Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Homeward Bound

In what is being called a "success story," the United States had 12 percent fewer homeless people last year than in 2005. USA Today reports that officials say an increase in federally-funded housing units for the homeless is the main factor.

A study by the Department of Housing and Urban Development reveals that the greatest decline occurred among those who chronically live on the streets or in emergency shelters. That number fell from just under 176,000 in 2005 to around 124,000 in 2007.

The executive director of the Interagency Council on Homelessness, which coordinates federal efforts, says, "This reduction is the largest documented decrease in homelessness in our nation's history."

Media Darling

Barack Obama received a hero's welcome at a convention of minority journalists in Chicago, Sunday.

The Honolulu Star Bulletin reports that when Obama walked on stage at the gathering dubbed UNITY '08, "Many journalists in the audience leapt to their feet and applauded enthusiastically after being told not to do so. During a two-minute break halfway through the event... journalists ran to the stage to snap photos of Obama."

Not everyone attending the convention was a journalist, but the incident has come in for some criticism. National Association of Black Journalists Vice President Ernie Suggs told Newsweek Online, "It is offensive that because we have the same color or the same agenda, our journalistic ethics and responsibilities go out the window."

Spy Games

Foreign-owned hotels in China are being told to install government software that can spy on Internet use by guests coming for the Olympic Games.

Tuesday, Republican Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas produced a document from China's Public Security Bureau that requires hotels to use the surveillance software. Several international hotel chains confirmed the government order to Brownback, but are declining to identify themselves for fear of reprisal.

The senator says hotels are in a bind because they do not want to comply, but they also do not want to jeopardize their investments. Failure to install the software could result in the loss of a license to operate a hotel in China.

Dressed for Detention

A school in Gonzales, Texas, will punish students who break the dress code by forcing them to wear a prison-like jumpsuit. A local television station reports that the policy takes effect in the upcoming school year.

Gonzales High School's dress code prohibits gang symbols. It says shorts and skirts must be knee-length. All shirts must have a collar and sleeves. Oversized clothing is prohibited. So are hats and sunglasses.

Officials say it is a way to keep the district's conservative values intact. But some students seem undeterred and say the plan may backfire. One said, "I talked to some of my friends about it and they said they are not going to obey the dress code just so they can wear the jumpsuit."

FOX News Channel's Zachary Kenworthy contributed to this report.