Taman Wisata Matahari
Taman Wisata Matahari telah terletak di Jalan Raya Puncak Bogor dengan luas sekitar 30 hektar dengan me
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)
Ternyata Mariyuana, Obat Diabetes Masa Depan?
Para ilmuwan terus
mengeksplorasi kemampuan tanaman mariyuana alias ganja dalam pengobatan.
Saco-Indonesia.com —Para ilmuwan terus mengeksplorasi kemampuan tanaman mariyuana alias ganja dalam
pengobatan. Studi teranyar menyebutkan, ganja mengandung komponen yang bisa membantu mengontrol
Daun ganja juga memiliki kaitan yang kuat dengan berat badan.
Selain meningkatkan nafsu makan, daun ganja ternyata bisa membantu seseorang untuk tetap
Tiga studi terakhir menunjukkan, para pengguna mariyuana mempunyai
risiko lebih kecil mengalami kegemukan. Selain itu, mereka juga memiliki risiko diabetes lebih
rendah dan nilai indeks massa tubuhnya lebih kecil. Ketiga manfaat tersebut didapatkan meski
para pengguna ganja mengasup lebih banyak kalori.
Bagaimana hal tersebut
terjadi? Salah satu alasannya adalah karena pengguna mariyuana memiliki metabolisme karbohidrat
"Level insulin puasa mereka juga lebih rendah dan mereka
juga memiliki risiko lebih rendah mengalami resistensi insulin (kondisi yang memicu diabetes)
akibat kemampuan tubuh mereka dalam menjaga kadar gula darah normal," kata Murray
Mittleman, peneliti dari Harvard Medical School.
Penelitian yang dilakukan
Mittleman itu meliputi 4.600 pria dan wanita yang berpartisipasi dalam National Health and
Nutrition Examination Survey antara tahun 2005-2010.
Dari para responden
tersebut, 48 persen pernah mengisap mariyuana paling tidak sekali dalam hidup mereka dan 12
persen masih mengisap sampai sekarang.
Para peneliti mengontrol faktor
risiko lain yang berpengaruh pada risiko diabetes, seperti usia, jenis kelamin, penggunaan
akohol, kebiasaan merokok, dan aktivitas fisik.
Kendati faktor-faktor risiko
itu diperhitungkan, para pengguna mariyuana sampai sekarang memiliki level insulin puasa 16
persen lebih rendah dibanding orang yang tidak pernah mengisap atau sudah tidak mengisap lagi.
Para pengisap ganja itu juga mendapatkan penurunan kadar resistensi insulin sekitar 17
Level insulin puasa dan juga kadar resistensi insulin terkait erat
dengan terjadinya diabetes tipe dua serta obesitas.
Para pengguna mariyuana
ternyata juga memiliki kadar kolesterol baik lebih tinggi, yang bisa melindungi tubuh dari
penyakit jantung. Secara umum, mereka juga memiliki lingkar pinggang lebih kecil.
Para peneliti belum memahami dengan jelas kaitan tersebut karena penelitian ini bukanlah
studi kontrol. Belum diketahui pula apakah mariyuana atau faktor gaya hidup lain yang dimiliki
para responden yang menyebabkan mereka mendapat sejumlah keuntungan kesehatan tersebut.
Salah satu dugaan adalah pengaruh mariyuana pada reseptor tertentu di otak yang
berkaitan dengan nafsu makan dan metabolisme.
dijual seharga Rp 145 miliar Aset tol milik Bakrie
utang induk perusahaan dan beberapa anak usahanya, memaksa grup Bakrie melepas aset-aset
strategisnya.Setelah pekan lalu menjual 10 persen kepemilikan Blok Masela PSC kepada INPEX Masela
Ltd dan Shell Upstream Overseas Services (I) Limited untuk melunasi utang, kini Grup Bakrie
kembali melepas aset yang dimilikinya.
Besarnya beban utang
induk perusahaan dan beberapa anak usahanya, memaksa grup Bakrie melepas aset-aset
strategisnya.Setelah pekan lalu menjual 10 persen kepemilikan Blok Masela PSC kepada
INPEX Masela Ltd dan Shell Upstream Overseas Services (I) Limited untuk melunasi utang, kini
Grup Bakrie kembali melepas aset yang dimilikinya.
Kepastian penjualan ruas tol milik
PT Bakrieland Development Tbk (ELTY) akhirnya terungkap ke publik. Dari keterbukaan informasi
yang dikutip merdeka.com, Selasa (4/6), Bakrieland Development telah mengumumkan penjualan
saham PT Bakrie Toll Road kepada PT Karya Prima Investama (KPI).
mencapai Rp 140,475 miliar. Nantinya penjualan ini akan dilaksanakan oleh anak usaha ELTY, PT
Bakrie Infrastructure. Akta Penjualan Jual Beli (AJB) saham ini telah ditandatangani 19 April
"Penjualan ini telah mendapatkan persetujuan dari kreditur sindikasi yaitu
PT Semesta Marga Raya," ujar Sekretaris Perusahaan ELTY, Kurniawan Budiaman seperti dikutip
dari keterbukaan informasi, Selasa (4/6).
Penyelesaian transaksi ini dilakukan
selambat-lambatnya tiga bulan sejak penandatangan AJB tersebut. Namun, dalam keterbukaan
informasi itu, tidak diungkap lebih detail mengenai PT Karya Prima Investama. Informasi
mengenai perusahaan tersebut juga sangat minim. Belum jelas rekam jejak perusahaan yang membeli
aset milik Bakrie tersebut.
padahal, jika melirik sedikit ke belakang, pada akhir tahun
lalu berhembus kabar yang menyebutkan bahwa PT Media Nusantara Citra (MNC) berniat membeli lima
ruas tol yang dimiliki oleh Bakrie.
Bakrie Toll Road mempunyai konsesi untuk lima ruas
jalan tol, yaitu Kanci-Pejagan, Pejagan-Pemalang (Jawa Tengah), Pasuruan-Probolinggo (Jawa
Timur), Cimanggis-Cibitung (Jawa Barat), dan Ciawi-Sukabumi (Jawa Barat).
tol yang menghubungkan Jawa Barat hingga Jawa Tengah ini diperkirakan bisa meraup dana hingga Rp
Hujan, banjir dan macet hantui Jakarta pagi ini
Hujan deras yang telah mengguyur selama kurang lebih dua jam telah menyebabkan banjir kembali menyapa Ibukota. Menurut pantauan TMC Polda Metro Jaya terdapat beberapa titik ruas jalan yang direndam banjir, seperti di Jalan Gunung Sahari terdapat genangan air setinggi 10-15 cm.
Hujan deras yang telah mengguyur selama kurang lebih dua jam telah menyebabkan banjir kembali menyapa Ibukota. Menurut pantauan TMC Polda Metro Jaya terdapat beberapa titik ruas jalan yang direndam banjir, seperti di Jalan Gunung Sahari terdapat genangan air setinggi 10-15 cm.
Kemudian di depan Mangga Dua Square, banjir setinggi 15 cm siap menyambut para pengendara. Sedangkan, banjir setinggi 20 cm terdapat di depan Pabrik Gelas yang mengarah ke Grogol, Jakarta Barat. Tak hanya itu saja , di Jakarta Utara, tepatnya di depan Mall Of Indonesia, Kelapa Gading genangan air perlahan sudah mulai muncul.
Banjir setinggi 20-30 cm juga telah terjadi di Jalan Yos Sudarso, Jakarta Utara. Sedangkan di depan Gedung Samsat, Jakarta Barat air setinggi 20-30 cm sudah menggenangi kawasan tersebut. Di Cimone, Tangerang terpantau terdapat banjir setinggi 30-40 cm.
Tak hanya banjir saja , kemacetan juga diprediksi akan menghantui para pengendara akibat hujan yang terus menerus turun. Seperti yang ditulis akun Twitter TMC Polda Metro Jaya, kemacetan sudah terjadi sejak pukul 05.50 WIB, yakni di tol dalam kota arah bandara. Akibat hujan deras, kawasan Jatiwaringin-Pondok Gede arah kalimalang macet total dari kampus UIA.
Sedangkan, kondisi di tol Jagorawi mengarah ke TMII dan Jatiwaringin menuju Pangkalan Jati sudah mulai padat merayap.
JOKOWI TAK GUBRIS SOAL DUKUNGAN CAPRES
Berbagai dukungan untuk dapat mengusung Joko Widodo (Jokowi) mencalonkan diri sebagai presiden semakin gencar. Sejumlah elemen m
Berbagai dukungan untuk dapat mengusung Joko Widodo (Jokowi) mencalonkan diri sebagai presiden semakin gencar. Sejumlah elemen masyarakat telah mulai membentuk organisasi-organisasi demi menunjukkan dukungan mereka terhadap Jokowi.
Meski telah mendapat dukungan besar dari masyarakat, tak lantas membuat Jokowi berbesar hati. Dengan nada santai, Jokowi telah mengungkapkan aksi mereka adalah bentuk demokrasi yang nyata di tanah air, sehingga tidak bisa dihalang-halangi.
"Ya itulah demokrasi, saya tidak bisa membubarkan kalau saya tidak setuju. Mosok ada yang dukung tapi saya malah nolak-nolak. Tidak mungkin," tegasnya di Balai Kota DKI Jakarta, Senin (10/3).
Jokowi juga mengaku tidak merasa tersanjung dengan banyaknya dukungan masyarakat untuk dapat mencapreskan dirinya. Meski begitu, dia juga tidak merasa terganggu, melainkan telah memberikan kebebasan sepenuhnya.
Ketika dikonfirmasi mengenai rencana dirinya untuk dapat melakukan kunjungan atau bersilaturahmi dengan pendukungnya, Jokowi juga mengatakan, belum sempat. Karena masih banyak pekerjaan di Jakarta.
"Orang pekerjaan kita aja banyak, ini hujan lagi," tutupnya.
Seperti yang telah diketahui, Srikandi Jokowi yang beranggotakan para perempuan pelopor Jokowi Presiden dideklarasikan di Tugu Monumen Nasional (Monas) kemarin . Di mana dalam acara ini telah dihadiri ratusan perempuan dari berbagai daerah.
''Jumlah perempuan lebih besar dibanding laki-laki, sehingga perempuan lebih menentukan nasib dan masa depan bangsa ini," kata Ketua Umum Srikandi Jokowi, Vivi di Monas.
Vivi juga mengatakan, bangsa ini juga sudah lama terlena dengan janji para politisi, yang selalu terdengar nyaring menjelang pemilihan umum. Tetapi apa yang terjadi, keadaan tak berubah, jumlah orang miskin semakin banyak.
AIRIN PENUHI PANGGILAN KPK
saco-indonesia.com, Wali Kota Tangerang Selatan, Airin Rachmi Diany akhirnya telah memenuhi panggilan Komisi Pemberantasan Korup
saco-indonesia.com, Wali Kota Tangerang Selatan, Airin Rachmi Diany akhirnya telah memenuhi panggilan Komisi Pemberantasan Korupsi (KPK). tiba di Gedung Komisi Pemberantasan Korupsi (KPK).
Airin datang seorang diri di Gedung KPK sekitar pukul 10.08 pagi WIB dengan mengenakan kemeja warna putih dengan jilbab bermotif bunga.
Saat tiba, istri dari tersangka kasus dugaan korupsi proyek pengadaan Alat kesehatan (Alkes) di Banten Tubagus Chaeri Wardhana alias Wawan ini, enggan berkomentar ihwal pemeriksaannya sebagai saksi.
"Nanti pulangnya ya," katanya di Gedung KPK, Kuningan, Jakarta Selatan, Selasa (11/2/2014).
Airin sendiri dijadwalkan akan menjalani pemeriksaan sebagai saksi dalam kasus proyek pengadaan Alkes di Banten yang telah menjerat suaminya serta kakak iparnya Gubernur Banten, Ratu Atut Chosiyah.
Editor : Dian Sukmawati
Suatu hari Allah SWT memerintahkan malaikat Jibri AS
Suatu hari Allah SWT memerintahkan malaikat Jibri AS untuk pergi menemui salah satu
makhluk-Nya yaitu kerbau dan menanyakan pada si kerbau apakah dia senang telah
diciptakan Allah SWT sebagai seekor kerbau. Malaikat Jibril AS segera pergi menemui si
Di siang yang panas itu si kerbau sedang berendam di sungai. Malaikat Jibril AS
mendatanginya kemudian mulai bertanya kepada si kerbau, "hai kerbau apakah kamu
senang telah dijadikan oleh Allah SWT sebagai seekor kerbau". Si kerbau menjawab, "Masya
Allah, alhamdulillah, aku bersyukur kepada Allah SWT yang telah menjadikan aku sebagai
seekor kerbau, dari pada aku dijadikan-Nya sebagai seekor kelelawar yang ia mandi
dengan kencingnya sendiri". Mendengar jawaban itu Malaikat Jibril AS segera pergi
menemui seekor kelelawar. Malaikat Jibril AS mendatanginya seekor
kelelawar yang siang itu sedang tidur bergantungan di dalam sebuah goa. Kemudian
mulai bertanya kepada si kelelawar, "hai kelelawar apakah kamu senang telah dijadikan
oleh Allah SWT sebagai seekor kelelawar". "Masya Allah, alhamdulillah, aku bersyukur
kepada Allah SWT yang telah menjadikan aku sebagai seekor kelelawar dari pada aku
dijadikan-Nya seekor cacing. Tubuhnya kecil, tinggal di dalam tanah, berjalannya saja
menggunakan perutnya", jawab si kelelawar. Mendengar jawaban itu pun Malaikat Jibril AS
segera pergi menemui seekor cacing yang sedang merayap di atas tanah.
Malaikat Jibril AS bertanya kepada si cacing, "Wahai cacing kecil apakah kamu senang telah
dijadikan Allah SWT sebagai seekor cacing". Si cacing menjawab, " Masya Allah,
alhamdulillah, aku bersyukur kepada Allah SWT yang telah menjadikan aku sebagai seekor
cacing, dari pada dijadikaan-Nya aku sebagai seorang manusia. Apabila mereka tidak
memiliki iman yang sempurna dan tidak beramal sholih ketika mereka mati mereka
akan disiksa selama-lamanya". Subhanallah
Berkomplot Remaja Perempuan Bunuh Kekasih di Bogor
Saco-Indonesia.com — Dari sebuah kasus kecelakaan lalu lintas di Karawaci, Kabupaten Tangerang, Banten, Rabu (29/1/2014), membuka tabir kasus perencanaan pembunuhan dan perampokan warga Kota Bogor, Jawa Barat.
Saco-Indonesia.com — Dari sebuah kasus kecelakaan lalu lintas di Karawaci, Kabupaten Tangerang, Banten, Rabu (29/1/2014), membuka tabir kasus perencanaan pembunuhan dan perampokan warga Kota Bogor, Jawa Barat.
Kepolisian Resor Bogor Kota menahan tiga warga Pandeglang, Banten, yakni DRD (15), DR (23), dan SA (19), sebagai tersangka kasus percobaan pembunuhan dan perampokan Nur Taufik (23), warga Kota Bogor.
DRD, siswa SMA di Pandeglang, adalah kekasih Nur dan adik dari DR. SA adalah teman DR yang diajak oleh kakak beradik itu menghabisi Nur di Lapangan Sempur, Kota Bogor, Rabu malam. Selanjutnya, pada malam itu juga mereka hendak membuang jasad korban ke Serang, Banten.
Kasus ini bermula dari perkenalan, komunikasi, dan percintaan antara DRD dan Nur. Keduanya sudah menjalin hubungan asmara sejak dua bulan lalu. Selama berpacaran, DRD dan Nur melangkah terlalu jauh. Mereka sudah beberapa kali berhubungan layaknya suami-istri.
Namun, menurut DRD, saat jumpa pers di Polres Bogor Kota, Rabu (5/2/2014), hubungan seks itu karena desakan dan ancaman Nur. Didesak dan diancam tetapi mencintai kekasih, DRD terpaksa memenuhi permintaan Nur.
Karena sudah menyerahkan kehormatan tetapi merasa masa depan cintanya tidak jelas, DRD khawatir bakal dicampakkan oleh Nur. Kekhawatiran itu mendorong sang remaja mengadu kepada DR. Tidak terima sang adik dipaksa melayani kebutuhan seks Nur, DR marah. Kakak beradik itu lalu sepakat membunuh Nur. DR kemudian mengajak SA berkomplot.
”Sebenarnya saya tidak tega, tetapi Abang sangat marah dan tidak bisa saya cegah,” kata DRD tertunduk.
Pada Rabu malam minggu lalu, DRD, DR, dan SA melaksanakan rencana pembunuhan itu. Mereka pun pergi ke Bogor untuk menghabisi Nur. Di Kota Bogor, mereka berpisah agar Nur lengah. Memang kedatangan ketiganya diketahui Nur. Namun, untuk memberi kesempatan kepada DRD dan Nur berduaan, DR dan SA memilih berjalan-jalan ke tempat lain terlebih dahulu.
Di Kota Bogor, DRD menghubungi Nur dan meminta dijemput di Terminal Baranangsiang. Nur datang dengan mobil Toyota Yaris putih F 1566 HH.
DRD kemudian meminta Nur berkeliling terlebih dahulu menikmati suasana Kota Bogor. Selanjutnya, DRD bilang agar Nur menjemput DR dan SA yang juga datang dari Pandeglang ke Bogor. DR dan SA minta dijemput di Lapangan Sempur.
Tanpa curiga, Nur menyanggupi permintaan sang pacar. Mereka menjemput DR dan SA. Saat bertemu dengan Nur, DR melontarkan kemarahannya. DR memaki-maki Nur karena telah memaksa DRD untuk berhubungan seks.
Saat itulah, DR dan SA menganiaya Nur. DR menikam Nur dengan pisau yang sudah disiapkan sejak dari Pandeglang. Akibat ditikam di leher, Nur roboh, terluka, dan tidak bergerak.
Ketiganya menyangka korban sudah tewas sebab tidak ada reaksi apa pun. Kemudian, DR dan SA mengikat, mengangkat, dan menaruh korban di bagasi mobil. Lalu, ketiga pelaku berkendara ke arah Serang, Banten, untuk membuang jasad Nur.
Dalam perjalanan, di Karawaci, mobil yang dikendarai DRD itu menabrak tewas pengendara sepeda motor.
Kasatreskrim Polres Bogor Kota Ajun Komisaris Candra Sasongko mengatakan, kecelakaan itulah yang kemudian membuka tabir kasus penganiayaan dan perampokan Nur oleh ketiga tersangka. Karena terlibat kecelakaan di lokasi yang agak ramai, mobil itu dicegat dan ditahan oleh massa yang kemudian menghubungi petugas.
Petugas datang, mengecek mobil, dan terkejut melihat lelaki terikat dan bersimbah darah di bagasi mobil itu. Petugas menangkap dan membawa DRD, DR, dan SA ke kantor polisi untuk diperiksa. Ketiga pelaku mengakui perbuatan mereka, yaitu telah menganiaya korban, bahkan hendak membuang korban ke Serang, Banten. Nur kini dirawat di RS PMI Bogor.
Ketiga tersangka terancam hukuman paling kurang tujuh tahun penjara.
Editor : Maulana Lee
NENEK DISIRAM SEMEN OLEH TUKANG BANGUNAN
saco-indonesia.com, Merasa terganggu mendengar membangun pagar tinggi, seorang nenek telah menegur tukang bangunan. Tak dinyana,
saco-indonesia.com, Merasa terganggu mendengar membangun pagar tinggi, seorang nenek telah menegur tukang bangunan. Tak dinyana, kuli bangunan tersebut telah menyiram nenek dengan seember adukan semen.
Korban Rya, yang berusia 65 tahun, tubuhnya telah terlumuri oleh semen disekujur tubuhnya di Jalan Tebet Timur Dalam 8J, Tebet, Jakarta Selatan.
Setelah ember yang berisi semen adukan telah mengenainya oleh kuli bangunan saat ia sedang membuang sampah menegor kuli bangunan yang berisik.
Menurut Randy, yang berusia 25 tahun , tiba-tiba korban telah disiram oleh kuli bangunan yang sempat cekcok, untuk dapat meminta pertanggung jawaban keluarga korban yang mendatangi tetangga seberang yang sedang membangun pagar tinggi untuk.
“Ya mereka juga meminta menghentikan tukang bangunan yang sedang bekerja, tapi malah tukang kulinya menantang,” katanya.
Kejadian tersebut telah terjadi sekira pk. 20:30 malam.
Warga sekitar telah melihat kejadian tersebut nyaris menghakimi kedua pelaku menyirami wanita yang sudah lanjut usia.
Melihat kegaduhan tersebut Petugas Polsek Tebet telah mendapatkan informasi melerai amukan massa dan mengamankan kedua kuli bangunan ke Mapolsek Tebet.
“Masih juga kami selidiki penyebabnya,” kata Kapolsek Tebet, Kompol I Ketut Sudarma.
Editor : Dian Sukmawati
Bruce Alger, 96, Dies; Led ‘Mink Coat’ Protest Against Lyndon Johnson
Mr. Alger, who served five terms from Texas, led Republican women in a confrontation with Lyndon B. Johnson that may have cost Richard M. Nixon the 1960 presidential election.
From T Magazine: Street Lit’s Power Couple
THE WRITERS ASHLEY AND JAQUAVIS COLEMAN know the value of a good curtain-raiser. The couple have co-authored dozens of novels, and they like to start them with a bang: a headlong action sequence, a blast of violence or sex that rocks readers back on their heels. But the Colemans concede they would be hard-pressed to dream up anything more gripping than their own real-life opening scene.
In the summer of 2001, JaQuavis Coleman was a 16-year-old foster child in Flint, Mich., the former auto-manufacturing mecca that had devolved, in the wake of General Motors’ plant closures, into one of the country’s most dangerous cities, with a decimated economy and a violent crime rate more than three times the national average. When JaQuavis was 8, social services had removed him from his mother’s home. He spent years bouncing between foster families. At 16, JaQuavis was also a businessman: a crack dealer with a network of street-corner peddlers in his employ.
One day that summer, JaQuavis met a fellow dealer in a parking lot on Flint’s west side. He was there to make a bulk sale of a quarter-brick, or “nine-piece” — a nine-ounce parcel of cocaine, with a street value of about $11,000. In the middle of the transaction, JaQuavis heard the telltale chirp of a walkie-talkie. His customer, he now realized, was an undercover policeman. JaQuavis jumped into his car and spun out onto the road, with two unmarked police cars in pursuit. He didn’t want to get into a high-speed chase, so he whipped his car into a church parking lot and made a run for it, darting into an alleyway behind a row of small houses, where he tossed the quarter-brick into some bushes. When JaQuavis reached the small residential street on the other side of the houses, he was greeted by the police, who handcuffed him and went to search behind the houses where, they told him, they were certain he had ditched the drugs. JaQuavis had been dealing since he was 12, had amassed more than $100,000 and had never been arrested. Now, he thought: It’s over.
But when the police looked in the bushes, they couldn’t find any cocaine. They interrogated JaQuavis, who denied having ever possessed or sold drugs. They combed the backyard alley some more. After an hour of fruitless efforts, the police were forced to unlock the handcuffs and release their suspect.
JaQuavis was baffled by the turn of events until the next day, when he received a phone call. The previous afternoon, a 15-year-old girl had been sitting in her home on the west side of Flint when she heard sirens. She looked out of the window of her bedroom, and watched a young man throw a package in the bushes behind her house. She recognized him. He was a high school classmate — a handsome, charismatic boy whom she had admired from afar. The girl crept outside and grabbed the bundle, which she hid in her basement. “I have something that belongs to you,” Ashley Snell told JaQuavis Coleman when she reached him by phone. “You wanna come over here and pick it up?”
In the Colemans’ first novel, “Dirty Money” (2005), they told a version of this story. The outline was the same: the drug deal gone bad, the dope chucked in the bushes, the fateful phone call. To the extent that the authors took poetic license, it was to tone down the meet-cute improbability of the true-life events. In “Dirty Money,” the girl, Anari, and the crack dealer, Maurice, circle each other warily for a year or so before coupling up. But the facts of Ashley and JaQuavis’s romance outstripped pulp fiction. They fell in love more or less at first sight, moved into their own apartment while still in high school and were married in 2008. “We were together from the day we met,” Ashley says. “I don’t think we’ve spent more than a week apart in total over the past 14 years.”
That partnership turned out to be creative and entrepreneurial as well as romantic. Over the past decade, the Colemans have published nearly 50 books, sometimes as solo writers, sometimes under pseudonyms, but usually as collaborators with a byline that has become a trusted brand: “Ashley & JaQuavis.” They are marquee stars of urban fiction, or street lit, a genre whose inner-city settings and lurid mix of crime, sex and sensationalism have earned it comparisons to gangsta rap. The emergence of street lit is one of the big stories in recent American publishing, a juggernaut that has generated huge sales by catering to a readership — young, black and, for the most part, female — that historically has been ill-served by the book business. But the genre is also widely maligned. Street lit is subject to a kind of triple snobbery: scorned by literati who look down on genre fiction generally, ignored by a white publishing establishment that remains largely indifferent to black books and disparaged by African-American intellectuals for poor writing, coarse values and trafficking in racial stereotypes.
But if a certain kind of cultural prestige is shut off to the Colemans, they have reaped other rewards. They’ve built a large and loyal fan base, which gobbles up the new Ashley & JaQuavis titles that arrive every few months. Many of those books are sold at street-corner stands and other off-the-grid venues in African-American neighborhoods, a literary gray market that doesn’t register a blip on best-seller tallies. Yet the Colemans’ most popular series now regularly crack the trade fiction best-seller lists of The New York Times and Publishers Weekly. For years, the pair had no literary agent; they sold hundreds of thousands of books without banking a penny in royalties. Still, they have earned millions of dollars, almost exclusively from cash-for-manuscript deals negotiated directly with independent publishing houses. In short, though little known outside of the world of urban fiction, the Colemans are one of America’s most successful literary couples, a distinction they’ve achieved, they insist, because of their work’s gritty authenticity and their devotion to a primal literary virtue: the power of the ripping yarn.
“When you read our books, you’re gonna realize: ‘Ashley & JaQuavis are storytellers,’ ” says Ashley. “Our tales will get your heart pounding.”
THE COLEMANS’ HOME BASE — the cottage from which they operate their cottage industry — is a spacious four-bedroom house in a genteel suburb about 35 miles north of downtown Detroit. The house is plush, but when I visited this past winter, it was sparsely appointed. The couple had just recently moved in, and had only had time to fully furnish the bedroom of their 4-year-old son, Quaye.
In conversation, Ashley and JaQuavis exude both modesty and bravado: gratitude for their good fortune and bootstrappers’ pride in having made their own luck. They talk a lot about their time in the trenches, the years they spent as a drug dealer and “ride-or-die girl” tandem. In Flint they learned to “grind hard.” Writing, they say, is merely a more elevated kind of grind.
“Instead of hitting the block like we used to, we hit the laptops,” says Ashley. “I know what every word is worth. So while I’m writing, I’m like: ‘Okay, there’s a hundred dollars. There’s a thousand dollars. There’s five thousand dollars.’ ”
They maintain a rigorous regimen. They each try to write 5,000 words per day, five days a week. The writers stagger their shifts: JaQuavis goes to bed at 7 p.m. and wakes up early, around 3 or 4 in the morning, to work while his wife and child sleep. Ashley writes during the day, often in libraries or at Starbucks.
They divide the labor in other ways. Chapters are divvied up more or less equally, with tasks assigned according to individual strengths. (JaQuavis typically handles character development. Ashley loves writing murder scenes.) The results are stitched together, with no editorial interference from one author in the other’s text. The real work, they contend, is the brainstorming. The Colemans spend weeks mapping out their plot-driven books — long conversations that turn into elaborate diagrams on dry-erase boards. “JaQuavis and I are so close, it makes the process real easy,” says Ashley. “Sometimes when I’m thinking of something, a plot point, he’ll say it out loud, and I’m like: ‘Wait — did I say that?’ ”
Their collaboration developed by accident, and on the fly. Both were bookish teenagers. Ashley read lots of Judy Blume and John Grisham; JaQuavis liked Shakespeare, Richard Wright and “Atlas Shrugged.” (Their first official date was at a Borders bookstore, where Ashley bought “The Coldest Winter Ever,” the Sister Souljah novel often credited with kick-starting the contemporary street-lit movement.) In 2003, Ashley, then 17, was forced to terminate an ectopic pregnancy. She was bedridden for three weeks, and to provide distraction and boost her spirits, JaQuavis challenged his girlfriend to a writing contest. “She just wasn’t talking. She was laying in bed. I said, ‘You know what? I bet you I could write a better book than you.’ My wife is real competitive. So I said, ‘Yo, all right, $500 bet.’ And I saw her eyes spark, like, ‘What?! You can’t write no better book than me!’ So I wrote about three chapters. She wrote about three chapters. Two days later, we switched.”
The result, hammered out in a few days, would become “Dirty Money.” Two years later, when Ashley and JaQuavis were students at Ferris State University in Western Michigan, they sold the manuscript to Urban Books, a street-lit imprint founded by the best-selling author Carl Weber. At the time, JaQuavis was still making his living selling drugs. When Ashley got the phone call informing her that their book had been bought, she assumed they’d hit it big, and flushed more than $10,000 worth of cocaine down the toilet. Their advance was a mere $4,000.
Those advances would soon increase, eventually reaching five and six figures. The Colemans built their career, JaQuavis says, in a manner that made sense to him as a veteran dope peddler: by flooding the street with product. From the start, they were prolific, churning out books at a rate of four or five a year. Their novels made their way into stores; the now-defunct chain Waldenbooks, which had stores in urban areas typically bypassed by booksellers, was a major engine of the street-lit market. But Ashley and JaQuavis took advantage of distribution channels established by pioneering urban fiction authors such as Teri Woods and Vickie Stringer, and a network of street-corner tables, magazine stands, corner shops and bodegas. Like rappers who establish their bona fides with gray-market mixtapes, street-lit authors use this system to circumnavigate industry gatekeepers, bringing their work straight to the genre’s core readership. But urban fiction has other aficionados, in less likely places. “Our books are so popular in the prison system,” JaQuavis says. “We’re banned in certain penitentiaries. Inmates fight over the books — there are incidents, you know? I have loved ones in jail, and they’re like: ‘Yo, your books can’t come in here. It’s against the rules.’ ”
The appeal of the Colemans’ work is not hard to fathom. The books are formulaic and taut; they deliver the expected goods efficiently and exuberantly. The titles telegraph the contents: “Diary of a Street Diva,” “Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang,” “Murderville.” The novels serve up a stream of explicit sex and violence in a slangy, tangy, profane voice. In Ashley & JaQuavis’s books people don’t get killed: they get “popped,” “laid out,” get their “cap twisted back.” The smut is constant, with emphasis on the earthy, sticky, olfactory particulars. Romance novel clichés — shuddering orgasms, heroic carnal feats, superlative sexual skill sets — are rendered in the Colemans’ punchy patois.
Subtlety, in other words, isn’t Ashley & JaQuavis’s forte. But their books do have a grainy specificity. In “The Cartel” (2008), the first novel in the Colemans’ best-selling saga of a Miami drug syndicate, they catch the sights and smells of a crack workshop in a housing project: the nostril-stinging scent of cocaine and baking soda bubbling on stovetops; the teams of women, stripped naked except for hospital masks so they can’t pilfer the merchandise, “cutting up the cooked coke on the round wood table.” The subject matter is dark, but the Colemans’ tone is not quite noir. Even in the grimmest scenes, the mood is high-spirited, with the writers palpably relishing the lewd and gory details: the bodies writhing in boudoirs and crumpling under volleys of bullets, the geysers of blood and other bodily fluids.
The luridness of street lit has made it a flashpoint, inciting controversy reminiscent of the hip-hop culture wars of the 1980s and ’90s. But the street-lit debate touches deeper historical roots, reviving decades-old arguments in black literary circles about the mandate to uplift the race and present wholesome images of African-Americans. In 1928, W. E. B. Du Bois slammed the “licentiousness” of “Home to Harlem,” Claude McKay’s rollicking novel of Harlem nightlife. McKay’s book, Du Bois wrote, “for the most part nauseates me, and after the dirtier parts of its filth I feel distinctly like taking a bath.” Similar sentiments have greeted 21st-century street lit. In a 2006 New York Times Op-Ed essay, the journalist and author Nick Chiles decried “the sexualization and degradation of black fiction.” African-American bookstores, Chiles complained, are “overrun with novels that . . . appeal exclusively to our most prurient natures — as if these nasty books were pairing off back in the stockrooms like little paperback rabbits and churning out even more graphic offspring that make Ralph Ellison books cringe into a dusty corner.”
Copulating paperbacks aside, it’s clear that the street-lit debate is about more than literature, touching on questions of paternalism versus populism, and on middle-class anxieties about the black underclass. “It’s part and parcel of black elites’ efforts to define not only a literary tradition, but a racial politics,” said Kinohi Nishikawa, an assistant professor of English and African-American Studies at Princeton University. “There has always been a sense that because African-Americans’ opportunities to represent themselves are so limited in the first place, any hint of criminality or salaciousness would necessarily be a knock on the entire racial politics. One of the pressing debates about African-American literature today is: If we can’t include writers like Ashley & JaQuavis, to what extent is the foundation of our thinking about black literature faulty? Is it just a literature for elites? Or can it be inclusive, bringing urban fiction under the purview of our umbrella term ‘African-American literature’?”
Defenders of street lit note that the genre has a pedigree: a tradition of black pulp fiction that stretches from Chester Himes, the midcentury author of hardboiled Harlem detective stories, to the 1960s and ’70s “ghetto fiction” of Iceberg Slim and Donald Goines, to the current wave of urban fiction authors. Others argue for street lit as a social good, noting that it attracts a large audience that might otherwise never read at all. Scholars like Nishikawa link street lit to recent studies showing increased reading among African-Americans. A 2014 Pew Research Center report found that a greater percentage of black Americans are book readers than whites or Latinos.
For their part, the Colemans place their work in the broader black literary tradition. “You have Maya Angelou, Alice Walker, James Baldwin — all of these traditional black writers, who wrote about the struggles of racism, injustice, inequality,” says Ashley. “We’re writing about the struggle as it happens now. It’s just a different struggle. I’m telling my story. I’m telling the struggle of a black girl from Flint, Michigan, who grew up on welfare.”
Perhaps there is a high-minded case to be made for street lit. But the virtues of Ashley & JaQuavis’s work are more basic. Their novels do lack literary polish. The writing is not graceful; there are passages of clunky exposition and sex scenes that induce guffaws and eye rolls. But the pleasure quotient is high. The books flaunt a garish brand of feminism, with women characters cast not just as vixens, but also as gangsters — cold-blooded killers, “murder mamas.” The stories are exceptionally well-plotted. “The Cartel” opens by introducing its hero, the crime boss Carter Diamond; on page 9, a gunshot spatters Diamond’s brain across the interior of a police cruiser. The book then flashes back seven years and begins to hurtle forward again — a bullet train, whizzing readers through shifting alliances, romantic entanglements and betrayals, kidnappings, shootouts with Haitian and Dominican gangsters, and a cliffhanger closing scene that leaves the novel’s heroine tied to a chair in a basement, gruesomely tortured to the edge of death. Ashley & JaQuavis’s books are not Ralph Ellison, certainly, but they build up quite a head of steam. They move.
The Colemans are moving themselves these days. They recently signed a deal with St. Martin’s Press, which will bring out the next installment in the “Cartel” series as well as new solo series by both writers. The St. Martin’s deal is both lucrative and legitimizing — a validation of Ashley and JaQuavis’s work by one of publishing’s most venerable houses. The Colemans’ ambitions have grown, as well. A recent trilogy, “Murderville,” tackles human trafficking and the blood-diamond industry in West Africa, with storylines that sweep from Sierra Leone to Mexico to Los Angeles. Increasingly, Ashley & JaQuavis are leaning on research — traveling to far-flung settings and hitting the books in the libraries — and spending less time mining their own rough-and-tumble past.
But Flint remains a source of inspiration. One evening not long ago, JaQuavis led me on a tour of his hometown: a popular roadside bar; the parking lot where he met the undercover cop for the ill-fated drug deal; Ashley’s old house, the site of his almost-arrest. He took me to a ramshackle vehicle repair shop on Flint’s west side, where he worked as a kid, washing cars. He showed me a bathroom at the rear of the garage, where, at age 12, he sneaked away to inspect the first “boulder” of crack that he ever sold. A spray-painted sign on the garage wall, which JaQuavis remembered from his time at the car wash, offered words of warning:
WHAT EVERY YOUNG MAN SHOULD KNOW
ABOUT USING A GUN:
MURDER . . . 30 Years
ARMED ROBBERY . . . 15 Years
ASSAULT . . . 15 Years
RAPE . . . 20 Years
POSSESSION . . . 5 Years
JACKING . . . 20 YEARS
“We still love Flint, Michigan,” JaQuavis says. “It’s so seedy, so treacherous. But there’s some heart in this city. This is where it all started, selling books out the box. In the days when we would get those little $40,000 advances, they’d send us a couple boxes of books for free. We would hit the streets to sell our books, right out of the car trunk. It was a hustle. It still is.”
One old neighborhood asset that the Colemans have not shaken off is swagger. “My wife is the best female writer in the game,” JaQuavis told me. “I believe I’m the best male writer in the game. I’m sleeping next to the best writer in the world. And she’s doing the same.”
Gene Fullmer, a Brawling Middleweight Champion, Dies at 83
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.
Cher and Marc Jacobs
The 2015 Met Gala has only officially begun, but there's a clear leader in the race for best couple, no small feat at an event that threatens to sap Hollywood of every celebrity it has for the duration of an East Coast evening.
That would be Marc Jacobs and his surprise guest (who, by some miracle, remained under wraps until their red carpet debut), Cher.
“This has been a dream of mine for a very, very long time,” Mr. Jacobs said.
It is Cher's first appearance at the Met Gala since 1997, when she arrived on the arm of Donatella Versace.
– MATTHEW SCHNEIER
Dave Goldberg, Head of Web Survey Company and Half of a Silicon Valley Power Couple, Dies at 47
By VINDU GOEL and QUENTIN HARDY
Mr. Goldberg was a serial Silicon Valley entrepreneur and venture capitalist who was married to Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer of Facebook.
Robert Patterson Jr., Lawyer and Judge Who Fought for the Accused, Dies at 91
Judge Patterson helped to protect the rights of Attica inmates after the prison riot in 1971 and later served on the Federal District Court in Manhattan.
G.O.P. Hopefuls Now Aiming to Woo the Middle Class
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.
“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.
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.”
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.
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.”
Obama Finds a Bolder Voice on Race Issues
As he reflected on the festering wounds deepened by race and grievance that have been on painful display in America’s cities lately, President Obama on Monday found himself thinking about a young man he had just met named Malachi.
A few minutes before, in a closed-door round-table discussion at Lehman College in the Bronx, Mr. Obama had asked a group of black and Hispanic students from disadvantaged backgrounds what could be done to help them reach their goals. Several talked about counseling and guidance programs.
“Malachi, he just talked about — we should talk about love,” Mr. Obama told a crowd afterward, drifting away from his prepared remarks. “Because Malachi and I shared the fact that our dad wasn’t around and that sometimes we wondered why he wasn’t around and what had happened. But really, that’s what this comes down to is: Do we love these kids?”
Many presidents have governed during times of racial tension, but Mr. Obama is the first to see in the mirror a face that looks like those on the other side of history’s ledger. While his first term was consumed with the economy, war and health care, his second keeps coming back to the societal divide that was not bridged by his election. A president who eschewed focusing on race now seems to have found his voice again as he thinks about how to use his remaining time in office and beyond.
In the aftermath of racially charged unrest in places like Baltimore, Ferguson, Mo., and New York, Mr. Obama came to the Bronx on Monday for the announcement of a new nonprofit organization that is being spun off from his White House initiative called My Brother’s Keeper. Staked by more than $80 million in commitments from corporations and other donors, the new group, My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, will in effect provide the nucleus for Mr. Obama’s post-presidency, which will begin in January 2017.
“This will remain a mission for me and for Michelle not just for the rest of my presidency but for the rest of my life,” Mr. Obama said. “And the reason is simple,” he added. Referring to some of the youths he had just met, he said: “We see ourselves in these young men. I grew up without a dad. I grew up lost sometimes and adrift, not having a sense of a clear path. The only difference between me and a lot of other young men in this neighborhood and all across the country is that I grew up in an environment that was a little more forgiving.”
Organizers said the new alliance already had financial pledges from companies like American Express, Deloitte, Discovery Communications and News Corporation. The money will be used to help companies address obstacles facing young black and Hispanic men, provide grants to programs for disadvantaged youths, and help communities aid their populations.
Joe Echevarria, a former chief executive of Deloitte, the accounting and consulting firm, will lead the alliance, and among those on its leadership team or advisory group are executives at PepsiCo, News Corporation, Sprint, BET and Prudential Group Insurance; former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell; Senator Cory Booker, Democrat of New Jersey; former Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.; the music star John Legend; the retired athletes Alonzo Mourning, Jerome Bettis and Shaquille O’Neal; and the mayors of Indianapolis, Sacramento and Philadelphia.
The alliance, while nominally independent of the White House, may face some of the same questions confronting former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton as she begins another presidential campaign. Some of those donating to the alliance may have interests in government action, and skeptics may wonder whether they are trying to curry favor with the president by contributing.
“The Obama administration will have no role in deciding how donations are screened and what criteria they’ll set at the alliance for donor policies, because it’s an entirely separate entity,” Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, told reporters on Air Force One en route to New York. But he added, “I’m confident that the members of the board are well aware of the president’s commitment to transparency.”
The alliance was in the works before the disturbances last week after the death of Freddie Gray, the black man who suffered fatal injuries while in police custody in Baltimore, but it reflected the evolution of Mr. Obama’s presidency. For him, in a way, it is coming back to issues that animated him as a young community organizer and politician. It was his own struggle with race and identity, captured in his youthful memoir, “Dreams From My Father,” that stood him apart from other presidential aspirants.
But that was a side of him that he kept largely to himself through the first years of his presidency while he focused on other priorities like turning the economy around, expanding government-subsidized health care and avoiding electoral land mines en route to re-election.
After securing a second term, Mr. Obama appeared more emboldened. Just a month after his 2013 inauguration, he talked passionately about opportunity and race with a group of teenage boys in Chicago, a moment aides point to as perhaps the first time he had spoken about these issues in such a personal, powerful way as president. A few months later, he publicly lamented the death of Trayvon Martin, a black Florida teenager, saying that “could have been me 35 years ago.”
That case, along with public ruptures of anger over police shootings in Ferguson and elsewhere, have pushed the issue of race and law enforcement onto the public agenda. Aides said they imagined that with his presidency in its final stages, Mr. Obama might be thinking more about what comes next and causes he can advance as a private citizen.
That is not to say that his public discussion of these issues has been universally welcomed. Some conservatives said he had made matters worse by seeming in their view to blame police officers in some of the disputed cases.
“President Obama, when he was elected, could have been a unifying leader,” Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, a Republican candidate for president, said at a forum last week. “He has made decisions that I think have inflamed racial tensions.”
On the other side of the ideological spectrum, some liberal African-American activists have complained that Mr. Obama has not done enough to help downtrodden communities. While he is speaking out more, these critics argue, he has hardly used the power of the presidency to make the sort of radical change they say is necessary.
The line Mr. Obama has tried to straddle has been a serrated one. He condemns police brutality as he defends most officers as honorable. He condemns “criminals and thugs” who looted in Baltimore while expressing empathy with those trapped in a cycle of poverty and hopelessness.
In the Bronx on Monday, Mr. Obama bemoaned the death of Brian Moore, a plainclothes New York police officer who had died earlier in the day after being shot in the head Saturday on a Queens street. Most police officers are “good and honest and fair and care deeply about their communities,” even as they put their lives on the line, Mr. Obama said.
“Which is why in addressing the issues in Baltimore or Ferguson or New York, the point I made was that if we’re just looking at policing, we’re looking at it too narrowly,” he added. “If we ask the police to simply contain and control problems that we ourselves have been unwilling to invest and solve, that’s not fair to the communities, it’s not fair to the police.”
Moreover, if society writes off some people, he said, “that’s not the kind of country I want to live in; that’s not what America is about.”
His message to young men like Malachi Hernandez, who attends Boston Latin Academy in Massachusetts, is not to give up.
“I want you to know you matter,” he said. “You matter to us.”
Verne Gagne, Wrestler Who Grappled Through Two Eras, Dies at 89
Gagne wrestled professionally from the late 1940s until the 1980s and was a transitional figure between the early 20th century barnstormers and the steroidal sideshows of today