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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: Medicaid expansion needs new name to win GOP appeal

    Columns

    Sorry to ruin your day, but starting Monday the fate of nearly 20 million Floridians will be in the hands of the 160 members of the Florida Legislature, which is a bit like relying on a shark for swimming lessons.

    Then there is Gov. Rick Scott, R-They Tried To Get Me To Go To Reality, But I Said, No, No, No, the supposed leader of the state who never met a canard he didn't like.

    It's called a "special session." But is that really accurate? The birth of a child is special. The safe homecoming of a soldier is special. The bloom of a rose is special....

  2. Hillsborough School Board teaches wrong lesson

    Columns

    I don't know about you, but if I had a daughter enrolled at Ben Hill Middle School in Carrollwood, I would have her transferred to another campus faster than you could say, "The Hillsborough County School Board is populated by complete dopes."

    Four School Board members recently rejected a recommendation by former superintendent MaryEllen Elia to fire Ben Hill physical education "teacher" Adam Reynolds, who had engaged in questionable conduct that virtually any expert on professional standards expected of educators would regard as an egregious display of irresponsible behavior....

  3. As Belleview Biltmore goes, so goes a piece of Florida history

    Columns

    If you could sit shiva for a building, you would not find a more worthy decedent than the Belleview Biltmore Hotel in Belleair. The end has come after a long and anguished death throe. Cause of demise: terminal neglect.

    Demolition has begun on the massive 820,000-square-foot structure to make way for a pricey condominium development. With each swipe of the wrecking ball, a little bit of Florida history will fade away....

  4. Ruth: Paying more to do less for Florida's jobless

    Columns

    Only in the Potemkin village of speciousness that is the Rick Scott administration would an apparatchik overseeing the Rube Goldberg machine of state bureaucracies ask the Florida Legislature for more money to fail on an even grander scale.

    But there was Jesse Panuccio, the Maynard G. Krebs of paper-pushers, who appeared before lawmakers in an attempt to grift an additional $6.5 million in taxpayer money to … continue the monumental task of doing nothing at all....

  5. Ruth: Marco Rubio's financial wizardry

    Columns

    It is safe to assume that when it comes to financial acumen, no one will confuse U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio with Warren Buffett.

    Young Master Rubio is running for president, which means in addition to being commander in chief, he would be responsible for implementing the nation's economic policy. This would be like appointing New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie as the U.S. surgeon general.

    According to his financial disclosure statements, Rubio earns $174,000 a year to miss votes in the U.S. Senate. He hauls in an additional $22,114 a year for a part-time teaching gig at Florida Atlantic University. His wife, Jeannette, takes home a $54,000-a-year paycheck running a charity for Rubio's South Florida political sugar daddy, Norman Braman. And the biggest recipient of the car dealer's beneficence is — Marco Rubio. Florida's junior senator also has made at least $1 million in book royalties....

    U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, and his wife, Jeanette, have a combined salary of about $250,000. But it seems to not be enough.
  6. Dan Ruth: About that $8 billion surplus

    Columns

    Oh, to be a fly on the wall as Gov. Rick Scott, R-C-3PO, huddled with flack-in-chief Jackie Schutz, for whom there can't possibly be enough gin in the world.

    Schutz: "Uh, Governor Matrix, I'm getting a lot of calls from reporters who want to know where you got this $8 billion budget surplus number you revealed on Fox News. Not even your own state economist has any remote clue how you arrived at this figure."...

  7. St. Pete is going to recycle — soonish

    Columns

    Can we all readily stipulate that the city of St. Petersburg is not sprawling Shanghai? This is not like planning the Invasion of Normandy or managing a Third World Ebola virus contagion.

    This is simply about St. Petersburg implementing a citywide curbside recycling program that seems to have turned into the Titanic of trash. Really now, how hard should this be? You don't want to know....

  8. Ruth: Campaign finance enforcement by Barney Fife

    Columns

    Imagine what would happen if law enforcement agencies announced that they no longer had the resources, or even the interest, to investigate bank robberies.

    Well, meet Ann M. Ravel, a marshal without so much as a pea shooter to go after a cartel of desperadoes who are about to pull off the heist of the century right under her helpless nose. Say, that's a pretty nice looking democracy you got there. It would be a shame if something happened to it. And it's about to....

  9. Ruth: That eye in the sky is the property appraiser

    Columns

    If you are a resident of Pinellas or Hillsborough counties and you're thinking of adding on to your house an Austin Powers swinging bachelor love pad (lava lamps optional), be advised big brother may be watching.

    Thanks to enhanced technology, you may not be the international man of mystery you think you are.

    That's largely because of techniques that have been adopted by Pinellas County Property Appraiser Pam Dubov and her Hillsborough counterpart, Bob Henriquez. Both have employed aerial photography to analyze detailed photos of property to determine if the owner has added a porch, or a room, or a new mother-in-law apartment, or perhaps a Mons Venus man cave to the residence....

  10. Ruth: How water and cold cash mix in Tallahassee

    Columns

    To understand the going rate to compromise a member of the Florida Legislature more shamelessly than a Nebraska Avenue courtesan, it is useful to think of these folks as investments in oil futures.

    It all depends on market variables. What's at stake? How powerful is the legislator up for sale and/or rent? Who is making the purchase? What can be the expected return on investment when discounted scruples are available to the highest bidder?...

  11. Ruth: A mom, a son and the passing of time

    Columns

    'You brought me here."

    Yes, Mom. Yes, I did. It's an admonition I have heard countless times in the nearly three years since I cajoled my now 92-year-old mother to move from her home in Naples to an apartment in an assisted living facility in Tampa.

    Yes, I did. I replaced her "home" with a "facility." And if the intent in her tone of voice was to inflict a bit of Catholic guilt, well, it worked. It always has. Did I mention I took her car away from her, too? That went over well....

  12. Ruth: Aquarium could have offset Church of Scientology in Clearwater

    Columns

    It is a telling commentary on downtown Clearwater's desire to be known as something other than the silly make-believe navy sailor suit capital of the world that the city's fathers found themselves relying on a famous dolphin to blunt the influence of the Church of Scientology.

    Close, but no bottlenose.

    And so it came to pass that the Clearwater Marine Aquarium pulled the plug on ambitious plans to build a $68 million facility on the downtown bluff overlooking Clearwater Harbor as a new home for international film star Winter the Dolphin and her pal, Hope. ...

  13. Ruth: Politicians pretending not to be politicians

    Columns

    As he took the stage in Detroit the other day, Dr. Ben Carson made it clear he is "not a politician."

    Of course, the retired surgeon offered up this revelation standing in front of a massive American flag as he announced his intention to run for president, the most political job on the planet.

    In seeking the Republican nomination, Carson will travel the country delivering political speeches, ask citizens for their political votes, lean on donors to make political contributions to his political campaign, seek the political advice of political consultants and carefully peruse the political polling data reflecting his political standing against his political opponents....

  14. Review: 'Reagan' reveals much, but the man remains a mystery

    Books

    Ronald Reagan was the most public of men ever to occupy the White House, arriving in Washington after a long career as a mostly successful B-picture actor, eight years as governor of California and decades more as a ubiquitous presence on the political scene since his powerful and eloquent defense of American conservatism in support of Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater's doomed 1964 campaign....

    Husband: Ronald Reagan, in his first months as California’s governor, hugs his wife, Nancy, in his Sacramento office in April 1967.
  15. Ruth: How term limits degraded Florida House

    Columns

    When the going gets tough, the Florida House gets slimier than an Everglades python as it slithers out of Tallahassee.

    With three work days left in the 2015 legislative session, the Republican-dominated House was informed by Speaker Steve Crisafulli, R-Run Away!, that he was calling it quits and leaving unresolved a number of issues, including agreeing on a state budget, Medicaid expansion, special needs programs for Floridians with disabilities and reforming a prison system that makes Cool Hand Luke look like a Club Med retreat....