News, Straight to the Point

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is hankering to pick a fight -- any fight -- with the Obama administration over Obamacare subsides. In a mini-drama that is more theater than substance, Cruz is now threatening to issue subpoenas to the Treasury Department after it refused last week to produce the officials from whom Cruz demanded testimony.

Here are the five points on how Cruz found himself facing an empty row of seats last Thursday:

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The unexpected news of a confrontation between law enforcement officers and a potential terror suspect in Boston Tuesday left many unanswered questions in the immediate aftermath of the shooting, in which Usaama Rahim was shot dead.

Why were police already surveilling Rahim? What was he plotting? What were the circumstances of the shooting? Were police justified in using deadly force? And then later in the week, news emerged that Rahim had allegedly entertained the idea of beheading anti-Islam activist Pamela Geller and may have been influenced by Islamic terrorists.

Here's what is now known and where things stand:

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As Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) continues to flirt with a presidential run, he has placed himself at the center of an abortion debate in his home state.

It's a position Walker has relished before.

In 2013, he signed a bill into law that required women seeking abortions to get ultrasounds. It's a law he brought up as recently as last month during an interview with conservative radio host Dana Loesch.

"I think about my sons who are 19 and 20, and we still have their first ultrasounds," Walker said. "It’s just a cool thing out there."

This time around, Walker has thrown his support behind a 20-week abortion ban being debated in the state legislature.

The measure, which in its current form doesn’t provide exceptions for pregnancies caused by rape and incest, was debated Tuesday at a joint legislative hearing. No vote has been scheduled, but Walker has said he plans to sign the bill if it comes to his desk.

Here are five things to know about the Wisconsin bill:

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WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama has signed into law the USA Freedom Act, which extends three expiring surveillance provisions of the 9/11-era USA Patriot Act. It also overhauls the most controversial provision, which had been interpreted to allow bulk collection of U.S. phone records by the National Security Agency.

Questions and answers about the bill the Senate passed on Tuesday and the House approved earlier:

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Before he announces that he's jumping into the 2016 presidential race, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) wants to finish work on his latest state budget and in the process pack it with conservative goodies he can tout on the campaign trail. For Walker, this is key to his 2016 game plan.

"The budget is important, because Walker has been delaying an announcement before he officially announces as President. It gives him a list of popular red-meat items to check off in the primaries," University of Wisconsin Public Policy Professor Donald Moynihan told TPM.

Here is a list of five of the big items Walker is hoping to sign into law that will appeal to conservative primary voters:

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As he gears up his putative 2016 presidential campaign, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) has found himself increasingly mired in a mess back in Wisconsin.

It's not the kind of scandal that sends tabloids into a lather, but it has Democrats pouncing and good government types scolding, and even some state Republicans have piled on Walker.

The mess involves an entity called the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. (WEDC), a state agency Walker himself established when first elected to fulfill his promise of creating a wave of new jobs. The problems at WEDC have multiplied since. Recently, Walker was forced to give up on a proposal meant to shore up some of the problems at the agency in the face of calls for a federal investigation from Democrats, criticism from a few Republicans, and an audit by the state's nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau.

Here's your quick and dirty guide to sorting through the Walker mess:

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U.S. authorities announced Wednesday in a bad-sports-metaphor-laden news conference that they had charged 14 FIFA officials and sports marketing executives in what one official called the "World Cup of fraud."

That international soccer's governing body is corrupt was news to no one. But the indictment unsealed Wednesday in federal court in Brooklyn spelled out in extensive detail exactly how FIFA officials allegedly solicited illegal bribes over the last 24 years. Here's the information you need to make sense of the latest developments.

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday opted to hear arguments in a case that could redefine "one person, one vote" -- one of the bedrock principles of modern voting rights law. The case could change how electoral districts are drawn across the country, revamping who comprises electoral districts and reshaping the idea of who is ultimately "represented" by elected officials.

The case, Evenwel v. Abbott, originated in Texas and is being spearheaded by a conservative legal group. Legal experts tell TPM that the impact of the case could be far-reaching, especially for Latinos and residents of urban districts.

Here's what you need to know:

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