Nominations Open for 12th Annual ‘Izzy Award’ for Independent Media

With the Izzy Award set to celebrate its 12th year, award nominations are now open for work produced in the calendar year 2019. The annual honor for outstanding achievement in independent media — named after legendary journalist I. F. “Izzy” Stone — is presented by the Park Center for Independent Media (PCIM) at Ithaca College.

This year’s Izzy Award will be given for work published, broadcast or posted in 2019 by an independent media outlet, journalist or producer. The award may relate to a single piece or a body of work. Journalists, academics and the public at large may submit nominations by the February 3, 2020 (midnight), deadline. The winner will be announced early next spring, with an award ceremony to follow in April 2020.

Nominations should be submitted via a brief email (250 words or less) that includes supporting web links (no more than six) and/or attached materials to Brandy Hawley at

For more information on the Izzy Award and the PCIM, visit


In 2008, Facebook moved its international headquarters to Dublin, Ireland, where it could “park profits” and pay a tax rate near zero, reports ProPublica. That same year, the IRS launched a team to stifle similar tax-dodging deals. But in following years, Republicans in Congress sliced the IRS budget while Facebook grew into one of the world’s largest companies. By the time the IRS confronted Facebook about the Ireland deal, the agency was in over its head, having to submit an incomplete audit in 2016. The IRS continues its case in a February trial where, if successful, Facebook could owe up to $9 billion more in taxes. But the IRS hasn’t won a major profit-shifting case in decades, overmatched as it has been.

Apple’s then record-high stock in October 2018 benefitted 43 Republicans in Congress, who collectively owned as much as $1.5 million worth of the company’s shares. The Center for Public Integrity reports these Republicans contributed to the 37% spike in stock value with the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which allowed for $150 billion in 2018 corporate tax savings. While this act was purported to benefit business and the middle class and not the wealthy, it saved Congress members hundreds of thousands in taxes collectively while increasing their holdings’ value. Democratic candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren observed that unless measures are implemented to intervene on corruption, Congress members wield power to increase the value of stocks they trade.

The coronavirus was first detected in December in Wuhan, China, and the number of infected people has since soared to nearly 6,000. New cases are arising in Asia, the Americas, and Europe. As of Tuesday, 100 people have died from it in China, where the government is shutting down cities, erecting hospitals, and allowing in World Health Organization specialists to mitigate spread. Mother Jones covers coronavirus myths circulating in the resulting social media scramble. First, there is no confirmed cure—experts’ accounts were blown out of proportion. Nor is the precise rate of spread, the r-nought, yet clear, despite hysteric speculations on Twitter. (See The HEADLINES below; WHO has declared coronavirus a global health emergency.)

As the U.S. Senate debates bringing in witnesses for the impeachment trial of President Trump, Elizabeth Drew and Alan Hirsch, two prominent authors on impeachment, are arguing for Democrats to allow Hunter Biden to testify in exchange for compelling John Bolton to speak under oath, Common Dreams reports. Drew posits that Republicans dragging the son of former vice President Joe Biden for nepotism and conflict of interest could backfire on them. Hirsch suggests that Trump’s former National Security Adviser, Bolton, could have information relevant to the charge that Trump abused power.

Fair Observer draws parallels between the political leaders and climate of America and Russia over the past twenty years. As President Vladimir Putin proposes a new constitution, President Trump disposes of the old constitution. Both presidents intend to remain in office until 2024. Putin could be setting grounds for an extension and Trump has several times joked about becoming a lifelong president. Just as leaders of both nations in 1999 did, Trump faces impeachment. Were he to be removed from office, the Putin-esque Mike Pence would advance Trump’s agendas more competently. And while the U.S. economy mirrors Russian developments of the 1990s—wealthy tax dodgers, military contracts, digging public lands—Russia has recovered from the ravages of the 1990s.

In May 2017, city leaders in Henderson, Kentucky, added vaping to a decade-old smoking ban in government buildings and other public places. This would have cut profits at the Henderson County Detention Center, which sold e-cigarettes to inmates at quadruple the wholesale price, but an exception was made for jails. E-cigarette sales brought in over $1.3 million in 2018 to almost two-thirds of the state’s jails, which subsist despite tight funds by ignoring inmate health concerns, reports ProPublica.

On January 6, the Trump administration began collecting DNA from any person held in immigration custody. Detained immigrants were previously only required to give fingerprints to border officials. Colorlines reports the federal government and certain states use the Combined DNA Index System to track sex offenders and convicted felons, and some states collect DNA for individuals arrested for, but not yet charged with, a crime. While the government justifies the policy change under pretexts of verifying family relationships and mitigating future criminal risk, there is now only a small leap to requiring DNA screening of immigrants for reasons of health, disability, intelligence, or disease.

Jake Johnson with the tweet of the week:

Hundreds of plastic bans have been launched across the U.S. and Europe in response to data on environmental damage caused by plastics. Despite this, the plastic industry continues to grow with mounting demand, and manufacturing is projected to skyrocket through 2035. Evidence of plastics suffusing the environment include particles found in the stomachs of deep-sea marine animals living seven miles below the surface. A study finds the average American ingests over 70,000 particles of microplastics a year. A whale died in the Philippines with 88 pounds of plastic in its stomach. InsideClimate News interrogates the economic and political future of plastic regulation.


1. Trump impeachment: Republican senator’s attempt to out whistleblower shot down on Senate floor (The Independent)

2. There Is No Christian Case for Trump (The Atlantic)

3. Republicans Defend Trump Argument That Accepting Foreign Help In Elections Is OK (HuffPost)

4. Coronavirus declared global health emergency by WHO (BBC)

5. Senate races toward Trump acquittal as Democrats warn of lawless presidency (The Guardian)