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The Afternoon Pulp

Remember when newspapers were doing so well, that some towns had a newspaper for the morning and afternoon? Well, I'm going to relive those halcyon days here with a tilt on this morning's Sun-Sentinel.

After declaring South Florida's lust for a GM bailout a couple days ago, the Sentinel's front page today touts the "bargains" in real estate. Yes, bargains, with no qualifier, as in "supposed bargains" or "possible bargains" or, to sway in the other direction, "phantom bargains."

The story by Paul Owers, whose coverage of the real estate market has generally been marked with a refreshing realism, ultimately informs readers that this may be a passing fancy. But that's overwhelmed by the already established giddy tone of the piece. On such a serious topic, such flippancy is not only wrong, but unseemly. And I don't blame Owers -- the newspaper has the new tone of the Tribune Co. all over it; facile, salesmanlike, and ultimately irresponsible.

Reality check: The stock market is crashing, unemployment is rising, we're in the midst of a deflationary spiral, and homes are still not affordable for the average family. Sure condos seem to be getting cheap compared to the bubble's peak, but with the new construction coming to market in Miami-Dade, the glut in that market has only just begun. Buying a single family home right now might not kill you (though I'm betting it will hurt), but you're stepping in front of a freight train when you get in the condo market.

Who really knows, though? We'll check back next year at this time to see if those folks in the story were really getting bargains.

-- This just off the wire: Gov. Charlie Crist supports a measure to allow public universities to raise tuition by 15 percent. A year. I've already got the prepaid plan for my runts, but this still fucking infuriates me. Just at the time when people need the most help with tuition, the governor decides to stick it to them. Worse, all the university presidents -- led by former Jeb Bush sidekick Frank Brogan -- support it. Get out the torches and pitchforks, kids. Time for a good old fashioned mob.

-- And we have Vanessa Blum's story about the Pine Crest School's swimming coach, Robert Caragol, admitted to the feds that he has molested children after he was caught with kiddie porn featuring boys. Caragol taught children 8 to 14 at the private school. Damn. Yeah, that's really my only comment on that one. Damn.

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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

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