no. 2641). Perhatikanlah bagaimana Nabi sallallahu alaihi wa sallam mengaitkan wisata yang dianjurkan dengan tujuan yang agung dan mulia.

2.      Demikian pula, dalam pemahaman Islam, wisata dikaitkan dengan ilmu dan pengetahuan. Pada permulaan Islam, telah ada perjalanan sangat agung dengan tujuan mencari ilmu dan menyebarkannya. Sampai Al-Khatib Al-Bagdady menulis kitab yang terkenal ‘Ar-Rihlah Fi Tolabil Hadits’, di dalamnya beliau mengumpulkan kisah orang yang melakukan perjalanan hanya untuk mendapatkan dan mencari satu hadits saja.

Di antaranya adalah apa yang diucapkan oleh sebagian tabiin terkait dengan firman Allah Ta’ala:

التَّائِبُونَ الْعَابِدُونَ الْحَامِدُونَ السَّائِحُونَ الرَّاكِعُونَ السَّاجِدونَ الآمِرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَالنَّاهُونَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَالْحَافِظُونَ لِحُدُودِ اللّهِ وَبَشِّرِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ (سورة التوبة: 112)

“Mereka itu adalah orang-orang yang bertaubat, beribadah, memuji, melawat, ruku, sujud, yang menyuruh berbuat ma'ruf dan mencegah berbuat munkar dan yang memelihara hukum-hukum Allah. Dan gembirakanlah orang-orang mukmin itu." (QS. At-Taubah: 112)

Ikrimah berkata ‘As-Saa'ihuna’ mereka adalah pencari ilmu. Diriwayatkan oleh Ibnu Abi Hatim  dalam tafsirnya, 7/429. Silakan lihat Fathul Qadir, 2/408. Meskipun penafsiran yang benar menurut mayoritas ulama salaf bahwa yang dimaksud dengan ‘As-Saaihin’ adalah orang-orang  yang berpuasa.

3.      Di antara maksud wisata dalam Islam adalah mengambil pelajaran dan peringatan. Dalam Al-Qur’anulkarim terdapat perintah untuk berjalan di muka bumi di beberapa tempat.  Allah  berfirman: “Katakanlah: 'Berjalanlah di muka bumi, kemudian perhatikanlah bagaimana kesudahan orang-orang yang mendustakan itu." (QS. Al-An’am: 11)

Dalam ayat lain, “Katakanlah: 'Berjalanlah kamu (di muka) bumi, lalu perhatikanlah bagaimana akibat orang-orang yang berdosa.” (QS. An-Naml: 69)

Al-Qasimi rahimahullah berkata; ”Mereka berjalan dan pergi ke beberapa tempat untuk melihat berbagai peninggalan sebagai nasehat, pelajaran dan manfaat lainnya." (Mahasinu At-Ta’wil, 16/225)

4.      Mungkin di antara maksud yang paling mulia dari wisata dalam Islam adalah berdakwah kepada Allah Ta’ala, dan menyampaikan kepada manusia cahaya yang diturunkan kepada Muhammad sallallahu alaihi wa sallam. Itulah tugas para Rasul dan para Nabi dan orang-orang setelah mereka dari kalangan para shahabat semoga, Allah meridhai mereka. Para shabat Nabi sallallahu alaihi wa sallam telah menyebar ke ujung dunia untuk mengajarkan kebaikan kepada manusia, mengajak mereka kepada kalimat yang benar. Kami berharap wisata yang ada sekarang mengikuti wisata   yang memiliki tujuan mulia dan agung. 

5.      Yang terakhir dari pemahaman wisata dalam Islam adalah safar untuk merenungi keindahan   ciptaan Allah Ta’la, menikmati indahnya alam nan agung sebagai pendorong jiwa manusia untuk menguatkan keimanan terhadap keesaan Allah dan memotivasi menunaikan kewajiabn hidup. Karena refresing jiwa perlu untuk memulai semangat kerja baru. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala berfirman:

قُلْ سِيرُوا فِي الأَرْضِ فَانظُرُوا كَيْفَ بَدَأَ الْخَلْقَ ثُمَّ اللَّهُ يُنشِئُ النَّشْأَةَ الْآخِرَةَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ  (سورة العنكبوت: 20)

Katakanlah: "Berjalanlah di (muka) bumi, maka perhatikanlah bagaimana Allah menciptakan (manusia) dari permulaannya, kemudian Allah menjadikannya sekali lagi. Sesungguhnya Allah Maha Kuasa atas segala sesuatu. (QS. Al-Ankabut: 20)

Kedua: Aturan wisata dalam Islam

Dalam ajaran Islam yang bijaksana terdapat hukum yang mengatur dan mengarahkan agar  wisata tetap menjaga maksud-maksud yang telah disebutkan tadi, jangan sampai keluar melewati  batas, sehingga wisata menjadi sumber keburukan  dan dampak negatif bagi masyarakat. Di antara hukum-hukum itu adalah:

1.      Mengharamkan safar dengan maksud mengagungkan tempat tertentu kecuali tiga masjid. Dari  Abu Hurairah radhiallahu anhu sesungguhnya Nabi sallallahu’alai wa sallam bersabda:

لا تُشَدُّ الرِّحَالُ إِلا إِلَى ثَلاثَةِ مَسَاجِدَ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ وَمَسْجِدِ الرَّسُولِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ وَمَسْجِدِ الأَقْصَى (رواه البخاري، رقم  1132  ومسلم، رقم  1397)

“Tidak dibolehkan melakukan perjalanan kecuali ke tiga masjid, Masjidil Haram, Masjid Rasulullah sallallahu’alaihi wa saal dan Masjidil Aqsha." (HR. Bukhari, no. 1132, Muslim, no. 1397)

Hadits ini menunjukkan akan haramnya  promosi wisata yang dinamakan Wisata Religi ke  selain tiga masjid, seperti ajakan mengajak wisata ziarah kubur, menyaksikan tempat-tempat   peninggalan kuno, terutama peninggalan yang diagungkan manusia, sehingga mereka terjerumus dalam  berbagai bentuk kesyirikan yang membinasakan. Dalam ajaran Islam tidak ada pengagungan pada tempat tertentu dengan menunaikan ibadah di dalamnya sehingga menjadi tempat yang  diagungkan selain tiga tempat tadi.

Abu Hurairah radhiallahu anhu berkata, "Aku pergi  Thur (gunung Tursina di Mesir), kemudian    aku bertemu Ka’b Al-Ahbar, lalu duduk bersamanya, lau beliau menyebutkan hadits yang panjang,  kemudian berkata, "Lalu aku bertemu Bashrah bin Abi Bashrah Al-Ghifary dan berkata, "Dari mana kamu datang?" Aku menjawab, "Dari (gunung) Thur."  Lalu beliau mengatakan, "Jika aku  menemuimu sebelum engkau keluar ke sana, maka (akan melarang) mu pergi, karena aku mendengar Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam bersabda: “Jangan melakukan perjalanan kecuali ke tiga masjid, ke Masjidil Haram, Masjidku ini dan Masjid Iliyya atau Baitul Maqdis." (HR. Malik dalam Al-Muwatha, no. 108. Nasa’i, no. 1430, dinyatakan shahih oleh Al-Albany dalam Shahih An-Nasa’i)

Maka tidak dibolehkan memulai perjalanan menuju tempat suci selain tiga tempat ini. Hal  itu  bukan berarti dilarang mengunjungi masjid-masjid yang ada di negara muslim, karena kunjungan kesana dibolehkan, bahkan dianjurkan. Akan tetapi yang dilarang adalah melakukan safar dengan niat seperti itu.   Kalau ada tujuan lain dalam safar, lalu diikuti dengan berkunjung ke (masjid), maka hal itu tidak mengapa. Bahkan terkadang diharuskan untuk menunaikan jum’at dan shalat berjamaah. Yang keharamannya lebih berat adalah apabila kunjungannya ke tempat-tempat suci agama lain. Seperti pergi mengunjungi Vatikan atau patung Budha atau  lainnya yang serupa.

2.      Ada juga dalil yang mengharamkan wisata seorang muslim ke negara kafir secara umum. Karena berdampak buruk terhadap agama dan akhlak seorang muslim, akibat bercampur dengan kaum yang tidak mengindahkan agama dan akhlak. Khususnya apab ila tidak ada keperluan dalam  safar  tersebut seperti untuk berobat, berdagang atau semisalnya, kecuali Cuma sekedar bersenang senang dan rekreasi. Sesungguhnya Allah telah menjadikan negara muslim memiliki   keindahan penciptaan-Nya, sehingga tidak perlu pergi ke negara orang kafir.

Syekh Shaleh Al-Fauzan hafizahullah berkata: “Tidak boleh Safar ke negara kafir, karena ada kekhawatiran terhadap akidah, akhlak, akibat bercampur dan menetap di tengah  orang kafir  di antara mereka. Akan tetapi kalau ada keperluan mendesak dan tujuan yang benar untuk safar ke negara mereka seperti safar untuk berobat yang tidak ada di negaranya atau safar untuk belajar yang tidak didapatkan di negara muslim atau safar untuk berdagang, kesemuanya ini adalah tujuan yang benar, maka dibolehkan safar ke negara kafir dengan syarat menjaga syiar keislaman dan memungkinkan melaksanakan agamanya di negeri mereka. Hendaklah seperlunya, lalu kembali ke negeri Islam. Adapun kalau safarnya hanya untuk wisata, maka tidak dibolehkan. Karena seorang muslim tidak membutuhkan hal itu serta tidak ada manfaat yang sama atau yang lebih kuat dibandingkan dengan bahaya dan kerusakan pada agama dan keyakinan. (Al-Muntaqa Min Fatawa Syekh Al-Fauzan, 2 soal no. 221)

Penegasan tentang masalah ini telah diuraikan dalam situs kami secara terperinci dan  panjang lebar. Silakan lihat soal no. 13342, 8919, 52845.

3.      Tidak diragukan lagi bahwa ajaran Islam melarang wisata ke tempat-tempat rusak yang terdapat minuman keras, perzinaan, berbagai kemaksiatan seperti di pinggir    pantai yang bebas dan acara-acara bebas dan tempat-tempat kemaksiatan. Atau juga diharamkan safar untuk mengadakan perayaan bid’ah. Karena seorang muslim diperintahkan untuk menjauhi kemaksiatan maka jangan terjerumus (kedalamnya) dan jangan duduk dengan orang yang melakukan itu.

Para ulama dalam Al-Lajnah Ad-Daimah mengatakan: “Tidak diperkenankan bepergian ke tempat-tempat kerusakan untuk berwisata. Karena hal itu mengundang bahaya terhadap agama dan akhlak. Karena ajaran Islam datang untuk menutup peluang yang menjerumuskan kepada keburukan." (Fatawa Al-Lajnah Ad-Daimah, 26/332)

Bagaimana dengan wisata yang menganjurkan kemaksiatan dan prilaku tercela, lalu kita ikut  mengatur, mendukung dan menganjurkannya?

Para ulama Al-Lajnah Ad-Daimah juga berkata: “Kalau wisata tersebut mengandung unsur memudahkan melakukan kemaksiatan dan kemunkaran serta mengajak kesana, maka tidak boleh bagi seorang muslim yang beriman kepada Allah dan hari Akhir membantu untuk melakukan kemaksiatan kepada Allah dan menyalahi perintahNya. Barangsiapa yang meninggalkan sesuatu karena Allah, maka Allah akan mengganti yang lebih baik dari itu. (Fatawa Al-Lajnah Ad-Daimah, 26/224)

4.      Adapun berkunjung ke bekas peninggalan umat terdahulu dan situs-situs kuno , jika itu adalah  bekas tempat turunnya azab, atau tempat suatu kaum dibinasakan sebab kekufurannya kepada Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala, maka tidak dibolehkan menjadikan tempat ini sebagai tempat wisata dan hiburan.

Para Ulama dalam Al-Lajnah Ad-Daimah ditanya, ada di kota Al-Bada di  provinsi Tabuk terdapat peninggalan kuno dan rumah-rumah yang diukir di gunung. Sebagian orang mengatakan bahwa itu adalah tempat tinggal kaum Nabi Syu’aib alaihis salam. Pertanyaannya adalah, apakah ada dalil  bahwa ini adalah tempat tinggal kaum Syu’aib –alaihis salam- atau tidak ada dalil akan hal itu? dan apa hukum mengunjungi tempat purbakala itu bagi orang yang bermaksuk untuk sekedar melihat-lihat dan bagi yang bermaksud mengambil pelajaran dan nasehat?

Mereka menjawab: “Menurut ahli sejarah dikenal bahwa tempat tinggal bangsa Madyan yang  diutus kepada mereka Nabiyullah Syu’aib alaihis shalatu was salam berada di arah barat daya  Jazirah Arab yang sekarang dinamakan Al-Bada dan sekitarnya. Wallahu’alam akan kebenarannya. Jika itu benar, maka tidak diperkenankan berkunjung ke tempat ini dengan tujuan sekedar  melihat-lihat. Karena Nabi sallallahu’alaihi wa sallam ketika melewati Al-Hijr, yaitu tempat tinggal  bangsa Tsamud (yang dibinasakan) beliau bersabda: “Janganlah  kalian memasuki tempat tinggal orang-orang yang telah menzalimi dirinya, khawatir kalian tertimpa seperti yang menimpa mereka,   kecuali kalian dalam kondisi manangis. Lalu beliau menundukkan kepala dan berjalan cepat     sampai melewati sungai." (HR. Bukhari, no. 3200 dan Muslim, no. 2980)

Ibnu Qayyim rahimahullah berkomentar ketika menjelaskan manfaat dan hukum yang diambil dari peristiwa perang Tabuk, di antaranya adalah barangsiapa yang melewati di tempat mereka yang Allah murkai dan turunkan azab, tidak sepatutnya dia memasukinya dan menetap di dalamnya, tetapi hendaknya dia mempercepat jalannya dan menutup wajahnya hingga lewat. Tidak boleh memasukinya kecuali dalam kondisi menangis dan mengambil pelajaran. Dengan landasan ini, Nabi sallallahu’alaihi wa sallam menyegerakan jalan di wadi (sungai) Muhassir antara Mina dan Muzdalifah, karena di tempat itu Allah membinasakan pasukan gajah dan orang-orangnya." (Zadul Ma’ad, 3/560)

Al-Hafiz Ibnu Hajar rahimahullah berkata dalam menjelaskan hadits tadi, "Hal ini mencakup  negeri  Tsamud dan negeri lainnya yang sifatnya sama meskipun sebabnya terkait dengan mereka." (Fathul Bari, 6/380).

Silakan lihat kumpulan riset Majelis Ulama Saudi Arabia jilid ketiga, paper dengan judul Hukmu   Ihyai Diyar Tsamud (hukum menghidupkan perkampungan Tsamud). Juga silahkan lihat soal jawab no. 20894.

5.      Tidak dibolehkan juga wanita bepergian tanpa mahram. Para ulama telah memberikan fatwa haramnya wanita pergi haji atau umrah tanpa mahram. Bagaimana dengan safar untuk wisata yang di dalamnya banyak tasahul (mempermudah masalah) dan campur baur yang diharamkan? Silakan lihat soal jawab no. 4523, 45917, 69337 dan 3098.

6.      Adapun mengatur wisata untuk orang kafir di negara Islam, asalnya dibolehkan. Wisatawan kafir kalau diizinkan oleh pemerintahan Islam untuk masuk maka diberi keamanan sampai keluar. Akan tetapi keberadaannya di negara Islam harus terikat dan menghormati agama Islam, akhlak umat Islam dan kebudayaannya. Dia pun di larang mendakwahkan agamanya dan tidak menuduh Islam dengan batil. Mereka juga tidak boleh keluar kecuali dengan penampilan sopan dan memakai pakaian yang sesuai untuk negara Islam, bukan dengan pakaian yang biasa dia pakai di negaranya dengan terbuka dan tanpa baju. Mereka juga bukan sebagai mata-mata atau spionase untuk negaranya. Yang terakhir tidak diperbolehkan berkunjung ke dua tempat suci; Mekkah dan Madinah.

Ketiga:

Tidak tersembunyi bagi siapa pun bahwa dunia wisata sekarang lebih dominan dengan kemaksiatan, segala perbuatan buruk dan melanggar yang diharamkan, baik sengaja bersolek diri, telanjang di tempat-tempat umum, bercampur baur yang bebas, meminum khamar, memasarkan kebejatan, menyerupai orang kafir, mengambil kebiasaan dan akhlaknya bahkan sampai penyakit mereka  yang  berbahaya. Belum lagi, menghamburkan uang yang banyak dan waktu serta kesungguhan. Semua itu dibungkus dengan nama wisata. Maka ingatlah bagi yang mempunyai kecemburuan terhadap agama, akhlak dan umatnya kepada Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, jangan sampai menjadi penolong untuk mempromosikan wisata fasik ini. Akan tetapi hendaknya memeranginya dan memerangi  ajakan mempromosikannya. Hendaknya bangga dengan agama, wawasan dan akhlaknya. Hal tersebut akan menjadikan negeri kita terpelihara dari segala keburukan dan mendapatkankan pengganti keindahan penciptaan Allah ta’ala di negara islam yang terjaga.

Sumber : http://islamqa.info

Baca Artikel Lainnya : DUSUN MLANGI, WISATA ISLAM INDONESIA

 

HAKEKAT WISATA ISLAM

BANDUNG, Saco- Indonesia.com — Kepala Polrestabes Bandung Kombes Abdul Rakhman Baso menegaskan, Sekte Seks Bebas yang belakangan ramai diberitakan di media massa tidak pernah ada.

Menurutnya, sekte tersebut hanya karangan yang dibuat salah satu tersangka berinisial GL, yang bermotif mencari keuntungan. Dia memeras salah seorang pegawai Perpustakaan Daerah (Perpusda) Kota Bandung berinisial PP atau GM.

"Setelah kita geledah tempat pembuatan surat palsu tersebut yang seolah-olah dibuat oleh salah satu dinas di Pemkot Bandung, diketahui ternyata palsu," kata Abdul saat ditemui seusai gelar perkara di Mapolrestabes Bandung Jalan Merdeka, Kota Bandung, Senin (3/6/2013).

Abdul menambahkan, surat palsu berisi perintah menjalankan ritual seks bebas yang ternyata diberi cap asli dari Perpusda Kota Bandung itu dibuat di dua warnet berbeda, yaitu warnet milik tersangka dan warnet milik rekan AS yang berlokasi di Jalan Caringin, Kota Bandung.

"Surat perintah itu dikerjakan di suatu tempat dengan menyuruh orang. Dan saksi yang kita periksa sebanyak 17 orang," imbuhnya.

Akibat terbitnya surat perintah palsu tersebut, Kepala Perpusda Kota Bandung Muhammad Anwar mengaku telah dicemarkan nama baiknya. Pasalnya, dalam surat tersebut terdapat tanda tangan miliknya. "Muhammad Anwar mengatakan tidak pernah menandatangani surat perintah tersebut. Surat perintah itu juga tidak pernah ada di register," paparnya.

Akibat aksi nekatnya itu, GL terancam hukuman lebih dari lima tahun penjara karena telah melanggar Pasal 263 dan atau 310, dan atau 311 KUHP.

 
Editor :Liwon Maulana
Sumber:Kompas.com
Telah Terungkap Misteri Sekte Seks Bebas di Bandung

Rambut merupakan mahkota baik itu bagi pria maupun wanita. Bahkan keindahan rambut juga mampu untuk menunjang kesempurnaan penampilan seseorang. Oleh karena itu merupakan kewajiban bagi Anda untuk menjaga kesehatan dan keindahan rambut.

Namun sayangnya, kerap kali ada beberapa faktor yang dapat menyebabkan rambut rontok. Berikut adalah beberapa faktor mengejutkan yang dapat menyebabkan rambut rontok.

Menopause
Ketidakseimbangan hormon yang telah terjadi semasa menopause mampu menyebabkan kerontokan rambut. Selain itu stres emosional dan kelelahan juga mampu menyebabkan rambut rontok secara tiba-tiba. Cara terbaik untuk dapat mengatasi keadaan ini adalah dengan menjaga keseimbangan hormon estrogen.

Alopecia areata
Kondisi media yang dapat menyebabkan rambut rontok ini telah ditandai dengan munculnya bintik-bintik di kepala. Salah satu penyebab penyakit ini terjadi karena adanya gangguan sistem imunitas di dalam tubuh manusia.

Penurunan berat badan secara drastis
Berat badan yang turun secara drastis juga dapat menyebabkan rambut rontok. Hal ini dikarenakan tubuh kehilangan nutrisi dan vitamin yang dibutuhkan untuk menjaga kesehatan rambut secara tiba-tiba.

Penyakit tiroid
Ketidakseimbangan hormon tiroid di dalam tubuh dapat menjadi penyebab utama dari rambut rontok. Baik penurunan (hypothyroidism) atau peningkatan (hipertiroidisme) mampu menyebabkan rambut rontok secara berlebihan.

Stres
Stres yang berlebihan juga dapat menyebabkan rambut menjadi rontok. Namun kabar baiknya, rambut rontok yang disebabkan karena stres mampu diobati dalam jangka waktu sekitar 6-12 bulan.

Demam tinggi
Demam tinggi juga merupakan salah satu penyebab rambut Anda menjadi rontok. Selain itu, masih ada penyakit lain yang mampu menyebabkan rambut jadi rontok. Oleh karena itu segeralah berkonsultasi dengan dokter apabila Anda menemukan bahwa rambut Anda rontok secara tiba-tiba.

Selain karena faktor di atas, rambut rontok mampu dicegah dengan selalu mengonsumsi makanan sehat seperti kacang hijau, kacang-kacangan, hingga ikan salmon.

6 Alasan mengejutkan kenapa rambut tiba-tiba rontok

saco-indonesia.com, Usai bisa menahan imbang tuan rumah Persela Lamongan dengan skor 2-2, Persegres bakal akan berjumpa PSM Makassar, Rabu (18/12) di Stadion Surajaya, Lamongan. Meski telah mengaku buta dengan kekuatan Juku Eja, pelatih Agus Yuwono siap untuk memberikan kejutan bagi saudaranya dari Indonesia Timur itu.

Agus juga mengaku tak memiliki banyak data yang telah menggambarkan peta kekuatan calon lawannya asal Makassar tersebut. Tak heran bila Agus buta dengan kekuatan tim pujaan The Maczman itu. Saat ini, Agus ingin mencoba mengumpulkan segala bentuk informasi, serta menganalisis kekuatan PSM.

"Sampai sekarang saya buta kekuatan mereka. Tapi bagaimanapun PSM adalah salah satu tim yang besar dan juga sudah memiliki nama di sepakbola Tanah Air," ucap pelatih asal Malang ini.

Musim ini, PSM Makassar telah diperkuat pemain berpengalaman, seperti Ponaryo Astaman, Syamsul Chaeruddin, Roman Chamelo dan striker Jepang, Kenji Adachihara. Tim ini telah dilatih oleh arsitek asal Jerman, Jorg Peter Steinebrunner. Steinebrunner telah tercatat pernah menangani Deltras Sidoarjo. Namun ia telah dipecat di tengah jalan karena merosotnya prestasi The Lobster.

Menghadapi PSM yang dikenal telah memiliki karakter keras, Agus coba menyiapkan strategi berbeda dibanding waktu menahan imbang tuan rumah Persela. Kendati demikian di turnamen ini Agus tidak memforsir kemenangan. Apalagi Persegres juga masih dalam proses pembentukan tim.

"Yang penting bagaimana anak-anak bermain dengan organisasi permainan yang baik. Meski kondisi mereka belum maksimal," harap eks pelatih Persik Kediri dan Persidafon Dafonsoro ini.


Editor : Dian Sukmawati

PERSEGRES SIAP KEJUTKAN PSM

WASHINGTON — A decade after emergency trailers meant to shelter Hurricane Katrina victims instead caused burning eyes, sore throats and other more serious ailments, the Environmental Protection Agency is on the verge of regulating the culprit: formaldehyde, a chemical that can be found in commonplace things like clothes and furniture.

But an unusual assortment of players, including furniture makers, the Chinese government, Republicans from states with a large base of furniture manufacturing and even some Democrats who championed early regulatory efforts, have questioned the E.P.A. proposal. The sustained opposition has held sway, as the agency is now preparing to ease key testing requirements before it releases the landmark federal health standard.

The E.P.A.’s five-year effort to adopt this rule offers another example of how industry opposition can delay and hamper attempts by the federal government to issue regulations, even to control substances known to be harmful to human health.

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Document: The Formaldehyde Fight

Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen that can also cause respiratory ailments like asthma, but the potential of long-term exposure to cause cancers like myeloid leukemia is less well understood.

The E.P.A.’s decision would be the first time that the federal government has regulated formaldehyde inside most American homes.

“The stakes are high for public health,” said Tom Neltner, senior adviser for regulatory affairs at the National Center for Healthy Housing, who has closely monitored the debate over the rules. “What we can’t have here is an outcome that fails to confront the health threat we all know exists.”

The proposal would not ban formaldehyde — commonly used as an ingredient in wood glue in furniture and flooring — but it would impose rules that prevent dangerous levels of the chemical’s vapors from those products, and would set testing standards to ensure that products sold in the United States comply with those limits. The debate has sharpened in the face of growing concern about the safety of formaldehyde-treated flooring imported from Asia, especially China.

What is certain is that a lot of money is at stake: American companies sell billions of dollars’ worth of wood products each year that contain formaldehyde, and some argue that the proposed regulation would impose unfair costs and restrictions.

Determined to block the agency’s rule as proposed, these industry players have turned to the White House, members of Congress and top E.P.A. officials, pressing them to roll back the testing requirements in particular, calling them redundant and too expensive.

“There are potentially over a million manufacturing jobs that will be impacted if the proposed rule is finalized without changes,” wrote Bill Perdue, the chief lobbyist at the American Home Furnishings Alliance, a leading critic of the testing requirements in the proposed regulation, in one letter to the E.P.A.

Industry opposition helped create an odd alignment of forces working to thwart the rule. The White House moved to strike out key aspects of the proposal. Subsequent appeals for more changes were voiced by players as varied as Senator Barbara Boxer, Democrat of California, and Senator Roger Wicker, Republican of Mississippi, as well as furniture industry lobbyists.

Hurricane Katrina in 2005 helped ignite the public debate over formaldehyde, after the deadly storm destroyed or damaged hundreds of thousands of homes along the Gulf of Mexico, forcing families into temporary trailers provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The displaced storm victims quickly began reporting respiratory problems, burning eyes and other issues, and tests then confirmed high levels of formaldehyde fumes leaking into the air inside the trailers, which in many cases had been hastily constructed.

Public health advocates petitioned the E.P.A. to issue limits on formaldehyde in building materials and furniture used in homes, given that limits already existed for exposure in workplaces. But three years after the storm, only California had issued such limits.

Industry groups like the American Chemistry Council have repeatedly challenged the science linking formaldehyde to cancer, a position championed by David Vitter, the Republican senator from Louisiana, who is a major recipient of chemical industry campaign contributions, and whom environmental groups have mockingly nicknamed “Senator Formaldehyde.”

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Formaldehyde in Laminate Flooring

In laminate flooring, formaldehyde is used as a bonding agent in the fiberboard (or other composite wood) core layer and may also be used in glues that bind layers together. Concerns were raised in March when certain laminate flooring imported from China was reported to contain levels of formaldehyde far exceeding the limit permitted by California.

Typical

laminate

flooring

CLEAR FINISH LAYER

Often made of melamine resin

PATTERN LAYER

Paper printed to resemble wood,

or a thin wood veneer

GLUE

Layers may be bound using

formaldehyde-based glues

CORE LAYER

Fiberboard or other

composite, formed using

formaldehyde-based adhesives

BASE LAYER

Moisture-resistant vapor barrier

What is formaldehyde?

Formaldehyde is a common chemical used in many industrial and household products as an adhesive, bonding agent or preservative. It is classified as a volatile organic compound. The term volatile means that, at room temperature, formaldehyde will vaporize, or become a gas. Products made with formaldehyde tend to release this gas into the air. If breathed in large quantities, it may cause health problems.

WHERE IT IS COMMONLY FOUND

POTENTIAL HEALTH RISKS

Pressed-wood and composite wood products

Wallpaper and paints

Spray foam insulation used in construction

Commercial wood floor finishes

Crease-resistant fabrics

In cigarette smoke, or in the fumes from combustion of other materials, including wood, oil and gasoline.

Exposure to formaldehyde in sufficient amounts may cause eye, throat or skin irritation, allergic reactions, and respiratory problems like coughing, wheezing or asthma.

Long-term exposure to high levels has been associated with cancer in humans and laboratory animals.

Exposure to formaldehyde may affect some people more severely than others.

By 2010, public health advocates and some industry groups secured bipartisan support in Congress for legislation that ordered the E.P.A. to issue federal rules that largely mirrored California’s restrictions. At the time, concerns were rising over the growing number of lower-priced furniture imports from Asia that might include contaminated products, while also hurting sales of American-made products.

Maneuvering began almost immediately after the E.P.A. prepared draft rules to formally enact the new standards.

White House records show at least five meetings in mid-2012 with industry executives — kitchen cabinet makers, chemical manufacturers, furniture trade associations and their lobbyists, like Brock R. Landry, of the Venable law firm. These parties, along with Senator Vitter’s office, appealed to top administration officials, asking them to intervene to roll back the E.P.A. proposal.

The White House Office of Management and Budget, which reviews major federal regulations before they are adopted, apparently agreed. After the White House review, the E.P.A. “redlined” many of the estimates of the monetary benefits that would be gained by reductions in related health ailments, like asthma and fertility issues, documents reviewed by The New York Times show.

As a result, the estimated benefit of the proposed rule dropped to $48 million a year, from as much as $278 million a year. The much-reduced amount deeply weakened the agency’s justification for the sometimes costly new testing that would be required under the new rules, a federal official involved in the effort said.

“It’s a redlining blood bath,” said Lisa Heinzerling, a Georgetown University Law School professor and a former E.P.A. official, using the Washington phrase to describe when language is stricken from a proposed rule. “Almost the entire discussion of these potential benefits was excised.”

Senator Vitter’s staff was pleased.

“That’s a huge difference,” said Luke Bolar, a spokesman for Mr. Vitter, of the reduced estimated financial benefits, saying the change was “clearly highlighting more mismanagement” at the E.P.A.

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The review’s outcome galvanized opponents in the furniture industry. They then targeted a provision that mandated new testing of laminated wood, a cheaper alternative to hardwood. (The California standard on which the law was based did not require such testing.)

But E.P.A. scientists had concluded that these laminate products — millions of which are sold annually in the United States — posed a particular risk. They said that when thin layers of wood, also known as laminate or veneer, are added to furniture or flooring in the final stages of manufacturing, the resulting product can generate dangerous levels of fumes from often-used formaldehyde-based glues.

Industry executives, outraged by what they considered an unnecessary and financially burdensome level of testing, turned every lever within reach to get the requirement removed. It would be particularly onerous, they argued, for small manufacturers that would have to repeatedly interrupt their work to do expensive new testing. The E.P.A. estimated that the expanded requirements for laminate products would cost the furniture industry tens of millions of dollars annually, while the industry said that the proposed rule over all would cost its 7,000 American manufacturing facilities over $200 million each year.

“A lot of people don’t seem to appreciate what a lot of these requirements do to a small operation,” said Dick Titus, executive vice president of the Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association, whose members are predominantly small businesses. “A 10-person shop, for example, just really isn’t equipped to handle that type of thing.”

Photo
 
Becky Gillette wants strong regulation of formaldehyde. Credit Beth Hall for The New York Times

Big industry players also weighed in. Executives from companies including La-Z-Boy, Hooker Furniture and Ashley Furniture all flew to Washington for a series of meetings with the offices of lawmakers including House Speaker John Boehner, Republican of Ohio, and about a dozen other lawmakers, asking several of them to sign a letter prepared by the industry to press the E.P.A. to back down, according to an industry report describing the lobbying visit.

Within a matter of weeks, two letters — using nearly identical language — were sent by House and Senate lawmakers to the E.P.A. — with the industry group forwarding copies of the letters to the agency as well, and then posting them on its website.

The industry lobbyists also held their own meeting at E.P.A. headquarters, and they urged Jim Jones, who oversaw the rule-making process as the assistant administrator for the agency’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, to visit a North Carolina furniture manufacturing plant. According to the trade group, Mr. Jones told them that the visit had “helped the agency shift its thinking” about the rules and how laminated products should be treated.

The resistance was particularly intense from lawmakers like Mr. Wicker of Mississippi, whose state is home to major manufacturing plants owned by Ashley Furniture Industries, the world’s largest furniture maker, and who is one of the biggest recipients in Congress of donations from the industry’s trade association. Asked if the political support played a role, a spokesman for Mr. Wicker replied: “Thousands of Mississippians depend on the furniture manufacturing industry for their livelihoods. Senator Wicker is committed to defending all Mississippians from government overreach.”

Individual companies like Ikea also intervened, as did the Chinese government, which claimed that the new rule would create a “great barrier” to the import of Chinese products because of higher costs.

Perhaps the most surprising objection came from Senator Boxer, of California, a longtime environmental advocate, whose office questioned why the E.P.A.’s rule went further than her home state’s in seeking testing on laminated products. “We did not advocate an outcome, other than safety,” her office said in a statement about why the senator raised concerns. “We said ‘Take a look to see if you have it right.’ ”

Safety advocates say that tighter restrictions — like the ones Ms. Boxer and Mr. Wicker, along with Representative Doris Matsui, a California Democrat, have questioned — are necessary, particularly for products coming from China, where items as varied as toys and Christmas lights have been found to violate American safety standards.

While Mr. Neltner, the environmental advocate who has been most involved in the review process, has been open to compromise, he has pressed the E.P.A. not to back down entirely, and to maintain a requirement that laminators verify that their products are safe.

An episode of CBS’s “60 Minutes” in March brought attention to the issue when it accused Lumber Liquidators, the discount flooring retailer, of selling laminate products with dangerous levels of formaldehyde. The company has disputed the show’s findings and test methods, maintaining that its products are safe.

“People think that just because Congress passed the legislation five years ago, the problem has been fixed,” said Becky Gillette, who then lived in coastal Mississippi, in the area hit by Hurricane Katrina, and was among the first to notice a pattern of complaints from people living in the trailers. “Real people’s faces and names come up in front of me when I think of the thousands of people who could get sick if this rule is not done right.”

An aide to Ms. Matsui rejected any suggestion that she was bending to industry pressure.

“From the beginning the public health has been our No. 1 concern,” said Kyle J. Victor, an aide to Ms. Matsui.

But further changes to the rule are likely, agency officials concede, as they say they are searching for a way to reduce the cost of complying with any final rule while maintaining public health goals. The question is just how radically the agency will revamp the testing requirement for laminated products — if it keeps it at all.

“It’s not a secret to anybody that is the most challenging issue,” said Mr. Jones, the E.P.A. official overseeing the process, adding that the health consequences from formaldehyde are real. “We have to reduce those exposures so that people can live healthy lives and not have to worry about being in their homes.”

The Uphill Battle to Better Regulate Formaldehyde
Children playing last week in Sandtown-Winchester, the Baltimore neighborhood where Freddie Gray was raised. One young resident called it “a tough community.”
Todd Heisler/The New York Times

Children playing last week in Sandtown-Winchester, the Baltimore neighborhood where Freddie Gray was raised. One young resident called it “a tough community.”

Hard but Hopeful Home to ‘Lot of Freddies’

Hard but Hopeful Home to ‘Lot of Freddies’

WASHINGTON — The last three men to win the Republican nomination have been the prosperous son of a president (George W. Bush), a senator who could not recall how many homes his family owned (John McCain of Arizona; it was seven) and a private equity executive worth an estimated $200 million (Mitt Romney).

The candidates hoping to be the party’s nominee in 2016 are trying to create a very different set of associations. On Sunday, Ben Carson, a retired neurosurgeon, joined the presidential field.

Senator Marco Rubio of Florida praises his parents, a bartender and a Kmart stock clerk, as he urges audiences not to forget “the workers in our hotel kitchens, the landscaping crews in our neighborhoods, the late-night janitorial staff that clean our offices.”

Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, a preacher’s son, posts on Twitter about his ham-and-cheese sandwiches and boasts of his coupon-clipping frugality. His $1 Kohl’s sweater has become a campaign celebrity in its own right.

Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky laments the existence of “two Americas,” borrowing the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s phrase to describe economically and racially troubled communities like Ferguson, Mo., and Detroit.

Photo
 
Senator Marco Rubio of Florida praises his parents, a bartender and a Kmart stock clerk. Credit Joe Raedle/Getty Images

“Some say, ‘But Democrats care more about the poor,’ ” Mr. Paul likes to say. “If that’s true, why is black unemployment still twice white unemployment? Why has household income declined by $3,500 over the past six years?”

We are in the midst of the Empathy Primary — the rhetorical battleground shaping the Republican presidential field of 2016.

Harmed by the perception that they favor the wealthy at the expense of middle-of-the-road Americans, the party’s contenders are each trying their hardest to get across what the elder George Bush once inelegantly told recession-battered voters in 1992: “Message: I care.”

Their ability to do so — less bluntly, more sincerely — could prove decisive in an election year when power, privilege and family connections will loom large for both parties.

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Questions of understanding and compassion cost Republicans in the last election. Mr. Romney, who memorably dismissed the “47 percent” of Americans as freeloaders, lost to President Obama by 63 percentage points among voters who cast their ballots for the candidate who “cares about people like me,” according to exit polls.

And a Pew poll from February showed that people still believe Republicans are indifferent to working Americans: 54 percent said the Republican Party does not care about the middle class.

That taint of callousness explains why Senator Ted Cruz of Texas declared last week that Republicans “are and should be the party of the 47 percent” — and why another son of a president, Jeb Bush, has made economic opportunity the centerpiece of his message.

With his pedigree and considerable wealth — since he left the Florida governor’s office almost a decade ago he has earned millions of dollars sitting on corporate boards and advising banks — Mr. Bush probably has the most complicated task making the argument to voters that he understands their concerns.

On a visit last week to Puerto Rico, Mr. Bush sounded every bit the populist, railing against “elites” who have stifled economic growth and innovation. In the kind of economy he envisions leading, he said: “We wouldn’t have the middle being squeezed. People in poverty would have a chance to rise up. And the social strains that exist — because the haves and have-nots is the big debate in our country today — would subside.”

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Who Is Running for President (and Who’s Not)?

Republicans’ emphasis on poorer and working-class Americans now represents a shift from the party’s longstanding focus on business owners and “job creators” as the drivers of economic opportunity.

This is intentional, Republican operatives said.

In the last presidential election, Republicans rushed to defend business owners against what they saw as hostility by Democrats to successful, wealthy entrepreneurs.

“Part of what you had was a reaction to the Democrats’ dehumanization of business owners: ‘Oh, you think you started your plumbing company? No you didn’t,’ ” said Grover Norquist, the conservative activist and president of Americans for Tax Reform.

But now, Mr. Norquist said, Republicans should move past that. “Focus on the people in the room who know someone who couldn’t get a job, or a promotion, or a raise because taxes are too high or regulations eat up companies’ time,” he said. “The rich guy can take care of himself.”

Democrats argue that the public will ultimately see through such an approach because Republican positions like opposing a minimum-wage increase and giving private banks a larger role in student loans would hurt working Americans.

“If Republican candidates are just repeating the same tired policies, I’m not sure that smiling while saying it is going to be enough,” said Guy Cecil, a Democratic strategist who is joining a “super PAC” working on behalf of Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Republicans have already attacked Mrs. Clinton over the wealth and power she and her husband have accumulated, caricaturing her as an out-of-touch multimillionaire who earns hundreds of thousands of dollars per speech and has not driven a car since 1996.

Mr. Walker hit this theme recently on Fox News, pointing to Mrs. Clinton’s lucrative book deals and her multiple residences. “This is not someone who is connected with everyday Americans,” he said. His own net worth, according to The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, is less than a half-million dollars; Mr. Walker also owes tens of thousands of dollars on his credit cards.

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But showing off a cheap sweater or boasting of a bootstraps family background not only helps draw a contrast with Mrs. Clinton’s latter-day affluence, it is also an implicit argument against Mr. Bush.

Mr. Walker, who featured a 1998 Saturn with more than 100,000 miles on the odometer in a 2010 campaign ad during his first run for governor, likes to talk about flipping burgers at McDonald’s as a young person. His mother, he has said, grew up on a farm with no indoor plumbing until she was in high school.

Mr. Rubio, among the least wealthy members of the Senate, with an estimated net worth of around a half-million dollars, uses his working-class upbringing as evidence of the “exceptionalism” of America, “where even the son of a bartender and a maid can have the same dreams and the same future as those who come from power and privilege.”

Mr. Cruz alludes to his family’s dysfunction — his parents, he says, were heavy drinkers — and recounts his father’s tale of fleeing Cuba with $100 sewn into his underwear.

Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey notes that his father paid his way through college working nights at an ice cream plant.

But sometimes the attempts at projecting authenticity can seem forced. Mr. Christie recently found himself on the defensive after telling a New Hampshire audience, “I don’t consider myself a wealthy man.” Tax returns showed that he and his wife, a longtime Wall Street executive, earned nearly $700,000 in 2013.

The story of success against the odds is a political classic, even if it is one the Republican Party has not been able to tell for a long time. Ronald Reagan liked to say that while he had not been born on the wrong side of the tracks, he could always hear the whistle. Richard Nixon was fond of reminding voters how he was born in a house his father had built.

“Probably the idea that is most attractive to an average voter, and an idea that both Republicans and Democrats try to craft into their messages, is this idea that you can rise from nothing,” said Charles C. W. Cooke, a writer for National Review.

There is a certain delight Republicans take in turning that message to their advantage now.

“That’s what Obama did with Hillary,” Mr. Cooke said. “He acknowledged it openly: ‘This is ridiculous. Look at me, this one-term senator with dark skin and all of America’s unsolved racial problems, running against the wife of the last Democratic president.”

G.O.P. Hopefuls Now Aiming to Woo the Middle Class

WASHINGTON — During a training course on defending against knife attacks, a young Salt Lake City police officer asked a question: “How close can somebody get to me before I’m justified in using deadly force?”

Dennis Tueller, the instructor in that class more than three decades ago, decided to find out. In the fall of 1982, he performed a rudimentary series of tests and concluded that an armed attacker who bolted toward an officer could clear 21 feet in the time it took most officers to draw, aim and fire their weapon.

The next spring, Mr. Tueller published his findings in SWAT magazine and transformed police training in the United States. The “21-foot rule” became dogma. It has been taught in police academies around the country, accepted by courts and cited by officers to justify countless shootings, including recent episodes involving a homeless woodcarver in Seattle and a schizophrenic woman in San Francisco.

Now, amid the largest national debate over policing since the 1991 beating of Rodney King in Los Angeles, a small but vocal set of law enforcement officials are calling for a rethinking of the 21-foot rule and other axioms that have emphasized how to use force, not how to avoid it. Several big-city police departments are already re-examining when officers should chase people or draw their guns and when they should back away, wait or try to defuse the situation

Police Rethink Long Tradition on Using Force

Hired in 1968, a year before their first season, Mr. Fanning spent 25 years with the team, managing them to their only playoff appearance in Canada.

Jim Fanning, 87, Dies; Lifted Baseball in Canada With Expos

Ms. Meadows was the older sister of Audrey Meadows, who played Alice Kramden on “The Honeymooners.”

Jayne Meadows, Actress and Steve Allen’s Wife and Co-Star, Dies at 95

ate in February, Dr. Ben Carson, the celebrated pediatric neurosurgeon turned political insurrectionist, was trying to check off another box on his presidential-campaign to-do list: hiring a press secretary. The lead prospect, a public-relations specialist named Deana Bass, had come to meet him at the dimly lit Capitol Hill office of Carson’s confidant and business manager, Armstrong Williams. Carson sat back and scrutinized her from behind a small granite table, as life-size cardboard cutouts of more conventional politicians — President Obama, with a tight smile, and Senator John McCain, glowering — loomed behind each of his shoulders. (The mock $3 bill someone had left on a table in Williams’s waiting room undercut any notion that this was a bipartisan zone; it featured Obama wearing a turban.)

Bass seemed momentarily speechless, and not just because no one had warned her that a New York Times reporter would be sitting in on her job interview. Though she knew Williams — a jack-of-all-trades entrepreneur who owns several television stations and a public-affairs business and who hosts a daily talk-radio show — through Washington’s small circle of black conservatives, the two hadn’t spoken in years until he called her two days earlier. He had been struggling to come up with the perfect national spokesperson, he told her. Then, at the gym, her name popped into his head; Williams was fairly certain she was the one. Sitting across from a likely candidate for president, Bass was adjusting to the idea that her life might be about to take a sudden chaotic turn.

“It’s like getting the most random call on a Monday that you simply do not see coming,” she said. “Oftentimes, that is how the Lord works.”

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His life in brain surgery
has prepared him for the
presidency, he maintains,
better than lives in
politics have for his rivals.

Carson concurred: “It’s always how he works in my life.” Carson is soft-spoken and often talks with his eyes half closed, frequently punctuating his sentences with a small laugh, even if the humor of his statement is not readily apparent. Bass told Carson that she had been a Republican staff member on Capitol Hill then worked for the Republican National Committee. In 2007 she started a Christian public-relations firm with her sister. She enjoyed working on the Hill, she said, but the pay wasn’t as high as the hours were long. “We figured that we worked like slaves for other people, and we wanted to work for ourselves.”

Carson stopped her. “You know you can’t mention that word, right?” Carson waited a beat, then laughed, and Williams and Bass joined in. He was getting to the point; he needed a professional who could help him check his penchant for creating uncontrolled controversy just by talking.

The Ben Carson movement began in 2013, when Carson, a neurosurgeon, whose operating-room prowess and up-from-poverty back story had made him the subject of a television movie and a regular on the inspirational-speaking circuit, was invited to address the annual National Prayer Breakfast in Washington. With Barack Obama sitting just two seats away, Carson warned that “moral decay” and “fiscal irresponsibility” could destroy America just as it did ancient Rome. He proposed a substitute for Obamacare — Health Savings Accounts, which, he said, would end any talk of “death panels” — and a flat-tax based on the concept of tithing. His address, combined with the president’s stony reaction, was a smash with Republican activists. Speaking and interview requests flooded in. Carson, then 61, announced his planned retirement a few weeks later, freeing his calendar to accept just about all of them. In the months that followed, his rhetoric became increasingly strident. The claim that drew the most attention, perhaps, was that Obamacare was “the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery.”

Bass’s own use of the word prompted Carson to ask her what she thought about that incident. She considered for a moment.

“If you want to reach people and have them even understand what you’re saying, there is a way to do it, without that hyperbole, that might be. . . . ” She paused. “I just think it’s important not to shut people off before they —”

Carson jumped in. “That doesn’t allow them to hear what you’re saying?”

Bass nodded.

Likening Obamacare to slavery — and slavery was incomparably worse, Carson said — had its political advantages for a candidacy like his. It was the kind of statement that stoked the angriest of the Republican voters: conservative stalwarts who can’t hear enough bad things about Obama. This, in turn, led to more talk-radio and Fox News appearances, more book sales, more donations to the super PAC started in his name, more support in the polls. (The day before the meeting, one poll of Republican voters showed Carson statistically tied for first place with Jeb Bush and Scott Walker.)

Rhetorical excess was good for business, but Carson now wants to be seen as more than a novelty candidate. He has come to learn that such extreme analogies, while true to his views, aren’t especially presidential. They alienate more moderate voters and, perhaps even more damaging, reinforce the impression that he is not “serious” — that he is another Herman Cain, the black former Godfather’s Pizza chief executive who rose to the top of the early presidential polls in 2011 but then bowed out before the Iowa caucuses, largely because of leaked allegations of sexual misconduct, which he denied but from which he never recovered. Cain lingers as a cautionary tale for the party as much as for a right-leaning candidate like Carson. The fact that Cain, with his folksy sayings (“shucky ducky”) and misnomers (“Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan”), reached the top of the national polls — much less that he was eventually followed there by the likes of Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, who all topped one or another poll in the 2012 primary season — wound up being a considerable embarrassment for the eventual nominee, Mitt Romney, and for the longtime party regulars who were trying to fast-track his way to the nomination.

Carson liked Bass and, without directly saying so, made it clear the job was hers for the taking. Carson’s campaign chairman, Terry Giles — a white lawyer whose clients have included the comedian Richard Pryor and the stepson of the model Anna Nicole Smith and who helped reconcile the business interests of the descendants of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. — had assembled a mostly white campaign team, including many from the 2012 Gingrich effort, and Carson wanted a person of color to speak for him. Bass said she would have to mull it over, pray about it. Carson nodded approvingly. “Pray about it,” he said. “See what you think.”

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Williams knew the party was intent on protecting the eventual 2016 nominee from the same embarrassment Romney suffered. Already, suspiciously tough articles about Carson were showing up in conservative magazines and on right-wing websites. “They’re protecting these establishment candidates,” Williams said. “This is coming from within the house. This is family.” At the very least, he wanted to make sure that Carson didn’t do their work for them. (Carson would commit another unforced error a week later, when he told CNN that homosexuality was clearly a choice, because a lot of people go in prison straight and “when they come out, they’re gay”; he later apologized.)

“We need somebody to protect him, sometimes, from himself,” he told Bass — laughing, but only half kidding.

A candidacy like Carson’s presents a new kind of problem to the establishment wing of the G.O.P., which, at least since 1980, has selected its presidential nominees with a routine efficiency that Democrats could only envy. The establishment candidate has usually been a current or former governor or senator, blandly Protestant, hailing from the moderate, big-business wing of the party (or at least friendly with it) and almost always a second-, third- or fourth-time national contender — someone who had waited “his turn.” These candidates would tack predictably to the right during the primaries to satisfy the evangelicals, deficit hawks, libertarian leaners and other inconvenient but vital constituents who made up the “base” of the party. In return, the base would, after a brief flirtation with some fantasy candidate like Steve Forbes or Pat Buchanan, “hold their noses” and deliver their votes come November. This bargain was always tenuous, of course, and when some of the furthest-right activists turned against George W. Bush, citing (among other apostasies) his expansion of Medicare’s prescription drug benefit, it began to fall apart. After Barack Obama defeated McCain in 2008, the party’s once dependable base started to reconsider the wisdom of holding their noses at all.

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Republican candidates at a pre-straw-poll debate, held at Iowa State University in 2011. Credit Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

This insurgent attitude was helped along by changes in the nomination rules. In 2010, the Republican National Committee, hoping to capture the excitement of the coast-to-coast Democratic primary competition between Obama and Hillary Clinton, introduced new voting rules that required many of the early voting states to award some delegates to losing candidates, based on their shares of the vote. The proportional voting rules would encourage struggling candidates to stay in the primaries even after successive losses, as Clinton did, because they might be able to pull together enough delegates to take the nomination in a convention-floor fight or at least use them to bargain for a prime speaking slot or cabinet post.

This shift in incentives did not go unnoticed by potential 2012 candidates, nor did changes in election law that allowed billionaire donors to form super PACs in support of pet candidacies. At the same time, increasingly widespread broadband Internet access allowed candidates to reach supporters directly with video and email appeals and supporters to send money with the tap of a smartphone, making it easier than ever for individual candidates to ignore the wishes of the party.

Into this newly chaotic Republican landscape strode Mitt Romney. There could be no doubt that it was his turn, and yet his journey to the nomination was interrupted by one against-the-odds challenger after another — Cain, Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul; always Ron Paul. It was easy to dismiss the 2012 primaries as a meaningless circus, but the onslaught did much more than tarnish the overall Republican brand. It also forced Romney to spend money he could have used against Obama and defend his right flank with embarrassing pandering that shadowed him through the general election. It was while trying to block a surge from Gingrich, for instance, that Romney told a debate audience that he was for the “self-deportation” of undocumented immigrants.

At the 2012 convention in Tampa, a group of longtime party hands, including Romney’s lawyer, Ben Ginsberg, gathered to discuss how to prevent a repeat of what had become known inside and outside the party as the “clown show.” Their aim was not just to protect the party but also to protect a potential President Romney from a primary challenge in 2016. They forced through new rules that would give future presumptive nominees more control over delegates in the event of a convention fight. They did away with the mandatory proportional delegate awards that encouraged long-shot candidacies. And, in a noticeably targeted effort, they raised the threshold that candidates needed to meet to enter their names into nomination, just as Ron Paul’s supporters were working to reach it. When John A. Boehner gaveled the rules in on a voice vote — a vote that many listeners heard as a tie, if not an outright loss — the hall erupted and a line of Ron Paul supporters walked off the floor in protest, along with many Tea Party members.

At a party meeting last winter, Reince Priebus, who as party chairman is charged with maintaining the support of all his constituencies, did restore some proportional primary and caucus voting, but only in states that held voting within a shortened two-week window. And he also condensed the nominating schedule to four and a half months from six months, and, for the first time required candidates to participate in a shortened debate schedule, determined by the party, not by the whims of the networks. (The panel that recommended those changes included names closely identified with the establishment — the former Bush White House spokesman Ari Fleischer, the Mississippi committeeman Haley Barbour and, notably, Jeb Bush’s closest adviser, Sally Bradshaw.)

Grass-roots activists have complained that the condensed schedule robs nonestablishment candidates — “movement candidates” like Carson — of the extra time they need to build momentum, money and organizations. But Priebus, who says the nomination could be close to settled by April, said it helped all the party’s constituencies when the nominee was decided quickly. “We don’t need a six-month slice-and-dice festival,” Priebus said when we spoke in mid-March. “While I can’t always control everyone’s mouth, I can control how long we can kill each other.”

All the rules changes were built to sidestep the problems of 2012. But the 2016 field is shaping up to be vastly different and far larger. A new Republican hints that he or she is considering a run seemingly every week. There are moderates like Gov. John Kasich of Ohio and former Gov. George Pataki of New York; no-compromise conservatives like Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and former Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania; business-wingers like the former Hewlett-Packard chief executive Carly Fiorina; one-of-a-kinds like Donald Trump — some 20 in all, a dozen or so who seem fairly serious about it. That opens the possibility of multiple candidates vying for all the major Republican constituencies, some of them possibly goaded along by super-PAC-funding billionaires, all of them trading wins and collecting delegates well into spring.

Giles says his candidate can capitalize on all that chaos. Rivals may laugh, but Giles argues that if Carson can make a respectable showing in Iowa, then win in South Carolina — or at least come in second should a home-state senator, Lindsey Graham, run — and come in second behind Bush or Senator Marco Rubio in their home state of Florida, he could be positioned to make a real run. But that would depend on avoiding pitfalls like Carson’s ill-considered comments on homosexuality. Rather than capitalizing on the chaos, Carson may only contribute to it.

Ben Carson is, in many ways, the ideal Republican presidential candidate. With a not-too-selective reading of his life story, conservative voters can — and do — see in him an inspiring, up-from-nowhere African-American who shares their beliefs, a right-wing answer to Barack Obama. Before he was born, his parents moved to Detroit from rural Tennessee as part of the second great migration. His father, Robert Solomon Carson, worked at a Cadillac factory. His mother, Sonya — who herself had grown up as one of 24 children and left school at third grade — cleaned houses. When Carson was 8, Sonya discovered that Robert was keeping a second family. She moved, with her two sons, into a rundown group house. It was in a part of town that Carson described to me as crawling with “big rats and roaches and all kinds of horrible things.” Sonya worked several jobs at a time and made up the shortfall with food stamps. (Carson has called for paring back the social safety net but not doing away with it.)

Carson recounts this story in his best-selling 1990 memoir, “Gifted Hands,” which also became the basis for a 2009 movie on TNT, starring Cuba Gooding Jr. as Carson. Raised as a Seventh Day Adventist, Carson realized that he wanted to become a physician during a church sermon about a missionary doctor who, while serving overseas, was almost attacked by thieves but found safety by putting his faith in God. When Carson, then 8, told his mother his new dream, “She said, ‘Absolutely, you could do it, you could do anything,’ ” he told me. Forced by his mother to read two extra books a week, he made it to Yale, then to medical school at the University of Michigan, where he decided to specialize in neurosurgery. He was selected for residency at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, where he was named director of pediatric neurosurgery at 33, becoming the youngest person, and the first black person, to hold the title. He drew national attention by conducting a succession of operations that had never been performed successfully, most famously planning and managing the first separation of conjoined twins connected through major blood vessels in the brain.

Carson, a two-time Jimmy Carter voter, traces his conservative political awakening to a patient he met during the Reagan years. During a routine obstetrics rotation, he found himself treating an unwed pregnant teenager who had run away from her well-to-do parents. When Carson asked her how she was getting by, she informed him she was on public assistance; this led him to ponder the fact that the government was paying for the result of what he did not view as a “wise decision.” The incident, he says, fed his growing sense that the welfare system too often saps motivation and rewards irresponsible behavior. (When we spoke, he suggested that the government should cut off assistance to would-be unwed mothers, but only after warning them that it would do so within a certain amount of time, say five years. “I bet you’d see a dramatic decrease in unwed motherhood.”)

Carson’s friends at Hopkins say they do not remember him being particularly outspoken about his conservatism. He devoted most of his public engagement to urging poor kids in bad neighborhoods to use “these fancy brains God gave us,” through weekly school visits, student hospital tours and, ultimately, a multimillion-dollar scholarship program. “His issues were always medical care for the poor, education for the poor, equal opportunity — helping the less fortunate and really inspiring them as an example,” a mentor who named him to the chief pediatrics-neurosurgery post at Hopkins, Dr. Donlin Long, told me.

Even when Carson got the chance, in 1997, to speak in front of President Bill Clinton, at the national prayer breakfast, he mostly discussed the lack of role models for black children who were not sports stars or rappers. (There was possibly an oblique reference to Clinton’s sex scandals, when he told the audience that, if they are always honest, they won’t have to worry later about “skeletons in the closet.”)

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Ben Carson at CPAC on Feb. 26 in Oxon Hill, Md. Credit Dolly Faibyshev for The New York Times

In 2011, Carson’s politics took a strident turn, mirroring that of many in his party during the Obama years. “America the Beautiful,” his sixth book, which he wrote with Candy Carson, his wife of 39 years, included a get-tough-on-illegal-immigration message and offered anti-establishment praise for the Tea Party. It suggested that blacks who voted for Obama only because he was black were themselves practicing a form of racism. (Earlier this year he admitted to Buzzfeed that portions of the book were lifted directly from several sources without proper attribution.) His prayer-breakfast performance in 2013, and the extremity of his remarks in the months afterward (Obamacare is the worst thing since slavery; the United States is “very much like Nazi Germany”; allowing same-sex marriage could lead to allowing bestiality), left some of his old friends bewildered. Students at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine protested his planned convocation address there in 2013, and he eventually backed out. When I asked Carson about the view at Hopkins that he had changed, he said his themes are still the same: “hard work, self-reliance, helping other people.” If he had become more overtly political, he said, it was only because the Obama years had led him to believe that “we’re really moving in a direction that is very, very destructive.”

None of this went unnoticed by campaign professionals. In August 2013, John Philip Sousa IV and Vernon Robinson, each of whom professes to be a virtual stranger to Carson, and who had previously been active in the anti-illegal-immigration movement, started the National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee. Sousa was just coming off a campaign to defend the sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, Joe Arpaio, from a recall effort, and he told me that he found Carson’s lack of political experience refreshing. “We have 500 guys and gals with probably a collective 5,000 years experience, and look at the mess we’re in,” he said.

Many others in the party feel the same way. Carson’s PAC finished 2014 with more than $13 million in donations, more than Ready for Hillary. Much of its money has gone toward further fund-raising, but Sousa — the great-grandson of the famous composer — points out that their effort has already built far more than just a war chest, organizing leaders in all 99 of Iowa’s counties. Regardless, Carson credits the fund-raising success of Sousa and Robinson with persuading him to enter the race.

Very early the morning after the job interview, Carson was in a black S.U.V., heading from Washington to the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in Oxon Hill, Md., where he was to give the opening candidate speech of the Conservative Political Action Conference. The event, which functions as an early tryout for Republican presidential contenders, tends to skew rightward in its audience, drawing many of the same sorts of people who shouted at Boehner in Tampa. As such, it tends to favor anti-establishment candidates, but the news leading up to this year’s event was that Jeb Bush hoped to make inroads there.

It was still dark when we set out, and I joked with Carson about the hour, telling him he’d better get used to it. He retorted that his career in pediatric brain surgery made him no stranger to early mornings. This is a big theme of Carson’s presidential pitch: that neither the rigors of the campaign nor those of the White House can faze a man who held children’s lives in his hands. His life in brain surgery has prepared him for the presidency, he maintains, better than lives in politics have for his rivals. At the very least, he says, it conditioned him against getting too worked up about any problem that isn’t life threatening. “I mean, it’s grueling, but interestingly enough, I don’t feel the pressure,” he said.

At the convention hall, we were quickly surrounded by admirers. Two women were already waiting to meet him — white, middle-aged volunteers for Carson’s super PAC, who had traveled from South Carolina. One of them, Chris Horne, was holding a dog-eared and taped Bible. A founding member of the Charleston Tea Party who went on to work for Gingrich’s successful South Carolina primary campaign in 2012, Horne lamented over the attacks that Carson was sure to face. “You served us, you served the Lord, just don’t let them steal that from you,” she said. Her friend told him, “You’ve got God behind you!” Such religious evocations trailed Carson constantly while I walked the CPAC floor with him. Evangelicals are impressed not only with his devotion to their politics but also with his career path; as one of them told me, what’s more pro-life than saving babies?

During our ride to the conference, Carson told me his speech was not looking to “feed the beast.” When his appointed time came, he kept his remarks as tame as promised. “Real compassion” meant “using our intellect” to help people “climb out of dependency and realize the American dream,” he said. The national debt is going to “destroy us,” Obamacare was about “redistribution and control,” but Republicans better come forward with their own alternative before they repeal it, he said.

Because his speech was first, and it started several minutes early, the auditorium was slow to fill. Still, the first day saw a crush of people seeking autographs and pictures as he roamed the hall. The Draft Carson committee’s 150 volunteers swarmed the auditorium, collecting emails and handing out “Run Ben Run” stickers. After a quick interview with Sean Hannity, the conservative-radio and Fox News host — his second in two days — Carson was off to Tampa.

In the hours that followed his talk, the hall offered a view in miniature of what the next 12 to 14 months might hold for the party. Chris Christie, sitting across from the tough-minded talk-radio host Laura Ingraham, boasted about his multiple vetoes of Planned Parenthood funding, his refusal to raise income taxes and his belief that “sometimes people need to be told to sit down and shut up.” Cruz, an audience favorite, warning his fellow Republicans against falling for a “squishy moderate,” declared, “Take all 125,000 I.R.S. agents and put ’em on our Southern border!” Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, surging in polls, boasted that if he could face down the 100,000 union supporters who protested his legislation limiting collective bargaining for public employees, he could certainly handle ISIS. The next day, the traditional CPAC favorite Rand Paul spoke, packing the hall with his supporters who chanted “President Paul.” He warned, counter to the overall hawkish tenor of the event, that “we should not succumb to the notion that a government inept at home will somehow become successful abroad.” But he also vowed to end foreign aid to countries whose citizens are seen burning American flags. “Not one penny more to these haters of America.”

Perhaps the defining moment came near the end of the conference, when Jeb Bush spoke. In a neat trick of political gamesmanship — and a show of establishment muscle — his team had bused in an ample cheering section for the dozens of cameras on hand for his appearance. But a small contingent of Tea Party activists and Rand Paul supporters staged a walk out. When Bush began a question-and-answer session, they turned and left the auditorium to chant “U.S.A., U.S.A.” in the hallway, led by a man in colonial garb waving a huge “Don’t Tread on Me” banner. Plenty of other detractors stayed in the hall and peppered Bush’s remarks with booing as he stood by positions unpopular with the conservative grass roots: support for the Common Core standards and an immigration overhaul that provides a “path to legal status” for undocumented immigrants. Bush took it all in good humor, but finally seemed to give up.

“For those who made an ‘oo’ sound — is that what it was? — I’m marking you down as neutral,” he said. “And I want to be your second choice.”

Bush strategists told me they would not repeat Romney’s mistakes. Of course they would love to glide to an early nomination, they said, but they are prepared for a long contest and won’t be wasting any energy bending under pressure from a Paul or a Cruz or a Carson.

No one doubts that the pressure will increase, though. Despite the best wishes of the party’s leaders, GOP primary voters have given little indication that they will narrow the field quickly.

Before I left, I spotted Newt Gingrich, himself a fleeting presidential front-runner during those strange primary days of 2012. I asked him whether he thought all the party maneuvering — all the attempts to change the rules and fast-track the process — would preclude someone from presenting the sort of outside primary challenge he had carried out in the last election.

“No,” he told me, as if it was the most obvious thing in the world. “Look at where Ben Carson is right now.”

Jim Rutenberg is the chief political correspondent for the magazine. His most recent feature was about Megyn Kelly.

Ben Carson Says He’ll Seek 2016 G.O.P. Nomination

The 6-foot-10 Phillips played alongside the 6-11 Rick Robey on the Wildcats team that won the 1978 N.C.A.A. men’s basketball title.

Mike Phillips, Half of Kentucky’s ‘Twin Towers’ of Basketball, Dies at 59

Mr. Paczynski was one of the concentration camp’s longest surviving inmates and served as the personal barber to its Nazi commandant Rudolf Höss.

Jozef Paczynski, Inmate Barber to Auschwitz Commandant, Dies at 95

Since a white police officer, Darren Wilson fatally shot unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, in a confrontation last August in Ferguson, Mo., there have been many other cases in which the police have shot and killed suspects, some of them unarmed. Mr. Brown's death set off protests throughout the country, pushing law enforcement into the spotlight and sparking a public debate on police tactics. Here is a selection of police shootings that have been reported by news organizations since Mr. Brown's death. In some cases, investigations are continuing.

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The apartment complex northeast of Atlanta where Anthony Hill, 27, was fatally shot by a DeKalb County police officer. Credit Ben Gray/Atlanta Journal Constitution

Chamblee, Ga.
Fatal Police Shootings: Accounts Since Ferguson

From sea to shining sea, or at least from one side of the Hudson to the other, politicians you have barely heard of are being accused of wrongdoing. There were so many court proceedings involving public officials on Monday that it was hard to keep up.

In Newark, two underlings of Gov. Chris Christie were arraigned on charges that they were in on the truly deranged plot to block traffic leading onto the George Washington Bridge.

Ten miles away, in Lower Manhattan, Dean G. Skelos, the leader of the New York State Senate, and his son, Adam B. Skelos, were arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation on accusations of far more conventional political larceny, involving a job with a sewer company for the son and commissions on title insurance and bond work.

The younger man managed to receive a 150 percent pay increase from the sewer company even though, as he said on tape, he “literally knew nothing about water or, you know, any of that stuff,” according to a criminal complaint the United States attorney’s office filed.

The success of Adam Skelos, 32, was attributed by prosecutors to his father’s influence as the leader of the Senate and as a potentate among state Republicans. The indictment can also be read as one of those unfailingly sad tales of a father who cannot stop indulging a grown son. The senator himself is not alleged to have profited from the schemes, except by being relieved of the burden of underwriting Adam.

The bridge traffic caper is its own species of crazy; what distinguishes the charges against the two Skeloses is the apparent absence of a survival instinct. It is one thing not to know anything about water or that stuff. More remarkable, if true, is the fact that the sewer machinations continued even after the former New York Assembly speaker, Sheldon Silver, was charged in January with taking bribes disguised as fees.

It was by then common gossip in political and news media circles that Senator Skelos, a Republican, the counterpart in the Senate to Mr. Silver, a Democrat, in the Assembly, could be next in line for the criminal dock. “Stay tuned,” the United States attorney, Preet Bharara said, leaving not much to the imagination.

Even though the cat had been unmistakably belled, Skelos father and son continued to talk about how to advance the interests of the sewer company, though the son did begin to use a burner cellphone, the kind people pay for in cash, with no traceable contracts.

That was indeed prudent, as prosecutors had been wiretapping the cellphones of both men. But it would seem that the burner was of limited value, because by then the prosecutors had managed to secure the help of a business executive who agreed to record calls with the Skeloses. It would further seem that the business executive was more attentive to the perils of pending investigations than the politician.

Through the end of the New York State budget negotiations in March, the hopes of the younger Skelos rested on his father’s ability to devise legislation that would benefit the sewer company. That did not pan out. But Senator Skelos did boast that he had haggled with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, a Democrat, in a successful effort to raise a $150 million allocation for Long Island to $550 million, for what the budget called “transformative economic development projects.” It included money for the kind of work done by the sewer company.

The lawyer for Adam Skelos said he was not guilty and would win in court. Senator Skelos issued a ringing declaration that he was unequivocally innocent.

THIS was also the approach taken in New Jersey by Bill Baroni, a man of great presence and eloquence who stopped outside the federal courthouse to note that he had taken risks as a Republican by bucking his party to support paid family leave, medical marijuana and marriage equality. “I would never risk my career, my job, my reputation for something like this,” Mr. Baroni said. “I am an innocent man.”

The lawyer for his co-defendant, Bridget Anne Kelly, the former deputy chief of staff to Mr. Christie, a Republican, said that she would strongly rebut the charges.

Perhaps they had nothing to do with the lane closings. But neither Mr. Baroni nor Ms. Kelly addressed the question of why they did not return repeated calls from the mayor of Fort Lee, N.J., begging them to stop the traffic tie-ups, over three days.

That silence was a low moment. But perhaps New York hit bottom faster. Senator Skelos, the prosecutors charged, arranged to meet Long Island politicians at the wake of Wenjian Liu, a New York City police officer shot dead in December, to press for payments to the company employing his son.

Sometimes it seems as though for some people, the only thing to be ashamed of is shame itself.

Finding Scandal in New York and New Jersey, but No Shame

UNITED NATIONS — Wearing pinstripes and a pince-nez, Staffan de Mistura, the United Nations envoy for Syria, arrived at the Security Council one Tuesday afternoon in February and announced that President Bashar al-Assad had agreed to halt airstrikes over Aleppo. Would the rebels, Mr. de Mistura suggested, agree to halt their shelling?

What he did not announce, but everyone knew by then, was that the Assad government had begun a military offensive to encircle opposition-held enclaves in Aleppo and that fierce fighting was underway. It would take only a few days for rebel leaders, having pushed back Syrian government forces, to outright reject Mr. de Mistura’s proposed freeze in the fighting, dooming the latest diplomatic overture on Syria.

Diplomacy is often about appearing to be doing something until the time is ripe for a deal to be done.

 

 

Now, with Mr. Assad’s forces having suffered a string of losses on the battlefield and the United States reaching at least a partial rapprochement with Mr. Assad’s main backer, Iran, Mr. de Mistura is changing course. Starting Monday, he is set to hold a series of closed talks in Geneva with the warring sides and their main supporters. Iran will be among them.

In an interview at United Nations headquarters last week, Mr. de Mistura hinted that the changing circumstances, both military and diplomatic, may have prompted various backers of the war to question how much longer the bloodshed could go on.

“Will that have an impact in accelerating the willingness for a political solution? We need to test it,” he said. “The Geneva consultations may be a good umbrella for testing that. It’s an occasion for asking everyone, including the government, if there is any new way that they are looking at a political solution, as they too claim they want.”

He said he would have a better assessment at the end of June, when he expects to wrap up his consultations. That coincides with the deadline for a final agreement in the Iran nuclear talks.

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Whether a nuclear deal with Iran will pave the way for a new opening on peace talks in Syria remains to be seen. Increasingly, though, world leaders are explicitly linking the two, with the European Union’s top diplomat, Federica Mogherini, suggesting last week that a nuclear agreement could spur Tehran to play “a major but positive role in Syria.”

It could hardly come soon enough. Now in its fifth year, the Syrian war has claimed 220,000 lives, prompted an exodus of more than three million refugees and unleashed jihadist groups across the region. “This conflict is producing a question mark in many — where is it leading and whether this can be sustained,” Mr. de Mistura said.

Part Italian, part Swedish, Mr. de Mistura has worked with the United Nations for more than 40 years, but he is more widely known for his dapper style than for any diplomatic coups. Syria is by far the toughest assignment of his career — indeed, two of the organization’s most seasoned diplomats, Lakhdar Brahimi and Kofi Annan, tried to do the job and gave up — and critics have wondered aloud whether Mr. de Mistura is up to the task.

He served as a United Nations envoy in Afghanistan and Iraq, and before that in Lebanon, where a former minister recalled, with some scorn, that he spent many hours sunbathing at a private club in the hills above Beirut. Those who know him say he has a taste for fine suits and can sometimes speak too soon and too much, just as they point to his diplomatic missteps and hyperbole.

They cite, for instance, a news conference in October, when he raised the specter of Srebrenica, where thousands of Muslims were massacred in 1995 during the Balkans war, in warning that the Syrian border town of Kobani could fall to the Islamic State. In February, he was photographed at a party in Damascus, the Syrian capital, celebrating the anniversary of the Iranian revolution just as Syrian forces, aided by Iran, were pummeling rebel-held suburbs of Damascus; critics seized on that as evidence of his coziness with the government.

Mouin Rabbani, who served briefly as the head of Mr. de Mistura’s political affairs unit and has since emerged as one of his most outspoken critics, said Mr. de Mistura did not have the background necessary for the job. “This isn’t someone well known for his political vision or political imagination, and his closest confidants lack the requisite knowledge and experience,” Mr. Rabbani said.

As a deputy foreign minister in the Italian government, Mr. de Mistura was tasked in 2012 with freeing two Italian marines detained in India for shooting at Indian fishermen. He made 19 trips to India, to little effect. One marine was allowed to return to Italy for medical reasons; the other remains in India.

He said he initially turned down the Syria job when the United Nations secretary general approached him last August, only to change his mind the next day, after a sleepless, guilt-ridden night.

Mr. de Mistura compared his role in Syria to that of a doctor faced with a terminally ill patient. His goal in brokering a freeze in the fighting, he said, was to alleviate suffering. He settled on Aleppo as the location for its “fame,” he said, a decision that some questioned, considering that Aleppo was far trickier than the many other lesser-known towns where activists had negotiated temporary local cease-fires.

“Everybody, at least in Europe, are very familiar with the value of Aleppo,” Mr. de Mistura said. “So I was using that as an icebreaker.”

The cease-fire negotiations, to which he had devoted six months, fell apart quickly because of the government’s military offensive in Aleppo the very day of his announcement at the Security Council. Privately, United Nations diplomats said Mr. de Mistura had been manipulated. To this, Mr. de Mistura said only that he was “disappointed and concerned.”

Tarek Fares, a former rebel fighter, said after a recent visit to Aleppo that no Syrian would admit publicly to supporting Mr. de Mistura’s cease-fire proposal. “If anyone said they went to a de Mistura meeting in Gaziantep, they would be arrested,” is how he put it, referring to the Turkish city where negotiations between the two sides were held.

Secretary General Ban Ki-moon remains staunchly behind Mr. de Mistura’s efforts. His defenders point out that he is at the center of one of the world’s toughest diplomatic problems, charged with mediating a conflict in which two of the world’s most powerful nations — Russia, which supports Mr. Assad, and the United States, which has called for his ouster — remain deadlocked.

R. Nicholas Burns, a former State Department official who now teaches at Harvard, credited Mr. de Mistura for trying to negotiate a cease-fire even when the chances of success were exceedingly small — and the chances of a political deal even smaller. For his efforts to work, Professor Burns argued, the world powers will first have to come to an agreement of their own.

“He needs the help of outside powers,” he said. “It starts with backers of Assad. That’s Russia and Iran. De Mistura is there, waiting.”

With Iran Talks, a Tangled Path to Ending Syria’s War

Mr. Napoleon was a self-taught musician whose career began in earnest with the orchestra led by Chico Marx of the Marx Brothers.

Marty Napoleon, 93, Dies; Jazz Pianist Played With Louis Armstrong

Mr. Tepper was not a musical child and had no formal training, but he grew up to write both lyrics and tunes, trading off duties with the other member of the team, Roy C. Bennett.

Sid Tepper Dies at 96; Delivered ‘Red Roses for a Blue Lady’ and Other Songs

At the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Suzman’s signature accomplishment was the central role he played in creating a global network of surveys on aging.

Richard Suzman, 72, Dies; Researcher Influenced Global Surveys on Aging
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