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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.


  1. Ruth: Boastful sales pitches by Rubio and Murphy


    Judging from all the boastful preening the other night in Orlando, one might have concluded that incumbent Republican Sen. Marco Rubio and Democratic Party challenger Rep. Patrick Murphy were such towering legislative giants they made Henry Clay, Ted Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson look like fuddy-duddy political hack municipal tree board appointees.

    Each man bragged about how he had passed this, passed that, fighting, fighting every day for the great unwashed. This, of course, was sheer balderdash....

  2. Daniel Ruth: To build or not to build a St. Petersburg pier


    It's not very often a place like St. Petersburg gets an opportunity to ask itself a simple but very profound question.

    What truly defines a city's identity?

    Paris, of course, has its Eiffel Tower. London has Buckingham Palace. Or perhaps Trafalgar Square. New York? Where to begin? Central Park, to be sure, and a glorious skyline. Some cities really have nothing. Los Angeles is really just more and more and more of Los Angeles. Chicago has Grant Park, Lake Shore Drive and Michigan Avenue....

  3. Ruth: Trump's vulgar attempt to use vulgarity


    You should be appalled, offended and horrified by the sight and sound of a presidential candidate engaging in a full monty of circumlocutory X-rated bawdiness.

    But when Donald Trump started bragging to Access Hollywood in very vivid terms — very — about his real and imagined sexual conquests and fantasies, he revealed something else. Trump doesn't need to be fact-checked as much as he needs someone to wash his mouth out with soap....

  4. Ruth: Jill Kelley complains about lack of privacy in public


    For faux Tampa socialite Jill Kelley, the Donna Quixote of Bayshore Boulevard, this is her quest: Relentlessly pursue her obsession for privacy even if it means appearing in every media outlet in the world, including ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, CSPAN, the Home Shopping Network, Pravda, Granma, the People's Daily, the Farmer's Almanac and Quilter's World.

    Please stop hounding this poor woman before she's forced to appear on The View, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Jacques Pepin's More Fast Food My Way and The Dog Whisperer to beg and plead to be left alone....

  5. Daniel Ruth: Great moments in public administration


    And now another exciting episode of "Great Moments In Public Administration," brought to you by our sponsor, Roto-Rooter.

    The action begins with our hero, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, walking the moors of the city when he is interrupted by his aide-de-camp.

    "Yes, well, Murgatroyd, what is it?" the mayor snaps.

    "Your excellency, I am afraid I have some bad news, sir. It appears the citizenry has adopted a new nickname for you. And I fear you won't like it."...

  6. Ruth: Donald Trump fights his own party


    If we've learned anything over the past few days, it is that Donald Trump has proved he has just the right cut of the jib to become the next president of — North Korea. Or perhaps Zimbabwe. Syria might be available soon.

    And if the electoral gods deny the Boss Hogg of Mar-a-Lago the White House, perhaps the night manager gig at Tampa's 2001 Odyssey hoochie-coochie emporium could be the next step on the ladder of the candidate's "Sex and the Electoral College" ambitions....

  7. Ruth: DOT kills toll lane for outraged public — and state senator


    It's tempting to view the Florida Department of Transportation's decision to abandon plans to create a special toll lane from a free lane on a new Howard Frankland Bridge span as a response to opposition to the boneheaded idea from the great unwashed citizenry.

    After all, it has such a Yankee Doodle Dandy feel of democracy at work feel to it. No doubt a lovely image.

    But the reality of the DOT's reversal likely was more the work of Sen. Jack Latvala, R-We Are Not Amused, who made it abundantly clear he was less than thrilled with the haves in the Lexus Lane and the have-nots consigned to peon class on the bridge....

  8. Ruth: Bill Clinton hands Donald Trump a gift with health care line


    There Hillary Clinton is on the campaign trail, fending off all the eye-rolling things coming out of that man's mouth at any given moment.

    Oh, and then there is Donald Trump.

    For a chap who likes to think of his political skills along the lines of Thomas Jefferson meets Benjamin Disraeli meets The West Wing's Jed Bartlet, former President Bill Clinton appeared to be channeling his inner Machiavelli the other day when he threw his wife and Barack Obama under the 24-hour news cycle bus....

    Bill Clinton delivered the sound bite of the week, calling Obamacare “the craziest thing in the world.”
  9. Ruth: How to call a $916 million loss a success story


    Consider this a much-needed intervention, especially if you are burdened with having the occasional coherent thought.

    Perhaps you are wondering how it is that a presidential candidate can be revealed to have incurred $916 million in losses and still preen and boast of his savvy business acumen.

    Or it could be that you are puzzled how that same candidate could spend at least five years gleefully spreading a long-debunked conspiratorial lie that Barack Obama was an illegitimate president by virtue of a fake birth certificate....

    Donald Trump suffered $916 million in losses but still preens about his business acumen.
  10. Daniel Ruth: Imagining a Trump for St. Petersburg's Pier


    If everyone will gather together, we can begin our tour of St. Petersburg's long-awaited Trump Pier. As you can see, it is the greatest, most exciting and obviously huuuuuuugest pier in the history of piers.

    We think you'll be particularly impressed with a bright yellow dome capping off Trump Pier highlighted by a statue depicting the mogul as Alexander the Great. Did I mention it was huuuuuuuge?...

  11. Ruth: Crisis averted at Tampa Yacht & Country Club


    This was so very Tampa: a three-hour public hearing before City Council to debate the legality of a practice that has been going on unfettered for 71 years.

    And what was the result after all the bickering and posturing?

    Sure you can keep doing what (Burp!) you've been doing.

    Of course, this involved cocktails. This is Tampa, where it takes a village to hoist a highball.

    This was also a battle of South Tampa swells getting their spats out of joint....

    A decision on where alcohol can be served at the Tampa Yacht & Country Club was settled at a recent Tampa City Council public hearing.
  12. Ruth: The misplaced vanity of minor party candidates


    A small group of protesters recently assembled at the Tampa Bay Times office in Tampa to vent their displeasure over the paper's coverage of the Green Party's presidential candidate, Dr. Jill Stein.

    But there was a problem.

    The placard-carrying Green Party followers started their venting before 8 a.m., not realizing that many newspaper types don't show up for work until around 10 a.m., allowing for the hangover to ease up a bit. They were giving a virtually empty parking lot a piece of their mind. It was an inspiration....

    Dina Formentini, left, a St. Pete for Peace activist, greets Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein in Ybor City on Wednesday.
  13. Ruth: Donald Trump his own worst enemy in debate


    It had to dawn on Donald Trump during Monday night's presidential debate that he was having the Wile E. Coyote moment when the cartoon character discovers he has just stepped off a cliff into "his own reality."

    Or think of Trump's hapless performance this way: If this had been an episode of his cheesy reality show, The Apprentice, he would have been fired (ahead of Snooki and Boy George) before the first commercial break....

    Donald Trump showed signs of life early in Monday night’s debate against Hillary Clinton, but then went into “So’s your old man!” mode.
  14. Daniel Ruth: Another campaign promise bites the dust in Clearwater


    This doomed exercise in democracy probably falls into category of no good deed goes unignored.

    It was with the best of intentions that Clearwater City Council member Bob Cundiff ran for office promising he would be more accessible to the public than a sidewalk.

    Cundiff promised he would spearhead a communitywide effort to conduct "listening tours" of the city. Council members would appear at libraries, recreational centers and other public spaces to meet and greet and take in the opinions, suggestions and advice of the residents. ...

  15. Ruth: Tampa mayor courts China, stiff-arms Cuba


    What might we call this historic foreign policy moment? Buckhorn Goes to China?

    Okay, so it doesn't quite have the Nixonian panache to it.

    But there was Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn spending last week cavorting across China on a goodwill/economic development trip, raising mai tai umbrellas in the spirit of international cooperation with government and health science officials to further stronger bonds between the city and Beijing. Oh, the Camelot of it all....