Sunday, August 16, 2009

Request For Songs

Looking down the barrel of another season, I thought I'd issue a brief request to all ~three followers of this blog before the ballot storm begins.

What's the best music for long debate driving trips?

Good samples of what I'm looking for here might be REM's "It's the End of the World as We Know It" or Willie Nelson's "On The Road Again."

I'm categorically excluding songs that are

1. too directly related to the topic (5 seconds of a reference, then 2-4 minutes of awkwardness and an otherwise bad song)

2. pump up music (I'm well into my 30s, I don't care about your hot summer jam)

Monday, July 20, 2009

Cap Classic Round Seven

1AC: Very clear and fast. I’m not sure that this text actually avoids the family cap. You say that it should be based solely on family size, but you don’t dictate the mechanics of those family-based requirements.

Internally vary your tone. Remember – debate is like talking, only faster. The more natural your tone, the more comprehensible you are. Speech comprehension depends upon a certain tonal variation, not just a collection of consonants.

I am substantively suspicious of reading “biopolitics.” Reading critical advantages makes sense, but replicate harms from popular generic kritiks can be very dangerous, because the negative can likely read an alternative that solves your aff better (reject biopolitics, including the aff’s action through the state.) I don’t think you’re in a great position to answer an alternative and a fairly generic set of biopower links.

1AC CX: Argue don’t ask. The best CX makes about 4-5 good arguments, and really establishes their credibility.

1NC: I’m glad that you updated your politics shell! It’s a decent card as well. However, it would be better to have predictions from an outside analyst, instead of relying largely on predictions from within the Obama administration. After all, that’s all going to be pure spin; Obama staffers certainly aren’t allowed to predict that their centerpiece legislation might fail.

This politics shell is begging to be highlighted, and this capitalism shell wouldn’t suffer from some highlighting as well.

It’s always a good idea tro bring a pen to the podium. It lets you mark cards easily if you’re forced to cut them short, or edit them visually.

1NC CX: Cappy, you seem to really struggle articulating your question on capitalism. I’m not totally sure what you’re trying to say; we should work out a good phrasing.

2AC: Fantsastic job cutting some politics cards right before the round.
Great speech overall.
Build a podium; you are too tall for your current reading setup.

You should set up giving the 1AR new answers to everything when they only read half the cap shell. If you get new answers, neg, we should get them as well.

2NC: Great job with line by line debate, especially on the health care debate. This was a really short learning curve for you, and I’m extremely encouraged by your coachability. You really improved your capacity to think on your feet. You did a sweet evidence comparison as well.

Cluster your offense – the reasons that conditionality is good – on the top. My examples from lecture are good demonstrations, but you need to make these arguments more efficiently in an actual debate.

You should have a more extended impact calculation on the health care DA. If you’re unsure how to proceed on this, you can get some starting ideas by watching my Georgetown lecture on this subject. (

You should have finished up capitalism and read the alt. I think it would be good to have anm explicit impact comparison as well. Remember to drop those K bombs; it makes your speech much more effective. I talked some about the possible bombs in lecture. Email for more ideas.

1NR: Great instincts on T. I think your overview really crystallized the most important issues.
You also have, like, really deep explanation on why topicality and classification are a structural feature of language. I’m impressed.
A couple of the arguments – specifically Mink – slip out of order, but I think you cover all of their answers.

1AR: Fantastic speech – you identify key issues on each speech and allocate time really well.

I question your order. I am not sure that’s wise – T is a very viable tactical option.
Don’t call me judge.
I don’t think it’s a “voter” if they don’t answer a 2ac defensive argument.
If you’re all in on the date of your evidence – which might be intelligent – you should impact postdating quickly. Why are dates the gold standard on evidence debate.


I think you should be all in on T; it’s your best issue and you have to make decisions in the 2NR.

Oh, I wrote this out when you announced the order. Actually, you did exactly this. That represents good recognition and decisionmaking. Lolz

You effectively bring your humor to bear in this speech.

You can communicate this point with the thesaurus more efficiently by just saying “it isn’t in the thesaurus definition” instead of just reading the list for 20 seconds.

Most important: you need to identify your offense on T. If we accept their T interpretation, what happens? How does the topic explode, and how will that negatively impact debate?

This was a good persuasive speech, even if you misidentified some of the impact.

You should go for conditionality if you’re struggling to fill time. You can argue this outweighs topicality.

You have this instinct on the Kritik debate – I think it’s a good one, but you need a more explicit impact comparison to make this matter.

You’re sort of whining about this new card. I don’t think you will win a new card is a voter; most judges will default to punishing the team instead of punishing the theory.

This is a really huge investment on “T not a voter because they have a block” – you surely can manufacture some more answers than this. I don’t think you can bank on a purely technical evaluation. I believe she extends the Connolly evidence as an impact, after all – that’s a justification for a voter, that you don’t really answer.

You don’t seem to have a counterinterpretation here. Many people will judge this poorly for you.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Cap Classic Round Five

Practice round comments:

1AC: Good speed and clarity.

1AC CX: “How do you gain any solvency whatsoever” seems to use needless and melodramatic intensifiers.
Reardon is a she. I think your error is an especially embarrassing gaffe under the circumstances.
Directly asking “how do states capture the net benefit” is not a productive question. It really just allows the aff to get additional speech time.

1NC: Start slower for about 10 seconds to let the judge get used to your voice.
You need to build a podium. You are tall, so this inadequate podium forces you to hunch. This muffles your voice and just looks really uncomfortable.
You put in extra cards about how capitalism turns the case; I appreciate that and think it’s a good idea.
I think that this politics disad suffers from as real internal link gap. Your bioterror impact assumes a completely uncontrolled virus, which really cuts into the ability of a health care plan to contain its impact. You should try cutting or finding an alternate impact to health care as an exercise.

This should be at least a 3-win strat. It’s a 2-win strat, though, in actuality. T might be a good way to rectify this.


“Now we’re going to talk about the health care disad.” This isn’t an efficient locution. Just ask. They might be thrown off balance by abrupt transitions – but that helps you, it doesn’t hurt you.

“What exactly are the warrants…” This formulation just gives the affirmative speech time.

“How is the plan capitalist?” This is an invitation to the aff to proliferate links. Ichabod, you should run with this ball until she cuts you off, and generate multiple additional new link claims.


Your first reaction on T should be reading a card. It should be to apply your case evidence. You just immediately start reading off Planet Debate blocks. That isn’t engaging argument – it’s intellectual comfort food. Therefore, if you don’t cover the case efficiently, you will become intellectually obese. I don’t even know what that means, but it sounds bad to me.

Run blocks. Don’t let blocks run you.

Good use of an addon.

This focus on the capitalism link debate seems misguided.

When Ichabod makes an argument, you have to come back and contest it. You can’t just kind of look at him and let it slide.

Don’t do tag-team questioning. Questions from the 2N don’t help here. Also, uh, shouldn’t you be prepping during this time, bro?

Why does the 1N announce that the 2N is ready? This seems oddly control freaky

Case, States and health care is too big.

Stop just reading planet debate briefs without relating them to some part of the debate! This doesn’t advance argument at all. I’m considering just banning anything on Planet Debate briefs. When you go to the states debate, you aren’t even referencing your flow. You’re just reading a stack of Planet Debate straight down. This is just random.

There were some pretty significant health care developments in the past few days. You should probably cut cards on this to make your disad retain a degree of relevance. You might cut some cards from Congressional Quarterly

You don’t do any impact analysis on health care, and you don’t compare evidence. This Planet Debate reliance is just toxic. You must reference his points, compare your original shell evidence, read new evidence, explain why it’s better and then read contrasting evidence.

Good speech in many ways. You’re fast, clear, and have a grasp of the issues.

You open with “they don’t understand our argument.” De-emphasize ranting commentary in favor of substantive analysis. Start with the comparisons that I just reviewed in lecture not an hour ago.

I am not going to vote negative right here and now, even if you tell me to do so.

This evidence needs to be rehighlighted. Its highlighting is still unworkable. This is especially

Decent clash and line by line, but there’s still just too much reliance on Planet Debate briefs. We must collectively move past this. It discourages evidence and argument comparison, because it’s just too much of a crutch.


Allocate time before your speech, not during it, to avoid disastrous technical errors.

Is this liberty opening relevant? This again seems that you’re relying on Planet Debate evidence. However, you do demonstrate ownership and relate this to the debate.

Don’t just say that you “can do the perm” – you also have to demonstrate that it’s a good idea. Identify your federal key warrants quickly.

You have to compare evidence for politics. You have to reference the 2AC as well.

“No reason why” is a toxic formulation. “There’s no reason why their argument is true” is only a verbose version of “no.” It doesn’t add any substantive analysis. You should issue warrants that prove their argument false, instead of deriding the absence of a warrant.

Good strategic vision; you do choose the correct issue. You should have a substantive defense of 50-state fiat. I mean, it’s the most plausible open door and you won’t close it by saying “:they have no reason.”

More comparisons between cap and the case. You need to close the door on “case outweighs” and “50-state fiat.” If you close those doors, you likely win.

“They went for cap for, what, 20 seconds maybe?” isn’t an argument. It’s just espn commentary. You need to make better arguments instead of just railing on your opponent’s speech.

Ethos: 1. Never say “I guess.” How could this possibly help?
2. Don’t ask your partner “am I done now”?
Those two slips really push you below a 28 here.

2AR: I actually thought this was the best speech of the round; desperation forces you to actually engage clash.

go for 50 state fiat.

You need a more rousing opening than “extend x__” It’s usually better to structure statements as [statement] then [evidence reference] instead of [evidence reference] then [statement].

Tie new arguments to something. 1AR technical errors compel tight referencing to avoid the appearance of newness. I think this is a game effort, but a genuinely winning effort has to be designed around a honest (internal) diagnosis of your errors.

I also appreciate your justification of the new perm – although this is suboptimal, it does demonstrate thought and engagement.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Cap Classic Round Four

Overall: this was a very good round. I think it was the best round I've seen thus far at the camp. Hopefully that represents improvement instead of a statistical quirk.

1AC: good!

I think that you can bring up your speed a good deal. You should use the spreeder or just read a lot to bring your speed up about 50 words/minute. You have a naturally very clear voice, so you have the ability to be crystal clear and blindingly fast with just a little bit of work.


Good improvement in speed.

I think you need to highlight your shells more carefully. For example, the shell for politics takes three minutes. This is too long to maintain an appropriate diversity of arguments in a competitive round.

Why didn't you run the states counterplan?

You need to face the judge; you all seem reluctant to establish rapport. You not only have to speak to the judge, but command his attention if he doesn't want to give it to you.

It would be very effective in this circumstance to ask about the agent to the alternative. I don’t normally think this is a devastating question, but I do try asking him in a sample CX, and he seems pretty devastated.

Fantastic speech. You're fast and extremely clear. You have ownership of your arguments and flexibly drop in some new analytics in response to CX and changing circumstances.
This framework argument is nonsense. It doesn't say anything at all - the K argues that your plan is undesirable, so this doesn't seem to advance any helpful argument.
Why don't you make a contradiction argument on capitalism? They argue that welfare is bad, but the politics disad posits that you stop a massive new welfare entitlement (universal health care.)

I don't get the way that you've organized T. You use a numbering system, but put a huge number of disparate arguments under these number headers.

Get a text of the permutation. Answering permutations incorrectly has ended some excellent debate careers, notably Josh Branson’s. You cannot treat this question lightly.

These questions are real softballs. They are all explanatory - you ask him to explain things, so he really spends the whole CX reinforcing his original arguments. The neg gets pwned here.

Don't say ""now onto the line by line."
It is good that you extend a voting issue, but I don’t think I’d make it the first argument in the overview. Probably the last one.
You'd benefit from clearer differentiation between your comparison arguments on capitalism. It's great that you made them; I just think they'd benefit from clearer spacing.

You suffer from some inefficiencies - you repeat sentences when you're a little bit lost.
The line by line on capitalism needs some work. You start off the line by line by extending a bunch of your own cards; I think this would be more logically placed in the overview. You then start refutation with space…but those impact turns are near the bottom.
You transition with "now onto" as well. See the 1NC comments for advice on clean and flowable transitions between chunks of argument.

2NC CX: I'd spend more time on capitalism. IT's important to get in the habit of cross-examining kritiks developed in the 2NC. It's crucial, after all, to scrutinize new developments, such as new alternative solvency claims.

Don't call the kritik a disad; this shell isn't set up to survive uniqueness challenges.


Start the politics debate by giving reasons that politics outweighs the case. This is often referred to as "impact calculus" or "impact comparison." Why is the disad bigger than the case? This is generally crucial to most evaluations.

Please don't say "I guess" or "I'm sorry" or otherwise compromise your ethos. This is basic acting - your role is a very confident one, and any of these expressions break character.

Your impact comparison was much better after you revised your speech.


This was a very good speech.

You tend toward a rising intonation. It sounds like you're asking questions? Which undermines your confidence? "

You don't need to say "extend my argument." For example, instead fo saying "extend my permutation, you'd ideally say "permutation" as a transition word.

I think you have great impact comparison. It would benefit from improved efficiency, but your analysis is great and genuinely comparative.

You also shouldn't refer to the judge as "judge." "Judge, what you're going to do in the round today…" is an oft-mocked expression at bigger tournaments because it sacrifices argument efficiency for the dubious goal of sounding down home and folksy.


"At this point" is usually an expendable expression.
You should reinforce the impacts of capitalism first. This happens in the middle but should probably be clearly delineated on top.
Some arguments get kind of randomly extended. For example, you address a part of the space debate, then address the agent of the alternative, then go back to the space debate. I think a lot of these subarguments would be better if they were synthesized into a narrative that embedded more of the clash. We should map out a 2NR structure [spoken.]


I think you might be exceeding your maximum efficiency rate. You have a number of internal stumbles. I wouldn't recommend going any slower, though; I think redos will simply improve your MER.
"He does barely any analysis on this" doesn't really constitute an argument. This side rant seems more like espn commentary than argument.
You have a really long explanation of "I think they dropped the perm." You spend 30 seconds explaining that it's dropped, like really dropped, and telling me precisely hwo important drops are in debate. You never actually tell me what the perm is, though, or why it constitutes a reason to reject the Kritik.
Don't conclude with "vote aff."
This is overall an excellent speech. You certainly have some swagger, and you're actually interested in communicating with the judge, which is actually a pretty good skill foundation.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Georgetown Debate Seminar Practice Round Nine


1ac: I don’t know what “the pickle” means. Is this a private joke?

If you're going to roll singularity, make sure that you are well insulated. I mean, I think the possibility of impact turns (and size of the impact) demand a more total 1AC commitment. The ideal structure should be inevitability warrant – warrant diversity depth of at least three – link, link – then 2-3 distinctions between different methods of transition. Democratic participation becomes a transition distinction instead of a discrete advantage. It’s potentially crucial that the US wins the race before rogue states, and it might be important that a public instead of corporate entity programs the top-level goals of the AI – a top level corporate goal might quickly destroy the biosphere.

Also, massive inevitable technological development makes solving poverty an extinction-level priority.I assure you that, in the context of this aff, you MUST read this card:

That’s not REALLY what this aff needs, though, as interesting a tangent as it might be.

This aff needs to be structured around tight defense of the mechanism through signal advantages. “Federal key” is a concern – “Linkup key” is potentially a bigger concern. I’m going to continue tweaking this and reporting on it on the Google group throughout the summer. I heard there’s an Africa modeling advantage being turned out at Michigan – that might be one solution.

“Other stuff” is not a good contention label.

1NC: Clarity! This speech is a testament to the value of some practice speaking before rounds. Clarity problems in the first three minutes, steady upward progress from the 5 minute mark on. Very clear second half.

Good argument diversity. T, for instance, achieves a really positive time tradeoff.


Great CX.

Ben, I think you need to have a mental roadmap. You seem to get bogged down in tangents. Make it a goal to have about 4-5 arguments going into the C-X, with a clear endpoint for each one.

Don’t say “that’s fine” before moving on. It’s not fine! Their argument is bad. Don’t be passive-aggressive. Be aggressive-aggressive by making your closing arg (“so you don’t have an actual link”) – and seamlessly eliding it with the next question.


Fantastic speech! Great allocation and pacing. I guess my major criticism is really just substantive, not stylistic. You need better a/t this counterplan.

I also think you read too many cards on this “eligibility criteria” counterinterp. They’re gonna just perm it – it’s not mutually exclusive. A card saying that it’s really predictable doesn’t do much for you – if the round changes such that it becomes really relevant, the 1AR can read the card.

2NC: Good job on the shadow coverage of the T violation. It’s ideal shadow coverage, because you’re making a strong argument – you just correctly diagnose that you don’t need much vertical depth here. While you made the right decision in the 2NR, T was actually not unwinnable after 2 minutes of block coverage.

Great job on politics; feels like we’ve been here before.

CX: Hmmm, chippy.

1NR: Some déjà vu here as well. I’ll mute my previous criticism, though – I understand why you’re going for the defensive counterplan (you clearly cut all the evidence and mastered the subject) and a more diverse 2NC means that the 2NR can avoid hell. I’ll still maintain that an industry specific DA takes this 1NR from excellent to standalone devastating, but that’s a research question.

1AR: Great micro. I don’t have any efficiency suggestions per se, as micro efficiency improvements would make you very difficult to flow. You’ve also made big strides in clarity.

However, you do end up top heavy and underallocating on politics. I think you have to kick some advantages to get the 30-45 you need. You don’t read 5 disads to extend each one in the block– the same principle should apply to diverse advantage menus.

I really do understand every argument as it’s being made – intellectually as well as verbally. That deserves high praise (because I am deaf and stupid! Hahaha jk, sort of)

If you can’t kick down, you have to find time elsewhere, and I think all the options present real dangers. Really, you might be in a bad place because of argument problems – absent better federal key warrants/mechanism defense, you’re going to have consistent problems covering because you can’t take the CP lightly. I’m loath to recommend options such as “go for theory” or “dare them to go for T” – but if you really can’t cover this block, that’s a better macrostrategy than undercovering 2NC politics bombs.

2NR: Great job. I really clearly understand some overarching themes that organize risk analysis. Instead of picking at the speech, I want to underline its difference from the previous speeches. It maintains technical excellence while finding 3-4 places to paragraph a bit more on the explanation, and I think that’s just crucial. Some block diversity allows the 2NR the luxury of more communicative moments.

2AR: I think this is a really good speech. I think you need to spend more time on the states CP. As there’s no offense on politics, you have concentrate on securing your offense first. When you do get there with a minute left, you must maximize efficiency instead of falling back into a few bad old habits (second person +flow talk – you extend our argument…) This could be a pretty crucial nexus point for the debate.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Georgetown Debate Seminar Practice Round Eight

1a: Secret Agent 2a: Jesslyn Mitchell 1N: McKenzie 2N: Madhu

I’ll take this one backwards. I thought this was great for an early round, and I think that some of the technical issues are easy to fix. You’re working hard on impact comparison and evidence comparison and big picture issues, and that’s conceptually tougher, so filling in some technical aspects should be a relatively easy fix!


I normally think that rebuttals should be fast. I think this is an exception. Some technical problems in the 2NR mean that you should be brisk, but go relatively slow and emphasize simple arguments.

It’s uncomplicated. They dropped the case. The disad doesn’t solve the case. It’s 100% risk, which is rare in debate. Aff should be the only route to survivability. If you vote neg, everything will perish in nuclear hellfire.

In such a situation, it seems that you could lose only if: you failed on the risk comparison debate, bigtime, or if the judge fails to comprehend your fairly simple picture of the round. So compare risk thoroughly and explicitly, and safeguard against any chance of confusion.

Treating this as a bigger round with more arguments just makes it seem like a more complicated judging calculus than it really is.

Also, I don't think you ever really say that you outweigh. It’s worthwhile to have distinct risk comparisons for each unanswered advantage here – they can last about a minute, be conversational, and still leave you plenty of time to cover the DA.

Your internal link turn evidence is comparative, which bears mention.


Don’t be bummed! You are doing tons of things right. The things you are doing wrong are much easier to teach than your natural intellectual prowess, so be of good cheer.

Kick out of disad by conceding specific defensive answers. Even if you’re fairly sure there’s no offense, select the best link and impact defense just in case you missed something; the time difference for the failsafe is negligible.

Good risk comparison, but you never want to be in this place in a 2NR. You are comparing to an absolute risk of case. That rarely works. You have to defend a counterplan or some impact defense or some world where the status quo is not teetering on the brink of extinction.

Almost every 2NR seeks to neutralize the case in some way. Simply outweighing it can work, but I think it’s a relatively low percentage.

"More evidence" is rarely, by itself, a winning evidence comparison. Should 3 bad cards ever beat 1 good one? Probably not. Numerically superior evidence might prove a consensus or, if you’re really unsure of a judges’ evaluative criteria, might hedge your bets. That’s generally implicit, though, and you should articulate different comparisons.

1AR: good job! Great use of embedded clash, for the most part. You clearly warrant without excessive signposting, while being easy to follow and flow.

Don't self-deprecate by whatever-ing certain arguments. You should never downplay one of your arguments or scratch it or shrug it off. I’ve never really understood the dynamic that drives this process, but I know that it’s a virulent anti-win virus.
You have extra time. You should never have extra time. Read more cards. You said you didn’t have more cards. Solution – cut more cards. It’s CTBT – you should be reading 4-5 additional pieces of evidence minimum.

1NR: Good job, and clean focus. Two major pieces of advice:

1. You have a great effort to compare impacts; you’re way ahead of the curve. Don’t totally fall back, though, on “nuke war causes your impact.” I mean, you are correct. A nuclear war would likely trigger most smaller impact, causing bad health and loss of biodiversity and probably an antidemocratic ethos. I think you need to make that claim quickly – almost self-evident claims don’t need a lot of explanation or repetition – and move onto some arguments about why your INTERNAL LINKS cause their impact, instead of banking on your terminal impact triggering theirs. For example, CTBT might trigger enough international goodwill to uniquely solve their human rights leadership advantage; it’s probably far more important to our sort power than some restrictions on immigrant health care. Since both teams generally access some terminal global war impact, it’s important to do some comparison. Yup, nuke war definitely ends everything, everyone agrees…now what?

2. Practice flowing. You rely on their stacks of evidence. Good shortcut, but a dangerous one – you can’t trust your opponents to order it correctly.


1. Offense, offense, offense. You should be spending at least 5:30 on your major offensive argument. You spend too much time on case defense, which you abandon in the 2NR. You need a reason that the aff is BAD, not just “not quite so good.” Winning your offense, then comparing it, is more important than direct refutation. Of course, some refutation is necessary – the @NR goes too far in the other direction. I’d spend 2:30 on some of your best case arguments in this speech. Choose fewer case argument to extend to make sure only your best ones consume your time.

2. Read the 1NR comment on “make turns case args other than ‘nuke war causes your impact’”.

3. Read the Hardy paperless manual which I sent to you all. I know it seems weird, but it seems to work, and your new coach has a fantastic sense of the real mechanics of debates; he’ll walk you through this.


CX: Ask more offensive questions. In other words, MAKE ARGUMENTS.

For each "act" of the cross-x, there should be a point. You should be able to grade each 30-second segment as Win, Draw or Lose – and if the aff spends that time just clarifying their args, you’re losing the cross-x.

Jess, try to maximize your speech time - I would take this whole speech and run with it when your opponent is being tentative. This is ideal, because everyone is somewhat relieved and you win. I don’t believe in talking over your cross-examiner – I just think she’ll let you keep going if you’re polite but firm about it.

2AC: Pretty good.

You just read evidence on the case – and you read a lot of new cards. These are defensive arguments – I think you should be able to a. apply, b. compare, then c. move on. If you can’t, your 1AC is built wrong because that’s a large part of what it’s there for. Save the bulk of your card reading for answering their offense and diversifying advantages, not reinforcing your original claims.

Straight internal link turn inflation. Productivity growth is the only way to achieve non-inflationary growth.

1NC: Very good speaking – it’s coming along nicely! Don’t put the case defense on top, though. I’d put the offcase observations first.

1AC: Well spoken. Apply my substantive 1AC comments from other ballots!

Georgetown Debate Seminar Practice Round Six

1a: Thibeau 2a: Day vs. 1N: Arjun 2N: N00BSLAYER WAXMAN

1ac: Very clear and fast. I think you could improve your articulation slightly by bearing down harder on consonants in the text of the evidence. I don’t see this as a huge deal, though, as the cards are certainly clear enough and the tags are crystal.

I refuse to “put away my alternate causation” because you told me to. I think that formulation’s a little trite; I’m waiting for the team to construct an entire 1AC out of these statements, starting with PUT AWAY YOUR PLAN VAGUENESS ARG BECAUSE THIS IS A PLAN

Develop more internal links to economy. I think that some teams might run inflation, so I think you should have a more NUANCED and UNIQUE internal link chain. (You should also straight internal link turn econ Das.) If, for example, the 1AC developed a productivity story, as identified this as a necessary condition for reversing the recession, you might be better insulated from internal link turns/econ Das. MORE importantly, a unique story

(eg we may rebound,
But current growth will be inflationary which is a disaster,
only productivity gains enable middle path non-inflationary growth that skips a business cycle and dodges a double dip – (running a google news search on [productivity inflation] will just spit cards,
broadband penetration key to productivity revolution,
double dip = depression)

helps create solvency deficits to generic advantage counterplans. The key to “new” isn’t always a brand new plan concept – it’s often just multiple routes for advantage variation. “Sort of new” often beats “really new” because it encourages teams to rely on old strategies. This is particularly true in the high dissemination pressure cooker of a championship tournament.

You need to refer to this card as something other than the S&M evidence; that sounds very odd.

1NC: Articulation is quite good. Either these drills are accomplishing something, or y’all were just some clear talkers coming in.

I’d say something about T. I’m unconvinced this aff is a social service. If nothing else, I think you could easily generate a time tradeoff; they can’t blow off this question. Rein 72 (3 step process) might be your best violation.

I wish that this K were more specific; there's just fantastic evidence that either issues a socialist critique or critiques the information economy overall. It's fine at a camp, but if this is really going to be a big deal aff, you need to roll out something better at Long Beach.

If we don’t roll this out by the end of camp, hit me up and I will find some great sources on this question.

1NC CX: I think this is great CX for the negative up until about 1:00. I guess it’s a tale of two cross-exes (although cross-ex two isn’t bad – it’s just not as good.) Potentially devastating relationship between arguments = tactically, rhetorically, and intellectually solid. You lose momentum when you start making moves toward link turning cap. C’mon, you can’t link turn cap. No one thinks this will really be in the 2AR. The aff might be “socialist” in some weak sense, but they’ve already set up to portray your market intervention as palliative, mixed-economy tokenism.

2AC: Good arguments and card knowledge. You need some efficiency, though. Easiest example is the cross-application of cross-ex arguments. Love that it happened, think it’s great, but you say in three sentences what the cross-x has set you up to say in two max.

I said roll the singularity in the post-round, but I’m rethinking that. There is the block, and 13 minutes of Singularity Bad offense (a real plausibility) could get ugly fast. I guess you have to save that for a slightly desperate play unless you roll it out in the 1AC, so you can set up a strong inevitability story.
You’re really confident on this spending DA. You’re either right or foolhardy, but the progress of the round vindicates your decision. Issue expertise is the ultimate efficiency, I suppose.

I think you should consider rolling out broadband -> universal p2p networking, then p2p models are the next evolutionary step past capitalism. Clean internal link turn with a number of net benefits: avoids transition wars, articulates an actual material path out of capitalism, doesn’t trigger a counterrevolution because it piggybacks on existent economic structures:

2NC: Well debated. You sound great in the explanation, and your case-K interactions are good.

I’d look to shore up two specific places: Role of the Ballot. How do you want this debate to function? I mean, I understand the alternative, but I’m not sure how you want it to frame the debate. Am I determining my ethical orientation to capitalism? Is the ballot a judgment on the affs place in the cultural superstructure, which need to be detached from simple representation? I don’t need an “alternative” in the sense of a “counterplan with some Latinate phrasing” – but I want to know what’s supposed to be up with my ballot when I cast it. I want that somewhat more specifically delineated than, you know, rejection or intellectual endorsement.

I think you’d have a more strategic K argument if you could absorb large components of the aff. A tight carded focus on the possibility for “digital democracy” in a capitalist frame would be a fantastic point for structuring your whole argument. I mean, seriously – when class has predetermined our relationship to what’s apparently the most vital mechanism for democratic participation, is it really plausible to presume that one welfare program will overwhelm it? Won’t that just become a powerful argument against net neutrality, so that the elites can more easily distinguish their access from “welfare broadband?”

That slightly tighter democracy focus – and an examination of how imperialism redeploys the concept and term “democracy” – would allow you to do one of two things – either:
a. make this a PIA/PIK/whatever – a K that just does a lot of the plan but Ks a representation.
b. leverage their democracy args to bolster your framework position. Put simply, try to box the 1AC into an argument that democracy’s the nexus point of the debate through a reverse pit of doom.

Make more explicit arguments about method. (Almost) any block on the (cap) K must necessarily include a segment where you paragraph and/or read evidence that capitalism prefigures and predetermines their truth claims (ie, those advantages are lies; we should distrust their evidence because the filter of ideology leads them to grossly misinterpret historical data.). This is especially true in an impact turn debate – methodology is a built-in issue-specific ev comparison filter.

CX: The question is not why revolutions occur - the question is why they don't. When teams start complaining about the plausibility of the transition, flip the terms of the debate. Capitalism’s an inherently screwed up system in which a tiny fraction of the global population commands most of the planet’s resources. Some alternative to capitalism isn’t simply possible, but logically inevitable. We don’t have to defend a roadmap to post-capitalism – it’s your burden to prove that this economic structure’s sustainable. The transition’s a given, so the only relevant variable is our relationship to it.

1AR: Good focus and choices.

You need to deal with the question of method a little differently. You sort of treat method as an impact instead of a filter. You should put out some reasons to prefer your method of truthseeking. Empirical evidence, falsifiability and, perhaps most importantly, specific data-driven internal links to short-term extinction impact should be aggressively advanced as the way to resolve this debate.

2NR: Great speech – I think you clearly answer a number of questions, but some remain murky. In this 2NR, it should be all about the transition. The 1AR focuses on three primary questions:
1. This transition – is it even possible?
2. If so, how does that alt concretely have much of anything at all to do with it?
3. That whole short term extinction thing on the case, that’s still pretty important, right?

The ideal 2NR has to come to grips with these questions. By “come to grips” I mean one of two possibilities: either 1. Answer the questions or 2. Criticize them. If you win uniqueness – if capitalism’s really due to collapse under the weight of its own contradictions, I think you can proceed to answer one – “yeah, it’s more than possible, it’s gonna happen one way or the other” and perhaps dodge two “inevitable transition should change our approach to a conscious transition – we don’t have to lay out a blueprint for seizing power, but a politics that enables us to consciously change our orientation before everything goes to shit.

You correctly run to the inevitability debate, by the way. I just think you need to tease out the implications of that substantive nexus point for the function of my ballot and a/t alt solvency griping.

Method needs to be clearer. Lies! Their ev is all lies! False consciousness! Running dogs! OK, I’m being hyperbolic, but there’s an arg for hyperbole because it’s so crucial to my round resolution. Role of the ballot also needs some clarity, as discussed above. I think 2NRs should resolve that really clearly, because the block and 1NC probably didn’t DEFINITIVELY clarify the position, so you have to reorient. Far too many high school debaters fall prey to the idea that obscurity throughout the whole round is just tactical brilliance. I don’t think you do, but think those two questions out and rehearse the answers before you roll into a neg cap bad round.

2AR: Great speech.


Start strong. Your second argument is strong, but you basically open with a promise to make fun of Zizek later. A juicy prospect, but the argument would have been better.

"Literally game over" - this is meaningless unless you’re actually calling on me to stop the timer and yell “TKO!” Which I wouldn’t do.


You deal with inevitability very well.

How do you want the aff to function? If you win framework, what does it get you? Do I disallow the alternative, or consider it irrelevant? Perform the cost-benefit analysis on the hypothetical enactment of the plan, and thus disregard the non-unique effects on ideology in order to avert large risks of short term extinction? Yeah, probably something like that. I’ve just seen too many affs blow it on the K by winning framework but failing to impact their arguments, and losing to “turns case.”

Good job, all! Elim quality debate.

Georgetown Debate Seminar Practice Round Seven


This was a fantastic round, really, with a level of depth and sophistication on the technical details of broadband policy that I’d find impressive in December – and it’s July. Each speaker should be proud of the effort and scholarship that went into this debate. I have some technical comments and some substantive ones, working backwards from the 2AR and going through the rebuttals:

2AR: You need to project confidence or you’ll be consistently frustrated by middle-weak panels. You’re intellectually impressive, but a less experienced critic might have received the impression that you’re losing during the 2AR. Debate is partially an exercise in projecting a persona, and I think that’s haunting you more than any specific technical or substantive deficiency. For real - this is a +/1 1 win/tournament question.

Specific ways to correct this:
a. Volume. Be louder. We’ve been over this before.
b. You overuse “even if” formulas. I think it’s useful and good to employ this sort of reasoning, of course, but you need to avoid the appearance that your 2AR is a desperation halfcourt heave. You say, at one point, that “even though their evidence may seem better and more predictive…” Ugh. Sounds desperate – rephrase.
c. Don’t tell the judge that s/he *could* evaluate an issue a given way. Judges are passive creatures – tell us what to do in strongly worded imperatives.
d. You ask your partner “is that OK?” at one point. Don’t do that.

Substantively, you do need to bear down harder on this double solvency question. The relative benefits of the perm will probably determine this debate if they fall behind on politics uniqueness, so you should be drawing out the individual warrants for double solvency and explaining the actual function of the perm. This merits 30 seconds, and potentially more, given its status as a potential nexus point.

2NR: In both of the Thibeau 2NRs I’ve seen, you were technically excellent, and demonstrate a rare command of both debate-technical and substantive details, as well as strategic vision re: case-disad relationships. You’ve been hampered by the evidence set, though. This takes one primary form: you have a single point of offense (politics) in both the block and the 2NR. This lack of diversity ends up making your 2NRs really big. You never drop, and always engage excellent clash. Still, you have very uniform emphasis as a result. You can’t afford to identify a nexus point or slow down slightly on crucial arguments because your strategy makes most every argument crucial.

Fix the 2NR by fixing the 1NC. Y’all need an internal net benefit to your counterplan that makes it a stand-alone win strategy. It’s worth developing this in this instance because of the early memetic penetration of this aff.

I'm impressed with all the weighing arguments, but felt that you should have devleoiped a reason that health care solves their intenral link chain. IT certainly might, by delineating more disposable income, for instance, that allows free market broadband purchases. It would be easy to get some cards on this, and it would be incredibly high yield.

We speculated on this briefly in the round. It sounds like the counterplan will probably pass costs off onto municipalities, which might trade off with municipal wi-fi; that’s promising as a DA to the CP, despite uniqueness problems. I am SURE there is some way that we can incorporate the reactions of the telcos or cable providers to construct a net neutrality disad. (That’s just such a huge debate; there must be a link.) I think we need to devote some more thought, though, to better specific disads or internal net benefits to make this 1nc more dangerous and this 2NR less diffuse.

1AR: Great speech - impressive efficiency, and generation of new arguments. Great efficiency on the theory debate as well. You invest heavily in a geographic distinction between urban and rural broadband access – is this carded? It should be.

I’d consider carding this further with rural-specific internal links to the aff, and impacting it as a distinct add-on somewhere in this debate. The CO2 add-on – or other telecommuting good addons – would probably be a wise choice.

Consider a refinement of your embedded clash system. Instead of labeling your argument sections as “link” or “impact”, you could label them according to YOUR argument – “telcos love the plan” or “health care isn’t crucial to the economy.” I’d experiment with this for a 1AR or two to see if it helps you.

1NR: excellent. Your mastery of details leads me to believe that you’ve read a good deal on this subject, and I’m either impressed with your research or your ability to fake it – probably your research.

My major criticism revolves around strategy, not tactics - the 1NC position forces you to violate the cardinal rule of standalone relevance - could the speech win without the 1NC? It can’t, and I think that’s a shame. This is an evidence failure. You simply need more offense – either on the case or on a distinct net benefit. You could collapse to a smaller fraction of 1NC case defense arguments and potentially go for T? I don’t like that stylistically – I want you to exploit your knowledge of the intricacies of this debate, but I think that the kluge move might have more tactical utility.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Georgetown Debate Seminar Practice Round Three

Aff: 1a Kirshon/ 2a Bernick v. 1n Kejriwal/ 2n Thibeau

1ac: Good clarity. Try to breathe at punctuation marks. This isn’t mandatory, but it will make your speech much smoother. Interrupting sentences with gasping breaths distracts from the text of your speech.

CX of 1AC:

Question one doesn't seem like the strongest start. It's an inherency question; that isn’t really a pressure point unless you have incredibly specific politics links. As it stands, this inherency argument probably compromises politics uniqueness, so it’s unlikely to make it into the 2NR.

Start off with your strongest argument, such as a genuinely glaring internal link hole that’s difficult to paper over, or a source credibility argument that makes them look bad.

This reverse causation question IS a serious pressure point for the 1AC. They don’t repeal reporting requirements, which probably compromises solvency severely. Start off with this line, and keep your foot on his neck for a question or two.

You conclude lines of questioning by saying “fair enough.” This sounds reasonable and gentlemanly, which I appreciate, but it vitiates the impact of a particular line of questioning. I do prefer CX-ers who restate their argument (“So you actually can’t solve your aff because you don’t affect reporting requirements”) and move on. It may manipulate the format, and some amy see it as too aggressive, but I’d at least like to know what you THOUGHT you got out of a particular line of questiong.



If you are just LOUDER you would likely gain 1-2 speaker points over the course of prelims.

Your arg: “low volume makes me faster.” A few responses.

1. Comprehension outweighs. “Fast” means “maximizing arguments that the judge writes down” not “maximizing the arguments that I speak.”
2. Empirically disproven. The fastest debaters are quite loud, in my experience.

This violation needs to be compressed. I wrote it too long.

I don't know if your health care link is good enough to safely make partial inherency arguments. Won't this just non-unique your disad? I’m sure you have answers, but they can also distinguish their aff from the status quo even more easily. This is not worth the trouble.

“No internal link = voter” isn't worth your breath. I often have a low threshold for voting on theory compared to some, but I can’t imagine voting on this even if dropped.

I think generally you need to consolidate anayltic defense into categories of risk reduction. 2-3 good, longer analytics instead of 7-8 threshold presses.

You need more disads to this aff. Limited 1NC offense makes the 2NR difficult, to say the least.

2AC: Apply inherency args to uniqueness.

FASTER! FASTER! FASTER! ENERGY! ENERGY! ENERGY! You are clear. You can read fast. I have seen it happen. No barrier stops you from being one of the fastest debaters in the nation; some behavior mod is all it should take.

Where is this racism stuff going? Are you working your way toward a moral imperative? I generally think that “moral” arguments are best couched in terms of role of the ballot. It’s difficult for me to accept that I should extinguish the species to take a stand; it’s easy for me to accept that I should modify the function of my ballot to express solidarity with anti-racist sentiments.

More carded offense on politics! Trust me, I love analytic politics defense more than most, but
a. I’m not every judge
b. even I need a card for some of this stuff. Extrapolating winners win from their evidence is clever, but dicey.

More add-ons! You should have several “signal” addons prepared vs. states counterplans. This is almost mandatory. Negs prepare counterplans against the advantages you do run, not the advantages you might run, making 2AC adjustments a crucial component of many aff ballots.

Arnav – you need to have a game plan. Cross-xing the 2AC is, admittedly, the lamest cross-x, identify a few things you might get out of this.

2NC: Very good – great articulation, speed, and a superb effort to engage in early and aggressive risk comparison.

The politics coverage needs more vertical depth, though. I think you should be reading more evidence. Not a huge adjustment, but 6 instead of 5:30 would have been better.

It’s useless to give people access to a health care that’s completely broken. Overall system functioning trumps universal access for all their internal links – that means you uniquely turn all the advantages. You do say something along these lines, but I see this as a potential round winner that merits another sentence (maybe even two?) of explanation.

Pretty sketchy on intrinsicness, akshually; this is a vulnerable point. More on this in the 2NR explanation.

1AR: You took prep – that’s good.

I wish you had made some theory cross-applications. Their defenses of both 50 state fiat and conditionality probably justify the intrinsicness arguments that you invested in heavily. Get in the habit of partial concessions that generate new arguments very quickly, based on U ev they read & theory especially.

Good job at generating new-ish politics arguments. You need more cards here, though.

While I’m not a huge aesthetic fan of going for every advantage, I understand and agree with your tactics in this situation.

2NR: This 2NR is great on the micro-level. I also think you probably go for the right thing. A lack of diverse 1NC offense comes back to haunt you, though – this ends up being bigger than it should be.

Two major risks hurt you. First, if your defensive evidence isn’t excellent, you might be faced with a number of extinction level risk. You articulate some ways that the aff can’t sovle your impact, but unless you solve their impact, you might face a valid case for try-or-die in the 2AR. (Even if you turn the case, the status quo still leads inexorably toward extinction if they win a huge risk of their advantage uniqueness claim.)
Secondly, you're really banking on me bailing you out on intrinsicness. I feel that this is sort of a Dwayne Wade approach – wade into traffic and wait for a whistle to bail you out. Sometimes, you can count on a whistle – if you’re neg and running a single reasonable counterplan, you’re unlikely to get whistled on condo bad in a good debate. Don’t count on the refs here, though – I’m less likely to dismiss intrinsicness than many. In general, intrinsicness is a little dangerous for the neg, because the aff is just defending “logic” or a decision-making model, instead of crying like a hurt child.

2AR: Good argument choice on politics. You really locked down on two potentially winning arguments. I kind of wish you had been able to put up a fight on uniqueness as well

Reference evidence for your claim that “xenophobia is the crucial/ONLY internal link to racism.” I can imagine a card that substantiates such an argument, but you leave this entirely to my imagination

They have a rhetorical K, but they’ve never made a role of the ballot argument. I’m not sure why the rhetoric of your advantage should influence my ballot. They don’t link this argument to the plan. Although the 2AR is a little late for this, I think it’s a quick shot, given how obvious this problem seems.

I always have difficulty filtering a “moral obligation” claim against an extinction impact. I find it difficult to accept extinguishing humanity for the sake of a principle. I almost universally prefer that teams cast their moral obligation arguments as role of the ballot argument. I mentioned this above.

Discuss terminal UNIQUENESS on their internal links. Failure to treat immigrants breaks the health care system in ways that they can’t compensate for. You make the clever argument that swine flu proves that the system works now, but it might not be able to work for immigrants. However, you refer to this very briefly at least.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Georgetown Debate Practice Round: Mindy/Daimyr vs. Katzoff/Herman


Aff: Mindy/Daimyr vs. Neg: Katzoff/Herman

1ac: good clarity. When I listen carefully, I can distinguish every word, which is my basic litmus test.

1AC CX: 1. Ask short questions with a minimum of introduction. Your elaborate prefaces don’t help you.

2. Argue don't ask. You want to score points in the C-X, not achieve clarification. You work your way toward an argument, but it's a little slow and tentative.

3. Remember, when explaining part of the immigrant's symbolic status, you need to refer to their status as OUTSIDERS. Our treatment of immigrants really determine our stand toward the Other.

1nc: This T violation, while clearly the product of a razor sharp mind, demands careful highlighting if it’s to be at all strategic. This runs over a minute.

You should be faster. Aim to up your rate of delivery by at least 25 words a minute using the spreeder.

Your voice wavers on the last word, in a way that denotes a lack of confidence. Debaters must project the impression that they expect to win. If you don’t feel naturally confident, you should probably fake it. It’s a function of vocal technique; if you waver, trail off, or using rising intonation to make sentences into question, you essentially say that you don’t expect to win. That rapidly becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Don't transition between cards with "and". Transitions ideally employ very short pauses, instead of "uh" or "um."

CX: I'm not totally sure what you're driving at. If you're aiming to debate the theoretical problems with the state CP, I'd engage the unprecedented nature of this action. Also, the CP involves simultaneous and uniform state action, but it doesn't mandate cooperation.

Also, you should likely ask about the status of the CP.

2ac: Use immigration to K T - I've seen you do this before, and you should always do some of your best moves. Immigration issues are uniquely conducive to Kritiks of topicality, because attempts to carefully circumscribe the language to prevent unlimited meaning are a pretty tight analogy to English-only xenophobia.

Good indicts on their case evidence – try to place these indicts in the context of a comparison. In other words, don’t just say their ev is bad; quickly cite better ev as well.

Efficiency: you are eloquent. In many places, though, you should reserve some of this eloquence for the 2AR. Case is a good example – the quick application of evidence here could save you a lot of time. It’s unlikely they’ll go for their case defense, and, if they do, I think you have the ability to do a lot of extrapolating in the 2AR.

2NC: Don’t say “scratch that” if you feel that your argument is inadequate. It creates a lot of confusion. Save the phrase “scratch that” for strategically problematic arguments. If you read politics links the wrong way, you want to scratch them.

Good job on T. Try to make the impacts more specific. A general “limit” argument isn’t that compelling; you should instead delineate what would actually happen in this instance. You’d be forced to debate health care, which is an enormous topic in and of itself.

You should start the disad by explaining why it outweighs the case.

You gravitate away from the line by line in favor of just reading cards. It's best for you to stick to the line by line, and reference their arguments more carefully.


1nr: As a block, y’all take too much. The real tradeoff here comes in impact comparison. I think the 2NC emphasis on case defense isn't that good.

Don’t apologize! Debate means never having to say you’re sorry. This fits in with my earlier comments about confidence. You are debating well – you just need to communicate that you believe you’re debating well.

This stylistic modification alone will produce 1-3 expected wins per tournament.


Well done.

T’s their best offense, by far. The 2NR clearly wants to go for this issue. When you can predict their best 2NR, react by dumping time and arguments from other flows there. Look for theoretical cross-applications – issues that might either interact with T or provide you with an additional out.

A cardinal rule of debate:

YOU MUST CHOOSE. Debate is, in large part, about choice. The 2NR has issue choice – the 2AR has argument choice. Exercise this choice! In this instance, this means that you should spend all five minutes going for T and locking it down, instead of wasting two minutes on a substantive debate that you certainly cannot win.

You’re doing a good job on T, too. You just needed more time for impact comparison and explanation. Many judges’ high subjective thresholds on T really demand a five minute investment.



You need to take what the neg gives you though. In other words, don’t just look at where the clash is. See what arguments they’re conceding – any major concessions should be a centerpiece of the 2AR.

Examples: He doesn’t cover states theory, which potentially relates to T.

Also, he's dropping CTBT turns.

Ideally, this speech should dispense with the substantive debate in a minute or two, then make some cross-apps, then put T on the bottom for ~3:30 of coverage.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Georgetown Debate Practice Round: Kirshon/Bernick Aff v. Thomas/Mittal Neg

1a: Kirshon
2a: Bernick

1n: Thomas
2n: Mittal

1ac: Great clarity and spacing. I can understand every word, which is the litmus test for clarity.

Substantively, I’d consider axing this disease advantage entirely. It doesn’t get you very far strategically – the internal link probably can’t survive a cross-ex, whereas you open yourself up to tactically nasty “intersection” critiques of disease and immigration (we can represent immigration and can represent disease, but the two sets of fears together is a politically volatile combination.

That’s especially true given the dubious quality of the immigration impact. Put simply, the juice is just not worth the squeeze.

Bearden – not my favorite impact for economy.

I’d consider reading qualifications in the 1ac. While this is a controversial proposition, I feel that the process can at least get mileage for the affirmative. I’ll be posting some of my own thoughts on that discussion shortly.

1AC CX: EFFICIENCY! EFFICIENCY! EFFICIENCY! These questions last a really long time and involve multiple subordinate clauses. The 1A should respond to this meandering first question with “what?”

There’s a factual dispute over whether the states can deficit spend. While there’s some variation, they generally can’t.

1NC: Your clarity is good, although some overenunciation drills certainly wouldn’t hurt. I think your transitions between inssues follow the correct template – [short pause – name of new issue – short pause].

You bounce up and down in a strange way. You put your head down – literally – into evidence, creating the impression that you’re about to literally dive into your laptop. While that would be a cool Matrix-y trick if you could actually pull it off, it really only serves to muffle your voice. Work on maintaining some physical distance from your blocks.

You need more net benefits to the states CP, like a spending disad. A diverse 1NC should have at least 3 viable win strats, and I don’t think that [status quo+DA] seems viable in this case.

2AC: Good. Faster. Really. You have a great 2AC, but it’s at about 2/3 or the necessary speed. We’ll work on this outside lab, using some electronic tools. I could have some additional advice, but I want to keep a focus on what we can improve.

2AC C-X: Weird quiz bowl effect here. You start off with this weird question about number of pieces of pizza, or like a train leaving the station at 60 mph or something. In general, I think you can skip the clever analogies in C-X – they’re less illustrative than you think. Just ask your questiona s clearly as possible.

2NC: You allocate a bunch of time to disease defense. I don’t see how this fits into a winning 2NR. You’re dropping three out of four advantages, and they all have extinction level impacts. You’re thus compelled to go for the counterplan. There’s nothing about the disease advantage that’s uniquely insulated from states solvency; health care sector collapse is likely more relevant in a states 2NR. While you’re decent on this advantage on a micro level, I question your macro vision here.

They don’t have a lot of defense on T. I don’t see a great offensive reason to prefer their interpretation. I don’t think that you make enough explicit reference to this, though. It’s mentioned, but it deserves more “airplay” – their lack of offense bears mention in the overview, and potentially on some other places in the debate as well.

Permute this broad interpretation! Social services should be distinguished from BOTH highway spending AND primary care.

2NC CX: Efficiency. Time allocation. You make about 3 arguments in this C-x> Look at JPs cross-x of Nick again; he makes about 6 arguments, which seems ideal, by controlling the pacing and knowing precisely what he wants to extract before moving on.

1NR: Narrow your focus. This 1NR should be all CTBT all the time – you initially declare that you’re going for immigration. You don’t get to it. There are turns on it. This is problematic. It seems, upon further postround discussion, that these turns might just refer back to the case impacts. At a minimum, however, this is a huge perceptual gaffe.

Your overview needs to be clearer. Don’t read overviews, including impact comparison overviews, as if they are cards. It defeats the purpose. You need to look up from the laptop periodically, and also use slight pauses between different components of the overview to effectively chunk information.

1AR: 1. Avoid stand up 1ARs, especially when you aren’t pressed for prep. I understand that you want to create an immediate impression of studliness. Really, though, that extra time checking, thinking, and looking for relationships between arguments is ultimately far more valuable than a minor style point.
2. I’d make an argument for putting T at the bottom. You aren’t particularly top heavy, and the block led me to believe that the 2NR really wants to go for T. It’s their best argument. Putting it at the bottom lets you dump the most time there, and also skews 2NR prep.
3. Kick disease. Come on. These 20 seconds are better spent on T. If it’s case v. disad, you’re going to win, and, as I mentioned previously, disease isn’t especially insulated from states. You’re being reactive here.
4. Try to relate seemingly distinct theory debates to your advantage. If states limits the topic, then there’s no impact to T, setting up a potentially useful 2AR cross-app. The 2AR actually does this, but it’s too new because you didn’t set him in the 1AR.

2NR: You are good on your issue. You need some more rhetorical power, though. Specifically, you open with “um um” and close with “so…yeah.” Starting and finishing strong is crucial to conveying confidence.

I also want a limits endpoint – a concrete impact. Why will their interpretation make the topic terrible? What is the bogeyman or reductio ad absurdum? Compelling last rebuttals on T or theory ground their abstractions in concrete examples of how terrible their opponents’ interpretation will make debate.

I think you need to impact extra-T better because you’re on the wrong side of the link debate. Your definition establishes that there are some medical social services; some portion of the aff would affect these, presumably, even if you severed the non-topical portions.

2AR: I think you’re a bit too talky and a bit slow. I’m often loath to give this advice, because I think your 2AR is GOOD and I also understand that the round’s pretty narrow in scope. I agree with your basic instinct to sit on a few arguments and paragraph; I just think you need to tighten up the pacing just a touch.

Does this ""no med soc services"" come from the 1AR? Either way, you should refer to the 1AR at more points in order to avoid the appearance of newness." A few explicit references or quotes allow you to justify some ambitious extrapolations. Most judges have trouble tracking down new 2AR responses, but T 2ARs – which often extrapolate 5 minutes of analysis from 45 seconds of 1AR extension – are often held to a higher standard.

Deeper discussion of Extra-T. This seems like a really easy way out.

Excellent early debate! Keep up the good work, all.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Emory HS: Round 3: CR Wash Aff v. Gulliver Prep Neg

Round 3: Cedar Rapids Washington v. Gulliver Prep

NEG: Gulliver Prep.

I really enjoyed this round; it confirmed my intuition that impact turn debates aren’t particularly strategic for the affirmative but make debates better by forcing clash. I consciously elected to award high points to reward intricate line by line clash that provides a useful contrast with robotically scripted and only approximately responsive rebuttals. Every debater in the room did at least one unusually smart thing, although no one was flawless.

CRWashington’s ahead on risk analysis. The 2NR neglects any comparison between the case and the disad at his peril. He escapes peril in this case, however, because there’s simply no appreciable solvency deficit to the feed-in tariff counterplan.

The affirmative assertions of a solvency deficit, generally don’t derive from evidence and have to compete with good, if underhighlighted, negative evidence. I strongly suspect that this Gipe evidence would be much better as one long card instead of several 1-2 line cards – you aren’t billing by the card here, folks. It’s good, though. It makes an explicit comparison between production tax credits and a feed-in tariff.

Paternalism and trust doctrine deficits receive the most airplay in the 2AR. However, I can’t isolate a particular piece of evidence which provides a unique (or, indeed, any) warrant for tying those concepts to a production tax credit. Washington’s evidence here provides a general link to economic self-determination, but no basis for comparison between these two mechanisms. Perhaps I’m missing something, but my reading of all the evidence leads me to believe that Gulliver really has the goods here. Washington solves many of the problems with the previously cyclical character of the production tax credit – but Gulliver’s cards incline me to believe that some of the perceptual problems can’t easily be addressed. It’s better to wipe the slate clean and start with a new mechanism entirely, given the potential sedimentation of negative investor perception. A feed-in tariff would also apparently better distribute resources within Native American communities as well, whereas production tax credits seem to accrue with the most privileged members of that community; only some have already built up enough capital to merit taxation.

This evidence evaluation compels me to two conclusions about the affirmative’s strategic choices. I’ll start from the premise that you sensed trouble here coming out of the 1NC.

First, the choice to straight impact turn in the 2AC was smart. Secondly, the choice to emphasize the case to the exclusion of deep development on the disad in the 2AR, while well executed, was suboptimal. I think you should have ditched the case vs. counterplan debate entirely. It’s served its function – you need to narrow this debate to a winnable point of offense, and the cards are more even on prolif than they are on the solvency deficit debate.

Time pressure resolves most of the impact turn debate on prolif. I don’t have a clear extension of this opaque prolif story in the 1AR. Gulliver doesn’t either. There’s even some internal controversy on this subject among the Wash debaters in the postround. Even if the argument’s in, I default to the specificity of their internal link – the Proliferation Security Initiative’s qualitatively different from the generic “proliferation control” presumed by CR Washington’s creaky old impact turns. Superior time allocation gives the 2NR space for substantive development on bounded rationality and the increased risk of accidents. I ultimately vote negative on risk of accidents outweighs the near-zero risk of a solvency deficit. Militarism might show some promise, but receives half a sentence of development as the timer expires. That explanatory gap compels me to default to the 2NR’s link explanation; proliferation probably increases militarism.

Good round overall. The crucial big-picture decisions come from the 2NR, when he intelligently elects to use the permutation to kick out of one impact turned disad (the 1AR enables this) and the 2AR, when she elects to devote the bulk of her speech to a solvency deficit on which she’s fighting at an evidentiary disadvantage.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Emory HS: Round 5: Mountain Brook v. Whitney Young

Negative: Whitney Young.

I wish that the affirmative would have aggressively pursued some combination of “permutation do the counterplan” and “consultation counterplans shouldn’t be considered textually competitive because they make debate silly.” I will give the affirmative very strong presumption on these arguments. Unfortunately, the affirmative elects to go for other arguments, so I don’t really have the pretext I want to intervene against an argument I despise.

As it stands, the 2NR wins by virtue of superior risk analysis. The affirmative wins a good risk of “say no” and the negative wins an excellent to full risk of their net benefit. The 2NR explicitly accounts for this possibility, and devotes a crucial paragraph on top comparing the case and the net benefit. Last rebuttals often constitute a race to risk comparisons phrased as “even if”. The negatively clearly wins this race.

I don’t think his arguments are intrinsically superior, by any stretch of the imagination. Truthseeking would compel an affirmative ballot here in many circumstances – there’s a much better threshold to the “say no” disad than there is to the cooperation net benefit. Left to my own devices, I’d definitely default aff on the basis of superior defense and superior threshold. The relationship between a single consultation and the net benefit is much weaker than the relationship between a “say no” risk and the case advantages.

I’m not left to my own devices, however. The affirmative has all of the individual arguments in play to weave a compelling risk analysis story, but must put them together for me.

On the micro level:

SAY NO: This is a logical argument, and the affirmative wins a decent risk of it. It certainly gives me pause. The negative evidence doesn’t really support their position – it says that the EU wants to promote their own biofuels. That’s the affirmative warrant. They want to inhibit US development in order to promote their own because they perceive it as a zero-sum situation.

If I assign the affirmative full weight of this argument, the gap in risk analysis is probably irrelevant (although I’d still pause, because there’s no subline on why EU rejection might compromise the internal net benefit.) I refrain from assigning anything above a B- (moderate-high) risk, though, for two reasons.

1. The affirmative doesn’t really articulate my objection to the negative evidence on this point. You do point out that it isn’t very good, and you’re right. You don’t, however, explain why it’s a better affirmative card than your cards.

2. This matters because your internal link to this – Perry – isn’t much better. I think you have a more logical story, but your evidentiary support fails epically. It discusses an instance in which Britain refused an EU attempt to regulate British drilling for gas and oil in the North Sea. This evidence is just entirely irrelevant to the subject at hand, and you’d be better off issuing an analytic on this point and keeping Perry out of my hands entirely.

This deficit’s particularly damaging because the 2NR has a cogent story about how Britain wants to reduce greenhouse gases, so will accept the aff as a good global citizen. The 2AR’s only answer is that the negative has no cards. You are correct, but neither do you – it’s very difficult to thus make clean risk assignments when everyone relies on atrocious cards.


The internal net benefit is a disad to this perm. The Haass evidence clearly distinguishes between binding and non-binding consultation. The 2NR’s especially cogent here, incorporating lines of analysis from the evidence directly into his speech.

I could easily view this permutation as a defensive argument against the net benefit, which would in turn help support macro weighing arguments. The permutation doesn’t solve relations as well as the counterplan, but it’s better than the status quo. That furthers weakens the internal link between the counterplan and the net benefit, so the risk of the “say no” disad is comparatively much higher. I don’t hear anything about this in the 2AR, though.


The negative does have an independent terrorism scenario which goes largely neglected. 2NR risk analysis, however, revolves around the China scenario, and I’d likely vote affirmative if left to my personal instincts on macro evaluation, so I’m compelled to engage here.

As with the “say no” debate, the affirmative has a comprehensible (if underarticulated) scenario, but they’re doomed by the quality of their evidence. This embargo internal link doesn’t draw any causative connection between relations and the embargo. It does say that we’ve objected to the European stance before, but there isn’t anything approaching either a predictive claim or even a general assessment of a relationship – it’s simply a description of an individual instance. 2AR storytelling here would be adequate for a good card, but it’s wholly inadequate for an argument with near-zero carded support.

I do think that the negative evidence about managing conflicts is good enough, though. It makes general but predictive claims about the importance of our relations for managing all possible flashpoints with China. Taiwan’s certainly one of those flashpoints, even if the internal link doesn’t mention it by name. I’d be more compelled by the affirmative’s internal link attack if it were coupled with at least some mention of other factors that might overwhelm, such as purely internal nationalist dynamics on both sides of the Strait.

Overall, the aff chips away at the risk of the net benefit and gathers a good risk of their own case as offense. They don’t win one argument so utterly decisively, though, that I’d discount superior negative macro evaluation.

Some individual speech comments:

1AC: Good 1AC, you are crystal clear. Substantively, I wonder if it’s a great idea to intersect directly with the college topic. I always feel that’s a slightly dangerous move that takes control over argument development out of your hands.

1AC CX: I think this goes well for the negative. I hope that these points make it into the speeches as well – if this comes down to case vs. politics, say, I think you’ve made a lot of strides here. If you’re planning to go for Heidegger, this is all meaningless. (Note: I wrote this during the speech, but it was eerily prophetic. You were, in fact, going for the CP or Heidegger, rendering this whole CX an exercise in futility. That’s frustrating.)

2NC – You are nearly incomprehensible. You are reading blocks of analysis at card speed. When you go for Heidegger and consultation, however, the debate’s going to revolve around fairly minute theoretical distinctions. You should have replicated your 2AR pacing.

I think you got lucky. If they went for “consult illegitimate” or “permutation - do the counterplan” I think this 2NC would have hosed you. I wouldn’t have flowed half of your answers, and I’d give the 2AR an enormous amount of leeway on new theory as a result.

1NR – Why do you get to read a slew of new defense in the 1nr? Am I missing something? I was under the impression that teams generally introduce all of their arguments in constructives, reserving the rebuttals for argument development.

I know that these comments primarily rail on the negative – but as I vote negative, I think that makes sense. The affirmative can (I hope) extract most of my advice from an RFD that doesn’t go their way.

Good debate!



Negative: Bronx.

RFD: Politics outweighs the case.

This risk assignation appears clean and technical.

2AR risk analysis, while compelling, is shamelessly new. The 1AR drops the block’s risk comparison. This problem’s compounded by an unresponsive 2AR. For example, the 2AR explains the importance of historical analysis in evaluation of risk, which we’ve never heard before in this debate, while ignoring the 2NR’s moral imperative claim. The 2AR advances very intelligent risk analysis, but it’s just utterly new.

The affirmative can try several strategies avoid this deep hole:

a. Prevention – engage risk analysis early and often. Make sure that the 1AR sketches the arguments that the 2AR needs.

b. Deception – even if the 2AR is new, try to incorporate some actual argument from the 1AR into the new arguments, so they sound old. It’s difficult to ferret out every sub-line of analysis. “Embedded clash,” by minimizing signposting, often enhances rebuttalists’ latitude to make new arguments. You need some process of reference – a 50/50 old/new ratio works much, much better than /100.

c. Engagement – issue at least some justification for new risk analysis. Standard rationalizations might include:

i. Last rebuttals exist to issue new risk analysis – otherwise, they’d just be repetition. Moving that process into the constructives actually damages argument development by accelerating the negative’s block advantage.

ii. The 2NR issues some new risk analysis, which demands new answers on my part – they opened the door. (This is generally more effective than c.i.)

iii. Here’s our risk analysis that’s built into the 1AC – that isn’t really new because the aff doesn’t ever go away.

I think you might do that with the survivability of the toothfish? I don’t get it, though. Toothfish will survive a nuclear war, sure. I don’t think that they’ll re-evolve into humans…is there a reason that I should discount a more likely extinction scenario from Bronx, as long as I know that the biosphere will still have some toothfish around? This isn’t an intuitively appealing position, so it would need to be fleshed out over 3-4 sentences for me to get on board to wherever you want this toothfish train to go.

The aff doesn’t mitigate the disad at all on the micro level either. Risk analysis might not be enough for Bronx if USN won some hot defense. That’s not happening here. The 2AR argues that the aff doesn’t’ affect health care lobbies, which overwhelm. That seems trivial. Some external factors may influence this debate, but they aren’t entirely determinative. The card you reference certainly doesn’t preclude a substantial or outcome-determinative role for political capital. The aff only needs to affect one factor to determine the overall outcome of the debate, despite a plethora of possible alternate causations. I didn’t take enough notes on your uniqueness evidence, but it was short and underexplained as time expired.

You may win a risk of this addon, but you just don’t win enough defense to overwhelm dropped risk comparison.


POSTROUND: BRONX, OMG, you are the worst imaginable team in terms of watching the judge. You will both generally wander out of the round at the same time and immediately make several phone calls within minutes of the 2AR’s conclusion. I have seen you do this before, and you really need to stop. The phone calls smack of arrogance; it seems to imply that you’re so convinced you’re ahead that you can catch up on your social life. They’re also just distracting. More importantly, I call for cards over a few minutes, instead of immediately issuing all my card requests. Therefore, when you both leave, it slows down the whole process for no good reason. Just keep one person in the round to look at the judge and file evidence while the other person makes phone calls in the hall. You can flip for it?

Some incidental comments:

1AC: Faster

1AC C-X: The 1AC must be Scripture to you. You must know each piece of evidence. You frequently refer to “some card” – in one embarrassing sequence, neither affirmative speaker can identify a 1AC card by date or citation.

2AC: I know this is a minor pet peeve, but “literally” means “the opposite of metaphorically,” as opposed to “very.”

Example: “My evidence is literally on fire.”


“My evidence is actually burning and requires a fire extinguisher.”

as opposed to

“My evidence is so awesome!”

You’ve taken to using “literally” as a filler word, producing several cringeworthy sequences in which you reverse its meaning.

Thursday, January 29, 2009




Close and good round – both teams deserved to participate in the elimination rounds, in my opinion, and I expressed this with points.

Theory’s the nexus point of this debate – the affirmative can’t catch up on substance. Unfortunately, the 2AR disagrees with this assessment, devoting too much time to defensive arguments against the net benefit, which don’t matter absent a meaningful solvency differential. Although the 2AR is excellent in a number of places, I don’t think that he quite achieves the same level of clashing argument development on theory as his affirmative colleague.

More specifically, I don’t have the 2AR clearly extending the 1AR’s argument that I should hold counterplans to a minimum standard of both functional and textual competition. (I largely blame time pressure for this deficiency.) This combination of standards should win the debate for the aff, given 2NC/2NR mistakes here. The negative should never solely rely on the argument that textual competition hurts the AFFIRMATIVE. The combination (both text and function are a necessary condition for a competitive CP) should crush the negative disads to textual competition since they all impact in "abusing the affirmative is bad." Fullerton has already conceded the underlying premise that we should opt for a vision of competition that best serves the affirmative.

I get very little of this, however. I have components that come awfully close – the 2AR says “both textual and functional” – but that appears to be a description of the permutation, not a description of the way that I should adjudicate competition generally. The 2AR also says “solves all the disads” – but I’m quite sure that he’s talking about solving the disads to the aff, not solving the theoretical disads to textual competition. I can understand why this might be slightly frustrating for MBA, as many of the components come awfully close, but I just don’t have it clearly assembled in a couple of sentences. If the 2AR repeats the 1AR on this section of the flow, I’d likely vote aff.

In a similar vein, the 2AR opts for slightly more scattershot extension on the PICs debate, which I also felt was winnable. The 1AR, for example, continues the process of clash when he advances the argument that minute net benefits, despite their exciting technical detail, can’t aid debate because they don’t attract two sided discussions in the literature. This is a good, responsive argument, which the 2NR neglects. It’s not a component of the 2AR, however.

The 2AR invests more time in invective against PICs than real substantive analysis of their theoretical implications. Labels such as “hyperinflated” and “inconsequential” net benefits always read like empty insults to me. I don’t know how to determine if they “inflated” or “hyperinflated” or if the disad has a “consequence” without referring to some other section of the PICs debate. Without some external analytic support, these assertions seem logically circular. PICs are bad because they hyperinflate net benefits which we determine by referencing the assumption that PICs and their net benefits are probably bad.

As it stands, I don’t have much onpoint answer to “structural side bias dictates negative flexibility” or “these types of counterplans specifically aid topic development, because they’re the only route to a specific and hypertechnical discussion of energy forms.” The second argument is particularly damning, because the 2AR highlights “topic specific education” as a trump impact, without decisively winning the link.

I’d give a more centered 2AR a good deal of leeway, because I didn’t think the 2NR was strong or centered here. Both teams rely on scattershot extension of individual arguments, without assembling a meaningful theoretical gestalt.

I would have prioritized this debate lower in the 2AR, because it’s fairly even, whereas you are probably just 100% correct on the perm.

As a side note, the dropped “resolutional justification” argument on alternative energy specification exerts a minor gravity on evaluation of technical minutiae on these theory debates. I can’t vote on this argument in isolation – it’s neither smart nor well-developed – but I feel that it’s difficult for me to give MBA much leeway when they don’t explicitly address something that Fullerton flags as a voting issue.

On the substantive debate, MBA just has defense. I don’t think that geothermal drilling will kill 5.5 billion people. I think it might hurt some people, though, or scare them. I don’t think earthquakes are good – they’re risky and endanger human health. It’s a linear impact – each earthquake is probably bad enough to overwhelm presumption. I disagree with the 2AR’s assertion that Fullerton drops this argument about German feed-in tariffs empirically disproving the impact. I think she answers this explicitly when she says that the United States system will be more successful and broadly adopted, and thus spur much broader geothermal drilling. Her argument isn’t dazzling, but it’s an argument.

I appreciate the 2AR attempt to argue that offense/defense is bad, and that I should consequently hold their net benefit to high standard of scrutiny, or raise the affirmative presumption threshold. The resolution of small risks recurs as a nexus question in debates, and you have a viable argument. In this context, it’s clearly both too late (the 1AR doesn’t really set up this filter for evaluation, and I imagine Fullerton would like a chance to address this) and too little (there’s no impact to this type of evaluation beyond “it’s a bad thing.”)

Some individual comments:

1AC CX: I don’t think you should concede “immediate and unconditional implementation of the plan.” That seems like you’re baiting consultation, and should probably distinguish between disads and counterplans in your answer. The correct answer:

“We’ll defend that the plan passes according to normal means for the purposes of your disad links. However, the process through which the plan might pass is not a component of our textual advocacy, as you can see, so we will argue strenuously that your process counterplan is not competitive.”

I also think it’s worthwhile to outline your view of “fiat.” It’s a theoretical construct which allows us to overlook questions of the likelihood of implementation. No one “fiats” a plan. It’s a heuristic, not an action.



NEGATIVE: Greenhill

This round really demonstrated the importance of controlling framework or meta-questions – questions about how the way that I perform my evaluation. Greenhill issues some clear and articulate criteria for my decision. Glenbrook North, while articulately discussing some of the micro questions, neglects these 2NR decision criteria to their detriment.

More concretely, the 2AR drops the offense/defense paradigm, and also drops the (faintly absurd) assertion that structural side bias compels negative presumption on counterplans. Therefore, I only need to assess the two pieces of Gearing evidence to decide the debate. Even if there’s some internal problem with the net benefit, there’s no disadvantage to the net benefit. The negative’s set up a situation in which they only need to win EQUIVALENT solvency.

If you really think through this theory, of course, you’ll see that Greenhill’s arguing plausibly for an absurdity. If word PICs don’t need an offensive net benefit – or if they’re held to an extremely low standard for the evaluation of presumption – the affirmative absolutely cannot win. An affirmative can answer disads to their wording, but it’s absurd to think they’d have a defense of every word against every EQUIVALENT synonym. I’m a fan of word PICs (at least relative to my colleagues) but even I recognize that this would be the zero point; debate would have no value.

Presumption against counterplans must go affirmative. Negatives that counterplan with an identical synonym is not an equivalent remedy for the apparently dizzying power of the last speech. GBN should also refute offense/defense with a story about the “margin of error.” I honestly believe that debate is just not a finely enough calibrated instrument of social science to measure infinitesimally small risks. Extremely small risks should be discounted as unknown if they fall outside our activity’s predictive capability, for the same reason that a poll might discount a 2 point lead with a smallish sample size – overestimating our predictive capability leads to poor decisionmaking by overinterpreting essentially random results.

That’s not the debate that occurs, though.

I’m unimpressed with these Gearing cards. I don’t understand the link to your “common word” argument; Greenhill has evidence that renewable is a less common term, and isn’t a term of art. This evidence definitely doesn’t delineate a positive benefit to using terms together. There’s a risk of a backlash, and Greenhill adumbrates a number of unanswered disadvantages to that backlash, including case effectiveness, direct case rollback, and an independent survival impact.

GBN, you should have gone for “perm – do the counterplan” in the 1AR. I thought the 2AC was good on this. Your theory arguments sounded intelligent and nuanced. I expected this to be the nexus point of the debate, and I felt that the affirmative had roughly equal chances here given correct 1AR diagnosis of the debate. You could also productively fit a number of the arguments that you do pursue under this category heading. For example, the card that you read about subsequent Congressional revision and spell-checking sounds random and disconnected by itself, but, as a further defense of your permutation’s correspondence with real world policymaking, it would be smart and nuanced argument development.
You can effectively center your offense by positing a particular role of the ballot to refute their emphasis on language. A number of your cards about taboo and dirty words don’t really apply to counterplan as a disad, but might make more sense a disad to their framework.

Greenhill, I don’t have many complaints. Although this round’s well-debated by both sides, it’s technically clean, and you display a good understanding of all of the bases you need to touch to win on your strategy. You also display excellent focus and vertical development in the block, which I appreciate. For future reference, I don’t think non-USFG fiat is legitimate, because a variety of different decisionmakers doesn’t make sense, and it tends to make policy discussions contrived and artificial (see Dylan Keenan’s rant on state counterplan fiat – I believe that too.)

Friday, January 23, 2009

Round 1 BF: Grapevine v. Vestavia

Aff: Grapevine

RFD: Case outweighs capitalism.

The 2NR really stakes this round on the quality of your ethics evidence and analysis. Absent a strong ethics argument, it’s a very clear affirmative ballot, as the negative concedes the truth of multiple scenarios for extinction. Asteroids is one of several, but it’s the clearest example of something that’s just not particularly susceptible to any sort of social constructionist analysis; the aff claims to stop an empirically verifiable extinction level event that doesn’t much care about our justice concerns.

Ethics remains poorly developed, however; the negative relies on repeated assertions instead of the detailed macro explanation that they desperately need. I need a really good reason to reject the plan in the face of extinction. The Zizek 4 and Zizek and Daly 4 cards don’t get you there; they posit ethical problems with capitalism. They also posit some ways that capitalism tends to misrepresent markets as neutral when instead they tend toward social exclusion. These authors would really need to advocate a strong rule-based, or deontological, morality to justify a negative ballot that recklessly disregards the primacy of survival.

Were I to attempt to justify a negative ballot, I guess I’d have to resort to the idea that ethics transforms the role of the ballot; perhaps I should consider the ballot an expression of my ethical alignment with a particular system instead of an examination of the consequences of enacting a particular policy. I can’t interject such an argument, however. The 2NR never says that, and the affirmative consistently extends their conceded framework arguments.

2NR comparative risk analysis can’t put the negative over the top without a decisive win on the nexus question of deontology. Your discussion of risk suffers from two macro problems. First, it isn’t actually a comparison; you recite some features of your critique’s risk without actually placing these factoids in the context of the affirmative advantages. You don’t say why the K’s better – you just say why you think it’s pretty nice. Secondly, it’s scripted, so any existing nuance is blurred by incomprehensible delivery.

On the micro level, the aff’s ahead on risk because they win several uncontested scenarios while at least contesting both alternative solvency (Rorty) and impact uniqueness (Eichenwald). The 2NR is long on ethics reiteration but short on any detailed explanation of how the alternative actually transitions away from capitalism.

1ac: Good pacing and delivery. I really appreciate the way in which you segment the cards by pausing slightly between them – you are very easy to flow and understand.

I don’t understand the internal link to asteroids at all. I understand that the air force has operational authority over preventing collisions, but how does the strength of the air force really affect an interception? There may well be an internal link story here, but I don’t think that’s transparent based on the tag or text of the evidence.

1nc: Good delivery, but I think there are some conceptual problems here.

As a general rule, I feel that running a single T violation contributes to T’s viability as a 2NR option. Multiple violations create too many possibilities for entirely justifiable 1AR cross-applications.

Capitalism contradicts many of your other arguments. Spiking food prices are likely a product of a market economy, not simply diversion to corn ethanol. Maintaining civil military relations to preserve stability would certainly only be a priority to fans of the current distribution of military and economic power.

I rarely vote aff on conditionality, but I’m increasingly willing to vote aff on “contradictions bad”. If the negative could hypothetically concede link turns on a disad in order to reinforce their links to the criticism, I think the neg’s creating a fairly unusual strategy skew. Also, while negative strategies should not, perhaps, be single seamless advocacy statements, there seems to be some education value to upholding some minimal standard of coherence. Almost any logical system starts with the principle of non-contradiction.

This advice applies more to Grapevine than Vestavia. I’m flexible enough that your 1NC is certainly an option, but Grapevine should make a theory argument that’s slightly more nuanced than either conditionality or conditional PICs bad.

I don’t think your politics disad makes sense. Why does Obama’s political capital affect his policies on Gaza or Israel? Doesn’t he make those diplomatic decisions free from Congressional oversight or control? Perhaps I misunderstand the disad since it’s not discussed much past the 1NC.

1NC CX: Farhad, I appreciate your graciousness on principle – you consistently describe your opponent’s RFDarguments as fair or sensical. I think you’re giving away too much perceptually, however. It’s good to be polite, but you still want to prove that their arguments are bad.

Good overall. I think you’re weak on the counterplan. You might want to flush out the theory on the perms more thoroughly, make more defensive arguments about the net benefit, and at least start to resolve the potentially dispositive questions of PRESUMPTION and MARGIN OF ERROR. I think it’s likely that they could win a non-zero risk of this net benefit, despite some obvious flaws in their net benefit. The round might then revolve around the following nexus questions:
1. When is a fractional risk equivalent to zero risk?
2. If there’s no net benefit to the CP but it solves the aff, who wins?

2NC: These scripted overviews are way too long. They largely reiterate the position. You are too overview dependent and need to clash more directly with their responses.

Ethics is a great example of this – it’s eventually the real nexus question, but I don’t have any useful information other than a couple of cards and an explanation of past future present present past that would be difficult to filter and absorb at 100 WPM, let alone 250.

2NC C-x:

You ask the 2NC, essentially, if he dropped asteroids (he did) and if his ethics explanation made any sense (not really.) Accurate diagnosis of neg flaws, but those are genuinely the worst possible CX question in this scenario, because there’s a 1NR. He could hypothetically instruct her to shore up these weaknesses.

NEVER EVER give them a chance to make up for their errors (did you drop asteroids)

NEVER just give them a chance to explain where they are crucially weak (ethics)

Undermine them CONCEPTUALLY instead of going after TECHNICAL WEAKNESS, because there’s a 1NR.