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The Invisible Empire: Famous KKK Members In American Politics

Famous Kkk Members Cross

Image Source: LiveJournal

Internet message boards have been hot this month with Anonymous’ alleged hacking of the Ku Klux Klan’s Twitter account. As befits an Internet phenomenon, much of what has been published so far is unsubstantiated, but several prominent public figures have been accused of secret membership in the KKK, including several pro-civil rights mayors and Representative John Cornyn (R-TX), the current House Whip. Needless to say, everybody who has commented on the outing so far has denied being affiliated with the KKK, which you’d expect from politicians with something to lose.

In the context of American politics, however, the fact that membership in the KKK is now considered a career-ending liability is a relatively new phenomenon. Just a few generations ago, membership in the 5 million-strong KKK brought aspiring politicians money, legitimacy, and easy electoral victories. It’s hardly surprising, therefore, that so many American public figures have been members of the secret empire of the Klan:

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Photo Of The Day: Miss Atomic Bomb 1957

Miss Atomic Bomb

Casino showgirl Lee Merlin, Miss Atomic Bomb 1957. Image Source: Las Vegas Sun

Today Las Vegas is known for showgirls and gambling, but during the 1950s, it was also known for atomic bomb explosions.

A 680-square-mile atomic testing ground was established in 1950 by President Harry Truman just 45 miles from the center of Sin City. Las Vegas isn’t known as a city that lets a money-making opportunity pass, and businesses capitalized on the nearby explosions by hosting viewing parties of some of the nuclear test explosions. Before long, atomic fever inspired the outfits and titles of Las Vegas’ other famous bombshells.

There was never an official Miss Atomic Bomb beauty pageant. There were, however, four popular beauty queens given bomb-themed titles. Miss Atomic Bomb Lee Merlin, a showgirl at the famed Sands casino, has had some of the most sustained fame since a Las Vegas News Bureau photographer snapped this picture during some down time at a photo shoot.

The story goes that the photographer, Don English, attached the explosion-shaped cotton to Merlin’s bathing suit. The photo was published in 1957, and it has since appeared in numerous publications and was even the cover of The Killers’ Miss Atomic Bomb single.

Graph Of The Day: The Speed Of Social Change In America

Pace Of Social Change

The graph above illustrates both how quickly both state and federal governments have legally adopted various social changes throughout American history. Image Source: Bloomberg

Social change is not only inevitable, it generally follows the same pattern. Throughout American history, first, a couple of enterprising states change their state law and policy. Then, either the courts or popular opinion across the nation causes other states to quickly follow suit until, finally, the federal law changes.

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Photo Of The Day: Never-Before-Seen Image Of Billy The Kid Could Be Worth $5 Million

Billy The Kid

A detail of Billy the Kid (left) in the original tintype. Image Source: reddit

It’s not every day you’re told you can make a profit of approximately $5 million from a purchase in a junk shop. But this is just what happened to collector Randy Guijarro.

This newly discovered image of Henry McCarty, better known as Billy the Kid, is currently making its rounds on the internet, becoming just the second authenticated photo of the Wild West outlaw and possibly the most valuable.

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