I'd like to thank Nancy Pelosi for nixing the resolution to honor Michael Jackson. It's not like Congress doesn't have anything to do. (Health care, anyone?) But it was a spectacularly bad idea from the start. And now with revelations about the late singer's drug problems, the coroner's office subpoenaing Jackson's medical records, and questions about Jackson being the biological father of his children, what if this had been brought to a vote? Can you imagine the nastiness that would have ensued?
Hopefully this means we'll be seeing less of Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, the Texas Democrat who introduced the resolution. Jackson Lee attended the memorial at the Staples Center. And for reasons that are unclear, she chose the occasion not only to give a stump speech but to push her resolution. Classy!
For the millions of people around the world who wished they'd been in Los Angeles for the event, count yourself lucky. Traffic in the Valley and near Dodger Stadium was a mess. I had to leave early for work because the freeway was closed for Jackson's motorcade. Even our normally media-happy Mayor left town to vacation in South Africa.
I hope he's back because now we've got to pay the bill. Jackson's memorial cost L.A. $3 million, and some of us (okay, me) aren't happy about it. This includes more than $40,000 that was spent on police lunches from a deli 80 miles away. What's wrong with our local taco trucks? I enjoy eating in new neighborhoods, too, but I try not to on the taxpayer's dime.
Talk about priorities. This year summer school was canceled because city officials deemed it a great way to close LA's $26-billion budget gap. The last time I checked the high-school dropout rate in LAUSD was almost 50 percent. So now we have thousands of students sitting at home watching The Hills or roaming the streets. Terrifying.
Councilwoman Jan Perry told CBS she'd "love it" if the Jackson family helped pay for their loved one's memorial. But so far, Joe Jackson has been mum. He did, however, pull aside a reporter the day his dead son lay in a gold casket to talk about a record deal.
Maybe Kobe and Magic, who praised Jackson during the Staples celebration for helping them be better at basketball, can chip in?
Don't get me wrong. I loved Jackson's music. I'm actually old enough to remember when the Jackson Five appeared on Ed Sullivan. In my 20s, during a brief and unremarkable stint as a jazz dancer, I performed "Beat It" at a gospel church in Oakland. (Thank god for no YouTube then!) The other night my husband dug my old Thriller album out of the closet and we danced to it in the living room.
Michael Jackson was undeniably gifted. But he was also undeniably tragic. And contrary to that gratuitous remark Al Sharpton made to Jackson's children at the memorial, I think most of us can agree on this: the singer was a little "strange."
How many grown men wish they were Peter Pan? And then build a multimillion-dollar fantasy world called Neverland with zoo animals and carnival rides? Or name their child "Blanket"?
Jackson's friends have been appearing endlessly on the talk shows burnishing his legacy. That's not surprising. What is is how they profess to have been so close to him yet apparently didn't notice his devastating drug problem. The Hulk was training the emaciated singer for his "This Is It" tour. Yet when asked about Jackson's health by Larry King, it was all good!
Well, it's all coming out now. Just this morning, a senior law enforcement officer told ABC News that Jackson was "heavily addicted" to OxyContin and taking daily doses of the painkiller Demerol.
During the memorial CNN.com paired with Facebook so that fans could express their grief. For a while I watched the comments scrolling down the screen. Many of them simply said "MJ: RIP."
One can only hope.