On Wednesday, the U.S. House of Representatives rejected a stopgap spending bill that would have funded the federal government through mid-November while also providing $3.7 billion for disaster relief. Conservative House members rejected the bill in a shocking 230 to 195 defeat.

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 (photo at left), 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.

Proclaiming his innocence to the end, Troy Davis (left) died at 11:08 (EDT) 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.

Congressman Darrell Issa (R-Calif., left), Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, is not impressed with the explanations given by Attorney General Eric Holder and other Department of Justice spokesmen about Operation Fast and Furious -- the gun-walker scandal in which ATF officials oversaw the transfer of 2,000 weapons across the border to brutal Mexican drug cartels, mainly the Sinaloa group. He is calling for a formal review by someone outside the government:

President Obama lavished praise on the United Nations and its controversial military interventions during his September 21 address to the UN General Assembly, promoting big-government policies and even more international “cooperation” on everything from protests in Syria and the global economic crisis to healthcare, climate, and poverty.