USC Annenberg Online Journalism ReviewUSC

A Lott of Hypocrisy, The Shadow Nose, The Law and Mr. Monkeypants

A Lott of Hypocrisy

Some of the senators who have stepped forward to censure Trent Lott for his seemingly pro-segregationist comments aren't looking so good themselves.

"Sen. Lott's comments were inappropriate and do not reflect the party of 'compassionate conservatism,'" wrote senator Conrad Burns (R-Montana) in a statement posted on his Web site on Monday.  The scolding doesn't sit well with New York Times columnist Bob Herbert.  "Among the many weird episodes put in motion by the Trent Lott furor, few were stranger than [Burns'] exhibition of extreme chutzpah," writes Herbert, who goes on to list the racially insensitive comments Burns himself has made over the last decade.  Asked by Herbert to comment on his own record, Burns responded with a statement (posted online) titled "Sen. Burns Reiterates Regret to Previous Inappropriate Comments." 

Burns isn't the only one taking heat from critics.  Don Nickles, the first Republican senator to call for Lott's ouster, "has displayed nearly the same reflexive opposition to civil rights, down to voting against the King holiday, supporting Bob Jones and voting to kill affirmative action," writes columnist Derrick Z. Jackson in the Boston Globe.  "Even people like outgoing Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, who apparently didn't take much offense at first, began to take more offense" as the scandal developed, added Philip Kennicott in last Friday's Washington Post.  "To borrow a phrase, 'I must follow them for I am their leader.'"


The Law and Mr. Monkeypants

A man who attempted to smuggle rare monkeys into the U.S. in his pants has been sentenced to jail time and a fine, reports Patricia Ward Biederman in the Los Angeles Times

Robert John Cusack was stopped by U.S. Customs agents on his arrival at LAX from Thailand in June, writes the Times staffer.  After a search of his luggage revealed 50 protected orchids and four endangered birds of paradise, Cusack was asked if he had anything else to declare.  His response: "Yes, I've got monkeys in my pants."  Further investigation revealed a pair of deeply unhappy pygmy loris monkeys hidden in a pouch in Cusack's trousers.

"We've had a couple of monkey cases before, but this was the only time where somebody's stuck monkeys down his pants," U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service special agent Ho Truong tells Biederman.  While the primate-pocketing wildlife smuggler was sentenced to time served and a fine this week, the unfortunate monkeys aren't getting off so easy.  They'll spend a lifetime behind bars, at the L.A. Zoo.

Who can resist trousered monkeys?  Lynn Neary covers the same story for NPR's "All Things Considered;" Copley News Service's coverage specifies where in Cusack's pants the monkeys were discovered.


Short Takes

Omissions and Inconsistencies
Slate's "Saddameter," a daily estimate by William Saletan of the odds of war in Iraq, spikes after Thursday's statements by Hans Blix and Colin Powell.  

The Rise of Synthespians
Accomplished character actor Andy Serkis could win an Oscar for his performance in "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers" -- although he doesn't appear in the film, says Gregory M. Lamb in The Christian Science Monitor.

An Unlikely Hotbed
The University of Utah's economics department is an international center for Marxist thought and revolutionary theory, writes Shane McCammon in the Salt Lake City Weekly.

One Step Forward...
The Federal Trade Commission's new crackdown on telemarketers may spawn more spam, warns Katie Dean in Wired.

Let Them Rise
New York Times architecture critic Herbert Muschamp waxes lyrical in an appraisal of the newly unveiled designs for the World Trade Center site. 

The Shadow Nose
The Pentagon hopes to develop a device that can distinguish an individual's unique odor, reports AP technology writer Jim Krane.

They'd Rather Hear News
NPR's serialized radio drama "I'd Rather Eat Pants" is drawing boos from "Morning Edition" listeners, notes USA Today's Peter Johnson.

Want more links? The Spike Report regularly follows links from these useful daily Weblogs: Jim Romenesko's MediaNews and The Obscure Store offer highlights in the areas of news, features and media gossip; Arts Journal and Arts & Letters Daily cover the arts and culture beat; the Utne Web Watch Daily cherry-picks the alternative press; E-Media Tidbits and the UK Guardian weblog find consistently interesting selections; Metafilter, Boing Boing and Eliot Gelwan's Follow Me Here offer an eclectic mix of political, technical, scientific and general-interest items.

to the archive