“Begin doing what you want to do now. We are not living in eternity. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand - and melting like a snowflake.”
- Francis Bacon

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Senator Ted Kennedy: A dog lover and animal advocate

Kennedy with his dogs
Many around the country are mourning the death of "the lion of the Senate," Sen. Edward Kennedy.  In the man's 77 years, he spearheaded efforts to advance a number of liberal causes, but he was remembered today as a lawmaker willing to cross the aisle in order to further legislation he believed in.  One element of Kennedy's life that connected him with conservatives was his love of animals -- particularly his beloved Portuguese water dogs -- which, of course, have no party affiliation.

Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, wrote today that Kennedy was "a stalwart ally over the years on a wide range of legislation to protect companion animals, farm animals, animals in research and wildlife," adding that the senator from Massachusetts was instrumental in the passage of animal welfare legislation including laws that cracked down on dogfighting and cockfighting, protected horses and other farm animals, and sent chimpanzees once used in medical research to sanctuaries.

The Humane Society Legislative Fund, which issues an annual report on the voting records of the nation's lawmakers on animal protection issues, gave Kennedy a score of 83 in its most recent "scorecard," noting that he was absent during a vote on one of the issues it used to determine its scores.  (Among the issues at stake for the Legislative Fund were the Horse Slaughter Bill, the Downed Animal Enforcement Act and the Farm Bill, the latter being the issue on which Kennedy failed to vote.)

Of course, the animals closest to Kennedy's heart were his own dogs, Sunny and Splash.  He noted in an interview with the Boston Globe that Splash had "met Elton John. He was in the Oval Office. He has a dog bone from President Bush. He gave me this rawhide dog bone and wrote on it, 'From Barney to Splash.' I take him to all the hearings; he always sits under the table. He goes to press conferences, to the Cape. He loves to take long trips in the boat. He could sail all day."

Kennedy's devotion to Splash was enough to spur him to author a book for children, making the dog its "narrator."  The book, "My Senator and Me: A Dog's Eye View of Washington, D.C.," is an introduction to the political process aimed at elementary-aged kids.  "This canine bundle of friendly, panting fun takes readers on a tour of monuments and then describes a typical day: staff discussion of an education bill, a ride in the underground tram between the Senate and the Capitol, a press conference, a committee meeting, and a floor vote," reads the School Library Journal's review.  "Children will appreciate Splash's joy at the snacks and time for outdoor catch along the way, as well as the strategic Woof when the committee reaches an impasse on the bill."

More recently, Kennedy even helped to provide the Obamas with their own Portuguese water dog, Bo -- and we all have the now-departed lion of the Senate to thank for the tuxedo-clad, foot-biting bundle of friendly, panting fun now occupying the White House.

Say what you will about Sen. Ted Kennedy -- he certainly had his share of faults -- but the man sure did love animals.  We're thinking today not just of the human family he left behind, but also of Sunny and Splash, who we're sure are among those who will grieve the most for their master.
-- Lindsay Barnett
Photo: Kennedy with wife Victoria Reggie Kennedy, walking with their dogs in 2008, shortly after Kennedy was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor.  Credit: Steven Senne / Associated Press

Senator Ted Kennedy's rant at the Republicans over raising the minimum wage

This is why Ted Kennedy was named the LION OF THE SENATE. Say what you will about Democrats or Republicans, this man fought for those less fortunate. He was born with remarkable wealth but spent his life fighting for the little guy - the working men and women of the United States of America.

Our great country was built with the hands and on the backs and with the toil of the average guy, the working stiff, the immigrants - not by CEOs or corporate presidents. Senator Kennedy knew that and he honored those people - always.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Does your teenager text when she drives? THIS IS A MUST SEE!

After you watch this video, you will never think of your cell phone in the same way again. Watch it. Remember it. Show it to your kids. More than once if you have to because this could easily save your life or the life of your most precious possession - your child.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

♥Toasted Coconut Banana Cream Pie♥

I love coconut and I love bananas so I thought I'd try combining the two when making a custard pie. It worked and it worked like a charm. The crunch of the coconut and the delicate taste of the bananas blend beautifully giving a tropical taste and feel combining two old standards into a pie that you will make again - I promise! If you really want to cut down on the work you can use a cooked vanilla pudding for the filling but it's worth the effort to make the custard filling from scratch.


  • 1 large or 2 small bananas
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons cream of coconut
  • 1/4 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups Cool Whip, thawed
  • 1/4 cup flaked sweetened coconut, toasted
  • one deep dish refrigerated pie crust
Place pie crust in 9" pie plate folding edges of pie crust under, and flute. Prick crust with a fork and line the dough with a piece of foil, and arrange pie weights or dried beans on foil. Bake at 425° for 20 minutes or until the edge is lightly browned. Cool crust on a wire rack.

To prepare filling, slice banana(s) and arrange on the bottom of the baked and cooled pie crust.

Combine 3/4 cup sugar, cornstarch, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a saucepan, and stir in milk. Bring to a boil; cook for 1 minute, stirring with a whisk. Gradually add about 1/3 cup hot custard to beaten eggs; stir constantly with a whisk. Return egg mixture to pan. Cook for 2 minutes or until thick, stirring constantly. 

Remove mixture from heat; stir in cream of coconut and extracts. Spoon mixture into the prepared crust that has been lined with the banana(s). Cover surface of filling with plastic wrap; chill until set (about 2 hours).

Remove plastic wrap, and spread whipped topping evenly over filling. Sprinkle with coconut.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Animal advocates call on Eagles to match Vick's salary in shelter donations

SI cover: December 29, 2008 issue.
A Philadelphia-based animal welfare group is asking the Eagles to put their money where their mouth is.
DogPac, a political action committee and advocacy group, sent a letter to Eagles owner Jeff Lurie today asking him to match every dollar he pays Michael Vick with a donation to area animal shelters.
That means a total of $6.6 million over two years.
"The Philadelphia Eagles have repeatedly stated that they believe in giving second chances," said Tom Hickey Sr., chairman of DogPAC and a member of the state Dog Law Advisory Board. "I believe this is a way for the Eagles to clearly demonstrate that they are willing to invest equally in giving a second chance to the dogs that are the victims of this brutal illegal activity."
In addition to the letter to Lurie, Hickey sent an email to the 23,000 people on the DogPAC list urging them to send emails to the Eagles and show their support for the donation request. As of noon 925 letters had been sent to Lurie, Hickey said.
Hickey said the Eagles contribution should go toward enforcing animal cruelty laws and helping care for and rehabilitate fighting dogs.
"With this matching contribution dogs that have been brutalized will be able to receive the necessary medical and behaviorial care that is necessary to give them that second chance of being adopted into a loving and caring home," he said.
There has been no word from the Eagles on exactly what will be expected from Vick as far as his anti-dog fighting activities are concerned or what, if anything, the team plans to do to help the area's animals in the months and years ahead.

Here is the letter DogPac sent to its email list:
Are you as outraged as I am that the Philadelphia Eagles have signed Michael Vick? I’m sure that you are, and you have every right to be. Vick has admitted doing barbaric things to dogs, and the Eagles have shown horrible judgment by making him a member of their team.
The Eagles say that Vick will use his position to help save dogs and show kids that animal abuse is wrong. That simply is not good enough.
However, I believe that by working together we can make the Eagles put their money where their mouth is and do something very positive for dogs in Philadelphia.
That’s why I’ve sent a letter to Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie urging him to prove his team’s commitment to stopping dog abuse by donating AT LEAST the equivalent of Michael Vick’s salary to dog shelters and rescues every year that Vick is an Eagle. That would mean donations of $1.6 million this year and $5 million next year, if Vick is still on the team.
Now I need your help to put public pressure on the Eagles organization to make this happen. Please join me by sending an email to Eagles Owner Jeffrey Lurie telling him to prove his commitment to protecting dogs by agreeing to make these donations.
The Eagles have said that they are giving Michael Vick a “second chance” by putting him on the team. By making these substantial donations to rescues and shelters the Eagles could give a second chance to thousands of dogs that have been abused, maimed and tortured by dog fighting rings just like the one that Michael Vick ran.
If they believe that Vick’s second chance is worth $1.6 million this year, then we believe it’s worth at least that much to give second chances to thousands of innocent dogs who otherwise would be destroyed.
Thank you for your continuing support and for everything you do to help protect dogs in Pennsylvania.
Tom Hickey, Sr.
DogPAC Chairman
If enough of us support this. If enough of us contact the Eagles. If enough of us speak for those who cannot - we CAN get something done - YES, WE CAN!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

If you have a pet or know someone who has a pet or like pets THIS IS A MUST READ!

I, for one, will be contacting ALL of my federal legislators to express my firm support of this bill. I cannot, and will not, tell anyone how to feel about H.R. 3501, but I stand firmly behind it! This bill won't pass without all of us, all animal folks, letting our collective voices be heard! So, pass this along to each and every person you know and tell them that if they do nothing, that may be all they get...nothing.

Michael Markarian
Posted: August 19, 2009 12:09 PM

I wrote last year about California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's misguided plan to add a sales tax to veterinary services as part of a larger set of proposals to deal with the state's multi-billion dollar budget shortfall. Thanks to the work of HSUS, the California Veterinary Medical Association, and state legislators, the governor's idea was terminated, and California pet owners weren't forced into an even more difficult situation where tough choices had to be made about cutting care for their animal companions.

What's an even more hopeful sign of the times, however, is that federal lawmakers, led by Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-Mich.), are taking a much more foresighted approach by working to give pet owners a break during this economic downturn. McCotter has introduced H.R. 3501 -- the Humanity and Pets Partnered Through the Years (HAPPY) Act -- which would amend the federal tax code to allow a person to deduct up to $3,500 per year for pet care, including veterinary expenses. (The deduction applies only to household companion animals, not animals in laboratories, farms, or other businesses.)

McCotter has been a strong supporter of animal protection, and has advanced issues that promote the safety of both people and animals, such as dog bite prevention. We're grateful for his leadership in this new effort to help struggling families make ends meet -- recognizing that pets are part of the family, too.

During a stressful economic period, McCotter's bill is as much a human health issue as an animal health issue. Pets are good for us emotionally and physically, and studies show that having a pet can lower your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. If you've lost your job or are having trouble paying the mortgage or rent, caring for a companion animal provides a sense of purpose and fulfillment and lessens feelings of loneliness and depression.

The legislation could be a critical safety net to prevent struggling pet owners who can no longer afford to care for their animal companions from relinquishing them at animal shelters -- which not only tears families apart but also places a financial burden on local municipalities and private shelters for the costs of housing pets and, tragically, euthanizing them. And by encouraging affordable pet care, the bill not only promotes animal health and well-being, but also could help to stimulate the economy by driving more business to veterinarians, animal hospitals, and pet care providers.

Pet care, in fact, can be big business. More American households can claim pets than children as dependents. Since 1998, pet ownership has increased from 56% of households to 62%--an estimated 71.4 million homes enjoy pet companionship. And to care for these animals in our lives, we collectively spend more than $40 billion -- on food, veterinary care, and other supplies and services -- every year.

Moreover, pet ownership is not just for the wealthy -- 58% of households earning incomes of $55,000 or less per year own pets. While pet ownership does increase with income, a recent American Veterinary Medical Association survey revealed that pets are most likely to be a part of families with children led by full-time workers owning their homes. And the largest growth rate in pet ownership is among retired older couples.

If you would like to see this legislation passed into law, YOU need to contact your Federal representatives in Washington and tell them you support this bill. If you do nothing, well, that is all you will get, nothing. Currently this bill is being reviewed by the Ways and Means Committee.