New York makes it much harder to access anti-LGBT conversion therapy for minors
New York is taking steps to stop therapists from trying to change young people’s sexual orientation, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Saturday.

For several years, legislators in the state of New York have been trying to ban anti-LGBT conversion therapy for youth. Unfortunately, those bills keep stalling.

As a way to block access to conversion therapy in the meantime, Gov. Andrew Cuomo took executive action. Now, conversion therapy will no longer be covered by public or private health insurance, and New York mental health facilities will not be allowed to give the therapy to minors. 

“Conversion therapy is a hateful and fundamentally flawed practice” that punishes people “for simply being who they are,” Cuomo said in a statement.

It’s unclear how prevalent the practice is in New York. Cuomo’s office didn’t immediately respond to inquiries Saturday; nor did a handful of New York mental health organizations. A spokeswoman for the New York Health Plan Association, an insurers’ group, was unsure.

This is a good interim solution, but my fingers are still crossed for legislative action that protects LGBT youth from conversion therapy once and for all. 


James Meredith’s Letter to the Justice Department February 7, 1961, 2/7/1961

File Unit: Ole Miss Integration - James Meredith, 5/1961 - 1963Series: Assistant Attorney General Mississippi Files, 7/1959 - 1963Collection: The Personal Papers of Burke Marshall, 1944 - 2003

Dated 55 years ago, this is a copy of James Meredith’s letter to the Department of Justice concerning his attempts to gain admission to the University of Mississippi.  The University had just send Meredith a telegram advising him “not to appear for registration on February 4.  A segregated all-white institution, the university rescinded its offer of acceptance to Meredith once it was apparent he was African American, starting a series of legal battles including the involvement of the U.S. Supreme Court and President John F. Kennedy.  Meredith would ultimately become the first African American student at the University in the fall of 1962, a turning point in the civil rights movement.

Read more at Integrating Ole Miss from the John F. Kennedy Library

This pond of molten sulfur (approximately five meters across and black due to its high-iron content) was discovered roiling in the bottom of a small crater on the Pacific Ocean floor. 

FactChecking the Eighth GOP Debate

Days before the New Hampshire primary, the top seven Republican presidential candidates stretched some facts in the eighth GOP debate.

  • Sen. Ted Cruz incorrectly claimed that waterboarding doesn’t meet the “generally recognized” definition of torture. The definition he gave reflects a controversial 2002 Bush administration memo.
  • Businessman Donald Trump claimed that his campaign couldn’t get tickets to the debate and that the RNC told him there were “all donors in the audience.” The RNC told us each candidate received an equal allotment of tickets.
  • Cruz said his Iowa staffers spread misinformation about Ben Carson suspending his campaign based on CNN’s reporting, claiming CNN “didn’t correct” its story for nearly three hours. That’s false. CNN only reported that Carson wasn’t heading directly to New Hampshire after the Iowa caucus.
  • New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said that Sen. Marco Rubio was incorrect in claiming that New Jersey’s credit rating had been downgraded nine times under Christie. The state’s debt rating has been lowered nine times all told by three different rating agencies.
  • In referring to terrorists, Rubio claimed that “we’re not interrogating anybody right now.” Not true. What has changed is that the administration no longer subjects terrorism suspects to indefinite interrogation at Guantanamo Bay.
  • Cruz said he would “end welfare benefits for those here illegally.” But immigrants in the U.S. illegally are already barred from receiving most government benefits, including food stamps and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.
  • Rubio said Hillary Clinton “believes that all abortion should be legal, even on the due date of that unborn child.” Clinton has said she’s “open” to restrictions on late-term abortions if there are exceptions for endangerment of the life and health of the mother.
  • Christie and Ohio Gov. John Kasich argued over whether Ohio had a bigger government in terms of employees now than when Kasich took office. That depends on whether one counts state university employees.
  • And we heard claims we’ve written about before — on the Iran hostage crisis, Planned Parenthood and deportations of immigrants.

Read the full analysis at

“Will You?”, 2/7/1916

Series: Berryman Political Cartoon Collection, 1896 - 1949Record Group 46: Records of the U.S. Senate, 1789 - 2015

Cartoonist Clifford Berryman depicts “Miss Ohio” inquiring if a bashful-looking President Woodrow Wilson would declare his candidacy for a second term before the deadline for the state’s Presidential Primary election.

|| Photo from @lisabeltphotography || The Crooked River, viewed here from Smith Rock, is one of rugged, dramatic canyons, enthusiastic fish, Wild and Scenic tracts, bald eagles and kingfishers, and cool, spring-fed headwaters. The river maintains a wild feeling, even in the most popular sections. Well-known locally for dependable fishing and routine rattlesnake sightings, this comparatively small river produces and supports excellent populations of trout and whitefish (text from || Image selected by @ericmuhr || Join us in exploring Oregon, wherever you are, and tag your finds to #Oregonexplored || #CrookedRiver #SmithRock #centralOregon #Oregon || via Instagram

Teeny tiny lense-free camera

What’s thinner than a dime, flexible, cheap to make and takes pictures?‪ FlatCam at Rice University! Hear about this amazing new ‪NSF-funded‬ invention on “The Discovery Files,” a featured podcast at Science360 Radio:

Photo Credits: Jeff Fitlow/Rice University

Above: The tiny chip attached to the circuit board is a lens-less camera that may someday turn large or small surfaces into cameras.

Above: Rice University’s FlatCam shows promise to turn flat, curved or flexible surfaces into cameras. The device is based on a standard imaging sensor paired with a mask and decoding software.

Above: Jesse Adams, left, and Vivek Boominathan, both Rice University graduate students, set up a test shot with a recent FlatCam prototype. The lens-less camera platform uses sophisticated algorithms to record images and videos and may enable such novel applications as large format, flexible and curved sensors. 

The Rice University team developing FlatCam, from left to right: front, postdoctoral researcher Salman Asif and faculty members Richard Baraniuk, Ashok Veeraraghavan and Jacob Robinson; rear, graduate students Fan Ye, Vivek Boominathan and Jesse Adams

Did you know that the International Space Station spans an entire U.S. football field?

The space station is the largest artificial satellite in orbit and can be seen by the naked eye when viewing the sky at the appropriate time. It weighs nearly 1,000,000 pounds and has more livable space than a typical six-bedroom house.

Learn more about the ISS here:

We were talking about this last night:
How, when we met, Michael hadn’t really ever been around animals besides cats, hadn’t dug in the dirt, hadn’t eaten off-the-vine veggies. And because of that didn’t realize that it was missing from his life.
And how I’d been doing these things since I was a kid and knew my life would include these things. No matter where I was living or what else was happening, farming, nature, animals are a part of who I am. Even when I was a single mother on gov assistance, I planted a wildflower garden in the yard, I was helping train other people’s horses, I had a bird, a cat, and a dog.
Michael said that he didn’t know that’s what he needed in his life until I showed him. You should have seen the wonder he had in his eyes growing our first garden, mixing horse poo into the soil, amazed at how broccoli grew. Now he can’t imagine a fulfilling life without growing something and being in the world this way. And he wants to help make it possible for other people to do this if they desire as well.
We wouldn’t be on this property planning a farm and living this life, either of us, without the other.
How did we both get so lucky?

Yellow-bellied Marmot (Marmota flaviventris), Rocky Mountain National Park, CO, USA

Marmots are the masters of hibernation during the winter with body temperatures dropping below 40 degrees, their heart beats once per minute and they breathe once every three to six minutes.

read more:

photograph by SL/National Park Service
History lesson | Editorials |
There are at least 68 members of the Kansas House of Representatives in dire need of a history lesson — and how relevant it is to the current power grab

Brownback is a Dangerous, Psychopathic Asshole!


There are at least 68 members of the Kansas House of Representatives in dire need of a history lesson — and how relevant it is to the current power grab by Gov. Sam Brownback.

The governor, of course, does not appreciate or respect the merit selection process by which judges are named to the Kansas Supreme Court. He didn’t like it for the appellate court either, and convinced the Legislature to change that procedure in 2013. Since then, Brownback has unilateral discretion to pick which judges make it to the Kansas Court of Appeals — provided the Senate rubber-stamps his choice.

To select Supreme Court justices in this manner, however, requires amending the state Constitution. And this is where a little education helps understand why the Sunflower State implemented merit selection in the first place.

In 1956, the same year Brownback was born, then-Gov. Fred Hall was in lame-duck status after being defeated in his re-election bid. An opening on the Kansas Supreme Court was created when the chief justice, Bill Smith, resigned. In turn, the governor ceded his own office and Lt. Gov. John McCuish was promoted. In his sole official act as governor, McCuish appointed Hall to the high court.

The series of moves became known as the “Kansas triple play,” which was so brazen the Legislature moved to amend the Constitution. Voters overwhelmingly approved the amendment, which instituted the merit selection system.

That is what Brownback and his conservative allies in the Statehouse want to revert. Instead of having candidates vetted by a committee whose majority is appointed by the Kansas Bar Association, Brownback wants to pick the justices himself.

A comment the governor made to former Sen. Tim Owens, R-Overland Park and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee back in 2012, made it clear what kind of appointments the governor intends.

According to a Topeka Capital-Journal story, Owens recounted a meeting with Brownback at which he said: “Tim, why can’t you go along with us on this judicial selection issue and let us change the way we select judges so we can get judges who will vote the way we want them to?”

Based on the one Supreme Court appointment that’s been made during Brownback’s tenure, it appears entirely plausible. Caleb Stegall, the governor’s chief counsel who’d been passed over repeatedly by the selection committee when pursuing a spot on the appellate court, suddenly won the job once the Legislature gave that power to Brownback. Within a year, Stegall was named to the Supreme Court.

Last week, the Kansas House voted 68-54 to repeal merit selection for the highest court. Fortunately, the “yeas” did not reach the required two-thirds majority for the amendment to move to the Senate. Sanity ruled the day thanks to courageous “no” votes by those mindful of history such as Republican Reps. Don Hineman and John Ewy.

Area representatives who favored giving the governor control of the third and final branch of state government included Republican Reps. Sue Boldra, Troy Waymaster and newly appointed Ken Rahjes. Why these three and the 65 others would have any trust in Brownback’s appointment skills after so many failed department heads proved themselves lacking capacity to do their jobs — albeit in full philosophical agreement with the governor’s agenda — should be instructive to voters in the upcoming election.

We remind readers of what Kansas Supreme Court Chief Justice Lawton Nuss opined when in Hays last year.

“The Supreme Court and its work is sometimes defined by those who simply want to benefit their personal agendas,” Nuss wrote in a guest column for The Hays Daily News. “What is not mentioned is a code of judicial conduct that bars the justices from deciding cases based on politics, special interests, public opinion or even our own personal beliefs. Instead, we must decide cases based on the law — such as the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the state of Kansas which we are sworn to support.”

Kansans everywhere should be grateful 54 House members rejected Brownback’s push to gain control of all three branches of government. Having learned the history of the “triple play,” these legislators prevented the state from having to repeat it.


So The Strokes rehearsed Trying Your Luck yesterday and I’m about ready to cry. I’ve been dying to see them perform that song live and if they play it at Gov Ball I’m gonna flip all the tables

What me and my friend thinks gonna happen is that @ the end of Civil War Steve will die and everyone is sad and angry and angsty but then the next movie comes along and Bucky has to go all Cap and help the Avengers out and then at the end of Infinity War part one the team gets the infinity gauntlet and make Steve come back to life (like he has a few second cameo at the very end showing him opening his eyes or some shit so it won’t count as the actual movie) cuz that’s what the all powerful gauntlet can do and Steve and everyone else kicks space ass in Part 2 and yay happy days the series ends. Then in the movies to come Steve retires cuz he’s done with shitty stuff and lives a normal happy life having Shield and the Gov pay for his bills and he lives with Bucky and they get a dog and live a nice domestic af life together. Also Falcon becomes Cap Ameri after this and Steve fully supports him.


(( When in the 1950s and early 1960s, Gulf politics not only are inflected heavily by Arab nationalism but also influenced activity the emergence and growth of Palestinian political organizations. A dynamic process of mutual interaction lasted until the rapture in Palestinian-GCC relations in 1990 after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. The Gulf War fractured the Gulf relationship with the Palestinian territories, which took years to repair.

Also some gulf countries gov and their policies treat Palestinian in their place differently and some is… not in a good way. So it’s impossible to put trust to them fully and should keep some distance–
'I'm Going To Keep Saying It': Rubio Doubles Down On Rehearsed Attacks After Debate Defeat
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Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio vowed on Sunday to keep repeating rehearsed lines after he was criticized for robotically attacking President Barack Obama.

During Saturday night’s Republican Presidential Debate on ABC, Gov. Chris Christie had accused Rubio of repeatedly saying that Obama “knows exactly what he’s doing,”

"There it is,” Christie interrupted at one point. “There it is – the memorized 25-second speech. There it is, everybody.”

On Sunday, Rubio told ABC News host George Stephanopoulos that he would continue using the rehearsed lines.

“I would pay them to keep running that clip,” Rubio insisted. “Because that’s what I believe passionately. It’s one of the reasons that I’m not running for re-election in the Senate. I’m running for president.”

“But you’re getting pounded for repeating that speech,” Stephanopoulos pointed out.

“I hope they keep running it,” Rubio replied. “And I’m going to keep saying it because it’s true.”

“It’s what I believe and it’s what I’m going to continue to say,” the candidate added. “Because it’s one of the main reasons why I am running.”