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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. Daniel Ruth: Yeshitela should work with St. Petersburg mural committee


    You have to have a grudging sympathy for St. Petersburg's self-proclaimed civil rights icon, Omali Yeshitela.

    For more than 50 years, the now 74-year-old Yeshitela has stomped his feet and marched and railed against all manner of racial injustices — some very real, others very imagined. As curmudgeons go, Yeshitela makes Ebenezer Scrooge look gentle.

    But now he has a problem. After a lifetime of speechifying and demonstrating, he's been asked to actually help solve a problem. Uh-oh....

    Omali Yeshitela is the founder of St. Petersburg’s Uhuru Movement.
  2. Ruth: Politically unconventional


    It had to be just the merest of hints that the fix was in to steer the Democratic Party presidential nomination Hillary Clinton's way when Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz started scheduling candidate debates late on Saturday nights to be televised between public access channel broadcasts of local tree boards and an Animal Planet series on the mating habits of mold.

    But what's even more amazing is that the dopes employed by the Democratic National Committee turned out to be the gang that couldn't smear straight. It's one thing to engage in dirty tricks. It's quite another to so cavalierly leave so many fingerprints lingering on the evidence that even Barney Fife could crack the caper....

    Democrats got off to a rocky start with divisions and an email scandal. But catcalls were eventually drowned out by cheers for Hillary Clinton.
  3. Ruth: Republicans can't get with the program


    Well, that was fun. This wasn't really a gathering of the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland. It was a full cluster Trump.

    Or consider the Animal House toga party was a pillar of Swiss watch-like precision compared to the political mud wrestling that took place along the scenic shores of Lake Erie over the past few days.

    A political convention has a very simple mission. Both the Republicans and Democrats are given four days of headline-grabbing free publicity across the nation's airwaves to present their candidate in the most glowing of lights amid their admiring and unified supporters. How hard should this really be?...

    Conventioneers boo as Ted Cruz speaks at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland on Wednesday night. That discordant note, the plagiarism controversy, linking Hillary Clinton to Satan — it all added up to a sour spectacle.
  4. Daniel Ruth: A senate race filled with, well, politicians


    Judging from all the in-fighting, snubbed egos and all-purpose conniving, you would be forgiven if you mistook the Florida Senate District 19 Democratic primary race as a sort of Borgias on Tampa Bay moment.

    It's a very strange Senate district, with about 58 percent of its registered Democratic voters in Hillsborough County, before the district skips across Tampa Bay into southern St. Petersburg. In theory that means a candidate who can carry Hillsborough County has a very good chance of winning the Senate seat. What it also means in practice is that this election season is ripe for some lovely back-stabbing, not to mention an exquisite touch of feigned indignation....

  5. Daniel Ruth: Filch phrases, add Rickroll, stir


    Stop the presses! Fast-breaking news! Get me rewrite, baby!

    In an exclusive scoop, this space has acquired an advance text of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's acceptance speech scheduled to be delivered tonight before the GOP convention in Cleveland. Here, for the first time, is an excerpt:

    "Four score and seven years ago …"

    Trump will also note that "we have nothing to fear but fear itself," extol the virtues of America as a "shining city on a hill," and conclude with this original thought: "And so my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country."...

  6. Ruth: Big names staying away from Republican convention


    How might we view what is about to take place over the next few days? Sitting shiva in Cleveland?

    Normally a presidential nominating convention takes on all the trappings of a coronation, at least until Clint Eastwood shows up to stage a seance with an empty chair.

    Four years ago, the Republicans were in hot and sticky Tampa to crown Mitt Romney as their standard-bearer, who was easily defeated by President Barack Obama....

  7. Ruth: Temple Terrace should mellow out on marijuana float


    Oh, we got trouble right here in Temple Terrace. Trouble, trouble, trouble.

    It seems the city mandarins of Temple Terrace have gotten themselves into a full froth, or perhaps fume is a better word, over one of the floats in the village's Fourth of July parade. There on full display for everyone to see was a giant, smoking faux 10-foot long marijuana joint. And somewhere Willie Nelson had to be thinking, "I need to visit Temple Terrace more often."...

  8. Editorial: Why can't U.S. be more British in picking leaders?


    How could this possibly be? How is it possible for Great Britain to select a new leader in what seems to be less time than it takes to conduct a cricket match? The final season of Downton Abbey took longer.

    But as the dawn breaks, newbie Prime Minster Theresa May has already awakened after her first night in residence at 10 Downing St. Meanwhile, we are still nearly four months and at least a million snarky and outright misleading political commercials away from picking the next president of the United States....

    Queen Elizabeth II welcomes Theresa May at Buckingham Palace on Wednesday. May took office as prime minister after a leadership transfer of startling speed.
  9. Ruth: Baby steps for struggling Pinellas schools


    In the wake of a rash of police shootings of blacks nationwide — some justified, others not — the Black Lives Matter movement was born. And once again a great, often heated conversation has been joined over the issue of race relations across the country.

    Fair enough. We need to do a better job of talking about and acting upon so many lingering disparities within our justice system. ...

  10. Ruth: The best news for Hillary Clinton is Donald Trump


    In the scribbling racket you can almost set your watch for the inevitable reaction.

    Write something critical of Donald Trump and prepare yourself for on onslaught of angry emails complaining: "Well, yeah, sure, but what about that crooked liar Hillary Clinton?"

    Conversely, pen a negative piece about Clinton, and just as reliable as a returning Capistrano swallow, you can rest assured of getting a full froth of: "Well, yeah, sure, but what about that nutball Donald Trump?" as if there is a perfectly balanced 50-50 equivalency of craziness on the campaign trail....

  11. Ruth: The more candidates talk, the worse they sound


    At first blush it may seem easy to run for office — until you open your mouth. Things tend to go downhill from there.

    Take Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Thurston Howell III, whose sole predicate for his U.S. Senate campaign appears to be that he at least looks like a senator. Things were going splendidly for Murphy, a former Republican who has been a Democrat since about the time you started reading this column, until nosy reporters started looking into various claims by the candidate that he had labored away as a certified public accountant....

    U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Jupiter, left, and Carlos Beruff, both running for the U.S. Senate, have had trouble defending their claims and personal histories.
  12. Ruth: U.S. Supreme Court makes proving corruption harder


    Perhaps one way to view the U.S. Supreme Court reversal of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell's bribery conviction was Chief Justice John Roberts' not too thinly veiled suggestion that the defrocked politician was indeed a tawdry, money-grubbing, sleazy lowlife. He just wasn't very good at it.

    Across the land, just about every scruple-challenged public figure — from governors to members of the local tree board — had to look at the McDonnell case and think to themselves, "Ah, so that's how you sell yourself out to the cheesiest bidder and not have to worry about spending any time in the hoosegow. Brilliant!"...

    The U.S. Supreme Court overturned ex-Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell’s bribery conviction.
  13. Ultimateoutsider,perennialcandidate


    This will probably be Joe Redner's ninth, or perhaps his 15th, or maybe his 20th run for public office. Even the independent candidate to win the District 18 Florida Senate seat isn't sure.

    Redner paused to try to add everything up. There were several efforts to win a Tampa City Council seat. There were the Hillsborough County Commission bids. And let us not forget the numerous Florida House campaigns. Recently someone reminded him of his campaign to become the mayor of Tampa....

  14. Ruth: Two years to find the obvious


    This had to be a cold plate of withered lima beans for Rep. Trey Gowdy, South Carolina's answer to Inspector Javert, to swallow.

    After two years and $7 million in taxpayer money expended to hunt down and expose Hillary Clinton for being more clueless than a Monty Python and the Holy Grail palace guard, Gowdy's House Select Committee on Benghazi was left to haplessly conclude what at least seven other congressional probes and a U.S. State Department investigation already had determined....

  15. Ruth: Rubio the flip-flopper


    With apologies to the late Amy Winehouse, they tried to make Marco Rubio go to re-election, but he said, "No, no, no." Until he said, "Yes, yes, yes."

    It is certainly true that some very sage and astute political observers have noted that Florida's plebe Republican senator's decision days ago to run for re-election amounted to the mother of all flip-flops, rivaling John Kerry trying to pick out a tie....

    Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., announced last week he will run for re-election, reversing his retirement plans.