Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Carnaval! - My Video Tour Of San Francisco's Carnival (Carnaval?) Steet Fair

"Carnaval" is San Francisco's annual parade and street fair held every Memorial Day weekend in the Mission District and literaly taking over the neighborhood. I love this spectacle of people, sights, and sounds. What I most enjoy is the vast and diverse crowd. It's a reminder of how really very much common we all are.

Take a look here (best quality): Carnaval Tour The YouTube version is below:

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

NFL To Play Some Regular Season Games Outside US In 2008

I think this is great news, but I worry that football may become too well-exposed. Still, it's the logical next step: Worldwide NFL games.

League eyeing more games outside of U.S. wire reports
DUESSELDORF, Germany (May 27, 2006) -- The NFL has proposed playing two regular-season games outside the United States starting in 2008, league officials said.

Mark Waller, head of NFL international development, said the proposal to play abroad was put to team owners in Denver. It came after the 49ers and Cardinals played last October before a regular-season record crowd of 103,000 in Mexico City.

The owners will discuss the issue again in October. The games would be played in Mexico, Canada, the United Kingdom and Germany, where five of the six NFL Europe teams play.

"I will say the reception we got from the owners was incredibly positive -- all the questions were on the practical issues," Waller said.

Plans were also announced to add two more teams to the six playing in NFL Europe by 2010. Last year, owners gave the league a five-year operating license -- ending years of threatening to pull the plug on the operation because of the cost.

"It now gives us a platform to grow the game internationally with a concept of clarity," Waller said.

Outgoing commissioner Paul Tagliabue said developing the game internationally may rank as one of his top five accomplishments during his 16 years in charge.

"I feel the international initiatives we made, along with the owners, may become more significant over time," Tagliabue said.

The league's effort to make an impact internationally began in 1986, when NFL teams began to play preseason games overseas.

The German cities of Hanover and Leipzig are the leading candidates to get NFL Europe expansion clubs as the league concentrates on Germany. The Amsterdam Admirals are the only current NFL Europe team located outside Germany.

NFL Europe would then be split into two four-team divisions with the schedule expanded from 10 to 12 games. The league hopes to develop local stars for NFL Europe, as well as international stars in the NFL.

"It's clearly critical to the future of the game internationally," said Jim Connelly, managing director of NFL Europe.

John Paulus Thinks Clay Aiken Is Gay, and I Don't Care!

Really. Why should I give a big deal of concern over what Clay Aiken does in his house? I'm still confused by all this. Who does it help to know this?

Well, I guess it's good to know it so you don't have to worry about your girlfriend running off with him, but in this day and age, you never know.

I Worked As An Intern For Lloyd Bentson In His Dallas Office...

and never got the chance to meet him. The one day he came in, I had to attend a class. Well, I didn't have to, but I was young and didn't know better. I was a freshman at Texas-Arlington in 1980. Still, working for his staff was fun and I was the receipient of all of his collection of Congressional Records. About 300 books.

"Fight Club" In Menlo Park A Subsitute For Guys Who Can't Find Girls - CNN

So instead of having dreams about a fine lady, they have fantasies about inflicting pain on some guy. It's said that fighting is another form of sex, so I think this kind of nutty practice is not only an admission of not being able to make it with a woman, but in a way seems to demonstrate a desire for other men. Real weird in my view.

Of course, while these guys are beating each other up -- and almost to death -- I'm enjoying the company of a great woman, not to mention women friends.

I must also say this practice is in total violation of any respect for life.

Computer techs turn to fisticuffs for fun - CNN
Fight clubs are chance to be 'a superhero for a night'

Monday, May 29, 2006; Posted: 8:49 p.m. EDT (00:49 GMT)

MENLO PARK, California (AP) -- They may sport love handles and Ivy League degrees, but every two weeks, some Silicon Valley techies turn into vicious street brawlers in a real-life, underground fight club.

Kicking, punching and swinging every household object imaginable -- from frying pans and tennis rackets to pillowcases stuffed with soda cans -- they beat each other mercilessly in a garage in this bedroom community south of San Francisco.

Then, bloodied and bruised, they limp back to their desks in the morning.

"When you get beat down enough, it becomes a very un-macho thing," said Shiyin Siou, 34, a Santa Clara software engineer and three-year veteran of the clandestine fights. "But I don't need this to prove I'm macho -- I'm macho enough as it is."

Inspired by the 1999 film "Fight Club," starring Brad Pitt and Ed Norton, underground bare-knuckle brawling clubs have sprung up across the country as a way for desk jockeys and disgruntled youths to vent their frustrations and prove themselves.

"This is as close as you can get to a real fight, even though I've never been in one," the soft-spoken Siou said.

Despite his reserved demeanor, he daydreams about inflicting pain on an attacker. "I have fantasies about it," he said.

In recent months, police in New Jersey and Pennsylvania have broken up fight clubs involving teens and preteens who posted videos of their bloody battles online.

Earlier this month in Arlington, Texas, a high school student who didn't want to participate was beaten so badly that he suffered a brain hemorrhage and broken vertebrae. Six teenagers were arrested after DVDs of the fight appeared for sale online.

Adult groups are more likely to fly under the radar of authorities.

Menlo Park police hadn't heard about the local club and said they wouldn't be likely to take action because the fights are on private property between consenting adults. That could change if someone complains or is sent to a hospital, police said.

Gints Klimanis, a 37-year-old software engineer and martial arts instructor, started the invitation-only "Gentlemen's Fight Club" in Menlo Park in 2000 after his no-holds-barred sessions with a training partner grew to more than a dozen people. Most participants are men working in the high-tech industry.

"You get to be a superhero for a night," Klimanis said. "We have to go to work every day. We're constantly told to buy things we don't need, and just for a couple hours we have the freedom to do what we want to do."

Fencing and hockey masks are the only protective equipment used. Several fighters have suffered broken noses, ribs and fingers.

Men involved in fight clubs often carry bottled-up violent impulses learned in childhood from video games, cartoons and movies, said Michael Messner, a University of Southern California sociology and gender studies professor.

"Boys have these warrior fantasies picked up from popular culture, and schools sort of force that out of them," he said. In these fantasies, "The good guys always resort to violence, and they always get the glory and the women."

There is also a sadomasochistic thread running through underground fight clubs, said Michael Kimmel, a sociology professor at Stony Brook University in New York.

"Real-life fight clubs are the male version of the girls who cut themselves," he said. "All day long these guys think they're the captains of the universe, technical wizards. They're brilliant but empty.

"They want to feel differently. They want to get hit, they want to feel something real."

Five-year fight club veteran Dinesh Prasad, 32, a heavily tattooed Santa Clara engineer, said he once broke a rib in a match but never complained to his fellow combatants. He also recently skipped his first wedding anniversary to attend a fight rather than drive to Los Angeles, where his wife is finishing law school.

"I came here to get over my fear of fighting, and it's working," he said. "I'm much tougher than I was five years ago. I'm not at the level of these other guys, but if things were to get tough, I can get tough, too."

The Apprentice 5 Nearlng Close - One Blogger Calls The Two Finalists "Buffoons"

With ratings as low as this latest Apprentice has posted, perhaps the best event will be the final show of this season. I'm not excited about the people on the show, and neither are bloggers like this person over at Fresh Inc., who called both Sean and Lee buffoons.

While I wouldn't go that far, I do think it's a mistake to focus on young people all the time in casting for the show. Life begins at 40, and Trump and his crew would have a better show and richer exchanges with a more mature audience. Hey, there are hot women over 40, too!

Seattle Seahawks QB Gibran Hamdan Named NFL Europe Offensive Player Of The Year


Joe Browne, Executive Vice President-Communications
Greg Aiello, Vice President-Public Relations


The NFL Europe League announced its annual awards today at World Bowl Media Day at the LTU Arena in DÏ‹sseldorf, Germany.

Quarterback GIBRAN HAMDAN (Seattle Seahawks) of the Amsterdam Admirals was named the NFL Europe League Offensive Most Valuable Player while Admirals defensive tackle TONY BROWN (Carolina Panthers) and French linebacker PHILIPPE GARDENT of the Cologne Centurions were named the Co-Defensive MVPs. Frankfurt Galaxy head coach MIKE JONES was named Coach of the Year.

Hamdan led the Admirals to a 6-1 record before suffering a season-ending injury. The Indiana product led the league in completion percentage (63.0 percent), passing yards (1,629) and touchdowns (12) while posting the highest passer rating in NFL Europe League history (113.4).

Brown helped anchor the Amsterdam defense, registering 40 tackles, 4.0 sacks, one fumble recovery, an interception and five passes defensed. The former Memphis standout also blocked two field goals.

France’s Gardent led the league with 70 tackles for the Centurions and is the first national, or non-American, player to win an MVP award in NFL Europe history.

The league also announced its all-NFL Europe League team. Seattle placed an NFL-high five players on the squad, while Green Bay, Houston and Minnesota each had two. Among the six NFL Europe teams, World Bowl participants Amsterdam (8) and Frankfurt (5) led the way.

Included among the All-NFL Europe League team selections that will play in World Bowl XIV are Frankfurt running back ROGER ROBINSON (Arizona), Amsterdam wide receivers SKYLER FULTON (Seattle) and CHAD LUCAS (Green Bay), and Frankfurt defensive standouts BRANDON HAW (Seattle) and JEROME NICHOLS (Green Bay).

Robinson, allocated by the Arizona Cardinals, set the league’s single-season rushing record with 1,087 yards (MIKE GREEN, 1,057; Barcelona 2001) as the Galaxy had the top-ranked offense and rushing offense.

Seattle wide receiver Fulton led the league with 53 catches and 992 yards, the third best single-season total in NFL Europe history. Amsterdam teammate Lucas, allocated by Green Bay, topped the league with eight touchdown receptions, including an Europe League-record four in one game (April 8 at Berlin).

Safety Haw and defensive tackle Nichols were key components of Frankfurt’s top-ranked defense. Seattle’s Haw led NFL Europe with five interceptions while Green Bay’s Nichols had a league-best 7.0 sacks.

Yello Strom World Bowl XIV between the Admirals and Galaxy will be played this Saturday, May 27. The NFL Network will broadcast the game in the United Stats at 12:00 PM ET with CURT MENEFEE and BRIAN BALDINGER calling the action.

In Video, CNN's Lou Dobbs Uses White Supremacist Group As News Source For Immigration Story

In an earlier post, I asked if CNN's Lou Dobbs was racist. Well, this new information is really making me think the saying "where there's smoke there's fire" is very true. Here's the smoke.

Surely CNN's Lou Dobbs knew what he and his staff were doing. A news segment not only features the use of a map that was obtained from a white supremacist organization called The Council of Concerned Citizens , but that organization featured the Lou Dobbs story on its website (scroll down the front page to see the map.)

More disturbing is the segment seems entirely based on information developed by The Council of Concerned Citizens. So Lou Dobbs seems to be practicing a form of racist activism that hides as television journalism.

Here's the video:

The CNN Lou Dobbs segment has the name of the source -- The Council of Concerned Citizens -- right on it. Now, how do I know it's a white supremacist group? Well, they say so on their site. To see the long-winded viewpoint, cick here or read this crap from the page:

A Statement of the Principles

of the

Council of Conservative Citizens

The American men and women who make up the Council of Conservative Citizens (CofCC) believe in, commit themselves to, and pledge to work for and support these fundamental principles of American civilization, liberty, justice, and national safety:

(1) We believe the United States is a Christian country.

We believe that the United States of America is a Christian country, that its people are a Christian people, and that its government and public leaders at all levels must reflect Christian beliefs and values.

We therefore oppose all efforts to deny or weaken the Christian heritage of the United States, including the unconstitutional prohibitions of prayers and other religious expression in schools and other public institutions.

(2) We believe the United States is a European country and that Americans are part of the European people.

We believe that the United States derives from and is an integral part of European civilization and the European people and that the American people and government should remain European in their composition and character.

We therefore oppose the massive immigration of non-European and non-Western peoples into the United States that threatens to transform our nation into a non-European majority in our lifetime.

We believe that illegal immigration must be stopped, if necessary by military force and placing troops on our national borders; that illegal aliens must be returned to their own countries; and that legal immigration must be severely restricted or halted through appropriate changes in our laws and policies.

We also oppose all efforts to mix the races of mankind, to promote non-white races over the European-American people through so-called "affirmative action" and similar measures, to destroy or denigrate the European-American heritage, including the heritage of the Southern people, and to force the integration of the races.

(3) The United States is a sovereign and independent nation.

We believe the United States is a sovereign and independent nation, that our independence as a nation is the most precious legacy of our Founding Fathers, and that all treaties, agreements, conventions, international organizations, and institutions must recognize and respect our national sovereignty and independence.

We therefore oppose the so-called "New World Order" and its attempts to abolish national sovereignty and independence and to construct a one-world state in which America would vanish and Americans would be enslaved.

We call for the U.S. government to withdraw from membership in the United Nations, the World Court, the International Monetary Fund, NAFTA, and the World Trade Organization.

We oppose any attempt to place American military personnel under foreign command. We oppose any effort to place Americans, military or civilian, on trial before, or subject them to legal punishments by, international courts or organizations.

We oppose, and we support official U.S. renunciation of, any treaty, agreement, or convention that seeks to dictate law to the United States or any state, that violates national sovereignty, or denies or violates the constitutional rights of Americans.

(4) The United States is a constitutional republic.

We believe the United States is a constitutional republic, governed by law and by the original intent of the United States Constitution and of the men who framed it. We believe the Constitution can be changed only by the proper procedure of amendment or constitutional convention and not by court decision, popular majority, political whim, or legislative fiat.

We therefore oppose the "imperial judiciary" in the U.S. Supreme Court and the federal courts that has usurped more and more power to itself in the last century and has imposed on our country the most odious and harmful rulings.

We reject the legitimacy and constitutionality of the rulings handed down by the imperial judiciary; we support the appointment of judges and justices who are qualified to interpret the Constitution and the laws and are committed to their proper interpretation; and we support the impeachment of judges and justices who usurp or claim powers not granted them by the Constitution.

We also oppose the "imperial bureaucracy" that imposes unconstitutional administrative decrees in such fields as business, agriculture, labor, and education that tyrannically interfere with personal liberty and dignity, private property, the sanctity of the family, and ethical conduct.

We support the abolition of those government agencies at the federal, state, and local levels that have no constitutional foundation, including the U.S. Departments of Education, Housing and Urban Development, Energy, Health and Human Services, and similar agencies.

We support the separation of powers that is a fundamental principle of the U.S. Constitution and of basic human liberty. We support the restoration of the constitutionally proper balance among the three branches of the federal government and the reduction of their powers, size, personnel, and costs to the limits intended by the Constitution.

(5) We believe in States' Rights, the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, and the Bill of Rights.

We believe in states' rights, as guaranteed by the Ninth and Tenth Amendments to the Constitution; in the individual right to keep and bear arms, as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the Constitution; and in all the rights and liberties guaranteed by the body of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

We therefore oppose all efforts by the federal government to dictate to the states and local governments and communities, and we oppose federal efforts to engineer or impose behavior and beliefs on citizens and communities. We oppose "gun control" in all forms and demand that all such legislation and policies be repealed.

We also oppose all such legislation as so-called "hate crime" or "bias crime" laws. Such laws merely penalize thought and expression rather than genuinely criminal action and are a dangerous and frightening step toward government Thought Control. Similarly, we oppose all so-called "politically correct" speech codes and "sensitivity training" in schools, colleges, universities, and businesses that punish free expression, restrict thought and study, intimidate dissent, and generally demean and diminish human communications and community.

We also oppose, as stated, all efforts to deny Americans their rights of religious expression and worship as guaranteed in the First Amendment, as well as efforts to deny rights of assembly and association.

(6) The traditional family is the basic unit of human society.

We believe in the traditional family as the basic unit of human society and morality, and we oppose all efforts by the state and other powers to weaken the structure of the American family through toleration of sexual licentiousness, homosexuality and other perversions, mixture of the races, pornography in all forms, and subversion of the authority of parents.

(7) Private property and free enterprise are the foundations of our economy.

We believe in private property and free enterprise as the foundations of our economic life and the basis of American wealth. We oppose efforts by the state to regulate, plan, manage, control, or nationalize private property in any form. We oppose the ruinous taxation that government has imposed on working Americans and we call for real tax reform that will allow working men and women to retain what they have earned. We support the repeal of the estate tax. We affirm that the best economic decision-maker is the individual acting in what he believes is his own best interest.

We believe that tax policies and other economic legislation and policies should reflect the importance of small businessmen, the family farm, and other independent, locally and privately owned and operated enterprises.

While we accept the need for some public welfare, health care, unemployment, and old age assistance, we believe in such programs only as a last resort for those who truly need them.

We believe tax laws should encourage private charity rather than public support for the poor, the disabled, and the sick and elderly who are unable to care for themselves. We support welfare programs that seek to return recipients of welfare to productive work as soon as possible. We oppose all welfare for immigrants, whether legal or illegal.

(8) Cultural, national, and racial integrity.

We support the cultural and national heritage of the United States and the race and civilization of which it is a part, as well as the expression and celebration of the legitimate subcultures and ethnic and regional identities of our people. We oppose all efforts to discredit, "debunk," denigrate, ridicule, subvert, or express disrespect for that heritage. We believe public monuments and symbols should reflect the real heritage of our people, and not a politically convenient, inaccurate, insulting, or fictitious heritage.

(9) A Strong National Defense.

We believe in the strongest possible defense for the United States. We oppose the presence of homosexuals and women in the military services and especially of women in combat roles.

(10) America First Foreign Policy.

We believe that in the aftermath of the U.S. victory over Soviet Communism, the United States has little need to retain the political and military commitments to allies made during the Cold War. While we wish these allies well, we believe we cannot continue to support their defense budgets, guarantee their security, fight their wars, or finance their governments and economies through foreign aid. We therefore call for a comprehensive review of all U.S. diplomatic commitments and U.S. withdrawal from those alliances and commitments that no longer serve our national interests or that threaten to entangle us in unnecessary foreign wars, conflicts, and quarrels.

We therefore oppose continued membership in NATO and similar outdated Cold War alliances; we oppose sending American troops on U.N. peace-keeping missions or into similar unconstitutionally undeclared wars under the names of "police actions." We oppose sending American military personnel into wars and conflicts that do not concern our national security and interests. We oppose ever sending American military men into combat without the intention to achieve victory. We oppose using American prisoners of war as diplomatic "bargaining chips" under any circumstances, and we oppose abandoning American POWs to merciless enemies after the cessation of conflict to suit the political interests of office-holders. We oppose all foreign aid and call for its termination.

We support the investigation of lobbying groups that represent the interests of foreign states or foreign powers and the enactment of legislation that will outlaw lobbying Congress or the executive branch on behalf of foreign states.

(11) America First Trade Policy.

We believe that just as our nation has legitimate international political and military interests, so it also has a legitimate international economic interest. We believe our trade policy should reflect our national economic interest and that the protection of our economy, including the jobs of our workers, our farms, and our manufacturing industries, is a vitally necessary duty of our national government.

(12) Traditional Education under Local Control.

We believe that education is primarily the concern of parents and families and local communities and therefore we oppose federal aid to education and federal efforts to control or direct education. We believe that education should inform and build the mind and character, not brainwash children with political propaganda or "liberate" them from the traditional values and loyalties their families have taught them.

We therefore oppose all "sex education" as well as so-called "multiculturalist" and "Afrocentric" curricula, "Outcome-Based Education," and similar radical indoctrination in the schools. We oppose all efforts to inflate grades, adulterate or "dumb down" tests and examinations, and introduce irrelevant and wasteful courses for the purpose of advancing some backward students over others more talented or more productive. We believe the schools, public, private, and parochial, should teach students to be proud of being Americans and proud of their national and local identities, and that they should instill in them the values of Western, Christian, and American civilization.

We support the authority of teachers and school administrators to discipline students, including the authority to expel them from school if students will not abide by the rules and laws of the community.

We support the right of parents to send their children to private schools or to educate their children at home if they so desire, without government intrusion or control. We support the right of private schools to select their own students, faculty, curricula, standards, and methods of administration.

(13) Strong and Just Law Enforcement.

We believe in the moral and legal responsibility of the individual and therefore that good behavior should be rewarded and bad behavior should be punished. We believe the most effective and most just response to crime is swift, certain, and morally appropriate punishment. We believe in capital punishment for the crimes of murder, rape, treason, and espionage. We oppose the substitution of the pseudo-sciences of psychiatry, sociology, and "rehabilitation" for real justice.

We believe law enforcement should be mainly a function of local and state government, and we therefore oppose all efforts to establish a national police force or to nationalize law enforcement; we oppose similar efforts to create a global or international police force and to "globalize" law enforcement. We oppose the extradition of law-abiding American citizens to trials before foreign courts under laws to which they have never assented. We oppose all international criminal tribunals and all efforts to diminish national sovereignty through the internationalization of criminal law. We support the termination of all international trials for "war crimes" and "genocide."

While we support and deeply respect all law enforcement officers, we also insist that law enforcement at all levels operate within the law, that law enforcement respect the rights of all citizens, and that spying on and harassment of loyal and law-abiding citizens by law enforcement agencies, by the military services, or by intelligence services at any level of government should be strictly forbidden and severely punished.

(14) Protection of the Environment and Natural Heritage.

We believe that the natural environment and resources of a nation are among its most precious, valuable, and irreplaceable treasures. We believe in the protection of the environment from reckless greed as well as from irresponsible government. We support the protection of truly endangered species of wildlife and areas of natural beauty.

The Rolling Stones - The Rain Fell Down - A Great Video

Of all of the videos, this is the clearest one by far. It's "The Rain Fell Down" and it's a pretty interesting, if racy, number. I like the guitar play here, as well as the urban colors and dense feel of the production. I've also included the lyrics below the video.

Rain Fell Down Lyrics from
It was a filthy block of flats
Trash was on the floor
The stink was in my nose
Hinges off the doors

She took me in her room
All was spick and span
Fixed me up a drink
Turned down all the lamps

And the rain fell down
On the cold hard ground
And the phone kept ringing
And me made sweet love

Why do we live in this strange grey town?
They build it up and let it all fall down
Feel like we're living in a battleground
Everybody's jazzed

Why do we live in this strange grey town?
The paint is peeling and the sky's turned brown
The bankers are wankers and every Thursday night
they just vomit on the ground

And the rain fell down
On the cold grey town
And the phone kept ringing
And we made sweet love
And we made sweet love

Everybody's dreaming
Everybody's scheming

Watching the rain fall down

She cooked me up some eggs
Then she made some tea
Kissed me on the cheek
Then I turned on her tv

It was all the usual crap
All the usual sleeze
For 10,000 quid
Some bimbo spilled the beans

And the rain fell down
On the cold grey town
And the phone kept ringing
And we made sweet love
And we made sweet love

Rolling Stones - Paint It Black Video - 1966

The Rolling Stones are captured in this black and white video singing their now iconic hit "Paint it Black." Here's the video, folloed by the lyrics:

I see a red door and I want it painted black No colors anymore I want them to turn black I see the girls walk by dressed in their summer clothes. I have to turn my head until my darkness goes

I see a line of cars and they're all painted black. With flowers and my love, both never to come back
I see people turn their heads and quickly look away. Like a newborn baby it just happens ev'ryday

I look inside myself and see my heart is black. I see my red door and it has been painted black
Maybe then I'll fade away and not have to face the facts. It's not easy facing up when your whole world is black

No more will my green sea go turn a deeper blue. I could not forsee this thing happening to you
If I look hard enough into the setting sun. My love will laugh with me before the morning comes

I see a red door and I want it painted black. No colors anymore I want them to turn black
I see the girls walk by dressed in their summer clothes. I have to turn my head until my darkness goes

Hmm, hmm, hmm...

I wanna see it painted black, painted black. Black as night, black as coal. I wanna see the sun, blotted out from the sky
I wanna see it painted, painted, painted, painted black. Yeah

Monday, May 29, 2006

"Net Neutrality" Lining Up As Battle Between Old Economy (AT&T, etc,) and New (Google, Microsoft, etc.)

The matter of the maintenance of "Net Neutriality" is growing to massive proportions in the online world. On May 26th, the US house passed legislation that should keep the flow of online information unfettered by price gouging.

The basic objective is to make sure that the free flow of data remains just that -- free. There's legislation presented and backed by a set of large, old economy telecommunications firms, and led by AT&T, such that faster connection speeds would require payment of a fee. It's believed that this cost is large enough to essentially divide the Internet into "haves and have nots" and hamper the ability of small web-based companies (like mine) to grow. Indeed, the simple application of a charge of any size splits the Internet into two economies. It's for that reason -- to start -- that any user fee proposal should be rejected.

Look, we're not talking about an Internet tax; this is a way for the Old Economy companies to make money. The AT&T's of the world are upset that the small firms like Vonage and Skype are able to undercut their business by offering free long distance service using your computer and their phone lines (!) through the Internet, thus reducing the need for the services offered Old Economy firms.

The Old Economy firms are threatened by the continuation of a process that started almost 20 years ago: the constant and inexorable decrease in market value that they have suffered since the mid-80s. A chain of events started when the Federal Government forced the then-powerful AT&T to share its cable lines with other long distance providers. Ever since that point, the "Baby Bells" have been trying to slow the rate of decrease in market share and in any way.

Now, the only proof I have of this is rather powerful. In 1988 I was to be hired as part of a consulting team led by The San Francisco Consulting Group. I was to constuct a System Dynamics model of the US long distance telephone industry. That team was to determine how the market for long distance service was changing and how the client -- GTE -- should respond to this change. In other words, how they should achieve "a soft landing" as their market share decreased. The schematic I created for the model was formed to have a pattern of numerical behavior such that each long distance company was losing market share as new players arrived on the scene.

That was before the emergence of the Internet, which didn't become a major factor in how we communicate until 1995. But after that year, the number of Internet-equipped computers increased dramatically, as did the number of Internet-based services and companies. In 10 years, we've went from dial up to DSL to Broadband, and the one constant in this process has been the use of phone lines used by companies like AT&T.

Ever hungry for new forms of revenue generation, the firms that provide Broadband service -- and standard telephone service -- saw a way to cut off competition from the "Vonages" of the World: force them to pay for faster Internet speeds.

In this, they found the perfect driver to increase revenues and at the same time hamper the growth of the Global Economy. It's easier now than even before in our history for a small business to have a global reach using the World Wide Web. The cost barrier to entry for many is close to zero if one knows how to find the free services needed.

But from the perspective of thee AT&T's of the World, their revenue gain would be unescapable; absent a way of hacking the system, billions of users would have to pay them for faster access, thus introducing a new barrier to entry for small companies in the Global market.

As I think about it, such a move isn't even good for the AT&T's of the World.


Hackers and Viruses.

The incorporation of such a fee -- an economic tax -- would invite the anger of geeks everywhere. And when geeks get angry, they don't pick fights, they change systems. AT&T would be the target of every geek hacker in the World. Eventually -- I believe -- there would be a set of gates or holes that would eventually hamper the collection of fees for faster access. But I give this process ten years to unfold and another five to render the fee system useless. Meanwhile, the World's economy would stuffer from the delayed birth of the next Vonage, Google, or Sports Business Simulations.

Thank god Congress made the right step toward net netrality.

"Oilers Rap" - An Example of The Worldwide Spread Of Afro-American Culture

This fan was captured on camera "freestyling" -- coming up with rap lyrics on que without notes -- after an Edmonton Oliers NHL Hockey playoff game. His girlfriend provides the "beat box."

Now, if I told you this happened, you might assume the people were black and American. You'd be wrong.

You might think they were wearing "hip hop" clothing. Wrong again. (They're well dressed.)

Marketers should take note of this video, because it's a shining example not just of the Worldwide spread of African American culture, but of how the music tastes of young people have changed. Think about it. The guy rapping in this video probably practices this daily. It's not bad.

Here's the video I call "Oilers Rap."

Saturday, May 27, 2006

The Rolling Stones - Gimme Shelter - A Classic Song

If you want to feel the cultural impact of the Rolling Stones, just play the video below and give a listen to "Gimme Shelter". You'll come away saying "I know I've listened to that tune tons of times -- in movies, grocery stores, and" It's another song from the greatest rock band in the World.

Here's the video:

The Rolling Stones - Under My Thumb

It's amazing to think this single song is as old as me, and it still rocks. The Rolling Stones are a band that comes along perhaps once in a millenium. Artists who bring people together regardless of age, race , or sex. They're still playing "Under My Thumb" -- live.

Check out this black and white video for a blast to the past. For more on the Rolling Stones, see Wikipedia with a click here.

Sarah McLachlan - Building A Mystery - Almost 10 Years Later, It Still Endures

I'm not an expert on the analysis of music, but it's amazing that Sarah McLachlan's "Building a Mystery" has lasted so long beyond its 1997 introduction. I even found an interesting technical analysis of the song.

Whatever the reason it is -- to me -- a haunting song about a woman talking about the reasons she both loves and lothes her male lover. Still, it can be quickly turned around to apply to a male thinking of a female lover. I remember playing this song over and over again while driving from Oakland to Pasadena in 1998, and to see a woman I cared about very much, but seemed a little bit distant emotionally. So, at least the song seems to apply in my life -- but that's not the subject here.

I think this video helps to communicate her song by simply playing her song.

Here's "Building a Mystery"

Friday, May 26, 2006

Anna Kournikova Ranked 21st On Lycos50 - Tennis Player Still Popular After Inactivity - Video

As of today, Anna Kournikova, the popular and sexy tennis player is still a popular lookup on the Internet, and she's not even playing tennis. As of today, she ranks 21st on the Lycos50 -- a website that tracks what people search for online. Paris Hilton's still number one, but she does things to keep herself in the public eye. Anna hasn't done anything.

One view of Anna I find real and interesting is this Adidas commercial, which I learned was banned, but I don't know why. Check it out:

Reggie Bush, Matt Leinart, and New Stadiums Give Saints and Cardinals Fans Hope -

But the jury's still out for the Cardinals, who were the favorite of many last year, before they actually played a regular season game.
Joe Browne, Executive Vice President-Communications
Greg Aiello, Vice President-Public Relations

NFC-N-2 5/18/06


The calendar may read May, but it's football season year-round for legions of passionate NFL fans from coast to coast.
And on the heels of an NFL Draft that was watched by a record number of TV viewers, among those most excited for Kickoff 2006 Weekend are fans in America's Gulf Coast region and Arizona. Bring on the season!

After a year of unprecedented challenges, the New Orleans Saints welcome a youthful, energetic new head coach in 42-year old former Dallas Cowboys assistant head coach SEAN PAYTON.

"I hope that in some small way the effort of this team will represent the city and region well and show the country that New Orleans is back and a team to be reckoned with in the NFC South," says Payton.

Sharing that enthusiasm is the club's new quarterback DREW BREES, one of the most sought-after free agents in the league who elected to bring his talent to New Orleans, where he continues his rehabilitation from a shoulder injury.

"I feel great right now and I'm way ahead of schedule," says Brees of his rehabilitation. "I've been throwing for almost five weeks and I'm looking forward to being 100 percent by training camp. I'm just so excited to be a part of this team and this community. New Orleans and the region are very alive, and you have a lot of great citizens who are very committed to rebuilding the city and are excited about Saints football."

That excitement reached a crescendo on draft day on April 29 when the Saints used the No. 2 overall selection on Heisman Trophy-winning running back REGGIE BUSH of USC, one of the most dynamic players in college football history. Bush joins a backfield that includes a two-time All-Star in former Mississippi standout DEUCE MC ALLISTER.

"Everybody is excited," McAllister says. "The highlights of what Reggie has done at USC show that he can really add a dimension to our offense. We have two different games and I think we'll create mismatches for teams defending us."
Adds Bush, "It's a blessing to be here. I think I can do a lot not only for the organization, but the city itself. I can't wait to get started."
That start before the hometown fans will come on Monday, September 25 in a restored Louisiana Superdome against the NFC South rival Atlanta Falcons. The Saints have already broken their season-ticket record with 54,969 sold.

The theme of excitement is echoed approximately 1,300 miles to the west of Louisiana in the Valley of the Sun, where fans of the Arizona Cardinals are thrilled by the prospects ahead for the team. And much like in New Orleans, that excitement was stoked by the signing of a prized free agent – and cemented with a draft class loaded with potential.

"The Cardinals were the right situation for me," says running back EDGERRIN JAMES, who joined the club this spring after seven record-setting seasons with the Indianapolis Colts, sparking a ticket-buying frenzy that helped the Cardinals sell out their season ticket allotment for the season. "The sooner we get going, the better."

The team will "get going" in the brand-new Cardinals Stadium this season. The state-of-the art facility, which will open in August and host Super Bowl XLII on February 3, 2008, has received global media attention for its innovative design which features the first fully retractable grass surface in North America.

Adding to the high hopes for 2006 was a draft class that includes a pair of USC Trojans in quarterback MATT LEINART and guard DEUCE LUTUI.

"We are really gaining new fans every day," says Cardinals head coach DENNIS GREEN. "We have sold out season tickets and we will have a packed stadium. It's going to be a terrific atmosphere and we are all looking forward to it."

Reggie Bush Pays To Wear Jersey #25 - Darren Rovell, ESPN

I'm not sure Reggie Bush's marketing guy Mike Orenstein is ready to work with the number 25. I gave him the answer; for Bush to have #25 and do a "5 to 25" campaign. I guess he didn't see it!

Bush to wear No. 25 this coming season
By Darren Rovell

Reggie Bush will get to wear No. 5 after all. There will just be a "2" in front of it.

Bush's marketing agent, Mike Ornstein, told on Thursday that his client will wear No. 25 next season for the New Orleans Saints.

Bush will get the number from Saints running back Fred McAfee. Ornstein said that rather than directly pay McAfee a fee for the use of the number, Bush will give half the money he had earmarked for charity to McAfee to use for the charity of his choice. Bush has pledged to donate 25 percent of his jersey sales royalties to Hurricane Katrina-related causes.

"We all went and dug into our pockets, and the city is as devastated today as the day it happened," Ornstein said. "And now, everyone has gone on to the next disaster."

To get No. 5, which he wore in high school and college, Bush needed the NFL Competition Committee to change the league's numbering rules. Currently, running backs are allowed only to wear numbers between 20 and 49. Earlier this week, the committee decided not to change the rules.

"Hopefully, they will change the rules next year so that Reggie can go back to wearing his old number," Ornstein said.

The delay of the decision might have hurt sales of Bush jerseys in the weeks since he was chosen second overall in the NFL draft. Eddie White, a vice president at Reebok, which makes the league's jerseys, said Bush's jersey had ranked first in preorders but is now in second place behind Vince Young's No. 10 for the Tennessee Titans. Young, who wore No. 10 at the University of Texas, has had that number with the Titans since draft day.

"It was a bunch of baloney that not having the No. 5 would hurt his sales," White said. "He could have worn any number, as long as we could have sold it that [draft day] Sunday, like we did for Vince Young and A.J. Hawk and Matt Leinart. But because he didn't have anything, he's behind Vince."

Darren Rovell, who covers sports business for, can be reached at

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Enron CEO Ken Lay and President Jeff Skilling Guilty - CNN

Lay and Skilling's day of reckoning
Enron ex-CEO and founder convicted on fraud and conspiracy charges; sentencing slated for September.

By Shaheen Pasha and Jessica Seid, staff writers

May 25, 2006: 3:49 PM EDT

HOUSTON ( - Enron former chief executive Jeffrey Skilling and founder Kenneth Lay were both found guilty Thursday of conspiracy and fraud in the granddaddy of all corporate fraud cases.

On the sixth day of deliberations, a jury of eight women and four men convicted the former executives of misleading the public about the true financial health of Enron, whose collapse in late 2001 symbolized the wave of corporate fraud that swept the United States early this decade.

Ex-Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling walks away from reporters in Houston after a jury found him guilty of 19 counts of fraud, conspiracy, false statements and insider trading.

Skilling was found guilty on 19 counts of conspiracy, fraud, false statements and insider trading. He was found not guilty on nine counts of insider trading.

Lay was found guilty on all six counts of conspiracy and fraud. In a separate bench trial, Judge Sim Lake ruled Lay was guilty of four counts of fraud and false statements.

Both Lay and Skilling could face 20 to 30 years in prison, legal experts say. And Lay will also face an additional hefty term in prison for his conviction in the bank fraud case.

"I think absent a successful appeal, they will both die in prison," said Jamie Wareham, global chairman of litigation at the international law firm Paul Hastings. "When you're a judge that's concluded that two men have lied to you for hours and hours and hours, light sentences aren't going to flow."

Judge Lake set sentencing for the week of Sept. 11 and ordered Lay to surrender his passport and post a $5 million bond. No home confinement was ordered but homes owned by Lay and his children were used as an assurety for the $5 million bond.

Skilling's attorney, Daniel Petrocelli, told reporters outside the courthouse, "We will have a full and vigorous appeal."

"The jury saw it differently," Petrocelli said, referring to his client's maintaining his innocence. "We'll take it from here."

Wareham said the defendants don't have a large amount of appeal platforms, but he expects lawyers will try to raise the issue that both men were tried in Houston, the epicenter of Enron's implosion. Defense attorneys had attempted unsuccessfully to have the venue changed prior to the trial saying it was impossible to get a fair trial in Houston.

Jurors react

All 12 jurors and three alternates speaking to reporters after the verdict insisted that the decision was one of the hardest they had to make, given compelling arguments from both sides. But ultimately, they agreed that the evidence, corroborated by the line of witnesses presented by the prosecution, proved too strong to ignore.

"This is undoubtedly the most difficult, heart-wrenching experience I've ever had in my life," said Kathy Harris, an elementary school teacher who served on the jury. "I performed my duty as an American citizen. I've never fought on a foreign battleground (but) I fought on this battleground for American justice."

Jurors said of the 22 witnesses for the prosecution, the first witness, Mark Koenig - who served as Enron's head of investor relations - and Ben Glisan, the former treasurer of Enron who is the only executive currently serving time in jail, were the most persuasive given their knowledge of details at the company.

But Andrew Fastow, Enron's former financial chief who was long considered to be a star witness for the prosecution, was less effective, jurors said.

"Fastow was Fastow," said Donald Martin, an electrical designer who served on the jury. "We knew where he was coming from."

The defense has long contended that Fastow's treachery brought down the company and he cut a deal with the prosecution, requiring him to testify against his former bosses, to receive a lighter sentence.

Wendy Vaughn, a juror who owns two businesses, said that from the beginning she admired both Lay and Skilling's brilliance and talent as businessmen building up Enron. But she said "it was sad to see in the end, it wasn't accomplished in a respectful manner."

She added that Lay's demeanor on the stand ultimately worked against him.

"He seemed very much wanting to be in control," she said. "He seemed to have very much of a chip on his shoulder... it made me question his character."

And the jurors said both men seemed to be hands-on executives, making their testimony that they relied on the advice of others questionable.

"Both said they had their hands on the wheel," said Freddy Delgado, an elementary school principal. "I can't say I don't know what my teachers are doing. To say that they didn't know what was going (on, it) wasn't right they said that."

Delgado added that the jury pored through the facts and he didn't believe anyone could question the fairness of the Houston jury.

"Houston should be proud," he said.

Tears in the courthouse
Skilling stood stone-faced as he was convicted on most of the counts he faced. Skilling's wife and children were notably absent.

Petrocelli had his hand on his client's shoulder, bracing him.

As Lay's verdict was read, his daughter Elizabeth Vittore, who has been one of his attorneys during the case, began to sob uncontrollably. His wife, Linda, clutching his hand, wiped tears away silently. All of his children sat in the front row with other members of the family. One of his sons put his face in his hands and wept.

Lay clutched his wife's hand and looked straight ahead.

Outside the courtroom after court was adjourned, Skilling said, "We fought a good fight. Some things work. Some things don't."

"Obviously I'm disappointed, but that's the way the system works," he added.

A huge scandal

The verdict is a major victory for the government, and marks the end of one of the most scandalous chapters in the history of corporate America.

The Enron government task force exited the courthouse at 2 p.m. ET and was greeted with applause. In a statement to the press, lead government prosecutor Sean Berkowitz said, "The eyes of the world have been on this courthouse and they have seen the justice system at work."

"No matter how rich you are, you have to play by the rules," he added.

Berkowitz said that he was proud of everybody on his team and the personal sacrifice they had made, adding they would all "go out and get a drink."

In Washington, Department of Justice officials praised the Enron prosecutors and said the conviction will encourage the government to go after more such cases.

"Our laws will be enforced just as vigorously against corporate executives as against street criminals," said Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty. "No one is above the law."

The White House had no comment on the verdicts except to congratulate the Justice Department for winning convictions in a "highly complex" case. Lay was a major fund-raiser for President Bush, who gave him the nickname "Kenny Boy."

"The administration has been pretty clear - there is no tolerance for corporate corruption," White House spokesman Tony Snow said.

Houston-based Enron, once one of the hottest companies on Wall Street, imploded in a matter of months after Skilling abruptly resigned as CEO in August 2001. Lay, who was chairman at the time, postponed his retirement plans to return to the helm.

Enron's collapse marked the first of the high-profile corporate scandals that rocked the nation, followed by WorldCom, Global Crossing, Adelphia and Tyco. The wave of fraud led to passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley law that tightened oversight of how American companies are audited.

After a government investigation that took 4-1/2 years, prosecutors presented evidence that Lay and Skilling orchestrated a conspiracy to artificially inflate profits, hide millions in losses and misrepresent the true nature of the company's finances.

The long-awaited trial began Jan. 31 in Houston.

Enron's bankruptcy, the biggest in U.S. history when it was filed in December 2001, cost 4,000 employees their jobs and many of them their life savings. Investors lost billions of dollars.

Over 16 weeks, the government presented 22 witnesses, including former top executives, who testified that Skilling and Lay fostered a culture that put the company's image and stock price above everything else, at any cost.

Sixteen people pleaded guilty for crimes committed at the company, and five others, including four former Merrill Lynch employees, were found guilty at trial. Eight former Enron executives testified against Lay and Skilling, their former bosses.

But it was Enron's former finance chief, Andrew Fastow, who was thought to be the star witness for the government.

Fastow, who pleaded guilty to wire and securities fraud in 2004 in exchange for an expected 10-year sentence, testified that special partnerships were created to help the company hide millions of dollars in losses.

But defense lawyers dismissed the testimony of Fastow and other witnesses, saying that not only were Lay and Skilling innocent, but that no crimes were committed at Enron, except for the shady deals that enriched Fastow.

As for those other than Fastow who testified against Lay and Skilling, defense attorneys said they were strong-armed by the government and compelled to lie on the stand out of fear for themselves and their families.

In an attempt to explain away the company's aggressive accounting and the optimistic comments executives made to Wall Street, both Skilling and Lay testified during the trial.

But that yielded decidedly mixed results.

Skilling, known for his harsh attitude, came off in a mostly positive light, though he did lose his temper on the stand. But Lay's congenial reputation took a blow as he appeared confrontational and irritable at several points during his testimony.

Charlotte Quan Passed Away - Mom's Good United Airlines Friend Introduced Me To Glide Memorial Church

When we relocated to California from Chicago, I missed the church I went to as a small boy: Park Manor. As I grew, the desire to find a spritual home grew. But I didn't want to just go to a black church. I came to believe that my experience in church should be interracial.

Mom worked at United Airlines with a very lovely woman named Charlotte Quan, who told her "Send Zennie to Glide!" And so she did and I found my home. But in seeing Charlotte on Sunday's I also found a person who had in a way become a mother to almost everyone at Gilde.

She was the new member coordinator and as such was the first person everyone would see when they joined Glide. She had a great smile and hug for everyone, and always stayed in touch with my Mom, and always asked me about her -- heck she'd ask me when I was going to get married!

The last time I saw her was last year when she had breakfast with Mom and I at the Hilton Hotel next to Gilde. Wow. It's hard to believe she's gone. I just got the call from my Mom's friend Dee. She had a heart attack.

There's a wake today and the funeral at Gilde at 11 AM Saturday.

WR Ashley Lelie May Be Traded By The Denver Broncos Before Season's End

Wow, what a waste of a 4-3 forty guy. He's one of the best young receivers in the NFL.

Broncos could look to deal unhappy Lelie before camp begins - Profootballweekly,com


WR Ashley Lelie said he has no problem playing for Mike Shanahan, nor does he hold any grudges toward the team for trading for Javon Walker, his friend and workout partner in Arizona. It’s the desire to compete for a No. 1 spot elsewhere, as opposed to serving as Denver’s No. 3 option, that has him skipping out on the team’s offseason workout program and asking for a trade.

Even if he were to return to the team, the Broncos figure there is no chance Lelie will stick around once his contract is up after this season. So, in an attempt to get something in return for a former first-round pick who has been targeted by critics for his inconsistency and lack of toughness, we’re told to expect the Broncos to shop him around in the weeks leading up to the start of training camp in late July, much as they did with CB Willie Middlebrooks, a former first-round bust who was shipped to San Francisco for DE John Engelberger last year.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

"LA Raiders?" S.I.s Mike Silver Reports Ex-49ers Execs Eddie DeBartolo and Carmen Policy Working To Make This Happen; Cowboys' Jerry Jones Backs It

Sports Illustrated Senior Writer Michael Silver was good enough -- not that not doing so would have been bad -- to provide me with this email copy of his article that's in the latest Sports Illustrated. For the hard copy read, get S.I. in a store.

As to the story itself, remember, that LA and the State of California have been forming a good plan to make this happen.

Meanwhile, is Raiders CEO Amy Trask going to NFL New York?

Here's Michael Silver:

By Michael Silver for Sports Illustrated

In the eight years since Eddie DeBartolo gave up his ownership interest in the San Francisco 49ers, Niners fans have fantasized about his possible return. The once lofty franchise has foundered under the reign of DeBartolo's brother-in-law, John York, whose condescension and cost-consciousness have alienated employees and inspired the website Meanwhile DeBartolo, the anti-York, evokes images of gregarious generosity -- and success. The three-day Super Bowl reunion gala he threw for hundreds of former employees in Las Vegas in March was a reminder of happier times.

Now how's this for a surprise twist: DeBartolo and former 49ers president Carmen Policy, together again, presiding over ... the revived Los Angeles Raiders?

It would rank as the Bay Area's biggest sporting nightmare -- not to mention a seismic shift in California's football landscape. But the scenario has been broached by DeBartolo and Policy, and the NFL's desire to break back into the nation's second-largest media market could help make it a reality. Most owners are reluctant to disrupt the league's 32-team symmetry or further split up TV revenue, making an expansion team in L.A. highly unlikely. Instead, an existing franchise will probably relocate under new ownership, with the Raiders, Saints, Chargers, Vikings, Bills or even the 49ers as the leading candidates.

DeBartolo and Policy, the duo whose bold leadership helped bring five Super Bowl titles to San Francisco, have heard the rumors that Raiders boss Al Davis is in declining health. That, plus attendance problems in Oakland, are why they have Silver and Black on the brain. "Carmen and I have discussed different things, and that's one of the teams that intrigues us," DeBartolo told SI. "L.A. is a costly situation, but it's wide-open, and I think the right group could make it work."

Given the nature of his exit in 1998, DeBartolo's potential NFL reemergence is something of a shock. A year after becoming embroiled in a Louisiana gaming scandal (then governor Edwin Edwards elicited a bribe in exchange for a casino license), DeBartolo pleaded guilty to not reporting an extortion attempt, a felony. He was given two years probation, and the NFL fined him $1 million. He then gave his half of the 49ers to his sister, Denise DeBartolo York, in exchange for their late father's real estate holdings and moved to Tampa. He was in NFL exile, an untouchable because of his legal issues and their gambling overtones.

But time has revitalized DeBartolo's image, not to mention his portfolio. He has quietly built up his real estate empire to a reported net worth of $1.4 billion, and last September Forbes rated him the 235th-richest American. Several of the old-line NFL owners who were eager to see him go are now out of the league, and two prominent owners told SI they believe DeBartolo would be approved should he attempt to purchase a team. "His accomplishments in the NFL are significant," says the Cowboys' Jerry Jones. "A progressive owner is priceless."

DeBartolo, 59, says buying the Buccaneers would be his first choice. (He looked into purchasing them three years ago but was rebuffed by owner Malcolm Glazer.) But he and Policy -- they had a falling out shortly before DeBartolo left the 49ers but have repaired their relationship -- have contemplated other teams, including the Saints, and their interest in the Raiders is piqued by whispers that Davis, 76, is ill. He has been using a walker because of a leg ailment and did not show up at February's scouting combine or a recent minicamp. "For Al Davis to miss the combine, that's unusual," DeBartolo said.

The Raiders, for their part, say that everything is status quo. "Al Davis is as vital and vibrant as ever," says CEO Amy Trask. "The closest Eddie and Carmen will come to taking a look at the Raiders will be watching them on TV." Still, however Oakland plays out, it will take someone like DeBartolo to make things work in L.A. He's charismatic and emotionally invested, the type of personality needed to sell football in what has been a lukewarm market in the past. And given the resistance of Southern California politicians to financing stadium projects, it will take deep pockets. The cost of the team and a new venue or a refurbished Coliseum could be $1.5 billion.

DeBartolo believes that he and Policy could find the partners to pull it off. Jones, one of 15 owners who participated in a May 17 conference call that detailed L.A. stadium proposals, thinks DeBartolo and L.A. would be a perfect fit. "To me, L.A. is about the ownership," Jones said. "Money alone won't get it done. It's going to take some serious talent and passion, and boy, when it comes to passion, inevitably you think about someone like Eddie."

Unconfirmed Rumor: Raiders CEO Amy Trask Leaving Oakland Raiders for NFL Front Office Job -

I'm ready this correctly, but if's little throw away line is correct, Raiders CEO Amy Trask may be leaving the organization for, as that publication put it, "A nice NFL front-office job." Read this:


Nancy Gay of the San Francisco Chronicle, citing among other things a forthcoming story from Michael Silver of Sports Illustrated, reports that former 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo is contemplating the possibility of seizing control of an NFL team and moving it to Los Angeles.

DeBartolo told Silver in March that the Raiders are a potential target, given an ongoing problem with attendance and owner Al Davis' "declining" health. (By the way, we've heard all sorts of rumors and speculation about the health condition of the guy who calls the shots in Oakland, but we've refrained from commenting on the subject out of respect for Davis. . . . And because we don't want to get sued.)

Teaming with former 49ers president Carmen Policy, DeBartolo also has eyeballed the Saints.

Raiders president Amy Trask told Gay in response to the SI story: "This is not a story about the Oakland Raiders being sold. This is not a story about the team relocating. This is a story about two gentlemen, Eddie DeBartolo and Carmen Policy, who clearly are drinking too much of Carmen's recently bottled wine.''


"The only look those two are going to get at this team is if they want to watch it on television,'' Trask added.

Double zing! (Hey, this girl could write copy for us if that whole "high-paying NFL front-office job" thing doesn't work out.)

Five years ago, there were rumors that DeBartolo was interested in joining with Outback Steakhouse owners Chris Sullivan and Bob Basham to buy the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from Malcolm Glazer. Though DeBartolo denied any interest in buying the team in a story published on January 24, 2001, he indicated otherwise in an item dated January 27.

"Malcolm Glazer and his family are very astute business people," DeBartolo said, "and all they had to say was that team wasn't for sale. And they did. But if something were to happen, and the Holy Ghost came down and Malcolm said, 'I'd like to sell the team,' would I be interested? Maybe."

But even if DeBartolo could find a team willing to let him buy it, the other members of the Billionaire Boys Club would have to approve the transaction.

We'd be willing to bet the riverboat casino that they won't.

DeBartolo pleaded guilty in 1998 to federal felony charges resulting from his failure to report an alleged extortion attempt by former Louisiana governor Edwin Edwards, in which DeBartolo supposedly handed $400,000 in cash to Edwards in order to help DeBartolo win a riverboat casino license. In 1997, DeBartolo ceded control of the 49ers to his sister, Denise DeBartolo York, after DeBartolo was advised of his impending indictment.

And when DeBartolo signed away his interest in the 49ers to York in March 2000, Phillip Matier and Andrew Ross of the Chronicle wrote that the move occurred after "NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue made it increasingly clear that -- despite DeBartolo's willingness to turn state's evidence against Edwards down in Louisiana -- the league would never let him back into football."

So there's no way, as a practical matter, that DeBartolo would ever get control of an NFL team. There are simply too many other folks out there with the money and the interest.

And without the rap sheet

Rumor: Eddie De Bartolo To Buy Raiders? - Mike Silver Drops An Interesting Bomb - SF Chronicle

This rumor's gone round and round today, and it's denied by the Raiders' CEO Amy Trask. That former San Francisco 49ers Owner Eddie Debartolo and team president Carmen Policy may be in line to purchase the Oakland Raiders and move them to LA. Well, here's the Chronicle's take first...

Rumors haunt Raiders

Nancy Gay - SF Chronicle
Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Not a week goes by without whispers of one of the ailing NFL franchises in California pulling up roots to head for the fertile ground of the Los Angeles market. So this latest load of fertilizer spreading around NFL circles is no different.

As NFL owners concluded a two-day meeting in Denver on Tuesday to discuss filling the vacant and valuable L.A. market, the Raiders again are rumored as a candidate to become one of the two teams the league would like to place in Southern California.

Ideally, the NFL wants a gleaming expansion team in place first, either downtown in an extensively refurbished Los Angeles Coliseum or in a new stadium in Anaheim.

Then, as the long-standing rumor goes, a distressed franchise -- the Saints, the Chargers, the 49ers or the Raiders, all of whom play in archaic stadiums -- would be trucked to Los Angeles.

Now, a new twist on the L.A. Story: This fantasy tale involves former 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo and team president Carmen Policy taking over the NFL team in Oakland and reclaiming the title "Los Angeles Raiders'' somewhere down south.

Sports Illustrated is publishing a story today in which DeBartolo intimates to senior writer Michael Silver -- who was an invitee to a lavish three-day Super Bowl reunion Eddie D. threw in Las Vegas in March -- that the Raiders' lack of attendance and the "declining" health of Raiders owner Al Davis makes the franchise vulnerable for a takeover.

According to the SI article, DeBartolo, 59, already has taken a crack at buying the Tampa Bay Bucs from Malcolm Glazer and was rebuffed. Glazer is recovering from two recent strokes.

The reunited DeBartolo-Policy team, the article says, also has explored moving in on the Saints, who play in a hurricane-ravaged city that's struggling to provide residents with clean drinking water, much less luxury boxes.

Now the duo is homing in on Davis. The DeBartolo-Policy interest, Sports Illustrated writes, "is piqued by whispers that Davis, 76, is ill. He has been using a walker because of a leg ailment and did not show up at February's scouting combine or a recent minicamp."

"For Al Davis to miss the combine, that's unusual,'' DeBartolo said in the story.

Granted, DeBartolo has rebuilt his billion-dollar fortune in real-estate development. But this SI article makes him and Policy look like two vultures, swooping in on distressed NFL properties and so-called ailing owners.

Sports Illustrated, in all fairness, did contact Raiders CEO Amy Trask for comment. Unfortunately, Trask says, the magazine omitted much of what she had to say in response.

But not this.

"This is not a story about the Oakland Raiders being sold. This is not a story about the team relocating,'' Trask said Tuesday as she left Denver. "This is a story about two gentlemen, Eddie DeBartolo and Carmen Policy, who clearly are drinking too much of Carmen's recently bottled wine.''

Policy's 10-acre vineyard in Napa County and his longtime dream of being a vintner might be bearing fruit.

Trask -- who speaks publicly only with Davis' specific blessing -- says Eddie and Carmen's dream of owning the Raiders is pure fantasy.

"The only look those two are going to get at this team is if they want to watch it on television,'' said Trask, adding emphatically that the Raiders are not for sale.

Now or, apparently, upon Davis' death.

"Al Davis currently has, and will continue to have, total control of the Raiders,'' she said, emphasizing the words "total control."

"And that will continue in perpetuity.''

Meaning, Davis has a succession plan firmly in place.

Trask was not specific, but it's believed in team circles that Davis would bequeath his stake in the Raiders either to his wife, Carol, or his son, Mark, who is becoming a daily fixture at the team's Alameda facility.

And what of the rumors about Davis' health?

The man does appear frail. When he was first spotted using a walker at training camp last summer, it prompted speculation that Davis is battling a debilitating illness such as Parkinson's.

True, he did not attend the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, which set tongues wagging farther. He also did not attend the team's minicamp the week after the NFL Draft.

"The rumors about his health are false. Al is as healthy and as vital as ever,'' Trask said. "First of all, he had no reason to attend the combine when we had people in place there and he could watch the workouts on the NFL Network.

"Second, he has not gone to the May minicamp for the last five or six years, at least. So why is that an issue all of a sudden?''

And those rumors of the Raiders conducting secret visits to vacant land in Sacramento, scouting potential stadium sites? More hooey, Trask said.

The Raiders' secretive nature, the type of public-relations camouflage that could make Opus Dei look like it's open for membership, makes them a bull's-eye for gossip.

But if DeBartolo is openly speculating about an owner's health in a national magazine as a means of getting a foothold back into the NFL, then the league strongly should consider whether it wants that type of person in its fold.


Superman Returns - See The New Trailer Here!

Ok, I've got to admit I'm still the 10 year old when it comes to my desire to see movie trailers of special-effects-laden films -- this one -- Superman Returns -- is certainly that. It's a good trailer. But I must admit the story line bringing Superman and Lois Lane together via Lex Luthor is rather "played."

I think the superhero movie that's not been written has someone -- Wonder Woman? -- fighting a real world problem and finding it more complex than first believed.

Well, here's the trailer: - Dweebish-Looking (And Acting) Garden Variety Dude Star of Soap-Style Video Series

Man, I've seen everything. For some reason, the producers of "" decided to select the most dweebish-looking garden variety dude anyone can find on the streets of Oakland for their online soap-video series about a guy who's dating three women. Still, it's an interesting tie in between their website and MySpace. Indeed, it seems like a slick kind of advertisement for MySpace.

Well, here's the video below. But before you look at it, I've got to warn you the guy can't seem to keep his finger out of his earloab. Man, that's grating! Plus, he's got the most ridiculous wise cracks. The only reason to watch is the story's interesting and the chick's moderately hot. Other than that, I give them some major credit for inventiveness. It's actually a bit simpler to do than "Rocketboom" -- which remind me that I forgot to check it out today.

"Tar Baby" - My Lawyer Has Another Take

So, I was complaining about White House Press Secretary Tony Snow's "tar baby" comment, when he said "What's wrong with that? It's not racist. He's talking about the Tar Baby. It's a character." When I reminded him that it's also a term used to poorly refer to someone black, he winced. Oh, and he's black.

Just goes to show that some people look at things differently. I just know that I've never used to the term.

MacBook Obsession!

Wow, it seems everyone that's into computers has some interest in Apple's new MacBook. Just check out MacBook Freak!

American Idol - Katharine McPhee and Taylor Hicks - Why Does She Get Top Billing?

I'm just interested. I may miss this -- or, maybe not. I wish it were like, where I can tune in at any time.

McPhee, Hicks vie for 'American Idol' crown
Associated Press

LOS ANGELES - Katharine McPhee, the born-for-Broadway babe, and mop-topped manic dancer Taylor Hicks faced the music Wednesday on the season finale of "American Idol."

The choice for TV viewers was between the sultry McPhee, whose trained voice was shown to perfection Tuesday on the standard "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," and the raw sound and footloose moves of Hicks, who made his mark on Stevie Wonder's "Living for the City."

It was Katharine vs. Taylor, McPheever vs. the Soul Patrol fans, with a recording contract and the fifth "Idol" title up for grabs.

Last season's victor, Carrie Underwood of Checotah, Okla., was scheduled to perform.

McPhee, 22, was the first Los Angeles native to make it big on "American Idol," with a shot at becoming the only winner outside the South or Midwest. With a singer-vocal coach mom behind her and a starlet's beauty, McPhee looked and sounded groomed for success.

Hicks, 29, of Birmingham, Ala., whose thatch of prematurely gray hair helped him stand out from the pack, had barely survived the first audition at which judge Simon Cowell warned he didn't have a chance of advancing in the contest.

They weren't as odd a finals pairing as Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken, but close.

McPhee attended the prestigious Boston Conservatory for a semester; Hicks has been a fixture on honky-tonk stages. McPhee skillfully played to the cameras, all calculated seduction; Hicks stomped across the set, wildly enough that Cowell compared him to a drunken dad at a wedding.

The finale closes out a relatively tame contest compared to seasons past, when jammed phone lines, technical glitches and annoyingly untalented singers drew complaints from fans. Last year, judge Paula Abdul denied an ex-competitor's claims of an affair in 2003.

This season's biggest jolt came when rocker Chris Daughtry of McLeansville, N.C., was voted out before the finale. Many observers had predicted he would win the contest after routinely drawing praise from the judges and online support.

Despite the lack of offstage drama, or because of it, this edition of "American Idol" was the most-watched yet. Compared to last year, the show was up 14 percent in total viewers with an average weekly audience of 30.3 million - impressive growth for an established program.

The Tuesday and Wednesday episodes routinely ranked as the top-rated TV shows, drawing 28 million or more viewers. The series also is seen via delayed broadcast or satellite delivery in more than 150 other countries.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Is Lou Dobbs Racist? I Want To Know.

Look, everytime I'm tuned into CNN as I'm working and the time happens to change to where his show comes on, Lou Dobbs can't seem to help basing his show around immigration, boarder patrols and Latino-bashing

If you doubt me, stay tuned to this blog and I'll present transcripts and whatever else I can get on the Lou Dobbs show. I'm sick of this stuff.

Maybe the CNN producers watched the movie "Network" one too many times!

Massive Air Travel Problem On United Airlines and Other Companies

In light of CNN Ali Velshi's comments on air travel, I had to report my experience of last week. I had deplaned in Chicago's O'Hare Airport from Atlanta, where after waiting "stand-by, non-revenue" I did make that flight into the Windy City -- my home town.

But I wasn't going to Chicago, I was travellin back to my current home in Oakland, CA. My plan was to get on the 6:35 out to San Francisco. But I -- and many other -- discovered that flight and about 10 other flights were massively overbooked and because of a cancelled plane that came from Boston on the way to San Francisco, with one stop in Chicago. It never got out of Chicago.

As a results, a group of 30 passengers -- some revenue and others non-revenue standby like me -- ended up getting bumped from flight after flight. I ended up staying overnight at the O'Hare Hilton. (Here's a tip. If you find that you have to stay overnight in Chicago because of a flight overbooking problem, and you're travelling on United, go to their customer service desk near gate B-8 and look for a pink flyer in a plastic stand that presents an "800" number. Call that number to get a voucher code for the O'Hare Hilton. With the pink voucher, which you present at the hotel which itself is right accross the street from Terminal One, you can get a room for about $90 -- a $200 break of the regular rate.)

The next day, I went back to the terminal and saw many of the same people as one Monday. After trying four flights, I finally got on a specially-scheduled plane sent to San Francisco. United had placed this plane -- a 757 -- into service to releave the giant bottleneck that occured.

During this ordeal, I made a new friend, and saw some interesting interactions between United Airlines staffers at gate B-22. There was one woman working her butt off checking people in with no help for some time until two others came over; but they all were working on three -- not one but three -- flights at once.

This is terrible. I now long for the days when the airlines were subsidized and we could trust the airlines. Now, on the eve of what is going to be the largest travel period since after World War Two, we've got a broken system that may just crush under this new, great weight.

Madonna's Controversial "Crucifiction" Opening Concert Act - Video

You've got to see it to believe it, but here's Madonna strapped to a giant, modern cross and singing one of her hits "Live to Tell" to open her Crucifiction Concert Tour show in LA.

The scene, which you can see below, has already upset some religious groups. But you know Madonna planned to do that all the time.


Madge's 'crucifiction' act upsets Church

Indo-Asian News Service

New York, May 23, 2006

Pop superstar Madonna has once again upset religious leaders when she sang a song while hanging form a giant mirrored cross as video screens showed images of third-world poverty.

According to, the Church of England made a statement saying: "Why would someone with so much talent seem to feel the need to promote herself by offending so many people?"

Madonna performs during her concert at the Forum in Inglewood, California on Sunday, May 21, 2006.
David Muir of the Evangelical Alliance said: "Madonna's use of Christian imagery is an abuse and it is dangerous." He called for her to "drop it from the tour".

With Larry Allen and Jonas Jennings, San Francisco 49ers O-Line Taking On An New Shape

My question is will the 49ers new scheme give Alex Smith a timed window to throw in, or will it cause him to throw without crisp, set footwork and receiver timing. In Oakland, Norv Turner didn't install the kind of precise option-route offense one would like to see in today's game. Was that him, or Al Davis? I'm less concerned with the size of the line than with the team's offensive design. We shall see.


"In 2005, Mike Nolan tried to establish the San Francisco 49ers as a power running team. He lured massive tackle Jonas Jennings from Buffalo with a lucrative free agent contract and drafted two punishing offensive linemen in the first three rounds (David Baas-2nd, Adam Snyder-3rd).

However, Nolan's plan went off the rails early in the season when Jennings suffered a season-ending labrum injury and Jeremy Newberry's battered knees kept him out of most games and every practice. Reluctant to throw his freshly drafted rookies into the fire so soon, Nolan brought in veteran tackle Anthony Clement on the left side with disastrous results. Only when Snyder moved into the left tackle spot and Newberry withdrew himself from the rotation did the Niners have consistent success in the running game.

This year will be a different story. The left side is pretty much locked down with the return of Jennings and the addition of Larry Allen but competitions remain open at the other three spots.

At C, Newberry may never be healthy enough to practice again and Nolan has already stated that if he cannot practice, he will not play. That leaves the starting job to Eric Heitmann, who finished the season there last year and has been handling the duties this offseason.

At RG, Justin Smiley is the incumbent, but Baas will challenge hard for that spot in training camp. While Smiley is more of an athletic, technical guard, Baas is a punishing, powerful mauler who may be a better fit for the nasty attitude Nolan is trying to instill in the trenches.

And at RT, Adam Snyder is poised to unseat former first-rounder Kwame Harris. During his three seasons in the league, Harris has not distinguished himself, performing adequately in the running game but missing tons of assignments in pass protection.

However it plays out, the position battles in this year's camp will give the San Francisco 49ers a lot more depth along the line this season should the injury bug strike again."

Oakland Raiders Load Up On Free Agent Wide Receivers -

According to this great and funny article by Anthony Carroll, the Raiders have a large group of free agent wideouts in camp, all signed on May 5th.

"This offseason, Oakland has been busy stockpiling their frequent flyer miles, transporting every undrafted wide receiver under the sun from their couch to California.

Trip one: John Madsen - Utah

Standing 6-5, 220-pounds, it's not jaw dropping to see Madsen in a silver and black practice outfit. In 2005, he suffered a season-ending injury to his fibula with three games remaining in his collegiate career. As a result, the Utah Ute missed the NFL combine, further narrowing his chances to make his way into the NFL. Despite missing the final three games of his senior season, Madsen still hauled in 55 passes for 672 yards and six touchdowns. After receiving a call from the Raiders' front office, Madsen mentioned Warren Sapp and Randy Moss, saying, "I've idolized them since high school." It's now four years later, and the door has been cracked open to extend that admiration into affiliation.

Trip two: Rick Gatewood - Montana State

Gatewood, a Montana State graduate, was another one of the four undrafted wideouts signed by Oakland on May 5th. The 22-year-old Bobcat stands 5-11, 192 pounds in frame--relatively small for a Raiders' pass catcher. However, in 2004 and 2005, Gatewood posted surprisingly big numbers. As a junior and senior, he caught 131 balls for 1,759 yards and 13 touchdowns. Unlike Madsen, Gatewood participated in the March combine festivities, posting 40 times of 4.57 seconds and 4.55 seconds, while registering a 37 1/2-inch vertical jump.

Trip three: Will Buchanan - Southern California

Buchanan may have squeezed his 6-3, 185-pound frame into a sedan to make his short trip to Oakland. At USC, Buchanan took advantage of his distinguished last name, playing mostly as a defensive back, along with wide receiver. Overshadowed by star wide receivers Dwayne Jarrett and Steve Smith, Buchanan wasn't even momentarily glanced over by the USC coaching staff. At wide receiver, he caught no balls in 2005 and just four in 2004. Overall, the signing of the wideout-converted-cornerback is a bit questionable; but, then again, so was drafting a quarterback named Ronald Curry.

Trip four: Jayson Boyd - Texas at El Paso

For now, Jason Boyd will reunite with UTEP teammate Thomas Howard in Oakland. Measuring 6-4, 220-pounds, Boyd is an athletic prospect with deep-ball potential. At the pre-draft combine, Boyd ran the 40-yard-dash in 4.59 seconds and registered a 35 1/2-inch vertical jump. In 2002, he played as a member of Oregon State, catching just 10 passes for 169 yards and a single touchdown. Thereafter, he transferred to UTEP in 2004, catching an impressive 42 balls for 560 yards and five touchdowns. In his final season, Boyd was sidelined with groin and foot injuries for half of the 2005 season; he finished the year with just 12 receptions for 222 yards.

Trip five: Burl Toler - California

The 23-year-old Golden Bear last played in 2004, when he caught just eight balls for 78 yards. However, in 2003, the 6-2, 190-pounder filled in nicely for the team's 2002 leading ball-catcher, grabbing 48 passes for 609 yards and three touchdowns. Reflecting back upon his walk-on performance at California, Toller commented, "My dad said I should never give up; good things can still happen. Making the team was a testament to what my dad had been telling me." Obviously, that advice has stuck with him years later; he is now battling his way towards an NFL career.

Along with seventh-round draft choice, Kevin McMahan, Oakland's receiving corps includes Randy Moss, Jerry Porter, Doug Gabriel, Ronald Curry, Alvis Whitted, Johnnie Morant, and Carlos Francis.

Rest assured, a handful of the above names won't make it into Week One of the regular season.

But, then again, a bit of friendly competition amongst colleagues never hurts.

In fact, it only helps."

Anthony Carroll can be contacted at

Reggie McKenzie - Packers Director Of Personnel Being Interviewed For Texans GM Job - Houston Chronicle

The unwritten story here is that both McKenzie and Rick Smith of the Denver Broncos are black, which is a sign that we're entering an era where African American front office execs are being considered for higher positions because they're well-acquainted with the head coach. In this case, both McKenzie and Smith played with and worked with new Texans Head Coach Gary Kubiak

GM candidate McKenzie familiar to Texans brass
Personnel man, Sherman teamed with the Packers

Tuesday, May 23rd, 2006 - Houston Chronicle

When Reggie McKenzie arrives in Houston for his interview, the introductions won't take long.

The longtime director of pro personnel for the Green Bay Packers is scheduled to visit the Texans to discuss the general manager vacancy on Wednesday. Before he arrives, coach Gary Kubiak hopes to sit down with Mike Sherman, now the Texans' assistant head coach/offense, to get a report on the latest candidate.

Kubiak is familiar with McKenzie, but it goes back to their days as players in the NFL. Sherman worked closely with McKenzie, 43, just last season when Sherman was the Packers' head coach.

"They did such a great job in Green Bay, and (McKenzie) was such a big part of that," Kubiak said. "We know each other, and I respect him very, very much and the job he's done. Mike's the one that knows him very well on the business standpoints, so I'll catch up on that."

Sherman said he hasn't spoken to McKenzie since the interview was scheduled but wasn't surprised the Texans are pursuing McKenzie for the job.

"Here or somewhere else, yes, I think he's at a point in his career where that is certainly his next step," Sherman said.

Rising fast

McKenzie joined the Packers after a seven-year career as a linebacker with the Los Angeles Raiders (1985-88), Arizona Cardinals (89-90) and San Francisco 49ers (1992). McKenzie and Kubiak first met as players when Kubiak was the backup quarterback for the Denver Broncos from 1983 to 1991.
While Kubiak went into coaching after his playing career ended, McKenzie headed almost immediately to the front office. He was named the Packers' pro personnel assistant in 1994 and was promoted to director of pro personnel just three years later.

In 2000, Sherman was named the Packers' head coach and started working closely with McKenzie.

"I relied on him an awful lot," said Sherman, who spent six years as the Packers' head coach and three as their general manager. "He was a guy who always had a good pulse on our team, as well as other teams in the league.

"He's a diligent worker. You could ask him about any player in the league, and he'd know the player inside and out because he was constantly looking at tape. I don't think I've ever walked in his office and he didn't have tape on watching teams around the league and studying players. That's obviously what his job is, but to do it as often as he did was a credit to his work ethic."

Sherman and McKenzie had a tremendous amount of success in Green Bay, compiling winning records in five seasons. The Packers won the NFC North division titles in 2002, 2003 and 2004.

"I think he's an excellent evaluator of players," Sherman said. "Not just on the talent side, but on the character side as well. He's just a good judge of people and of football players."

Texans owner Bob McNair traveled Monday to the owners' meetings in Denver and will return to his office Wednesday. The Texans are still lining up other candidates in the search for Charley Casserly's replacement.

Rick Smith still in running

The top two candidates are McKenzie and Rick Smith, the Denver Broncos' assistant general manager, who interviewed for the job last week. McNair has made it clear that the person hired must be able to work well with Kubiak, a criteria Sherman said he can clearly understand.
"It seems like that's a focus of this to make sure we have everybody on the same page, seeking the same things," Sherman said. "I think that's a big part of the process, having somebody you can communicate with on a daily basis as a head coach that knows what you want in your defense and your offense."

2006 NFL Draft Recap Part Two - Bill Chackles

The 2006 Draft Recap Part II-Prospecting for Draft Gold

So just who are these players who get picked on the second day of the draft each
year? Are they the guys who were the stars of their class in high school, and went to college on that big fat scholarship, but sometime during their 4 years (or 5 or 6) they fell back to the rest of the pack and became "ordinary" or "average." Or possibly they had a "sub-standard" season as a sophomore or junior, and didn't improve enough the following year to erase memories of the past. So many of them go from "can't miss 1st round selections to "lucky to be drafted at all." Some however are rare but raw unpolished bodies of work that could become the backbone of a championship contender.

Some players who might have that type of impact are: Georgia's Max Jean-Gilles, an OG selected by the Eagles with the 99th Pick (#2 in round 4) and Jason Avant, the WR from Michigan selected by the Eagles 10 picks later. Both these players will bolster the Birds passing offense. The Niners selection of the versatile Michael Robinson (WR/KR/RB/QB) will also help San Francisco's crumbling offense.

The Jets and Giants both had two choices in round 4. Gang Green selected Brad Smith, a QB/WR from Missouri, and RB Leon Washington from Florida State. The Giants selected Barry Cofield, a DT from Northwestern, and Guy Wimper, an OT from East Carolina. Both teams appear to be drafting from the need for depth at those positions, but all four are capable of stepping in as starters should the need arise. The Dolphins chose OT Joe Toledo from the University of Washington. Many scouts had Toledo ranked in the top 10 tackles in this class, and his value had only risen in the days before the draft.

Round 5 saw two players who could become the steals of the entire draft, let along the second day. Dallas selected Florida State FS Pat Watkins, who is both fast and strong enough to contribute in several special teams roles. Cincinnati selected Florida State OLB A.J. Nicholson. A.J. had some problems of a personal nature, but if that is truly behind him, he could be the best LB in this class. Seattle chose USC's David Kirtman, the FB who cleared the way for Reggie Bush and LenDale White. Kirtman was also a long snapper in high school. Also in the round, the Eagles went for WR/KR Jeremy Bloom from Colorado. Bloom is noted for his Olympic Skiing career, but he claims he is now committed to football.

Round 6 & 7 saw lots of players go who were considered higher selections just days before. Some will develop into solid players, and some will contribute briefly before becoming afterthoughts of this class. The cowboys selection of DT Montavious Stanley of Louisville (#182 in rd 6) bears special mention, as he has a boatload of talent, but must live up to his upside potential. The Bengals took QB/WR Reggie McNeal from Texas A&M, who could develop into a solid receiver if he learns to focus on the ball. The also selected WR Bennie Brazell, the LSU wide out. The Bears selected Penn State's Tyler Reed, who had a good career at OG for Penn State. Atlanta took local product DJ Shockley, the QB from Georgia. Many had him as the 4th best QB in the draft after Jay Cutler, but fall to round 7 he did. What all these second day players have in common is that some scouts and personnel directors saw enough Film on them to moe then just take a chance, or else they'd have been signed as free agents instead of being drafted.