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Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2010

Issue of the Week: Walker and Neumann Plan to Cut BadgerCare

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In the midst of an era in which health care costs have spiraled out of control, the leading Republican candidates for governor have vowed to cut one of the state’s most popular and necessary programs—BadgerCare. In a debate last week, both candidates derided the program as an “entitlement.” Walker even tried to demonize BadgerCare by claiming that there’s “all sorts of fraud and abuse” in the program. No evidence backs up his allegation.

In reality, BadgerCare—created by Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson— provides an invaluable safety net for folks who can’t afford health care on the open market. These include working people who don’t have the means to pay for coverage or whose employer does not provide coverage. The fact of the matter is that the state stepped in with this program because the free market isn’t working in health care. And the cost effective and moral thing to do is to make sure that these individuals have health insurance.

Yes, providing health care coverage to struggling workers is the moral thing to do, even though these two candidates—who are both claiming to be devout Christians—would rather worship the free market. We’ve got to ask: Would Jesus cut health care for the poor so that the wealthy could get a tax break? Walker and Neumann should consider the “least of these” while making their campaign promises.

Hero of the Week

Pam Richard

Peace Action Wisconsin, headquartered in Milwaukee’s Riverwest neighborhood, is an organization that acts locally to help craft a world in which human needs are met, the environment is preserved and the threats of war and nuclear weapons have been abolished.

Choosing from among many dedicated individuals, directors at Peace Action pointed to Pam Richard as a super volunteer who helps out with most of the group’s activities, including the weekly “Stand for Peace” and the annual “Lanterns for Peace” flotilla on the Milwaukee River.

Richard, who works full time, also volunteers at the Peace Action offices and works behind the scenes at special events like the Sept. 25 Run/Walk for Peace at Whitnall Park. For more information on Peace Action Wisconsin, visit www.peaceactionwi.org.

Jerk of the Week

Journal Sentinel Columnist Patrick McIlheran

In yet another fact-free op-ed, Journal Sentinel columnist Patrick McIlheran (a denier of manmade global warming) bemoans the fact that saner folks aren’t impressed by Republican Senate candidate Ron Johnson’s views on global warming. McIlheran tries to back up Johnson’s notorious “sunspot” claim with some scientific studies, then immediately backtracks: “Not that any of them prove Johnson right. Crediting the sun for warming is a minority view.” It’s a minority view that McIlheran is eager to push, since it pleases his supporters in the oil industry—don’t forget that McIlheran won an award from Americans for Prosperity, the “Astro turf” tea party group bankrolled by the largest privately owned oil company in the United States—and his ultraconservative fans who don’t want to take personal responsibility for environmental damage. McIlheran is their useful idiot. But he shouldn’t be pushing propaganda in a newspaper that’s allegedly fact-checked for accuracy.

Event of the Week

Fund-Raiser for Homeless Veteran Initiative

Did you know that an estimated 25% of homeless people in Milwaukee are veterans? That’s why Veterans for Peace’s Homeless Veteran Initiative is so important. Volunteer veterans locate and help homeless and at-risk veterans so that they can find secure housing, counseling, health care and employment. You can support their work by attending the Sept. 4 fund-raiser at Derry Hegarty’s Pub, 5328 W. Bluemound Road, from 7 to 10 p.m. Tickets are $10. Rick D’Amore and Richard Pinney will perform; raffle items include two tickets for the Nov. 7 Packers-Cowboys game, Brewers tickets, Next Act Theatre tickets, an ultralight fishing rod and an abstract painting. An autographed Packers team football will be auctioned off at 9 p.m. For more information, go to www.neverhomeless.org.