U.S. Military Command, Bereft of Its Senses, Sponsors Essay Contest To Pay Tribute To Dead Saudi Despot

Maybe we can’t blame General Martin E. Dempsey, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He has seen erstwhile U.S. presidents suck up to the Saudi royal family in ways whose unprincipled excess might nauseate the average citizen. I think we all remember George W. Bush holding hands with King Abdullah and kissing him.

Yesterday, President Obama landed in Saudi Arabia to pay his respects at the funeral of the king, who died five days ago.

Now Dempsey gets his own shot at glorifying the Saudi royals just like his bosses.

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has established a research and essay competition in honor of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah Bin Abdul-Aziz hosted by the National Defense University.

The king, who died Jan. 23 at age 90, oversaw the modernization of his country’s military during the time he spent as commander of the Saudi Arabian National Guard, a position he held from 1963 until he became king in 2005.



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Facebook Agrees to Censor Images of Muhammad to Comply with Turkish Law

A few weeks ago, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg posted a message in support of the free speech rights of the Charlie Hebdo staff:



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Socks Education

Because Mississippi law forbids sex education teachers from informing students how to properly use a condom, Sanford Johnson, the Deputy Director of Advocacy for a group called Mississippi First, found a brilliant workaround.

It involves a sock.



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Christians Were Offended By This Atheist Billboard Message?

Last week, I posted about a billboard in Riverside, California put up by the Inland Empire Coalition of Reason:

Turns out some locals were very unhappy by that message even though it was aimed at non-religious people:

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Vandals Cut Down Sculpture of Mythical Irish Sea God and Replace It with a Cross

In Northern Ireland, atop Binegenagh Mountain and overlooking Lough Foyle, there sat a statue of the sea god Manannán mac Lir (below). The statue, created by artist John Darren Sutton (some of whose work can also be seen in HBO’s Game of Thrones), was one of several sculptures to be found along the Limavady Sculpture Trail. The trail was designed with visitors in mind, as a way of sharing and commemorating the area’s “most notable myths and legends.”

I say the statue of Manannán mac Lir “sat,” in the past tense, because, some time prior to Wednesday morning of last week, it was cut from its base and removed. The BBC quotes Sutton as saying the statue’s removal would have required hours of work even from multiple people:

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