This just in - Michael Jackson is still dead.
I don't mean to be disrespectful, but come on. Haven't we had our fill?
OK, most haven't, at least not if you judge interest by television ratings, iTunes sales and Internet hits. But as for me, I quit caring about an hour before the memorial service.
I may have been the only person in the free world not to watch it on television. I did hear the tearful soundbite from his 11-year-old daughter, who should have been allowed to grieve privately. That she wasn't speaks volumes about whose hands she's been left in. Just my opinion.
Jackson may have been the most popular entertainer to ever live, and so I know a big sendoff was inevitable. But while most people are paying attention to the misdirection of Michael Jackson, some other truly important - and sometimes downright scary - things are going on. The television networks dare not report these things for fear you will change the channel.
So that's where I come in. I will attempt to do what the anchors won't - give you some other news. I will include the news item and then, just for kicks, the average person's response.
Me: Do you know how much you're being spied on? Tagged.com, which claims to be the world's third-largest social networking Web site, has been accused of sending fraudelent e-mails to more than 60 million people and then stealing their identities and the contents of their address books. Across the pond, the British tabloid News of the World has been accused of hacking into mobile phone accounts to steal voice mails and bank account information.
Average Joe: Bu, bu, but Michael Jackson is on TV.
Me: OK, let's talk about ever-increasing government regulation. Here are a few bills Congress is considering:
· HR 2749 and HR 875. These bills would give the federal government near total control over all food, right down to the tomatoes you grow in your back yard. Among the bills' proposals are warrantless entries of property, seizure of records and geographic quarantines. The bills' opponents claim it will drive many organic and small farmers out of business. An interesting sidenote? The bill's sponsor, Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., is married to a political consultant. One of his biggest clients? Monsanto, the world's largest agriculture/biotech company.
· HR 45. Prohibits unlicensed gun ownership and establishes federal oversight over the licenses. A counterpunch, HR 17, seeks to protect the right to use firearms to protect yourself.
· S 787. Would clarify the jurisdiction of the government to include all bodies of water, not just navigable waters. If this becomes law, a mud puddle in your front yard would be under the control of the federal government.
Average Joe: But Michael Jackson is ON TV!
Me: And the recession hasn't gone away. Unemployment is nearing 10 percent. The state of California, one of the world's largest economies, is broke. Retail sales dropped further this past month. Congress just discovered there's a lot of bailout money left over, and they're trying to decide what to do with it.
Average Joe: BUT MICHAEL JACKSON IS ON TV!
Me: We pulled out of Baghdad and the violence got worse. The government says we need swine flu shots! El Nino is back!
Average Joe: MICHAEL JACKSON, MICHAEL JACKSON, MICHAEL JACKSON, MICHAEL JACKSON!
Me: (sigh) Officials in Los Angeles said today that the promoter of the Michael Jackson memorial should foot the bill. Lawmakers in Washington sought to introduce a bill recognizing Jackson's accomplishments. The final burial place of the pop icon remains a mystery ...
Average Joe: Now you're talking.
E-mail Nate McCullough at firstname.lastname@example.org. His column appears on Fridays.