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Daniel Ruth, Times Columnist

Daniel Ruth

Daniel Ruth has been scribbling away for four decades as a reporter, film critic, television critic and columnist for the Tampa Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times and the Tampa Bay Times. He also has worked as a radio talk show host as well as an adjunct professor for the University of South Florida, the University of Tampa and Columbia College in Chicago. Daniel is a Peter Lisagor Award recipient for his columns in Chicago and has been honored by the Pinellas County Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union with the Irene Miller Vigilance In Journalism Award.

Email: druth@tampabay.com

  1. Ruth: Desperate times for desperate Republicans


    As arranged marriages go, this was destined to make Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? look like the most compatible union since Harry met Sally, where love means delaying saying "I'm withdrawing from the presidential race to spend more time with the family."

    Two Republican presidential candidates, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, announced a dubious truce of sorts, agreeing to step aside for one another in various states in an effort to blunt Donald Trump's Trail of Fears. Iago and Othello were more reliable allies....

  2. Daniel Ruth: St. Petersburg divides cash from BP oil spill


    When you think of the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, from the images of destroyed wetlands and dead animals to the spill circulating through the Gulf of Mexico, the memories remain all too vivid.

    Here's another byproduct of the BP disaster: Cha-ching!

    What we've learned is as bad and terrible and nightmarish as the spill was, the fallout from the disaster has been a financial windfall for coastal communities....

  3. Ruth: Bondi too busy to explain herself


    To hear her various apparatchiks, minions and supernumeraries tell it, Pam Bondi is the John Henry, Walter Payton and Steve Jobs of the nation's attorneys general. All work, work, work, work. Burning the midnight oil. Leaving no stone unturned. Taping her eyes open to stay awake filing those legal briefs, preparing closing arguments, researching the intricacies of the law. By comparison, Thomas Edison was a ne'er-do-well dilettante....

    Bondi had no time to answer ethics questions.
  4. Ruth: The anonymous lieutenant governor


    Well this certainly clears up one of the great mysteries of Tallahassee, rivaling what happened to the crew of the Mary Celeste, where's Judge Crater and does Gov. Rick Scott have a pulse — or a Tesla battery.

    Where's Carlos?

    Upon becoming Florida's lieutenant governor in 2014, Carlos Lopez-Cantera virtually disappeared from public view. There have been more public sightings of the Florida Skunk Ape....

    That’s him, second from the right: Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, with Gov. Rick Scott, right, and members of the Florida Cabinet for the first day of the 2016 legislative session.
  5. Daniel Ruth: When preservationists become obstructionists


    Just because you're well-intentioned, deeply committed and more altruistic than Florence Nightingale doesn't mean you're right.

    St. Petersburg Preservation is a fine, admirable group of citizens who have dedicated themselves to protecting the city's rich architectural legacy. Very nice. Thanks a bunch. And now, please, please go away.

    In recent days St. Petersburg Preservation has filed a lawsuit in Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Court to overturn a city decision to permit the owners — accent on the word: owners — to demolish the early 20th century Pheil Hotel and Theater and Central National Bank buildings that sit on a block bordered by Central Avenue, First Avenue S and Fourth and Fifth Streets....

  6. Ruth: The politician Carlos Beruff


    Here's what you need to know about politician Carlos Beruff. He is adamantly insistent that you not think of him as a politician. Out, cursed black spot pol!

    In fact, Beruff is so determined to avoid the label of "politician" that he is running all sorts of television commercials in his political campaign to succeed Marco Rubio in the U.S. Senate, perhaps the most political organism in the world, to drive home the fact he is not, indeed, a politician. Whew! Glad that confusion is cleared up....

    Carlos Beruff
  7. Ruth: No way to choose a president


    In recent days Donald Trump has lambasted the Republican presidential primary system as corrupt, duplicitous and downright icky.

    "Our Republican system is absolutely rigged," the human brioche grumped. "It's a phony deal."

    If anyone appreciates the finer points of phoniness, it is Donald Trump. But the more shocking, shocking thing about the mogul's tirade is that after almost a year on the campaign trail, Trump just realized the nominating process is more banana republic and less Bunker Hill? Please, Trump is 69 years old and has been deeply involved in politics his entire life. And he expects anyone to believe he just discovered the nominating process is more compromised than a Nebraska Avenue strumpet?...

    Donald Trump has complained, “Our Republican system is absolutely rigged. It’s a phony deal.” And if anyone appreciates the finer points of phoniness, it’s Trump.
  8. Daniel Ruth: Firefighter's firing sets off alarm bells


    Judging from the J'accuse meets Les Miserables meets Inherit the Wind hand-wringing hysteria of it all, you would think that recently defrocked Tampa Fire Department firefighter Tanja Vidovic was Mata Hari, Tokyo Rose and Bonnie Parker all rolled into one.

    After all, when you get canned as a Tampa first responder on charges of "moral turpitude," you must have been selling the nuclear codes to North Korea, or running guns to ISIS, or perhaps operating a bordello out of the old firehouse....

  9. Ruth: Hiding wealth makes the world go round


    Among the great unwashed, our idea of "hiding" wealth consists of dumping spare change in a coffee can on the kitchen counter. So it's a bit hard to get one's head around the concept that an international consortium of ascots squirreled away an estimated untaxed 8 percent of the world's wealth, or about $7.6 trillion, in secret offshore banking accounts.

    And some people fret about raising the minimum wage to $15 as if the economy would descend into a dystopian Mad Max-like society?...

    Protesters in Reykjavik, Iceland, rally outside Parliament last week. The Panama Papers scandal led to the resignation of the country’s prime minister.
  10. Ruth: Democrats demand you send money — or else


    Memo to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the Hillary Clinton presidential operation: Stop consulting with reviled pharmaceutical profiteer Martin Shkreli for political contribution advice. Or perhaps you've sought the counsel of Apocalypse Now's crazed Col. Kurtz for fundraising tips.

    Or maybe it's possible that treating your donor base as if they were literally a penny waiting for change is just the ticket to fill up those cobweb-filled coffers....

  11. Ruth: The end of another campaign (mine)


    Thank you all for attending this press conference. Today I am announcing the suspension of my campaign for the Republican presidential nomination. Not only is it apparently God's will that I not be president, it also seems to be an opinion shared by the tens of millions of people who didn't vote for me.

    In all candor, I have to admit this is not easy. After all, losing the GOP nomination to a fire hydrant and a guy who comes off as a used shark salesman is a bitter shill to swallow. But the people have spoken, those … well, fill in the blankety-blank yourself....

  12. Daniel Ruth: A $33 million pier lacks iconic status


    What can you get for $33 million?

    Not as much as one might think.

    At $46 million, St. Petersburg thought it was getting a very nice penthouse suite. But at $33 million, it looks as if the city might have to settle for a comfy time share in Two Egg.

    There's been some hand-wringing over recent disclosures the St. Petersburg Pier project, which was originally pitched as a stylish architecturally iconic structure, is now starting to look more like — yawn — another glassed-in restaurant....

  13. Ruth: Be wary of the super delegates


    Isn't democracy a pip? For months, across all those amber waves of grain and purple mountain majesties, Republicans and Democrats — Americans all — have been schlepping to the polls or caucuses to cast their vote to determine whom they would like to eventually become (let's cue Yankee Doodle Dandy) the president of these great United States.

    It's just a thing of Liberty Bell beauty, is what it is. Until it isn't....

  14. Ruth: Trump, Cruz need better foreign policy advice


    Long ago and far away, before our politics turned into Jerry Springer meets Porky's, a quaint bipartisan tradition generally was observed. If a crisis erupted and the president of the United States happened to be out of the country, members of the loyal opposition would refrain from publicly criticizing the commander in chief until his return to American soil.

    How antediluvian. How polite. How naive. How … civilized....

  15. Daniel Ruth: Charlie Crist attempts comeback in U.S. House race


    Here's the thing when you have a lunch appointment with Charlie Crist. You need to factor in extra time for the former governor of Florida to schmooze his way to the table. So many hands to shake. So many names to collect. So many backs yet to be slapped.

    So it was on a recent afternoon as Crist navigated his way to a booth at Beach Drive's Parkshore Grill, taking time to introduce himself to the waiter and just about anyone else within an arm's reach of the table. ...