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Tips Memilih Lampu Mobil HID. Saat mengemudi seringkali telah menghadapi berbagai macam ringantan, salah satunya adalah kemacetan lalu lintas, anda juga dapat membayangkan jika anda mengemudi di malam hari, di jalanan yang sepi, tiba-tiba mendadak lampu depan mobil mati, sehingga pandangan ke depan menjadi gelap.

Hal tersebut dapat terjadi ketika lampu halogen, yang umumnya telah digunakan pada mobil saat ini dan biasanya untuk jangka waktu tertentu mudah cepat rusak. Tetapi jangan khawatir, karena solusinya adalah anda dapat menggunakan tipe bohlam HID yang telah mempunyai umur lebih panjang.

Anda dapat melupakan Halogen, dan beralih ke HID

Dengan lampu mobil konvensional yang menggunakan halogen sebagai sumber cahaya, maka lampu HID juga sudah memanfaatkan gas xenon bersama dengan garam logam halide dan merkuri. Komponen tersebut juga dapat membentuk suatu lengkungan arus tegangan tinggi yang bersatu menyebabkan cahaya sinar cerah, mirip dengan lampu neon. Karena penggunaan gas xenon di dalam lampu, sehingga sering disebut dengan lampu depan xenon

Bagaimana cara kerjanya?

Bila anda sudah mengaktifkan lampu mobil baru 2014 anda, maka tegangan tinggi 12V didistribusikan sepanjang kumparan relay, akibatnya kontak ditutup, dari titik tersebut maka tegangan 12V digunakan untuk dapat menghidupkan pemberat di dalam lampu xenon. Pemberat inilah yang kemudian akan menyala dan memberikan tenaga listrik untuk lampu.

Mengapa HID Itu diperlukan?

Jika dibandingkan dengan lampu mobil konvensional, maka lampu HID telah mempunyai cukup banyak keuntungan, dengan lampu HID yang biasanya tiga kali lebih terang daripada yang konvensional. Plus juga dapat memberikan jarak penglihatan jalan di depan lebih besar sampai dengan 70%

Bagaimana memilihnya?

Bila anda berminat untuk menggantinya, ada beberapa hal yang perlu untuk dicermati. Anda juga harus cek ukuran bola lampu sebelumnya, kebanyakan bola lampu yang terdapat adalah uuran H1, H3, H4, H7, selanjutnya setelah menentukan warna temperatur yang diinginkan, anda juga dapat menentukan suhu yang dapat diukur dalam satuan K atau derajat Kelvin. Hal ini untuk dapat menentukan warna apa lampu HID akan memuaskan.

Apakah ada kemungkinan masalah ?

Jika anda mencoba hal baru, pasti terdapat kelemahan dan kelebihannya. Karena itu sifat pencahayaan HID begitu terang dan cerah, terutama di malam hari karena kontras. Oleh karena itu sinar lampu yang terpancar dari mobil tersebut dapat membuat silau pengemudi dari arah berlawanan.

Perawatan dan Pemeliharaan.

Agar umur pakai HID awet dan bertahan lama, sebaiknya anda tidak berusaha untuk dapat mematikannya sesaat setelah dihidupkan. Lampu jenis ini biasanya memerlukan waktu 60 detik untuk pemanasan sebelum dapat beroperasi secara normal. Sebab itu, jangan mencoba untuk memainkannya, karena kemungkinan rusak akan lebih cepat.

Anda juga dapat melakukan cek beterai jika mobil sudah lama tidak digunakan. Jika tidak rajin dicek maka akan membuat baterai tersebut kadaluarsa , dan anda sudah tidak dapat menggunakannya. Tetapi anda tidak perlu khawatir sebab baterry jenis NimH mampu bertahan lama

 

LAMPU HID UNTUK PENERANGAN MOBIL YANG LEBIH BAIK

Taman Wisata Matahari

Taman Wisata Matahari telah terletak di Jalan Raya Puncak Bogor dengan luas sekitar 30 hektar dengan menawarkan suasana wisata pegunungan yang sangat menyegarkan. Kita juga dapat masuk ke Taman Wisata Matahari melalui dua jalan alternatif, yaitu melalui jalan masuk menuju kawasan wisata Curug Cilember dan melalui samping Rumah Makan Jago Rasa yang berada di sebelah kiri dari arah Ciawi menuju Puncak.

Taman Wisata Matahari telah menyediakan fasilitas wisata mulai dari; Villa, Kolam Renang, Wisata Air, Paddle Boat, Mini Boat, Bumper Boat, Mobil dan Motor Safari, ATV Off Road, Arena Bermain anak, komidi putar, Wisata Sungai, Paket Outbond, Flying Fox dan Belanja di Super Bazzar.

Fasilitas Taman Wisata Matahari juga telah memiliki fasilitas akomodasi berupa Villa, Aula dengan daya tampung dari 10-500 orang (indoor) hingga 10.000 orang (outdoor). Selain itu tersedia pula: *Program Outbound (Team/Character Building, Outbound for Kids, Adventure, dll)

TEMPAT WISATA MATAHARI

Saco-Indonesia.com - Tidak semua program diet cocok untuk setiap orang, oleh karena itu penelitian mengenai pola diet selalu diadakan untuk mengungkapkan cara-cara baru menurunkan berat badan.

Kali ini, para peneliti dari University of Buffalo dan University of Vermont menemukan bahwa mengonsumsi menu makan siang yang sama setiap hari bisa membantu Anda menurunkan berat badan. Sebab, dengan menu yang sama secara keseluruhan Anda akan mengonsumsi kalori lebih sedikit.

Penelitian yang diterbitkan di American Journal of Clinical Nutrition juga mengungkapkan bahwa perempuan yang makan siang berupa maccaroni and cheese setiap hari selama seminggu mengonsumsi 100 kalori lebih sedikit dalam periode 24 jam. Trik diet yang disebut "mono-lunching" ini membuat kita membiasakan diri pada makanan tertentu, dan membantu kita untuk makan lebih sedikit.

"Saat ini kita mengalami overstimulasi terhadap pilihan makanan. Kadang-kadang kita lupa bahwa makanan itu hanya 'bahan bakar', dan kita terlalu banyak menghabiskan waktu untuk berpikir tentang itu (apa yang harus dimakan)," papar ahli nutrisi Zoe Bingley-Pullin, yang setiap hari sarapan berupa roti gandum dengan isi irisan tomat, alpukat, dan telur.

Meskipun begitu, para pakar kesehatan mengatakan bahwa pola makan yang terus berulang ini bisa menyebabkan masalah kebiasaan makan. Menurut Lee Holmes, penulis buku cara makan sehat Superchanged Foods, mengatakan bahwa beberapa tahun terakhir terjadi pertumbuhan pengidap orthorexia, yaitu orang- orang yang terobsesi untuk makan secara sehat.

Hm... adakah yang salah dengan makan sehat?

"Makan untuk kesehatan yang optimal itu perlu disesuaikan dengan naluri alami, dan Anda harus mendengarkan kebutuhan tubuh Anda sendiri," katanya.

Dengan kata lain, makanlah dengan sehat, tapi jangan ngoyo. Mengenai diet "mono- lunching", tak ada salahnya juga dicoba. Itu pun, selama Anda tidak bosan mengonsumsi makanan yang sama terus-menerus....

Baca juga:
Bis akah Kopi Jadi Pengganti Sarapan?

Sumber: Marie Claire/Kompas.com
Editor :Liwon Maulana
Langsing dengan Makan Siang yang Sama Tiap Hari

Saco-Indonesia.com - Dari penelitian terbaru di Ohio State University dan Institute for behavioral Medicine Research, cedera pada otak dan gegar otak bisa menyebabkan depresi setelah beberapa tahun.

Penelitian ini menunjukkan bahwa sel-sel mikro pada otak tikus cenderung waspada pada tingkat tinggi setelah mengalami cedera. Hal ini menyebabkan sel otak lebih mudah mengalami peradangan dan menyebabkan depresi dalam jangka waktu yang panjang, seperti dilansir oleh Softpedia.

Penelitian menemukan bahwa orang yang mengalami gegar otak berkali-kali dalam hidupnya biasanya mengalami masalah mental setelah beberapa tahun. Namun peneliti belum bisa menjelaskan mengapa hal ini bisa terjadi.

"Banyak orang yang pernah mengalami cedera pada bagian otak tidak mengalami masalah mental hingga mereka berusia 40 tahun, 50 tahun, atau 60 tahunan," ungkap peneliti.

Hal ini menunjukkan bahwa ada faktor lain yang menyebabkan orang yang mengalami cedera otak dan gegar otak pada akhirnya akan memiliki masalah dengan kesehatan mental seperti stres atau lebih mudah depresi.

Editor : Liwon Maulana

Awas, cedera pada otak bisa picu depresi!

saco-indonesia.com, Kanker hati primer merupakan penyakit di mana sel kanker yang tumbuh berasal dari organ hati. Beberapa tipe kanker hati primer telah diberi nama sesuai dengan asal tumbuh sel kanker tersebut. Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) atau dikenal hepatoma yang tumbuh dari sel utama hati yang disebut hepatocytes dan juga merupakan 85% dari kasus kanker primer. Jenis kanker hati primer yang tidak begitu umum terjadi berasal dari sel berada pada garis saluran empedu yang disebut cholangiocytes, sehingga kanker tipe ini juga lebih dikenal sebagai kanker cholangiocarcinoma atau kanker saluran empedu.

Organ hati juga merupakan tempat dari tumbuhnya satu tipe kanker yang disebut kanker hati sekunder (kanker metastatik). Pada kondisi ini kanker utama sebenarnya berasal dari bagian tubuh yang lain dan telah membentuk deposit sekunder pada hati. Contoh umum dari kasus yang sering terjadi adalah kanker kolorektal yang telah menyebar ke organ hati melalui pembuluh darah.

Umumkah Kanker Hati?

Secara global, kanker hati primer umumnya telah terjadi pada pria dua kali lipat lebih sering dibandingkan pada wanita. Kanker hati juga merupakan kanker paling umum urutan ke-5 dan ke-7 bagi pria dan wanita. Negara-negara Asia juga mempunyai 80% pasien kanker hati primer secara global di mana sekitar 600.000 kasus terdiagnosa setiap tahunnya.

Apa yang menjadi faktor resiko penyebab kanker hati?

Terdapat tiga faktor utama yang dapat menyebabkan tumbuhnya HCC (kanker hati primer paling umum) yaitu infeksi kronis Hepatitis B, infeksi kronis Hepatitis C, dan konsumsi alkohol yang berlebihan. Resiko bagi individual dengan infeksi kronis Hepatitis B untuk terkena HCC adalah 100x dari individu normal.

Faktor lain yang dapat menjadi resiko meliputi aflatoxin (racun yang telah ditemukan pada kacang yang berjamur, gandum, dan kedelai), kondisi yang telah diwariskan (misal haemochromatosis, defisiensi alpha-1 anti-trypsin) dan penyebab cirrhosis (luka sepanjang hati) seperti hepatitis autoimun atau primary biliary cirrhosis. Banyak kanker hati juga dapat dicegah melalui peran masyarakat dalam mengurangi paparan terhadap faktor-faktor resiko yang telah diketahui.

 
Apa saja gejala-gejala kanker hati

Pasien yang terkena HCC biasanya tidak memiliki gejala-gejala yang berbeda dengan penyakit hati kronik lainnya. Dengan gejala yang memburuk dari penyakit hati kronis seperti pembengkakan perut akibat cairan (ascites), encephalopathy (berubahnya kondisi mental), sakit kuning, atau pendarahan pada sistem saluran pencernaan dapat meningkatkan kemungkinan berkembangnya HCC. Disamping itu, beberapa pasien juga mungkin merasakan rasa nyeri pada perut bagian atas, kehilangan berat badan, mudah kenyang, letih lesu, anoreksia, atau benjolan yang dapat dirasakan pada perut bagian atas.

 
Apakah dapat dilakukan skrining untuk kanker hati

Ya, skrining juga dapat membantu dokter untuk dapat menemukan dan mengobati HCC sedini mungkin, saat kanker masih setempat saja dan lebih mudah diangkat melalui proses bedah. Hal ini juga dapat meningkatkan tingkat keselamatan. Mereka yang telah mengidap infeksi Hepatitis B kronis dan luka hati (cirrhosis) karena hepatitis C atau sebab lain memiliki resiko tinggi terkena penyakit ini dan harus melalukan skrining guna untuk mendeteksi kanker hati.

Proses skrining meliputi:

    Tes darah untuk alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) 3-6 bulan sekali.
    Scan ultrasound pada bagian hati 6-12 bulan sekali.

 
Diagnosis dan Penilaian
          

Bagaimana proses diagnosa kanker hati?

Rangkaian tes dan prosedur berikut bisa dilakukan untuk dapat mendiagnosa HCC dan untuk dapat menunjukkan stadium kanker:

    Pemeriksaan fisik untuk kesehatan secara umum. Pemeriksaan bagian perut dilakukan untuk dapat mendeteksi adanya gumpalan keras atau ascites.
    Tes darah untuk kesehatan secara umum, fungsi hati dan jumlah/kadar AFP. Jumlah AFP pada penderita HCC lebih tinggi daripada pada orang normal.
    Scan ultasound pada hati dengan menggunakan gelombang suara untuk dapat menghasilkan citra hati. Prosedur tes ini juga tidak menimbulkan rasa sakit dan hanya perlu beberapa saat untuk dapat dilakukan. Citra yang dihasilkan dapat menunjukkan ada tidaknya tumor pada hati.
    Scan pencitraan Tomografi terkomputasi (CT) atau Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) pada bagian perut juga akan memberikan gambar 3 dimensi dari hati. Gambar tersebut juga dapat menunjukkan ukuran dan posisi tumor, serta penyebarannya.

            
Walau diagnosa HCC dapat dibuat berdasarkan kadar AFP dalam darah dan pada hasil scan CT atau MRI, biopsi hati kadang kala juga perlu dilakukan untuk dapat memastikan hasil diagnosa. Bila kanker belum dapat menyebar dan masih dapat diangkat, maka biopsi tidak perlu dilakukan. Hal ini juga disebabkan oleh adanya resiko kecil penyebaran kanker sebagai akibat dari pengangkatan kanker oleh jarum biopsi. Pada situasi seperti ini, diagnosa dipertegas setelah bedah pengangkatan tumor.

 
Pengobatan dan Perawatan

Bagaimana cara mengobati kanker hati?

Tipe pengobatan untuk pasien kanker hati sangat tergantung pada stadium kanker (yaitu ukuran dan tingkat penyebaran kanker) dan kondisi kesehatan pasien secara umum. Prosedur pengobatan utama yang digunakan adalah bedah, ablasi tumor, kemoterapi, terapi kanker terarah dan radioterapi.
Pembedahan
          
Ablasi tumor

Pembedahan telah memiliki potensi penyembuhan dan juga merupakan prosedur pengobatan pilihan untuk pasien dengan HCC tahap dini. Bila hanya bagian tertentu dari hati yang terkena kanker dan bagian hati lainnya sehat, maka prosedur bedah juga dapat dilakukan untuk bisa mengangkat bagian yang terkena kanker. Prosedur bedah tipe ini juga disebut reseksi hati. Bentuk prosedur lain dari pembedahan adalah cangkok hati. Prosedur ini telah melibatkan pengangkatan seluruh organ hati dan menggantinya dengan organ hati donor yang masih sehat. Prosedur bedah besar seperti ini telah dilakukan bila kanker hanya terdapat pada hati dan donor hati tersedia. Bila prosedur bedah tidak memungkinkan, maka metode pengobatan lain akan diberikan guna untuk mengendalikan pertumbuhan kanker, dengan begitu mengurangi efek/gejala kanker serta meningkatkan kualitas hidup pasien.
          

Ablasi tumor bertujuan untuk dapat menghancurkan sel kanker hati primer dengan menggunakan panas (ablasi frekuensi radio: RFA) atau dengan alkohol (percutaneous ethanol injection; PEI). Prosedur ini umumnya hanya dilakukan di departemen scanning dimana ultrasound atau CT dapat membantu dokter untuk dapat mengarahkan jarum melalui kulit dan masuk ke dalam kanker yang berada di hati. Prosedur ini juga menggunakan anastesi lokal. Pengobatan RFA dengan menggunakan sinar laser atau gelombang radio yang dihantarkan melalui jarum menuju kanker guna untuk menghancurkan sel kanker. Pengobatan PEI dengan mengunakan alkohol yang disuntikkan masuk melalui jarum untuk dapat menghancurkan sel-sel kanker. Ablasi tumor juga dapat dilakukan berulang-ulang apabila tumor kembali tumbuh.
            
Kemoterapi
          
          
Kemoterapi adalah penggunaan obat-obatan anti kanker untuk dapat menghancurkan sel kanker atau menghentikan pertumbuhannya. Prosedur ini juga dapat membantu mengendalikan kanker dengan menyusutkan kanker serta memperlambat pertumbuhannya. Obat-obatan kemoterapi pada umumnya telah diberikan melalui suntikan pada pembuluh darah (secara intravena), walau terkadang dapat pula diberikan dalam bentuk tablet. Kemoterapi juga dapat diberikan sebagai bagian dari pengobatan yang disebut kemo embolisasi. Porses kemo embolisasi juga melibatkan suntikan obat kemoterapi langsung pada kanker dalam hati, bersamaan dengan sebuah jel atau titis plastik kecil untuk dapat menghambat aliran darah menuju kanker (embolisasi). Tidak semua pasien dapat menjalani prosedur kemoterapi ini karena prosedur ini telah memerlukan hati yang masih bisa berfungsi dengan baik.
            
Terapi kanker terarah
          
Radioterapi

Terapi kanker terarah (Targeted Cancer Therapy) dengan menggunakan obat-obatan atau pengobatan lainnya untuk dpat mencegah pertumbuhan serta penyebaran kanker dengan melakukan interfensi pada molekul tertentu yang terlibat dalam pertumbuhan kanker. Satu obat untuk terapi kanker terarah bernama Sorafenib dapat digunakan untuk dapat mengobati pasien dengan HCC tahap lanjut. Sorafenib menyerang kanker dengan cara mencegah kanker mengembangkan pembuluh darahnya sendiri. Sel kanker juga memerlukan asupan darah untuk dapat membawa nutrisi dan oksigen. Sorafenib juga berfungsi untuk dapat membatasi kemampuan kanker untuk berkembang. Sorafenib telah melalui dua uji klinis besar pada pasien dengan HCC tahap lanjut, dibandingkan dengan mereka yang dirawat hanya dengan perawatan pendukung. Sorafenib adalah tablet yang umumnya diberikan 2 kali sehari. Efek samping yang diberikan termasuk diare, cepat letih, mual dan tekanan darah tinggi.
          

Radioterapi dengan menggunakan sinar energi tinggi untuk dapat menghancurkan sel kanker atau menghentikan pertumbuhannya. Radioterapi eksternal dengan menggunakan mesin yang digunakan secara eksternal dari tubuh untuk dapat menghantarkan radiasi pada kanker. Prosedur pengobatan ini juga jarang digunakan pada penderita kanker HCC karena hati tidak dapat terpapar oleh radiasi tinggi. Namun, prosedur ini juga dapat mengurangi rasa sakit, seperti misalnya pada pasien yang kankernya telah menyebar hingga ke tulang. Sebagai prosedur alternatif, radiasi internal yang menggunakan zat radioaktif dihantarkan secara selektif menuju kanker melalui pembuluh darah arteri yang mengantarkan darah ke hati.

 
Apakah kanker hati dapat dicegah?

Tentu saja. Ada beberapa hal yang dapat kita lakukan untuk dapat mencegah kanker hati:

    Vaksinasi terhadap virus hepatitis B
    Hindari mengkonsumsi bahan-bahan yang mengandung karsinogen hati, khususnya alkohol.
    Hindari daging berlemak dan lemak hewani. Hindari kacang dan gandum berjamur.
    Lakukan skrining secara regular bila Anda termasuk dalam kelompok dengan resiko kanker yang tinggi

 
Dukungan apa yang tersedia?
          

CanHOPE, adalah badan non-profit yang bergerak di bidang layanan konseling dan dukungan terhadap penderita kanker yang diprakarsai oleh Parkway Cancer Centre.

Sebagai bagian dari sebuah pendekatan holistik untuk dapat mengobati kanker, CanHOPE juga bekerjasama dengan tim medis dan ahli-ahli kesehatan professional yang telah menawarkan sumber daya serta informasi yang luas mengenai kanker untuk dapat membantu pasien dan keluarga mereka agar dapat mengambil keputusan yang tepat selama perjalanan mereka menuju kesembuhan.


Editor : dian sukmawati

KANKER HATI

Mr. Paczynski was one of the concentration camp’s longest surviving inmates and served as the personal barber to its Nazi commandant Rudolf Höss.

Jozef Paczynski, Inmate Barber to Auschwitz Commandant, Dies at 95
Photo
 
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

At the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Suzman’s signature accomplishment was the central role he played in creating a global network of surveys on aging.

Richard Suzman, 72, Dies; Researcher Influenced Global Surveys on Aging

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

WASHINGTON — The former deputy director of the C.I.A. asserts in a forthcoming book that Republicans, in their eagerness to politicize the killing of the American ambassador to Libya, repeatedly distorted the agency’s analysis of events. But he also argues that the C.I.A. should get out of the business of providing “talking points” for administration officials in national security events that quickly become partisan, as happened after the Benghazi attack in 2012.

The official, Michael J. Morell, dismisses the allegation that the United States military and C.I.A. officers “were ordered to stand down and not come to the rescue of their comrades,” and he says there is “no evidence” to support the charge that “there was a conspiracy between C.I.A. and the White House to spin the Benghazi story in a way that would protect the political interests of the president and Secretary Clinton,” referring to the secretary of state at the time, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

But he also concludes that the White House itself embellished some of the talking points provided by the Central Intelligence Agency and had blocked him from sending an internal study of agency conclusions to Congress.

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Michael J. Morell Credit Mark Wilson/Getty Images

“I finally did so without asking,” just before leaving government, he writes, and after the White House released internal emails to a committee investigating the State Department’s handling of the issue.

A lengthy congressional investigation remains underway, one that many Republicans hope to use against Mrs. Clinton in the 2016 election cycle.

In parts of the book, “The Great War of Our Time” (Twelve), Mr. Morell praises his C.I.A. colleagues for many successes in stopping terrorist attacks, but he is surprisingly critical of other C.I.A. failings — and those of the National Security Agency.

Soon after Mr. Morell retired in 2013 after 33 years in the agency, President Obama appointed him to a commission reviewing the actions of the National Security Agency after the disclosures of Edward J. Snowden, a former intelligence contractor who released classified documents about the government’s eavesdropping abilities. Mr. Morell writes that he was surprised by what he found.

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“You would have thought that of all the government entities on the planet, the one least vulnerable to such grand theft would have been the N.S.A.,” he writes. “But it turned out that the N.S.A. had left itself vulnerable.”

He concludes that most Wall Street firms had better cybersecurity than the N.S.A. had when Mr. Snowden swept information from its systems in 2013. While he said he found himself “chagrined by how well the N.S.A. was doing” compared with the C.I.A. in stepping up its collection of data on intelligence targets, he also sensed that the N.S.A., which specializes in electronic spying, was operating without considering the implications of its methods.

“The N.S.A. had largely been collecting information because it could, not necessarily in all cases because it should,” he says.

The book is to be released next week.

Mr. Morell was a career analyst who rose through the ranks of the agency, and he ended up in the No. 2 post. He served as President George W. Bush’s personal intelligence briefer in the first months of his presidency — in those days, he could often be spotted at the Starbucks in Waco, Tex., catching up on his reading — and was with him in the schoolhouse in Florida on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, when the Bush presidency changed in an instant.

Mr. Morell twice took over as acting C.I.A. director, first when Leon E. Panetta was appointed secretary of defense and then when retired Gen. David H. Petraeus resigned over an extramarital affair with his biographer, a relationship that included his handing her classified notes of his time as America’s best-known military commander.

Mr. Morell says he first learned of the affair from Mr. Petraeus only the night before he resigned, and just as the Benghazi events were turning into a political firestorm. While praising Mr. Petraeus, who had told his deputy “I am very lucky” to run the C.I.A., Mr. Morell writes that “the organization did not feel the same way about him.” The former general “created the impression through the tone of his voice and his body language that he did not want people to disagree with him (which was not true in my own interaction with him),” he says.

But it is his account of the Benghazi attacks — and how the C.I.A. was drawn into the debate over whether the Obama White House deliberately distorted its account of the death of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens — that is bound to attract attention, at least partly because of its relevance to the coming presidential election. The initial assessments that the C.I.A. gave to the White House said demonstrations had preceded the attack. By the time analysts reversed their opinion, Susan E. Rice, now the national security adviser, had made a series of statements on Sunday talk shows describing the initial assessment. The controversy and other comments Ms. Rice made derailed Mr. Obama’s plan to appoint her as secretary of state.

The experience prompted Mr. Morell to write that the C.I.A. should stay out of the business of preparing talking points — especially on issues that are being seized upon for “political purposes.” He is critical of the State Department for not beefing up security in Libya for its diplomats, as the C.I.A., he said, did for its employees.

But he concludes that the assault in which the ambassador was killed took place “with little or no advance planning” and “was not well organized.” He says the attackers “did not appear to be looking for Americans to harm. They appeared intent on looting and conducting some vandalism,” setting fires that killed Mr. Stevens and a security official, Sean Smith.

Mr. Morell paints a picture of an agency that was struggling, largely unsuccessfully, to understand dynamics in the Middle East and North Africa when the Arab Spring broke out in late 2011 in Tunisia. The agency’s analysts failed to see the forces of revolution coming — and then failed again, he writes, when they told Mr. Obama that the uprisings would undercut Al Qaeda by showing there was a democratic pathway to change.

“There is no good explanation for our not being able to see the pressures growing to dangerous levels across the region,” he writes. The agency had again relied too heavily “on a handful of strong leaders in the countries of concern to help us understand what was going on in the Arab street,” he says, and those leaders themselves were clueless.

Moreover, an agency that has always overvalued secretly gathered intelligence and undervalued “open source” material “was not doing enough to mine the wealth of information available through social media,” he writes. “We thought and told policy makers that this outburst of popular revolt would damage Al Qaeda by undermining the group’s narrative,” he writes.

Instead, weak governments in Egypt, and the absence of governance from Libya to Yemen, were “a boon to Islamic extremists across both the Middle East and North Africa.”

Mr. Morell is gentle about most of the politicians he dealt with — he expresses admiration for both Mr. Bush and Mr. Obama, though he accuses former Vice President Dick Cheney of deliberately implying a connection between Al Qaeda and Iraq that the C.I.A. had concluded probably did not exist. But when it comes to the events leading up to the Bush administration’s decision to go to war in Iraq, he is critical of his own agency.

Mr. Morell concludes that the Bush White House did not have to twist intelligence on Saddam Hussein’s alleged effort to rekindle the country’s work on weapons of mass destruction.

“The view that hard-liners in the Bush administration forced the intelligence community into its position on W.M.D. is just flat wrong,” he writes. “No one pushed. The analysts were already there and they had been there for years, long before Bush came to office.”

Ex-C.I.A. Official Rebuts Republican Claims on Benghazi Attack in ‘The Great War of Our Time’

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

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

Since a white police officer, Darren Wilson fatally shot unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, in a confrontation last August in Ferguson, Mo., there have been many other cases in which the police have shot and killed suspects, some of them unarmed. Mr. Brown's death set off protests throughout the country, pushing law enforcement into the spotlight and sparking a public debate on police tactics. Here is a selection of police shootings that have been reported by news organizations since Mr. Brown's death. In some cases, investigations are continuing.

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The apartment complex northeast of Atlanta where Anthony Hill, 27, was fatally shot by a DeKalb County police officer. Credit Ben Gray/Atlanta Journal Constitution

Chamblee, Ga.
Fatal Police Shootings: Accounts Since Ferguson

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

The 6-foot-10 Phillips played alongside the 6-11 Rick Robey on the Wildcats team that won the 1978 N.C.A.A. men’s basketball title.

Mike Phillips, Half of Kentucky’s ‘Twin Towers’ of Basketball, Dies at 59
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United’s first-class and business fliers get Rhapsody, its high-minded in-flight magazine, seen here at its office in Brooklyn. Credit Sam Hodgson for The New York Times

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mr. Pfaff was an international affairs columnist and author who found Washington’s intervention in world affairs often misguided.

William Pfaff, Critic of American Foreign Policy, Dies at 86

Imagine an elite professional services firm with a high-performing, workaholic culture. Everyone is expected to turn on a dime to serve a client, travel at a moment’s notice, and be available pretty much every evening and weekend. It can make for a grueling work life, but at the highest levels of accounting, law, investment banking and consulting firms, it is just the way things are.

Except for one dirty little secret: Some of the people ostensibly turning in those 80- or 90-hour workweeks, particularly men, may just be faking it.

Many of them were, at least, at one elite consulting firm studied by Erin Reid, a professor at Boston University’s Questrom School of Business. It’s impossible to know if what she learned at that unidentified consulting firm applies across the world of work more broadly. But her research, published in the academic journal Organization Science, offers a way to understand how the professional world differs between men and women, and some of the ways a hard-charging culture that emphasizes long hours above all can make some companies worse off.

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Credit Peter Arkle

Ms. Reid interviewed more than 100 people in the American offices of a global consulting firm and had access to performance reviews and internal human resources documents. At the firm there was a strong culture around long hours and responding to clients promptly.

“When the client needs me to be somewhere, I just have to be there,” said one of the consultants Ms. Reid interviewed. “And if you can’t be there, it’s probably because you’ve got another client meeting at the same time. You know it’s tough to say I can’t be there because my son had a Cub Scout meeting.”

Some people fully embraced this culture and put in the long hours, and they tended to be top performers. Others openly pushed back against it, insisting upon lighter and more flexible work hours, or less travel; they were punished in their performance reviews.

The third group is most interesting. Some 31 percent of the men and 11 percent of the women whose records Ms. Reid examined managed to achieve the benefits of a more moderate work schedule without explicitly asking for it.

They made an effort to line up clients who were local, reducing the need for travel. When they skipped work to spend time with their children or spouse, they didn’t call attention to it. One team on which several members had small children agreed among themselves to cover for one another so that everyone could have more flexible hours.

A male junior manager described working to have repeat consulting engagements with a company near enough to his home that he could take care of it with day trips. “I try to head out by 5, get home at 5:30, have dinner, play with my daughter,” he said, adding that he generally kept weekend work down to two hours of catching up on email.

Despite the limited hours, he said: “I know what clients are expecting. So I deliver above that.” He received a high performance review and a promotion.

What is fascinating about the firm Ms. Reid studied is that these people, who in her terminology were “passing” as workaholics, received performance reviews that were as strong as their hyper-ambitious colleagues. For people who were good at faking it, there was no real damage done by their lighter workloads.

It calls to mind the episode of “Seinfeld” in which George Costanza leaves his car in the parking lot at Yankee Stadium, where he works, and gets a promotion because his boss sees the car and thinks he is getting to work earlier and staying later than anyone else. (The strategy goes awry for him, and is not recommended for any aspiring partners in a consulting firm.)

A second finding is that women, particularly those with young children, were much more likely to request greater flexibility through more formal means, such as returning from maternity leave with an explicitly reduced schedule. Men who requested a paternity leave seemed to be punished come review time, and so may have felt more need to take time to spend with their families through those unofficial methods.

The result of this is easy to see: Those specifically requesting a lighter workload, who were disproportionately women, suffered in their performance reviews; those who took a lighter workload more discreetly didn’t suffer. The maxim of “ask forgiveness, not permission” seemed to apply.

It would be dangerous to extrapolate too much from a study at one firm, but Ms. Reid said in an interview that since publishing a summary of her research in Harvard Business Review she has heard from people in a variety of industries describing the same dynamic.

High-octane professional service firms are that way for a reason, and no one would doubt that insane hours and lots of travel can be necessary if you’re a lawyer on the verge of a big trial, an accountant right before tax day or an investment banker advising on a huge merger.

But the fact that the consultants who quietly lightened their workload did just as well in their performance reviews as those who were truly working 80 or more hours a week suggests that in normal times, heavy workloads may be more about signaling devotion to a firm than really being more productive. The person working 80 hours isn’t necessarily serving clients any better than the person working 50.

In other words, maybe the real problem isn’t men faking greater devotion to their jobs. Maybe it’s that too many companies reward the wrong things, favoring the illusion of extraordinary effort over actual productivity.

How Some Men Fake an 80-Hour Workweek, and Why It Matters

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

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

Hard but Hopeful Home to ‘Lot of Freddies’

Hard but Hopeful Home to ‘Lot of Freddies’
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