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Five takeaways from a controversial Rapids home loss

5 hours 57 min ago

COMMERCE CITY — The Colorado Rapids went a man down early and then ultimately were downed by NYCFC. In a controversial match that included the early send-off, a goal which had the Rapids livid and a late non-call which turned home fans into a tizzy, Gotham bested the mountain dwellers 2-1.

As NYCFC fights for the final playoff spot in the east, they controlled the ball for 78 percent of the match and won every single five-minute stretch. The visitors topped Colorado in shots at a staggering 29-8 in a dominating road performance. The boys in burgundy will concede that New York was sound but their quarrels with officiating they felt cost them a chance in the match.

Starlet Seb

Sebastian Anderson moved up from right back to right-wing on Saturday. His wonderful performance against Arsenal on Monday forced him to stay in the lineup. But his position has been occupied by Keegan Roseenbery who has yet to miss an MLS minute. Anderson pushed up and played a fantastic 32 minutes even scoring his first pro goal.

17-year-old Cole Bassett pushed the ball up to Jonathan Lewis, who made a great run into the box and crossed it back post. There the 16-years, 11-months, and 15-days old Anderson touched it in. All three players are young core Rapids that represent part of the future.

Officiating Offends

Less than a half-hour later Anderson’s night ended short. Going spikes up and earning a red card, the youngster was handed his first-ever ejection as well. It was the eighth time this season that the club has gone down to 10 men. They have six losses and two ties in those games, which accounts for more than half their losses.

“It was rash, a very quick call on a 16-year-old that just nicked a player,” interim head coach Conor Casey said.

What Anderson gave, he took away. But that was not the only call the Rapids didn’t like. The entire organization more or less gave the refs an earful for not calling offsides on NYCFC’s second goal.

“I saw a long ball with a player offsides,” Casey described. “Our player has to get the header and the ball falls to somebody else and there is no call. There was offsides it wasn’t called.”

Late in the game, Sam Nicholson was taken down on the edge of the box leaving Colorado feeling once again slighted.

“I’m speechless on that one,” Casey said. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”

Howard Hampered

Rapids star goalie Tim Howard exited the game just before halftime with a strained calf muscle and was replaced by Clint Irwin. It’s unclear how long the injury will set him back but Colorado has been extremely vigilant about monitoring his usage. Howard had made a highlight save moments earlier to notch his 1,750 in MLS history.

He is day to day and Colorado will re-evaluate him early next week.

Search and Destroy

It’s hard to judge style based on a game where the team played an hour down a man it seems as though the Rapids are settling into a counter-attacking style under interim head coach Conor Casey. What General Manager Padraig Smith dubbed “The Rapids Way” in a Denver Post op-ed a few years back indicated the style he wanted to see. Attacking, fun and ambitious soccer were amongst the goals. Whether it’s the current talent of the club or metamorphosis of the idea, the Rapids have been more likely to be without the ball for two-thirds of the game than with it.

There will likely be another change when the head coaching situation is settled, but for now, there are at least the seeds of his ideas in the new playing style.

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“We have speed, we defend well in the middle of the field,” Casey told. “We want to transition you can call it counter attacking if you like but we want to get to the goal quick and we’ve found success doing it.”

Streaky Soccer

The Rapids went winless through their first 12 games, unbeaten in their next seven and are now winless in their past three.

Smith has been pretty public that the interim title on Casey’s gig is meant in earnest. Colorado’s next game is in San Jose against a very good Earthquakes squad, there has to be a wonder if Smith has found his guy for the job and would be willing to make a change to start August. Casey’s leadership has been great and better than many expected given how green he is into coaching, just having retired from playing a few years back. Casey has made himself a serious candidate down the line and put himself in the rising assistants ranks in MLS.

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Dispute pulls CBS off the air for DirecTV customers

July 20, 2019 - 8:18pm

NEW YORK — A business dispute took CBS off the air for millions of satellite television customers of DirecTV and AT&T U-verse on Saturday.

CBS was black on satellite systems owned by AT&T in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and 14 other large cities across the United States. Both the television network and AT&T hurled accusations at each other for failure to agree on what CBS is paid for programming.

CBS said that while it didn’t want its customers caught in the middle, it is determined to fight for fair value. The network warned that the loss of CBS programming “could last a long time.”

AT&T countered in a statement provided to Variety that CBS is “a repeat blackout offender” that has pulled its programming from other carriers before in order to get its way.

Other cities affected are Philadelphia, Dallas, San Francisco, Boston, Atlanta, Tampa, Seattle, Detroit, Minneapolis, Miami, Denver, Sacramento, Pittsburgh and Baltimore.

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Kickin’ It with Kiz: So what’s reasonable definition of success for Joe Flacco in his first year as Broncos quarterback?

July 20, 2019 - 5:55pm

What a story it would be to have the quarterback who knocked the Broncos out of the 2012 playoffs with an incredible pass at Mile High return to Denver and win the Lombardi Trophy with the team he vanquished. You can bring out the bandwagon. I’m ready to jump on board.

Tom,  soothsayer

Kiz: Easy there, big fella. Can we play at least one preseason game before declaring Joe Flacco the savior?  I like his demeanor. Everyone likes his arm. But here’s a kindly reminder: As he enters his 12th year of NFL duty, Flacco has yet to throw 30 touchdowns or for 4,500 yards in a season. By definition, he’s a game manager. Since the day Peyton Manning retired, the Broncos have been stuck with the worst quarterback in the AFC West. If Flacco throws 24 TDs and 12 picks, while proving to be the No. 3 QB in the division behind Patrick Mahomes of Kansas City and Philip Rivers of San Diego, it would be an achievement worth cheering.

On the first day of training camp, you wrote a negative column on how few fans were wearing Flacco jerseys? Give it a rest! How about realizing 90-degree weather on a weekday as the reason for a low fan turnout? Sheesh! All my friends and I are optimistic.Go back to writing women’s soccer and the U.S.-hating Megan Rapinoe, please. You’re better at that!

Greg, Castle Rock

Kiz: Hey, buddy. Stick to sports. (Sorry, couldn’t help myself.)

Kiz, I always enjoy your reporting and non-sugarcoated approach. Manager Bud Black’s standard line about Rockies pitchers “not getting the ball down in the zone” after losses is getting repetitive and isn’t satisfying. What is the team doing about it?  Jon Gray, German Marquez and Kyle Freeland need better coaching. One of the of the organization’s blind spots is unfailing loyalty. Pitching coach Steve Foster is the latest example. What could it hurt to try a new pitching coach?

Dave, frustrated fan

Kiz:  Hate to break it to you, but I’m afraid the 25-man roster is more flawed than the coaching staff.

How do you keep pitching guru Black as the Rockies collapses? Defend him, if you can. Prior to the season, the Rockies pitching staff figured to be better than average, not the worst in baseball.

Jim, issuing pink slips

Kiz: So Black leads the Rockies to playoff appearances in two straight seasons for the first time in franchise history, and now he’s a bum? Inhale. Exhale. And give the guy a break. Do I always have to be Mr. Sunshine around here?

I love baseball. I love the Rockies.  I’m tired, however, of ownership treating the team as a business rather than a serious winner. Buy this team better pitching. Now! And please stop making the Rockies a farm team for the New York Yankees. Thank you, Kiz, for allowing me to vent my frustrations.

Mary Jean, Section 158

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Kiz: Baseball season? It’s all over except the venting. Now back to our regularly scheduled: Broncos!

And today’s parting shot is a fearless prediction for the Broncos’ record in 2019.

Vic Fangio = 11-6.

Jim, Colorado proud

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From 1971 Chevelle to 2019 Camaro, Sterling’s Deric Kramer drives fast

July 20, 2019 - 5:40pm

MORRISON — NHRA pro stock driver Deric Kramer is defined by a 1971 Chevrolet Chevelle SS, a car he rebuilt at age 15 in 2000 so he could drive it to Sterling High School once he obtained his license.

The muscle car was owned by his father, Dave Kramer, who drove it while attending a Minnesota high school in the 1970s. Dave sold it as a senior in college to pay for tuition but bought it back when he began his first professional job and was transferred to Sterling.

He wanted to pass the car on to his son.

“I started to make some money, and I wanted it back,” the elder Kramer said. “So I started tracking it and I found it — it went through two guys after I sold it and it got to the third guy and he was going to sell it because the rear end was out of it and it was smoking. So I bought it back and put a rear end back in it, and when Deric turned 15, we completely went through it.”

The father and his son needed to rebuild the engine. But the deal was, Dave would order the parts and Deric would be the mechanic while Dave ran the family business — operating two northeastern Colorado ethanol plants and one in Nebraska.

“I made him do the whole thing himself,” said Dave Kramer, who operates ethanol plans in Sterling, Yuma and Bridgeport, Neb. “He did it all.”

That ’71 Chevelle became a fixture at Sterling High’s parking lot and — while Deric said he never raced it at a drag strip — it became his first race car. He became a racer, and 17 years later the Colorado native has become a hotshot in pro stock — thanks to the financial backing from American Ethanol.

Kramer, who was second fastest among 17 entries after Friday’s qualifying sessions of the 40th Mile-High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway, owns his American Ethanol Camaro, and his father serves as the team’s general manager. The family business and American Ethanol are an ideal marriage for two parties interested in the same thing, and the drag racing part of it has taken off.

Kramer, 34, qualified No. 1 at the previous race in New Hampshire and won the race before that at Chicago. He has been racing pro stock since 2012, but all three of his career wins have come since the start of the 2018 season — since the team aborted its engine-building program and began leasing motors from high-powered KB Racing.

KR Racing drivers Jason Line and Greg Anderson are now his partners in an alliance similar to what Denver-based Furniture Row Racing had with Joe Gibbs Racing in NASCAR up until this season.

“They supply the power for our car,” Deric Kramer said. “Jason will come over and tune the motor. As far as everything else goes, we run our own program. We set up our car the way we feel it should be set up, and we go racing. But they want us to look good as well. If we’re way back in the weed,s they’ll kind of rein us back in and say, ‘We should probably go this direction.’ ”

Kramer has a career pro-stock record of 38-85, but he is 32-26 since joining forces with KB Racing, including 8-6 this season heading into Sunday’s eliminations at Bandimere.

“Year in and year out, they’re always competitive, and some of the best competition out here,” Kramer said of KB Racing. “That’s where we wanted to go. We knew we were making good runs with what we had. We just knew what we had wasn’t good enough. Once we had some power that was good enough, we knew we would come out here every weekend with a car that could potentially win every race.”

He added: “Our motto around here is, if we don’t screw up four times, then we’ll win on Sunday. It’s that simple.”

Kramer and Co. will be the hometown favorites Sunday. Deric appreciates the recognition from his hard work since working on that ’71 Chevelle.

Heavy rain spoiled Saturday’s qualifying sessions, but Kramer came within a hood ornament from obtaining the provisional pole Friday.

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“We watched the footage from (Friday’s) Q2 session, and as soon as we ran a 6-second pass the crowd just erupted,” he said. “It was great.”

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2020 Dems grapple with how to pay for “Medicare for All”

July 20, 2019 - 5:25pm

WASHINGTON — Democratic presidential candidates trying to appeal to progressive voters with a call for “Medicare for All” are wrestling with the thorny question of how to pay for such a dramatic overhaul of the U.S. health care system.

Bernie Sanders, the chief proponent of Medicare for All, says such a remodel could cost up to $40 trillion over a decade. He’s been the most direct in talking about how he’d cover that eye-popping amount, including considering a tax hike on the middle class in exchange for healthcare without co-payments or deductibles — which, he contends, would ultimately cost Americans less than the current healthcare system.

His rivals who also support Medicare for All, however, have offered relatively few firm details so far about how they’d pay for a new government-run, single-payer system beyond raising taxes on top earners. As the health care debate dominates the early days of the Democratic primary, some experts say candidates won’t be able to duck the question for long.

“It’s not just the rich” who would be hit with new cost burdens to help make single-payer health insurance a reality, said John Holahan, a health policy fellow at the nonpartisan Urban Institute thinktank. Democratic candidates campaigning on Medicare for All should offer more specificity about how they would finance it, Holahan added.

Sanders himself has not thrown his weight behind a single strategy to pay for his plan, floating a list of optionsthat include a 7.5% payroll tax on employers and higher taxes on the wealthy. But his list amounts to a more public explanation of how he would pay for Medicare for All than what other Democratic presidential candidates who also back his single-payer legislation have offered.

Kamala Harris, who has repeatedly tried to clarify her position on Medicare for All, vowed this week she wouldn’t raise middle-class taxes to pay for a shift to single-payer coverage. The California senator told CNN that “part of it is going to have to be about Wall Street paying more.”

Her contention prompted criticism that she wasn’t being realistic about what it would take to pay for Medicare for All. Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet, a rival Democratic presidential candidate, said Harris’ claim that Medicare for All would not involve higher taxes on the middle class was “impossible,” though he stopped short of calling her dishonest and said only that candidates “need to be clear” about their policies.

A Harris aide later said she had suggested a tax on Wall Street transactions as only one potential way to finance Medicare for All, and that other options were available. The aide insisted on anonymity in order to speak candidly about the issue.

Another Medicare for All supporter, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, would ask individuals to pay between 4% and 5% of their income toward the new system and ask their employers to match that level of spending. Gillibrand’s proposal, shared by an aide who requested anonymity to discuss the campaign’s thinking, could supplement the revenue generated by that change with options that hit wealthy individuals and businesses, including a new Wall Street tax.

Gillibrand is a cosponsor of Sanders’ legislation adding a small tax to financial transactions, while Harris is not.

New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, who also has signed onto Medicare for All legislation but said on the campaign trail that he would pursue incremental steps as well, could seek to raise revenue for the proposal by raising some individual tax rates, changing capital gains taxes or expanding the estate tax, according to an aide who spoke candidly about the issue on condition of anonymity.

The campaign of Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who used last month’s debate to affirm her support for Sanders’ single-payer health care plan, did not respond to a request for more details on potential financing options for Medicare for All.

Meanwhile, Sanders argued during a high-profile Medicare for All speech this week that high private health insurance premiums, deductibles and copayments, all of which would be eliminated by his proposal, amount to “nothing less than taxes on the middle class.”

Medicare for All opponents are also under pressure to explain how they’d pay for changes to the health insurance market. Former Vice President Joe Biden is advocating for a so-called “public option” that would allow people to decide between a government-financed plan or a private one. He would pay for his $750 billion proposal by repealing tax cuts for the wealthy that President Donald Trump and the GOP cut in 2017, and by raising capital gains taxes on the wealthy.


Associated Press writers Juana Summers in Washington and Alexandra Jaffe in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, contributed to this report.

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Mueller’s testimony poses risk for Trump, but also Democrats

July 20, 2019 - 5:05pm

WASHINGTON — Robert Mueller’s testimony before Congress will depend not so much on what he says, but that he’s even saying it at all.

For Democrats, the special counsel’s appearance Wednesday creates a moment many have been waiting for: Mueller finally speaking out, piercing the public consciousness about President Donald Trump’s response to the Russia investigation and whether anything should be done about it.

The political stakes are high for Trump, but also for Democrats, who have spent the past two years pushing toward this day. As public attention has drifted and views have hardened, Democrats are counting on Americans hearing what most have not likely read — the stunning findings of Mueller’s 448-page report .

“Let us listen, let us see where the facts will take us,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. “And then, we’ll see what happens after that.”

Yet there’s a real possibility that Mueller may not bring clarity.

It took months to negotiate his appearance before Congress and he has been reluctant to speak beyond what he and his team wrote. Few bombshells are expected. As the House Judiciary Committee and the House Intelligence Committee gavel in, the buttoned-down prosecutor, once envisioned as a trusted last word, may deliver just-the-facts responses that leave more questions than answers.

Rather than galvanizing public opinion and the questions of impeachment, Mueller’s reluctant appearance may become just another chapter in the Trump era that won’t be closed until the 2020 election.

Trump tried to project a lack of interest, claiming he will not tune in to Wednesday’s hourslong hearings and saying Democrats are “just playing games.”

“I won’t be watching Mueller,” he told reporters.

The nation, though, will likely pay attention.

Mueller’s appearance comes more than two years since the start of the Russia investigation, an extraordinary moment in Trump’s presidency when, after Trump had fired FBI Director James Comey, his Justice Department appointed Mueller to take over the inquiry into election interference and the potential role that Trump and his winning 2016 campaign may have played.

Mueller spoke publicly only once, saying his team’s report, released in April, should speak for itself.

The report found that while there was no evidence the campaign colluded with Russia to swing the election, Trump could not be cleared of trying to obstruct the investigation . But Mueller believed he couldn’t be indicted in part because of a Justice Department opinion against prosecuting a sitting president.

The special counsel’s team appeared to punt the question to Congress to decide next steps. More than 80 House Democrats now say there should be impeachment proceedings, and it’s likely that Mueller’s testimony increases that number.

But time has a way of changing the political dynamic.

While Mueller’s testimony was once envisioned as a crystalizing event, a Watergate-style moment to uncover truths, public attention has drifted in the months since the report was released.

Trump, a master at changing the subject, has easily shifted the public’s attention to his racist attacks on four women of color in Congress.

“Timing matters,” said Julian E. Zelizer, a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University. He and others who favor opening impeachment proceedings say Mueller should have testified months ago.

A June poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found 31% of Americans said they didn’t know enough to say whether Mueller’s report had completely cleared Trump of coordination with Russia and 30% didn’t know whether it had not completely cleared Trump of obstruction. A CNN poll found that just 3% said they had read the whole report.

Democrats are counting on Mueller’s presence to capture public attention in ways the report alone has been unable to do, with some comparing it to the movie version of the book.

“I do think that the contents of the report are so significant, and so damning, that when Mr. Mueller brings them to life, and actually tells the American people … it will have an impact,” said Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., a member of the House Judiciary Committee.

“This will be really the first opportunity for the American people to hear directly from Mr. Mueller about what he found about Russian interference in the American presidential election and efforts by the president to impede, undermine or stop the investigation,” he said.

It’s not lost on Democrats that they are brushing up against a narrative already set, by Trump’s claims of no collusion or obstruction, and Attorney General William Barr’s own framing of the report before its public release with his stamp of no wrongdoing.

“There are still millions of people who think, absurdly, that there is no evidence of presidential obstruction or collusion in the report,” said Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., a member of the House Judiciary Committee and also a professor of constitutional law. He said Trump and Barr have left a “fog of propaganda” hanging over the country. “We just want to clear the fog,” he said.

Congress has oversight of the executive branch, and lawmakers on the committees plan to delve into key areas of the report where Trump interfered with the investigation. Democrats often note that obstruction was included in the articles of impeachment against President Richard Nixon.

One focus will be on the conversations Trump had with the former White House counsel, Don McGahn, first as the president tried to fire Mueller over the Russia probe, and later to direct the lawyer to deny that he had ordered for Mueller be dismissed.

There will be questions about potential witness tampering, and the suggestions of a presidential pardon for Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, and conversations with Trump’s former personal attorney, Michael Cohen. Both men are now in custody, serving sentences on other charges.

At the same time, Republicans will likely try to turn the tables, casting doubt on the Russia investigation and its origins during the Obama administration.

But Mueller, 74, who hews to standards of an earlier era, is not expected to stray beyond the document his team produced. Aides to lawmakers say they have been reviewing his past congressional appearances and are expecting one-word answers and few surprises.

That could lead to an unfulfilling conclusion for Democrats, and others, who are hoping Mueller’s testimony will bring some resolution.

The top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, said the hearing will be “like an old TV show that you watched years ago. … After a few minutes you could quote what the characters could say, and nothing is new anymore.”

“Frankly, the American people have moved on,” Collins said.

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Kiszla: Why the real breakout star of Broncos camp is 60-year-old dude hiding his gut under a sweatshirt

July 20, 2019 - 5:00pm

The breakout star and revelation of training camp isn’t new quarterback Joe Flacco or first-round draft choice Noah Fant.

It’s the 60-year-old rookie coach who admits he wears a sweatshirt in 90-degree heat to hide his gut.

I think you’re gonna like this Vic Fangio guy, Broncos Country.

Yes, all coaches are ultimately judged by W’s and L’s. And there might be games when Denver’s offense struggles to put 10 points on the scoreboard, let alone light enough sparks to fuel optimism for a 10-victory season. But I feel confident it’s not too early to declare: Fangio has turned the Broncos back into a professional football team.

“If we do what we are supposed to do, I think we get back to going to the playoffs and we get back to winning Super Bowls,” Broncos defensive end Derek Wolfe said. “It’s not like: ‘Hopefully we make the playoff this year or hopefully we win six games this year.’ No, we want to win 10 games, go to the playoffs and win a Super Bowl.”

Welcome to Camp Vic. Check your ego at the door. What has been startling during workouts is the quiet of these football players at work. There is no music blaring during practice. There is no yelling for bluster’s sake by assistant coaches. There has been none of that snorting of silly fights between snaps.

There is no nonsense at Camp Vic.

And after all the losing nonsense that’s gone on around here for the past three years, isn’t that refreshing?

Broncos training camp

On the eve of camp, football operations chief John Elway said he didn’t want to frame his excitement for 2019 by pointing a finger of blame at former coach Vance Joseph. While the classy gesture was appreciated, the two worst periods in recent franchise history can be linked to two coaches who were such disasters they lost control of the situation within two years.

Laughing with players one minute only to scream profanities at them in his next breath, Josh McDaniels never figured out which coach he wanted to be until after the locker room tuned him out. By delegating so much authority to coordinators who proved to be untrustworthy, whether it was Mike McCoy on offense or Joe Woods on defense, Joseph seemed perpetually perplexed by the bad schemes his team trotted onto the field.

While cornerback Bryce Callahan, who came to town with Fangio from the Chicago Bears, insists Denver’s new head coach has his own brand of swag, it is undoubtedly swag tailored from 100 percent gray cotton. And he wears it with an easy confidence that will serve Fangio well when everything is moving at 100 mph and happening at 100 decibels amid the madness of a football Sunday in Colorado.

Fangio did not only wait all his life to become a head coach, he seems to have been taking copious notes on every detail of how he thinks a team should operate for nearly 40 years.

There is no music during training camp drills, Fangio explained, because “I don’t want to have to drum out the noise to talk to my players. There’s no music in games, and when it gets to the point where we need to simulate crowd noise in practice, which we will do, it will be noise. It won’t be music.”

Coach Vic does it his way. So let’s begin to define the Fangio Way.

Denver’s assistant coaches have been instructed to correct players on the side, after the play has been botched during camp, because that’s the only to communicate with players in the din of an NFL stadium during the fourth quarter of a tight game.

When Courtland Sutton exhibited hands of stone during the first workout of a long preseason, Fangio insisted he liked it because of the opportunity to coach up his young receiver with gentle teasing in the meeting room.

Nobody’s bigger than the team. When Fangio recently desired to catch a Rockies game at Coors Field, he didn’t spring for a private suite, because all any guy really needs is a single ticket.

When I prodded a child of the 1960s to reveal his taste in music, Fangio doesn’t try to be hip and say Post Malone, but instead immediately shot back with this answer: “Earth, Wind & Fire.”

The Broncos are already being formed in the image of Fangio. Detail-oriented. Accountable. Looking to make each other better, because isn’t that the real definition of teamwork?

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But here’s the thing: Callahan also insisted to me that when the time is right, Fangio will allow the Broncos to get up and dance. The music isn’t dead and gone from the Broncos’ training facility. Callahan predicted it will be back at practice, when the new coach gives a thumbs-up.

Although he takes winning seriously, Coach Vic doesn’t believe you have to be as grumpy as Bill Belichick to win.

Well, when the music returns to practice, the first tune on the playlist should be a 1975 hit by Earth, Wind & Fire. Let’s dedicate it to the old-school coach helping the Broncos rediscover their winning groove.

And who among us wouldn’t like to see Fangio boogie down as the chorus of “Shining Star” blares over the loudspeakers?

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ESPN reasserts political talk policy after attack on Trump

July 20, 2019 - 4:31pm

NEW YORK (AP) — ESPN is reminding employees of the network’s policy to avoid talking about politics after radio talk show host Dan Le Batard criticized President Donald Trump and his recent racist comments and ESPN itself on the air this week.

The reminder went out Friday to all employees, including Le Batard, according to an ESPN employee who spoke on condition of anonymity Saturday because the person was not authorized to speak publicly about personnel matters.

ESPN has not spoken publicly about Le Batard’s comments, including whether he faces any disciplinary action.

Reached on Saturday, Le Batard also declined comment.

For ESPN, the episode raises comparisons to what happened following anti-Trump tweets by its former anchor Jemele Hill nearly two years ago. Following that case, and criticism among some conservatives about left-leaning remarks on ESPN’s air, network president Jimmy Pitaro decreed that its employees should avoid political talk unless they’re reporting on issues raised by sports figures.

Le Batard spoke in the wake of the president’s rally in North Carolina, where Trump renewed his attacks on four Democratic congresswomen of color, prompting a chant from his audience of “send her back” directed at U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, of Minnesota. The ESPN host said he found the attacks on Omar to be un-American and deeply offensive, and that it was wrong of Trump to seek re-election by dividing people.

“We here at ESPN don’t have the stomach for the fight,” Le Batard said. “We don’t talk about what is happening unless there is some sort of weak, cowardly sports angle that we can run it through.”

Le Batard’s criticism of ESPN’s policy sets him apart from Hill, who in September 2017 tweeted on her personal account that Trump was a “white supremacist” and “bigot.” The White House called that a fireable offense, but Hill apologized and the network accepted it.

She was suspended a month later for violating the network’s social media policy when she tweeted in favor of an advertiser boycott against the Dallas Cowboys, whose owner Jerry Jones had said players who disrespected the American flag would not play on his team.

Hill has said she regretted putting her bosses in a difficult position, and amicably left ESPN within a year. She now writes for The Atlantic and has a weekly podcast on Spotify.

Along with the White House call for Hill’s firing, Trump tweeted in October 2017 that “with Jemele Hill at the mike, it is no wonder ESPN ratings have ‘tanked,’ in fact, tanked so badly it is the talk of the industry!”

The president’s Twitter account has been silent about Le Batard so far.

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Rockies’ Nolan Arenado trying to stay positive as losing streak grinds on

July 20, 2019 - 4:20pm

NEW YORK — Nolan Arenado hit his 22nd home run of the season Saturday afternoon, parking Masahiro’s Tanaka’s 1-0 sinker over the center-field wall at Yankee Stadium. But that feat didn’t erase Arenado’s frustration over the Rockies’ continued poor play.

“It’s frustrating. … It is a tough stretch,” the third baseman said after Colorado lost 11-5 to the Yankees, extending its losing streak to six games and marking the club’s 13 loss in 15 games. “I’m just trying to focus on the positives and just go out there and do my job. I can’t control anything else.

“I can’t pitch. I can’t catch. I can’t play outfield. I can only play third base. So that’s all I’m trying to do, is focus on my job. But I feel like I haven’t done a great job of it as of late. But that’s kind of the grind of the season. There are ups and downs.”

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Arenado is having a solid season, batting .307 with 22 home runs and 74 RBIs. But after a scorching June, he has cooled off considerably in July, batting .217 with just two home runs.

Tired team? The Rockies have played a lot of long, high-scoring games recently. Manager Bud Black, however, dismissed the notion that the Rockies are tired — mentally or physically — saying that his team is more frustrated than it is tired.

What are Arenado’s thoughts?

“There is a frustration, for sure,” he said. “Those games are draining, for sure. There is no getting around that. We had the (all-star) break and it was awesome, and then we started out in that first game against (Cincinnati).  It felt really good to get going.”

The Rockies beat the Reds 3-2 but lost 19-7 the next night in a game that took a total of 7 hours, 1 minute to complete (counting a rain delay of 3:08).

“That set us back a little bit,” Arenado said. “I’m not trying to make excuses. We still have to come out and play games, but that set us back a little bit. Those aren’t easy to deal with, and these games have been tough here, too. It’s been a grind, for sure, but we have to overcome it.”

Footnotes. Saturday’s first-pitch temperature was 94 degrees, making it the eighth-highest temperature for a game at the current Yankee Stadium. By the end of the game, the temperature had climbed to 98 and the heat index was 106. The high temperature for Sunday is forecast to be 99. … Rockies starter Antonio Senzatela became the first pitcher in franchise history to record four outs or fewer while throwing 60 or more pitches.

On Deck
Rockies RHP German Marquez (8-5, 5.12 ERA) vs. Yankees LHP James Paxton (5-4, 3.94)
11:05 a.m. Sunday, Yankee Stadium
TV: AT&T SportsNet, TBS
Radio: KOA 850 AM/94.1 FM

The last time the Rockies were in a slump this bad, Marquez came five outs from pitching a no-hitter at San Francisco and halted an eight-game losing streak. Colorado needs another good start from him Sunday to avoid its seventh consecutive loss. Marquez is coming off the worst start of his career, allowing 11 runs on a 11 hits in 2⅔ innings in the first game of a doubleheader against the Giants. He is, however, is 4-3 with a 3.33 ERA on the road this season. Paxton is on a mini-roll, having tossed three consecutive quality starts. In his last outing, he limited Tampa Bay to two runs and seven hits over six innings. Since July 2, he has posted a 2.50 ERA across 18 innings, striking out 21 while walking only four.

Trending: The Yankees have becoming nearly invincible at home, going 14-0-1 over their last 15 home series.

At issue: Rockies pitching is the overriding issue. What else is new? The Rockies have allowed at least eight runs in seven of their last eight games, posting a 10.27 ERA in that span. Worse, they have allowed 10 runs more in 16 games this season, after having only 16 such games all last season.

Pitching probables
Monday: Rockies RHP Peter Lambert (2-1, 6.06 ERA) at Nationals’ TBA, 5:05 p.m., ATTRM
Tuesday: Rockies RHP Jon Gray (9-7, 4.11) at Nationals RHP Stephen Strasburg (12-4, 3.52), 5:05 p.m., ATTRM

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Rockies continue slide with ugly 11-5 loss to Yankees

July 20, 2019 - 1:56pm

NEW YORK — Third baseman Nolan Arenado, his gray road jersey covered with infield dirt, threw his glove in frustration. The moment summed up the current state of the Rockies.

The snapshot came in the second inning of Saturday’s game at steamy Yankee Stadium, where the heat index reached 106 degrees and New York hammered the Rockies 11-5, sending them to their sixth consecutive defeat and 13th loss in 15 games.

After the Yankees’ Didi Gregorious led off with a double, Arenado dived for Gleyber Torres’ hot shot through the left side but couldn’t come up with the ball. Thus the glove toss. Gregorious scored and, with Ryan McMahon failing to cover second base, Torres sprinted toward the bag. Too late, McMahon tried to get there, but starter Antonio Senzatela rushed his throw and sailed the ball it into right field.

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After that ugly sequence, the floodgates opened, as New York sent 11 men to the plate and scored five runs. Senzatela, the latest Rockies starter to get the Charlie Brown treatment, didn’t make it out of the second inning. In 1⅓ innings, the Yankees pounded him for six runs on seven hits, the final blow a two-run double by Edwin Encarnacion. Senzatela needed 60 pitches to record four outs.

” ‘Senza’ threw only five out of 13 first-pitch strikes and was pitching behind the whole (game),” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “He was not setting the tone in each and every at-bat. That’s got to flip.”

Senzatela, who now owns a 6.29 ERA, knows he must improve.

“I have to get ahead in counts and make better pitches,” he said. “I’m mostly frustrated in myself in not being able to have a quality start.”

Reliever Chad Bettis didn’t fare much better than Senzatela, giving up three runs on three hits in two innings of work.

The Rockies, dominated by veteran right-hander Masahiro Tanaka for the first five innings, finally got to him in the sixth. A single by Charlie Blackmon and an RBI double by Trevor Story got Colorado on the scoreboard. Then Arenado’s three-run homer to dead center made the Yankee faithful a tad uneasy. It was Arenado’s 22nd home run, tying him with Story for the team lead. A double by Daniel Murphy and an RBI single by Ian Desmond tacked on another run.

“I’m a little bit uncomfortable right now, and it’s been a grind,” Arenado said. “I’ve hit some balls hard lately, with nothing to show for it, so that felt good. It was nice to see that. When I first hit it, I thought (Aaron Hicks) was going to track it down. So it was nice to see it go out.”

It was, of course, too little, too late for sliding Colorado (46-52), while New York won its fifth straight and improved to 64-33, the best record in the majors.

The Rockies, meanwhile, are playing some of their worst baseball in recent memory. In losing 13 of 15, they have been outscored 127-64. Over that 15-game span, the Rockies’ team ERA is 8.31.


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Severe thunderstorms roll through Front Range Saturday

July 20, 2019 - 1:49pm

The National Weather Service issued a severe thunderstorm watch and several warnings Saturday afternoon as storms rolled through the Denver metro area.

Around 3 p.m. the weather service issued a thunderstorm warning for Denver, Aurora and Lakewood for an area containing 1.4 million people. Hail up to half dollar size is possible and the warning was set to expire at 3:45 p.m. but more storms in the area are possible.

Rain, hail, strong wind gusts and lightning are possible through the evening, the weather service said.

A severe thunderstorm watch has been issued for parts of Colorado and Wyoming until 11 PM MDT

— NWS Boulder (@NWSBoulder) July 20, 2019

The weather also caused delays at Denver International Airport.

Due to

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Semitrailer fire causes long delays on eastbound I-70 at Georgetown

July 20, 2019 - 12:45pm

A semitrailer accident on eastbound Interstate 70 near Georgetown is causing long delays Saturday afternoon, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation.

A semitrailer was fully engulfed in flames as crews arrived to clear the road, said Cpl. Ivan Alverado, a State Patrol spokesman. No injuries were reported, he said.

Transportation officials have reopened one lane for traffic but long delays remain, CDOT said in a tweet.

I-70 EB: Road open at Exit 228 – Georgetown. Vehicle fire. Single lane traffic, expect long delays.

— CDOT (@ColoradoDOT) July 20, 2019

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Broncos training camp rewind, Day 3: Four interceptions by defense

July 20, 2019 - 12:34pm


Did not practice: LB Todd Davis (calf, second consecutive missed practice) and WR River Cracraft (oblique).  “He’s going to be out at least a week and after that, we’ll see how it goes,” coach Vic Fangio said of Cracraft. WR Romell Guerrier was placed on the reserve/retired list.


In addition to Cracraft, TE Troy Fumagalli (hip) did not go. “He’s been nursing a hip,” Fangio said. “He tried to go (Saturday) but didn’t feel right at the beginning of practice so he’s obviously day to day.”


During 11-on-11 work, ILB Josey Jewell made a diving interception of QB Joe Flacco on a pass that may have been deflected in traffic.

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*S Justin Simmons. Intercepted QB Joe Flacco in the end zone, broke up a Flacco pass during 7-on-7 and intercepted QB Kevin Hogan.

*Coaching approach. After each play of 11-on-11/7-on-7, there weren’t coaches flooding the field to give instruction. It’s by design. “I don’t want them screaming and hollering instructions to the players,” Fangio said. “In the game, they’re out there on their own. You can’t help them during the game so don’t be helping them during practice. Your leaders have to come from those 11 guys that are on the field for you and they have to work through it. I like that.”

*The quarterbacks. Four interceptions (three by Joe Flacco and one by Kevin Hogan). In addition to Justin Simmons’ pair, LB Josey Jewell and S Will Parks had one apiece. “Well, every interception has a story behind it,” Fangio said. “But no, not OK with it. You don’t want to turn the ball over. Turnovers make it harder to win the game. Now I don’t know exactly what happened on each and every one but we’ll look at it.

*K Taylor Bertolet. At one point during a segment, he missed three consecutive field goals — wide right, wide right and then really wide left.


  • The announced attendance was 2,274.
  • The Broncos ran 72 snaps of 11-on-11 and 30 snaps of 7-on-7.
  • Quarterback playing time (11-on-11): Joe Flacco 25, Kevin Hogan 24, Drew Lock 18 and Brett Rypien four. Quarterback playing time (7-on-7): Flacco 12, Hogan seven, Lock eight and Rypien three.
  • The Broncos wore football pants with knee and thigh pads and also upper-body shells. They are eligible to wear full pads on Sunday. “Full pads is full pads, no reason not to use them,” Fangio said. “That’s what you play the game in. Get used to carrying your pads, playing with game pants on (and) try to make practice as game-like as possible.”
  • New WR Jamarius Way signed Saturday morning and hit the field midway through practice. Way (6-foot-3/215 pounds) caught 108 passes for South Alabama in 2017-18. He had minicamp tryouts with Green Bay, Tampa Bay and Miami. Way jumped right into 11-on-11 work. WR coach Zach Azzanni would give him extra instruction before the snap.
  • The first unit inside linebacker group was Joe Jones and Josey Jewell, followed by Jones/Alexander Johnson with the second unit. Later in 11-on-11, rookie Josh Watson joined Jewell.
  • Jake Brendel got a shot as the second-team center, replacing Austin Schlottmann, who was on the third team.
  • The offense started well in 11-on-11. Flacco threw a long pass that WR Fred Brown (against CB Bryce Callahan) made a diving touchdown catch on. Lock’s first segment included a dart-of-a-throw to TE Austin Fort over the middle.
  • Flacco’s second segment: Ground-ball shotgun snap by C Connor McGovern (aborted play), RB Phillip Lindsay carry and Simmons interception.
  • Rypien completed all three of his passes (to WR Juwann Winfree, WR Steven Dunbar and Fort) during his first 7-on-7 period.
  • During the second period of 11-on-11, OLB Von Miller used a spin move to beat RT Ja’Wuan James to force Flacco to scramble. Hogan’s six-play set was disjointed: Incompletion under pressure (DT Zach Kerr pushed back RG Don Barclay), screen pass, drop by Dunbar, rushing, throwaway and incompletion.
  • The Broncos practiced red zone and goal-line for the first time in camp. Goal-line: Flacco threw a touchdown pass to WR Courtland Sutton (crossing route along the back-line), Hogan went throwaway, incompletion and Lock threw a touchdown to WR Trinity Benson.
  • In the final 7-on-7 period, touchdown catches were by WR DaeSean Hamilton (Flacco) and TE Noah Fant (Hogan).
  • Fangio changed things up on the second-to-last 11-on-11 period, pitting the No. 1 offense vs. No. 2 defense and No. 2 offense vs. No. 1 defense. “Just to mix it up so they’re going against different guys,” Fangio said. Flacco’s four plays: Incompletion, incompletion, aborted play (pressure by NT Shelby Harris, a starter playing with the 2s) and aborted play (DE Demarcus Walker dusted LT Garett Bolles).
  • After Fangio, Lock got a chance with the second-team offense against the starting defense. His four plays: Incompletion (pressure by Miller), pass to RB Khalifani Muhammad, terrific catch by Winfree (against Callahan/S Kareem Jackson) and incompletion.
  • Three of the Broncos’ interceptions came in the final 11-on-11 period and in a span of 11 plays.
  • In addition to former Broncos coach Mike Shanahan, the Atlanta Hawks coaching staff were guests of Fangio at practice.

9:15 a.m.-noon practice (open to the public).

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Mountain lion spotted in west Loveland neighborhood

July 20, 2019 - 11:28am

A resident near Mehaffey Park in west Loveland reported seeing a mountain lion “hanging out” in her yard this  week.

Donna Kendrick told the Reporter-Herald on Friday that she first noticed a “big, strange-colored animal” in her backyard Tuesday morning, when her dogs started “going crazy” at the sliding kitchen door. Kendrick lives just southeast of the park. At first, she thought it was a dog.

“I ran out there; it looked at me and vanished like a ninja,” she said in a message Friday. “I noticed this long tail!”

That night, Kendrick’s neighbor said he also saw a large, long-tailed cat lying on the rocks in his backyard, and he noted that it was most definitely a mountain lion. Kendrick called Colorado Parks and Wildlife the next morning.

Kendrick said she hasn’t seen the big cat since Tuesday.

Reporter-Herald fileA mountain lion was spotted near Mehaffey Park this past week.

CPW spokesman Jason Clay told the Reporter-Herald on Friday that he was aware of the sighting on Durango Drive.

Clay said two other Loveland-area mountain lion sightings have been reported to Colorado Parks and Wildlife this year: May 13 at U.S. 34 and Glade Road, and June 20 near Poison Lake, on Wild Plum Drive.

There have been six reports of mountain lions in Masonville since April, Clay added.

“Take-aways here are to protect your pets, don’t have hiding spaces for mountain lions or other wildlife in your backyard and teach children/know yourself what to do should they encounter a mountain lion,” Clay said.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife offers these tips to avoid and protect against mountain lion encounters in the wild:

  • Go in groups when you walk or hike in mountain lion country, and make plenty of noise to reduce your chances of surprising a lion. A sturdy walking stick is a good idea; it can be used to ward off a lion. Make sure children are close to you and within your sight at all times. Talk with children about lions and teach them what to do if they meet one.
  • Do not approach a lion, especially one that is feeding or with kittens. Most mountain lions will try to avoid a confrontation. Give them a way to escape.
  • Stay calm when you come upon a lion. Talk calmly and firmly to it. Move slowly.Stop or back away slowly, if you can do it safely. Running may stimulate a lion’s instinct to chase and attack. Face the lion and stand upright.
  • Do all you can to appear larger. Raise your arms. Open your jacket if you’re wearing one. If you have small children with you, protect them by picking them up so they won’t panic and run.If the lion behaves aggressively, throw stones, branches or whatever you can get your hands on without crouching down or turning your back. Wave your arms slowly and speak firmly. What you want to do is convince the lion you are not prey and that you may in fact be a danger to the lion.
  • Fight back if a lion attacks you. Lions have been driven away by prey that fights back. People have fought back with rocks, sticks, caps or jackets, garden tools and their bare hands successfully. Remain standing or try to get back up!
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For those in lion country, such as the foothills west of Loveland, Colorado Parks and Wildlife offers further tips to get along with the predators:

  • Make lots of noise if you come and go during the times mountain lions are most active: dusk to dawn.
  • Install outside lighting. Light areas where you walk so you could see a lion if one were present.
  • Closely supervise children whenever they play outdoors. Make sure children are inside before dusk and not outside before dawn. Talk with children about lions and teach them what to do if they meet one.
  • Landscape or remove vegetation to eliminate hiding places for lions, especially around children’s play areas. Make it difficult for lions to approach unseen.
  • Planting non-native shrubs and plants that deer often prefer to eat encourages wildlife to come onto your property. Predators follow prey. Don’t feed any wildlife!
  • Keep your pet under control. Roaming pets are easy prey and can attract lions. Bring pets in at night. If you leave your pet outside, keep it in a kennel with a secure top. Don’t feed pets outside; this can attract raccoons and other animals that are eaten by lions. Store all garbage securely.
  • Place livestock in enclosed sheds or barns at night. Close doors to all outbuildings because inquisitive lions may go inside for a look.
  • Encourage your neighbors to follow these simple precautions. Prevention is far better than a possible lion confrontation.

Though rare, according to Parks and Wildlife, mountain lion attacks have occurred in Colorado, especially involving young mountain lions learning how to hunt on their own. A Fort Collins man strangled a mountain lion in February after it attacked him in Horsetooth Mountain Park.

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Iran says its seizure of British ship a ‘reciprocal’ move

July 20, 2019 - 11:15am

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran’s seizure of a British oil tanker was a response to Britain’s role in impounding an Iranian supertanker first, senior officials said Saturday, as newly released video of the incident showed Iranian commandos in black ski masks and fatigues rappelling from a helicopter onto the vessel in the strategic Strait of Hormuz.

The seizure prompted condemnation from the U.K. and its European allies as they continue to call for a de-escalation of tensions in the critical waterway.

U.K. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said Britain’s response “will be considered but robust.”

In comments on Twitter on Saturday, he said he spoke with Iran’s foreign minister and expressed extreme disappointment that the Iranian diplomat had assured him Iran wanted to de-escalate the situation but “they have behaved in the opposite way.”

He wrote: “This has (to) be about actions not words if we are to find a way through. British shipping must & will be protected.”

The free flow of traffic through the Strait of Hormuz is of international importance because one-fifth of all global crude exports passes through the waterway from Mideast exporters to countries around the world. The narrow waterway sits between Iran and Oman.

The British-flagged Stena Impero was intercepted late Friday by Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard forces. The ship’s owner, Stena Bulk, said the vessel was stopped by “unidentified small crafts and a helicopter” during its transit through the Strait of Hormuz. The vessel was seized with a crew of 23 crew aboard, although none are British nationals.

In a dramatic video released by the Revolutionary Guard, several small Guard boats can be seen surrounding the larger tanker as it moves through the strait. Above, a military helicopter hovers and then several men wearing black masks begin to rappel onto the ship.

The high-quality video was shot with at least two cameras, one from a speed boat-like vessel and one from the chopper, which captured the fatigue-clad men as they prepared to slide down a rope and also took aerial footage of the tanker.

Hunt said the ship’s seizure shows worrying signs Iran may be choosing a dangerous and destabilizing path. He also defended the British-assisted seizure of Iran’s supertanker two weeks ago as a “legal” move because the vessel was suspected of breaching European Union sanctions on oil shipments to Syria.

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The view from Iran was different.

In comments on Twitter on Saturday, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif characterized the seizure of Iran’s tanker July 4 as “piracy.” Politician and former Guard commander, Maj. Gen. Mohsen Rezai, wrote that Iran was not seeking conflict, “but we are not going to come up short in reciprocating.”

The spokesman for Iran’s Guardian Council, Abbas Ali Kadkhodaei, was also quoted in the semi-official Fars news agency describing Friday’s seizure as a legal “reciprocal action.” The council rarely comments on state matters, but when it does it is seen as a reflection of the supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s views. The council works closely with Khamenei, who has final say on all state matters.

The tit-for-tat move by Iran drew condemnation from European signatories to Iran’s nuclear accord with world powers. Germany and France both called on Iran to immediately release the ship and its crew, with Berlin saying the seizure undermines all efforts to find a way out of the current crisis.

Europe has struggled to contain the tensions that stem from President Donald Trump’s decision to pull the U.S. from Iran’s nuclear deal, which had lifted sanctions on Iran in exchange for compliance on its nuclear program.

Trump has since re-imposed sweeping sanctions on Iran, including its oil exports, and Iran recently increased uranium enrichment levels beyond limits of the deal in a bid to pressure Europe into finding a workaround the crippling economic sanctions.

Britain, which remains a signatory to the nuclear accord, has figured prominently in rising U.S. tensions with Iran ever since Royal Marines took part in the seizure of the Iranian oil tanker by Gibraltar, a British overseas territory off the southern coast of Spain. Officials there initially said the July 4 seizure happened on orders from the U.S.

Britain has said it would release the vessel, which was carrying more than 2 million barrels of Iranian crude, if Iran could prove it was not breaching EU sanctions. However, a court in Gibraltar just Friday extended the detention of the Panama-flagged Grace 1.

Stena Bulk, the owner of the seized British tanker, said the vessel’s crew members are of Indian, Filipino, Russian and Latvian nationalities. Iranian officials say the crew remain on the tanker.

Britain’s defense secretary Penny Mordaunt told Sky News the takeover was a “hostile act” by Iran. She said a British Royal Navy frigate deployed to help protect shipping in the Strait of Hormuz was roughly 60 minutes from the scene when the Iranians took control of the tanker.

That same frigate had previously warned off Iranian Guard vessels from impeding the passage of a British commercial vessel the navy was escorting through the Strait of Hormuz.

There are concerns that with each new maneuver a misunderstanding or misstep by either side could lead to war. In June, Iran shot down an American drone in the same waterway, and Trump came close to retaliating with airstrikes.

The U.S. has increased its military presence in the Persian Gulf region in recent weeks. The U.S. will also send more than 500 U.S. troops as well as aircraft and air defense missiles to Iran’s rival, Saudi Arabia.

It marks the first such deployment of U.S. troops to Saudi Arabia since America’s withdrawal from the country in 2003. King Salman approved hosting the American forces “to increase joint cooperation in defense and regional security and stability,” a statement in the state-run Saudi Press Agency said.


Batrawy reported from Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Associated Press writer Gregory Katz in London contributed to this report.

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Deepfake videos pose a threat, but “dumbfakes” may be worse

July 20, 2019 - 11:00am

By Beatrice Dupuy and Barbara Ortutay, The Associated Press

Sophisticated phony videos called deepfakes have attracted plenty of attention as a possible threat to election integrity. But a bigger problem for the 2020 U.S. presidential contest may be “dumbfakes” — simpler and more easily unmasked bogus videos that are easy and often cheap to produce.

Unlike deepfakes, which require sophisticated artificial intelligence, audio manipulation and facial mapping technology, dumbfakes can be made simply by varying the speed of video or selective editing. They are easier to create and can be convincing to an unsuspecting viewer, which makes them a much more immediate worry.

A slowed-down video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that made her appear impaired garnered more than 2 million views on Facebook in May. In November, then-White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders tweeted a sped-up video of CNN reporter Jim Acosta that made him look more aggressive than he was during an exchange with an intern. Her post received thousands of retweets.

The fact that these videos are made so easily and then widely shared across social media platforms does not bode well for 2020, said Hany Farid, a digital forensics expert at the University of California, Berkeley.

“The clock is ticking,” Farid said. “The Nancy Pelosi video was a canary in a coal mine.”

Social media companies don’t have clear-cut policies banning fake videos, in part because they don’t want to be in the position of deciding whether something is satire or intended to mislead people — or both. Doing so could also open them to charges of censorship or political bias.

Facebook, however, will “downrank” false or misleading posts — including videos — so that fewer people will see them. Such material will also be paired with fact checks produced by outside organizations, including The Associated Press.

There are also vast gray areas depending on political affiliation or your sense of humor.

One social media user who calls himself Paul Lee Ticks– a play on the word “politics”— often makes fabricated videos, mostly of President Donald Trump. In one of his most recent video edits, he added a “concentration camps” sign to the Trump International Hotel & Tower in Chicago.

Another social media user who goes by the handle Carpe Donktum makes edited videos in support of the president. Following Trump’s June comments that Joe Biden appeared slow, Carpe Donktum slowed down video footage of Biden and spliced two clips, making the former vice president appear to say something he did not.

Trump often retweets Carpe Donktum and last week he met the president in person during the White House’s “social media summit” featuring conservatives. Carpe Donktum says he makes parody videos and disputes the notion that his videos are “doctored” because their intent is satirical and the manipulations obvious.

“These are memes and have been on the internet since the internet’s inception,” he said.

Both Paul Lee Ticks and Carpe Donktum, who spoke to the AP on the condition of anonymity due to fear of threats and harassment, started off making videos that were more simplistic and comical. But their videos have become more sophisticated, blurring the line between what is real and fake in a more convincing way for an audience that is unsuspecting or unfamiliar with their comedic style.

Concern about these videos is growing among experts, politicians and the general public.

During a House Intelligence Committee hearing on June 13, Rep. Adam Schiff, a California Democrat, said the Pelosi video represents the scale of the problem ahead. According to a June Pew Research Center study, 63% of Americans surveyed about made-up news and information said that videos and images altered to mislead the public create a great deal of confusion around the facts of current issues.

Other manipulations are equally crude, yet more subtle. Some fake videos, for instance, mislabel authentic historical footage of public unrest or police activity with incorrect dates or locations to falsely suggest they depict breaking news.

“Disinformation is so powerful in our levels of political polarization,” said Ohio State University professor Erik Nisbet, who co-authored a study in 2018 that found fake news may have contributed to Trump’s 2016 win. “People are angry, worried and anxious. They are more vulnerable to misinformation and disinformation that validates their feelings.”

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Demographics also play a role. Cliff Lampe, a professor at the University of Michigan, said older generations that were raised on mass media “tend to trust video more.” A study published in the Science Advances journal in January found that people over 65 and ultra-conservative were more likely to share false information.

Edward Delp, director of the Video and Imaging Processing Laboratory at Purdue University, and his team were able to develop an algorithm to detect deepfakes. Finding ways to protect and authenticate videos, he said, could help minimize the impact of manipulated video.

However, video authentication may do little to change people’s views. Farid, the UC Berkeley professor, said with the manipulated Pelosi video, users could easily find the original clips of the House speaker online but people were still willing to believe the false video was real.

“If we can’t get it right, I mean the public and Facebook, where are we going to be when we have more complex fakes?” he said.

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Former Broncos’ coach Mike Shanahan visits Denver practice for first time since 2008

July 20, 2019 - 9:30am

Mike Shanahan led the Broncos to a pair of Super Bowl championships, but since his firing in 2008, the former NFL head coach had not visited practice at the team’s facility.

A decade-long absence that finally ended on Saturday.

Shanahan, who posted a 138-86 record over 14 seasons coaching Denver, slowly made his way across the grass at UCHealth Training Center in between hugs and handshakes just before the Broncos entered a team scrimmage period. Shanahan was later seen chatting with team president/CEO Joe Ellis, general manager John Elway, coach Vic Fangio and others.

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“I was glad to have Mike here,” Fangio said. “I invited him out for the spring work but the schedules never matched up. I think it’s good he’s here. Mike has a big part in the rich history of this franchise. He’s welcome to come here anytime he wants.”

Fangio has faced Shanahan-coached teams several times throughout his long NFL assistant coaching tenure and has known him as a competitor. Only in the last five or so years, Fangio said, had the pair grown closer in friendship. Broncos’ second-round rookie offensive lineman Dalton Risner is a Colorado native who cheered on the Shannahan-led Broncos as a kid from Wiggins.

“I didn’t get a chance to shake his hand, but I saw him, which was really cool,” Risner said. “That’s who I grew up watching.”

Shanahan left the Broncos’ facility before a media interview request could be made, per the team’s public relations staff. But don’t be surprised if Shanahan makes another appearance during camp. On Aug. 17 and 18, Denver is hosting joint practices with the 49ers; whose head coach is his son, Kyle Shanahan.

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Man arrested in connection with Friday night homicide in Denver’s Park Hill neighborhood

July 20, 2019 - 8:25am

Police have arrested an adult male in connection with a homicide Friday night in Denver’s Park Hill neighborhood, police said in a tweet.

Around 8:35 p.m., an adult woman was killed in the 3200 block of Dexter Street, police spokesman Tyrone Campbell said.

Police did not provide a manner of death or any additional details on the investigation.

#DPD UPDATE: In regard to the Homicide investigation in the 3200 Blk of Dexter St., an adult male suspect is in custody. #Denver

— Denver Police Dept. (@DenverPolice) July 20, 2019

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Denver weather: Afternoon thunderstorms bring long-awaited cooling effect

July 20, 2019 - 7:55am

After a week flirting with triple-digit temperatures in metro Denver, Saturday brings cooling thunderstorms that will keep the heat at bay.

Highs in the Mile High City are expected to reach 89 degrees with strong to severe thunderstorms possible in the afternoon and evening, according to the National Weather Service in Boulder.

Large hail and strong winds along the Front Range are possible between 3 and 7 p.m., forecasters said. Temperatures are predicted to drop to 60 degrees at night.

Afternoon thunderstorms will likely be part of the daily rotation for next week, the NWS said, with highs dipping down to 80 degrees on Sunday and Monday.

Temperatures have hit 90 degrees or above 12 of the 19 days this month, according to meteorologist Chris Bianchi.

Slightly cooler weather and the return of moisture bring back daily thunderstorms this week. Go to for more details. #COwx

— NWS Boulder (@NWSBoulder) July 20, 2019


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Broncos training camp 2019 Day 3: Live updates from UCHealth Training Center

July 20, 2019 - 7:30am

Live updates and analysis from Day 3 of Denver Broncos training camp on July 20, 2019 at UCHealth Training Center.


What to know: Primer | Roundtable | Fan guide
Position previews: QB | RB | WR | TE | OL | DL | LB | DB | Special Teams
Recap: Day 1

Live Blog (function(d, s, id) {var js,ijs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(d.getElementById(id))return;js=d.createElement(s);;js.src="//";ijs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, ijs);}(document, "script", "scrbbl-js"));#Broncos Camp Rewind (recap of practice No. 3 with Vic comments).…#Broncos practice today -- 72 snaps of 11-on-11 and 30 snaps of 7-on-7.Vic on four INTs by #Broncos QBs today ... on four INTs today by #Broncos QBs (three Flacco/one Hogan): on having coaches behind play or on the sideline during team drills. #Broncos ... today at #Broncos -- 2,274.#Broncos @Dalton_Risner66 on learning in camp. #Denver7 @Dalton_Risner66 is humble in approach. Picking the brain of Ron Leary is helping. Leary appreciates that “Dalton wants to learn, wants to be great. A lot of young guys aren’t like that.” #Denver7 Rookie OL Dalton Risner provides an update of his progress at Broncos training camp Kareem Jackson On identity wants for secondary #Denver7 Fangio said likes peer pressure from players to hold each other accountable. Said why coaches are off to the side and not yelling much. “Because we cant do that in game.” Basically wants players to take ownership #Denver7 #Broncos Fangio on having Shanahan at practice. Says he has open invite #Denver7 Cracraft out for week with oblique injury #Denver7 Cracraft out at least a week.

Fumagalli day to day with hipFlacco’s pass tipped at line of scrimmage and picked by Jewell. #Denver7 And Josey Jewell INT Flacco.#Broncos Simmons and Parks with Picks. Parks, for me, has to have a role. He is a playmaker #Denver7 And Will Parks with an INT of Flacco.Justin Simmons gets his second INT of day.Justin Simmons gets his second INT of day.Would have been sack by @VonMiller as he got by Noah Fant... but Drew Lock completes long pass to Juwann Winfree. #Denver7 #Broncos defense harassing Flacco. Bolles turned around and sacked Flacco. Weird play. #Denver7 #Broncos Elway and Shanahan at practice #Denver7 goal line drill: Flacco hits Sutton on a crossing route TD. Fans love it.Members of @ATLHawks coaching staff here today as guests of coach Fangio. Fangio got to know them through friendship with 76ers coach Brett Brown #Denver7 With Todd Davis sidelined, former CSU standout Josh Watson getting some first-team reps today. Yesterday, AJ Johnson got a chance. Joe Jones also in the mix. Davis out roughly 3 weeks with calf strain #Denver7 #Broncos @jsimms1119 with pick of Flacco in red zone. Was pass into traffic in middle of field. For good measure Simmons returned it for pick six. #Denver7 This is coach Shanahan’s first visit to practice since 2008. He’s been at facility since then, but not practice. Told Vic Fangio and Rich Scangarello, who coached with Kyle Shanahan last few years, helped facilitate the visit. Good to see coach here. #Denver7 Broncos announced they have signed WR Jamarius Way (undrafted rookie, South Alabama) after the team placed WR Romell Guerrier on the reserve/retired list.

Way’s career college stats: Broncos coach Mike Shanahan is back at the practice facility for the first time since 2008. All smiles. Broncos coach Mike Shanahan is back at the practice facility for the first time since 2008. All smiles. #Broncos coach Mike Shanahan, who should be in Hall of Fame IMO, visiting practice today. Stopped to talk with my man @bstokley14 #Denver7 Have a feeling this combination will get plenty of red-zone opportunities this season. Sunday (7/21), we are hosting Alzheimer's Awareness Day at #BroncosCamp ! The @Broncos will match all $$ donati……#Broncos in shells. Don’t see WR River Cracraft in addition to LB Todd Davis.#Broncos in shells. Don’t see WR River Cracraft in addition to LB Todd Davis.#Broncos @VonMiller gets crowd pumped up for practice. #Denver7 WRs coach Darrin Chiaverini is visiting practice today. He recruited Broncos’ rookie Juwann Winfree to Boulder.Day 3: The Broncos will practice in shells today at training camp CB Bryce Callahan played four seasons in Vic Fangio's Chicago defense. He's now an open book for Broncos teammates adjusting to the scheme in training camp. lost a few receivers last few days who decided to leave camp.. They will sign Jamarius Way and he's expected to be on practice field today. #Denver7 I’ll be ready
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