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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: Rick Scott, the fake environmentalist


    Reader alert! You are about to enter the mother of all spit-take zones! Do not under any circumstances consume any liquids! Face away from any walls! Avoid looking directly at any children, pets, friends or spouses!

    You have been warned. Proceed to the following paragraphs at your own risk.

    Gov. Rick Scott is receiving an award for being a champion of the environment.

    Hailing Scott, R-Nuclear Winter, as an environmental guardian is a bit like tapping Tom Brady as Sportsman of the Year....

  2. Ruth: Vote, then pray your ballot is counted


    Not to be overly simplistic, but the essential skill set to perform the duties of Florida's secretary of state would seem to be the ability to perform this task: one, two, three, four, five …

    For the person responsible for overseeing the state's elections, counting is very important.

    Ken Detzner has other things to do, like protecting the state seal to make sure it doesn't get lost, fall into a mayo jar, or wind up on Jameis Winston's mantle. But it's the election stuff that is the primary item on Detzner's agenda — when he gets around to it....

  3. Ruth: Legislature's failures drive effort to change elections


    Do you ever get the feeling that the price to pay for participating in democracy is being forced to sign up with either Ralph Kramden at the Raccoon Lodge or Laurel and Hardy at the Sons of the Desert? That's not a choice. It's a constitutional hazing.

    So it is understandable why a well-meaning group, All Voters Vote, would embark on a grass roots effort to open up Florida's antiquated, closed-shop, special-interest-dominated primary election process to make it easier for all registered voters regardless of party affiliation to participate in casting a ballot. Just imagine allowing the free, unfettered expression of political will. This could get real ugly real fast....

  4. Ruth: From hospital bed to campaign trail


    There in the antiseptic stillness of the coronary care unit I slowly come to after hours in the operating room. Wires and tubes. Monitors that bleep, tweet and hum. Quintuple bypass surgery was no fun. Neither was the heart attack leading up to it.

    I am not young. My mind wanders and worries. What can I expect after such an egregious insult to such an aging body? Will I recover? Will I live?...

    As the columnist recovers from quintuple bypass surgery, Donald Trump provides a reason to live.
  5. Ruth: Clinton competes with Trump for loser of the week


    At first blush it might seem that GOP presidential beach ball Donald Trump had a pretty dreadful week. After painting Mexicans attempting to enter the United States as if they were from the vigilante recruitment scene of Blazing Saddles, The Dolt lost an estimated $50 million as various business partners rushed to disassociate themselves from him as though he had a terminal case of cooties.

    Still, when you're worth an estimated $8 billion or so, as the great Orange Foolish claims, what's a few million here, a few million there? Trump, of course, is merely a dancing monkey sideshow in the presidential primary....

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s denied she solicited former aide Sidney Blumenthal’s political and diplomatic advice. Newly released emails tell another story.
  6. Ruth: Jolly draws opposition from both sides of Tampa Bay


    Perhaps former Tampa City Council member Mary Mulhern expected to arrive in Pinellas County with all the adoration and folderol of Elizabeth Taylor sitting upon a massive sedan chair atop the shoulders of slaves entering Rome in Cleopatra.

    Instead, Mulhern, D-Candidate for (fill in the blank), found the reaction to her nascent plans to run for the U.S. congressional seat held by Republican Rep. David Jolly to be a combination of single-digit hand gestures, raspberries and more rolling eyes than Milli Vanilli announcing a reunion tour....

  7. Ruth: A curious pick for Hillsborough EPC chief


    With the arrival of Janet Dougherty to lead the Hillsborough County Environmental Protection Commission, Ronald Reagan's famous axiom about "trust, but verify" was never more timely —or relevant.

    Dougherty is only the third person to lead the Hillsborough EPC. She assumes the same office once held by the legendary and combative Roger Stewart, who never met an elected official he didn't royally annoy, and the recently retired Rick Gerrity, also a dedicated and politically savvy environmentalist....

  8. Ruth: Surprise! Lindsey Graham and I are tied!


    Since I announced my candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination a few months ago, the groundswell of support has been overwhelming.

    To date, I've received at least three or four emails encouraging my campaign. And Thomas and Carol Epstein of St. Pete Beach sent in a $1,000 donation. Unfortunately, it was in the form of fake Confederate currency. But it's the thought that counts....

    Campaign manager Gracie the goldendoodle works on strategy.
  9. Ruth: Hunting bears for no reason


    Somehow it is fitting that one of the leading voices in support of declaring open season on bears is Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission chairman Richard Corbett, who happens to be a shopping mall developer.

    Of course Corbett wants to cull the bear numbers. These critters are more than a nuisance. They are competitors wasting everybody's time, loitering on land that might otherwise serve a much more useful purpose in being paved over....

  10. Ruth: Confederate group flies the flag of stupidity


    It always has been a supreme irony that the First Amendment free speech protections that allow the flying of a ridiculously massive Confederate flag over the intersection of I-75 and I-4 upon approaching Tampa benefits its sponsor, the Sons of Confederate Veterans, whose seditious forbearers attacked the United States.

    What do you think the chances are if the Confederacy had prevailed in the Civil War, the flying of the American flag would be denied anywhere south of the Mason-Dixon Line today?...

  11. Daniel Ruth: Courtney Campbell Trail a boon for those who like to sweat


    Oh happy day. Or whatever.

    Earlier this week, Clearwater Mayor George Cretekos formally unveiled the completed section of the Courtney Campbell Causeway Trail. And thus sweat aficionados are now able to cycle, jog or skate across nearly 10 miles of pathway running parallel to the causeway across upper Tampa Bay, linking Pinellas and Hillsborough counties.

    Great joy ensued, especially if you happen to get excited about this sort of stuff....

  12. Ruth: It's raining rats, but please stay calm


    Ahem, if you are a patient at the James A. Haley VA Medical Center in Tampa and you see rat-atouille on the menu, play it safe and head for the vending machine.

    For all the problems the Veterans Administration has confronted recently with embarrassing claims of excessive wait times for service and altered paperwork, now this: Rats falling from the sky. Oh dear. If you're looking for some good news, at least the vermin had the common decency to be dead....

    Workers at the James A. Haley VA Medical Center in Tampa reported at least three dead rats falling from the kitchen ceiling during repair work.
  13. Ruth: Remembering my father


    Trying to understand my father's life is like opening up a book in the middle. It's a pretty good story, although I don't know very much about how it began. And it's a tale that ends all too tragically soon.

    This is both the blessing and curse of Father's Day when the honored patriarch has been absent so long.

    I knew my father for only 27 years. Yet his presence has continued to haunt my life for the nearly four decades since his death in 1977 at age 53. His influence has never ebbed, nor have my own efforts to seek his approval. The grave can be a very demanding taskmaster....

    John Ruth with his wife, Ruth, in 1945. His life is a tale that ends all too tragically soon.
  14. Ruth: Recycling controversy is red flag for Kriseman


    To paraphrase Roy Scheider's memorable line from Jaws — "Uh, Mayor Rick Kriseman? I think you're gonna need a smaller truck."

    Like all mayors, no doubt Kriseman has spent his time in office wrestling with big issues, big questions. How should St. Petersburg's beloved waterfront be reimagined? How to resolve the fractious pier debate? What to do about Tropicana Field and the Tampa Bay Rays? ...

  15. Ruth: Time for action, not more talk, on transit


    Almost from the first day I set foot in Tampa in 1973, there was talk about developing a mass transit system. For more than 40 years, city planners, county planners, regional planners, university planners and a dense alphabet soup of planning agencies have issued the results of master plans, studies, focus groups, research papers and all manner of futuristic proposals supporting the notion of some day, eventually, maybe creating some kind of light rail system throughout Tampa....