Denver Broncos’ Vance Joseph treading carefully on talk of Kirk Cousins

Denver Broncos coach Vance Joseph did his best to avoid tripping over the tampering line on Wednesday when asked about how Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins handles pressure.

“I haven’t coached Kirk Cousins, so I can’t speak to that to be honest,” Joseph said. “He’s a Washington Redskin at the moment, so I can’t speak to that.

“But obviously watching the guy over the years, he’s a good football player. He’s thrown for over 4,000 yards the last three years, and that’s tough to do in this league. He’s a good one, but I’ll leave it at that.”

While Joseph publicly didn’t tip his hand, the Broncos’ quarterback carousel did them few favors last season. Denver has Trevor Siemian, Paxton Lynch and Chad Kelly on its roster, with Joseph saying all three are in the mix for next season.

“As of now, yes. We’ve got two guys on the roster, well three actually with Chad Kelly,” Joseph said. “We’ve got Trevor, we’ve got Paxton and we’ve got Chad Kelly. Absolutely they are. I can’t speak to the future right now. Right now, they are our quarterbacks.”

The Broncos, who finished with a 5-11 mark this past season, have had trouble getting consistent production out of the quarterback position since Peyton Manning retired after winning the Super Bowl.

In 2017, Siemian, Brock Osweiler and Lynch combined to complete just 58.7 percent of their passes for 3,668 yards with 19 touchdowns and 22 interceptions for a 73.0 passer rating. Kelly, who was a seventh-round pick in 2017 and a nephew of Hall of Famer Jim Kelly, is healthy after missing his rookie season with a wrist injury.

The Broncos could also look toward the quarterback position with the fifth overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.

Cousins is expected to fetch a high price on the free agent market this year. He is coming off a season in which he completed 64.3 percent of his passes for more than 4,000 yards with 27 touchdowns and 13 interceptions for a 93.9 passer rating with the Redskins.

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Trump: No construction on border wall until Congress OKs funding

Feb. 28 (UPI) — President Donald Trump said Wednesday that no construction on his proposed border wall will begin until Congress approves the funding for it.

Trump’s remarks followed a federal court ruling that dismissed a challenge to the wall on regulatory grounds.

U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel ruled Tuesday that the Trump administration has the right to waive environmental laws and other regulations to begin building the wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Curiel said he did not have any “serious constitutional doubts” about the government’s use of the waivers, and noted that it’s not the court’s role to evaluate possible motives for building the wall.

“In its review of this case, the court cannot and does not consider whether underlying decisions to construct the border barriers are politically wise or prudent,” Curiel wrote.

The lawsuit, filed by the state of California last year, argued that the Department of Homeland Security had improperly waived the National Environmental Policy Act and other immigration and environmental rules to begin preparing for the wall.

Wednesday, Trump reiterated that the United States “must have border security.”

“I have decided that sections of the Wall that California wants built NOW will not be built until the whole Wall is approved,” Trump tweeted. “Big victory yesterday with ruling from the courts that allows us to proceed.”

Congress has yet to approve or provide funding for the wall, which has been estimated to cost as much as $20 billion.

Curiel is the same judge Trump criticized in a 2016 interview, suggesting his “Mexican heritage” made him unfit to decide a class action suit involving the president’s now-defunct real estate training company, Trump University.

Tuesday, Trump acknowledged the judge’s ruling.

“Big legal win today,” he tweeted. “U.S. judge sided with the Trump Administration and rejected the attempt to stop the government from building a great Border Wall on the Southern Border. Now this important project can go forward!”

Curiel Ruling 2 27 (PDF)

Curiel Ruling 2 27 (Text)

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UFC’s Jon Jones has license revoked for failing doping test

Jones, 30, insisted the drug had accidentally entered his system prior to UFC 214, but has been banned from competition for one year. Jones won the UFC light heavyweight title against Daniel Cormier last summer, but as it was later revealed, he had failed an out-of-competition urine test carried out one day prior the fight. 

The CSAC subsequently annulled Jones’ victory after the results of his doping test were announced, and reinstated Cormier as its champion. During a hearing in California, Jones was criticized for his “flimsy” defense, failing to convince the CSAC commission which unanimously voted to ban the former UFC champion.

Nevertheless, the commission expressed its hope that the athlete will fight again as soon as possible.

“Mr. Jones, I want to see you fighting as soon as possible,” CSAC chair John Cavelli said. “I hope you believe me. I hope you’re listening to some of the things I’ve told you and the other commissioners. Think about the people around you and the things you’re still doing. You are a unique, outstanding athlete. We want to see you in the cage as soon as possible. Come back to us.”

This is the second drug violation of Jones’ career. In 2016 he was forced to serve a one-year suspension after two banned anti-estrogenic agents were detected in his doping probe.

Jones argued that the banned substances were ingredients of a tainted sexual enhancement pill he had consumed. Jones also faces a maximum four year suspension from the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), which discovered his failed test.

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Researchers say hate for body odor means you vote Tory… here’s some other weird scientific studies

Body odor = right wing voter 

Okay, so this has been mentioned already, but it is hard to believe that someone actually funded this. A team of scientists have apparently come to the conclusion that authoritarian attitudes may be partly rooted in a biological urge to avoid catching diseases from unfamiliar people. Nothing to do with a respect for basic hygiene, then? Duly noted.

Why do old men have big ears?  

In July 1993, some clever person observed that old men usually have large ears. Some agreed, some disagreed – and thus a study was born.

Two years later, James A. Heathcote submitted his findings to the British Medical Journal. The study confirmed that old men usually have bigger ears, but concluded on the following note: “why ears should get bigger when the rest of the body stops growing is not answered by this research.” Another of life’s great mysteries shall remain unsolved.

The brand personality of rocks

This utterly ridiculous study investigated how people personify inanimate objects… in this case, rocks. Using Aaker’s brand personality scale – a tool used in marketing research – the study applies Aaker’s principles to determine the brand personality of rocks.

During the research pictures of three rocks were put in front of 225 Kiwi students who were then asked which personality traits applied to each. The rocks’ “personalities” were described in great detail, including as “a big New York type businessman, rich, smooth, maybe a little shady,” “a gypsy or a traveller, a hippie” and “liberal, attractive and female.”

Thrilling stuff, so well done to Sarah Forbes from the University of Birmingham and her colleagues in New Zealand and Canada. They are the ones we have to thank for this gem of a research topic.

The Neural Bases of Disgust for Cheese: An fMRI Study

Okay, this one I get. This study is looking into why some people hate cheese… obviously so they can cure them of such a horrendous ailment, right?

Wrong. The study didn’t look at how to cure those involved of such an erroneous affliction, but merely exposed cheese-haters to cheese, which – wait for it – they were disgusted by.

In the end the research found that “the study of food disgust and aversion in humans is difficult because it is rare to find individuals who present disgust for the same type of food… our findings show that a higher-than-expected proportion of individuals are disgusted by cheese than by other food categories.”

So it appears that this one was a total waste of time. That really is a surprise.

GoatMan: How I Took a Holiday from Being Human 

Thomas Thwaites turned his weird experience into a book. He built a goat exoskeleton – in other words artificial legs, helmet, chest protector, a raincoat from his mum, and a prosthetic goat stomach to digest grass (with the help of a pressure cooker and campfire) – before setting off across the Alps with a herd of his fellow goats.

Because of course you do. This is what any sane, normal human being does in their spare time. Did he discover what it truly means to be human – or goat?

The short answer is inconclusive. He turned his research into a book, which RT’s journalist refused to read on the straightforward ground of its sheer ridiculousness. Guess we’ll never know… unless you buy his book.

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‘Disgraceful’: Trump skewers AG Sessions over FISA abuses probe

Sessions said on Tuesday that the internal watchdog at the Department of Justice (DOJ) would be assessing allegations of FBI abuse.

We believe the Department of Justice must adhere to the high standards in the FISA [Foreign Intelligence Service Act] court,” Sessions said. “Yes it will be investigated. And I think that’s just the appropriate thing the inspector general will take that as one of the matters he’ll deal with.”

Allegations that the FBI used biased evidence emerged in January when the ‘Nunes’ memo  was published by the House Intelligence Committee despite opposition from Democrats and the FBI.

The four-page memo alleges the FBI abused its surveillance remit. It claims that the FISA warrant to spy on Trump adviser Carter Page was granted and then renewed based on information from a dossier paid for by the Hillary Clinton campaign. The so-called Steele dossier “formed an essential part” of the FISA probable cause order obtained by the FBI from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court on October 21, 2016.

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EU, Japan to push through free trade deal before Brexit – negotiators

The European Union and Japan are rushing to ensure that their planned free trade agreement can enter force early in 2019, ideally before Britain leaves the EU, Reuters quoted the lead negotiators of both sides as saying on Wednesday. Japan’s ambassador for international economic affairs, Yoichi Suzuki, said the deal agreed by negotiators last year would likely be presented to the Japanese parliament later in 2018. It would  allow ratification by the end of the year. “It’s a very high priority that it enter force before the end of March 2019,” he said in Brussels. If a deal entered into force before Brexit, it could apply automatically to Britain during a post-March 2019 transition period of around two years.

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Fate of the homeless under Conservative rule looks ever more desperate

In its manifesto, the Tory government pledged to halve homelessness by 2020 and “eliminate it altogether” by 2027. On Tuesday, the cabinet dedicated a whole session to discussing how to tackle homelessness in the UK. The debate surrounded a £28 million ($39 million) program to provide stable and affordable housing for the homeless.

Chancellor Philip Hammond did spare a whole minute during his Budget speech in November to announce £25 million towards helping rough sleepers. That seems a meager amount, however, compared to the £10 billion he’ll spend on helping people who want to buy a home.

The chancellor’s apparent indifference to tackling homelessness was laid bare during the same cabinet meeting on Tuesday when he appeared to trivialize the experience of rough sleeping by comparing it to a summer night he spent on a beach.

Hammond’s intervention, which was branded “disgraceful” by some members of the public, came just as Streetlink, an app which connects rough sleepers in England and Wales to local services, received a record high 3,600 alerts over the past 24 hours. The spike coincided with the Siberian ‘Beast from the East’ storm plunging the country into sub-zero temperatures.

The extent to which Tory austerity is failing rough sleepers was clear well before these figures. Just two weeks ago, a rough sleeper was found dead meters away from Parliament. Labour branded the incident an indictment of the state of ‘Tory Britain’.

Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn said in response: “I’ve just been told about the death of a rough sleeper right by the entrance to Parliament. The powerful can’t carry on walking by on the other side while people don’t have a home to call their own. It’s time all MPs took up this moral challenge and properly housed everyone.”

Moreover, the Tory-led Windsor Council recently made the headlines after leader Simon Dudley suggested police use their legal powers to remove homeless people from the streets in anticipation of the royal wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

While another Tory council in Wales allegedly threatened homeless people with jail time if they embarrassed the city when Prince Harry and American TV actress Markle visited at the beginning of January. Cardiff charity Left Outside

Alone reported that the homeless had been told they would face 14 days in prison if they were “seen sitting on [the] floor in town.”

Another Conservative council came under fire for distributing posters accused of “demonizing” rough sleepers by cautioning the public against giving money to beggars as they might be faking their precarious conditions.

READ MORE: Scrap ‘barbaric’ pre-Victorian powers to detain rough sleepers, homeless campaign group tells RT

The Tories’ failure to protect the homeless is not a mere impression, but a reality. A report last September in fact reveals the number of homeless people soared by 134 percent since the Conservatives took power in 2010.

An autumn snapshot survey by the National Audit Office recorded 4,134 rough sleepers in 2016 – marking an increase of 134 percent since the Tory-led coalition took power in 2010. An increase of 48 percent in the number of families being assessed as eligible for temporary accommodations by councils was also recorded.

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From Spice Girls to Backstreet Boys: The cash behind comebacks

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