Don’t really know what a grand jury is? Here you go.

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The new grand jury is a sign that the investigations are ramping up—it shows that the Russian investigation has expanded beyond Flynn to several of Trump’s family members and current and former aides and will possibly continue for many more months. It also means that criminal charges are possible (and that Mueller has evidence of possible criminal activity). It is as yet unclear who the targets of the investigation are.

pub. 08/2017

As of the end of June, who can enter the US and who can’t

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Portions of President Trump’s travel ban go into effect on Thursday, three days after the Supreme Court temporarily lifted legal blocks on the ban and agreed to review the case this fall.

The court granted an exception for people with “bona fide relationships” in the United States, and advocates and experts expressed uncertainty about how the Trump administration would implement the decision.

pub. 06/2017

A quick explanation of how the budget works

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The spending we’ve discussed so far is “mandatory,” meaning the government has to pay it to fulfill its own rules. When somebody becomes eligible for social security payments, for example, the law says they start getting the money, so there it goes…

…What’s left is discretionary spending, meaning the amounts can more easily change from year to year, at Congress’s discretion.

pub. 05/2017

Why the census is really, really important–and in jeopardy right now

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1. Literally every American social program uses census numbers to allocate resources.

Your fire department, your schools—the data gathered in the decadal census, determines, for example, whether new schools are opened or current schools are shut down. Transportation grants and education grants, among others, are distributed proportionally. If the Veteran’s Administration wants to place a hospital for elderly veterans, they obviously want to select a location heavily populated by elderly veterans. If the numbers are off, the hospital gets mis-sited—and the vets don’t get health care.

pub. 05/2017