Islam, Reformation, the West

Andrew McCarthy proposes that we start asking politicians whether or not they think Islam needs reform. McCarthy's a thoughtful guy, and he has a point, but he hasn't reflected philosophically on the question. What does it even mean to ask "Does Islam need reform"? Islam is a religion. A religion either points to the true ground of the divine or it does not. If it does, then what sense is there to reform it? The structure of right and wrong, whatever it looks like, follows from the divine expression.

If it does not, then of course it ought to be reformed -- which is not to say that "it" needs reform. A religion that does not point to the divine is just a set of conventions, and a set of conventions has no needs. It's just something people do. People have needs. A longing for the divine is one of those needs for many people.

So the question really ought to be, "Do you think Islam is true?"

And, then, only if they answer in the negative, the second question is, "How should Muslims reform their faith so that they do in fact genuinely connect with the divine?"

Now, the proper thing to say about the second question is that anyone who is not a Muslim can only have an advisory opinion. We're not going to be the ones reforming Islam -- we're just going to be giving advice about it. Of course, what I said before holds for these. Even Muslims who want to reform Islam must first reject that it correctly captures the divine expression. They also must first admit, however tacitly, that they do not in fact believe what is taught by their faith.

The first question is the one that matters. It's only even sensible to talk about reform if you deny that Islam is true. Saying that has consequences we should face honestly.

The Introduction of Beowulf in the Original

Apparently, he performs the whole thing live. He'll be up in the northeast in March and April if you want to catch him.

If, on the other hand, the northeast is a bit far, he sells a DVD on his website as well.

Toss the Feather

"Learn Old English," He Said

"It'll open up 'Call Me Maybe'," he said ...

And it doesn't end there.

9th Circuit to Consider Reconsidering

Think one of the judges not on the 3 judge panel noticed they had completely forgotten to give an opinion on the relevant law?

Damned if you Do

So just a few days ago, I read in the Nation that Trump's nominee for the #2 spot at State was "an actual American war criminal."
As assistant secretary of state for human rights, Abrams sought to ensure that General Efraín Ríos Montt, Guatemala’s then-dictator, could carry out “acts of genocide”—those are the legally binding words of Guatemala’s United Nations–backed Commission for Historical Clarification—against the indigenous people in the Ixil region of the department of Quiché, without any pesky interference from human-rights organizations, much less the US government.

As the mass killings were taking place, Abrams fought in Congress for military aid to Ríos Montt’s bloody regime.... Abrams not only supported the nonsensical official explanation (there was “no evidence indicating other than that the deaths were due to an accident”), he also denounced a spokeswoman for the group who demanded an investigation, insisting that she had “no right to call herself a human rights worker.” When The New York Times published an op-ed challenging the official State Department count of the mass murders under way—by a woman who had witnessed a death-squad-style assassination in broad daylight in Guatemala City without ever seeing it mentioned in the press—Abrams lied outright in a letter to the editor, even citing an imaginary story in a nonexistent newspaper to insist that the man’s murder had, in fact, been reported.

I don’t know about you, but intentionally helping the US government to aid and abet the commission of genocide, while attacking the character and reputation of those trying to expose it, strikes me as securely within the definition of “war criminal.”
So it now looks like the Abrams appointment is off. Is this evidence of Team Trump's good judgment? Of course not. In fact, the allegations against Abrams don't even appear in the piece about Trump shooting down the nomination. Abrams is presented in an unfailingly flattering light now that Trump doesn't want him.

Two different publications, of course, but it's still enough to make one's head spin.

Bad carbon math

More on the topic of how not to get bogged down in procedure when we roll back some of the dumber climate regs promulgated by the EPA.  Apparently the agency's "social cost of carbon" calculation failed to distinguish between the domestic and foreign costs, in violation of OMB standards.  Correcting this part of the procedure may be a quicker fix than others.

Judicial Review Suffers Self-Inflicted Wound

I don't object in the slightest degree to Trump's executive order coming under judicial review for its constitutionality. I do think the 9th circuit should probably have at least mentioned the law he was citing as granting him the legal authority.
(f) Suspension of entry or imposition of restrictions by President

Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate.
Remarkably, in the entire opinion, the panel did not bother even to cite this statute, which forms the principal statutory basis for the executive order (see Sections 3(c), 5(c), and 5(d) of the order). That’s a pretty big omission over 29 pages, including several pages devoted to determining the government’s likelihood of success on the merits of the case.
This would be roughly like me being brought into court for carrying a firearm in Georgia, presenting my license to do so, and citing the sections of the Official Code of Georgia, Annotated, that specifically permit someone with such a license to carry such a firearm -- and then having the court rule against me without acknowledging the law existed.

Also, its reasoning would have to be that my protected exercise of free speech proved that I was such a bad person that I must be denied what would be legal for anyone else in my position.

Judicial review can be a good thing, but this is a poor example of it.

The Young British Soldier

by Rudyard Kipling

The Perfect Timepiece for the Hall

Cannon Sundial by Victor Chevalier, Paris

Photo by Andres Rueda, CC 2.0

Fresh Meat

Derailing Conversations: A Primer

This satirical site is meant to chide "Privileged People" in the interest of "marginalized groups," but it plays in surprisingly well with our recent conversation about journalists seeing themselves as members of the elite.
If you really want to excel as a privileged person you need to learn to value data, statistics, research studies and empirical evidence above all things, but especially above personal experiences. You can pretend you are oblivious to the fact most studies have been carried out by privileged people and therefore carry inherent biases, and insist that the marginalized person produce “Evidence” of what they‘re claiming.Their experience does not count as evidence, for it is subjective and therefore worthless.
This is very important because it works in two ways: 1) it communicates to the marginalized person that their personal testament is disbelieved and of no value, causing them great hurt; and 2) it once again reinforces your privilege.

You see, the very capacity to conduct studies, collect data and write detached “fact-based” reports on it, is an inherently privileged activity. The ability to widely access this material and research it exhaustively is also inherently privileged. Privileged People® find it easier to pursue these avenues than marginalized people and so once again you are reminding them you possess this privilege and reinforcing that the world at large values a system of analysis that excludes them, and values it over what their actual personal experience has been.

The process of valuing “fact” over “opinion” is one very much rooted in preserving privilege. Through this methodology, the continued pain and othering of millions of people can be ignored because it’s supported by “opinion” (emotion) and not “fact” (rationality).

It is also important because it calls on the marginalized person to do something that is simply impossible, and that is to summarize the entirety of their group’s experiences into a definitive example. It is important that you establish this precedent for the next couple of steps.
Well, fair enough -- blue collar guys are definitely a marginalized group, increasingly these last several years. I wonder if that's what they meant us to discover, though.

An Interesting Question from AVI

In a post about reducing racism, AVI ends on a note that is worth further exploration. I'd like to put it before the Hall, even though there is a lot of overlap in readership. I'll give enough of the setup for context, and then the ending question.
When did we make our biggest gains in reducing racism in America? I think people would point to the 40's-60's.... It is at least co-incident with the period when we had much less immigration, 1927-1964. The common declaration is that all prejudices go together, and reducing prejudice against immigrants is just the same thing as reducing it against blacks, with the requisite accusations of white American disliking "brownness" in general....

What if it's just not true? What if it would be better and more praiseworthy if human nature were that way, especially in aspirational, open-hearted America - but it's just not?...

We sometimes speak of immigrants making it harder for blacks to get ahead in terms of employment and wages - it was one of Bernie Sanders's core values until he gave all those away. We aren't supposed to mention that, but it is likely true for economic gain. What if it is also true in an emotional, associational sense? What if Universal Brotherhood is actually a dead end, and step-by-step changes of becoming a people are all that is possible?

I don't know this to be true. I simply note that it is possibly true but no one says it. Which in turn immediately leads to "Why don't we want this to be true? Why is it not one of the cliches of the discussion, rather than an unmentionable?" There are plenty of untrue cliches out there all over the political spectrum, but this one is not even a Facebook poster.
So why isn't it one of the cliches, do you think?

Less Defensible

The conflict of interest issues around the Trump businesses are not going away, and the Trumps do not seem very interested in even minimizing them. Maybe it doesn't matter today, because the opposition is too weak to do more than squawk about it, but someday that will change -- and indeed, the clear appearance of impropriety may help it change.

Paving the Way for that MB Designation

One of the red headlines on Drudge today is about Hamas sending a team of commandos to train with ISIS bomb-makers. Hamas, as I assume everyone knows, was founded as the Palestinian branch of the nearby Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood.

The Trump administration is reportedly mulling a move to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist (or terror-supporting) organization, following a bill introduced last year by Ted Cruz. Needless to say, all the smart people are against this proposal. It will damage academic research, say academics. It will fuel extremism, says a(nother) leaked CIA memo. It will lead to a witch-hunt, says the Council on American-Islamic Relations (which has some reason to fear it will be target #1 of that hunt, given that Ted Cruz's bill mentions them by name). Human Rights Watch tells us that the move would threaten rights to free association for Muslims in the United States.

The most interesting argument is that the designation would actually be illegal.
To qualify for a designation, the organization has to be engaged in terrorism or still has the capability and intent to do so, and it has to pose a threat to U.S. nationals or our national security. The Muslim Brotherhood as a whole obviously doesn’t qualify on either count. McCants and Wittes say that certain individual affiliates might qualify for such a designation, but the entire group cannot be defined as a terrorist organization:
The short answer is that the Brotherhood is not in a meaningful sense a single organization at all; elements of it can be designated and have been designated, and other elements certainly cannot be [bold mine-DL]. As a whole, it is simply too diffuse and diverse to characterize. And it certainly cannot be said as a whole to engage in terrorism that threatens the United States.
The decision by Hamas (which is already designated) to ally with ISIS seems to me to ease the path to designation. ISIS is not just a terrorist organization in the same way that Hezbollah is not. They also intend to run a state, and are organized in part to do so. Yet no one would argue that ISIS should not be designated as a terrorist or terror-supporting organization just because some elements of their organization are aimed at, say, provision of clean water.

My guess is that the new Attorney General will be able to defend the decision if they decide to go forward with it, and this report only makes that defense easier to do.

UPDATE: Apparently Hamas could really use the help.

Having the Wrong Fantasy Again

Slate demands to know why female superheroes take men down with their legs, instead of punching and kicking like male superheroes. "Is this even practical?"

There are two answers to that question, speaking as someone who has trained in and taught several martial arts. The harsh answer is that the impractical thing is the idea that a 120 pound woman is capable of beating the three or four men arrayed against her in hand-to-hand combat under any circumstances. She's going to need a weapon for the scene to be "practical" in any strict sense.

However, we're doing fantasy, aren't we? So if we're fantasizing, why not fantasize that she can do it? She's got 'spider-senses' or whatever.

The less harsh answer is that grappling arts -- which frequently use the lower body -- are much more female-friendly than "hard" striking arts. There are a lot of mechanical reasons for this. One is that female limbs are shorter, and the limb functions as a kind of lever in striking ('the longer the lever, the greater the force'). Another is that female limbs are lighter-weight on average, and with less muscle-to-bone, and force is a function of mass times acceleration. They both have less mass, and less muscle to accelerate it. Females also tend to have smaller bones in the striking surfaces, making them more prone to shattering or cracking on impact.

The leg grapples thus use the strongest part of their body to its greatest effect. Although the silly acrobatics that appear in these movies are not terribly practical -- nor, again, are they meant to be -- showing women fighting with a focus on leg-grappling is the most plausible non-weapon form.

But, I suppose, if you're going to fantasize, why not fantasize they can punch like Rocky? Why would you want the more-plausible still-implausible fantasy?

This policing of the fantastic is becoming tiresome.

A Journalist Getting the Facts Right

"How many arrests have there been of foreign nationals for those seven countries since 9/11?" Robart asked a Justice Department lawyer in court on Feb. 3. When the lawyer said she didn't know, Robart said, "Let me tell you. The answer to that is none, as best I can tell."

It turns out the judge, and Nadler, and everybody else repeating the talking point had it wrong. Last year the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest released information showing that at least 60 people born in the seven countries had been convicted — not just arrested, but convicted — of terror-related offenses in the United States since Sept. 11, 2001. And that number did not include more recent cases like Abdul Artan, a Somali refugee who wounded 11 people during a machete attack on the campus of Ohio State University last November.
I assume Byron York is a journalist, anyway. I gather from recent comments that some of you have very particular standards! I tend to think anyone is a journalist who contributes to these 'journals' (currently as much online or televised as written) of news and opinion, either reportage or punditry. I don't think of it as being very specialized, as those with 'real degrees in journalism' often don't do as good a job as local folks who decide they're interested in something and start going to the meetings about it.

The "S" Stands For "Shut Your Mouth"

Apparently Harry S Truman laid some precedent for our current President's defense of his daughter.

Why Do They Hate Us?

It's a little late, but KSM has an answer for us. His letter to former President Obama is now available to be read by all.


Apparently Trump doesn't spell well, when engaged in midnight "tweets." Journalists, who think of themselves as part of the elite and for whom words are bread and butter, are appalled.

In spite of his wealth and formal education, Donald Trump most reminds me of the ordinary blue-collar guys I know. His approach to politics comes under a similar sort of criticism: he doesn't care very much about facts, and journalists are also all about facts. So they think he's an ignorant ass, as they think the blue collar guys are ignorant asses too. They're wrong on the merits about so many particular facts, demonstrably wrong.

What people miss is that guys like this are principled in a way that is sturdy and reliable. They don't care about the particular facts because they care about the universal principles. They have a principle that manufacturing jobs are what made America great, and therefore they want more of them. All the particular facts about a particular case you can muster aren't going to undermine that principle. ("The Carrier deal was not that great!") Their principles are what they believe in, and they're going to do what their principles tell them is right.

Given that principles are pre-judgments about cases of a certain type, they are in a literal sense prejudices. But when we say that someone is "principled," we don't mean anything negative as we do when we say that someone is "prejudiced." Normally it's taken to be quite a positive thing.

Nevertheless, it does present difficulties. You can't talk them out of doing what they think is right in a given case, even if it's not the ideal solution in that case, because they're not interested in particular facts about particular cases. They're governed by universals that stand above any particulars. Telling them that they're wrong about the particulars won't bother them because they don't care about the particulars at all. They have lasting ideas about the world and what right looks like, and that's where they put their faith.

It's a very different world from the one that journalists live in.

An alternative to cloture

Turns out the Senate rules provide more than one way to terminate debate.

Donaeld the Unready

An inside joke for Viking / Anglo-Saxon history buffs.

And the Right Doesn't Seem to Care Much for My Company Either

Col. Schlichter says the left hates me, but these days, the right isn't looking that friendly, either.

Here's our new Republican president on Bush, lies, and Iraq:

Of course, it turns out we did find WMDs, but whatever. The facts have almost reached the point of irrelevance, it seems. Time for the historians to take over.

Here's Rand Paul, who says a lot of sensible things, and then at 5:50 or so begins a slow slide into the "Dick Cheney pushed the Iraq invasion for Halliburton profits" shuffle.

That was back in 2009, but here's "Spengler" (David P. Goldman) at PJMedia a couple of days ago:

Trump said it best: the Iraq War was one of the dumbest things America ever did in foreign policy, the equivalent of "throwing rocks into a hornet's nest."

Grandiose blunders of this kind are not made out by stupidity, though, but by insanity. The American conservative movement was infected by a cult that eroded the common sense of its victims and instilled a messianic, fanatical commitment to nation-building and democracy promotion. What are broadly (and sometimes inaccurately) referred to as the "neo-conservatives" are a cult that succeeded in persuading the unfortunate George W. Bush to spend trillions in treasure and tens of thousands of casualties for the mirage of democracy in Iraq. Such was their influence that an entire generation of Republican foreign policy officials was vetted for cult loyalty.
Messianic? Yeah, whatever. Apparently he's been doing a whole series on this theme. And I'm seeing more commenters at right-wing sites spouting this kind of stuff.

I don't know what to say about all this. I disagree with all three of them, but I don't know that I'm right, and I don't have time to sort it out right now. Since I don't have time to figure it out, this just leaves me with the taste of being betrayed.

I like a lot of what Trump is doing, but I still don't like Trump. Paul has some very good ideas, but he always seems to end up in conspiracy theories. I'm sure Goldman is a smart, educated guy, but I know a lot of smart, educated guys who are blind when it comes to politics, so I'm not really impressed.

What I do know is, a lot of people apparently hate me, and it increasingly doesn't seem to have much to do with right or left, conservative or liberal.

Mo Ghille Mear (My Gallant Hero)

Don't Forget to America Today

Who's to Blame?

This guy thinks he knows.
President Obama either bombed, sanctioned or sent American soldiers to the seven nations on President Trump’s travel ban. Thus, the precedent for Trump’s stance on refugees correlates directly to policies from the Bush and Obama years. These policies helped create the refugee crisis that Trump has so awkwardly addressed with his draconian executive order.

From Trump’s travel ban of Muslim majority nations to allegedly belligerent phone calls with world leaders, media and Democrats have reacted with outrage and disbelief. It’s as if the Democratic Party and loyal “lesser evil” voters didn’t think cheating Bernie Sanders would lead to such political turmoil. When Debbie Wasserman Shultz resigned from the DNC and friendly journalists covered-up the crime, it was too late; Bernie was forced out of the primary. The only chance for Democrats to defeat a populist Republican nominee, during an anti-establishment year in American politics, was destroyed along with Hillary’s yoga emails and Anthony Weiner’s self-portraits.
The article is titled, "Enjoying President Trump? Then Blame Democrats For Cheating Bernie Sanders." There's a lot more. Some of you, who really are enjoying President Trump to a greater or lesser degree, may find it light reading.

92% of Left-Wing Activists Live with their Parents

These findings are limited to Berlin, please note. I'm sure it's totally different here.

DeVos Confirmed, Opening Path for Sessions

This bit of Senate Kabuki theater really got the hopes up of several left-leaning people I know, who thought they had a chance of beating DeVos just because the Republican leadership chose to protect the maximal number of their Senators from the consequences of voting for her.

Nope. Lucy & the football.

Now that Jeff Session's vote is no longer needed immediately, I guess he'll be confirmed soon too.

ATF White Paper

The second-highest-ranking official at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has written a proposal to reduce gun regulations, including examining a possible end to the ban on importing assault weapons into the United States....

“Restriction on imports serves questionable public safety interests, as these rifles are already generally legally available for manufacture and ownership in the United States,” Turk wrote of the ban on imported AR-15s and AK-style weapons.

“This white paper offers a disturbing series of giveaways to the gun industry that would weaken regulatory oversight of the gun industry without adequate consideration of the impact on public safety,” said Chelsea Parsons, vice president of guns and crime policy at the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank.
Well, repealing the ban on imported rifles is hardly a 'giveaway to the gun industry.' The American gun industry flourishes in part because of the artificial scarcity created by the ban.


Right-wing pundit Kurt Schlichter:
They hate you.

Leftists don’t merely disagree with you. They don’t merely feel you are misguided. They don’t think you are merely wrong. They hate you.
Tucker FitzGerald, self-described as "deeply curious about justice and equality":
Universities aren’t bereft of conservatives and Evangelicals because of a vast left-wing conspiracy. They’re bereft of those people because people committed to those world views so rarely have anything to offer to an open-minded, inquiring, growing community. Universities are lacking in conservatives and fundamentalist Christians because the amount of education that it takes to become a professor is likely to expose Evangelicals and conservatives to enough good ideas that they’re no longer fundamentalist or conservative.
Ah, yes. If only I'd been exposed to more left-wing -- I mean, "good" -- ideas in my education. That's probably what's holding me back. Lack of exposure.


Republican hawks took to Twitter and the Sunday political shows to attack President Donald Trump for his latest comments defending Russian President Vladimir Putin’s brutal regime.

Pressed by Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly about how Trump could respect a “killer” like Putin, Trump said, “We got a lot of killers [too]. What, you think our country is so innocent?”

“I don’t know of any government leaders that are killers in America,” O’Reilly retorted.
This O'Reilly guy is talking to a man who ordered a hit on al Qaeda just days earlier. He sent a team of highly-trained commandos who killed 14 Qaeda fighters on purpose. They also apparently killed at least one little girl not on purpose, and she was the sister of a 16-year-old American citizen Barack Obama killed with a drone strike. Obama also killed their father, an al Qaeda honcho with ties to terrorist attacks inside the United States, in the same way.

Both Presidents are killers in a sense, the same sense in which the President of Russia is a killer: they order killing done. The SEALs are killers in a more direct sense. The separation from the gun doesn't make the Presidents better people than the SEALs -- I would wager any sum, based on the SEALs I've known, that the opposite would prove true if the SEALs' identities were known for comparison.

Do these media jockeys think their world would survive without killers? Are they so blind that they can sit down and talk with one and not even know it?


Building Jerusalem

My kind of hymn.

For Readers in Washington State

I can't remember if Raven is currently living in Washington state or not, and it may be that others of you are. Your legislature is considering a bill, HB 1553, that could make life a little bit easier for bikers.

The law is supported on a bipartisan basis. It simply forbids using the wearing of "motorcycle-related" clothing and gear as part of a profiling decision by police. Thus, while engaging in unlawful activity would still make you subject to being stopped, questioned, and so forth, merely wearing a biker shirt or a club vest (or something that could be mistaken for a club vest) would not.

If you're a Washington state resident, you can consider the text of the bill and inform your representatives of your opinion on it.

The Dubliners' Guide to Dublin

Ran across this this evening. Haven't watched it all, but it seems interesting.

So, Atlanta Had A Good First Half

Brother-in-law is a huge Pats fan, so I'm enjoying the affair more than usual.

So far.


Turns out that scoring 21 unanswered points in the first half won't save you if you give up 31 unanswered points in the second half plus Sudden Death overtime.

Problems with Statistics on Refugees

Matt Y. over at Ricochet makes the argument that American Christians should welcome the refugees from the Middle East instead of opposing their resettlement here. He does make some good points, but he also uses the following statistic, which seems irrelevant to this argument:

The likelihood of being killed by a terrorist attack from a refugee in the United States has been calculated at 1 in 3.6 billion.

I think there are three problems here, and this is the second article I've seen these same three problems show up in, so I'd like to address it.

First, there is no real opposition to "refugees," but rather "Muslim refugees from nations with Muslim terror problems." In fact, among Americans who oppose taking in more Muslim refugees, I suspect there would be a strong willingness to take in Christian and Yazidi refugees from these same regions. The conflation of terms here implies a general xenophobia rather than specific concerns about a specific population, and although I don't think it is intentional, it is insulting.

Second, limiting the geographical area to the United States is also problematic because most of the Muslim refugees from nations with Muslim terror problems have gone to other places, such as Europe. So, to be relevant, one should include all nations that have accepted these refugees.

Third, the fear of taking large numbers of these particular refugees is not limited to terrorism. When Europe began taking in large numbers of these refugees, there were immediate problems with  sexual assault and other crimes.

Because of these factors, it seems to me that the only really meaningful statistic would cover the particular refugee populations in question regardless of geographic area of resettlement and it would include all crimes, not just terrorism. If that statistic were used, I suspect the argument would look very different.

All that said, I have yet to see anyone arguing for bringing in 100,000 Muslim refugees from nations with Muslim terror problems address some of the deeper concerns of their opponents, including issues of long-term assimilation and the radicalization of second and third generation Muslims in Western nations. These are also important issues, and if someone wanted to change my mind about bringing in tens of thousands of Muslim refugees from nations with Muslim terror problems, they would have to address them as well.

Frog spit

Frog tongues are incredibly soft, which helps them glom onto prey. Apparently, though, the saliva is even more ingenious:
A mixture of cornstarch and water becomes solid if you hit it. Ketchup becomes runnier if you shake the bottle. Saliva is like ketchup: Forces makes it less viscous. But while human saliva becomes around ten times less viscous if you apply force to it, frog saliva becomes a hundred times less viscous.
So when a frog tongue strikes an insect, its saliva flows freely and readily seeps into every crack and gap. When the tongue slows down and starts retracting, the saliva thickens again into a paste, the equivalent of a closed fist grasping the insect for the journey back.
“The analysis helps to explain many bizarre observations, like why frogs use the backs of their eyeballs to push prey down their throats,” says Kiisa Nishikawa from Northern Arizona University. When the insect’s in the frog’s mouth, the frog has to get it off its tongue. Fortunately, all of its adhesive tricks work best in the perpendicular direction—it may be really hard to pull the insect off, but it’s comparably easy to slide it off. The frog just needs something to push against the insect—so it uses its eyeballs. Twelve years ago, Robert Levine used X-ray videos to show that a frog swallows, it retracts its eyeballs inwards, and uses these to push victims off its tongue.
Cat tongues are another kettle of fish.

MS treatment advance

A new treatment for multiple sclerosis, using the patient's own stem cells from the bone marrow, shows surprising promise.