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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: Obama leaves with dignity, mixed record


    This nation has never had a perfect president. And it is safe to say in the near future, that track record will hold pretty steady.

    And no, Harrison Ford's President James Marshall in "Air Force One" doesn't count.

    Friday marks the end of President Barack Obama's eight years in the White House. Let's get this out of the way right up front. I voted for him twice and would have happily voted for him a third time if I could have. Commence the teeth-gnashing. Have a nice time....

    President Barack Obama pauses while speaking Tuesday in the briefing room of the White House. [Associated Press]
  2. Ruth: Rideshare scandal keeps rolling with mystery of wiped cellphone


    For all the intrigue, the sniping, the back-stabbing, the duplicity, perhaps what makes this story of bureaucratic finagling so bizarrely stupid is that the stakes were so relatively low.

    And, yes, by now you have probably figured out all this involved the Hillsborough County Public Transportation Commissioner, local government's answer to Groucho Marx's rule over Freedonia.

    It seems out-going PTC Director Kyle Cockream, who has been on a longer farewell tour than Cher, has now been caught up in an effort to play fast and loose with potential public documents on his cellphone, which appear to have mysteriously disappeared....

    Times Columnist Dan Ruth.
  3. Ruth: One circus closes and another comes to Washington


    This was probably inevitable.

    After 146 years, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus has announced it will be shutting down operations in May. As a certain political figure might observe — sad. The institution's demise has been attributed to shifting tastes among the public, rising operational costs and growing opposition from groups like People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals....

    Associated Press
  4. Ruth: More overrated suggestions for Trump


    You might think that in Donald Trump's hands a Twitter account is a weapon of mass prevarication. But you can't argue that when he is right about something, he's spot on.

    Consider the president-elect's opinion of that hack, so-called thespian Meryl Streep, who if there was any justice in this world wouldn't be able to get a job as a disembodied Siri voice.

    The other night, Streep was receiving some chintzy award at the Golden Globes ceremony for her — cough-cough — "lifetime achievement." Obviously, the folks who hand out this stuff never saw Mamma Mia....

  5. Ruth: Life not quite the same after mysterious turn of the door knob


    Hearing your name being screamed out from the opposite end of the house is not the best way to wake up in the wee hours of the morning. No good was likely to come from this.

    It took a moment to register that the Bombshell of the Balkans was in some kind of distress.

    And hearing her yell that someone was attempting to break into our home was not exactly a Debbie Reynolds warbling "Good Morning" moment from "Singing In The Rain."...

    Times Columnist Dan Ruth.
  6. Ruth: Don't allow guns in Florida airports


    Do you ever get the impression that those rip-snorting, rootin'-tootin' yahoos in the Florida Legislature won't be satisfied until they pass a law that requires every infant in the state be issued a birth certificate and a concealed weapons permit before the little dickens utters the first yowl?

    The blood was barely dry at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport before Sen. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota, and Rep. Jake Raburn, R-Lithia, were insisting that their plan to turn airport terminals into the Deadwood of travel is still a swell idea....

  7. Ruth: A lesson in ethics


    You can't say Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives don't have their priorities in order.

    Ethics? We don't need no stinking ethics. You start expecting our elected grifters in Congress to stop behaving badly? No more foreign retreats at someone else's expense. No more gifts of appreciation. No more cronyism. Then this quaint notion of "public service" becomes just a job requiring one to be serious and responsible. Where's the fun in that? Or the profit motive?...

  8. Ruth: Thom Stork revived aquarium, counseled the powerful, and so much more


    Cities cannot function without people like Thom Stork. To borrow New York Yankee star Reggie Jackson's great line, folks like Stork are the straws that stir the drink.

    On paper, Stork, who died Tuesday at 68 after a long and tough battle against cancer, was the president and CEO of the Florida Aquarium, which he took from being a dreary fish tank with a gland problem to a successful tourist destination in downtown Tampa. He also served on numerous boards and a host of civic agencies like the Tampa Downtown Partnership, the Florida Tourism Commission, Visit Florida, Visit Tampa Bay and the Tampa Chamber of Commerce. That's what he did. It wasn't necessarily who he was....

    Thom Stork, who died Tuesday, helped turn the Florida Aquarium into a successful tourist destination and served on a number of  boards and a host of civic agencies. [SKIP O'ROURKE  |   Times, 2015]

  9. Political talent waiting in the wings


    Thank goodness 2016 has finally passed and we are well rid of all the cheesy political brochures filling up the mailbox, the nagging telephone calls from pollsters and those endless, ceaseless, mind-numbing commercials decrying how one pol or another is Lucifer in Beelzebub's clothing.

    Now we can finally get onto the more important business of idly speculating who is going to run for what in 2018....

  10. Daniel Ruth: Florida is best of the worst in voting rights


    Leave it to those namby-pamby, crybaby liberals at the Brennan Center for Justice to get all uppity about balderdash like justice and fairness and rights. Rights? Oh please. Pffffft! I say.

    Recently, the obviously Kremlin-inspired Brennan Center issued a scathing report taking the state of Florida to task for its rigorous instance on denying voting rights to ex-felons. Oh the commie rabble-rousing of it all....

  11. Daniel Ruth: Fancy digs, foul intentions


    Last month the Florida Senate unveiled its newly renovated $6 million chambers and quite a thing of beauty it is, too. New fancy wood paneling. Fresh paint. Lovely carpeting. Stained glass. There's even a remodeled Senate seal that eliminates the Confederate battle flag, which reminded everyone of a time when the body was populated by redneck goobers. Thank goodness those days are over (cough, cough)....

    The Florida Senate chamber was renovated at a cost of $6 million. Included: new paneling, carpeting, leather chairs and stained glass.
  12. Ruth: Flap over Uber, Lyft showcases ineptitude, cronyism, dubious management at PTC


    For many years, the stumblebum-infested Hillsborough Public Transportation Commission has been a twitching piece of bureaucratic roadkill in its death throes waiting for someone to please put it out of its misery. Or perhaps think of the PTC as the mouth-foaming Old Yeller of regulatory incompetence.

    And at last it appears the PTC's final days might have arrived thanks to state Rep. James Grant, R-Tampa, who has filed a bill for the coming legislative session to once and for all abolish this public embarrassment of paper-pushers....

  13. Ruth: Careful fooling with the Florida Constitution


    By the time this constitutional pie fight ends, Florida may have to rename itself Turkmenistan-on-the-Gulf. Feel free to weigh in. But not that free.

    Every 20 years the People's Junta of Tallahassee is required to create a 37-member Constitution Revision Commission charged with putting various amendments on the ballot to update — or perhaps blow up — Florida's most vital legal document....

  14. Ruth: Scott, Corcoran come late to government openness


    This qualifies as St. Rick Scott experiencing a Florida epiphany of faux ethics.

    Days ago, the governor was shocked, irritated and discombobulated to be forced to confront the fact that Visit Florida had been treating its double-super-secret contract with the rapper Pitbull to shill for the state's tourism agency as The Da Vinci Code meets Donald Trump's tax returns.

    And great outrage flowed across Tallahassee, as if Visit Florida had done a backroom deal with Bernie Madoff to promote the state's investment climate....

  15. New Tampa secession talk has a familiar ring to it


    I do declare. Could we be on the precipice of WO-AR!!!

    Normally elections for a perch on the Tampa City Council are fought out over issues of traffic, zoning, wastewater and land management.

    But the recent run-off race for the District 7 council seat between Luis Viera and Jim Davison also included an 11th hour wrinkle during a candidate forum. As the two candidates squared off, Davison raised the prospect that one area of the district he was vying to represent, New Tampa, might consider seceding from the rest of the city unless the region gets a larger share of the village's spending....