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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: Rubio should quit hiding from Florida voters


    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.”
  2. Ruth: Scott could be big loser in fight over Enterprise Florida


    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]
  3. Ruth: Here's more proof that Hillsborough is where transportation ideas go to die


    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]
  4. Ruth: Why is Sid the Science Kid target of House investigation?


    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....

  5. Ruth: Tourism chief Corrada finally comes clean about spending — on him


    Talk about a tempest in a sangria bowl!

    For weeks now, Visit Tampa Bay CEO Santiago Corrada has been acting as if financial documents related to his agency were more top-top-top secret than the nuclear codes. Why, to divulge the inner monetary workings of Visit Tampa Bay would result in a catastrophic crisis of proprietary information being handed over to competitors in the hospitality industry....

    Times Columnist Dan Ruth. {Times file]
  6. Ruth: The value of American freedoms


    Over four decades of scribbling, lampooning political figures, offering snarky observations on the ineptitude of government and poking fun at the self-important, bloviating big shots of society, it never occurred to me that I had anything to fear for my ramblings. It is the United States after all, where free expression, free speech and a free press are treasured freedoms, liberties I all too blithely took for granted....

    Times Columnist Dan Ruth. {Times file]
  7. Ruth: All protesters want is for Sen. Marco Rubio to listen


    This is such a fool's errand. All those lovely, naive people schlepping around in front of Sen. Marco Rubio's Tampa office, deluded in the charming notion that a public servant might actually have an interest in communing with his constituents.

    How sweet.

    What these very frustrated citizens need to know is that they will likely never get any face time with the Sammy Glick of Florida politics. Think of it this way. Rubio, R-Boo! is Joseph Heller's real-life incarnation of his Catch-22 Major Major of the U.S. Senate. You can only see him when he's not in the office....

    Rubio’s office in Tampa: locked doors, unanswered phone calls.
  8. Ruth: The truth about Trump's false claims


    This is the inevitable result when you have a president who seems to get most of his news and information from his tip-top political adviser, Kellyanne Conway, the Stepford Wife of the West Wing.

    It was Conway who recently unleashed a full bigly against the journalism community for its rank incompetence in failing to cover the horrific "Bowling Green massacre," which claimed untold numbers of the aide-de-scamp's brain cells....

    President Donald Trump talks with service members at U.S. Central Command in Tampa.
  9. Ruth: Cursing emerges as official language of Hillsborough's fading PTC


    Perhaps the best way to think of the Hillsborough County Public Transportation Commission is to liken the sludge-filled backwater agency to the ne'erdowell, out of work brother-in-law who moves into your house, drinks all your liquor, never flushes the loo, complains about the food and then insults your spouse at every opportunity.

    And that brings us to the PTC's embattled recent ex-executive director Kyle Cockream, who could write a textbook on how to turn a cushy $150,000-a-year job essentially requiring little more than a pulse to draw a paycheck into a self-inflicted maze of scandals, law enforcement investigations and seedy good ol' boy conspiracies....

    Victor Crist
  10. Ruth: Allowing guns everywhere won't make Floridians safer


    It was Mark Twain who famously — and accurately — ruminated that "no man's life or property are safe when the legislature is in session." You might want to add additional at-risk elements such as common sense, brain function, scruples, independence, work ethics, intellectual curiosity and public service.

    The Florida Legislature is preparing to begin its 2017 session next month, which is really another way of saying we're in for 60 days of pure Tallahassee stupid....

  11. Ruth: A failure at understanding grading system


    Missed it by that much — a mere 55 years or so.

    And yes, by cracky, I'm about to have an old fogy moment.

    It seems the Pinellas County School District recently implemented an entirely revamped grading system to ensure that if you know the color of an orange you are pretty much guaranteed a Phi Beta Kappa key.

    According to the new rules, if a budding scholar receives between a 66 and 100 on U.S. history and/or U.S. history honors "common exams," that's good enough for a grade of A. Then the district really toughens up for subjects like biology, where students must score no worse than a 70 to capture that coveted A. Oh, the Hogwarts School intellectual rigor of it all. Do all these 66 percenters get a trophy and a piece of pizza too?...

  12. Ruth: Don't expect much from $6 billion in planned Tampa-area road work


    By the time the $6 billion plan by the Florida Department of Transportation to add 90 miles of toll lanes to Interstates 75, 275 and 4 and expand a new Howard Frankland Bridge to eight free lanes, plus two express, pay-to-drive lanes, is completed, on this much we can probably all agree.

    We will all be such burnt, fried and scorched toast.

    Here's what we'll likely wind up with for $6 billion — even more flickering rear brake lights spread out across eight lanes, and counting. Such a deal....

    Times Columnist Dan Ruth. {Times file]
  13. Ruth: Election won't mix well with turkey and dressing


    No doubt Tuesday will be a very trying day for Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

    But that's not the day that should be the most worrisome for many Americans.

    That's Thanksgiving, when millions of Republicans and Democrats sit around the family dinner together and pretend they like each other. This could get real ugly, real fast.

    There will be great gloating. And glowering. And can you please pass the dressing, you horrible, vile piece of carrion?...

  14. Ruth: Temple Terrace copes with bigotry


    And a creep grows in Temple Terrace.

    Perhaps what this pathetic story tells us is that no race for office, no matter how modest, is free from the darker forces of human cruelty and stupidity raising their ugly heads — even in Temple Terrace, which has been properly regarded as a lovely, quiet bedroom community.

    That is until a boneheaded racist decided to intrude upon the city's local elections....

  15. Daniel Ruth: Drip, drip, drip goes St. Petersburg's sewer mess


    When you get right down to it, the job description for the mayor of any city is pretty easily defined.

    There are three basic things the mayor has to do: A) maintain the roads and street lights, B) keep criminal mayhem to a minimum and C) when it rains make sure icky poo-poo water doesn't flood the city.

    Everything else — fancy museums, iconic piers, parades, ribbon cuttings, inspiring speeches and stadiums — are all very nice. But they begin to take on less importance if the citizenry finds itself scraping off …, well you know, from their shoes whenever it rains and the byways turn into the Ganges River. Too nuanced?...