Clear as Mud?


    Some good government groups are concerned the White House may be losing steam in its promise for openness and transparency.


    The current ethics "czar" is leaving to become a foreign ambassador, but he's not being replaced. Instead, his workload is being distributed around the White House, with a bulk of it going to the already-busy White House counsel Bob Bauer.


    The Huffington Post reports some government watchdogs worry Bauer's background as a Washington insider could complicate his new duties. The Sunlight Foundation says of Bauer, "Our priorities are different.This is not a man whose DNA is built on ethics, openness and a transparency agenda. It's the opposite."


    Fat Chance


    Obese government workers in South Carolina could qualify for weight-loss surgery on the state's dime as part of a pilot program that begins in January.


    Gastric bypass usually costs around $24,000 a pop, but some lawmakers are betting the upfront costs of the surgery are less than health coverage for an obese person.


    Approximately 10 to 20 percent of patients regain a good deal of their weight after surgery.


    Excuse Me


    New tourism guidelines are being issued in Great Britain ahead of London's 2012 summer Olympics.


    The etiquette tips warn that Indians can be rude, Canadians easily offended and the French predictably picky over meals.


    Australians are fond of coarse language, travelers from the Middle East are demanding. Oh, and Americans -- we like to complain a lot.


    Sky's the Limit


    Three kids managed to use $700 saved from babysitting jobs to catch a flight from Jacksonville, Florida to Nashville -- all without adult supervision.


    A 15-year-old girl, her 11-year-old brother and a 13-year-old friend decided Dollywood sounded fun, so they took a cab to the airport, bought the tickets and went through security -- all without having to show ID.


    The trio arrived in Nashville only to realize the theme park was more than 200 miles away, so they quickly called home and got a flight back.


    Southwest Airlines refunded the kids' airfare. Both it and the TSA say no policies were violated.