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Hi, all.  Today's report features the release of the President's long form birth certificate as well as some things that actually matter:

- The truth about the GOP plan to end Medicare.

- The release of a report on improving Latino  education; Hispanic success in education and in the labor market is of immediate and long‐term importance to America’s economy.

- The release of a national clean water framework affirming the Obama Administration’s comprehensive commitment to ensuring clean water and healthy waterways.

- Champions of Change, a weekly initiative to highlight Americans who are making an impact in their communities, focuses on volunteer chefs in the Chefs Move to Schools program and how they can work with school nutrition directors.

- First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden talk about practical ways for Americans to recognize and support military families.

White House, April 27, 2011;

President Obama's Long Form Birth Certificate

Posted by Dan Pfeiffer

In 2008, in response to media inquiries, the President’s campaign requested his birth certificate from the state of Hawaii. The state sent the campaign the President’s birth certificate, the same legal documentation provided to all Hawaiians as proof of birth in state, and the campaign immediately posted it on the internet. That birth certificate can be seen here.

When any citizen born in Hawaii requests their birth certificate, they receive exactly what the President received. In fact, the document posted on the campaign website is what Hawaiians use to get a driver’s license from the state and the document recognized by the Federal Government and the courts for all legal purposes. That’s because it is the birth certificate. This is not and should not be an open question.

The President believed the distraction over his birth certificate wasn’t good for the country. It may have been good politics and good TV, but it was bad for the American people and distracting from the many challenges we face as a country. Therefore, the President directed his counsel to review the legal authority for seeking access to the long form certificate and to request on that basis that the Hawaii State Department of Health make an exception to release a copy of his long form birth certificate. They granted that exception in part because of the tremendous volume of requests they had been getting. President Barack Obama's long form birth certificate can be seen here.

Correspondence with the Hawaii State Department of Health can be seen here.

At a time of great consequence for this country – when we should be debating how we win the future, reduce our deficit, deal with high gas prices, and bring stability to the Middle East, Washington, DC, was once again distracted by a fake issue.  The President’s hope is that with this step, we can move on to debating the bigger issues that matter to the American people and the future of the country.

White House, April 27, 2011:

President Obama on His Birth Certificate & the Real Issues Facing America

President Obama discusses the release of his long form birth certificate, having long ago released his standard birth certificate, and says that "We've got big problems to solve. And I'm confident we can solve them, but we're going to have to focus on them -- not on this."

Office of the Press Secretary, April 27, 2011:

Remarks by the President

James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, everybody.  Now, let me just comment, first of all, on the fact that I can't get the networks to break in on all kinds of other discussions -- (laughter.)  I was just back there listening to Chuck -- he was saying, it’s amazing that he’s not going to be talking about national security.  I would not have the networks breaking in if I was talking about that, Chuck, and you know it.

Q Wrong channel.  (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT:  As many of you have been briefed, we provided additional information today about the site of my birth. Now, this issue has been going on for two, two and a half years now.  I think it started during the campaign.  And I have to say that over the last two and a half years I have watched with bemusement, I've been puzzled at the degree to which this thing just kept on going.  We've had every official in Hawaii, Democrat and Republican, every news outlet that has investigated this, confirm that, yes, in fact, I was born in Hawaii, August 4, 1961, in Kapiolani Hospital.

We've posted the certification that is given by the state of Hawaii on the Internet for everybody to see.  People have provided affidavits that they, in fact, have seen this birth certificate.  And yet this thing just keeps on going.

Now, normally I would not comment on something like this, because obviously there’s a lot of stuff swirling in the press on at any given day and I've got other things to do.  But two weeks ago, when the Republican House had put forward a budget that will have huge consequences potentially to the country, and when I gave a speech about my budget and how I felt that we needed to invest in education and infrastructure and making sure that we had a strong safety net for our seniors even as we were closing the deficit, during that entire week the dominant news story wasn’t about these huge, monumental choices that we're going to have to make as a nation.  It was about my birth certificate.  And that was true on most of the news outlets that were represented here.

And so I just want to make a larger point here.  We've got some enormous challenges out there.  There are a lot of folks out there who are still looking for work.  Everybody is still suffering under high gas prices.  We're going to have to make a series of very difficult decisions about how we invest in our future but also get a hold of our deficit and our debt -- how do we do that in a balanced way.

And this is going to generate huge and serious debates, important debates.  And there are going to be some fierce disagreements -- and that’s good.  That’s how democracy is supposed to work.  And I am confident that the American people and America’s political leaders can come together in a bipartisan way and solve these problems.  We always have.

But we’re not going to be able to do it if we are distracted.  We’re not going to be able to do it if we spend time vilifying each other.  We’re not going to be able to do it if we just make stuff up and pretend that facts are not facts.  We’re not going to be able to solve our problems if we get distracted by sideshows and carnival barkers.

We live in a serious time right now and we have the potential to deal with the issues that we confront in a way that will make our kids and our grandkids and our great grandkids proud.  And I have every confidence that America in the 21st century is going to be able to come out on top just like we always have.  But we’re going to have to get serious to do it.

I know that there’s going to be a segment of people for which, no matter what we put out, this issue will not be put to rest.  But I’m speaking to the vast majority of the American people, as well as to the press.  We do not have time for this kind of silliness.  We’ve got better stuff to do.  I’ve got better stuff to do.  We’ve got big problems to solve.  And I’m confident we can solve them, but we’re going to have to focus on them -- not on this.

Thanks very much, everybody.

White House, April 27, 2011:

No Comparison

Posted by Stephanie Cutter, Assistant to the President and Deputy Senior Advisor

Earlier this week, Speaker John Boehner said Rep. Ryan’s plan to privatize Medicare “transforms Medicare into a plan that's very similar to the President's own health care bill.” This comparison is deeply flawed. Here’s why:

No Guaranteed Coverage

The Congressional Republican plan privatizes Medicare, ending the program as we know it. Insurance companies would be under no obligation to offer insurance to seniors, so many older Americans could be left with no insurance at all.

The Affordable Care Act preserves Medicare and improves it by making prevention and prescription drugs more affordable, lowering its costs, and improving the quality of care. And health reform extends the life of the Medicare Trust Fund and helps ensure Medicare will continue to provide coverage to seniors in the decades to come.

Get Older, Pay More

The Republican plan repeals Medicare’s current policy where seniors are not charged more because of their age. Under the Republican plan, seniors could be forced to pay more for their health care every year, simply because they’ve grown older.

No Affordable Choices

The Republican Medicare plan makes health coverage less affordable for seniors.  In the first year it goes into effect, a typical 65-year-old who becomes eligible for Medicare would pay an extra $6,400 for health care, more than doubling what he or she would pay if the plan were not adopted. And the Republican plan would replace extra coverage for low-income enrollees with a capped, insufficient medical savings account.

In sharp contrast, the Affordable Care Act lowers costs for people in Medicare by improving its performance and squeezing out waste, fraud and abuse. The law also provides free preventive care and cheaper prescription drugs for people in Medicare. As a result, we estimate that a typical senior could save $3,500 over the next decade as a result of the Affordable Care Act.

Less Transparency

The Affordable Care Act will help make the health care system more open, more transparent and easier to understand.

The Republican plan takes us in the opposite direction. Today, people in Medicare can quickly learn about their benefits. Under the Republican plan, they’d be left in the dark. The Republican plan would force seniors to purchase insurance on their own and critical consumer protections that would make the insurance marketplace easier to understand would be repealed.

Silver Lining

The facts are clear: the Affordable Care Act and the Republican plan to end Medicare as we know it are very different. It’s heartening to see Republicans aspire to produce a plan that resembles the historic reforms President Obama signed into law.  But if they want a proposal that is similar to the Affordable Care Act, they’ll have to head back to the drawing board.

White House, April 27, 2011:

Improving Latino Education to Win the Future

Posted by Alejandra Campoverdi, Deputy Director of Hispanic Media

Today at a community conversation at Miami-Dade College, the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics and the U.S. Department of Education released the report Winning the Future: Improving Education for the Latino Community. The President will be delivering a commencement address at Miami-Dade College Friday evening. To view the report, click HERE.

The report shows that Hispanic success in education and in the labor market is of immediate and long‐term importance to America’s economy. It also shows that Hispanics have the lowest education attainment level overall of any group in the U.S. Hispanics are by far the largest minority group in today’s American public education system, numbering more than 12.4 million in the country’s elementary, middle and high schools. Nearly 22 percent, or slightly more than 1 in 5, of all pre‐K-12 students enrolled in America’s public schools is Hispanic, but they face persistent obstacles to educational attainment. Less than half are enrolled in any early learning program. Only about half earn their high school diploma on time; those who do complete high school are only half as likely as their peers to be prepared for college and only 4 percent have completed graduate or professional degree programs.

As part of the community conversation in Miami today, Senior Obama Administration officials met with dozens of educators and community leaders, to exchange ideas and outline strategies to meet President Obama’s goal for the nation to have the best-educated workforce in the world by 2020.

White House, April 27, 2011:

A Clear Commitment to Clean Water for America

Posted by Nancy Sutley, Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality

Clean water is the foundation of healthy communities. It is vital to everyone, from families who want safe drinking water, to fishermen and women who want to know their catch is safe to eat, to farmers who rely on it to grow their crops, and everyone in between.   We understand the importance of clean water and healthy watersheds to our economy, to our environment and to our families.

Clean water has been a priority for this Administration from day one. Through an extensive set of policies and initiatives, we are working across Federal agencies, across governments and across sectors to use every tool in our toolbox to make sure Americans have the clean and healthy waters they need and deserve.

Today, we released a national clean water framework that affirms the Obama Administration’s comprehensive commitment to ensuring clean water and healthy waterways for American families, American communities, and the American economy.  We're taking strong action to reduce contaminants in our drinking water by using the latest science to update drinking water standards, and by better protecting drinking water sources from pollution.  We’re giving farmers incentives to reduce pollution, and giving landowners incentives to open up their lands for fishing, swimming, and other activities that promote public stewardship of our waters. We're working with states to make sure rural communities have affordable and modern clean water systems.

And we're partnering with states, communities, and stakeholders to restore valuable but deteriorating natural systems around the country. This includes iconic places like the Everglades, which supports tens of thousands of jobs and contributes billions to our economy. And places like the Chesapeake Bay, which supports billions each year in agriculture, forestry, fisheries and tourism – and where the cultural value to communities is immeasurable.

We’re also updating the Nation's water policies to ensure they meet modern challenges, reflect the latest science, and respond to Americans' goals for healthy and safe water resources and communities.  This includes draft guidance, released today, that would clarify where the Clean Water Act applies nationwide.  This will help restore long-standing protection to critical waters and provide clearer, less burdensome guidelines for determining which water bodies we can keep safe from pollution and other pressures. This draft guidance will be open for 60 days of public comment to allow the public and stakeholders to provide input and feedback before it is finalized.

Since the beginning of this Administration, we have been working hard to ensure clean water.  Today we've reaffirmed that commitment, and promised to continue to lead on clean water, and to support our partners across the country who are working to ensure the health and economic vitality of American communities.

White House, April 27, 2011:

Champions of Change: Chefs Move to Schools

Posted by  Garrett Berdan, an independent nutrition and culinary educator and consultant specializing in school district child nutrition programs

Editor’s Note: Champions of Change is a weekly initiative to highlight Americans who are making an impact in their communities and help our country rise to the many challenges of the 21st century.

It is an honor to be named a Champion of Change by the White House for my work with school nutrition programs in the Pacific Northwest.  Last Friday I joined a roundtable meeting with Administration officials and five other chefs from around the nation to discuss best practices for working with schools and teachers through the Chefs Move to Schools program.

We have an extraordinary opportunity in this country to influence a lifetime of healthy eating habits beginning with children and teens.  Schools provide a perfect setting, both in the classroom and in the cafeteria.  Chef volunteers with Chefs Move to Schools are ready to share their expertise to get kids excited about tasty, healthy foods.

In the classroom chefs can teach students through demonstration or hands-on cooking experiences.  It could be something as simple as seasonal produce show-tell-and-taste, or a hands-on activity to build cooking confidence.  Chefs in the classroom can also collaborate with the cafeteria to promote new healthy school menu items.

Chefs are school nutrition directors’ allies.  I recommend that school nutrition directors begin working with chef volunteers on simple projects.  Chefs can provide 1-hour trainings on specific culinary techniques.  For example, a knife skills lesson would help improve kitchen safety, efficiency, and could be tied into a new farm-to-school menu item that requires specific knife cuts.

School nutrition programs are doing an incredible job and making improvements every day.  As a registered dietitian and chef working with school nutrition programs I have seen amazing work in schools around the Pacific Northwest.  Schools menus now feature more delicious, from-scratch meals full of nutrient-rich foods.  School nutrition program directors and cooks are passionate about serving nourishing meals and are enthusiastic about making changes.  Their tremendous efforts for positive change should be recognized.

My experience at the White House and in the Champions of Change round table meeting was incredibly inspiring.  There is a great deal of work ahead of us, however positive changes to school meals are happening every day.  I am encouraged by the work of my colleagues at the table, and the enthusiasm of 2,500 chefs and 2,300 schools around the nation who have volunteered to participate in Chefs Move to Schools.

White House, April 27, 2011:

Joining Forces to Put Military Families First

Posted by Paul Wiley

Over the last two weeks, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden have been traveling the country to publicize the launch of their Joining Forces initiative. From North Carolina and Virginia to Colorado and California, the First Lady and Dr. Biden have taken part in events that highlight the amazing work everyday Americans are doing to help America's military families.

This weekend, PARADE magazine interviewed them about Joining Forces. They talked about why they chose to focus on military families, and what their goals are for getting Americans involved:

PARADE: If Americans rally around our military families, what do you think this new connectiveness could do for us as a country?

JILL BIDEN: It would create a lot of patriotism, you know, that feeling I had as a child. We just need to say to America, “Wake up. You need to support these families and we need to lift them up and really value them.”

MICHELLE OBAMA: And the truth is, I think that’s how most Americans feel.

Be sure to read the whole interview and find out more.

As the school year comes closer to an end, and the days get longer and warmer, it can be even easier to find some time to help a military family in your area. It can be as simple as watching the kids for a night, or as big as organizing a cookout for veterans, servicemembers, and their families. Every kindness counts.

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