Cartoon, at left, by Sean Delonas/NY Post; photograph, at right, of stimulus legislation by Lauren Victoria Burke/AP

Today, NY Post editorial cartoonist Sean Delonas's offering that ties in the Connecticut chimp incident with the federal stimulus package is raising many eyebrows. The Huffington Post's Sam Stein wrote, "At its most benign, the cartoon suggests that the stimulus bill was so bad, monkeys may as well have written it. Most provocatively, it compares the president to a rabid chimp. Either way, the incorporation of violence and (on a darker level) race into politics is bound to be controversial. Perhaps that's what Delonas wanted."

The Reverend Al Sharpton issued a statement:

"The cartoon in today's New York Post is troubling at best given the historic racist attacks of African-Americans as being synonymous with monkeys. One has to question whether the cartoonist is making a less than casual reference to this when in the cartoon they have police saying after shooting a chimpanzee that 'Now they will have to find someone else to write the stimulus bill.' Seeing that the stimulus bill has been the first legislative victory of President Barack Obama (the first African American president) and has become synonymous with him it is not a reach to wonder are they inferring that a monkey wrote the last bill?"

Post editor in chief Col Allan scoffed at Sharpton and defended the cartoon, "The cartoon is a clear parody of a current news event, to wit the shooting of a violent chimpanzee in Connecticut. It broadly mocks Washington's efforts to revive the economy. Again, Al Sharpton reveals himself as nothing more than a publicity opportunist." Or, as Gawker puts it, "There's no editing art, people."

Update: Sharpton tells CityRoom that "he planned to hold a protest outside The Post’s Midtown offices at noon on Thursday." Besides outcry from lawmakers and officials—Senator Gillibrand called the cartoon "offensive and purposefully hurtful," Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum said it "appears to be a cheap shot that uses historically violent and racist imagery...It was neither smart, clever, or funny," and City Councilman Leroy Comrie suggested a boycott—some Post employees aren't happy. From CityRoom:

A newsroom employee at The Post, who spoke on condition of anonymity because employees were not permitted to comment on the matter, said its newsroom received many calls of complaints on Wednesday morning after the publication of the cartoon. “Every line was lit up for several hours,” the employee said. “The phones on the city desk have never rung like that before.” Many Post staff members were dismayed by the cartoon, the employee added.

Gawker called Page Six (the cartoon appeared in the Post's popular Page Six section) reporter Paula Froelich whose voicemail now says, "Please note, if you are calling about the cartoon today: Page Six, its editor and the reporters at Page Six do not pick the cartoon, we have nothing to do with the cartoon and don't see it until the paper comes out the next day. So if you have a complaint about the cartoon, please call the news desk at (212) 930-8500. Thank you!" (With audio).

And Governor Paterson, who did not see the cartoon and asked for WCBS 2 reporter Marcia Kramer to describe it to him during a press conference, said, "They do feed a kind off a negative and stereotypical way that people think, but I think if it's enough that people are raising this issue, I hope they would clarify it. In a situation like this where an economic downturn has shown in the past that it does lead to a lot of unnecessary and stereotypical characterizations, an explanation is in order. I'm trying to be fair to the New York Post, who has never been very fair to me."