Microsoft recognizes its first union as ZeniMax software testers organize

US Top News and Analysis 

In this article


Lisbon , Portugal – 3 November 2022; Brad Smith, Vice Chair and President, Microsoft, at a press conference during day two of Web Summit 2022 at the Altice Arena in Lisbon, Portugal. Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile for Web Summit via Getty Images)
Stephen McCarthy | Sportsfile | Web Summit | Getty Images

Microsoft said Tuesday that it has recognized its first union of employees in the software maker’s 47-year history.

Workers at airlines, automakers, schools and government agencies belong to unions, but collective bargaining hasn’t taken hold at large technology companies, where employees often receive high wages.

Amazon and Apple have not been especially accommodating to employees who have tried to establish unions. Last year, Microsoft said it would support approaches that would make it simpler for its employees to join unions.

In recent months three groups of employees at video game publisher Activision Blizzard, which Microsoft is working to acquire, have unionized, but Microsoft has yet to complete the nearly $69 billion deal that competition regulators have pushed back on. Last week, the Communications Workers of America said a supermajority of employees at Proletariat, a Boston-based game studio Activision Blizzard acquired in mid-2022, had voted to unionize.

Now U.S. quality-assurance employees across multiple studios at ZeniMax, a video game publisher Microsoft bought in 2021 for $8.1 billion, are organizing with the CWA, which has also worked with the Activision Blizzard workers. ZeniMax publishes “Doom,” “Fallout,” “Quake” and “The Elder Scrolls,” among other games.

“In light of the results of the recent unionization vote, we recognize the Communications Workers of America (CWA) as the bargaining representative for the Quality Assurance employees at ZeniMax,” a spokesperson for Microsoft and ZeniMax wrote in an email to CNBC. “We look forward to engaging in good-faith negotiations as we work towards a collective bargaining agreement.”

A supermajority of ZeniMax workers said they wanted to join the union, the CWA said in a statement. Microsoft operates 23 internal game studios in addition to selling Xbox consoles and operating gaming services such as Game Pass subscription packages. The workers become the largest group of quality-assurance testers at any U.S. game studio, the CWA said.

WATCH: Gaming benefits from being largely platform agnostic, says Cowen’s Doug Creutz

Gaming benefits from being largely platform agnostic, says Cowen’s Doug Creutz

Read More 

Buffalo Sabres show support for Bills’ Damar Hamlin with custom t-shirts before game vs. Capitals

Latest & Breaking News on Fox News 

The support for Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin has stretched far past the NFL, especially in the Buffalo community. 

The Buffalo Sabres showed love and support for Hamlin and the Bills soon after the safety collapsed due to cardiac arrest against the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday night, and they continued to do so with custom t-shirts worn before their game against the Washington Capitals on Tuesday night. 

Members of the Sabres were seen walking into Capital One Arena in Washington D.C. with shirts that read “Love for 3,” which pays homage to Hamlin’s jersey number with the Bills. 


The Sabres’ Twitter account also shared a new avatar, which says “Pray For Damar” with his No. 3 as well. It is the avatar that every NFL account changed to, showing unity in this tough moment. 

“All of Buffalo and #BillsMafia is with you, Damar. Praying for you,” the Sabres account tweeted following Hamlin’s injury on Monday night.


The Bills provided an update on Hamlin recently, saying he remains in critical condition after spending the night in the University of Cincinnati Medical Center’s intensive care unit. 

Hamlin collapsed on the Paycor Stadium turf around 8:55 p.m. on Monday night. The Bills confirmed what multiple reports were saying, that Hamlin suffered cardiac arrest and needed to have his heart restored on the field before being transferred to the hospital for further treatment. 

The incident occurred on the Bengals’ second drive, where quarterback Joe Burrow found wide receiver Tee Higgins for a completion. Hamlin and other Bills were in pursuit to tackle Higgins, who eventually lowered his shoulder into Hamlin’s chest. 

After initially getting up, Hamlin collapsed to the turf and medical staffs from both teams sprinted out to give him attention. He received CPR before he was put in an ambulance. 


Bills and Bengals players were noticeably shook up from what they saw on the field, some of which broke out into tears. Others began praying for their teammate and NFL brother, as no one knew the extent of what was wrong. 

The Bills-Bengals game was postponed and no word as been made from the league as to what happens next. 

All focus is on Hamlin. 


Read More 


Hillicon Valley — Cyber concerns to expect in 2023

Just In | The Hill 

Cybersecurity is expected to be a top priority in 2023 as lawmakers step up their efforts to address evolving threats, including ransomware attacks and foreign spyware. 

Meanwhile, a Facebook whistleblower blasts the social media giant’s civic integrity, and Google has agreed to a multimillion-dollar settlement over location tracking.

This is Hillicon Valley, detailing all you need to know about tech and cyber news from Capitol Hill to Silicon Valley. Send tips to The Hill’s Rebecca Klar and Ines Kagubare

Cyber priorities to watch out for this year

Cyberattacks have surged in recent years, with the health care system and other critical sectors increasingly coming under digital assaults as the threat of malware like ransomware and foreign spyware continues to evolve.  

Last year in particular saw officials and lawmakers renew their focus on cybersecurity and seek to secure the country’s critical sectors from rising cyber threats. The issue is expected to take center stage again in the coming year, as many of those threats are still escalating while the cyber sector is confronting an ongoing workforce shortage in its efforts to bolster the U.S.’s digital defenses. 

Here are four cyber concerns expected to take priority in 2023:

Threats to critical sectors: The financial, energy and health care sectors are all facing a skyrocketing number of hacks. Cyberattacks have robbed companies in those industries of hundreds of millions of dollars, exposed data and even disrupted essential services, as when a ransomware attack forced the Colonial Pipeline to shut down in 2021, causing gas shortages in several states. 

The health care sector in particular has seen a rise in cyberattacks in the last few years, particularly ransomware attacks targeting hospitals in order to gain access to sensitive information like patient data or medical research and technology. 

Increasing threats to the sector have set off alarm bells in Washington, with Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, warning this fall that cyberattacks could lead to delays in treatment and even patients’ deaths. 

Ransomware attacks: Recent years have seen an especially dramatic spike in ransomware attacks, particularly targeting the health care and financial sectors.

Last year alone, ransomware groups caused outages in multiple hospital systems, temporarily closed schools in parts of the U.S., carried out multimillion-dollar hacks on a number of companies and drove Costa Rica to declare a state of emergency in May as a barrage of attacks impacted its government services. 

Foreign spyware: Foreign spyware garnered attention last year following controversy surrounding the embattled Israeli spyware firm NSO Group, which was blacklisted by the Department of Commerce in 2021 for allegedly facilitating unlawful surveillance used against government officials, journalists, dissidents and human rights activists. 

Congress has since taken steps to address the allegations. In July, the House Intelligence Committee included a provision in the Intelligence Authorization Act authorizing the director of national intelligence to prohibit the U.S. intelligence community from buying and using foreign spyware. 

Labor shortage: Rising cyber threats have brought new urgency to a long-time labor shortage in the industry as both federal agencies and private companies have scrambled to fill key cyber roles. 

The industry has sought to address the shortage by investing in workforce development, and is expected to continue doing so moving forward. 

Read more here


Frances Haugen, who became known as the Facebook whistleblower after she released thousands of documents about the platform’s content moderation policies and algorithm, said the company is not “committed” to civic integrity.  

Haugen said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that Facebook is more concerned with its stock prices and profit margins than public safety. She said she was initially optimistic about the company’s plans when she was hired as part of its civic integrity unit, which she said was one of the best in the industry. 

But she said she realized Facebook was not serious when it dissolved the unit after the 2020 presidential election.  

“When Facebook dissolved civic integrity, I saw that they weren’t willing to make that commitment anymore,” she said.  

Haugen released thousands of internal documents from Facebook in 2021 about the company’s algorithm and its response to misinformation on the platform. She testified before Congress in October of that year that Facebook is prioritizing profits over its users’ safety. 

Read more here


Google has agreed to pay a total of $29.5 million to settle separate lawsuits with Washington, D.C., and Indiana over its location tracking practices.  

Under the settlements, Google agreed to not make misrepresentations to users about an individual user’s location information in location history and web and app activity. 

Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita (R) said in a statement that the state reached a settlement with Google for $20 million to resolve its lawsuit over the company’s “deceptive location-tracking practices.” 

“This settlement is another manifestation of our steadfast commitment to protect Hoosiers from Big Tech’s intrusive schemes,” Rokita said. “We will continue holding these companies accountable for their improper manipulation of consumers.” 

Read more here


An op-ed to chew on: American national security requires smart spectrum planning 

Notable links from around the web:  

Ukraine War and Upcoming SEC Rules Push Boards to Sharpen Cyber Oversight (The Wall Street Journal / Catherine Stupp and Kim Nash) 

Can these researchers help defend satellite systems targeted by hackers? (CyberScoop / Christian Vasquez) 

Social Media Use Is Linked to Brain Changes in Teens, Research Finds (The New York Times / Ellen Barry) 


House says so long to TikTok

The House’s chief administrative officer banned TikTok from all mobile devices that the body manages last week, ahead of the federal government joining a growing number of states in prohibiting employees from having the app on their government-issued phones.  

Multiple news outlets reported that Catherine Szpindor, the head of the office responsible for providing House members, officers and staff with administrative, technical and operational assistance, sent a memo to all House lawmakers and staff last week saying that the app is considered “high risk” due to multiple security issues. 

“House staff are NOT allowed to download the TikTok app on any House mobile devices,” the memo said, according to NBC. “If you have the TikTok app on your House mobile device, you will be contacted to remove it.”  

With the move, the House joined more than a dozen states and several federal agencies that had previously taken action to ban the app on government devices.  

Read more here

That’s it for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hill’s Technology and Cybersecurity pages for the latest news and coverage. We’ll see you tomorrow.

​Overnight Cybersecurity, Cybersecurity, Overnight Technology, Policy, Technology Read More 

Meet the 20 rebels bucking McCarthy’s bid

Politics, Policy, Political News Top Stories 

At the heart of Kevin McCarthy’s struggles for the speakership is a bloc of roughly two dozen conservative House Republicans opposed to his elevation.

The 20 members — with 19 of them opposing McCarthy from the start, and one who switched in the third ballot — are a mix of veterans of the Tea Party class, newly elected members and perennial thorns in the side of leadership.

Here’s more on those lawmakers, who actually ensured incoming House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries won more votes on every ballot.

Andy Biggs


Republicans originally rallied behind the Arizona Republican, the former chair of the House Freedom Caucus, as a symbolic alternative to McCarthy during the first conference-wide vote for GOP leader. Thirty-one GOP lawmakers voted for someone other than McCarthy last November, a sign that McCarthy would not have the votes come Jan. 3. Ten Republicans voted for Biggs on Tuesday during the first speaker vote.

Dan Bishop


Bishop came to Congress in 2019 after time in the North Carolina state Legislature. A member of the Freedom Caucus, Bishop said in a statement Tuesday that McCarthy “is not the right candidate to be Speaker,” arguing he’s maintained the “status quo” that has made Congress unpopular among the American people.

Lauren Boebert


A lightning rod since she first knocked off a Republican incumbent in a 2020 primary, Boebert has long criticized the status quo in Washington. “I worked diligently with my conservative colleagues to put together a deal that would unify the conference behind Kevin McCarthy,” she said on Tuesday. “He rejected it.”

Josh Brecheen


The Oklahoma Republican is a new member who succeeds Sen. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.) in representing the House seat covering almost all of the eastern portion of the state. A self-styled fiscal conservative in the vein of former Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), for whom he once worked, Brecheen originally cast his vote for Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.).

Michael Cloud


A member of the House since 2018, the Texas Republican said in a statement that Congress is “broken” and that despite negotiations with McCarthy and others, “ultimately many of the promises made lacked enforcement mechanisms necessary to ensure their implementation, casting doubt on the sincerity of reforms.”

Andrew Clyde


The Georgia Republican first assumed office in 2021 and made waves when he likened the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol to a “normal tourist visit.” Clyde is a member of the Freedom Caucus.

Eli Crane


A new member-elect, Crane flipped a newly redrawn seat previously held by former Rep. Tom O’Halleran (D-Ariz.). He signed on to a letter along with eight other conservatives calling McCarthy’s concessions on the chamber’s rules “insufficient” shortly before the vote.

Byron Donalds


After previously casting his vote for McCarthy in the first two votes, Donalds switched his vote to Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) during the third ballot. “The reality is Rep. Kevin McCarthy doesn’t have the votes,” he said in a statement after the third round. The sophomore Republican has made waves in the conference, throwing his hat in the ring to be chair of the House GOP conference last year ― a bid that he later lost to Rep. Elise Stefanik (N.Y.). Donalds was even floated as an alternative to McCarthy, with Rep. Chip Roy (Texas) voting singlehandedly for the Florida Republican.

Matt Gaetz


Gaetz has led the charge against McCarthy’s bid for speaker since the onset. He’s been in office since 2017 and frequently clashed with party leadership of both parties. “Maybe the right person for the job of speaker of the House isn’t someone who wants it so bad,” Gaetz said Tuesday on the House floor.

Bob Good


One of the original five members of the “Never Kevin” caucus, Good has opposed McCarthy’s elevation to the speakership from the jump. He came to Congress in 2020 after defeating a sitting congressman — then-Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-Va.) — in a GOP primary. Good and McCarthy have bad blood dating back to that primary defeat.

Paul Gosar


Coming to Congress in 2011, the former Tea Party member and now Freedom Caucus lawmaker is one of the most conservative members of his party and a magnet for controversy. The Arizona Republican was previously called out by McCarthy for attending a white nationalist event last year, and was censured and stripped of his committee assignments by the House after posting an animated video that depicted him killing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.)

Andy Harris


One of the longest-serving members to oppose McCarthy, Harris first came to Congress in 2011 after a lengthy career in the Maryland state Senate. He’s a member of the Freedom Caucus and cast his first vote Tuesday for former Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) before subsequently backing Jordan.

Anna Paulina Luna


The freshman won election to a newly redrawn seat on the western coast of Florida. Luna signed on to a number of the letters from Perry laying out additional demands of McCarthy, including the one on Jan. 1 calling his concessions “insufficient.”

Mary Miller


Miller first assumed her seat representing a sprawling swath of southern Illinois in 2021 and defeated former Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) in a member-on-member battle this most recent cycle. She’s a member of the Freedom Caucus and drew the highest-profile attention when she said in January 2021: “Hitler was right on one thing: He said, ‘Whoever has the youth has the future.’”

Ralph Norman


Another of the original “Never Kevin” renegades, Norman has not wavered in his opposition to the California Republican. He’s a member of the Freedom Caucus and originally came to Congress in mid-2017 following a special election to replace Mick Mulvaney.

Andy Ogles


The freshman prevailed after Tennessee lawmakers redrew a district to break up the city of Nashville. Ogles has also signed on to a number of the letters seeking concessions from McCarthy in exchange for votes. Many signatories have felt those they got did not go far enough.

Scott Perry


As chair of the Freedom Caucus, Perry has been one of the most vocal critics of McCarthy, leading the push for institutional changes that members of the caucus argue would restore power to rank-and-file members. This includes a change to lower the threshold on the motion to vacate, which would allow for members to dispose of a sitting speaker. However, even though McCarthy has stated that he was open to lowering the threshold for such a move, Perry was one of nine conservatives who said they weren’t satisfied with McCarthy’s answers to a list of demands from last month. Hours before the vote, Perry released a scalding statement on McCarthy, saying that the California Republican “failed to demonstrate any desire to meaningfully change the status quo in Washington.”

Matt Rosendale


The second-term Montana lawmaker has been against the McCarthy speakership bid from the beginning. “We need a leader who can stand up to a Democrat-controlled Senate and President Biden, and unfortunately, that isn’t Kevin McCarthy,” he tweeted in November. Rosendale is being closely watched as a potential statewide office candidate in 2024 after coming up short in his Senate bid in 2018.

Chip Roy


Roy has also been a key antagonist to McCarthy, advocating for reforms to House rules — including the motion to vacate the chair. Even before coming to Congress, Roy previously pledged his support for Jordan as speaker, and promised to be a thorn in the side of establishment Republicans. “I’m not blinking,” he said Tuesday on Fox News.

Keith Self


The Texas Republican just assumed office, succeeding former Rep. Van Taylor (R-Texas), who retired. Prior to his election to Congress, Self served as county judge for Collin County, Texas.

​ Read More 

Trump won’t say if he’s sticking by McCarthy after failed Speakership votes

Just In | The Hill 

Former President Trump on Tuesday declined to say whether he will stick by House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) as his bid to become Speaker appeared to hit a wall.

“We’ll see what happens,” Trump told NBC News in a phone conversation when asked if he stands by his endorsement of McCarthy.

“I got everybody calling me wanting my support,” Trump told NBC. “But let’s see what happens and we’ll go — I got everybody calling, wanting my support. That’s all I can say. But we’ll see what happens. We’ll see how it all works out.”

Trump’s comments came after the House had adjourned for the day without electing a Speaker. Republicans hold 222 of the 434 seats that are filled in the House, but no lawmaker was able to hit the 218-vote threshold needed to become Speaker after three ballots.

The former president, who is an influential figure with many House Republicans, had previously urged those in the House unsure about McCarthy to rally behind the California Republican or risk ending up with a worse alternative.

But Trump’s sudden noncommittal stance could further imperil McCarthy’s chances as Republicans seek a way forward.

McCarthy lost 19 GOP votes on the first two ballots and 20 on the third ballot, leaving the conference in a stalemate. It marks the first time in a century that the House has gone to multiple ballots for Speaker. In 1923, the Speaker election took nine ballots over three days.

McCarthy’s opponents coalesced around Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), a staunch Trump ally, but Jordan has said he is not interested in becoming Speaker.

McCarthy, who remained stoic on the floor during the long voting process even as it became obvious he would lose, remains adamant he will eventually win the gavel.

​House, Donald Trump, House Speaker vote, Jim Jordan, Kevin McCarthy Read More 

Jeremy Renner shares photo from hospital bed after snowplow accident: ‘Thank you all for your kind words’

Latest & Breaking News on Fox News 

Jeremy Renner shared a selfie on Instagram following a traumatic injury after an accident on New Year’s Day.

“Thank you all for your kind words,” he wrote. “Im too messed up now to type. But I send love to you all.”

Deputies responded to reports of a traumatic injury at 9 a.m. near Mt. Rose Highway on the first day of the new year, located near the California/Nevada border. 

Renner was then airlifted to a local hospital and had surgery after suffering blunt chest trauma and orthopedic injuries. He was reportedly the “only involved party in the incident.”

“Jeremy is making positive progress and is awake, talking and in good spirits,” Renner’s representative told Fox News Digital. “He remains in ICU in critical but stable condition. He is overwhelmed by the showing of love and support. The family asks for your continued thoughts while he heals with his close loved ones.”


Washoe County Sheriff Darin Balaam shared in a press conference Tuesday that deputies responded to a 911 call at 8:55 a.m. on Jan. 1. 

Balaam said previous evening conditions had seen approximately three feet of snow fall on the Mt. Rose area, and “multiple cars” had been abandoned overnight. 


“While it was not snowing at the time of the accident, Mt. Rose Highway was closed,” he said. By 9:30 a.m., the first unit arrived on scene and at 9:56 a.m., “Mr. Renner was taken via care flight” to a hospital.

Balaam described how the “Mission: Impossible” actor was “being a great neighbor and plowing those roads for his neighbor” when the accident occurred. 

Renner had successfully towed his own vehicle out of his driveway with his PistenBully, a 14,000-pound snowplow. After Renner got out, the massive snow groomer started to roll and then rolled over Renner.

“We believe this was a tragic accident,” Balaam said. “This investigation is on going. We do not suspect any foul play.”

“After Mr. Renner was run over by the PistenBully, neighbors ran out to help Mr. Renner,” Balaam added.

He said the department was keeping Renner and his family in “our thoughts and prayers” while he recovers.


“We can confirm that Jeremy has suffered blunt chest trauma and orthopedic injuries and has undergone surgery today, January 2nd 2023,” a statement read, according to People. “He has returned from surgery and remains in the intensive care unit in critical but stable condition.

“Jeremy’s family would like to express their gratitude to the incredible doctors and nurses looking after him, Truckee Meadows Fire and Rescue, Washoe County Sheriff, Reno City Mayor Hillary Schieve and the Carano and Murdock families,” the statement continued. “They are also tremendously overwhelmed and appreciative of the outpouring of love and support from his fans.”

In December, Renner showed his five million Twitter followers just how serious conditions can be on the mountain.

“Lake Tahoe snowfall is no joke #WinterWonderland,” he tweeted and included a picture of a snow-covered vehicle.

Renner became a two-time Oscar nominee with “The Hurt Locker” and “The Town.” He earned his own Disney+ series, “Hawkeye,” after multiple appearances in MCU films, including “The Avengers” series.


Read More 


Democrat-turned-independent wins Pennsylvania House leadership post with GOP support

Just In | The Hill 

A Democrat-turned-independent Pennsylvania state representative was elected Speaker of the state’s House of Representatives on Tuesday, after several Republicans joined with Democrats in a surprise turn of events. 

Pennsylvania state Rep. Mark Rozzi, who has served as a Democratic member of the House for a decade, said he would govern as an independent, after the closely divided chamber voted 115-85 to elect him Speaker. Rozzi is the first independent Speaker of the Pennsylvania House.

“We’ve heard from the people of Pennsylvania, the press and even members in this own building about how we need to find a new path forward,” Rozzi said, after being sworn in. “My entire career I believe I have worked to find that path, and I am honored to have your trust today to serve as Speaker.” 

Despite taking a slim one-seat majority in November’s elections, Pennsylvania Democrats were down three members in the House on Tuesday, after the death of one state representative and the resignations of two others.

This meant Democrats had 99 members to Republicans’ 101 members and could not elect House Democratic Leader Rep. Joanna McClinton as they had planned.

Republican state Rep. Jim Gregory, who initially put forward Rozzi as a candidate for the Speakership, acknowledged the peculiar nature of his nomination on Tuesday.

“At first blush, many might be wondering why a Republican is standing up to nominate a member of the Democrat caucus,” Gregory said. “The answer is really very simple – we must have a Speaker that reflects the realities that we have before us.”

“For me, Rep. Rozzi has proven himself to be an independent voice,” he continued. “I believe that he will continue to forge that independent path in remaining a fair arbiter for the business of this chamber.”

Gregory was joined by fellow Republican, state Rep. Tim O’Neal, who seconded his nomination of Rozzi. McClinton followed the two Republicans in praising Rozzi as a “true leader among us” and said the Democratic caucus supported his nomination.

Sixteen Republican ultimately joined Democrats in voting for Rozzi as Speaker.

The unusual move in Pennsylvania’s statehouse came as federal lawmakers in Congress failed to settle on a Speaker, despite three rounds of voting, for the first time in decades.

Rep. Kevin McCarthy (Calif.), the GOP leader, failed to muster the necessary votes to become Speaker, and the House adjourned Tuesday evening with many on Capitol Hill wondering if a compromise candidate might emerge overnight.

​State Watch, Independents, Mark Rozzi, Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania House of Representatives, Pennsylvania House Speaker Read More 

Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin was cherishing every moment in the NFL before his collapse


The current NFL season had seen Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin establish him in the team before he suffered a cardiac arrest and collapsed during the Bills’ game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday.

Hamlin’s heartbeat was restored on the field, according to the Bills, and he remains in a “critical condition” at a Cincinnati hospital.

The game was later postponed with players from both teams visibly distraught following the incident.

The 24-year-old Hamlin has played in every game this season after injuries to the Bills’ defensive backfield.

According to ESPN, the safety has recorded 91 total tackles, 1.5 sacks, one forced fumble, and two passes defended in 15 games this season as the Bills (12-3) top the AFC East standings. Hamlin had entered Monday tied for the second-most tackles on the team.

“I’m cherishing every moment I can,” Hamlin said in a recent interview with One Bills Live.

Hamlin warms up before playing the New York Jets in December.

A Pennsylvania native, Hamlin joined the Bills in 2021 as a sixth-round draft pick (212th overall) from the University of Pittsburgh.

Prior to that, he won a Pennsylvania state championship while at Pittsburgh Central Catholic high school in 2015, leading the team to a 15-1 record as one of the best-rated defenders in the state.

His college career with the Pittsburgh Panthers was interrupted by injuries and in 2016 he was redshirted – meaning he sat out games while remaining on the team.

In his 46 games at Pittsburgh, Hamlin recorded 275 tackles, 10 tackles for losses, six interceptions, 21 passes defended and one fumble recovery, according to the Bills. Following the 2020 season, he earned All-ACC second-team honors.

Hamlin (3) celebrates during the college football game between the UCF Knights and the Pittsburgh Panthers in September 2019.

Away from the football field, Hamlin set up his Chasing M’s Foundation while in college, which started as a program to buy and donate toys to a day center in his hometown of McKees Rock, Pennsylvania.

In the hours after Hamlin’s collapse, donations to the toy drive fundraiser organized by Hamlin and the Chasing M’s Foundation rocketed to more than $3 million in the space of a few hours.

According to Hamlin’s GoFundMe page, the toy drive seeks to “positively impact children who have been hit hardest by the pandemic,” with 100% of the funds said to go towards toys for kids in need.”

Jordon Rooney, friend and marketing representative of Damar Hamlin, described the 24-year-old as a “fighter.”

“I mean, if there’s anyone I have confidence in making it out of anything, it’s him. He is someone who always figures out a way to come out on top,” Rooney told CNN’s Adrienne Broaddus Tuesday.

In an earlier interview, Rooney said he met Hamlin when the player interned for him and the two have been good friends ever since.

“I actually know Damar because him being a division one football player, reached out to me to be an intern for me.” Rooney told ABC’s Robin Roberts on Good Morning America.

“Which is something that’s pretty unique and the reason why is cause he’s always interested in being an entrepreneur and wanted to build his own brand.

“He interned for me and then we just became super, super close so now, you know, we’re partners in a business together. We collaborate on a lot of things and we’re really good friends.”

Hamlin tackles Tee Higgins of the Cincinnati Bengals during Monday's game.

Hamlin continued his annual toy drive tradition this year in Buffalo, signing autographs and jerseys for children who stopped by.

“(It’s) something I’ve always been into, just giving back,” he told CNN affiliate WKBW in December, adding: “For three years I’ve been doing the toy drive so just being able to extend it to Buffalo now is just something I love doing.”

In a 2021 interview with the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, Hamlin credited his parents, Mario and Nina Hamlin, for keeping him on a straight path as a kid in McKees Rocks, which the paper said had drug and gang problems that produced one of the highest crime rates in the US.

“There were times when I could have steered right or steered left, but my parents were always there to straighten me out and get me back on track,” Hamlin said in an interview with the paper.

He noted how some of his father’s guidance came from prison, where Mario Hamlin served time on a federal drug conviction.

“The good thing is I had good goals and good morals already established in me in that period of time,” Hamlin told the Rochester paper.

Hamlin assisted his mother, who was at the game on Monday, in a family cleaning business that enabled him to go to the private Pittsburgh Central Catholic high school.

“He has a strong family. He has the ideal support system. They’re optimistic,” Rooney told CNN, calling Hamlin “more than an athlete.”

“He’s in the NFL because he wants to be a role model,” Rooney said. “Part of what drives Damar is to be an example for the other young people in his community.”


Biden taps Democrat on interstate energy commission as its interim chair

Just In | The Hill 

President Biden will name Willie Phillips as interim head of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the White House confirmed Tuesday.

The agency confirmed Phillips, a member of the commission since Dec. 21, will replace Chairman Richard Glick, who left his post Tuesday. Phillips, whose term as a commissioner expires in 2026, will serve as acting head of the utility agency until a permanent replacement is found. Biden nominated Glick for another term in May, but In November, Senate Energy Committee Chairman Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said he would not support Glick’s renomination as FERC chairman, with a spokesperson saying the West Virginia Democrat was “not comfortable holding a hearing” to give Glick another term.

FERC regulates interstate energy issues, including oil and gas pipelines. While Manchin did not elaborate on his opposition to Glick’s renomination, it came shortly after he had vocally opposed a move by FERC to incorporate pipelines’ contributions to climate change into the approval process.

Glick’s departure gives the commission an even split of two Republicans and two Democrats. Regulations bar the board from having a majority of more than one on either side. Phillips was confirmed to FERC by the Senate in a voice vote, which typically indicates lack of controversy, but his record as a utility regulator has been criticized by environmentalists, who have called him overly friendly with utility companies.

“It is an honor to be chosen by President Biden to lead FERC at such a pivotal moment,” Phillips said in a statement Tuesday. “The work we do here at FERC is crucial to ensuring consumers have access to reliable, safe, secure and efficient energy services at reasonable cost. I look forward to continuing to work with my fellow Commissioners and the FERC staff, as well as to prioritize public engagement, in pursuit of our important mission.”

​Energy & Environment Read More 

Twitter Files: Rep. Adam Schiff’s office requested tech giant to suspend accounts

Latest & Breaking News on Fox News 

This article will update as the story develops…

It was revealed in the latest “Twitter Files,” that the office of Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., made requests for Twitter to suspend certain accounts. 

In the second of two back-to-back batches of Elon Musk’s “Twitter Files” shared on Tuesday by Substack writer Matt Taibbi, he reported that Twitter “received an astonishing variety of requests from officials asking for individuals they didn’t like to be banned.”

An example he shared was one sent in November 2020 by Schiff’s office, who contacted Twitter hoping the tech giant would take action regarding “alleged harassment from QAnon conspiracists” against Schiff’s staff, including aide Sean Misko. 

“Remove any and all content about Mr. Misko and other Committee staff from its service- to include quotes, retweets, and reactions to that content,” the request to Twitter read. “Suspend the many accounts, including @GregRubini and @paulsperry, which have repeatedly promoted false QAnon conspiracies.” 

Schiff’s office also requested that Twitter “stop the spread of future misinformation on Twitter” regarding committee staff and “label and reduce the visibility of any content.”


“Even Twitter declined to honor Schiff’s request at the time,” Taibbi wrote, noting Twitter’s responses to Schiff’s office repeatedly saying “we don’t do this.” As Taibbi noted, though, Sperry was later suspended. 

Schiff’s office did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment. 

Much of the twelfth installment of the “Twitter Files” was focused on eagerness from the State Department’s Global Engagement Center (GEC), which Taibbi described as a “fledgling analytic/intelligence” arm to participate in guiding Twitter’s moderation of content and how it often used the media to clash with the tech giant beginning in February 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic was underway. 

“The GEC flagged accounts as ‘Russian personas and proxies’ based on criteria like, ‘Describing the Coronavirus as an engineered bioweapon,’ blaming ‘research conducted at the Wuhan institute,’ and ‘attributing the appearance of the virus to the CIA,’” Taibbi wrote. “State also flagged accounts that retweeted news that Twitter banned the popular U.S. ZeroHedge, claiming the episode ‘led to another flurry of disinformation narratives.’ ZH had done reports speculating that the virus had lab origin.”


Yoel Roth, Twitter’s then-head of trust and safety, push backed at GEC’s own analysis allegedly based on data from the Department of Homeland Security that “nearly 250,000” Chinese-linked accounts were peddling propaganda and disinformation about COVID. Roth saw GEC’s report partly as “an attempt to insert themselves” into conversations Twitter has had with intel agencies including the DHS and FBI. 

The GEC eventually agreed to “loop in Twitter” before going public with its own findings, but the conflict continued between Twitter and the State Department arm. As Taibbi reported, tech giants including Twitter, Facebook and Google opposed the GEC’s inclusion in government talks. Roth at the time saw the GEC as “political” unlike the FBI and DHS. Roth also saw “major risks” for Twitter being chummy with the GEC “especially as the election heats up,” according to an email.

Roth further expressed his distrust in the “press-happy” GEC to FBI special agent Elvis Chan, who had constant communication with Twitter. Taibbi wrote, “Chan reassured him it would be a ‘one-way’ channel, and ‘State/GEC, NSA, and CIA have expressed interest in being allowed on in listen mode only.'”

Taibbi continued quoting the FBI agent, “‘We can give you everything we’re seeing from the FBI and USIC agencies,” Chan explained, but the DHS agency CISA ‘will know what’s going on in each state.’ He went on to ask if industry could ‘rely on the FBI to be the belly button of the USG.’ They eventually settled on an industry call via Signal.”

In the eleventh installment reported earlier in the day by Taibbi, Twitter had undergone a “PR crisis” following the 2016 presidential election as it was being pressured by Democrats to take action on alleged Russian influence on the platform as Facebook was doing in 2017, something Taibbi concluded influenced Twitter to embrace the intel community. 

Each installment of the “Twitter Files” was shared by the journalists tapped by Elon Musk in lengthy Twitter threads addressing various controversies. Taibbi went viral with the first installment in early December with his “Twitter Files” focusing on Twitter’s internal discussions leading to it censor the Hunter Biden laptop story during the 2020 presidential election, with some officials struggling to explain how it violated its “hacked materials” policies.

It was later revealed that the first batch of “Twitter Files” was vetted without Musk’s knowledge by Twitter deputy general counsel Jim Baker, who previously served as the FBI’s general counsel and was involved in the Russia probe. Musk fired Baker shortly thereafter.


Baker was swept up Taibbi’s reporting about the suppression of the Hunter Biden story, telling his colleagues at the time, “I support the conclusion that we need more facts to assess whether the materials were hacked” but added, “it’s reasonable for us to assume that they may have been and that caution is warranted.”

Additionally, Taibbi initially reported, “Although several sources recalled hearing about a ‘general’ warning from federal law enforcement that summer about possible foreign hacks, there’s no evidence – that I’ve seen – of any government involvement in the laptop story.” It is unclear whether Baker’s involvement in vetting the “Twitter Files” led Taibbi to draw that conclusion and whether Baker omitted files that would have shown the federal government intervening in Twitter’s suppression of the Hunter Biden laptop story. 

The second installment published by The Free Press editor Bari Weiss revealed Twitter’s “blacklisting” of prominent conservatives, including Fox News host Dan Bongino, Turning Point USA’s Charlie Kirk, as well as Stanford University’s Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, a longstanding opponent of COVID groupthink during the pandemic who expressed opposition to lockdowns.

Internal communications also reveal Twitter staffers admitting that the popular right-wing account Libs of TikTok never violated its “hateful conduct” policy despite being punished several times for allegedly doing so. 

Those revelations appear to contradict what former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey told Congress in 2018, when he testified under oath that Twitter did not censor or shadowban conservatives. 

The third, fourth and fifth installments of the “Twitter Files” focused on the permanent suspension of former President Trump around the Capitol riot in January 2021.

Taibbi reported how Twitter circulated election-related tweets from various users leading up to the 2020 election that were “flagged” by the FBI as being problematic. 

Independent writer Michael Shellenberger revealed that Dorsey was phoning it in as he was on vacation while his deputies were pushing to deplatform Trump, with Twitter’s former head of trust and safety Yoel Roth particularly spearheading efforts to censor other users pertaining to tweets about the 2020 election. It became known that Roth met on a weekly basis with the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and the office of the Director of National Inteligence in the weeks leading up to the election. 

Weiss addressed the pressure Twitter management was facing from its employees who called for Trump’s permanent suspension, though the Free Press editor also revealed several Twitter staffers who enforce policies did not believe Trump’s tweets from Jan. 6 actually violated its rules.

However, it was Vijaya Gadde, then-Twitter’s head legal chief, who asked if Trump’s tweets could be “coded incitement to further violence.” Moments later, the so-called “scaled enforcement team” suggested that based on how Twitter interprets Trump’s tweets, it could violate the violence incitement policies. 

Part six of the “Twitter Files” put a spotlight on Twitter’s close ties with the FBI. Taibbi alleged the law enforcement agency was acting like a “subsidiary” of the tech giant, revealing communications that showed FBI agents systemically flagged Twitter users for tweets that included “possible violative content” pertaining to the election. 

In response to the “Twitter Files,” a spokesperson for the FBI told Fox News Digital, “The FBI regularly engages with private sector entities to provide information specific to identified foreign malign influence actors’ subversive, undeclared, covert, or criminal activities. Private sector entities independently make decisions about what, if any, action they take on their platforms and for their customers after the FBI has notified them.”

The FBI’s routine contact with Twitter regarding users that would ultimately face punishment for their tweets has raised major flags about potential First Amendment violations.

In part seven, Shellenberger framed the Twitter’s coziness with the FBI in the context of the Hunter Biden laptop story, showing the FBI’s requests for Twitter to share sensitive data of its users, which Twitter refused to give, and the agency’s repeated inquiries into whether Twitter has seen foreign activity leading up to the 2020 election, something Twitter at the time said it hadn’t. On Oct. 13, 2020, just one day before the New York Post broke its Hunter Biden story that was quickly censored, Twitter received ten unknown documents from the FBI through its secure one-way Teleport channel. 

One email from February 2021 shows the FBI paid Twitter over $3.4 million since October 2019 over the course of their partnership, as Twitter’s policies seek reimbursements when it comes to producing information as part of a legal process.

Roth had even participated in what was dubbed the “Hack-and-Dump Working Group” with the Aspen Institute in September 2020 to elaborately simulate how the media and Big Tech should handle something like the Hunter Biden laptop. 

The FBI remained defiant amid criticism, telling Fox News in a statement “The correspondence between the FBI and Twitter show nothing more than examples of our traditional, longstanding and ongoing federal government and private sector engagements, which involve numerous companies over multiple sectors and industries. As evidenced in the correspondence, the FBI provides critical information to the private sector in an effort to allow them to protect themselves and their customers… It is unfortunate that conspiracy theorists and others are feeding the American public misinformation with the sole purpose of attempting to discredit the agency.”

Part eight, shared by Intercept investigative reporter Lee Fang, exposed Twitter’s assistance in the Pentagon’s foreign influencing campaigns, allowing the military to use covert accounts to push out propaganda overseas despite it being against Twitter’s own policies. Taibbi separately reported in the ningth installment about Twitter’s constant interactions with “OGAs” (other government agencies) including the CIA. 

The tenth batch of Twitter Files, this time reported by writer David Zweig, focused on COVID and the platform’s efforts to enforce its so-called “misinformation” policy, reporting “both the Trump and Biden administrations directly pressed Twitter executives to moderate the platform’s pandemic content according to their wishes.” Zweig highlighted a memo written by Lauren Culbertson, Twitter’s Head of U.S. Public Policy, who claimed the Biden team was “very angry” about Twitter not taking action to “de-platform” various accounts based on meetings with the White House. Musk teased there’s “much more” Twitter Files to reveal in 2023 particularly about COVID and how top doctors and scientists were “actively suppressed on Twitter,” presumably for going against the White House-approved narrative. 


Read More