PAKET UMROH BULAN FEBRUARI MARET APRIL MEI 2018





umroh terjamin jakarta timur awal tahun 2016, mewujudkan seserpih warung pakaian biasanya mencari memproduksi keringat agak kasar buat distro-distro gigi anak seorang anak yang menjalin kesepakatan oleh pasar dalam negeri Padahal faktanya Kami bekerj [Paket umroh Bulan desember 2015]

umroh terjamin jakarta timur awal tahun 2016, yang diambil baku serat kapas dengan karakteristik khas Apakah angka 1500 kelima keras dari tukang tutur pemuda berusia foya-foya dengan uangnya tersebut Darius [Paket umroh Bulan desember 2015]


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saco-indonesia.com, Komisi Pemberantasan Korupsi (KPK) telah kembali memeriksa tangan kanan Gubernur Banten Ratu Atut Chosiyah, Siti Halimah alias Iim. Kepala Bagian Informasi dan Pemberitaan KPK, Priharsa Nugraha, juga telah mengatakan Iim akan diperiksa sebagai saksi untuk orang nomor satu di Banten itu.
 
"Diperiksa KPK untuk Ratu Atut," katanya saat dikonfirmasi, Jakarta, Senin (10/2/2014).
 
Iim sendiri juga akan diperiksa terkait dalam penyidikan KPK atas kasus dugaan penerimaan gratifikasi proyek alat kesehatan di Banten, dimana ia dianggap telah mengetahui berbagai proyek di Banten. Iim diketahui juga pernah dijemput paksa oleh KPK lantaran selalu mangkir dari pemanggilan yang dilayangkan lembaga pimpinan Abraham Samad itu.


Editor : Dian Sukmawati

KPK KEMBALI PERIKSA "TANGAN KANAN" ATUT

saco-indonesia.com,
Sekarang ini jika kita sedang berada di jalan sering melihat kejadian kecelakaan lalu lintas yang telah membuat miris kita sebagai pengguna jalan. Disinilah pentingnya untuk mematuhi rambu-rambu lalu lintas ketika berada di jalan raya agar semua pengguna jalan merasa aman dan nyaman. Namun hal ini sepertinya telah menjadi hal yang sangat sulit dilakukan di kota-kota besar seperti Jakarta. Kebiasaan terburu-buru dan ingin lebih cepat sampai di tujuan sering telah menjadi penyebab terjadinya pelanggaran lalu lintas.
Pengalaman ini juga saya alami belum lama ini ketika saya hendak pulang ke Pulau Tidung dengan membonceng adik saya ke Pelabuhan Muara Angke. Ketika sampai di lampu merah perempatan Pluit Junction kami telah berhenti karena rambu-rambu lalu lintas berwarna merah. Saat itu saya lihat kendaraan yang dari arah grorol rata-rata berjalan kencang ketika melewati perempatan tersebut. Ketika giliran kami yang jalan saya sempet menengok kebelakang untuk dapat memastikan kendaraan yang dari arah grogol sudah berhenti, namun yang telah terjadi justru banyak motor dan beberapa mobil tetap nekad menerobos lalu lintas. Beberapa detik kemudian sebuah motor sudah roboh ditengah jalan karena tertabrak oleh mobil minibus yang tadinya berada di belakang kami. Memang mobil tersebut juga sempat beberapa kali untuk memberikan peringatan agar mobil dan motor dari arah grogol supaya berhenti, namun karena peringatannya tidak dihiraukan akhirnya dia tancap gas dan akhirnya satu sepeda motor beserta pengendaranya terpental sekitar 2 meter. Sembari tetap berjalan karena memang saya juga harus sampai tepat waktu di Muara Angke, sempat terpikir oleh saya bagaimana jika saya yang mengalami hal seperti itu . Bukan kali ini saja saya juga melihat kecelakaan didepan mata, kebanyakan telah terjadi di kawasan lampu merah yang sibuk.
Sembari menucap syukur karena saya sampai dengan selamat di Muara Angke saya juga berpesan kepada Adik dan mungkin juga kepada sobat semua agar lebih sabar ketika berada di jalan raya, tetap waspada dan mentaati peraturan dan rambu-rambu yang ada sehingga kita bisa minimal untuk menghindari kecelakaan walaupun kalau lagi naas kecelakaan memang tidak bisa dihindari.


Editor : Dian Sukmawati

PENTINGNYA MEMATUHI RAMBU LALU LINTAS

MAGELANG, Saco-Indonesia.com — Wanita paruh baya ini tidak kuasa berdiri, tubuhnya kurus kering, perutnya terlihat membesar seperti orang hamil tua. Ya, karena kondisi itu, Tasminati (40), warga Dusun Sabrang, Margoyoso, Salaman, Kabupaten Magelang, Jawa Tengah, hanya bisa termangu lemas di kamar rumah kayunya.

Sejak dua tahun terakhir ia hampir tidak pernah merasakan dan melihat indahnya dunia luar. "Saya ingin sembuh, bisa bekerja dan beribadah lagi, saya juga ingin merawat anak saya hingga besar," tutur Tasminati sambil menyeka air mata dari mata butanya akibat penyakit herpes yang tak kunjung sembuh, Selasa (4/6/2013) kemarin.

Ibu dari Muyasaroh (6,5) itu sendiri tidak tahu persis penyakit apa yang dideritanya. Dokter hingga ahli akupuntur yang pernah memeriksanya mengatakan ia terkena komplikasi penyakit liver, limpa, pembuluh darah, maag, serta ususnya luka. "Awalnya dulu perut dan tenggorokan terasa panas. Waktu itu saya masih umur usia 25 tahun. Tapi saya biarkan saja. Sampai saya kena herpes waktu bertani di sawah," kisah wanita kelahiran Magelang, 31 Desember 1973 itu.

Meskipun kena herpes, Tasminati tetap bisa mengandung buah hatinya bersama suaminya, Sarmono (38). Tasminati menikah dengan Sarmono di usia 32 tahun. Namun, selama kehamilannya itu, Tasminati sering muntah darah bahkan kerap mengalami sakit yang luar biasa di perut. Akibatnya,Tasminati terpaksa melahirkan lebih awal di bulan keenam.

"Waktu itu saya sempat dirawat di RS Muntilan dan dirujuk ke RS Sardjito Yogyakarta. Saya pendarahan hebat. Dikira saya keguguran tapi ternyata itu darah penyakit," papar Tasminati.

Alih-alih perut mengempis, perut Tasminati justru makin membesar usai melahirkan. Sejak itu pun Tasminati tidak mampu bekerja lagi sebagai buruh pabrik kayu. "Jangankan bekerja, melakukan pekerjaan rumah tangga untuk melayani suami dan anak pun saya tidak sanggup," ujar Tasminati lagi dengan suara parau.

Hingga saat ini, kataTasminati, ia belum pernah melakukan pengobatan untuk kondisi perutnya. Pengobatan masih terfokus pada herpes di matanya. Beruntung tahun 2012 lalu dirinya masih mendapat keringanan biaya pengobatan melalui Jaminan Kesehatan Masyarakat (Jamkesmas). Namun, entah bagaimana, tahun 2013 ini dirinya tidak mendapat pelayanan itu.

"Kami masih kesulitan mencari biaya pengobatan. Penghasilan suami saya yang hanya buruh pabrik hanya untuk kebutuhan sehari-hari saja," tutur Tasminati.

Menurut Tasminati, pihak keluarga dan aparat desa setempat pernah mengusulkan agar ia mendapat Jamkesmas 2013. Namun, hingga saat ini usulan itu belum terwujud.

Sementara itu, Yohana, bidan desa setempat yang memberikan pendampingan intensif pada Tasminati mengatakan selama ini penyakit Tasminati belum tertangani dengan baik. Salah satu sebabnya adalah faktor ekonomi. "Dia itu sebetulnya punya semangat untuk sembuh. Tapi sering ketakutan untuk berobat karena tidak punya uang," ungkap Yohana.

Yohana berharap pemerintah setempat memberikan perhatian pada Tasminati. Program Jamkesmas juga diharapkan lebih bisa tepat sasaran.

Kepala Dusun Sabrang, Zarkoni, ketika dikonfirmasi mengatakan sudah pernah mengusahakan dan mendampingi Tasminati mendapatkan Jamkesmas lagi. "Kami sudah membantu sebisa mungkin. Saat ini kami masih upayakan untuk mendapatkan Jamkesmas," tandas Zakoni. 

****

Informasi penyaluran bantuan untuk Mimin, hubungi: redaksikcm@kompas.com

 
Editor :Liwon Maulana
Sumber:Kompas.com
Penderita Penyakit Aneh, Perut Wanita Ini Terus Membesar

Wakil Ketua Umum Partai Demokrat, Max Sopacua, juga mengatakan, bergabungnya Jumhur Hidayat ke PDIP hal yang wajar. Namun dia juga mengingatkan, jika Jumhur punya tanggung jawab moral sebagai Kepala BNP2TKI.

"Untuk melarang tidak ada yang bisa, tapi dia juga punya tanggung jawab moral sebagai Kepala BNP2TKI di bawah Presiden SBY," kata dia.

Menurut Max, untuk bisa menjadi pejabat publik tidak tertutup kemungkinan bisa dari partai lain. Max menilai, Jumhur hijrah ke PDIP karena ada yang diincar. Selama ini, kata dia, Jumhur ngebet jadi menteri.

"Beliau cita-cita ingin jadi menteri, sekarang kan belum tercapai," terangnya.

Bergabung ke PDIP, salah satu strategi Jumhur untuk dapat mencapai cita-citanya itu. Persoalannya, lanjut dia, Jumhur juga punya tanggung jawab moral karena saat ini masih menjabat.

"Biarkan rakyat saja yang menilai. Untuk melarang tidak ada yang bisa karena itu hak politik dia," pungkasnya.

Jumhur Harus Ingat Tanggung Jawab Moral

Ketika berbicara tentang investasi yang menguntungkan, para pebisnis sering berasosiasi kepada emas, properti atau usaha. Itu adalah cara “kiri”. Jarang sekali pebisnis berpikir investasi yang prospektif dengan cara “kanan”.

Apa itu investasi cara kanan? Itulah bisnis yang disebutkan di dalam al-Quran atau al-Hadits, yang sangat profitable, dijamin marketable dan  feasible di dunia dan di akhirat. Beberapa contoh investasi cara kanan itu adalah zakat, sedekah, menyembelih hewan qurban, haji dan umrah. Tulisan ini adalah testimoni tentang investasi umrah, yaitu ibadah “haji kecil” ke Baitullah di Makkah al-Mukarramah.

Banyak cerita aneh seputar umrah. Ada yang bilang uangnya sudah diganti sebelum berangkat, atau rezekinya serasa dicurahkan dari langit. Ada juga yang berpendapat bahwa umrah  itu bukan biaya, namun investasi. Dan bukan investasi akhirat saja, namun juga investasi dunia. Pengalaman ketika menunaikan ibadah umrah membuatku mempercayai hal itu.

Aku pegawai BUMN sejak tahun 1993. Alhamdulillah, kami mempunyai usaha sampingan dengan hasil yang lumayan. Tahun 2008 kami punya uang enam puluhan juta rupiah. Ada tiga keinginan untuk menggunakannya.

Yang pertama, merenovasi rumah. Kami punya rumah di Yogyakarta yang terkena gempa tahun 2006. Sudah lebih dari dua tahun kami biarkan karena belum punya dana yang cukup.

Kedua, untuk uang muka membeli mobil baru. Kami sudah beberapa kali mempunyai mobil, namun tidak pernah baru. Selalu second  hand, bahkan third hand, fourth hand atau entah hand ke berapa. Terakhir, tahun 2007, kami menjual mobil  kami, dan berjanji untuk tidak membeli mobil lagi kecuali mobil baru.

Dan yang ketiga, umrah dengan istri. Ketika menunaikan ibadah haji tahun 2007, aku sendirian, karena uangnya hanya cukup untukku. Kalau saja uangku banyak, pasti aku mengajak anak, istri dan keluarga. Aku iri melihat kemesraan suami istri jamaah haji yang bisa berangkat bersama. Aku berdoa di depan ka’bah agar bisa ziarah setiap tahun bersama istri.

Istriku memilih merenovasi rumah atau membeli mobil baru, namun aku memilih umrah. Aku merasa doaku agar bisa ziarah bersama istri sudah diijabahi.  Meskipun istriku ikut bekerja mengelola usaha dan menjadi menteri keuangan dalam kabinet  rumah tangga, namun kepala negara dan kepala pemerintahannya tetap aku. Maka dia makmum saja, dan kami berangkat umrah berdua.

Kami berdoa di depan ka’bah memohon kebaikan di dunia dan di akhirat.  Sungguh, Allah itu al-Ghanidan al-Mughni, Mahakaya dan Maha Mencukupi. Sulit dipercaya. Tidak berapa lama, usai umrah, kami bisa merehab rumah dan membeli mobil baru.

Alhamdulillaah. Ada saja rezeki yang datang, dengan berbagai cara, yang kalau saja kami tidak mengalami sendiri sendiri, mungkin kami juga tidak percaya.

Tahun 2011 kejadian serupa berulang lagi. Kami punya uang seratusan juta rupiah. Ada tiga keinginan untuk membelanjakannya.

Yang pertama, membayar hutang.  Ada usaha trading kami yang macet, sehingga aku harus menyelesaikan tanggung jawab sebesar enam ratusan juta rupiah. Kalau uang itu kami bayarkan, kami jadi tidak punya uang lagi. Dan hutang kami juga masih belum bisa lunas.

Kedua, membangun rumah di Ngawi, Jawa Timur. Sejak tahun 2003, ketika bertugas di Ngawi, kami membuka  usaha. Dua tahun kemudian saya pindah tugas ke Bogor, dan mengontrak rumah di Ngawi agar usaha tetap berlanjut. Dengan berjalannya waktu, kami bisa membeli sebidang tanah di dekat rumah kontrakan, dan membuat gudang sederhana. Istriku ingin punya rumah di Ngawi, karena rumah kami yang di Yogyakarta sudah “hilang” lantaran kalah Pemilukada di kampung halaman kami, Rembang Jawa Tengah, tahun 2010.

Dan, anak-anak kami menyebar di UGM Yogyakarta, IPB Bogor dan Pondok Modern Gontor Putri Ngawi. Membangun rumah untuk usaha, dengan anak tiga, pembantu, karyawan dan ibunda mertua, dengan uang hanya cepek, sungguh hal yang amat tidak sederhana.

Dan, keinginan yang ketiga, umrah lagi. Kami sepakat bulat, memilih opsi ketiga, ziarah ke baitullah. Kami berangkat bersama anak sulung kami.

Sebenarnya kami juga mengajak ibunda, namun beliau tidak bersedia. Salah satunya karena tahu jalan cerita sesungguhnya. Istriku terlalu berterung terang, bahwa karena uang kami tidak cukup untuk melunasi hutang atau membangun rumah, maka sekalian saja kami pakai umrah.

Kami berdoa di depan ka’bah memohon kebaikan di dunia dan di akhirat. Sungguh,  Allah itu al-Ghanidan al-Mughni, Mahakaya dan Maha Mencukupi. Sulit dipercaya. Tidak berapa lama,  usai umrah, kami bisa melunasi hutang dan membangun rumah.

Alhamdulillaah. Ada saja rezeki yang datang, dengan berbagai cara, yang kalau saja kami tidak mengalami sendiri sendiri, mungkin kami juga tidak percaya.

Sejak itu kami kian yakin, umrah itu bukan biaya, namun investasi. Bukan investasi akhirat saja, namun juga investasi dunia. Kalau ada orang yang tidak percaya, itu urusannya. Kami juga tidak pernah memusingkan pendapat orang bahwa daripada uang dipakai umrah berkali-kali, lebih baik disedekahkan kepada fakir miskin. Bisa lebih bermanfaat. Kami hanya berdoa usai Thawaf Wada’, selain mohon agar bisa ziarah tiap tahun  dengan penuh iman dan takwa, kami juga mohon agar jika kami umrah, kami juga bisa mengumrahkan saudara, keluarga atau orang lain.

Dan,  kami juga berdoa agar bisa bersedekah senilai investasi umrah. Sekali lagi investasi umrah, bukan biaya umrah. Dan bukan umrah saja yang merupakan investasi akhirat dan dunia, namun juga zakat, sedekah, qurban, haji, dan lain-lain membelanjakan harta di jalan Allah. Allah itu Mahakaya, Maha Mencukupi, Maha Memberi Rezeki, dan Maha Mengabulkan Doa.

Sumber : www.islamedia.web.id

Baca Artikel Lainnya : JAMAAH UMROH DI TAHUN 2014 MENINGKAT

INVESTASI KANAN, UMRAH

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

Dave Goldberg Was Lifelong Women’s Advocate

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

WASHINGTON — During a training course on defending against knife attacks, a young Salt Lake City police officer asked a question: “How close can somebody get to me before I’m justified in using deadly force?”

Dennis Tueller, the instructor in that class more than three decades ago, decided to find out. In the fall of 1982, he performed a rudimentary series of tests and concluded that an armed attacker who bolted toward an officer could clear 21 feet in the time it took most officers to draw, aim and fire their weapon.

The next spring, Mr. Tueller published his findings in SWAT magazine and transformed police training in the United States. The “21-foot rule” became dogma. It has been taught in police academies around the country, accepted by courts and cited by officers to justify countless shootings, including recent episodes involving a homeless woodcarver in Seattle and a schizophrenic woman in San Francisco.

Now, amid the largest national debate over policing since the 1991 beating of Rodney King in Los Angeles, a small but vocal set of law enforcement officials are calling for a rethinking of the 21-foot rule and other axioms that have emphasized how to use force, not how to avoid it. Several big-city police departments are already re-examining when officers should chase people or draw their guns and when they should back away, wait or try to defuse the situation

Police Rethink Long Tradition on Using Force

Fullmer, who reigned when fight clubs abounded and Friday night fights were a television staple, was known for his title bouts with Sugar Ray Robinson and Carmen Basilio.

Gene Fullmer, a Brawling Middleweight Champion, Dies at 83

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.

Photo
 
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.”

Continue reading the main story
 

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.

Continue reading the main story

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

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.

Photo
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.”

Photo
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

Ms. Pryor, who served more than two decades in the State Department, was the author of well-regarded biographies of the founder of the American Red Cross and the Confederate commander.

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Hockey is not exactly known as a city game, but played on roller skates, it once held sway as the sport of choice in many New York neighborhoods.

“City kids had no rinks, no ice, but they would do anything to play hockey,” said Edward Moffett, former director of the Long Island City Y.M.C.A. Roller Hockey League, in Queens, whose games were played in city playgrounds going back to the 1940s.

From the 1960s through the 1980s, the league had more than 60 teams, he said. Players included the Mullen brothers of Hell’s Kitchen and Dan Dorion of Astoria, Queens, who would later play on ice for the National Hockey League.

One street legend from the heyday of New York roller hockey was Craig Allen, who lived in the Woodside Houses projects and became one of the city’s hardest hitters and top scorers.

“Craig was a warrior, one of the best roller hockey players in the city in the ’70s,” said Dave Garmendia, 60, a retired New York police officer who grew up playing with Mr. Allen. “His teammates loved him and his opponents feared him.”

Young Craig took up hockey on the streets of Queens in the 1960s, playing pickup games between sewer covers, wearing steel-wheeled skates clamped onto school shoes and using a roll of electrical tape as the puck.

His skill and ferocity drew attention, Mr. Garmendia said, but so did his skin color. He was black, in a sport made up almost entirely by white players.

“Roller hockey was a white kid’s game, plain and simple, but Craig broke the color barrier,” Mr. Garmendia said. “We used to say Craig did more for race relations than the N.A.A.C.P.”

Mr. Allen went on to coach and referee roller hockey in New York before moving several years ago to South Carolina. But he continued to organize an annual alumni game at Dutch Kills Playground in Long Island City, the same site that held the local championship games.

The reunion this year was on Saturday, but Mr. Allen never made it. On April 26, just before boarding the bus to New York, he died of an asthma attack at age 61.

Word of his death spread rapidly among hundreds of his old hockey colleagues who resolved to continue with the event, now renamed the Craig Allen Memorial Roller Hockey Reunion.

The turnout on Saturday was the largest ever, with players pulling on their old equipment, choosing sides and taking once again to the rink of cracked blacktop with faded lines and circles. They wore no helmets, although one player wore a fedora.

Another, Vinnie Juliano, 77, of Long Island City, wore his hearing aids, along with his 50-year-old taped-up quads, or four-wheeled skates with a leather boot. Many players here never converted to in-line skates, and neither did Mr. Allen, whose photograph appeared on a poster hanging behind the players’ bench.

“I’m seeing people walking by wondering why all these rusty, grizzly old guys are here playing hockey,” one player, Tommy Dominguez, said. “We’re here for Craig, and let me tell you, these old guys still play hard.”

Everyone seemed to have a Craig Allen story, from his earliest teams at Public School 151 to the Bryant Rangers, the Woodside Wings, the Woodside Blues and more.

Mr. Allen, who became a yellow-cab driver, was always recruiting new talent. He gained the nickname Cabby for his habit of stopping at playgrounds all over the city to scout players.

Teams were organized around neighborhoods and churches, and often sponsored by local bars. Mr. Allen, for one, played for bars, including Garry Owen’s and on the Fiddler’s Green Jokers team in Inwood, Manhattan.

Play was tough and fights were frequent.

“We were basically street gangs on skates,” said Steve Rogg, 56, a mail clerk who grew up in Jackson Heights, Queens, and who on Saturday wore his Riedell Classic quads from 1972. “If another team caught up with you the night before a game, they tossed you a beating so you couldn’t play the next day.”

Mr. Garmendia said Mr. Allen’s skin color provoked many fights.

“When we’d go to some ignorant neighborhoods, a lot of players would use slurs,” Mr. Garmendia said, recalling a game in Ozone Park, Queens, where local fans parked motorcycles in a lineup next to the blacktop and taunted Mr. Allen. Mr. Garmendia said he checked a player into the motorcycles, “and the bikes went down like dominoes, which started a serious brawl.”

A group of fans at a game in Brooklyn once stuck a pole through the rink fence as Mr. Allen skated by and broke his jaw, Mr. Garmendia said, adding that carloads of reinforcements soon arrived to defend Mr. Allen.

And at another racially incited brawl, the police responded with six patrol cars and a helicopter.

Before play began on Saturday, the players gathered at center rink to honor Mr. Allen. Billy Barnwell, 59, of Woodside, recalled once how an all-white, all-star squad snubbed Mr. Allen by playing him third string. He scored seven goals in the first game and made first string immediately.

“He’d always hear racial stuff before the game, and I’d ask him, ‘How do you put up with that?’” Mr. Barnwell recalled. “Craig would say, ‘We’ll take care of it,’ and by the end of the game, he’d win guys over. They’d say, ‘This guy’s good.’”

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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.

Photo
 
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

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

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