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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

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  1. Ruth: How term limits degraded Florida House

    Columns

    When the going gets tough, the Florida House gets slimier than an Everglades python as it slithers out of Tallahassee.

    With three work days left in the 2015 legislative session, the Republican-dominated House was informed by Speaker Steve Crisafulli, R-Run Away!, that he was calling it quits and leaving unresolved a number of issues, including agreeing on a state budget, Medicaid expansion, special needs programs for Floridians with disabilities and reforming a prison system that makes Cool Hand Luke look like a Club Med retreat....

  2. Ruth: In choosing Pier Park, selection committee showed leadership (w/video)

    Columns

    There are many reasons to feel encouraged by St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman's super duper Pier Selection Committee's selection of Pier Park as its first choice to replace the inverted tin foil hat as the city's next iconic attraction.

    The pre-eminent reason to favor Pier Park is that it will replace the inverted pyramid, despite the pouting on the part of the city's swells crowd who wanted to preserve the equivalent of paying homage to a rusting Yugo on blocks in the front yard....

  3. Ruth: Spiro Agnew would be proud of the Clintons

    Columns

    Poor Spiro Agnew. The disgraced former vice president who was forced from office in 1973 after pleading no contest to bribery, extortion, conspiracy and tax evasion must be spinning in his grave.

    Agnew, who would have ascended to the presidency after Richard Nixon resigned in the wake of the Watergate scandal, instead barely avoided prison and was disbarred from the legal profession. He spent the rest of his life as the face of political graft for accepting roughly $170,000 in cash payments both in the Maryland governor's mansion and his White House office....

  4. Ruth: Why Rick Scott fights online voter registration

    Columns

    Here's the troubling thing about elections. When you offer the body politic the chance to cast a ballot, there is always the inherent risk people will also avail themselves of the opportunity to actually take the trouble to vote. And let's face it, you can take this democracy drivel only so far.

    So it is understandable that when momentum started to build during this year's session of the Florida Legislature to allow the serfs to register online to vote, Gov. Rick Scott reacted as if Tallahassee was pondering changing the state seal to a hammer and sickle....

  5. Daniel Ruth column: Don Draper doesn't set a good example for bosses

    Columns

    If I was a business consultant, the first thing I might do is assemble anyone who manages anyone and show them several episodes of Mad Men.

    Afterward, I would say, "Did you watch Don Draper closely? Don't do any of that stuff, and you'll be fine. You may go back to work now."

    It's a lesson that might be fitting for Pinellas County's chief information officer (read: head techno geek) Martin Rose, who has gotten into a bit of a pickle in his dealings with his staff....

  6. Ruth: Mayor Bob Buckhorn responds to smoke at Fire Rescue

    Columns

    Nothing focuses a politician's attention more than accusations of being out of touch. Days ago, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn said he needed "a couple of weeks" to receive a report from Tampa Fire Rescue Chief Tom Forward before he could decide how to provide a modicum of privacy (and respect) for female first responders who often find themselves sharing living space with colleagues who see a fire station like the Playboy mansion....

  7. Ruth: The Tallahassee cash collectors

    Columns

    Back in 2005, Sen. Tom Lee, R-Holier Than Thou, strutted about as the Diogenes of Tallahassee, slapping himself on the back for pushing through an ethics gift ban that prohibited the capital's lobbying cartel from directly lathering up legislators with freebie drinks, meals, trips and other tokens of appreciation for their stout-hearted commitment to good government.

    Stop rolling your eyes. On second thought, go ahead....

  8. Ruth: Uniting Tampa Bay, one former mayor at a time

    Columns

    Residents of St. Petersburg draw near and pay heed. Soon, very soon, a man from the east will descend into your midst, a man of indeterminate hair color, a man of even more indeterminate age, a man who has never met a woman he could not resist complimenting.

    And what the normally staid St. Petersburg residents might regard as overly enthusiastic flesh-pressing is simply this man's unique Tampa way of saying, "Hello." Do not be alarmed. But you have been advised....

    Former Tampa Mayor Dick Greco and his wife, Linda, are relocating to a swanky condominium in downtown St. Petersburg.
  9. Dan Ruth: Backyard gun ranges come before common sense

    Columns

    A few days ago, Pinellas County Commissioner Ken Welch proposed drafting a county ordinance that would ban people from building backyard gun ranges.

    Insert a "Duh!" anywhere you want here.

    The reason for Welch's effort is because recently those Founding Grovelers in the Florida House of Lemmings killed legislation that would prohibit residential gun ranges. Go ahead, reread that last sentence as often as you want. It still won't make any sense....

  10. Ruth: Remaking Clinton, one burrito bowl at a time

    Columns

    Subject: Hillary Clinton wants to be president of the United States.

    Message: After nearly 25 years on the national political stage, she has discovered she cares deeply about the much-beleaguered American middle class.

    Reaction: Better late than never.

    To underscore her bourgeoisie bona fides, the Evita of Chappaqua embarked on a populist road trip from New York to Iowa, even stopping for some fast food at a Chipotle restaurant near Toledo to demonstrate she can rub great unwashed elbows with the best of ambitious politicians. Nothing says "Hail to the Chief" more than a burrito bowl....

  11. Ruth: Rubio's case of Potomac fever

    Columns

    Much could happen before U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio's expected announcement that he will run for president.

    It is entirely possible young master Rubio will awaken Monday and mutter to himself, "Ohmygawd, what was I thinking?" And thus he will decide to seek a second term in the Senate.

    Backing away from a presidential campaign likely will prove to be a freshman beanie too far for Rubio, who has had visions of Air Force One dancing in his head since he went to Washington. Can you blame him? After all, for more than four years the senator has been surrounded by fawning minions, advisers and consultants telling him he is the sabal palm of presidential timber....

  12. Ruth: Pier A tale of two cities

    Columns

    It was toward the end of a meeting with the Tampa Bay Times editorial board a few days before he was sworn in for a second term when Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn was asked an idle question.

    Just for the fun of it, if he were mayor of St. Petersburg, how would Buckhorn have handled the fractious debate over what to do about the Pier, the city's answer to Fred Sanford's junk-strewn front yard?...

  13. Ruth: Money talks and the poor lose in Tallahassee

    Columns

    Moneyed-up politicians say the darndest things. Aren't they adorable?

    This was a rarer event in the best little whorehouse in Tallahassee than one of the state's rent-a-statesmen returning a campaign contribution. Someone committed an act of candor. Was that a pig flying?

    But there was the Florida Senate's Tom Lee, R-Check? For Me? Oh You Shouldn't Have, openly acknowledging the Legislature has become essentially one big Ye Mystic Krewe of Tammany Hall....

  14. Ruth: Selling off the presidency (w/video)

    Columns

    From time to time, especially after being exposed to a Hillary Clinton stemwinder that sounds like Roseanne Barr singing the national anthem, some Democratic Party liberals yearn for the more melodic Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren to please, please, please enter the presidential campaign.

    And while the Republican field of possible presidential candidates is beginning to look like Animal House's toga party, former Gov. Jeb Bush has emerged as the leading Bluto Blutarsky of fundraising bacchanalia....

  15. Ruth: The risks of naming neighborhoods historic

    Columns

    There is a certain cachet in knowing one's neighborhood is considered a "historic" place. It conjures up images of George Washington having slept down the street, or Babe Ruth going on a bender around the corner, or a paparazzi sighting of Justin Bieber next door. History can be in the eye of the beholder.

    At the moment, only three of St. Petersburg's neighborhoods are considered "historic" sites — Roser Park, Lang's Bungalow Court and Granada Terrace. Just three....