Tag : umroh akhir desember tahun 2015 jakarta Travel Dian Cahaya
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Travel umroh murah jakarta Alhijaz Indowisata menyediakan Umroh dengan biaya yang murah di tahun 201. Travel Umroh Alhijaz Indowisata: Biaya Paket Umroh 2015
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Saci- Indonesia.com - "Kita harus mengakui, anak selalu berupaya keras mendorong diri mereka dan bekerja keras untuk mencapai tujuan," kata Paul Donahue, PhD, penulis buku Parenting Without Fear: Letting Go of Worry and Focusing on What Really Matters. Jadi, "Satu hal yang perlu diingat adalah proses, bukan produk akhir."
Anak Anda mungkin bukan pemain basket terbaik di timnya. Namun jika Anda melihat ia berlatih setiap hari dan berjuang untuk bisa menjadi yang terbaik, Anda harus memuji usahanya itu, terlepas dari apakah timnya menang atau kalah.
Memuji usaha anak, bukan hasilnya, juga bisa berarti mengakui anak telah bekerja keras. Misalnya saja saat ia membersihkan halaman, memasak makan malam, atau menyelesaikan tugas pelajaran sejarahnya. Apa pun skenarionya, pujian harus diberikan berdasarkan kasus per kasus dan proporsional.
Berikut ini beberapa contoh nyata dari para ahli yang menunjukkan pujian atas prestasi anak:
* Jika anak gagal memukul bola (strike) beberapa kali selama pertandingan (softball), tapi kemudian ia berhasil menangkap bola saat permainan berlangsung, ia layak menerima pujian. Anda harus memuji ketahanan dan usahanya mendorong diri untuk mampu melalui keadaan sulit.
* Jika anak tidak begitu baik dalam pelajaran matematika, Anda bisa menyarankannya untuk terus berlatih, bukan malah memaksanya belajar matematika sambil memarahinya setiap malam. Berikan pujian pada anak ketika ia melakukan hal lain yang luar biasa.
* Putri Anda berhasil menaiki sepeda roda dua setelah ia berlatih berminggu-minggu. Berikan pujian karena ia mampu bertahan dalam latihan.
* Ketika anak berhasil melompat jauh saat sedang bermain, puji dia. Tapi jangan berlebihan karena usahanya itu hanyalah sebatas untuk bersenang-senang.
Jika anak tidak melakukan upaya khusus, jangan memujinya berlebihan atau Anda bisa tidak memujinya sama sekali. Para ahli juga menyarankan agar para orangtua tidak memuji anak dengan memberikan uang tunai.
"Saya percaya setiap orangtua memuji adalah untuk memotivasi anaknya," kata Donahue. "Jika Anda mengatakan kepada anak akan memberikannya uang jika ia mendapatkan nilai A di pelajaran matematika, anak akan melakukannya atas dasar motivasi uang, bukan karena positif ingin berhasil."
Berbeda dengan uang, Anda bisa merayakan kerja keras dan prestasi anak dengan melakukan kegiatan yang mereka sukai. Misalnya, “Pergi makan es krim atau atau menonton pertunjukan musik," kata Donahue.
Labbaika Allaahumma labbaik.Labbaika Iaa syariika laka labbaik.Innal hamda wanni'mata laka wal mulk.Laa syariika lak. ("Ya Allah, aku datang karena panggilan-Mu.Tiada sekutu bagi-Mu.Segala nimat dan puji adalah kepunyaan dan kekuasaan-Mu.Tiada sekutu bagi-Mu")
Berduyun-duyun jutaan kaum muslimin dari berbagai penjuru dunia, datang menuju Baitullah untuk memenuhi panggilan-Nya, menjalankan ibadah haji yang merupakan rukun Islam kelima.
Suara tangisan, derai air mata, rintihan doa, desahan zikir dan istigfar bergema di setiap penjuru Masjidil Haram. Inilah ungkapan bahagia kaum muslimin yang mendapat undangan untuk menjadi tamu Allah.
Alangkah bahagianya mereka yang mampu memenuhi panggilan-Nya. Mereka mampu melaksanakan thawaf, shalat dan berdoa di depan ka'bah. Bahkan tak sedikit diantara mereka yang mampu mencium Hajar Aswad di tengah desakan jutaan umat manusia.
Haji, bukanlah ibadah fisik, bukan pula ibadah harta. Namun, haji merupakan ibadah multi dimensi, dimana terdapat dimensi lain yang mesti ada dalam pelaksanaan ibadah haji.
Dalam pelaksanaan ibadah haji, ada empat dimensi yang dibutuhkan untuk mendukung kekhusyuan dan kelancaran ibadah haji tersebut. Adapun keempat dimensi tersebut adalah :
Pertama, Quwwah Jasadiyah (Kekuatan Fisik).
Perjalanan ibadah haji yang kita lakukan adalah perjalanan fisik, misalnya Thawaf (mengelilingi ka'bah) sebanyak tujuh kali putaran, sai (perjalanan antara Shafa dan Marwa), jumrah, dll. Itu semua tentunya membutuhkan kekuatan fisik. Ketika fisik kita lemah dalam melakukan Thawaf, maka kekhusyuan pun akan terganggu. Oleh karena itu, kita dituntut untuk mempersiapkan fisik kita sebelum berangkat ke baitullah. Lakukan olah raga yang cukup dan berikanlah nutrisi (gizi) yang seimbang (pada tubuh kita), agar fisik kita tetap sehat dan kuat dalam melaksanakan ibadah haji.
Kedua, Quwwah Maaliyah (Kekuatan Harta).
Mengeluarkan biaya untuk keperluan haji akan dinilai Allah SWT setara dengan mengeluarkan biaya untuk Perang Sabil, satu dirham akan menjadi tujuh ratus kali lipat (HR. Ibnu Abi Syaibah, Ahmad, Thabrani dan Baihaqi). Dalam melaksanakan ibadah haji, yang dibutuhkan bukan hanya semangat yang tinggi atau fisik yang kuat, namun yang tak kalah pentingnya adalah memiliki harta yang cukup. Cukup untuk bekal selama di tanah suci maupun bekal untuk keluarga yang ditinggalkan. Ketika harta kita cukup untuk berangkat haji, begitu kita berniat, segera siapkan diri kita untuk menuju rumah Allah. Rasulullah saw pernah memberikan nasehat, "Bersegeralah melaksanakan haji, karena sesungguhnya seorang di antara kamu tidak mengetahui apa yang akan merintanginya di masa yang akan datang." (H.R. Ahmad).
Ketiga, Quwwah Ilmiyah (Kekuatan Ilmu).
Dalam pelaksanaan ibadah haji, tentunya harus dilakukan sesuai dengan ilmunya (sunnahnya). Untuk itu, sebelum kita berangkat haji, kita harus menguasai terlebih dahulu materi tentang manasik haji, mulai dari thawaf, sai, jumrah dan lain-lain. Mengapa haji yang kita lakukan harus benar? Karena derajat haji mabrur akan mudah di raih, jika dalam pelaksanaan ibadah haji dilakukan dengan benar (sesuai dengan contoh Rasulullah saw).
Keempat, Quwwah Ruhiyah (Kekuatan Ruhani).
Haji adalah ibadah yang membutuhkan kesadaran yang tinggi agar dapat merasakan betapa indah dan nikmatnya menjadi tamu Allah. Luruskan niat dan tanamkan keikhlasan dalam diri kita, bahwa haji yang kita laksanakan hanya karena Allah semata, bukan ingin mendapatkan titel "Haji" sepulangnya dari makkah atau ingin mendapatkan kedudukan terhormat di masyarakat karena telah berhasil berangkat ke tanah suci. Oleh karena itu, mulai saat ini, tinggalkan segala perbuatan yang dilarang oleh-Nya dan sempurnakanlah segala perintah-Nya, niscaya kita akan mendapat kedudukan tertinggi di surga, sebagaimana sabda Rasulullah saw,
"Orang-orang yang sedang berhaji atau berumroh adalah tamu-tamu Allah dan para peziarah rumah-Nya, jika mereka meminta sesuatu dari-Nya niscaya Ia akan memberinya. Dan jika mereka memohon ampunan dari-Nya niscaya Ia akan mengampuninya. Dan jika mereka berdoa kepada-Nya niscaya Ia akan mengabulkannya. Dan jika mereka bersyafaat (memintakan sesuatu untuk orang lain) kepada-Nya niscaya Ia akan menerima syafaatnya" (H.R. Ibnu Majah).
Itulah empat dimensi yang harus kita siapkan untuk melaksanakan ibadah haji. Tanpa persiapan tersebut, kekhusyuan dan kelancaran pun akan terganggu . Untuk itu, mulai saat ini persiapkanlah diri kita untuk menjadi tamu-tamu Allah dengan memiliki empat komponen diatas, agar kita mampu meraih kekhuyuan yang optimal.
Sumber : http://www.percikaniman.org
Baca Juga Artikel Lainnya : PENGERTIAN IBADAH HAJI DAN UMRAH> IBADAH HAJI ADALAH IBADAH YANG MULTI DIMENSI
JAKARTA, Saco- Indonesia.com — Pemerintah Provinsi DKI terus mengebut pengerukan sejumlah kali kecil di Ibu Kota. Sebanyak 170 ekskavator diterjunkan untuk menormalisasi sejumlah kali itu.
"Kita ingin mengecek kali dan sungai yang ada di Jakarta. Sudah diterjunkan 170 ekskavator. Ada yang kerja siang, ada yang malam," ujar Gubernur DKI Joko Widodo saat mengunjungi Penghubung Sipon, Semanan, Kalideres, Jakarta Barat, Jumat (31/5/2013).
Mantan Wali Kota Surakarta itu mengungkapkan, pihaknya akan menambah sebanyak 15 hingga 20 ekskavator pada Juni 2013 mendatang. Jokowi ingin pengerukan tersebut cepat selesai.
Meski demikian, Jokowi mengakui mendapat kendala dalam penambahan ekskavator. Banyak kali dan sungai yang memiliki ruas sisi yang kecil. Hal itu menyebabkan ekskavator sulit masuk.
"Kalau kanan kiri sudah rumah itu yang kesulitan membuang endapannya. Kesulitan alat berat masuk ke sungai. Jadi tergantung lokasi," ujarnya.
Jokowi menegaskan bahwa Pemprov tidak tebang pilih dalam menangani sejumlah kali dan sungai di Jakarta. Jokowi ingin agar pengerukan kali dan sungai tersebut mengakibatkan air berjalan lancar dan jika hujan, tidak meluap memenuhi permukiman.
Seperti diketahui, proyek pengerukan sungai dan kali di DKI merupakan bagian dari Jakarta Emergency Dredging Initiative (JEDI). Program itu merupakan upaya pengendalian banjir melalui normalisasi sebanyak 13 sungai di DKI Jakarta. Realisasi proyek yang mulai digagas sejak 2008 tersebut dilakukan secara bertahap dan dibagi dalam tujuh paket pengerjaan.
Sesuai rencana, dari tujuh paket, tiga paket dikerjakan Pemprov DKI, dua paket dikerjakan Balai Besar Wilayah Sungai Ciliwung Cisadane (BBWSCC), dan dua lainnya dikerjakan Cipta Karya melalui bantuan dana World Bank. Setelah sempat terpendam, proyek yang tak kunjung dikerjakan oleh gubernur era Foke itu pun dilanjutkan kembali oleh Jokowi.
Editor :Liwon Maulana
Sumber:Kompas.com> Jokowi Minta Ekskavator Terus Keruk Kali Siang dan Malam
Toko- BungaTangerang merupakan Tania Group yang didirikan oleh ibu Holy sejak tahun 1999, beliau telah aktif merangkai jauh sebelumnya. Beliau juga bergabung menjadi anggota IPBI (Ikatan Perangkai Bunga Indonesia). Pada awalnya tahun 1992 s/d sekarang beliau mengikuti kegiatan sosial perangkai bunga di ST.Maria, kegiatan pelayanan tersebut yang membuat ibu Holy semakin mencintai merangkai bunga dan memutuskan untuk menekuni profesi sebagai perangkai bunga profesional. Beliau mengikuti pendidikan formal dari tingkat dasar sampai tingkat advace/ahli telah diikutinya. Keahlian dalam pengelolaan Florist pun diturunkan kepada anak dan menantunya.
Kami adalah pelopor toko online di wilayah Tangerang Selatan. Toko bunga Papan Tangerang telah berdiri sejak th. 1999.
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KATHMANDU, Nepal — When the dense pillar of smoke from cremations by the Bagmati River was thinning late last week, the bodies were all coming from Gongabu, a common stopover for Nepali migrant workers headed overseas, and they were all of young men.
Hindu custom dictates that funeral pyres should be lighted by the oldest son of the deceased, but these men were too young to have sons, so they were burned by their brothers or fathers. Sukla Lal, a maize farmer, made a 14-hour journey by bus to retrieve the body of his 19-year-old son, who had been on his way to the Persian Gulf to work as a laborer.
“He wanted to live in the countryside, but he was compelled to leave by poverty,” Mr. Lal said, gazing ahead steadily as his son’s remains smoldered. “He told me, ‘You can live on your land, and I will come up with money, and we will have a happy family.’ ”
Weeks will pass before the authorities can give a complete accounting of who died in the April 25 earthquake, but it is already clear that Nepal cannot afford the losses. The countryside was largely stripped of its healthy young men even before the quake, as they migrated in great waves — 1,500 a day by some estimates — to work as laborers in India, Malaysia or one of the gulf nations, leaving many small communities populated only by elderly parents, women and children. Economists say that at some times of the year, one-quarter of Nepal’s population is working outside the country.Nepalâ€™s Young Men, Lost to Migration, Then a Quake | PAKET UMROH BULAN JANUARI 2016
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 Kentuckyâ€™s â€˜Twin Towersâ€™ of Basketball, Dies at 59 | PAKET UMROH BULAN JANUARI 2016
The neighborhood where Freddie Gray came of age has survived harrowing rates of unemployment, poor health, violent crime and incarceration.Hard but Hopeful Home to â€˜Lot of Freddiesâ€™ | PAKET UMROH BULAN JANUARI 2016
As he reflected on the festering wounds deepened by race and grievance that have been on painful display in America’s cities lately, President Obama on Monday found himself thinking about a young man he had just met named Malachi.
A few minutes before, in a closed-door round-table discussion at Lehman College in the Bronx, Mr. Obama had asked a group of black and Hispanic students from disadvantaged backgrounds what could be done to help them reach their goals. Several talked about counseling and guidance programs.
“Malachi, he just talked about — we should talk about love,” Mr. Obama told a crowd afterward, drifting away from his prepared remarks. “Because Malachi and I shared the fact that our dad wasn’t around and that sometimes we wondered why he wasn’t around and what had happened. But really, that’s what this comes down to is: Do we love these kids?”
Many presidents have governed during times of racial tension, but Mr. Obama is the first to see in the mirror a face that looks like those on the other side of history’s ledger. While his first term was consumed with the economy, war and health care, his second keeps coming back to the societal divide that was not bridged by his election. A president who eschewed focusing on race now seems to have found his voice again as he thinks about how to use his remaining time in office and beyond.
In the aftermath of racially charged unrest in places like Baltimore, Ferguson, Mo., and New York, Mr. Obama came to the Bronx on Monday for the announcement of a new nonprofit organization that is being spun off from his White House initiative called My Brother’s Keeper. Staked by more than $80 million in commitments from corporations and other donors, the new group, My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, will in effect provide the nucleus for Mr. Obama’s post-presidency, which will begin in January 2017.
“This will remain a mission for me and for Michelle not just for the rest of my presidency but for the rest of my life,” Mr. Obama said. “And the reason is simple,” he added. Referring to some of the youths he had just met, he said: “We see ourselves in these young men. I grew up without a dad. I grew up lost sometimes and adrift, not having a sense of a clear path. The only difference between me and a lot of other young men in this neighborhood and all across the country is that I grew up in an environment that was a little more forgiving.”
Organizers said the new alliance already had financial pledges from companies like American Express, Deloitte, Discovery Communications and News Corporation. The money will be used to help companies address obstacles facing young black and Hispanic men, provide grants to programs for disadvantaged youths, and help communities aid their populations.
Joe Echevarria, a former chief executive of Deloitte, the accounting and consulting firm, will lead the alliance, and among those on its leadership team or advisory group are executives at PepsiCo, News Corporation, Sprint, BET and Prudential Group Insurance; former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell; Senator Cory Booker, Democrat of New Jersey; former Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.; the music star John Legend; the retired athletes Alonzo Mourning, Jerome Bettis and Shaquille O’Neal; and the mayors of Indianapolis, Sacramento and Philadelphia.
The alliance, while nominally independent of the White House, may face some of the same questions confronting former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton as she begins another presidential campaign. Some of those donating to the alliance may have interests in government action, and skeptics may wonder whether they are trying to curry favor with the president by contributing.
“The Obama administration will have no role in deciding how donations are screened and what criteria they’ll set at the alliance for donor policies, because it’s an entirely separate entity,” Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, told reporters on Air Force One en route to New York. But he added, “I’m confident that the members of the board are well aware of the president’s commitment to transparency.”
The alliance was in the works before the disturbances last week after the death of Freddie Gray, the black man who suffered fatal injuries while in police custody in Baltimore, but it reflected the evolution of Mr. Obama’s presidency. For him, in a way, it is coming back to issues that animated him as a young community organizer and politician. It was his own struggle with race and identity, captured in his youthful memoir, “Dreams From My Father,” that stood him apart from other presidential aspirants.
But that was a side of him that he kept largely to himself through the first years of his presidency while he focused on other priorities like turning the economy around, expanding government-subsidized health care and avoiding electoral land mines en route to re-election.
After securing a second term, Mr. Obama appeared more emboldened. Just a month after his 2013 inauguration, he talked passionately about opportunity and race with a group of teenage boys in Chicago, a moment aides point to as perhaps the first time he had spoken about these issues in such a personal, powerful way as president. A few months later, he publicly lamented the death of Trayvon Martin, a black Florida teenager, saying that “could have been me 35 years ago.”
That case, along with public ruptures of anger over police shootings in Ferguson and elsewhere, have pushed the issue of race and law enforcement onto the public agenda. Aides said they imagined that with his presidency in its final stages, Mr. Obama might be thinking more about what comes next and causes he can advance as a private citizen.
That is not to say that his public discussion of these issues has been universally welcomed. Some conservatives said he had made matters worse by seeming in their view to blame police officers in some of the disputed cases.
“President Obama, when he was elected, could have been a unifying leader,” Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, a Republican candidate for president, said at a forum last week. “He has made decisions that I think have inflamed racial tensions.”
On the other side of the ideological spectrum, some liberal African-American activists have complained that Mr. Obama has not done enough to help downtrodden communities. While he is speaking out more, these critics argue, he has hardly used the power of the presidency to make the sort of radical change they say is necessary.
The line Mr. Obama has tried to straddle has been a serrated one. He condemns police brutality as he defends most officers as honorable. He condemns “criminals and thugs” who looted in Baltimore while expressing empathy with those trapped in a cycle of poverty and hopelessness.
In the Bronx on Monday, Mr. Obama bemoaned the death of Brian Moore, a plainclothes New York police officer who had died earlier in the day after being shot in the head Saturday on a Queens street. Most police officers are “good and honest and fair and care deeply about their communities,” even as they put their lives on the line, Mr. Obama said.
“Which is why in addressing the issues in Baltimore or Ferguson or New York, the point I made was that if we’re just looking at policing, we’re looking at it too narrowly,” he added. “If we ask the police to simply contain and control problems that we ourselves have been unwilling to invest and solve, that’s not fair to the communities, it’s not fair to the police.”
Moreover, if society writes off some people, he said, “that’s not the kind of country I want to live in; that’s not what America is about.”
His message to young men like Malachi Hernandez, who attends Boston Latin Academy in Massachusetts, is not to give up.
“I want you to know you matter,” he said. “You matter to us.”Advertisement Politics Obama Finds a Bolder Voice on Race Issues | PAKET UMROH BULAN JANUARI 2016
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
Gagne wrestled professionally from the late 1940s until the 1980s and was a transitional figure between the early 20th century barnstormers and the steroidal sideshows of todayVerne Gagne, Wrestler Who Grappled Through Two Eras, Dies at 89 | PAKET UMROH BULAN JANUARI 2016
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.
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.
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.
The nationwide poll was conducted from April 30 to May 3 on landlines and cellphones with 1,027 adults, including 793 whites and 128 blacks. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points for all adults, four percentage points for whites and nine percentage points for blacks. See the full poll here.
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
A 214-pound Queens housewife struggled with a lifelong addiction to food until she shed 72 pounds and became the public face of the worldwide weight-control empire Weight Watchers.Jean Nidetch, 91, Dies; Pounds Came Off, and Weight Watchers Was Born | 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
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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