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.