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Terpidana korupsi Wisma Atlet dan Kementerian Pendidikan Nasional (Kemendiknas) Angelina Sondakh telah memastikan akan mengajukan Peninjauan Kembali (PK) atas vonis kasasi yang telah diberikan oleh Mahkamah Agung (MA). Angelina Sondakh yang akrab disapa Angie ini telah divonis lebih berat oleh MA yakni, 12 tahun penjara yang awalnya hanya 4,5 tahun di pengadilan Tipikor. Pengacara Angie, Teuku Nasrullah telah menegaskan bahwa pihaknya pasti akan mengajukan PK atas vonis yang dinilai terlalu berat itu. Namun, dia belum dapat memastikan, kapan akan mengajukan PK. "Anggie kita pastikan akan mengajukan PK, tetapi kita tahu situasi sekarang lagi enggak kondusif," ujar Nasrullah saat dihubungi, Senin (10/3). Nasrullah juga tidak menjelaskan lebih dalam apa maksud situasi sedang tidak kondusif sehingga belum mau mengajukan PK dalam waktu dekat. Yang jelas, kata dia, Angie bakal ajukan PK setelah pihaknya melihat ada momentum yang baik. "Saya tidak ingin memperjelas itu, itu sudah cukup bahasa saya, dengan sekarang ini tidak kondusif. Dan tidak ingin melemparkan satu statemen yang akan menyulitkan klien saya nanti. Apa yang tidak kondusif itu, kita tidak ingin bahas," tutur dia. Nasrullah pun juga menyatakan belum tahu pasti kapan akan mengajukan PK. "Belum-belum. Belum saya pastikan kapan, tapi pasti kita akan PK," imbuhnya. Dia juga menambahkan, akan legowo jika nantinya MA menolak permohonan PK kliennya itu. Akan tetapi, harus berdasarkan aturan hukum, bukan opini belaka. "Tapi yang telah menjadi masalah adalah, kalau putusan itu tidak logis, tidak masuk akal, emosional. Lebih kepada publisitas dan lebih kepada rasa pribadi, bukan hukum," tegas dia. Dia pun protes ketika hakim telah memutuskan berdasarkan emosional pribadi semata. Akibatnya, kliennya pun telah dirugikan dalam hal ini. "Karena hakim itu seharusnya, tidak menggunakan rasa-rasa pribadi dia. Hakim itu harus tunduk kepada hukum. Bukan emosional pribadi kalau sudah merujuk pada hukum yang benar kita harus terima," pungkasnya. Diberitakan, Mahkamah Konstitusi (MK) mengabulkan judical review pasal 268 ayat 3 KUHAP tentang Peninjauan Kembali (PK) bagi terpidana bisa lebih dari satu kali. Judical review ini telah diajukan oleh mantan Ketua Komisi Pemberantasan Korupsi (KPK) Antasari Azhar. "Mengabulkan permohonan pemohon," ujar Ketua Majelis Hamdan Zoelva, saat membacakan sidang putusan uji materi tersebut di ruang sidang MK, Gedung MK, Jl. Medan Merdeka Barat, Jakarta Pusat. Dalam putusannya, pertimbangan MK jika Pasal 268 ayat 3 tersebut bertentangan dengan UUD 1945 sehingga dinyatakan tidak memiliki kekuatan hukum mengikat. Mahkamah berpendapat, keadilan tidak dibatasi oleh waktu dan hanya boleh sekali. Sebab menurut Mahkamah, sangat dimungkinkan ditemukan keadaan baru (novum) yang saat PK pertama kali atau sebelumnya belum ditemukan.> PK BOLEH BERKALI KALI
Saco-Indonesia.com - Buah tomat merupakan salah satu makanan sehat yang memiliki banyak manfaat untuk kesehatan. Selain kaya akan vitamin C dan serat yang baik untuk menurunkan berat badan, ternyata makan tomat secara rutin juga ampuh untuk cegah stroke.
Seperti dilansir dari bbc.co.uk, tomat memiliki salah satu zat antioksidan yang dinamakan dengan lycopene. Zat ini mampu menurunkan kadar kolesterol di dalam tubuh Anda yang dapat memicu kanker dan serangan jantung.
Dalam sebuah penelitian yang diterbitkan di jurnal Neurology ini, menunjukkan bahwa mereka yang memiliki kandungan lycopene yang tinggi di dalam darah mereka maka kecenderungan untuk terserang penyakit stroke akan menurun secara drastis.
"Penelitian ini menambah bukti bahwa mengonsumsi buah dan sayur secara rutin mampu menurunkan risiko beberapa penyakit berbahaya seperti stroke, penyakit jantung, hingga diabetes," jelas Dr Jouni Karppi dari Eastern Finland University.
Jadi masih menemukan alasan untuk tidak mengonsumsi buah dan sayur secara rutin?
Editor : Maulana Lee
Sumber :merdeka.com> Konsumsi tomat secara rutin untuk cegah stroke
Salah satu peluang usaha yang lagi trend adalah Peluang usaha bisnis balon dekorasi. Semakin banyak orang yang membuat pesta di negeri ini, maka semakin banyak pula pintu rejeki bagi pengusaha balon dekorasi.
Meningkatnya pertumbuhan ekonomi masyarakat Indonesia mendorong banyaknya di selengggarakan acara acara pesta seperti acar ulang tahun, reoni, presmian dan sebagainya. Nah seiring dengan meningkatnya penyelenggara acara2 pesta maka semakin terbuka pula peluang usaha bisnis balon dekorasi ini.
Pada umumnya konsumen lebih suka memakai jasa dari pengusaha balon dekorasi sebab lebih praktis dan tampilannya juga lebih cantik daripada bikin sendiri. Acara acara pesta sering memakai jasa balon dekorasi ini seperti acara pernikahan, ulang tahun, atau acara komunitas tertentu seperti acara peluncuruan produk terbaru, peresmian kantor baru, atau acara ulang tahun suatu perusahaan.
Biasanya dekorasi yang sering di lihat adalah dekorasi hiasan bunga, namun sekarang banyak yang menambah hiasan hiasan rangkaian aneka balon sebab akan lebih menarik dan rame apalagi jika di tambah dengan hiasan yang lain seperti penghias dinding, plafon ruangan dan sebagainya.
Peluang Usaha Bisnis Balon DekorasiTampilan hiasan balon dekorasi tidak kalah menarik dengan hiasan dekorasi bunga, harganya juga bisa lebih ringan dan konsumen bisa memesan balon dengan berbagai bentuk. Keunggulan lain yang ada pada balon dekorasi adalah balon dekorasi juga bisa di gunakan untuk promosi produk.
Balon promosi umumnya berbeda dengan balon dekorasi, balon promosi ukurannya lebih besar daripada balon dekorasi. Balon promosi juga biasanya tersedia dalam berbagai bentuk seperti bentuk kotak, bentuk oval atau bentuk bentuk sesuai pesanan yang lain.
Di kota-kota besar peluang usaha balon dekorasi ini sangat terbuka khususnya di kota-kota besar yang berada di luar pulau jawa. Tingginya daya beli masyarkat luar pulau jawa mendorong banyaknya didirikan kantor-kantor baru. Ini tentu sangat menguntungkan bagi pengusaha balon dekorasi.
Faktor lain yang membuat usaha balon dekorasi memiliki prospek bisnis yang bagus adalah meningkatnya jumlah orang yang berduit di negeri ini, dan orang berduit biasanya sering mengadakan acara-acara tertentu yang membutuhkan jasa dekorasi termasuk juga balon dekorasi. Selain itu, budaya merayakan hari ulang tahun masih sangat kental di beberapa daerah di Indonesia.
Para pelaku usaha balon dekorasi biasanya juga menyediakan balon-balon mainan, sebab biasanya dalam suatu pesta yang di selenggarakan oleh perorangan, para tamu sering membawa keluarganya yang termasuk juga anak2 anaknya. Nah, balaon mainan anak-anak sangat pentingn peranannya dalam acara seperti ini. Semakin komplit perlengkapan balon dekorasi yang tersedia, maka semakin besar pula omzet yang akan di dapat.
Usaha balo dekorasi bisa di jalankan dengan skala besar atau skala kecil / usaha modal kecil. Usaha balon dekorasi skala besar biasanya modalnya bisa mencapai ratusan juta Rupiah, namun untuk usaha balon dekorasi skala kecil, Modal kurang dari Rp. 50.000.000 ( lima puluh juta ) pun sudah bisa di jalankan.
Peluang Usaha Bisnis Balon DekorasiUntuk memudahkan konsumen memilih jasa dekorasi, biasanya pemain bisnis ini mengemas jasanya dalam beberapa paket. Balon Indonesia, misalnya, menyiapkan paket sederhana yang terdiri dari dekorasi satu kreasi gapura balon, 10 kreasi bunga, serta 10 kreasi balon lampion. Kedua, paket standar bertarif Rp 1.950.000 dengan fasilitas dua dekorasi balon berdiri, balon satuan dengan luas hiasan delapan meter persegi (m²).
Terakhir, paket meriah dengan harga Rp 2,8 juta hingga Rp 5 juta. Di paket ini, patokan harga bergantung pada tingkat kerumitan dan banyaknya balon. “Namun, biasanya, paket meriah terdiri dari empat dekorasi balon berdiri (standing) satu gapura, satu balon karakter, 20 balon kreasi lampion dan kreasi bunga dengan luas hiasan hingga 20 m²,” jelas Dwi.
Tak jauh berbeda dengan Balon Indonesia, Fimas Balon juga mengemas jasanya dalam dua paket. Pertama, paket sederhana berharga Rp 1,5 juta dengan luas 2,5 x 2 m². Kedua, paket meriah yang harganya disesuaikan dengan permintaan. “Yang pasti luasan ruang yang dihias lebih dari 2,5 x 2 m²,” tambah Ari Setiawan, pemilik Fimas Balon. Dalam sebulan, Ari mampu menangani hingga sepuluh paket balon dekorasi.
Untuk Memulai, Jadilah Agen Balon Dekorasi Terlebih Dahulu
Dengan menjadi nagen terlebih dahulu, maka anda akan tahu dengan pasti berapa besarnya modal yang di perlukan untuk membeli perlengkapan perlengkapannya seperti membeli mesin jahit balon, alat stok gas, pompa angin dan lain-lain.
Untuk bisa menjadi agen tentu anda harus memiliki relasi dengan pemilik ketiga perlengkapan tersebut, sekaligus pemasok karet untuk bahan balon. Setelah mahir di bidang agen, selanjutnya anda bisa beranjak ke tahap berikutnya yaitu tahap promosi agar mendapatkan klien yang banyak. Promosi yang baik saat ini adalah promosi melalui internet misalnya dengan membuat website atau lewat jejaring sosial seperti facebook, twitter dan jejaring sosial lainnya.
Pada saat mulai berdiri anda bisa menjalin kerja sama dengan pemain-pemain besar dengan tujuan agar mendapatkan order. Saat mulai membuka usaha balon dekorasi ini, anda juga tidak perlu merekrut banyak karyawan, cukup merekrut karyawan yang sangat di butuhkan saja, selebihnya bisa anda kerjakan sendiri.
Bahan baku balon dekorasi ini adalah karet balon yang banyak dijual pemasok (supplier) karet atau lateks balon lokal. Carilah lateks balon dalam berbagai warna dan ukuran. Harganya berkisar Rp 500 hingga Rp 1.000 per lembar. Pembentukan dan pencantuman tulisan di balon, biasanya kita lakukan sendiri, karena baru bisa diputuskan setelah bertemu klien.> DEKORASI BALON PROMOSI
saco-indonesia.com, Sebuah mobil Isuzu Panther yang bernomor polisi B 2705 BK telah menabrak pohon di Jalan Hankam, Jakarta Timur. Kecelakaan tersebut telah terjadi sekitar pukul 02.40 dinihari WIB.
"Kecelakaan Isuzu Panther B 2705 BK telah menabrak pohon di Jalan Hankam Jaktim dan masih penanganan," tulis petugas TMC, dari akun twitter @TMCPoldaMetro pada Senin (10/2/2014)
Hingga saat ini belum dapat diketahui kronologi kecelakaan tersebut. Polisi juga masih harus melakukan penanganan di lokasi kejadian.
> ISUZU PANTER TABRAK POHON DI JALAN HANKAM
Editor : Dian Sukmawati
Saco-Indonesia.com — Pada umumnya perempuan Asia terlahir dengan hidung yang bisa dibilang tak terlalu bangir alias pesek, yang menyebabkan kebanyakan dari kita berlomba-lomba memancungkannya lewat bedah kosmetika.
Perempuan Korea, China, dan Thailand paling terkenal gemar “memugar” wajah demi mencapai kesempurnaan fisik. Bahkan kabarnya, kebiasaan ini sudah dimulai saat usia mereka menginjak 17 tahun. Bagi mereka, operasi plastik tidak lagi dipandang sebagai tren ekstrem, melainkan sudah menjadi kebutuhan.
Seperti dikutip dari DailyMail, sekarang bentuk hidung seperti menara Eiffel sedang digandrungi para perempuan China. Menurut mereka, bentuk hidung seperti itu dapat mencurahkan rezeki.
Dibandingkan perempuan pekerja, ternyata jumlah pasien untuk bedah kosmetik hidung menara Eiffel ini didominasi dari kalangan mahasiswi. Tujuannya supaya lebih mudah memperoleh pekerjaan kelak jika mereka lulus kuliah!
Apa pasalnya? Ternyata salah satu syarat tak tertulis bagi perempuan dalam melamar kerja adalah harus memiliki paras cantik dan penampilan yang menarik. Nah, mayoritas calon pekerja yang lulus seleksi, menurut data statistik yang diperoleh dari sebuah sumber anonim, mengatakan bahwa mereka yang memiliki hidung seperti perempuan Eropa-lah yang memiliki peluang lebih besar untuk mendapatkan pekerjaan.
Maka, saat ini semakin banyak klinik kecantikan yang menawarkan prosedur operasi hidung menara Eiffel. Salah satunya adalah klinik Wang Xumings “Eiffel Tower”.
“Keindahan menara Eiffel menginspirasi kami, prosedur ini tidak menambahkan formula apa pun pada hidung dan wajah, tapi kami merekonstruksinya supaya lebih memikat sesuai pilihan pasien,” ujar Dokter Bedah Wang Xuming.
Masih menurut Dokter Wang, tekanan menjadi pengangguran di masa resesi seperti sekarang dan jumlah pengangguran yang tinggi sangat memengaruhi kepercayaan diri banyak mahasiswi. Namun, mereka yang beruntung memiliki wajah cantik, apalagi bila mirip-mirip perempuan Eropa, tak perlu khawatir, karena lebih cepat mendapatkan kerja. Kenyataan seperti inilah yang kemudian menumbuhkan obsesi perempuan untuk mengubah wajah alamiah dengan wajah artifisial.
Biaya yang diperlukan untuk memiliki hidung menara Eiffel relatif lebih mahal, yakni 7.400 euro atau senilai dengan Rp 240 jutaan. Meskipun begitu, pasien perempuan yang ingin melakukan pembedahan terus meningkat jumlahnya.
Imagine an elite professional services firm with a high-performing, workaholic culture. Everyone is expected to turn on a dime to serve a client, travel at a moment’s notice, and be available pretty much every evening and weekend. It can make for a grueling work life, but at the highest levels of accounting, law, investment banking and consulting firms, it is just the way things are.
Except for one dirty little secret: Some of the people ostensibly turning in those 80- or 90-hour workweeks, particularly men, may just be faking it.
Many of them were, at least, at one elite consulting firm studied by Erin Reid, a professor at Boston University’s Questrom School of Business. It’s impossible to know if what she learned at that unidentified consulting firm applies across the world of work more broadly. But her research, published in the academic journal Organization Science, offers a way to understand how the professional world differs between men and women, and some of the ways a hard-charging culture that emphasizes long hours above all can make some companies worse off.
Ms. Reid interviewed more than 100 people in the American offices of a global consulting firm and had access to performance reviews and internal human resources documents. At the firm there was a strong culture around long hours and responding to clients promptly.
“When the client needs me to be somewhere, I just have to be there,” said one of the consultants Ms. Reid interviewed. “And if you can’t be there, it’s probably because you’ve got another client meeting at the same time. You know it’s tough to say I can’t be there because my son had a Cub Scout meeting.”
Some people fully embraced this culture and put in the long hours, and they tended to be top performers. Others openly pushed back against it, insisting upon lighter and more flexible work hours, or less travel; they were punished in their performance reviews.
The third group is most interesting. Some 31 percent of the men and 11 percent of the women whose records Ms. Reid examined managed to achieve the benefits of a more moderate work schedule without explicitly asking for it.
They made an effort to line up clients who were local, reducing the need for travel. When they skipped work to spend time with their children or spouse, they didn’t call attention to it. One team on which several members had small children agreed among themselves to cover for one another so that everyone could have more flexible hours.
A male junior manager described working to have repeat consulting engagements with a company near enough to his home that he could take care of it with day trips. “I try to head out by 5, get home at 5:30, have dinner, play with my daughter,” he said, adding that he generally kept weekend work down to two hours of catching up on email.
Despite the limited hours, he said: “I know what clients are expecting. So I deliver above that.” He received a high performance review and a promotion.
What is fascinating about the firm Ms. Reid studied is that these people, who in her terminology were “passing” as workaholics, received performance reviews that were as strong as their hyper-ambitious colleagues. For people who were good at faking it, there was no real damage done by their lighter workloads.
It calls to mind the episode of “Seinfeld” in which George Costanza leaves his car in the parking lot at Yankee Stadium, where he works, and gets a promotion because his boss sees the car and thinks he is getting to work earlier and staying later than anyone else. (The strategy goes awry for him, and is not recommended for any aspiring partners in a consulting firm.)
A second finding is that women, particularly those with young children, were much more likely to request greater flexibility through more formal means, such as returning from maternity leave with an explicitly reduced schedule. Men who requested a paternity leave seemed to be punished come review time, and so may have felt more need to take time to spend with their families through those unofficial methods.
The result of this is easy to see: Those specifically requesting a lighter workload, who were disproportionately women, suffered in their performance reviews; those who took a lighter workload more discreetly didn’t suffer. The maxim of “ask forgiveness, not permission” seemed to apply.
It would be dangerous to extrapolate too much from a study at one firm, but Ms. Reid said in an interview that since publishing a summary of her research in Harvard Business Review she has heard from people in a variety of industries describing the same dynamic.
High-octane professional service firms are that way for a reason, and no one would doubt that insane hours and lots of travel can be necessary if you’re a lawyer on the verge of a big trial, an accountant right before tax day or an investment banker advising on a huge merger.
But the fact that the consultants who quietly lightened their workload did just as well in their performance reviews as those who were truly working 80 or more hours a week suggests that in normal times, heavy workloads may be more about signaling devotion to a firm than really being more productive. The person working 80 hours isn’t necessarily serving clients any better than the person working 50.
In other words, maybe the real problem isn’t men faking greater devotion to their jobs. Maybe it’s that too many companies reward the wrong things, favoring the illusion of extraordinary effort over actual productivity.
Mr. Miller, of the firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges, represented companies including Lehman Brothers, General Motors and American Airlines, and mentored many of the top Chapter 11 practitioners today.Harvey R. Miller, Renowned Bankruptcy Lawyer, Dies at 82 | PAKET UMROH BULAN JANUARI 2016
Mr. Paczynski was one of the concentration camp’s longest surviving inmates and served as the personal barber to its Nazi commandant Rudolf Höss.Jozef Paczynski, Inmate Barber to Auschwitz Commandant, Dies at 95 | PAKET UMROH BULAN JANUARI 2016
The 2015 Met Gala has only officially begun, but there's a clear leader in the race for best couple, no small feat at an event that threatens to sap Hollywood of every celebrity it has for the duration of an East Coast evening.
That would be Marc Jacobs and his surprise guest (who, by some miracle, remained under wraps until their red carpet debut), Cher.
“This has been a dream of mine for a very, very long time,” Mr. Jacobs said.
It is Cher's first appearance at the Met Gala since 1997, when she arrived on the arm of Donatella Versace.
– MATTHEW SCHNEIER
Ms. Crough played the youngest daughter on the hit ’70s sitcom starring David Cassidy and Shirley Jones.Suzanne Crough, Actress in â€˜The Partridge Family,â€™ Dies at 52 | PAKET UMROH BULAN JANUARI 2016
Hired in 1968, a year before their first season, Mr. Fanning spent 25 years with the team, managing them to their only playoff appearance in Canada.Jim Fanning, 87, Dies; Lifted Baseball in Canada With Expos | PAKET UMROH BULAN JANUARI 2016
Since a white police officer, Darren Wilson fatally shot unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, in a confrontation last August in Ferguson, Mo., there have been many other cases in which the police have shot and killed suspects, some of them unarmed. Mr. Brown's death set off protests throughout the country, pushing law enforcement into the spotlight and sparking a public debate on police tactics. Here is a selection of police shootings that have been reported by news organizations since Mr. Brown's death. In some cases, investigations are continuing.
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
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
BEIJING (AP) — The head of Taiwan's Nationalists reaffirmed the party's support for eventual unification with the mainland when he met Monday with Chinese President Xi Jinping as part of continuing rapprochement between the former bitter enemies.
Nationalist Party Chairman Eric Chu, a likely presidential candidate next year, also affirmed Taiwan's desire to join the proposed Chinese-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank during the meeting in Beijing. China claims Taiwan as its own territory and doesn't want the island to join using a name that might imply it is an independent country.
Chu's comments during his meeting with Xi were carried live on Hong Kong-based broadcaster Phoenix Television.
The Nationalists were driven to Taiwan by Mao Zedong's Communists during the Chinese civil war in 1949, leading to decades of hostility between the sides. Chu, who took over as party leader in January, is the third Nationalist chairman to visit the mainland and the first since 2009.
Relations between the communist-ruled mainland and the self-governing democratic island of Taiwan began to warm in the 1990s, partly out of their common opposition to Taiwan's formal independence from China, a position advocated by the island's Democratic Progressive Party.
Despite increasingly close economic ties, the prospect of political unification has grown increasingly unpopular on Taiwan, especially with younger voters. Opposition to the Nationalists' pro-China policies was seen as a driver behind heavy local electoral defeats for the party last year that led to Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou resigning as party chairman.Taiwan party leader affirms eventual reunion with China | PAKET UMROH BULAN JANUARI 2016
The bottle Mr. Sokolin famously broke was a 1787 Château Margaux, which was said to have belonged to Thomas Jefferson. Mr. Sokolin had been hoping to sell it for $519,750.William Sokolin, Wine Seller Who Broke Famed Bottle, Dies at 85 | PAKET UMROH BULAN JANUARI 2016
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?”
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.
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.”
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 Litâ€™s Power Couple | PAKET UMROH BULAN JANUARI 2016
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