RACIAL CONDUIT Richards • Kramer vs. Kramer: The Laugh Factory's most famous racist, Michael Richards, publicly kowtowed on Jesse Jackson's radio show "Keep Hope Alive" (while sitting just a smack's length away from comic Paul Mooney, just in case), saying that the words "came through me ... like a freight train." At least he put the blame on himself rather than falling back on alcohol, abuse as a child, or Tituba's voodoo spells.
• Pulling out—the safest method: The Republican party's Bush critic, Sen. Chuck Hagel, has recommended that the United States remove itself from Iraq's booby-trapped streets. The difference between Hagel's lonely shouting and this latest round of heckling: Someone might actually be listening.
• Queens' Rodney King: NYPD's finest shot 50 bullets at a black bridegroom, killing him and injuring his two friends. The New York Times investigates "contagious shooting," where "an officer fires, so his colleagues do, too."
• Draw down: A disgruntled cartoonist walked into the Miami Herald offices brandishing a toy gun and was promptly arrested. The punchline: Last year, embattled "former city commissioner Arthur E. Teele Jr. fatally shot himself in the Herald lobby," which isn't funny at all.
• A Lott-a stupid things to say: Michael Richards fan Trent Lott coupled the Iraq war and the war on terror, saying, "If we didn't have 'em the terr'sts tied down in Afghanistan and Iraq, they'd be, you know, somewhere else, in England, or even right here." Let's be honest, Trent: the terrorists aren't exactly "tied down;" not even the Abu Ghraib-ians are, anymore. Makes one wish that we had President Strom Thurmond, right?
• New ur-bland-ism: Newsweek covers the mushroom-like growth of "lifestyle centers," fake downtowns for suburban areas where cafés, performance spaces, coffee houses, offices, and chain stores come together amid a squeaky clean streetscape—like hell with a Starbucks.