After a puppy died, this Republican senator took action. He should apply that to kids.

When tragedy struck, Sen. John Kennedy (R-Louisiana) jumped into action.

On Monday, March 12, a 10-month-old French bulldog puppy named Kokito died aboard a United flight from Houston to New York after his owner was ordered to put him in the overhead bin for the trip's duration. It was a horrible and heartbreaking story, and Kennedy decided that something needed to be done. Within two days, the junior senator from Louisiana announced plans to introduce a bill banning airlines from placing animals in overhead bins.

"Violators will face significant fines," he tweeted. "Pets are family."


You'd be hard-pressed to find an animal lover who'd disagree with Kennedy's approach. It absolutely should be illegal to put animals in overhead bins, and more should be done about the spate of animal deaths aboard commercial flights. United seems to be a particularly egregious offender. Just two days after Kokito's death, another United flight accidentally sent a Kansas-bound dog to Japan. It's unacceptable because, like Kennedy said, pets are family.

Being able to quickly identify and address serious issues is government at its best, which is why it's unfortunate that Kennedy doesn't apply the same approach to other situations.

"In a lot of respects, dogs are how people ought to be," wrote Kennedy in another tweet. "What happened on [United] was disgraceful and doesn’t need to happen again. I don’t enjoy having to legislate common decency, but by God, I’m going to do it until they take this seriously."

Looking to another recent tragedy, however, Kennedy's philosophy couldn't be more different. After the Parkland shooting, Kennedy responded to calls for action designed to make it harder for potential shooters to access deadly weapons by dismissing the idea of any legislative steps: "I don't think we need more gun control laws. I think we need more idiot control."

The argument, from Kennedy and others opposed to taking action on guns in the wake of a shooting, is essentially that anyone who wants to shoot up a school is going to find a way to do it, so we shouldn't bother putting additional legal obstacles in their way. One could say the same about anyone who'd knowingly put a puppy in an overhead bin, yet Kennedy feels like that's something worth immediate action.

Hopefully Kennedy can take a lesson from himself on this issue. Like pets, our children are family and deserve protection.

Good luck to Kennedy on getting his bill passed in hopes of stopping future pet-related tragedies in the sky; it's still not too late for him to help stop the ones happening in our schools.

Sen. John Kennedy in late 2017. Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images.

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels
True

Increasingly customers are looking for more conscious shopping options. According to a Nielsen survey in 2018, nearly half (48%) of U.S. consumers say they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment.

But while many consumers are interested in spending their money on products that are more sustainable, few actually follow through. An article in the 2019 issue of Harvard Business Review revealed that 65% of consumers said they want to buy purpose-driven brands that advocate sustainability, but only about 26% actually do so. It's unclear where this intention gap comes from, but thankfully it's getting more convenient to shop sustainably from many of the retailers you already support.

Amazon recently introduced Climate Pledge Friendly, "a new program to help make it easy for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products." When you're browsing Amazon, a Climate Pledge Friendly label will appear on more than 45,000 products to signify they have one or more different sustainability certifications which "help preserve the natural world, reducing the carbon footprint of shipments to customers," according to the online retailer.

Amazon

In order to distinguish more sustainable products, the program partnered with a wide range of external certifications, including governmental agencies, non-profits, and independent laboratories, all of which have a focus on preserving the natural world.

Keep Reading Show less

In the hours before he was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States, then-President-elect Biden was sent a letter signed by 17 freshmen GOP members of the House of Representatives.

In sharp contrast to the 121 Republican House members who voted against the certification of Biden's electoral votes—a constitutional procedure merely check-marking the state certifications that had already taken place—this letter expresses a desire to "rise above the partisan fray" and work together with Biden as he takes over the presidency.

The letter reads:

Dear President-elect Biden,

Congratulations on the beginning of your administration and presidency. As members of this freshman class, we trust that the next four years will present your administration and the 117thCongress with numerous challenges and successes, and we are hopeful that – despite our ideological differences – we may work together on behalf of the American people we are each so fortunate to serve.

After two impeachments, lengthy inter-branch investigations, and, most recently, the horrific attack on our nation's capital, it is clear that the partisan divide between Democrats and Republicans does not serve a single American.

Keep Reading Show less
True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.