All milk in U.S.?is antibiotic-free

I grew up on a dairy farm, spent 10 years in biotech/pharmaceutical and am now employed at a dairy plant. Recently, I was surprised to learn that a very smart and well informed friend of mine wasn't aware of what is involved with drug residue (antibiotic) testing of the milk supply. If this intelligent friend of mine didn't know, I started wondering how many other people don't know. Consumers have a right to know their food is safe.

I am not "anti" organic. People have a right to choose what they feel is right for themselves. I am a proponent of informed decisions.

On a conventional dairy farm, when a cow requires antibiotics, it's milked separately from the main herd and the milk is not sent to the processing plant. When the milk is free from antibiotics, the cow can re-enter the milking herd. On an organic farm, if a cow requires antibiotics, she is permanently removed from the herd.

Milk is one of the most heavily regulated foodstuffs available. All milk, not just milk from farms certified organic, is antibiotic-free. When the milk truck driver picks up milk at an individual's farm, a sample is pulled from each farm. When the milk arrives at the milk plant, the very first thing that occurs is a drug residue test, which is very accurate and very sensitive – test results are measured in parts per billion. If the truck tests positive, then we go back and check the individual farm samples to see what farm is responsible for the "hot" load. That farm then becomes responsible for all costs incurred with the dumping of that milk because milk with antibiotics is not allowed in the U.S. food supply.

Farmers drink milk, too!

Valerie Moss-Deegan



Collins should be honest ?about Social Security

On Sept. 20, I received an email news release from Chris Collins, opponent of incumbent Congresswoman Kathy Hochul, in which he trumpets his endorsement by the "60 Plus Association." Collins describes this association as a "national non-partisan seniors group." Not having heard of this organization before, I did a little research and quickly determined that this is a right-wing group committed to privatizing Social Security.

Rather than hiding behind what he hopes voters will think is an innocuous seniors' group, it would be more helpful if Collins would be publicly honest about his aim to end Social Security as we know it. Maybe Collins, with his wealth, has no need for Social Security, but a lot of the voters in this district are counting on it.

James R. Renfrew



Expelled rabbi has ?been punished enough

The Sept. 25 article on expelled Rabbi A. Charles Shalman touched many people's attitudes. It is unfortunate that this very bright and personable man is repeatedly being placed in a negative spotlight by folks who have become his judge and jury.

To my knowledge, Shalman was an excellent, inspiring speaker; a minister who instituted a program for handicapped children; a man who helped young ones and their parents by personally escorting the youngsters to various appointments and recreational opportunities whenever he could. He lifted the hearts of the bereaved with his healing words, helping to lessen their sadness and much more.

It must be understood that Shalman is a human being with frailties not too unlike other mortals. Has he not had discipline and punishment enough by being robbed of his profession for which he studied so many years and in which he was so very successful in so many ways? Have those who denigrate him again and again have no sympathy and no mercy of this man's frailties?

Where is forgiveness and why is this tenet of our religion forgotten? This man is no criminal, no thief. We forgive murderers; we tell Holocaust survivors to not dwell on their unimaginable experiences. Are we so free and so perfect that we can judge Shalman, who has done so many admirable deeds in his life, or must we forever dwell on his shortcomings?

Ursula A. Falk



Nanny governments? have ruined nations

In his My View column of Sept. 25, professor Anthony Graziano engages in a little poetic license to give a warm account of how he introduced his children to the wonder of the Perseids meteor showers. Unfortunately, he shamelessly spoiled his story by yoking it to political propaganda.

Pretending puzzlement, he wonders why so many working folks vote for politicians who want to weaken unions. Could it be that unions, in their unique way, have become as harmful to the general public as companies were that once exploited the workers? He wonders why parents would vote for those who threaten children's health by attacking environmental standards. Could it be that environmentalists today are regulatory extremists bent on wrecking our economic system? Graziano doesn't understand why voters keep re-electing liars, thieves and possibly worse. Would they include President Bill Clinton, who lied under oath; or Sen. Jon Corzine, who recently made a couple of billion dollars vanish; or Sen. Ted Kennedy at Chappaquiddick?

Eric Hoffer, the late longshoreman philosopher, once said, "Give an intellectual anything he wants, but never give him power." Like so many other intellectuals, the professor rejects our founding principles and believes that big government social engineers would create a Utopia if only we'd give them more power and time to implement their plans. It's an old and tragic story of nanny governments that have ruined nations and countless millions of lives.

Personally, I'll put my faith in the average American, whose common sense and intuitive understanding of human nature will help restore America to the greatness that made it the envy of the world.

James Costa



Don't believe rumors? about home sales tax

Too many people believe the false story circulating on the Internet that claims there is going to be a sales tax on homes in 2013. This is not true. It is a surtax on investment income, which the Tax Foundation estimates will affect only about 2 percent of America's top-earning families.

According to, "The truth is that only a tiny percentage of home sellers will pay the tax. First of all, only those with incomes over $200,000 a year ($250,000 for married couples filing jointly) will be subject to it. And even for those who have such high incomes, the tax still won't apply to the first $250,000 on profits from the sale of a personal residence – or to the first $500,000 in the case of a married couple selling their home."

Even for the very rich, this surtax applies only to the excess profit, so if a couple bought their home for $400,000 and sold it for a million dollars, resulting in a capital gain of $600,000, only $100,000 of that would be subject to the 3.8 percent tax.

Jennifer Frey

West Seneca