No Stomach Stapling for Obese Texans

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

“Statements of Fact”

New York Times reporter Linda Greenhouse is defending comments she made during an appearance at Harvard last summer — when she said the U.S. government has abandoned the rule of law and is attacking women's rights. Greenhouse said the government is "creating law-free zones at Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib, Haditha and other places around the world." She also talked about what she called a "sustained assault on women's reproductive freedom and the hijacking of public policy by religious fundamentalism."

Now she tells Howard Kurtz of The Washington Post that those were "statements of fact." Greenhouse says the Supreme Court's rejection of the Bush administration's earlier policy on holding terror suspects without charges supports the things she said. She adds that the idea her comments were criticized by what she calls "self-appointed media watchdogs" means "American journalism is in danger of strangling in its own sanctimony."

Can’t Stomach It

Commissioners in Travis County, Texas have reversed a decision to pay for stomach-stapling operations for some of their extremely obese employees. Last month the commission approved a proposal to pay for as many as 15 operations per year for the next five years — at a cost of up to $25,000 each. The idea was to save money on health care costs down the road.

But three commissioners who voted for the program say they each received dozens of e-mails and phone calls in protest — so they decided to scrap the plan. Some commissioners expressed doubt the program would actually save taxpayer money.

Sex Offender Colony

A California man wants the government to create a colony for sex offenders who he says will face desperation if a ballot initiative up for vote next month becomes law. Jake Goldenflame tells The Los Angeles Times that Proposition 83 — which would bar released offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school or park — will create chaos and wandering bands of rootless men.

He has asked the State Attorney General to create a refuge at an abandoned military base — calling that a "humane alternative." A spokesman for the Attorney General says it is not clear whether the initiative would actually have the power to uproot previously convicted sex offenders or apply only to future parolees.

Mommy and Daddy Detention

The folks who run the Manhattan School for Children in New York have come up with a unique way to motivate parents to get their kids to school on time —mommy and daddy detention. The New York Post reports parents who drop off their kids after the bell must report to the auditorium for a 20-minute "time out."

Principal Susan Rappaport says she's received some backlash but that the tough love approach is necessary at the nationally-honored public school. One woman who served detention said, "Was I humiliated? — Absolutely. But will I be late again? — No."

—FOX News Channel's Aaron Bruns contributed to this report.