Five of the Best
The top five comment pieces from today's papers and the web
The Independent's Johann Hari discusses the phrases that should be banished from the English language. They include "infant mortality", "Christian/Muslim children" and "climate change":
"Climate change". This phrase was invented by the Republican pollster Frank Luntz, when he discovered that focus groups found the phrase "global warming" too scary. Climate change sounds nice and gentle, and evokes our latent awareness that the climate has changed naturally throughout history. Even "global warming" is problematic, since it makes us picture putting our feet up in the sun. The more accurate phrase would be "the unravelling of the ecosystem", "climate chaos", or "catastrophic man-made global warming." They're a mouthful, but they are honest.
(T)he BBC can rein in its ceaseless expansion. It had every right to move online, but it surely cannot justify buying up the Lonely Planet travel guides. Again, its unique privilege is that it does not have to operate according to market logic. Which means it does not have to behave like a rapacious media giant.
The Wall Street Journal's Thomas Frank argues that the Democrats have failed to make the case for health care as a public good:
(O)ur ancestors understood something that escapes those who brag so loudly about their prudence at today's town-hall meetings: That health care is not an individual commodity to be bought and enjoyed like other products. That the health of each of us depends on the health of the rest of us, as epidemics from the Middle Ages to this year's flu have demonstrated.
The human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson writes in the Independent that, among other things, the disgraceful release of the Lockerbie bomber has damaged the international campaign against the death penalty:
The decision will seriously damage the worldwide campaign to abolish the death penalty for international crimes. This relies upon the validity of assurances (such as that given by Robin Cook to Madeleine Albright) that genocidaires and torturers and terrorists will never be released. Now, such assurances cannot credibly be given by democratic governments, because Mr MacAskill's action illustrates the risk that within a few years, politicians will contrive to breach them.
At Liberal Conspiracy, Sunny Hundal defends the Climate Camp from those who argue it lacks political purpose:
The aim of Climate Rush, Plane Stupid and Climate Camp isn't to create mass-movements or write policy about the environment because the nature of their action means they'll always be a small hardcore bunch. It's the job of bigger organisations like Greenpeace to build mass movements and push forward on policy. It's the job of think tanks to produce the policy papers.