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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Issue of the Week: The Raw Milk Question

Plus Hero and Jerk of the Week

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Many people thought the question of raw milk was put to rest when pasteurization took hold in the late 19th century. School textbooks explained that the pasteurization process killed harmful bacteria that made people ill, and the world became a safer, healthier place. Not so fast, many people are now saying. Consuming raw milk could provide real health benefits, advocates say, and the risks are no different than from other legal food products. It should be a matter of personal choice for an informed public.

If this issue sounds odd, it isn’t. Europe and 25 other American states have already legalized the sale of raw milk and have given their consumers a choice. A bill is working its way through the state Legislature, and there is a very reasonable chance that Wisconsin, America’s Dairyland, will become the 26th state to legalize the sale of raw milk. The bill provides restrictions and safeguards, but for those who believe in the health benefits of raw milk, the bill would make it possible and legal to buy raw milk in Wisconsin.

Hero of the Week

Joseph Zilber

Legendary developer and philanthropist Joseph Zilber passed away last Friday at the age of 92 at the Zilber Hospice in Wauwatosa.

Zilber needs no introduction, as he earned honors as the ShepherdExpress’ Milwaukeean of the Year in 2007 and has been a household name in Milwaukee for decades—decades past, thanks to his real estate developments, and for decades to come, thanks to his incredible philanthropic works, which should continue to shape Milwaukee in profound ways. In recent years, Zilber decided to invest some of his considerable fortune in the “New Potential for Milwaukee” initiative, which includes funds for scholarships, educational institutions and civic and religious organizations. For his contributions toward improving the lives of all Milwaukeeans, the Shepherd makes Zilber our Hero of the Week.

Jerk of the Week

Gubernatorial Candidate Scott Walker

After the historic vote in the House of Representatives on Sunday night to pass health care reform, Scott Walker put out a press release stating that if elected governor, he would recommend that the attorney general pursue action to prevent the health care reforms from going into effect for Wisconsin residents. For clarification, the Wisconsin attorney general cannot pursue any legal action on this issue unless the governor or one house of the Legislature authorizes the attorney general to do so. If elected, Walker would enthusiastically authorize the attorney general to fight this health care reform legislation.

In his efforts to reward his big campaign contributors, the health insurance industry, Walker would reverse reforms that include:

n Preventing insurance companies from excluding people with pre-existing conditions and from dropping people’s coverage if they get seriously ill.

n Allowing young adults to stay on their parents’ health insurance plans until they are 26 years of age.

n Enabling individuals and small businesses to become members of large pools of people so that risk can be spread out and individuals and small businesses can bargain for fairer insurance rates.

n Lowering prescription drug costs for seniors on Medicare by closing the “doughnut hole.”

n Lowering the federal budget deficit by $138 billion over the next 10 years and $1.2 trillion over the following 10 years.

Thanks, Scott, for looking out for those insurance companies.