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kata mutiara

Hidup punya banyak pilihan dengan hal-hal baik dan buruknya masing-masing. Tentukan pilihanmu, lakukan yang terbaik.
Dalam hidup, jangan pernah biarkan pendapat seseorang tentangmu mengubah dirimu menjadi seseorang yang kamu tahu bukan dirimu.
Mencintai seseorang bukan hanya dengan mengucapkannya setiap hari, tapi juga dengan menunjukkannya dalam segala hal sepenuh hati.
Kadang, meski marah atas apa yang telah dilakukan dia yang kamu cinta, kamu tetap tak mampu berhenti mencintainya.
Sahabat sejati dapat menunjukkanmu bahwa hidup tak seburuk yang kamu pikirkan dan masalahmu tak sebesar yang kamu takutkan.
Hati-hatilah dengan hati. Jangan berikan pada seseorang yang tak bisa menghargai, karena ketika diberi, dia takkan sepenuhnya kembali.
Sahabat yang baik tidak akan meminta sahabatnya menjadi orang lain. Tetapi sahabat yang baik akan menerima sahabatnya apa adanya.
Kadang ketika lelah terus terluka, kamu memilih tuk menjauh dari segalanya, hanya karena kamu ingin melihat siapa yang akan menghampirimu.
Jangan menolak perubahan hanya karena takut kehilangan yang telah dimilki,karena dengannya kita merendahkan nilai yang bisa kita capai melalui perubahan itu.
Jika kita menetapkan ingin hidup ini seperti apa, lalu kerja keras untuk mencapai tujuan, kita tidak akan pernah kalah ,bahkan akan menang.
Jangan mengingat kebaikan yang pernah kamu lakukan, tapi ingatlah kebaikan yang orang lain lakukan kepadamu.
Ketika kamu merasa sendiri dan tak ada yang peduli, ingatlah bahwa ada seseorang di luar sana yang begitu ingin memiliki hidup yang kamu jalani.
Cinta mungkin akan membuatmu terluka, tapi ia membuatmu semakin dewasa. Jadilah pribadi yang selalu memaafkan, terutama hatimu.
Kebencian hanya merugikan diri sendiri, tersenyumlah ketika disakiti. Hati tanpa benci membentuk jiwa yang tegar dan damai.
Keyakinan merupakan suatu pengetahuan di dalam hati, jauh tak terjangkau oleh bukti.
Sakit dalam perjuangan itu hanya sementara. Semenit, sejam, sehari, atau setahun. Namun jika menyerah, rasa sakit itu akan terasa selamanya.
Jadilah diri anda sendiri. Siapa lagi yang bisa melakukannya lebih baik ketimbang diri anda sendiri?
Kebanggaan kita yang terbesar adalah bukan tidak pernah gagal, tetapi bangkit kembali setiap kali kita jatuh.
Sesuatu yang sangat sulit tuk melupakan seseorang yang telah memberimu begitu banyak hal tuk diingat.
Kau tak kan bisa kehilangan apa yang tak pernah kau miliki. Kau tak kan bisa memaksa bertahan pada seseorang jika dia ingin pergi.
Dalam cinta, jangan buang air matamu menangisi seseorang yang bahkan tak pantas tuk melihatmu tersenyum.
Ketika seseorang cukup kuat tuk buatmu terjatuh, kamu harus tunjukkan padanya bahwa kamu juga cukup kuat tuk bangkit berdiri.
Pertolongan Tuhan mungkin tidak datang terlalu cepat, tidak juga terlambat. Pertolongan Tuhan selalu datang di saat yang tepat
Jangan kamu lupa jangan kamu lengah atas berkat rahmat Allah maha kuasa.
Seseorang yang menemanimu dalam kesusahan jauh lebih berharga daripada seratus orang yang menemanimu dalam kesenangan.
Hidup itu seperti drama, dan kamu bisa memilih untuk menjadi penontonnya atau pemainnya.
Jangan bersedih ketika melakukan salah. Karena kesalahan kita banyak belajar, karena kesalahan kita menjadi pintar.
Cintai apapun yang akan kamu lakukan hari ini, kerena tidak ada yang menarik jika kamu tidak tertarik.
Kita semua pasti pernah salah, namun ada perbedaan besar antara salah yang buatmu dewasa dan salah yang sengaja dilakukan.
Jangan tangisi kesalahan, tapi tersenyumlah karena setiap kesalahan mengajarkanmu agar berupaya lebih baik lagi.
Kegagalan adalah cara Tuhan mengajarkan kamu tentang pantang menyerah, kesabaran, kerja keras dan percaya diri.
Bahagia bukan berarti segalanya sempurna. Bahagia adalah ketika kamu memutuskan tuk melihat segala sesuatu secara sempurna.

by yandre pramana putra
KATA MUTIARA

saco-indonesia.com, Wakil Gubernur DKI Jakarta, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (Ahok) telah mengungkapkan penerapan 3 in 1 untuk bisa membatasi kendaraan di Jakarta tidak efektif. Pada kenyataannya juga masih banyak pemilik kendaraan dengan menggunakan joki untuk bisa melaluinya. Sehingga ini saat yang tepat menerapkan sistem pembatasan kendaraan dengan sistem elektronik.

"Itu nanti akan dihapuskan 3 in 1 sudah sangat tidak efektif. Sudah disurvei tidak efektif. Makanya nanti akan menerapkan ERP (Electronic Road Pricing)," katanya di Balai Kota DKI Jakarta, Senin (23/12).

Dalam penerapan ERP, Kepala Dinas Perhubungan DKI Jakarta Udar Pristono juga mengungkapkan sepakat dengan pernyataan Ahok. Setelah diterapkan baru kemudian ditentukan bagaimana cara untuk membatasi kendaraan. Namun Pristono belum dapat memastikan kapan rencana ini akan bisa dilakukan.

"3 in 1 itu sudah tidak efektif. Karena hanya mengandalkan mata. Hanya mengandalkan orang. Jadi repot. Sekarang yang sedang yang akan diterapkan itu adalah pajak kemacetan atau biasa terkenalnya ERP," ungkapnya.

Pristono juga menambahkan, penerapan ERP sendiri itu tidak mungkin dilakukan dari perbatasan. Tetapi harus dilakukan secara bertahap, dimulai dari tengah dahulu. Dimana angkutan masalnya juga sudah kuat.

"Jadi ERP itu tidak mungkin dilakukan dari pinggir dulu. ERP akan dilakukan dari tengah dulu. Di mana di tengah itu ada massa angkutan umum nya sudah kuat," katanya.

Tujuan dari penerapan dari tengah dulu supaya orang-orang yang menggunakan kendaraan bisa memarkir kendaraannya di pinggiran kota. Karena jalan raya yang ditengah kota sudah menggunakan ERP.

"Jadi terbalik, bukan dari perbatasan dulu tapi dari tengah dulu. Supaya orang markir mobilnya di perbatasan dia naik bus," tandas Pristono.


Editor : Dian Sukmawati

3 IN 1 SUDAH TIDAK EFEKTIF

Jual baju muslim adalah merek dari produk pakaian  yang ditujukan untuk wanita baik yang berukuran kecil (small) maupun besar (MAXI size atau orang mengenalnya sebagai BIG size).

Ukuran MAXI size ini memang spesial, artinya ukuran dan proporsinya berbeda dibanding dengan ukuran biasa, dengan demikian karena kekhususannya tersebut maka diperlukan desain yang special sehingga bentuk tubuh menjadi proporsional.

Jual baju muslim, dan dengan desain nama (brand) berwarna pink tua atau magenta ini memberikan kesan sangat wanita karena color identity tersebut adalah sesuai dengan selera kebanyakan kaum wanita dan dengan huruf “Z” sebagai logo dan variasi warna abu-abu memberikan identitas lain, yaitu sebagai gambaran kedewasaan.

Bahan yang digunakan adalah cotton combed special yang halus &  lembut, dan dengan kualitas  bahan yang baik menjadikan tidak mudah berbulu dan mengkerut. Sensasi dinginpun akan terasakan dan  kenyamananpun akan didapatkan ketika digunakan.

 

Grosir Tanah Abang

GROSIR TANAH ABANG

Untuk pemula belum pada mengerti SEO kan? Apa sih SEO itu? Tekhniknya gimana? SEo itu makanan ya? hehehhe Makanannya yang mau cari informasi di Internet, yaa dan banyak lagi pertanyaan lainya. Ok sahabatku, saya akan jelaskan SEO dan  Manfaatnya?

Apa itu SEO?

SEO (Serch Engine Optimization) adalah suatu cara atau tekhnik yang dilakukan secara sistematis untuk mengoptimalkan suatu website agar dikenal, mudah dibaca oleh serch engine atau untuk membuat situs atau blog kita  berada pada halaman dan posisi pertama di suatu mesin pencari Google sehingga berpeluang lebih besar untuk mendapatkan pengunjung lebih banyak.

Keuntungan SEO

Banyak sekali keuntungan mekakukan SEO ini, ada beberapa yang bisa saya jelaskan adalah:

1. Mendatangkan Traffic yang banyak, ini maksudnya jika situs atau blog kita berada di halaman dan posisi halaman pertama suatu Serch Engine sudah pasti penggunjung situs akan sangat besar, dengan keyword yang ditarget serta besar kecilnya data hasil pencarian dari Google planner.

2. Meningkatkan Penjualan

3. Meningkatkan Daya Saing

Naaah kalo masih penasaran? ingin lebih tua, #eeeh tau,  situsnya ingin dikenal coba deh ya ke DinamikaSolusiUtama.com  kami menirimkan solusi terbaik yang dapat di percaya dan tepat waktu. Keahlian dan pengetahuan kami  akan selalu memberikan hasil yang OPTIMAL dan TERBAIK sesuai dengan keinginan klien.

JASA SEO TERBAIK
Membaca judul diatas, tentu banyak orang yang akan mengernyitkan dahi, sebagai tanda ketidakpercayaannya. Bahkan, mungkin demikian pula dengan Anda. Sebab, Nabi Sulaiman AS adalah seorang utusan Allah yang diberikan keistimewaan dengan kemampuannya menaklukkan seluruh makhluk ciptaan Allah, termasuk angin yang tunduk di bawah kekuasaannya atas izin Allah. Bahkan, burung dan jin selalu mematuhi perintah Sulaiman.
 

BACA SELENGKAPNYA DI : CANDI BOROBUDUR PENINGGALAN NABI SULAIMAN ?

 

Dalam bukunya, Matematika Islam 3 (Republika, 2009), KH Fahmi Basya menyebutkan beberapa ciri-ciri Candi Borobudur yang menjadi bukti sebagai peninggalan putra Nabi Daud tersebut. Di antaranya, hutan atau negeri Saba, makna Saba, nama Sulaiman, buah maja yang pahit, dipindahkannya istana Ratu Saba ke wilayah kekuasaan Nabi Sulaiman, bangunan yang tidak terselesaikan oleh para jin, tempat berkumpulnya Ratu Saba, dan lainnya.
 
Dalam Alquran, kisah Nabi Sulaiman dan Ratu Saba disebutkan dalam surah An-Naml [27]: 15-44, Saba [34]: 12-16, al-Anbiya [21]: 78-81, dan lainnya. Tentu saja, banyak yang tidak percaya bila Borobudur merupakan peninggalan Sulaiman ?
Pengantar
Masa lalu memang penuh misteri. Banyak orang meyakini bahwa Candi Borobudur sebagai peninggalan Dinasti Syailendra pada abad 8 masehi. Namun hal itu dibantah oleh KH. Fahmi Basya. Ahli matematika Islam ini meyakini bahwa Borobudur sangat terkait erat dengan sejarah Nabi Sulaiman. Borobudur adalah peninggalan Ratu Saba’ seperti yang diceritakan dalam Al-Quran. Buku ini bukan karya sehari dua hari disusun. Tulisan ini sudah ditulis dengan sangat serius selama puluhan tahun; sejak tahun 1979 hingga 2012. Dalam buku ini penulis menjelaskan dengan sangat detail dan ilmiah bukti-bukti bahwa Borobudur adalah peninggalan Ratu Saba’. Ada 40 bukti eksak yang dijelaskan. Salah satu bukti paling kuat dan belum bisa dibantah adalah ditemukannya surat dari Nabi Sulaiman bertuliskan “Bismilllahirrahmanirrahim” di atas sebuah plat emas di dalam kolam pemandian Ratu Saba’ (Ratu Boko) di daerah Sleman, Jawa Tengah.
Borobudur Peninggalan Islam ?
Menurut literatur yang ada, candi Borobudur adalah sebuah candi Budha. tapi lain halnya menurut pak Fahmi Basya, Candi Borobudur adalah sebuah peninggalan Islam, tepatnya peninggalan Nabi Sulaiman ribuan tahun yang lalu. Tidak main-main, pak Fahmi Basya melakukan penelitian selama 35 tahun dan bukti yang didapat sangat kuat dan juga hasil penelitian tersebut didukung dalil didalam ayat-ayat Al-Quran. Dalam membaca Sejarah Candi Borobudur Versi Islam, Ada baiknya anda juga membaca : Kisah Nabi Sulaiman di Tanah Jawa.
Menurut cerita yang dipaparkan, Candi Borobudur terletak di daerah kekuasaannya Nabi Sulaiman. Nabi Sulaiman adalah nabi yang diberi mukjizat bisa berbicara dengan hewan, juga dapat memerintah jin dengan ijin Allah. Ada seekor burung yang menghilang ketika dicari oleh Sulaiman, burung itu adalah burung Hud-Hud. Sewaktu Sulaiman bertemu dengan burung tersebut, maka burung Hud-Hud melaporkan sebuah alasan yang kuat kenapa ia menghilang dari Sulaiman. Alasan tersebut sekaligus meredam kemarahan Sulaiman atasnya. Sewaktu menghilang Burung Hud-Hud melintasi sebuah negeri, yaitu negeri Saba’ dan para penduduknya menyembah selain Allah, yaitu menyembah Matahari. Juga ada seorang ratu yang menjadi pemimpinnya.
Nabi Sulaiman pun memaklumi alasan tersebut kemudian menyuruh burung Hud-Hud untuk menyampaikan sebuah surat yang ditujukan kepada ratu Saba’, ratu yang menjadi pemimpin negeri Saba’. Surat itu tak lain adalah surat agar Ratu dan penduduk negeri Saba’ bertaubat dan berserah diri kepada Allah. Ratu Saba’ pun kemudian bertabat dan berserah diri. Nabi Sulaiman pun memerintahkan jin untuk memindahkan singgasana ratu Saba ke istananya Sulaiman dalam waktu sekejap sebelum ratu Saba’ datang ke Sulaiman. Singgasana ratu Saba’ adalah singgasana ratu Boko yang ada di Sleman, Yogyakarta, dan dipindahkan ke atas Borobudur di Magelang. terbukti di Istana Ratu Boko ada singgasana yang hilang serta sisa-sisa bangunan tempat berkumpul untuk menyembah matahari. jadi Borobudur itu adalah sebuah bangunan buatan jin atas perintah Nabi Sulaiman. Dari segi relief pun banyak yang menggambarkan cerita Nabi Sula
Sungguh tidak banyak yang mengetahui bahwa simbul-simbul Islam banyak ditemukan di Borobudur. Karena sudah sejak lama, borobudur menjadi klaim hindu/budha. Ekspedisi Melintas Dua Shubuh bersama KH Fahmi Basya sungguh menakjubkan. Hasil penelitian beliau telah menemukan adanya indikator-indikator bahwa kisah Nabi Sulaiman dan ratu Saba ada di Borobudur dan Ratu Boko. Sleman berasal dari Sulaiman. Wonosobo berasal dari Hutan (ratu) Shaba. Lihat pula relief-relief di sekitarBorobudur, disana sarat dengan cerita-cerita Nabi Sulaiman seperti burung Hud-hud, Tabut dan lain-lain. ImanCandi Borobudur
Adanya phenomena angka 19 di Candi Borobudur. Adapun mengenai phenomena angka 19 itu terdapat di dalam Alqur’an berasal dari kalimat Bismillaahirrahmaanirrahiim yang terdiri dari 19 huruf. Kalimat Bismillaahirrahmaanirrahiim ini yang memperkenalkannya kepada kita adalah nabi Sulaiman As. ketika beliau berkirim surat kepada Ratu Saba’
Kop Surat dari Surat nabi Sulaiman As itu adalah kalimat Bismillaahirrahmaanirrahiim .
Isi suratnya adalah: ” Alla ta’luu ‘alaiyya, wa’tuunni muslimiin ” ( Jangan menyombong kepadaku dan datanglah kepadaku dengan berserah diri ). Dan perlu diketahui surat itu sampai sekarang masih ada yaitu di Musium Nasional berupa lempengan emas bertuliskan Bismillah, surat itu awalnya ditemukan dikolam dekat Candi borobudur.Lempengan emas bertuliskan kalimat ‘Bismillah”
Jadi, dapat dikatakan bahwa phenomena 19 itu sudah diketahui oleh Nabi Sulaiman As. Oleh sebab itu di Candi borobudur ada phenomena 19.
Tuntutlah Ilmu ke Negeri  Cina atau Syain ?
 Mari kita bangkit dari tidur panjang, kitalah pewaris negri hebat itu. Tuntutlah ilmu walaupun sampai ke negri Syain, adalah rekomendasi yang disampaikan Nabi Muhammad SAW untuk seluruh umatnya.
Negri hebat itu adalah negri kita, Indonesia.
Sayang …, hanya karena candi Borobudur adalah candi Budha, kita menjadi BUTA, bahwa candi Borobudur adalah hasil karya bangsa kita yang kebetulan beragama Budha (?) (masih perlu pembuktian lagi untuk menyebut para pembangun candi Borobudur beragama Budha).
Saat ini Negri Syain oleh kebanyakan orang termasuk Ulama diartikan sebagai Negri Cina. Benarkah demikian ?.
Berikut argumen yang membantah bahwa negri Syain adalah Negri Cina. Yang lebih tepat negri Syain adalah negri Syailendra di Pulau Jawa, INDONESIA .
 
1. Tinjauan menurut Waktu
Lahirnya Agama Islam semasa dengan berdirinya candi Borobudur, abad 6 akhir atau abad 7 awal. Ketika Nabi Muhammad merekomendasikan Negri Syain bagi umatnya untuk menuntut ilmu pasti didasari pengetahuan yang seumur dengan beliau. Suatu hal yang mustahil bila beliau menyarankan untuk belajar kepada seseorang yang lahir di negri Syain 1500 tahun lagi. Juga mustahil beliau menyarankan untuk belajar kepada seseorang yang lahir di negri Syain 1500 tahun yang lalu. Hal ini menguatkan dugaan bahwa Negri Syain yang dimaksud nabi Muhammad adalah Syailendra di Pulau Jawa, bukanya negri Cina.
 
2. Tinjauan menurut Hubungan Relegius
Borobudur merupakan miniatur Al-Quran, Borobudur berceritera tentang hal yang bersesuaian dengan Al-Quran dengan cara yang berbeda. Al-Quran berceritera tentang suatu hal dengan bahasa syair, sedang Borobudur bercerita tentang hal yang sama dengan bahasa teater dalam bentuk Relief.
 
· Puncak Borobudur dengan satu Stupa besar, disekelilingnya terdapat relief yang menggambarkan ceritera yang bersesuaian dengan Surat ke 1 (satu) di Al-quran.
· Lantai dua dari atas terdapat 8 (delapan) Stupa, disekelilingnya terdapat relief yang menceriterakan suatu hal yang bersesuaian dengan Surat ke 8 (delapan) di Al-Quran
· Lantai tiga dari atas terdapat 16 (enam belas) Stupa, disekelilingnya terdapat relief yang menceriterakan suatu hal yang bersesuaian dengan Surat ke 16 (enam belas) di Al-Quran
· Lantai empat dari atas terdapat 32 (tiga puluh dua) Stupa, disekelilingnya terdapat relief yang menceriterakan suatu hal yang bersesuaian dengan Surat ke 32 (tiga puluh dua) di Al-Quran
· Lantai lima dari atas terdapat 64 (enam puluh empat) Stupa, disekelilingnya terdapat relief yang menceriterakan suatu hal yang bersesuaian dengan Surat ke 64 (enam puh empat) di Al-Quran
· Lantai enam dari atas (lantai dasar) terdapat 72 (tujuh puluh dua) Stupa, disekelilingnya terdapat relief yang menceriterakan suatu hal yang bersesuaian dengan Surat ke 72 (tujuh puluh dua) di Al-Quran
 
Dari kesesuain relief Borobudur dengan Al-Quran diatas, rasanya lebih masuk akal bahwa negri Syain yang dimaksud nabi Muhammad SAW adalah negri Syailendra
 
3. Tinjauan menurut Kondisi Sosial
Kondisi Sosial Negeri Cina saat awal lahirnya Agama Islam sedang dalam keadaan kacau karena perang saudara. Mustahil Nabi Muhammad menyarankan untuk belajar ke negri yang sedang kacau balau oleh perang saudara. Kalau saat ini tahun 2007, ada orang yang menyarankan untuk belajar ke: Irak, Afganistan atau Lebanon, pasti orang itu akan ditertawakan orang sedunia. Pada saat itu Negri Syailendra berada dalam keadaan makmur sejahtera. Tidak salah kalau nabi Muhammad merekomendasikan sebagai negri rujukan menuntut ilmu.
 
4. Tinjauan menurut Kemajuan Budaya
Dari catatan sejarah negri Syailendra memiliki keunggulan budaya dibandingkan dengan negri Cina. Syailendra memiliki peninggalan yang menunjukkan seberapa tinggi “budaya” nya saat itu.
Pembangunan Borobudur memakan waktu lebih dari seratus tahun, diketahui dari umur batu di dasar candi berbeda 104 tahun lebih tua dari batu yang terdapat di puncak candi. Hal ini menunjukkan bahwa negri Syailendra punya tenaga-tenaga ahli yang mengorganisir proyek raksasa baik besarnya bangunan, banyaknya orang yang terlibat pembangunannya dan lama pengerjaannya. Tanpa perencanaan yang luar biasa rapinya, mustahil Borobudur berdiri. Struktur bangunan candi yang demikian besar membutuhkan pengetahuan teknik bangunan yang sangat rumit, bahkan ketelitian lingkaran yang ada di borobudur lebih kecil toleransi ukurnya dibandingkan dengan Theodolit modern.
Belum lagi pengetahuan metalurgi pembuatan keris, pada abad ke 7 negri Syailendra sudah menguasai teknik peleburan Titanium bahan pamor keris. Dan masih banyak bukti ketinggian budaya negri Syailendra yang lain
 
5. Tinjauan menurut Letak Geografis
Negeri Cina dan Jazirah Arab terhubung lewat darat, hanya dengan berkendaraan onta atau kuda saja sudah bisa sampai. Tidak meng- gambarkan kesulitan yang harus ditempuh untuk menuntut ilmu. Negri Syailendra terdapat di Pulau Jawa. Harus mengarung lautan yang luas dan ganas, tanpa kemauan dan perjuangan yang luar biasa berat tidak mungkin sampai. Wallah ‘Alam Bishawab
 

- See more at: http://pbsstainmetro.blogspot.com/2014/02/candi-borobudur-peninggalan-nabi.html

 

Editor by : Oshimura

CANDI BOROBUDUR PENINGGALAN NABI SULAIMAN ?

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.”

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Formaldehyde in Laminate Flooring

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

Typical

laminate

flooring

CLEAR FINISH LAYER

Often made of melamine resin

PATTERN LAYER

Paper printed to resemble wood,

or a thin wood veneer

GLUE

Layers may be bound using

formaldehyde-based glues

CORE LAYER

Fiberboard or other

composite, formed using

formaldehyde-based adhesives

BASE LAYER

Moisture-resistant vapor barrier

What is formaldehyde?

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

WHERE IT IS COMMONLY FOUND

POTENTIAL HEALTH RISKS

Pressed-wood and composite wood products

Wallpaper and paints

Spray foam insulation used in construction

Commercial wood floor finishes

Crease-resistant fabrics

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Senator Vitter’s staff was pleased.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Uphill Battle to Better Regulate Formaldehyde

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

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.”

Advertisement Politics Obama Finds a Bolder Voice on Race Issues

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is intentional, Republican operatives said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Continue reading the main story Video
Play Video|1:17

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.”

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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

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

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

GREENWICH, Conn. — Mago is in the bedroom. You can go in.

The big man lies on a hospital bed with his bare feet scraping its bottom rail. His head is propped on a scarlet pillow, the left temple dented, the right side paralyzed. His dark hair is kept just long enough to conceal the scars.

The occasional sounds he makes are understood only by his wife, but he still has that punctuating left hand. In slow motion, the fingers curl and close. A thumbs-up greeting.

Hello, Mago.

This is Magomed Abdusalamov, 34, also known as the Russian Tyson, also known as Mago. He is a former heavyweight boxer who scored four knockouts and 14 technical knockouts in his first 18 professional fights. He preferred to stand between rounds. Sitting conveyed weakness.

But Mago lost his 19th fight, his big chance, at the packed Theater at Madison Square Garden in November 2013. His 19th decision, and his last.

Now here he is, in a small bedroom in a working-class neighborhood in Greenwich, in a modest house his family rents cheap from a devoted friend. The air-pressure machine for his mattress hums like an expectant crowd.

 

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Mike Perez, left, and Magomed Abdusalamov during the fight in which Abdusalamov was injured. Credit Joe Camporeale/USA Today Sports, via Reuters

 

Today is like any other day, except for those days when he is hurried in crisis to the hospital. Every three hours during the night, his slight wife, Bakanay, 28, has risen to turn his 6-foot-3 body — 210 pounds of dead weight. It has to be done. Infections of the gaping bedsore above his tailbone have nearly killed him.

Then, with the help of a young caretaker, Baka has gotten two of their daughters off to elementary school and settled down the toddler. Yes, Mago and Baka are blessed with all girls, but they had also hoped for a son someday.

They feed Mago as they clean him; it’s easier that way. For breakfast, which comes with a side of crushed antiseizure pills, he likes oatmeal with a squirt of Hershey’s chocolate syrup. But even oatmeal must be puréed and fed to him by spoon.

He opens his mouth to indicate more, the way a baby does. But his paralysis has made everything a choking hazard. His water needs a stirring of powdered food thickener, and still he chokes — eh-eh-eh — as he tries to cough up what will not go down.

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Mago used to drink only water. No alcohol. Not even soda. A sip of juice would be as far as he dared. Now even water betrays him.

With the caretaker’s help, Baka uses a washcloth and soap to clean his body and shampoo his hair. How handsome still, she has thought. Sometimes, in the night, she leaves the bedroom to watch old videos, just to hear again his voice in the fullness of life. She cries, wipes her eyes and returns, feigning happiness. Mago must never see her sad.

 

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 Abdusalamov's hand being massaged. Credit Ángel Franco/The New York Times

 

When Baka finishes, Mago is cleanshaven and fresh down to his trimmed and filed toenails. “I want him to look good,” she says.

Theirs was an arranged Muslim marriage in Makhachkala, in the Russian republic of Dagestan. He was 23, she was 18 and their future hinged on boxing. Sometimes they would shadowbox in love, her David to his Goliath. You are so strong, he would tell her.

His father once told him he could either be a bandit or an athlete, but if he chose banditry, “I will kill you.” This paternal advice, Mago later told The Ventura County Reporter, “made it a very easy decision for me.”

Mago won against mediocre competition, in Moscow and Hollywood, Fla., in Las Vegas and Johnstown, Pa. He was knocked down only once, and even then, it surprised more than hurt. He scored a technical knockout in the next round.

It all led up to this: the undercard at the Garden, Mike Perez vs. Magomed Abdusalamov, 10 rounds, on HBO. A win, he believed, would improve his chances of taking on the heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko, who sat in the crowd of 4,600 with his fiancée, the actress Hayden Panettiere, watching.

Wearing black-and-red trunks and a green mouth guard, Mago went to work. But in the first round, a hard forearm to his left cheek rocked him. At the bell, he returned to his corner, and this time, he sat down. “I think it’s broken,” he repeatedly said in Russian.

 

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Bakanay Abdusalamova, Abdusalamov's wife, and her injured husband and a masseur in the background. Credit Ángel Franco/The New York Times

 

Maybe at that point, somebody — the referee, the ringside doctors, his handlers — should have stopped the fight, under a guiding principle: better one punch too early than one punch too late. But the bloody trade of blows continued into the seventh, eighth, ninth, a hand and orbital bone broken, his face transforming.

Meanwhile, in the family’s apartment in Miami, Baka forced herself to watch the broadcast. She could see it in his swollen eyes. Something was off.

After the final round, Perez raised his tattooed arms in victory, and Mago wandered off in a fog. He had taken 312 punches in about 40 minutes, for a purse of $40,000.

 

 

In the locker room, doctors sutured a cut above Mago’s left eye and tested his cognitive abilities. He did not do well. The ambulance that waits in expectation at every fight was not summoned by boxing officials.

Blood was pooling in Mago’s cranial cavity as he left the Garden. He vomited on the pavement while his handlers flagged a taxi to St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital. There, doctors induced a coma and removed part of his skull to drain fluids and ease the swelling.

Then came the stroke.

 

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A championship belt belonging to Abdusalamov and a card from one of his daughters. Credit Ángel Franco/The New York Times

 

It is lunchtime now, and the aroma of puréed beef and potatoes lingers. So do the questions.

How will Mago and Baka pay the $2 million in medical bills they owe? What if their friend can no longer offer them this home? Will they win their lawsuits against the five ringside doctors, the referee, and a New York State boxing inspector? What about Mago’s future care?

Most of all: Is this it?

A napkin rests on Mago’s chest. As another spoonful of mush approaches, he opens his mouth, half-swallows, chokes, and coughs until it clears. Eh-eh-eh. Sometimes he turns bluish, but Baka never shows fear. Always happy for Mago.

Some days he is wheeled out for physical therapy or speech therapy. Today, two massage therapists come to knead his half-limp body like a pair of skilled corner men.

Soon, Mago will doze. Then his three daughters, ages 2, 6 and 9, will descend upon him to talk of their day. Not long ago, the oldest lugged his championship belt to school for a proud show-and-tell moment. Her classmates were amazed at the weight of it.

Then, tonight, there will be more puréed food and pulverized medication, more coughing, and more tender care from his wife, before sleep comes.

Goodbye, Mago.

He half-smiles, raises his one good hand, and forms a fist.

Meet Mago, Former Heavyweight

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
Frontline  An installment of this PBS program looks at the effects of Ebola on Liberia and other countries, as well as the origins of the outbreak.
Frontline

Frontline An installment of this PBS program looks at the effects of Ebola on Liberia and other countries, as well as the origins of the outbreak.

The program traces the outbreak to its origin, thought to be a tree full of bats in Guinea.

Review: ‘9-Man’ Is More Than a Game for Chinese-Americans

A variation of volleyball with nine men on each side is profiled Tuesday night on the World Channel in an absorbing documentary called “9-Man.”

Television

‘Hard Earned’ Documents the Plight of the Working Poor

“Hard Earned,” an Al Jazeera America series, follows five working-class families scrambling to stay ahead on limited incomes.

Review: ‘Frontline’ Looks at Missteps During the Ebola Outbreak

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 today

Verne Gagne, Wrestler Who Grappled Through Two Eras, Dies at 89

Ms. Plisetskaya, renowned for her fluidity of movement, expressive acting and willful personality, danced on the Bolshoi stage well into her 60s, but her life was shadowed by Stalinism.

Maya Plisetskaya, Ballerina Who Embodied Bolshoi, Dies at 89
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