PAKET UMROH BULAN FEBRUARI MARET APRIL MEI 2018




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Tag : umroh akhir tahun 2015 bekasi timur

Tour & Travel

Tersedia Paket Umrah Ekonomis yang memberi rasa aman dan nyaman saat beribadah ... Kami Tour & Travel memiliki Izin dan Legalitas Resmi dari ... Tour & Travel

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Tag : umroh akhir tahun 2015 bekasi selatan
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Travel Umroh

Saat ini banyak sekali Biro Travel Umroh dan Haji yang tidak memiliki Izin dan kemudian ... Paket Umroh Murah 1499 USD By Citilink Berangkat Maret 2016. Travel Umroh

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Tour & Travel

Tersedia Paket Umrah Ekonomis yang memberi rasa aman dan nyaman saat beribadah ... Kami Tour & Travel memiliki Izin dan Legalitas Resmi dari ... Tour & Travel

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Tour & Travel

Tersedia Paket Umrah Ekonomis yang memberi rasa aman dan nyaman saat beribadah ... Kami Tour & Travel memiliki Izin dan Legalitas Resmi dari ... Tour & Travel

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Paket Umroh 2015

Biro Travel Umroh Jakarta Melayani Biaya Harga Paket Umroh Murah Promo Hemat dan Plus Turki Desember 2015 - Januari | Februari | Maret | April 2016. Paket Umroh 2015

TOUR KE MASJID MERAH CIREBON

Nama Cirebon memang tidak dapat dilepaskan dari kegiatan penyebaran agama Islam di Jawa Barat. Cirebon juga disebut-sebut sebagai salah satu Kota Sunan, karena di kota inilah Sunan Gunung Jati menyebarkan ajaran Islam.

Bahkan makam Sunan Gunung Jati yang dikenal pula dengan panggilan Syekh Syarif Hidayatullah (1448 - 1568), terdapat di Cirebon, tepatnya di Desa Astana, Kec. Gunung Jati, Kab. Cirebon. Makam tersebut hanya sekitar tiga km sebelah utara Kota Cirebon.

Kawasan makam Sunan Gunung Jati memiliki lahan seluas lima hektare. Selain tempat utama untuk para peziarah, kawasan itu juga dilengkapi tempat pedagang kaki lima, alun-alun, lapangan parkir, dan fasilitas umum lainnya.

Cukup banyak warisan Sunan Gunung Jati sebagai seorang wali Allah. Di antaranya Masjid Merah di Kota Cirebon dan Masjid Sunan Gunung Jati di area Keraton Cirebon. Masjid Merah yang telah berusia 500 tahun ini, kental akan corak akulturasi budaya Jawa dan Cina.

Kondisi itu setidaknya dapat dilihat dari pemakaian keramik Cina sebagai ornamen interior masjid. Cukup banyak ditemukan keramik di masjid yang terletak di perkampungan Arab, Jln. Panjunan Cirebon tersebut.

Lalu mengapa masjid yang banyak dikunjungi peziarah terutama pada 27 Ramadan ini disebut Masjid Merah? Mungkin salah satu alasannya, hampir seluruh bangunan masjid ini memang berwarna merah. Warna ini sangat mendominasi masjid yang sejak awal berdiri sampai sekarang belum belum mengalami perubahan ini.

Saat memasukinya, tampak gerbang berbentuk pura. Keunikan lain dari Masjid Merah adalah dinding-dindingnya yang ditempeli berbagai jenis keramik Cina. Konon keramik-keramik tersebut hadiah dari seorang putri Cina bernama Khong In, yang kemudian diperistri Sunan Gunung Jati pada tahun 1460.

Saat Ramadan seperti sekarang ini, Masjid Merah selalu menjadi tempat wisata rohani, bukan hanya bagi warga Kota Cirebon. Sebab banyak pula pengunjung yang datang dari berbagai kota lain di Jawa Barat.

Bahkan saat memasuki hari ke-27 Ramadan, masjid ini tak pernah sepi pengunjung. Keberadaannya menjadi magnet bagi pengunjung, terutama umat muslim untuk datang dan salat.

Tak heran bila salah satu peninggalan fenomenal Sunan Gunung Jati ini dari waktu ke waktu tak pernah sepi pengunjung. Untuk itu, rugi rasanya berkunjung ke Cirebon tanpa mampir ke masjid yang terletak di perkampungan Arab ini.

Azan pitu

Selain Masjid Merah, peninggalan lainnya dari Sunan Gunung Jati yang kerap dikunjungi yaitu Masjid Sunan Gunung Jati. Keunikan masjid yang dikenal pula dengan sebutan Masjid Sang Ciptarasa ini adalah tiang tatal. Dari 74 tiang yang ada di dalam masjid, salah satunya dirangkai sendiri oleh Sunan Gunung Jati dari potongan-potongan kayu sisa atau tatal.

Uniknya, tiang tatal tersebut penuh dengan makna filosofis. Salah satunya filosofi tentang persatuan yang kokoh, walaupun terdiri atas potongan-potongan yang berbeda. Tentu saja filosofi tersebut menandakan betapa Sunan Gunung Jati kala itu memiliki wawasan ke depan.

Keunikan lainnya, bila biasanya azan yang menandai datangnya waktu salat dikumandangkan satu orang muazin, di Masjid Sunan Gunung Jati ini, azan dikumandangkan tujuh muazin sekaligus atau azan pitu.

Sejatinya, di masjid yang berusia ratusan tahun ini, berbagai tradisi peninggalan salah satu sunan dari sembilan Sunan Walisongo masih tetap dilestarikan. Termasuk upaya melestarikan azan pitu.

Biasanya azan pitu ini dilakukan saat datangnya waktu salat Jumat. Ketika salat Jumat dimulai, tujuh muazin pun berbaris. Lalu serentak mereka mengumandangkan azan. Memanggil para jemaah untuk menunaikan kewajiban salat Jumat.

Sama seperti azan di masjid-masjid lain, azan pitu di Masjid Sunan Gunung Jati ini tidak mengalami perubahan lafal. Namun karena dikumandangkan tujuh muazin sekaligus, suaranya terasa lebih menggema.

Selain itu, Masjid Sang Ciptarasa juga dikenal memiliki air sumur yang bertuah. Warga sekitar banyak yang mencari berkah, menggunakan air tersebut untuk mencuci muka, bahkan ada juga yang membawanya pulang sebagai obat.

Percaya atau tidak, kembali pada diri masing-masing. Namun yang jelas, jangan lupa mengunjungi Masjid Sang Ciptarasa bila berkunjung ke Cirebon. Sebab pengalaman spiritual yang diperoleh di masjid ini akan terasa berbeda dan semakin melengkapi kegiatan wisata Ramadan di Cirebon. Selamat mencoba.

Sumber : http://www.bandung.eu

Baca Artikel Lainnya : PAKET WISATA ROHANI

 

> TOUR KE MASJID MERAH CIREBON

KORUPTOR DANA HAJI HARUS DIUNGKAP SAMPAI PEJABAT TINGGI

saco-indonesia.com, Koordinator Investigasi Forum Indonesia untuk Transparansi Anggaran (FITRA) Uchok Sky Khadafi, telah mendesak agar Inspektur Jenderal (Irjen) Kementerian Agama M Jasin, untuk segera memperjelas identitas oknum pejabat Kemenag yang telah melakukan korupsi Biaya Penyelenggaraan Ibadah Haji (BPIH). Hal ini dimaksudkan agar Komisi Pemberantasan Korupsi (KPK) lebih mudah untuk mengusut kasus tersebut.  
 
“Jasin harus memperjelas siapa oknum pejabat Kemenag. Kalau oknum tersebut eselonnya rendahan tidak akan sampai pada atasan yang paling tinggi,” kata Uchok.
 
Yang jelas, kata Uchok, oknum ini akan juga dikorbankan sebagai tumbal pencitraan seolah-olah untuk dapat memperbaiki sistem pengelolaan dana haji.
 
“Kalau eselon rendahan yang akan dikorbankan, dia dituduh korup, maka persoalan ini tidak akan memperbaiki dalam sistem dana haji. Tetapi hanya menyelamatkan orang-orang yang punya jabatan tinggi,” ujarnya.
 
Sebelumnya, Inspektur Jenderal (Irjen) Kementerian Agama yang juga mantan Wakil Ketua KPK Bidang Pencegahan, M Jasin juga mengakui ada oknum pejabat Kemenag yang melakukan korupsi Biaya Penyelenggaraan Ibadah Haji (BPIH) untuk membeli rumah dan mobil mewah.
 
"Ada beberapa orang di Kemenag yang mengambil uang BPIH dan jumlahnya cukup besar. Bahkan ada seorang staf yang melakukan korupsi dan uangnya dipakai untuk beli mobil dan rumah," kata M Jasin.


Editor : Dian Sukmawati

> KORUPTOR DANA HAJI HARUS DIUNGKAP SAMPAI PEJABAT TINGGI

MAKANAN YANG MAMPU MENGATASI HIPERTENSI

saco-indonesia.com, Tekanan darah tinggi atau yang dikenal sebagai penyakit yang telah membunuh secara diam-diam. Hal ini juga karena tekanan darah tinggi tak menunjukkan gejala yang terlihat jelas. Padahal tekanan darah tinggi yang dibiarkan dan tak diobati bisa dapat menyebabkan penyakit jantung dan stroke.

Namun jangan khawatir, tekanan darah tinggi dapat diatasi dengan cara alami. Salah satunya adalah dengan makanan alami. Berikut adalah beberapa makanan alami yang bisa Anda gunakan untuk dapat mengatasi tekanan darah tinggi.
1. Ekstrak biji anggur
Penelitian yang telah dilakukan pada 32 orang penderita hipertensi telah menunjukkan bahwa ekstrak biji anggur juga bisa membantu menurunkan tekanan darah sistolik dan diastolik setelah delapan minggu. Dalam penelitian lainnya, 36 partisipan yang telah mengalami hipertensi juga diberikan ekstrak biji anggur. Penelitian ini telah menunjukkan bahwa ekstrak biji anggur memang mampu untuk menurunkan tekanan darah.

2. Kacang
Sebuah penelitian telah menunjukkan bahwa mengonsumsi 56 gram walnuts sehari bisa untuk menurunkan tekanan darah sistolik tanpa meningkatkan tekanan darah. Dalam penelitian lainnya, sekitar 28 partisipan yang telah memiliki hipertensi juga mengalami penurunan tekanan darah setelah mengonsumsi satu porsi kacang pistacios secara teratur setiap hari.

3. Jus bit
Jus bit telah mengandung nitrat diet yang dapat membantu untuk merilekskan pembuluh darah dan membantu melancarkan aliran darah. Hal ini dapat menyebabkan jus bit sangat baik dikonsumsi untuk dapat menurunkan tekanan darah. Penelitian juga menunjukkan bahwa mengonsumsi satu cangkir jus bit sehari bisa menurunkan tekanan darah sistolik dan diastolik.

4. Kismis
Dalam penelitian yang telah dilakukan pada 46 penderita hipertensi selama 12 minggu, telah diketahui bahwa kismis juga bisa menurunkan tekanan darah sistolik. Kismis mampu untuk menurunkan tekanan darah secara bertahap dan stabil pada minggu ke-4, ke-8, dan ke-12. Selain itu, kismis juga bisa menjadi camilan yang enak dan tak menyebabkan gemuk.

5. Biji flax
Masyarakat Indonesia memang belum familiar dengan makanan yang satu ini. Namun sebuah penelitian telah menunjukkan bahwa biji flax (flaxseed) mampu untuk menurunkan tekanan darah sistolik dan diastolik. Flaxseed bahkan bisa membantu pasien hipertensi yang telah mengalami penyempitan arteri. Penelitian telah menunjukkan bahwa setelah mengonsumsi 30 gram flaxseed setiap hari selama enam bulan, tekanan darah telah berhasil menurun.

Itulah beberapa makanan alami yang bisa Anda konsumsi untuk dapat menurunkan tekanan darah tinggi dan mengatasi hipertensi. Selain mengonsumsi makanan tersebut, perhatikan juga makanan lain yang Anda konsumsi. Jangan banyak mengonsumsi makanan yang bisa menaikkan tekanan darah.


Editor : Dian Sukmawati

> MAKANAN YANG MAMPU MENGATASI HIPERTENSI

Ini tarif resmi dari Kementerian Agama, Apabila Anda Mau nikah

Saco-Indonesia.com - Telah ditetapkan tarif nikah dan gratifikasi penghulu sempat menuai polemik. Sekjen Kementerian Agama (Kemenag) Bahrul Hayat berharap masalah tarif nikah selesai pada Februari.

Dia juga berharap ada tarif tunggal atau single tarif untuk biaya nikah.

"Tarif yang berbeda atau multi tarif berpotensi menimbulkan kecurigaan terhadap penghulu menerima gratifikasi," kata Bahrul Hayat di Jakarta, Kamis (30/1).

Tarif tunggal nikah merupakan biaya yang diberikan pemerintah kepada penghulu yang besarannya sama untuk wilayah Indonesia. Kemenag menetapkan sebesar Rp 600 ribu per pernikahan. Sedangkan multi tarif, besarannya bervariasi tergantung lokasi, waktu dan tempat perhelatan pernikahan.

Polemik biaya nikah di Kantor Urusan Agama (KUA) sempat mengemuka dan menjadi polemik lantaran penghulu dituduh menerima gratifikasi.

Sebelumnya penghulu se-Indonesia telah melakukan pertemuan dengan Menteri Agama Suryadharma Ali pada akhir Desember 2013 di Jakarta terkait regulasi penghulu menghadiri pernikahan di luar KUA. Saat itu mereka minta agar Kemenag segera mengeluarkan regulasi biaya nikah yang akan menjadi payung hukum bagi KUA dalam pelayanan nikah.

Menurut Bahrul Hayat, pihaknya telah membahas masalah itu dengan Menko Kesra Agung Laksono. Diharapkan medio Februari 2014 sudah dikeluarkan aturan dan besaran tarifnya. Dia menyebut sekitar Rp 600 ribu/pernikahan.

Mengingat wilayah geografis Indonesia di tiap daerah berbeda, berbukit dan jauh, termasuk wilayah kepulauan, menurut Sekjen Kemenag itu, tentu faktor hal itu menjadi perhatian. Tarifnya akan disesuaikan dan jika ada tambahan transportasi tentu ada penggantian.

Namun ia mengimbau untuk wilayah kepulauan, untuk pernikahan hendaknya dapat dijadwalkan dengan baik. Mengingat hambatan transportasi berupa angin dan ombak harus pula menjadi perhatian untuk keselamatan bersama.

Sumber:kompas.com

Editor : Maulana Lee

> Ini tarif resmi dari Kementerian Agama, Apabila Anda Mau nikah

CARA KERJA MESIN GENSET

saco-indonesia.com,

Cara Kerja Generator Set

Generator adalah mesin yang dapat mengubah tenaga mekanis untuk menjadi tenaga listrik dengan melalui proses induksi elektromagnetik. Generator ini telah memperoleh energi mekanis dari prime mover. Generator arus bolak-balik (AC) telah dikenal dengan sebutan alternator. Generator ini diharapkan dapat mensuplai tenaga listrik pada saat terjadi gangguan, dimana suplai tersebut akan digunakan untuk beban prioritas.

Sedangkan genset (generator set) merupakan bagian dari generator. Genset juga merupakan suatu alat yang dapat mengubah energi mekanik menjadi energi listrik. Genset atau sistem generator penyaluran adalah suatu generator listrik yang telah terdiri dari panel, berenergi solar dan terdapat kincir angin yang telah ditempatkan pada suatu tempat. Genset juga dapat digunakan sebagai sistem cadangan listrik atau “off-grid” (sumber daya yang tergantung atas kebutuhan pemakai). Genset juga sering digunakan oleh rumah sakit dan industri yang mempercayakan sumber daya yang mantap, seperti halnya area pedesaan yang tidak ada akses untuk secara komersial menghasilkan listrik. Generator telah terpasang satu poros dengan motor diesel, yang biasanya dengan menggunakan generator sinkron (alternator) pada pembangkitan. Generator sinkron ini terdiri dari dua bagian utama yaitu: sistem medan magnet dan jangkar. Generator ini kapasitasnya besar, medan magnetnya berputar karena terletak pada rotor.

 

Konstruksi generator AC adalah sebagai berikut:

1. Rangka stator
Terbuat dari besi tuang, rangka stator juga merupakan rumah dari bagian-bagian generator yang lain.

2. Stator
Stator telah memiliki alur-alur sebagai tempat untuk meletakkan lilitan stator. Lilitan stator telah berfungsi sebagai tempat GGL induksi.

3. Rotor
Rotor adalah bagian yang berputar, pada bagian ini juga terdapat kutub-kutub magnet dengan lilitannya yang dialiri arus searah, melewati cincin geser dan sikat-sikat.

4. Cincin geser
Terbuat dari bahan kuningan atau tembaga yang yang dipasang pada poros dengan memakai bahan isolasi. Slip ring ini akan berputar bersama-sama dengan poros dan rotor.

5. Generator penguat
Generator penguat juga merupakan generator arus searah yang dipakai sebagai sumber arus.

 

Pada umumnya generator AC ini akan dibuat sedemikian rupa, sehingga lilitan tempat terjadinya GGL induksi tidak akan bergerak, sedangkan kutub-kutub akan menimbulkan medan magnet berputar. Generator itu disebut dengan generator berkutub dalam, dapat dilihat pada gambar berikut.

Keuntungan generator kutub dalam bahwa untuk dapat mengambil arus tidak dibutuhkan cincin geser dan sikat arang. Karena lilitan-lilitan tempat terjadinya GGL itu tidak akan berputar. Generator sinkron juga sangat cocok untuk mesin-mesin dengan tegangan tinggi danarus yang besar.

Secara umum kutub magnet generator sinkron dibedakan atas 2 yaitu :

1. Kutub magnet dengan bagian kutub yang menonjol (salient pole).
Konstruksi seperti ini akan digunakan untuk putaran rendah, dengan jumlah kutub yang banyak. Diameter rotornya besar dan berporos pendek.

2. Kutub magnet dengan bagian kutub yang tidak menonjol (non salient pole).
Konstruksi seperti ini digunakan untuk putaran tinggi (1500 rpm atau 3000 rpm), dengan jumlah kutub yang sedikit. Kira-kira 2/3 dari seluruh permukaan rotor dibuat alur-alur untuk tempat lilitan penguat. Yang 1/3 bagian lagi juga merupakan bagian yang utuh, yang berfungsi sebagai inti kutub.

MESIN DIESEL

Mesin diesel termasuk mesin dengan pembakaran dalam atau disebut dengan motor bakar ditinjau dari cara memperoleh energi termalnya. Untuk dapat membangkikan listrik sebuah mesin diesel menggunakan generator dengan sistem penggerak tenaga disel atauyang biasa dikenal dengan sebutan Genset (Generator Set).

Keuntungan pemakaian mesin diesel sebagai Prime Mover
- Design dan instalasi sederhana
- Auxilary equipment sederhana
- Waktu pembebanan relatif singkat
- Konsumsi bahan bakar relatif murah dan hemat

Kerugian pemakaian mesin diesel sebagai Prime Mover
- Berat mesin yang sangat berat karena harus dapat menahan getaran serta kompresi yang tinggi.
- Starting awal berat, karena kompresinya tinggi yaitu sekitar 200 bar.
- Semakin besar daya maka mesin diesel tersebut dimensinya akan semakin besar pula, hal tersebut telah menyebabkan kesulitan jika daya mesinnya sangat besar.

Ada 2 komponen utama dalam genset yaitu:
1. Prime mover atau pengerak mula, dalam hal ini mesin diesel/engine
2. Generator.

Cara Kerja Mesin Diesel
Prime mover juga merupakan peralatan yang telah mempunyai fungsi menghasilkan energi mekanis yang diperlukan untuk dapat memutar rotor generator. Pada mesin diesel/engine telah terjadi penyalaan sendiri, karena proses kerjanya telah berdasarkan udara murni yang telah dimampatkan di dalam silinder pada tekanan yang tinggi (± 30 arm), sehingga temperatur di dalam silinder naik. Dan pada saat itu bahan bakar disemprotkan dalam silinder yang bertemperatur dan bertekanan tinggi melebihi titik nyala bahan bakar sehingga akan menyala secara otomatis.

Pada mesin diesel penambahan panas atau energi senantiasa dilakukan pada tekanan yang konstan. Pada mesin diesel, piston melakukan 2 langkah pendek menuju kepala silinder pada setiap langkah daya.

1. Langkah ke atas yang pertama merupakan angkah pemasukan dan penghisapan, di sini udara dan bahan bakar masuk sedangkan poros engkol berputar ke bawah.

2. Langkah kedua merupakan langkah kompresi, poros engkol terus berputar dapat menyebabkan torak naik dan menekan bahan bakar sehingga terjadi pembakaran. Kedua proses ini (1 dan 2) juga termasuk proses pembakaran.

3. Langkah ketiga merupakan langkah ekspansi dan kerja, di sini kedua katup yaitu katup isap dan buang tertutup sedangkan poros engkol terus berputar dan menarik kembali torak ke bawah.

4. Langkah keempat merupakan langkah pembuangan, disini katup buang terbuka dan dapat menyebabkan gas akibat sisa pembakaran terbuang keluar. Gas dapat keluar karena padaproses keempat ini torak kembali bergerak naik keatas dan menyebabkan gas dapat keluar. Kedua proses terakhir ini (3 dan 4) juga termasuk proses pembuangan.

5. Setelah keempat proses tersebut, maka proses berikutnya akan mengulang kembali proses yang pertama, dimana udara dan bahan bakar masuk kembali.

Editor : Dian Sukmawati
Sumber : jualgenset.co.id

 

> CARA KERJA MESIN GENSET

Richard Suzman, 72, Dies; Researcher Influenced Global Surveys on Aging

At the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Suzman’s signature accomplishment was the central role he played in creating a global network of surveys on aging.

Richard Suzman, 72, Dies; Researcher Influenced Global Surveys on Aging | PAKET UMROH BULAN JANUARI 2016

Gilbert Haroche, Builder of an Economy Travel Empire, Dies at 87

Mr. Haroche was a founder of Liberty Travel, which grew from a two-man operation to the largest leisure travel operation in the United States.

Gilbert Haroche, Builder of an Economy Travel Empire, Dies at 87 | PAKET UMROH BULAN JANUARI 2016

The Uphill Battle to Better Regulate Formaldehyde

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

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

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

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Document: The Formaldehyde Fight

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Formaldehyde in Laminate Flooring

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

Typical

laminate

flooring

CLEAR FINISH LAYER

Often made of melamine resin

PATTERN LAYER

Paper printed to resemble wood,

or a thin wood veneer

GLUE

Layers may be bound using

formaldehyde-based glues

CORE LAYER

Fiberboard or other

composite, formed using

formaldehyde-based adhesives

BASE LAYER

Moisture-resistant vapor barrier

What is formaldehyde?

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

WHERE IT IS COMMONLY FOUND

POTENTIAL HEALTH RISKS

Pressed-wood and composite wood products

Wallpaper and paints

Spray foam insulation used in construction

Commercial wood floor finishes

Crease-resistant fabrics

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Senator Vitter’s staff was pleased.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Uphill Battle to Better Regulate Formaldehyde | PAKET UMROH BULAN JANUARI 2016

Police Rethink Long Tradition on Using Force

WASHINGTON — During a training course on defending against knife attacks, a young Salt Lake City police officer asked a question: “How close can somebody get to me before I’m justified in using deadly force?”

Dennis Tueller, the instructor in that class more than three decades ago, decided to find out. In the fall of 1982, he performed a rudimentary series of tests and concluded that an armed attacker who bolted toward an officer could clear 21 feet in the time it took most officers to draw, aim and fire their weapon.

The next spring, Mr. Tueller published his findings in SWAT magazine and transformed police training in the United States. The “21-foot rule” became dogma. It has been taught in police academies around the country, accepted by courts and cited by officers to justify countless shootings, including recent episodes involving a homeless woodcarver in Seattle and a schizophrenic woman in San Francisco.

Now, amid the largest national debate over policing since the 1991 beating of Rodney King in Los Angeles, a small but vocal set of law enforcement officials are calling for a rethinking of the 21-foot rule and other axioms that have emphasized how to use force, not how to avoid it. Several big-city police departments are already re-examining when officers should chase people or draw their guns and when they should back away, wait or try to defuse the situation

Police Rethink Long Tradition on Using Force | PAKET UMROH BULAN JANUARI 2016

Mike Phillips, Half of Kentucky’s ‘Twin Towers’ of Basketball, Dies at 59

The 6-foot-10 Phillips played alongside the 6-11 Rick Robey on the Wildcats team that won the 1978 N.C.A.A. men’s basketball title.

Mike Phillips, Half of Kentucky’s ‘Twin Towers’ of Basketball, Dies at 59 | PAKET UMROH BULAN JANUARI 2016

Ex-C.I.A. Official Rebuts Republican Claims on Benghazi Attack in ‘The Great War of Our Time’

WASHINGTON — The former deputy director of the C.I.A. asserts in a forthcoming book that Republicans, in their eagerness to politicize the killing of the American ambassador to Libya, repeatedly distorted the agency’s analysis of events. But he also argues that the C.I.A. should get out of the business of providing “talking points” for administration officials in national security events that quickly become partisan, as happened after the Benghazi attack in 2012.

The official, Michael J. Morell, dismisses the allegation that the United States military and C.I.A. officers “were ordered to stand down and not come to the rescue of their comrades,” and he says there is “no evidence” to support the charge that “there was a conspiracy between C.I.A. and the White House to spin the Benghazi story in a way that would protect the political interests of the president and Secretary Clinton,” referring to the secretary of state at the time, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

But he also concludes that the White House itself embellished some of the talking points provided by the Central Intelligence Agency and had blocked him from sending an internal study of agency conclusions to Congress.

Photo
 
Michael J. Morell Credit Mark Wilson/Getty Images

“I finally did so without asking,” just before leaving government, he writes, and after the White House released internal emails to a committee investigating the State Department’s handling of the issue.

A lengthy congressional investigation remains underway, one that many Republicans hope to use against Mrs. Clinton in the 2016 election cycle.

In parts of the book, “The Great War of Our Time” (Twelve), Mr. Morell praises his C.I.A. colleagues for many successes in stopping terrorist attacks, but he is surprisingly critical of other C.I.A. failings — and those of the National Security Agency.

Soon after Mr. Morell retired in 2013 after 33 years in the agency, President Obama appointed him to a commission reviewing the actions of the National Security Agency after the disclosures of Edward J. Snowden, a former intelligence contractor who released classified documents about the government’s eavesdropping abilities. Mr. Morell writes that he was surprised by what he found.

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“You would have thought that of all the government entities on the planet, the one least vulnerable to such grand theft would have been the N.S.A.,” he writes. “But it turned out that the N.S.A. had left itself vulnerable.”

He concludes that most Wall Street firms had better cybersecurity than the N.S.A. had when Mr. Snowden swept information from its systems in 2013. While he said he found himself “chagrined by how well the N.S.A. was doing” compared with the C.I.A. in stepping up its collection of data on intelligence targets, he also sensed that the N.S.A., which specializes in electronic spying, was operating without considering the implications of its methods.

“The N.S.A. had largely been collecting information because it could, not necessarily in all cases because it should,” he says.

The book is to be released next week.

Mr. Morell was a career analyst who rose through the ranks of the agency, and he ended up in the No. 2 post. He served as President George W. Bush’s personal intelligence briefer in the first months of his presidency — in those days, he could often be spotted at the Starbucks in Waco, Tex., catching up on his reading — and was with him in the schoolhouse in Florida on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, when the Bush presidency changed in an instant.

Mr. Morell twice took over as acting C.I.A. director, first when Leon E. Panetta was appointed secretary of defense and then when retired Gen. David H. Petraeus resigned over an extramarital affair with his biographer, a relationship that included his handing her classified notes of his time as America’s best-known military commander.

Mr. Morell says he first learned of the affair from Mr. Petraeus only the night before he resigned, and just as the Benghazi events were turning into a political firestorm. While praising Mr. Petraeus, who had told his deputy “I am very lucky” to run the C.I.A., Mr. Morell writes that “the organization did not feel the same way about him.” The former general “created the impression through the tone of his voice and his body language that he did not want people to disagree with him (which was not true in my own interaction with him),” he says.

But it is his account of the Benghazi attacks — and how the C.I.A. was drawn into the debate over whether the Obama White House deliberately distorted its account of the death of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens — that is bound to attract attention, at least partly because of its relevance to the coming presidential election. The initial assessments that the C.I.A. gave to the White House said demonstrations had preceded the attack. By the time analysts reversed their opinion, Susan E. Rice, now the national security adviser, had made a series of statements on Sunday talk shows describing the initial assessment. The controversy and other comments Ms. Rice made derailed Mr. Obama’s plan to appoint her as secretary of state.

The experience prompted Mr. Morell to write that the C.I.A. should stay out of the business of preparing talking points — especially on issues that are being seized upon for “political purposes.” He is critical of the State Department for not beefing up security in Libya for its diplomats, as the C.I.A., he said, did for its employees.

But he concludes that the assault in which the ambassador was killed took place “with little or no advance planning” and “was not well organized.” He says the attackers “did not appear to be looking for Americans to harm. They appeared intent on looting and conducting some vandalism,” setting fires that killed Mr. Stevens and a security official, Sean Smith.

Mr. Morell paints a picture of an agency that was struggling, largely unsuccessfully, to understand dynamics in the Middle East and North Africa when the Arab Spring broke out in late 2011 in Tunisia. The agency’s analysts failed to see the forces of revolution coming — and then failed again, he writes, when they told Mr. Obama that the uprisings would undercut Al Qaeda by showing there was a democratic pathway to change.

“There is no good explanation for our not being able to see the pressures growing to dangerous levels across the region,” he writes. The agency had again relied too heavily “on a handful of strong leaders in the countries of concern to help us understand what was going on in the Arab street,” he says, and those leaders themselves were clueless.

Moreover, an agency that has always overvalued secretly gathered intelligence and undervalued “open source” material “was not doing enough to mine the wealth of information available through social media,” he writes. “We thought and told policy makers that this outburst of popular revolt would damage Al Qaeda by undermining the group’s narrative,” he writes.

Instead, weak governments in Egypt, and the absence of governance from Libya to Yemen, were “a boon to Islamic extremists across both the Middle East and North Africa.”

Mr. Morell is gentle about most of the politicians he dealt with — he expresses admiration for both Mr. Bush and Mr. Obama, though he accuses former Vice President Dick Cheney of deliberately implying a connection between Al Qaeda and Iraq that the C.I.A. had concluded probably did not exist. But when it comes to the events leading up to the Bush administration’s decision to go to war in Iraq, he is critical of his own agency.

Mr. Morell concludes that the Bush White House did not have to twist intelligence on Saddam Hussein’s alleged effort to rekindle the country’s work on weapons of mass destruction.

“The view that hard-liners in the Bush administration forced the intelligence community into its position on W.M.D. is just flat wrong,” he writes. “No one pushed. The analysts were already there and they had been there for years, long before Bush came to office.”

Ex-C.I.A. Official Rebuts Republican Claims on Benghazi Attack in ‘The Great War of Our Time’ | 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

Marty Napoleon, 93, Dies; Jazz Pianist Played With Louis Armstrong

Mr. Napoleon was a self-taught musician whose career began in earnest with the orchestra led by Chico Marx of the Marx Brothers.

Marty Napoleon, 93, Dies; Jazz Pianist Played With Louis Armstrong | PAKET UMROH BULAN JANUARI 2016

Native American Actors Work to Overcome a Long-Documented Bias

Late in April, after Native American actors walked off in disgust from the set of Adam Sandler’s latest film, a western sendup that its distributor, Netflix, has defended as being equally offensive to all, a glow of pride spread through several Native American communities.

Tantoo Cardinal, a Canadian indigenous actress who played Black Shawl in “Dances With Wolves,” recalled thinking to herself, “It’s come.” Larry Sellers, who starred as Cloud Dancing in the 1990s television show “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman,” thought, “It’s about time.” Jesse Wente, who is Ojibwe and directs film programming at the TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto, found himself encouraged and surprised. There are so few film roles for indigenous actors, he said, that walking off the set of a major production showed real mettle.

But what didn’t surprise Mr. Wente was the content of the script. According to the actors who walked off the set, the film, titled “The Ridiculous Six,” included a Native American woman who passes out and is revived after white men douse her with alcohol, and another woman squatting to urinate while lighting a peace pipe. “There’s enough history at this point to have set some expectations around these sort of Hollywood depictions,” Mr. Wente said.

The walkout prompted a rhetorical “What do you expect from an Adam Sandler film?,” and a Netflix spokesman said that in the movie, blacks, Mexicans and whites were lampooned as well. But Native American actors and critics said a broader issue was at stake. While mainstream portrayals of native peoples have, Mr. Wente said, become “incrementally better” over the decades, he and others say, they remain far from accurate and reflect a lack of opportunities for Native American performers. What’s more, as Native Americans hunger for representation on screen, critics say the absence of three-dimensional portrayals has very real off-screen consequences.

“Our people are still healing from historical trauma,” said Loren Anthony, one of the actors who walked out. “Our youth are still trying to figure out who they are, where they fit in this society. Kids are killing themselves. They’re not proud of who they are.” They also don’t, he added, see themselves on prime time television or the big screen. Netflix noted while about five people walked off the “The Ridiculous Six” set, 100 or so Native American actors and extras stayed.

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But in interviews, nearly a dozen Native American actors and film industry experts said that Mr. Sandler’s humor perpetuated decades-old negative stereotypes. Mr. Anthony said such depictions helped feed the despondency many Native Americans feel, with deadly results: Native Americans have the highest suicide rate out of all the country’s ethnicities.

The on-screen problem is twofold, Mr. Anthony and others said: There’s a paucity of roles for Native Americans — according to the Screen Actors Guild in 2008 they accounted for 0.3 percent of all on-screen parts (those figures have yet to be updated), compared to about 2 percent of the general population — and Native American actors are often perceived in a narrow way.

In his Peabody Award-winning documentary “Reel Injun,” the Cree filmmaker Neil Diamond explored Hollywood depictions of Native Americans over the years, and found they fell into a few stereotypical categories: the Noble Savage, the Drunk Indian, the Mystic, the Indian Princess, the backward tribal people futilely fighting John Wayne and manifest destiny. While the 1990 film “Dances With Wolves” won praise for depicting Native Americans as fully fleshed out human beings, not all indigenous people embraced it. It was still told, critics said, from the colonialists’ point of view. In an interview, John Trudell, a Santee Sioux writer, actor (“Thunderheart”) and the former chairman of the American Indian Movement, described the film as “a story of two white people.”

“God bless ‘Dances with Wolves,’ ” Michael Horse, who played Deputy Hawk in “Twin Peaks,” said sarcastically. “Even ‘Avatar.’ Someone’s got to come save the tribal people.”

Dan Spilo, a partner at Industry Entertainment who represents Adam Beach, one of today’s most prominent Native American actors, said while typecasting dogs many minorities, it is especially intractable when it comes to Native Americans. Casting directors, he said, rarely cast them as police officers, doctors or lawyers. “There’s the belief that the Native American character should be on reservations or riding a horse,” he said.

“We don’t see ourselves,” Mr. Horse said. “We’re still an antiquated culture to them, and to the rest of the world.”

Ms. Cardinal said she was once turned down for the role of the wife of a child-abusing cop because the filmmakers felt that casting her would somehow be “too political.”

Another sore point is the long run of white actors playing American Indians, among them Burt Lancaster, Rock Hudson, Audrey Hepburn and, more recently, Johnny Depp, whose depiction of Tonto in the 2013 film “Lone Ranger,” was viewed as racist by detractors. There are, of course, exceptions. The former A&E series “Longmire,” which, as it happens, will now be on Netflix, was roundly praised for its depiction of life on a Northern Cheyenne reservation, with Lou Diamond Phillips, who is of Cherokee descent, playing a Northern Cheyenne man.

Others also point to the success of Mr. Beach, who played a Mohawk detective in “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” and landed a starring role in the forthcoming D C Comics picture “Suicide Squad.” Mr. Beach said he had come across insulting scripts backed by people who don’t see anything wrong with them.

“I’d rather starve than do something that is offensive to my ancestral roots,” Mr. Beach said. “But I think there will always be attempts to drawn on the weakness of native people’s struggles. The savage Indian will always be the savage Indian. The white man will always be smarter and more cunning. The cavalry will always win.”

The solution, Mr. Wente, Mr. Trudell and others said, lies in getting more stories written by and starring Native Americans. But Mr. Wente noted that while independent indigenous film has blossomed in the last two decades, mainstream depictions have yet to catch up. “You have to stop expecting for Hollywood to correct it, because there seems to be no ability or desire to correct it,” Mr. Wente said.

There have been calls to boycott Netflix but, writing for Indian Country Today Media Network, which first broke news of the walk off, the filmmaker Brian Young noted that the distributor also offered a number of films by or about Native Americans.

The furor around “The Ridiculous Six” may drive more people to see it. Then one of the questions that Mr. Trudell, echoing others, had about the film will be answered: “Who the hell laughs at this stuff?”

Native American Actors Work to Overcome a Long-Documented Bias | PAKET UMROH BULAN JANUARI 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Do you think race relations in the United States are generally good or generally bad?
60
40
20
0
White
Black
May '14
May '15
Generally bad
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Do you think race relations in the United States are getting better, getting worse or staying about the same?
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Getting better
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The poll finds that profound racial divisions in views of how the police use deadly force remain. Blacks are more than twice as likely to say police in most communities are more apt to use deadly force against a black person — 79 percent of blacks say so compared with 37 percent of whites. A slim majority of whites say race is not a factor in a police officer’s decision to use deadly force.

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

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

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

Continue reading the main story
How would you describe your feelings about the police in your community? Would you say they make you feel mostly safe or mostly anxious?
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Mostly anxious
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All adults
Whites
Blacks
75%
21
3
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In general, do you think the police in most communities are more likely to use deadly force against a black person, or more likely to use it against a white person, or don’t you think race affects police use of deadly force?
Police more likely to use deadly force against a black person
Police more likely to use deadly force against a white person
Race DOES NOT affect police use of deadly force
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Do you favor or oppose on-duty police officers wearing video cameras that would record events and actions as they occur?
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Asked specifically about the situation in Baltimore, most Americans expressed at least some confidence that the investigation by local authorities would be conducted fairly. But while nearly two-thirds of whites think so, fewer than half of blacks agree. Still, more blacks are confident now than were in August regarding the investigation in Ferguson. On Friday, six members of the police force involved in the arrest of Mr. Gray were charged with serious offenses, including manslaughter. The poll was conducted Thursday through Sunday; results from before charges were announced are similar to those from after.

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

Continue reading the main story
As you may know, a Baltimore man, Freddie Gray, recently died after being in the custody of the Baltimore police. How much confidence do you have that the investigation by local authorities into this matter will be conducted fairly?
A lot
Some
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All adults
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Blacks
29%
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22
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In general, do you think the unrest in Baltimore after the death of Freddie Gray was justified, or do you think the unrest was not justified?
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All adults
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28%
61
11
26
64
11
37
57
6

Negative View of U.S. Race Relations Grows, Poll Finds | PAKET UMROH BULAN JANUARI 2016

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

With Iran Talks, a Tangled Path to Ending Syria’s War | PAKET UMROH BULAN JANUARI 2016

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

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

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

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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.

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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

Sid Tepper Dies at 96; Delivered ‘Red Roses for a Blue Lady’ and Other Songs

Mr. Tepper was not a musical child and had no formal training, but he grew up to write both lyrics and tunes, trading off duties with the other member of the team, Roy C. Bennett.

Sid Tepper Dies at 96; Delivered ‘Red Roses for a Blue Lady’ and Other Songs | 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

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