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    Ibadah haji adalah salah satu ibadah yang paling utama, berdasarkan hadits Rasulullah Shalallaahu alaihi wasalam :

(عَنْ أَبِى هُرَيْرَةَ قَالَ: سُئِلَ رَسُوْلُ الله : أَيُّ الْعَمَلِ أَفْضَلُ؟ قَالَ: (إِيْمَانٌ بِاللهِ وَ رَسُوْلِهِ)، قِيْلَ: ثُمَّ مَاذَا؟ قَالَ: (الْجِهَادُ فِيْ سَبِيْلِ اللهِ)، قِيْلَ: ثُمَّ مَاذَا؟ قَالَ: (حَجٌّ مَبْرُوْرٌ

"Dari Abu Hurairah Radhiallaahu anhu ia berkata: Rasulullah Shalallaahu alaihi wasalam ditanya: ‘Amal ibadah apakah yang paling utama?’ Beliau bersabda: ‘Beriman kepada Allah dan Rasul-Nya’. Dikatakan (kepadanya): ‘Kemudian apa?’ Beliau bersabda: ‘Jihad dijalan Allah’. Dikatakan (kepadanya): ‘Kemudian apa?’ Beliau bersabda: ‘Haji yang mabrur.’"( HR. Al-Bukhari dan Muslim, lihat Shahih at-Targhiib wat Tarhiib oleh al-Albani 3/3 hadits No. 1093. )

    Ibadah haji sebagai penghapus dosa, berdasarkan hadits Rasulullah Shalallaahu alaihi wasalam :

مَنْ حَجَّ فَلَمْ يَرْفُثْ وَلَمْ يَفْسُقْ رَجَعَ مِنْ ذُنُوْبِهِ كَيَوْمِ وَلَدَتْهُ أُمُّهُ

"Barangsiapa yang mengerjakan ibadah haji dan dia tidak melakukan jima' dan tidak pula melakukan perbuatan dosa, dia akan kembali dari dosa-dosanya seperti pada hari ketika ia dilahirkan ibunya." ( HR. Al-Bukhari, Muslim, an-Nasa-i, Ibnu Majah dan at-Tirmidzi )

    Balasan bagi haji mabrur adalah Surga, berdasarkan sabda Nabi Shalallaahu alaihi wasalam :

الْعُمْرَِةُ إِلَى الْعُمْرِةِ كَفَّارَةٌ لِمَا بَيْنَهُمَا وَ الْحَجُّ الْمَبْرُوْرُ  لَيْسَ لَهُ جَزَاءٌ إِلاَّ الْجَنَّةَ

"Umrah (yang pertama) kepada umrah yang berikutnya sebagai kaffarat (peng-hapus) bagi (dosa) yang dilakukan di antara keduanya, dan haji yang mabrur tidak ada balasan baginya, melainkan Surga." ( HR. Malik, al-Bukhari, Muslim, at-Tirmidzi, an-Nasa-i dan Ibnu Majah). Lihat Shahih at-Targhiib No. 1096. )


Dan dari Jabir bin 'Abdillah dari Nabi Shalallaahu alaihi wasalam , beliau bersabda:
الْحَجَّ الْمَبْرُوْرُ لَيْسَ لَهُ جَزَاءٌ إِلاَّ الْجَنَّةَ ، قِيْلَ : وَمَا بِرُّهُ؟ قَالَ: إِطْعَامُ الطَّعَامِ وَ طِيْبُ الْكَلاَمِ


"Haji mabrur tidak ada balasannya kecuali Surga. Dikatakan (kepada beliau): 'Apakah bentuk bakti dalam haji itu?' Beliau ber-kata: 'Memberi makanan dan berbicara yang baik.’”( HR. Ahmad, ath-Thabrani, Ibnu Khuzaimah, al-Baihaqi dan al-Hakim. Al-Albani berkata: "Shahih lighairihi, lihat Shahih at-Targhiib" No. 1104) )

    Haji adalah jihad bagi para wanita dan setiap orang yang lemah, berdasarkan hadits Nabi Shalallaahu alaihi wasalam :

عَنْ عَائِشَةَ d قَالَتْ ، قُلْتُ: يَارَسُوْلَ الله نَرَى الْجِهَادَ أَفْضَلَ اْلأَعْمَالِ ، أَفَلاَ نُجَاهِدُ ؟ فَقَالَ: لَكُنَّ أَفْضَلُ الْجِهَادِ حَجٌّ مَبْرُوْرٌ


"Dari 'Aisyah Radhiallaahu anha,, ia berkata, aku bertutur: 'Ya Rasulullah kami melihat bahwasanya berjihad adalah amal ibadah yang paling utama, apakah kami (para wanita, -pent) tidak berjihad? Maka beliau bersabda: 'Bagi kalian (kaum wanita,-Pent), jihad yang paling utama adalah haji mabrur'" .
Dalam riwayat Ibnu Khuzaimah, 'Aisyah d berkata:
قُلْتُ: يَا رَسُوْلَ اللهِ هَلْ عَلَى النِّسَاءِ مِنْ جِهَادٍ؟ قَالَ: (عَلَيْهِنَّ جِهَادٌ لاَ قِتَالَ فِيْهِ الْحَجُّ وَالْعُمْرَةُ)


"Aku bertutur: 'Ya Rasulullah, apakah ada kewajiban berjihad bagi kaum wanita?' Beliau berkata: 'Bagi wanita adalah jihad yang tidak ada peperangan padanya (yaitu) haji dan umrah.'" (Dishahihkan oleh al-Albani, lihat Shahih at-Targhiib No. 1099).
Dan dari Abu Hurairah Radhiallaahu anhu , dari Rasulullah Shalallaahu alaihi wasalam , beliau bersabda:
جِهَادُ الْكَبِيْرِ وَالضَّعِيْفِ وَالْمَرْأَةِ الْحَجُّ وَالْعُمْرَةُ

"Jihad orang yang tua, orang yang lemah dan wanita adalah haji dan umrah."

    Orang yang melaksanakan haji dan umrah adalah tamu Allah, dan permohonan mereka dikabulkan, berdasarkan hadits 'Abdullah Ibnu 'Umar Radhiallaahu anhu , Nabi Shalallaahu alaihi wasalam bersabda:

الْغَازِي فِي سَبِيْلِ اللهِ وَالْحَاجُّ وَالْمُعْتَمِرُ وَفْدُ اللهِ ، دَعَاهُمْ فَأَجَابُوْهُ وَسَأَلُوْهُ فَأَعْطَاهُمْ

"Orang yang berperang dijalan Allah, orang yang haji dan orang yang umrah, adalah tamu Allah. Dia memanggil mereka, maka mereka pun menjawab (panggilan)-Nya dan mereka memohon kepada-Nya. Dia-pun memberikan permohonan me-reka."

    Keutamaan perjalanan haji, keutamaan orang yang mati dalam perjalanan untuk melaksanakan ibadah haji, dan keutamaan orang yang mati dalam keadaan berihram (ditengah pelaksanaan ibadah haji dan/atau umrah.) Semuanya termaktub dalam hadits-hadits dibawah ini:

a. Dari 'Abdullah bin 'Umar Radhiallaahu anhu ia berkata, aku mendengar Rasulullah Shalallaahu alaihi wasalam bersabda:
مَاتَرْفَعُ إِبِلُ الْحَجِّ رِجْلاً ، وَلاَ يَدًا إِلاَّ كَتَبَ اللهُ لَهُ بِهَا حَسَنَةً أَوْ رَفَعَهُ بِهَا دَرَجَةً

"Tidaklah unta (yang dikendarai) seseorang yang melaksanakan haji mengangkat kaki(nya) dan tidak pula meletakkan tangan(nya) melainkan Allah mencatat bagi orang itu satu kebaikan atau menghapus darinya satu kejelekan atau meng-angkatnya datu derajat."

b.Dari Abu Hurairah Radhiallaahu anhu, ia berkata, Rasulullah Shalallaahu alaihi wasalam bersabda:
مَنْ خَرَجَ حَاجًّا فَمَاتَ كُتِبَ لَهُ أَجْرُ الْحاَجِّ إِلَى يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ وَمَنْ خَرَجَ مُعْتَمِرًا فَمَاتَ كُتِبَ لَهُ أَجْرُ الْمُعْتَمِرِ إِلَى يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ وَمَنْ خَرَجَ غَازِيًا فَمَاتَ كُتِبَ لَهُ أَجْرُ الْغَازِى إِلَى يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ


"Barangsiapa keluar dalam melaksana-kan haji lalu ia mati, niscaya dicatat baginya pahala seorang haji hingga hari Kiamat. Barangsiapa keluar dalam melaksanakan umrah lalu ia mati, niscaya dicatat baginya pahala seorang yang melaksanakan umrah sampai hari Kiamat, dan barangsiapa keluar dalam berperang dijalan Allah lalu ia mati, niscaya dicatat baginya pahala seorang yang berperang dijalan Allah sampai hari Kiamat."

c. Dari 'Abdullah Ibnu 'Abbas Radhiallaahu anhu, ia berkata:
بَيْنَمَا رَجُلٌ وَاقِفٌ مَعَ رَسُوْلِ اللهِ ; بِعَرَفَةَ إِذْ وَقَعَ عَنْ رَاحِلَتِهِ فَأَقْعَصَتْهُ فَقَالَ رَسُوْلُ اللهِ ; ( اغْسِلُوْهُ بِمَاءٍ وَسِدْرٍ وَكَفِّنُوْهُ بِثَوْبَيْهِ وَلاَ تُخَمِّرُوْا رَأْسَهُ وَلاَ تُحَنِّطُوْهُ فَإِنَّهُ يُبْعَثُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ مَلَبِّيًا )

"Tatkala seseorang sedang wukuf bersama Rasulullah Shalallaahu alaihi wasalam dipadang 'Arafah, tiba-tiba ia dijatuhkan oleh binatang (unta) yang dikendarainya dan mematahkan lehernya, maka Rasu-lullah Shalallaahu alaihi wasalam bersabda: 'Mandikanlah dia dengan air dan daun bidara, kafanilah dia dengan dua helai (kain) ihramnya dan jangan kalian menutup kepalanya serta jangan pula kalian beri wangi-wangian padanya, karena sesungguh-nya dia akan dibangkitkan dihari Kiamat dalam keadaan mengucapkan talbiyah.'"

    Dan lain-lain.

Itulah sejumlah keutamaan ibadah haji dan umrah yang kami rangkum dari beberapa hadits yang shahih dan hasan. Jika kita telah mengetahuinya, maka sepatutnya bagi orang yang mampu untuk giat dan bersungguh-sungguh dalam melaksanakan ibadah haji, serta menggunakan kesempatan dengan sebaik-baiknya, manakala ia memilikinya.

Syaikh 'Abdullah bin Ibrahim al-Qar'awi berkata: "Disunnahkan melaksanakan haji setiap tahun bagi orang yang mampu selama tidak membahayakan dirinya dan orang-orang yang menjadi tanggung jawabnya" , berdasar-kan hadits 'Abdullah bin Mas'ud Radhiallaahu anhu , Rasulullah Shalallaahu alaihi wasalam bersabda:
تَابِعُوْا بَيْنَ الْحَجِّ وَالْعُمْرَةِ فَإِنَّهُمَا يَنْفِيَانِ الْفَقْرَ وَالذُّنُوْبِ كَمَا يَنْفِى الْكِيْرُ حَبَثَ الْحَدِيْدِ وَالذَّهَبِ وَالْفِضَّةِ وَلَيْسَ لِلْحَجَّةِ الْمَبْرُوْرَةِ ثَوَابٌ إِلاَّ الْجَنَّةَ وَمَا مِنْ مُؤْمِنٍ يَظَلُّ يَوْمَهُ مُحْرِمًا إِلاَّ غَابَتِ الشَّمْسُ بِذُنُوْبِهِ

"Ikutilah antara ibadah haji dan umrah, karena keduanya akan menghilangkan kefakiran dan berbagai dosa sebagaimana alat pandai besi menghilangkan kotoran yang ada pada besi, emas dan perak. Dan tiada balasan pahala bagi haji yang mabrur kecuali Surga, tidaklah seorang mukmin dalam kesehariannya berada dalam keada-an ihram, melainkan matahari terbenam dengan membawa dosa-dosanya."

Sunnah tersebut semakin ditekankan lagi jika telah melewati empat atau lima tahun dari haji yang dilakukan sebelumnya, berdasarkan sabda Nabi Shalallaahu alaihi wasalam :

إِنَّ اللهَ يَقُوْلُ: إِنَّ عَبْدًا صَحَّحْتُ لَهُ جِسْمَهُ وَ وَسَّعْتُ عَلَيْهِ فِيْ الْمَعِيْشَهِ يَمْضِى عَلِيْهِ خَمْسَةُ أَعْوَامٍ لاَ يَفِدُ إِلَيَّ لَمَحْرُوْمٌ

"Sesungguhnya Allah berfirman: 'Sesung-guhnya seorang hamba yang telah Kusehat-kan jasadnya dan Kulapangkan penghi-dupannya, telah berlalu lima tahun atasnya, dia tidak datang kepada-Ku, benar-benar dia seorang yang diharamkan (dihalangi dari kebaikan-Pent). (HR. Ibnu Hibban dalam shahihnya, Abu Ya'la dan al-Bai-haqi).

Sedangkan Imam ath-Thabrani meriwayatkan dalam al-Ausath dengan redaksi:
إنَّ اللهَ يَقُوْلُ: إِنَّ عَبْدًا صَحَّحْتُ لَهُ بَدَنَهُ وَ أَوْسَعْتُ عَلَيْهِ فِي الرِّزْقِ لَمْ يَفِدْ إِلَيَّ فِيْ أَرْبَعَةِ أَعْوَامٍ لَمَحْرُوْمٌ


"Bahwasanya Allah berfirman: 'Sesungguh-nya seorang hamba yang telah Ku-sehatkan tubuhnya, Ku-lapangkan rizkinya, (namun) dia tidak datang kepada-Ku pada setiap empat tahun, benar-benar dia seorang yang diharamkan (dihalangi dari kebaikan,-Pent) (Al-Haitsami berkata dalam Majma'uz Zawaa-id perawi hadits ini semuanya perawi kitab ash-Shahih.)

 

Baca Artikel Lainnya : NAIK HAJI BAGI WANITA HAIDH

FAEDAH IBADAH HAJI DAN UMRAH

JAKARTA, Saco-Indonesia.com -- Manajer sekaligus istri artis musik kawakan Iwan Fals, Rosana, membantah kabar beredar yang menyebut bahwa suaminya meninggal dunia.

Selasa (7/5/2013), gosip itu tersebar melalui broadcast message (BM). "Turut berduka cita untuk Musisi Terbaik Kita, Bang Iwan Fals yang telah meninggal dunia di Rumah Sakit Putra Medica Jakarta Selatan, pada Pukul 13.41 WIB karena serangan Jantung," begitu isi BM itu.

Berkait dengan kabar tersebut, ketika diminta keterangannya melalui SMS, Selasa (7/5/2013) larut malam, Rosana atau Yos, istri Iwan, mengabarkan balik bahwa Iwan baik- baik saja. "Pasti mau nanyain keadaan Iwan ya?... alhamdulillah sehat2 aja," tulis Yos kepada Kompas.com.

Sementara itu, melalui akun Twitter-nya, @iwanfals, lelaki kelahiran Jakarta, 3 September 1961 ini memberi tanggapan mengenai gosip tersebut sejak Selasa.

‏"yg bener tuh sy malah dikasih air putih & bunga warna merah jambu," isi tweet pertama Iwan tentang kabar itu, Selasa, kira-kira pukul 10.30 WIB.

"maksudnya apa ya yg ngisuin sy meninggal?" tulisnya 13 jam kemudian. "ya udah tak doain yg ngisuin sy itu panjang umur, klo perlu gak mati2," sambungnya satu jam sesudahnya. "Amin," imbuhnya satu jam setelahnya.

Sumber:Kompas.com

Editor :Maulana Lee

 
 
 
 
ISTRI: IWAN FALS ALHAMDULILLAH SEHAT-SEHAT SAJA

Perusahaan kami, berlokasi di Bandung, Jawa Barat, bergerak dalam bidang Industri Pakaian Konveksi semi Garment dan Bordir Komputer (computerized embroidery).
Kami menerima pesanan dan memproduksi sendiri pakaian untuk keperluan Seragam, Olahraga, Promosi, Kampanye, Souvenir, dll dari bahan baku sesuai dengan order / pesanan konsumen, ditambah dengan atribut sablon atau bordir komputer.

Berkat visi,kerja keras, dan perbaikan pada berbagai bidang, perusahaan konveksi kami sudah jauh berkembang pada saat ini. Klien / Customer yang sudah pernah kami tangani berasal dari berbagai provinsi di Indonesia sampai luar negeri.

Kritik, saran, dan berbagai komentar (kekecewaan, kepuasan, dll) telah membuat perusahaan konveksi kami membuat banyak perubahan yang membawa pada kemajuan demi kemajuan seiring dengan bertambahnya usia perusahaan kami.

Meskipun berada di Lokasi Jalur Jl. Suci (Surapati-Cicaheum), perusahaan kami memiliki standard kualitas yang berbeda karena kami lebih berorientasi membidik segmen Corporate dan Export dan juga kami memproduksi sendiri order/ pesanan konsumen sehingga kualitasnya lebih terkontrol. Hal ini kami paparkan karena beberapa kalangan memiliki image negatif terhadap Jl. Suci karena kecewa terhadap beberapa showroom di Jl. Suci lewat pengalaman memesan di tempat tersebut.

Divisi-divisi yang kami miliki:
- Pola dan Potong (Pattern Maker & Cutting)
- Produksi Upper the Line Products (Aneka Uniform, Jaket Formal, Polo Shirt Eksklusif, Seragam perusahaan, dll)
- Finishing dan Quality Control
- Produksi Bordir Komputer (embroidery)
- Produksi Below the Line Products (Kaos Promosi, Seragam Sekolah, Kaos Pilkada, dsb)

Perusahaan kami melayani standard kualitas dari yang kualitas Exclusive (seperti untuk kebutuhan Export, Polo Shirt Golf, Jaket Formal/ Jaket semi Jas (Jasket), Seragam Staff Perusahaan, dll), dsb, sampai ekonomis seperti kaos kampanye / pilkada, seragam olahraga sekolah, baju promosi, dsb, untuk setiap kategori produk yang ditawarkan.

Untuk masalah ukuran, kami mengerjakan berbagai macam alternatif sistem ukuran:
1. S, M, L, XL, XXL, dst (Lokal, America, Eropa)
2. Penomoran 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 15 1/2, 16, 16 1/2, dst. (kemeja)
3. Penomoran 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, dst. (Celana)
4. Taylor Size (ukur satu per satu).


BAHAN KAIN/ Fabric yang kami gunakan antara lain:

- Kaos & Polo Shirt : PE (Polyester), Hyget, Cotton Carded, Cotton Combed, TC (tetoron cotton - 35 % cotton 65 % polyester, CVC (80% cotton, 20 % polyester), Polyester, Lacoste, Lacoste Cotton pique, Wafel, Double Knit, Spandex Balon, Spandex Rayon, Spandex Sutera, Jersey, Dryfit, dll.

- Jaket: Drill, Parasut/ Parasit, Taslan (nylon taslon), Baby canvas, Canvas sueding, Canvas ring, Canvas Marsoto, Ribstock/ Ribstop, Jeans/Denim, Micro fibre, Micro Satin, High Twist, Semi Wol, Diadora, Adidas, Lotto, Elvana, dll.

- Pakaian Olahraga: Parasut/parasit, Taslan (nilon Taslon), Micro fibre, Micro saten, Mikro Taroko, Adidas, Lotto, Elvana, Puma, Paragon, Diadora, Trilobal, Eye let, Serena, dll.

- Kemeja: American drill, Castilo, Verlando American Drill, Ventura Drill, Japan Drill, Taipan Drill, Oxford, Canada, Golden Mela, Tetoron, Ripstop/ Ribstok, High twist (Sebastian, Caravelle, Intercooler, Maxi Style ( Staff, Serasi, Diploma, Chinos, Pro, dll), Bellini ( Topman, United, Fortis, dll), Textile One, Estilo, Bertoluci, Pedroza, Exprezzo, Tifosi, Amarilo, Britain, Mantovani, Caterina, dll), BSY (tisu), Sutra, dll.

- Celana: American drill, Castilo, Verlando, Ventura, Japan, Taipan, Canvas, Jeans (denim), Corduroy, High twist ( Sebastian, Caravelle, Intercooler, Maxi Style( Staff, Serasi, Diploma, Chinos, Pro, dll), Bellini ( Topman, United, Fortis, dll), Textile One, Estilo, Bertoluci, Pedroza, Exprezzo, Tifosi, Amarilo, Britain, Mantovani, Caterina, dll) Wol, Ripstop (ribstock/ribstok), dsb.

- Topi: Canvas, Drill, Jala/jaring, Raphel/ Rafel, Twill, Matador, dll.

- Sweater: fleece katun, fleece PE, polar fleece, baby tery, dll.

Berikut daftar beberapa client kami (baik langsung/lewat perantara):

Perusahan Tambang (Mining, Oil& Gas Company)

01. PT. STAR ENERGY- Kakap Field,Natuna - (www.starenergy.co.id)
02. PT. PETROSEA SANGA COAL - Balikpapan,Kalimantan Timur (www.petrosea.com)
03. Pertamina Dumai - HCC Division
04. PT. SAIPEM INDONESIA - Jakarta
05. PT. Bumi Reksa Halmahera -Ternate
06. PT. ANEKA TAMBANG- Pomalaa, Sulawesi Tenggara

Bank
1. BCA Pangkal Pinang - Bangka Belitung
2. BANK INDONESIA - Jayapura
3. Bank Riau, Divisi Consumer Banking -Pekanbaru
4. Bank Indonesia - Tasikmalaya


Perusahaan Transportasi dan Pelayaran
1. PT. TANTO INTIM LINE Cab. Gorontalo
2. PT. Pelindo - Medan
3. CKB Logistics (PT. Cipta Krida Bahari) - Jakarta (http://www.ckb.co.id)

Instansi Pemerintah
1. Kejaksaan Agung RI - Bag. Protokoler, Jakarta
2. SEKRETARIAT DAERAH KALTENG - Palangkaraya
3. PEMDA Kab. Boven Digoel - PAPUA

Perusahaan Telekomunikasi & Information Technology, TV, Radio
1. PT.Telkom - Jakarta Selatan
2. TVRI KALSEL - Banjarmasin, Kalimantan Selatan

Militer/ TNI
1. KODAM XVI- Patimura, Ambon
2. PRIMKOPAL - Sabang, Banda Aceh
3. Batalyon Infanteri- 8 Marinir - Pangkalan Brandan

Perusahaan Otomotif, Dealer Motor-Mobil
1. PT. Bajaj Auto Indonesia - Jakarta (www.bajajautoindonesia.com)
2. FORD KELAPA GADING - Jakarta


Club Golf
1. Driving Range Siliwangi - Bandung.
2. Soewarna Business Park - Cengkareng, Banten (www.soewarna-businesspark.com)
3. PT. Gapura Angkasa - Cengkareng, Banten

Perusahaan BUMN dan Swasta
1. PT. PUPUK KALTIM Dep SMSDM-Bontang, Kalimantan Timur
2. PLN Kaltim- Balikpapan,Kalimantan Timur
3. PT. PLN (Persero) Pembangkitan Jawa Bali - Muara Karang
4. dll
.......................................

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KONVEKSI JAKET

BARCELONA, Saco-Indonesia.com — Pesepak bola dari Brazil Neymar memiliki kecepatan lari yang cukup tinggi. Dia bisa mencapai kecepatan 34,7 kilometer per jam. Selain jago gocek, kelebihan ini bisa membuat Barcelona semakin tajam dan berbahaya.

Neymar selama ini sering dianggap sebagai "pemain terhormat" di Santos. Sebab, ia memerlukan perlakuan khusus pada fisik. Bahkan, yang menggambarkan dia sebagai "pemain terhormat" itu adalah ahli fisioterapi Santos, Luis Fernando de Barros, setelah melihat statistiknya.

Neymar diperlakukan secara hati-hati oleh Fernando. Demikian juga ahli fisioterapi timnas Brasil, Jose Luiz Runco, yang memperlakukannya dengan hati-hati. Ini untuk memastikan agar dia dalam kondisi fisik yang prima. Sebab, fisiknya memang agak spesifik.

Neymar memiliki tinggi 174 sentimeter. Namun, bobotnya hanya 60 kilogram. Oleh karenanya, jika tak diperlakukan secara hati-hati, dia rentan terkena cedera.

"Neymar fiber murni dan genetik. Dia benar-benar pemain terhormat," kata Fernando kepada surat kabar Spanyol, El Mundo Deportivo.

Sejak 2009, pemain 21 tahun itu sudah bermain di 277 pertandingan, baik untuk Santos maupun timnas Brasil. Dia membutuhkan supervisi medis yang ketat untuk mengurangi risiko cedera karena kondisi fisik bawaannya.

Meski begitu, hal itu tak menghentikannya berkembang sebagai atlet yang eksplosif. Bahkan, ia memiliki kecepatan lari yang termasuk luar biasa, yakni 34,7 kilometer per jam.

Jika dibandingkan, ia hanya kelah sedikit dari pemain bola cepat lainnya. Sejauh ini, pemain tercepat masih dipegang Cristiano Ronaldo dan Thierry Henry dengan catatan 39,2 kilometer per jam. Urutan berikutnya adalah Arjen Robben dengan kecepatan 37,8 kilometer per jam. Adapun pemegang rekor lari sprint, Usain Bolt, memiliki kecepatan 44 kilometer per jam.

Berdasarkan statistik ini, tak heran jika Pelatih Barcelona, Tito Vilanova, merasa bahwa kehadiran Neymar bakal mempertajam serangan timnya. "Dia pemain yang bisa beroperasi di berbagai posisi, tak hanya di sayap. Dia juga bisa bermain di belakang striker. Kami akan memikirkan perannya sebaik mungkin. Dia pemain yang sangat berbakat," puji Vilanova.

Editor : Liwon Maulana
Sumber:Kompas
Bintang Muda Brazil Neymar Kecepatan larinya mencapai 34,7 Km/Jam

JAKARTA, Saco-Indonesia.com, - Berdasarkan hasil survei yang dirilis Lembaga Survei Nasional (LSN), sebanyak 86,1 persen responden menolak rencana kenaikan harga Bahan Bakar Minyak (BBM) bersubsidi. Sementara itu, hanya 12,4 persen yang mengaku setuju dengan kebijakan pemerintah itu, dan sisanya sebayak 1,5 responden menyatakan tidak tahu.

"Menurut temuan LSN, mayoritas mutlak dari masyarakat berpendidikan dan berpenghasilan rendah menolak kenaikan harga BBM. Mereka khawatir kenaikan itu mempersulit ekonomi rumah tangga mereka," ujar Peneliti LSN Gema Nusantara di Jakarta, Minggu (2/6/2013).

Adapun yang menyetujui kenaikan BBM berasal dari responden berpendidikan dan berpenghasilan tinggi. Mereka memahami argumentasi pemerintah untuk menaikan harga BBM, namun tidak yakin akan berhasil membantu perekonomian nasional. Gema menjelaskan, ada tiga alasan utama mengapa publik menolak kenaikan harga BBM yang rencananya mulai naik pada bulan Juni ini.

Pertama, kenaikan BBM dinilai semakin memberatkan ekonomi masyarakat sebab harga kebutuhan pokok otomatis akan naik. Kedua, masyarakat menilai kenaikan harga BBM tidak akan menolong kesehatan fiskal seperti yang direncanakan pemerintah. "Bebeberapa kali kenaikan harga BBM di masa lalu terbukti tidak efektif menyelamatkan APBN," katanya.

Kemudian, alasan ketiga, publik menilai adanya motif politik praktis. Kebijakan kenaikan harga BBM dinilai hanya menjadi pintu masuk peluncuran Bantuan Langsung Sementara Masyarakat (BLSM) yang sarat dengan muatan politik praktis menjelang Pemilu 2014 dan upaya mendongkrak elektabilitas partai pemerintah.

Di sisi lain, sebanyak 51,7 persen responden setuju dengan pemberian BLSM, dan 47,2 persen tidak setuju. Masyarakat menilai, nominal BLSM yang diberikan oleh pemerintah tidak signifikan untuk membantu rakyat kecil.

 
Editor :Liwon Maulana
Sumber:Kompas.com
LSN: Publik Tidak Setuju Pemerintah Naikan BBM Bersubsidi

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

A lapsed seminarian, Mr. Chambers succeeded Saul Alinsky as leader of the social justice umbrella group Industrial Areas Foundation.

Edward Chambers, Early Leader in Community Organizing, Dies at 85

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.

Continue reading the main story Video
Play Video|1:17

Obama Speaks of a ‘Sense of Unfairness’

Obama Speaks of a ‘Sense of Unfairness’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Obama Finds a Bolder Voice on Race Issues

Under Mr. Michelin’s leadership, which ended when he left the company in 2002, the Michelin Group became the world’s biggest tire maker, establishing a big presence in the United States and other major markets overseas.

François Michelin, Head of Tire Company, Dies at 88

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

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

Though Robin and Joan Rolfs owned two rare talking dolls manufactured by Thomas Edison’s phonograph company in 1890, they did not dare play the wax cylinder records tucked inside each one.

The Rolfses, longtime collectors of Edison phonographs, knew that if they turned the cranks on the dolls’ backs, the steel phonograph needle might damage or destroy the grooves of the hollow, ring-shaped cylinder. And so for years, the dolls sat side by side inside a display cabinet, bearers of a message from the dawn of sound recording that nobody could hear.

In 1890, Edison’s dolls were a flop; production lasted only six weeks. Children found them difficult to operate and more scary than cuddly. The recordings inside, which featured snippets of nursery rhymes, wore out quickly.

Yet sound historians say the cylinders were the first entertainment records ever made, and the young girls hired to recite the rhymes were the world’s first recording artists.

Year after year, the Rolfses asked experts if there might be a safe way to play the recordings. Then a government laboratory developed a method to play fragile records without touching them.

Audio

The technique relies on a microscope to create images of the grooves in exquisite detail. A computer approximates — with great accuracy — the sounds that would have been created by a needle moving through those grooves.

In 2014, the technology was made available for the first time outside the laboratory.

“The fear all along is that we don’t want to damage these records. We don’t want to put a stylus on them,” said Jerry Fabris, the curator of the Thomas Edison Historical Park in West Orange, N.J. “Now we have the technology to play them safely.”

Last month, the Historical Park posted online three never-before-heard Edison doll recordings, including the two from the Rolfses’ collection. “There are probably more out there, and we’re hoping people will now get them digitized,” Mr. Fabris said.

The technology, which is known as Irene (Image, Reconstruct, Erase Noise, Etc.), was developed by the particle physicist Carl Haber and the engineer Earl Cornell at Lawrence Berkeley. Irene extracts sound from cylinder and disk records. It can also reconstruct audio from recordings so badly damaged they were deemed unplayable.

“We are now hearing sounds from history that I did not expect to hear in my lifetime,” Mr. Fabris said.

The Rolfses said they were not sure what to expect in August when they carefully packed their two Edison doll cylinders, still attached to their motors, and drove from their home in Hortonville, Wis., to the National Document Conservation Center in Andover, Mass. The center had recently acquired Irene technology.

Audio

Cylinders carry sound in a spiral groove cut by a phonograph recording needle that vibrates up and down, creating a surface made of tiny hills and valleys. In the Irene set-up, a microscope perched above the shaft takes thousands of high-resolution images of small sections of the grooves.

Stitched together, the images provide a topographic map of the cylinder’s surface, charting changes in depth as small as one five-hundredth the thickness of a human hair. Pitch, volume and timbre are all encoded in the hills and valleys and the speed at which the record is played.

At the conservation center, the preservation specialist Mason Vander Lugt attached one of the cylinders to the end of a rotating shaft. Huddled around a computer screen, the Rolfses first saw the wiggly waveform generated by Irene. Then came the digital audio. The words were at first indistinct, but as Mr. Lugt filtered out more of the noise, the rhyme became clearer.

“That was the Eureka moment,” Mr. Rolfs said.

In 1890, a girl in Edison’s laboratory had recited:

There was a little girl,

And she had a little curl

Audio

Right in the middle of her forehead.

When she was good,

She was very, very good.

But when she was bad, she was horrid.

Recently, the conservation center turned up another surprise.

In 2010, the Woody Guthrie Foundation received 18 oversize phonograph disks from an anonymous donor. No one knew if any of the dirt-stained recordings featured Guthrie, but Tiffany Colannino, then the foundation’s archivist, had stored them unplayed until she heard about Irene.

Last fall, the center extracted audio from one of the records, labeled “Jam Session 9” and emailed the digital file to Ms. Colannino.

“I was just sitting in my dining room, and the next thing I know, I’m hearing Woody,” she said. In between solo performances of “Ladies Auxiliary,” “Jesus Christ,” and “Dead or Alive,” Guthrie tells jokes, offers some back story, and makes the audience laugh. “It is quintessential Guthrie,” Ms. Colannino said.

The Rolfses’ dolls are back in the display cabinet in Wisconsin. But with audio stored on several computers, they now have a permanent voice.

Ghostly Voices From Thomas Edison’s Dolls Can Now Be Heard

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

BALTIMORE — In the afternoons, the streets of Locust Point are clean and nearly silent. In front of the rowhouses, potted plants rest next to steps of brick or concrete. There is a shopping center nearby with restaurants, and a grocery store filled with fresh foods.

And the National Guard and the police are largely absent. So, too, residents say, are worries about what happened a few miles away on April 27 when, in a space of hours, parts of this city became riot zones.

“They’re not our reality,” Ashley Fowler, 30, said on Monday at the restaurant where she works. “They’re not what we’re living right now. We live in, not to be racist, white America.”

As Baltimore considers its way forward after the violent unrest brought by the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who died of injuries he suffered while in police custody, residents in its predominantly white neighborhoods acknowledge that they are sometimes struggling to understand what beyond Mr. Gray’s death spurred the turmoil here. For many, the poverty and troubled schools of gritty West Baltimore are distant troubles, glimpsed only when they pass through the area on their way somewhere else.

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Officers blocked traffic at Pennsylvania and West North Avenues after reports that a gun was discharged in the area. Credit Drew Angerer for The New York Times

And so neighborhoods of Baltimore are facing altogether different reckonings after Mr. Gray’s death. In mostly black communities like Sandtown-Winchester, where some of the most destructive rioting played out last week, residents are hoping businesses will reopen and that the police will change their strategies. But in mostly white areas like Canton and Locust Point, some residents wonder what role, if any, they should play in reimagining stretches of Baltimore where they do not live.

“Most of the people are kind of at a loss as to what they’re supposed to do,” said Dr. Richard Lamb, a dentist who has practiced in the same Locust Point office for nearly 39 years. “I listen to the news reports. I listen to the clergymen. I listen to the facts of the rampant unemployment and the lack of opportunities in the area. Listen, I pay my taxes. Exactly what can I do?”

And in Canton, where the restaurants have clever names like Nacho Mama’s and Holy Crepe Bakery and Café, Sara Bahr said solutions seemed out of reach for a proudly liberal city.

“I can only imagine how frustrated they must be,” said Ms. Bahr, 36, a nurse who was out with her 3-year-old daughter, Sally. “I just wish I knew how to solve poverty. I don’t know what to do to make it better.”

The day of unrest and the overwhelmingly peaceful demonstrations that followed led to hundreds of arrests, often for violations of the curfew imposed on the city for five consecutive nights while National Guard soldiers patrolled the streets. Although there were isolated instances of trouble in Canton, the neighborhood association said on its website, many parts of southeast Baltimore were physically untouched by the tumult.

Tensions in the city bubbled anew on Monday after reports that the police had wounded a black man in Northwest Baltimore. The authorities denied those reports and sent officers to talk with the crowds that gathered while other officers clutching shields blocked traffic at Pennsylvania and West North Avenues.

Lt. Col. Melvin Russell, a community police officer, said officers had stopped a man suspected of carrying a handgun and that “one of those rounds was spent.”

Colonel Russell said officers had not opened fire, “so we couldn’t have shot him.”

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Lambi Vasilakopoulos, right, who runs a casual restaurant in Canton, said he was incensed by last week's looting and predicted tensions would worsen. Credit Drew Angerer for The New York Times

The colonel said the man had not been injured but was taken to a hospital as a precaution. Nearby, many people stood in disbelief, despite the efforts by the authorities to quash reports they described as “unfounded.”

Monday’s episode was a brief moment in a larger drama that has yielded anger and confusion. Although many people said they were familiar with accounts of the police harassing or intimidating residents, many in Canton and Locust Point said they had never experienced it themselves. When they watched the unrest, which many protesters said was fueled by feelings that they lived only on Baltimore’s margins, even those like Ms. Bahr who were pained by what they saw said they could scarcely comprehend the emotions associated with it.

But others, like Lambi Vasilakopoulos, who runs a casual restaurant in Canton, said they were incensed by what unfolded last week.

“What happened wasn’t called for. Protests are one thing; looting is another thing,” he said, adding, “We’re very frustrated because we’re the ones who are going to pay for this.”

There were pockets of optimism, though, that Baltimore would enter a period of reconciliation.

“I’m just hoping for peace,” Natalie Boies, 53, said in front of the Locust Point home where she has lived for 50 years. “Learn to love each other; be patient with each other; find justice; and care.”

A skeptical Mr. Vasilakopoulos predicted tensions would worsen.

“It cannot be fixed,” he said. “It’s going to get worse. Why? Because people don’t obey the laws. They don’t want to obey them.”

But there were few fears that the violence that plagued West Baltimore last week would play out on these relaxed streets. The authorities, Ms. Fowler said, would make sure of that.

“They kept us safe here,” she said. “I didn’t feel uncomfortable when I was in my house three blocks away from here. I knew I was going to be O.K. because I knew they weren’t going to let anyone come and loot our properties or our businesses or burn our cars.”

Baltimore Residents Away From Turmoil Consider Their Role

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?”

Photo
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

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

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.”

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Ms. Meadows was the older sister of Audrey Meadows, who played Alice Kramden on “The Honeymooners.”

Jayne Meadows, Actress and Steve Allen’s Wife and Co-Star, Dies at 95

WASHINGTON — The last three men to win the Republican nomination have been the prosperous son of a president (George W. Bush), a senator who could not recall how many homes his family owned (John McCain of Arizona; it was seven) and a private equity executive worth an estimated $200 million (Mitt Romney).

The candidates hoping to be the party’s nominee in 2016 are trying to create a very different set of associations. On Sunday, Ben Carson, a retired neurosurgeon, joined the presidential field.

Senator Marco Rubio of Florida praises his parents, a bartender and a Kmart stock clerk, as he urges audiences not to forget “the workers in our hotel kitchens, the landscaping crews in our neighborhoods, the late-night janitorial staff that clean our offices.”

Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, a preacher’s son, posts on Twitter about his ham-and-cheese sandwiches and boasts of his coupon-clipping frugality. His $1 Kohl’s sweater has become a campaign celebrity in its own right.

Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky laments the existence of “two Americas,” borrowing the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s phrase to describe economically and racially troubled communities like Ferguson, Mo., and Detroit.

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Senator Marco Rubio of Florida praises his parents, a bartender and a Kmart stock clerk. Credit Joe Raedle/Getty Images

“Some say, ‘But Democrats care more about the poor,’ ” Mr. Paul likes to say. “If that’s true, why is black unemployment still twice white unemployment? Why has household income declined by $3,500 over the past six years?”

We are in the midst of the Empathy Primary — the rhetorical battleground shaping the Republican presidential field of 2016.

Harmed by the perception that they favor the wealthy at the expense of middle-of-the-road Americans, the party’s contenders are each trying their hardest to get across what the elder George Bush once inelegantly told recession-battered voters in 1992: “Message: I care.”

Their ability to do so — less bluntly, more sincerely — could prove decisive in an election year when power, privilege and family connections will loom large for both parties.

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Questions of understanding and compassion cost Republicans in the last election. Mr. Romney, who memorably dismissed the “47 percent” of Americans as freeloaders, lost to President Obama by 63 percentage points among voters who cast their ballots for the candidate who “cares about people like me,” according to exit polls.

And a Pew poll from February showed that people still believe Republicans are indifferent to working Americans: 54 percent said the Republican Party does not care about the middle class.

That taint of callousness explains why Senator Ted Cruz of Texas declared last week that Republicans “are and should be the party of the 47 percent” — and why another son of a president, Jeb Bush, has made economic opportunity the centerpiece of his message.

With his pedigree and considerable wealth — since he left the Florida governor’s office almost a decade ago he has earned millions of dollars sitting on corporate boards and advising banks — Mr. Bush probably has the most complicated task making the argument to voters that he understands their concerns.

On a visit last week to Puerto Rico, Mr. Bush sounded every bit the populist, railing against “elites” who have stifled economic growth and innovation. In the kind of economy he envisions leading, he said: “We wouldn’t have the middle being squeezed. People in poverty would have a chance to rise up. And the social strains that exist — because the haves and have-nots is the big debate in our country today — would subside.”

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Who Is Running for President (and Who’s Not)?

Republicans’ emphasis on poorer and working-class Americans now represents a shift from the party’s longstanding focus on business owners and “job creators” as the drivers of economic opportunity.

This is intentional, Republican operatives said.

In the last presidential election, Republicans rushed to defend business owners against what they saw as hostility by Democrats to successful, wealthy entrepreneurs.

“Part of what you had was a reaction to the Democrats’ dehumanization of business owners: ‘Oh, you think you started your plumbing company? No you didn’t,’ ” said Grover Norquist, the conservative activist and president of Americans for Tax Reform.

But now, Mr. Norquist said, Republicans should move past that. “Focus on the people in the room who know someone who couldn’t get a job, or a promotion, or a raise because taxes are too high or regulations eat up companies’ time,” he said. “The rich guy can take care of himself.”

Democrats argue that the public will ultimately see through such an approach because Republican positions like opposing a minimum-wage increase and giving private banks a larger role in student loans would hurt working Americans.

“If Republican candidates are just repeating the same tired policies, I’m not sure that smiling while saying it is going to be enough,” said Guy Cecil, a Democratic strategist who is joining a “super PAC” working on behalf of Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Republicans have already attacked Mrs. Clinton over the wealth and power she and her husband have accumulated, caricaturing her as an out-of-touch multimillionaire who earns hundreds of thousands of dollars per speech and has not driven a car since 1996.

Mr. Walker hit this theme recently on Fox News, pointing to Mrs. Clinton’s lucrative book deals and her multiple residences. “This is not someone who is connected with everyday Americans,” he said. His own net worth, according to The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, is less than a half-million dollars; Mr. Walker also owes tens of thousands of dollars on his credit cards.

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But showing off a cheap sweater or boasting of a bootstraps family background not only helps draw a contrast with Mrs. Clinton’s latter-day affluence, it is also an implicit argument against Mr. Bush.

Mr. Walker, who featured a 1998 Saturn with more than 100,000 miles on the odometer in a 2010 campaign ad during his first run for governor, likes to talk about flipping burgers at McDonald’s as a young person. His mother, he has said, grew up on a farm with no indoor plumbing until she was in high school.

Mr. Rubio, among the least wealthy members of the Senate, with an estimated net worth of around a half-million dollars, uses his working-class upbringing as evidence of the “exceptionalism” of America, “where even the son of a bartender and a maid can have the same dreams and the same future as those who come from power and privilege.”

Mr. Cruz alludes to his family’s dysfunction — his parents, he says, were heavy drinkers — and recounts his father’s tale of fleeing Cuba with $100 sewn into his underwear.

Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey notes that his father paid his way through college working nights at an ice cream plant.

But sometimes the attempts at projecting authenticity can seem forced. Mr. Christie recently found himself on the defensive after telling a New Hampshire audience, “I don’t consider myself a wealthy man.” Tax returns showed that he and his wife, a longtime Wall Street executive, earned nearly $700,000 in 2013.

The story of success against the odds is a political classic, even if it is one the Republican Party has not been able to tell for a long time. Ronald Reagan liked to say that while he had not been born on the wrong side of the tracks, he could always hear the whistle. Richard Nixon was fond of reminding voters how he was born in a house his father had built.

“Probably the idea that is most attractive to an average voter, and an idea that both Republicans and Democrats try to craft into their messages, is this idea that you can rise from nothing,” said Charles C. W. Cooke, a writer for National Review.

There is a certain delight Republicans take in turning that message to their advantage now.

“That’s what Obama did with Hillary,” Mr. Cooke said. “He acknowledged it openly: ‘This is ridiculous. Look at me, this one-term senator with dark skin and all of America’s unsolved racial problems, running against the wife of the last Democratic president.”

G.O.P. Hopefuls Now Aiming to Woo the Middle Class

From sea to shining sea, or at least from one side of the Hudson to the other, politicians you have barely heard of are being accused of wrongdoing. There were so many court proceedings involving public officials on Monday that it was hard to keep up.

In Newark, two underlings of Gov. Chris Christie were arraigned on charges that they were in on the truly deranged plot to block traffic leading onto the George Washington Bridge.

Ten miles away, in Lower Manhattan, Dean G. Skelos, the leader of the New York State Senate, and his son, Adam B. Skelos, were arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation on accusations of far more conventional political larceny, involving a job with a sewer company for the son and commissions on title insurance and bond work.

The younger man managed to receive a 150 percent pay increase from the sewer company even though, as he said on tape, he “literally knew nothing about water or, you know, any of that stuff,” according to a criminal complaint the United States attorney’s office filed.

The success of Adam Skelos, 32, was attributed by prosecutors to his father’s influence as the leader of the Senate and as a potentate among state Republicans. The indictment can also be read as one of those unfailingly sad tales of a father who cannot stop indulging a grown son. The senator himself is not alleged to have profited from the schemes, except by being relieved of the burden of underwriting Adam.

The bridge traffic caper is its own species of crazy; what distinguishes the charges against the two Skeloses is the apparent absence of a survival instinct. It is one thing not to know anything about water or that stuff. More remarkable, if true, is the fact that the sewer machinations continued even after the former New York Assembly speaker, Sheldon Silver, was charged in January with taking bribes disguised as fees.

It was by then common gossip in political and news media circles that Senator Skelos, a Republican, the counterpart in the Senate to Mr. Silver, a Democrat, in the Assembly, could be next in line for the criminal dock. “Stay tuned,” the United States attorney, Preet Bharara said, leaving not much to the imagination.

Even though the cat had been unmistakably belled, Skelos father and son continued to talk about how to advance the interests of the sewer company, though the son did begin to use a burner cellphone, the kind people pay for in cash, with no traceable contracts.

That was indeed prudent, as prosecutors had been wiretapping the cellphones of both men. But it would seem that the burner was of limited value, because by then the prosecutors had managed to secure the help of a business executive who agreed to record calls with the Skeloses. It would further seem that the business executive was more attentive to the perils of pending investigations than the politician.

Through the end of the New York State budget negotiations in March, the hopes of the younger Skelos rested on his father’s ability to devise legislation that would benefit the sewer company. That did not pan out. But Senator Skelos did boast that he had haggled with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, a Democrat, in a successful effort to raise a $150 million allocation for Long Island to $550 million, for what the budget called “transformative economic development projects.” It included money for the kind of work done by the sewer company.

The lawyer for Adam Skelos said he was not guilty and would win in court. Senator Skelos issued a ringing declaration that he was unequivocally innocent.

THIS was also the approach taken in New Jersey by Bill Baroni, a man of great presence and eloquence who stopped outside the federal courthouse to note that he had taken risks as a Republican by bucking his party to support paid family leave, medical marijuana and marriage equality. “I would never risk my career, my job, my reputation for something like this,” Mr. Baroni said. “I am an innocent man.”

The lawyer for his co-defendant, Bridget Anne Kelly, the former deputy chief of staff to Mr. Christie, a Republican, said that she would strongly rebut the charges.

Perhaps they had nothing to do with the lane closings. But neither Mr. Baroni nor Ms. Kelly addressed the question of why they did not return repeated calls from the mayor of Fort Lee, N.J., begging them to stop the traffic tie-ups, over three days.

That silence was a low moment. But perhaps New York hit bottom faster. Senator Skelos, the prosecutors charged, arranged to meet Long Island politicians at the wake of Wenjian Liu, a New York City police officer shot dead in December, to press for payments to the company employing his son.

Sometimes it seems as though for some people, the only thing to be ashamed of is shame itself.

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