Santa Cruz Good Times

Friday
May 22nd
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Rep. Sam Farr

SamFarrNewThe war in Afghanistan is the longest war in U.S. history, and last month was the deadliest month of the war yet. Are we getting any closer to getting out of there?

I have consistently opposed the war in Afghanistan, and my opposition remains unwavering. I never bought the proposal that occupying Afghanistan would improve our national security, and it’s clearly not in our nation’s interest to remain there.

I continue to be skeptical about what our military can accomplish in Afghanistan. I’m convinced that the sooner we withdraw our troops, the sooner we can refocus on cooperating with our allies to break down terrorist networks around the world. Taking down these networks—not occupying countries—is the best way to enhance our national security. And we can do that for a far lower cost, in both lives and dollars, than by occupying Afghanistan.

I’ve voted several times to stop funding for the war, and I’ve also voted in favor of requiring the Department of Defense to provide an exit strategy. While Congress has failed to demand such a strategy, I hope that President Obama will stick to his plan to begin troop withdrawal in July 2011.

President Obama’s approach to Afghanistan has included significant investments in economic development and diplomacy, and they may yet prove successful. But while I hope for the best, on the balance I believe that our continued presence in Afghanistan does more harm than good to our country.

There’s no question that our military is the most powerful in the world. But it has become crystal clear in Afghanistan that military might alone will not sustain peace. Political and military leaders alike agree on this, but we need to turn that agreement into action.

Our diplomatic tools, including the State Department and the United States Agency for International Development, remain woefully underfunded for their missions. If we can’t bring about the economic and social stability that is needed to ensure the peace, no force of military strength can fill that void.

History reminds us that the British and the Russians failed to secure Afghanistan. After almost nine years, there’s no reason to think our outcome will be any better.

I will continue to pressure our leaders to put more money into economic development and to come up with a credible plan to leave Afghanistan. It’s the only way that peace has a chance.

The administration recently debuted a new website, healthcare.gov. What can we expect from this site?

After a year of detailed and often heated debate, healthcare.gov is returning the issues

of health insurance reform to a level we all can understand.

The July 1 launch of this first-of-its-kind website makes it easier than ever to find healthcare coverage and understand exactly how new rules like the Patient’s Bill of Rights will benefit individuals, families and businesses.

We’ve seen technology change the way we live, but those advances haven’t come at an equal rate. It’s easier than ever to search and compare plane ticket prices or find a new apartment, but shopping for private health insurance has remained shrouded in mystery.

But no longer. The primary goal of healthcare.gov is to take the mystery out of shopping for health insurance.

Visit the website, answer a few simple questions, and healthcare.gov will provide all your coverage options, both public and private plans, that are tailored to your age, location and health needs.

The site is easy to use, it’s comprehensive, and it’s only going to get better.

In October, the site will begin to host information on prices of health insurance plans, making the process even more transparent. And be on the lookout for even more features, including a database of hospital quality ratings and tools to help you stay healthy.

The website is a great tool, but it’s just one of many steps that have already been taken thanks to the Affordable Care Act.

The new law already prevents insurance companies from denying children coverage because of a preexisting condition. It has eliminated caps on the amount of benefits that will be paid over a lifetime. It has allowed young adults up to age 26 without insurance to remain on their parent’s plan.

The Affordable Care Act has started to bridge the Medicare coverage gap with payments to seniors. And small businesses are now eligible for tax credits to help them afford coverage for employees. And starting in August, eligible residents of California will be able to apply for coverage through the state’s Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan. The plan will include a range of health benefits, even if they’re used to treat a pre-existing condition.

And, guess what? You can learn more about that plan at healthcare.gov.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Gate Openers

Up-and-coming artists like Ryan Bingham are a great reason to show up early to the Santa Cruz American Music Festival

 

Gemini Sun, Pentecost, Shavuot—Enlightenment and Gladness

As the sun enters Gemini on Sunday, sign of speaking, communication, thinking, inter-relations, writing and understanding languages, the feast days of Pentecost & Shavuot (Catholic and Jewish festivals) occur. During Pentecost’s 50 days after Easter, tongues of fire appear above the heads of the disciples, providing them with the ability to understand all languages and all feelings hidden in the minds and hearts of humanity. It’s recorded that Pentecost began with a loud noise, which happened in an upper room (signifying the mind). The Christ (World Teacher) told his disciples (after his ascension) when encountering a man at a well carrying a water pot (signs for Age of Aquarius) to follow him to an upper room. There, the Holy Spirit (Ray 3 of Divine Intelligence) would overshadow them, expand their minds, give them courage and enable them to teach throughout the world, speaking all languages and thus able to minister to the true needs of a “seeking” humanity. Pentecost (50 days, pentagram, Ray 5, Venus, concrete and scientific knowledge, the Ray of Aquarius) sounds dramatic, impressive and scary: The loud noise, a thunderous rush of wind and then “tongues of fire” above the heads of each disciple (men and women). Fire has purpose. It purifies, disintegrates, purges, transforms and liberates (frees) us from the past. This was the Holy Spirit (Ray 3, love and wisdom) being received by the disciples, so they would teach in the world and inform humanity of the Messiah (Christ), who initiated the new age (Pisces) and gave humanity the new law (adding to the 10 Commandments of the Aries Age) to Love (Ray 2) one another. Note: Gemini is also Ray 2. Shavuot is the Jewish Festival of Gladness, the First Fruits Festival celebrating the giving of the 10 Commandments to Moses as the Aries Age was initiated. Thus, we have two developmental stages here, Jewish festival of the Old Testament. Pentecost of the New Testament. We have gladness, integrating both.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Off Her Meds

Kristin Wiig runs wild—and transcends her sketch comedy roots—as a truly strange character ‘Welcome to Me’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Flats Bistro

Pizza with an artisan twist comes to Aptos Beach

 

What’s your take on Santa Cruz locals?

Santa Cruz locals are really friendly once you know them. I think a lot of them have a hard time leaving, and I would too. Ryan Carle, Santa Cruz, Biologist

 

Soquel Vineyards

If Soquel Vineyards partners Peter and Paul Bargetto and Jon Morgan were walking down the street wearing their winning wine competition medals, you’d hear them coming from a mile away. This year was particularly rewarding for the Bargettos and Morgan—they won two Double Gold Medals and five Gold Medals at January’s San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.

 

Enlightened Flavors

Squash & Blossom’s artisanal alternative-flour delights, beet kvass from Cafe Ivéta, and the Santa Cruz Baroque Festival