So, ADA nats happened. And the NDT. And the topic is over. And there hasn’t been a take for as far as the eye can see. The necessary corrective is here! Part one and part two are here and here. In no particular order:
1. People doing funny stuff in the body of cards.
I LOVE it. I need everyone to share with me every screenshot they have of this phenomenon immediately. HR’s contribution:
2. Are Warm Up Tournaments Necessary?
We went to ADA, not just for the warm up, but that was definitely a part of the reason. We also have pulled back from winter break tournaments due to budgetary concerns and debater feedback. I think if one looks at this closely, they will find no causality. Kentucky and Georgia debated at ADA and made finals. Wake didn’t and made semi’s. Hegna did and got top speaker. Caitlin didn’t and got 5th.
Kentucky has had a very mixed bag over the last five years of how people felt about skipping tournaments. Probably not one of the biggest influencers on end results. BUT, I will say in warm up’s defense, there is nothing quite like the fear of looking stupid in front of people to get the juices flowing and up the preparation. BT in particular were very happy they went to ADA and got a lot of the kinks out like. . .
3. Dropping DA’s
The ultimate full circle. We read the Japan DA at GSU. That Japan DA ends up in Georgia docs. Georgia reads that Japan DA against us. Trufanov cannot fathom how to answer it.
I ate food during the first part of the ADA finals and when I got back the 2AC cx was winding down and Gabe J says Truf dropped a DA. I said stfu that troll sucks. Then he shows me the 1NC. Then he shows me the 2AC. And then we spend a lot a lot of time talking about whether they can do anything besides going for conditionality.
Reports from the judges were that they noticed pretty much immediately, but then started wondering what elaborate piece of showmanship was going to occur in the 2AC. Did UGA read impact defense against their own DA? Did the 1AC straight turn the Japan DA to the point you need no additional cards? Not so much.
There was a good deal of scrapping that happened after this that created some pause, but what a way to lose your first and only NFU policy debate. R
4. The ADA Tournament is Good
The competition is high quality. The quarters were 5.5 first rounds, Indiana AD and Trinity DK. The case for a warm up is reasonable, although not definitive. I think the slant of the judge pool is exaggerated. Liberty HT in quarters + Kentucky pref experiment proves good teams find a way. But the ADA national list didn’t look that far off from a national tournament.
But here is the real reason the ADA tournament is enjoyable: it is built around a series of programs that take novice and JV debate seriously. That creates a unique culture and tournament experience worth celebrating. It’s not the model we chose at Kentucky, but I grew up in it and respect it. It’s one of the most realistic ways to grow the activity.
Also, everyone who has won that tournament is smart and talented.
5. New Affs Bad
Not talking about the stupid thing in policy debates I don’t even flow. Talking about this Michigan GW vs Wake EF debate at the NDT. Here is the argument from the 1NC:
“Interpretation- Non-black people should disclose their 1AC against black people. 4 reasons to prefer:
a.) Fairness- non-white people are already structurally ahead in the debate community, this means that competitive equity and openness is especially key.
b.) Securitization- the refusal to disclose against black folk is a securitization from nuanced dialogue because there’s have no time to prep. They literally disclosed no parts of the aff after being explicitly asked. This is external exclusion offense.
c.) Resistance Clash- They destroy the quality of method debates because as the aff they get infinite permutations and prereq arguments so side bias already swings affirmative, which means all we have is the ability to create nuanced arguments against the aff.
d.) Rush to Unintelligibility- In method debates there is always a rush to who can say the least in order to avoid clash which uniquely hurts method debates. We have a responsibility to build competitive standards with each other in order to engage methods.
At best this is a reason to vote them down for their pedagogical model, but at worst they shouldn't get theoretical arguments like permutations because they’ve destroyed nuanced clash.”
So white people are structurally ahead + depth is important. The first argument seems to fall apart quickly. Why is the corrective that you have to disclose? Why not that you aren’t allowed to switch affirmatives at all?
The bigger issue, though, is fairness along another axis, which is team size. The advantage small schools get from the asymmetry of breaking new seems to massively outweigh the marginal improvement 25 minutes of thinking would get the Neg. I think invoking fairness in this context would backfire.
So, the depth argument speaks to a larger issue. On the Neg side we have this linear notion that the more time an argument is known the better off the opponents will be. That could impact you like 30 minutes at a time. You didn’t know about an Aff, they told you 30 mins before the debate, your 1NC will be marginally better. Not night and day better, but better.
But there is a linear impact going the other way. That impact is the amount of pretournament preparation you have to do to not get caught by surprise. If your goal is the pop a new Aff on something specific (which mine is, it’s the only thing that can get me to feel something from an argument preparation standpoint) you have to change a lot of the way you prepare. Disclosing doesn’t completely take away from that, since 30 minutes can’t do all that much. You will want something you can quickly tailor. BUT it might create a sense of complacency that is much worse for overall argument development due to spinoffs and unforeseen connections.
The big thing that swings in favor of new Affs is small schools need it + getting the coaches out of the room is good for argument growth. I guess you could solve the 2nd thing with CI—tell us, we won’t tell our coaches, but seems hard to verify.
6. Dude Judges
They need to fucking chill. Judges need to be there for the debaters. That means don’t raise your voice and don’t use the post round to teach tough lessons. Non-male debaters are entitled to the same range of feelings and emotions in a post round that male debaters are afforded.
I have been yelled at in a post round before (only one is sticking out in my mind at the moment, so if you thought you yelled at me you probably didn’t do a very good job). It is not great, but it doesn’t mean any tension is an attack or requires escalation. If you have trouble dealing you may want to remove yourself from the situation instead of hoisting yourself onto others and telling them to deal with it.
Non-male debaters across social media were sharing stories of several judges doing a bad job in the post round. Listen to them and get your shit together.
7. The Most Tested Aff
I can’t believe going into an executive power topic the most scrutinized Aff by fucking miles was CEA’ing NSA’s for NNWS’s.
8. So this Happened
Ouita Michel (formerly Papka) is a UK debate alum. She won the NDT in 1986 (was either the first or the second woman to do so, if anyone has definitive history either way, let me know). She has since become a chef who owns a restaurant empire in Lexington. You may have seen her on the latest season of Top Chef. Here is what she said after the win:
“Congratulations!! We are so proud. This officially means I will cook whatever your heart desires for your close of season dinner at the Hill. Prime beef? no problem, lobster? its in the pot. Just no liver and onions-- ha!”
That is NICE. I can’t begin to fathom what to do with a blank check from a world class chef.
9. Breaking New isn’t for Everyone
I don’t mean people shouldn’t write and break new Affs. I am talking about in situations where there is gap between you as the Aff and the skills of the Neg team. The higher up the ranking you go two things start to happen. One, those teams have debated a bunch of new Affs during the year and in their career. Second, they prepared for the tournament on the assumption people would be breaking new Affs on them. That significantly diminishes the edge you are getting.
That isn’t to say you shouldn’t be striving to cut an Aff that threads the needle, but I think people too quickly give up on the equity of old. Preparing for new Affs cuts the other way. By the end of NU does everyone have a case neg to everything? No. If you are a team reading a more obscure Aff, are teams going to do targeted research against you? Probably not. The odds that they say something new against your old stuff? Low. The odds they say something a little different you might not be ready for against new? Reasonable.
10. The NDT Bye is Wild
I was going to make the argument the bye is so huge for winning, but looking at all the NDT’s on tabroom that doesn’t appear to be the case. BT, Michigan AP and Emporia SW made the finals with a bye through doubles. Everyone else debated in the doubles.
So, my point is going to be the bye is still really, really nice. The pressure of round 8 (especially if things have gone wrong and you are on the bubble) to relief, to having to ramp up for your first do or die debate that happens very late is an emotional roller coaster. Going from so stoked to career over jars me just thinking about it. Being able to pass on all that was huge. It makes sense why people fill the box and make aggressive moves in the prelims. It is funny how no other tournament really rewards you that like the NDT.
11. Shrine to New Affs Dead in the Box
If people think it would be funny to memorialize all the 1AC’s that died in the box in one place for reference I will do it. I think it is pretty funny. You don’t need to save those top-secret sneaky impacts (hint we were gonna say that war was good). If people will contribute, I will do it.
12. Congress deference Aff
It would have wrecked people. How many off were you reading against deference after you take out amendment, court capital and court clog? That’s what I thought.
13. Courts Neg
It sucks. Minus the amendment CP which is good. Also, the clog. But everything else is bad. Court capital doesn’t work by reading Roberts swings when you haven’t read any cards about why the plan creates urgency to swing in the first place. If you don’t talk about national security or international law the Neg has nothing to say.
14. Sniping New Affs
I want to do this so bad and it seemed like it could have definitely happened on this topic, but I was just too scattered. Like I knew CFIUS was a thing but didn’t do anything to stop it. That would have been my best bet. If I hunkered down and became treaties guy maybe I would have done Paris and OST ahead of time? There wasn’t a moment this year where I wrote an argument in anticipation of a particular Aff, it got read against us and we won. Sad! Maybe next year.
15. Researching the K
Was annoying this year, particularly in the preseason. It quickly became apparent that the stem was nothing like health care or climate (exec power, SOP or constitutionalism didn’t lead to a strong K lit base like the previous three topics). You know what it reminded me of? Legalization! The last legal topic with a weird list! It makes K debates silly. I presume the foreign policy resolution will be reasonable since it will deal with a region of the world and that seems to generate better stuff (Middle East, Latin America, etc.)
16. Amar, Trade Guy, Adam
Love Amar. One year of coaching and his team wins the NDT. Must be nice. Who knew what a mess of an area he got in the preseason. Amar trade cards on the season: 2372 (I counted). Rest of squad: 7. Have fun being a trade lawyer Amar. Your five years on the squad pushed it to new heights.
Weird topic. Unwieldy, but played to our strengths. Good people. Good fun. I have one more post relating to the NDT that is going to drop next week.
There were two pretty funny reactions after I started this blog. The first was that I was trading off with other websites. Everyone knows people, particularly debate people, have limited bandwidth for clicking on things. And concentration of viewpoints in one place was necessary for…something.
The second was related to the content. My first series of posts didn’t really talk about critiques that much. This criticism seemed to misunderstand the blog’s purpose. I wasn’t attempting to cater to a particular audience, but was using talking about debate in more freeing ways as a form of catharsis. Like I stated yesterday, I love debate and really enjoy the people who put so much time into this activity. But I am not usually able to say as much as I would like to folks at debate tournaments face-to-face, and the modes of socializing that happen at debate tournaments aren’t really for me.
To be fair, I was throwing my posts on CPD to free ride and see how many clicks I could get, so that may have generated a sense of justification for those criticisms since CPD (God help us) is the place where deliberations about debate public goods happen. So I stopped doing that.
Anyway, just wanted to throw that out there. If you missed part one you can find it here.
Similar thing today except this time it’s about preparing vs critiques. So after Northwestern what was our thinking?
The first thing that was big related to the NFU Aff. I thought K teams’ business vs NFU through the first two tournaments of the year was not up to snuff. But starting at Gonzaga the docs and the results kept getting better. NFU is a pretty good Aff, but by the second semester the tight Neg docs and critical mass of experience debating it made me worried. So for important K debates we were going to switch Affs. But to what?
The origin of the first Aff is kinda funny. We debated Cal NR at Northwestern. Their Aff at the time was about Empire and debt. Baylor TZ said the executive was bad for affect reasons. Wake EF’s Aff about black deference seemed to defend a broad restriction on executive power based on some rounds I watched. So I wanted to pursue a defense of executive power that hadn’t come up to date.
This is where Ideen Saiedian enters the story. Ideen debated for USC, is a great guy and I follow him on twitter. He tweets frequently about Iran and Syria, particularly relating to leftist hypocrisy concerning US intervention and engagement in the region. This interested me and I explored further. So thanks for educating me Ideen!
This led to a literature base of folks critiquing forms of anti-imperialism. Most of these folks seemed to advocate some form of US intervention in Syria. The arguments these folks made shed new insight for me on binary thinking and flattening critique. They gave me new angles and vocabulary to articulate these ideas in a debate.
For those interested in source material:
Khiyana: Daesh, the Left and the Unmaking of the Syrian Revolution
Syria And The Left: The Pitfalls Of Anti-Imperialism
Syria and the 'Anti-Imperialism' of Idiots
Syria and the Left," Jacobin
A Foreign Policy for the Left
Syria and the Problem of Left Solidarity
Indefensible Democracy, Counterrevolution, And The Rhetoric Of Anti-Imperialism
Aleppo, barbarism, and the anti-imperialism of fools
So this started as a Neg position, but given the topic was everything it became easy to make this a trade Aff about arming the Free Syrian Army.
The main teams we had in mind with this Aff were Wake EF and OU PW. There was a reasonable amount of institutional memory of how an Aff about foreign policy centered on activist demands from another country plays out given our experience on the military presence topic reading an Aff about Okinawa and basing.
Wake EF’s NDT innovation was very interesting for this argument. Still a structural argument, but with a different implication concerning a more direct material race war. Made for a pretty interesting final round hypothetical. Would they continue with that idea given this Aff is guns good? What would their main link arguments be on the fly? Getting the guns from other sources was a no go because the USFG is heavily policing arms flows for ISIS reasons.
If the Neg went for an argument that concluded don’t give Syrians guns because of “residual link logic” concerning the US being bad, the 1AC was specific about saying that was bad. What would the counter to that have been? Like I said above, historically when we have read an Aff like this the debate was heavily shaped by fungibility and pornotroping, but I wonder what other angle of attacks would have been figured out.
The other Aff we had was mostly designed for OU JS and settlerism arguments. The Aff was sanctioning Russia good. First, we are in a political/hybrid war with Russia that we are losing and it could escalate. Second, cards about how lumping together the US and Russia is bad. Third, Russia spreads bad ideologies worse. Fourth, analytics centered on US experiences do a really poor job of explaining Russia state formation and what they are about. Basically a thread that said the Neg had to have cards specific to Russia. Finally, a card that said you can’t really appreciate how true these arguments are if you don’t speak Russian so default to Truf. That last one was kind of a troll, but did have a reasonable card behind it.
Bing AY we were going to read NFU. They had reasonable stuff against it, but their potential range was a worry. They started incorporating Spanos and Baudrillard trolls, so who knows what they would say against a new Aff. Felt similarly against Cal NR.
Liberty HT was a unique case given argument focus and stylistic choices. We had two Neg debates with them in the first semester. Neither of the other two Affs really answer the questions Liberty raises about portability and efficacy of scholarship, so it was NFU by default. Being Aff against them at ADA and learning the ropes was a huge help.
Now let’s talk about Neg prep. I enjoyed this part a lot. First, I looked at every K team. Anything could happen and I did not want to be surprised. Also for a team like HR that was going to be finding a way to scrap for 5 wins and be hovering in the middle of the tournament. . .that means more than half your debates could be against the K. For example, of teams that went 4-4 or better here are those that had more than 5 K debates in prelims:
But on the flip side BT only had one in prelims! Which is to say, you have to be prepared for everything, but there is only so much time in the day. That means you have to try to make smart choices, and you also have to plan to get lucky and dodge some areas you didn’t cover (K or policy, doesn’t matter).
So what to do? First, what subject matters are prevalent. Here was my list going into the tournament:
Nuclear/Psychoanalysis, Afro-pessimism, melodrama, affect, Asian internment, postmemory, coloring, surveillance/ableism/medicalization, queer anarchy, opacity, disability/ableism sans surveillance, dark sousveillance, settlerism/nukes, surveillance on queer people, settler colonialism with no nukes, black feminism, Derrida/nukes, choreosonics, poetic negritude, nukes with no psychoanalysis and no Derrida, black joy/poesis, psychoanalysis/exec power/Trump, black deference, empire/imperialism, cybernetics, English language bad, racist surveillance, surveillance and Chicanas, black anality, Harney/Moten/undercommons.
Soooo, a bit of a spectrum here. Two of the biggest standouts in terms of frequency are antiblackness and arguments about surveillance. But that is a lot of mechanisms attached to antiblackness and the relative strength of the ontological claims is pretty different.
The next two questions that came up were what do we want to accomplish and what have other folks been doing?
A goal at the outset was to diversify what we were reading as much as we could. Trying to get to three to five off instead of the more traditional two. So, in the context of surveillance that would be like framework, a K, a topic education style DA related to the way they critiqued surveillance and a surveillance good argument.
What were other people doing? Lot of folks going for framework, but they all aren’t doing it the same way. Some did it with not a lot of evidence and said standard stuff (Harvard, Emory, Kansas). Michigan read the classic dml style cards. He has been cutting cards that read like this for five or six years. My issue is they are never about the topic and are limits good cards, but not great at drawing the line to insulate oneself from counter-interps. I think you can just say 90% of the arguments you would get from reading the long card.
Berkeley also takes an interesting approach. They read cards about citizen literacy and engagement and what not. My issue with those cards were they weren’t clear at describing something close to what a topical debate is as being necessary to learn the literacy.
I like extra stuff on framework beyond the procedural stuff, but I feel like it needs to be closely tied to the topic and needs to let you generate a positive and alternative vision for what debate can be about compared to the Aff. That notion led me to the following articles:
Policy Roundtable: The Future of Progressive Foreign Policy
Is the Left Ready to Handle National Security
The state of Leftist foreign policy
A Foreign Policy for the Left,
This formed the basis of a new topic education argument. We also had the business about Syria/humanitarian intervention and anti-imperialism that linked to some old business and maybe new K Affs would link more to it.
Turned my attention to surveillance next. We had a handful of cards about negative critique, can’t be sweeping about surveillance, government surveillance is dictated by practice and norm entrepreneurs so have to design a surveillance system in a context instead of more abstract yes/no style critique. Did not get around to figuring out how to make surveillance benevolent. I saw some folks try to recycle stuff from healthcare but didn’t really know stuff about it that topic and wasn’t going to figure it out here.
I borrowed heavily from others to improve our settler colonialism business. Dartmouth and Michigan have good stuff! Something I am going to research more personally over the summer.
So that left the major outstanding question of antiblackness and the various mechanisms associated with it. If only I had the time to see if I could invent something new. I probably couldn’t but one of these days I am going to hit pause on the policy cards and only cut K cards.
I do this thing all the time, but I particularly do it for K debate. Everybody is out here doing serious research. Who knows how many hours are put into a given subject matter? By February, the debate community has been thinking about antiblackness and how it intersects with whatever the topic is for hundreds of cumulative hours. So my goal is to not start my own understanding from scratch, but to get a fuller appreciation of what people have done to date, because it reflects so much time in trial and error compared to what I could ever do on my own. So when people tell you that wiki surfing is making you bad because you just copy and paste, tell them they are wrong because you are doing it in a way where you are trying to master complexity, not just plug and chug the first doc you come across (if you are doing the latter, stop it).
The evidence on both sides seems pretty reasonable/balanced. There were no innovative wagons I wanted to jump on. I made sure our arguments about capitalism, existentialism and Wendy Brown were up to date and called it a day. It seemed like the cards were not the issue, but information asymmetries and execution.
It seems like folks focusing on the strong ontology version of the argument are doing themselves a disservice because you don’t need to get into a totalizing debate that is hard to prove to win that, chances are, someone doing something in America is going to end up having a racist implication. Probabilistically speaking, given the history that comes up in these debates, public policy bolstering racial hierarchy is a reasonable bet.
And the other side frequently doesn’t have cards or mechanisms to resolve that issue (for example single payer was a good Aff because it had multiple ways to help alleviate hierarchy and had good case studies to back it up. I can’t say the same thing necessarily for NFU or surveillance Affs). But the other side does have a lot (and I mean a lot of cards at this point) that are pretty on point answering the strong ontology claim. I just think it is messier to water down what you are saying after you start (which I see teams do a good amount of the time), but doesn’t seem necessary to get to a specific speech about the Aff. The perm becomes a little better I guess, but if you get a little more specific that should easily compensate.
So didn’t really get there on having 4 or 5 off versus stuff. Didn’t cut the sick postmemory Neg. Did get up to like 3.5 in most situations.
Random other thoughts:
1. Does trying to write other arguments disprove that you don’t have ground on framework? No. The Neg should not be treating ground as a yes/no question, but a question of quality and how hard one has to work to acquire it. The external topic restraint is a ground-generating mechanism. If the Aff can cherry pick by going outside the topic to make it easier to answer what’s in the topic that makes ground worse under that interpretation. It also has to do with the fact that K Affs operate at a high level of abstraction. There is nothing wrong with that per say, but the issue becomes when one’s goal is to win a debate. That puts a high premium on argument avoidance and abstractions are perfect for that because their meaning is not as clearly fixed and the interpretation can change from speech to speech, debate to debate.
They don’t even have to be that self-interested for this dynamic to play out. Academically speaking, fluidity is preferred over fixity/static interpretations so the content of an idea has a sort of natural ebb and flow to it. Academically engaging, but possibly not the best basis for a debate if side equalization is anywhere on the priority list.
Hey high schooler, don’t turn that into a card. You should lose if you do that. Oh, shit is this a card now too? I have to get out of here.
2. Execution matters so much more than evidence in critical debates. True or False? False. Not really because judges are out here comparing cards and checking in. But the cards give you a vocabulary, so you don’t have to sound like a debate meme in the moment. And if they are good cards, they are giving you ways to understand the implications of arguments so you can evolve past buzzwords into fully fleshed out ideas with clear impacts. This is why pursuing research concerning these debates is important. And just because they read a card that has been in circulation for a minute doesn’t mean either side is stagnant or it is just the eternal return of clash debates. The innovations don’t really come from whole new positions, but rather new packaging, two or three sentences at a time.
3. The wiki would help, but there is a sort of naturally occurring information asymmetry generated by these debates. I aggressively scouted what these debates were about. Some of them have a handful of cards, some less. But the real action is in the speeches, in the packaging, in the interpretations. The feedback from debaters in the room and judges is hit or miss. Can’t watch ‘em all at tournaments. Video is unreliable. I don’t really have a solution to this and I am not saying it is a huge pressing problem. When people look at the wiki and want more it couldn’t hurt, but I don’t think that is the real source of an understanding gap.
The issues are very complex, a given debater can fit within a wide spectrum of quality in terms of explanation, they can lead to many different implications, you cannot port them to the masses in a speech doc like a politics 1NR. Not saying it is bad, but it does raise the bar of necessary prep. So the grind continues.
At the top, let me just say that the outpouring of congratulations means so much to me. I am pretty hit-or-miss when it comes to in-person interactions at tournaments. But I have great respect for so many of the people that put so much time into the activity. I wish I was better at sharing my admiration in the moment, but it is there. Hopefully, engagements like this, after I have a moment to gather my thoughts, can compensate.
I have so many things swirling through my mind that I want to share. We are going to unpack the NDT experience in several parts. Today, I am going to talk about policy prep.
To do so we have to rewind and reveal where we were at by the end of Northwestern. First, the only team who would read an old Aff against us was Georgia. UGA and us were both going to ADA and there were two of them so CEA Neg could never be put to rest.
Second, the trade area was a giant swamp of nonsense. The debate we had against Harvard at Dartmouth shaped a lot of our thinking. I do not think there was an example of us having less residual stuff to say. Treaties/nukes/surveillance all reasonably got to the same thematic presidential powers arguments. Not so much for trade. It led us to think more about topicality, more about trade and to prepare in a way where we focused on having more stuff of substance to say in a similar new Aff situation.
Third, a lot of assignments were going to be advantage area, impact answer and impact turned based. We didn’t know much about what the export control Kazakhstan wheat Aff was going to be about, but one would imagine it would be about Central Asia stability. Is there an energy DA that could use that as the link? People seem to think Indo-Pak war is a reasonable impact to read. Can we make it unreasonable? If given more time I would have cared way more about saying breaking up with every trade partner is good for whatever country. But alas.
Here is a thing about Kentucky in the previous five topics: we never really answered people’s advantages. Some of this was necessitated by the topic. Military presence and war powers just had huge link turn debates. Climate topic got to like 4 impact areas so the Aff would read some, the Neg would read what was leftover and then you just link turn. Similar on health care. Given my previous feelings on impact defense, it was also a personal/stylistic choice to an extent. That approach proved untenable on this nine topics in one resolution.
Fourth, CP’ing in DA’s. States nullify tariffs. The necessary and proper CP read in the finals. Anticipatory overrule with state secrets. My personal contribution against court Affs was to strike down the plan because judicial supremacy is unconstitutional and read Supreme Court bad modules.
So that’s how we were going to insulate ourselves from new Affs: topicality, CP’s that generate DA’s that you can combo with other CP’s, impact turns (with our main premise looking into more war good and energy type DA’s, but also doing random ones as we worked through things (like we read China IP theft good at ADA)).
I have not mentioned anything about Aff prep at this point. That’s because having Truf on your team is really unfair. We put this dude out on an island and he just makes Affs happen. Pretty sure he wrote the most NFU advantages in the country (I knew this about single payer, but I am just guessing here. If I am wrong, let me know). At the beginning of ADA he had: new version of China adv (got read), BMD adv (got read), RevCon adv (got read), Russia adv (got read), Iran adv (got read) and new CMR stuff for Rule of 2 (didn’t get read). The only NFU policy debate BT lost was one in which they dropped a DA.
In the finals of Gonzaga, we disclosed new against Emory. That Aff was the PCA surveillance Aff read in semi’s of the NDT. We then convinced ourselves we may not come up with better ideas and we should save it for the NDT. As demonstrated by kicking the Aff and impact turning food prices in the 1AR, we were obviously very astute in our quality judgements.
The other Aff that was floating around since the summer was 337. This Aff was like 60 to 70% done most of the year, but whenever it was brought up Truf just said it was garbage. Not garbage enough to scrap, but not good enough to read against a first round team. Then the week before ADA Truf says he had been doing the searches all wrong and 337 went from garbage to really good. How things change! So 337 got hoisted back onto the slate.
The other idea that stuck was “The United States federal government should compel executive exit from treaties and congressional-executive agreements underlying leases in perpetuity of land to the United States of America, including the lease of land in Guantánamo, on the basis that such leases are illegal.”
Force exit from treaties is the ultimate mutilation of this topic based on the operational changes/force sanctions/power is discretion logic. That and the fact that this guy Michael J. Strauss obsessively wrote about this area for at least 10 years.
There were two groupings as far as Affs go. The first was Harvard/Northwestern/Emory. Weren’t really going to read NFU against them. ESR and politics type DA’s are a concern, but less so. Harvard obviously goes for the Zivitosky DA a lot. Northwestern really likes being Neg against NFU and less so other stuff. Emory bit of a mixed bag. Did ESR a good chunk with midterms, but less after the election, but could still do ESR and war powers. They also could do an area DA or maybe a tricky CP.
The second grouping was Berkeley/UGA’s/UNLV. These teams like ESR/Treaties and politics/2020 (or oversight type DA’s). This is where Truf gets some help. We call in Kenny McCaffrey and tell him to start an Aff that can beat ESR, treaties, politics and 2020 and has something to say if a new process CP gets read. We told him we could probably make any idea T. He came back with the Unmasking Aff that was read during round 7 against UGA RS. One ballot on case and no politics. Two ballots on no case, but politics straight turn. Mission accomplished. Thanks Kenny, you are incredible!
We decided Gitmo vs Harvard for Zivitosky reasons. We said 337 against NU because it is pretty far removed from the Congress trade and sanctions files you would write first. We slated PCA vs Emory because of a debate they had in doubles of Wake where their biz didn’t look too hot. The nature of this topic meant that some areas just never really got figured out and we were hoping surveillance was that one for Emory.
The other two policy first rounds, Michigan and Kansas, we weren’t sure what to do. Could debate them early and just read NFU. Could debate them in elims when one of our Affs is freed up to break.
Given the way things had played out to that point it was interesting trying to figure out how much we should say NFU. Our record with it was very good. The innovation to date in that part of the topic was anemic. And now we are at the point where people are crunched, they are assuming new Affs in a lot of debates and they probably have one or two areas that have not gotten a lot of attention. That is a recipe for not producing fancy NFU Neg for the NDT. So we were ready and willing to read NFU with new advantages against UGA/Berkeley/UNLV/Michigan/Kansas. Depending on the pairing we were probably willing to do it twice, but only had to do it once against Berkeley in round 5. If we debated one of them in round 3 or 4 too we probably would have said NFU.
It was very very nice having such a tight plan of action on the Aff. Final Truf tally: NFU, Rule of 2, INF, PCA, Unmasking, Gitmo, 337. Just fucking incredible.
I had cards for a deference Aff that had Congress change the rules for when a regulation could get deference if it attempted to preempt the states. Standard Kentucky federalism business for advantage one, but advantage two was about preemption trading off with state torts for consumer protection which got to another set of domestic impacts. I really thought a Congress deference Aff would wreck people since most did not demonstrate any ability to go for like an agency flexibility DA. Alas.
Where did we leave off with the Neg? Oh right, debating new Affs EXCEPT for those pesky UGA folks. Two top ten UGA teams. ADA and the NDT. So that is a total of four chances to be Neg against CEA’s. I wish I could say we had four different Neg’s, but we did not. The first was impact turning nonprolif which happened in ADA semifinals. The second was what happened in the finals which was the brainchild of Seth Gannon. Here is my relation to this argument: I trust Seth completely, I never opened it, I do not recall the origin story and the only thing I do remember is it seeming like he tinkered with that file every Sunday and Monday of a tournament since after Gonzaga I think? I think we were sitting on ex ante CEA’s for a while.
I wanted to write more sophisticated turns based on arms control/emerging tech being bad, but ran out of time. If we had to have more debates with them, we would have focused on CP’ing DA’s or sparking them or something.
We have reached the end of part 1, what we were thinking about and working on for policy debates going into the NDT. In future parts: prepping vs critiques, thoughts on files I worked on, the ADA, the NDT itself and an ode to seniors.
Cannot say I am wild about hearing that the wiki crashes over the last 3ish months have been due to someone deploying a spider to download all the documents back from 2012. Then I hear that this "aggregation service" is being sold for profit. Not wild about that either. So I thought I would offer a little corrective, free of charge.
The wiki is great. Open source is great. The people out here chopping cards are great. This is not an area where we need novel ways to make money.
One issue with the wiki in the era of open source is that its search function isn't very good. It takes you to a wiki page, but then you just have a bunch of documents and you don't know which one to click on. Let me help you with that.
There are over 4,000 wiki docs in this folder, feel free to download them:
It is not 280,000+ unique cards, and not every document on the wiki. And has no Kentucky docs in it (which is a blessing or a curse depending on who you ask). But it is a bunch of cards since Trump got elected.
How does one search all these documents? That is where Doc Fetcher comes in. http://docfetcher.sourceforge.net/en/index.html
You have to make sure java is up to date then you download doc fetcher.
In the search scope on the bottom left there you create index form. You pick the folder you want it to scan then it is going to take sometime running. It is scanning that folder and indexing all the documents in it. What happens is you can search a folder, but it lets you look into the document.
The little up and down arrow on the right center of the screen lets you search for each occurence of the word or phrase you typed in.
So I would use the dropbox folder and docfetcher if you know someone has read a card about something but the wiki proves too cumbersome to navigate.