MANADO, Saco-Indonesia.com - Sampai dengan pagi ini, Kamis (16/1/2014), bencana banjir bandang yang terjadi di enam kabupaten/kota di Sulawesi Utara, Rabu kemarin, telah merenggut 13 korban tewas, dan dua warga lainnya belum ditemukan. Sementara, tercatat 40 ribu warga mengungsi.
Seperti yang telah diberitakan, banjir terjadi di enam kabupaten/kota di Sulut secara bersamaan, yaitu Kota Manado, Minahasa Utara, Kota Tomohon, Minahasa, Minahasa Selatan, dan Kepulauan Sangihe.
Menurut Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, Kepala Pusat Data Informasi dan Humas BNPB, bencana ini terjadi akibat kombinasi antara faktor alam dan antropogenik yang memicu terjadinya banjir bandang dan longsor yang masif di Sulawesi Utara.
Sutopo menguraikan, di Kota Manado lima tewas, satu orang hanyut belum ditemukan (Veber Sony Lowing). Di Kota Tomohon lima orang tewas. Di Minahasa tiga orang tewas, satu orang hilang (Niko-54), dan satu orang luka berat.
Di Kabupaten Minahasa Utara tiga desa dengan 1.000 jiwa terisolasi akibat banjir dan longsor. Di Kepulauan Sangihe beberapa rumah tertimbun longsor. Diperkirakan, sekitar 40.000 warga mengungsi ke tempat yang aman.
Sutopo menjelaskan, hujan deras dipicu sistem tekanan rendah di perairan selatan Filipina, menyebabkan pembentukan awan intensif. Selain itu, adanya konvergensi dampak dari tekanan rendah di utara Australia, awan-awan besar masuk ke wilayah Sulut.
Akibatnya, empat sungai besar di Kota Manado meluap dan menghanyutkan puluhan rumah dan kendaraan. Bencana kali ini lebih besar daripada sebelumnya yang pernah terjadi pada tahun 2000 yang menyebabkan 22 tewas, dan Februari 2013 yang menyebabkan 17 tewas.
Sumber : kompas.com
Editor : Maulana LeeRenggut 13 Nyawa Akibat Bencana Banjir di Manado
Kirim mobil atau jasa pengiriman mobil yang telah menjadi cikal bakal berdirinya bisnis usaha pengiriman yang di rintis oleh PT. Gada Pratama Samalangu mulai dari dasar hingga berkembang seperti sekarang. Dengan komitmen yang selalu mengutamakan kepuasan pelanggan membuat jasa pengiriman mobil kami tetap bertahan dan terus berkembang dalam persaingan jasa kirim mobil yang begitu ketat.
Dan untuk dapat meningkatkan layanan dan memenuhi banyaknya permintaan pengiriman mobil, di awal tahun 2012 kami telah menambah 4 unit mobil towing atau yang lebih di kenal dengan sebutan mobil derek gendong atau mobil towing. Diharapkan dengan penambahan unit mobil towing ini kami dapat melayani semua permintaan pengiriman mobil dengan menggunakan mobil towing yang semakin hari semakin meningkat.
Tercatat hingga kini sudah belasan unit mobil towing yang kami siapkan untuk area jakarta dan sekitarnya, begitu juga untuk pengiriman mobil antar kota, pengiriman mobil antar propinsi bahkan pengiriman mobil antar pulau. Karena selain melayani kirim mobil dengan pelanggan perorangan kami juga memiliki kerjasama dengan beberapa main dealer ATPM, jadi diharapkan dengan penambahan unit towing semua permintaan dapat terlayani dan terpenuhi dengan baik.
JASA PENGIRIMAN MOBIL
Berikut beberapa tips memilih lampu Hias:
1. Rumah minimalis akan telah memiliki terkesan lebih bersih, sederhana dan bergaya dengan lampu hias minimalis juga. Adapun rumah dengan gaya klasik, untuk dapat menyoroti gaya klasiknya cocok dengan lampu kristal atau crystal chandelier
2. Untuk dapat menampilkan nilai estetika yang telah memiliki nilai lebih bahan yang digunakan untuk lampu hias harus menggunakan bahan yang cukup baik untuk dapat memberikan kesan tersendiri didalam ruangan. Ada banyak pilihan untuk bahan lampu hias seperti: kaca, kristal dari plastik, stainless steel, dan bahan – bahan alami seperti daun, rotan dan sebagainya.
3. Pilih bohlam yang telah terbuat dari bahan yang berkualitas, hemat energi, sistem pemasangannya mudah, ringan dan sesuai dengan estetika.
4. Agar Lampu hias tetap terlihat canti, rawatlah ornamen – ornamen lampu dengan membersihkannya secara berkala dengan kain kering yang halus atau kemoceng.
Kalau terbuat dari kaca dan dapat di lepaskan, Anda juga dapat mencuci kaca dengan dengan air dan sedikit sabun. Lalu keringkan dan setiap bagiannya harus dibersihkan dengan hati – hati agar tidak tergores atau pecah.
5. Pemilihain lampu hias juga harus mempertimbangkan ukuran besar atau kecilnya suatu ruangan. Misalnya untuk ruangan yang kecil, alangkah baiknya anda telah memilih lampu yang juga ukurannya tidak terlalu besar.
Untuk dapat menghemat Ruangan dan untuk menambah cahaya, anda juga dapat memilih lampu hias yang menempel pada langit – langit atau downlight. Dan sebaliknya, apabila ruangan anda besar maka alangkah baiknya anda memilih lampu hias gantung.
6. Untuk kamar yang membutuhkan cahaya terang, seperti ruang tamu, Ruang keluarga dan ruang makan, anda juga dapat memilih lampu kuning atau putih.
Sedangkan untuk suasana dramatis, seperti kamar tidur anda harus menggunakan lampu yang berwarna kebiruan.TIPS MEMILIH LAMPU HIAS
Rasanya, semua telinga akrab dengan dalil ini. Sebab dia sering diucapkan dalam pembuka nasehat, sebagai kalimat pujian. Bahkan para pemula yang ingin belajar nasehat, tentu menghafal mati dalil ini. Memang keren dalilnya. Paten redaksionalnya. Dan juga sering diulas para penyampai, jika menerangkan bab pengamalan. Karena memang begitulah adanya. Bagi pemerhati keriuh-rendahan beramal, tentu tidak akan melewatkan dalil – dalil ini.
Di dalam KitabNya Allah berfirman; Dan diserukan kepada mereka: “Itulah surga yang diwariskan kepadamu, disebabkan apa yang dahulu kamu kerjakan.” (QS. Al-A’raf  : 43). Ayat semisal terdapat juga dalam QS. Az-Zukhruf  : 72)
“Masuklah kamu ke dalam surga itu disebabkan apa yang telah kamu amalkan”. (QS. An-Nahl  : 32)
“Dan masing-masing orang memperoleh derajat-derajat (seimbang) dengan apa yang dikerjakannya. Dan Tuhanmu tidak lengah dari apa yang mereka kerjakan.” (Al-‘An’am 132)
Dalil – dalil di atas, jelas menunjukkan pentingnya beramal dalam ibadah. Sebab dengannya orang bisa memperoleh tinggi – rendahnya derajat di surga. Oleh karena itu, tak salah orang memperbanyak amal untuk kehidupan di sana kelak. Yang perlu diingat adalah serentetan dalil – dalil di bawah ini. Bukan menakut-nakuti. Demikian banyaknya setidaknya membuat kita berjaga – jaga. Kadang malah bisa membuat kontra produktif, jika tidak arif dan bijaksana dalam memahaminya. Sebab kelihatan saling bertentangan antara satu dan lainnya. Jangankan orang macam saya, dulu para sahabat pun dibuat bingung karenanya.
Sesungguhnya Abu Hurairah berkata, ia mendengar Rasulullah SAW bersabda, “Amal seseorang tidak akan memasukkan seseorang ke dalam surga.” “Engkau juga tidak wahai Rasulullah?”, tanya beberapa sahabat. Beliau menjawab, “Aku pun tidak. Kecuali jika Allah menyelimuti pada (amalan)ku dengan kefadholan dan rahmat.” (Rowahu Bukhary – Jilid 1)
Shahih al-Bukhari kitab ar-riqaq bab al-qashd wal-mudawamah ‘alal-’amal no. 6463, 6464, 6467, juga menyebutkan walau dengan redaksi yang agak berbeda.
“Amal tidak akan bisa menyelamatkan seseorang di antara kalian.” Mereka bertanya: “Tidak pula Engkau wahai Rasulullah SAW?” Beliau menjawab: “Ya, saya pun tidak, kecuali Allah menganugerahkan rahmat kepadaku. Tepatlah kalian, mendekatlah, beribadahlah di waktu pagi, sore, dan sedikit dari malam, beramallah yang pertengahan, yang pertengahan, kalian pasti akan sampai.”
“Tepatlah kalian, mendekatlah, dan ketahuilah bahwasanya amal tidak akan memasukkan seseorang ke dalam surga. Sesungguhnya amal yang paling dicintai Allah itu adalah yang paling sering diamalkan walaupun sedikit.”
“Tepatlah kalian, mendekatlah, dan bergembiralah, karena sesungguhnya amal tidak akan memasukkan seseorang ke dalam surga.” Para shahabat bertanya: “Termasuk juga anda wahai Rasulullah?” Beliau menjawab: “Ya, termasuk juga saya, kecuali jika Allah menganugerahkan ampunan dan rahmat kepadaku.”
Saddidu, asal katanya sadad; ketepatan, sesuatu yang tepat. Maknanya menurut Ibn Hajar, shawab; benar. Artinya, beramallah dengan tepat, benar, mengikuti sunnah dan penuh keikhlasan.
Qaribu yang bermakna ‘mendekatlah’ maknanya ada dua; pertama, jangan menjauhi amal seluruhnya ketika tidak mampu, dan kedua, jangan berlebihan dalam beramal sehingga merasa kelelahan dan bosan. Itu berarti ambillah pertengahan dalam beramal. Ketika malas tiba, bertahan dengan tidak meninggalkan amal seluruhnya, beramallah sedekat- dekatnya, tidak mampu 100% (sadad) beramallah 90% (qarib), dan ketika semangat tiba, beramal dengan tidak berlebihan karena akan menyebabkan kelelahan dan kejenuhan.
Ughdu artinya berpergianlah di waktu pagi, ruhu artinya berpergianlah di waktu sore, dan ad-duljah artinya berpergian di waktu malam. Kata ad-duljah disertai dengan kata syai` (syai` minad-duljah; sedikit/sesaat di waktu malam) karena memang berpergian di waktu malam cukup sulit. Menurut Ibn Hajar, ini seolah-olah isyarat agar shaum di sepanjang hari dari sejak pagi sampai sore, dan shalat tahajjud di sebagian malam. Walaupun, menurutnya, bisa juga diperluas untuk ibadah-ibadah lainnya. Ibadah dalam hal ini diibaratkan dengan berpergian/perjalanan karena memang seorang ‘abid (yang beribadah) itu ibarat seseorang yang sedang berpergian dan menempuh perjalanan menuju surga.
Al-qashda maknanya pertengahan. Dijelaskan dalam riwayat lain sebagai amal yang rutin dikerjakan (dawam) walaupun sedikit-sedikit.
Taghammada diambil dari kata ghimd yang berarti sarung pedang. Taghammada berarti menyarungkan, atau dengan kata lain menutup (satr). Jika dilekatkan dengan kata rahmat dan ampunan, berarti menganugerahkan sepenuhnya (semua penjelasan dalam syarah mufradat ini disadur dari Fath al-Bari kitab ar-riqaq bab al-qashd wal-mudawamah ‘alal-’amal).
Sementara itu, Shahih Muslim kitab shifat al-qiyamah wal-jannah wan-nar bab lan yadkhula ahadun al-jannah bi ‘amalihi no. 7289-7302, tidak hanya disebut tidak akan masuk surga saja, melainkan ditegaskan juga tidak akan selamat dari neraka.
“Amal tidak akan memasukkan seseorang di antara kalian ke surga dan tidak pula menyelamatkannya dari neraka. Demikian juga saya, kecuali dengan rahmat Allah SWT”.
Dulu, pertama kali mendengar hadits ini, saya kaget. Kok begitu ya? Alhamdulillah Allah paring kefahaman. Salah satunya lewat cerita sederhana kisah ahli ibadah dari Bani Israil. Diceritakan ada seorang hamba yang tekun dan rajin beribadah selama 500 tahun. Dia hidup menyendiri di sebuah gunung, tak pernah berbuat dosa sedikitpun. Hari – harinya diisi ibadah dan ibadah, tak lain. Dan kala meninggalnya pun dalam keadaan sedang bersujud. Akhirnya di hari Qiyamat Allah membangkitkan dia dan memasukkannya ke surga. Allah berfirman; “Dengan rahmatku, masuklah kamu ke surge.” Mendengar perkataan tersebut si hamba protes. “Ya Allah, bukankah karena amalanku?”
Allah menjawab; “Karena rohmatku.”
Hamba; “Tidak. Ini semua karena amalanku selama 500 tahun.”
Allah menjawab; “Baiklah. Sekarang akan saya buktikan.” Kemudian Allah memperlihatkan timbangan amal si hamba. Semua amalan si hamba ditempatkan di sisi timbangan dan nikmat – nikmat Allah di sisi satunya lagi. Hasilnya, amalan hamba selama 500 tahun itu tak menggeser sedikit pun nikmat dan anugerah Allah yang diberikan kepadanya. Akhirnya, si hamba sadar dan memahami bahwa sebab masuknya dia ke surga adalah karena rohmat Allah.
Cerita ini semakin meneguhkan nasehat klasik bahwa sebenarnya kita beribadah ini cuma modal dengkul. Semuanya atas peparing Allah. Jadi gak boleh sombong –membanggakan amal - dan gak boleh bengong - tidak dilandasi niat karena Allah.
Selanjutnya saya memetik beberapa nash terkait akan situasi ini. Yaitu adanya lipatan amalan yang diberikan Allah kepada setiap amal baik hambaNya. Sedangkan untuk amal jelek, Allah tidak menulis kecuali seperti apa adanya. Walhasanatu biasyri amtsaliha – dan satu kebaikan itu dengan sepuluh semisalnya. Atau seperti yang tersebut di dalam surat Albaqoroh laksana sebiji padi yang menumbuhkan tujuh tangkai dan setiap tangkai berbuah 100 bulir padi alias 700 kali lipatan. Atau dalam atsar – atsar puasa, dimana disebutkan bahwa pahala amal anak adam itu dilipatkan ila masyaa Allah. Inilah pemahaman lebih lanjut arti redaksi Kecuali jika Allah menyelimuti pada (amalan)ku dengan kefadholan dan rahmat. Ada lipatan sebagai bentuk kefadhalan Allah dan nikmat dan anugerah Allah – sebagai rahmat, sehingga kita bisa beramal meraih surga setinggi – tingginya. Maka, tak heran ketika kita masuk - keluar masjid pun dituntun dengan doa untuk mengingatkan akan rahmat dan fadhilah Allah ini dalam setiap jengkal langkah kita dalam beramal.
Nah, satu lagi yang “membanggakan” adalah hadits - hadits tersebut di atas memang jarang dikumandangkan. Hanya sesaat – sesaat saja dan oleh orang – orang tertentu saja. Namun, barangkali ketemu, semoga sedikit tulisan ini bermanfaat bagi yang membacanya. Tak lebih.
Oleh: Faizunal Abdillah
Sumber:Al'Quran & Al'Hadist/LDII
Editor:Liwon Maulana (galipat)BERAMAL
Saco-Indonesia.com - Penyanyi dangdut Ayu Ting Ting benar-benar serius menghadapi kasus perceraiannya atas Enji. Tidak tanggung-tanggung, dia akan didampingi pengacara kelas wahid, OC Kaligis dan anggota timnya, sekitar 8 orang.
Salah satu tim anggota tim pengacara OC Kaligis, Alfian Bonjol menganggap niat Ayu Ting Ting menggunakan delapan pengacara sebagai sesuatu yang wajar. Pihaknya pun tidak kesulitan untuk menghadapi permintaan kliennya.
"Di kantor kami ada 80 orang lawyer. Ini Ayu cuma pakai 8 lawyer, jadi enggak masalah kan," tandas Alfian Bonjol sambil tersenyum, saat mendampingi Ayu Ting Ting mendaftarkan gugatannya di Pengadilan Agama (PA) Depok, Jawa Barat, Senin (27/1).
Di tempat yang sama, Ayu Ting Ting juga menyampaikan bantahan kalau dirinya harus menjual mobil, demi membayar para pengacaranya tersebut.
"Mobil dijual katanya bayar pengacara. Aduh, enggak lah, jahat banget. Mereka (pengacara) tulus bantu saya," bantah Ayu.
Sumber : Merdeka.com
Editor : Maulana LeeAyu Ting Ting didampingi delapan pengacara, Untuk Hadapi Enji
“It was really nice to play with other women and not have this underlying tone of being at each other’s throats.”ay 4, 2015 â€˜Game of Thronesâ€™ Q&A: Keisha Castle-Hughes on the Tao of the Sand Snakes
Gagne wrestled professionally from the late 1940s until the 1980s and was a transitional figure between the early 20th century barnstormers and the steroidal sideshows of todayVerne Gagne, Wrestler Who Grappled Through Two Eras, Dies at 89
Though Robin and Joan Rolfs owned two rare talking dolls manufactured by Thomas Edison’s phonograph company in 1890, they did not dare play the wax cylinder records tucked inside each one.
The Rolfses, longtime collectors of Edison phonographs, knew that if they turned the cranks on the dolls’ backs, the steel phonograph needle might damage or destroy the grooves of the hollow, ring-shaped cylinder. And so for years, the dolls sat side by side inside a display cabinet, bearers of a message from the dawn of sound recording that nobody could hear.
In 1890, Edison’s dolls were a flop; production lasted only six weeks. Children found them difficult to operate and more scary than cuddly. The recordings inside, which featured snippets of nursery rhymes, wore out quickly.
Yet sound historians say the cylinders were the first entertainment records ever made, and the young girls hired to recite the rhymes were the world’s first recording artists.
Year after year, the Rolfses asked experts if there might be a safe way to play the recordings. Then a government laboratory developed a method to play fragile records without touching them.
The technique relies on a microscope to create images of the grooves in exquisite detail. A computer approximates — with great accuracy — the sounds that would have been created by a needle moving through those grooves.
In 2014, the technology was made available for the first time outside the laboratory.
“The fear all along is that we don’t want to damage these records. We don’t want to put a stylus on them,” said Jerry Fabris, the curator of the Thomas Edison Historical Park in West Orange, N.J. “Now we have the technology to play them safely.”
Last month, the Historical Park posted online three never-before-heard Edison doll recordings, including the two from the Rolfses’ collection. “There are probably more out there, and we’re hoping people will now get them digitized,” Mr. Fabris said.
The technology, which is known as Irene (Image, Reconstruct, Erase Noise, Etc.), was developed by the particle physicist Carl Haber and the engineer Earl Cornell at Lawrence Berkeley. Irene extracts sound from cylinder and disk records. It can also reconstruct audio from recordings so badly damaged they were deemed unplayable.
“We are now hearing sounds from history that I did not expect to hear in my lifetime,” Mr. Fabris said.
The Rolfses said they were not sure what to expect in August when they carefully packed their two Edison doll cylinders, still attached to their motors, and drove from their home in Hortonville, Wis., to the National Document Conservation Center in Andover, Mass. The center had recently acquired Irene technology.
Cylinders carry sound in a spiral groove cut by a phonograph recording needle that vibrates up and down, creating a surface made of tiny hills and valleys. In the Irene set-up, a microscope perched above the shaft takes thousands of high-resolution images of small sections of the grooves.
Stitched together, the images provide a topographic map of the cylinder’s surface, charting changes in depth as small as one five-hundredth the thickness of a human hair. Pitch, volume and timbre are all encoded in the hills and valleys and the speed at which the record is played.
At the conservation center, the preservation specialist Mason Vander Lugt attached one of the cylinders to the end of a rotating shaft. Huddled around a computer screen, the Rolfses first saw the wiggly waveform generated by Irene. Then came the digital audio. The words were at first indistinct, but as Mr. Lugt filtered out more of the noise, the rhyme became clearer.
“That was the Eureka moment,” Mr. Rolfs said.
In 1890, a girl in Edison’s laboratory had recited:
There was a little girl,
And she had a little curl
Right in the middle of her forehead.
When she was good,
She was very, very good.
But when she was bad, she was horrid.
Recently, the conservation center turned up another surprise.
In 2010, the Woody Guthrie Foundation received 18 oversize phonograph disks from an anonymous donor. No one knew if any of the dirt-stained recordings featured Guthrie, but Tiffany Colannino, then the foundation’s archivist, had stored them unplayed until she heard about Irene.
Last fall, the center extracted audio from one of the records, labeled “Jam Session 9” and emailed the digital file to Ms. Colannino.
“I was just sitting in my dining room, and the next thing I know, I’m hearing Woody,” she said. In between solo performances of “Ladies Auxiliary,” “Jesus Christ,” and “Dead or Alive,” Guthrie tells jokes, offers some back story, and makes the audience laugh. “It is quintessential Guthrie,” Ms. Colannino said.
The Rolfses’ dolls are back in the display cabinet in Wisconsin. But with audio stored on several computers, they now have a permanent voice.Ghostly Voices From Thomas Edisonâ€™s Dolls Can Now Be Heard
Pronovost, who played for the Red Wings, was not a prolific scorer, but he was a consummate team player with bruising checks and fearless bursts up the ice that could puncture a defense.Marcel Pronovost, 84, Dies; Hall of Famer Shared in Five N.H.L. Titles
Late in April, after Native American actors walked off in disgust from the set of Adam Sandler’s latest film, a western sendup that its distributor, Netflix, has defended as being equally offensive to all, a glow of pride spread through several Native American communities.
Tantoo Cardinal, a Canadian indigenous actress who played Black Shawl in “Dances With Wolves,” recalled thinking to herself, “It’s come.” Larry Sellers, who starred as Cloud Dancing in the 1990s television show “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman,” thought, “It’s about time.” Jesse Wente, who is Ojibwe and directs film programming at the TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto, found himself encouraged and surprised. There are so few film roles for indigenous actors, he said, that walking off the set of a major production showed real mettle.
But what didn’t surprise Mr. Wente was the content of the script. According to the actors who walked off the set, the film, titled “The Ridiculous Six,” included a Native American woman who passes out and is revived after white men douse her with alcohol, and another woman squatting to urinate while lighting a peace pipe. “There’s enough history at this point to have set some expectations around these sort of Hollywood depictions,” Mr. Wente said.
The walkout prompted a rhetorical “What do you expect from an Adam Sandler film?,” and a Netflix spokesman said that in the movie, blacks, Mexicans and whites were lampooned as well. But Native American actors and critics said a broader issue was at stake. While mainstream portrayals of native peoples have, Mr. Wente said, become “incrementally better” over the decades, he and others say, they remain far from accurate and reflect a lack of opportunities for Native American performers. What’s more, as Native Americans hunger for representation on screen, critics say the absence of three-dimensional portrayals has very real off-screen consequences.
“Our people are still healing from historical trauma,” said Loren Anthony, one of the actors who walked out. “Our youth are still trying to figure out who they are, where they fit in this society. Kids are killing themselves. They’re not proud of who they are.” They also don’t, he added, see themselves on prime time television or the big screen. Netflix noted while about five people walked off the “The Ridiculous Six” set, 100 or so Native American actors and extras stayed.
But in interviews, nearly a dozen Native American actors and film industry experts said that Mr. Sandler’s humor perpetuated decades-old negative stereotypes. Mr. Anthony said such depictions helped feed the despondency many Native Americans feel, with deadly results: Native Americans have the highest suicide rate out of all the country’s ethnicities.
The on-screen problem is twofold, Mr. Anthony and others said: There’s a paucity of roles for Native Americans — according to the Screen Actors Guild in 2008 they accounted for 0.3 percent of all on-screen parts (those figures have yet to be updated), compared to about 2 percent of the general population — and Native American actors are often perceived in a narrow way.
In his Peabody Award-winning documentary “Reel Injun,” the Cree filmmaker Neil Diamond explored Hollywood depictions of Native Americans over the years, and found they fell into a few stereotypical categories: the Noble Savage, the Drunk Indian, the Mystic, the Indian Princess, the backward tribal people futilely fighting John Wayne and manifest destiny. While the 1990 film “Dances With Wolves” won praise for depicting Native Americans as fully fleshed out human beings, not all indigenous people embraced it. It was still told, critics said, from the colonialists’ point of view. In an interview, John Trudell, a Santee Sioux writer, actor (“Thunderheart”) and the former chairman of the American Indian Movement, described the film as “a story of two white people.”
“God bless ‘Dances with Wolves,’ ” Michael Horse, who played Deputy Hawk in “Twin Peaks,” said sarcastically. “Even ‘Avatar.’ Someone’s got to come save the tribal people.”
Dan Spilo, a partner at Industry Entertainment who represents Adam Beach, one of today’s most prominent Native American actors, said while typecasting dogs many minorities, it is especially intractable when it comes to Native Americans. Casting directors, he said, rarely cast them as police officers, doctors or lawyers. “There’s the belief that the Native American character should be on reservations or riding a horse,” he said.
“We don’t see ourselves,” Mr. Horse said. “We’re still an antiquated culture to them, and to the rest of the world.”
Ms. Cardinal said she was once turned down for the role of the wife of a child-abusing cop because the filmmakers felt that casting her would somehow be “too political.”
Another sore point is the long run of white actors playing American Indians, among them Burt Lancaster, Rock Hudson, Audrey Hepburn and, more recently, Johnny Depp, whose depiction of Tonto in the 2013 film “Lone Ranger,” was viewed as racist by detractors. There are, of course, exceptions. The former A&E series “Longmire,” which, as it happens, will now be on Netflix, was roundly praised for its depiction of life on a Northern Cheyenne reservation, with Lou Diamond Phillips, who is of Cherokee descent, playing a Northern Cheyenne man.
Others also point to the success of Mr. Beach, who played a Mohawk detective in “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” and landed a starring role in the forthcoming D C Comics picture “Suicide Squad.” Mr. Beach said he had come across insulting scripts backed by people who don’t see anything wrong with them.
“I’d rather starve than do something that is offensive to my ancestral roots,” Mr. Beach said. “But I think there will always be attempts to drawn on the weakness of native people’s struggles. The savage Indian will always be the savage Indian. The white man will always be smarter and more cunning. The cavalry will always win.”
The solution, Mr. Wente, Mr. Trudell and others said, lies in getting more stories written by and starring Native Americans. But Mr. Wente noted that while independent indigenous film has blossomed in the last two decades, mainstream depictions have yet to catch up. “You have to stop expecting for Hollywood to correct it, because there seems to be no ability or desire to correct it,” Mr. Wente said.
There have been calls to boycott Netflix but, writing for Indian Country Today Media Network, which first broke news of the walk off, the filmmaker Brian Young noted that the distributor also offered a number of films by or about Native Americans.
The furor around “The Ridiculous Six” may drive more people to see it. Then one of the questions that Mr. Trudell, echoing others, had about the film will be answered: “Who the hell laughs at this stuff?”Native American Actors Work to Overcome a Long-Documented Bias
A lapsed seminarian, Mr. Chambers succeeded Saul Alinsky as leader of the social justice umbrella group Industrial Areas Foundation.Edward Chambers, Early Leader in Community Organizing, Dies at 85
WASHINGTON — The former deputy director of the C.I.A. asserts in a forthcoming book that Republicans, in their eagerness to politicize the killing of the American ambassador to Libya, repeatedly distorted the agency’s analysis of events. But he also argues that the C.I.A. should get out of the business of providing “talking points” for administration officials in national security events that quickly become partisan, as happened after the Benghazi attack in 2012.
The official, Michael J. Morell, dismisses the allegation that the United States military and C.I.A. officers “were ordered to stand down and not come to the rescue of their comrades,” and he says there is “no evidence” to support the charge that “there was a conspiracy between C.I.A. and the White House to spin the Benghazi story in a way that would protect the political interests of the president and Secretary Clinton,” referring to the secretary of state at the time, Hillary Rodham Clinton.
But he also concludes that the White House itself embellished some of the talking points provided by the Central Intelligence Agency and had blocked him from sending an internal study of agency conclusions to Congress.
“I finally did so without asking,” just before leaving government, he writes, and after the White House released internal emails to a committee investigating the State Department’s handling of the issue.
A lengthy congressional investigation remains underway, one that many Republicans hope to use against Mrs. Clinton in the 2016 election cycle.
In parts of the book, “The Great War of Our Time” (Twelve), Mr. Morell praises his C.I.A. colleagues for many successes in stopping terrorist attacks, but he is surprisingly critical of other C.I.A. failings — and those of the National Security Agency.
Soon after Mr. Morell retired in 2013 after 33 years in the agency, President Obama appointed him to a commission reviewing the actions of the National Security Agency after the disclosures of Edward J. Snowden, a former intelligence contractor who released classified documents about the government’s eavesdropping abilities. Mr. Morell writes that he was surprised by what he found.
“You would have thought that of all the government entities on the planet, the one least vulnerable to such grand theft would have been the N.S.A.,” he writes. “But it turned out that the N.S.A. had left itself vulnerable.”
He concludes that most Wall Street firms had better cybersecurity than the N.S.A. had when Mr. Snowden swept information from its systems in 2013. While he said he found himself “chagrined by how well the N.S.A. was doing” compared with the C.I.A. in stepping up its collection of data on intelligence targets, he also sensed that the N.S.A., which specializes in electronic spying, was operating without considering the implications of its methods.
“The N.S.A. had largely been collecting information because it could, not necessarily in all cases because it should,” he says.
The book is to be released next week.
Mr. Morell was a career analyst who rose through the ranks of the agency, and he ended up in the No. 2 post. He served as President George W. Bush’s personal intelligence briefer in the first months of his presidency — in those days, he could often be spotted at the Starbucks in Waco, Tex., catching up on his reading — and was with him in the schoolhouse in Florida on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, when the Bush presidency changed in an instant.
Mr. Morell twice took over as acting C.I.A. director, first when Leon E. Panetta was appointed secretary of defense and then when retired Gen. David H. Petraeus resigned over an extramarital affair with his biographer, a relationship that included his handing her classified notes of his time as America’s best-known military commander.
Mr. Morell says he first learned of the affair from Mr. Petraeus only the night before he resigned, and just as the Benghazi events were turning into a political firestorm. While praising Mr. Petraeus, who had told his deputy “I am very lucky” to run the C.I.A., Mr. Morell writes that “the organization did not feel the same way about him.” The former general “created the impression through the tone of his voice and his body language that he did not want people to disagree with him (which was not true in my own interaction with him),” he says.
But it is his account of the Benghazi attacks — and how the C.I.A. was drawn into the debate over whether the Obama White House deliberately distorted its account of the death of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens — that is bound to attract attention, at least partly because of its relevance to the coming presidential election. The initial assessments that the C.I.A. gave to the White House said demonstrations had preceded the attack. By the time analysts reversed their opinion, Susan E. Rice, now the national security adviser, had made a series of statements on Sunday talk shows describing the initial assessment. The controversy and other comments Ms. Rice made derailed Mr. Obama’s plan to appoint her as secretary of state.
The experience prompted Mr. Morell to write that the C.I.A. should stay out of the business of preparing talking points — especially on issues that are being seized upon for “political purposes.” He is critical of the State Department for not beefing up security in Libya for its diplomats, as the C.I.A., he said, did for its employees.
But he concludes that the assault in which the ambassador was killed took place “with little or no advance planning” and “was not well organized.” He says the attackers “did not appear to be looking for Americans to harm. They appeared intent on looting and conducting some vandalism,” setting fires that killed Mr. Stevens and a security official, Sean Smith.
Mr. Morell paints a picture of an agency that was struggling, largely unsuccessfully, to understand dynamics in the Middle East and North Africa when the Arab Spring broke out in late 2011 in Tunisia. The agency’s analysts failed to see the forces of revolution coming — and then failed again, he writes, when they told Mr. Obama that the uprisings would undercut Al Qaeda by showing there was a democratic pathway to change.
“There is no good explanation for our not being able to see the pressures growing to dangerous levels across the region,” he writes. The agency had again relied too heavily “on a handful of strong leaders in the countries of concern to help us understand what was going on in the Arab street,” he says, and those leaders themselves were clueless.
Moreover, an agency that has always overvalued secretly gathered intelligence and undervalued “open source” material “was not doing enough to mine the wealth of information available through social media,” he writes. “We thought and told policy makers that this outburst of popular revolt would damage Al Qaeda by undermining the group’s narrative,” he writes.
Instead, weak governments in Egypt, and the absence of governance from Libya to Yemen, were “a boon to Islamic extremists across both the Middle East and North Africa.”
Mr. Morell is gentle about most of the politicians he dealt with — he expresses admiration for both Mr. Bush and Mr. Obama, though he accuses former Vice President Dick Cheney of deliberately implying a connection between Al Qaeda and Iraq that the C.I.A. had concluded probably did not exist. But when it comes to the events leading up to the Bush administration’s decision to go to war in Iraq, he is critical of his own agency.
Mr. Morell concludes that the Bush White House did not have to twist intelligence on Saddam Hussein’s alleged effort to rekindle the country’s work on weapons of mass destruction.
“The view that hard-liners in the Bush administration forced the intelligence community into its position on W.M.D. is just flat wrong,” he writes. “No one pushed. The analysts were already there and they had been there for years, long before Bush came to office.”Ex-C.I.A. Official Rebuts Republican Claims on Benghazi Attack in â€˜The Great War of Our Timeâ€™
Mr. Lechleider helped invent DSL technology, which enabled phone companies to offer high-speed web access over their infrastructure of copper wires.Joseph Lechleider, a Father of the DSL Internet Technology, Dies at 82
Hockey is not exactly known as a city game, but played on roller skates, it once held sway as the sport of choice in many New York neighborhoods.
“City kids had no rinks, no ice, but they would do anything to play hockey,” said Edward Moffett, former director of the Long Island City Y.M.C.A. Roller Hockey League, in Queens, whose games were played in city playgrounds going back to the 1940s.
From the 1960s through the 1980s, the league had more than 60 teams, he said. Players included the Mullen brothers of Hell’s Kitchen and Dan Dorion of Astoria, Queens, who would later play on ice for the National Hockey League.
One street legend from the heyday of New York roller hockey was Craig Allen, who lived in the Woodside Houses projects and became one of the city’s hardest hitters and top scorers.
“Craig was a warrior, one of the best roller hockey players in the city in the ’70s,” said Dave Garmendia, 60, a retired New York police officer who grew up playing with Mr. Allen. “His teammates loved him and his opponents feared him.”
Young Craig took up hockey on the streets of Queens in the 1960s, playing pickup games between sewer covers, wearing steel-wheeled skates clamped onto school shoes and using a roll of electrical tape as the puck.
His skill and ferocity drew attention, Mr. Garmendia said, but so did his skin color. He was black, in a sport made up almost entirely by white players.
“Roller hockey was a white kid’s game, plain and simple, but Craig broke the color barrier,” Mr. Garmendia said. “We used to say Craig did more for race relations than the N.A.A.C.P.”
Mr. Allen went on to coach and referee roller hockey in New York before moving several years ago to South Carolina. But he continued to organize an annual alumni game at Dutch Kills Playground in Long Island City, the same site that held the local championship games.
The reunion this year was on Saturday, but Mr. Allen never made it. On April 26, just before boarding the bus to New York, he died of an asthma attack at age 61.
Word of his death spread rapidly among hundreds of his old hockey colleagues who resolved to continue with the event, now renamed the Craig Allen Memorial Roller Hockey Reunion.
The turnout on Saturday was the largest ever, with players pulling on their old equipment, choosing sides and taking once again to the rink of cracked blacktop with faded lines and circles. They wore no helmets, although one player wore a fedora.
Another, Vinnie Juliano, 77, of Long Island City, wore his hearing aids, along with his 50-year-old taped-up quads, or four-wheeled skates with a leather boot. Many players here never converted to in-line skates, and neither did Mr. Allen, whose photograph appeared on a poster hanging behind the players’ bench.
“I’m seeing people walking by wondering why all these rusty, grizzly old guys are here playing hockey,” one player, Tommy Dominguez, said. “We’re here for Craig, and let me tell you, these old guys still play hard.”
Everyone seemed to have a Craig Allen story, from his earliest teams at Public School 151 to the Bryant Rangers, the Woodside Wings, the Woodside Blues and more.
Mr. Allen, who became a yellow-cab driver, was always recruiting new talent. He gained the nickname Cabby for his habit of stopping at playgrounds all over the city to scout players.
Teams were organized around neighborhoods and churches, and often sponsored by local bars. Mr. Allen, for one, played for bars, including Garry Owen’s and on the Fiddler’s Green Jokers team in Inwood, Manhattan.
Play was tough and fights were frequent.
“We were basically street gangs on skates,” said Steve Rogg, 56, a mail clerk who grew up in Jackson Heights, Queens, and who on Saturday wore his Riedell Classic quads from 1972. “If another team caught up with you the night before a game, they tossed you a beating so you couldn’t play the next day.”
Mr. Garmendia said Mr. Allen’s skin color provoked many fights.
“When we’d go to some ignorant neighborhoods, a lot of players would use slurs,” Mr. Garmendia said, recalling a game in Ozone Park, Queens, where local fans parked motorcycles in a lineup next to the blacktop and taunted Mr. Allen. Mr. Garmendia said he checked a player into the motorcycles, “and the bikes went down like dominoes, which started a serious brawl.”
A group of fans at a game in Brooklyn once stuck a pole through the rink fence as Mr. Allen skated by and broke his jaw, Mr. Garmendia said, adding that carloads of reinforcements soon arrived to defend Mr. Allen.
And at another racially incited brawl, the police responded with six patrol cars and a helicopter.
Before play began on Saturday, the players gathered at center rink to honor Mr. Allen. Billy Barnwell, 59, of Woodside, recalled once how an all-white, all-star squad snubbed Mr. Allen by playing him third string. He scored seven goals in the first game and made first string immediately.
“He’d always hear racial stuff before the game, and I’d ask him, ‘How do you put up with that?’” Mr. Barnwell recalled. “Craig would say, ‘We’ll take care of it,’ and by the end of the game, he’d win guys over. They’d say, ‘This guy’s good.’”Tribute for a Roller Hockey Warrior
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
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
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 Womenâ€™s Advocate
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.
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.”
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.
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.”
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. Goldberg was a serial Silicon Valley entrepreneur and venture capitalist who was married to Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer of Facebook.
Baltimore residents prepared to resume the more familiar rhythms of their lives as days passed without new bouts of widespread rioting and as the National Guard began to pull its troops from the city.In Baltimore, National Guard Pullout Begins as Citywide Curfew Is Lifted