PAKET UMROH BULAN FEBRUARI MARET APRIL MEI 2018




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Travel Umroh

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

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ARAB JAHILIYAH BERHAJI?

Sebelum kedatangan Islam, masyarakat Arab pra-lslam atau lebih dikenal dengan Arab Jahiliyah melakukan banyak penyelewengan terhadap ajaran-ajaran Nabi Ibrahim AS Dengan maksud menghindari bulan Muharram. Di bulan itu, mereka dilarang berperang.

Masyarakat Arab Jahiliyah melakukan modifikasi terhadap sistem penanggalan mereka. Mereka menggunakan penghitungan bulan dengan sistem penggeseran, sehingga bulan Dzulhijjah bergeser ke bulan Muharram, Muharram bergeser ke Safar, dan seterusnya. Dengan begitu, pelaksanaan ibadah haji berubah-ubah setiap tahun. Jika tahun ini haji dilaksanakan pada bulan Muharram atau mereka menyebutnya Safar Awal, misalnya, maka tahun berikutnya haji dilakukan pada bulan Safar atau mereka sebut Safar Tsani, demikian seterusnya.

Pada zaman Jahiliyah, jamaah haji terbagi menjadi dua kelas sosial, yaitu masyarakat non-pedagang dan masyarakat pedagang. Jamaah haji dari kalangan pedagang harus pergi meninggalkan kampung halaman mereka satu bulan atau lebih sebelum musim haji dimulai.

Hal itu ditujukan agar mereka dapat berdagang di Pasar Ukaz selama dua puluh hari. Dari sana, mereka pindah ke Pasar Majnah dan berjualan selama sepuluh hari. Setelah tampak hilal (bulan yang muncul pada setiap tanggai satu) bulan Dzulhijjah, Pasar Majnah ditutup dan mereka bergerak ke kawasan Dzul Majaz untuk berniaga. Di tempat tersebut mereka menetap selama 8 hari. Baru pada Hari Tarwiyah (8 Dzulhijjah) mereka pergi ke Arafah untuk melakukan wukuf.

Lain halnya dengan jamaah haji pedagang, mereka bertolak dari tempat tinggal mereka pada Hari Tarwiyah dan langsung melaksanakan wukuf. Sebagian dari mereka mengerjakan wukuf di Padang Arafah dan sebagian yang lain melakukannya di Namirah, yaitu sebuah daerah yang terletak di tapal batas Tanah Haram.

Sebelum malam, mereka beranjak menuju Muzdalifah. Baru keesokan harinya para jamaah haji non-pedagang itu bergerak menuju Mina. Dari Mina, mereka akan menuju ke Makkah untuk melaksanakan thawaf.

Sejumlah suku Arab pada masa Jahiliyah menetapkan suatu aturan bagi jamaah haji yang pertama kali melakukan ritual tersebut, yaitu menanggalkan seluruh pakaian yang mereka kenakan. Alasannya, pakaian tersebut tidak suci sehingga tidak pantas dikenakan dalam ritual haji. Itu sebabnya, para jamaah haji tersebut melakukan thawaf dengan telanjang bulat.

Namun demikian, aturan tersebut hanya berlaku bagi masyarakat kelas bawah. Orang-orang yang berasal dari kelas sosial menengah ke atas diperbolehkan mengenakan pakaian selama melakukan thawaf meski mereka juga baru pertama menunaikan haji. Akan tetapi, selesai melakukan thawaf pakaian tersebut harus dibuang dan tidak boleh digunakan lagi.

Dalam rangkaian kegiatan haji yang dilakukan oleh masyarakat Arab Jahiliyah, terdapat unsur-unsur tertentu yang menyerupai tuntunan haji yang diajarkan oleh Nabi Ibrahim AS dan Ismail AS. Ini menjadi bukti bahwa masyarakat Arab Jahiliyah sebenarnya masih mempertahankan sebagian ajaran Nabi Ibrahim AS.

Sumber : http://www.jurnalhaji.com

Baca Artikel Lainnya : MENUNDA BERANGKAT HAJI, HUKUMNYA?

> ARAB JAHILIYAH BERHAJI?

YOSEFAT DITEMBAK OLEH ORANG YANG TAK DIKENAL

saco-indonesia.com, Warga Ciledug Yosefat Natanael yang berusia 28 tahun , telah  ditembak oleh orang yang tak dikenal saat rayakan malam tahun baru di Mal Living Word Alam Sutera, Kecamatan Serpong Utara, Tangerang, Rabu (1/1) dinihari.

Menurut berdasarkan keterangan, korban warga perumahan Duren Village Kecamatan Ciledug ini sedang merayakan malam pergantian tahun di mal tersebut bersama kerabatnya. Entah mengapa, tiba-tiba ada orang yang tidak dikenal telah menembak dirinya dan mengenai bahu kanannya sehingga ambruk

Pengunjung mal yang sedang memadati pusat perbelanjaan tersebut telah menjadi panik. Satpam mal bersama polisi yang telah berjaga di areal mal tersebut segera ke lokasi penembakan. Namun, pelaku kabur di tengah keramaian warga yang menikmati malam tahun baru.

Korban telah ditolong oleh petugas dan dilarikan ke RS Omni Alam Sutera untuk mendapatkan perawatan dokter serta mengeluarkan proyektil yang bersarang di tubuhnya.  

Editor : Dian Sukmawati 

> YOSEFAT DITEMBAK OLEH ORANG YANG TAK DIKENAL

JANGAN BERCUKUR SEMBARANGAN

REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, MINA — Tiap tahun, ratusan tukang cukur paruh waktu tanpa izin resmi membanjiri kota suci Mina. Mereka tumpah ruah untuk melakukan ritual haji terakhir, yakni mencukur rambut jamaah haji.

“Saya mencukur rambut karena ini adalah perintah Nabi Muhammad. Saat ini udara sangat panas, jadi mencukur rambut bukan gagasan yang buruk,” ujar jamaah haji asal Yaman Mohamed Hassan saat akan dicukur dengan menggunakan pisau.

Sambil mengusap darah yang mengalir di kepalanya dengan tangan, Hassan mengatakan Allah akan melindungi dirinya dan jamaah haji lain.

Para tukang cukur ini menggunakan pisau cukur yang sama bagi puluhan jamaah haji. Hal ini menjadikan praktik mereka sangat berisiko dalam penyebaran penyakit di antara dua juta orang yang berhaji tahun ini.

Praktik mencukur seperti ini yang coba dihentikan kementerian kesehatan Arab Saudi selama bertahun-tahun. Para tukang cukur mampu menghindari aparat dengan mengatakan mereka adalah kerabat kliennya dan mengaku tidak menerima upah mencukur.

Tahun ini, pihak berwenang memasang iklan besar-besaran di televisi dan radio berisi peringatan mengenai potensi bahaya kesehatan mencukur rambut sembarangan. Mereka juga membawa tukang cukur berlisensi dari seluruh negeri ke Mina. Selain itu, mereka juga memasang poster, seperti biasa.

Hal ini bukannya tanpa hambatan. Pemilik salon berlisensi di Mina mengatakan para jamaah haji memiliki dana yang terbatas. Sedikitnya 60 persen jamaah haji mempercayakan pencukuran rambut mereka kepada tukang cukur tidak resmi atau mencukur rambut mereka sendiri.

“Saya tidak mampu membayar apapun melebihi 10 saudi riyal (2,7 dolar AS). Tukang cukur yang direkomendasikan pemerintah harganya mahal,” ujar seorang pekerja pabrik dari Mesir, Salam Assem, seperti dikutip dari Reuters, Rabu (16/10).

Pejabat kementerian kesehatan mengatakan sulit mengetahui berapa banyak jamaah yang tertular penyakit akibat pemakaian pisau cukur yang sama. Sebabnya, jamaah kembali ke negara masing-masing. Hal ini menyulitkan pengumpulan data dan koordinasi. Namun, kekhawatiran penularan penyakit sangat nyata.

“Berbagi pakai penggunaan pisau cukur sangat berbahaya. Melalui luka terbuka, virus seperti HIV, hepatitis B dan C dan malaria bisa menular dari satu orang ke orang lain. Bahkan melalui tangan yang kotor bisa tertular kudis dan infeksi kulit lainnya,” kata doketr di sebuah rumah sakit di Mina Amin al-Mahdi.

Sebuah penelitian pada 2008 yang diterbitkan dalam Jurnal Infeksi dan Kesehatan Publik terdapat daftar panjang penyebab tekanan ekstrem, misalnya udara panas, sengatan matahari, rasa haus, padatnya orang, kepadatan lalu lintas, licinnya jalanan dan jalan yang tidak rata.
 

Sumber : http://www.jurnalhaji.com

Baca Artikel Lainnya : CALON HAJI DAN UMRAH DI PERBOLEHKAN MEMBAWA UANG

 

> JANGAN BERCUKUR SEMBARANGAN

IBU TERBAIK SEPANJANG MASSA VERSI ALQURAN DAN ALHADITS

Kasih ibu sepanjang jalan, kasih anak sepanjang galah. Begitu pepatah bilang. Kasih ibu memang tak terbantahkan. Peran wanita sebagai istri, terbukti memberi efek luar biasa kepada suami. Nabi Muhammad SAW sangat mencintai Khadijah, karena mendukung total kenabian Nabi Muhammad, baik dengan jiwa dan harta benda. Tokoh-tokoh nasional seperti Kihajar Dewantara, Dr Soetomo, dll memiliki para istri yang cakap mengurus keuangan keluarga, bahkan menjadi manajer usaha keluarga, agar idealisme para suaminya untuk perjuangan bisa terus berjalan. Berikut para ibu yang hebat versi Alquran dan Alhadits. Masyitoh Masyitoh mungkin bukan perempuan terkenal layaknya artis-artis dunia. Namun, Allah menyebut namanya dalam kisah Nabi Musa. Masyitoh dihukum Firaun karena mempertahankan aqidah: tak ada Tuhan selain Allah. Ia sempat gentar melihat anaknya dibunuh terlebih dahulu oleh algojo Firaun di hadapannya. Namun, Allah meyakinkan Masyitoh melalui roh bayinya, untuk menguatkan hatinya. Yuhanin binti Lawa ibunda Nabi Musa Ibu yang satu ini sangat menyayangi putra semata wayangnya yang merupakan calon nabi. Yuhanin saat itu melahirkan dalam teror: setiap bayi laki-laki yang dilahirkan harus dibunuh. Dan kebetulan, bayi yang dilahirkannya berjenis adalah laki-laki. Meski begitu, Yuhanin menyayangi bayi yang kemudian diberi nama Musa itu. Untuk menyelamatkan bayi Musa, maka Yuhanin menaruh Musa di dalam sebuah peti kemudian dihanyutkan ke sungai Nil. Tanpa disangka, peti itu justru hanyut ke arah istana Firaun dan ditemukan oleh Asiyah, istri Firaun. Asiyah membawa bayi Musa ke hadapan Firaun. Bukan untuk dibunuh, namun Asiyah meminta kepada Firaun untuk mengangkat Musa menjadi anak. Atas izin Allah, Yuhanin dipertemukan kembali dengan berpura-pura menjadi ibu susuan Musa. Hajar Siapa yang tak kenal dengan ketabahan dan ketegaran ibu yang satu ini? Perempuan yang rela ditinggal oleh suaminya dengan seorang bayi dan bekal yang hanya sedikit. Perjuangan Hajar mencari sumber air untuk putranya yang masih bayi dengan berlari dari bukit Shofaa ke bukit Marwaa. Tidak sia-sia, Allah justru memberi Hajar rezeki berupa sumber mata air melimpah di dekat bayinya, Ismail. Akhirnya, Hajar dan bayi Ismail terselamatkan dan dapat hidup layak dengan sumber air yang saat ini dikenal dengan nama "air zam-zam". Ibu yang berebut bayi di zaman Nabi Daus As Alkisah, terdapat dua orang perempuan yang mengadukan perkara merebutkan seorang bayi. Masing-masing mengakui dan bersikeras jika bayi tersebut adalah anak kandung mereka. Akhirnya, Nabi Daud AS memutuskan, agar anak tersebut dibagi dua. Kontan saja, salah satu perempuan tersebut tidak terima dan merelakan anaknya untuk diambil orang lain. Perempuan tersebut tidak rela jika anaknya harus menjadi korban. Akhirnya, Nabi Daud AS memberikan bayi tersebut kepada perempuan penyayang tadi karena perempuan tersebut adalah ibu kandung dari si bayi. Khadijah Khadijah sebelum kenabian Muhammad adalah pemeluk Nasrani. Dia adalah wanita mandiri dan saudagar. Tak banyak bangsawan Arab, yang tauhid sebelum kenabian Muhammad. Salah satu yang menonjol adalah Khadijah dan sepupunya Waraqah bin Naufal. Bahkan Khadijah yang melamar Muhammad, karena nasehat Waraqah bin Naufal. Khadijah menemani Nabi Muhammad sepanjang 26 tahun. 10 tahun di masa sebelum kenabian dan 16 tahun di masa kenabian. Dia istri tunggal Nabi Muhammad yang berpisah karena ajal. Dia wanita pertama yang beriman kepada Allah SWT dalam Islam, dan menyerahkan harta bendanya untuk keperluan agama. Putera-puteri Rasulullah SAW dari Khadijah RA sebanyak tujuh orang: tiga lelaki (kesemuanya meninggal di waktu kecil) dan empat wanita. Salah satu dari puterinya bernama Fatimah, yang dinikahkan dengan Syaidina Ali bin Abu Thalib. Fatimah binti Muhammad Fatimah dilahirkan beberapa saat sebelum Muhammad SAW diutus menjadi seorang Rasul. Ia mendapat gelar Albatuul, yang memusatkan perhatiannya pada ibadah atau tiada bandingnya dalam hal keutamaan, ilmu, akhlak, adab, hasab dan nasab. Ia juga mendapatkan julukan Azzahra, yang cemerlang. Fatimah adalah putri bungsu Rasulullah SAW—kakak-kakaknya adalah Ummu Kultsum, Ruqayyah dan Zainab—dan yang paling beliau cintai. Rasulullah pernah berkata tentang putri terkasihnya itu, "Fatimah adalah darah dagingku, apa yang menyusahkannya juga menyusahkan aku dan apa yang mengganggunya juga menggangguku." Ali bin Abi Thalib menikahinya setelah Perang Uhud. Kemudian Fatimah melahirkan Hasan dan Husein, Muhsinan, Ummi Kultsum, dan Zainab. Ali berkata, "Aku menikahi Fatimah, sementara kami tidak mempunyai alas tidur selain kulit domba untuk kami tiduri di waktu malam dan kami letakkan di atas unta untuk mengambil air di siang hari. Kami tidak mempunyai pembantu selain unta itu." Ketika Rasulullah SAW menikahkan Fatimah, beliau mengirimkan seekor unta, selembar kain, bantal kulit berisi ijuk, dua alat penggiling gandum, sebuah timba dan dua kendi. Fatimah menggunakan alat penggiling gandum itu hingga melecetkan tangannya dan memikul qirbah (tempat air dari kulit) berisi air hingga berbekas di dadanya. Walau menjadi putri nabi termulia, namun Fatimah tak memiliki seorang pelayan. Ia mengerjakan sendiri semua urusan rumah tangganya. Fatimah aktif di belakang garis pertempuran. Saat perang Uhud, dialah wanita yang merawat langsung Nabi Muhammad di dekat garis pertempuran. Juga membantu para prajurit muslim yang terluka dan memberi mereka minum. Fatimah Az-Zahra wafat sekitar 15 bulan setelah wafatnya Rasulullah SAW. Ia telah meriwayatkan 18 hadits dari Nabi SAW. Editor : Maulana Lee> IBU TERBAIK SEPANJANG MASSA VERSI ALQURAN DAN ALHADITS

TEMPAT WISATA WAKATOBI

Seperti halnya Bunaken, Wakatobi juga merupakan kawasan diving populer yang telah menjadi kebanggaan Indonesia. Terletak di Sulawesi Tenggara, Wakatobi juga telah memiliki terumbu karang yang sangat luar biasa indah dan ikan-ikan cantik yang telah membuat traveler seluruh dunia tidak bosan untuk mengunjungi tempat wisata ini. Asal kamu tahu, Wakatobi juga telah memiliki 750 dari 850 spesies koral, jenis karang yang beragam serta makhluk laut yang sudah sulit ditemukan di daerah lain.

Wakatobi sendiri juga merupakan kependekan dari nama empat pulai besar di Sulawesi, yaitu Wangi-wangi, Kaledupa, Tomia dan Binongko. Wanci adalah ibukota Wakatobi yang terletak di Pulau Wangi-wangi. Anda juga tidak akan kesulitan untuk mencari akses dari dan ke Wanci karena kota ini sudah tersedia berbagai macam alternatif transportasi mulai dari taksi, angkot sampai ojek.

Semakin tergoda mengunjungi Wakatobi, travelers? Anda juga bisa menjangkau tempat ini dengan transportasi udara yang ditempuh dari Jakarta atau Surabaya dengan tujuan Makassar. Setelah sampai di Makassar, anda juga bisa melanjutkan perjalanan dengan penerbangan lanjutan ke Kendari atau Bau Bau. Setelah itu, perjalanan akan dilakukan melalui jalur udara, kapal cepat atau kapal kayu ke Wangi wangi, Kaledupa dan Tomia.

Anda sebenarnya bisa memangkas biaya transportasi dengan menggunakan kapal laut dari Makassar. Tapi, Anda akan membuang banyak waktu karena perjalanan itu akan memakan waktu hingga 10 jam. Jadi, transportasi udara adalah pilihan terbaik supaya kamu bisa menjelajah Wakatobi secara maksimal.

Tiba di Wakatobi, jika belum melakukan reservasi, tentu anda harus mencari penginapan. Tidak perlu pusing, travelers, karena Wakatobi juga punya banyak pilihan penginapan mulai dari hotel standar dengan tarif Rp150 ribu per malam hingga resort bintang lima dengan tarif mencapai Rp1,5 juta per malam. Atau kalau Anda ingin lebih menghemat bujet, Anda juga bisa memilih penginapan warga alias homestay dengan rata-rata tarif Rp50 ribu.

Untuk opsi lokasi penyelaman dan snorkeling, Anda juga bisa menemukan banyak tempat menarik di Wanci. Biasanya, spot di sekitar pelabuhan kapal fery, belakang Hotel Wakatobi atau sekitar Patuno Resort dan Pantai Sousu adalah lokasi yang paling dekat dan sering dikunjungi turis. Tapi, kalau Anda ingin menikmati lokasi yang lebih jauh, Anda juga bisa ke Pulau Tomia dan Binongko yang memakan waktu lima jam perjalanan dengan speed boat.

Kalau Anda tidak punya perlengkapan, tidak perlu khawatir karena di Wakatobi juga terdapat banyak penyewaan alat diving maupun snorkeling, lengkap dengan pemandu dan kapal yang akan mengantarkan Anda ke tempat penyelaman. Di lokasi tertentu, Anda juga bisa menjumpai ikan napoleon dengan ukuran besar, atau melihat kelinci laut serta ragam bintang laut. Tentu saja, Anda juga akan menyaksikan keindahan ragam terumbu karang yang menjadi keunggulan Wakatobi.

Tapi, jangan salah, travelers, Wakatobi lebih dari sekadar diving dan snorkeling lho! Anda juga bisa menyaksikan atraksi lumba-lumba ataupun menikmati pemandangan matahari terbit dan tenggelam di Hoga, salah satu spot terbaik di Wakatobi.

Supaya puas mengelilingi Wakatobi, Anda setidaknya harus meluangkan waktu satu minggu. Pasalnya, perjalanan satu pulau ke pulau lainnya harus dilakukan dengan speedboat dengan jadwal tertentu yang kadang tak bisa diandalkan. Kalau ingin berkunjung Wakatobi, sebaiknya antara bulan Oktober sampai awal Desember dan bulan April hinga Juni. Karena saat itu laut berombak kecil sehingga memudahkan untuk dapat melakukan perjalanan dan lebih nyaman untuk berenang atau snorkeling.

> TEMPAT WISATA WAKATOBI

Finding Scandal in New York and New Jersey, but No Shame

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

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

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

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

Maya Plisetskaya, Ballerina Who Embodied Bolshoi, Dies at 89

Ms. Plisetskaya, renowned for her fluidity of movement, expressive acting and willful personality, danced on the Bolshoi stage well into her 60s, but her life was shadowed by Stalinism.

Maya Plisetskaya, Ballerina Who Embodied Bolshoi, Dies at 89 | PAKET UMROH BULAN JANUARI 2016

Don Mankiewicz, Screenwriter in a Family Film Tradition, Dies at 93

Mr. Mankiewicz, an Oscar-nominated screenwriter for “I Want to Live!,” also wrote episodes of television shows such as “Star Trek” and “Marcus Welby, M.D.”

Don Mankiewicz, Screenwriter in a Family Film Tradition, Dies at 93 | PAKET UMROH BULAN JANUARI 2016

Hard but Hopeful Home to ‘Lot of Freddies’

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

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

Hard but Hopeful Home to ‘Lot of Freddies’

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

Obama Finds a Bolder Voice on Race Issues

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.

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Obama Speaks of a ‘Sense of Unfairness’

Obama Speaks of a ‘Sense of Unfairness’

At an event announcing the creation of a nonprofit focusing on young minority men, President Obama talked about the underlying reasons for recent protests in Baltimore and other cities.

By Associated Press on Publish Date May 4, 2015. Photo by Stephen Crowley/The New York Times.

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.”

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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.”

Photo
 
President Obama on Monday with Darinel Montero, a student at Bronx International High School who introduced him before remarks at Lehman College in the Bronx. Credit Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

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.”

Obama Finds a Bolder Voice on Race Issues | PAKET UMROH BULAN JANUARI 2016

Dave Goldberg, Head of Web Survey Company and Half of a Silicon Valley Power Couple, Dies at 47

Mr. Goldberg was a serial Silicon Valley entrepreneur and venture capitalist who was married to Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer of Facebook.

Dave Goldberg Was Lifelong Women’s Advocate

Dave Goldberg, Head of Web Survey Company and Half of a Silicon Valley Power Couple, Dies at 47 | PAKET UMROH BULAN JANUARI 2016

From T Magazine: Street Lit’s Power Couple

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In Baltimore, National Guard Pullout Begins as Citywide Curfew Is Lifted

Bruce Alger, 96, Dies; Led ‘Mink Coat’ Protest Against Lyndon Johnson

Mr. Alger, who served five terms from Texas, led Republican women in a confrontation with Lyndon B. Johnson that may have cost Richard M. Nixon the 1960 presidential election.

Bruce Alger, 96, Dies; Led ‘Mink Coat’ Protest Against Lyndon Johnson | PAKET UMROH BULAN JANUARI 2016

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

Photo
 
United’s first-class and business fliers get Rhapsody, its high-minded in-flight magazine, seen here at its office in Brooklyn. Credit Sam Hodgson for The New York Times

Last summer at a writers’ workshop in Oregon, the novelists Anthony Doerr, Karen Russell and Elissa Schappell were chatting over cocktails when they realized they had all published work in the same magazine. It wasn’t one of the usual literary outlets, like Tin House, The Paris Review or The New Yorker. It was Rhapsody, an in-flight magazine for United Airlines.

It seemed like a weird coincidence. Then again, considering Rhapsody’s growing roster of A-list fiction writers, maybe not. Since its first issue hit plane cabins a year and a half ago, Rhapsody has published original works by literary stars like Joyce Carol Oates, Rick Moody, Amy Bloom, Emma Straub and Mr. Doerr, who won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction two weeks ago.

As airlines try to distinguish their high-end service with luxuries like private sleeping chambers, showers, butler service and meals from five-star chefs, United Airlines is offering a loftier, more cerebral amenity to its first-class and business-class passengers: elegant prose by prominent novelists. There are no airport maps or disheartening lists of in-flight meal and entertainment options in Rhapsody. Instead, the magazine has published ruminative first-person travel accounts, cultural dispatches and probing essays about flight by more than 30 literary fiction writers.

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ms. Turner and her twin sister founded the Love Kitchen in 1986 in a church basement in Knoxville, Tenn., and it continues to provide clothing and meals.

Ellen Turner Dies at 87; Opened Kitchen to Feed the Needy of Knoxville | PAKET UMROH BULAN JANUARI 2016

Take the Money and Run

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

Take the Money and Run | PAKET UMROH BULAN JANUARI 2016

Ruth Rendell, Novelist Who Thrilled and Educated, Dies at 85

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

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

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

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

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