They've got muck; we've got rakes. TPM Muckraker

Given how vocal the Sons of Confederate Veterans have been about the removal of Confederate monuments across the country, it’s not surprising a local chapter based in New Orleans decided to sue the city over a recently passed ordinance to remove four statues. But they're being joined in the suit by a number of preservationist groups -- some of them decades old -- that appear to take a more conventional approach to historical preservation.

The Sons of Confederate Veterans, whose Louisiana Facebook page compared the monument opponents to Islamic State terrorists, is identified as a neo-Confederate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Based in Columbia, Tennessee, it reportedly has a membership of more than 29,000, limited to "male descendants of any veteran who served honorably in the Confederate armed forces."

Read More →

Donald Trump's call to halt all Muslims from entering the United States was, in typical Trump style, a ratcheting up of xenophobia fervor simmering just beneath the surface. Two of his rivals, Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Ted Cruz (R-TX), had already called for a moratorium on refugees from Middle East countries with an Islamic State presence.

But it also was the fulfillment of a long-held fever dream of an anti-Muslim think tank with ties among the hard-right Republicans. In his statement Monday, Trump cited a poll by the Center for Security Policy to argue that "the hatred is beyond comprehension" and that "until we are able to determine and understand this problem and the dangerous threat it poses, our country cannot be the victims of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in Jihad."

Read More →

Ronald Beasley Chaney III didn't have a good feeling about a planned meeting to discuss weapons purchases with an illegal arms dealer.

"It just sounds like, it sounds like ATF to me. It sounds like a fucking Fed operation...infiltrate the fucking, you know, our fucking people..." Chaney was recorded saying on Oct. 25, according to a criminal complaint.

He couldn't know it at the time, but Chaney was right.

Read More →

The weirdest piece of "hate mail" Lee Bebout got this spring after his Arizona State University course on the "problem of whiteness" made national news was about albinos.

"It was a letter from somebody here in Phoenix — they gave me their return address — who wrote to me to tell me I should look to the plight of albinos because that’s the real problem with whiteness," the ASU professor told TPM in a phone interview last week. "And that I should understand this because black people are really mean to albinos."

Strange letters about albinos notwithstanding, Bebout plans next semester to teach a revamped version of the course that put him at odds with Fox News and made him a target of white supremacist groups.

Campus Reform, the conservative student news website that first suggested Bebout's course was targeting white people, was quick to take note of this latest development. In an article last week, the website zeroed in on the change in the course's title in particular.

"Bebout said he had intended to call the course 'Disrupting Whiteness,' but ultimately settled on the more innocuous-sounding 'Whiteness and Critical Race Theory,' perhaps reflecting a desire to avoid a repeat of the reaction to the previous course," the article read.

TPM called up Bebout on Wednesday to talk about why he thought the "problem of whiteness" class elicited such a strong reaction and whether all that hubbub is informing his approach to the latest version of the course. Spoiler alert: he says it's not.

"I’m hoping there’s maybe less of a headache," Bebout said of next semester's class. "But I also know as somebody who’s been a scholar in critical whiteness studies for years that when you’re talking about whiteness, people get their hackles up."

Below is a transcript of TPM's conversation with Bebout that has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Read More →

LiveWire