FOLLOW THE WEEK ON FACEBOOK
August 4, 2014
Pool/Getty Images

Are you looking for a relaxing place to stay in Hildale, Utah, with enough room for you and your 20 wives? Then you're in luck: the compound built for polygamous leader Warren Jeffs has been turned into America's Most Wanted Suites and Bed & Breakfast.

Now serving a life sentence for sexually assaulting a young girl he considered his bride, Jeffs ordered his followers in the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS) to build the compound for him in 2011. Jeffs never actually lived there, and it was purchased at auction for $3.6 million by former bodyguard and FLDS spokesman Willie Jessop. Jessop, who bought the property after he won a lawsuit against FLDS church leaders, kept many original features, including a 12-foot concrete fence, intact.

"I left it there so people could go and see how paranoid he was," Jessop told NBC News. "It was my hope that the walls would help as a reminder to the community that if you need walls like this, you're probably doing something wrong."

The inn is near Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, and the Grand Canyon, and boasts 14 rooms with smart TVs and wi-fi. Rooms run from $85 for a standard room to $200 for a king suite. Jessop's goal is to attract "people of all walks of life who'd like to come to the community and feel welcome," he said. "[It's] something that could be positive instead of sinister." Catherine Garcia

2:03 p.m. ET
Jemal Countess/Getty Images

Ultraconservative Saudi cleric Saleh bin Fawzan al-Fawzan was recently shocked to learn that people take pictures with their cats, The Washington Post reports. Fawzan was then forced to clarify for his audience that, according to hard-line Islamic codes, cat selfies are strictly forbidden.

A member of the Saudi Council of Senior Scholars, Fawzan appeared on a television program in April that was recently translated into English by the Middle East Media Research Center. At one point in the appearance, someone off-screen tells the cleric that "taking pictures with cats has been spreading among people who want to be like the Westerners."

The cleric apparently can't believe his ears. "They are taking pictures with them," the person is forced to repeat.

Fawzan then stresses that such selfies are "prohibited," although "the cats here don't matter."

"Taking pictures is prohibited if not for a necessity, not with cats, not with dogs, not with wolves, not with anything," Fawzan says, citing a view held by some hard-line Islamic scholars who believe photos violate rules against depicting human or animal images.

However, it is not a view held by many in Saudi Arabia — in fact, ordinary Saudis take cat selfies a-plenty, just like anyone elsewhere. Jeva Lange

1:05 p.m. ET
Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Baylor University fired head football coach Art Briles on Thursday as the program faces ongoing scrutiny following multiple allegations of assault and sexual assault. University President Ken Starr has also been removed, with the school announcing he will "transition to role of Chancellor."

Briles has been with Baylor for eight seasons, racking up a 65-37 record. However, the football program was engulfed in scandal when former Baylor student Jasmin Hernandez filed a lawsuit against Baylor alleging the university did not properly handle her 2012 report of rape by then-Baylor football team member Tevin Elliott. Elliot was later convicted, and is now serving a 20-year sentence. Two other former Baylor students also came forward during the trial to testify that they had been raped by Elliot.

In August 2014, another Baylor football player, Sam Ukwuachu, was found guilty of sexually assaulting a woman in 2013. Just last month, Shawn Oakman, also on the football team, was arrested on the suspicion of raping a woman although he has said the encounter was consensual. Additional allegations against Baylor football players have been revealed by Waco, Texas, police in the past week.

Law firm Pepper Hamilton was hired in September to look at the school's treatment of the sexual assault allegations, and reportedly presented its findings to the board of regents earlier in May. "We were horrified by the extent of these acts of sexual violence on our campus," regents chairman Richard Willis said in a statement. "This investigation revealed the University's mishandling of reports in what should have been a supportive, responsive, and caring environment for students. The depth to which these acts occurred shocked and outraged us." Jeva Lange

11:41 a.m. ET
SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

Ohio is poised to become the first state in the U.S. that actually might make its voters pay out of their own pockets to extend voting hours. On Wednesday, lawmakers approved a bill that would require voters to post a cash bond if they want polling hours extended past the normal cutoff time. Typically, voters submit these sorts of requests to the court if some unforeseen emergency — be it a natural disaster or a power outage — interrupts voting during scheduled hours.

Ohio State Sen. Bill Seitz (R) says the new bill would help cover the costs of keeping polls open later than normal. "Sadly, in both the November 2015 and March 2016 elections, rogue courts in Hamilton County issued orders extending polling hours," Seitz wrote in an op-ed this week. "These orders cost Hamilton County taxpayers $57,000, and forced the inside poll workers to stay around for an extra 60 to 90 minutes after already working a 14-hour day."

Those opposed to the bill argue the extensions weren't exactly requested without reason, however. In November 2015, a software glitch in newly installed systems caused some voters to be turned away without casting a ballot, while in March 2016, a car accident blocked off a main thoroughfare and left many voters stranded on the road during election day. "I think it's unconstitutional," Ohio State Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D) told Think Progress about the bond bill. "It's tantamount to a poll tax to require voters to post a cash bond, and we really need to have the ability to petition state or federal courts if there is some type of emergency necessitating the extension of polling hours."

The bill will next move to Ohio Gov. John Kasich's (R) desk, where he'll decide whether to sign it into law. Becca Stanek

10:50 a.m. ET
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Archaeologists working at the site of the ancient city of Stagira in Central Macedonia claim to have discovered the tomb of the great philosopher Aristotle, according to multiple reports by the Greek media. An official announcement is expected to be made by the team at the Aristotle 2400 Years World Congress.

"I have no hard proof, but strong indications lead me to almost certainty," archaeologist Kostas Sismanidis told Sigmalive of the discovery.

Aristotle was born in Stagira in 384 BC and died in 322 BC in Chalcis, where many believed he was buried. However, two literary sources pointed archaeologists to Stagira, where Aristotle's ashes may have later been transferred.

The 2,400-year-old tomb stands in the middle of Stagira with 360-degree views:

The top of the dome is at 10 meters and there is a square floor surrounding a Byzantine tower. A semi-circle wall stands at two meters in height. A pathway leads to the tomb's entrance for those that wished to pay their respects. Other findings included ceramics from the royal pottery workshops and fifty coins dated to the time of Alexander the Great. [Greek Reporter]

The Byzantines later destroyed the tomb and constructed a tower in its place.

Aristotle was a student of Plato, and later tutored Alexander the Great. His work on the natural sciences and metaphysics as well as ethics, government, and the arts have a lasting impact to this day. Jeva Lange

10:38 a.m. ET
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Just hours after seemingly accepting Sen. Bernie Sanders' challenge for a debate, Donald Trump has already backed out, CBS News reports. On Thursday morning, Trump reportedly said he was just kidding when he agreed on Wednesday night's Jimmy Kimmel Live to face off against Sanders.

Trump initially seemed keen on the idea because "it would have such high ratings," and he figured Sanders "would be easier to beat" than Hillary Clinton. Sanders had already agreed to the debate, tweeting he "look[s] forward to debating Donald Trump in California before the June 7 primary." Becca Stanek

10:33 a.m. ET
iStock

The federal government is spending the great bulk of its technology budget maintaining old — indeed, sometimes wildly outdated — computer systems instead of staying up to date with current advances, finds a new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

"Specifically, 5,233 of the government's approximately 7,000 IT investments are spending all of their funds" on running old systems, the GAO said, many of which are considered "moderate to high risk" or outright "obsolete."

Perhaps the most egregious example is the use of eight-inch floppy disks to control nukes. The Pentagon's Strategic Automated Command and Control System, which "coordinates the operational functions of the United States' nuclear forces, such as intercontinental ballistic missiles, nuclear bombers, and tanker support aircrafts," operates on pre-1970s computers that still store data on giant floppy disks whose contents can be wiped with a magnet.

The Department of Defense says the floppy disks will be phased out by the end of 2017. Bonnie Kristian

10:28 a.m. ET
RINGO CHIU/AFP/Getty Images

Some politicians are painters. Others, the muses.

Bernie Sanders evidently falls in the latter category, as an entire pop-up installation of Sanders-themed media has temporarily taken over a famous vacant L.A. fixture, Johnie's Coffee Shop Restaurant:

"We view this as an art piece," said Howard Gold, who was busy on Wednesday afternoon painting and fixing at the former diner. It closed in 2000, but it is still available for film shoots.

The idea, said Mr. Gold, whose family owns the property, is to deck the place in Sanders murals, posters and diner-style logos — the Bernie Sanders chicken bucket faces Wilshire — then open on Thursday for a reception that is expected to draw artists, movie stars, and Sanders supporters. [The New York Times]

Anticipated attendees include actresses Shailene Woodley and Frances Fisher, as well as film producer and real-life inspiration for The Big Lebowski, Jeff Dowd. Kii Arens, who has done art for The Who and Radiohead, among other bands, is one of the contributing artists as well as Donny Miller.

See more of the art at The Hollywood Reporter. Jeva Lange

See More Speed Reads