PAKET UMROH BULAN FEBRUARI MARET APRIL MEI 2018




Artikel lainnya »

PAMEKASAN, Saco-Indonesia.com - Seekor kambing milik Sukri, warga Desa Bangkes, Kecamatan Kadur, Pamekasan, Jawa Timur, lahir dengan mulut dua, Jumat (17/05/2013). Fenomena itu membuat heboh warga Kadur. Bahkan warga yang penasaran berbondong-bondong mendatangi rumah Sukri untuk sekadar melihat fisik kambing aneh itu.

Sepintas kambing berwarna putih itu lahir sempurna seperti kambing biasanya, berkaki empat, berekor satu, berleher satu dan bermata dua. Namun mulutnya ada dua, sehingga kambing tersebut makan dan minum melalui dua mulut itu.

Sukri menjelaskan dia tidak melihat hal- hal yang aneh pada induk kambing sebelum melahirkan anak bermulut dua. Induk kambing tersebut sehat-sehat saja dan melahirkan secara normal.

"Saya heran juga kenapa anaknya lahir dengan dua mulut," katanya kepada Kompas.com, Jumat.

Kambing itu akan dirawat secara khusus oleh Sukri hingga kambing itu dewasa. Bahkan Sukri mengaku tidak akan menjual kambing aneh itu.

"Meskipun ada tetangga yang iseng-iseng mau membeli saya tahan untuk tidak dijual," ujarnya.

Dalam pantauan Kompas.com, warga berbondong-bondong mendatangi rumah Sukri untuk melihat langsung anak kambing bermulut dua itu. Sebagian dari mereka bahkan mengabadikannya dengan kamera telepon selular dan video.

"Lucu dan aneh kambing ini. Nanti sampai di rumah videonya saya putar ke orang- orang," kata Muslim, warga Desa Blumbungan, Kecamatan Larangan.

 
Editor :
Farid Assifa
Kambing Bermulut Dua Hebohkan Warga PamekasanPAMEKASAN, KOMPAS.com - Seekor kambing milik Sukri, warga Desa Bangkes, Kecamatan Kadur, Pamekasan, Jawa Timur, lahir dengan mulut dua, Jumat (17/05/2013). Fenomena itu membuat heboh warga Kadur. Bahkan

 Tawaf
Tawaf adalah suatu ritual mengelilingi ka’bah (bangunan suci di makkah) sebanyak tujuh kali dan sebagai bagian dari pelaksanaan ibadah umroh ataupun haji.
Syarat-syarat untuk melaksanakan tawaf.
1.      Suci dari hadast
2.      Suci badan/pakaian dan tempat tawaf dari najis.
3.      Menutup aurot
4.      Bermula pada sudut Al-Hajarul aswad dab berniat tawaf (tawaf wada’,sunat,nazar).
5.      Menjadikan baitullah berada di sebelah kiri dan berjalan ke hadapan (berlawanan dengan jarum jam).
6.      Berjalan dengan niat dan tujuan tawaf bukan untuk bertujuan lain.
7.      Cukup 7 kali mengelilingi dengan yakin.
8.      Dilakukan di dalam masjidil haram dan di luar hijir ismail / syazarwan.

Macam-macam dari thawaf, yang antara lain :
1.      Tawaf rukun
2.      Tawaf Qudum (selamat datang)
3.      Tawaf wada’ (selamat tinggal)
4.      Tawaf sunat
5.      Tawaf nazar

Adapun beberapa sunah-sunah tawaf diantaranya :
1.      Berjalan kaki
2.      Berittiba’ bagi tawaf diiringi dengan sa’i (laki-laki)
3.      Melakukan ramal (berlari-lari kecil) bagi tawaf yang diiringi dengan sa’i (laki-laki).
4.      Istilam hajarul aswad dan mengucapnya / istilam rukun yamani dan tidak mengucupnya
5.      Membaca doa dan dzikir
6.      Berturut-turut 7 kali keliling
7.      Tawaf dengan khusyuk/ Tawadhuk.
8.      Sembahyang sunat tawaf

SA’I
Sa’i merupakan salah satu rukun umroh dan haji yang dilakukan dengan berjalan kaki (berlari-lari kecil) bolak-balik sebanyak 7 kali dari Bukit Shafa menuju ke Bukit Marwah sebanyak 7 kali. Kedua bukit satu sama lainnya yang berjarak sekitar 405 meter. Ketika melintasi Bathnul waadi yaitu kawasan yang letaknya di antar bukit shafa dan bukit marwah (saat ini di tandai dengan lampu yang berwarna hijau), para jama’ah pria di sunnatkan untuk berlari-lari kecil dan sedangkan untuk untuk jama’ah wanita berjalan cepat. Ibadah sa’i diperbolehkan di lakukan dalam keadaan tidak berwudhu dan oleh wanita yang datang haid. Maksud sari melaksanakan sa’i adalah untuk memperingati pencarian air oleh siti hajar dan kemurahan Allah dalam mengabulkan doa-doa.
Sa’i adalah pencarian. Kenapa sa’i diartikan sebagai pencarian ? karena sa’i menceritakan siti hajar yang mencari air untuk putranya yaitu nabi ismail AS, dari Bukit Shafa menuju ke Bukit Marwah.


 


HIKMAH SESUDAH MELAKSANAKAN IBADAH HAJI DAN UMROH.
Ibadah haji dan umroh merupakan rukun iman yang ke lima. Banyak hikmah yang terkandung di dalamnya, karena ibadah umroh dan haji adalah wujud kesadaran barin dan kecerdasan rasio.
Setiap orang yang telah melaksanakan ibadah umroh maupun haji pasti punya pengalaman spiritual yang berbeda antar jama’ah satu dengan jama’ah yang lainnya. Dan bahkan ada juga yang tak masuk akal atau di luar perkiraan.
Adapun hikmah sesudah melaksanakan haji dan umroh selengkapnya yang antara lain :

SA'I DAN UMROH

saco-indonesia.com, Madrid - Lewat perpanjangan waktu 2x15 menit dan beberapa insiden antar pemain, Atletico Madrid keluar sebagai pemenang final Copa del Rey usai mengalahkan Real Madrid dengan skor 2-1.

Pada laga yang dihelat di Santiago Bernabeu, Sabtu (18/5/2013) dinihari WIB, Ronaldo membawa Madrid unggul lebih dulu sebelum disamakan Diego Costa. Dua gol itu tercipta di babak pertama.

Paruh kedua laga tak ada gol tercipta sehingga laga harus diteruskan ke 2x15 menit extra time. Miranda tampil sebagai pahlawan lewat gol yang dicetaknya di paruh pertama perpanjangan waktu.

Bagi Atletico ini adalah gelar ke-9 di kompetisi ini sementara itu Madrid harus gigit jari karena hampa gelar musim ini.

Jalannya Pertandingan

Di menit 14 Madrid unggul lebih dulu lewat Ronaldo. Diawali korner Luka Modric, bola mengarah ke kotak penalti dan disambut tandukan Ronaldo yang menjebol jala Thibaut Courtois.

Setelah gol itu Madrid justru lebih banyak ditekan oleh Atletico yang bernafsu mencari gol penyama kedudukan. Akhirnya Atletico mendapatkannya di menit 35 melalu Diego Costa.

Radamel Falcao mendapat bola di tengah lapangan dan lolos dari penjagaan Raul Albiol, lalu memberikan umpan terukur kepada Costa yang berlari dan kemudian melepaskan sepakan menyilang ke tiang jauh tanpa bisa dihalau Diego Lopez.

Di menit 43 Mesut Oezil nyaris mencetak gol andaikan bola hasil tembakan setengah voli-nya tak menghantam mistar gawang Atletico.

Skor 1-1 bertahan hingga turun minum.

Babak kedua berjalan Atletico tetap mengambil inisiatif serangan dan di menit 61 mereka mendapatkan peluang di kotak penalti. Gabi melepaskan crossing ke tiang jauh yang disambut sepakan kaki kiri Filipe Luis tapi masih menyamping di gawang Lopez.

Semenit setelahnya Madrid mendapatkan dua peluang. Pertama dari tembakan jarak dekat Benzema yang menerpa tiang gawang dan bola rebound yang didapat Oezil masih bisa dihalau Juanfran di garis gawang.

Kemudian sama halnya dengan free kick Ronaldo di menit 69 yang tertahan tiang kanan gawang Courtois. Michael Essien kemudian menyambar bola muntah tapi melayang jauh di atas mistar.

Jose Mourinho di menit 73 diusir wasit keluar lapangan karena memprotes keputusan pengadil serta ofisial keempat. Tak ada lagi peluang tercipta sehingga skor tetap imbang 1-1 dan laga dilanjutkan ke 2x15 menit extra time.

Miranda! Gol pemain Brasil itu di menit 98 membawa Atletico berbalik unggul 2-1. Diawali crossing Koke dari sayap kanan, bola mengarah ke tiang dekat dan Miranda dengan bebas menanduknya serta menaklukkan Lopez di bawah mistar.

Di menit 103 Gonzalo Higuain melepaskan tembakan dari jarak dekat namun masih bisa dihadang Courtois. Atletico masih unggul 2-1.

Enam menit setelahnya Courtois kembali melakukan penyelamatan gemilang ketika menghadang tembakan Oezil dari jarak dekat.

Pertandingan memanas yang diwarnai keributan antara pemain setelah di menit 114 Ronaldo diusir keluar karena menerima kartu merah. Ronaldo dianggap menghantam wajah Gabi dengan kakinya, padahal dalam tayangan ulang kaki Ronaldo tak mengenai Gabi.

Hingga laga berakhir skor 2-1 tetap bertahan dan Atletico keluar sebagai juara Copa del Rey.

Susunan Pemain

Real Madrid: Diego Lopez, Ramos, Coentrao (Arbeloa 91'), Essien, Albiol, Khedira, Alonso, Modric (Di Maria 91'), Cristiano Ronaldo, Benzema (Higuain 91'), Ozil

Atletico Madrid: Courtois, Juanfran, Godin, Miranda, Filipe Luis, Gabi, Mario Suarez, Koke, Turan (Rodriguez 110'), Diego Costa (Adrian 105'), Falcao

MADRID KO LAGI..

Saco-Indonesia.com - Dari penelitian terbaru di Ohio State University dan Institute for behavioral Medicine Research, cedera pada otak dan gegar otak bisa menyebabkan depresi setelah beberapa tahun.

Penelitian ini menunjukkan bahwa sel-sel mikro pada otak tikus cenderung waspada pada tingkat tinggi setelah mengalami cedera. Hal ini menyebabkan sel otak lebih mudah mengalami peradangan dan menyebabkan depresi dalam jangka waktu yang panjang, seperti dilansir oleh Softpedia.

Penelitian menemukan bahwa orang yang mengalami gegar otak berkali-kali dalam hidupnya biasanya mengalami masalah mental setelah beberapa tahun. Namun peneliti belum bisa menjelaskan mengapa hal ini bisa terjadi.

"Banyak orang yang pernah mengalami cedera pada bagian otak tidak mengalami masalah mental hingga mereka berusia 40 tahun, 50 tahun, atau 60 tahunan," ungkap peneliti.

Hal ini menunjukkan bahwa ada faktor lain yang menyebabkan orang yang mengalami cedera otak dan gegar otak pada akhirnya akan memiliki masalah dengan kesehatan mental seperti stres atau lebih mudah depresi.

Editor : Liwon Maulana

Awas, cedera pada otak bisa picu depresi!

Tanah haram jika dimutlakkan secara umum yang dimaksudkan adalah tanah Haram Makkah. Inilah tanah yang dimuliakan oleh Allah dan Rasul-Nya shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam. Jika disebut Haromain, maka yang dimaksudkan adalah Makkah dan Madinah. Ibnu Qayyim Al Jauziyah menyebutkan dalam Zaadul Ma’ad, “Allah Ta’ala telah memilih beberapa tempat dan negeri, yang terbaik serta termulia adalah tanah Haram. Karena Allah Ta’ala telah memilih bagi nabinya –shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam- dan menjadikannya sebagai tempat manasik dan sebagai tempat menunaikan kewajiban. Orang dari dekat maupun jauh dari segala penjuru akan mendatangi tanah yang mulia tersebut.”

Di antara keutamaan tanah haram Makkah disebutkan dalam beberapa ayat dan hadits berikut.

Pertama: Di Makkah terdapat baitullah

Sebagaimana Allah menyebutkan mengenai do’a Nabi Allah –kholilullah (kekasih Allah)- Ibrahim ‘alaihis salam,

رَبَّنَا إِنِّي أَسْكَنْتُ مِنْ ذُرِّيَّتِي بِوَادٍ غَيْرِ ذِي زَرْعٍ عِنْدَ بَيْتِكَ الْمُحَرَّمِ رَبَّنَا لِيُقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ فَاجْعَلْ أَفْئِدَةً مِنَ النَّاسِ تَهْوِي إِلَيْهِمْ وَارْزُقْهُمْ مِنَ الثَّمَرَاتِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَشْكُرُونَ

“Ya Rabb kami, sesungguhnya aku telah menempatkan sebahagian keturunanku di lembah yang tidak mempunyai tanam-tanaman di dekat rumah Engkau (Baitullah) yang dihormati, ya Rabb kami (yang demikian itu) agar mereka mendirikan shalat, maka jadikanlah hati sebagian manusia cenderung kepada mereka dan beri rezkilah mereka dari buah-buahan, mudah-mudahan mereka bersyukur.” (QS. Ibrahim: 37).

Rumah pertama yang dijadikan peribadatan kepada Allah Ta’ala adalah baitullah sebagaimana disebutkan dalam ayat,

إِنَّ أَوَّلَ بَيْتٍ وُضِعَ لِلنَّاسِ لَلَّذِي بِبَكَّةَ مُبَارَكًا وَهُدًى لِلْعَالَمِينَ

“Sesungguhnya rumah yang mula-mula dibangun untuk (tempat beribadat) manusia, ialah Baitullah yang di Bakkah (Mekah) yang diberkahi dan menjadi petunjuk bagi semua manusia” (QS. Ali Imran: 96).

Dan baitullah inilah yang dijadikan tempat berhaji sebagaimana disebutkan dalam ayat,

وَلِلَّهِ عَلَى النَّاسِ حِجُّ الْبَيْتِ مَنِ اسْتَطَاعَ إِلَيْهِ سَبِيلًا

“Mengerjakan haji adalah kewajiban manusia terhadap Allah, yaitu (bagi) orang yang sanggup mengadakan perjalanan ke Baitullah” (QS. Ali Imran: 97).

Haji ini dijadikan sebagai amalan penghapus dosa yang telah lalu Dari Abu Hurairah, ia berkata bahwa ia mendengar Nabi shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam bersabda,

مَنْ حَجَّ لِلَّهِ فَلَمْ يَرْفُثْ وَلَمْ يَفْسُقْ رَجَعَ كَيَوْمِ وَلَدَتْهُ أُمُّهُ

“Siapa yang berhaji ke Ka’bah lalu tidak berkata-kata seronok dan tidak berbuat kefasikan maka dia pulang ke negerinya sebagaimana ketika dilahirkan oleh ibunya.” (Muttafaqun ‘alaih).

Sebagaimana shalat di baitullah juga dilipatgandakan. Dari Jabir, Nabi shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam bersabda,

صَلاَةٌ فِى مَسْجِدِى أَفْضَلُ مِنْ أَلْفِ صَلاَةٍ فِيمَا سِوَاهُ إِلاَّ الْمَسْجِدَ الْحَرَامَ وَصَلاَةٌ فِى الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ أَفْضَلُ مِنْ مِائَةِ أَلْفِ صَلاَةٍ فِيمَا سِوَاهُ

“Shalat di masjidku (Masjid Nabawi) lebih utama daripada 1000 shalat di masjid lainnya selain Masjidil Harom. Shalat di Masjidil Harom lebih utama daripada 100.000 shalat di masjid lainnya.” (HR. Ahmad 3/343 dan Ibnu Majah no. 1406, dari Jabir bin ‘Abdillah. Syaikh Al Albani mengatakan bahwa hadits ini shahih. Lihat Shahih At Targhib wa At Tarhib no. 1173).

Kedua: Tanah haram dijadikan tempat yang penuh rasa aman

Inilah berkat do’a Nabi Ibrahim ‘alaihis salam,

وَإِذْ قَالَ إِبْرَاهِيمُ رَبِّ اجْعَلْ هَذَا بَلَدًا آَمِنًا وَارْزُقْ أَهْلَهُ مِنَ الثَّمَرَاتِ مَنْ آَمَنَ مِنْهُمْ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآَخِرِ قَالَ وَمَنْ كَفَرَ فَأُمَتِّعُهُ قَلِيلًا ثُمَّ أَضْطَرُّهُ إِلَى عَذَابِ النَّارِ وَبِئْسَ الْمَصِيرُ

“Dan (ingatlah), ketika Ibrahim berdoa: “Ya Rabbku, jadikanlah negeri ini, negeri yang aman sentosa, dan berikanlah rezki dari buah-buahan kepada penduduknya yang beriman di antara mereka kepada Allah dan hari kemudian. Allah berfirman: “Dan kepada orang yang kafirpun Aku beri kesenangan sementara, kemudian Aku paksa ia menjalani siksa neraka dan itulah seburuk-buruk tempat kembali“.” (QS. Al Baqarah: 126).

Begitu pula disebutkan dalam ayat lainnya,

وَمَنْ دَخَلَهُ كَانَ آَمِنًا

“Barangsiapa memasukinya (Baitullah itu) menjadi amanlah dia” (QS. Ali Imran: 97).

Kaum Quraisy di masa silam juga merasakan rasa aman ketika safar mereka,

الَّذِي أَطْعَمَهُمْ مِنْ جُوعٍ وَآَمَنَهُمْ مِنْ خَوْفٍ

“Yang telah memberi makanan kepada mereka untuk menghilangkan lapar dan mengamankan mereka dari ketakutan” (QS. Quraisy: 4).

Ketiga: Rizki begitu berlipat di tanah haram.

Inilah juga berkat do’a Nabi Ibrahim ‘alaihis salam,

رَبَّنَا إِنِّي أَسْكَنْتُ مِنْ ذُرِّيَّتِي بِوَادٍ غَيْرِ ذِي زَرْعٍ عِنْدَ بَيْتِكَ الْمُحَرَّمِ رَبَّنَا لِيُقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ فَاجْعَلْ أَفْئِدَةً مِنَ النَّاسِ تَهْوِي إِلَيْهِمْ وَارْزُقْهُمْ مِنَ الثَّمَرَاتِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَشْكُرُونَ

 “Ya Tuhan kami, sesungguhnya aku telah menempatkan sebahagian keturunanku di lembah yang tidak mempunyai tanam-tanaman di dekat rumah Engkau (Baitullah) yang dihormati, ya Tuhan kami (yang demikian itu) agar mereka mendirikan shalat, maka jadikanlah hati sebagian manusia cenderung kepada mereka dan beri rezkilah mereka dari buah-buahan, mudah-mudahan mereka bersyukur.” (QS. Ibrahim: 37).

Keempat: Tanah Haram tidak akan dimasuki Dajjal

Dajjal akan muncul dari Ashbahan dan akan menelusuri muka bumi. Tidak ada satu negeri pun melainkan Dajjal akan mampir di tempat tersebut. Yang dikecualikan di sini adalah Makkah dan Madinah karena malaikat akan menjaga dua kota tersebut. Dajjal tidak akan memasuki kedunya hingga akhir zaman. Dalam hadits Fathimah bin Qois radhiyallahu ‘anha disebutkan bahwa Dajjal mengatakan,

فَأَخْرُجَ فَأَسِيرَ فِى الأَرْضِ فَلاَ أَدَعَ قَرْيَةً إِلاَّ هَبَطْتُهَا فِى أَرْبَعِينَ لَيْلَةً غَيْرَ مَكَّةَ وَطَيْبَةَ فَهُمَا مُحَرَّمَتَانِ عَلَىَّ كِلْتَاهُمَا كُلَّمَا أَرَدْتُ أَنْ أَدْخُلَ وَاحِدَةً أَوْ وَاحِدًا مِنْهُمَا اسْتَقْبَلَنِى مَلَكٌ بِيَدِهِ السَّيْفُ صَلْتًا يَصُدُّنِى عَنْهَا وَإِنَّ عَلَى كُلِّ نَقْبٍ مِنْهَا مَلاَئِكَةً يَحْرُسُونَهَا

“Aku akan keluar dan menelusuri muka bumi. Tidaklah aku membiarkan suatu daerah kecuali pasti aku singgahi dalam masa empat puluh malam selain Makkah dan Thoybah (Madinah Nabawiyyah). Kedua kota tersebut diharamkan bagiku. Tatkala aku ingin memasuki salah satu dari dua kota tersebut, malaikat menemuiku dan menghadangku dengan pedangnya yang mengkilap. Dan di setiap jalan bukit ada malaikat yang menjaganya.” (HR. Muslim no. 2942)

Dan Dajjal tidak akan memasuki empat masjid. Dalam hadits disebutkan tentang Dajjal,

لاَ يَأْتِى أَرْبَعَةَ مَسَاجِدَ الْكَعْبَةَ وَمَسْجِدَ الرَّسُولِ والْمَسْجِدَ الأَقْصَى وَالطُّورَ

“Dajjal tidak akan memasuki empat masjid: masjid Ka’bah (masjidil Haram), masjid Rasul (masjid Nabawi), masjid Al Aqsho’, dan masjid Ath Thur.” (HR. Ahmad 5: 364. Kata Syaikh Syu’aib Al Arnauth, sanad hadits ini shahih)

Wallahu waliyyut taufiq.

 

@ Madinah An Nabawiyah, 14 Sya’ban 1433 H

Penulis: Muhammad Abduh Tuasikal

Sumber : http://muslim.or.id

Baca Artikel Lainnya : PENGETAHUAN UMUM IBADAH UMROH

FAEDAH TANAH HARAM MAKKAH

Mr. Alger, who served five terms from Texas, led Republican women in a confrontation with Lyndon B. Johnson that may have cost Richard M. Nixon the 1960 presidential election.

Bruce Alger, 96, Dies; Led ‘Mink Coat’ Protest Against Lyndon Johnson

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

Over the last five years or so, it seemed there was little that Dean G. Skelos, the majority leader of the New York Senate, would not do for his son.

He pressed a powerful real estate executive to provide commissions to his son, a 32-year-old title insurance salesman, according to a federal criminal complaint. He helped get him a job at an environmental company and employed his influence to help the company get government work. He used his office to push natural gas drilling regulations that would have increased his son’s commissions.

He even tried to direct part of a $5.4 billion state budget windfall to fund government contracts that the company was seeking. And when the company was close to securing a storm-water contract from Nassau County, the senator, through an intermediary, pressured the company to pay his son more — or risk having the senator subvert the bid.

The criminal complaint, unsealed on Monday, lays out corruption charges against Senator Skelos and his son, Adam B. Skelos, the latest scandal to seize Albany, and potentially alter its power structure.

Photo
 
Preet Bharara, the United States attorney in Manhattan, discussed the case involving Dean G. Skelos and his son, Adam. Credit Eduardo Munoz/Reuters

The repeated and diverse efforts by Senator Skelos, a Long Island Republican, to use what prosecutors said was his political influence to find work, or at least income, for his son could send both men to federal prison. If they are convicted of all six charges against them, they face up to 20 years in prison for each of four of the six counts and up to 10 years for the remaining two.

Senator Kenneth P. LaValle, of Long Island, who serves as chairman of the Republican conference, emerged from a closed-door meeting Monday night to say that conference members agreed that Mr. Skelos should be benefited the “presumption of innocence,” and would stay in his leadership role.

“The leader has indicated he would like to remain as leader,” said Mr. LaValle, “and he has the support of the conference.” The case against Mr. Skelos and his son grew out of a broader inquiry into political corruption by the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara, that has already changed the face of the state capital. It is based in part, according to the six-count complaint, on conversations secretly recorded by one of two cooperating witnesses, and wiretaps on the cellphones of the senator and his son. Those recordings revealed that both men were concerned about electronic surveillance, and illustrated the son’s unsuccessful efforts to thwart it.

Advertisement

Adam Skelos took to using a “burner” phone, the complaint says, and told his father he wanted them to speak through a FaceTime video call in an apparent effort to avoid detection. They also used coded language at times.

At one point, Adam Skelos was recorded telling a Senate staff member of his frustration in not being able to speak openly to his father on the phone, noting that he could not “just send smoke signals or a little pigeon” carrying a message.

The 43-page complaint, sworn out by Paul M. Takla, a special agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, outlines a five-year scheme to “monetize” the senator’s official position; it also lays bare the extent to which a father sought to use his position to help his son.

The charges accuse the two men of extorting payments through a real estate developer, Glenwood Management, based on Long Island, and the environmental company, AbTech Industries, in Scottsdale, Ariz., with the expectation that the money paid to Adam Skelos — nearly $220,000 in total — would influence his father’s actions.

Glenwood, one of the state’s most prolific campaign donors, had ties to AbTech through investments in the environmental firm’s parent company by Glenwood’s founding family and a senior executive.

The accusations in the complaint portray Senator Skelos as a man who, when it came to his son, was not shy about twisting arms, even in situations that might give other arm-twisters pause.

Seeking to help his son, Senator Skelos turned to the executive at Glenwood, which develops rental apartments in New York City and has much at stake when it comes to real estate legislation in Albany. The senator urged him to direct business to his son, who sold title insurance.

After much prodding, the executive, Charles C. Dorego, engineered a $20,000 payment to Adam Skelos from a title insurance company even though he did no work for the money. But far more lucrative was a consultant position that Mr. Dorego arranged for Adam Skelos at AbTech, which seeks government contracts to treat storm water. (Mr. Dorego is not identified by name in the complaint, but referred to only as CW-1, for Cooperating Witness 1.)

Senator Skelos appeared to take an active interest in his son’s new line of work. Adam Skelos sent him several drafts of his consulting agreement with AbTech, the complaint says, as well as the final deal that was struck.

“Mazel tov,” his father replied.

Senator Skelos sent relevant news articles to his son, including one about a sewage leak near Albany. When AbTech wanted to seek government contracts after Hurricane Sandy, the senator got on a conference call with his son and an AbTech executive, Bjornulf White, and offered advice. (Like Mr. Dorego, Mr. White is not named in the complaint, but referred to as CW-2.)

The assistance paid off: With the senator’s help, AbTech secured a contract worth up to $12 million from Nassau County, a big break for a struggling small business.

But the money was slow to materialize. The senator expressed impatience with county officials.

Adam Skelos, in a phone call with Mr. White in late December, suggested that his father would seek to punish the county. “I tell you this, the state is not going to do a [expletive] thing for the county,” he said.

Three days later, Senator Skelos pressed his case with the Nassau County executive, Edward P. Mangano, a fellow Republican. “Somebody feels like they’re just getting jerked around the last two years,” the senator said, referring to his son in what the complaint described as “coded language.”

The next day, the senator pursued the matter, as he and Mr. Mangano attended a wake for a slain New York City police officer. Senator Skelos then reassured his son, who called him while he was still at the wake. “All claims that are in will be taken care of,” the senator said.

AbTech’s fortunes appeared to weigh on his son. At one point in January, Adam Skelos told his father that if the company did not succeed, he would “lose the ability to pay for things.”

Making matters worse, in recent months, Senator Skelos and his son appeared to grow wary about who was watching them. In addition to making calls on the burner phone, Adam Skelos said he used the FaceTime video calling “because that doesn’t show up on the phone bill,” as he told Mr. White.

In late February, Adam Skelos arranged a pair of meetings between Mr. White and state senators; AbTech needed to win state legislation that would allow its contract to move beyond its initial stages. But Senator Skelos deemed the plan too risky and caused one of the meetings to be canceled.

In another recorded call, Adam Skelos, promising to be “very, very vague” on the phone, urged his father to allow the meeting. The senator offered a warning. “Right now we are in dangerous times, Adam,” he told him.

A month later, in another phone call that was recorded by the authorities, Adam Skelos complained that his father could not give him “real advice” about AbTech while the two men were speaking over the telephone.

“You can’t talk normally,” he told his father, “because it’s like [expletive] Preet Bharara is listening to every [expletive] phone call. It’s just [expletive] frustrating.”

“It is,” his father agreed.

Dean Skelos, Albany Senate Leader, Aided Son at All Costs, U.S. Says

“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 ‘Game of Thrones’ Q&A: Keisha Castle-Hughes on the Tao of the Sand Snakes

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

Mr. Goldberg was a serial Silicon Valley entrepreneur and venture capitalist who was married to Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer of Facebook.

Dave Goldberg Was Lifelong Women’s Advocate

Dave Goldberg, Head of Web Survey Company and Half of a Silicon Valley Power Couple, Dies at 47

Public perceptions of race relations in America have grown substantially more negative in the aftermath of the death of a young black man who was injured while in police custody in Baltimore and the subsequent unrest, far eclipsing the sentiment recorded in the wake of turmoil in Ferguson, Mo., last summer.

Americans are also increasingly likely to say that the police are more apt to use deadly force against a black person, the latest New York Times/CBS News poll finds.

The poll findings highlight the challenges for local leaders and police officials in trying to maintain order while sustaining faith in the criminal justice system in a racially polarized nation.

Sixty-one percent of Americans now say race relations in this country are generally bad. That figure is up sharply from 44 percent after the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown and the unrest that followed in Ferguson in August, and 43 percent in December. In a CBS News poll just two months ago, 38 percent said race relations were generally bad. Current views are by far the worst of Barack Obama’s presidency.

The negative sentiment is echoed by broad majorities of blacks and whites alike, a stark change from earlier this year, when 58 percent of blacks thought race relations were bad, but just 35 percent of whites agreed. In August, 48 percent of blacks and 41 percent of whites said they felt that way.

Looking ahead, 44 percent of Americans think race relations are worsening, up from 36 percent in December. Forty-one percent of blacks and 46 percent of whites think so. Pessimism among whites has increased 10 points since December.

Continue reading the main story
Do you think race relations in the United States are generally good or generally bad?
60
40
20
0
White
Black
May '14
May '15
Generally bad
Continue reading the main story
Do you think race relations in the United States are getting better, getting worse or staying about the same?
Getting worse
Staying the same
Getting better
Don't know/No answer
All adults
Whites
Blacks
44%
37
17
46
36
16
41
42
15

The poll finds that profound racial divisions in views of how the police use deadly force remain. Blacks are more than twice as likely to say police in most communities are more apt to use deadly force against a black person — 79 percent of blacks say so compared with 37 percent of whites. A slim majority of whites say race is not a factor in a police officer’s decision to use deadly force.

Overall, 44 percent of Americans say deadly force is more likely to be used against a black person, up from 37 percent in August and 40 percent in December.

Blacks also remain far more likely than whites to say they feel mostly anxious about the police in their community. Forty-two percent say so, while 51 percent feel mostly safe. Among whites, 8 in 10 feel mostly safe.

One proposal to address the matter — having on-duty police officers wear body cameras — receives overwhelming support. More than 9 in 10 whites and blacks alike favor it.

Continue reading the main story
How would you describe your feelings about the police in your community? Would you say they make you feel mostly safe or mostly anxious?
Mostly safe
Mostly anxious
Don't know/No answer
All adults
Whites
Blacks
75%
21
3
81
16
3
51
42
7
Continue reading the main story
In general, do you think the police in most communities are more likely to use deadly force against a black person, or more likely to use it against a white person, or don’t you think race affects police use of deadly force?
Police more likely to use deadly force against a black person
Police more likely to use deadly force against a white person
Race DOES NOT affect police use of deadly force
Don't know/No answer
All adults
Whites
Blacks
44%
37%
79%
2%
2%
1%
46%
53%
16%
9%
8%
4%
Continue reading the main story
Do you favor or oppose on-duty police officers wearing video cameras that would record events and actions as they occur?
Favor
Oppose
Don't know/No answer
All adults
Whites
Blacks
92%
93%
93%
6%
5%
5%
2%
2%
2%

Asked specifically about the situation in Baltimore, most Americans expressed at least some confidence that the investigation by local authorities would be conducted fairly. But while nearly two-thirds of whites think so, fewer than half of blacks agree. Still, more blacks are confident now than were in August regarding the investigation in Ferguson. On Friday, six members of the police force involved in the arrest of Mr. Gray were charged with serious offenses, including manslaughter. The poll was conducted Thursday through Sunday; results from before charges were announced are similar to those from after.

Reaction to the recent turmoil in Baltimore, however, is similar among blacks and whites. Most Americans, 61 percent, say the unrest after Mr. Gray’s death was not justified. That includes 64 percent of whites and 57 percent of blacks.

Continue reading the main story
As you may know, a Baltimore man, Freddie Gray, recently died after being in the custody of the Baltimore police. How much confidence do you have that the investigation by local authorities into this matter will be conducted fairly?
A lot
Some
Not much
None at all
Don't know/No answer
All adults
Whites
Blacks
29%
31
22
14
5
31
33
20
11
5
20
26
30
22
In general, do you think the unrest in Baltimore after the death of Freddie Gray was justified, or do you think the unrest was not justified?
Justified
Not justified
Don't know/No answer
All adults
Whites
Blacks
28%
61
11
26
64
11
37
57
6

Negative View of U.S. Race Relations Grows, Poll Finds
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

As governor, Mr. Walker alienated Republicans and his fellow Democrats, particularly the Democratic powerhouse Richard J. Daley, the mayor of Chicago.

Dan Walker, 92, Dies; Illinois Governor and Later a U.S. Prisoner

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

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

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

Continue reading the main story
 

Document: The Formaldehyde Fight

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Continue reading the main story

Formaldehyde in Laminate Flooring

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

Typical

laminate

flooring

CLEAR FINISH LAYER

Often made of melamine resin

PATTERN LAYER

Paper printed to resemble wood,

or a thin wood veneer

GLUE

Layers may be bound using

formaldehyde-based glues

CORE LAYER

Fiberboard or other

composite, formed using

formaldehyde-based adhesives

BASE LAYER

Moisture-resistant vapor barrier

What is formaldehyde?

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

WHERE IT IS COMMONLY FOUND

POTENTIAL HEALTH RISKS

Pressed-wood and composite wood products

Wallpaper and paints

Spray foam insulation used in construction

Commercial wood floor finishes

Crease-resistant fabrics

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Senator Vitter’s staff was pleased.

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

Advertisement

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

Advertisement

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ms. Turner and her twin sister founded the Love Kitchen in 1986 in a church basement in Knoxville, Tenn., and it continues to provide clothing and meals.

Ellen Turner Dies at 87; Opened Kitchen to Feed the Needy of Knoxville

HOBART, Tasmania — Few places seem out of reach for China’s leader, Xi Jinping, who has traveled from European capitals to obscure Pacific and Caribbean islands in pursuit of his nation’s strategic interests.

So perhaps it was not surprising when he turned up last fall in this city on the edge of the Southern Ocean to put down a long-distance marker in another faraway region, Antarctica, 2,000 miles south of this Australian port.

Standing on the deck of an icebreaker that ferries Chinese scientists from this last stop before the frozen continent, Mr. Xi pledged that China would continue to expand in one of the few places on earth that remain unexploited by humans.

He signed a five-year accord with the Australian government that allows Chinese vessels and, in the future, aircraft to resupply for fuel and food before heading south. That will help secure easier access to a region that is believed to have vast oil and mineral resources; huge quantities of high-protein sea life; and for times of possible future dire need, fresh water contained in icebergs.

It was not until 1985, about seven decades after Robert Scott and Roald Amundsen raced to the South Pole, that a team representing Beijing hoisted the Chinese flag over the nation’s first Antarctic research base, the Great Wall Station on King George Island.

But now China seems determined to catch up. As it has bolstered spending on Antarctic research, and as the early explorers, especially the United States and Australia, confront stagnant budgets, there is growing concern about its intentions.

China’s operations on the continent — it opened its fourth research station last year, chose a site for a fifth, and is investing in a second icebreaker and new ice-capable planes and helicopters — are already the fastest growing of the 52 signatories to the Antarctic Treaty. That gentlemen’s agreement reached in 1959 bans military activity on the continent and aims to preserve it as one of the world’s last wildernesses; a related pact prohibits mining.

Advertisement

But Mr. Xi’s visit was another sign that China is positioning itself to take advantage of the continent’s resource potential when the treaty expires in 2048 — or in the event that it is ripped up before, Chinese and Australian experts say.

“So far, our research is natural-science based, but we know there is more and more concern about resource security,” said Yang Huigen, director general of the Polar Research Institute of China, who accompanied Mr. Xi last November on his visit to Hobart and stood with him on the icebreaker, Xue Long, or Snow Dragon.

With that in mind, the polar institute recently opened a new division devoted to the study of resources, law, geopolitics and governance in Antarctica and the Arctic, Mr. Yang said.

Australia, a strategic ally of the United States that has strong economic relations with China, is watching China’s buildup in the Antarctic with a mix of gratitude — China’s presence offers support for Australia’s Antarctic science program, which is short of cash — and wariness.

“We should have no illusions about the deeper agenda — one that has not even been agreed to by Chinese scientists but is driven by Xi, and most likely his successors,” said Peter Jennings, executive director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute and a former senior official in the Australian Department of Defense.

“This is part of a broader pattern of a mercantilist approach all around the world,” Mr. Jennings added. “A big driver of Chinese policy is to secure long-term energy supply and food supply.”

That approach was evident last month when a large Chinese agriculture enterprise announced an expansion of its fishing operations around Antarctica to catch more krill — small, protein-rich crustaceans that are abundant in Antarctic waters.

“The Antarctic is a treasure house for all human beings, and China should go there and share,” Liu Shenli, the chairman of the China National Agricultural Development Group, told China Daily, a state-owned newspaper. China would aim to fish up to two million tons of krill a year, he said, a substantial increase from what it currently harvests.

Because sovereignty over Antarctica is unclear, nations have sought to strengthen their claims over the ice-covered land by building research bases and naming geographic features. China’s fifth station will put it within reach of the six American facilities, and ahead of Australia’s three.

Chinese mappers have also given Chinese names to more than 300 sites, compared with the thousands of locations on the continent with English names.

In the unspoken competition for Antarctica’s future, scientific achievement can also translate into influence. Chinese scientists are driving to be the first to drill and recover an ice core containing tiny air bubbles that provide a record of climate change stretching as far back as 1.5 million years. It is an expensive and delicate effort at which others, including the European Union and Australia, have failed.

In a breakthrough a decade ago, European scientists extracted an ice core nearly two miles long that revealed 800,000 years of climate history. But finding an ice core going back further would allow scientists to examine a change in the earth’s climate cycles believed to have occurred 900,000 to 1.2 million years ago.

China is betting it has found the best location to drill, at an area called Dome A, or Dome Argus, the highest point on the East Antarctic Ice Sheet. Though it is considered one of the coldest places on the planet, with temperatures of 130 degrees below zero Fahrenheit, a Chinese expedition explored the area in 2005 and established a research station in 2009.

“The international community has drilled in lots of places, but no luck so far,” said Xiao Cunde, a member of the first party to reach the site and the deputy director of the Institute for Climate Change at the Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences. “We think at Dome A we will have a straight shot at the one-million-year ice core.”

Mr. Xiao said China had already begun drilling and hoped to find what scientists are looking for in four to five years.

To support its Antarctic aspirations, China is building a sophisticated $300 million icebreaker that is expected to be ready in a few years, said Xia Limin, deputy director of the Chinese Arctic and Antarctic Administration in Beijing. It has also bought a high-tech fixed-wing aircraft, outfitted in the United States, for taking sensitive scientific soundings from the ice.

China has chosen the site for its fifth research station at Inexpressible Island, named by a group of British explorers who were stranded at the desolate site in 1912 and survived the winter by excavating a small ice cave.

Mr. Xia said the inhospitable spot was ideal because China did not have a presence in that part of Antarctica, and because the rocky site did not have much snow, making it relatively cheap to build there.

Anne-Marie Brady, a professor of political science at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand and the author of a soon-to-be-released book, “China as a Polar Great Power,” said Chinese scientists also believed they had a good chance of finding mineral and energy resources near the site.

“China is playing a long game in Antarctica and keeping other states guessing about its true intentions and interests are part of its poker hand,” she said. But she noted that China’s interest in finding minerals was presented “loud and clear to domestic audiences” as the main reason it was investing in Antarctica.

Because commercial drilling is banned, estimates of energy and mineral resources in Antarctica rely on remote sensing data and comparisons with similar geological environments elsewhere, said Millard F. Coffin, executive director of the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies in Hobart.

But the difficulty of extraction in such severe conditions and uncertainty about future commodity prices make it unlikely that China or any country would defy the ban on mining anytime soon.

Tourism, however, is already booming. Travelers from China are still a relatively small contingent in the Antarctic compared with the more than 13,000 Americans who visited in 2013, and as yet there are no licensed Chinese tour operators.

But that is about to change, said Anthony Bergin, deputy director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute. “I understand very soon there will be Chinese tourists on Chinese vessels with all-Chinese crew in the Antarctic,” he said.

 

Top News China’s Intents Are Questioned as It Builds in Antarctica

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

Jack Ely, Who Sang the Kingsmen’s ‘Louie Louie’, Dies at 71
paket umroh januari di Munjul jakarta
biaya paket berangkat umroh april di Ciracas jakarta
biaya paket umroh awal tahun di Pasar Rebo jakarta
biaya paket berangkat umrah april di Cilangkap jakarta
biaya berangkat umroh ramadhan di Duren Sawit jakarta
paket berangkat umroh awal tahun di Cipinang Cempedak jakarta
biaya berangkat umroh ramadhan di Makasar jakarta
paket promo berangkat umroh awal tahun di Ceger jakarta
harga berangkat umrah awal tahun di Pal Meriam jakarta
biaya paket umroh juni di Cilangkap jakarta
promo umrah maret di Cipinang Muara jakarta
promo umroh mei di Pal Meriam jakarta
biaya umrah mei di Cipinang jakarta
promo umroh juni di Kramat Jati jakarta
paket umrah maret di Matraman jakarta
paket berangkat umrah awal tahun bekasi timur
biaya umroh ramadhan di Klender jakarta
harga umroh mei di Rawa Terate jakarta
biaya paket umrah april di Duren Sawit jakarta
biaya paket berangkat umroh maret di Kebon Manggis jakarta
harga paket berangkat umroh maret di Pal Meriam jakarta
harga berangkat umroh april di Kampung Tengah jakarta
harga berangkat umroh februari di Kelapa Dua Wetan jakarta
harga umroh mei di Pondok Kelapa jakarta
biaya paket umrah april di Halim Perdanakusuma jakarta
paket berangkat umroh mei di Cilangkap jakarta
paket umroh awal tahun di Rawamangun jakarta
biaya paket umroh desember di Cipayung jakarta
biaya berangkat umroh awal tahun di Pisangan Baru jakarta
paket umrah akhir tahun di Jatinegara jakarta
harga berangkat umroh desember depok
harga paket umroh akhir tahun di Balekambang jakarta
biaya paket berangkat umrah desember di Ciracas jakarta
harga berangkat umroh februari bekasi utara
harga umroh maret di Kebon Pala jakarta
harga paket umroh akhir tahun tangerang
paket promo umrah maret di Makasar jakarta
harga umrah februari di Ceger jakarta
paket umroh awal tahun di Cakung jakarta
biaya paket berangkat umroh maret di Pondok Kelapa jakarta
biaya berangkat umroh januari di Kalisari jakarta
promo umroh april di Rawa Bunga jakarta
harga umrah akhir tahun di Lubang Buaya jakarta
biaya paket berangkat umroh ramadhan di Balekambang jakarta
paket umroh juni di Utan Kayu Selatan jakarta
promo berangkat umroh maret di Kampung Tengah jakarta
promo berangkat umroh ramadhan di Jatinegara Kaum jakarta
biaya paket berangkat umroh mei di Penggilingan jakarta
paket berangkat umrah april di Kebon Manggis jakarta
paket promo umrah desember di Jati jakarta
paket berangkat umroh april di Pisangan Baru jakarta
paket promo umroh juni di Kebon Pala jakarta
paket umroh april di Cipinang Muara jakarta
promo umrah april di Cipayung jakarta
promo berangkat umroh akhir tahun di Utan Kayu Utara jakarta
harga umrah ramadhan di Kebon Manggis jakarta
harga berangkat umroh april di Makasar jakarta
harga berangkat umrah ramadhan di Kebon Manggis jakarta
biaya paket berangkat umroh april di Rawa Bunga jakarta
biaya umroh mei di Cakung Timur jakarta
biaya berangkat umrah ramadhan umrohdepag.com
paket promo berangkat umroh maret di Cawang jakarta
biaya paket berangkat umroh ramadhan di Kebon Pala jakarta
harga paket berangkat umroh januari di Makasar jakarta
biaya berangkat umroh awal tahun di Cakung Timur jakarta
promo berangkat umrah akhir tahun di Bidaracina jakarta
harga paket umroh januari di Ciracas jakarta
biaya paket berangkat umroh akhir tahun di Rawa Terate jakarta
biaya umroh akhir tahun di Cipinang Besar Selatan jakarta
paket promo umroh desember di Pinang Ranti jakarta
biaya berangkat umroh februari di Pulogebang jakarta
paket berangkat umroh februari di Bali Mester jakarta
biaya paket berangkat umrah januari di Dukuh jakarta
biaya paket umrah februari umrohdepag.com
harga paket berangkat umrah april di Cililitan jakarta
paket promo berangkat umrah ramadhan bekasi timur
harga berangkat umrah mei di Pisangan Timur jakarta
harga umroh februari di Cipayung jakarta
biaya paket berangkat umrah akhir tahun di Pal Meriam jakarta
paket promo umrah akhir tahun di Cipinang Muara jakarta
biaya paket berangkat umrah mei di Rawa Bunga jakarta
paket promo berangkat umroh januari di Rawa Bunga jakarta
paket berangkat umrah maret di Cililitan jakarta
paket umrah akhir tahun di Kalisari jakarta
biaya paket umroh februari bekasi utara
biaya berangkat umroh desember di Setu jakarta
biaya paket umroh awal tahun di Makasar jakarta
biaya umrah januari di Pasar Rebo jakarta
paket promo berangkat umroh april bekasi timur
promo umrah ramadhan tangerang
biaya paket berangkat umroh desember di Pisangan Baru jakarta
promo berangkat umrah april di Batuampar jakarta
biaya paket berangkat umroh maret di Cilangkap jakarta
biaya paket berangkat umroh akhir tahun di Cipinang Besar Utara jakarta
harga berangkat umrah april di Matraman jakarta
promo berangkat umroh awal tahun di Ciracas jakarta
promo umrah awal tahun di Jatinegara jakarta
biaya paket berangkat umroh januari di Kramat Jati jakarta
biaya paket umrah awal tahun di Utan Kayu Selatan jakarta
harga berangkat umrah akhir tahun di Lubang Buaya jakarta