The announcement on Wednesday that the City Council of Pennsylvania's capital city, Harrisburg, voted to file for bankruptcy was the latest in a long series of federal mandates, bad luck, and poor planning that has plagued the city since the early 1970s.

When news broke yesterday that U.S. intelligence agencies thwarted an Iranian government-sponsored assassination plot against the Saudi Arabian ambassador, the blogosphere immediately leaped into a frenzy, sifting through the information released by the Justice Department. And a number of experts have come forward questioning the data provided by the federal government, suspicious that there might be some underlying intent at play.

On Wednesday, the trial of former Soviet military officer and arms dealer Viktor Bout, 45, opened in the U.S. district court in Manhattan with a strong assertions from Assistant Attorney Brendan McGuire.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has been pressuring the National Park Service to locate sites related to the histories of women and minorities, particularly Latinos, which could be added to the National Register of Historic Places or otherwise preserved as parks or properties.

Oh happy day! A check from the government! No, not a welfare check or a “stimulus” check, but a refund check to your editor from the U.S. Department of the Treasury — for tax year 2007. Seems the IRS — a division of the Treasury — with which this scribbler has had a running feud, has surrendered. After years of dunning me with claims that I owe thousands in back taxes and penalties, the good folks at the IRS have shown mercy; they have agreed with me that I overpaid my taxes. And they have generously deigned to return several thousand dollars of my meager salary that they had previously confiscated — with interest, no less!