昔の政治家なら，そんなとき，和歌を詠んだ．筒井順慶が秀吉に献上した井戸 茶碗が五つに割れてしまった．暴君の顔色がみるみる変わる．割った誰それの 首が飛ぶのは火を見るより明らか．とそのとき，細川幽斎がおもむろにこんな 歌を詠んだ．
幽斎の歌の下の句は咎負い比丘尼の決まり文句「とがをばおれが 負ひにけら しな」を借りる．高貴な女性のそばにいて，そのあやまちをすべて引き受ける， そんな役目の尼さんがいたらしい．ともかく，幽斎の気転に寄って一人の命が 救われた．
たばこを吸う男性は，吸わない男性に比べて４０歳以降の余命が約３・５年短 くなることが，厚生労働省研究班（研究班長・上島弘嗣滋賀医大教授）の大規 模な疫学調査でわかった．
１９８０年に，全国３００か所の保健所で健診を受けた男女約１万人（平均 年齢約５０歳）を対象に，喫煙習慣の有無や喫煙量を質問し，１９９９年まで 追跡調査．亡くなった約２０００人の年齢と喫煙習慣から平均余命を算出した．
その結果，８０年時点でたばこを吸っていた男性の場合，４０歳時の平均余 命は３８・６年で，吸わない男性の４２・１年に比べ，３・５年短かった．１ 日に２箱以上吸う男性の余命は３８・１年で，非喫煙者との差が４年に拡大し た．
６５歳男性では，喫煙者の余命は１６・８年で非喫煙者は１９・３年．女性 の場合，吸う人の４０歳時の余命は４３・４年，吸わない人は４５・６年で， いずれも喫煙者が短くなった．
８０年の時点では，調査した男性の喫煙率は６２％と高く，その後も高率で 喫煙を続けたとみられる．一方，途中で禁煙に転じた人がいる可能性もあり， 研究班では，仮に誰も禁煙しなかったら余命格差はさらに広がったとみている． 調査時，「禁煙した」と答えた人の余命は，大半の世代で喫煙者と非喫煙者 の間の値となり，禁煙が余命を延ばす効果も確認された．
喫煙が寿命を縮めるのは，肺がんや脳卒中，心筋梗塞（こうそく）による死 亡率が高まるためで，研究を主導した村上義孝・滋賀医大特任講師は「平均寿 命が３・５年短くなることは，ほぼ２０年前の寿命に逆戻りしたことに匹敵す る．たばこの影響は大きい」と話している．
海外では，喫煙が寿命を短くする数値を示した研究がある．日本では，喫煙 で肺がん，心筋梗塞の死亡率が高まるとの報告はあるが寿命への影響を調べた 研究はなかった．２００５年，日本人の喫煙と寿命の関係についてただした民 主党衆院議員の質問主意書に対し，政府は「数値等の資料がないため，回答は 困難」と答弁書を出している．
国の調査では，２００５年の日本人の平均寿命（０歳時の平均余命）は男性 ７８・５６歳，女性８５・５２歳．この差にも，喫煙習慣の男女差が大きく影 響していると研究班ではみている．
新任のフランスの大統領は困難に直面した時順次開封するよう，前任者から三 通の封筒を渡される．一通目に言い訳として「前任の大統領の責任」，二通目 に「世界的な不況のため」．そして三通目に「三つの封筒を用意しなさい」─ ─．
ミレニアムリテイリングとの統合を果たす一方で売却せざるを得なかった子会 社についても触れておかなければならない．総合ディスカウントストア，ダイ クマの話だ．
三十年前の資本提携時には成長が期待された．だが所得階層ごとに使う店が異 なる諸外国と違い，一人の消費者が高級専門店でも百円ショップでも買い物を する日本では，低価格戦略だけでは難しい．
マイナス情報も包み隠さず，全データを開示し，示された価格をそのまま受け 入れた．2002年（平成14年）5月売却．「安い」という社内の声にはこう答え た．
交渉で値をつり上げたしわ寄せが売却後，従業員に及ぶようなことがあったら 忍びない．これまで一緒に働いてきた仲間たちへのせめてもの感謝の気持ちだっ た．
紫綬褒章をくれるという話が出た時，城山さんは文化庁に断わりの電話を入れ た．…「戦前，等級のない文化勲章がつくられたのに，戦後，等級が事実上で きたのです．紫綬褒章をもらい，文化功労者になり，最後に文化勲章という具 合にね．堕落です．」役人に査定してもらってありがたくいただくなんて，真っ 平だった．
Einstein, Albert; "Einstein: His Life and Universe" (Simon & Schuster; $32); Isaacson, Walter; Biographies; Physicists; The Theory of Relativity;
Walter Isaacson's thorough, comprehensive, affectionate new biography, "Einstein: His Life and Universe" (Simon & Schuster; $32), relates how, in 1931, during the fifty-one-year-old scientist's second visit to America, he and his second wife, Elsa, attended, in California, a seance at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Upton Sinclair. He must have allowed a little skepticism to creep into his polite conversation, for "Mrs. Sinclair challenged his views on science and spirituality." His own wife overheard and indignantly intervened, telling their hostess, "You know, my husband has the greatest mind in the world." Mrs. Sinclair didn't dispute the assertion, replying, "Yes, I know, but surely he doesn't know everything." On the same excursion, Einstein, at his own request, met Charlie Chaplin, who, as they arrived at the premiere of "City Lights," said, of the applauding public, "They cheer me because they all understand me, and they cheer you because no one understands you."
In 1905, Einstein, a twenty-six-year-old patent clerk in Bern,
Switzerland, had produced in rapid succession five scientific papers
In 1903, Einstein had married a woman three years older than he, Mileva Mari?, a lame, homely Serbian he had met when both were students at the Zurich Polytechnic. It emerged only in 1986 that before their marriage the couple became parents of a girl, Lieserl, whom Einstein probably never saw and whose fate is unknown. A legitimate son, Hans Albert, was born in 1904. Einstein had not been able to secure any teaching job; his cavalier and even defiant attitude toward academic authority worked against his early signs of promise. He had left Germany and renounced his citizenship at the age of sixteen, and for four years was too poor to buy Swiss citizenship, depending for sustenance on a monthly stipend from his mother's family and some fees from private tutorials. In the pinch, Marcel Grossmann, a brilliant math student whose meticulous lecture notes helped Einstein get high grades at the Zurich Polytechnic, managed to secure him a job at the Swiss Patent Office, in Bern. His long stint there figures, in the conventional Einstein mythology, as the absurd ordeal of a neglected genius, but Isaacson thinks it might have been a good thing:
So it was that Albert Einstein would end up spending the most creative seven years of his life?even after he had written the papers that reoriented physics?arriving at work at 8 A.M., six days a week, and examining patent applications.…Yet it would be wrong to think that poring over applications for patents was drudgery.…Every day, he would do thought experiments based on theoretical premises, sniffing out the underlying realities. Focusing on real-life questions, he later said, "stimulated me to see the physical ramifications of theoretical concepts."
"Had he been consigned instead to the job of an assistant to a professor," Isaacson points out, "he might have felt compelled to churn out safe publications and be overly cautious in challenging accepted notions." Special relativity has a flavor of the patent office; one of the theory's charms for the fascinated public was the practical apparatus of its exposition, involving down-to-earth images like passing trains equipped with reflecting mirrors on their ceilings, and measuring rods that magically shrink with speed from the standpoint of a stationary observer, and clocks that slow as they accelerate?counterintuitive effects graspable with little more math than plane geometry.
The general theory of relativity took longer, from 1907 to 1915, and came harder. Generalizing from the special theory's assumption of uniform velocity to cases of accelerated motion, and incorporating Newton's laws of gravity into a field theory that corrected his assumption of instant gravitational effect across any distance, led Einstein into advanced areas of mathematics where he felt at sea. He turned to his invaluable friend Marcel Grossmann, now chairman of the math department at the Zurich Polytechnic; Isaacson quotes him as saying, "Grossmann, you've got to help me or I will go crazy." After consulting the literature, Grossmann "recommended the non-Euclidean geometry that had been devised by Bernhard Riemann." Einstein, beginning with the insight that acceleration and gravity exert an equivalent force, worked for years to find the equations that would describe
1. How a gravitational field acts on matter, telling it how to move.
2. And in turn, how matter generates gravitational fields in spacetime, telling it how to curve.
"I have gained enormous respect for mathematics," he wrote a friend, "whose more subtle parts I considered until now, in my ignorance, as pure luxury!" For a time, he discarded Riemannian tensors, but eventually returned to them, and, to quote Isaacson, "in the throes of one of the most concentrated frenzies of scientific creativity in history," he felt close enough to the solution to schedule four Thursday lectures at the Prussian Academy, in Berlin, which would unveil his "triumphant revision of Newton's universe." Then, heightening the suspense, another player entered the game. Einstein, still a little short of the full solution and beset with nervous stomach pains, showed one of his lectures to David Hilbert, "who was not only a better pure mathematician than Einstein, he also had the advantage of not being as good a physicist." Hilbert told Einstein that he was ready to lay out his own "axiomatic solution to your great problem," and the physicist battled to establish the priority of his theory even as he was putting the last, perfecting touches into his fourth and final lecture. It all came down to:
Rμν − ½ gμνR ＝ 8πTμν
The other giants of physics in the first half of the twentieth century applauded. Paul Dirac called general relativity "probably the greatest scientific discovery ever made," and Max Born termed it "the greatest feat of human thinking about nature, the most amazing combination of philosophical penetration, physical intuition and mathematical skill." In 1919, the discovery was given empirical proof when Arthur Eddington, the director of the Cambridge Observatory, led an expedition to equatorial realms to observe a solar eclipse and see if, as Einstein's field equations predicted, stars near the sun's rim would be apparently displaced 1.7 arc seconds. With a little massaging from Eddington, they were. Einstein, asked what his reaction would have been if the experiment had showed his theory to be wrong, serenely replied, "Then I would have been sorry for the dear Lord; the theory is correct."
Though Einstein was to reap many honors (including the 1921 Nobel, belatedly, for his early work on the photoelectrical effect) and was to serve humanity as a genial icon and fount of humanist wisdom for three more decades, he never again made a significant contribution to the ongoing life of the physical sciences. Beginning around 1918, he devoted himself to a quest even more solitary and visionary than his relativity triumphs. "We seek," he said in his Nobel Prize lecture, "a mathematically unified field theory in which the gravitational field and the electromagnetic field are interpreted only as different components or manifestations of the same uniform field." Quantum theory, with its built-in uncertainties and paradoxes, struck him as a spooky violation of physical realism. "The more successes the quantum theory enjoys," he lamented to a friend in 1912, "the sillier it looks." In an autobiographical sketch published in 1949, he described his frustrated attempts "to adapt the theoretical foundation of physics" to quantum science: "It was as if the ground had been pulled out from under one, with no firm foundation to be seen anywhere upon which one could have built," leaving "an intermediate state of physics without a uniform basis for the whole, a state that -- although unsatisfactory -- is far from having been overcome."
On the second floor of Wal-Mart's headquarters, in Bentonville, Arkansas, is a windowless room called Action Alley. In the Wal-Mart idiom, the term "Action Alley" usually refers to the main aisle of the company's two thousand Supercenters?the stores that have upended the retail business by selling enormous quantities of groceries and imported goods at prices that competitors find difficult or impossible to match. At the "home office," as Bentonville is known, Action Alley is the company's war room, a communications center that was set up and is staffed by Washington-based operatives from Edelman, a public-relations firm that advises companies on issues of "reputation management." Wal-Mart corporate culture is parsimonious except in the matter of executive compensation, but, according to a source, the company has been paying Edelman roughly ten million dollars annually to renovate its reputation.
Twenty years ago, Wal-Mart was widely viewed as a scrappy regional retailer, and its founder, Sam Walton, an Ozarks eccentric with a vision of super-discounting, was praised for intuiting the needs of his customers, and for maintaining high morale among his workers. When Walton retired, in 1988 (he died in 1992), the company had revenues of sixteen billion dollars. Today, Wal-Mart is the second-largest company in the world in terms of revenue?only ExxonMobil is bigger. Its revenues last year came to more than three hundred and fifteen billion dollars, with profits of more than eleven billion, and it has developed a reputation as a worldwide colossus that provides poor pay and miserly benefits to its 1.8 million employees. The image of the company is not helped by the immoderation of Sam Walton's widow and children, who together control forty per cent of Wal-Mart's outstanding shares, and who are worth roughly eighty billion dollars; they are, by a striking margin, the richest family in America. (They are worth more than Warren Buffett and Bill Gates combined.)
Dach, who is fifty-two, is the son of Holocaust survivors and grew up in Queens. He is wiry, with wavy graying hair and a pointed sense of humor -- an improbable addition to the ranks of Wal-Mart's senior managers. He is not as impolitic as his fictional counterpart, although Buckley told me that Dach's friends are "bemused that he ended up in public relations, because, roughly speaking, he was the least tactful person on the planet."
Upon graduating from Yale, Dach worked for a time for the National Audubon Society, and then for the Environmental Defense Fund, and he became involved in Democratic politics. (He has worked in seven Presidential campaigns.) After the 1988 race, the public-relations expert John Scanlon, who was volunteering on the Dukakis campaign, recommended Dach to Edelman. He went to work there and stayed for seventeen years, interrupted quadrennially for campaigns. In 2000, he managed the program at the Democratic National Convention for the Gore campaign. At Edelman, he did public relations for a range of corporate interests, along with Michael Deaver, Ronald Reagan's former image-maker, who also works for Edelman in Washington.
One of Dach's first big clients was Starkist, a division of Heinz, which was being accused by environmentalists of slaughtering dolphins during tuna harvests. Richard Edelman told me that Dach worked to bring the two sides together, and helped create the dolphin-safe tuna campaign. Dach maintained his ties with the environmental movement throughout his career at Edelman. In 1995, he helped to plan a seminar for petroleum-industry executives on ways to counter the bad publicity that comes with oil spills, while at the same time serving on the board of the National Audubon Society.
Ethical ambidexterity is no barrier to success in the public-relations field, particularly in Washington. Many prominent Democrats spend the years between national elections representing corporate clients: the political consultant Carter Eskew, who has worked for such Democratic politicians as Al Gore and Christopher Dodd, also worked for the tobacco industry; Mike McCurry, the former Clinton White House press secretary, represents the telecommunications industry in its fight against, among others, Democratic bloggers on issues of Internet access. Democrats and Republicans frequently come together to build bipartisan lobbying firms that seek corporate clients; Clinton's onetime counsel Jack Quinn, who had as a client the international fugitive Marc Rich, for whom he helped arrange a Presidential pardon, built a successful firm with Ed Gillespie, the former Republican National Committee chairman.
Dach and Edelman have been innovators in their field. A press release issued in 2000 outlines a strategy that Dach has used repeatedly to good effect. "You've got an environmental disaster on your hands," the document reads. "Have you consulted with Greenpeace in developing your crisis response plan? Co-opting your would-be attackers may seem counterintuitive, but it makes sense when you consider that N.G.O.s (non-governmental organizations) are trusted by the public nearly two to one to 'do what's right' compared with government bodies, media organizations and corporations." The document goes on to describe Amnesty International, the Sierra Club, and the World Wildlife Fund as "brands" that the public believes "do what's right."
Edelman's co-option policy may already be on display at Wal-Mart. Greenpeace has talked with the company about the issue of environmentally sound product packaging, and earlier this year Lee Scott joined Andy Stern, the leader of the Service Employees International Union, in a coalition of businesses and unions calling for quality health care to be made available to all Americans by 2012. Stern, whose union pays for the activities of a group called Wal-Mart Watch, which regularly criticizes the company, told me he did not believe that he had been co-opted by Wal-Mart, but his allies in the labor movement weren't so sure. "Anyone who wants to take health-care lessons from Wal-Mart," Chris Kofinis, of Wake Up Wal-Mart, said, "needs to have a serious reality check." Government-sponsored universal health coverage would, of course, free Wal-Mart and other companies of the burden of providing health insurance for their employees.
Dach declined to take credit for Wal-Mart's foray into the health-care-policy debate, but Richard Edelman suggested that he is seeing Dach's influence on the company. Edelman called Dach an "idealist" who has carried to Wal-Mart his fervor for such traditional Democratic causes as universal health care and environmentalism. "I feel very strongly that Leslie Dach is making a very real contribution to Wal-Mart," he said. "When he left, I didn't get weepy, but I said, 'Go and make a great contribution.' "
Wal-Mart, in turn, is making a great contribution to Dach: he was given three million dollars in stock and a hundred and sixty-eight thousand stock options, in addition to an undisclosed base salary. He and his wife, a nutritionist, recently bought a $2.7-million house in the Cleveland Park neighborhood of Washington. He commutes to Bentonville during the week, to an apartment furnished out of a Wal-Mart store.
Dach's decision to join Wal-Mart has brought him, by his own admission, some mockery, most recently at a seventy-fifth birthday party for his former boss Edward Kennedy. (Dach said that, for each person who teased him, "two others asked if they could do business with us.") It has also strained relations with some friends. Joseph Sellers, a prominent civil-rights lawyer who is one of the lead attorneys in the Wal-Mart sex-discrimination lawsuit, said that his relationship with Dach has become awkward. "There's no question that his profession views reality as malleable," Sellers said. "I'm in the reality business."
Even Andy Stern, the president of the service-employees' union, who maintains a diplomatic relationship with Lee Scott, suggested that Dach is a turncoat. Lee Scott, he said, pursues harsh labor policies but is not a hypocrite about it, while Dach, an ostensible progressive, has, by declaring his allegiance to Bentonville, abandoned core principles of Democratic activism. "I would respect him if he said, 'Listen, I'm just trying to get rich,' " Stern told me. "If that was your goal, you did really well. If your goal is to say you're a progressive, then you're full of it."
In a recent conversation, Dach wanted to emphasize that he was not doing this for the money. He added, "I think I've been a person who has cared about issues over my entire professional career, and through seven Presidential campaigns I've tried to make a difference in my own limited way, and I firmly believe Wal-Mart's core proposition of saving people money so they live better, working on sustainability, being part of the solution, moving these policies forward."
Dach knows how to divert an unfriendly question with a flood of words, few of which address the subject at hand. I asked him whether it was moral for a self-styled progressive Democrat to work for a company that, among other things, maintains a mobile squad of union busters who can be dispatched by corporate jet to any store that gives off the faintest rumblings of union activity.
"I think that, first of all, morality is not the right language," he said. "I think the more than one hundred and thirty million people who shop at Wal-Mart each week, who are saving money so they can live a better life, who save money there, they'd be insulted by that frame. Some of these issues are complex, and the debates are complex."