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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: Lawmakers chip away at access to public records


    There's a reason why Tallahassee is more tucked away and inaccessible to most Floridians than the summit of Mount Everest. If you were a member of this august group of money-grubbing, duplicitous grifters, would you want voters to see how the sausage is made in the capital?

    That explains why every legislative session brings with it more efforts by your public servants to make it increasingly difficult for the public to find out how Florida conducts the business of stiffing the unwitting populace who put elected officials into office in the first place. You'd have an easier time unearthing the Coke formula....

  2. Ruth: A lawyer's career goes up in flames


    When he is alone with his own thoughts, and the loneliness is only likely to grow, does disgraced Tampa attorney Stephen Diaco ever wonder: "Sheesh, I gave up everything for this? All in the defense of a huge tub of shock-talking goo? What was I thinking?"

    Not very much, apparently.

    To no one's surprise, the Florida Supreme Court has officially disbarred Diaco from the practice of law. The ruling only confirmed what everyone knew would be Diaco's fate after his law license was suspended earlier this year....

  3. Daniel Ruth: Gondolas, or more beach traffic jams?


    If you're thinking of enjoying a relaxing day at Clearwater Beach, better leave now. You might get there by Monday. And if you're lucky, you might find a parking spot by Wednesday. And you might get home by Saturday. And yes, we're having way big fun now.

    There is certainly no doubt Clearwater Beach is a destination location for both tourists and local residents, recalling that old Yogi Berra line, "Nobody goes there anymore. It's too crowded.''...

  4. Ruth: Ted Cruz preaches while campaign smears


    On his walk on water over to his Iowa caucus victory party Monday night, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Halo, credited his win to "God be the glory." There were so many hosannas and hallelujahs in the air you would have thought Cruz was running for archbishop of Canterbury rather than the presidency of the United States.

    But there he was thanking his disciples, noting the rights of Americans are wholly granted by "our creator." How inspirational....

    Ted Cruz, above, offered an apology after his staff falsely told Iowa voters that Republican rival Ben Carson planned to quit the race.
  5. Ruth: Hillary's got a money problem


    For a presidential candidate who apparently has so many advisers, consultants and apparatchiks at her disposal that even her entourage has an entourage, are we to believe there wasn't a single flunky du jour who had the gumption to tell Hillary Clinton that accepting at least $675,000 in speaking fees from Wall Street banking Sasquatch Goldman Sachs was a tremendously dim-bulb idea?

    After all, Clinton's main rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, has predicated his entire campaign on attacking what he views as an egregious chasm of income inequality across the nation. And what better choice for the Fortune magazine robber baron centerfold than Hillary Clinton, who pulled in $11 million in 2014-15 delivering canned speeches before groups of silk-stocking swells?...

    Hillary Clinton has been the prime architect of her own public relations debacle.
  6. Dan Ruth: Recess saved me from the bell


    For children of a certain, ahem, academic skill set, there is a perfectly good reason why the Pinellas County School Board ought to support daily recess for students.

    Recess! Ah yes, the glory of recess — one of the very few endeavors during my grade school years I was actually good at. Well, that's not entirely true. I was quite adept at daydreaming. I had few peers at staring out the window. And yearning after the seemingly unattainable Judy Graf also took up a better part of my school day at Akron's St. Sebastian Parish School presided over by the Sisters of the Blessed Guantanamo. ...

  7. Ruth: Open carry bills are bad for tourism


    Oh, to be a member of the Florida House for just one session. What fun.

    In reaction to Tallahassee's tireless efforts to turn the state into an armed camp rivaling the baptism scene in The Godfather, I would offer an alternative piece of legislation. Instead of allowing people with concealed weapons permits to openly prance about with their little friends in full view, I would offer a far better idea....

  8. Ruth: Rubio the chameleon


    So much for Ronald Reagan's chipper "Morning in America." In Sen. Marco Rubio's world, a dark, dank nuclear winter has descended over the land. And that's just the shadow cast by Donald Trump. Then things get really bleak.

    When he threw his U.S. Senate freshman beanie into the presidential primary, Rubio foisted himself off as a cheerful, optimistic Hispanic Gipper. But in an election year when leading Republican contenders like Trump and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz have channeled their inner foot-stomping, rip-snorting, unhinged Yosemite Sams, Rubio has had to deal with suggestions he does not have the required anger management issues rivaling Charlie Sheen to be president....

  9. Daniel Ruth: Softer, gentler approach seals Rays deal


    We've learned many things over the past few days, including a little humility can go a long way — perhaps across a bridge into Hillsborough County.

    The St. Petersburg City Council voted 5-3 to permit the Tampa Bay Rays to look in both Pinellas and Hillsborough counties for a site for a new stadium. The vote reversed earlier no, no, a thousand times no votes by a recalcitrant council majority that somehow convinced itself if it held its breath, covered its ears and threw foot-stomping temper tantrums the Rays would remain at Tropicana Field....

  10. Ruth: Jolly's fine effort to refocus Congress on its real job


    Imagine naively aspiring to become a member of Congress, believing all of the good things you would be able to do for your constituents. But from the first day you set foot in Washington you discover that doing the legislative work you were elected to perform is the least of your job description.

    Instead, you are told to report to a political party office away from the Capitol, where you are expected to spend at least four hours a day on the phone hustling people for money. In short, you have just become a $174,000-a-year elected floozie. You have been played for a chump. So have your constituents....

  11. Ruth: Haley's comet ascending


    This isn't a presidential campaign. It's The Lord of the Flies of the hustings presided over by the grand and glorious caterwauling conch shell of them all, Donald J. Grump.

    The Mr. Dithers of the stump shtick has worked well for Trump — out-sneering, out-pandering his opponents who seem paralyzed to confront him by the fear he will accuse them of being low-energy, or a loser, or uglier than a night in jail. Stay classy, Donny....

    Gov. Nikki Haley, R-S.C., took her party to task for contributing to political dysfunction in Washington.
  12. Ruth: MOSI move downtown makes sense


    Maybe the best way to get your arms around this is to think of Tampa's Museum of Science and Industry as a once-proud, handsome and successful relative who has been reduced to living in a box down by the river.

    Now it's time for an intervention. And perhaps a relocation.

    Over the years, MOSI has gotten a bit threadbare, a combination of mismanagement, lack of funding and desultory exhibits that haven't exactly led to long lines of eager visitors pressing against the front door....

    The IMAX dome at the Museum of Science and Industry in Tampa, Fla., is seen on Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2015. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  13. Daniel Ruth: Denying city key to antigay pastor won't change anything


    In addition to giving a stern finger-wagging to the Rev. Jamal Bryant, this year's controversial keynote speaker at the 30th annual MLK Leadership Awards Breakfast, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman has launched an official City Hall stink eye in the general direction of the Baltimore minister.

    The selection of Bryant caused no small amount of mayoral consternation. Bryant is a vocal opponent of gay rights, condemning homosexuality as an egregious sin. Gay rights groups called for Bryant to be disinvited from the MLK breakfast. Some protesters might show up at the Coliseum on Monday morning to inveigh against the preacher....

  14. Ruth: Florida House Republicans plot Senate takeover in 2017


    It is anticipated that this November up to 14 open Florida Senate seats will be filled mostly by Republicans moving from the House. Think of doctrinaire House members seeking a promotion to the snooty Senate as something akin to inviting The Lord of the Rings' Gollum to Thanksgiving dinner.

    This could get real ugly, real fast. Messy, too.

    After all, the Florida House is largely populated by Republicans who would put the state's economy on the pelt standard if they could. But there is at least one powerful House member who welcomes the infiltration of the Senate....

    Incoming House Speaker Richard Corcoran has been frustrated by the Senate’s more liberal ways.
  15. Review: Two new books take different approaches to Nixon's downfall


    Richard Nixon was a stranger in his own very strange parallel-universe land.

    It is probably not unreasonable to conclude that all the men (so far) who have inhabited the White House were, each in his unique way, egotists, iconoclasts, eccentrics and out-and-out oddballs. After all, to pursue the highest political office in the land requires a hard-driving, obsessive-compulsive personality. Some of our presidents have been able to mask their quirkiness, and their darkness, better than others....