The Daily Muck

February 25, 2009 5:06 a.m.

Alaska governor Sarah Palin’s financial woes continue, as a special investigator hired by the Alaska Personnel Board looking into trips taken by the first family insists that Palin reimburse the state for nine trips taken by her children. Palin was accompanied by her daughter Bristol on one trip to New York to attend Newsweek’s annual Women and Leadership conference. According to the special investigator, the state of Alaska will only pay for family travel if family members serve an important state interest on the trip. Palin has 120 days to pay up. (Associated Press)

A group of wealthy Americans is suing Swiss bank UBS in federal court to keep their identities secret. The suit alleges that UBS’ actions in cooperating with U.S. investigators violate Swiss bank secrecy laws and amount to illegal activities involving foreign authorities. UBS, the world’s largest private bank, had been charged by US authorities with conspiring to help wealthy clients avoid their taxes. As part of a settlement, the bank agreed to release the names of 19,000 clients. (New York Times)

Jackson, Mississippi mayor Frank Melton may face another trial after a judge declared a mistrial yesterday on charges that Melton lead a vigilante-style raid on a crackhouse that included the use of a sledgehammer to break down the building’s front door. The mistrial was declared after jurors failed to reach a verdict after five days of deliberation. Melton had been criticized previously for his Wild West-style of governing, which included participating in police checkpoints and passing out cowboy hats to city council members. (Associated Press)The city of Detroit has agreed to pay $2 million to settle a lawsuit over the death of a 62-year-old man who was being held in police custody. James Stone died of a heart attack in a Detroit jail after being arrested for a parole violation. Lawyer’s for Stone’s estate complained repeatedly that city lawyer Jacob Schwarzberg failed to follow orders requesting documents. Schwarzberg himself commented that he was “very embarrassed,” and that “This case is the case from hell for me.” (Associated Press)

A three-judge panel has ruled that two former pro-Israel lobbyists may use classified information in their defense. The men are accused of conspiring to obtain and disclose classified information in the course of their work. Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman, former employees of AIPAC, the prominent pro-Israel lobby group in Washington, were charged in 2005 of trying to obtain classified reports on the al Qaida terrorist group, the bombing of the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia, and U.S. policy in Iran. (Associated Press)

A report published by Amnesty International regarding the Israeli invasion of Gaza was particularly hard on the United States after finding numerous remains of American munitions in the conflict area. Some weapons found to have been used include Hellfire missiles manufactured in Orlando, Florida, and controversial white phosphorous shells from the Pine Bluff Arsenal. (

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