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Pemilihan Dan Pengolahan Tanah
Batu bata juga merupakan salah satu bahan dasar dalam proses membuat tembok rumah atau bangunan lain yang telah banyak digunakan oleh masyarakat Indonesia. Permintaan batu bata terus akan meningkat seiring dengan banyaknya masyarakat yang ingin membangun maupun merenofasi rumahnya. Untuk itu, proses pembuatan batu bata juga dapat member peluang bisnis yang sangat menjanjikan.
Agar dapat mencapai kesuksesan, maka perlu memperhatikan langkah-langkah sebagai berikut;
Memilih Tanah Yang Tepat
Hampir semua jenis tanah dapat digunakan sebagai bahan pembuatan batu bata kecuali tanah yang telah mengandung pasir atau kapur. Tanah yang mengandung pasir atau kapur akan dapat membuat batu bata mudah pecah.
Sedangkan untuk dapat menegtahui tanah itu cocok untuk proses pembuatan batu bata, maka ada cara untuk dapat mengetahuinya.
Pertama, ambil tanah tersebut, campur dengan air, kemudian diaduk hingga rata. Setelah itu diinjak-injak hingga lumat dan buang kerikil maupun kotoran yang ada. Setelah lumat, tanah direndam selama sehari semalam dan jangan sampe terkena panas matahri. Jika tanah tersebut tidak merekah, berarti tanah tersebut baik untuk bahan batu bata.
Kedua, tanah tersebut dikeringkan dan di bakar, jika berwarna merah menyala saat dibakar, maka bahan tersebut sangat baik untuk proses pembuatan batu bata.
Sebelum tanah diolah sebagai bahan pembuatan batu bata, tanah tersebut harus dibuat gumpalan-gumpalan dan dijemur hingga kering. Kemudian tanah dimasukan ke dalam bak pengolahan tanah sebagai bahan pembuatan batu bata. Bak tersebut tidak memiliki ukuran yang baku, hanya disesuaikan dengan kebutuhan. Di bagian dasar bak tersebut diberi sekam padi secukupnya.
Tanah yang sudah dimasukan dalam bak pengolahan, kemudian diisi air hingga penuh. Diamkan selama 2 jam agar tanah terbasahi oleh air sepenuhnya. Kemudian tanah diaduk hingga rata dan diinjak-injak hingga telah menjadi halus. Sampah yang ada dalam tanah tersebut juga harus dibuang agar hasilnya bagus.
Saat mengaduk, ada baiknya dicampur dengan abu dapur atau sekam padi agar tanah tersebut semakin merekat. Setelah tanah benar-benar halus (lumat), tanah tersebut dibiarkab selama 12 jam agar tanah menjadi liat.
> PEMILIHAN DAN PENGOLAHAN TANAH
Editor : Dian Sukmawati
saco-indonesia.com, Polresta Cimahi telah menembak mati pelaku pencurian dengan kekerasan, Senin (27/1) kemarin malam sekitar pukul 23.15 WIB. Pelaku telah diketahui bernama Purwana Sumirat. Dalam menjalankan aksinya, pelaku juga kerap membawa senpi mainan dan sangkur untuk dapat menakuti korbannya.
Bahkan saat hendak dibekuk oleh jajaran Reskrim, di bilangan Margaasih, Kabupaten Bandung tersebut, Purwana juga sempat melawan dengan menggunakan senpi dan sangkurnya.
"Saat dilakukan penangkapan tersangka telah melawan menggunakan sangkur dan Senpi (replika) akhirnya ketika ditangkap pelaku ditembak mati karena melawan," kata Kapolresta Cimahi AKBP Erwin Kurniawan, Senin (28/1).
Menurut dia, Purwana dalam beberapa kali aksinya kerap menyasar pengguna sepeda motor dengan cara memepet dan menodongkan sangkur kepada korban. "Beberapa kali aksinya pelaku memepet dan menodongkan sangkurnya kepada korban," jelasnya.
Atas dasar laporan beberapa korban brutal Purwana inilah, polisi juga telah melakukan penyelidikan lanjut hingga akhirnya petualangan pria 21 tahun tersebut terhenti karena timah panas menerjang tubuhnya. Kini jenazah pelaku sudah dibawa ke Rumah Sakit Hasan Sadikin (RSHS) Bandung.
> PENCURI AKHIRNYA DITEMBAK POLISI
Editor : Dian Sukmawati
Pengertian mesin CNC
CNC singkatan dari Computer Numerically Controlled, merupakan mesin perkakas yang dilengkapi dengan sistem mekanik dan kontrol berbasis komputer yang mampu membaca instruksi kode N, G, F, T, dan lain-lain, dimana kode-kode tersebut akan menginstruksikan ke mesin CNC agar bekerja sesuai dengan program benda kerja yang akan dibuat. Secara umum cara kerja mesin perkakas CNC tidak berbeda dengan mesin perkakas konvensional. Fungsi CNC dalam hal ini lebih banyak menggantikan pekerjaan operator dalam mesin perkakas konvensional. Misalnya pekerjaan setting tool atau mengatur gerakan pahat sampai pada posisi siap memotong, gerakan pemotongan dan gerakan kembali keposisi awal, dan lain-lain. Demikian pula dengan pengaturan kondisi pemotongan (kecepatan potong, kecepatan makan dan kedalaman pemotongan) serta fungsi pengaturan yang lain seperti penggantian pahat, pengubahan transmisi daya (jumlah putaran poros utama), dan arah putaran poros utama, pengekleman, pengaturan cairan pendingin dan sebagainya. Mesin perkakas CNC dilengkapi dengan berbagai alat potong yang dapat membuat benda kerja secara presisi dan dapat melakukan interpolasi yang diarahkan secara numerik (berdasarkan angka). Parameter sistem operasi CNC dapat diubah melalui program perangkat lunak (software load program) yang sesuai. Tingkat ketelitian mesin CNC lebih akurat hingga ketelitian seperseribu millimeter, karena penggunaan ballscrew pada setiap poros transportiernya. Ballscrew bekerja seperti lager yang tidak memiliki kelonggaran/spelling namun dapat bergerak dengan lancar. Pada awalnya mesin CNC masih menggunakan memori berupa kertas berlubang sebagai media untuk mentransfer kode G dan M ke sistem kontrol. Setelah tahun 1950, ditemukan metode baru mentransfer data dengan menggunakan kabel RS232, floppy disks, dan terakhir oleh Komputer Jaringan Kabel
(Computer Network Cables) bahkan bisa dikendalikan melalui internet. Akhir-akhir ini mesin-mesin CNC telah berkembang secara menakjubkan sehingga telah mengubah industri pabrik yang selama ini menggunakan tenaga manusia menjadi mesin-mesom otomatik. Dengan telah berkembangnya Mesin CNC, maka benda kerja yang rumit sekalipun dapat dibuat secara mudah dalam jumlah yang banyak. Selama ini pembuatan komponen/suku cadang suatu mesin yang presisi dengan mesin perkakas manual tidaklah mudah, meskipun dilakukan oleh seorang operator mesin perkakas yang mahir sekalipun. Penyelesaiannya memerlukan waktu lama. Bila ada permintaan konsumen untuk membuat komponen dalam jumlah banyak dengan waktu singkat, dengan kualitas sama baiknya, tentu akan sulit dipenuhi bila menggunakan perkakas manual. Apalagi bila bentuk benda kerja yang dipesan lebih rumit, tidak dapat diselesaikan dalam waktu singkat. Secara ekonomis biaya produknya akan menjadi mahal, hingga sulit bersaing dengan harga di pasaran. Tuntutan konsumen yang menghendaki kualitas benda kerja yang presisi, berkualitas sama baiknya, dalam waktu singkat dan dalam jumlah yang banyak, akan lebih mudah dikerjakan dengan mesin perkakas CNC (Computer Numerlcally Controlled), yaitu mesin yang dapat bekerja melalui pemogramman yang dilakukan dan dikendalikan melalui komputer. Mesin CNC dapat bekerja secara otomatis atau semiotomatis setelah diprogram terlebih dahulu melalui komputer yang ada. Program yang dimaksud merupakan program membuat benda kerja yang telah direncanakan atau dirancang sebelumnya. Sebelum benda kerja tersebut dieksikusi atau dikerjakan oleh mesin CNC, sebaikanya program tersebut di cek berulang-ualang agar program benarbenar telah sesuai dengan bentuk benda kerja yang diinginkan, serta benar-benar dapat dikerjakan oleh mesin CNC. Pengecekan tersebut dapat melalui layar monitor yang terdapat pada mesin atau bila tidak ada fasilitas cheking melalui monitor (seperti pada CNC TU EMCO 2A/3A) dapat pula melalui plotter yang dipasang pada tempat dudukan pahat/palsu frais. Setelah program benar-benar telah berjalan seperti rencana, baru kemudian dilaksanakan/dieksekusi oleh mesin CNC. Dari segi pemanfaatannya, mesin perkakas CNC dapat dibagi menjadi dua, antara lain: (a) mesin CNC Training unit (TU), yaitu mesin yang digunakan sarana pendidikan, dosen dan training. (b) mesin CNC produktion unit (PU), yaitu mesin CNC yang digunakan untuk membuat benda kerja/komponen yang dapat digunakan sebagai mana mestinya. Dari segi jenisnya, mesin perkakas CNC dapat dibagi menjadi tiga jenis, antara lain: (a) mesin CNC 2A yaitu mesin CNC 2 aksis, karena gerak pahatnya hanya pada arah dua sumbu koordinat (aksis) yaitu koordinat X, dan koordinat Z, atau dikenal dengan mesin bubut CNC, (b) mesin CNC 3A, yaitu mesin CNC 3 aksis atau mesin yang memiliki gerakan sumbu utama kearah sumbu koordinat X, Y, dan Z, atau dikenal dengan mesin frsais CNC. (c) mesin CNC kombinasi, yaitu mesin CNC yang mampu mengerjakan pekerjaan bubut dan freis sekaligus, dapat pula dilengkapi dengan peralatan pengukuran sehingga dapat melakukan pengontrolan kualitas pembubutan/pengefraisan pada benda kerja yang dihasilkan. Pada umumnya mesin CNC yang sering dijumpai adalah mesin CNC 2A (bubut) dan mesin CNC 3A (frais).> ARTIKEL MESIN CNC
saco-indonesia.com, Jenazah seorang tenaga kerja wanita asal Kota Binjai, Sumatera Utara telah ditemukan nelayan dalam kondisi yang telah membusuk di dalam peti jenazah yang terapung di perairan laut Bagansiapiapi Sinaboi Provinsi Riau.
"Ketika ditemukan, kondisi mayat sudah membusuk di dalam peti mati dan terapung di laut," kata salah seorang keluarga korban tenaga kerja wanita (TKW) asal Binjai itu, Sri Nilawati, di Binjai, Senin.
Sri Nilawati juga menjelaskan bahwa adiknya itu, Anita Purnama Boru Huahuruk yang berusia (35) tahun , yang juga merupakan warga Jalan Bintara Kelurahan Satria Kota Binjai, yang bekerja di Malaysia sejak beberapa waktu yang lalu.
Mayat adiknya itu pertama kali telah ditemukan oleh nelayan dalam keadaan yang sudah membusuk di dalam peti dan terapung di laut di perairan Bagansiapiapi Sinaboi Provinsi Riau.
TKW yang telah meninggal dunia dengan kondisi mayat membusuk ini telah diketahui berkat informasi yang telah diterima dari polisi Airud Riau yang telah menghubungi mereka.
"Dari situlah kami dapat mengetahui bahwa adikku itu sudah meninggal dunia dalam keadaan membusuk di dalam peti mati," katanya.
Ditemukannya mayat adiknya itu berkat adanya buku paspor, cincin, kalung emas dan nomor hp di dalam dompetnya.
Sri Nilawati juga menjelaskan bahwa korban rencananya di Malaysia bekerja di rumah makan, namun sesampainya di sana ternyata menjadi pembantu rumah tangga.
Korban pergi ke Malaysia pada bulan Agustus 2013 lalu, melalui sebuah agen penyalur tenaga kerja ke luar negeri. "Namun kami tidak mengetahui perusahaan yang memberangkatkannya," katanya.
Sementara itu salah seorang adik korban lainnya, Faisal, juga menyatakan saat dirinya sampai di Bagansiapiapi Sinaboi untuk menjemput, kondisi mayat sudah tidak bisa dilihat karena sudah busuk, namun pihak keluarga yakin itu mayat Anita, karena terdapat tato bunga mawar di pundaknya dan indentitas lainnya.
Kemudian mayat yang dibungkus plastik di dalam peti jenazah itu dibawa pulang untuk segera dikebumikan. Kini keluarga belum tahu apa penyebab kematian korban hingga mayatnya bisa dibuang dan terapung ke laut.
Keluarga juga berharap kepada pemerintah untuk segera mengungkap kematian korban, karena pada saat dia pergi dari rumah dalam keadaan sehat, kata Faisal.
> JENAZAH TKW DITEMUKAN MEMBUSUK TERAPUNG DI LAUTAN
Editor : Dian Sukmawati
HADITS - HADITS TENTANG BERPUASA DI BULAN RAJAB
Oleh: Ust. Farid Nu'man
Islamedia - Beberapa hari ini, kami mendapatkan beberapa pertanyaan tentang banyaknya beredarnya SMS dan BBM (Blackberry Messanger) yang menyebutkan keutamaan berpuasa pada bulan Rajab, dengan fadhilah yang “wow” dan bombastis. Sayangnya SMS dan BBM tersebut tidak menyebutkan sumber nukilan dari mana hadits-hadits itu berasal. Pertanyaan ini, selalu berulang dari tahun ke tahun, tahun lalu … tahun lalu … terus begitu, kami mendapatkan pertanyaan serupa setiap menjelang atau awal bulan Rajab.
Berikut ini akan kami paparkan perkataan para Imam tentang hadits-hadits keutamaan puasa pada bulan Rajab. Semoga ini bisa diambil manfaatnya bagi siapa saja yang objektif dan mau menerima kebenaran.
* * *
1. Imam Ibnu Hajar Al ‘Asqalani Rahimahullah mengatakan:
قال ابن حجر : لم يرد في فضله، ولا في صيامه، ولا في صيام شئ منه معين، ولا في قيام ليلة مخصوصة منه، حديث صحيح يصلح للحجة.
“Tidak ada hadits yang menyebutkan keutamaannya, tidak pula keutamaan puasanya, tidak ada puasa khusus pada Rajab, tidak juga shalat malam secara khusus, dan hadits shahih lebih utama dijadikan hujjah (dalil).”
Imam Ibnu Hajar juga berkata dalam Kitab Tabyinul ‘Ajab, sebagaimana dikutip oleh Imam Abdul Hay Al Luknawi:
أما الأحاديث الواردة في فضل رجب أو صيامه أو صيام شيء منه فهي على قسمين ضعيفة وموضوعة
“Adapun hadits-hadits yang ada tentang keutamaan Rajab atau puasanya atau sedikit puasa pada bulan Rajab, terdiri atas dua bagian; yaitu dhaif (lemah) dan maudhu’ (palsu).”
2. Syaikh Sayyid Sabiq Rahimahullah berkata:
وصيام رجب، ليس له فضل زائد على غيره من الشهور، إلا أنه من الاشهر الحرم. ولم يرد في السنة الصحيحة: أن للصيام فيه فضيلة بخصوصه، وأن ما جاء في ذلك مما لا ينتهض للاحتجاج به
Puasa Rajab, tidak memiliki kelebihan apa pun dibanding bulan-bulan lainnya, hanya saja dia termasuk bulan-bulan haram. Tidak ada dalam sunah yang shahih tentang bahwa puasa pada bulan tersebut memiliki keutamaan khusus, ada pun riwayat yang ada menyebutkan tentang hal itu tidak kuat dijadikan sebagai hujjah.
3. Imam Al Munawi Rahimahullah berkata:
بل عامة الأحاديث المأثورة فيه عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم كذب
“Bahkan Umumnya hadits-hadits tentang keutamaan Rajab adalah dusta.”
“Sesungguhnya di surga ada sungai bernama Rajab, airnya lebih putih dari susu dan rasanya lebih manis dari madu. Barangsiapa yang berpuasa Rajab satu hari saja, maka Allah akan memberikannya minum dari sungai itu.”
“Ada lima malam yang doa tidak akan ditolak: awal malam pada bulan Rajab, malam nishfu sya’ban, malam Jumat, malam idul fitri, dan malam hari raya qurban.”
“Rajab adalah bulannya Allah, Sya’ban adalah bulanku, dan Ramadhan adalah bulan umatku.”
“Dinamakan Rajab karena di dalamnya banyak kebaikan yang diagungkan (yatarajjaba) bagi Sya’ban dan Ramadhan.”
Dan masih banyak lagi yang lainnya, seperti shalat raghaib (12 rakaat) pada hari kamis ba’da maghrib di bulan Rajab (Ini ada dalam kitab Ihya Ulumuddin-nya Imam Al Ghazali). Segenap ulama seperti Imam An Nawawi mengatakan ini adalah bid’ah yang buruk dan munkar, juga Imam Ibnu Taimiyah, Imam Ibnu Nuhas, dan lainnya mengatakan hal serupa).
Imam An Nawawi juga menyebut tidak ada yang shahih tentang puasa Rajab dan keutamannya, seperti yang akan nanti kami kutipkan.
Sekedar Ingin Berpuasa Di Bulan Rajab? Boleh!
Walau demikian, tidak berarti kelemahan semua riwayat ini menunjukkan larangan ibadah-ibadah secara global. Melakukan puasa, sedekah, memotong hewan untuk sedekah, dan amal shalih lainnya adalah perbuatan mulia dan dianjurkan, kapan pun dilaksanakannya termasuk bulan Rajab (kecuali puasa pada hari-hari terlarang puasa).
Tidak mengapa puasa pada bulan Rajab, seperti puasa senin kamis dan ayyamul bidh(tanggal 13,14,15 bulan hijriah), sebab ini semua memiliki perintah secara umum dalam syariat. Tidak mengapa sekedar memotong hewan untuk disedekahkan, yang keliru adalah meyakini dan MENGKHUSUSKAN ibadah-ibadah ini dengan fadhilah tertentu yang hanya bisa diraih di bulan Rajab, dan tidak pada bulan lainnya. Jika seperti ini, maka membutuhkan dalil shahih yang khusus, baik Al Quran atau As Sunnah yang shahih.
Imam An Nawawi Rahimahullah mengatakan:
وَلَمْ يَثْبُت فِي صَوْم رَجَب نَهْيٌ وَلَا نَدْبٌ لِعَيْنِهِ ، وَلَكِنَّ أَصْلَ الصَّوْمِ مَنْدُوبٌ إِلَيْهِ ، وَفِي سُنَن أَبِي دَاوُدَ أَنَّ رَسُول اللَّه صَلَّى اللَّه عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ نَدَبَ إِلَى الصَّوْم مِنْ الْأَشْهُر الْحُرُم ، وَرَجَب أَحَدهَا . وَاَللَّهُ أَعْلَمُ .
“Tidak ada yang shahih tentang larangan berpuasa pada bulan Rajab, dan tidak shahih pula mengkhususkan puasa pada bulan tersebut, tetapi pada dasarnya berpuasa memang hal yang disunahkan. Terdapat dalam Sunan Abu Daud bahwa Rasulullah Shallallahu ‘Alaihi wa Sallammenganjurkan berpuasa pada asyhurul hurum (bulan-bulan haram), dan Rajab termasuk asyhurul hurum. Wallahu A’lam.
Hadits yang dimaksud Imam An Nawawi berbunyi:
عَنْ مُجِيبَةَ الْبَاهِلِيَّة ;ِ عَنْ أَبِيهَا أَوْ عَمِّهَا أَنَّهُ أَتَى رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ ثُمَّ انْطَلَقَ فَأَتَاهُ بَعْدَ سَنَةٍ وَقَدْ تَغَيَّرَتْ حَالُهُ وَهَيْئَتُهُ فَقَالَ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ أَمَا تَعْرِفُنِي قَالَ وَمَنْ أَنْتَ قَالَ أَنَا الْبَاهِلِيُّ الَّذِي جِئْتُكَ عَامَ الْأَوَّلِ قَالَ فَمَا غَيَّرَكَ وَقَدْ كُنْتَ حَسَنَ الْهَيْئَةِ قَالَ مَا أَكَلْتُ طَعَامًا إِلَّا بِلَيْلٍ مُنْذُ فَارَقْتُكَ فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ لِمَ عَذَّبْتَ نَفْسَكَ ثُمَّ قَالَ صُمْ شَهْرَ الصَّبْرِ وَيَوْمًا مِنْ كُلِّ شَهْرٍ قَالَ زِدْنِي فَإِنَّ بِي قُوَّةً قَالَ صُمْ يَوْمَيْنِ قَالَ زِدْنِي قَالَ صُمْ ثَلَاثَةَ أَيَّامٍ قَالَ زِدْنِي قَالَ صُمْ مِنْ الْحُرُمِ وَاتْرُكْ صُمْ مِنْ الْحُرُمِ وَاتْرُكْ صُمْ مِنْ الْحُرُمِ وَاتْرُكْ وَقَالَ بِأَصَابِعِهِ الثَّلَاثَةِ فَضَمَّهَا ثُمَّ أَرْسَلَهَا
Dari Mujibah Al Bahili, dari ayahnya, atau pamannya, bahwasanya dia memdatangi Nabi Shallallahu ‘Alaihi wa Sallam, lalu dia pergi. Kemudian mendatangi lagi setelah satu tahun lamanya, dan dia telah mengalami perubahan baik keadaan dan penampilannya. Dia berkata: “Wahai Rasulullah, apakah kau mengenali aku?” Nabi bertanya: “Siapa kamu? ” Al Bahili menjawab: “Saya Al Bahili yang datang kepadamu setahun lalu.” Nabi bertanya:: “Apa yang membuatmu berubah, dahulu kamu terlihat baik-baik saja?” Al Bahili menjawab: “Sejak berpisah denganmu, saya tidak makan kecuali hanya malam.” Bersabda Rasulullah: “Kanapa kamu siksa dirimu?”, lalu bersabda lagi: “Puasalah pada bulan kesaabaran, dan sehari pada tiap bulannya.” Al Bahili berkata: “Tambahkan, karena saya masih punya kekuatan.” Beliau bersabda: “Puasalah dua hari.” Beliau berakata: “Tambahkan.” Beliau bersabda: “Puasalah tiga hari.” Al Bahili berkata: “Tambahkan untukku.” Nabi bersabda: “Puasalah pada bulan-bulan haram, dan tinggalkanlah (sebagiannya), Puasalah pada bulan-bulan haram, dan tinggalkanlah (sebagiannya), Puasalah pada bulan-bulan haram, dan tinggalkanlah (sebagiannya). Beliau berkata dengan tiga jari hemarinya, lalu menggenggamnya kemudian dilepaskannya. 
 Dikutip oleh Syaikh Sayyid Sabiq dalam Fiqhus Sunnah, 1/453
 Al Atsar Al Marfu’ah fil Akhbar Al Maudhu’ah, hal. 59
 Fiqhus Sunnah, 1/453
 Faidhul Qadir, 4/24
 Status hadits: batil. Lihat As Silsilah Adh Dhaifah No. 1898. Imam Ibnul Jauzi mengatakan: tidak shahih. Imam Adz Dzahabi mengatakan: batil. Lihat Syaikh Muhammad bin Darwisy bin Muhammad, Asnal Mathalib, Hal. 86
 Status hadits: Maudhu’(palsu). As Silsilah Adh Dhaifah No. 1452. Lihat juga Syaikh Khalid bin Sa’ifan, Ma Yatanaaqaluhu Al ‘Awwam mimma Huwa Mansuub li Khairil Anam, Hal. 14
 Status hadits: Dhaif (lemah). Lihat As Silsilah Adh Dhaifah No. 4400. Imam Al Munawi mengutip dari Imam Zainuddin Al ‘Iraqi mengatakan: dhaif jiddan – sangat lemah. LihatFaidhul Qadir, 4/24
 Status hadits: Maudhu’ (palsu). As Silsilah Adh Dhaifah No. 3708. Lihat juga Imam As Suyuthi, Al Jami’ Ash Shaghir No. 4718
 Al Minhaj Syarh Shahih Muslim, 8/39
 HR. Abu Daud No. 2428, Al Baihaqi dalam As Sunan Al Kubra No. 8209, juga Syu’abul Iman No. 3738. Syaikh Sayyid Sabiq mengatakan: sanadnya jayyid. Lihat Fiqhus Sunnah, 1/453. Namun Syaikh Al Albani mendhaifkan dalam berbagai kitabnya, seperti Dhaif Abi Daud, Tahqiq Riyadhish Shalihin, dan lain-lain
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
Ms. Crough played the youngest daughter on the hit ’70s sitcom starring David Cassidy and Shirley Jones.Suzanne Crough, Actress in â€˜The Partridge Family,â€™ Dies at 52 | PAKET UMROH BULAN JANUARI 2016
The live music at the Vice Media party on Friday shook the room. Shane Smith, Vice’s chief executive, was standing near the stage — with a drink in his hand, pants sagging, tattoos showing — watching the rapper-cum-chef Action Bronson make pizzas.
The event was an after-party, a happy-hour bacchanal for the hundreds of guests who had come for Vice’s annual presentation to advertisers and agencies that afternoon, part of the annual frenzy for ad dollars called the Digital Content NewFronts. Mr. Smith had spoken there for all of five minutes before running a slam-bang highlight reel of the company’s shows that had titles like “Weediquette” and “Gaycation.”
In the last year, Vice has secured $500 million in financing and signed deals worth hundreds of millions of dollars with established media companies like HBO that are eager to engage the young viewers Vice attracts. Vice said it was now worth at least $4 billion, with nearly $1 billion in projected revenue for 2015. It is a long way from Vice’s humble start as a free magazine in 1994.
But even as cash flows freely in Vice’s direction, the company is trying to keep its brash, insurgent image. At the party on Friday, it plied guests with beers and cocktails. Its apparently unrehearsed presentation to advertisers was peppered with expletives. At one point, the director Spike Jonze, a longtime Vice collaborator, asked on stage if Mr. Smith had been drinking.
“My assistant tried to cut me off,” Mr. Smith replied. “I’m on buzz control.”
Now, Vice is on the verge of getting its own cable channel, which would give the company a traditional outlet for its slate of non-news programming. If all goes as planned, A&E Networks, the television group owned by Hearst and Disney, will turn over its History Channel spinoff, H2, to Vice.
The deal’s announcement was expected last week, but not all of A&E’s distribution partners — the cable and satellite TV companies that carry the network’s channels — have signed off on the change, according to a person familiar with the negotiations who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the talks were private.
A cable channel would be a further step in a transformation for Vice, from bad-boy digital upstart to mainstream media company.
Keen for the core audience of young men who come to Vice, media giants like 21st Century Fox, Time Warner and Disney all showed interest in the company last year. Vice ultimately secured $500 million in financing from A&E Networks and Technology Crossover Ventures, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm that has invested in Facebook and Netflix.
Those investments valued Vice at more than $2.5 billion. (In 2013, Fox bought a 5 percent stake for $70 million.)
Then in March, HBO announced that it had signed a multiyear deal to broadcast a daily half-hour Vice newscast. Vice already produces a weekly newsmagazine show, called “Vice,” for the network. That show will extend its run through 2018, with an increase to 35 episodes a year, from 14.
Michael Lombardo, HBO’s president for programming, said when the deal was announced that it was “certainly one of our biggest investments with hours on the air.”
Vice, based in Brooklyn, also recently signed a multiyear $100 million deal with Rogers Communications, a Canadian media conglomerate, to produce original content for TV, smartphone and desktop viewers.
Vice’s finances are private, but according to an internal document reviewed by The New York Times and verified by a person familiar with the company’s financials, the company is on track to make about $915 million in revenue this year.
It brought in $545 million in a strong first quarter, which included portions of the new HBO deal and the Rogers deal, according to the document. More of its revenue now comes from these types of content partnerships, compared with the branded content deals that made up much of its revenue a year ago, the company said.
Mr. Smith said the company was worth at least $4 billion. If the valuation gets much higher, he said he would consider taking the company public.
“I don’t care about money; we have plenty of money,” Mr. Smith, who is Vice’s biggest shareholder, said in an interview after the presentation on Friday. “I care about strategic deals.”
In the United States, Vice Media had 35.2 million unique visitors across its sites in March, according to comScore.
The third season of Vice’s weekly HBO show has averaged 1.8 million viewers per episode, including reruns, through April 12, according to Brad Adgate, the director of research at Horizon Media. (Vice said the show attracted three million weekly viewers when repeat broadcasts, online and on-demand viewings were included.)
For years, Mr. Smith has criticized traditional TV, calling it slow and unable to draw younger viewers. But if all the deals Vice has struck are to work out, Mr. Smith may have to play more by the rules of traditional media. James Murdoch, Rupert Murdoch’s son and a member of Vice’s board, was at the company’s presentation on Friday, as were other top media executives.
“They know they need people like me to help them, but they can’t get out of their own way,” Mr. Smith said in the interview Friday. “My only real frustration is we’re used to being incredibly dynamic, and they’re not incredibly dynamic.”
With its own television channel in the United States, Vice would have something it has long coveted even as traditional media companies are looking beyond TV. Last year, Vice’s deal with Time Warner failed in part because the two companies could not agree on how much control Vice would have over a 24-hour television network.
Vice said it intended to fill its new channel with non-news programming. The company plans to have sports shows, fashion shows, food shows and the “Gaycation” travel show with the actress Ellen Page. It is also in talks with Kanye West about a show.
It remains to be seen whether Vice’s audience will watch a traditional cable channel. Still, Vice has effectively presold all of the ad spots to two of the biggest advertising agencies for the first three years, Mr. Smith said.
In the meantime, Mr. Smith is enjoying Vice’s newfound role as a potential savior of traditional media companies.
“I’m a C.E.O. of a content company,” Mr. Smith said before he caught a flight to Las Vegas for the boxing match on Saturday between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao. “If it stops being fun, then why are you doing it?”As Vice Moves More to TV, It Tries to Keep Brash Voice | 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 magical quality Mr. Lesnie created in shooting the “Babe” films caught the eye of the director Peter Jackson, who chose him to film the fantasy epic.Andrew Lesnie, Cinematographer of â€˜Lord of the Rings,â€™ Dies at 59 | PAKET UMROH BULAN JANUARI 2016
A 2-minute-42-second demo recording captured in one take turned out to be a one-hit wonder for Mr. Ely, who was 19 when he sang the garage-band classic.Jack Ely, Who Sang the Kingsmenâ€™s â€˜Louie Louieâ€™, Dies at 71 | PAKET UMROH BULAN JANUARI 2016
Over the last five years or so, it seemed there was little that Dean G. Skelos, the majority leader of the New York Senate, would not do for his son.
He pressed a powerful real estate executive to provide commissions to his son, a 32-year-old title insurance salesman, according to a federal criminal complaint. He helped get him a job at an environmental company and employed his influence to help the company get government work. He used his office to push natural gas drilling regulations that would have increased his son’s commissions.
He even tried to direct part of a $5.4 billion state budget windfall to fund government contracts that the company was seeking. And when the company was close to securing a storm-water contract from Nassau County, the senator, through an intermediary, pressured the company to pay his son more — or risk having the senator subvert the bid.
The criminal complaint, unsealed on Monday, lays out corruption charges against Senator Skelos and his son, Adam B. Skelos, the latest scandal to seize Albany, and potentially alter its power structure.
The repeated and diverse efforts by Senator Skelos, a Long Island Republican, to use what prosecutors said was his political influence to find work, or at least income, for his son could send both men to federal prison. If they are convicted of all six charges against them, they face up to 20 years in prison for each of four of the six counts and up to 10 years for the remaining two.
Senator Kenneth P. LaValle, of Long Island, who serves as chairman of the Republican conference, emerged from a closed-door meeting Monday night to say that conference members agreed that Mr. Skelos should be benefited the “presumption of innocence,” and would stay in his leadership role.
“The leader has indicated he would like to remain as leader,” said Mr. LaValle, “and he has the support of the conference.” The case against Mr. Skelos and his son grew out of a broader inquiry into political corruption by the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara, that has already changed the face of the state capital. It is based in part, according to the six-count complaint, on conversations secretly recorded by one of two cooperating witnesses, and wiretaps on the cellphones of the senator and his son. Those recordings revealed that both men were concerned about electronic surveillance, and illustrated the son’s unsuccessful efforts to thwart it.
Adam Skelos took to using a “burner” phone, the complaint says, and told his father he wanted them to speak through a FaceTime video call in an apparent effort to avoid detection. They also used coded language at times.
At one point, Adam Skelos was recorded telling a Senate staff member of his frustration in not being able to speak openly to his father on the phone, noting that he could not “just send smoke signals or a little pigeon” carrying a message.
The 43-page complaint, sworn out by Paul M. Takla, a special agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, outlines a five-year scheme to “monetize” the senator’s official position; it also lays bare the extent to which a father sought to use his position to help his son.
The charges accuse the two men of extorting payments through a real estate developer, Glenwood Management, based on Long Island, and the environmental company, AbTech Industries, in Scottsdale, Ariz., with the expectation that the money paid to Adam Skelos — nearly $220,000 in total — would influence his father’s actions.
Glenwood, one of the state’s most prolific campaign donors, had ties to AbTech through investments in the environmental firm’s parent company by Glenwood’s founding family and a senior executive.
The accusations in the complaint portray Senator Skelos as a man who, when it came to his son, was not shy about twisting arms, even in situations that might give other arm-twisters pause.
Seeking to help his son, Senator Skelos turned to the executive at Glenwood, which develops rental apartments in New York City and has much at stake when it comes to real estate legislation in Albany. The senator urged him to direct business to his son, who sold title insurance.
After much prodding, the executive, Charles C. Dorego, engineered a $20,000 payment to Adam Skelos from a title insurance company even though he did no work for the money. But far more lucrative was a consultant position that Mr. Dorego arranged for Adam Skelos at AbTech, which seeks government contracts to treat storm water. (Mr. Dorego is not identified by name in the complaint, but referred to only as CW-1, for Cooperating Witness 1.)
Senator Skelos appeared to take an active interest in his son’s new line of work. Adam Skelos sent him several drafts of his consulting agreement with AbTech, the complaint says, as well as the final deal that was struck.
“Mazel tov,” his father replied.
Senator Skelos sent relevant news articles to his son, including one about a sewage leak near Albany. When AbTech wanted to seek government contracts after Hurricane Sandy, the senator got on a conference call with his son and an AbTech executive, Bjornulf White, and offered advice. (Like Mr. Dorego, Mr. White is not named in the complaint, but referred to as CW-2.)
The assistance paid off: With the senator’s help, AbTech secured a contract worth up to $12 million from Nassau County, a big break for a struggling small business.
But the money was slow to materialize. The senator expressed impatience with county officials.
Adam Skelos, in a phone call with Mr. White in late December, suggested that his father would seek to punish the county. “I tell you this, the state is not going to do a [expletive] thing for the county,” he said.
Three days later, Senator Skelos pressed his case with the Nassau County executive, Edward P. Mangano, a fellow Republican. “Somebody feels like they’re just getting jerked around the last two years,” the senator said, referring to his son in what the complaint described as “coded language.”
The next day, the senator pursued the matter, as he and Mr. Mangano attended a wake for a slain New York City police officer. Senator Skelos then reassured his son, who called him while he was still at the wake. “All claims that are in will be taken care of,” the senator said.
AbTech’s fortunes appeared to weigh on his son. At one point in January, Adam Skelos told his father that if the company did not succeed, he would “lose the ability to pay for things.”
Making matters worse, in recent months, Senator Skelos and his son appeared to grow wary about who was watching them. In addition to making calls on the burner phone, Adam Skelos said he used the FaceTime video calling “because that doesn’t show up on the phone bill,” as he told Mr. White.
In late February, Adam Skelos arranged a pair of meetings between Mr. White and state senators; AbTech needed to win state legislation that would allow its contract to move beyond its initial stages. But Senator Skelos deemed the plan too risky and caused one of the meetings to be canceled.
In another recorded call, Adam Skelos, promising to be “very, very vague” on the phone, urged his father to allow the meeting. The senator offered a warning. “Right now we are in dangerous times, Adam,” he told him.
A month later, in another phone call that was recorded by the authorities, Adam Skelos complained that his father could not give him “real advice” about AbTech while the two men were speaking over the telephone.
“You can’t talk normally,” he told his father, “because it’s like [expletive] Preet Bharara is listening to every [expletive] phone call. It’s just [expletive] frustrating.”
“It is,” his father agreed.Dean Skelos, Albany Senate Leader, Aided Son at All Costs, U.S. Says | PAKET UMROH BULAN JANUARI 2016
Hired in 1968, a year before their first season, Mr. Fanning spent 25 years with the team, managing them to their only playoff appearance in Canada.Jim Fanning, 87, Dies; Lifted Baseball in Canada With Expos | PAKET UMROH BULAN JANUARI 2016
Ms. Pryor, who served more than two decades in the State Department, was the author of well-regarded biographies of the founder of the American Red Cross and the Confederate commander.Elizabeth Brown Pryor, Biographer of Clara Barton and Robert E. Lee, Dies at 64 | PAKET UMROH BULAN JANUARI 2016
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.
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.
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
Mr. Haroche was a founder of Liberty Travel, which grew from a two-man operation to the largest leisure travel operation in the United States.Gilbert Haroche, Builder of an Economy Travel Empire, Dies at 87 | PAKET UMROH BULAN JANUARI 2016
THE 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
ate in February, Dr. Ben Carson, the celebrated pediatric neurosurgeon turned political insurrectionist, was trying to check off another box on his presidential-campaign to-do list: hiring a press secretary. The lead prospect, a public-relations specialist named Deana Bass, had come to meet him at the dimly lit Capitol Hill office of Carson’s confidant and business manager, Armstrong Williams. Carson sat back and scrutinized her from behind a small granite table, as life-size cardboard cutouts of more conventional politicians — President Obama, with a tight smile, and Senator John McCain, glowering — loomed behind each of his shoulders. (The mock $3 bill someone had left on a table in Williams’s waiting room undercut any notion that this was a bipartisan zone; it featured Obama wearing a turban.)
Bass seemed momentarily speechless, and not just because no one had warned her that a New York Times reporter would be sitting in on her job interview. Though she knew Williams — a jack-of-all-trades entrepreneur who owns several television stations and a public-affairs business and who hosts a daily talk-radio show — through Washington’s small circle of black conservatives, the two hadn’t spoken in years until he called her two days earlier. He had been struggling to come up with the perfect national spokesperson, he told her. Then, at the gym, her name popped into his head; Williams was fairly certain she was the one. Sitting across from a likely candidate for president, Bass was adjusting to the idea that her life might be about to take a sudden chaotic turn.
“It’s like getting the most random call on a Monday that you simply do not see coming,” she said. “Oftentimes, that is how the Lord works.”
Carson concurred: “It’s always how he works in my life.” Carson is soft-spoken and often talks with his eyes half closed, frequently punctuating his sentences with a small laugh, even if the humor of his statement is not readily apparent. Bass told Carson that she had been a Republican staff member on Capitol Hill then worked for the Republican National Committee. In 2007 she started a Christian public-relations firm with her sister. She enjoyed working on the Hill, she said, but the pay wasn’t as high as the hours were long. “We figured that we worked like slaves for other people, and we wanted to work for ourselves.”
Carson stopped her. “You know you can’t mention that word, right?” Carson waited a beat, then laughed, and Williams and Bass joined in. He was getting to the point; he needed a professional who could help him check his penchant for creating uncontrolled controversy just by talking.
The Ben Carson movement began in 2013, when Carson, a neurosurgeon, whose operating-room prowess and up-from-poverty back story had made him the subject of a television movie and a regular on the inspirational-speaking circuit, was invited to address the annual National Prayer Breakfast in Washington. With Barack Obama sitting just two seats away, Carson warned that “moral decay” and “fiscal irresponsibility” could destroy America just as it did ancient Rome. He proposed a substitute for Obamacare — Health Savings Accounts, which, he said, would end any talk of “death panels” — and a flat-tax based on the concept of tithing. His address, combined with the president’s stony reaction, was a smash with Republican activists. Speaking and interview requests flooded in. Carson, then 61, announced his planned retirement a few weeks later, freeing his calendar to accept just about all of them. In the months that followed, his rhetoric became increasingly strident. The claim that drew the most attention, perhaps, was that Obamacare was “the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery.”
Bass’s own use of the word prompted Carson to ask her what she thought about that incident. She considered for a moment.
“If you want to reach people and have them even understand what you’re saying, there is a way to do it, without that hyperbole, that might be. . . . ” She paused. “I just think it’s important not to shut people off before they —”
Carson jumped in. “That doesn’t allow them to hear what you’re saying?”
Likening Obamacare to slavery — and slavery was incomparably worse, Carson said — had its political advantages for a candidacy like his. It was the kind of statement that stoked the angriest of the Republican voters: conservative stalwarts who can’t hear enough bad things about Obama. This, in turn, led to more talk-radio and Fox News appearances, more book sales, more donations to the super PAC started in his name, more support in the polls. (The day before the meeting, one poll of Republican voters showed Carson statistically tied for first place with Jeb Bush and Scott Walker.)
Rhetorical excess was good for business, but Carson now wants to be seen as more than a novelty candidate. He has come to learn that such extreme analogies, while true to his views, aren’t especially presidential. They alienate more moderate voters and, perhaps even more damaging, reinforce the impression that he is not “serious” — that he is another Herman Cain, the black former Godfather’s Pizza chief executive who rose to the top of the early presidential polls in 2011 but then bowed out before the Iowa caucuses, largely because of leaked allegations of sexual misconduct, which he denied but from which he never recovered. Cain lingers as a cautionary tale for the party as much as for a right-leaning candidate like Carson. The fact that Cain, with his folksy sayings (“shucky ducky”) and misnomers (“Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan”), reached the top of the national polls — much less that he was eventually followed there by the likes of Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, who all topped one or another poll in the 2012 primary season — wound up being a considerable embarrassment for the eventual nominee, Mitt Romney, and for the longtime party regulars who were trying to fast-track his way to the nomination.
Carson liked Bass and, without directly saying so, made it clear the job was hers for the taking. Carson’s campaign chairman, Terry Giles — a white lawyer whose clients have included the comedian Richard Pryor and the stepson of the model Anna Nicole Smith and who helped reconcile the business interests of the descendants of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. — had assembled a mostly white campaign team, including many from the 2012 Gingrich effort, and Carson wanted a person of color to speak for him. Bass said she would have to mull it over, pray about it. Carson nodded approvingly. “Pray about it,” he said. “See what you think.”
Williams knew the party was intent on protecting the eventual 2016 nominee from the same embarrassment Romney suffered. Already, suspiciously tough articles about Carson were showing up in conservative magazines and on right-wing websites. “They’re protecting these establishment candidates,” Williams said. “This is coming from within the house. This is family.” At the very least, he wanted to make sure that Carson didn’t do their work for them. (Carson would commit another unforced error a week later, when he told CNN that homosexuality was clearly a choice, because a lot of people go in prison straight and “when they come out, they’re gay”; he later apologized.)
“We need somebody to protect him, sometimes, from himself,” he told Bass — laughing, but only half kidding.
A candidacy like Carson’s presents a new kind of problem to the establishment wing of the G.O.P., which, at least since 1980, has selected its presidential nominees with a routine efficiency that Democrats could only envy. The establishment candidate has usually been a current or former governor or senator, blandly Protestant, hailing from the moderate, big-business wing of the party (or at least friendly with it) and almost always a second-, third- or fourth-time national contender — someone who had waited “his turn.” These candidates would tack predictably to the right during the primaries to satisfy the evangelicals, deficit hawks, libertarian leaners and other inconvenient but vital constituents who made up the “base” of the party. In return, the base would, after a brief flirtation with some fantasy candidate like Steve Forbes or Pat Buchanan, “hold their noses” and deliver their votes come November. This bargain was always tenuous, of course, and when some of the furthest-right activists turned against George W. Bush, citing (among other apostasies) his expansion of Medicare’s prescription drug benefit, it began to fall apart. After Barack Obama defeated McCain in 2008, the party’s once dependable base started to reconsider the wisdom of holding their noses at all.
This insurgent attitude was helped along by changes in the nomination rules. In 2010, the Republican National Committee, hoping to capture the excitement of the coast-to-coast Democratic primary competition between Obama and Hillary Clinton, introduced new voting rules that required many of the early voting states to award some delegates to losing candidates, based on their shares of the vote. The proportional voting rules would encourage struggling candidates to stay in the primaries even after successive losses, as Clinton did, because they might be able to pull together enough delegates to take the nomination in a convention-floor fight or at least use them to bargain for a prime speaking slot or cabinet post.
This shift in incentives did not go unnoticed by potential 2012 candidates, nor did changes in election law that allowed billionaire donors to form super PACs in support of pet candidacies. At the same time, increasingly widespread broadband Internet access allowed candidates to reach supporters directly with video and email appeals and supporters to send money with the tap of a smartphone, making it easier than ever for individual candidates to ignore the wishes of the party.
Into this newly chaotic Republican landscape strode Mitt Romney. There could be no doubt that it was his turn, and yet his journey to the nomination was interrupted by one against-the-odds challenger after another — Cain, Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul; always Ron Paul. It was easy to dismiss the 2012 primaries as a meaningless circus, but the onslaught did much more than tarnish the overall Republican brand. It also forced Romney to spend money he could have used against Obama and defend his right flank with embarrassing pandering that shadowed him through the general election. It was while trying to block a surge from Gingrich, for instance, that Romney told a debate audience that he was for the “self-deportation” of undocumented immigrants.
At the 2012 convention in Tampa, a group of longtime party hands, including Romney’s lawyer, Ben Ginsberg, gathered to discuss how to prevent a repeat of what had become known inside and outside the party as the “clown show.” Their aim was not just to protect the party but also to protect a potential President Romney from a primary challenge in 2016. They forced through new rules that would give future presumptive nominees more control over delegates in the event of a convention fight. They did away with the mandatory proportional delegate awards that encouraged long-shot candidacies. And, in a noticeably targeted effort, they raised the threshold that candidates needed to meet to enter their names into nomination, just as Ron Paul’s supporters were working to reach it. When John A. Boehner gaveled the rules in on a voice vote — a vote that many listeners heard as a tie, if not an outright loss — the hall erupted and a line of Ron Paul supporters walked off the floor in protest, along with many Tea Party members.
At a party meeting last winter, Reince Priebus, who as party chairman is charged with maintaining the support of all his constituencies, did restore some proportional primary and caucus voting, but only in states that held voting within a shortened two-week window. And he also condensed the nominating schedule to four and a half months from six months, and, for the first time required candidates to participate in a shortened debate schedule, determined by the party, not by the whims of the networks. (The panel that recommended those changes included names closely identified with the establishment — the former Bush White House spokesman Ari Fleischer, the Mississippi committeeman Haley Barbour and, notably, Jeb Bush’s closest adviser, Sally Bradshaw.)
Grass-roots activists have complained that the condensed schedule robs nonestablishment candidates — “movement candidates” like Carson — of the extra time they need to build momentum, money and organizations. But Priebus, who says the nomination could be close to settled by April, said it helped all the party’s constituencies when the nominee was decided quickly. “We don’t need a six-month slice-and-dice festival,” Priebus said when we spoke in mid-March. “While I can’t always control everyone’s mouth, I can control how long we can kill each other.”
All the rules changes were built to sidestep the problems of 2012. But the 2016 field is shaping up to be vastly different and far larger. A new Republican hints that he or she is considering a run seemingly every week. There are moderates like Gov. John Kasich of Ohio and former Gov. George Pataki of New York; no-compromise conservatives like Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and former Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania; business-wingers like the former Hewlett-Packard chief executive Carly Fiorina; one-of-a-kinds like Donald Trump — some 20 in all, a dozen or so who seem fairly serious about it. That opens the possibility of multiple candidates vying for all the major Republican constituencies, some of them possibly goaded along by super-PAC-funding billionaires, all of them trading wins and collecting delegates well into spring.
Giles says his candidate can capitalize on all that chaos. Rivals may laugh, but Giles argues that if Carson can make a respectable showing in Iowa, then win in South Carolina — or at least come in second should a home-state senator, Lindsey Graham, run — and come in second behind Bush or Senator Marco Rubio in their home state of Florida, he could be positioned to make a real run. But that would depend on avoiding pitfalls like Carson’s ill-considered comments on homosexuality. Rather than capitalizing on the chaos, Carson may only contribute to it.
Ben Carson is, in many ways, the ideal Republican presidential candidate. With a not-too-selective reading of his life story, conservative voters can — and do — see in him an inspiring, up-from-nowhere African-American who shares their beliefs, a right-wing answer to Barack Obama. Before he was born, his parents moved to Detroit from rural Tennessee as part of the second great migration. His father, Robert Solomon Carson, worked at a Cadillac factory. His mother, Sonya — who herself had grown up as one of 24 children and left school at third grade — cleaned houses. When Carson was 8, Sonya discovered that Robert was keeping a second family. She moved, with her two sons, into a rundown group house. It was in a part of town that Carson described to me as crawling with “big rats and roaches and all kinds of horrible things.” Sonya worked several jobs at a time and made up the shortfall with food stamps. (Carson has called for paring back the social safety net but not doing away with it.)
Carson recounts this story in his best-selling 1990 memoir, “Gifted Hands,” which also became the basis for a 2009 movie on TNT, starring Cuba Gooding Jr. as Carson. Raised as a Seventh Day Adventist, Carson realized that he wanted to become a physician during a church sermon about a missionary doctor who, while serving overseas, was almost attacked by thieves but found safety by putting his faith in God. When Carson, then 8, told his mother his new dream, “She said, ‘Absolutely, you could do it, you could do anything,’ ” he told me. Forced by his mother to read two extra books a week, he made it to Yale, then to medical school at the University of Michigan, where he decided to specialize in neurosurgery. He was selected for residency at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, where he was named director of pediatric neurosurgery at 33, becoming the youngest person, and the first black person, to hold the title. He drew national attention by conducting a succession of operations that had never been performed successfully, most famously planning and managing the first separation of conjoined twins connected through major blood vessels in the brain.
Carson, a two-time Jimmy Carter voter, traces his conservative political awakening to a patient he met during the Reagan years. During a routine obstetrics rotation, he found himself treating an unwed pregnant teenager who had run away from her well-to-do parents. When Carson asked her how she was getting by, she informed him she was on public assistance; this led him to ponder the fact that the government was paying for the result of what he did not view as a “wise decision.” The incident, he says, fed his growing sense that the welfare system too often saps motivation and rewards irresponsible behavior. (When we spoke, he suggested that the government should cut off assistance to would-be unwed mothers, but only after warning them that it would do so within a certain amount of time, say five years. “I bet you’d see a dramatic decrease in unwed motherhood.”)
Carson’s friends at Hopkins say they do not remember him being particularly outspoken about his conservatism. He devoted most of his public engagement to urging poor kids in bad neighborhoods to use “these fancy brains God gave us,” through weekly school visits, student hospital tours and, ultimately, a multimillion-dollar scholarship program. “His issues were always medical care for the poor, education for the poor, equal opportunity — helping the less fortunate and really inspiring them as an example,” a mentor who named him to the chief pediatrics-neurosurgery post at Hopkins, Dr. Donlin Long, told me.
Even when Carson got the chance, in 1997, to speak in front of President Bill Clinton, at the national prayer breakfast, he mostly discussed the lack of role models for black children who were not sports stars or rappers. (There was possibly an oblique reference to Clinton’s sex scandals, when he told the audience that, if they are always honest, they won’t have to worry later about “skeletons in the closet.”)
In 2011, Carson’s politics took a strident turn, mirroring that of many in his party during the Obama years. “America the Beautiful,” his sixth book, which he wrote with Candy Carson, his wife of 39 years, included a get-tough-on-illegal-immigration message and offered anti-establishment praise for the Tea Party. It suggested that blacks who voted for Obama only because he was black were themselves practicing a form of racism. (Earlier this year he admitted to Buzzfeed that portions of the book were lifted directly from several sources without proper attribution.) His prayer-breakfast performance in 2013, and the extremity of his remarks in the months afterward (Obamacare is the worst thing since slavery; the United States is “very much like Nazi Germany”; allowing same-sex marriage could lead to allowing bestiality), left some of his old friends bewildered. Students at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine protested his planned convocation address there in 2013, and he eventually backed out. When I asked Carson about the view at Hopkins that he had changed, he said his themes are still the same: “hard work, self-reliance, helping other people.” If he had become more overtly political, he said, it was only because the Obama years had led him to believe that “we’re really moving in a direction that is very, very destructive.”
None of this went unnoticed by campaign professionals. In August 2013, John Philip Sousa IV and Vernon Robinson, each of whom professes to be a virtual stranger to Carson, and who had previously been active in the anti-illegal-immigration movement, started the National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee. Sousa was just coming off a campaign to defend the sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, Joe Arpaio, from a recall effort, and he told me that he found Carson’s lack of political experience refreshing. “We have 500 guys and gals with probably a collective 5,000 years experience, and look at the mess we’re in,” he said.
Many others in the party feel the same way. Carson’s PAC finished 2014 with more than $13 million in donations, more than Ready for Hillary. Much of its money has gone toward further fund-raising, but Sousa — the great-grandson of the famous composer — points out that their effort has already built far more than just a war chest, organizing leaders in all 99 of Iowa’s counties. Regardless, Carson credits the fund-raising success of Sousa and Robinson with persuading him to enter the race.
Very early the morning after the job interview, Carson was in a black S.U.V., heading from Washington to the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in Oxon Hill, Md., where he was to give the opening candidate speech of the Conservative Political Action Conference. The event, which functions as an early tryout for Republican presidential contenders, tends to skew rightward in its audience, drawing many of the same sorts of people who shouted at Boehner in Tampa. As such, it tends to favor anti-establishment candidates, but the news leading up to this year’s event was that Jeb Bush hoped to make inroads there.
It was still dark when we set out, and I joked with Carson about the hour, telling him he’d better get used to it. He retorted that his career in pediatric brain surgery made him no stranger to early mornings. This is a big theme of Carson’s presidential pitch: that neither the rigors of the campaign nor those of the White House can faze a man who held children’s lives in his hands. His life in brain surgery has prepared him for the presidency, he maintains, better than lives in politics have for his rivals. At the very least, he says, it conditioned him against getting too worked up about any problem that isn’t life threatening. “I mean, it’s grueling, but interestingly enough, I don’t feel the pressure,” he said.
At the convention hall, we were quickly surrounded by admirers. Two women were already waiting to meet him — white, middle-aged volunteers for Carson’s super PAC, who had traveled from South Carolina. One of them, Chris Horne, was holding a dog-eared and taped Bible. A founding member of the Charleston Tea Party who went on to work for Gingrich’s successful South Carolina primary campaign in 2012, Horne lamented over the attacks that Carson was sure to face. “You served us, you served the Lord, just don’t let them steal that from you,” she said. Her friend told him, “You’ve got God behind you!” Such religious evocations trailed Carson constantly while I walked the CPAC floor with him. Evangelicals are impressed not only with his devotion to their politics but also with his career path; as one of them told me, what’s more pro-life than saving babies?
During our ride to the conference, Carson told me his speech was not looking to “feed the beast.” When his appointed time came, he kept his remarks as tame as promised. “Real compassion” meant “using our intellect” to help people “climb out of dependency and realize the American dream,” he said. The national debt is going to “destroy us,” Obamacare was about “redistribution and control,” but Republicans better come forward with their own alternative before they repeal it, he said.
Because his speech was first, and it started several minutes early, the auditorium was slow to fill. Still, the first day saw a crush of people seeking autographs and pictures as he roamed the hall. The Draft Carson committee’s 150 volunteers swarmed the auditorium, collecting emails and handing out “Run Ben Run” stickers. After a quick interview with Sean Hannity, the conservative-radio and Fox News host — his second in two days — Carson was off to Tampa.
In the hours that followed his talk, the hall offered a view in miniature of what the next 12 to 14 months might hold for the party. Chris Christie, sitting across from the tough-minded talk-radio host Laura Ingraham, boasted about his multiple vetoes of Planned Parenthood funding, his refusal to raise income taxes and his belief that “sometimes people need to be told to sit down and shut up.” Cruz, an audience favorite, warning his fellow Republicans against falling for a “squishy moderate,” declared, “Take all 125,000 I.R.S. agents and put ’em on our Southern border!” Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, surging in polls, boasted that if he could face down the 100,000 union supporters who protested his legislation limiting collective bargaining for public employees, he could certainly handle ISIS. The next day, the traditional CPAC favorite Rand Paul spoke, packing the hall with his supporters who chanted “President Paul.” He warned, counter to the overall hawkish tenor of the event, that “we should not succumb to the notion that a government inept at home will somehow become successful abroad.” But he also vowed to end foreign aid to countries whose citizens are seen burning American flags. “Not one penny more to these haters of America.”
Perhaps the defining moment came near the end of the conference, when Jeb Bush spoke. In a neat trick of political gamesmanship — and a show of establishment muscle — his team had bused in an ample cheering section for the dozens of cameras on hand for his appearance. But a small contingent of Tea Party activists and Rand Paul supporters staged a walk out. When Bush began a question-and-answer session, they turned and left the auditorium to chant “U.S.A., U.S.A.” in the hallway, led by a man in colonial garb waving a huge “Don’t Tread on Me” banner. Plenty of other detractors stayed in the hall and peppered Bush’s remarks with booing as he stood by positions unpopular with the conservative grass roots: support for the Common Core standards and an immigration overhaul that provides a “path to legal status” for undocumented immigrants. Bush took it all in good humor, but finally seemed to give up.
“For those who made an ‘oo’ sound — is that what it was? — I’m marking you down as neutral,” he said. “And I want to be your second choice.”
Bush strategists told me they would not repeat Romney’s mistakes. Of course they would love to glide to an early nomination, they said, but they are prepared for a long contest and won’t be wasting any energy bending under pressure from a Paul or a Cruz or a Carson.
No one doubts that the pressure will increase, though. Despite the best wishes of the party’s leaders, GOP primary voters have given little indication that they will narrow the field quickly.
Before I left, I spotted Newt Gingrich, himself a fleeting presidential front-runner during those strange primary days of 2012. I asked him whether he thought all the party maneuvering — all the attempts to change the rules and fast-track the process — would preclude someone from presenting the sort of outside primary challenge he had carried out in the last election.
“No,” he told me, as if it was the most obvious thing in the world. “Look at where Ben Carson is right now.”
Mr. Miller, of the firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges, represented companies including Lehman Brothers, General Motors and American Airlines, and mentored many of the top Chapter 11 practitioners today.Harvey R. Miller, Renowned Bankruptcy Lawyer, Dies at 82 | PAKET UMROH BULAN JANUARI 2016
Mr. Bartoszewski was given honorary Israeli citizenship for his work to save Jews during World War II and later surprised even himself by being instrumental in reconciling Poland and Germany.Wladyslaw Bartoszewski, 93, Dies; Polish Auschwitz Survivor Aided Jews | PAKET UMROH BULAN JANUARI 2016