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saco-indonesia.com, Masa penahanan terhadap Direktur Utama PT Indoguna Utama Maria Elizabeth Liman telah diperpanjang. Maria yang telah menjadi tersangka dalam suap pengurusan kuota impor daging sapi di Kementerian Pertanian itu telah diperpanjang penahanannya 40 hari ke depan.

"Iya, ibu tadi telah menandatangani masa perpanjangan penahanannya untuk 40 hari ke depan, per tanggal 5 Januari hingga 14 Februari mendatang," ujar penasihat hukum tersangka, Denny Kailimang di Gedung KPK, Jakarta, Jumat (3/1).

Maria telah ditahan oleh KPK pada Selasa (17/12) lalu, usai diperiksa sebagai tersangka. Saat itu, Maria telah mengungkapkan dirinya adalah korban penipuan Elda Devianne Adiningrat dan Ahmad Fathanah.

Pengacaranya, Denny Kailimang juga mengatakan inisiatif pengajuan kouta impor datang dari Elda dan Fathanah.

"Memang awalnya itu adalah atas dasar inisiatif Elda. Elda juga bisa membantu. Tapi kenyataannya, tak bisa bantu. Setelah itu tak ada hubungan antara Maria dan Elda," ungkap Denny.

KPK juga telah menetapkan tersangka kepada Maria Elizabeth Liman pada Jumat, (19/4). Penetapan tersangka itu setelah KPK mengembangkan penyidikan kasus yang sebelumnya juga sudah menjerat mantan Presiden PKS Luthfi Hasan Ishaaq, Ahmad Fathanah dan dua Direktur PT Indoguna Utama, Juard Effendi dan Arya Abdi Effendi.

Maria disangkakan telah melanggar Pasal 5 ayat 1 huruf a atau b atau Pasal 13 Undang-undang (UU) Nomor 31 Tahun 1999 yang telah diubah dengan UU Nomor 20 Tahun 2001 juncto Pasal 5 ayat ke-1 KUHP. Diduga Maria turut inisiatif memberi uang suap dalam kasus tersebut.


Editor : Dian sukmawati

MASA PENAHANAN MARIA ELIZABETH TELAH DIPERPANJANG KPK

Bila nanti aku pergi
Jangan lagi panggil ku kembali
Bila nanti aku pergi
Takkan ada cinta kita lagi

Kita bisa balik lagi, pisah lagi
Apa kau mengerti
Bahwa ini bukanlah…
Bukan permainan… an…

Kau tak bisa buatku menangis lagi
Kau tak bisa buatku bersedih lagi
Tanpa aku kau akan baik saja
Tanpa kamu ku akan baik saja

Kau tak bisa buatku menangis lagi… ii…

Bila nanti kau sendiri
Jangan ingat-ingat aku lagi

Kita bisa balik lagi, pisah lagi
Apa kau mengerti
Bahwa ini bukanlah…
Bukan permainan… an…

Kau tak bisa buatku menangis lagi
Kau tak bisa buatku bersedih lagi
Tanpa aku kau akan baik saja
Tanpa kamu ku akan baik saja

Bila nanti aku pergi
Tanpa aku kau akan baik saja
Jangan lagi panggil ku kembali
Tanpa kamu ku akan baik saja

Bila nanti aku pergi
Tanpa aku kau akan baik saja
Takkan ada cinta kita lagi
Tanpa kamu ku akan baik saja

Kau tak bisa buatku menangis lagi
Kau tak bisa buatku bersedih lagi
Kau tak bisa buatku menangis lagi
Kau tak bisa buatku bersedih lagi

Bila nanti aku pergi
Jangan lagi panggil ku kembali

Bila nanti kau sendiri…
Jangan ingat-ingat aku lagi…
Bila nanti aku pergi
Jangan lagi panggil ku kembali
Bila nanti aku pergi
Takkan ada cinta kita lagi

Kita bisa balik lagi, pisah lagi
Apa kau mengerti
Bahwa ini bukanlah…
Bukan permainan… an…

Kau tak bisa buatku menangis lagi
Kau tak bisa buatku bersedih lagi
Tanpa aku kau akan baik saja
Tanpa kamu ku akan baik saja

Kau tak bisa buatku menangis lagi… ii…

Bila nanti kau sendiri
Jangan ingat-ingat aku lagi

Kita bisa balik lagi, pisah lagi
Apa kau mengerti
Bahwa ini bukanlah…
Bukan permainan… an…

Kau tak bisa buatku menangis lagi
Kau tak bisa buatku bersedih lagi
Tanpa aku kau akan baik saja
Tanpa kamu ku akan baik saja

Bila nanti aku pergi
Tanpa aku kau akan baik saja
Jangan lagi panggil ku kembali
Tanpa kamu ku akan baik saja

Bila nanti aku pergi
Tanpa aku kau akan baik saja
Takkan ada cinta kita lagi
Tanpa kamu ku akan baik saja

Kau tak bisa buatku menangis lagi
Kau tak bisa buatku bersedih lagi
Kau tak bisa buatku menangis lagi
Kau tak bisa buatku bersedih lagi

Bila nanti aku pergi
Jangan lagi panggil ku kembali

Bila nanti kau sendiri…
Jangan ingat-ingat aku lagi…

Bila nanti aku pergi
Jangan lagi panggil ku kembali
Bila nanti aku pergi
Takkan ada cinta kita lagi

Kita bisa balik lagi, pisah lagi
Apa kau mengerti
Bahwa ini bukanlah…
Bukan permainan… an…

Kau tak bisa buatku menangis lagi
Kau tak bisa buatku bersedih lagi
Tanpa aku kau akan baik saja
Tanpa kamu ku akan baik saja

Kau tak bisa buatku menangis lagi… ii…

Bila nanti kau sendiri
Jangan ingat-ingat aku lagi

Kita bisa balik lagi, pisah lagi
Apa kau mengerti
Bahwa ini bukanlah…
Bukan permainan… an…

Kau tak bisa buatku menangis lagi
Kau tak bisa buatku bersedih lagi
Tanpa aku kau akan baik saja
Tanpa kamu ku akan baik saja

Bila nanti aku pergi
Tanpa aku kau akan baik saja
Jangan lagi panggil ku kembali
Tanpa kamu ku akan baik saja

Bila nanti aku pergi
Tanpa aku kau akan baik saja
Takkan ada cinta kita lagi
Tanpa kamu ku akan baik saja

Kau tak bisa buatku menangis lagi
Kau tak bisa buatku bersedih lagi
Kau tak bisa buatku menangis lagi
Kau tak bisa buatku bersedih lagi

Bila nanti aku pergi
Jangan lagi panggil ku kembali

Bila nanti kau sendiri…
Jangan ingat-ingat aku lagi…

http://musiklib.org/Gita_Gutawa-Bukan_Permainan-Lirik_Lagu.htm
gita gutawa bukan permainan

saco-indonesia.com, Kepala Pusat Data Informasi dan Humas BNPB Sutopo Purwo Nugroho telah mengatakan pintu air Depok sudah berada dalam posisi Siaga 1 karena naiknya debit Sungai Ciliwung Hulu hingga level Siaga I di Katulampa, Bogor.

"Katulampa Siaga 1 maka kemudian dapat menyebabkan pintu air di bagian Ciliwung Tengah di pintu air Depok juga akan bergerak naik," ujar Sutopo Purwo Nugroho di Jakarta, Kamis (30/1).

Menurut dia, pada Kamis (30/1) pukul 02.35 WIB dini hari , pintu air Depok pun juga naik menjadi Siaga I yaitu tinggi muka air lebih atau sama dengan 350 centimeter.

Ia juga mengungkapkan daerah yang berpotensi terkena banjir yakni di daerah sekitar bantaran Sungai Ciliwung di wilayah Jakarta Timur seperti Rawajati, Kalibata, Pengadegan, Gang Arus/Cawang, Kebon Baru, Bukit Duri, Bidara Cina, dan Kampung Melayu.

"Waktu perjalanan banjir dari Depok hingga Manggarai sekitar enam-tujuh jam sehingga dapat diperkirakan banjir dengan debit tertinggi terjadi sekitar pukul 08.00-10.00 WIB pagi ," ujar dia.

Ia juga meminta kepada masyarakat yang tinggal di sekitar aliran Sungai Ciliwung untuk waspada.

Sementara itu, tinggi muka air sungai-sungai lain juga masih aman atau berada di posisi Siaga 4 antara lain Pesanggrahan 95 centimeter, Cipinang Hulu 125 centimeter, Sunter Hulu 70 centimeter, Pulo Gadung 400 centimeter, Krukut Hulu 90 centimeter, dan Waduk Pluit 140 centimeter.

"Sedangkan pintu air yang berada di posisi Siaga 3 antara lain Katulampa 150 centimeter, Manggarai 780 centimeter, Karet 530 centimeter sedangkan Angke Hulu di posisi Siaga 2 dengan ketinggian 255 centimeter," ujar dia.

Ia juga mengatakan jika hujan tidak turun merata lagi di Jakarta, maka telah diperkirakan banjir kali juga ini tidak sebesar pada 13 Januari 2014. Sebab hanya di Sungai Ciliwung dan Angke saja yang kondisinya kritis.

"Puncak hujan di Jakarta hingga Februari. Harus tetap waspada," ucap dia.


Editor : Dian Sukmawati

PAGI INI JAKARTA AKAN KEMBALI BANJIR

Ketika berbicara tentang investasi yang menguntungkan, para pebisnis sering berasosiasi kepada emas, properti atau usaha. Itu adalah cara “kiri”. Jarang sekali pebisnis berpikir investasi yang prospektif dengan cara “kanan”.

Apa itu investasi cara kanan? Itulah bisnis yang disebutkan di dalam al-Quran atau al-Hadits, yang sangat profitable, dijamin marketable dan  feasible di dunia dan di akhirat. Beberapa contoh investasi cara kanan itu adalah zakat, sedekah, menyembelih hewan qurban, haji dan umrah. Tulisan ini adalah testimoni tentang investasi umrah, yaitu ibadah “haji kecil” ke Baitullah di Makkah al-Mukarramah.

Banyak cerita aneh seputar umrah. Ada yang bilang uangnya sudah diganti sebelum berangkat, atau rezekinya serasa dicurahkan dari langit. Ada juga yang berpendapat bahwa umrah  itu bukan biaya, namun investasi. Dan bukan investasi akhirat saja, namun juga investasi dunia. Pengalaman ketika menunaikan ibadah umrah membuatku mempercayai hal itu.

Aku pegawai BUMN sejak tahun 1993. Alhamdulillah, kami mempunyai usaha sampingan dengan hasil yang lumayan. Tahun 2008 kami punya uang enam puluhan juta rupiah. Ada tiga keinginan untuk menggunakannya.

Yang pertama, merenovasi rumah. Kami punya rumah di Yogyakarta yang terkena gempa tahun 2006. Sudah lebih dari dua tahun kami biarkan karena belum punya dana yang cukup.

Kedua, untuk uang muka membeli mobil baru. Kami sudah beberapa kali mempunyai mobil, namun tidak pernah baru. Selalu second  hand, bahkan third hand, fourth hand atau entah hand ke berapa. Terakhir, tahun 2007, kami menjual mobil  kami, dan berjanji untuk tidak membeli mobil lagi kecuali mobil baru.

Dan yang ketiga, umrah dengan istri. Ketika menunaikan ibadah haji tahun 2007, aku sendirian, karena uangnya hanya cukup untukku. Kalau saja uangku banyak, pasti aku mengajak anak, istri dan keluarga. Aku iri melihat kemesraan suami istri jamaah haji yang bisa berangkat bersama. Aku berdoa di depan ka’bah agar bisa ziarah setiap tahun bersama istri.

Istriku memilih merenovasi rumah atau membeli mobil baru, namun aku memilih umrah. Aku merasa doaku agar bisa ziarah bersama istri sudah diijabahi.  Meskipun istriku ikut bekerja mengelola usaha dan menjadi menteri keuangan dalam kabinet  rumah tangga, namun kepala negara dan kepala pemerintahannya tetap aku. Maka dia makmum saja, dan kami berangkat umrah berdua.

Kami berdoa di depan ka’bah memohon kebaikan di dunia dan di akhirat.  Sungguh, Allah itu al-Ghanidan al-Mughni, Mahakaya dan Maha Mencukupi. Sulit dipercaya. Tidak berapa lama, usai umrah, kami bisa merehab rumah dan membeli mobil baru.

Alhamdulillaah. Ada saja rezeki yang datang, dengan berbagai cara, yang kalau saja kami tidak mengalami sendiri sendiri, mungkin kami juga tidak percaya.

Tahun 2011 kejadian serupa berulang lagi. Kami punya uang seratusan juta rupiah. Ada tiga keinginan untuk membelanjakannya.

Yang pertama, membayar hutang.  Ada usaha trading kami yang macet, sehingga aku harus menyelesaikan tanggung jawab sebesar enam ratusan juta rupiah. Kalau uang itu kami bayarkan, kami jadi tidak punya uang lagi. Dan hutang kami juga masih belum bisa lunas.

Kedua, membangun rumah di Ngawi, Jawa Timur. Sejak tahun 2003, ketika bertugas di Ngawi, kami membuka  usaha. Dua tahun kemudian saya pindah tugas ke Bogor, dan mengontrak rumah di Ngawi agar usaha tetap berlanjut. Dengan berjalannya waktu, kami bisa membeli sebidang tanah di dekat rumah kontrakan, dan membuat gudang sederhana. Istriku ingin punya rumah di Ngawi, karena rumah kami yang di Yogyakarta sudah “hilang” lantaran kalah Pemilukada di kampung halaman kami, Rembang Jawa Tengah, tahun 2010.

Dan, anak-anak kami menyebar di UGM Yogyakarta, IPB Bogor dan Pondok Modern Gontor Putri Ngawi. Membangun rumah untuk usaha, dengan anak tiga, pembantu, karyawan dan ibunda mertua, dengan uang hanya cepek, sungguh hal yang amat tidak sederhana.

Dan, keinginan yang ketiga, umrah lagi. Kami sepakat bulat, memilih opsi ketiga, ziarah ke baitullah. Kami berangkat bersama anak sulung kami.

Sebenarnya kami juga mengajak ibunda, namun beliau tidak bersedia. Salah satunya karena tahu jalan cerita sesungguhnya. Istriku terlalu berterung terang, bahwa karena uang kami tidak cukup untuk melunasi hutang atau membangun rumah, maka sekalian saja kami pakai umrah.

Kami berdoa di depan ka’bah memohon kebaikan di dunia dan di akhirat. Sungguh,  Allah itu al-Ghanidan al-Mughni, Mahakaya dan Maha Mencukupi. Sulit dipercaya. Tidak berapa lama,  usai umrah, kami bisa melunasi hutang dan membangun rumah.

Alhamdulillaah. Ada saja rezeki yang datang, dengan berbagai cara, yang kalau saja kami tidak mengalami sendiri sendiri, mungkin kami juga tidak percaya.

Sejak itu kami kian yakin, umrah itu bukan biaya, namun investasi. Bukan investasi akhirat saja, namun juga investasi dunia. Kalau ada orang yang tidak percaya, itu urusannya. Kami juga tidak pernah memusingkan pendapat orang bahwa daripada uang dipakai umrah berkali-kali, lebih baik disedekahkan kepada fakir miskin. Bisa lebih bermanfaat. Kami hanya berdoa usai Thawaf Wada’, selain mohon agar bisa ziarah tiap tahun  dengan penuh iman dan takwa, kami juga mohon agar jika kami umrah, kami juga bisa mengumrahkan saudara, keluarga atau orang lain.

Dan,  kami juga berdoa agar bisa bersedekah senilai investasi umrah. Sekali lagi investasi umrah, bukan biaya umrah. Dan bukan umrah saja yang merupakan investasi akhirat dan dunia, namun juga zakat, sedekah, qurban, haji, dan lain-lain membelanjakan harta di jalan Allah. Allah itu Mahakaya, Maha Mencukupi, Maha Memberi Rezeki, dan Maha Mengabulkan Doa.

Sumber : www.islamedia.web.id

Baca Artikel Lainnya : JAMAAH UMROH DI TAHUN 2014 MENINGKAT

INVESTASI KANAN, UMRAH

saco-indonesia.com, Peningkatan aktivitas vulkanik Gunung Kelud telah membuat statusnya dinaikkan menjadi waspada (level II) pada Minggu (2/2) kemarin . Masyarakat telah diimbau untuk tidak panik dan cemas dengan hal ini.

Kepala Pusat Data Informasi dan Humas BNPB Sutopo Purwo Nugroho juga mengatakan, pemberitaan media yang intensif dan berlebihan mengenai peningkatan aktivitas gunung berapi seringkali justru telah menyebabkan dampak negatif di masyarakat. Akibatnya, obyek-obyek wisata, hotel, pertanian dan aktivitas ekonomi yang berada di luar daerah berbahaya menjadi sepi.

"Hal ini telah terjadi di Gunung Bromo, Ijen, Dieng, Tangkubanparahu, Papandayan, dan lainnya. Bahkan aktivitas wisata dan hotel-hotel di Kabanjahe saat ini pun telah sepi dari pengunjung karena masyarakat jadi takut berkunjung padahal lokasinya jauh dan aman dari Gunung Sinabung," ujarnya, Senin (3/2).

Sutopo juga telah menjelaskan, Gunung berapi bersifat slow in set. Artinya tidak akan tiba-tiba meletus. Ada tanda-tandanya sehingga status gunung punya tahapan yaitu dari normal kemudian menjadi waspada, siaga, dan awas sesuai ancamannya.

Saat ini dari 127 gunung berapi aktif di Indonesia, ada 1 gunung yang berstatus Awas (level IV) yaitu Gunung Sinabung sejak 24 november 2013. "Ada 3 gunung yang status Siaga (level III) yaitu Karangetang, Lokon dan Rokatenda. Ada 19 gunung status Waspada (level II) yaitu Kelud, Raung, Ibu, Lewotobi Perempuan, Ijen, Gamkonora, Soputan, Sangeangapi, Papandayan, Dieng, Seulewah Agam, Gamalama, Bromo, Semeru, Talang, Anak Krakatau, Marapi, Dukono, dan Kerinci. Lainnya berstatus normal," jelas Sutopo.

Dia juga menambahkan, makna dari status waspada adalah ada kenaikan aktivitas di atas level normal, apapun jenis gejala diperhitungkan. Tidak kritis. "Yang diperlukan adalah sosialisasi, kajian bahaya, pengecekan sarana, dan piket terbatas," tukasnya.

Sedangkan makna status siaga, lanjut Sutopo, adalah semua data telah menunjukkan bahwa aktivitas dapat segera berlanjut ke letusan atau menuju pada keadaan yang dapat menimbulkan bencana. "Kondisinya kritis sehingga perlu sosialisasi di wilayah terancam, penyiapan sarana darurat, koordinasi harian, dan piket penuh," pungkasnya.


Editor : Dian Sukmawati

19 GUNUNG BERAPI STATUS WASPADA

Under Mr. Michelin’s leadership, which ended when he left the company in 2002, the Michelin Group became the world’s biggest tire maker, establishing a big presence in the United States and other major markets overseas.

François Michelin, Head of Tire Company, Dies at 88

The bottle Mr. Sokolin famously broke was a 1787 Château Margaux, which was said to have belonged to Thomas Jefferson. Mr. Sokolin had been hoping to sell it for $519,750.

William Sokolin, Wine Seller Who Broke Famed Bottle, Dies at 85

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

A 2-minute-42-second demo recording captured in one take turned out to be a one-hit wonder for Mr. Ely, who was 19 when he sang the garage-band classic.

Jack Ely, Who Sang the Kingsmen’s ‘Louie Louie’, Dies at 71

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
Photo
 
United’s first-class and business fliers get Rhapsody, its high-minded in-flight magazine, seen here at its office in Brooklyn. Credit Sam Hodgson for The New York Times

Last summer at a writers’ workshop in Oregon, the novelists Anthony Doerr, Karen Russell and Elissa Schappell were chatting over cocktails when they realized they had all published work in the same magazine. It wasn’t one of the usual literary outlets, like Tin House, The Paris Review or The New Yorker. It was Rhapsody, an in-flight magazine for United Airlines.

It seemed like a weird coincidence. Then again, considering Rhapsody’s growing roster of A-list fiction writers, maybe not. Since its first issue hit plane cabins a year and a half ago, Rhapsody has published original works by literary stars like Joyce Carol Oates, Rick Moody, Amy Bloom, Emma Straub and Mr. Doerr, who won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction two weeks ago.

As airlines try to distinguish their high-end service with luxuries like private sleeping chambers, showers, butler service and meals from five-star chefs, United Airlines is offering a loftier, more cerebral amenity to its first-class and business-class passengers: elegant prose by prominent novelists. There are no airport maps or disheartening lists of in-flight meal and entertainment options in Rhapsody. Instead, the magazine has published ruminative first-person travel accounts, cultural dispatches and probing essays about flight by more than 30 literary fiction writers.

 

Photo
 
Sean Manning, executive editor of Rhapsody, which publishes works by the likes of Joyce Carol Oates, Amy Bloom and Anthony Doerr, who won a Pulitzer Prize. Credit Sam Hodgson for The New York Times

 

An airline might seem like an odd literary patron. But as publishers and writers look for new ways to reach readers in a shaky retail climate, many have formed corporate alliances with transit companies, including American Airlines, JetBlue and Amtrak, that provide a captive audience.

Mark Krolick, United Airlines’ managing director of marketing and product development, said the quality of the writing in Rhapsody brings a patina of sophistication to its first-class service, along with other opulent touches like mood lighting, soft music and a branded scent.

“The high-end leisure or business-class traveler has higher expectations, even in the entertainment we provide,” he said.

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Some of Rhapsody’s contributing writers say they were lured by the promise of free airfare and luxury accommodations provided by United, as well as exposure to an elite audience of some two million first-class and business-class travelers.

“It’s not your normal Park Slope Community Bookstore types who read Rhapsody,” Mr. Moody, author of the 1994 novel “The Ice Storm,” who wrote an introspective, philosophical piece about traveling to the Aran Islands of Ireland for Rhapsody, said in an email. “I’m not sure I myself am in that Rhapsody demographic, but I would like them to buy my books one day.”

In addition to offering travel perks, the magazine pays well and gives writers freedom, within reason, to choose their subject matter and write with style. Certain genres of flight stories are off limits, naturally: no plane crashes or woeful tales of lost luggage or rude flight attendants, and nothing too risqué.

“We’re not going to have someone write about joining the mile-high club,” said Jordan Heller, the editor in chief of Rhapsody. “Despite those restrictions, we’ve managed to come up with a lot of high-minded literary content.”

Guiding writers toward the right idea occasionally requires some gentle prodding. When Rhapsody’s executive editor asked Ms. Russell to contribute an essay about a memorable flight experience, she first pitched a story about the time she was chaperoning a group of teenagers on a trip to Europe, and their delayed plane sat at the airport in New York for several hours while other passengers got progressively drunker.

“He pointed out that disaster flights are not what people want to read about when they’re in transit, and very diplomatically suggested that maybe people want to read something that casts air travel in a more positive light,” said Ms. Russell, whose novel “Swamplandia!” was a finalist for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize.

She turned in a nostalgia-tinged essay about her first flight on a trip to Disney World when she was 6. “The Magic Kingdom was an anticlimax,” she wrote. “What ride could compare to that first flight?”

Ms. Oates also wrote about her first flight, in a tiny yellow propeller plane piloted by her father. The novelist Joyce Maynard told of the constant disappointment of never seeing her books in airport bookstores and the thrill of finally spotting a fellow plane passenger reading her novel “Labor Day.” Emily St. John Mandel, who was a finalist for the National Book Award in fiction last year, wrote about agonizing over which books to bring on a long flight.

“There’s nobody that’s looked down their noses at us as an in-flight magazine,” said Sean Manning, the magazine’s executive editor. “As big as these people are in the literary world, there’s still this untapped audience for them of luxury travelers.”

United is one of a handful of companies showcasing work by literary writers as a way to elevate their brands and engage customers. Chipotle has printed original work from writers like Toni Morrison, Jeffrey Eugenides and Barbara Kingsolver on its disposable cups and paper bags. The eyeglass company Warby Parker hosts parties for authors and sells books from 14 independent publishers in its stores.

JetBlue offers around 40 e-books from HarperCollins and Penguin Random House on its free wireless network, allowing passengers to read free samples and buy and download books. JetBlue will start offering 11 digital titles from Simon & Schuster soon. Amtrak recently forged an alliance with Penguin Random House to provide free digital samples from 28 popular titles, which passengers can buy and download over Amtrak’s admittedly spotty wireless service.

Amtrak is becoming an incubator for literary talent in its own right. Last year, it started a residency program, offering writers a free long-distance train trip and complimentary food. More than 16,000 writers applied and 24 made the cut.

Like Amtrak, Rhapsody has found that writers are eager to get onboard. On a rainy spring afternoon, Rhapsody’s editorial staff sat around a conference table discussing the June issue, which will feature an essay by the novelist Hannah Pittard and an unpublished short story by the late Elmore Leonard.

“Do you have that photo of Elmore Leonard? Can I see it?” Mr. Heller, the editor in chief, asked Rhapsody’s design director, Christos Hannides. Mr. Hannides slid it across the table and noted that they also had a photograph of cowboy spurs. “It’s very simple; it won’t take away from the literature,” he said.

Rhapsody’s office, an open space with exposed pipes and a vaulted brick ceiling, sits in Dumbo at the epicenter of literary Brooklyn, in the same converted tea warehouse as the literary journal N+1 and the digital publisher Atavist. Two of the magazine’s seven staff members hold graduate degrees in creative writing. Mr. Manning, the executive editor, has published a memoir and edited five literary anthologies.

Mr. Manning said Rhapsody was conceived from the start as a place for literary novelists to write with voice and style, and nobody had been put off that their work would live in plane cabins and airport lounges.

Still, some contributors say they wish the magazine were more widely circulated.

“I would love it if I could read it,” said Ms. Schappell, a Brooklyn-based novelist who wrote a feature story for Rhapsody’s inaugural issue. “But I never fly first class.”

Rhapsody, a Lofty Literary Journal, Perused at 39,000 Feet

Even as a high school student, Dave Goldberg was urging female classmates to speak up. As a young dot-com executive, he had one girlfriend after another, but fell hard for a driven friend named Sheryl Sandberg, pining after her for years. After they wed, Mr. Goldberg pushed her to negotiate hard for high compensation and arranged his schedule so that he could be home with their children when she was traveling for work.

Mr. Goldberg, who died unexpectedly on Friday, was a genial, 47-year-old Silicon Valley entrepreneur who built his latest company, SurveyMonkey, from a modest enterprise to one recently valued by investors at $2 billion. But he was also perhaps the signature male feminist of his era: the first major chief executive in memory to spur his wife to become as successful in business as he was, and an essential figure in “Lean In,” Ms. Sandberg’s blockbuster guide to female achievement.

Over the weekend, even strangers were shocked at his death, both because of his relatively young age and because they knew of him as the living, breathing, car-pooling center of a new philosophy of two-career marriage.

“They were very much the role models for what this next generation wants to grapple with,” said Debora L. Spar, the president of Barnard College. In a 2011 commencement speech there, Ms. Sandberg told the graduates that whom they married would be their most important career decision.

In the play “The Heidi Chronicles,” revived on Broadway this spring, a male character who is the founder of a media company says that “I don’t want to come home to an A-plus,” explaining that his ambitions require him to marry an unthreatening helpmeet. Mr. Goldberg grew up to hold the opposite view, starting with his upbringing in progressive Minneapolis circles where “there was woman power in every aspect of our lives,” Jeffrey Dachis, a childhood friend, said in an interview.

The Goldberg parents read “The Feminine Mystique” together — in fact, Mr. Goldberg’s father introduced it to his wife, according to Ms. Sandberg’s book. In 1976, Paula Goldberg helped found a nonprofit to aid children with disabilities. Her husband, Mel, a law professor who taught at night, made the family breakfast at home.

Later, when Dave Goldberg was in high school and his prom date, Jill Chessen, stayed silent in a politics class, he chastised her afterward. He said, “You need to speak up,” Ms. Chessen recalled in an interview. “They need to hear your voice.”

Years later, when Karin Gilford, an early employee at Launch Media, Mr. Goldberg’s digital music company, became a mother, he knew exactly what to do. He kept giving her challenging assignments, she recalled, but also let her work from home one day a week. After Yahoo acquired Launch, Mr. Goldberg became known for distributing roses to all the women in the office on Valentine’s Day.

Ms. Sandberg, who often describes herself as bossy-in-a-good-way, enchanted him when they became friendly in the mid-1990s. He “was smitten with her,” Ms. Chessen remembered. Ms. Sandberg was dating someone else, but Mr. Goldberg still hung around, even helping her and her then-boyfriend move, recalled Bob Roback, a friend and co-founder of Launch. When they finally married in 2004, friends remember thinking how similar the two were, and that the qualities that might have made Ms. Sandberg intimidating to some men drew Mr. Goldberg to her even more.

Over the next decade, Mr. Goldberg and Ms. Sandberg pioneered new ways of capturing information online, had a son and then a daughter, became immensely wealthy, and hashed out their who-does-what-in-this-marriage issues. Mr. Goldberg’s commute from the Bay Area to Los Angeles became a strain, so he relocated, later joking that he “lost the coin flip” of where they would live. He paid the bills, she planned the birthday parties, and both often left their offices at 5:30 so they could eat dinner with their children before resuming work afterward.

Friends in Silicon Valley say they were careful to conduct their careers separately, politely refusing when outsiders would ask one about the other’s work: Ms. Sandberg’s role building Facebook into an information and advertising powerhouse, and Mr. Goldberg at SurveyMonkey, which made polling faster and cheaper. But privately, their work was intertwined. He often began statements to his team with the phrase “Well, Sheryl said” sharing her business advice. He counseled her, too, starting with her salary negotiations with Mark Zuckerberg.

“I wanted Mark to really feel he stretched to get Sheryl, because she was worth it,” Mr. Goldberg explained in a 2013 “60 Minutes” interview, his Minnesota accent and his smile intact as he offered a rare peek of the intersection of marriage and money at the top of corporate life.

 

 

While his wife grew increasingly outspoken about women’s advancement, Mr. Goldberg quietly advised the men in the office on family and partnership matters, an associate said. Six out of 16 members of SurveyMonkey’s management team are female, an almost unheard-of ratio among Silicon Valley “unicorns,” or companies valued at over $1 billion.

When Mellody Hobson, a friend and finance executive, wrote a chapter of “Lean In” about women of color for the college edition of the book, Mr. Goldberg gave her feedback on the draft, a clue to his deep involvement. He joked with Ms. Hobson that she was too long-winded, like Ms. Sandberg, but aside from that, he said he loved the chapter, she said in an interview.

By then, Mr. Goldberg was a figure of fascination who inspired a “where can I get one of those?” reaction among many of the women who had read the best seller “Lean In.” Some lamented that Ms. Sandberg’s advice hinged too much on marrying a Dave Goldberg, who was humble enough to plan around his wife, attentive enough to worry about which shoes his young daughter would wear, and rich enough to help pay for the help that made the family’s balancing act manageable.

Now that he is gone, and Ms. Sandberg goes from being half of a celebrated partnership to perhaps the business world’s most prominent single mother, the pages of “Lean In” carry a new sting of loss.

“We are never at 50-50 at any given moment — perfect equality is hard to define or sustain — but we allow the pendulum to swing back and forth between us,” she wrote in 2013, adding that they were looking forward to raising teenagers together.

“Fortunately, I have Dave to figure it out with me,” she wrote.

Dave Goldberg Was Lifelong Women’s Advocate

BALTIMORE — In the afternoons, the streets of Locust Point are clean and nearly silent. In front of the rowhouses, potted plants rest next to steps of brick or concrete. There is a shopping center nearby with restaurants, and a grocery store filled with fresh foods.

And the National Guard and the police are largely absent. So, too, residents say, are worries about what happened a few miles away on April 27 when, in a space of hours, parts of this city became riot zones.

“They’re not our reality,” Ashley Fowler, 30, said on Monday at the restaurant where she works. “They’re not what we’re living right now. We live in, not to be racist, white America.”

As Baltimore considers its way forward after the violent unrest brought by the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who died of injuries he suffered while in police custody, residents in its predominantly white neighborhoods acknowledge that they are sometimes struggling to understand what beyond Mr. Gray’s death spurred the turmoil here. For many, the poverty and troubled schools of gritty West Baltimore are distant troubles, glimpsed only when they pass through the area on their way somewhere else.

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Officers blocked traffic at Pennsylvania and West North Avenues after reports that a gun was discharged in the area. Credit Drew Angerer for The New York Times

And so neighborhoods of Baltimore are facing altogether different reckonings after Mr. Gray’s death. In mostly black communities like Sandtown-Winchester, where some of the most destructive rioting played out last week, residents are hoping businesses will reopen and that the police will change their strategies. But in mostly white areas like Canton and Locust Point, some residents wonder what role, if any, they should play in reimagining stretches of Baltimore where they do not live.

“Most of the people are kind of at a loss as to what they’re supposed to do,” said Dr. Richard Lamb, a dentist who has practiced in the same Locust Point office for nearly 39 years. “I listen to the news reports. I listen to the clergymen. I listen to the facts of the rampant unemployment and the lack of opportunities in the area. Listen, I pay my taxes. Exactly what can I do?”

And in Canton, where the restaurants have clever names like Nacho Mama’s and Holy Crepe Bakery and Café, Sara Bahr said solutions seemed out of reach for a proudly liberal city.

“I can only imagine how frustrated they must be,” said Ms. Bahr, 36, a nurse who was out with her 3-year-old daughter, Sally. “I just wish I knew how to solve poverty. I don’t know what to do to make it better.”

The day of unrest and the overwhelmingly peaceful demonstrations that followed led to hundreds of arrests, often for violations of the curfew imposed on the city for five consecutive nights while National Guard soldiers patrolled the streets. Although there were isolated instances of trouble in Canton, the neighborhood association said on its website, many parts of southeast Baltimore were physically untouched by the tumult.

Tensions in the city bubbled anew on Monday after reports that the police had wounded a black man in Northwest Baltimore. The authorities denied those reports and sent officers to talk with the crowds that gathered while other officers clutching shields blocked traffic at Pennsylvania and West North Avenues.

Lt. Col. Melvin Russell, a community police officer, said officers had stopped a man suspected of carrying a handgun and that “one of those rounds was spent.”

Colonel Russell said officers had not opened fire, “so we couldn’t have shot him.”

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Lambi Vasilakopoulos, right, who runs a casual restaurant in Canton, said he was incensed by last week's looting and predicted tensions would worsen. Credit Drew Angerer for The New York Times

The colonel said the man had not been injured but was taken to a hospital as a precaution. Nearby, many people stood in disbelief, despite the efforts by the authorities to quash reports they described as “unfounded.”

Monday’s episode was a brief moment in a larger drama that has yielded anger and confusion. Although many people said they were familiar with accounts of the police harassing or intimidating residents, many in Canton and Locust Point said they had never experienced it themselves. When they watched the unrest, which many protesters said was fueled by feelings that they lived only on Baltimore’s margins, even those like Ms. Bahr who were pained by what they saw said they could scarcely comprehend the emotions associated with it.

But others, like Lambi Vasilakopoulos, who runs a casual restaurant in Canton, said they were incensed by what unfolded last week.

“What happened wasn’t called for. Protests are one thing; looting is another thing,” he said, adding, “We’re very frustrated because we’re the ones who are going to pay for this.”

There were pockets of optimism, though, that Baltimore would enter a period of reconciliation.

“I’m just hoping for peace,” Natalie Boies, 53, said in front of the Locust Point home where she has lived for 50 years. “Learn to love each other; be patient with each other; find justice; and care.”

A skeptical Mr. Vasilakopoulos predicted tensions would worsen.

“It cannot be fixed,” he said. “It’s going to get worse. Why? Because people don’t obey the laws. They don’t want to obey them.”

But there were few fears that the violence that plagued West Baltimore last week would play out on these relaxed streets. The authorities, Ms. Fowler said, would make sure of that.

“They kept us safe here,” she said. “I didn’t feel uncomfortable when I was in my house three blocks away from here. I knew I was going to be O.K. because I knew they weren’t going to let anyone come and loot our properties or our businesses or burn our cars.”

Baltimore Residents Away From Turmoil Consider Their Role

BEIJING (AP) — The head of Taiwan's Nationalists reaffirmed the party's support for eventual unification with the mainland when he met Monday with Chinese President Xi Jinping as part of continuing rapprochement between the former bitter enemies.

Nationalist Party Chairman Eric Chu, a likely presidential candidate next year, also affirmed Taiwan's desire to join the proposed Chinese-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank during the meeting in Beijing. China claims Taiwan as its own territory and doesn't want the island to join using a name that might imply it is an independent country.

Chu's comments during his meeting with Xi were carried live on Hong Kong-based broadcaster Phoenix Television.

The Nationalists were driven to Taiwan by Mao Zedong's Communists during the Chinese civil war in 1949, leading to decades of hostility between the sides. Chu, who took over as party leader in January, is the third Nationalist chairman to visit the mainland and the first since 2009.

Relations between the communist-ruled mainland and the self-governing democratic island of Taiwan began to warm in the 1990s, partly out of their common opposition to Taiwan's formal independence from China, a position advocated by the island's Democratic Progressive Party.

Despite increasingly close economic ties, the prospect of political unification has grown increasingly unpopular on Taiwan, especially with younger voters. Opposition to the Nationalists' pro-China policies was seen as a driver behind heavy local electoral defeats for the party last year that led to Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou resigning as party chairman.

Taiwan party leader affirms eventual reunion with China

Imagine an elite professional services firm with a high-performing, workaholic culture. Everyone is expected to turn on a dime to serve a client, travel at a moment’s notice, and be available pretty much every evening and weekend. It can make for a grueling work life, but at the highest levels of accounting, law, investment banking and consulting firms, it is just the way things are.

Except for one dirty little secret: Some of the people ostensibly turning in those 80- or 90-hour workweeks, particularly men, may just be faking it.

Many of them were, at least, at one elite consulting firm studied by Erin Reid, a professor at Boston University’s Questrom School of Business. It’s impossible to know if what she learned at that unidentified consulting firm applies across the world of work more broadly. But her research, published in the academic journal Organization Science, offers a way to understand how the professional world differs between men and women, and some of the ways a hard-charging culture that emphasizes long hours above all can make some companies worse off.

Photo
 
Credit Peter Arkle

Ms. Reid interviewed more than 100 people in the American offices of a global consulting firm and had access to performance reviews and internal human resources documents. At the firm there was a strong culture around long hours and responding to clients promptly.

“When the client needs me to be somewhere, I just have to be there,” said one of the consultants Ms. Reid interviewed. “And if you can’t be there, it’s probably because you’ve got another client meeting at the same time. You know it’s tough to say I can’t be there because my son had a Cub Scout meeting.”

Some people fully embraced this culture and put in the long hours, and they tended to be top performers. Others openly pushed back against it, insisting upon lighter and more flexible work hours, or less travel; they were punished in their performance reviews.

The third group is most interesting. Some 31 percent of the men and 11 percent of the women whose records Ms. Reid examined managed to achieve the benefits of a more moderate work schedule without explicitly asking for it.

They made an effort to line up clients who were local, reducing the need for travel. When they skipped work to spend time with their children or spouse, they didn’t call attention to it. One team on which several members had small children agreed among themselves to cover for one another so that everyone could have more flexible hours.

A male junior manager described working to have repeat consulting engagements with a company near enough to his home that he could take care of it with day trips. “I try to head out by 5, get home at 5:30, have dinner, play with my daughter,” he said, adding that he generally kept weekend work down to two hours of catching up on email.

Despite the limited hours, he said: “I know what clients are expecting. So I deliver above that.” He received a high performance review and a promotion.

What is fascinating about the firm Ms. Reid studied is that these people, who in her terminology were “passing” as workaholics, received performance reviews that were as strong as their hyper-ambitious colleagues. For people who were good at faking it, there was no real damage done by their lighter workloads.

It calls to mind the episode of “Seinfeld” in which George Costanza leaves his car in the parking lot at Yankee Stadium, where he works, and gets a promotion because his boss sees the car and thinks he is getting to work earlier and staying later than anyone else. (The strategy goes awry for him, and is not recommended for any aspiring partners in a consulting firm.)

A second finding is that women, particularly those with young children, were much more likely to request greater flexibility through more formal means, such as returning from maternity leave with an explicitly reduced schedule. Men who requested a paternity leave seemed to be punished come review time, and so may have felt more need to take time to spend with their families through those unofficial methods.

The result of this is easy to see: Those specifically requesting a lighter workload, who were disproportionately women, suffered in their performance reviews; those who took a lighter workload more discreetly didn’t suffer. The maxim of “ask forgiveness, not permission” seemed to apply.

It would be dangerous to extrapolate too much from a study at one firm, but Ms. Reid said in an interview that since publishing a summary of her research in Harvard Business Review she has heard from people in a variety of industries describing the same dynamic.

High-octane professional service firms are that way for a reason, and no one would doubt that insane hours and lots of travel can be necessary if you’re a lawyer on the verge of a big trial, an accountant right before tax day or an investment banker advising on a huge merger.

But the fact that the consultants who quietly lightened their workload did just as well in their performance reviews as those who were truly working 80 or more hours a week suggests that in normal times, heavy workloads may be more about signaling devotion to a firm than really being more productive. The person working 80 hours isn’t necessarily serving clients any better than the person working 50.

In other words, maybe the real problem isn’t men faking greater devotion to their jobs. Maybe it’s that too many companies reward the wrong things, favoring the illusion of extraordinary effort over actual productivity.

How Some Men Fake an 80-Hour Workweek, and Why It Matters

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

A former member of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Mr. Smedvig helped found the wide-ranging Empire Brass quintet.

Rolf Smedvig, Trumpeter in the Empire Brass, Dies at 62

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.

Continue reading the main story
 

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.”

Continue reading the main story

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.”

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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

Mr. Bartoszewski was given honorary Israeli citizenship for his work to save Jews during World War II and later surprised even himself by being instrumental in reconciling Poland and Germany.

Wladyslaw Bartoszewski, 93, Dies; Polish Auschwitz Survivor Aided Jews

As he reflected on the festering wounds deepened by race and grievance that have been on painful display in America’s cities lately, President Obama on Monday found himself thinking about a young man he had just met named Malachi.

A few minutes before, in a closed-door round-table discussion at Lehman College in the Bronx, Mr. Obama had asked a group of black and Hispanic students from disadvantaged backgrounds what could be done to help them reach their goals. Several talked about counseling and guidance programs.

“Malachi, he just talked about — we should talk about love,” Mr. Obama told a crowd afterward, drifting away from his prepared remarks. “Because Malachi and I shared the fact that our dad wasn’t around and that sometimes we wondered why he wasn’t around and what had happened. But really, that’s what this comes down to is: Do we love these kids?”

Many presidents have governed during times of racial tension, but Mr. Obama is the first to see in the mirror a face that looks like those on the other side of history’s ledger. While his first term was consumed with the economy, war and health care, his second keeps coming back to the societal divide that was not bridged by his election. A president who eschewed focusing on race now seems to have found his voice again as he thinks about how to use his remaining time in office and beyond.

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Obama Speaks of a ‘Sense of Unfairness’

Obama Speaks of a ‘Sense of Unfairness’

At an event announcing the creation of a nonprofit focusing on young minority men, President Obama talked about the underlying reasons for recent protests in Baltimore and other cities.

By Associated Press on Publish Date May 4, 2015. Photo by Stephen Crowley/The New York Times.

In the aftermath of racially charged unrest in places like Baltimore, Ferguson, Mo., and New York, Mr. Obama came to the Bronx on Monday for the announcement of a new nonprofit organization that is being spun off from his White House initiative called My Brother’s Keeper. Staked by more than $80 million in commitments from corporations and other donors, the new group, My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, will in effect provide the nucleus for Mr. Obama’s post-presidency, which will begin in January 2017.

“This will remain a mission for me and for Michelle not just for the rest of my presidency but for the rest of my life,” Mr. Obama said. “And the reason is simple,” he added. Referring to some of the youths he had just met, he said: “We see ourselves in these young men. I grew up without a dad. I grew up lost sometimes and adrift, not having a sense of a clear path. The only difference between me and a lot of other young men in this neighborhood and all across the country is that I grew up in an environment that was a little more forgiving.”

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Organizers said the new alliance already had financial pledges from companies like American Express, Deloitte, Discovery Communications and News Corporation. The money will be used to help companies address obstacles facing young black and Hispanic men, provide grants to programs for disadvantaged youths, and help communities aid their populations.

Joe Echevarria, a former chief executive of Deloitte, the accounting and consulting firm, will lead the alliance, and among those on its leadership team or advisory group are executives at PepsiCo, News Corporation, Sprint, BET and Prudential Group Insurance; former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell; Senator Cory Booker, Democrat of New Jersey; former Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.; the music star John Legend; the retired athletes Alonzo Mourning, Jerome Bettis and Shaquille O’Neal; and the mayors of Indianapolis, Sacramento and Philadelphia.

The alliance, while nominally independent of the White House, may face some of the same questions confronting former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton as she begins another presidential campaign. Some of those donating to the alliance may have interests in government action, and skeptics may wonder whether they are trying to curry favor with the president by contributing.

“The Obama administration will have no role in deciding how donations are screened and what criteria they’ll set at the alliance for donor policies, because it’s an entirely separate entity,” Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, told reporters on Air Force One en route to New York. But he added, “I’m confident that the members of the board are well aware of the president’s commitment to transparency.”

The alliance was in the works before the disturbances last week after the death of Freddie Gray, the black man who suffered fatal injuries while in police custody in Baltimore, but it reflected the evolution of Mr. Obama’s presidency. For him, in a way, it is coming back to issues that animated him as a young community organizer and politician. It was his own struggle with race and identity, captured in his youthful memoir, “Dreams From My Father,” that stood him apart from other presidential aspirants.

But that was a side of him that he kept largely to himself through the first years of his presidency while he focused on other priorities like turning the economy around, expanding government-subsidized health care and avoiding electoral land mines en route to re-election.

After securing a second term, Mr. Obama appeared more emboldened. Just a month after his 2013 inauguration, he talked passionately about opportunity and race with a group of teenage boys in Chicago, a moment aides point to as perhaps the first time he had spoken about these issues in such a personal, powerful way as president. A few months later, he publicly lamented the death of Trayvon Martin, a black Florida teenager, saying that “could have been me 35 years ago.”

Photo
 
President Obama on Monday with Darinel Montero, a student at Bronx International High School who introduced him before remarks at Lehman College in the Bronx. Credit Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

That case, along with public ruptures of anger over police shootings in Ferguson and elsewhere, have pushed the issue of race and law enforcement onto the public agenda. Aides said they imagined that with his presidency in its final stages, Mr. Obama might be thinking more about what comes next and causes he can advance as a private citizen.

That is not to say that his public discussion of these issues has been universally welcomed. Some conservatives said he had made matters worse by seeming in their view to blame police officers in some of the disputed cases.

“President Obama, when he was elected, could have been a unifying leader,” Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, a Republican candidate for president, said at a forum last week. “He has made decisions that I think have inflamed racial tensions.”

On the other side of the ideological spectrum, some liberal African-American activists have complained that Mr. Obama has not done enough to help downtrodden communities. While he is speaking out more, these critics argue, he has hardly used the power of the presidency to make the sort of radical change they say is necessary.

The line Mr. Obama has tried to straddle has been a serrated one. He condemns police brutality as he defends most officers as honorable. He condemns “criminals and thugs” who looted in Baltimore while expressing empathy with those trapped in a cycle of poverty and hopelessness.

In the Bronx on Monday, Mr. Obama bemoaned the death of Brian Moore, a plainclothes New York police officer who had died earlier in the day after being shot in the head Saturday on a Queens street. Most police officers are “good and honest and fair and care deeply about their communities,” even as they put their lives on the line, Mr. Obama said.

“Which is why in addressing the issues in Baltimore or Ferguson or New York, the point I made was that if we’re just looking at policing, we’re looking at it too narrowly,” he added. “If we ask the police to simply contain and control problems that we ourselves have been unwilling to invest and solve, that’s not fair to the communities, it’s not fair to the police.”

Moreover, if society writes off some people, he said, “that’s not the kind of country I want to live in; that’s not what America is about.”

His message to young men like Malachi Hernandez, who attends Boston Latin Academy in Massachusetts, is not to give up.

“I want you to know you matter,” he said. “You matter to us.”

Obama Finds a Bolder Voice on Race Issues
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