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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: Gorsuch's bland confirmation hearings

    Columns

    In a court of law this would be undisputed prima facie evidence.

    For it has been clearly demonstrated that federal appellate court Judge Neil Gorsuch is eminently qualified to become a justice on the U.S. Supreme Court, having survived a brutal grilling by the Senate Judiciary Committee in which the nominee had to defend his controversial positions on trout fishing, hiking, rodeos, riding sheep, basketball and the meaning of life. We can probably stipulate he thinks puppies are the cat's whiskers....

    Robert Bork’s hearings in 1987, left, revealed him as an extremist, culminating in his rejection by the Senate. Neil Gorsuch’s hearing was more Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy than Blackstone’s Commentaries.
  2. Ruth: Ashes of Joy Culverhouse finally have a place to rest, but will they?

    Columns

    This could have the making of a Stephen King novel — "The Shining" meets "Mommie Dearest," perhaps?

    Or think of it this way: The next time your family Thanksgiving Dinner turns into a food fight with anti-Trump/anti-Hillary invective complete with accusations of Fascism, Communism, Nazism, racism, anti-Semitism and Whatchagotism hurling back and forth across the dinner table, just remember — it could be worse. ...

    Times Columnist Dan Ruth. {Times file]
  3. Ruth: Corcoran transforms from insider to reformer

    Columns

    If Rick Scott has demonstrated anything, it is that just about anybody can get to be governor of Florida.

    The people elected a hologram with little warmth. Then they did it a second time.

    Little wonder all manner of aspirants are maneuvering to follow the C-3PO of Tallahassee into the Governor's Mansion. It's probably only a matter of time before Florida's swamp ape starts humming "Hail to the Governor."...

    Florida Gov. Rick Scott addresses the Legislature as House Speaker Richard Corcoran, right, listens. The two are on a collision course over subsidies.
  4. Ruth: Prescription for pain

    Columns

    Only in the Potemkin Village meets Oz that is Washington would the prospect of 24 million people without health coverage be hailed as a landmark legislative success.

    It seems former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was right after all. There really is such a thing as a death panel. It's called Congress.

    This is probably the inevitable result when laws are cooked up by a speaker of the House of Representatives who has treated the post as if he is president of the Ayn Rand Society....

    House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., holds a news conference on the proposed American Health Care Act last week. One estimate said the law would result in 24 million people having no health insurance.
  5. Ruth: Buckhorn read tea leaves in governor's race; they spell 'Morgan'

    Columns

    It is axiomatic that when a politician claims they want to — everybody now — "spend more time with my family," what they are actually uttering is a code phrase for: "My electoral prospects for the future are about as likely to succeed as a winter snow ski resort in Key West."

    Bob Buckhorn wants to spend more time with his family.

    Tampa's mayor announced days ago he had decided to forgo the 2018 race for governor because the home fires were too irresistible to deny. Clearly puttering around the garden at his Davis Islands estate is arguably preferable to Tallahassee's governor's mansion....

    Two-term Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn has said he does not plan to seek the Democratic nomination for governor next year.
  6. Ruth: Trump's shortsighted budget cut plans

    Columns

    Maybe now those namby-pamby whiners up in Flint, Mich., will stop kvetching about lead in their water supply. Grow up. Everybody understands this whole "lead in the water is bad for you" nonsense is a hoax perpetrated by a bunch of liberal do-gooder scientists.

    Phffft! Folks with Ph.Ds in science. Please. They're just a cabal of showoffs. What do they know? Lead is actually good for you. It strengthens your bones....

    Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt, left, listens as President Donald Trump announces an executive order last month on the Waters of the United States rule. The order directed the EPA to withdraw the rule, which expands the number of waterways that are federally protected under the Clean Water Act.
  7. Ruth: Want TECO Streetcar to succeed? Expand it

    Columns

    We do quaint pretty well around here. The giant Gasparilla parade is quaint. We still have debutantes. The Florida State Fair is awfully Mayberryesque. And the Plant City Strawberry Festival is about as small town Americana as you can get.

    We even have an old-fashioned rootin-tootin' trolley chirping its way from the Channel District to Ybor City. It's quaint, too.

    It looks great, recalling a bygone era of streetcars serving the transportation needs of a growing city. And it is kind of fun to hop on board for a trip into Ybor City for an evening's entertainment. Very nice....

    Tampa’s TECO streetcar runs along 2.7 miles of track in Ybor City and Channelside.
  8. Ruth: No need for religious liberties bill

    Columns

    Well, it's begun again in Tallahassee, another session of the Florida Legislature. Or as it might otherwise be known, 60 days of stupefaction.

    As you know, Tallahassee is an old Seminole word for "A check for me? Why yes, I'll have another."

    And thus the session commenced with feuding egos Gov. Rick Scott and House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-I Feel Petty, Oh So Petty, continuing to deliver raspberries at each other over a snit involving the future of Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida....

    Rep. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, debates against the medical marijuana bill during session on Thursday, May 1, 2014, in Tallahassee, Fla. A strain of low-THC marijuana would be legal in Florida for medical use under a bill passed by the House.  (AP Photo/Steve Cannon)
  9. Ruth: Trump plays Captain Queeg

    Columns

    Do you face the morning with a sense of dread?

    When you awaken with each new sunrise, c'mon admit it, is one of the first things to pop into your head "What did he do now?"

    You're not alone, dearest reader. You are simply afflicted with a nagging case of Trumpsomnia.

    There is no cure. The witching hour has become the twitching hour.

    It was only last week that President Donald Trump announced the time for petty feuds of his own making was over, done, finished. Henceforth, or so the Churchill of the Potomac suggested, he would comport himself so hugely presidentially that he would make Ronald Reagan look like Boss Hogg of Hazzard County....

    Humphrey Bogart, center, as the erratic Capt. Queeg in the 1954 movie The Caine Mutiny.
  10. Ruth: With bigots among us, Tampa will have a lot more standing-up to do

    Opinion

    And a barren, poisoned tree of hate and stupidity grows in Thonotosassa.

    Here's the sad thing. When you read about an attempt by some haft-witted trolls to burn down the Daarus Salaam Mosque in Thonotosassa days ago, you probably weren't surprised very much by an act of Islamophobia in our community.

    We would like to think we're better than this. We would like to think we live in a place of tolerance and acceptance of other faiths, other cultures, other races, other beliefs....

    Times Columnist Dan Ruth. {Times file]
  11. Ruth: Why stand your ground in a movie theater?

    Columns

    Of this much we can be fairly certain. During his long career as a law enforcement officer, Curtis Reeves was an apt pupil. Less evident is whether he learned anything.

    Reeves is facing trial on second-degree murder and aggravated battery charges in the shooting death of 43-year-old Chad Oulson during a senseless dispute over a cellphone while waiting for a movie to begin at the Cobb Grove 16 cinema in Wesley Chapel in January 2014....

    Times Columnist Dan Ruth. {Times file]
  12. Ruth: Rubio should quit hiding from Florida voters

    Columns

    There's a good reason why Sen. Marco Rubio has been harder to find than Amelia Earhart.

    His feelings are hurt. Don't you feel just awful?

    The Judge Crater of the Senate has been AWOL from his ungrateful constituents for quite a while. It seems the senator is annoyed that the legions of people demonstrating in front of his offices across the state — who are critical of repealing the Affordable Care Act, President Donald Trump's Muslim travel ban and a number of controversial Cabinet appointments — had the audacity to request a face-to-face meeting for Rubio to explain himself....

    A milk carton at a town meeting in Miami: “Missing senator — afraid of constituents with tough questions — treat gently.”
  13. Ruth: Scott could be big loser in fight over Enterprise Florida

    Columns

    All the "So's your old lady!" bickering between Gov. Rick Scott and House Speaker Richard Corcoran makes for lousy government. But it sure is fun watching this Tallahassee pie fight between politically ambitious egos.

    Sensing perhaps that Scott's lame duck light is beginning to flicker more brightly, Corcoran, R-I Love the Smell of the Governor's Mansion in the Morning, is challenging Scott over his pet projects, Enterprise Florida, which offers companies tax money if they relocate here and create jobs, and Visit Florida, which promotes tourism. The speaker sees them as needless, wasteful expenditures of precious taxpayer dollars....

    Times Columnist Dan Ruth. {Times file]
  14. Ruth: Here's more proof that Hillsborough is where transportation ideas go to die

    Columns

    I am absolutely convinced there is a vast, endless warehouse somewhere in Hillsborough County similar to the final scene in the Indiana Jones movie Raiders of the Lost Ark that is filled to capacity with decades of blueprints, studies, reports, analyses, models, plans and proposals to deal with the region's discombobulated, outmoded and ill-conceived transportation system.

    This is Hillsborough County after all — where the future goes to die....

    Tampa lacks access to buses and other mass transit, columnist Dan Ruth says, thanks to a decades-old chorus of nos, boos and never. Blame voters asked to fund transit efforts and countless county commissions. [Times file, 2012]
  15. Ruth: Why is Sid the Science Kid target of House investigation?

    Columns

    Will everybody please calm down? All is well. Nothing to worry about. Your government is ever vigilant in ferreting out all manner of waste, corruption and abuse.

    Happy now?

    Why, we need look no further than to that vanguard of Inspector Javert-like diligence, Utah Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

    You remember; that's the committee that spent years in one continuous investigation of the Obama administration — especially former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's actions related to the Benghazi terrorist attack. Gracious, the poor woman could barely experience an untimely burp in public before the subpoenas started flying....