Space porn: These images are (quite literally) out of this world
While Maricopa County, Arizona, Sheriff Joe Arpaio was denying allegations of racial profiling last year, he was accepting an award from The Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV), a controversial Confederate heritage group.
Two officials with the Arizona SCV division presented the group’s J. Edgar Hoover Law & Order Award to Arpaio in his office in October of 2011. This has never been previously reported. “Sheriff Arpaio, a genial host (unless you’re in his jail!) gratefully accepted the award and, in return, gave Commander [Richard] Montgomery and Adjutant [Curt] Tipton some souvenirs of the visit, to include autographed posters, a photo and the infamous pink underwear!” according to the Fall issue of the official newsletter of the SCV’s Arizona Division, “The Rebel Yell.”
The newsletter of the Tucson “camp” adds that Arpaio autographed photos of the ceremony. Here’s a picture of Arpaio accepting the award from “Rebel Yell”:
Also receiving the award that year, according to the newsletter: Paul Babeu, the politically ambitious sheriff of Arizona’s Pinal County, who was featured prominently in a John McCain presidential ad in 2008, and came out as gay earlier this year.
The SCV calls itself a “heritage organization” focused on history, and is adamant that it does not promote racism or the reinstatement of the Confederacy. “Today, the Sons of Confederate Veterans is preserving the history and legacy of these heroes so that future generations can understand the motives that animated the Southern Cause,” the group’s website states.
At the bottom of the Arizona division’s website, below the three Confederate flags, there is an image of a KKK hood with a red line striking through it, as in a “no smoking” sign. “The Arizona Division…denounces any and all groups whose objective is to promote hate and discrimination based upon race, religion, ethnicity, gender or national origin,” a disclaimer next to the image adds.
Still, the group has been criticized by organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center for ties to extremist activists and for promoting a narrative that overlooks the Confederacy’s sins (especially slavery).
The group wasn’t always so controversial. Bill Clinton commended the SCV’s preservation of history, while it protested against Ku Klux Klan rallies in the past, not wanting the confederate symbolism emblazoned across its work associated with the hate group. But in the early 2000s, SCV had its own civil war in which more radical activists seized control of the group and ousted the traditionalist establishment. While the old guard wanted to keep the group focused on preserving headstones and monuments of Confederate soldiers, the more radical wing was committed to advancing the “Lost Cause” narrative of the Civil War and is allegedly motivated by racial resentment, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
The former number two leader of the group, Anthony Hodges, who was purged in the coup, emailed colleagues warning that the group was moving “towards a more politically active, secessionist and racist agenda.” There was an “exodus” of respected lifelong SCV members, Hodges added. Most of the “intolerance and ignorance” called out on the national organization’s blog now seems to be about the removal of confederate statues.
Edward H. Sebesta, who researches the neo-Confederate movement and has edited several books on the subject, passed along the newsletters to Salon. “The SCV has an interesting history of white supremacy which continues to this day,” he said, noting that magazines published by the group have advocated against immigration and Muslims, and argued that blacks have lower IQs. Sebesta is now working to establish an Anti-Neo-Confederate Institute.
A spokesperson for Arpaio did not return numerous requests for comment.
Alex Seitz-Wald is Salon's political reporter. Email him at email@example.com, and follow him on Twitter @aseitzwald.More Alex Seitz-Wald.
NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins
On December 28, 2013, Expedition 38 crew member Mike Hopkins participating in the second of two space walks to replace a degraded pump module on the International Space Station. (NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio is reflected in his helmet!)
The Soyuz TMA-10M
The Soyuz TMA-10M headed towards the International Space Station with crew members from Expedition 37 onboard.
40 years ago the Apollo 8 mission flew up to the moon, orbited it ten times and then returned to Earth. This picture was taken from that flight and shows the Earth as it seemingly rises in similar fashion to a sunrise.
Sunrise from Expedition 36
NASA Flight Engineer Karen L. Nyberg of Expedition 36 took this photo of the sun rising -- a sight they saw nearly 16 times per day due to the speed of the International Space Station's orbit around the earth.
A pair of NanoRacks CubeSats -- nanosattelite spacecrafts carrying experiments -- were launched by Expedition 38.