In what appeared to be a political maneuver timed to coincide with a UN address by its president, Iran freed two Americans it had held for the last two years. Shane Bauer, Joshua Fattal, and a third American, Sarah Shourd, had been arrested in 2009 while reportedly hiking along the Iran-Iraq border. Bauer and Fattal were later convicted of espionage, a move designed to set up an ultimate swap of the pair — with payment of $500,000 “bail” for each man. ForeignPolicy.com reported that Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was scheduled to address the UN General Assembly on September 22, “and the release of Bauer and Fattal may have been a gesture of goodwill before the speech.” Foreign Policy explained that “Ahmadinejad had signaled last week that Bauer and Fattal would be granted a pardon, but the Americans’ release was delayed by Iranian political infighting and the fact that one of the judges in their case was on vacation. The government of Oman reportedly paid $1 million in bail for the hikers.”  
Connecticut Supreme Court Justice Richard N. Palmer, part of a 4-3 majority in a controversial ruling that upheld the taking of the homes of several New London residents to make room for a private commercial development, apologized years later to the woman who led the fight against it. In a September 18 article in the Hartford Courant, Jeff Benedict, author of  a book about the case, called Little Pink House, recalled witnessing the apology after a talk he gave on the subject at a dinner honoring the Connecticut Supreme Court at the New Haven Lawn Club in May 2010. Benedict was talking with Susette Kelo, the lead plaintiff in Kelo v. New London, when Judge Palmer approached.    "Had I known all of what you just told us, I would have voted differently," he said. "I was speechless," Benedict recalled. "So was Susette. One more vote in her favor by the Connecticut Supreme Court would have changed history. The case probably would not have advanced to the U.S. Supreme Court, and Susette and her neighbors might still be in their homes." Then the judge took Kelo's hand and offered his apology.
The centuries-old ban on homosexuals in the U.S. military officially ended at 12:01 a.m., September 20, with celebration and jubilation in the “gay” community, and sadness among the millions of Americans who opposed the repeal as destructive to their nation’s defense and security. “At a San Diego bar, current and former troops danced and counted down to midnight,” reported the Associated Press. “‘You are all heroes,’ Sean Sala, a former Navy operations specialist, said. ‘The days of your faces being blacked out on the news — no more.’” As reported by the Los Angeles Times, when the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) became official, Air Force Staff Sergeant Jonathan Mills logged in to his Facebook page and posted this message for all to read: “I. Am. Gay. That is all…. as you were.” Mills later told the Times: “When I woke up this morning I felt extremely relieved and very free. Free to be able to live openly without worrying what I say or do will affect my career.”  
A study at Baylor University shows that a large majority of Americans believe that “God has a plan,” and that idea influences their level of support for government programs. According to the researchers, the study should not come as a complete surprise, as the vast majority of Americans believe in the existence of a higher power. The study includes a random sample of 1,714 adults, conducted for Baylor by the Gallup Organization during fall 2010. The authors write, “There are several core themes for this wave of the survey. These include health and religiosity, the relationship between entrepreneurship/work and religion, religion and the American ethos (individualism), as well as recurring themes such as religion and cultural issues (e.g. politics, same sex marriage).
When a woman in a Los Angeles, California neighborhood placed a two-story cross in her front yard, neighbors grew frustrated and called in city officials. Homeowner Laly Dobener said she put the religious symbol in her yard to express devotion to her Catholic faith. But according to neighbors’ complaints, the cross is an eyesore which attracts unwanted attention to their cul-de-sac and hurts their property values. Laurie Beiner, a resident in the West Hills neighborhood, complained, “When you turn down our cul-de-sac, it looks like there is a church on our street.” Others bemoan what they have called the “graphic nature” of the cross, as it is adorned with a crown of thorns and features drops of blood on each of its ends, where the hands and feet of Jesus would have been nailed. Atop the cross is a sign reading, “Jesus, I trust in you.”
Although William F. Buckley, Jr., died more than three and a half years ago, his spirit clearly lives on in the National Review, the neoconservative political magazine he founded in 1955. The September 19 cover story, “Ron Paul’s Last Crusade,” by Kevin D. Williamson, purports to be an investigative piece about Congressman Ron Paul and his latest run for the presidency, but is instead a snide character assassination of Paul and an all-purpose smear on anyone who shares his convictions, including The John Birch Society. “Ron Paul is kind of a dork,” Williamson declares in the article’s opening paragraph — this allegedly in favorable contrast to “Mussolinian” Barack Obama, “cowboy” Rick Perry, and “self-parodically ‘presidential’ ” Mitt Romney. Decrying the “raging personality cult” that has supposedly elevated Ron Paul far beyond what his limited natural merits could possibly justify — the congressman checks his watch too often, according to the article, and isn’t much of a public speaker, transgressions that make him America’s “most successful awful retail politician,” whatever that means — Williamson effuses paragraph after paragraph of scornful prose intended to portray Ron Paul supporters as nut jobs and ignorant wackos. Dislike the Federal Reserve? How dare they, those ignorant booboisie! Oppose interventionist American foreign policy? What are they thinking, given the shining success of America’s incessant warmaking in the Middle East and Central Asia over the past generation!
Proclaiming his innocence to the end, Troy Davis (left) died at 11:08 Wednesday night, executed by lethal injection for the 1989 murder of Savannah, Georgia Police Officer Mark MacPhail. The execution at the Georgia State Prison in Jackson was delayed for four hours past its scheduled time of 7 p.m. by order of the U.S. Supreme Court, which deliberated over final appeals for clemency for the 42-year-old Davis, whose impending execution had sparked national and international opposition from death penalty opponents — and even prominent supporters of capital punishment. Some of the latter pointed to recanted witness testimony, the lack of physical evidence linking Davis to the murder, and accounts of police and prosecution coercion of witnesses as raising reasonable doubt of Davis's guilt. The Court declined to intervene, however, and allowed the execution proceed. Strapped to the gurney for the lethal injection, Davis made a final declaration of his innocence, according to reporters at the execution. "I did not personally kill your son, father, brother," he said, looking directly at members of the MacPhail family.
A condemned man on Georgia's death row appears certain to die Wednesday night, despite strong evidence that his trial for murder 20 years ago was seriously flawed and key witnesses against him have since recanted their testimony. An appeal for clemency was denied by the state pardons board Tuesday morning and prison authorities early Wednesday morning turned away lawyers who wanted to administer a polygraph test in a desperate, last-minute attempt to show that Troy Davis is not the man who killed Savannah Police Officer Mark Allen MacPhail in 1989. The planned execution has been met with national and worldwide protests. Amnesty International claims more than one million people have signed its petition for clemency and the NAACP has joined in condemning the execution planned for the 42-year-old African-American. Pope Benedict XVI, former President Jimmy Carter and former FBI director William Sessions are among those who have joined the international appeal for clemency. Davis is scheduled for execution by lethal injection at the state prison in Georgia tonight at 7 p.m.
The American Jobs Act has already faced a flurry of criticism for a variety of reasons, including the cost and the likelihood that it will do little to create jobs. The most recent cause for criticism, however, follows the revelation that the bill could potentially destroy state sovereignty. Section 376 of the bill reads:             SEC. 376. FEDERAL AND STATE IMMUNITY. Abrogation of State Immunity — A State shall not be immune under the 11th Amendment to the Constitution from a suit brought in a Federal court of competent jurisdiction for a violation of this Act. In other words, under the authority of the jobs bill, states are not immune from federal prosecution if they are in violation of the act. The Blaze explains, “In the event this bill passes, it will override a state’s sovereign authority as defined and protected under the 11th Amendment.” It reads:  
Looking at a season on the sidelines, or possibly the end of his Hall of Fame career, NFL quarterback Peyton Manning (#18) apparently traveled recently to Europe for a medical procedure that has not been approved in the United States: adult stem cell therapy. Manning, who led the Indianapolis Colts to a Super Bowl victory in 2007, “has had three surgeries in 19 months on his bothersome neck, the latest of which caused the four-time NFL MVP to miss his first game in 14 seasons…,” reported Fox News. While few details were immediately available about the procedure, other than those supplied by Fox Sports commentator Jay Glazer, the therapy most likely did not involve embryonic stem cells — a medical procedure condemned by religious and pro-life leaders as destructive of human life. Rather, reported bioethics expert Dr. David Prentice on LifeNews.com, the therapy most likely used “adipose (fat) derived adult stem cells from Manning’s own body,” a procedure that “bypasses any problems of transplant rejection and is relatively safe.”  
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