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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: Patrick Murphy pads his resume in Senate race


    At least Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Palm Tree Princeling, looks like the U.S. senator from central casting. Now he is acting like one from House of Cards.

    A somewhat cynical electorate doesn't demand that an aspiring politician hurdle a high bar. Have a pulse. Be reasonably honest. Have an idea, or two, that won't lead to nuclear war. And when you put stuff on your resume, can it at least be true? How hard should this be?...

    Rep. Patrick Murphy, right, makes a stop in Tampa to pick up Mayor Bob Buckhorn’s endorsement in April 2015.
  2. Ruth: Hillsborough transit referendum talks fall into big pothole


    Sigh. With all the muttering, finger-pointing and hand-wringing, would it surprise anyone if the Hillsborough County Commission, that colossus of visionary statesmanship, eventually settles on a half-cent transit sales tax measure that lasts a week and a half?

    For months now, the drama over the transit tax initiative has reached Hamlet-esque heights of dithering. Good grief, a 13-year-old girl browsing the International Plaza Hollister can probably make a more decisive shopping decision....

  3. Ruth: The R-rated general election campaign


    At the rate the presidential campaign is quickly turning into Dr. Ruth meets "Last Tango in Palm Beach," this may mark the first time in history the general election debates will need a seven-second delay to guard against a candidate going all Porky's on everyone.

    Over the past week, we've gotten a very ugly, salacious taste of what to expect as the presumptive Republican and Democratic presidential nominees make their case for why one of them should become the leader of the free world. Who knew that in addition to foreign policy, military and economic experts, the most important go-to consultant might be The Playboy Adviser?...

    Hillary Clinton has dealt with R-rated attacks for many years, thanks to her husband, right.
  4. Daniel Ruth: Newpoint's lesson in bad charter schools


    There are those who believe our public school system is little more than a den of illiteracy, populated by hapless teachers, inept administrators and a curricula teaming with radical Marxist liberal ideas like evolution, climate change and unfounded claims the South lost the Civil War.

    And it has been that antipathy toward a public school education that largely fueled the charter school movement as some sort of classroom Camelot....

  5. Ruth: Florida's sad U.S. Senate candidates


    This probably explains why a newbie politician like Carlos Beruff, who is polling somewhere between a black hole and the Mariana Trench in his bid to claim the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate, made the brilliant decision to channel his inner Strom Thurmond.

    Beruff was trolling for votes recently in St. Johns County when he said this about President Barack Obama: ". . . this animal we call president, because he's an animal, okay . . ."...

    Bradenton Herald
  6. Ruth: Joy Culverhouse cannot yet rest in peace


    It is sad but true that the death of a loved one often sets off a family feud over who gets what in the will.

    For a vast majority of these tiffs, the bad blood revolves around who gets Dad's velvet Elvis painting, or Mom's secret Apple Brown Betty recipe, or perhaps Grandpa's anvil collection. And that is the difference between us and the Culverhouses, where all the familial sneering centers around tons of zeroes left of the decimal point....

    The family of Joy Culverhouse, who died April 26, is feuding over what should happen to her body as they dispute her finances in her final years of life. Her son, Hugh Culverhouse Jr., right, says more than $1 million of her jewelry was sold prior to her death. [Tribune photo]
  7. Ruth: Alan Grayson's political baggage


    It's not easy writing about U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Squawk and Guffaw of the Hustings, since it is difficult to type while sighing, rolling one's eyes and pausing occasionally to chortle.

    But we'll press on.

    As you may know, the U.S. House's answer to Gordon Gekko wants a promotion to the U.S. Senate, which feels like Ted Nugent aspiring to become ambassador to the Vatican. At the moment, Grayson is locked in a tight battle with Rep. Patrick Murphy, who was a Republican about 20 minutes ago, in the Democratic primary....

  8. Ruth: Transgender bathroom battle over the top


    Never has there been more consternation, hand-wringing and wails of demagoguery. We live in a country faced with profound issues of international terrorism, reinvigorating an economy, rebuilding the nation's infrastructure, immigration reform, crime and punishment and improving our public education system. Big stuff.

    Yet in North Carolina, massive demonstrations are being held. The U.S. attorney general taking Gov. Pat McCrory to court, and the governor is taking the federal government to court. And countless organizations, entertainers and sports teams are refusing to set foot in the state all over access to a — loo....

    Gender-neutral signs hang in the 21c Museum Hotel restrooms in Durham, N.C. The state and the federal government are suing each other over a law restricting transgender restroom access.
  9. Ruth: Resolving St. Pete's carport crisis


    There is no greater threat to the sanity of the body politic than a bureaucrat armed with a clipboard.

    Consider the sad, bizarre plight of St. Petersburg resident Pamella Settlegoode, who has been at war with City Hall for 11 long, long, long years over a banal zoning dispute.

    All Settlegoode wants to do is have a carport on her Allendale neighborhood property. A carport. This isn't as if she wanted to erect a giant statue on her rooftop honoring Ozzy Osbourne biting the head of a bat, or dig a moat around her property, or organize an international conference of Satanists in the front yard....

  10. Daniel Ruth: The Tampa Tribune gave me a chance


    An old friend died the other day. The grieving survivors are too numerous to count.

    After 121 years, the Tampa Tribune ceased publication last week after being acquired by the Tampa Bay Times. In simple terms, this was a sensible business transaction. In human terms, a newspaper went dark and scores of its employees lost their jobs.

    This much I know. I owe the Tampa Tribune more than I can ever measure. This quirky, scrappy, often maddening place gave me my career. I gave it 24 years of my life. For the most part, it was a pretty good deal....

  11. Daniel Ruth: Broaden effort to keep Rays in Pinellas


    State Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Mr. Dithers, has been in an especially grumpy-pants mood lately. This is no small accomplishment since the Big Daddy of Pinellas County politics seems to be the sort of chap who wakes up every morning with a harrumph and goes to bed with a sneer. Fun guy.

    A few days ago, Latvala royally got his bloomers in a wad over suggestions Allegiant Airlines, which makes Airplane seem like a documentary, just might have a service/customer relations/ on-time efficiency/ whatchagot problem. ...

  12. Ruth: Ted Cruz's fatally wounds own campaign


    Are you getting the vague sense this wasn't a Republican presidential primary campaign at all? It was the hapless Shemp Howard of Texas taking on the paranoid, fear-mongering Lyndon LaRouche of the Big Apple to become the Court Jester-in-Chief.

    Some 56 years ago, John Kennedy and Richard Nixon argued over the strategic value of Quemoy and Matsu, two obscure islands in the Taiwan Straits. Today, the debate has devolved into the merits of slapping around 10-year-old protesters and whether the father of Ted Cruz, Rafael Cruz, was in cahoots with Lee Harvey Oswald in the assassination of JFK....

    Sen. Ted Cruz hugs his running mate, Carly Fiorina, on Tuesday after calling it quits.
  13. Ruth: Desperate times for desperate Republicans


    As arranged marriages go, this was destined to make Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? look like the most compatible union since Harry met Sally, where love means delaying saying "I'm withdrawing from the presidential race to spend more time with the family."

    Two Republican presidential candidates, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, announced a dubious truce of sorts, agreeing to step aside for one another in various states in an effort to blunt Donald Trump's Trail of Fears. Iago and Othello were more reliable allies....

  14. Daniel Ruth: St. Petersburg divides cash from BP oil spill


    When you think of the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, from the images of destroyed wetlands and dead animals to the spill circulating through the Gulf of Mexico, the memories remain all too vivid.

    Here's another byproduct of the BP disaster: Cha-ching!

    What we've learned is as bad and terrible and nightmarish as the spill was, the fallout from the disaster has been a financial windfall for coastal communities....

  15. Ruth: Bondi too busy to explain herself


    To hear her various apparatchiks, minions and supernumeraries tell it, Pam Bondi is the John Henry, Walter Payton and Steve Jobs of the nation's attorneys general. All work, work, work, work. Burning the midnight oil. Leaving no stone unturned. Taping her eyes open to stay awake filing those legal briefs, preparing closing arguments, researching the intricacies of the law. By comparison, Thomas Edison was a ne'er-do-well dilettante....

    Bondi had no time to answer ethics questions.