Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan will be honored Wednesday in a way that few foreign visitors are honored. He will speak to a joint session of Congress, and in an irony that will not go unremarked either here or in Japan, he will speak from the lectern used by President Franklin D. Roosevelt when he asked Congress to declare war on Japan the day after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, the date that FDR said “will live in infamy.”
Every picture tells a story, but not every story must be told. Equipping the police with body cameras could hold them more accountable for how they deal with the public. Police departments generally support the idea of such cameras, saying video can protect them from false claims of police brutality. But the unblinking eye is no cure-all and the benefits must be weighed against cost, officer retention and privacy rights. If a police camera becomes part of the uniform, one size may not fit all.
President Obama obviously feels liberated by the sight of his administration swiftly approaching the outer suburbs of oblivion. With no fear of red line or deadline, he has set about to use the time he has left in office to make the United States a nation that neither he nor Michelle would be ashamed to be proud of.
Sometimes the news sounds like science fiction by Ray Bradbury. We’ve been asked by a high government official, lately in charge of the State Department, to believe that certain of her emails reside in a black hole in cyberspace. Two scientists — computer geeks, anyway — are working on a computer program to bring a dead man back as a virtual live man for a virtual conversation.
Most Americans can’t quite understand how events of previous centuries still have the power to stir anger and resentments, and make an appreciation of their common interests difficult. Well, some Americans can recall a certain anger late on a summer night after a third or even fourth bourbon and branch water, but the feeling quickly goes away. Nations, after all, do not have permanent friends, in Lord Palmerston’s famous explanation to Queen Victoria, but nations do have permanent interests and memories of a civil war no longer poisons those interests on these shores.