PAKET UMROH BULAN FEBRUARI MARET APRIL MEI 2018




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Tour & Travel

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Malam-malam, Ridwan Kamil Menyamar Intai PKL

BANDUNG, Saco-Indonesia.com — Perda atau Peraturan Daerah Nomor 4 Tahun 2011 tentang Penataan dan Pembinaan PKL di Kota Bandung salah satunya mengatur biaya paksa sebesar Rp 1 juta bagi pembeli di zona merah, mulai diberlakukan 2 Februari 2014.

Begitu juga denda Rp 1 juta untuk PKL ada di Perda Nomor 11 Tahun 2005 tentang Ketertiban Kebersihan dan Keindahan, diberlakukan mulai 2 Februari 2014. Namun, sampai Senin (3/2/2014), belum ada yang terjaring dan terkena sanksi tersebut.

Padahal, masih ada pedagang yang berjualan mencuri-curi kesempatan di saat petugas lengah. Pedagang yang nekat berjualan, ketika ditanya alasannya, enggan berkomentar dan langsung menghindar.

Beberapa pedagang memilih menawarkan dagangan di depan pertokoan Kings, Jalan Kepatihan, dan berdiri di tangga sehingga ketika ada petugas, mereka beralasan tidak sedang berjualan di zona merah.

Ira, warga Antapani, mengaku takut membeli barang di PKL karena takut terkena sanksi Rp 1 juta. "Daripada didenda Rp 1 juta, tak akan membeli, tapi apakah aturan ini akan terus ditegakkan atau hanya hangat-hangat kotoran ayam," kata Ira setengah bertanya.

Menyamar
Menanggapi masih adanya transaksi di zona merah, Wali Kota Bandung Ridwan Kamil mengaku terus mencari cara terbaik untuk menegakkan Perda dengan keterbatasan personel yang ada.

"Jika masih ada yang bandel harus ditindak, kami tidak akan berhenti dan tidak akan menyerah untuk membersihkan zona merah dari PKL," ujar Ridwan.

Ridwan mengakui, masih ada kekurangan dalam penegakan aturan dan kekurangan yang terjadi di lapangan harus dibenahi.

Menurut Ridwan, penempatan meja penyidik pegawai negeri sipil (PPNS) untuk menindak pelanggar di Jalan Kepatihan yang semula di depan Yogya Kepatihan harus dipindahkan ke depan Kings karena banyak transaksi di sana.

"Saya semalam menyamar melihat langsung situasi di Jalan Kepatihan dan saya lihat pedagang saat ada petugas lari ke sebuah gang dan berkelit sebagai wilayah pribadi," ujarnya.

Modus PKL yang berlari ke gang akan ditindak sebab sudah jelas mereka berjualan di zona merah. Jika masuk gang, bukan berarti bebas hukum.

Perlu waktu
Ditemui secara terpisah, Ketua Komisi A DPRD Kota Bandung Haru Suandharu mengatakan, mengubah budaya dan kebiasaan warga agar tak membeli barang dari pedagang kaki lima (PKL) di zona merah memerlukan waktu.

Meski begitu, Pemkot Bandung harus tetap sabar dan konsisten menjalankan aturan tersebut hingga warga memahami dan penuh kesadaran tak melanggar aturan.

Menurut Haru, biaya paksa yang diterapkan bagi pembeli dari PKL di zona merah ini merupakan upaya positif dalam penataan PKL di Kota Bandung.

Penerapan Perda Nomor 4 Tahun 2011, khususnya Pasal 24 Ayat 2 tentang biaya paksa, ini pun bukan cara mencari pendapatan asli daerah, dan juga bukan menyengsarakan PKL. "Ini ada tranformasi budaya. Jika tidak tegas, khawatir PKL kembali menjamur," ujar Haru.

Sumber :kompas.com

Editor : Maulana Lee

> Malam-malam, Ridwan Kamil Menyamar Intai PKL

KAWANAN SPESIALIS RUMSONG TELAH DIBEKUK OLEH POLISI

saco-indonesia.com, Empat anggota komplotan bandit spesialis pencuri di rumah kosong (rumsong) telah dibekuk oleh aparat Jatanras Polda Metro Jaya. Kawanan ini telah ditangkap sehari setelah beraksi di sebuah rumah mewah di kawasan Cilandak pada 13 Desember 2013 lalu.

Mereka yang telah dibekuk adalah S, Y, H dan T.  Korban yang bernama Laila Jafar juga sedang tidak berada di rumah. Dari sinilah modus mereka untuk dapat mencuri. ”Kalau ada orangnya bertanya dengan alasan cari alamat, kalau tidak ada langsung dibobol,” kata Kabid Humas Polda Metro Jaya Kombes Rikwanto.

Dalam pembobolan rumah Laila, empat pencuri ini telah mendapatkan uang tunai Rp25 juta, telepon genggam serta sejumlah perhiasan. Rikwanto telah mengatakan, polisi juga sudah mengendus tindakan mereka dan keempatnya langsung ditangkap di rumahnya masing-masing.”Jadi uang curian belum sempat dibagikan,” katanya.

Dikatakan Rikwanto juga menjelaskan, para pelaku pencurian rumah kosong ini juga tidak selalu mendapatkan hasil curiannya. Mereka juga tidak memiliki insting mengetahui apakah ada harta di dalam rumah tersebut.  Mereka cuma hanya bisa membobol rumah dan mengambil barang yang dinilai berharga. Dari perbuatan ini, keempatnya telah diancam dengan Pasal 363 KUHP dengan ancaman tujuh tahun penjara.


Editor : Dian Sukmawati

> KAWANAN SPESIALIS RUMSONG TELAH DIBEKUK OLEH POLISI

FAEDAH IBADAH HAJI DAN UMRAH


    Ibadah haji adalah salah satu ibadah yang paling utama, berdasarkan hadits Rasulullah Shalallaahu alaihi wasalam :

(عَنْ أَبِى هُرَيْرَةَ قَالَ: سُئِلَ رَسُوْلُ الله : أَيُّ الْعَمَلِ أَفْضَلُ؟ قَالَ: (إِيْمَانٌ بِاللهِ وَ رَسُوْلِهِ)، قِيْلَ: ثُمَّ مَاذَا؟ قَالَ: (الْجِهَادُ فِيْ سَبِيْلِ اللهِ)، قِيْلَ: ثُمَّ مَاذَا؟ قَالَ: (حَجٌّ مَبْرُوْرٌ

"Dari Abu Hurairah Radhiallaahu anhu ia berkata: Rasulullah Shalallaahu alaihi wasalam ditanya: ‘Amal ibadah apakah yang paling utama?’ Beliau bersabda: ‘Beriman kepada Allah dan Rasul-Nya’. Dikatakan (kepadanya): ‘Kemudian apa?’ Beliau bersabda: ‘Jihad dijalan Allah’. Dikatakan (kepadanya): ‘Kemudian apa?’ Beliau bersabda: ‘Haji yang mabrur.’"( HR. Al-Bukhari dan Muslim, lihat Shahih at-Targhiib wat Tarhiib oleh al-Albani 3/3 hadits No. 1093. )

    Ibadah haji sebagai penghapus dosa, berdasarkan hadits Rasulullah Shalallaahu alaihi wasalam :

مَنْ حَجَّ فَلَمْ يَرْفُثْ وَلَمْ يَفْسُقْ رَجَعَ مِنْ ذُنُوْبِهِ كَيَوْمِ وَلَدَتْهُ أُمُّهُ

"Barangsiapa yang mengerjakan ibadah haji dan dia tidak melakukan jima' dan tidak pula melakukan perbuatan dosa, dia akan kembali dari dosa-dosanya seperti pada hari ketika ia dilahirkan ibunya." ( HR. Al-Bukhari, Muslim, an-Nasa-i, Ibnu Majah dan at-Tirmidzi )

    Balasan bagi haji mabrur adalah Surga, berdasarkan sabda Nabi Shalallaahu alaihi wasalam :

الْعُمْرَِةُ إِلَى الْعُمْرِةِ كَفَّارَةٌ لِمَا بَيْنَهُمَا وَ الْحَجُّ الْمَبْرُوْرُ  لَيْسَ لَهُ جَزَاءٌ إِلاَّ الْجَنَّةَ

"Umrah (yang pertama) kepada umrah yang berikutnya sebagai kaffarat (peng-hapus) bagi (dosa) yang dilakukan di antara keduanya, dan haji yang mabrur tidak ada balasan baginya, melainkan Surga." ( HR. Malik, al-Bukhari, Muslim, at-Tirmidzi, an-Nasa-i dan Ibnu Majah). Lihat Shahih at-Targhiib No. 1096. )


Dan dari Jabir bin 'Abdillah dari Nabi Shalallaahu alaihi wasalam , beliau bersabda:
الْحَجَّ الْمَبْرُوْرُ لَيْسَ لَهُ جَزَاءٌ إِلاَّ الْجَنَّةَ ، قِيْلَ : وَمَا بِرُّهُ؟ قَالَ: إِطْعَامُ الطَّعَامِ وَ طِيْبُ الْكَلاَمِ


"Haji mabrur tidak ada balasannya kecuali Surga. Dikatakan (kepada beliau): 'Apakah bentuk bakti dalam haji itu?' Beliau ber-kata: 'Memberi makanan dan berbicara yang baik.’”( HR. Ahmad, ath-Thabrani, Ibnu Khuzaimah, al-Baihaqi dan al-Hakim. Al-Albani berkata: "Shahih lighairihi, lihat Shahih at-Targhiib" No. 1104) )

    Haji adalah jihad bagi para wanita dan setiap orang yang lemah, berdasarkan hadits Nabi Shalallaahu alaihi wasalam :

عَنْ عَائِشَةَ d قَالَتْ ، قُلْتُ: يَارَسُوْلَ الله نَرَى الْجِهَادَ أَفْضَلَ اْلأَعْمَالِ ، أَفَلاَ نُجَاهِدُ ؟ فَقَالَ: لَكُنَّ أَفْضَلُ الْجِهَادِ حَجٌّ مَبْرُوْرٌ


"Dari 'Aisyah Radhiallaahu anha,, ia berkata, aku bertutur: 'Ya Rasulullah kami melihat bahwasanya berjihad adalah amal ibadah yang paling utama, apakah kami (para wanita, -pent) tidak berjihad? Maka beliau bersabda: 'Bagi kalian (kaum wanita,-Pent), jihad yang paling utama adalah haji mabrur'" .
Dalam riwayat Ibnu Khuzaimah, 'Aisyah d berkata:
قُلْتُ: يَا رَسُوْلَ اللهِ هَلْ عَلَى النِّسَاءِ مِنْ جِهَادٍ؟ قَالَ: (عَلَيْهِنَّ جِهَادٌ لاَ قِتَالَ فِيْهِ الْحَجُّ وَالْعُمْرَةُ)


"Aku bertutur: 'Ya Rasulullah, apakah ada kewajiban berjihad bagi kaum wanita?' Beliau berkata: 'Bagi wanita adalah jihad yang tidak ada peperangan padanya (yaitu) haji dan umrah.'" (Dishahihkan oleh al-Albani, lihat Shahih at-Targhiib No. 1099).
Dan dari Abu Hurairah Radhiallaahu anhu , dari Rasulullah Shalallaahu alaihi wasalam , beliau bersabda:
جِهَادُ الْكَبِيْرِ وَالضَّعِيْفِ وَالْمَرْأَةِ الْحَجُّ وَالْعُمْرَةُ

"Jihad orang yang tua, orang yang lemah dan wanita adalah haji dan umrah."

    Orang yang melaksanakan haji dan umrah adalah tamu Allah, dan permohonan mereka dikabulkan, berdasarkan hadits 'Abdullah Ibnu 'Umar Radhiallaahu anhu , Nabi Shalallaahu alaihi wasalam bersabda:

الْغَازِي فِي سَبِيْلِ اللهِ وَالْحَاجُّ وَالْمُعْتَمِرُ وَفْدُ اللهِ ، دَعَاهُمْ فَأَجَابُوْهُ وَسَأَلُوْهُ فَأَعْطَاهُمْ

"Orang yang berperang dijalan Allah, orang yang haji dan orang yang umrah, adalah tamu Allah. Dia memanggil mereka, maka mereka pun menjawab (panggilan)-Nya dan mereka memohon kepada-Nya. Dia-pun memberikan permohonan me-reka."

    Keutamaan perjalanan haji, keutamaan orang yang mati dalam perjalanan untuk melaksanakan ibadah haji, dan keutamaan orang yang mati dalam keadaan berihram (ditengah pelaksanaan ibadah haji dan/atau umrah.) Semuanya termaktub dalam hadits-hadits dibawah ini:

a. Dari 'Abdullah bin 'Umar Radhiallaahu anhu ia berkata, aku mendengar Rasulullah Shalallaahu alaihi wasalam bersabda:
مَاتَرْفَعُ إِبِلُ الْحَجِّ رِجْلاً ، وَلاَ يَدًا إِلاَّ كَتَبَ اللهُ لَهُ بِهَا حَسَنَةً أَوْ رَفَعَهُ بِهَا دَرَجَةً

"Tidaklah unta (yang dikendarai) seseorang yang melaksanakan haji mengangkat kaki(nya) dan tidak pula meletakkan tangan(nya) melainkan Allah mencatat bagi orang itu satu kebaikan atau menghapus darinya satu kejelekan atau meng-angkatnya datu derajat."

b.Dari Abu Hurairah Radhiallaahu anhu, ia berkata, Rasulullah Shalallaahu alaihi wasalam bersabda:
مَنْ خَرَجَ حَاجًّا فَمَاتَ كُتِبَ لَهُ أَجْرُ الْحاَجِّ إِلَى يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ وَمَنْ خَرَجَ مُعْتَمِرًا فَمَاتَ كُتِبَ لَهُ أَجْرُ الْمُعْتَمِرِ إِلَى يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ وَمَنْ خَرَجَ غَازِيًا فَمَاتَ كُتِبَ لَهُ أَجْرُ الْغَازِى إِلَى يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ


"Barangsiapa keluar dalam melaksana-kan haji lalu ia mati, niscaya dicatat baginya pahala seorang haji hingga hari Kiamat. Barangsiapa keluar dalam melaksanakan umrah lalu ia mati, niscaya dicatat baginya pahala seorang yang melaksanakan umrah sampai hari Kiamat, dan barangsiapa keluar dalam berperang dijalan Allah lalu ia mati, niscaya dicatat baginya pahala seorang yang berperang dijalan Allah sampai hari Kiamat."

c. Dari 'Abdullah Ibnu 'Abbas Radhiallaahu anhu, ia berkata:
بَيْنَمَا رَجُلٌ وَاقِفٌ مَعَ رَسُوْلِ اللهِ ; بِعَرَفَةَ إِذْ وَقَعَ عَنْ رَاحِلَتِهِ فَأَقْعَصَتْهُ فَقَالَ رَسُوْلُ اللهِ ; ( اغْسِلُوْهُ بِمَاءٍ وَسِدْرٍ وَكَفِّنُوْهُ بِثَوْبَيْهِ وَلاَ تُخَمِّرُوْا رَأْسَهُ وَلاَ تُحَنِّطُوْهُ فَإِنَّهُ يُبْعَثُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ مَلَبِّيًا )

"Tatkala seseorang sedang wukuf bersama Rasulullah Shalallaahu alaihi wasalam dipadang 'Arafah, tiba-tiba ia dijatuhkan oleh binatang (unta) yang dikendarainya dan mematahkan lehernya, maka Rasu-lullah Shalallaahu alaihi wasalam bersabda: 'Mandikanlah dia dengan air dan daun bidara, kafanilah dia dengan dua helai (kain) ihramnya dan jangan kalian menutup kepalanya serta jangan pula kalian beri wangi-wangian padanya, karena sesungguh-nya dia akan dibangkitkan dihari Kiamat dalam keadaan mengucapkan talbiyah.'"

    Dan lain-lain.

Itulah sejumlah keutamaan ibadah haji dan umrah yang kami rangkum dari beberapa hadits yang shahih dan hasan. Jika kita telah mengetahuinya, maka sepatutnya bagi orang yang mampu untuk giat dan bersungguh-sungguh dalam melaksanakan ibadah haji, serta menggunakan kesempatan dengan sebaik-baiknya, manakala ia memilikinya.

Syaikh 'Abdullah bin Ibrahim al-Qar'awi berkata: "Disunnahkan melaksanakan haji setiap tahun bagi orang yang mampu selama tidak membahayakan dirinya dan orang-orang yang menjadi tanggung jawabnya" , berdasar-kan hadits 'Abdullah bin Mas'ud Radhiallaahu anhu , Rasulullah Shalallaahu alaihi wasalam bersabda:
تَابِعُوْا بَيْنَ الْحَجِّ وَالْعُمْرَةِ فَإِنَّهُمَا يَنْفِيَانِ الْفَقْرَ وَالذُّنُوْبِ كَمَا يَنْفِى الْكِيْرُ حَبَثَ الْحَدِيْدِ وَالذَّهَبِ وَالْفِضَّةِ وَلَيْسَ لِلْحَجَّةِ الْمَبْرُوْرَةِ ثَوَابٌ إِلاَّ الْجَنَّةَ وَمَا مِنْ مُؤْمِنٍ يَظَلُّ يَوْمَهُ مُحْرِمًا إِلاَّ غَابَتِ الشَّمْسُ بِذُنُوْبِهِ

"Ikutilah antara ibadah haji dan umrah, karena keduanya akan menghilangkan kefakiran dan berbagai dosa sebagaimana alat pandai besi menghilangkan kotoran yang ada pada besi, emas dan perak. Dan tiada balasan pahala bagi haji yang mabrur kecuali Surga, tidaklah seorang mukmin dalam kesehariannya berada dalam keada-an ihram, melainkan matahari terbenam dengan membawa dosa-dosanya."

Sunnah tersebut semakin ditekankan lagi jika telah melewati empat atau lima tahun dari haji yang dilakukan sebelumnya, berdasarkan sabda Nabi Shalallaahu alaihi wasalam :

إِنَّ اللهَ يَقُوْلُ: إِنَّ عَبْدًا صَحَّحْتُ لَهُ جِسْمَهُ وَ وَسَّعْتُ عَلَيْهِ فِيْ الْمَعِيْشَهِ يَمْضِى عَلِيْهِ خَمْسَةُ أَعْوَامٍ لاَ يَفِدُ إِلَيَّ لَمَحْرُوْمٌ

"Sesungguhnya Allah berfirman: 'Sesung-guhnya seorang hamba yang telah Kusehat-kan jasadnya dan Kulapangkan penghi-dupannya, telah berlalu lima tahun atasnya, dia tidak datang kepada-Ku, benar-benar dia seorang yang diharamkan (dihalangi dari kebaikan-Pent). (HR. Ibnu Hibban dalam shahihnya, Abu Ya'la dan al-Bai-haqi).

Sedangkan Imam ath-Thabrani meriwayatkan dalam al-Ausath dengan redaksi:
إنَّ اللهَ يَقُوْلُ: إِنَّ عَبْدًا صَحَّحْتُ لَهُ بَدَنَهُ وَ أَوْسَعْتُ عَلَيْهِ فِي الرِّزْقِ لَمْ يَفِدْ إِلَيَّ فِيْ أَرْبَعَةِ أَعْوَامٍ لَمَحْرُوْمٌ


"Bahwasanya Allah berfirman: 'Sesungguh-nya seorang hamba yang telah Ku-sehatkan tubuhnya, Ku-lapangkan rizkinya, (namun) dia tidak datang kepada-Ku pada setiap empat tahun, benar-benar dia seorang yang diharamkan (dihalangi dari kebaikan,-Pent) (Al-Haitsami berkata dalam Majma'uz Zawaa-id perawi hadits ini semuanya perawi kitab ash-Shahih.)

 

Baca Artikel Lainnya : NAIK HAJI BAGI WANITA HAIDH

> FAEDAH IBADAH HAJI DAN UMRAH

Sekelompok nelayan Sumut lihat pesawat jatuh di Selat Malaka

Sebuah kendaraan pikap telah menabrak pembatas jalan di Tol Bogor menuju Ciawi. Akibat dari insiden ini, dua orang tewas di tempat.

Petugas Jasa Marga Winda juga menjelaskan, kejadian terjadi tepatnya pada Pukul 04.17 WIB di KM 41 Tol Bogor. Menurut dia, dua orang tewas dan sudah dievakuasi oleh petugas.

"Menurut informasi, mobil tersebut telah menabrak pembatas jalan. Dan dua pengendara tewas di tempat," kata Winda , Selasa (18/3).

Sejauh ini pihaknya juga belum mendapatkan identitas korban dan penyebab pasti kecelakaan. Namun dapat dipastikan arus kendaraan di kedua arah terpantau ramai lancar.

"Memang sempat terjadi kepadatan, namun sekarang sudah lancar kembali," tutur dia

> Sekelompok nelayan Sumut lihat pesawat jatuh di Selat Malaka

PERAWATAN MESIAN PENGERING

saco-indonesia.com,

Perawatan Untuk Mesin Pengering

Mesin Pengering merupakan mesin pengering pakaian setelah proses pencucian dengan menggunakan mesin cuci. Mesin pengering ini biasanya telah tergabung dalam satu paket mesin cuci, dan banyak masyarakat yang lebih menyukai dan telah memilih mesin cuci yang telah dilengkapi dengan mesin pengering di dalamnya. Biasanya mesin pengering ini banyak di miliki oleh para pengusaha jasa laundry, karena akan dapat memudahkan dan mempercepat proses laundry yang sedang dilakukan. Apalagi cuaca yang tidak bisa di prediksikan, kadang siang panas terik namun sore hari hujan lebat dengan angin.  Sehingga akan susah untuk dapat mengeringkan pakaian dengan bantuan sinar matahari.  Oleh karena itu, harus diperlukan sebuah mesin cuci yang telah dilengkapi mesin pengering untuk dapat memudahkan proses pengeringan pakaian.

Perawatan Mesin Pengering
Mesin Pengering
Cara untuk membersihkan mesin pengering, pastilah akan sama halnya dengan membersihkan mesin cuci. Apalagi mesin pengering ini juga ada dalam satu paket bersama mesin cuci. Pasti, membersihkan nya akan juga sekaligus baik untuk mesin pengering dan juga mesin cuci nya. Berikut tips perawatan mesin pengering sekaligus mesin cuci, yaitu :

    Berusaha untuk mengatur mesin pengering dan mesin cuci dengan sistem penyetelan normal. Ini dilakukan untuk dapat menjaga perputaran mesin cuci dan juga mesin pengering, sehingga baik mesin cuci dan mesin pengering nya akan menjadi tahan lama.
    Usahakan tegangan mesin pengering dan mesin cuci cukup. Sebuah mesin pengering dan mesin cuci membutuhkan tegangan yang stabil  yaitu di bawah 240 volt.  Jika tegangan khusus mesin pengerring ini di atas, maka pematik api atau ignitor  tidak akan mampu berfungsi secara sempurna sehingga api tidak akan keluar dan mesin pengering tidak digunakan dengan maksimal. Untuk cek dan melihat tegangan mesin pengering, anda bisa menggunakan alat seperti stavolt.
    Sering cek elemen pemanas mesin pengering anda. Elemen pemanas pada mesin pengering ini seperti burner, pematik api, sensor termal panas.  Usahakan untuk selalu memeriksa dan membersihkan elemen tersebut dari kotoran, sehingga proses pengeringan akan dapat dilakukan dengan cepat. Pastikan selalu untuk melihat ignitor yang berwarna merah itu menyala  dan timbul percikan api ketika mesin pengering dihidupkan. Namun jika ignitor tersebut menyala dengan lampu indikatornya berwarna putih atau kekuningan, maka ada baiknya untuk segera ganti ignitor tersebut dengan yang baru.
    Pastikan pengaturan proses pengeringan sesuai dengan pakaian  yang akan dikeringkan. Untuk dapat mengatur proses pengeringan pakaian, anda alihkan tombol atau knop program  pada setelan normal heat atau panas sedang. Namun jika anda memilih tombola tau knop program no heat, maka tidak akan udara panas yang keluar. Semua hal tentang pengaturan pengeringan mulai dari memilih waktu, pilihan program, jenis kain dan juga temperature sangat memainkan peran yang sangat penting  dalam proses pengeringan pakaian di dalam mesin pengering

Editor : Dian Sukmawati

> PERAWATAN MESIAN PENGERING

Robert Patterson Jr., Lawyer and Judge Who Fought for the Accused, Dies at 91

Judge Patterson helped to protect the rights of Attica inmates after the prison riot in 1971 and later served on the Federal District Court in Manhattan.

Robert Patterson Jr., Lawyer and Judge Who Fought for the Accused, Dies at 91 | PAKET UMROH BULAN JANUARI 2016

From T Magazine: Street Lit’s Power Couple

THE WRITERS ASHLEY AND JAQUAVIS COLEMAN know the value of a good curtain-raiser. The couple have co-authored dozens of novels, and they like to start them with a bang: a headlong action sequence, a blast of violence or sex that rocks readers back on their heels. But the Colemans concede they would be hard-pressed to dream up anything more gripping than their own real-life opening scene.

In the summer of 2001, JaQuavis Coleman was a 16-year-old foster child in Flint, Mich., the former auto-manufacturing mecca that had devolved, in the wake of General Motors’ plant closures, into one of the country’s most dangerous cities, with a decimated economy and a violent crime rate more than three times the national average. When JaQuavis was 8, social services had removed him from his mother’s home. He spent years bouncing between foster families. At 16, JaQuavis was also a businessman: a crack dealer with a network of street-corner peddlers in his employ.

One day that summer, JaQuavis met a fellow dealer in a parking lot on Flint’s west side. He was there to make a bulk sale of a quarter-brick, or “nine-piece” — a nine-ounce parcel of cocaine, with a street value of about $11,000. In the middle of the transaction, JaQuavis heard the telltale chirp of a walkie-talkie. His customer, he now realized, was an undercover policeman. JaQuavis jumped into his car and spun out onto the road, with two unmarked police cars in pursuit. He didn’t want to get into a high-speed chase, so he whipped his car into a church parking lot and made a run for it, darting into an alleyway behind a row of small houses, where he tossed the quarter-brick into some bushes. When JaQuavis reached the small residential street on the other side of the houses, he was greeted by the police, who handcuffed him and went to search behind the houses where, they told him, they were certain he had ditched the drugs. JaQuavis had been dealing since he was 12, had amassed more than $100,000 and had never been arrested. Now, he thought: It’s over.

But when the police looked in the bushes, they couldn’t find any cocaine. They interrogated JaQuavis, who denied having ever possessed or sold drugs. They combed the backyard alley some more. After an hour of fruitless efforts, the police were forced to unlock the handcuffs and release their suspect.

JaQuavis was baffled by the turn of events until the next day, when he received a phone call. The previous afternoon, a 15-year-old girl had been sitting in her home on the west side of Flint when she heard sirens. She looked out of the window of her bedroom, and watched a young man throw a package in the bushes behind her house. She recognized him. He was a high school classmate — a handsome, charismatic boy whom she had admired from afar. The girl crept outside and grabbed the bundle, which she hid in her basement. “I have something that belongs to you,” Ashley Snell told JaQuavis Coleman when she reached him by phone. “You wanna come over here and pick it up?”

Photo
Three of the nearly 50 works of urban fiction published by the Colemans over the last decade, often featuring drug deals, violence, sex and a brash kind of feminism.Credit Marko Metzinger

In the Colemans’ first novel, “Dirty Money” (2005), they told a version of this story. The outline was the same: the drug deal gone bad, the dope chucked in the bushes, the fateful phone call. To the extent that the authors took poetic license, it was to tone down the meet-cute improbability of the true-life events. In “Dirty Money,” the girl, Anari, and the crack dealer, Maurice, circle each other warily for a year or so before coupling up. But the facts of Ashley and JaQuavis’s romance outstripped pulp fiction. They fell in love more or less at first sight, moved into their own apartment while still in high school and were married in 2008. “We were together from the day we met,” Ashley says. “I don’t think we’ve spent more than a week apart in total over the past 14 years.”

That partnership turned out to be creative and entrepreneurial as well as romantic. Over the past decade, the Colemans have published nearly 50 books, sometimes as solo writers, sometimes under pseudonyms, but usually as collaborators with a byline that has become a trusted brand: “Ashley & JaQuavis.” They are marquee stars of urban fiction, or street lit, a genre whose inner-city settings and lurid mix of crime, sex and sensationalism have earned it comparisons to gangsta rap. The emergence of street lit is one of the big stories in recent American publishing, a juggernaut that has generated huge sales by catering to a readership — young, black and, for the most part, female — that historically has been ill-served by the book business. But the genre is also widely maligned. Street lit is subject to a kind of triple snobbery: scorned by literati who look down on genre fiction generally, ignored by a white publishing establishment that remains largely indifferent to black books and disparaged by African-American intellectuals for poor writing, coarse values and trafficking in racial stereotypes.

But if a certain kind of cultural prestige is shut off to the Colemans, they have reaped other rewards. They’ve built a large and loyal fan base, which gobbles up the new Ashley & JaQuavis titles that arrive every few months. Many of those books are sold at street-corner stands and other off-the-grid venues in African-American neighborhoods, a literary gray market that doesn’t register a blip on best-seller tallies. Yet the Colemans’ most popular series now regularly crack the trade fiction best-seller lists of The New York Times and Publishers Weekly. For years, the pair had no literary agent; they sold hundreds of thousands of books without banking a penny in royalties. Still, they have earned millions of dollars, almost exclusively from cash-for-manuscript deals negotiated directly with independent publishing houses. In short, though little known outside of the world of urban fiction, the Colemans are one of America’s most successful literary couples, a distinction they’ve achieved, they insist, because of their work’s gritty authenticity and their devotion to a primal literary virtue: the power of the ripping yarn.

“When you read our books, you’re gonna realize: ‘Ashley & JaQuavis are storytellers,’ ” says Ashley. “Our tales will get your heart pounding.”

THE COLEMANS’ HOME BASE — the cottage from which they operate their cottage industry — is a spacious four-bedroom house in a genteel suburb about 35 miles north of downtown Detroit. The house is plush, but when I visited this past winter, it was sparsely appointed. The couple had just recently moved in, and had only had time to fully furnish the bedroom of their 4-year-old son, Quaye.

In conversation, Ashley and JaQuavis exude both modesty and bravado: gratitude for their good fortune and bootstrappers’ pride in having made their own luck. They talk a lot about their time in the trenches, the years they spent as a drug dealer and “ride-or-die girl” tandem. In Flint they learned to “grind hard.” Writing, they say, is merely a more elevated kind of grind.

“Instead of hitting the block like we used to, we hit the laptops,” says Ashley. “I know what every word is worth. So while I’m writing, I’m like: ‘Okay, there’s a hundred dollars. There’s a thousand dollars. There’s five thousand dollars.’ ”

They maintain a rigorous regimen. They each try to write 5,000 words per day, five days a week. The writers stagger their shifts: JaQuavis goes to bed at 7 p.m. and wakes up early, around 3 or 4 in the morning, to work while his wife and child sleep. Ashley writes during the day, often in libraries or at Starbucks.

They divide the labor in other ways. Chapters are divvied up more or less equally, with tasks assigned according to individual strengths. (JaQuavis typically handles character development. Ashley loves writing murder scenes.) The results are stitched together, with no editorial interference from one author in the other’s text. The real work, they contend, is the brainstorming. The Colemans spend weeks mapping out their plot-driven books — long conversations that turn into elaborate diagrams on dry-erase boards. “JaQuavis and I are so close, it makes the process real easy,” says Ashley. “Sometimes when I’m thinking of something, a plot point, he’ll say it out loud, and I’m like: ‘Wait — did I say that?’ ”

Their collaboration developed by accident, and on the fly. Both were bookish teenagers. Ashley read lots of Judy Blume and John Grisham; JaQuavis liked Shakespeare, Richard Wright and “Atlas Shrugged.” (Their first official date was at a Borders bookstore, where Ashley bought “The Coldest Winter Ever,” the Sister Souljah novel often credited with kick-starting the contemporary street-lit movement.) In 2003, Ashley, then 17, was forced to terminate an ectopic pregnancy. She was bedridden for three weeks, and to provide distraction and boost her spirits, JaQuavis challenged his girlfriend to a writing contest. “She just wasn’t talking. She was laying in bed. I said, ‘You know what? I bet you I could write a better book than you.’ My wife is real competitive. So I said, ‘Yo, all right, $500 bet.’ And I saw her eyes spark, like, ‘What?! You can’t write no better book than me!’ So I wrote about three chapters. She wrote about three chapters. Two days later, we switched.”

The result, hammered out in a few days, would become “Dirty Money.” Two years later, when Ashley and JaQuavis were students at Ferris State University in Western Michigan, they sold the manuscript to Urban Books, a street-lit imprint founded by the best-selling author Carl Weber. At the time, JaQuavis was still making his living selling drugs. When Ashley got the phone call informing her that their book had been bought, she assumed they’d hit it big, and flushed more than $10,000 worth of cocaine down the toilet. Their advance was a mere $4,000.

Photo
The roots of street lit, found in the midcentury detective novels of Chester Himes and the ‘60s and ‘70s “ghetto fiction” of Iceberg Slim and Donald Goines.Credit Marko Metzinger

Those advances would soon increase, eventually reaching five and six figures. The Colemans built their career, JaQuavis says, in a manner that made sense to him as a veteran dope peddler: by flooding the street with product. From the start, they were prolific, churning out books at a rate of four or five a year. Their novels made their way into stores; the now-defunct chain Waldenbooks, which had stores in urban areas typically bypassed by booksellers, was a major engine of the street-lit market. But Ashley and JaQuavis took advantage of distribution channels established by pioneering urban fiction authors such as Teri Woods and Vickie Stringer, and a network of street-corner tables, magazine stands, corner shops and bodegas. Like rappers who establish their bona fides with gray-market mixtapes, street-lit authors use this system to circumnavigate industry gatekeepers, bringing their work straight to the genre’s core readership. But urban fiction has other aficionados, in less likely places. “Our books are so popular in the prison system,” JaQuavis says. “We’re banned in certain penitentiaries. Inmates fight over the books — there are incidents, you know? I have loved ones in jail, and they’re like: ‘Yo, your books can’t come in here. It’s against the rules.’ ”

The appeal of the Colemans’ work is not hard to fathom. The books are formulaic and taut; they deliver the expected goods efficiently and exuberantly. The titles telegraph the contents: “Diary of a Street Diva,” “Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang,” “Murderville.” The novels serve up a stream of explicit sex and violence in a slangy, tangy, profane voice. In Ashley & JaQuavis’s books people don’t get killed: they get “popped,” “laid out,” get their “cap twisted back.” The smut is constant, with emphasis on the earthy, sticky, olfactory particulars. Romance novel clichés — shuddering orgasms, heroic carnal feats, superlative sexual skill sets — are rendered in the Colemans’ punchy patois.

Subtlety, in other words, isn’t Ashley & JaQuavis’s forte. But their books do have a grainy specificity. In “The Cartel” (2008), the first novel in the Colemans’ best-selling saga of a Miami drug syndicate, they catch the sights and smells of a crack workshop in a housing project: the nostril-stinging scent of cocaine and baking soda bubbling on stovetops; the teams of women, stripped naked except for hospital masks so they can’t pilfer the merchandise, “cutting up the cooked coke on the round wood table.” The subject matter is dark, but the Colemans’ tone is not quite noir. Even in the grimmest scenes, the mood is high-spirited, with the writers palpably relishing the lewd and gory details: the bodies writhing in boudoirs and crumpling under volleys of bullets, the geysers of blood and other bodily fluids.

The luridness of street lit has made it a flashpoint, inciting controversy reminiscent of the hip-hop culture wars of the 1980s and ’90s. But the street-lit debate touches deeper historical roots, reviving decades-old arguments in black literary circles about the mandate to uplift the race and present wholesome images of African-Americans. In 1928, W. E. B. Du Bois slammed the “licentiousness” of “Home to Harlem,” Claude McKay’s rollicking novel of Harlem nightlife. McKay’s book, Du Bois wrote, “for the most part nauseates me, and after the dirtier parts of its filth I feel distinctly like taking a bath.” Similar sentiments have greeted 21st-century street lit. In a 2006 New York Times Op-Ed essay, the journalist and author Nick Chiles decried “the sexualization and degradation of black fiction.” African-American bookstores, Chiles complained, are “overrun with novels that . . . appeal exclusively to our most prurient natures — as if these nasty books were pairing off back in the stockrooms like little paperback rabbits and churning out even more graphic offspring that make Ralph Ellison books cringe into a dusty corner.”

Copulating paperbacks aside, it’s clear that the street-lit debate is about more than literature, touching on questions of paternalism versus populism, and on middle-class anxieties about the black underclass. “It’s part and parcel of black elites’ efforts to define not only a literary tradition, but a racial politics,” said Kinohi Nishikawa, an assistant professor of English and African-American Studies at Princeton University. “There has always been a sense that because African-Americans’ opportunities to represent themselves are so limited in the first place, any hint of criminality or salaciousness would necessarily be a knock on the entire racial politics. One of the pressing debates about African-American literature today is: If we can’t include writers like Ashley & JaQuavis, to what extent is the foundation of our thinking about black literature faulty? Is it just a literature for elites? Or can it be inclusive, bringing urban fiction under the purview of our umbrella term ‘African-American literature’?”

Defenders of street lit note that the genre has a pedigree: a tradition of black pulp fiction that stretches from Chester Himes, the midcentury author of hardboiled Harlem detective stories, to the 1960s and ’70s “ghetto fiction” of Iceberg Slim and Donald Goines, to the current wave of urban fiction authors. Others argue for street lit as a social good, noting that it attracts a large audience that might otherwise never read at all. Scholars like Nishikawa link street lit to recent studies showing increased reading among African-Americans. A 2014 Pew Research Center report found that a greater percentage of black Americans are book readers than whites or Latinos.

For their part, the Colemans place their work in the broader black literary tradition. “You have Maya Angelou, Alice Walker, James Baldwin — all of these traditional black writers, who wrote about the struggles of racism, injustice, inequality,” says Ashley. “We’re writing about the struggle as it happens now. It’s just a different struggle. I’m telling my story. I’m telling the struggle of a black girl from Flint, Michigan, who grew up on welfare.”

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The Colemans in their new four-bedroom house in the northern suburbs of Detroit.Credit Courtesy of Ashley and JaQuavis Coleman

Perhaps there is a high-minded case to be made for street lit. But the virtues of Ashley & JaQuavis’s work are more basic. Their novels do lack literary polish. The writing is not graceful; there are passages of clunky exposition and sex scenes that induce guffaws and eye rolls. But the pleasure quotient is high. The books flaunt a garish brand of feminism, with women characters cast not just as vixens, but also as gangsters — cold-blooded killers, “murder mamas.” The stories are exceptionally well-plotted. “The Cartel” opens by introducing its hero, the crime boss Carter Diamond; on page 9, a gunshot spatters Diamond’s brain across the interior of a police cruiser. The book then flashes back seven years and begins to hurtle forward again — a bullet train, whizzing readers through shifting alliances, romantic entanglements and betrayals, kidnappings, shootouts with Haitian and Dominican gangsters, and a cliffhanger closing scene that leaves the novel’s heroine tied to a chair in a basement, gruesomely tortured to the edge of death. Ashley & JaQuavis’s books are not Ralph Ellison, certainly, but they build up quite a head of steam. They move.

The Colemans are moving themselves these days. They recently signed a deal with St. Martin’s Press, which will bring out the next installment in the “Cartel” series as well as new solo series by both writers. The St. Martin’s deal is both lucrative and legitimizing — a validation of Ashley and JaQuavis’s work by one of publishing’s most venerable houses. The Colemans’ ambitions have grown, as well. A recent trilogy, “Murderville,” tackles human trafficking and the blood-diamond industry in West Africa, with storylines that sweep from Sierra Leone to Mexico to Los Angeles. Increasingly, Ashley & JaQuavis are leaning on research — traveling to far-flung settings and hitting the books in the libraries — and spending less time mining their own rough-and-tumble past.

But Flint remains a source of inspiration. One evening not long ago, JaQuavis led me on a tour of his hometown: a popular roadside bar; the parking lot where he met the undercover cop for the ill-fated drug deal; Ashley’s old house, the site of his almost-arrest. He took me to a ramshackle vehicle repair shop on Flint’s west side, where he worked as a kid, washing cars. He showed me a bathroom at the rear of the garage, where, at age 12, he sneaked away to inspect the first “boulder” of crack that he ever sold. A spray-painted sign on the garage wall, which JaQuavis remembered from his time at the car wash, offered words of warning:

WHAT EVERY YOUNG MAN SHOULD KNOW
ABOUT USING A GUN:
MURDER . . . 30 Years
ARMED ROBBERY . . . 15 Years
ASSAULT . . . 15 Years
RAPE . . . 20 Years
POSSESSION . . . 5 Years
JACKING . . . 20 YEARS

“We still love Flint, Michigan,” JaQuavis says. “It’s so seedy, so treacherous. But there’s some heart in this city. This is where it all started, selling books out the box. In the days when we would get those little $40,000 advances, they’d send us a couple boxes of books for free. We would hit the streets to sell our books, right out of the car trunk. It was a hustle. It still is.”

One old neighborhood asset that the Colemans have not shaken off is swagger. “My wife is the best female writer in the game,” JaQuavis told me. “I believe I’m the best male writer in the game. I’m sleeping next to the best writer in the world. And she’s doing the same.”

 
From T Magazine: Street Lit’s Power Couple | PAKET UMROH BULAN JANUARI 2016

As Vice Moves More to TV, It Tries to Keep Brash Voice

The live music at the Vice Media party on Friday shook the room. Shane Smith, Vice’s chief executive, was standing near the stage — with a drink in his hand, pants sagging, tattoos showing — watching the rapper-cum-chef Action Bronson make pizzas.

The event was an after-party, a happy-hour bacchanal for the hundreds of guests who had come for Vice’s annual presentation to advertisers and agencies that afternoon, part of the annual frenzy for ad dollars called the Digital Content NewFronts. Mr. Smith had spoken there for all of five minutes before running a slam-bang highlight reel of the company’s shows that had titles like “Weediquette” and “Gaycation.”

In the last year, Vice has secured $500 million in financing and signed deals worth hundreds of millions of dollars with established media companies like HBO that are eager to engage the young viewers Vice attracts. Vice said it was now worth at least $4 billion, with nearly $1 billion in projected revenue for 2015. It is a long way from Vice’s humble start as a free magazine in 1994.

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At the Vice after-party, the rapper Action Bronson, a host of a Vice show, made a pizza. Credit Jesse Dittmar for The New York Times

But even as cash flows freely in Vice’s direction, the company is trying to keep its brash, insurgent image. At the party on Friday, it plied guests with beers and cocktails. Its apparently unrehearsed presentation to advertisers was peppered with expletives. At one point, the director Spike Jonze, a longtime Vice collaborator, asked on stage if Mr. Smith had been drinking.

“My assistant tried to cut me off,” Mr. Smith replied. “I’m on buzz control.”

Now, Vice is on the verge of getting its own cable channel, which would give the company a traditional outlet for its slate of non-news programming. If all goes as planned, A&E Networks, the television group owned by Hearst and Disney, will turn over its History Channel spinoff, H2, to Vice.

The deal’s announcement was expected last week, but not all of A&E’s distribution partners — the cable and satellite TV companies that carry the network’s channels — have signed off on the change, according to a person familiar with the negotiations who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the talks were private.

A cable channel would be a further step in a transformation for Vice, from bad-boy digital upstart to mainstream media company.

Keen for the core audience of young men who come to Vice, media giants like 21st Century Fox, Time Warner and Disney all showed interest in the company last year. Vice ultimately secured $500 million in financing from A&E Networks and Technology Crossover Ventures, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm that has invested in Facebook and Netflix.

Those investments valued Vice at more than $2.5 billion. (In 2013, Fox bought a 5 percent stake for $70 million.)

Then in March, HBO announced that it had signed a multiyear deal to broadcast a daily half-hour Vice newscast. Vice already produces a weekly newsmagazine show, called “Vice,” for the network. That show will extend its run through 2018, with an increase to 35 episodes a year, from 14.

Michael Lombardo, HBO’s president for programming, said when the deal was announced that it was “certainly one of our biggest investments with hours on the air.”

Vice, based in Brooklyn, also recently signed a multiyear $100 million deal with Rogers Communications, a Canadian media conglomerate, to produce original content for TV, smartphone and desktop viewers.

Vice’s finances are private, but according to an internal document reviewed by The New York Times and verified by a person familiar with the company’s financials, the company is on track to make about $915 million in revenue this year.

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Vice showed a highlight reel of its TV series at the NewFronts last week in New York. Credit Jesse Dittmar for The New York Times

It brought in $545 million in a strong first quarter, which included portions of the new HBO deal and the Rogers deal, according to the document. More of its revenue now comes from these types of content partnerships, compared with the branded content deals that made up much of its revenue a year ago, the company said.

Mr. Smith said the company was worth at least $4 billion. If the valuation gets much higher, he said he would consider taking the company public.

“I don’t care about money; we have plenty of money,” Mr. Smith, who is Vice’s biggest shareholder, said in an interview after the presentation on Friday. “I care about strategic deals.”

In the United States, Vice Media had 35.2 million unique visitors across its sites in March, according to comScore.

The third season of Vice’s weekly HBO show has averaged 1.8 million viewers per episode, including reruns, through April 12, according to Brad Adgate, the director of research at Horizon Media. (Vice said the show attracted three million weekly viewers when repeat broadcasts, online and on-demand viewings were included.)

For years, Mr. Smith has criticized traditional TV, calling it slow and unable to draw younger viewers. But if all the deals Vice has struck are to work out, Mr. Smith may have to play more by the rules of traditional media. James Murdoch, Rupert Murdoch’s son and a member of Vice’s board, was at the company’s presentation on Friday, as were other top media executives.

“They know they need people like me to help them, but they can’t get out of their own way,” Mr. Smith said in the interview Friday. “My only real frustration is we’re used to being incredibly dynamic, and they’re not incredibly dynamic.”

With its own television channel in the United States, Vice would have something it has long coveted even as traditional media companies are looking beyond TV. Last year, Vice’s deal with Time Warner failed in part because the two companies could not agree on how much control Vice would have over a 24-hour television network.

Vice said it intended to fill its new channel with non-news programming. The company plans to have sports shows, fashion shows, food shows and the “Gaycation” travel show with the actress Ellen Page. It is also in talks with Kanye West about a show.

It remains to be seen whether Vice’s audience will watch a traditional cable channel. Still, Vice has effectively presold all of the ad spots to two of the biggest advertising agencies for the first three years, Mr. Smith said.

In the meantime, Mr. Smith is enjoying Vice’s newfound role as a potential savior of traditional media companies.

“I’m a C.E.O. of a content company,” Mr. Smith said before he caught a flight to Las Vegas for the boxing match on Saturday between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao. “If it stops being fun, then why are you doing it?”

As Vice Moves More to TV, It Tries to Keep Brash Voice | PAKET UMROH BULAN JANUARI 2016

Hard but Hopeful Home to ‘Lot of Freddies’

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

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

Hard but Hopeful Home to ‘Lot of Freddies’

Hard but Hopeful Home to ‘Lot of Freddies’ | PAKET UMROH BULAN JANUARI 2016

William Price Fox, Admired Southern Novelist and Humorist, Dies at 89

Mr. Fox, known for his well-honed countrified voice, wrote about things dear to South Carolina and won over Yankee critics.

William Price Fox, Admired Southern Novelist and Humorist, Dies at 89 | PAKET UMROH BULAN JANUARI 2016

Edward Chambers, Early Leader in Community Organizing, Dies at 85

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 | PAKET UMROH BULAN JANUARI 2016

Calvin Peete, 71, a Racial Pioneer on the PGA Tour, Is Dead

With 12 tournament victories in his career, Mr. Peete was the most successful black professional golfer before Tiger Woods.

Calvin Peete, 71, a Racial Pioneer on the PGA Tour, Is Dead | PAKET UMROH BULAN JANUARI 2016

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

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 | PAKET UMROH BULAN JANUARI 2016

Suzanne Crough, Actress in ‘The Partridge Family,’ Dies at 52

Ms. Crough played the youngest daughter on the hit ’70s sitcom starring David Cassidy and Shirley Jones.

Suzanne Crough, Actress in ‘The Partridge Family,’ Dies at 52 | PAKET UMROH BULAN JANUARI 2016

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

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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.

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rhapsody, a Lofty Literary Journal, Perused at 39,000 Feet | PAKET UMROH BULAN JANUARI 2016

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

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 | PAKET UMROH BULAN JANUARI 2016

Dave Goldberg Was Lifelong Women’s Advocate

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dave Goldberg Was Lifelong Women’s Advocate | PAKET UMROH BULAN JANUARI 2016

Take the Money and Run

The career criminals in genre novels don’t have money problems. If they need some, they just go out and steal it. But such financial transactions can backfire, which is what happened back in 2004 when the Texas gang in Michael

Take the Money and Run | PAKET UMROH BULAN JANUARI 2016

Gene Fullmer, a Brawling Middleweight Champion, Dies at 83

Fullmer, who reigned when fight clubs abounded and Friday night fights were a television staple, was known for his title bouts with Sugar Ray Robinson and Carmen Basilio.

Gene Fullmer, a Brawling Middleweight Champion, Dies at 83 | PAKET UMROH BULAN JANUARI 2016

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

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.

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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 | PAKET UMROH BULAN JANUARI 2016

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