Even this Confederate general thought monuments were a bad idea. His reasons make sense.

He thought they would continue to divide the country. He was right.

On Aug. 17, Donald Trump started the day as only he could: with a full-throated defense of the Confederacy.

Responding to renewed calls to remove Confederate monuments around the country, Trump decried action, defending them on aesthetic (yes, the man who plates everything in gold and slaps his name on it has thoughts on style) and historical grounds. Sigh.

While Trump might not take advice from those in the #FakeNewsMedia, there's one person he should hear on this issue: Robert E. Lee.

Yes, that Robert E. Lee. Confederate Gen. Robert. E. Lee.


As it turns out, he had some thoughts on whether these monuments should be built in the first place. In short, he was against it.

Charlottesville, Virginia's Robert E. Lee statue was the center of a recent march by white supremacists. Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

In a December 1868 letter, Lee addressed a proposal to build a monument in his honor:

"As regards the erection of such a monument as is contemplated; my conviction is, that however grateful it would be to the feelings of the South, the attempt in the present condition of the Country, would have the effect of retarding, instead of accelerating its accomplishment; & of continuing, if not adding to, the difficulties under which the Southern people labour. All I think that can now be done, is to aid our noble & generous women in their efforts to protect the graves & mark the last resting places of those who have fallen, & wait for better times."

In other words, monuments celebrating the Confederacy would only serve to further divide the newly-united United States and slow down any progress that had been made. Given that we're still arguing about monuments and flags more than 150 years since the war ended, Lee seems to have been absolutely right.

We don't need monuments celebrating the Confederacy to remember the Civil War, and nobody is erasing history by suggesting they be removed.

Some may argue that monuments glorifying Confederate soldiers are necessary if we want to avoid making the same mistakes and going to war with ourselves once again. That simply doesn't make sense.

Germany has managed to remember the Nazis without erecting statues of Hitler throughout the country. In fact, the country made a concentrated effort to eliminate anything that could become the center of a neo-Nazi pilgrimage. They went so far as to turn the place where Hitler died into a parking lot.

Moreover, it's worth noting that the monuments themselves are not historical artifacts. Many are relatively recent creations. In fact, 32 Confederate monuments in the U.S. were build in just the past 17 years, several of which were in Union states. Going back further, many of these monuments were built as anti-black backlash to the civil rights movement. The same goes for Southern affinity toward the Confederate battle flag, which only rose in the 1950s and 1960s, again, in protest of the civil rights movement.

Confederate monuments and the Confederate flag have less to do with the actual Civil War and much more to do with opposition to civil rights.

A 1969 photo of the carving at Stone Mountain, featuring Jefferson Davis, Robert E Lee, and Stonewall Jackson. Stone Mountain was the birthplace of the second Ku Klux Klan in 1915. The carving wasn't completed until 1972. Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images.

If the goal truly is to avoid another Civil War, the answer isn't to pepper the country with statues, but to stop teaching a sanitized version of history.

The Civil War was fought over slavery. Period.

Take it from Confederate Vice President Alexander H. Stephens, who in March 1861, said slavery and "the proper status of the negro in our form of civilization" was "the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution," referring to the war. He added, "[T]he negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition."

It seems straightforward, and yet a 2015 Marist poll found that just 53% of Americans agree that slavery was the driving force behind the Civil War, with 41% disagreeing with that statement. Some may argue that it was really about "states' rights," but "states' rights" to do what exactly? To own slaves.

We do need to stop sanitizing our history, and that must begin with acknowledging that our country has an ugly past. Lee doesn't need your monuments, and he will never, ever be forgotten.

Let’s put this argument to rest and commit to better education, not ahistorical glorification.

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Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

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The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Don't like Michelle Obama? Don't care. Those of us who love her will fly our MO flags high and without apology, paying no mind to folks with cold, dead hearts who don't know a gem of a human being when they see one. There is nothing any hater can say or do to make us admire this undeniably admirable woman any less.

When it seems like the world has lost its mind—which is how it feels most days these days—I'm just going to keep coming back to this study as evidence that hope for humanity is not lost.

Here. Enjoy some real-life Michelle on Jimmy Kimmel. (GAH. WHY IS SHE SO CUTE AND AWESOME. I can't even handle it.)

Michelle & Barack Obama are Boring Now www.youtube.com

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What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.




After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.

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