Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Obama Visit To San Francisco: Protestors Few, But Vocal

As this blog post is written, President Barack Obama's undoubtedly holding court in San Francisco's Masonic Auditorium. And while a substantial crowd turned out to see him, well into the 2,000 range if not more by estimate, there were some protestors. Frankly, only a handful of them and far out-numbered by Obama supporters.

Including this blogger.

The San Francisco Police officers I talked to said that everything was orderly, or as one cop put it: "Well, we haven't had to arrest anyone and take them to jail." Which makes an officers job easy: all they had to do was stand around and watch, and there were a lot of them who did that.

Police and security were all around the Masonic and the Nob Hill area, from two blocks uphill to two blocks downhill, and even on the roof of the theater itself. Everywhere you looked, security was superbly visible.

I didn't stay long enough to get a glimpse of the President's vehicle, but I did have a number of on video conversations.   Most notable were with people I disagree with.  While I talked to folks who support Obama as I do, it's fun to chat with people who have different points of view.  Some understandable, others worthy of challenge, and some just plain, er, different. 

Here's one example.

My first talk with a man I see at almost every notable political event I've attended in San Francisco and Oakland over the years. He's a small Asian gentleman who carries a sign that reads "Thornburgh" and other words, and when you talked to him years ago, would say "Oja Wallah, Okgie, Gaga."

Well, that's what it sounded like to me.

Now, he's much more intelligible: "Well, I met Channel Five and some of the news people, and told em about the populations of other galaxies that - that I'm the movie star."

Well, at least that's an improvement over year's past.

More serious and far more intelligible was the group of Armenian-Americans who say President Obama has not kept his campaign pledge to recognize The Armenian Genocide on the eve of its 96th anniversary.

The woman with the Statue of Liberty crown said "I'm pretty sure he's (not recognizing The Armenian Genocide) because the American Government has very good relations with the Turkish Government."

I checked this, and according to the New York Times, President Obama did acknoweldge the terrible event, but did so without alienating Turkey. Obama said:

"On this solemn day of remembrance, we pause to recall that 95 years ago one of the worst atrocities of the 20th century began. In that dark moment of history, 1.5 million Armenians were massacred or marched to their death in the final days of the Ottoman Empire."

While that's not enough, and does fall short of his campaign statements, it went a long way beyond what other American presidential administrations have done. For example, Bill Clinton worked to block an Armenian Genocide bill from passing the house, and Obama's statement directly used the word "genocide" whereas Clinton's statement of April 24, 2000, and of years before, did not.

But that's the thing some Liberal activists don't see with President Obama: he's good at moving the needle in the direction they desire on most issues, but they want him to push the thing all the way to redline. Thus, the source of much of Liberal angst about Obama. Not in this corner, however.

Almost nothing the President has done has disappointed me, except the Economic Stimulus Package: it should have been 1.2 trillion or 1.5 trillion in size, not $800 million. The problem was former Economic Advisor Larry Summers deliberately hid the bigger package from the President, because he and other advisors didn't think Congress would go for it because of its' size.

That was dumb, played to the overall "dumbing down" of America, and got us into more trouble, because now, after the 2010 Midterm Election, it's harder to get any stimulus through because of a set of massively thick-headed Republicans who either forgot or didn't learn basic macroeconomics.  Someone needs to tell those knuckleheads the "G" in GDP = C+I+G+(E-I) stands for GOVERNMENT!!

But I digress. 

The economic conversation spilled over into my talk with a nice man by the way of Michael Lyon, who did not support Obama in 2008 (or anyone) and says today that Obama is "captive" of corporate America, and wants to reduce Social Security.


Mr. Lyon said on video he would be open to be proven wrong, and here it come, his reason for change of his mind.

According to The Huffington Post, Obama said he would not slash or reduce Social Security benefits. Where Mr. Lyon got the opposite idea, I do not know.

But, at least Mr. Lyon's open to listening. That's more than I can say for a lot of "birthers."

And Donald Trump.

Stay tuned.

Oakland Human Trafficking Rally Draws Mayor Quan

This, in a strange way, is a follow-up to my blog of Sunday called Oakland Rapper Alleged Sex Predator? It started with a totally unrelated phone call from a friend, who asked me to cover a rally planned for the Wednesday of this week; the rally featured in the video that was made today.

Oakland's faced with an enormous problem: human trafficking. Human trafficking is where children, girls, are literally bought and sold for sex. According to the FBI, Oakland has been a hotbed for this activity, and has maintained this distinction since 2003.

The rally, organized by Nola Brantley, the Executive Director of, (in photo) met at 19th and International Boulevard today, and drew a crowd of about 200 people, including Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, who then marched down the street, some carrying signs of protest against the activity.

How bad is it? It's so bad that a prostitute was seen on that corner at about 10:30 AM that morning, and one onlooker said he could not talk about it on camera because his friend talked and got shot. Not kidding.

Mayor Quan and Ms. Brantley says that we all must get involved in stopping this major problem in Oakland. But even with the FBI's 2003 designation, Mayor Quan says the street part of the problem is less than it was then, but now we have The Internet. "I think there's was a lot more prostitution in Oakland, when I was first elected (as councilmember) eight years ago. Many more streets. I think now, unfortunately, much of it has gone off the streets and online. And we have a whole undercover group that just answers Internet ads, and bus people that way."

And while incidents of child prostitution are less than years ago, Mayor Quan says that Oakland Police are arresting people for online child prostitution activities much more than in the past.

Ms. Brantley says who to blame for the problem isn't one person, but all of us, society as a whole. "If we have a problem in '03 and we (still) have a problem in '11, then something ain't being done about it."

You can get involved in helping stop child prostitution by visiting, or attending a fund-raiser Thursday, April 21, at Z Cafe, at 27th and Broadway in Oakland from 5 PM to 11 PM.
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2011 NFL Draft Fullback Rankings

(This is the 8th Installment of the "Pro Draft Report" presented by Football Reporters Online)
By Rafael Garcia

Sr. Contributing Writer-Southeast Region-Football Reporters Online

1. Stanley Havili FB USC 6'0" 227 lbs. 40 Time: 4.64 Sr.

Havili is not your hard runner but can be very effective. He shows some patience and follows his blockers. He is quick and can make the cuts necessary. Has balance and power to get between the tackles. When he gets to the edge he can get you yards. He has good field vision and has the knack of making the tackler miss. Good in the open field with the ability to make the sharp cut to avoid a tackler. He can also do some blocking in the passing game. He picks up the blitzing player and plays strong. He will not blow you away with his power overall but will hold on to the ball. Has good hands out of the backfield and will run good routes. Needs to work on his open field blocking and decision making. Gets hurt now and then but often plays through the pain. Can improve on his straight burst to through the line after the snap. Takes to lunging too much at times which is a reason he does not hold his block as long as he should. Projected Round: 2

2. Charles Clay FB Tulsa 6'3" 245 lbs. 40 Time: 4.69 Sr.

Clay is strong and the type of back that will drag his tackler and still get the yards needed. He is versatile and has played the H-back spot. He works well using his head fakes and some jukes. Can block one man at a time not more than that. Uses his arms well too. Has a good base and will protect his quarterback. Will work in an offense where the quarterback likes to use his FB often. Has played special teams which will be a requirement on the next level. Has tendency to run too high and give defenders too much to hit. Needs to have better field vision and awareness. Needs to become a better route runner and not take so long to get open. Does not put ball on outside hand like he should when carrying the ball. He must work on sustaining his block longer when getting to the second level. Has a tendency to get injured and be inconsistent. Projected Round: 3

3. Owen Marecic FB Stanford 6'0" 246 lbs. 40 Time: 4.80

Marecic is a big strong guy. Loves to hit and be hit hard. Has very good technique and a fair football IQ. He is effective in pass rush blocking and has good knee bend. Can catch the ball out of the backfield with his good hands. Get the yards after the catch and can pop a would be tackler good. Will work out good in short yardage situations. Very competitive player that will earn the respect of his peers in the future. Does not possess the speed and quickness needed to sustain himself game in and game out. needs to work on run blocking skills and he won't blow you away carrying the ball. He needs to work on his field vision, awareness and reading the defense. He will be a project at best and may get a better look if he were to try his hand at linebacker. Projected Round: 4

4. Shaun Chapas FB Georgia 6'2" 247 lbs 40 Time: 4.87 Sr.

Chapas is like a throwback who is tough and stays with his man till the end. Good lead blocker when he uses his feet properly. He will hit you hard and is good on pass protection. Has good awareness and and can catch the ball out of the backfield. Gets to the second level and hits the linebacker hard. He will need to work on his technique and blocking. He will not overwhelm his opponent so he will need to bulk up and get stronger. Has a problem recognizing where his assignment is. He needs to get into better position to catch the ball. Misses his block due to lack of mobility. He will never be a factor in the running game so he will have a lot of special teams work. Projected Round: 5

5. Henry Hynoski FB Pittsburgh 6'0" 257 lbs. 40 Time: 5.06 Jr.

Hynoski is a very aggressive player with the knack to block one man and hit another too. He has the power to drive his defender back. He has shown that he has that ability to reach away from him to make the catch. Very good football IQ. Long arms will help sustain his block. Has the athleticism and will block in the run game. Looks to benefit as a lead blocker with his frame. He will help in pass protection too. Does not have the speed and quickness needed for the position. This limits his ability to be a difference maker in the run game. Will not get you yards after the catch in the passing game. Needs work on field vision and recognition of the play around him. Can play too high and does not have good knee bend. Footwork is really suspect at best. He needs to finish the play and not quit when defender gets the best of him. Projected Round: 5

6. Anthony Sherman FB Connecticut 5'11" 239 lbs. 40 Time: 4.70 Sr.

Sherman has a good build for his position. He gets good leverage in run and pass blocking. Good at making the block and then creating space for his running mate. Has a good base and works the point of attack. He is not the most versatile back and needs a a lot of work. His footwork is below average and he needs to learn to use his hands. He will not make any kind of impact on any offense as a ball carrier. Struggles in the passing game once he catches the ball. Does not have the ability to make tacklers miss in the open field. Does not have the field vision to change a play or see the oncoming hit. The fact that he not very versatile will make it hard to stay with an NFL team. He may fit in at special teams, but even that is a reach. Projected Round: 6

7. Robert Hughes FB Notre Dame 5'11" 245 lbs 40 Time: 4.72 Sr.

Hughes is very strong and has good size for fullback. He will put in the work and it shows on the field. There is no questioning his heart and effort. He has soft hands as a receiver and is good at blocking on special teams. He will study his craft hard and will earn the respect of players. He does not have the speed or agility to make it on a team.. The fact is he lacks the pop to be a lead blocker. He is not very athletic and needs to greatly improve his footwork. He is not very effective in the passing and running game at blocking. Will not wow anyone at the next level and may have to settle for being on the practice squad. His lack of overall talent will hurt his chances. Projected Round: 7

8. Ryan Taylor FB North Carolina 6'3" 250 lbs. 40 Time: 4.76 Sr.

Taylor has the speed to get off the snap of the ball quickly. Has good hand work on the defender and possess good lateral movement. Able to sustain his block and hold back his defender. Very good at sealing off man and loves to attack the play. He can pull a bit and has good football awareness. Though he can sustain a block, he will have trouble keeping a stronger man down. He appears to need work on his field vision and reading the defense. Does not have the anchor necessary to make in the long haul. Needs work on his balance and staying off the ground so much. Does not have a lot of experience in the passing game. His leverage was good in college but there will be questions at the next level. Projected Round: 7

9. Brett Morse FB Iowa 6'2" 235 lbs. 40 Time: 4.89 Sr.

Morse s a big kid that plays physical. He has the right size for his position and and has good football smarts. Very competitive player that will play every week if he makes a team and sticks. He can provided a punishing lead block. Plays until the whistle and gives maximum effort. Always stays with his block in the passing and running game. Plays too stiff and straight up giving defenders more of a target. Does not have the best speed and needs work catching the football. Will not get you many yards after the catch and his field vision is average at best. Is weak at pass protection and cannot pick up the blitz too good. It is going to be hard for him to make a team as a fullback and it may be just as hard to make special teams. This kid is a prospect at best, but he will give it his all. Projected Round: FA

10. Kenny Younger FB Virginia Tech 5'11" 228 lbs. 40 Time: 4.80 Sr.

Younger is very flexible and agile. He has the ability to get that lead block and contain his man. Will provide that block at the second level and is a decent cut-blocker. Can get to the edge and seal off his man. He has average hands in the receiving game and can greatly improve on that. His size will not help keep a job in the NFL. He has not produced much in the run game during his collegiate career. On top of that he had only four receptions to further hinder his chances. He missed a season due to a knee injury and that will be looked at too. Has played some at defensive end and tight end but that won't help him. Overall, Younger will have to go above and beyond and commit like never before to have a chance to even make a practice squad. Projected Round: FA

11. Patrick DiMarco FB North Carolina 6'1" 240 lbs. 40 Time: 4.75 Sr.

DiMarco is one tough cookie like one of the old school players. He is considered one of the best isolation blockers on college football. He has great technique and a good football IQ. He is not big enough or fast enough to make a difference. It will be hard for him to stick on a team. Projected Round: FA

12. Jon Hoese FB Minnesota 6'2" 236 lbs. 40 Time: 4.90 Sr.

Hoese is a tough nose player that has good size for a fullback. He gives maximum effort and finishes his blocks. Is not the most athletic or flexible player. Will try to make it as a special team player where he did a lot of work in college. Projected Round: FA

13. Ben Guidulgi FB Cincinnati 6'1" 232 lbs. 40 Time: 4.77 Sr.

Guidulgi has the size and good hands for a fullback. May give a team good production in the passing game. Does not posses the necessary speed and versatility. Needs a lot of work on blocking skills and special teams to make it.

14. Lucas Cox FB Georgia Tech 5'11" 243 lbs. 40 Time: 4.80 Sr.

Cox is a big strong player that plays physical. Good lead blocker as well. Will need to work on the fundamentals like footwork, hand placement and awareness. Projected Round: FA

15. Kevin Cooper FB Tennessee 6'0" 242 lbs. 40 Time: 4.76 Sr.

Cooper has good football vision. Excels at lead blocking and hard work. Needs to learn how to be more of a factor in the offense. Work on pass catching. Projected Round: FA

16. Brian Maddox FB South Carolina 5'10" 230 lbs. 40 Time: 4.56 Sr.

Maddox is a versatile back that can be effective in the running and passing game. He has a knack for getting the ball into the end zone. Must bulk up to sustain day-to-day grind of the NFL. Projected Round: FA

17. Marcus Sims FB North Alabama 6'0" 235 lbs. 40 Time: 4.50 Sr.

Sims is a very good blocker and is effective in the running game. Will need to work very hard at everything to keep a job on Sunday's. Projected Round: FA

18. Matt Dunham FB Florida State 6'1" 258 lbs. 40 Time: 4.74 Sr.

Dunham is a big guy that can provide a pop off the ball. Does not have a lot of experience at his position, so he has lots of studying to do. Projected Round: FA

19. Dan Dierking FB Purdue 5'9" 195 lbs. 40 Time: 4.54 Sr.

Dierking has been pretty good in the passing and running game. His size will hurt him so he will need to add weight and muscle. Projected Round:FA

20. Bryant Ward FB Oklahoma St. 5'11" 241 lbs. 40 Time: 4.95 Sr.

Ward is a good solid lead blocker with size. Has athleticism and loves to play the power game. Needs to work on filed vision and awareness. Projected Round: FA

21. Dean Rogers FB UC Davis 6'1" 242 lbs. 40 Time: 4.97 Sr.

22. Ryan Mahaffey FB Northern Iowa 6'2" 256 lbs. 40 Time: 4.87 Sr.

23. Mark Moundros FB Michigan 6'1" 234 lbs. 40 Time: 4.87 Sr.

24. Moncell Allen FB Kentucky 5'6" 237 lbs. 40 Time: 4.98 Sr.

25. Patrick Hanrahan FB Mississippi St. 5'11" 235 lbs. 40 Time: 4.92 Sr.

26. Johdrick Morris FB Southern Mississippi 6'3" 218 lbs. 40 Time: 4.81 Sr.

27. James McCluskey Boston College FB 6'2" 252 lbs. 40 Time: 4.78 Sr.

28. Jake Hutton FB Idaho St. 6'0" 228 lbs. 40 Time: 4.76 Sr.

29. Corday Clark FB McNeese St. 6'1" 234 lbs. 40 Time: 4.72 Sr.

30. Vai Tafuna FB Weber St. 6'1" 240 lbs. 40 Time: 4.87 Sr.