A $14 billion program to improve the education of impoverished students will mean more money for financially strapped state governments — provided the states adopt new academic standards. In a meeting with the nation's governors at the White House today, President Obama said the overhaul of the No Child Left Behind Act he is proposing to Congress will require the states to present "college and-and career-ready" standards in reading and math.

In mid-February, the American Psychiatric Association released the latest proposed changes to its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), considered the “Bible” used by mental health professionals in diagnosing patients. In addition to providing a guide for mental health diagnosis, the DSM is crucial in helping third-party payers (insurance companies) determine what they will cover under health insurance policies.

Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

— Matthew 5:9

Wednesday February 17, 2010 was Ash Wednesday, which marked the start of Lent, the traditional 40-day period of fasting, prayer, and penitence for many Christians around the world. Lent is the period of the liturgical year leading up to Easter. In observance of the day, Episcopalians, Lutherans, Roman Catholics, and many other Christians hold church ceremonies in which the “foreheads of the faithful are marked with the sign of the cross with ashes made from last year's Palm Sunday palms as a sign of repentance and reminder of mortality.”

ObamaItem: Following the State of the Union address, Bloomberg News reported on January 28 that President Obama “urged the U.S. Senate to join the House in overhauling the federal student-loan system, saying such a move would end ‘unwarranted taxpayer subsidies’ to banks…. Obama said the cost of the higher-education initiatives would be offset by money saved from his plan to provide all new federal loans directly to students, instead of through private lenders.”

Fox News reported that the International Planned Parenthood Federation is advocating that children as young as 10 be provided with in-depth sex education, including extensive information on sexual pleasure.

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