Barack Obama

The Obama administration Friday is taking a small step toward expanding adult prisoners' access to federal Pell grants. The money would help pay for college-level classes behind bars.

President Barack Obama talks with attendees of a speech in Durant, Oklahoma on July 15, 2015.
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

Millions of American students don’t have access to high speed internet at home, putting them at an educational disadvantage. On Wednesday, president Barack Obama began his two-day visit to Oklahoma by unveiling a new plan to bring  internet service into low income households.

The president was met with applause and introduced himself with the Choctaw greeting “Halito” at Durant High School in the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.

In light of this week’s nuclear agreement with Iran, Asia-Pacific trade talks and renewed diplomatic relations with Cuba, Rebecca Cruise and Suzette Grillot talk about why 2015 has been arguably President Obama’s most successful year in foreign policy.

Then I’ll talk with Nigerian filmmaker Kenneth Gyang about bringing attention to issues facing his country through narrative storytelling.

A motorist drives by a police barricade placed along Sheridan Avenue in downtown Oklahoma City in advance of a visit from President Barack Obama Wednesday.
Brent Fuchs / The Journal Record

President Obama’s visit to Oklahoma dominated the news cycle this week, and basically shut down small portions of downtown Oklahoma City, Durant, Interstate 40 – pretty much anywhere inside a one-block radius of the president.

The White House provided only a six day heads up Obama was headed to Oklahoma, and that caused some rapid rearrangement of events in the area, according to The Journal Record’s Dale Denwalt:

President Obama tours the El Reno Federal Correctional Institution on July 16, 2015
Kate Carlton Greer / KGOU

President Obama became the first sitting president to visit a federal prison Thursday when he toured the El Reno Federal Correctional Institution outside Oklahoma City. During his trip, Obama urged reconsideration of the current criminal justice system.

President Obama walked down Cell Block B, taking in the two-story medium security prison, with a corrections officer and Federal Bureau of Prisons Director Charles Samuels. He peeked inside a tiny 90 square foot cell that holds up to three inmates, which he said highlights the need for prison reform.

Gov. Mary Fallin greets President Obama Wednesday evening alongside her daughter Christina at Tinker Air Force Base
Brian Hardzinski / KGOU

President Obama arrived in Oklahoma City Wednesday evening just a few hours after wrapping up the announcement of a nationwide broadband internet initiative in Durant.

Dozens of men and women in uniform and state officials turned out to greet the president as Air Force One touched down shortly before 8:30 p.m. at Tinker Air Force Base. Once the president stepped off the plane, he made his way toward service members and VIPs and spent about 10 minutes shaking hands.

President Obama speaking to supporters in a pipe yard in Cushing, Okla. in 2012, where the Keystone XL Pipeline connects on its way from Canada to the Gulf Coast.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

President Obama travels to Oklahoma Wednesday where he will announce a new initiative to expand broadband access to homes in low-income areas.

The president will make the announcement at Durant High School in the capital of the Choctaw Nation in southeastern Oklahoma.

Obama’s ConnectHome initiative will expand broadband coverage to 275,000 low income households in 27 cities and the Choctaw Nation. The White House estimates it’ll bring broadband into the homes of nearly 200,000 low income children.

President Obama speaking in Cushing, Oklahoma in March 2012.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

President Obama plans to visit Oklahoma to discuss expanding economic opportunities in Indian Country, and make the first visit to a federal prison by a sitting chief executive.

White House spokesman Keith Maley said in an email the president will arrive in Oklahoma Wednesday, July 15 and travel to Durant, where he'll visit the Choctaw Nation. He'll stay overnight before traveling to the El Reno Correctional Institution.

The medium-security facility for male offenders houses about 1,300 inmates and once housed Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh.

The White House / Youtube

President Obama says the deadly flooding in Oklahoma and Texas is a reminder that it's never too early to prepare for natural disasters. But he says the nation is better prepared than ever for today's storms.

“Not only do we have better information, but we have new mechanisms to disseminate it,” Obama said after receiving his annual hurricane briefing during his first visit to NOAA’s National Hurricane Center in Miami. “We’re also focusing on making ourselves more resilient to the impacts of a changing climate.”

Joshua Landis and Suzette Grillot discuss this week’s nuclear negotiations with Iran, and the release of al-Qaeda prisoners in Yemen and air strikes led by a Saudi coalition.

Later, a conversation with the former director of the National Clandestine Service Michael Sulick. The 30-year CIA veteran argues information leaks by people like Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden can cause far more problems than traditional spying ever did.

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