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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: [email protected]

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  1. Ruth: The truth keeps coming out about O'Reilly

    Columns

    It's merely an idle guess, but don't you suspect that after Bill O'Reilly had paid millions of dollars to settle at least five sexual harassment claims, it would have dawned on him that the James Bond theme does not automatically start playing whenever he finds himself in the company of women?

    The $32 million reportedly paid to former Fox News analyst Lis Wiehl may at last have sent a message to O'Reilly. According to the New York Times, the grand total of sexual harassment claims against him is now pegged at about $45 million. That's a great deal of heavy breathing. Some men collect stamps, coins or matchbooks. O'Reilly seems to have pulled together a notable portfolio of billable hours....

    According to the New York Times, the amount paid in sexual harassment claims against Bill O’Reilly totals $45 million.
  2. Daniel Ruth: Advice for sniping school board members — Grow up or go away

    Columns

    There are certain jobs in elective office that carry with them a slightly higher expectation when it comes to how one behaves in public.

    For example, it probably wouldn't be a good thing if we were to learn Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren was a serial traffic scofflaw with a slew of overdue library books, to boot.

    The same holds true for members of the Hillsborough County School Board. We ought to have a reasonable belief those charged with overseeing the welfare of the community's children are serious, sober-minded, thoughtful stewards of the classroom....

    Hillsborough School Board members April Griffin, above, and Tamara Shamburger started off the brouhaha at a recent training session but it didn't end there. [Courtesy of Tamara Shamburger]
  3. Ruth: Spencer just a smoother version of old hatred

    Columns

    It is a safe bet that Richard Spencer, the beefcake boy of bigotry, will show up on the University of Florida campus today accompanied by a Star Wars-esque bar scene of neo-Nazis, white supremacists, anti-Semites and antigovernment conspiracy theory survivalists.

    Think of this as Triumph of the Will meets Deliverance.

    So it is understandable, given the violence that occurred in Charlottesville, Va., in August when these low-rent faux storm troopers assembled, that Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency in Alachua County for the duration of time Spencer will be sliming his toxic waste dump of rhetoric....

    Richard Spencer speaks at Texas A&M University in College Station last year. He is due to speak today at the University of Florida campus in Gainesville.
  4. Beautiful Hong Kong is pulsating with life and culture

    Travel

    HONG KONG

    “Ah money, money, money!" the cabdriver exclaimed with no small sense of sarcasm in his Cantonese-accented English as he waved in the direction of the spectacular skyline of Hong Kong, a city that revels in its reputation as an international financial capital.

    This was our first trip to Asia to visit our son, who has lived in Hong Kong for several years, and our expecting daughter-in-law....

    Prodemocracy demonstrations in Hong Kong draw a crowd. Chinese promises to regard Hong Kong, a former British territory, as part of a “one country, two systems” status have eroded.
  5. Ruth: A glimmer of hope for a Florida slavery memorial

    Columns

    Better late than never, even if it has taken 152 years.

    You might recall that last year an effort in the Florida Legislature to create a slavery memorial on the grounds of the Capitol ran into a brick wall, otherwise known as Sen. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, the leading Civil War revisionist.

    Although the slavery memorial enjoyed unanimous support in the House, Baxley objected and argued he preferred monuments that celebrate people in a more "uplifting manner." And let's face it, being reminded of this whole slavery stuff is hardly an "Up With People" moment....

    Florida Sen. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, left, objected to a monument honoring Union soldiers at Olustee. (Below, park rangers stand near one of three monuments commemorating the Confederate victory in 1864.) State Rep. Kionne McGhee, D-Miami, right, wants to create a slavery memorial on the grounds of the Capitol in Tallahassee.
  6. Ruth: As Trump World turns

    Columns

    'Uh, Mr. President, we have a bit of a problem."

    "What is it Spicey, and why are you wearing a dress?"

    "Sir, Sean Spicer quit this miserable job months ago. I am your latest beleaguered press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders."

    "Well, what is it Huckleberry? I'm a very busy man feuding with everyone from the Brownies to the Dalai Lama. Can't that guy ever wear a suit?"

    "I have some breaking news, your Twitterness."...

    “Alas, Mr. President …”
  7. Daniel Ruth: How would 50,000 workers get around if Tampa lands Amazon?

    Columns

    Apparently the nation is all agog with anxious anticipation over just where the massive Amazon will select to build a second headquarters.

    And the Tampa Bay area is preparing to join the growing mix of suitors trying to capture Amazon founder Jeff Bezos' eye. That's so cute.

    The project, dubbed Amazon HQ2, is looking for real estate large enough to accommodate an estimated $5 billion corporate campus of at least 8 million square feet of office space with room for future growth. The new facility will inject about 50,000 new jobs into the community paying an average of $100,000 a year. ...

    Times Columnist Dan Ruth. [Times file]
  8. Ruth: Well-intended, naive St. Petersburg council wades into campaign finance

    Columns

    And this, dearest reader, is why God created lawyers.

    No one has ever confused the St. Petersburg City Council with the Knights of the Roundtable meets the Brigadoon County Commission.

    But that didn't stop the visionaries on the council from attempting to right a wrong by standing foursquare in favor of free speech. Say, there's a Bunker Hill moment for you.

    Forget traditional City Council priorities such as potholes, rampant sewage spills and whatever that thing is going up along the waterfront....

    St. Petersburg City Council member Darden Rice speaks at a rally in support of a city ordinance to limit PAC contributions.
  9. Ruth: Life, liberty and the PSC

    Columns

    If you have spent any time in this state, by now you have figured out the Florida Public Service Commission has about as much to do with providing "public service" as the Mayflower Madam did promoting celibacy.

    So it should come as little surprise Gov. Rick Scott would nominate Ritch Workman, a hustling former state legislator, to a cushy $131,000-a-year job on the PSC. His only expertise in utility regulation seems to be his extraordinary talent for cashing campaign checks from the state's power companies....

    Ritch Workman has been nominated to serve on the Public Service Commission.
  10. Daniel Ruth: David Straz as mayor? Only if he can embrace retail politics

    Columns

    Perhaps the best way to think of David Straz is as sort of the Michael Bloomberg of the Big Guava, an immensely wealthy man who is noodling around a possible run to become mayor of Tampa.

    By all accounts the end of the Bob Buckhorn era in 2019 is tempting several people to think about running for mayor. Former Tampa police Chief Jane Castor seems all but certain to run. City Councilmember Mike Suarez has been humming "Hail To The Mayor" for years. His colleague Harry Cohen might take a shot. Former Hillsborough County Commissioner Ed Turanchik's name always gets bounced around. Former state Rep. Ed Narain and public relations executive Bill Carlson, along with architect Mickey Jacobs, also pop up as possible candidates....

    Times Columnist Dan Ruth. [Times file]
  11. Ruth: After Las Vegas massacre, what now?

    Columns

    We are supposed to be a beacon to the world, the "indispensable" nation preaching the gospel of democracy and freedom and all the rest of the chorus from the amber waves of grain hymnal.

    We are all caught up over the controversy of standing for the national anthem at football games as a litmus test of patriotism in honor of our revered history and culture. Let us now invoke the genius of the Founding Fathers....

    Survivors comfort each other Monday at the Thomas & Mack Center
in Las Vegas after a gunman opened fire on people at a music festival.
  12. Ruth: Why were nursing home's voicemails to governor deleted?

    Columns

    If we've learned anything during the Rick Scott years, it is that this is a governor to whom transparency and adherence to the state's public records and Sunshine Laws are about as welcome an intrusion as a caraway seed stuck under a denture.

    Compared to the Scott cone of silence, the Freemasons are gossipy blabbermouths.

    At last count, 11 elderly residents of the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills have died in the wake of Hurricane Irma after the facility's air conditioning failed....

    Gov. Rick Scott, with Sen. Marco Rubio, talks about Hurrican Irma at a press conference in Doral on Sept. 6.
  13. Daniel Ruth: Go ahead with your crafty cocktails, but can't I have my Dewar's, too?

    Columns

    This is probably the price to be paid for not being a beautiful person.

    For I am a simple man of simple tastes. I do not care for drinks of multiple colors and more than two ingredients. No good comes from libations of indeterminate hues and strange names invoking images of Lord of the Rings.

    These misgivings always seemed to work well in a city like Tampa, a blue collar, beer and a bump kind of place. And then the beautiful people started moving in with raised pinkie tastes and a preoccupation with "craft" this and "craft" that....

    The names and ingredients may come and go, but craft cocktails are a fixture at fine establishments such as Edison Food + Drink Lab in Tampa. Good luck ordering a Dewar’s and soda, though.
  14. Ruth: Another security breach, and everyone shrugs

    Columns

    In a brief fit of rare snarkiness, the thought occurred to begin these hen-scratchings by posting my Social Security number, Internet passwords and blood type to save the hackers some precious time.

    But why bother? Those folks sitting in their jammies hunched over a keyboard somewhere in Bulgaria probably already have all that data. In case they missed something, let me help. The dogs' names are Riley and Gracie. Now you have just about everything. So glad to be of service....

  15. Daniel Ruth: Public money built Bucs' stadium, so let public sell tickets

    Columns

    Who knew the Tampa Bay Bucs were actually the Daisies of Dale Mabry?

    It seems head coach Dirk Koetter got his hoopskirt all in a wad simply because, from time to time, attendees of Bucs games out at Hellooooo Sucker Stadium prefer to root, root, root for the opposing team. This had made the head coach of those manly men populating the Bucs roster all pouty.

    "A perfect day for me is going to be all Bucs jerseys in the lower bowl and the Bucs winning by one or more," the coach proclaimed....

    Dirk Koetter, Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach, wants to do what it takes to ensure that those sitting in the lower bowl of Raymond James Stadium are wearing his team’s colors.