PAKET UMROH BULAN FEBRUARI MARET APRIL MEI 2018




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Jalan beraspal yang kanan kirinya ditumbuhi pohon kelapa akan ditemui bila berjalan ke arah utara melewati ring road barat Yogyakarta. Melaju mengikuti arah jalan itu, anda akan sampai ke sebuah dusun bernama Mlangi, tepatnya di sebuah masjid bernama Jami' Mlangi. Sekeliling masjid itu berupa kompleks pemakaman dengan yang paling terkenal adalah makam Kyai Nur Iman.

Nama Mlangi tak lepas dari sosok Kyai Nur Iman yang sebenarnya adalah kerabat Hamengku Buwono I, bernama asli Pangeran Hangabehi Sandiyo. Kisahnya, Nur Iman yang sudah lama membina pesantren di Jawa Timur diberi hadiah berupa tanah oleh Hamengku Buwono I. Tanah itulah yang kemudian dinamai 'mlangi', dari kata bahasa Jawa 'mulangi' yang berarti mengajar. Dinamai demikian sebab daerah itu kemudian digunakan untuk mengajar agama Islam.

Masjid Jami' Mlangi adalah bangunan paling legendaris di dusun ini karena dibangun pada masa Kyai Nur Iman, sekitar tahun 1760-an. Meski telah mengalami renovasi dan beberapa perubahan, arsitektur aslinya masih dapat dinikmati. Diantaranya adalah gapura masjid dan dinding sekitar masjid yang didesain seperti bangunan di daerah Kraton. Di dalam masjid yang oleh warga sekitar disebut "Masjid Gedhe" itu juga tersimpan sebuah mimbar berwarna putih yang digunakan sejak Kyai Nur Iman mengajar Islam.

Makam Kyai Nur Iman dapat dijangkau dengan melewati jalan di sebelah selatan masjid atau melompati sebuah kolam kecil yang ada di sebelah tempat wudlu. Makam itu terletak di sebuah bangunan seperti rumah dan dikelilingi cungkup dari bahan kayu. Makam itu selalu ramai sepanjang tahun, terutama pada tanggal 15 Suro yang merupakan tanggal wafatnya Kyai Nur Iman dan bulan Ruwah. Hanya pada bulan ramadan saja makam itu agak sepi. Biasanya, para peziarah membaca surat-surat Al-Qur'an dengan duduk di samping atau depan cungkup makam.

Berkeliling ke dusun Mlangi, anda akan menjumpai setidaknya 10 pesantren. Diantaranya, sebelah selatan masjid pesantren As-Salafiyah, sebelah timur Al-Huda, dan sebelah utara Al-Falakiyah. Pesantren As-Salafiyah merupakan yang paling tua, dibangun sejak 5 Juli 1921 oleh K.H. Masduki. Mulanya, As-Salafiyah bukanlah pesantren, hanya komunitas yang belajar agama di sebuah mushola kecil. Komunitas itu lantas berkembang menjadi pesantren karena banyak yang berminat. Meski bangunannya tak begitu besar, pesantren ini memiliki 300-an santri dan menggunakan metode mengajar yang tak kalah maju dengan sekolah umum.

Keakraban penduduk dengan Islam bukan sesuatu yang dibuat-buat. Buktinya dapat dilihat dari cara berpakaian penduduk. Di Mlangi, para lelaki biasa memakai sarung, baju muslim, dan peci meski tidak hendak pergi ke masjid. Sementara hampir semua perempuan di dusun ini mengenakan jilbab di dalam maupun di luar rumah. Pengamalan ajaran Islam seolah menjadi prioritas bagi warga Mlangi. Konon, warga rela menjual harta bendanya agar bisa naik haji.

Meski banyak warga punya kesibukan dalam mendalami agama Islam, tak berarti mereka tidak maju dalam hal duniawi. Dusun Mlangi sejak lama dikenal sebagai salah satu penghasil tekstil terkemuka, hanya jenis produknya saja yang berubah sesuai perkembangan jaman. Pada tahun 1920-an, usaha tenun dan batik cetak marak di kampung ini hingga tahun 1965-an. Usaha itu mulai pudar sejak batik sablon menguasai pasar dan harga kain bahan batik terus meningkat. Akhirnya, hanya tersisa beberapa pengusaha batik, diantaranya Batik Sultan agung yang juga mulai meredup akhir 1980-an. Kini, usaha yang sedang berkembang adalah celana batik, peci, jilbab, net bulutangkis, dan papan karambol.

Setiap Ramadan, dusun ini selalu ramai dengan ritual ibadah yang dijalankan warganya. Mulai dari tadarus, pengajian anak-anak, dan sebagainya. Tak sedikit pula masyarakat dari luar Mlangi yang datang untuk 'wisata' agama, semacam pesantren kilat. Nah, bila anda ingin berkunjung ke Mlangi, inilah saat yang tepat. Sepanjang siang selama bulan Ramadhan, anda juga akan melihat betapa akrab anak-anak bermain petasan.

Sumber : http://www.yogyes.com

Baca Artikel Lainnya : WISATA ROHANI ISLAM KE LIMA DESTINASI

DUSUN MLANGI, WISATA ISLAM INDONESIA

Pertanyaan
Syaikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah bin Baz ditanya : Apakah orang yang melakukan senggama sebelum tahallul awal wajib mengulangi hajinya karena dia mengetahui bahwa hajinya adalah haji sunnah ?

Jawaban
Jika seseorang melakukan senggama sebelum tahallul pertama maka batal hajinya dan wajib mengqadha'nya setelah itu meskipun haji sunnah sebagaimana di fatwakan oleh para sahabat Nabi Shallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam. Kemudian dia juga wajib menyembelih Unta dan dibagikan kepada orang-orang miskin Mekkah Al-Mukarramah, dan kepada Allah tempat mohon pertolongan

MELAKUKAN SENGGAMA SETELAH THAWAF IFADHAH

Oleh
Syaikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah bin Baz

Pertanyaan
Syaikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah bin Baz ditanya : Jika orang yang haji telah thawaf ifadhah, apakah halal baginya untuk melakukan senggama selama hari-hari tasyriq .?

Jawaban
Jika orang yang haji telah thawaf ifadhah maka tidak halal baginya menggauli istrinya kecuali dia telah melaksanakan kewajiban-kewajiban dalam haji yang lain, seperti melontar jumrah 'aqabah dan mencukur atau memotong rambut disamping dia telah thawaf ifadhah. Jika demikian maka halal baginya melakukan senggama kepada istrinya, dan jika belum maka tidak boleh. Sebab thawaf satu-satunya tidak cukup. Tapi dia juga harus telah melontar jumrah pada hari i'ed dan mencukur/memotong rambut juga harus thawaf ifadhah dan sa'i jika wajib melakukan sa'i yaitu apabila dia mengambil haji tamattu'. Dengan ini maka halal baginya menggauli istrinya. Adapun tanpa hal-hal tersebut, maka tidak boleh. Akan tetapi jika telah melaksanakan dua dari tiga kewajiban haji, seperti melontar jumrah dan bercukur/memotong rambut maka dia diperbolehkan melakukan semua hal yang dilarang dalam ihram, seperti memakai pakaian berjahit, memakai parfum, memotong kuku, dan lain-lain, kecuali senggama dengan istri/suami. Demikian juga ketika dia telah melontar dan thawaf, maka halal baginya memakai baju biasa, memakai parfum, berburu, memotong kuku, dan lain-lain. Tapi tidak halal baginya melakukan senggama dengan istri kecuali jika telah melakukan tiga hal dari kewajiban haji, seperti melontar jumrah 'aqabah, mencukur/memotong rambut, dan thawaf ifadhah serta sa'i jika dia wajib sa'i yaitu bagi orang yang haji tamattu'. Setelag itu semua, maka halal baginya melakukan senggama dengan istri. Wallahu a'lam.

MENCIUM ISTRI DAN KELUAR SPERMA SEBELUM THAWAF IFADHAH

Oleh
Al-Lajnah Ad-Daimah Lil Ifta

Pertanyaan
Al-Lajnah Ad-Daimah Lil Ifta ditanya : Seseorang yang sedang haji jatuh dalam hal yang dilarang, yaitu mencium istri dengan syahwat dan mengeluarkan sperma setelah melontar jumrah 'Aqabah dan memotong rambut namun belum thawaf ifadah, sedang istrinya tidak haji' . Kewajiban apa yang harus dilakukan orang tersebut .?

Jawaban
Tidak boleh bagi seorang muslim yang sedang ihram haji atau umrah atau kedua-duanya untuk melakukan hal-hal yang merusak ihramnya atau mengurangi amalnya. Sebab mencium istri haram bagi orang yang sedang ihram haji hingga dia telah tahalul penuh, yaitu setelah melontar jumrah 'Aqabah, mencukur atau memotong rambut, thawaf ifadhah dan sa'i, jika dia wajib sa'i, karena dia masih dalam hukum ihram yang karenanya haram melakukan hubungan intim dengan istri. Namun tidak rusak haji orang yang mencium istrinya dan keluar sperma setelah tahalul awal. Hanya saja dia harus mohon ampunan kepada Allah dan tidak mengulangi perbuatannya yang sama juga wajib membayar kifarat. Yaitu menyembelih kambing yang memenuhi syarat untuk kurban dan dibagikan kepada orang-orang miskin di Mekkah. Kewajiban itu harus segera dilaksanakan jika mampu.


BERMIMPI BASAH (KELUAR SPERMA) KETIKA IHRAM

Oleh
Syaikh Abdullah bin Abdurrahman Al-Jibrin

Pertanyaan
Syaikh Abdullah bin Abdurrahman Al-Jibrin ditanya : Ketika kami memakai baju ihram pada tanggal 8 Dzulhijjah dan mabit di Mina saya bermimpi basah (keluar sperma), maka saya bingung karena jika saya mandi sebagian rambut saya rontok dan saya tahallul dari ihram. Dengan itu, maka saya melakukan dua larangan dalam ihram. Jika saya tayamum, saya tidak akan jatuh dalam kedua larangan ihram tersebut, tapi saya mengutamakan mandi atas tayamum. Apa hukum dalam apa apa yang saya lakukan tersebut ? Mohon penjelasan, semoga Allah memberikan pahala kepada Anda.

Jawaban
Bagi orang yang mimpi keluar sperma wajib mandi dan tidak sah baginya shalat dan thawaf dan juga tidak boleh membaca Al-Qur'an sebelum dia mandi. Maka hendaklah dia mandi walaupun sedang ihram, dan tidak mengapa seandainya ada beberapa rambut yang rontok ketika mandi. Sebab yang dilarang adalah menghilangkan rambut dengan sengaja, seperti dengan mecukur, memotong atau mencabut. Adapun mandi karena mimpi keluar sperma, maka wajib hukumnya dan harus membasuh kepala dan mensela-sela rambut, tapi tidak boleh berlebihan dalam menggosok kepala. Cukup baginya dengan menuangkan air ke kepala disertai menggerak-gerakkan rambut dengan tangan agar air dapat sampai ke kulit kepala. Sebab bagian bawah setiap rambut harus terkena air ketika mandi junub.

Adapun tahallul ihram, yakni melepas pakaian ihram maka bukan termasuk larangan dalam ihram, bahkan boleh melepas kain ihram ketika ada keperluan, seperti buang air besar. Juga diperbolehkan mengganti pakain ihram, baik selendang (maksudnya baju atasan ihram) maupun kain (maksudnya baju bawahan ihram) dengan pakaian ihram yang lain dan mencucinya jika kotor dan yang sepertinya, karena terdapat riwayat shahih bahwa Nabi Shallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam mandi ketika beliau sedang ihram, juga para sahabat. Wallahu a'lam

MIMPI BASAH TIDAK MEMBATALKAN HAJI

Oleh
Al-Lajnah Ad-Daimah Lil Ifta

Pertanyaan
Al-Lajnah Ad-Daimah Lil Ifta ditanya : Saya melaksanakan haji wajib, dan pada suatu malam ketika di Mina saya mimpi basah dan saya tidak dapat mandi. Apakah saya wajib membayar kifarat ?

Jawaban
Jika seseorang mimpi basah ketika sedang ihram haji atau umrah maka demikian itu tidak berpengaruh kepada hajinya dan juga terhadap umrahnya. Artinya, haji dam umrahnya tidak batal karena hal tersebut. Maka siapa yang mimpi basah ketika dalam ihram, dia wajib mandi janabat setelah bangun tidur, yaitu jika melihat sperma dan tidak wajib membayar fidyah. Sebab mimpi basah bukan atas kehendak sendiri.

Baca Artikel Lainnya : MENUNAIKAN HAJI, ANTARA SUNNAH ATAU TRADISI LINGKUNGAN

BERSENGGAMA DALAM HAJI, BOLEH KAH?

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saco-indonesia.com, Siska, ibu rumah tangga warga Kecamatan Rambah, Kabupaten Rokan Hulu, Riau, akan terancam dipenjara akibat tertangkap mencuri lima batang cokelat SilverQueen di supermarket.

"Kejadian pada Jumat (20/12) sekitar jam 14.00 WIB," kata Abdul Imam yang berusia (34) tahun, seorang petugas keamanan swalayan di Simpang Tangun, Kecamatan Rambah, Rokan Hulu, pemilik lima batang cokelat itu.

Kronologi kejadian tersebut menurut pelapor, berawal ketika dia tengah menjaga swalayan dan telah melihat gerakan yang mencurigakan dari seorang wanita yang berada di dalam toko. Waktu itu, kata dia, pelaku telah memasukkan beberapa barang ke dalam bajunya tanpa sepengetahuan kasir swalayan.

Saat itu, kata dia, seorang karyawan swalayan juga sempat melihat aksi pencurian yang telah dilakukan oleh pelaku.

"Saat digeledah, ternyata di dalam baju pelaku telah ditemukan lima batang cokelat. Pelaku kemudian akhirnya mengaku akan mencuri makanan dengan harga total Rp 85 ribu itu," katanya.

Karena perbuatannya, pihak swalayan yang tidak terima kemudian telah meminta agar pihak petugas keamanan melalui Abdul Imam membawa pelaku ke pihak kepolisian.

Informasi dari kepolisian, Siska saat ini telah ditahan di Polsek setempat dan terancam dihukum penjara. Pelaku telah dijerat dengan pasal 362 KHUP dengan ancaman pidana penjara paling lama 5 tahun atau denda paling banyak sembilan ratus ribu rupiah.


Editor : Dian Sukmawati

IBU SISKA TERANCAM DIPENJARA

 TRANSFORMASI OLAH DATA ORDINAL MENJADI INTERVAL
Data yang dikumpulkan mahasiwa ketika akan membuat tugas akhir, selain data sekunder diantaranya adalah data primer. Data sekunder adalah data yang diperoleh dari catatan-catatan atau informasi tertulis dari perusahaan, serta data-data lain yang terdokumentasi dengan baik dan valid. Sedangkan data primer adalah data yang direspon langsung oleh responden berdasarkan wawancara ataupun daftar pertanyaan yang dirancang, disusun, dan disajikan dalam bentuk skala, baik nominal, ordinal, interval maupun ratio oleh mahasiswa ketika membutuhkan data demi kepentingan penelitian.

Teknik pengumpulan data seperti ini lazim digunakan karena selain bisa langsung menentukan skala pengukuranya, akan tetapi juga bisa melengkapi hasil wawancara yang dilakukan dengan responden.

Skala pengukuran yang dibuat oleh mahasiswa sebaiknya dibuat sedemikian rupa, mengikuti kaidah, sehingga akan memudahkan pemilihan teknik analisis yang akan digunakan ketika pengumpulan datanya sudah selesai.

Catatan: Artikel ini membahas bagaimana transformasi dari data ordinal ke interval, sedangkan untuk transformasi data dalam keperluan untuk memenuhi asumsi klasik, baca artikel kami yang berjudul "Transformasi Data"

Dalam studi empiris, misalnya saja mahasiswa ingin menggunakan statistika parametrik dengan analisis regresi untuk menganalisis dan mengkaji masalah-masalah penelitian. Pemilihan analisis model ini ini hanya lazim digunakan bila skala pengukuran yang yang dilakukan adalah minimal interval. Sedangkan teknik pengumpulan data yang dilakukan oleh mahasiswa sudah dilakukan dengan menggunakan skala pengukuran nominal (atau ordinal).

Menghadapi situasi demikian, salah satu cara yang dilakukan adalah menaikkan tingkat pengukuran skalanya dari ordinal menjadi interval. Melakukan manipulasi data dengan cara menaikkan skala dari ordinal menjadi interval ini, selain bertujuan untuk tidak melanggar kelaziman, juga untuk mengubah agar syarat distribusi normal bisa dipenuhi ketika menggunakan statistika parametrik.

Menurut Sambas Ali Muhidin dan Maman Abdurahman, “salah satu metode transformasi yang sering digunakan adalah metode succesive interval (MSI)”. Meskipun banyak perdebatan tentang metode ini, diharapkan pemikiran ini bisa melengkapi wacana mahasiswa ketika akan melakukan analisis data berkenaan dengan tugas-tugas kuliah.

Sebelum melanjutkan pembahasan tentang bagaimana transformasi data ordinal dilakukan, tulisan ini sedikit membahas tentang dua perbedaan pendapat tentang bagimana skor-skor yang diberikan terhadap alternatif jawaban pada skala pengukuran Likert yang sudah kita kenal. Pendapat pertama mengatakan bahwa skor 1, 2, 3, 4, dan 5 adalah data interval. Sedangkan pendapat yang kedua, menyatakan bahwa jenis skala pengukuran Likert adalah ordinal. Alasannya skala Likert merupakan Skala Interval adalah karena skala sikap merupakan dan menempatkan kedudukan sikap seseorang pada kesatuan perasaan kontinum yang berkisar dari sikap “sangat positif”, artinya mendukung terhadap suatu objek psikologis terhadap objek penelitian, dan sikap “sangat negatif”, yang tidak mendukung sama sekali terhadap objek psikologis terhadap objek penelitian.

Berkenaan dengan perbedaan pendapat terhadap skor-skor yang diberikan dalam alternatif jawaban dalam skala Likert itu, apakah termasuk dalam skala pengukuran ordinal atau data interval, berikut ini kami mneyampaikan pemikiran yang bisa dijadikan pertimbangan: Ciri spesifik yang dimiliki oleh data yang diperoleh dengan skala pengukuran ordinal, adalah bahwa, data ordinal merupakan jenis data kualitatif, bukan numerik, berupa kata-kata atau kalimat, seperti misalnya sangat setuju, kurang setuju, dan tidak setuju, jika pertanyaannya ditujukan terhadap persetujuan tentang suatu event. Atau bisa juga respon terhadap keberadaan suatu Bank “PQR” dalam suatu daerah yang bisa dimulai dari sangat tidak setuju, tidak setuju, ragu-ragu, Setuju, dan sangat setuju.

Sementara data interval adalah termasuk data kuantitatif, berbentuk numerik, berupa angka, bukan terdiri dari kata-kata, atau kalimat. Mahasiswa yang melakukan penelitian dengan menggunakan pendekatan kuantitatif, termasuk di dalamnya adalah data interval, data yang diperoleh dari hasil pengumpulan data bisa langsung diolah dengan menggunakan model statistika. Akan tetapi data yang diperoleh dengan pengukuran skala ordinal, berbentuk kata-kata, kalimat, penyataan, sebelum diolah, perlu memberikan kode numerik, atau simbol berupa angka dalam setiap jawaban.

Misalnya saja alternatif jawaban pada skala Likert, alternatif jawaban “sangat tidak setuju” diberi skor 1; “ tidak setuju diberi skor 2; “ragu-ragu” diberi skor 3; “setuju” diberi kode 4; dan “sangat setuju” diberi skor 5. angka-angka (numerik) inilah yang kemudian diolah, sehingga menghasilkan skor tertentu. Tetapi, sesuai dengan sifat dan cirinya, angka 1, 2, 3, 4, dan 5 atau skor yang sudah diperoleh tidak memberikan arti apa-apa terhadap objek yang diukur. Dengan kata lain, skor yang lebih tinggi lebih tidak berarti lebih baik dari skor yang lebih rendah. Skor 1 hanya menunjukkan sikap “sangat tidak setuju”, skor 2 menunjukkan sikap “tidak setuju, skor 3 menunjukkan sikap “ragu-ragu’, skor 4 menunjukkan sikap “setuju”, dan skor 5 menunjukkan sikap “sangat setuju”. Kita tidak bisa mengatakan bahwa skor 4 atau “setuju” dua kali lebih baik dari skor 2 atau “tidak setuju”.

Fenomena ini berbeda sekali dengan sifat/ciri yang dimiliki oleh data interval, dimana angka-angka atau skor-skor numerik yang diperoleh dari hasil pengukuran data langsung dapat dibandingkan antara satu dengan lainnya, dikurangkan, dijumlahkan, dibagi dan dikalikan. Misalnya saja penelitian yang dilakukan mahasiswa tentang suhu udara beberapa kelas, dan diperoleh data misalnya suhu ruangan kelas A 15 derajat Cls, suhu ruang kelas B 20 derajat Cls, dan suhu ruang kelas C 25 derajat Cls. Berarti bahwa suhu ruang kelas A adalah 75 % lebih dingin dari suhu ruang kelas B. Suhu ruang kelas A 60 % lebih dingin dari suhu ruang kelas C. Suhu ruang kelas A lebih dingin dari suhu ruang kelas B dan C. Atau suhu ruangan kelas B lebih panas dari suhu ruang kelas A, tetapi lebih dingin dibandingkan dengan suhu ruangan kelas C. Contoh lain misalnya prestasi mahasiswa yang diukur dengan skala indek prestasi mahasiswa.

TRANSFORMASI DATA ORDINAL MENJADI INTERVAL

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 
From T Magazine: Street Lit’s Power Couple

As he reflected on the festering wounds deepened by race and grievance that have been on painful display in America’s cities lately, President Obama on Monday found himself thinking about a young man he had just met named Malachi.

A few minutes before, in a closed-door round-table discussion at Lehman College in the Bronx, Mr. Obama had asked a group of black and Hispanic students from disadvantaged backgrounds what could be done to help them reach their goals. Several talked about counseling and guidance programs.

“Malachi, he just talked about — we should talk about love,” Mr. Obama told a crowd afterward, drifting away from his prepared remarks. “Because Malachi and I shared the fact that our dad wasn’t around and that sometimes we wondered why he wasn’t around and what had happened. But really, that’s what this comes down to is: Do we love these kids?”

Many presidents have governed during times of racial tension, but Mr. Obama is the first to see in the mirror a face that looks like those on the other side of history’s ledger. While his first term was consumed with the economy, war and health care, his second keeps coming back to the societal divide that was not bridged by his election. A president who eschewed focusing on race now seems to have found his voice again as he thinks about how to use his remaining time in office and beyond.

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Obama Speaks of a ‘Sense of Unfairness’

Obama Speaks of a ‘Sense of Unfairness’

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

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

In the aftermath of racially charged unrest in places like Baltimore, Ferguson, Mo., and New York, Mr. Obama came to the Bronx on Monday for the announcement of a new nonprofit organization that is being spun off from his White House initiative called My Brother’s Keeper. Staked by more than $80 million in commitments from corporations and other donors, the new group, My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, will in effect provide the nucleus for Mr. Obama’s post-presidency, which will begin in January 2017.

“This will remain a mission for me and for Michelle not just for the rest of my presidency but for the rest of my life,” Mr. Obama said. “And the reason is simple,” he added. Referring to some of the youths he had just met, he said: “We see ourselves in these young men. I grew up without a dad. I grew up lost sometimes and adrift, not having a sense of a clear path. The only difference between me and a lot of other young men in this neighborhood and all across the country is that I grew up in an environment that was a little more forgiving.”

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Organizers said the new alliance already had financial pledges from companies like American Express, Deloitte, Discovery Communications and News Corporation. The money will be used to help companies address obstacles facing young black and Hispanic men, provide grants to programs for disadvantaged youths, and help communities aid their populations.

Joe Echevarria, a former chief executive of Deloitte, the accounting and consulting firm, will lead the alliance, and among those on its leadership team or advisory group are executives at PepsiCo, News Corporation, Sprint, BET and Prudential Group Insurance; former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell; Senator Cory Booker, Democrat of New Jersey; former Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.; the music star John Legend; the retired athletes Alonzo Mourning, Jerome Bettis and Shaquille O’Neal; and the mayors of Indianapolis, Sacramento and Philadelphia.

The alliance, while nominally independent of the White House, may face some of the same questions confronting former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton as she begins another presidential campaign. Some of those donating to the alliance may have interests in government action, and skeptics may wonder whether they are trying to curry favor with the president by contributing.

“The Obama administration will have no role in deciding how donations are screened and what criteria they’ll set at the alliance for donor policies, because it’s an entirely separate entity,” Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, told reporters on Air Force One en route to New York. But he added, “I’m confident that the members of the board are well aware of the president’s commitment to transparency.”

The alliance was in the works before the disturbances last week after the death of Freddie Gray, the black man who suffered fatal injuries while in police custody in Baltimore, but it reflected the evolution of Mr. Obama’s presidency. For him, in a way, it is coming back to issues that animated him as a young community organizer and politician. It was his own struggle with race and identity, captured in his youthful memoir, “Dreams From My Father,” that stood him apart from other presidential aspirants.

But that was a side of him that he kept largely to himself through the first years of his presidency while he focused on other priorities like turning the economy around, expanding government-subsidized health care and avoiding electoral land mines en route to re-election.

After securing a second term, Mr. Obama appeared more emboldened. Just a month after his 2013 inauguration, he talked passionately about opportunity and race with a group of teenage boys in Chicago, a moment aides point to as perhaps the first time he had spoken about these issues in such a personal, powerful way as president. A few months later, he publicly lamented the death of Trayvon Martin, a black Florida teenager, saying that “could have been me 35 years ago.”

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

That case, along with public ruptures of anger over police shootings in Ferguson and elsewhere, have pushed the issue of race and law enforcement onto the public agenda. Aides said they imagined that with his presidency in its final stages, Mr. Obama might be thinking more about what comes next and causes he can advance as a private citizen.

That is not to say that his public discussion of these issues has been universally welcomed. Some conservatives said he had made matters worse by seeming in their view to blame police officers in some of the disputed cases.

“President Obama, when he was elected, could have been a unifying leader,” Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, a Republican candidate for president, said at a forum last week. “He has made decisions that I think have inflamed racial tensions.”

On the other side of the ideological spectrum, some liberal African-American activists have complained that Mr. Obama has not done enough to help downtrodden communities. While he is speaking out more, these critics argue, he has hardly used the power of the presidency to make the sort of radical change they say is necessary.

The line Mr. Obama has tried to straddle has been a serrated one. He condemns police brutality as he defends most officers as honorable. He condemns “criminals and thugs” who looted in Baltimore while expressing empathy with those trapped in a cycle of poverty and hopelessness.

In the Bronx on Monday, Mr. Obama bemoaned the death of Brian Moore, a plainclothes New York police officer who had died earlier in the day after being shot in the head Saturday on a Queens street. Most police officers are “good and honest and fair and care deeply about their communities,” even as they put their lives on the line, Mr. Obama said.

“Which is why in addressing the issues in Baltimore or Ferguson or New York, the point I made was that if we’re just looking at policing, we’re looking at it too narrowly,” he added. “If we ask the police to simply contain and control problems that we ourselves have been unwilling to invest and solve, that’s not fair to the communities, it’s not fair to the police.”

Moreover, if society writes off some people, he said, “that’s not the kind of country I want to live in; that’s not what America is about.”

His message to young men like Malachi Hernandez, who attends Boston Latin Academy in Massachusetts, is not to give up.

“I want you to know you matter,” he said. “You matter to us.”

Advertisement Politics Obama Finds a Bolder Voice on Race Issues

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

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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.

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Many bodies prepared for cremation last week in Kathmandu were of young men from Gongabu, a common stopover for Nepali migrant workers headed overseas. Credit Daniel Berehulak for The New York Times

KATHMANDU, Nepal — When the dense pillar of smoke from cremations by the Bagmati River was thinning late last week, the bodies were all coming from Gongabu, a common stopover for Nepali migrant workers headed overseas, and they were all of young men.

Hindu custom dictates that funeral pyres should be lighted by the oldest son of the deceased, but these men were too young to have sons, so they were burned by their brothers or fathers. Sukla Lal, a maize farmer, made a 14-hour journey by bus to retrieve the body of his 19-year-old son, who had been on his way to the Persian Gulf to work as a laborer.

“He wanted to live in the countryside, but he was compelled to leave by poverty,” Mr. Lal said, gazing ahead steadily as his son’s remains smoldered. “He told me, ‘You can live on your land, and I will come up with money, and we will have a happy family.’ ”

Weeks will pass before the authorities can give a complete accounting of who died in the April 25 earthquake, but it is already clear that Nepal cannot afford the losses. The countryside was largely stripped of its healthy young men even before the quake, as they migrated in great waves — 1,500 a day by some estimates — to work as laborers in India, Malaysia or one of the gulf nations, leaving many small communities populated only by elderly parents, women and children. Economists say that at some times of the year, one-quarter of Nepal’s population is working outside the country.

Nepal’s Young Men, Lost to Migration, Then a Quake

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

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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.

Photo
 
Preet Bharara, the United States attorney in Manhattan, discussed the case involving Dean G. Skelos and his son, Adam. Credit Eduardo Munoz/Reuters

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.

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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

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

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

GREENWICH, Conn. — Mago is in the bedroom. You can go in.

The big man lies on a hospital bed with his bare feet scraping its bottom rail. His head is propped on a scarlet pillow, the left temple dented, the right side paralyzed. His dark hair is kept just long enough to conceal the scars.

The occasional sounds he makes are understood only by his wife, but he still has that punctuating left hand. In slow motion, the fingers curl and close. A thumbs-up greeting.

Hello, Mago.

This is Magomed Abdusalamov, 34, also known as the Russian Tyson, also known as Mago. He is a former heavyweight boxer who scored four knockouts and 14 technical knockouts in his first 18 professional fights. He preferred to stand between rounds. Sitting conveyed weakness.

But Mago lost his 19th fight, his big chance, at the packed Theater at Madison Square Garden in November 2013. His 19th decision, and his last.

Now here he is, in a small bedroom in a working-class neighborhood in Greenwich, in a modest house his family rents cheap from a devoted friend. The air-pressure machine for his mattress hums like an expectant crowd.

 

Photo
 
Mike Perez, left, and Magomed Abdusalamov during the fight in which Abdusalamov was injured. Credit Joe Camporeale/USA Today Sports, via Reuters

 

Today is like any other day, except for those days when he is hurried in crisis to the hospital. Every three hours during the night, his slight wife, Bakanay, 28, has risen to turn his 6-foot-3 body — 210 pounds of dead weight. It has to be done. Infections of the gaping bedsore above his tailbone have nearly killed him.

Then, with the help of a young caretaker, Baka has gotten two of their daughters off to elementary school and settled down the toddler. Yes, Mago and Baka are blessed with all girls, but they had also hoped for a son someday.

They feed Mago as they clean him; it’s easier that way. For breakfast, which comes with a side of crushed antiseizure pills, he likes oatmeal with a squirt of Hershey’s chocolate syrup. But even oatmeal must be puréed and fed to him by spoon.

He opens his mouth to indicate more, the way a baby does. But his paralysis has made everything a choking hazard. His water needs a stirring of powdered food thickener, and still he chokes — eh-eh-eh — as he tries to cough up what will not go down.

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Mago used to drink only water. No alcohol. Not even soda. A sip of juice would be as far as he dared. Now even water betrays him.

With the caretaker’s help, Baka uses a washcloth and soap to clean his body and shampoo his hair. How handsome still, she has thought. Sometimes, in the night, she leaves the bedroom to watch old videos, just to hear again his voice in the fullness of life. She cries, wipes her eyes and returns, feigning happiness. Mago must never see her sad.

 

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 Abdusalamov's hand being massaged. Credit Ángel Franco/The New York Times

 

When Baka finishes, Mago is cleanshaven and fresh down to his trimmed and filed toenails. “I want him to look good,” she says.

Theirs was an arranged Muslim marriage in Makhachkala, in the Russian republic of Dagestan. He was 23, she was 18 and their future hinged on boxing. Sometimes they would shadowbox in love, her David to his Goliath. You are so strong, he would tell her.

His father once told him he could either be a bandit or an athlete, but if he chose banditry, “I will kill you.” This paternal advice, Mago later told The Ventura County Reporter, “made it a very easy decision for me.”

Mago won against mediocre competition, in Moscow and Hollywood, Fla., in Las Vegas and Johnstown, Pa. He was knocked down only once, and even then, it surprised more than hurt. He scored a technical knockout in the next round.

It all led up to this: the undercard at the Garden, Mike Perez vs. Magomed Abdusalamov, 10 rounds, on HBO. A win, he believed, would improve his chances of taking on the heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko, who sat in the crowd of 4,600 with his fiancée, the actress Hayden Panettiere, watching.

Wearing black-and-red trunks and a green mouth guard, Mago went to work. But in the first round, a hard forearm to his left cheek rocked him. At the bell, he returned to his corner, and this time, he sat down. “I think it’s broken,” he repeatedly said in Russian.

 

Photo
 
Bakanay Abdusalamova, Abdusalamov's wife, and her injured husband and a masseur in the background. Credit Ángel Franco/The New York Times

 

Maybe at that point, somebody — the referee, the ringside doctors, his handlers — should have stopped the fight, under a guiding principle: better one punch too early than one punch too late. But the bloody trade of blows continued into the seventh, eighth, ninth, a hand and orbital bone broken, his face transforming.

Meanwhile, in the family’s apartment in Miami, Baka forced herself to watch the broadcast. She could see it in his swollen eyes. Something was off.

After the final round, Perez raised his tattooed arms in victory, and Mago wandered off in a fog. He had taken 312 punches in about 40 minutes, for a purse of $40,000.

 

 

In the locker room, doctors sutured a cut above Mago’s left eye and tested his cognitive abilities. He did not do well. The ambulance that waits in expectation at every fight was not summoned by boxing officials.

Blood was pooling in Mago’s cranial cavity as he left the Garden. He vomited on the pavement while his handlers flagged a taxi to St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital. There, doctors induced a coma and removed part of his skull to drain fluids and ease the swelling.

Then came the stroke.

 

Photo
 
A championship belt belonging to Abdusalamov and a card from one of his daughters. Credit Ángel Franco/The New York Times

 

It is lunchtime now, and the aroma of puréed beef and potatoes lingers. So do the questions.

How will Mago and Baka pay the $2 million in medical bills they owe? What if their friend can no longer offer them this home? Will they win their lawsuits against the five ringside doctors, the referee, and a New York State boxing inspector? What about Mago’s future care?

Most of all: Is this it?

A napkin rests on Mago’s chest. As another spoonful of mush approaches, he opens his mouth, half-swallows, chokes, and coughs until it clears. Eh-eh-eh. Sometimes he turns bluish, but Baka never shows fear. Always happy for Mago.

Some days he is wheeled out for physical therapy or speech therapy. Today, two massage therapists come to knead his half-limp body like a pair of skilled corner men.

Soon, Mago will doze. Then his three daughters, ages 2, 6 and 9, will descend upon him to talk of their day. Not long ago, the oldest lugged his championship belt to school for a proud show-and-tell moment. Her classmates were amazed at the weight of it.

Then, tonight, there will be more puréed food and pulverized medication, more coughing, and more tender care from his wife, before sleep comes.

Goodbye, Mago.

He half-smiles, raises his one good hand, and forms a fist.

Meet Mago, Former Heavyweight

Mr. King sang for the Drifters and found success as a solo performer with hits like “Spanish Harlem.”

Ben E. King, Soulful Singer of ‘Stand by Me,’ Dies at 76

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

Take the Money and Run

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 Kingsmen’s ‘Louie Louie’, Dies at 71
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