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Tanda Haji Mabrur

Zuhud Terhadap Dunia

Para ulama kita menyebutkan tanda-tanda haji yang mabrur, diantaranya Imam Hasan Al Bashri rahimahullah berkata: (Haji yang mabrur adalah agar ia pulang dari ibadah haji menjadi orang yang zuhud dalam kehidupan dunia dan cinta akhirat). Allah berfirman yang artinya: “Dan carilah (pahala) negeri akhirat dengan apa yang telah dianugerahkan Allah kepadamu, tetapi janganlah kamu lupa bagianmu di dunia”. (Surat Al-Qashash: 77)

Orang yang zuhud bukan berarti orang yang hanya beribadah di masjid dan tidak mau bekerja mencari harta untuk nafkah anak dan isteri tapi orang yang zuhud orang yang tidak diperbudak oleh hartanya, dunia boleh berada di tangannya tidak di hatinya, aktifitasnya dalam kehidupan dunia tidak melalaikannya dari ingat kepada Allah, melaksanakan shalat yang lima waktu tepat pada waktunya, tidak memutuskan silaturahmi, tetap rajin menuntut ilmu islam lalu mengamalkan dan menda’wahkannya, tidak melupakan tanggung jawab mendidik isteri dan anak-anak. Orang yang zuhud adalah orang yang penghasilannya dari yang halal, bukan dari hasil renten, riba, suap, korupsi, mencuri, judi, pungli, memeras, menipu, memakan hak orang lain. Semoga Allah mengaruniakan kita semua rezeki yang halal, baik dan berkah serta dijauhkan dari segala pendapatan yang haram, amin!

Lebih Baik Dari Sebelumnya Dalam Segala Hal

Ada lagi yang mengatakan diantara tanda haji yang mabrur adalah setelah pulang dari menunaikan ibadah haji, ia menjadi lebih baik dari sebelumnya .

1. Dalam Hal Tauhid

Menjadi lebih baik dalam hal tauhid. Jika ada diantara jamaah haji yang sebelum hajinya masih suka pergi ke dukun untuk minta kekayaan, anak, jodoh, cepat naik pangkat dan lain-lain maka setelah kita haji hendaklah kita tinggalkan hal tersebut dan bertaubat kepada Allah karena Rasulullah bersabda  yang artinya, “Barangsiapa mendatangi tukang ramal atau dukun lalu membenarkan apa yang dikatakannya, maka ia telah kafir dengan apa yang telah diturunkan kepada Muhammad”. (HR. Abu Dawud, At-Tirmidzi, Ibnu Majah, dishahihkan oleh Al-Albani dalam Al-Irwa` no. 2006)

Barangsiapa yang sebelum ia haji, suka menyembelih sapi atau lainnya untuk dijadikan sebagai tumbal atau sesajen maka sekarang harus meninggalkannya dan menyembelih kurban hanya untuk Allah karena Allah berfirman yang artinya: “Maka dirikanlah shalat karena Rabbmu dan berkorbanlah” (Surat Al- Kautsar 2).

“Katakanlah sesungguhnya shalatku, sesembelihanku, hidup dan matiku hanya untuk Allah Rabbul Alamin tidak ada sekutu baginya” (Surat Al-An’aam: 162)

Barangsiapa yang sebelum ia haji, masih mempercayai ramalan bintang maka tinggalkanlah dan bertawakallah kepada Allah semata.

Barangsiapa yang sebelum hajinya masih mengkeramatkan keris dan jimat-jimat, maka sekarang musnahkanlah segala jimat yang kita miliki.

Barangsiapa yang sebelum hajinya masih suka meruwat bumi untuk menghindarkan bencana, maka sekarang bertaubatlah dan tinggalkan upacara syirik itu, bergantunglah kepada Allah karena yang dapat menghindarkan bencana hanya Allah semata.

Barangsiapa yang sebelum hajinya masih mengkeramatkan sapi yang dikeluarkan setiap tanggal sepuluh Muharram bahkan berebut untuk memperoleh kotorannya yang dianggap dapat memberikan berkah, maka ketahuilah itu adalah perbuatan syirik.

Barangsiapa yang sebelum hajinya masih meyakini bahwa nasib sial akan menimpanya jika bepergian hari Selasa atau Sabtu juga untuk menentukan waktu pernikahan harus dihitung secara cermat karena kalau tidak pas harinya akan menimbulkan kesialan, maka itu semua adalah syirik. Allah tidak mengampuni dosa syirik kecuali jika pelakunya bertaubat, sesungguhnya Allah Maha Penerima taubat. Allah mengharamkan surga bagi orang yang berbuat syirik. Adapun orang-orang yang beriman dan tidak mencampur adukkan keimanan mereka dengan kesyirikan maka mereka mendapatkan keamanan dan hidayah dari Allah Taala.

2. Dalam Hal Ibadah

Hendaklah jamaah haji memperbaiki ibadahnya kepada Allah, shalat yang lima waktu jangan sampai ditinggalkan, zakat maal harus dikeluarkan dan shaum di bulan Ramadhan harus dijalankan. Segala ibadah kita laksanakan dengan penuh rasa cinta kepada Allah yang telah memberikan kepada kita nikmat yang tidak terhingga. Kita siap korbankan harta, tenaga dan waktu kita demi menggapai ridha Allah.

3. Dalam Hal Muamalah

Hendaklah kita perbaiki muamalah kita dengan orang tua yang telah melahirkan dan mendidik kita sejak kecil. Jangan sampai kita menyakiti hati mereka dan hendaklah selalu berbakti dan memperlakukan mereka dengan sebaik-baiknya. Jika orang tua kita telah meninggal dunia hendaklah kita selalu mendoakan untuk mereka.

Muamalah Suami Isteri

Bagi para suami hendaklah perbaiki muamalah dengan isterinya jangan mudah marah dan membentak isterinya jika berbuat kesalahan. Lakukanlah hal-hal yang menyenangkan isteri selama tidak bertentangan dengan syariat. Didiklah isteri dengan nasehat, membawanya ke majelis ta’lim, membelikannya buku dan kaset ceramah yang bermanfaat. Juga didiklah isteri dengan memberi keteladanan. Rasulullah bersabda: “Sebaik-baik kalian adalah yang terbaik terhadap keluarganya dan saya adalah orang yang paling baik diantara kalian terhadap keluargaku”.

Bagi para isteri perbaikilah muamalah dengan suami jadilah isteri yang taat. Rasulullah bersabda: “Apabila wanita shalat yang lima waktu, berpuasa di bulan Ramadhan, taat kepada suaminya dan memelihara kemaluannya, maka ia masuk surga dari pintu-pintu mana saja yang ia mau”.

Ketaatan kepada suami dalam hal yang makruf saja adapun dalam hal maksiat tidak ada ketaatan kepada makhluk dalam hal maksiat kepada Allah Al-Khaliq. Ketika suami baru datang dari pekerjaan janganlah disambut dengan berbagai macam problem dan hal-hal yang tidak menyenangkan tetapi sambutlah dengan senyum, sediakanlah makan dan minum serta biarkanlah suami untuk istirahat dulu setelah itu barulah sampaikan segala problem yang ada niscaya suami sudah lebih siap untuk mendengarkannya.

Muamalah Orang Tua dan Anak

Bagi para orang tua perbaikilah dalam pendidikan terhadap anak-anak, mereka merupakan amanat yang kelak kita akan diminta pertanggungjawabannya di hari akhir. Didiklah mereka dengan memberikan contoh yang baik, sekolahkanlah mereka di tempat yang baik, awasilah pergaulan mereka. Selalulah berdoa kepada Allah agar melindungi dan menjaga mereka dari segala kejahatan dan keburukan karena doa orang tua untuk anaknya insya Allah mustajab.

Muamalah Kaum Muslimah

Bagi kaum muslimah perbaikilah dalam hal berbusana, tutuplah aurat anda dan jangan diperlihatkan kepada laki-laki yang bukan mahramnya. Allah berfirman: “Hai Nabi katakanlah kepada isteri-isterimu, anak-anak perempuanmu, dan isteri-isteri orang mukmin, (Hendaklah mereka mengulurkan jilbabnya ke seluruh tubuh mereka). Yang demikian itu supaya mereka lebih mudah untuk dikenal, karena itu mereka tidak diganggu. Dan Allah adalah Maha Pengampun lagi Maha Penyayang”. (Surat Al-Ahzab: 59)

“Katakanlah kepada wanita yang beriman, hendaklah mereka menahan pandangannya, dan memelihara kemaluannya, dan janganlah mereka menampakkan perhiasannya, kecuali yang (biasa) nampak dari padanya. Dan hendaklah mereka menutupkan kain kudung ke dadanya, dan janganlah menampakkan perhiasannya, kecuali kepada suami mereka, atau ayah mereka, atau ayah suami mereka, atau putera-putera mereka, atau putera-putera suami mereka, atau saudara-saudara laki-laki mereka, atau putera-putera saudara laki-laki mereka, atau putera-putera saudara perempuan mereka, atau wanita-wanita Islam atau budak-budak yang mereka miliki, atau pelayan-pelayan laki-laki yang tidak mempunyai keinginan (terhadap wanita) atau anak-anak yang belum mengerti tentang aurat wanita. Dan janganlah mereka memukulkan kakinya agar diketahui perhiasan yang mereka sembunyikan. Dan bertaubatlah kamu sekalian kepada Allah, hai orang-orang yang beriman supaya kamu beruntung”. (Surat An-Nuur: 31)

Rasulullah bersabda: “Ada dua golongan dari penduduk neraka yang belum pernah saya lihat keduanya (sebelum ini), (pertama) suatu kaum yang memiliki cambuk bagaikan ekor sapi yang digunakannya untuk memukul manusia dan (kedua) wanita yang berpakaian tapi telanjang berjalan berlenggak lenggok, kepala mereka seperti punuk unta, mereka tidak masuk surga dan tidak mencium bau surga padahal bau surga itu tercium dari jarak yang sekian dan sekian jauhnya”. (Hadits Shahih, Riwayat Muslim)

Masih banyak diantara jamaah haji wanita yang berpakaian tapi telanjang, belum sempurna menutup auratnya, masih ada yang terlihat lehernya, terlihat lengannya, menutup aurat dengan pakaian yang ketat sehingga membentuk lekak lekuk tubuhnya, berpakaian dengan bahan yang tipis dan transparan sehingga terlihat kulitnya, pada hakekatnya mereka masih telanjang dan diancam tidak masuk surga. Hendaklah jamaah haji wanita menjadi sadar setelah menangis dan memohon ampun kepada Allah pada saat wuquf di Arafah, apakah kita ulangi kembali dosa-dosa kita?

Hendaklah jamaah haji wanita menjadi teladan bagi kaum muslimah di tanah air yang sedang dilanda dekadensi akhlak dan moral, didiklah puteri-puteri kita agar berbusana muslimah, nasehatilah mereka agar tidak keluar rumah dengan menggunakan celana pendek, celana panjang lebih-lebih celana yang sangat ketat dan perutnya terlihat, innaalillahi wa innaa ilaihi rajiuun.

Hendaklah jamaah haji wanita berdandan dan bersolek mempercantik diri, tetapi untuk siapa? Bukan untuk orang-orang diluar rumah tapi untuk suami di rumah, kenyataan yang ada banyak dari kaum muslimah berdandan ketika keluar rumah padahal dilarang oleh Allah yang kita cintai, Allah berfirman: “Dan hendaklah kamu (isteri-isteri nabi) tetap di rumahmu dan janganlah kamu berhias dan bertingkah laku seperti orang-orang jahiliyah yang dahulu”. (Surat Al-Ahzab: 33)

Ayat ini berlaku juga untuk segenap kaum muslimah dan mukminah.

Rasulullah bersabda bahwa seorang wanita yang pergi keluar rumah dengan menggunakan parfum sehingga tercium oleh laki-laki lain, maka sesungguhnya ia itu pelacur. Setiap hari kita berdoa memohon hidayah kepada Allah, maka sudah menjadi kewajiban bagi kita untuk mempelajari jalan-jalan hidayah berupa ilmu yang bermanfaat karena masih banyak diantara jalan-jalan hidayah yang belum kita ketahui dibandingkan yang sudah kita ketahui. Jangan kita menganggap ini adalah hal yang baru kita dengar, kami sudah terbiasa dengan adat kami dan dalih-dalih lainnya yang tidak bisa diterima oleh syariat. Allah berfirman: “Dan apabila dikatakan kepada mereka: lkutilah apa yang telah diturunkan Allah mereka menjawab: Tidak, tetapi kami hanya mengikuti apa yang telah kami dapati dari (perbuatan) nenek moyang kami. (Apakah mereka akan mengikuti juga), walaupun nenek moyang mereka itu tidak mengetahui suatu apapun, dan tidak mendapat petunjuk?” (Surat Al-Baqarah: 170)

Dan firmanNya: “Dan tidaklah boleh bagi laki-laki yang mukmin dan tidak (pula) bagi perempuan yang mukmin, apabila Allah dan RasulNya telah menetapkan suatu ketetapan, akan ada bagi mereka pilihan (yang lain) tentang urusan mereka. Dan barangsiapa mendurhakai Allah dan RasulNya maka sungguhlah dia telah sesat, sesat yang nyata”. (Surat Al-Ahzab: 36)

Muamalah Secara Umum

Hendaklah kita semua memperbaiki diri dalam hal tanggung jawab kita memperbaiki masyarakat. Bentengi aqidah umat dengan menyebarkan ilmu yang bermanfaat, dengan saling nasehat menasehati untuk menepati kebenaran dan nasehat menasehati untuk menetapi kesabaran, dengan saling bekerjasama dalam hal kebaikan dan taqwa. Tidak sedikit umat Islam di Indonesia murtad dari agamanya disebabkan kelengahan dan kelalaian kita. Benar sebab mereka murtad adalah karena lemah iman ditambah lagi dengan lemah ekonomi, tapi apakah boleh kita diam dan berpangku tangan? Tidak, kita harus berbuat sesuai dengan kemampuan kita. Apabila kita tidak bisa mendidik mereka karena keterbatasan ilmu kita, ajaklah mereka untuk menghadiri majelis-majelis ilmu, bagikan buletin dan buku-buku Islam, pinjamkan kaset-kaset ceramah yang bermanfaat. Jika mereka malas bekerja berilah motivasi, jika mereka nganggur carikanlah pekerjaan untuk mereka, jika puteri-puteri kita sudah dewasa carikanlah untuk mereka suami yang baik keislamannya jangan kita biarkan mereka menikah dengan laki-laki kafir.

Apabila anda sebagai pejabat janganlah anda menghalangi dan mempersulit orang-orang yang ikhlas mengajak manusia untuk mentauhidkan Allah dan tidak berbuat syirik, untuk mengikuti sunnah Nabi dan tidak berbuat bid’ah.

Bagi orang tua yang mempunyai anak puteri memakai jilbab atau cadar dukunglah mereka dan banggalah terhadap anak anda yang taat kepada Allah, semoga Allah menghiasi puteri anda dengan akhlak yang baik pula.

Baca Artikel Lainnya : BERANGKAT HAJI DENGAN SELAMAT

TANDA-TANDA HAJI MABRUR

saco-indonesia.com, Anggun C Sasmi merupakan penyanyi wanita Indonesia yang namanya juga sudah dikenal hingga mancanegara. Makanya banyak musisi yang ingin mencoba mengikuti jejaknya dalam hal bermusik, salah satunya Larra Sylvi.

"Menjadi penyanyi Internasional seperti Anggun adalah impianku," ujar Larra saat ditemui di FX Mal, Sudirman, Jakarta Pusat.

Makanya lewat single Kamu, dara kelahiran 16 Maret 1995 itu telah berharap akan bisa merealisasikan keinginannya untuk bisa membanggakan Indonesia dan tentu keluarga untuk dapat memulai go Internasional seperti Anggun.

"Semoga lewat single ini, aku juga bisa mengepakan sayap ku di industri musik Tanah Air. Dan juga dapat diterima oleh para pencinta musik," kata Larra.

Tentunya tidak mudah bagi Larra untuk menjadi seperti penyanyi idolanya. Maka itu dia juga mengaku butuh kritikan dari para penikmat musik tanah air agar bisa menjadikannya lebih matang.

"Terima (kritikan) banget. Malah aku suka minta dikritik. Ayo dong apa yang kurang. Kritikan itu sebenarnya sifatnya membangun, makanya aku ambil positifnya saja. Biar mental kuat juga," pungkasnya.


Editor : Dian Sukmawati

LARRA SYLVI INGIN SUKSES SEPERTI ANGGUN C SASMI

 

ilustrasi dok. okezone

Sembilan dari 10 remaja pengunjung tempat wisata Pantai Tulap, Minahasa, Sulawesi Utara, tewas terseret ombak. Sedangkan satu lainnya kritis.
 
Kejadian memilukan ini, bermula ketika rombongan yang berjumlah enam puluhan remaja Gereja Sentrum Liningaan, Tondano, melaksanakan darma wisata di Pantai Tulap. Namun, tak disangka kesepuluh remaja ini yang sedang asyik mandi tidak menyadari kalau air saat itu pasang dan arusnya begitu deras sehingga menyeret mereka hingga tenggelam.
 
Pengunjung pantai yang ada dilokasi kejadian tidak bisa berbuat banyak karena tidak tahu cara berenang di saat air pasang, sebagian dari mereka pun memanggil warga
pesisir untuk menolong kesepuluh remaja ini.
 
Walaupun sudah berusaha sekuat tenaga, kesembilan remaja ini tidak tertolong. Sementara satu lainnya kritis dan langsung dibawa ke Rumah Sakit Gunung Maria, Tomohon.
 
Para korban yang tewas terseret ombak rencanannya akan dimakamkan pada Senin 27 Mei 2013 mendatang.

9 REMAJA TEWAS TERSER OMBAK BESAR

saco-indonesia.com, Gubernur DKI Jakarta Joko Widodo (Jokowi) juga mengatakan pihak sekolah telah menyatakan siap dengan penerapan kurikulum 2013. Pernyataan itu telah disampaikan Jokowi usai meninjau empat sekolah, SMP Negeri 8, SMA Negeri 26, SD BPK 46 dan SD Negeri 01.

"Kalau saya lihat tadi semuanya juga sudah menyampaikan siap," kata Jokowi usai menemani Wakil Presiden Boediono di Balaikota DKI Jakarta, Kamis (23/1).

Jokowi juga menambahkan, perbedaan sangat signifikan dari kurikulum sebelumnya yakni dari pengembangan perseorangan, kini murid diajak untuk belajar berkelompok.

"Menurut saya memang berubah total cara belajar dan mengajar. Sekarang ini proses belajar banyak yang diskusi. Kemudian anak-anak telah dibentuk untuk dapat membentuk sebuah kelompok dan berdiskusi di situ," jelasnya.

Jokowi juga mengatakan, kurikulum ini tentu harus didukung oleh pengajar yang aktif, sehingga dapat memacu murid agar aktif dalam berdiskusi. Dengan demikian, pengajar dapat menilai murid dengan lebih objektif.

"Kemudian guru juga telah melakukan hal yang sama dengan murid. Tetapi mereka memberikan penilaian huruf dan komentar. Ini kan bagus sekali," ungkap Jokowi.

Jokowi juga menambahkan, kurikulum 2013 akan diterapkan secepatnya di seluruh sekolah di Jakarta.


Editor : Dian Sukmawati

SEKOLAH AKAN SIAP TERAPKAN KURIKULUM 2013
Tlah kucoba melupakan dirimu Namun kau tak mengerti Kuberharap semua kan berakhir Karena ku tlah berdua Chorus: Ku akui aku masih menyayangimu Namun semuanya tak mungkin lagi Hidupku bukanlah hanya Memikirkan cinta Dan tak harus slalu memiliki Sudah biarkan saja cinta itu ada Bersemi dihati saja Kisah lama dan membawa ke luka Berurai air mata Kusadari jalannya cinta kita Tak seindah dengannya Chorus Hidupku bukanlah hanya Memikirkan cinta Dan tak harus slalu memiliki Sudah biarkan saja cinta itu ada Bersemi dihati Hidupku bukanlah hanya Memikirkan cinta Dan tak harus slalu memiliki Sudah biarkan saja cinta itu ada Bersemi dihati saja http://musiklib.org/Bunga_Citra_Lestari-Simpan_Di_Hati_Saja-Lirik_Lagu.htmSIMPAN DI HATI SAJA
Photo
 
United’s first-class and business fliers get Rhapsody, its high-minded in-flight magazine, seen here at its office in Brooklyn. Credit Sam Hodgson for The New York Times

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hired in 1968, a year before their first season, Mr. Fanning spent 25 years with the team, managing them to their only playoff appearance in Canada.

Jim Fanning, 87, Dies; Lifted Baseball in Canada With Expos

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There was a little girl,

And she had a little curl

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Right in the middle of her forehead.

When she was good,

She was very, very good.

But when she was bad, she was horrid.

Recently, the conservation center turned up another surprise.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Michael J. Morell Credit Mark Wilson/Getty Images

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The book is to be released next week.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mr. Tepper was not a musical child and had no formal training, but he grew up to write both lyrics and tunes, trading off duties with the other member of the team, Roy C. Bennett.

Sid Tepper Dies at 96; Delivered ‘Red Roses for a Blue Lady’ and Other Songs

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

François Michelin, Head of Tire Company, Dies at 88

ate in February, Dr. Ben Carson, the celebrated pediatric neurosurgeon turned political insurrectionist, was trying to check off another box on his presidential-campaign to-do list: hiring a press secretary. The lead prospect, a public-relations specialist named Deana Bass, had come to meet him at the dimly lit Capitol Hill office of Carson’s confidant and business manager, Armstrong Williams. Carson sat back and scrutinized her from behind a small granite table, as life-size cardboard cutouts of more conventional politicians — President Obama, with a tight smile, and Senator John McCain, glowering — loomed behind each of his shoulders. (The mock $3 bill someone had left on a table in Williams’s waiting room undercut any notion that this was a bipartisan zone; it featured Obama wearing a turban.)

Bass seemed momentarily speechless, and not just because no one had warned her that a New York Times reporter would be sitting in on her job interview. Though she knew Williams — a jack-of-all-trades entrepreneur who owns several television stations and a public-affairs business and who hosts a daily talk-radio show — through Washington’s small circle of black conservatives, the two hadn’t spoken in years until he called her two days earlier. He had been struggling to come up with the perfect national spokesperson, he told her. Then, at the gym, her name popped into his head; Williams was fairly certain she was the one. Sitting across from a likely candidate for president, Bass was adjusting to the idea that her life might be about to take a sudden chaotic turn.

“It’s like getting the most random call on a Monday that you simply do not see coming,” she said. “Oftentimes, that is how the Lord works.”

Continue reading the main story

His life in brain surgery
has prepared him for the
presidency, he maintains,
better than lives in
politics have for his rivals.

Carson concurred: “It’s always how he works in my life.” Carson is soft-spoken and often talks with his eyes half closed, frequently punctuating his sentences with a small laugh, even if the humor of his statement is not readily apparent. Bass told Carson that she had been a Republican staff member on Capitol Hill then worked for the Republican National Committee. In 2007 she started a Christian public-relations firm with her sister. She enjoyed working on the Hill, she said, but the pay wasn’t as high as the hours were long. “We figured that we worked like slaves for other people, and we wanted to work for ourselves.”

Carson stopped her. “You know you can’t mention that word, right?” Carson waited a beat, then laughed, and Williams and Bass joined in. He was getting to the point; he needed a professional who could help him check his penchant for creating uncontrolled controversy just by talking.

The Ben Carson movement began in 2013, when Carson, a neurosurgeon, whose operating-room prowess and up-from-poverty back story had made him the subject of a television movie and a regular on the inspirational-speaking circuit, was invited to address the annual National Prayer Breakfast in Washington. With Barack Obama sitting just two seats away, Carson warned that “moral decay” and “fiscal irresponsibility” could destroy America just as it did ancient Rome. He proposed a substitute for Obamacare — Health Savings Accounts, which, he said, would end any talk of “death panels” — and a flat-tax based on the concept of tithing. His address, combined with the president’s stony reaction, was a smash with Republican activists. Speaking and interview requests flooded in. Carson, then 61, announced his planned retirement a few weeks later, freeing his calendar to accept just about all of them. In the months that followed, his rhetoric became increasingly strident. The claim that drew the most attention, perhaps, was that Obamacare was “the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery.”

Bass’s own use of the word prompted Carson to ask her what she thought about that incident. She considered for a moment.

“If you want to reach people and have them even understand what you’re saying, there is a way to do it, without that hyperbole, that might be. . . . ” She paused. “I just think it’s important not to shut people off before they —”

Carson jumped in. “That doesn’t allow them to hear what you’re saying?”

Bass nodded.

Likening Obamacare to slavery — and slavery was incomparably worse, Carson said — had its political advantages for a candidacy like his. It was the kind of statement that stoked the angriest of the Republican voters: conservative stalwarts who can’t hear enough bad things about Obama. This, in turn, led to more talk-radio and Fox News appearances, more book sales, more donations to the super PAC started in his name, more support in the polls. (The day before the meeting, one poll of Republican voters showed Carson statistically tied for first place with Jeb Bush and Scott Walker.)

Rhetorical excess was good for business, but Carson now wants to be seen as more than a novelty candidate. He has come to learn that such extreme analogies, while true to his views, aren’t especially presidential. They alienate more moderate voters and, perhaps even more damaging, reinforce the impression that he is not “serious” — that he is another Herman Cain, the black former Godfather’s Pizza chief executive who rose to the top of the early presidential polls in 2011 but then bowed out before the Iowa caucuses, largely because of leaked allegations of sexual misconduct, which he denied but from which he never recovered. Cain lingers as a cautionary tale for the party as much as for a right-leaning candidate like Carson. The fact that Cain, with his folksy sayings (“shucky ducky”) and misnomers (“Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan”), reached the top of the national polls — much less that he was eventually followed there by the likes of Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, who all topped one or another poll in the 2012 primary season — wound up being a considerable embarrassment for the eventual nominee, Mitt Romney, and for the longtime party regulars who were trying to fast-track his way to the nomination.

Carson liked Bass and, without directly saying so, made it clear the job was hers for the taking. Carson’s campaign chairman, Terry Giles — a white lawyer whose clients have included the comedian Richard Pryor and the stepson of the model Anna Nicole Smith and who helped reconcile the business interests of the descendants of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. — had assembled a mostly white campaign team, including many from the 2012 Gingrich effort, and Carson wanted a person of color to speak for him. Bass said she would have to mull it over, pray about it. Carson nodded approvingly. “Pray about it,” he said. “See what you think.”

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Williams knew the party was intent on protecting the eventual 2016 nominee from the same embarrassment Romney suffered. Already, suspiciously tough articles about Carson were showing up in conservative magazines and on right-wing websites. “They’re protecting these establishment candidates,” Williams said. “This is coming from within the house. This is family.” At the very least, he wanted to make sure that Carson didn’t do their work for them. (Carson would commit another unforced error a week later, when he told CNN that homosexuality was clearly a choice, because a lot of people go in prison straight and “when they come out, they’re gay”; he later apologized.)

“We need somebody to protect him, sometimes, from himself,” he told Bass — laughing, but only half kidding.

A candidacy like Carson’s presents a new kind of problem to the establishment wing of the G.O.P., which, at least since 1980, has selected its presidential nominees with a routine efficiency that Democrats could only envy. The establishment candidate has usually been a current or former governor or senator, blandly Protestant, hailing from the moderate, big-business wing of the party (or at least friendly with it) and almost always a second-, third- or fourth-time national contender — someone who had waited “his turn.” These candidates would tack predictably to the right during the primaries to satisfy the evangelicals, deficit hawks, libertarian leaners and other inconvenient but vital constituents who made up the “base” of the party. In return, the base would, after a brief flirtation with some fantasy candidate like Steve Forbes or Pat Buchanan, “hold their noses” and deliver their votes come November. This bargain was always tenuous, of course, and when some of the furthest-right activists turned against George W. Bush, citing (among other apostasies) his expansion of Medicare’s prescription drug benefit, it began to fall apart. After Barack Obama defeated McCain in 2008, the party’s once dependable base started to reconsider the wisdom of holding their noses at all.

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Republican candidates at a pre-straw-poll debate, held at Iowa State University in 2011. Credit Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

This insurgent attitude was helped along by changes in the nomination rules. In 2010, the Republican National Committee, hoping to capture the excitement of the coast-to-coast Democratic primary competition between Obama and Hillary Clinton, introduced new voting rules that required many of the early voting states to award some delegates to losing candidates, based on their shares of the vote. The proportional voting rules would encourage struggling candidates to stay in the primaries even after successive losses, as Clinton did, because they might be able to pull together enough delegates to take the nomination in a convention-floor fight or at least use them to bargain for a prime speaking slot or cabinet post.

This shift in incentives did not go unnoticed by potential 2012 candidates, nor did changes in election law that allowed billionaire donors to form super PACs in support of pet candidacies. At the same time, increasingly widespread broadband Internet access allowed candidates to reach supporters directly with video and email appeals and supporters to send money with the tap of a smartphone, making it easier than ever for individual candidates to ignore the wishes of the party.

Into this newly chaotic Republican landscape strode Mitt Romney. There could be no doubt that it was his turn, and yet his journey to the nomination was interrupted by one against-the-odds challenger after another — Cain, Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul; always Ron Paul. It was easy to dismiss the 2012 primaries as a meaningless circus, but the onslaught did much more than tarnish the overall Republican brand. It also forced Romney to spend money he could have used against Obama and defend his right flank with embarrassing pandering that shadowed him through the general election. It was while trying to block a surge from Gingrich, for instance, that Romney told a debate audience that he was for the “self-deportation” of undocumented immigrants.

At the 2012 convention in Tampa, a group of longtime party hands, including Romney’s lawyer, Ben Ginsberg, gathered to discuss how to prevent a repeat of what had become known inside and outside the party as the “clown show.” Their aim was not just to protect the party but also to protect a potential President Romney from a primary challenge in 2016. They forced through new rules that would give future presumptive nominees more control over delegates in the event of a convention fight. They did away with the mandatory proportional delegate awards that encouraged long-shot candidacies. And, in a noticeably targeted effort, they raised the threshold that candidates needed to meet to enter their names into nomination, just as Ron Paul’s supporters were working to reach it. When John A. Boehner gaveled the rules in on a voice vote — a vote that many listeners heard as a tie, if not an outright loss — the hall erupted and a line of Ron Paul supporters walked off the floor in protest, along with many Tea Party members.

At a party meeting last winter, Reince Priebus, who as party chairman is charged with maintaining the support of all his constituencies, did restore some proportional primary and caucus voting, but only in states that held voting within a shortened two-week window. And he also condensed the nominating schedule to four and a half months from six months, and, for the first time required candidates to participate in a shortened debate schedule, determined by the party, not by the whims of the networks. (The panel that recommended those changes included names closely identified with the establishment — the former Bush White House spokesman Ari Fleischer, the Mississippi committeeman Haley Barbour and, notably, Jeb Bush’s closest adviser, Sally Bradshaw.)

Grass-roots activists have complained that the condensed schedule robs nonestablishment candidates — “movement candidates” like Carson — of the extra time they need to build momentum, money and organizations. But Priebus, who says the nomination could be close to settled by April, said it helped all the party’s constituencies when the nominee was decided quickly. “We don’t need a six-month slice-and-dice festival,” Priebus said when we spoke in mid-March. “While I can’t always control everyone’s mouth, I can control how long we can kill each other.”

All the rules changes were built to sidestep the problems of 2012. But the 2016 field is shaping up to be vastly different and far larger. A new Republican hints that he or she is considering a run seemingly every week. There are moderates like Gov. John Kasich of Ohio and former Gov. George Pataki of New York; no-compromise conservatives like Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and former Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania; business-wingers like the former Hewlett-Packard chief executive Carly Fiorina; one-of-a-kinds like Donald Trump — some 20 in all, a dozen or so who seem fairly serious about it. That opens the possibility of multiple candidates vying for all the major Republican constituencies, some of them possibly goaded along by super-PAC-funding billionaires, all of them trading wins and collecting delegates well into spring.

Giles says his candidate can capitalize on all that chaos. Rivals may laugh, but Giles argues that if Carson can make a respectable showing in Iowa, then win in South Carolina — or at least come in second should a home-state senator, Lindsey Graham, run — and come in second behind Bush or Senator Marco Rubio in their home state of Florida, he could be positioned to make a real run. But that would depend on avoiding pitfalls like Carson’s ill-considered comments on homosexuality. Rather than capitalizing on the chaos, Carson may only contribute to it.

Ben Carson is, in many ways, the ideal Republican presidential candidate. With a not-too-selective reading of his life story, conservative voters can — and do — see in him an inspiring, up-from-nowhere African-American who shares their beliefs, a right-wing answer to Barack Obama. Before he was born, his parents moved to Detroit from rural Tennessee as part of the second great migration. His father, Robert Solomon Carson, worked at a Cadillac factory. His mother, Sonya — who herself had grown up as one of 24 children and left school at third grade — cleaned houses. When Carson was 8, Sonya discovered that Robert was keeping a second family. She moved, with her two sons, into a rundown group house. It was in a part of town that Carson described to me as crawling with “big rats and roaches and all kinds of horrible things.” Sonya worked several jobs at a time and made up the shortfall with food stamps. (Carson has called for paring back the social safety net but not doing away with it.)

Carson recounts this story in his best-selling 1990 memoir, “Gifted Hands,” which also became the basis for a 2009 movie on TNT, starring Cuba Gooding Jr. as Carson. Raised as a Seventh Day Adventist, Carson realized that he wanted to become a physician during a church sermon about a missionary doctor who, while serving overseas, was almost attacked by thieves but found safety by putting his faith in God. When Carson, then 8, told his mother his new dream, “She said, ‘Absolutely, you could do it, you could do anything,’ ” he told me. Forced by his mother to read two extra books a week, he made it to Yale, then to medical school at the University of Michigan, where he decided to specialize in neurosurgery. He was selected for residency at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, where he was named director of pediatric neurosurgery at 33, becoming the youngest person, and the first black person, to hold the title. He drew national attention by conducting a succession of operations that had never been performed successfully, most famously planning and managing the first separation of conjoined twins connected through major blood vessels in the brain.

Carson, a two-time Jimmy Carter voter, traces his conservative political awakening to a patient he met during the Reagan years. During a routine obstetrics rotation, he found himself treating an unwed pregnant teenager who had run away from her well-to-do parents. When Carson asked her how she was getting by, she informed him she was on public assistance; this led him to ponder the fact that the government was paying for the result of what he did not view as a “wise decision.” The incident, he says, fed his growing sense that the welfare system too often saps motivation and rewards irresponsible behavior. (When we spoke, he suggested that the government should cut off assistance to would-be unwed mothers, but only after warning them that it would do so within a certain amount of time, say five years. “I bet you’d see a dramatic decrease in unwed motherhood.”)

Carson’s friends at Hopkins say they do not remember him being particularly outspoken about his conservatism. He devoted most of his public engagement to urging poor kids in bad neighborhoods to use “these fancy brains God gave us,” through weekly school visits, student hospital tours and, ultimately, a multimillion-dollar scholarship program. “His issues were always medical care for the poor, education for the poor, equal opportunity — helping the less fortunate and really inspiring them as an example,” a mentor who named him to the chief pediatrics-neurosurgery post at Hopkins, Dr. Donlin Long, told me.

Even when Carson got the chance, in 1997, to speak in front of President Bill Clinton, at the national prayer breakfast, he mostly discussed the lack of role models for black children who were not sports stars or rappers. (There was possibly an oblique reference to Clinton’s sex scandals, when he told the audience that, if they are always honest, they won’t have to worry later about “skeletons in the closet.”)

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Ben Carson at CPAC on Feb. 26 in Oxon Hill, Md. Credit Dolly Faibyshev for The New York Times

In 2011, Carson’s politics took a strident turn, mirroring that of many in his party during the Obama years. “America the Beautiful,” his sixth book, which he wrote with Candy Carson, his wife of 39 years, included a get-tough-on-illegal-immigration message and offered anti-establishment praise for the Tea Party. It suggested that blacks who voted for Obama only because he was black were themselves practicing a form of racism. (Earlier this year he admitted to Buzzfeed that portions of the book were lifted directly from several sources without proper attribution.) His prayer-breakfast performance in 2013, and the extremity of his remarks in the months afterward (Obamacare is the worst thing since slavery; the United States is “very much like Nazi Germany”; allowing same-sex marriage could lead to allowing bestiality), left some of his old friends bewildered. Students at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine protested his planned convocation address there in 2013, and he eventually backed out. When I asked Carson about the view at Hopkins that he had changed, he said his themes are still the same: “hard work, self-reliance, helping other people.” If he had become more overtly political, he said, it was only because the Obama years had led him to believe that “we’re really moving in a direction that is very, very destructive.”

None of this went unnoticed by campaign professionals. In August 2013, John Philip Sousa IV and Vernon Robinson, each of whom professes to be a virtual stranger to Carson, and who had previously been active in the anti-illegal-immigration movement, started the National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee. Sousa was just coming off a campaign to defend the sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, Joe Arpaio, from a recall effort, and he told me that he found Carson’s lack of political experience refreshing. “We have 500 guys and gals with probably a collective 5,000 years experience, and look at the mess we’re in,” he said.

Many others in the party feel the same way. Carson’s PAC finished 2014 with more than $13 million in donations, more than Ready for Hillary. Much of its money has gone toward further fund-raising, but Sousa — the great-grandson of the famous composer — points out that their effort has already built far more than just a war chest, organizing leaders in all 99 of Iowa’s counties. Regardless, Carson credits the fund-raising success of Sousa and Robinson with persuading him to enter the race.

Very early the morning after the job interview, Carson was in a black S.U.V., heading from Washington to the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in Oxon Hill, Md., where he was to give the opening candidate speech of the Conservative Political Action Conference. The event, which functions as an early tryout for Republican presidential contenders, tends to skew rightward in its audience, drawing many of the same sorts of people who shouted at Boehner in Tampa. As such, it tends to favor anti-establishment candidates, but the news leading up to this year’s event was that Jeb Bush hoped to make inroads there.

It was still dark when we set out, and I joked with Carson about the hour, telling him he’d better get used to it. He retorted that his career in pediatric brain surgery made him no stranger to early mornings. This is a big theme of Carson’s presidential pitch: that neither the rigors of the campaign nor those of the White House can faze a man who held children’s lives in his hands. His life in brain surgery has prepared him for the presidency, he maintains, better than lives in politics have for his rivals. At the very least, he says, it conditioned him against getting too worked up about any problem that isn’t life threatening. “I mean, it’s grueling, but interestingly enough, I don’t feel the pressure,” he said.

At the convention hall, we were quickly surrounded by admirers. Two women were already waiting to meet him — white, middle-aged volunteers for Carson’s super PAC, who had traveled from South Carolina. One of them, Chris Horne, was holding a dog-eared and taped Bible. A founding member of the Charleston Tea Party who went on to work for Gingrich’s successful South Carolina primary campaign in 2012, Horne lamented over the attacks that Carson was sure to face. “You served us, you served the Lord, just don’t let them steal that from you,” she said. Her friend told him, “You’ve got God behind you!” Such religious evocations trailed Carson constantly while I walked the CPAC floor with him. Evangelicals are impressed not only with his devotion to their politics but also with his career path; as one of them told me, what’s more pro-life than saving babies?

During our ride to the conference, Carson told me his speech was not looking to “feed the beast.” When his appointed time came, he kept his remarks as tame as promised. “Real compassion” meant “using our intellect” to help people “climb out of dependency and realize the American dream,” he said. The national debt is going to “destroy us,” Obamacare was about “redistribution and control,” but Republicans better come forward with their own alternative before they repeal it, he said.

Because his speech was first, and it started several minutes early, the auditorium was slow to fill. Still, the first day saw a crush of people seeking autographs and pictures as he roamed the hall. The Draft Carson committee’s 150 volunteers swarmed the auditorium, collecting emails and handing out “Run Ben Run” stickers. After a quick interview with Sean Hannity, the conservative-radio and Fox News host — his second in two days — Carson was off to Tampa.

In the hours that followed his talk, the hall offered a view in miniature of what the next 12 to 14 months might hold for the party. Chris Christie, sitting across from the tough-minded talk-radio host Laura Ingraham, boasted about his multiple vetoes of Planned Parenthood funding, his refusal to raise income taxes and his belief that “sometimes people need to be told to sit down and shut up.” Cruz, an audience favorite, warning his fellow Republicans against falling for a “squishy moderate,” declared, “Take all 125,000 I.R.S. agents and put ’em on our Southern border!” Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, surging in polls, boasted that if he could face down the 100,000 union supporters who protested his legislation limiting collective bargaining for public employees, he could certainly handle ISIS. The next day, the traditional CPAC favorite Rand Paul spoke, packing the hall with his supporters who chanted “President Paul.” He warned, counter to the overall hawkish tenor of the event, that “we should not succumb to the notion that a government inept at home will somehow become successful abroad.” But he also vowed to end foreign aid to countries whose citizens are seen burning American flags. “Not one penny more to these haters of America.”

Perhaps the defining moment came near the end of the conference, when Jeb Bush spoke. In a neat trick of political gamesmanship — and a show of establishment muscle — his team had bused in an ample cheering section for the dozens of cameras on hand for his appearance. But a small contingent of Tea Party activists and Rand Paul supporters staged a walk out. When Bush began a question-and-answer session, they turned and left the auditorium to chant “U.S.A., U.S.A.” in the hallway, led by a man in colonial garb waving a huge “Don’t Tread on Me” banner. Plenty of other detractors stayed in the hall and peppered Bush’s remarks with booing as he stood by positions unpopular with the conservative grass roots: support for the Common Core standards and an immigration overhaul that provides a “path to legal status” for undocumented immigrants. Bush took it all in good humor, but finally seemed to give up.

“For those who made an ‘oo’ sound — is that what it was? — I’m marking you down as neutral,” he said. “And I want to be your second choice.”

Bush strategists told me they would not repeat Romney’s mistakes. Of course they would love to glide to an early nomination, they said, but they are prepared for a long contest and won’t be wasting any energy bending under pressure from a Paul or a Cruz or a Carson.

No one doubts that the pressure will increase, though. Despite the best wishes of the party’s leaders, GOP primary voters have given little indication that they will narrow the field quickly.

Before I left, I spotted Newt Gingrich, himself a fleeting presidential front-runner during those strange primary days of 2012. I asked him whether he thought all the party maneuvering — all the attempts to change the rules and fast-track the process — would preclude someone from presenting the sort of outside primary challenge he had carried out in the last election.

“No,” he told me, as if it was the most obvious thing in the world. “Look at where Ben Carson is right now.”

Jim Rutenberg is the chief political correspondent for the magazine. His most recent feature was about Megyn Kelly.

Ben Carson Says He’ll Seek 2016 G.O.P. Nomination

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

Take the Money and Run

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

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

Chamblee, Ga.
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“It was really nice to play with other women and not have this underlying tone of being at each other’s throats.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Mr. Bartoszewski was given honorary Israeli citizenship for his work to save Jews during World War II and later surprised even himself by being instrumental in reconciling Poland and Germany.

Wladyslaw Bartoszewski, 93, Dies; Polish Auschwitz Survivor Aided Jews
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