Daily Briefs: Bodies Revealed; Kansas Surveillance Cameras; Tim Russert, WTF?

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• Kansas City, Kansas, is mounting surveillance cameras in high-crime neighborhoods. Community Watch volunteers will be able to monitor the cameras via the internet. And if you think there aren’t any people interested in pretending that they’re Batman from the warm safety of their basement rec-rooms, you haven’t been watching To Catch a Predator. The cameras will give them something to do when they’re not pretending to be 14-year-old girls whose parents aren’t home.

• In accordance with a bold new “protecting children” initiative, local Catholic officials say the Bodies Revealed exhibit at Union Station is not appropriate for school field trips. Following the decades-long “Clergy Revealed” exhibit which closed in a cloud of lawsuits and retribution, there’s a new sensitivity in the church toward exposing children to creepy stuff. Bodies Revealed gives me the howling fantods, but then, so does this:

• All that unpleasantness the church thought was behind it is still standing right in front of it. Two new John Doe lawsuits have been filed against former Kansas City priests.

• Oh, look. It’s a picture of your boyfriend:

• Kids have stupid ideas for experiments. They’re like adorable little bad scientists! At Schlagle High School, a student committee thought that it would be a good idea during Black History Month to segregate the dark-skinned and light-skinned students and confer special treatment and extra benefits to one group — just like in the 1950s!

My favorite detail might be that the sorting process involved comparing relative pigmentation of each student to the color of a brown paper bag. Grown-ups were involved! The kind of grown-ups who, on hearing this idea, probably thought, “Well, it’s no stupider than any of their other ideas.” When you work in school, I think you get pretty jaded to the ideas kids come up with. From this awesome archive, this kid’s science experiment is called “PLANTS AND POP.”

• Trying to convince myself this actually happened in real life, rather than in a very special episode of Diff’rent Strokes in which Arnold encounters racism, is making me dizzy with cognitive dissonance. But Tim Russert chose to celebrate Black History Month last night by pelting Barack Obama with a litany of the most horrible public statements of Louis Farrakhan — just to inject the presidential campaign with some of the creepy sublimated racial tension he thought might be missing from the debate. Last month, I founded a think-tank called the Chris Packham Heritage Eagle Forum For the Development of Enterprise, staffed with conservative ideologues and propagandists charged with the responsibility of developing suitable replacements for the word “douchebag.” Until their results are in, I don’t have an appropriate name to call Tim Russert. Please leave suggestions in comments.

Categories: News