Via RaceWire, Obamahas signed an executive order to bolster federal support for historically black colleges and universities:
Obama says these schools have felt the pain of the recession (and his own cuts last year) the most because they enroll a higher proportion of low and middle-income students. His order includes $850 million which will ensure students can afford a college education and HBCUs can improve and expand facilities.
Last night, Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman to win an Academy Award for best director, and her film, The Hurt Locker became the first female-directed movie to take home the best picture award. It was a big relief that the artfully constructed film -- albeit a possible propaganda machine -- and Bigelow both won over the blockbuster monstrosity Avatar. But her win, to some extent, was overshadowed by that of Sandra Bullock.
In a question-and-answer session with TheNew York Times, bioethicist Dr. Howard Brodyfollows up on his New England Journal of Medicine editorial making the case that doctors have a professional obligation to keep medical costs down. In the health-care debate, physicians have supported health insurance reforms but don't want those reforms to affect their incomes, he says:
In the final push for a health-care bill, Democratic leaders in the House are working behind the scenes with anti-abortion members to try to get them to drop their opposition to the Senate bill's language on abortion, the Washington Postreports. The Senate bill adopted language from Sen. Ben Nelson that would only allow clients in the exchanges to get abortion coverage through a special rider paid for separately, in order to prevent federal dollars from paying for abortion. Many fear this provision would prevent the plans in the exchanges from offering abortion coverage at all.
The Associated Pressreported that mullahs in Afghanistan, which has one of the highest maternal death rates in the world, are promoting the use of birth control:
Quotes were used from the Quran to promote breast-feeding for two years, while local religious leaders, or mullahs, joined community and health leaders to explain the importance of spacing out births to give moms and babies the best chance at good health.
In total, 37 mullahs endorsed using contraceptives as a way to increase the time between births, some delivering the message during Friday prayers. The mullahs' major concerns centered on safety and infertility, the report said.