PAKET UMROH BULAN FEBRUARI MARET APRIL MEI 2018




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Orang-orang yang diundang Allah Ta’ala untuk berhaji dan berumrah diberikan kesempatan untuk melihat Rumah Allah, memegangnya atau bahkan menciumnya. Yang telah melihat dan memegang menjadi tahu persis bahwa ukuran rumah Allah Ta’ala tidak besar dan bukan terbuat dari emas. Padahal Dia kuasa untuk membuat rumah dari emas yang membuat manusia terpesona dan berduyun-duyun datang untuk melihatnya.

Rumah itu tidak besar dan bukan terbuat dari emas, namun di hari ini satu-satunya tempat yang tidak pernah sepi dari kunjungan manusia adalah Rumah Allah itu. Secara lahiriah rumah itu sederhana, tetapi secara batiniah rumah itu sangat mewah. Tidak ada yang lebih indah  di sisi Allah melebihi orang bertakwa. Pusaran manusia takwa yang tawaf, shalat atau menatap Ka’bah adalah hiasan termewah bagi Ka’bah. Dan di dasar Ka’bah itu tertanam batu-batu yang disusun oleh tangan orang yang lebih mengutamakan Allah di atas segala sesuatu, Nabi Ibrahim as. Fondasi penyanggah itulah permata terindah bagi Ka’bah.

Sebelum Allah Ta’ala memilih Nabi Ibrahim as menjadi Imam bagi segenap manusia dan memerintahkannya untuk menegakkan kembali fondasi Baitullah, Allah menguji beliau dengan beberapa perintah dan larangan. Dari ujian itu terlihat Ibrahim as lebih mengutamakan Allah swt dibandingkan apa pun juga.

Paling tidak ada tiga ujian besar yang membuktikan hal ini, yaitu: ujian dibakar hidup-hidup, ujian menempatkan keluarga di tempat yang tidak ada air dan kehidupan sama sekali; dan ujian menyembelih puteranya dengan tangannya sendiri.

Ujian pertama, dibakar hidup-hidup.

Imam Ibnu Katsir dalam Kitab Qishash al-Anbiyâ menceritakan bahwa Nabi Ibrahim as dilahirkan dan dibesarkan  di Babilonia. Di hari itu hanya ada tiga orang saja yang menyembah Allah swt yaitu: Ibrahim as, istrinya Sarah dan keponakannya Luth.

Orang-orang Babilonia pada waktu itu menyembah patung, bintang, bulan dan matahari. Nabi Ibrahim as mengajak kaumnya untuk meninggalkan sesembahan mereka dan hanya menyembah Allah saja. Kaumnya menolak.

Suatu hari ketika kaumya mengadakan perayaan hari besar agama mereka Ibrahim as menghancurkan berhala-berhala kecil yang ada di dalam kuil mereka dan menyisakan berhala yang terbesar. Ketika mereka kembali ke kuil, mereka mendapati tuhan-tuhan mereka sudah hancur berantakan. Maka tuduhan pun jatuh kepada Ibrahim as karena ia pernah mengancam akan melakukan makar terhadap tuhan-tuhan orang Babilonia itu. Al-Quran menceritakan dialog tersebut:

Mereka bertanya: “Apakah kamu, yang melakukan perbuatan ini terhadap tuhan-tuhan kami, Hai Ibrahim?”

Ibrahim menjawab: “Justru patung yang besar itulah yang melakukannya. Karena itu tanyakan kepada berhala-berhala(yang sudah hancur) itu, jika mereka dapat berbicara”.(QS. Al-Anbiya:62-63)

Terhenyaklah para penyembah berhala itu karena berhala-berhala yang selama ini mereka agungkan bukan saja tidak bisa membela diri bahkan tidak bisa berkata-kata sama sekali.

Bukannya insyaf  bahkan mereka bertambah marah.

Mereka berkata: “Bakarlah dia dan bantulah tuhan-tuhan kamu, jika kamu benar-benar hendak bertindak.”(QS.Al-Anbiya: 68)

Maka mereka pun bergegas hendak membakar Nabi Ibrahim as. Di sinilah datang ujian bagi beliau. Hanya ada dua pilihan, yaitu tetap berpegang teguh pada agama tauhid dengan konsekuensi dibakar hidup-hidup. Atau, bebas dari pembakaran asalkan melepaskan agama tauhid. Nabi Ibrahim memilih lebih baik dibakar.

Perlu diketahui bahwa tidak ada jaminan sebelumnya dari Allah bahwa Nabi Ibrahim as tidak mempan di bakar. Banyak Nabi lain yang terbunuh di jalan Allah, seperti Nabi Zakariya as dan Yahya as. Ucapan terakhir dari lisannya adalah ‘Cukup Allah bagiku. Dialah sebaik-baik pelindung’.

Dari Ibnu ‘Abbas ra, ia berkata,” Ucapan terakhir yang dikatakan oleh Ibrahim ketika dilemparkan ke dalam api adalah:

‘Cukuplah Allah bagiku dan Dia lah sebaik-baik pelindung’ .” (HR. Bukhari)

Datanglah pertolongan Allah swt.

Kami berfirman: “Hai api menjadi dinginlah, dan menjadi keselamatanlah bagi Ibrahim.” (QS.Al-Anbiya: 69)

Allah Ta’ala menyelamatkannya dari api.

Ujian kedua, menempatkan keluarga di tempat yang tidak ada air dan kehidupan sama sekali.

Nabi Ibrahim as diperintahkan Allah swt untuk menempatkan istrinya Hajar dan puteranya Ismail di lembah Makkah yang pada waktu itu tidak ada air dan tumbuhan sama sekali. Resiko pelaksanaan perintah ini adalah kematian istri dan puteranya yang masih bayi itu oleh keganasan alam. Setelah sampai di lembah Makkah, Ibrahim pun bermaksud kembali ke Baitul Maqdis. Ketika akan ditinggalkan Hajar bertanya mengapa Ibrahim as meninggalkan mereka, namun Ibrahim as terus berjalan tanpa menoleh dan tidak dijawab. Akhirnya Hajar bertanya,” Apakah Allah memerintahkannya padamu?” Ibrahim as menjawab,” Ya.” Mendengar jawaban tersebut Hajar berkata,” Kalau begitu pastilah Dia tidak menyia-nyiakan kami.” Lalu Hajar pun menggendong puteranya Isama’il berjalan menuruni lereng menuju perut lembah.

Nabi Ibrahim as terus berjalan, ketika sampai di al-Tsaniyyah, di tempat yang tidak terlihat oleh istrinya Nabi Ibrahim as menghadap ke arah perut lembah Mekkah dan berdoa dengan munajat yang sangat terkenal yang Allah abadikan dalam Surat Ibrahim:

” Wahai Tuhan kami, sesungguhnya aku telah menempatkan sebahagian keturunanku di lembah yang tidak mempunyai tumbuhan sama sekali di dekat rumah-Mu yang dimuliakan, Ya Tuhan kami (yang demikian itu) agar mereka mendirikan shalat, maka jadikanlah hati sebagian manusia cenderung kepada mereka dan berikanlah rezeki kepada mereka berupa buah-buahan, mudah-mudahan mereka bersyukur.” (QS. 14:37)

Setelah berdoa dan menyerahkan keluarganya kepada Allah Ta’ala Ibrahim as pun meninggalkan lembah Makkah dan kembali ke Baitul Maqdis, Palestina.

Allah pun menyelamatkan istri dan anaknya.

Ujian ketiga, perintah menyembelih puteranya Ismail dengan tangannya sendiri.

Bila disuruh memilih, lebih baik bagi seorang ayah untuk memotong lehernya sendiri dibandingkan memotong leher anaknya. Kalau pun harus membunuh anak, lebih ringan dengan meminjam tangan orang lain bukan dengan tangan sendiri. Tetapi Allah Ta’ala memerintahkan menyembelih puteranya dengan tangan sendiri.

Ketika isyarat mimpi itu datang, maka Nabi Ibrahim as bertanya kepada puteranya Isma’il yang berumur kira-kira 12 tahun. Al-Quran menceritakan:

Maka tatkala anak itu sampai pada umur sanggup berusaha bersama Ibrahim, Ibrahim berkata: “Hai anakku Sesungguhnya aku melihat dalam mimpi bahwa aku menyembelihmu. Maka fikirkanlah apa pendapatmu!” ia menjawab: “Hai bapakku, kerjakanlah apa yang diperintahkan kepadamu; insya Allah kamu akan mendapatiku termasuk orang-orang yang sabar.”(QS. Ash-Shaffat: 102)

Ketika keduanya telah berserah diri kepada Allah, Ismail telah dibaringkan di atas pelipisnya, pisau pun menempel dilehernya, kalau tidak ada pembatalan dari Allah maka anak itu pasti disembelih oleh Ibrahim as. Ketika itulah Allah al-Rahîm membatalkan penyembelihan tersebut.dan menggantikan Ismail dengan seekor kibasy yang besar.

Tiga ujian yang luar biasa! Setelah terlihat betapa Nabi Ibrahim lebih mengutamakan Allah Ta’ala dibandingkan apa pun juga maka Allah memilihnya menjadi pemimpin bagi umat manusia dan memerintahkannya untuk mendirikan kembali Rumah Allah Ta’ala.

Dengan tangan ketakwaannya ia bersama puternya Isma’il as meletakkan fondasi Ka’bah dan menegakkan bangunan Rumah Allah. Sampai hari kiamat nanti batu-batu yang ditanam Ibrahim as di fondasi Ka’bah akan tetap tertancap di sana.

Di sana, Bumi Makkah dan Baitullahnya merekam getaran cinta dan pengorbanan Nabi Ibrahim as yang telah memberikan yang terbaik bagi Allah Ta’ala sebagai bukti ketakwaannya.

Di sini, di hari ini, keadaannya jauh berbeda, kebanyakan kita hanya memberikan ‘sisa-sisa’ untuk Allah, sisa harta, sisa tenaga, sisa waktu, sisa hati dan sisa pikiran padahal Allah swt telah memberikan segala yang terbaik untuk kita. kita bergantung kepada Allah untuk setiap butir nasi yang kita makan, untuk setiap tetes air yang kita minum, untuk setiap desah nafas, untuk setiap detak jantung dan untuk setiap denyut kehidupan.

Setiap kita sedang membangun ketakwaan kepada Allah di dalam hati kita. Rumah yang dibangun dengan puing-puing sisa cepat atau lambat hanya akan menjadi tumpukan puing-puing. Demikian pula ketakwaan yang dibangun dengan puing-puing sisa harta, sisa tenaga, sisa waktu, sisa hati dan sisa fikiran cepat atau lambat hanya kaan menjadi puing-puing ketakwaan. Ketakwaan sejati hanya dapat ditegakkan  dengan ‘mengutamakan Allah di atas segala sesuatu’.

Sumber : http://www.mqtravel.co.id

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BELAJAR DARI NABI IBRAHIM AS

Oleh IRWAN JULIANTO

Saco-Indonesia.com,- Satu demi satu misteri penyebab diabetes melitus tipe 2 mulai terungkap. Para peneliti Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) baru saja memublikasikan temuan mereka bahwa ada satu jenis protein atau hormon khusus yang ditemukan dalam sel-sel lemak yang terbukti membantu mengatur bagaimana gula darah dikendalikan dan dimetabolisasi untuk energi di dalam hati. Ini dikatakan akan membuka salah satu jalan bagi pengobatan diabetes tipe 2 yang menjangkiti ratusan juta penduduk dunia.

Diabetes tipe ini tidak bergantung pada insulin dan terjadi pada orang-orang dewasa (adult onset), berbeda dengan diabetes tipe 1 yang bergantung pada insulin dan terjadi sejak bayi. Diabetes tipe 2 dapat didefinisikan sebagai suatu kelainan metabolik yang ditandai dengan tingginya kadar glukosa darah akibat terjadinya kekurangan dan resistansi insulin. Kemampuan sel-sel beta pankreas berkurang bahkan rusak sehingga pasien mulai mengalami diabetes, dengan gejala-gejala seperti banyak makan (polifagia), banyak minum (polidipsia), dan banyak kencing (poliuria).

Jumlah kasus diabetes tipe 2 hampir sepuluh kali lipat kasus diabetes tipe 1 yang terjadi karena kerusakan pankreas sejak bayi. Hingga sekarang diyakini bahwa kegemukan menjadi penyebab utama terjadinya diabetes tipe 2 pada orang-orang yang memang secara genetis sudah membawa gen pembawa penyakit ini.

Dua-tiga dekade lalu sudah diketahui adanya hubungan antara kegemukan dan diabetes tipe 2, tetapi belum jelas apakah kegemukan memicu diabetes jenis ini ataukah hanya mempercepat terjadinya. Riset di Amerika Serikat menunjukkan, orang-orang dengan obesitas tiga kali lebih mudah terjangkit diabetes dibandingkan dengan mereka yang tidak kegemukan. Makin tua seseorang, risiko terkena diabetes tipe 2 juga kian besar. Orang-orang berusia 65 tahun, misalnya, lebih mungkin terserang dibandingkan dengan mereka yang berusia di bawah 20 tahun.

Diabetes tipe 2 juga diketahui erat hubungannya dengan faktor keturunan. Jika dalam keluarga Anda ada yang mengidap diabetes, kemungkinan Anda terjangkit diabetes cukup besar.

Jika ayah atau ibu Anda dan kakek atau nenek serta bibi atau paman Anda menderita penyakit ini, peluang Anda mengalami diabetes tipe 2 mendekati 85 persen. Jika ayah dan nenek mengidap diabetes, risiko Anda cuma 60 persen. Jika hanya ibu yang menderita, maka 22 persen risikonya bagi Anda akan menderita pula.

Diabetes tipe 2 umumnya terjadi pada orang dewasa akibat perubahan gaya hidup, berkurangnya kegiatan jasmani, dan jenis makanan/minuman yang serba fast food dan soft drink. Namun, saat ini diabetes tipe 2 ditemukan juga pada anak- anak dan remaja di Asia.

Penyakit kronis ini diyakini menyebabkan usia harapan hidup bagi penderitanya sepuluh tahun lebih pendek dibandingkan dengan orang-orang non-diabetik akibat komplikasi penyakit jantung koroner, stroke, dan gagal ginjal. Diabetes tipe 2 juga menyebabkan kecacatan, seperti kebutaan akibat komplikasi retinopati dan meningkatnya risiko sebesar 20 kali amputasi tungkai bawah. Pengidap diabetes ini mudah lupa dan mengalami impotensi.

Multipatologi

Selama berpuluh tahun para peneliti dan dokter dihadapkan pada misteri: tidak semua orang yang kegemukan atau resistan terhadap insulin mengidap diabetes tipe 2. Bahkan, cukup banyak orang yang amat gemuk tak terserang penyakit ini. Para ilmuwan lalu berteori bahwa ada suatu faktor yang tak dikenal yang terlibat dalam metabolisme glukosa dalam hati, dan mungkin kehadiran atau absennya elemen ini, dapat menentukan siapa yang terkena diabetes tipe 2.

Dalam jurnal Cell Metabolism edisi 7 Mei 2013, para peneliti HSPH mengungkapkan, dunia ilmiah sudah lama mengetahui bahwa salah satu peristiwa kunci bagi berkembangnya diabetes tipe 2 adalah produksi glukosa yang tak terkontrol dari hati.

”Namun, mekanisme yang mendasarinya tetap masih sukar dipahami,” kata Gökhan S Hotamisligil, Kepala Departemen Genetika dan Penyakit-penyakit Kompleks, dan JS Simmons, profesor genetika dan metabolisme di HSPH. ”Kami sekarang berhasil mengidentifikasi aP2 sebagai suatu hormon baru yang dikeluarkan dari sel-sel lemak yang mengontrol fungsi kritis ini.”

Lewat percobaan dengan mencit di laboratorium memakai teknologi mutakhir ditemukan bahwa jika jumlah aP2 berlebih, timbullah diabetes. Sebaliknya, jika hormon ini diblok atau di- switch-off, produksi glukosa dari hati dapat dikontrol lebih baik sehingga manifestasinya berupa diabetes tipe 2 dan penyakit-penyakit metabolik lainnya pun dapat dicegah.

Kemampuan sebuah organ—dalam hal ini jaringan lemak—begitu langsung dan menentukan dalam mengendalikan tindakan organ lain, yaitu hati, amat menarik, kata Hotamisligil. ”Kami menduga sistem komunikasi antara jaringan lemak dan hati telah berevolusi untuk membantu sel-sel lemak memberi komando kepada hati untuk menyuplai tubuh dengan glukosa pada saat-saat terjadinya kekurangan nutrien. Betapa pun, ketika sel-sel lemak yang membesar kehilangan kendali terhadap sinyal ini karena kondisi obesitas, tingkat aP2 dalam darah naik, glukosa diguyurkan ke dalam aliran darah dan tidak dapat dibersihkan oleh jaringan-jaringan lain. Hasilnya adalah tingginya kadar glukosa darah dan diabetes 2.”

Guru Besar FK UI yang mendalami diabetes, Sidartawan Soegondo, menyatakan, temuan para ilmuwan Harvard ini merupakan sumbangan berarti bagi perkembangan ilmu kedokteran. ”Akhir-akhir ini saya mengajarkan bahwa diabetes tipe 2 adalah penyakit dengan multipatologi,” ujarnya ketika dihubungi pada Selasa (21/5). Kini, selain organ pankreas, diabetes tipe 2 diketahui pula dipicu juga oleh metabolisme sembilan organ lain, antara lain hati dan ginjal.

 

Sumber :Kompas Cetak/http://health.kompas.com/read/2013/05/22/06524140/Harapan.Baru.untuk.Terapi.Diabetes.Tipe.2
Editor :Liwon Maulana
Ada Harapan Baru untuk Terapi Diabetes Tipe 2

saco-indonesia.com, Masa penahanan terhadap Direktur Utama PT Indoguna Utama Maria Elizabeth Liman telah diperpanjang. Maria yang telah menjadi tersangka dalam suap pengurusan kuota impor daging sapi di Kementerian Pertanian itu telah diperpanjang penahanannya 40 hari ke depan.

"Iya, ibu tadi telah menandatangani masa perpanjangan penahanannya untuk 40 hari ke depan, per tanggal 5 Januari hingga 14 Februari mendatang," ujar penasihat hukum tersangka, Denny Kailimang di Gedung KPK, Jakarta, Jumat (3/1).

Maria telah ditahan oleh KPK pada Selasa (17/12) lalu, usai diperiksa sebagai tersangka. Saat itu, Maria telah mengungkapkan dirinya adalah korban penipuan Elda Devianne Adiningrat dan Ahmad Fathanah.

Pengacaranya, Denny Kailimang juga mengatakan inisiatif pengajuan kouta impor datang dari Elda dan Fathanah.

"Memang awalnya itu adalah atas dasar inisiatif Elda. Elda juga bisa membantu. Tapi kenyataannya, tak bisa bantu. Setelah itu tak ada hubungan antara Maria dan Elda," ungkap Denny.

KPK juga telah menetapkan tersangka kepada Maria Elizabeth Liman pada Jumat, (19/4). Penetapan tersangka itu setelah KPK mengembangkan penyidikan kasus yang sebelumnya juga sudah menjerat mantan Presiden PKS Luthfi Hasan Ishaaq, Ahmad Fathanah dan dua Direktur PT Indoguna Utama, Juard Effendi dan Arya Abdi Effendi.

Maria disangkakan telah melanggar Pasal 5 ayat 1 huruf a atau b atau Pasal 13 Undang-undang (UU) Nomor 31 Tahun 1999 yang telah diubah dengan UU Nomor 20 Tahun 2001 juncto Pasal 5 ayat ke-1 KUHP. Diduga Maria turut inisiatif memberi uang suap dalam kasus tersebut.


Editor : Dian sukmawati

MASA PENAHANAN MARIA ELIZABETH TELAH DIPERPANJANG KPK

saco-indonesia.com, Cristian Tello telah menjadi bintang dalam kemenangan 4-1 yang telah diraih oleh Barcelona atas Levante di perempat final Copa Del Rey tengah pekan lalu (22/01). Pemain 22 tahun ini telah memborong tiga gol kemenangan ke gawang tim tuan rumah yang telah dikawal oleh Javi Jimenez.

Atas torehan hattricknya tersebut, Tello juga tak lupa berterima kasih kepada rekan setimnya, Lionel Messi. Pemain asal Argentina yang telah menjadi kontributor assist bagi seluruh tiga gol yang telah dicetak oleh Tello.

"Leo telah membuat saya berada dalam posisi bebas di depan gawang sebanyak tiga kali, saya benar-benar berterima kasih kepadanya. Memiliki rekan seperti dirinya sungguh sangat luar biasa," kata Tello.

"Mencetak tiga gol akan dapat memberi anda kepercayaan diri yang luar biasa. Saya juga senang karena bisa memanfaatkan kesempatan yang telah diberikan."

Tiga gol Tello telah memudahkan tugas Barca saat ganti menjamu Levante di Camp Nou pekan depan. Bisa dibilang kini satu kaki Blaugrana telah berada di semifinal Copa Del Rey


Editor : Dian Sukmawati

TANPA MESSI , SAYA TAKKAN CETAK HATTRICK

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

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

ay 4, 2015 ‘Game of Thrones’ Q&A: Keisha Castle-Hughes on the Tao of the Sand Snakes

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

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

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

Photo
 
Credit Peter Arkle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Take the Money and Run

Late in April, after Native American actors walked off in disgust from the set of Adam Sandler’s latest film, a western sendup that its distributor, Netflix, has defended as being equally offensive to all, a glow of pride spread through several Native American communities.

Tantoo Cardinal, a Canadian indigenous actress who played Black Shawl in “Dances With Wolves,” recalled thinking to herself, “It’s come.” Larry Sellers, who starred as Cloud Dancing in the 1990s television show “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman,” thought, “It’s about time.” Jesse Wente, who is Ojibwe and directs film programming at the TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto, found himself encouraged and surprised. There are so few film roles for indigenous actors, he said, that walking off the set of a major production showed real mettle.

But what didn’t surprise Mr. Wente was the content of the script. According to the actors who walked off the set, the film, titled “The Ridiculous Six,” included a Native American woman who passes out and is revived after white men douse her with alcohol, and another woman squatting to urinate while lighting a peace pipe. “There’s enough history at this point to have set some expectations around these sort of Hollywood depictions,” Mr. Wente said.

The walkout prompted a rhetorical “What do you expect from an Adam Sandler film?,” and a Netflix spokesman said that in the movie, blacks, Mexicans and whites were lampooned as well. But Native American actors and critics said a broader issue was at stake. While mainstream portrayals of native peoples have, Mr. Wente said, become “incrementally better” over the decades, he and others say, they remain far from accurate and reflect a lack of opportunities for Native American performers. What’s more, as Native Americans hunger for representation on screen, critics say the absence of three-dimensional portrayals has very real off-screen consequences.

“Our people are still healing from historical trauma,” said Loren Anthony, one of the actors who walked out. “Our youth are still trying to figure out who they are, where they fit in this society. Kids are killing themselves. They’re not proud of who they are.” They also don’t, he added, see themselves on prime time television or the big screen. Netflix noted while about five people walked off the “The Ridiculous Six” set, 100 or so Native American actors and extras stayed.

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But in interviews, nearly a dozen Native American actors and film industry experts said that Mr. Sandler’s humor perpetuated decades-old negative stereotypes. Mr. Anthony said such depictions helped feed the despondency many Native Americans feel, with deadly results: Native Americans have the highest suicide rate out of all the country’s ethnicities.

The on-screen problem is twofold, Mr. Anthony and others said: There’s a paucity of roles for Native Americans — according to the Screen Actors Guild in 2008 they accounted for 0.3 percent of all on-screen parts (those figures have yet to be updated), compared to about 2 percent of the general population — and Native American actors are often perceived in a narrow way.

In his Peabody Award-winning documentary “Reel Injun,” the Cree filmmaker Neil Diamond explored Hollywood depictions of Native Americans over the years, and found they fell into a few stereotypical categories: the Noble Savage, the Drunk Indian, the Mystic, the Indian Princess, the backward tribal people futilely fighting John Wayne and manifest destiny. While the 1990 film “Dances With Wolves” won praise for depicting Native Americans as fully fleshed out human beings, not all indigenous people embraced it. It was still told, critics said, from the colonialists’ point of view. In an interview, John Trudell, a Santee Sioux writer, actor (“Thunderheart”) and the former chairman of the American Indian Movement, described the film as “a story of two white people.”

“God bless ‘Dances with Wolves,’ ” Michael Horse, who played Deputy Hawk in “Twin Peaks,” said sarcastically. “Even ‘Avatar.’ Someone’s got to come save the tribal people.”

Dan Spilo, a partner at Industry Entertainment who represents Adam Beach, one of today’s most prominent Native American actors, said while typecasting dogs many minorities, it is especially intractable when it comes to Native Americans. Casting directors, he said, rarely cast them as police officers, doctors or lawyers. “There’s the belief that the Native American character should be on reservations or riding a horse,” he said.

“We don’t see ourselves,” Mr. Horse said. “We’re still an antiquated culture to them, and to the rest of the world.”

Ms. Cardinal said she was once turned down for the role of the wife of a child-abusing cop because the filmmakers felt that casting her would somehow be “too political.”

Another sore point is the long run of white actors playing American Indians, among them Burt Lancaster, Rock Hudson, Audrey Hepburn and, more recently, Johnny Depp, whose depiction of Tonto in the 2013 film “Lone Ranger,” was viewed as racist by detractors. There are, of course, exceptions. The former A&E series “Longmire,” which, as it happens, will now be on Netflix, was roundly praised for its depiction of life on a Northern Cheyenne reservation, with Lou Diamond Phillips, who is of Cherokee descent, playing a Northern Cheyenne man.

Others also point to the success of Mr. Beach, who played a Mohawk detective in “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” and landed a starring role in the forthcoming D C Comics picture “Suicide Squad.” Mr. Beach said he had come across insulting scripts backed by people who don’t see anything wrong with them.

“I’d rather starve than do something that is offensive to my ancestral roots,” Mr. Beach said. “But I think there will always be attempts to drawn on the weakness of native people’s struggles. The savage Indian will always be the savage Indian. The white man will always be smarter and more cunning. The cavalry will always win.”

The solution, Mr. Wente, Mr. Trudell and others said, lies in getting more stories written by and starring Native Americans. But Mr. Wente noted that while independent indigenous film has blossomed in the last two decades, mainstream depictions have yet to catch up. “You have to stop expecting for Hollywood to correct it, because there seems to be no ability or desire to correct it,” Mr. Wente said.

There have been calls to boycott Netflix but, writing for Indian Country Today Media Network, which first broke news of the walk off, the filmmaker Brian Young noted that the distributor also offered a number of films by or about Native Americans.

The furor around “The Ridiculous Six” may drive more people to see it. Then one of the questions that Mr. Trudell, echoing others, had about the film will be answered: “Who the hell laughs at this stuff?”

Native American Actors Work to Overcome a Long-Documented Bias

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.

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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.”

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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.”

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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

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.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bass nodded.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.”)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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