RIP Michael Strauss

-- It should be over for Congressman Tim Mahoney, what with a second extramarital affair now being reported. Wonder if he paid her off, too, the schmuck. Again, he SHOULD be knocked out of office. But could the power of George W. Bush keep him in D.C.? Bush has been such an absolute disaster as prez that even this kind of scandal (in October, no less) might not be enough to knock a D out of office. It's a depressing turn for all the voters in his district.

-- Storied sportswriter Michael Strauss died in Boca Raton at the age of 96 this week. Strauss spent 50 years reporting for the New York Times before settling down as sports editor of the Palm Beach Daily News, aka Shiny Sheet, in 1983. He filed his last column a couple weeks ago. Frank Houston and Michele Dargan do Strauss justice in an obit that includes the story of how he became a journalist:

Mr. Strauss was born July 13, 1912 in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. When he was 10, he caught a glimpse of his first professional baseball game at Ebbets Field, home of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Because he lacked the 50 cents for a bleacher seat, he was one of a handful of children allowed by a New York City policeman to lay on their stomachs for a free view of the game from under the centerfield gate.

So as not to get their clothes dirty, the children were made to lay atop newspapers. Mr. Strauss remembered sprawling out on top of the New York Daily News, one of nine daily papers published in the city at that time. As the 13-year-old manager of his high school baseball team, Mr. Strauss called in the details of his team's games to the New York Times' sports desk. Soon his editor, Joe Gephardt, invited Mr. Strauss into the office to write the stories himself. The following summer, he covered New York City boxing club matches for $3 a night.

At 18, Mr. Strauss officially joined the staff of the New York Times, covering semi-pro baseball on Sundays. He was a college freshman, earning 40 cents an inch, or $8 a column, for his work.

From there his 50-year career at the Times blossomed.

Read the full story here.

-- The Sun-Sentinel follows up its investigative report on the failure of the state to scrub felons from the voting rolls. It's the obligatory second phase of such reporting wherein a newspaper finds public officials to kvetch about whatever problem was exposed. Nice work, but the reason it doesn't have much power is that a lot of people don't believe felons who have done their time should lose their rights. It's sort of like a report from the 1950s that criticizes authorities to properly enforce segregation laws. Face it, stripping a person's right to vote is nothing but a cruel insult. But at least it serves a public good. I mean, if we didn't have that law, it's pretty obvious that all the sex criminals would organize to elect a pervert to the school board. Then our children would almost certainly be subjected to daily molestations in the classroom (the same place they STILL won't be allowed to pray to GOD). So we should all be proud that Florida is one of ten states enlightened enough to put those dirty felons in their place and make sure they never even THINK about taking part in productive society again. Amen.

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Journalist Bob Norman has been raking the muck of South Florida for the past 25 years. His work has led to criminal cases against corrupt politicians, the ouster of bad judges from the bench, and has garnered dozens of state, regional, and national awards.
Contact: Bob Norman