PAKET UMROH BULAN FEBRUARI MARET APRIL MEI 2018




Artikel lainnya »

saco-indonesia.com, Mobil Nissan March yang bernomor polisi F 1356 KA warna putih yang berisi mayat perempuan, merupakan mobil yang telah dikelurkan dari Samsat Polres Bogor.

Kasat Lantas Polres Bogor, AKP M Chaniago telah membenarkan, jika mobil Nissan yang telah berisi mayat wanita yang terparkir di samping TPU Pondok Kelapa, Duren Sawit, Jakarta Timur, Selasa (28/1), juga merupakan mobil yang telah dikeluarkan pihaknya.

Sayang AKP Chaniago menolak untuk memberi rinci siapa pemilik mobil tersebut.”Untuk nama pemilik mobil, saya juga tidak bisa memberitahu. Ini telah menyangkut penyelidikan,”kata Chaniago.

Namun dari data di lapangan, pemilik mobil berisi mayat ini beralamat di kawasan elit Kota Wisata Gunung Putri Bogor.

“Pemilik mobil Nissan berstiker logo Paspampres ini, berinisial J, seorang pengusaha sukses. Apakah mobil itu juga masih punya dia atau sudah dijual ke orang lain, saya juga tidak tahu,”kata sumber di Polres Bogor.

Saat ditanya apakah mayat wanita dalam mobil adalah korban pembunuhan, sumber yang enggan namanya disebutkan ini juga mengaku, penyelidikan oleh tim Polda Metro masih berjalan.

“Kami juga tidak hafal kasus ini secara utuh, karena TKP nya di Jakarta. Yang bisa dipastikan, mobil ini telah dikeluarkan di Kabupaten Bogor. Tim sedang bergerak kelokasi,”paparnya.


Editor : Dian Sukmawati

MOBIL BERISI MAYAT WANITA ATAS NAMA PENGUSAHA

saco-indonesia.com, Ciri Orang Yang Berpikir Positif Yang Utama Adalah Optimisme

Optimisme adalah sebuah pemikiran penuh harapan dan percaya diri bahwa apa yang ditujunya akan tercapai. Optimisme adalah pandangan yang penuh harap. Sebuah sikap optimis bisa lahir saat seseorang memiliki keyakinan yang kuat bahwa dia bisa mencapai apa yang dia harapkan. Inilah ciri orang yang berpikir positif.

“Tapi, bagaimana saya bisa optimis? Saya memiliki banyak kekurangan.”

Optimisme tidak ada hubungannya dengan kekurangan. Siapa yang tidak punya kekurangan? Orang yang optimis akan yakin bahwa dia juga mampu mengatasi semua kekurangan yang ada. Tidak punya modal untuk bisnis? Dia yakin bahwa dia akan mendapatkan modal tersebut. Tidak bisa bahasa Inggris untuk mendapatkan kerja? Orang optimis yakin bahwa dia bisa mempelajari bahasa Inggris. Kekurangan, sama sekali tidak mempengaruhi optimisme. Ciri orang yang berpikir positif tetap yakin meski dia banyak kekurangan, karena dia yakin selalu ada jalan keluar.

Lalu, dari manakah sumber keyakinan ini? Jika kita membaca literatur barat yang ditulis oleh mereka yang bukan beragama Islam, mereka mengatakan bahwa sumber keyakinan kita hanya berasal dari potensi dan kekuatan pikiran kita. Memang benar, bahwa kita sudah diberikan postensi yang besar oleh Allah SWT, tetapi sumber keyakinan itu bukan hanya berasal dari potensi diri kita atau pikiran kita, tetapi –yang utama– kita yakin karena Allah SWT akan menolong, membantu, memberikan petunjuk, dan mengabulkan do’a kita.
Berpikir Positif dan Kritis

“Tapi… kita juga perlu berpikir kritis.”

Salah! Yang kita perlukan ialah: kita perlu berpikir kritis, kreatif, dan rasional. Jadi bukan berpikir kritis dan positif saja. Silahkan selami situs ini, Anda akan menemukan pembahasan tentang berpikir kritis, kreatif, dan rasional. Artikel ini memang khusus membahas ciri orang yang berpikir positif.

Berpikir positif bukan berarti kita memandang semua hal menjadi positif, apalagi menjadi benar. Bukan berarti apa pun yang dilakukan oleh orang lain, kita berkata “berpikir positif saja!” Kadang kata-kata ini juga sebagai alat untuk pembenaran diri juga. Saat ada orang yang menyalahkan dia, dia mengatakan “Kamu harus berpikir positif.” Salah adalah salah, benar adalah benar.

Berpikir positif lebih kepada kemampuan memikirkan hal yang positif dari apa pun kejadian dan kondisi. Bukan menjadikan hal negatif menjadi positif, tetapi mampu memikirkan hal yang positif dari kondisi atau kejadian negatif sekali pun. Yang salah tetap salah, namun kita bisa melihat (baca memikirkan) hal positif dari kesalahan itu. Itulah yang disebut dengan hikmah. Berpikir positif akan berkiatan dengan hikmah.

Jadi berpikir positif tidak memupus kemampuan kita berpikir kritis.
Tidak Mudah Menjadi Negatif

Seperti angka, semakin besar angka positif akan semakin sulit untuk menjadi negatif. Jika kondisi Anda positif pada sekala 10, maka akan tetap positif jika masuk pikiran negatif pada sekala 4. Mungkin skala pikiran positif Anda berkurang menjadi 6. Optimisme Anda masih ada tetapi sedikit berkurang. Ciri orang yang berpikir positif tidak akan mudah berubah menjadi pesimis, apalagi jika dia memiliki pikiran positif pada sekalan 100, maka pikiran negatif pada skala 4 tidak akan terasa.

Orang yang semangat dan memiliki optimisme tetapi masih mudah terganggu, artinya tingkat pikiran positifnya masih rendah. Dia memiliki ciri orang yang berpikir positif, tetapi masih rendah. Jika Anda merasa, Anda harus meningkatkannya.
Mampu Melihat Cahaya

Jika diibaratkan, ciri orang yang berpikir positif adalah mampu melihat cahaya atau potensi cahaya. Hal yang positif itu ibarat cahaya atau penerang. Jika meski dia melihat/mengalami persitiwa senegatif apapun, dia akan melihat cahaya dan selalu melihat harapan. Optimisme didapat karena dia mampu melihat cahaya yang akan menerangi jalannya.

Orang yang berpikir positif, akan mampu melihat tabir atau kegelapan yang menghalanginya dari cita-cita atau tujuan besar sekali pun seperti yang dibahas pada artikel ini.

Sumber : http://www.motivasi-islami.com

Ciri orang yang berpikir positif

saco-indonesia.com, Grup Telkom telah tercatat sebagai penguasa frekuensi di Indonesia karena saat ini telah memiliki lebar spektrum hingga 325MHz. Hal tersebut dari riset yang telah dipublikasikan Indonesia ICT Institute, pekan lalu.

Frekuensi milik Grup Telkom tersebar pada layanan Flexi, satelit, BWA, dan anak usahanya, Telkomsel. Untuk Flexi, Telkom telah memiliki 5MHz di pita 850MHz, satelit selebar 200MHz di pita 3,5MHz dan BWA di pita 2,3GHz selebar 75MHz.

Meskipun Telkom telah menyatakan sudah mengembalikan frekuensi di pita 2,3GHz, namun tak jelas berapa sebenarnya lebar spektrum yang telah dikembalikan BUMN telekomunikasi itu.

Sementara Telkomsel saat ini telah menguasai total frekuensi selebar 5MHz, sama dengan yang telah dimiliki XL. Sehingga dua operator seluler itu saat ini telah menjadi pemilik terbesar frekuensi seluler.

 

Komisi I DPR berteriak soal frekuensi yang dikatakan juga merupakan sumber daya yang pengalokasianya perlu dilakukan secara berhati-hati. Apa yang disampaikan DPR ini memang telah menjadikan frekuensi sebagai isu yang menjadi buah bibir beberapa waktu terakhir ini, terutama pasca konsolidasi sejumlah operator seperti XL dengan Axis.

Dirjen Sumber Daya dan Perangkat Pos dan Informatika (SDPPI) Kementeri Kominfo M. Budi Setiawan, beberapa operator sudah memasuki zona merah alias kekurangan frekuensi sehingga penataan frekuensi telah menjadi cukup mendesak.

Saat ini operator dengan menggunakan frekuensi dalam rentang 450MHz hingga 3,5GHz, frekuensi-frekuensi yang dapat dipakai untuk broadband nirkabel, meski 2,6 serta 3,5GHz dipakai TV berlangganan berbasis satelit.

Selain alokasi tiap entitas operator, Indonesia ICT Institute juga telah mengumpulkan alokasi frekuensi berdasar grup atau konsolidasi yang sudah terjadi, seperti Bakrie Telecom yang telah membeli Sampoerna Telecom Indonesia dan Reka Jasa Akses (REJA) dicoba dikelompokan sebagai Bakrie Telecom, kemudian PT Telkom dan PT Telkomsel, ada juga Indosat dan IM2, serta Sinar Mas yang telah memiliki SmartFren dan SmartTelecom.


Editor : Dian Sukmawati

TELKOM JADI PENGUASA FREKUENSI DI INDONESIA

saco-indonesia.com, Kepolisian Resor Bantul, Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta, akan telah memberikan sanksi terhadap Bripka Ferry Janu anggota Kepolisian Sektor Srandakan karena telah melakukan tindakan indisipliner beberapa waktu yang lalu.

Kepala Polres (Kapolres) Bantul, AKBP Surawan di Bantul, Kamis (23/1) kemarin juga mengatakan, pihaknya juga telah menahan Bripka Ferry Janu sejak Rabu (22/1) di Markas Polres (Mapolres) Bantul, untuk kemudian akan menjalani sidang disiplin di korps kesatuan tersebut.

"Yang bersangkutan juga akan dikenakan sanksi karena sesuai dengan ketentuan dalam pasal 5 huruf A Peraturan Pemerintah Nomor 2 Tahun 2013. Intinya, dianggap telah menurunkan derajat dan martabat pemerintah dan kepolisian," kata Surawan dikutip antara.

Diberitakan sebelumnya, rumah seorang calon anggota legislatif (caleg) dari salah satu partai politik Siti Syamsiah di Ngentak, Poncosari, Srandakan telah digerebek oleh warga pada Rabu (22/1) dini hari, karena telah terdapat seorang anggota Polsek Srandakan tersebut.

Namun isu yang telah berkembang di masyarakat bahwa anggota kepolisian bersama caleg DPRD Bantul tersebut selain tidak sesuai norma, juga diduga anggota polisi tersebut merupakan salah satu tim sukses untuk pemenangan caleg tersebut.

Meski begitu, kata dia sejauh ini pihaknya juga belum dapat menyimpulkan bahwa anggota polisi tersebut sebagai salah satu tim sukses Siti Syamsiah, caleg dari Partai Demokrat dari daerah pemilihan (dapil) V Bantul.

"Kami juga belum dapat menyimpulkan, mungkin hanya dikait-kaitkan, karena keduanya memang telah berteman lama, tetapi sejauh ini belum," kata Kapolres.

Namun demikian, kata dia pihaknya juga tetap akan memberikan sanksi yang tegas jika nanti ditemukan bukti tambahan bahwa ternyata anggotanya tersebut merupakan salah satu tim sukses caleg, karena hal itu telah dilarang dalam Udang-Undang.

Ia juga telah menyebutkan sejumlah sanksi yang akan dijatuhkan terhadap anggota polisi tersebut bervariatif, mulai teguran secara tertulis, penundaan pangkat, dan sekolah, hingga penahanan, tergantung pada hasil persidangan disiplin nanti.

Sementara itu, Ketua Panitia Pengawas Pemilu (Panwaslu) Bantul Supardi juga mengatakan, pihaknya juga akan melakukan klarifikasi atas dugaan keterlibatan anggota Polsek Srandakan sebagai salah satu tim sukses terhadap caleg peserta Pemilu mendatang.

"Kami juga telah intruksikan anggota panwascam (panitia pengawas kecamatan) Srandakan, kami juga berharap tidak ada indikasi ketidaknetralan anggota Polri dalam pemilu," katanya.

Menurut dia, berdasarkan Undang-Undang Nomor 8 Tahun 2012 tentang Pemilu PNS maupun aparat yang terjun aktif dalam dunia politik terancam dikenai sanksi berupa hukuman penjara satu tahun.


Editor : Dian Sukmawati

WARGA TELAH GEREBEK BINTARA POLISI DI RUMAH CALEG WANITA

Banyak tradisi berkembang di masyarakat yang mengiringi orang yang hendak menunaikan ibadah haji. Sebagai ibadah yang membutuhkan pengorbanan besar, seyogyanya kita jangan sampai melakukan amalan yang bisa merusak ibadah haji ini. Yang pasti, ibadah haji harus dilakukan di atas niat yang tulus yaitu untuk mengharap balasan dari Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala semata dan dijalankan di atas tuntunan Rasulullah Shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam.

Rambu-rambu Penting dalam Beribadah
Manusia adalah satu-satunya makhluk Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala yang menyatakan diri siap memikul “amanat berat” yang tidak dimampui oleh makhluk-makhluk besar seperti langit, bumi, dan gunung-gunung. Padahal makhluk yang bernama manusia ini berjati diri zhalum (amat dzalim) dan jahul (amat bodoh). Amanat itu adalah menjalankan segala apa yang Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala perintahkan dan menjauhi segala apa yang Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala haramkan (beribadah kepada-Nya). Sebagaimana dalam firman-Nya:

إِِنَّا عَرَضْنَا اْلأََمَانَةَ عَلَى السَّمَاوَاتِ وَاْلأَرْضِ وَالْجِبَالِ فَأَبَيْنَ أَنْ يَحْمِلْنَهَا وَأَشْفَقْنَ مِنْهَا وَحَمَلَهَا اْلإِنْسَانُ إِنَّهُ كَانَ ظَلُوْمًا جَهُوْلاً

“Sesungguhnya Kami telah tawarkan amanat kepada langit, bumi, dan gunung-gunung, maka semuanya enggan untuk memikul amanat itu karena khawatir akan mengkhianatinya, dan dipikullah amanat itu oleh manusia. Sesungguhnya manusia itu amat dzalim dan amat bodoh.” (Al-Ahzab: 72)

Asy-Syaikh Abdurrahman bin Nashir As-Sa’di rahimahullah berkata:
“Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala mengangkat permasalahan amanat yang Dia amanatkan kepada para mukallafiin. Yaitu amanat menjalankan segala yang diperintahkan dan menjauhi segala yang diharamkan, baik dalam keadaan tampak maupun tidak. Dia tawarkan amanat itu kepada makhluk-makhluk besar; langit, bumi dan gunung-gunung sebagai tawaran pilihan bukan keharusan, ‘Bila engkau menjalankan dan melaksanakannya niscaya bagimu pahala, dan bila tidak, niscaya kamu akan dihukum’. Maka makhluk-makhluk itu pun enggan untuk memikulnya karena khawatir akan mengkhianatinya, bukan karena menentang Rabb mereka dan bukan pula karena tidak butuh akan pahala-Nya. Kemudian Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala menawarkannya kepada manusia, maka ia pun siap menerima amanat itu dan memikulnya dengan segala kedzaliman dan kebodohan yang melekat pada dirinya. Maka amanat berat itu pun akhirnya berada di pundaknya.” (Taisirul Karimir Rahman, hal. 620)

Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala Yang Maha Pengasih lagi Maha Penyayang, Yang Maha Kuasa lagi Maha Bijaksana, tidaklah membiarkan manusia mengarungi kehidupannya dengan memikul amanat berat tanpa bimbingan Ilahi. Maka Dia pun mengutus para Rasul sebagai pembimbing mereka dan menurunkan Kitab Suci agar berpegang teguh dengannya serta mengambil petunjuk darinya. Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala berfirman:

لَقَدْ أَرْسَلْنَا رُسُلَنَا بِالْبَيِّنَاتِ وَأَنْزَلْنَا مَعَهُمُ اْلكِتَابَ وَالْمِيْزَانَ لِيَقُوْمَ النَّاسُ بِالْقِسْطِ

“Sungguh Kami telah mengutus Rasul-rasul Kami dengan membawa bukti-bukti yang nyata, dan Kami turunkan bersama mereka Kitab Suci dan neraca (keadilan) supaya manusia dapat melaksanakan keadilan.” (Al-Hadid: 25)

Maka dari itu, jalan untuk beribadah kepada Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala amatlah jelas dan terang, termasuk ibadah haji. Karena semuanya telah tercakup dalam Al-Qur`an dan Sunnah Nabi shallallah ‘alaihi wa sallam. Adapun rambu-rambu penting dalam beribadah yang dikandung Al-Qur`an dan Sunnah Nabi shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam tersebut, semuanya bermuara pada dua perkara penting:

1. Mengikhlaskan ibadah hanya untuk Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala semata.
2. Mengikuti tuntunan dan jejak Rasulullah shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam.

Dua perkara tersebut merupakan pangkal kesuksesan dalam kehidupan di dunia dan juga di akhirat.
Al-Imam Ibnul Qayyim rahimahullahu berkata:
“Barangsiapa yang memerhatikan kondisi alam ini, niscaya ia akan mengetahui bahwasanya sebab dari semua kebaikan yang ada di muka bumi ini adalah beribadah hanya kepada Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala semata (tauhidullah) dan taat kepada Rasulullah shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam. Sedangkan sebab dari kerusakan, fitnah, bala`, paceklik, dan kekalahan dari musuh adalah menyelisihi Rasulullah shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam dan menyeru kepada selain jalan Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala dan Rasul-Nya.” (Bada`i’ul Fawa`id, 3/17)

Bahkan keduanya merupakan barometer, apakah sebuah ibadah yang dilakukan seseorang diterima di sisi Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala ataukah ditolak.

Asy-Syaikh Muhammad bin Shalih Al-‘Utsaimin berkata:
“Sebuah ibadah tidak bisa untuk bertaqarrub kepada Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala, bahkan tidak diterima oleh-Nya kecuali dengan dua syarat:

1. Ikhlas karena Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala, dengan mempersembahkan ibadah tersebut semata-mata mengharap wajah Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala dan kebahagian di negeri akhirat, tanpa ada niatan mengharap pujian dan sanjungan manusia.
2. Mengikuti (tuntunan) Nabi shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam dalam beribadah, baik dalam hal ucapan atau pun perbuatan.

Mengikuti (tuntunan) Nabi shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam tidaklah mungkin terealisasi dengan baik kecuali dengan mengetahui Sunnah (ajaran) Nabi shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam. Oleh karena itu, siapapun yang berkeinginan untuk mengikuti Nabi shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam maka dia harus mempelajari Sunnah (ajaran) Nabi shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam tersebut dari para ulama yang mumpuni. Bisa dengan berkoresponden ataupun dengan berkomunikasi secara langsung. Dan merupakan kewajiban bagi para ulama, sang pewaris Nabi shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, untuk menerapkan (terlebih dahulu, pen.) Sunnah beliau shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam dalam ibadah, akhlak, dan muamalah mereka. Kemudian berupaya untuk menyampaikan Sunnah Nabi shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam tersebut kepada umat agar kehidupan mereka terwarnai dengan warisan beliau shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam baik dalam bentuk ilmu, amal perbuatan, dan dakwah. Sehingga mereka termasuk orang-orang sukses yang beriman kepada Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala, beramal shalih, dan saling berwasiat dengan kebenaran dan kesabaran.” (Al-Manhaj Limuridil ‘Umrah wal Hajj)

Asy-Syaikh Muhammad bin Abdul Wahhab rahimahullahu berkata:
“Jika kebahagiaan umat terdahulu dan yang akan datang dikarenakan mengikuti jejak para Rasul, maka dapatlah diketahui bahwa orang yang paling berbahagia adalah yang paling berilmu tentang ajaran para Rasul dan paling mengikutinya. Maka dari itu, orang yang paling mengerti tentang sabda para Rasul dan amalan-amalannya serta benar-benar mengikutinya, mereka itulah sesungguhnya orang yang paling berbahagia di setiap masa dan tempat. Dan merekalah golongan yang selamat dalam setiap agama (yang dibawa para Rasul tersebut, pen.). Dan dari umat ini adalah Ahlus Sunnah wal Hadits.” (Ad-Durar As-Saniyyah, juz 2, hal. 21)

Al-Imam Malik rahimahullahu berkata:
“Barangsiapa mengada-adakan perkara baru dalam agama (bid’ah) yang dia pandang itu adalah baik, sungguh ia telah menuduh bahwa Nabi Muhammad shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam telah berkhianat terhadap risalah (yang beliau emban). Karena Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala berfirman (artinya): “Pada hari ini telah Kusempurnakan agama bagi kalian, dan Aku telah lengkapkan nikmat-Ku atas kalian dan Aku ridha Islam sebagai agama kalian.” Atas dasar ini, segala perkara yang pada waktu itu (yakni di masa Nabi/para shahabat) bukan bagian dari agama, maka pada hari ini pula perkara itu bukan termasuk agama.” (Al-I’tisham, 1/49)

Ibadah Haji dan Keutamaannya
Para pembaca yang mulia, di antara sekian bentuk ketaatan (ibadah) yang paling utama dan sarana bertaqarrub kepada Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala yang termulia adalah ibadah haji. Bahkan ia termasuk ibadah yang Allah  wajibkan, dan termasuk salah satu dari rukun Islam. Rasulullah shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam bersabda:

بُنِيَ اْلإِسْلاَمُ عَلَى خَمْسٍ: شَهَادَةِ أَنْ لاّ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ اللهُ وَأَنَّ مُحَمَّدًا رَسُوْلُ اللهِ، وَإِقَامِ الصَّلاَةِ، وَإِيْتَاءِ الزَّكَاةِ، وَصِيَامِ رَمَضَانَ، وَحَجِّ الْبَيْتِ

“Agama Islam dibangun di atas lima perkara; bersyahadat bahwasanya tidak ada yang berhak diibadahi kecuali Allah dan Nabi Muhammad itu utusan Allah, mendirikan shalat, menunaikan zakat, shaum di bulan Ramadhan, dan berhaji ke Baitullah.” (HR. Al-Bukhari no. 8 dan Muslim no. 16, dari shahabat Abdullah bin Umar radhiyallahu ‘anhuma)

Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala menyeru para hamba-Nya untuk berhaji melalui lisan Nabiyullah Ibrahim ‘alaihissalam, agar para hamba dapat menyaksikan segala yang bermanfaat bagi kebaikan hidup dunia dan akhirat mereka. Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala berfirman:

وَأَذِّنْ فِي النَّاسِ بِالْحَجِّ يَأْتُوْكَ رِجَالاً وَعَلَىكُلِّ ضَامِرٍ يَأْتِيْنَ مِنْ كُلِّ فَجٍّ عَمِيْقٍ لِِيَشْهَدُوا مَنَافِعَ لَهُمْ

“Dan umumkanlah kepada manusia untuk berhaji, niscaya mereka akan mendatangimu dengan berjalan kaki atau mengendarai unta kurus dari segala penjuru yang jauh untuk menyaksikan segala yang bermanfaat bagi mereka.” (Al-Hajj: 27-28)

Sebagaimana pula Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala telah mengingatkan orang-orang yang mampu berhaji agar mereka mempersembahkan ibadah hajinya hanya untuk-Nya semata. Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala berfirman:

وَلِلَّهِ عَلَى النَّاسِ حِجُّ البَيْتِ مَنِ اسْتَطَاعَ إِلَيْهِ سَبِيْلاً وَمَنْ كَفَرَ فَإِنَّ اللهَ غَنِيٌّ عَنِ الْعَالَمِيْنَ

“Dan hanya karena Allahlah haji ke Baitullah itu diwajibkan bagi manusia yang mampu mengadakan perjalanan ke sana. Barangsiapa yang kafir maka sesungguhnya Allah tidak butuh terhadap seluruh alam semesta.” (Ali ‘Imran: 97)

Junjungan kita Nabi besar Muhammad shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam juga mendorong umatnya untuk menunaikan ibadah yang mulia ini. Sebagaimana sabda beliau shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam:

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ، إِنَّ اللهَ كَتَبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الْحَجَّ. فَقَامَ اْلأَقْرَعُ بْنُ حَابِسٍ فَقَالَ: أَفِي كُلِّ عَامٍ يَا رَسُولَ اللهِ؟ قَالَ: لَوْ قُلْتُهَا لَوَجَبَتْ، وَلَوْ وُجِبَتْ لَمْ تَعْمَلُوا بِهَا وَلَمْ تَسْتَطِيْعُوا أَنْ تَعْمَلُوا بِهَا، الْحَجُّ مَرَّةً، فَمَنْ زَادَ فَتَطَوَّعَ

“Wahai sekalian manusia, sesungguhnya Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala telah mewajibkan kepada kalian ibadah haji!” Maka berdirilah Al-Aqra’ bin Habis seraya mengatakan: “Apakah haji itu wajib ditunaikan setiap tahun, ya Rasulullah?” Maka beliau shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam pun menjawab: “Kalau aku katakan; ya, niscaya akan menjadi kewajiban setiap tahun. Dan bila diwajibkan setiap tahun, niscaya kalian tidak akan menunaikannya, bahkan tidak akan mampu untuk menunaikannya. Kewajiban haji itu hanya sekali (seumur hidup). Barangsiapa menunaikannya lebih dari sekali, maka dia telah bertathawwu’ (melakukan perbuatan sunnah).” (HR. Abu Dawud, An-Nasa`i, Ad-Darimi, Ad-Daraquthni, Al-Hakim dan Ahmad, dari shahabat Abdullah bin Abbas radhiyallahu ‘anhuma. Lihat Irwa`ul Ghalil, karya Asy-Syaikh Al-Albani juz 4 hal. 149-150)

Bahkan beliau shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam menjelaskan akan pahalanya yang besar, ganjarannya yang banyak dan sebagai penebus bagi segala dosa. Sebagaimana sabda beliau shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam:

مَنْ حَجَّ لِلَّهِ فَلَمْ يَرْفُثْ وَلَمْ يَفْسُقْ رَجَعَ كَيَوْمٍ وَلَدَتْهُ أُمُّهُ

“Barangsiapa berhaji karena Allah lalu tidak berbuat keji dan kefasikan (dalam hajinya tersebut), niscaya dia pulang dari ibadah tersebut seperti di hari ketika dilahirkan oleh ibunya (bersih dari dosa).” (HR Al-Bukhari dalam Shahih-nya no. 1521 dan Muslim no. 1350, dari shahabat Abu Hurairah radhiyallahu ‘anhu)

الْعُمْرَةُ إِلَى الْعُمْرَةِ كَفَّارَةٌ لِمَا بَيْنَهُمَا، وَالْحَجُّ الْمَبْرُورُ لَيْسَ لَهُ جَزَاءٌ إِلاَّ الْجَنَّةَ

“Antara satu umrah dengan umrah berikutnya merupakan penebus dosa-dosa yang ada di antara keduanya, dan haji mabrur itu tidak ada balasan baginya kecuali Al-Jannah.” (HR Muslim no. 1349, dari shahabat Abu Hurairah radhiyallahu ‘anhu)

Kewajiban Menunaikan Ibadah Haji dengan penuh Keikhlasan

Syaikhul Islam Ibnu Taimiyyah berkata:

“Setiap jamaah haji berkewajiban untuk memurnikan niat hajinya karena Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala dan untuk bertaqarrub kepada-Nya semata. Sebagaimana pula harus berhati-hati dari tujuan duniawi, berbangga diri, mengejar gelar/sebutan (pak haji/bu haji, pen.), ingin dilihat orang atau mencari pamor. Karena semua itu dapat membatalkan amalan (haji anda, pen.) dan menjadikannya tidak diterima di sisi Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala.” (Lihat Taudhihul Ahkam, juz 4 hal. 3-4)

Hal senada disampaikan Asy-Syaikh Abdul Aziz bin Baz rahimahullah. Beliau berkata:
“Merupakan suatu kewajiban atas seorang yang berhaji untuk meniatkan haji dan umrahnya karena Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala dan mengharapkan kebahagiaan di negeri akhirat serta meniatkannya untuk bertaqarrub kepada Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala dengan segala perkataan dan perbuatan yang diharapkan dapat mendatangkan ridha-Nya di tempat-tempat yang mulia tersebut. Dan hendaknya selalu waspada dari tujuan duniawi, riya` (ingin dilihat orang), mencari pamor, dan untuk gagah-gagahan semata. Karena ini merupakan sejelek-jelek niatan dan termasuk sebab tertolaknya suatu amalan.” (At-Tahqiq wal Idhah Lil-Katsir Min Masa`ilil Hajji wal ‘Umrah, hal.12)

Kewajiban Menunaikan Ibadah Haji sesuai Sunnah Nabi shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam
Perjalanan suci menuju Baitullah membutuhkan bekal yang cukup. Di samping bekal harta, ilmu pun merupakan bekal yang mutlak dibutuhkan. Dengan ilmu lah, seseorang menjadi terbimbing dalam melakukan ibadah hajinya dan sesuai dengan Sunnah (tuntunan) Nabi shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam. Lebih dari itu, akan terhindar dari berbagai macam bid’ah dan kesalahan, sehingga hajinya pun sebagai haji mabrur yang tiada balasan baginya kecuali Al-Jannah.

Dalam momentum hajjatul wada’ (haji terakhir), Nabi shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam pernah menyampaikan pesan khusus kepada umatnya, agar mereka menunaikan ibadah haji sesuai dengan tuntunan manasik beliau shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam. Beliau shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam bersabda:

خُذُوا عَنِّي مَنَاسِكَكُمْ

“Ambillah dariku tuntunan manasik haji kalian.” (HR. Muslim no. 1297)

Para shahabat pun sangat memerhatikan pesan beliau ini. Tak heran, jika banyak didapati berbagai riwayat tentang manasik haji yang mereka jalani bersama Nabi shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam. Demikian pula para ulama, tidak sedikit dari mereka yang menyusun kitab-kitab tentang manasik haji baik yang detail atau pun yang sederhana. Semua itu menggambarkan kepada kita bahwasanya para pendahulu umat ini telah mempersembahkan untuk kita ilmu tentang manasik haji, agar kita dapat berhaji sesuai dengan Sunnah Nabi shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam.

Maka dari itu, di antara nasehat yang selalu disampaikan para ulama kita kepada calon jamaah haji adalah; hendaknya mereka serius untuk mempelajari dan mendalami ilmu (tuntunan) manasik haji sebelum menunaikannya, dengan satu harapan agar ibadah haji yang ditunaikannya benar-benar sempurna dan diterima di sisi Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala.

Asy-Syaikh Muhammad Nashiruddin Al-Albani berkata:
“Kami nasehatkan kepada calon jamaah haji, agar belajar terlebih dahulu tentang manasik haji yang dituntunkan di dalam Al-Qur`an dan Sunnah Nabi shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam sebelum menunaikan ibadah hajinya. Sehingga amalan haji yang ditunaikannya itu benar-benar sempurna dan diterima di sisi Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala.” (Hajjatun Nabi shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, hal. 10)

Asy-Syaikh Abdul Aziz bin Baz berkata:
“Sudah seharusnya bagi seseorang yang hendak berhaji untuk mempelajari dan mendalami segala yang disyariatkan tentang haji dan umrahnya. Dan hendaknya dia juga menanyakan hal-hal yang belum dipahaminya (kepada seorang yang berilmu, pen.) agar ibadah haji yang ditunaikannya benar-benar di atas bashirah (ilmu).” (At-Tahqiq wal Idhah, hal. 13)

Fenomena Taqlid dan Mengikuti Tradisi dalam Berhaji
Para pembaca yang mulia, bila kita memerhatikan sekian kesalahan yang terjadi pada kebanyakan jamaah haji, maka penyebabnya bermuara pada dua faktor:
1. Faktor dari dalam
2. Faktor dari luar

Faktor dari dalam adalah penyebab yang berasal dari diri jamaah haji itu sendiri. Hal ini terjadi manakala seorang jamaah haji mengabaikan bekal ilmu yang hakikatnya merupakan bekal utama yang harus dia persiapkan. Tentunya, ketika bekal ilmu tidak dimiliki maka manasik hajinya pun jauh dari manasik haji Rasulullah shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam. Dia akan lebih cenderung mengikuti manasik haji yang dilakukan oleh mayoritas orang (tradisi) di sekitarnya. Padahal apa yang dilakukan oleh mayoritas orang itu belum tentu sesuai dengan tuntunan manasik Rasulullah shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam. Permasalahan pun semakin runyam manakala di antara jamaah haji itu ada yang berkeyakinan bahwasanya mengikuti manasik haji/ tradisi yang biasa dilakukan mayoritas orang itu merupakan jaminan kebenaran.

Asy-Syaikh Shalih bin Fauzan Al-Fauzan berkata:
“Di antara masalah (yang terjadi di masa, pen.) jahiliyyah adalah bahwasanya mereka mengukur suatu kebenaran dengan jumlah mayoritas, dan menilai suatu kesalahan dengan jumlah minoritas. Sehingga sesuatu yang diikuti oleh kebanyakan orang berarti benar, sedangkan yang diikuti oleh segelintir orang berarti salah. Inilah patokan yang ada pada diri mereka dalam menilai yang benar dan yang salah. Padahal patokan ini keliru, karena Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala berfirman:

وَإِنْ تُطِعْ أَكْثَرَ مَنْ فِي اْلأَرْضِ يُضِلُّوْكَ عَنْ سَبِيْلِ اللهِ إِنْ يَتَّبِعُوْنَ إِلاَّ الظَّنَّ وَإِنْ هُم إِلاَّ يَخْرُصُوْنَ

“Dan jika kamu menuruti mayoritas orang-orang yang ada di muka bumi ini, niscaya mereka akan menyesatkanmu dari jalan Allah. Mereka tidak lain hanyalah mengikuti persangkaan belaka, dan mereka tidak lain hanyalah berdusta (terhadap Allah).” (Al-An’am: 116)

Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala juga berfirman:

وَلكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ النَّاسِ لاَ يَعْلَمُوْنَ

“Tetapi mayoritas manusia tidak mengetahui.” (Al-A’raf: 187)

وَمَا وَجَدْنَا لأَكْثَرِهِمْ مِنْ عَهْدٍ وَإِنْ وَجَدْنَا أَكْثَرَهُمْ لَفَاسِقُوْنَ

“Dan Kami tidak mendapati mayoritas mereka memenuhi janji. Sesungguhnya Kami mendapati mayoritas mereka orang-orang yang fasik.” (Al-A’raf: 102)

Dan lain sebagainya.” (Syarh Masa`il Al-Jahiliyyah, hal. 60)

Asy-Syaikh Sulaiman bin Abdullah Alusy-Syaikh berkata
: “Dalam hadits ini1 terdapat bantahan terhadap orang yang berdalih dengan hukum mayoritas, dan beranggapan bahwa kebenaran itu selalu bersama mereka. Tidaklah demikian adanya. Bahkan yang semestinya adalah mengikuti Al-Qur`an dan As-Sunnah bersama siapa saja dan di mana saja.” (Taisir Al-‘Azizil Hamid, hal.106).

Asy-Syaikh Abdurrahman bin Hasan Alusy-Syaikh berkata:
“Hendaknya seorang muslim berhati-hati agar tidak tertipu dengan jumlah mayoritas, karena telah banyak orang-orang yang tertipu (dengannya). Termasuk orang-orang yang mengaku berilmu sekalipun. Mereka berkeyakinan di dalam beragama sebagaimana yang diyakini oleh orang-orang bodoh lagi sesat (mengikuti mayoritas manusia, pen.) dan tidak mau melihat kepada apa yang dikatakan oleh Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala dan Rasul-Nya.” (Qurratu ‘Uyunil Muwahhidin, dinukil dari ta’liq kitab Fathul Majid, hal. 83, no. 1)

Para pembaca, dengan demikian “budaya” ngikut tradisi atau ngikut mayoritas orang dalam beribadah kepada Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala (termasuk dalam menunaikan ibadah haji), tidak bisa dibenarkan dalam syariat Islam. Oleh karena itu, sudah saatnya bagi umat Islam untuk berupaya meniti jejak Rasulullah shallallhu ‘alaihi wa sallam dalam segala amal ibadahnya, agar apa yang dipersembahkan kepada Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala tersebut tidak sia-sia bahkan tercatat sebagai amalan shalih.

Adapun faktor penyebab dari luar adalah adanya orang-orang yang mudah berfatwa tentang urusan agama (termasuk masalah haji) tanpa ilmu.

Asy-Syaikh Muhammad bin Shalih Al-‘Utsaimin rahimahullah berkata:
“Sebagian kaum muslimin –semoga Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala memberikan hidayah dan taufiq-Nya kepada mereka– melakukan banyak perkara ibadah tanpa berasaskan Kitabullah dan Sunnah Rasulullah shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam. Terlebih dalam masalah haji, yang seringkali penyebabnya adalah adanya orang-orang yang mudah berfatwa tanpa ilmu, serta saling berlomba untuk mengeluarkan fatwa demi meraih pujian dan popularitas. Sehingga terjadilah kesesatan dan penyesatan (terhadap umat).” –Hingga perkataan beliau–: “Kebanyakan kesalahan yang terjadi pada jamaah haji berpangkal dari sini (yakni; fatwa tanpa ilmu) dan saling meniru di antara mereka (orang-orang awam) tanpa ada kejelasan dalilnya.” (Akh-tha`un Yartakibuha Ba’dhul Hujjaj)

Maka dari itu, kami serukan kepada segenap jamaah haji untuk benar-benar selektif dalam memilih guru pembimbing haji. Carilah guru pembimbing yang berilmu dan berpegang teguh dengan Kitabullah dan Sunnah Rasulullah shallallhu ‘alaihi wa sallam, agar haji yang anda lakukan tergolong haji mabrur.

Sebagaimana pula kami serukan kepada segenap jamaah haji agar menjauhi sikap taqlid buta dalam beribadah, termasuk ketika berhaji. Baik taqlid buta terhadap tradisi, ormas, partai, atau pun tokoh/panutan/ustadz/kyai, dsb. Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala mencela sikap taqlid buta dalam beberapa ayat-Nya dan menjelaskan kepada kita bahwasanya sikap taqlid buta itu merupakan kebiasaan kaum musyrikin2 ketika dakwah para nabi sampai kepada mereka. Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala berfirman:

أَمْ آتَيْنَاهُمْ كِتَابًا مِنْ قَبْلِهِ فَهُمْ بِهِ مُسْتَمْسِكُوْنَ. بَلْ قَالُوا إِنَّا وَجَدْنَا آبَاءَنَا عَلَى أُمَّةٍ وَإِنَّا عَلَى آثَارِهِمْ مُهْتَدُونَ

“Apakah seandainya telah kami datangkan kepada mereka sebuah kitab (hujjah) sebelum munculnya kesyirikan yang mereka lakukan, kemudian mereka mau berpegang dengannya? Ternyata justru mereka berkata: “Sesungguhnya kami telah mendapati nenek moyang kami di atas sebuah prinsip (aqidah yang mereka yakini), maka kami adalah orang-orang yang mendapat petunjuk dengan mengikuti jejak pendahulu kami.” (Az-Zukhruf: 21-22)

Para imam yang empat sendiri, tidak menganjurkan murid-muridnya dan segenap kaum muslimin untuk taqlid buta kepada mereka. Bahkan mereka berpesan agar umat ini kembali kepada Kitabullah dan Sunnah Rasul-Nya yang shahih. Berikut ini kami bawakan beberapa nukilan dari perkataan mereka yang terdapat dalam kitab Shifat Shalat Nabi shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam karya Asy-Syaikh Al-Albani (hal. 46-53):

    Al-Imam Abu Hanifah rahimahullah mengatakan:

“Tidak halal bagi siapa pun mengambil pendapat kami tanpa mengetahui dari mana dasar hujjah yang kami ambil.” Dalam riwayat lainnya, beliau mengatakan: “Haram bagi siapa pun yang tidak mengetahui dalil yang saya pakai, untuk berfatwa dengan pendapat saya. Karena sesungguhnya kami adalah manusia, pendapat yang sekarang kami ucapkan, mungkin besok kami rujuk darinya (kami tinggalkan pendapat tersebut).”

    Al-Imam Malik rahimahullah mengatakan:

“Saya hanyalah manusia biasa yang mungkin salah dan mungkin benar. Maka telitilah pendapatku, apabila sesuai dengan Al-Qur`an dan As-Sunnah maka ambillah. Dan apabila tidak sesuai dengan keduanya maka tinggalkanlah.”

    Al-Imam Asy-Syafi’i rahimahullah mengatakan:

“Semua permasalahan yang sudah disebutkan dalam hadits Nabi shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam yang shahih dan berbeda dengan pendapat saya, maka saya rujuk dari pendapat tersebut baik ketika saya masih hidup atau pun meninggal dunia.”

    Al-Imam Ahmad rahimahullah mengatakan:

“Janganlah kalian taqlid kepadaku dan jangan pula taqlid kepada Malik, Asy-Syafi’i, Al-Auza’i, atau (Sufyan) Ats-Tsauri. Akan tetapi ambillah (dalil) dari mana mereka mengambil.”

Penutup

Para pembaca yang mulia, setelah kita lalui beberapa bahasan di atas maka dapatlah disimpulkan:

    Sebuah ibadah akan diterima di sisi Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala manakala terpenuhi dua syarat; ikhlas hanya karena Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala semata, dan sesuai dengan tuntunan Rasulullah shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam.
    Ibadah haji merupakan jenis ketaatan yang utama dan salah satu bentuk taqarrub yang termulia. Karena itu haruslah dipersembahkan untuk Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala semata, tanpa diiringi niatan duniawi, mencari nama, gelar, pamor, dan lain sebagainya.
    Perjalanan ke tanah suci sangat membutuhkan bekal ilmu. Karena dengan ilmulah, seseorang akan terbimbing dalam melakukan ibadah hajinya sesuai dengan tuntunan Rasulullah shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam. Lebih dari itu, akan terhindar dari berbagai macam bid’ah dan kesalahan sehingga hajinya pun sebagai haji mabrur yang tiada balasan baginya kecuali Al-Jannah.
    Seseorang yang akan menunaikan ibadah haji hendaknya mencari guru pembimbing yang berilmu lagi berpegang-teguh dengan Kitabullah dan Sunnah Rasulullah shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, agar haji yang ditunaikannya benar-benar di atas ilmu dan bashirah.
    Sikap ikut-ikutan dalam beribadah (termasuk ketika berhaji) merupakan perbuatan tercela. Demikian pula sikap taqlid buta terhadap tradisi, ormas, partai, atau pun tokoh/panutan/ustadz/kyai dan lain sebagainya.
    Para imam yang empat; Abu Hanifah, Malik, Asy-Syafi’i dan Ahmad telah bersepakat agar umat Islam kembali/merujuk kepada Sunnah Nabi shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam yang shahih di dalam menjalankan agamanya. Sebagaimana pula mereka telah bersepakat agar umat Islam meninggalkan pendapat mereka manakala tidak sesuai dengan Sunnah Nabi shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam yang shahih. Mudah-mudahan hidayah dan taufiq Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala selalu mengiringi kita semua, amin.

Wallahul Muwaffiq wal Hadi ila aqwamit thariq.
1. Yakni sabda Rasulullah shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam:

عُرِضَتْ عَلَيَّ اْلأُمَمُ، فَرَأَيْتُ النَّبِيَّ وَمَعَهُ الرَّهْطُ، وَالنَّبِيَّ وَمعَهُ الرَّجُلُ وَالرَّجُلاَنِ، وَالنَّبِيَّ وَلَيْسَ مَعَهُ أَحَدٌ ....

“Telah ditampakkan kepadaku umat-umat, maka aku melihat seorang nabi bersamanya kurang dari 10 orang, seorang nabi bersamanya satu atau dua orang, dan seorang nabi tidak ada seorang pun yang bersamanya….” (HR. Al-Bukhari no. 5705, 5752, dan Muslim no. 220, dari hadits Abdullah bin ‘Abbas radhiyallahu ‘anhuma)
2.  Perlu diingat, bukan berarti orang yang bertaqlid itu dihukumi sebagai musyrik.

Baca Artikel Lainnya : ALASAN TIDAK MELAKUKAN UMRAH BERULANG KALI SAAT BERADA DI MEKKAH

MENUNAIKAN HAJI, ANTARA SUNNAH ATAU TRADISI LINGKUNGAN

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

Gene Fullmer, a Brawling Middleweight Champion, Dies at 83

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.”

Advertisement

Advertisement

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.

Photo
 
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.”)

Photo
 
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

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

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

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

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

Police Rethink Long Tradition on Using Force
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.

Advertisement

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

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

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

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

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

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

Audio

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Audio

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

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

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

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

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

There was a little girl,

And she had a little curl

Audio

Right in the middle of her forehead.

When she was good,

She was very, very good.

But when she was bad, she was horrid.

Recently, the conservation center turned up another surprise.

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

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

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

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

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

HOBART, Tasmania — Few places seem out of reach for China’s leader, Xi Jinping, who has traveled from European capitals to obscure Pacific and Caribbean islands in pursuit of his nation’s strategic interests.

So perhaps it was not surprising when he turned up last fall in this city on the edge of the Southern Ocean to put down a long-distance marker in another faraway region, Antarctica, 2,000 miles south of this Australian port.

Standing on the deck of an icebreaker that ferries Chinese scientists from this last stop before the frozen continent, Mr. Xi pledged that China would continue to expand in one of the few places on earth that remain unexploited by humans.

He signed a five-year accord with the Australian government that allows Chinese vessels and, in the future, aircraft to resupply for fuel and food before heading south. That will help secure easier access to a region that is believed to have vast oil and mineral resources; huge quantities of high-protein sea life; and for times of possible future dire need, fresh water contained in icebergs.

It was not until 1985, about seven decades after Robert Scott and Roald Amundsen raced to the South Pole, that a team representing Beijing hoisted the Chinese flag over the nation’s first Antarctic research base, the Great Wall Station on King George Island.

But now China seems determined to catch up. As it has bolstered spending on Antarctic research, and as the early explorers, especially the United States and Australia, confront stagnant budgets, there is growing concern about its intentions.

China’s operations on the continent — it opened its fourth research station last year, chose a site for a fifth, and is investing in a second icebreaker and new ice-capable planes and helicopters — are already the fastest growing of the 52 signatories to the Antarctic Treaty. That gentlemen’s agreement reached in 1959 bans military activity on the continent and aims to preserve it as one of the world’s last wildernesses; a related pact prohibits mining.

Advertisement

But Mr. Xi’s visit was another sign that China is positioning itself to take advantage of the continent’s resource potential when the treaty expires in 2048 — or in the event that it is ripped up before, Chinese and Australian experts say.

“So far, our research is natural-science based, but we know there is more and more concern about resource security,” said Yang Huigen, director general of the Polar Research Institute of China, who accompanied Mr. Xi last November on his visit to Hobart and stood with him on the icebreaker, Xue Long, or Snow Dragon.

With that in mind, the polar institute recently opened a new division devoted to the study of resources, law, geopolitics and governance in Antarctica and the Arctic, Mr. Yang said.

Australia, a strategic ally of the United States that has strong economic relations with China, is watching China’s buildup in the Antarctic with a mix of gratitude — China’s presence offers support for Australia’s Antarctic science program, which is short of cash — and wariness.

“We should have no illusions about the deeper agenda — one that has not even been agreed to by Chinese scientists but is driven by Xi, and most likely his successors,” said Peter Jennings, executive director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute and a former senior official in the Australian Department of Defense.

“This is part of a broader pattern of a mercantilist approach all around the world,” Mr. Jennings added. “A big driver of Chinese policy is to secure long-term energy supply and food supply.”

That approach was evident last month when a large Chinese agriculture enterprise announced an expansion of its fishing operations around Antarctica to catch more krill — small, protein-rich crustaceans that are abundant in Antarctic waters.

“The Antarctic is a treasure house for all human beings, and China should go there and share,” Liu Shenli, the chairman of the China National Agricultural Development Group, told China Daily, a state-owned newspaper. China would aim to fish up to two million tons of krill a year, he said, a substantial increase from what it currently harvests.

Because sovereignty over Antarctica is unclear, nations have sought to strengthen their claims over the ice-covered land by building research bases and naming geographic features. China’s fifth station will put it within reach of the six American facilities, and ahead of Australia’s three.

Chinese mappers have also given Chinese names to more than 300 sites, compared with the thousands of locations on the continent with English names.

In the unspoken competition for Antarctica’s future, scientific achievement can also translate into influence. Chinese scientists are driving to be the first to drill and recover an ice core containing tiny air bubbles that provide a record of climate change stretching as far back as 1.5 million years. It is an expensive and delicate effort at which others, including the European Union and Australia, have failed.

In a breakthrough a decade ago, European scientists extracted an ice core nearly two miles long that revealed 800,000 years of climate history. But finding an ice core going back further would allow scientists to examine a change in the earth’s climate cycles believed to have occurred 900,000 to 1.2 million years ago.

China is betting it has found the best location to drill, at an area called Dome A, or Dome Argus, the highest point on the East Antarctic Ice Sheet. Though it is considered one of the coldest places on the planet, with temperatures of 130 degrees below zero Fahrenheit, a Chinese expedition explored the area in 2005 and established a research station in 2009.

“The international community has drilled in lots of places, but no luck so far,” said Xiao Cunde, a member of the first party to reach the site and the deputy director of the Institute for Climate Change at the Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences. “We think at Dome A we will have a straight shot at the one-million-year ice core.”

Mr. Xiao said China had already begun drilling and hoped to find what scientists are looking for in four to five years.

To support its Antarctic aspirations, China is building a sophisticated $300 million icebreaker that is expected to be ready in a few years, said Xia Limin, deputy director of the Chinese Arctic and Antarctic Administration in Beijing. It has also bought a high-tech fixed-wing aircraft, outfitted in the United States, for taking sensitive scientific soundings from the ice.

China has chosen the site for its fifth research station at Inexpressible Island, named by a group of British explorers who were stranded at the desolate site in 1912 and survived the winter by excavating a small ice cave.

Mr. Xia said the inhospitable spot was ideal because China did not have a presence in that part of Antarctica, and because the rocky site did not have much snow, making it relatively cheap to build there.

Anne-Marie Brady, a professor of political science at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand and the author of a soon-to-be-released book, “China as a Polar Great Power,” said Chinese scientists also believed they had a good chance of finding mineral and energy resources near the site.

“China is playing a long game in Antarctica and keeping other states guessing about its true intentions and interests are part of its poker hand,” she said. But she noted that China’s interest in finding minerals was presented “loud and clear to domestic audiences” as the main reason it was investing in Antarctica.

Because commercial drilling is banned, estimates of energy and mineral resources in Antarctica rely on remote sensing data and comparisons with similar geological environments elsewhere, said Millard F. Coffin, executive director of the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies in Hobart.

But the difficulty of extraction in such severe conditions and uncertainty about future commodity prices make it unlikely that China or any country would defy the ban on mining anytime soon.

Tourism, however, is already booming. Travelers from China are still a relatively small contingent in the Antarctic compared with the more than 13,000 Americans who visited in 2013, and as yet there are no licensed Chinese tour operators.

But that is about to change, said Anthony Bergin, deputy director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute. “I understand very soon there will be Chinese tourists on Chinese vessels with all-Chinese crew in the Antarctic,” he said.

 

Top News China’s Intents Are Questioned as It Builds in Antarctica

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

Pronovost, who played for the Red Wings, was not a prolific scorer, but he was a consummate team player with bruising checks and fearless bursts up the ice that could puncture a defense.

Marcel Pronovost, 84, Dies; Hall of Famer Shared in Five N.H.L. Titles
Frontline  An installment of this PBS program looks at the effects of Ebola on Liberia and other countries, as well as the origins of the outbreak.
Frontline

Frontline An installment of this PBS program looks at the effects of Ebola on Liberia and other countries, as well as the origins of the outbreak.

The program traces the outbreak to its origin, thought to be a tree full of bats in Guinea.

Review: ‘9-Man’ Is More Than a Game for Chinese-Americans

A variation of volleyball with nine men on each side is profiled Tuesday night on the World Channel in an absorbing documentary called “9-Man.”

Television

‘Hard Earned’ Documents the Plight of the Working Poor

“Hard Earned,” an Al Jazeera America series, follows five working-class families scrambling to stay ahead on limited incomes.

Review: ‘Frontline’ Looks at Missteps During the Ebola Outbreak

Mr. Mankiewicz, an Oscar-nominated screenwriter for “I Want to Live!,” also wrote episodes of television shows such as “Star Trek” and “Marcus Welby, M.D.”

Don Mankiewicz, Screenwriter in a Family Film Tradition, Dies at 93

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

Cher and Marc Jacobs

Mr. Haroche was a founder of Liberty Travel, which grew from a two-man operation to the largest leisure travel operation in the United States.

Gilbert Haroche, Builder of an Economy Travel Empire, Dies at 87

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.

Photo
 
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.

Advertisement

“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’

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

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

As he reflected on the festering wounds deepened by race and grievance that have been on painful display in America’s cities lately, President Obama on Monday found himself thinking about a young man he had just met named Malachi.

A few minutes before, in a closed-door round-table discussion at Lehman College in the Bronx, Mr. Obama had asked a group of black and Hispanic students from disadvantaged backgrounds what could be done to help them reach their goals. Several talked about counseling and guidance programs.

“Malachi, he just talked about — we should talk about love,” Mr. Obama told a crowd afterward, drifting away from his prepared remarks. “Because Malachi and I shared the fact that our dad wasn’t around and that sometimes we wondered why he wasn’t around and what had happened. But really, that’s what this comes down to is: Do we love these kids?”

Many presidents have governed during times of racial tension, but Mr. Obama is the first to see in the mirror a face that looks like those on the other side of history’s ledger. While his first term was consumed with the economy, war and health care, his second keeps coming back to the societal divide that was not bridged by his election. A president who eschewed focusing on race now seems to have found his voice again as he thinks about how to use his remaining time in office and beyond.

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

Obama Speaks of a ‘Sense of Unfairness’

Obama Speaks of a ‘Sense of Unfairness’

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

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

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

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

Advertisement

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Obama Finds a Bolder Voice on Race Issues
harga umrah akhir tahun di Bambu Apus jakarta
harga paket umrah maret di Kampung Melayu jakarta
harga umroh april di Ceger jakarta
biaya berangkat umroh maret bogor
biaya paket berangkat umrah ramadhan di Kebon Manggis jakarta
biaya paket umroh mei di Duren Sawit jakarta
promo berangkat umroh juni di Malaka Jaya jakarta
biaya berangkat umrah desember di Rawamangun jakarta
promo berangkat umrah juni di Utan Kayu Selatan jakarta
paket berangkat umroh mei di Setu jakarta
biaya berangkat umrah januari di Pulo Gadung jakarta
promo berangkat umrah desember di Utan Kayu Utara jakarta
harga umroh maret di Kelapa Dua Wetan jakarta
biaya paket berangkat umrah awal tahun di Matraman jakarta
promo berangkat umroh desember di Utan Kayu Utara jakarta
paket berangkat umroh ramadhan di Makasar jakarta
paket promo umroh april di Cipayung jakarta
harga paket umroh awal tahun di Kayu Manis jakarta
paket promo berangkat umrah juni di Cakung Timur jakarta
harga paket umrah akhir tahun di Balekambang jakarta
paket umrah akhir tahun di Kramat Jati jakarta
biaya berangkat umrah ramadhan di Pal Meriam jakarta
biaya umrah desember bekasi utara
biaya berangkat umrah ramadhan di Ujung Menteng jakarta
biaya paket umrah april di Cipinang Besar Utara jakarta
harga umrah desember di Cilangkap jakarta
biaya paket umrah april di Penggilingan jakarta
biaya berangkat umrah maret di Ciracas jakarta
promo berangkat umrah juni di Munjul jakarta
biaya paket berangkat umroh juni di Balekambang jakarta
biaya berangkat umroh april di Duren Sawit jakarta
harga paket berangkat umrah ramadhan di Rambutan jakarta
promo berangkat umroh ramadhan di Kramat Jati jakarta
promo berangkat umrah desember di Cipayung jakarta
paket umrah maret di Kampung Melayu jakarta
paket umrah februari di Pulo Gadung jakarta
paket promo berangkat umrah awal tahun di Cililitan jakarta
harga umroh awal tahun di Duren Sawit jakarta
promo umroh awal tahun di Cilangkap jakarta
biaya umroh akhir tahun di Balekambang jakarta
biaya paket umroh juni di Pondok Bambu jakarta
biaya paket umrah januari di Pulo Gadung jakarta
biaya paket berangkat umroh desember bekasi barat
harga umrah februari di Ciracas jakarta
promo umrah awal tahun di Lubang Buaya jakarta
promo berangkat umroh april di Cililitan jakarta
biaya paket berangkat umrah akhir tahun di Cipinang Cempedak jakarta
biaya umroh april depok
biaya paket umroh maret di Cililitan jakarta
biaya paket umroh mei bekasi utara
paket promo umrah mei di Cipinang jakarta
paket berangkat umrah maret di Bidaracina jakarta
paket berangkat umrah akhir tahun di Bambu Apus jakarta
paket berangkat umroh desember di Cakung jakarta
paket promo berangkat umrah akhir tahun di Jatinegara Kaum jakarta
promo berangkat umroh juni di Cililitan jakarta
promo berangkat umroh mei di Duren Sawit jakarta
harga berangkat umrah akhir tahun di Kampung Melayu jakarta
harga umrah awal tahun depok
paket promo umrah januari bekasi selatan
harga berangkat umroh desember di Kramat Jati jakarta
paket promo berangkat umrah februari di Rawamangun jakarta
biaya berangkat umroh ramadhan di Cipinang Cempedak jakarta
biaya berangkat umrah maret di Jatinegara jakarta
promo umrah april bekasi utara
harga umrah akhir tahun di Cilangkap jakarta
harga berangkat umroh akhir tahun di Balekambang jakarta
harga paket berangkat umroh mei di Pulogebang jakarta
biaya berangkat umroh april di Makasar jakarta
promo umroh maret di Pondok Kelapa jakarta
paket promo berangkat umroh awal tahun di Cipinang Cempedak jakarta
paket promo umrah maret di Duren Sawit jakarta
paket umroh awal tahun tangerang
paket umrah awal tahun bekasi timur
harga berangkat umroh ramadhan di Pinang Ranti jakarta
biaya paket berangkat umroh januari di Makasar jakarta
harga berangkat umrah ramadhan di Rawa Terate jakarta
biaya berangkat umrah april di Ciracas jakarta
paket umrah april di Bambu Apus jakarta
promo umroh februari di Cakung Timur jakarta
harga umroh desember di Malaka Jaya jakarta
promo berangkat umrah maret di Kalisari jakarta
promo umroh februari di Jatinegara Kaum jakarta
paket promo berangkat umroh juni di Kampung Tengah jakarta
paket promo umroh juni di Cipayung jakarta
paket berangkat umroh januari di Bali Mester jakarta
biaya paket umroh awal tahun di Cipinang jakarta
biaya paket umrah maret tangerang
paket umroh maret di Ciracas jakarta
paket berangkat umrah desember di Kramat Jati jakarta
promo berangkat umrah januari di Utan Kayu Selatan jakarta
promo berangkat umroh juni di Batuampar jakarta
promo umroh desember di Pinang Ranti jakarta
promo berangkat umroh awal tahun di Pondok Ranggon jakarta
biaya paket umroh akhir tahun di Rawa Terate jakarta
paket berangkat umrah april di Kayu Manis jakarta
paket umroh februari umrohdepag.com
paket umrah juni bekasi timur
promo umroh februari depok
paket promo umroh akhir tahun di Munjul jakarta