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Apakah Anda termasuk yang bingung untuk memilih jenis bohlam lampu apa yang tepat untuk jenis aplikasi penggunaan pada ruangan Anda? Jika “Ya” Anda tidak usah bingung dan sampai harus memanggil konsultan design interior segala kalau hanya sekedar untuk menentukan lampu apa yang cocok buat ruangan Anda. Kalau Anda pernah membaca tulisan saya terdahulu, Baca Tips Design Pencahayaan Lighting Ruang, sedikit pernah saya ulas kalau hakekat design pencahayaan lighting sebuah ruang sebenarnya adalah menganut kaidah siang dan malam.
Untuk dapat memilih lampu yang tepat atau sesuai dengan jenis aplikasi penggunaan pada ruangan Anda, Anda juga perlu melihat beberapa parameter serta jenis yang ada dalam spesifikasi lampunya. Berikut adalah beberapa parameter dan jenis yang ada dalam spesifikasi lampu, yang perlu Anda lihat karena berkaitan erat dengan aplikasi penggunannya:
1. Colour Rendering
Dalam katalog jenis lampu, satuan yang dipakai untuk dapat membedakan warna cahaya lighting atau biasa disebut Colour Rendering adalah Kelvin atau sering disingkat K. Semakin tinggi angka satuan Kelvin-nya, biasanya satuannya dalam ribuan, maka akan semakin putih kebiru-biruan warna cahaya lightingnya. Begitupun sebaliknya, semakin rendah angka Kelvin-nya maka akan semakin kuning kemerah-merahan warna cahaya lampunya. Untuk dapat menentukan warna apa yang tepat buat ruangan Anda maka jika ruangan Anda aplikasinya untuk bersantai, untuk kamar tidur, tempat makan, ruang keluarga, sebaiknya pilih yang warna cahayanya yang kuning. Jangan menggunakan warna putih. Karena apa? Karena warna kuning lebih soft, nyaman untuk nuansa santai dan beristirahat. Sebaliknya, jika aplikasinya buat ruang kerja yang bernuansa serius, pilihlah yang berwarna putih.
Pertanyaan saya bagaimana jika sebuah ruangan misalnya berfungsi ganda? Ya, berfungsi sebagai ruang santai juga ruang untuk bekerja Anda misalnya. Gampang, aturlah sistem pencahayaan ruangan tersebut menjadi dua grup, satu grup lampu dengan cahaya kuning dan satu grup lagi dengan cahaya putih lalu pasanglah saklar seri menjadi dua grup.
Sekedar contoh pada lampu yang ada di pasaran. Saya ambil contoh pada lampu Philips jenis esential type warm white (kuning) satuan Kelvin-nya sebesar 2700 K. Dan kalau type cool daylight (putih) satuan Kelvin-nya sebesar 6500 K.
Satuan yang telah membedakan kekuatan cahaya bohlam lampu adalah Lumen. Semakin tinggi satuan Lumen sebuah lampu maka semakin terang atau tinggi pula Lux cahaya yang dipancarkannya. Lampu yang baik idealnya adalah ratio lumennya tinggi diatas 50 lm/W. Bahkan kini lampu-lampu Hemat Energi di pasaran sudah ada yang lumen per wattnya cukup tinggi, yaitu 60 lm/W. Untuk dapat menentukan berapa Lux yang tepat buat ruangan Anda maka jika ruangan Anda aplikasinya untuk bersantai, untuk kamar tidur, tempat makan, ruang keluarga, sebaiknya pilih yang watt dan lumen-nya tidak terlalu tinggi. Jangan menggunakan lampu yang terlalu terang pada ruangan tersebut. Karena apa? Karena cahaya yang lebih redup, soft atau tidak terlalu terang lebih nyaman untuk nuansa santai dan beristirahat. Sebaliknya, jika aplikasinya buat ruang kerja yang bernuansa serius, pilihlah yang watt dan lumennya yang tinggi.
Sebagai gambaran misalnya ruangan Anda berukuran 9 M2 dan berfungsi sebagai kamar tidur, kebutuhan lampunya sekitar 300 Lumen sudah cukup untuk dapat menerangi ruangan Anda.
3. Jenis Ballast dan Trafo
Di pasaran pada lampu tertentu, seperti jenis TL, PLC, Metal Halide dan spot ada yang masih menggunakan ballast dan trafo sebagai komponen lampunya. Dan tipe ballast dan trafo yang ada terbagi menjadi dua, konvensional (pakai kumparan/lilitan) dan elektronik. Dari kedua tipe ballast dan trafo tersebut, pilihlah yang dari jenis elektronik, jangan menggunakan yang jenis kumparan. Selain karena alasan Hemat Energi sebab ballast atau trafo elektronik terbukti lebih hemat energi, juga pada lampu yang ber-ballast atau trafo elektronik bentuknya lebih ramping sehingga tidak mengganggu estetika ruangan Anda.
4. Lampu Spot
Untuk obyek tertentu yang telah membutuhkan fokus penerangan seperti poster, lukisan atau obyek-obyek tertentu seperti patung, air mancur, atau pohon dan relief di taman misalnya, yang butuh sekali ditonjolkan, pasanglah lampu sorot yang mengarah ke obyek-obyek tersebut agar obyeknya nampak lebih menonjol dan hidup. Lampu seperti jenis ini dalam istilah design lighting disebut lampu spot. Untuk memilih lampu yang jenis seperti ini, pilihlah lampu yang berjenis PAR.
5. Lampu General Lighting
Untuk tipe general lightingnya, pilihlah yang jenis armaturenya dari downlight karena lebih fleksibel, yang titiknya bisa diatur menyebar mengikuti luas ceiling ruangan. Karena bentuknya yang tidak terlalu besar dan bisa inbow (masuk) ke dalam plafond membuat ruangan lebih indah secara estetika untuk mendukung design interior ruangan Anda.
6. Lampu Indirect Lighting
Untuk sistem pencahayaan ruang yang telah membutuhkan penerangan cahaya secara tidak langsung atau indirect, misal untuk koef ceiling (lekukan plafond) atau pada ornamen pada dinding, pilihlah lampu yang dari jenis TL karena bisa memberikan efek pencahayaan bayangan yang bagus. Lampu TL yang bentuknya memanjang lebih menghemat jumlah titik lampunya. Dan sekarang tersedia pilihan dengan bentuknya yang semakin kecil dan memanjang mirip dengan tubing neon sign yang dulu pada design interior lighting ruangan pernah dipakai juga sebagai lampu indirect lighting. Contoh lampu TL yang kecil seperti ini, pilih jenis lampu TL 5.
Demikian beberapa tips dari saya untuk memilih bohlam lampu yang tepat buat ruangan Anda. Semoga sharing tips ini bisa bermanfaat.> 6 TIPS MEMILIH BOHLAM LAMPU
saco-indonesia.com, Ada kabar yang beredar luas di WhatsApp yang telah menyebutkan jika salah satu aplikasi messenger terbesar di dunia ini akan segera dimatikan pada 28 Januari 2014 karena sudah kelebihan pengguna.
pesan yang telah beredar luas tersebut berbunyi "Whatsapp akan dimatikan pada 28 Januari. Berikut pesan langsung dari Jim Balsamic (CEO Whatsapp). Kami telah mengalami kelebihan penggunaan username pada WhatsApp Messenger. Kami telah meminta semua pengguna untuk dapat meneruskan pesan ini ke seluruh daftar kontak mereka. Jika Anda tidak meneruskan pesan ini, kami akan menganggap akun WhatsApp Anda tidak valid dan akan dihapus dalam 48 jam ke depan."
Selain itu, pesan ini juga telah menyebutkan jika pengguna harus membayar dengan nominal uang tertentu untuk bisa melakukan aktivasi ulang akun WhatsApp-nya.
"Mohon untuk tidak mengabaikan pesan ini atau Whatsapp tidak akan lagi mengenali aktivasi Anda. Jika Anda ingin mengaktifkan kembali akun Anda setelah proses penghentian operasi ini, biaya sebesar USD 25 akan ditambahkan ke tagihan bulanan Anda."
Namun, ternyata pesan ini sendiri hanyalah hoax saja dan bukan merupakan pesan yang resmi dari pihak WhatsApp. Berdasarkan lansiran tersebut, ini juga bukan pertama kalinya pesan hoax beredar di instan messenger WhatsApp. Bahkan pesan hoax yang telah menyebutkan pesan langsung dari CEO WhatsApp ini semakin marak seiring makin populernya WhatsApp di pengguna smartphone saat ini.
Jika Anda mendapatkan pesan tersebut, sebaiknya abaikan saja dan jangan di sebarkan lebih jauh. Hoax ini mungkin tidak berbahaya, namun tetap pesan yang bersifat spam ini akan menjengkelkan setiap penerimanya.
> WHATSAPP BERHENTI BEROPERASI?
Editor : Dian Sukmawati
Bekasi, Saco-Indonesia.com - Kepala Dinas Pariwisata dan Kebudayaan DKI Jakarta Arie Budhiman mengatakan, masyarakat dan turis dapat menggunakan bus tingkat wisata tanpa menggunakan tiket. Meskipun gratis, tetap ada pengelolaan tiket. Tiket dapat diperoleh di pusat perbelanjaan maupun hotel. "Evaluasi tiga bulan pertama tanpa tiket, belum pakai tiket gratis," kata Arie di Balaikota Jakarta, Kamis (16/1/2014). Siang tadi, bus tingkat wisata itu telah resmi dikenalkan kepada publik di Bundaran Hotel Indonesia (HI). Adapun uji coba pengoperasiannya akan dilaksanakan pada akhir pekan ini. Untuk beroperasional secara utuh, Arie menargetkan dapat terealisasi pada akhir Januari. Kini lima unit bus tingkat wisata itu ditempatkan di pul Cawang. Untuk memulai perjalanan, semua bus tingkat wisata akan parkir di silang barat daya Monas. Pada pukul 09.00 WIB, kelima bus tingkat wisata itu akan mengelilingi Jakarta. Waktu tempuh tiap bus berjarak 30 menit. Bus-bus wisata itu akan menempuh dua rute. Rute pertama melewati Bundaran HI-Medan Merdeka Barat-Harmoni-Juanda-Gedung Kesenian Jakarta-Gereja Katedral-Masjid Istiqlal-Juanda-Medan Merdeka Utara-Istana Negara-Balaikota-MH Thamrin-Bundaran HI. Adapun rute melalui Bundaran HI-Sudirman-Semanggi-Gatot Subroto-Hotel Sultan-JCC-TVRI-Hotel Mulia-Senayan (Plaza Senayan dan Senayan City-Patung Pemuda-Sudirman-Semanggi-Bundaran HI. Sepanjang rute tersebut, akan ada 10 titik pemberhentian. Di setiap halte tersebut, bus akan berhenti selama satu menit. Bus tingkat yang didominasi warna ungu dan hijau muda tersebut memiliki panjang 13,5 meter, lebar 2,5 meter, dan tinggi 4,2 meter. Desain double decker lengkap dengan tulisan "Wisata Keliling Ibukota!" dan "City tour Jakarta". Huruf R dan J dalam kalimat city tour Jakarta dibuat menyambung jadi satu. Adapun di bagian belakang terdapat slogan "Enjoy Jakarta". Tak hanya itu, bus double decker itu juga memiliki gambar-gambar Monas, Ondel-ondel, patung Pancoran, patung selamat datang, dan lain-lain. Warna ungu dan hijau muda sengaja dipilih agar bus itu memiliki ciri khas sendiri dibanding bus sedang lainnya. Warna merah, misalnya, menjadi ciri khas warna bus transjakarta, metromini berwarna oranye, dan bus kopaja berkelir hijau. Setiap unit bus tingkat wisata berkapasitas 60 tempat duduk dan dua di antaranya diperuntukkan bagi penyandang difabel. Deck dan pintu sengaja dibuat pendek dan berada di sebelah kiri agar ramah untuk kaum difabel dan orang tua. Spesifikasi lain yang membuat bus ini ramah kaum difabel adalah melintas di jalur lambat, bukanlah busway. Double decker Jakarta berbeda dari bus tingkat di London, Inggris. Atap paling atasnya dibuat tertutup sebab iklim Jakarta berbeda dari London. Di samping itu, faktor kesehatan menjadi unsur penting yang menjadi pertimbangan. Beberapa fasilitas yang dimiliki double decker, seperti pendingin udara, pengeras suara, CCTV, lengkap dengan petugas guide. Di tiap bus akan ada tiga awak, yakni pengemudi, pramuwisata, dan keamanan. "Dengan adanya bus ini, Jakarta punya daya tarik yang berbeda. Mudah-mudahan Jakarta semakin menarik dan dikunjungi wisatawan," kata Arie. Sumber : kompas.com Editor : Maulana Lee
Bekasi, Saco-Indonesia.com - Kepala Dinas Pariwisata dan Kebudayaan DKI Jakarta Arie Budhiman mengatakan, masyarakat dan turis dapat menggunakan bus tingkat wisata tanpa menggunakan tiket. Meskipun gratis, tetap ada pengelolaan tiket. Tiket dapat diperoleh di pusat perbelanjaan maupun hotel.
"Evaluasi tiga bulan pertama tanpa tiket, belum pakai tiket gratis," kata Arie di Balaikota Jakarta, Kamis (16/1/2014).
Siang tadi, bus tingkat wisata itu telah resmi dikenalkan kepada publik di Bundaran Hotel Indonesia (HI). Adapun uji coba pengoperasiannya akan dilaksanakan pada akhir pekan ini. Untuk beroperasional secara utuh, Arie menargetkan dapat terealisasi pada akhir Januari.
Kini lima unit bus tingkat wisata itu ditempatkan di pul Cawang. Untuk memulai perjalanan, semua bus tingkat wisata akan parkir di silang barat daya Monas. Pada pukul 09.00 WIB, kelima bus tingkat wisata itu akan mengelilingi Jakarta. Waktu tempuh tiap bus berjarak 30 menit.
Bus-bus wisata itu akan menempuh dua rute. Rute pertama melewati Bundaran HI-Medan Merdeka Barat-Harmoni-Juanda-Gedung Kesenian Jakarta-Gereja Katedral-Masjid Istiqlal-Juanda-Medan Merdeka Utara-Istana Negara-Balaikota-MH Thamrin-Bundaran HI. Adapun rute melalui Bundaran HI-Sudirman-Semanggi-Gatot Subroto-Hotel Sultan-JCC-TVRI-Hotel Mulia-Senayan (Plaza Senayan dan Senayan City-Patung Pemuda-Sudirman-Semanggi-Bundaran HI. Sepanjang rute tersebut, akan ada 10 titik pemberhentian. Di setiap halte tersebut, bus akan berhenti selama satu menit.
Bus tingkat yang didominasi warna ungu dan hijau muda tersebut memiliki panjang 13,5 meter, lebar 2,5 meter, dan tinggi 4,2 meter. Desain double decker lengkap dengan tulisan "Wisata Keliling Ibukota!" dan "City tour Jakarta". Huruf R dan J dalam kalimat city tour Jakarta dibuat menyambung jadi satu. Adapun di bagian belakang terdapat slogan "Enjoy Jakarta". Tak hanya itu, bus double decker itu juga memiliki gambar-gambar Monas, Ondel-ondel, patung Pancoran, patung selamat datang, dan lain-lain.
Warna ungu dan hijau muda sengaja dipilih agar bus itu memiliki ciri khas sendiri dibanding bus sedang lainnya. Warna merah, misalnya, menjadi ciri khas warna bus transjakarta, metromini berwarna oranye, dan bus kopaja berkelir hijau.
Setiap unit bus tingkat wisata berkapasitas 60 tempat duduk dan dua di antaranya diperuntukkan bagi penyandang difabel. Deck dan pintu sengaja dibuat pendek dan berada di sebelah kiri agar ramah untuk kaum difabel dan orang tua. Spesifikasi lain yang membuat bus ini ramah kaum difabel adalah melintas di jalur lambat, bukanlah busway.
Double decker Jakarta berbeda dari bus tingkat di London, Inggris. Atap paling atasnya dibuat tertutup sebab iklim Jakarta berbeda dari London. Di samping itu, faktor kesehatan menjadi unsur penting yang menjadi pertimbangan. Beberapa fasilitas yang dimiliki double decker, seperti pendingin udara, pengeras suara, CCTV, lengkap dengan petugas guide. Di tiap bus akan ada tiga awak, yakni pengemudi, pramuwisata, dan keamanan.
"Dengan adanya bus ini, Jakarta punya daya tarik yang berbeda. Mudah-mudahan Jakarta semakin menarik dan dikunjungi wisatawan," kata Arie.
Sumber : kompas.com
Editor : Maulana Lee
Pengangkatan Anas Effendi sebagai Walikota Jakarta Barat oleh Gubernur DKI Jakarta Joko Widodo (Jokowi) dinilai kontroversi. Sebab, Anas juga sempat dicopot dari kursi wali kota Jakarta Selatan dan di'parkir' telah menjadi Kepala Badan Perpustakaan dan Arsip Daerah Provinsi (BPAD) DKI Jakarta.
Rekam jejak Anas saat masih menjadi wali kota Jakarta Selatan telah menjadi sorotan. Terakhir, Anas kedapatan tengah tertidur lelap saat Rapat Paripurna digelar Jokowi.
Terkait jabatan baru yang dipangku oleh Anas, anggota Komisi E DPRD DKI Fraksi Partai Demokrat Neneng Hasanah telah menyambut baik keputusan Jokowi.
"Pak Anas itu kan memang orang pemerintahan. Saya setuju dengan keputusan Pak Gubernur," ucap Neneng saat berbincang , Rabu (12/3).
Neneng telah menilai terdapat kelebihan Anas yang membuat Jokowi memberikan posisi bergengsi di jajaran Pemkot DKI Jakarta. "Pak Anas itu juga punya kinerja bagus saat di Selatan (wali kota Jaksel). Pak Gubernur juga tidak akan sembarangan pilih anak buahnya, pasti ada pertimbangan tersendiri," tuturnya.
Salah satu prestasi yang pernah dibuat Anas saat menjadi wali kota Jakarta Selatan, lanjut Neneng, yakni pernah menjadi pengumpul Pajak Bumi dan Bangunan (PBB) yang memenuhi target.
"Beliau (Anas) juga pernah dapat penghargaan PBB di wilayah Jaksel," tandasnya.
Sebelumnya, Jokowi melantik Anas Effendi sebagai wali kota Jakarta Barat. Jokowi telah menyebut bahwa Anas pantas diberikan kesempatan kedua. "Harus diberi kesempatan kedua. Tapi harus jauh lebih baik dari yang dulu. Sudah ketemu dan janjinya itu," ucap Jokowi usai pelantikan.
Dalam kesempatan yang sama, Anas juga menyatakan siap mengikuti ritme kerja Jokowi. "Sekarang saya yakin bisa mengikuti ritme beliau. Lagian itu kan pimpinan yang menilai," kata Anas.
Anas Effendi telah menggantikan Fatahillah yang dimutasi menjadi Kepala Badan Kesatuan Bangsa dan Politik terhitung sejak 12 Februari 2014.
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.
“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.
“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 â€˜The Great War of Our Timeâ€™ | PAKET UMROH BULAN JANUARI 2016
Though Robin and Joan Rolfs owned two rare talking dolls manufactured by Thomas Edison’s phonograph company in 1890, they did not dare play the wax cylinder records tucked inside each one.
The Rolfses, longtime collectors of Edison phonographs, knew that if they turned the cranks on the dolls’ backs, the steel phonograph needle might damage or destroy the grooves of the hollow, ring-shaped cylinder. And so for years, the dolls sat side by side inside a display cabinet, bearers of a message from the dawn of sound recording that nobody could hear.
In 1890, Edison’s dolls were a flop; production lasted only six weeks. Children found them difficult to operate and more scary than cuddly. The recordings inside, which featured snippets of nursery rhymes, wore out quickly.
Yet sound historians say the cylinders were the first entertainment records ever made, and the young girls hired to recite the rhymes were the world’s first recording artists.
Year after year, the Rolfses asked experts if there might be a safe way to play the recordings. Then a government laboratory developed a method to play fragile records without touching them.
The technique relies on a microscope to create images of the grooves in exquisite detail. A computer approximates — with great accuracy — the sounds that would have been created by a needle moving through those grooves.
In 2014, the technology was made available for the first time outside the laboratory.
“The fear all along is that we don’t want to damage these records. We don’t want to put a stylus on them,” said Jerry Fabris, the curator of the Thomas Edison Historical Park in West Orange, N.J. “Now we have the technology to play them safely.”
Last month, the Historical Park posted online three never-before-heard Edison doll recordings, including the two from the Rolfses’ collection. “There are probably more out there, and we’re hoping people will now get them digitized,” Mr. Fabris said.
The technology, which is known as Irene (Image, Reconstruct, Erase Noise, Etc.), was developed by the particle physicist Carl Haber and the engineer Earl Cornell at Lawrence Berkeley. Irene extracts sound from cylinder and disk records. It can also reconstruct audio from recordings so badly damaged they were deemed unplayable.
“We are now hearing sounds from history that I did not expect to hear in my lifetime,” Mr. Fabris said.
The Rolfses said they were not sure what to expect in August when they carefully packed their two Edison doll cylinders, still attached to their motors, and drove from their home in Hortonville, Wis., to the National Document Conservation Center in Andover, Mass. The center had recently acquired Irene technology.
Cylinders carry sound in a spiral groove cut by a phonograph recording needle that vibrates up and down, creating a surface made of tiny hills and valleys. In the Irene set-up, a microscope perched above the shaft takes thousands of high-resolution images of small sections of the grooves.
Stitched together, the images provide a topographic map of the cylinder’s surface, charting changes in depth as small as one five-hundredth the thickness of a human hair. Pitch, volume and timbre are all encoded in the hills and valleys and the speed at which the record is played.
At the conservation center, the preservation specialist Mason Vander Lugt attached one of the cylinders to the end of a rotating shaft. Huddled around a computer screen, the Rolfses first saw the wiggly waveform generated by Irene. Then came the digital audio. The words were at first indistinct, but as Mr. Lugt filtered out more of the noise, the rhyme became clearer.
“That was the Eureka moment,” Mr. Rolfs said.
In 1890, a girl in Edison’s laboratory had recited:
There was a little girl,
And she had a little curl
Right in the middle of her forehead.
When she was good,
She was very, very good.
But when she was bad, she was horrid.
Recently, the conservation center turned up another surprise.
In 2010, the Woody Guthrie Foundation received 18 oversize phonograph disks from an anonymous donor. No one knew if any of the dirt-stained recordings featured Guthrie, but Tiffany Colannino, then the foundation’s archivist, had stored them unplayed until she heard about Irene.
Last fall, the center extracted audio from one of the records, labeled “Jam Session 9” and emailed the digital file to Ms. Colannino.
“I was just sitting in my dining room, and the next thing I know, I’m hearing Woody,” she said. In between solo performances of “Ladies Auxiliary,” “Jesus Christ,” and “Dead or Alive,” Guthrie tells jokes, offers some back story, and makes the audience laugh. “It is quintessential Guthrie,” Ms. Colannino said.
The Rolfses’ dolls are back in the display cabinet in Wisconsin. But with audio stored on several computers, they now have a permanent voice.Ghostly Voices From Thomas Edisonâ€™s Dolls Can Now Be Heard | PAKET UMROH BULAN JANUARI 2016
From sea to shining sea, or at least from one side of the Hudson to the other, politicians you have barely heard of are being accused of wrongdoing. There were so many court proceedings involving public officials on Monday that it was hard to keep up.
In Newark, two underlings of Gov. Chris Christie were arraigned on charges that they were in on the truly deranged plot to block traffic leading onto the George Washington Bridge.
Ten miles away, in Lower Manhattan, Dean G. Skelos, the leader of the New York State Senate, and his son, Adam B. Skelos, were arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation on accusations of far more conventional political larceny, involving a job with a sewer company for the son and commissions on title insurance and bond work.
The younger man managed to receive a 150 percent pay increase from the sewer company even though, as he said on tape, he “literally knew nothing about water or, you know, any of that stuff,” according to a criminal complaint the United States attorney’s office filed.
The success of Adam Skelos, 32, was attributed by prosecutors to his father’s influence as the leader of the Senate and as a potentate among state Republicans. The indictment can also be read as one of those unfailingly sad tales of a father who cannot stop indulging a grown son. The senator himself is not alleged to have profited from the schemes, except by being relieved of the burden of underwriting Adam.
The bridge traffic caper is its own species of crazy; what distinguishes the charges against the two Skeloses is the apparent absence of a survival instinct. It is one thing not to know anything about water or that stuff. More remarkable, if true, is the fact that the sewer machinations continued even after the former New York Assembly speaker, Sheldon Silver, was charged in January with taking bribes disguised as fees.
It was by then common gossip in political and news media circles that Senator Skelos, a Republican, the counterpart in the Senate to Mr. Silver, a Democrat, in the Assembly, could be next in line for the criminal dock. “Stay tuned,” the United States attorney, Preet Bharara said, leaving not much to the imagination.
Even though the cat had been unmistakably belled, Skelos father and son continued to talk about how to advance the interests of the sewer company, though the son did begin to use a burner cellphone, the kind people pay for in cash, with no traceable contracts.
That was indeed prudent, as prosecutors had been wiretapping the cellphones of both men. But it would seem that the burner was of limited value, because by then the prosecutors had managed to secure the help of a business executive who agreed to record calls with the Skeloses. It would further seem that the business executive was more attentive to the perils of pending investigations than the politician.
Through the end of the New York State budget negotiations in March, the hopes of the younger Skelos rested on his father’s ability to devise legislation that would benefit the sewer company. That did not pan out. But Senator Skelos did boast that he had haggled with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, a Democrat, in a successful effort to raise a $150 million allocation for Long Island to $550 million, for what the budget called “transformative economic development projects.” It included money for the kind of work done by the sewer company.
The lawyer for Adam Skelos said he was not guilty and would win in court. Senator Skelos issued a ringing declaration that he was unequivocally innocent.
THIS was also the approach taken in New Jersey by Bill Baroni, a man of great presence and eloquence who stopped outside the federal courthouse to note that he had taken risks as a Republican by bucking his party to support paid family leave, medical marijuana and marriage equality. “I would never risk my career, my job, my reputation for something like this,” Mr. Baroni said. “I am an innocent man.”
The lawyer for his co-defendant, Bridget Anne Kelly, the former deputy chief of staff to Mr. Christie, a Republican, said that she would strongly rebut the charges.
Perhaps they had nothing to do with the lane closings. But neither Mr. Baroni nor Ms. Kelly addressed the question of why they did not return repeated calls from the mayor of Fort Lee, N.J., begging them to stop the traffic tie-ups, over three days.
That silence was a low moment. But perhaps New York hit bottom faster. Senator Skelos, the prosecutors charged, arranged to meet Long Island politicians at the wake of Wenjian Liu, a New York City police officer shot dead in December, to press for payments to the company employing his son.
Sometimes it seems as though for some people, the only thing to be ashamed of is shame itself.Finding Scandal in New York and New Jersey, but No Shame | PAKET UMROH BULAN JANUARI 2016
Mr. Paczynski was one of the concentration camp’s longest surviving inmates and served as the personal barber to its Nazi commandant Rudolf Höss.Jozef Paczynski, Inmate Barber to Auschwitz Commandant, Dies at 95 | PAKET UMROH BULAN JANUARI 2016
Judge Patterson helped to protect the rights of Attica inmates after the prison riot in 1971 and later served on the Federal District Court in Manhattan.Robert Patterson Jr., Lawyer and Judge Who Fought for the Accused, Dies at 91 | PAKET UMROH BULAN JANUARI 2016
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 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
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
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
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
WASHINGTON — The last three men to win the Republican nomination have been the prosperous son of a president (George W. Bush), a senator who could not recall how many homes his family owned (John McCain of Arizona; it was seven) and a private equity executive worth an estimated $200 million (Mitt Romney).
The candidates hoping to be the party’s nominee in 2016 are trying to create a very different set of associations. On Sunday, Ben Carson, a retired neurosurgeon, joined the presidential field.
Senator Marco Rubio of Florida praises his parents, a bartender and a Kmart stock clerk, as he urges audiences not to forget “the workers in our hotel kitchens, the landscaping crews in our neighborhoods, the late-night janitorial staff that clean our offices.”
Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, a preacher’s son, posts on Twitter about his ham-and-cheese sandwiches and boasts of his coupon-clipping frugality. His $1 Kohl’s sweater has become a campaign celebrity in its own right.
Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky laments the existence of “two Americas,” borrowing the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s phrase to describe economically and racially troubled communities like Ferguson, Mo., and Detroit.
“Some say, ‘But Democrats care more about the poor,’ ” Mr. Paul likes to say. “If that’s true, why is black unemployment still twice white unemployment? Why has household income declined by $3,500 over the past six years?”
We are in the midst of the Empathy Primary — the rhetorical battleground shaping the Republican presidential field of 2016.
Harmed by the perception that they favor the wealthy at the expense of middle-of-the-road Americans, the party’s contenders are each trying their hardest to get across what the elder George Bush once inelegantly told recession-battered voters in 1992: “Message: I care.”
Their ability to do so — less bluntly, more sincerely — could prove decisive in an election year when power, privilege and family connections will loom large for both parties.
Questions of understanding and compassion cost Republicans in the last election. Mr. Romney, who memorably dismissed the “47 percent” of Americans as freeloaders, lost to President Obama by 63 percentage points among voters who cast their ballots for the candidate who “cares about people like me,” according to exit polls.
And a Pew poll from February showed that people still believe Republicans are indifferent to working Americans: 54 percent said the Republican Party does not care about the middle class.
That taint of callousness explains why Senator Ted Cruz of Texas declared last week that Republicans “are and should be the party of the 47 percent” — and why another son of a president, Jeb Bush, has made economic opportunity the centerpiece of his message.
With his pedigree and considerable wealth — since he left the Florida governor’s office almost a decade ago he has earned millions of dollars sitting on corporate boards and advising banks — Mr. Bush probably has the most complicated task making the argument to voters that he understands their concerns.
On a visit last week to Puerto Rico, Mr. Bush sounded every bit the populist, railing against “elites” who have stifled economic growth and innovation. In the kind of economy he envisions leading, he said: “We wouldn’t have the middle being squeezed. People in poverty would have a chance to rise up. And the social strains that exist — because the haves and have-nots is the big debate in our country today — would subside.”
Republicans’ emphasis on poorer and working-class Americans now represents a shift from the party’s longstanding focus on business owners and “job creators” as the drivers of economic opportunity.
This is intentional, Republican operatives said.
In the last presidential election, Republicans rushed to defend business owners against what they saw as hostility by Democrats to successful, wealthy entrepreneurs.
“Part of what you had was a reaction to the Democrats’ dehumanization of business owners: ‘Oh, you think you started your plumbing company? No you didn’t,’ ” said Grover Norquist, the conservative activist and president of Americans for Tax Reform.
But now, Mr. Norquist said, Republicans should move past that. “Focus on the people in the room who know someone who couldn’t get a job, or a promotion, or a raise because taxes are too high or regulations eat up companies’ time,” he said. “The rich guy can take care of himself.”
Democrats argue that the public will ultimately see through such an approach because Republican positions like opposing a minimum-wage increase and giving private banks a larger role in student loans would hurt working Americans.
“If Republican candidates are just repeating the same tired policies, I’m not sure that smiling while saying it is going to be enough,” said Guy Cecil, a Democratic strategist who is joining a “super PAC” working on behalf of Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Republicans have already attacked Mrs. Clinton over the wealth and power she and her husband have accumulated, caricaturing her as an out-of-touch multimillionaire who earns hundreds of thousands of dollars per speech and has not driven a car since 1996.
Mr. Walker hit this theme recently on Fox News, pointing to Mrs. Clinton’s lucrative book deals and her multiple residences. “This is not someone who is connected with everyday Americans,” he said. His own net worth, according to The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, is less than a half-million dollars; Mr. Walker also owes tens of thousands of dollars on his credit cards.
But showing off a cheap sweater or boasting of a bootstraps family background not only helps draw a contrast with Mrs. Clinton’s latter-day affluence, it is also an implicit argument against Mr. Bush.
Mr. Walker, who featured a 1998 Saturn with more than 100,000 miles on the odometer in a 2010 campaign ad during his first run for governor, likes to talk about flipping burgers at McDonald’s as a young person. His mother, he has said, grew up on a farm with no indoor plumbing until she was in high school.
Mr. Rubio, among the least wealthy members of the Senate, with an estimated net worth of around a half-million dollars, uses his working-class upbringing as evidence of the “exceptionalism” of America, “where even the son of a bartender and a maid can have the same dreams and the same future as those who come from power and privilege.”
Mr. Cruz alludes to his family’s dysfunction — his parents, he says, were heavy drinkers — and recounts his father’s tale of fleeing Cuba with $100 sewn into his underwear.
Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey notes that his father paid his way through college working nights at an ice cream plant.
But sometimes the attempts at projecting authenticity can seem forced. Mr. Christie recently found himself on the defensive after telling a New Hampshire audience, “I don’t consider myself a wealthy man.” Tax returns showed that he and his wife, a longtime Wall Street executive, earned nearly $700,000 in 2013.
The story of success against the odds is a political classic, even if it is one the Republican Party has not been able to tell for a long time. Ronald Reagan liked to say that while he had not been born on the wrong side of the tracks, he could always hear the whistle. Richard Nixon was fond of reminding voters how he was born in a house his father had built.
“Probably the idea that is most attractive to an average voter, and an idea that both Republicans and Democrats try to craft into their messages, is this idea that you can rise from nothing,” said Charles C. W. Cooke, a writer for National Review.
There is a certain delight Republicans take in turning that message to their advantage now.
“That’s what Obama did with Hillary,” Mr. Cooke said. “He acknowledged it openly: ‘This is ridiculous. Look at me, this one-term senator with dark skin and all of America’s unsolved racial problems, running against the wife of the last Democratic president.”G.O.P. Hopefuls Now Aiming to Woo the Middle Class | PAKET UMROH BULAN JANUARI 2016
Ms. Rendell was a prolific writer of intricately plotted mystery novels that combined psychological insight, social conscience and teeth-chattering terror.Ruth Rendell, Novelist Who Thrilled and Educated, Dies at 85 | PAKET UMROH BULAN JANUARI 2016
Mr. King sang for the Drifters and found success as a solo performer with hits like “Spanish Harlem.”Ben E. King, Soulful Singer of â€˜Stand by Me,â€™ Dies at 76 | PAKET UMROH BULAN JANUARI 2016
The career criminals in genre novels don’t have money problems. If they need some, they just go out and steal it. But such financial transactions can backfire, which is what happened back in 2004 when the Texas gang in MichaelTake the Money and Run | PAKET UMROH BULAN JANUARI 2016
The program traces the outbreak to its origin, thought to be a tree full of bats in Guinea.
A variation of volleyball with nine men on each side is profiled Tuesday night on the World Channel in an absorbing documentary called “9-Man.”
“Hard Earned,” an Al Jazeera America series, follows five working-class families scrambling to stay ahead on limited incomes.