Monday, November 29, 2010

International Animal Law

Almost missed November's International Animal Law of news from 'round the world... here it is in case you haven't seen it yet, either.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Not again...

This week Michael Vick made the cover of Sports Illustrated... again.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Exotic pet permits about to go extinct in OR

The normally progressive state of Oregon is finally getting with the program... ok, technically phasing out the program... when it comes to acknowledging that keeping wild or exotic animals as pets is just a bad, bad idea.

The Oregon Department of Agriculture will stop issuing permits for animals such as bears, chimpanzees and yes, even crocodiles like the obviously cuddly creature seen above (seriously? People keep these things at home? What are they thinking??) come the new year. And it will start phasing out existing permits as current by attrition. Read more in this Associated Press story appearing on KGW-TV.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hope everyone has a safe, enjoyable holiday!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

All is right with the universe tonight...

Bristol Palin did not win Dancing with the Stars tonight. Congratulations to Jennifer Gray, who did win, and Kyle Massey, for a hard-fought 2nd place finish.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Get out there and vote!

Tonight's the last night to vote on "Dancing with the Stars." Completely ridiculous, I know.

Nonetheless - and I am generally not much of a conspiracy theorist - there really does seem to be some sort of concerted conservative effort to get out the vote for Bristol Palin. While undoubtedly she has improved considerably since the first episode, there is just no way to objectively believe that she is actually the best dancer on the stage. (Nor, I believe, would it even be fair to say that she has improved comparatively more than the other finalist, Kyle Massey.)

Bristol's freestyle tonight, as the infamous lawyerly platitude goes, truly missed the mark. She danced to a number from the Broadway hit musical "Chicago." While the "look" of the number was about right (evoking a prison cell), the costuming was fine and the dancing - to the completely and totally unitiated - seemed ok... it lacked the most fundamental essence it could possibly miss: Bob Fosse's style. Mr. Fosse (pronounced foss-ee) was one of the most quintessential choreographers to ever grace (and yes, I mean grace) the Broadway stage. He had a style that was so unique, so inimitable, that even a person who never took a dance lesson in her life (ie: me) could recognize it when I saw it. And I didn't see any of it in Bristol's dancing tonight. Think: doing an Elvis Presley number without wiggling your hips. Just shows a real lack of depth. Judge Bruno alluded to this in his comments when he said that dance was a difficult style to imitate. Judge Carrie Ann, to her credit, didn't try to dumb it down for the audience and mentioned Fosse by name. Judge Len, on the other hand, apparently already had lowered his expectations for Bristol so far down that he said he wasn't even thinking about the fact that team Bristol basically did the bunny hop when the music called for a conga line. What was Bristol's (professional!) dance partner thinking?

You have until 11am Eastern tomorrow. Maybe you didn't turn out for the November election (which yes, would have been much better), but there is still time to make this right. Vote Jennifer and/or Kyle!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

New animal welfare rating system to roll out at Whole Foods

Whole Foods Market harbors the same hopes for its chickens that many parents do for their kids: That they'll get plenty of fresh air, live at home until they reach maturity and avoid gaining weight so fast that they can't walk.

These are a few of the animal welfare practices the retailer hopes to encourage with a new humane meat-rating system being piloted in the South and scheduled for national expansion early next year. If the six-step, color-coded labeling system works as planned, it could allow American consumers at many supermarket chains unprecedented levels of specificity when it comes to choosing meat to match their principles.

Read the rest of Monica Eng's article in the Chicago Tribune...

Monday, November 15, 2010

Sarah Palin reality show: a nightmare on Main Street

Last night was the long-awaited (or perhaps, dreaded) premiere of "Sarah Palin's Alaska", The Learning Channel's purported reality show about the former presidential candidate. The program lived up (or perhaps, down) to its expectations.

Why waste time reinventing the wheel on this one? The L.A. Times quipped "Sarah Palin's Alaska: Reality show or campaign ad?" Wonkette promptly declared "America's Pets Also Hate Sarah Palin's New Tee Vee Show" (complete with a 2:06 video of a dog going pretty ballistic at the TV screen while the show is airing). And my personal favorite caption, courtesy of a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette editorial: "You can see Sarah Palin's TV show from your couch!"

Put up or shut up...

Seems that I'm not the only person who hasn't really been persuaded by GOP whining - uh, arguments - that extending the so-called Bush tax cuts to the very wealthiest Americans is needed in order to help small businesses create jobs. Tuesday's Huffington Post headline reads "Progressive Lawmakers Want to Make GOP 'Put Up or Shut Up' on Bush Tax Cuts". That about sums it up. Everyone pretty much realizes the rich will just pocket the money.

Meanwhile, Virginia Sen. Mark Warner began suggesting another alternative late last week: allow those cuts to expire but use the extra tax revenue to provide breaks that are actually targeted to small business. That's better, at least.

Then there's the prove-it-or-lose-it suggestion being advanced on Basically says the uber-wealthy can keep their tax breaks... so long as they can prove they are actually using the money to create jobs in small business. Now THAT'S put up or shut up.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Don't ask, don't tell: Pentagon study finds minimal risk to lifting gay ban

The Washington Post reported today that even the Pentagon is acknowledging that repealing this policy won't hurt the military. Always good to see at least some area of rights have a good day. Read more in this CBS News re-cap or this Washington Post Q & A with the reporters who broke the story.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Retired NJ police dog gets wheelchair

MARLBORO, N.J. (AP) -- A retired police dog in New Jersey can no longer walk a beat. But he can get around thanks to a New Hampshire company.

Read more in today's Concord Monitor...

Yes Virginia (ok, Georgia) there really IS a link between animal abuse and violence against humans

A shout-out to the joint venture between the Atlanta Journal Constitution and which, after investigating comments made by Georgia State Senator Robert Brown last week, just announced today that his statement "[a]nimal abuse is often an indicative trait of future acts of violence against humans," is in fact true.

Took a while, but at least they got the answer right. Read more from their "Truth-o-Meter" here...

Saturday, November 06, 2010

"Southern California Animal Lovers' Calendar" - check it out!

If you happen to live anywhere near the LA area, there are a whole bunch of events going on this and the next few weekends - including adoption fairs, free-microchipping and even the first-ever Vegan Beer Fest! [We were actually going to drive all the way down to San Diego today for a beer festival there... but maybe we will save ourselves a couple of hours of drive time... more time to drink beer... hmmm... ;) ]

Check out all the options on the LA Times animal blog: L.A. Unleashed...

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Missouri's Prop B: passage may not be enough

Proposition B - which is supposed to crack down on puppy mills - passed by a narrow margin on Tuesday in Missouri's elections. (My apologies, I completely forgot to blog about it Tuesday night, I was so depressed by the rest of the results...) But not even two days later, pressure from adversaries is already pushing lawmakers to say they may support challenges to the new measure. Read more in the Kansas City Star.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Gridlock here we come...

Well, the Republicans have regained control of the House (as well as picked up a whole bunch of governor races). Several prominent GOP members, including newly re-elected South Carolina Senator and Tea Party stalwart Jim DeMint, have already told commentators on national TV that they're happy to work with President Obama - so long as he wants to work on their issues such as reducing the deficit and repealing the recent health care reform. GOP Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said straight out that his party's number one priority will be defeating President Obama in the next election. Doesn't sound like much room for compromise or bi-partisanship there.

So there you have it. Two years of bickering... which will undoubtedly be capped off by both sides blaming the other for the inevitable stalemate that will be the focus of the smear campaigns in the 2012 elections. :(

If you don't vote, you can't complain

And who doesn't love to complain?

C'mon. If you haven't done it yet, get out there and vote. If you have, feel free to join me in what may turn out to be a lengthy list of gripes, depending upon how some of these elections turn out...

Monday, November 01, 2010

Call me 'owner' -- but 'mom' is fine, too

Are you your cat's owner? Your dog's mom? Guardian? Caretaker? Pet parent?

Christie Keith ponders the pros and cons of this ongoing debate in a recent San Francisco Chronicle editorial...