Sports Expert Bohn, Political Pundit Nixon Headline 'DC Update' Radio

What do the stories of Babe Ruth and Tiger Woods have in common? Author and social critic Michael Bohn answered that question as a guest on the May 24 edition of MTL Washington Update, the weekly public affairs show I host with Scott Draughon.

Also, political commentator Garland Nixon, right, joined us on the noon (EDT) one-hour show to predict the likely impact of Vice Presidential nominees on November's elections.

Michael K. Bohn Cover

Bohn's latest book is Heroes & Ballyhoo: How the Golden Age of the 1920s Transformed American Sports following his military career serving two Presidents in the White House. The book profiles the ten most prominent GoldenAge sports heroes such as Ruth following World War I, andGarland Nixon describes their effect on sports and society. Bohn draws current lessons from the career trajectory of Tiger Woods.

Fox News "Power Play" regular commentator Garland Nixon, right, predicted how vice presidential nominees will likely affect the U.S. Presidential election in November. Nixon is a Washington based political commentator following a career in law enforcement. He is a longtime host on WPFW-FM and on Montgomery County’s cable station, as well as a college journalism adjunct professor in communications. Earlier, he rose to the rank of major in Maryland’s state public safety system. He maintained during the interview that Romney's choice would be an especially powerful signal on whether he was tilting to the right or center as a campaign strategy.

Click here to listen to the interviews live nationwide on the My Technology Lawyer (MTL) radio network by archive. Mac users need “Parallels.” Scott and I began the show with commentary on national news, including Karl Rove's new plan for election success in November.

Bohn's Heroes book provides an in-depth look at the nation's first generation of mega-sports heroes, including Red Grange, Knute Rockne, Jack Dempsey and Johnny Weissmuller. In doing so, he provides such rare historical information as the ancient origins of swimming and the organization of football in the United States.  Bohn's other books include Money Golf, 600 Years of Bettin’ on Birdies (2007), The Achille Lauro Hijacking, Lessons in the Politics and Prejudice of Terrorism (2004), and Nerve Center, Inside the White House Situation Room (2003). As a freelancer, he writes sports features for the McClatchy newspaper chain, which has thirty papers across the country, and the McClatchy-Tribune News Service, a news wire that serves 1,200 newspapers and magazines around the world.  Also, he contributes sports reporting and features articles to the Connection Newspapers, a group of nineteen newspapers in Northern Virginia. His books and recent journalism are available here.

Michael Bohn

Bohn, left, was a primary contributor and on-screen personality for the 2010 History Channel documentary, “The President’s Book of Secrets.”  He acted as a program consultant for, and appeared in, two BBC Television documentaries about crisis management in the White House, one in November 2002 and the other in April 2003.  Also, he appeared in a July 2003 special, “The White House at War,” a joint ABC News, New York Times, and Discovery Channel project; and in a 2004 German public TV special, “Palaces of Power.”

A career naval intelligence officer, from 1968 to 1988, he twice served the Presidents. During 1970-72, he was a Military Social Aide to President Nixon. He helped manage White House social events ranging from afternoon coffees to Tricia Nixon’s wedding. During the second Reagan administration, Bohn was the Director of the White House Situation Room.  He organized the flow of critical information into the White House and National Security Council throughout the Middle East kidnappings and international terrorism of the mid-1980s. He wrote daily summaries of world events for the President, Vice President and senior White House officials.  After retirement from the Navy in 1988, he joined Booz Allen & Hamilton and managed multi-million dollar contracts with the federal government for five years.

During the interview, I asked Bohn how he was able to transition so successfully between such different careers. He responded that his Naval Intelligence experience trained him to reconstruct situations in detail and draw their implications, which is similar to portraying long ago sports stories and identifying their lasting appeal.

 

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Catching Our Attention on Justice, Integrity & Media Issues

USA Today, 2 prosecutors suspended for misconduct in Ted Stevens trial, Kevin Johnson, May 25, 2012. Two Justice Department prosecutors involved in the bungled corruption trial of Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens will be suspended without pay for "reckless professional misconduct" in failing to disclose critical information to the senator's defense team, according to a internal Justice review.  Joseph Bottini, an assistant U.S. attorney in Alaska, was ordered suspended for 40 days, and James Goeke, an assistant U.S. attorney in Washington state, received 15 days, according to findings released Thursday by the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility. Bottini's attorney, Kenneth Wainstein, said his client will appeal the punishment to the federal government's Merit Systems Protection Board. Goeke's lawyer, Matthew Menchel, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Meanwhile, Brendan Sullivan, Stevens' lawyer, said the suspensions represented "a laughable and pathetic response" to the misconduct findings which centered on the prosecution's failure to disclose inconsistent and false statements by its chief government witness.

Associated Press / Huffington Post, Newhouse Newspapers In Alabama Cut Publication To Three Days A Week, May 24, 2012. Three major Alabama daily newspapers will switch to publishing three days a week as part of a new focus on online news, in line with their new Orleans sister publication, The Times-Picayune. The three papers in Birmingham, Mobile and Huntsville and The Times-Picayune announced the new strategy Thursday. All four are owned by the Newhouse family group. Both announcements said there will be unspecified staff reductions. The changes will take place in the fall. The Alabama papers said the changes will allow them to expand news-gathering efforts in an increasingly digital age. The newspapers will be home-delivered and sold in stores on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.

Legal Schnauzer, Biased "Reporting," Not Technology, Led to the Steep Decline of The Birmingham News, Roger Shuler, May 25,2012. Do the News, Times, and P-R have futures as strictly digital news organizations? The Advance Media spin machine is playing this as a reaction to changing technology. But I would submit it's more about bias, backward thinking, and old-fashioned incompetence. You might call yesterday's announcement Don Siegelman's Revenge.  Throughout the 2000s, one of our nation's most important stories was the decay of the U.S. Justice Department under George W. Bush. It was a coast-to-coast story, but several of its most compelling chapters unfolded in Alabama, led by the prosecution of Siegelman, a popular former Democratic governor, and former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy.  Coverage in the Advance Media newspapers consisted mostly of cheerleading pieces for Bush-era prosecutors Alice Martin and Leura Canary. The papers made almost no serious effort to address compelling evidence that the cases were driven for political reasons by Bush strategist Karl Rove and his associates.  At the same time, the papers provided fawning coverage of Republican Governor Bob Riley, in spite of powerful evidence that Riley might have been running one of the most corrupt regimes in state history.  In essence, the News and its brethren became house organs for the Alabama Republican Party. The papers ignored a huge portion of their possible audience--those of color, those who are liberal, progressive, middle class, poor, forward thinking.

michael collinsOpEd News, Rupert Watch: Leveson Testimony Spells Doom for Cameron and Hunt, Michael Collins, left, May 24, 2012.  Queens Counsel Robert Jay unearthed a devastating piece of evidence that will surely create calls for the resignation of both culture secretary Jeremy Hunt and Prime Minister David Cameron. In afternoon testimony at the Leveson Inquiry today (5/24), Jay confronted News Corp lobbyist Frederic Michel with an email rendition of a Hunt to Cameron memo of November 19, 2010 (see testimony/full memo at end of article). Hunt is clearly cheerleading for the News Corp acquisition of immensely profitable pay TV network BSkyB. News Corp owned 39% of the network and wanted to purchase the remaining 61%. This acquisition was absolutely critical to News Corp profitability and as a sign that Rupert and James Murdoch actually knew what they were doing. One month after he got the biased memo, Cameron appointed Hunt as the government minister in charge of approving the bid. Hunt portrayed his role as "quasi-judicial" and claimed he was an objective judge. The bid was opposed by an alliance of news organizations. Now we know, without any doubt and from Hunt's own words that he was biased in favor of approving the News Corp bid before he even got the authority to judge.

Associated Press / Huffington Post, Criminal Exonerations: 2,000 Convicted Then Exonerated In U.S. Over Last 23 Years, Says Study, Pete Yost, May 21, 2012.  More than 2,000 people who were falsely convicted of serious crimes have been exonerated in the United States in the past 23 years, according to a new archive compiled at two universities. There is no official record-keeping system for exonerations of convicted criminals in the country, so academics set one up. The new national registry, or database, painstakingly assembled by the University of Michigan Law School and the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University School of Law, is the most complete list of exonerations ever compiled. The database compiled and analyzed by the researchers contains information on 873 exonerations for which they have the most detailed evidence. The researchers are aware of nearly 1,200 other exonerations, for which they have less data.

Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF), Secret Service Tries to Hide Prostitution-Related Costs from Taxpayers; Claims Public Is Not That Interested in How Agency Spends Their Money, Staff report, May 24, 2012. Resorting to a mind-boggling explanation, the Secret Service is refusing to promptly disclose the amount of taxpayer funds it spent on prostitution-related costs in Colombia in response to the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund’s (PCJF) Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) demand for expenditure records. Today, the PCJF has filed a formal appeal of this refusal. In the midst of Congressional hearings and daily headlines about Secret Service agents’ partying and payments for sexual services, the Agency has refused to promptly make the expenditure documents public, stating that they do not believe there is “an urgency to inform the public about use of taxpayer funds for expenditures incurred by Secret Service personnel during their deployment to Columbia [sic],” and that the Agency sees no “evidence of public interest [in this matter] that is any greater than the public’s general interest” in “government activity, generally.”