Sen. Tom Cotton refused to confirm US attorney nominees in Democratic states until Sen. Dick Durbin apologized for interrupting him nine months ago

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., walks to a policy luncheon on Capitol Hill, Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021, in Washington.
Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., walks to a policy luncheon on Capitol Hill, Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021, in Washington.

  • Dick Durbin apologized to Tom Cotton in order to confirm five US attorney nominees.
  • Cotton disliked that Durbin interrupted him during a hearing on a Department of Justice nominee.
  • While Durbin apologized to Cotton, he said Republicans attempted to block a vote on the nominee.

Last week, Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., refused to confirm the Biden administration’s US attorney nominees in Democratic states until Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., apologized for interrupting him during a committee hearing in March.

 

Durbin pointed out that Cotton’s objection breaks with custom, stating that it has been nearly half a century since the Senate required a roll call vote on a US attorney nominee. He also recounted how Democrats never held up US attorney nominations during the Trump administration despite having the power to do so.

“Given the critical role that these US attorneys play in bringing justice to those who violate federal criminal laws, it is hard to imagine that any member of this body would obstruct efforts to confirm these law enforcement officials,” Durbin said. “Doing so could threaten public safety and puts at risk millions of Americans’ security. It’s also a stark departure from what has happened before.”

Still, Cotton said that “courtesy and collegiality and respect” need to be a “two-way street” in the Senate, reiterating that he has the right to object to nominees.

“If there are not consequences when rules and traditions are breached in this institution, we will soon not have rules and traditions,” Cotton said. “I also said that if the senator from Illinois would simply express regret for what happened that day and pledge that it wouldn’t happen again, I would be happy to let all these nominees move forward.”

Cotton was referencing a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in March on Vanita Gupta, who was nominated by the Biden administration and later confirmed as an associate attorney general at the Department of Justice.

Durbin, who chairs the committee, interrupted Republican attacks on Gupta in order to force a vote, which resulted in a deadlock, according to The Hill. She was narrowly confirmed by a bipartisan vote in the Senate, 51-49, with Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski casting the lone Republican vote of support.

While Durbin eventually acquiesced to Cotton’s demand and apologized for interrupting him during the March hearing, he maintained that Republicans forced his hand by attempting to block a vote on Gupta’s nomination by invoking an obscure Senate rule to prevent the Committee from meeting after midnight, The Hill reported.

“This outrageous obstruction of a nominee with broad support from across the political spectrum left Chair Durbin with no option but to call a roll call vote before the Committee meeting was terminated by Republicans’ invocation of this rule,” an account for Judiciary Committee Democrats tweeted following the vote.

Following Durbin’s apology, the committee unanimously confirmed five nominees for US attorneys in Illinois, Hawaii, Rhode Island, Vermont, and New Jersey, according to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

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These earplugs help me protect my hearing at loud concerts, and they cost less than $30

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the acoustic filters on mumba's concert ear plugs close up
The Mumba Concert Earplugs are comfortable and affordable.

  • Concerts are making a comeback, so I got these Mumba earplugs to help protect my hearing.
  • The Mumba Concert Earplugs are the cheapest and most comfortable earplugs I’ve tried.
  • They allow me to enjoy live music and loud events while minimizing potential hearing damage.

Concert Earplugs (small)

Before the coronavirus pandemic put a pause on in-person events, I went to a lot of concerts. But while I loved listening to live music, I never gave much thought to the damage it could cause to my hearing. Now that concerts are making a comeback, I’m turning over a new leaf – I’m going to wear earplugs.

According to the CDC, noises measuring above 70 dB over an extended period of time can start damaging your hearing. In my experience going to concerts, I’ve found that, on average, loud music ranges from 90 dB to 110 dB – as measured by my Apple Watch Series 6. EDM music festivals and raves are even louder.

To test your level of hearing loss, you can try the Mimi app on iOS and Android. It’s not going to be as accurate as a hearing test conducted by a professional, but it’s neat to get an idea.

I’ve been lucky enough to avoid any permanent hearing loss or tinnitus, but I have to be careful to keep it that way. That’s where earplugs come in. I’ve tried a couple of different brands, but the Mumba Concert Earplugs have proven to be a solid combination of comfort, affordability, and effectiveness.

For a sale price of $22 (usually they’re $29), you get the earplugs, keychain case, and two sizes of in-ear shells.

mumba earplugs set with earplugs, carrying case, plastic case, and box

After some trial and error, I’ve found the smaller size shells (left) to be far more comfortable for my ears. Both sizes are a bit finicky to clean, though.

mumba concert earplugs both sizes

The carrying case gets a second look every time I pass through security, but it’s super convenient to keep on my keys. I have yet to misplace them, too, which is easy with something so small.

mumba earplugs carrying case on my keys

They have a low profile and fit in nice and snug. I’ve found that they cut down on sound without muffling it, and I can still hear people nearby talking to me.

sarah's ear with the mumba earplug in it

These earplugs are designed to reduce noise by up to 24 dB, potentially bringing loud concerts below the harmful level. Exactly how many decibels hit your ears depends on how close you are to the speakers, though.

mumba concert earplugs with the carrying case

Should you buy the Mumba Concert Earplugs?

Mumba’s Concert Earplugs have been a good investment for me, and they’re worth considering if you attend a lot of loud events, too.

The Mumba Earplugs are high quality, effective, and comfortable. Compared to Loop brand earplugs that I’ve tried previously, the Mumba earplugs stay in my ears more securely, and muffle less sound. They also make it easier to hear people around me, which I couldn’t do with Loops.

It’s important to remember, however, that while earplugs like this can help prevent hearing damage, there will always be a risk associated with concerts and other loud events.

You can order the Mumba Concert Earplugs right now for $22.

Concert Earplugs (small)Prime 30-Day Free Trial (small)

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‘I cried out in pain’: DC police officer Daniel Hodges recounts when he was crushed by rioters between a door on January 6

daniel hodges
Metropolitan Police Department Officer Daniel Hodges testifies during the opening hearing of the U.S. House (Select) Committee investigating the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol on July 27, 2021.

  • MPD officer Daniel Hodges recounted how rioters attacked him on January 6.
  • Hodges described the moment when he was crushed between a door frame of the Capitol.
  • “I was effectively defenseless,” Hodges said.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Metropolitan Police Department Officer Daniel Hodges vividly recounted the physical abuse he faced while defending the Capitol on January 6 during a House hearing on Tuesday.

Hodges described the moment when rioters trampled the barriers of the Capitol and attempted to break into a building entrance, resulting in a viral video of him being crushed against a revolving door.

“My arms were pinned and effectively useless, trapped against either the shield on my left and the door frame on my right,” Hodges said. “With my posture granting me no functional strength or freedom of movement, I was effectively defenseless and gradually sustaining injury from the increasing pressure of the mob.”

“Directly in front of me, a man sees the opportunity of my vulnerability, grabbed the front of my gas mask and used it to beat my head against the door,” Hodges continued. “He switched to pulling it off my head, the straps stretching against my skull and straining my neck.”

Hodges added that the man ultimately succeeded in removing his gas mask, leaving the police officer exposed to chemical irritants sprayed by the rioters.

Another man then grabbed Hodges’ baton and “bashed me in the head and face with it, rupturing my lip and adding additional injury to my skull,” Hodges said.

Video footage and photos of the violent scene show Hodges stuck between the doorway with a bloody lip.

The rioters, whom Hodges repeatedly referred to as “terrorists,” then started “pushing their weight forward, crushing me further against the metal door frame,” Hodges continued.

“At this point, I knew I couldn’t sustain much more damage and remain upright,” Hodges said. “At best, I would collapse and be a liability to my colleagues. At worst, be dragged out into the crowd and lynched.”

Hodges then said he resorted to do “the only thing that I could do and screamed for help.”

His yells were eventually heard by another police officer who was able to extricate him from the position. Hodges said he found water to decontaminate his face and “soon after” went back to the fight.

The DC police officer was one of four law enforcement officials on Capitol Hill on Tuesday who testified before a House select committee that is investigating the January 6 insurrection.

Hodges recounted other instances from that day when the rioters attacked him, including one man who “latched onto” his face and “got his thumb” in Hodges’ right eye, “attempting to gouge it out.”

“I cried out in pain and managed to shake him off before any permanent damage was done,” Hodges said.

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Mark Zuckerberg said policing bullying is hard when the content is ‘not clearly illegal’ – in 44 states, cyberbullying can bring criminal sanctions

mark zuckerberg facebook
Mark Zuckerberg at the 56th Munich Security Conference in February 2020.

  • US Rep. Fred Upton asked Mark Zuckerberg what Facebook was doing to stop bullying.
  • Zuckerberg said the site has trouble moderating that content it because it’s “not clearly illegal.”
  • 48 states have laws against online harassment and bullying.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said it has been difficult for his social media network to police cyberbullying content, after a representative called him out for a lack of moderation on Facebook during a misinformation hearing on Thursday.

US Representative (R) Fred Upton made a reference to the Boulder Shooting on Monday, saying there was a lot of speculation the shooter had been bullied online. He asked Zuckerberg what Facebook was doing to stop bullying on its platform.

“It’s horrible and we need to fight it and we have policies that are against it, but it also is often the case that bullying content is not clearly illegal,” Zuckerberg said during the hearing.

48 states have laws against online harassment, which includes cyberbullying, according to data from a cyberbullying research site. 44 of the states also include criminal sanctions against online bullying and harassment, the research shows.

Read more: Facebook says it removed more than 1.3 billion fake accounts in the months surrounding the 2020 election

During the hearing, Zuckerberg presented several changes that could be made to internet legislation in the US, including increased transparency for platforms like Facebook, standards for addressing illegal content like cyberbullying on social media, as well as laws protecting smaller social media platforms from lawsuits and heavy regulations.

“When I was starting Facebook, if we had been hit with a lot of lawsuits around content, it might have been prohibitive for me getting started,” Zuckerberg said.

The purpose of Thursday’s hearing was to address the role of tech companies like Google, Facebook, and Twitter in the spread of misinformation – in particular false data on the coronavirus, the US election, and Capitol Siege.

The sites were identified as a primary source of information for insurrectionists leading up to the attack on the Capitol. Many people that stormed the Capitol organized on websites like Facebook in the weeks leading up to the siege.

Experts have also said that Facebook and Twitter should be held accountable for their hands-off approach on content moderation, as well as even potentially profiting off the spread of misinformation on the sites.

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The CEOs of Google, Facebook, and Twitter are about to appear before Congress in a misinformation hearing. Here’s why the execs are testifying.

Mark zuckerberg jack dorsey sundar pichai
Left to right: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, and Google CEO Sundar Pichai.

  • The CEOs of Facebook, Google, and Twitter will testify in front of Congress on Thursday at noon ET.
  • The joint hearing was scheduled to discuss how misinformation spreads on these online platforms.
  • Tech firms have faced pressure throughout the pandemic, the 2020 election, and the Capitol siege.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Tech’s biggest figures will once again appear before Congress today.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will face questioning from two Senate subcommittees and the Energy and Commerce Committee – all chaired by Democratic lawmakers – over the companies’ role in the proliferation of misinformation online.

The virtual joint hearing was announced in February, over a month after pro-Trump extremists that stormed the US Capitol were found to have organized on social media platforms weeks in advance. The rioters were supporters of the “Stop the Steal” campaign, which purported that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from former President Donald Trump. President Joe Biden was sworn into office on January 20.

Trump himself also used these platforms to spread baseless claims of election fraud. He did so while his supporters were breaching the federal building on January 6.

“For far too long, big tech has failed to acknowledge the role they’ve played in fomenting and elevating blatantly false information to its online audiences,” the committee chairs said in February. “Industry self-regulation has failed. We must begin the work of changing incentives driving social media companies to allow and even promote misinformation and disinformation.”

Online social platforms have faced mounting pressure to police false information since the onset of the pandemic, as users were able to spread misleading facts pertaining to COVID-19. That pressure was compounded in the weeks surrounding the 2020 presidential election in November. Zuckerberg and Dorsey testified in front of the Senate that month over how they choose to moderate content on their platforms.

The January 6 storming of the US Capitol was another significant milestone that brought more scrutiny of how tech platforms allow disinformation to spread. Experts told Insider in January that Facebook and Twitter are “indirectly involved” in the US Capitol siege since the platforms’ laissez-faire approach to content moderation gave the far-right a place to congregate for years.

Companies made unprecedented moves following the insurrection – Facebook banned him until at least January 20 and continues to bar him from the site while the company’s “supreme court” considers the case. Twitter, Trump’s longtime favorite mouthpiece, also permanently suspended his account and has said he will remain banned even if he decides to run for office again.

Read more: Trump’s Twitter had the whole world on edge. Here’s how the Biden White House plans to make @POTUS sane again.

In a Monday blog post, Facebook’s vice president of integrity Guy Rosen said the company has removed millions of pieces of content containing misinformation surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccines as well as 1.3 billion fake accounts.

“Despite all of these efforts, there are some who believe that we have a financial interest in turning a blind eye to misinformation,” Rosen said in the post. “The opposite is true. We have every motivation to keep misinformation off of our apps and we’ve taken many steps to do so at the expense of user growth and engagement.”

The hearing is called “Disinformation Nation: Social Media’s Role in Promoting Extremism and Misinformation.” You can watch it via live stream here on Thursday starting at noon ET.

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