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About madmadmurrell

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  • Birthday 02/15/1978

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  • Name
    Matthew Murrell
  • School
    McNeil High School
  • Location
    Austin, Texas
  • Occupation

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  1. The judging bond is a deposit that every school has to put down for their judges. Every judge that fulfills an obligation for a school gets a set number of rounds. If they miss a ballot, that $500 goes to TFA. If all of the obligated judges for a particular school fulfill all of their judging obligations and get their obligation sheets signed off, then the $500 is returned to the school at the end of the tournament on Saturday. It exists for several reasons, two of the most important being: 1) Schools don't bail once their students are elminated, given their judges owe one round past their elimination. 2) Tournament directors have a punitive form of recourse in the instance that a school judge refuses to pick up ballots.
  2. madmadmurrell


    Don't be deceived that McNeil is the only team without letters after its name. Chruchill CS is actually debating the entire McNeil student body. There are approximately 2,800 students in one classroom here at SFA (they have very large classrooms). I'm pretty sure we're doing ins/outs.
  3. madmadmurrell


    I actually had a classmate that wore one of those God-awful "You wear your X, I'll wear mine" shirts. I'm not sure there's a quicker way to let someone know a large chunk of your brain cells are on permanent vacation.
  4. madmadmurrell


    I may or may not have grown up in a high school like that, and I may or may not have participated in some of that ridiculousness (not the flags or Dixie, though, gross). Let me go on the record as saying that anyone that debates in front of me at a a local Austin TFA tournament this season in a full suit of armor, a la Holy Grail, will receive no less than 29 speaker points. This is a one-time offer that can only be redeemed once. And it's not extended to anyone at Westwood younger than a junior. I will not be the impetus for any weird hazing that goes on over there. "Put on the suit of armor, freshman, or Murray will stuff you in this tub!"
  5. madmadmurrell


    Two quick things, if I might. 1) As a precursor to what this thread may turn into, you might want to avoid talking bad about specific critics here. General disdain is OK (e.g. Mr. Murray's post), but be careful about calling people out by name. Save it for AIM or a backchannel. It's bad form, and they may read it (except, of course, for Mr. Rowe's post, in which case he may do whatever he pleases in regards to the topic; I hate being on the top of a 1-2 decision). 2) I demand that Mr. Murray immediately tell me where I may find these grenade-joust football games. I love football, but seriously, the addition of explosions, horses, and sharp sticks to my beloved pass time sounds fantastic.
  6. After the Iran/Syria topic came up, someone said "That's the outgoing college topic," and then nobody voted for Iran when it came up.
  7. No worries. I agree with you. In writing the paper, it was clear that the bulk of "unbeatable" literature would be geared more towards political and religious refugees. It's not impossible to find, but even stuff like FGM literature is much more obscure now than in 94-95. I agree with Tim on a lot of levels; I believe the judging community now is going to be very unreceptive to "close the borders" type arguments, but there is A LOT more of that lit post-9/11 from both the right and the left which gives the neg more options. But ultimately, it's hard to see a better neg strategy to some of the asylum literature than Congress/XO/Courts.
  8. The Straw Vote for 2010-11 Remember a couple of things. First, this list is generated by submissions in the room and is typically an afterthought to the meeting. Second, every person in the room gets as many votes as possible, and it's only to see whether or not there's interest in a topic. Third, the votes aren't binding in any way. Fourth, NFHS tries to get the top four or five areas written, but authors can write about virtually anything they want. Fifth, the topic is mandated to be an international topic, so keep that in mind when you're looking at generic, non-international areas. Sixth, it's obvious that some submissions have no direction and no legs (for example, someone submitted the two word topic area "human rights" with no direction, geographical limiters, or really anything of help to a potential author). And the biggest caveat: If you want to write a paper, DO NOT just pick a topic and write. You need to first, figure out how you're getting to Niagra Falls next August, and second, understand that if you speak for a topic and then don't write a paper, your topic won't be represented at all. The last couple of years, there have been a number of GOOD topics that were spoken for and then didn't get written about, which is simply terrible. You really can't do anything until you contact the person in charge of the list and the entire process, which is Kent Summers at NFHS. You can find his email address on the NFHS website. The Results (an asterisk denotes that the topic has been spoken for, and there were about 40 people in the room): 1. China (including human rights) - 32* 2. U.S. Military Overseas Deployment - 28* 3. Latin America - 27 4. Russia - 27* 5. China (economic relations) - 26* (being collapsed with human rights) 6. Syria/Iran/Basically The College Topic - 26 7. Free Trade in the Americas - 25 8. India - 25 9. EU - 24 10. Central Asia - 23 11. Human Trafficking - 22* 12. International Food Policy - 22 13. World Hunger - 22 14. Southeast Asia - 22* 15. South America - 20 16. Cuba - 18* 17. US/UN Refugee Policy - 16 18. Human Rights - 13 19. Global War on Terror - 9 20. Drug Trafficking - 9 21. Global Warming - 7 22. Afghanistan - 7 23. Japan - 5 24. International Economics - 5 25. Genocide - 4 26. United Nations Reform - 4 27. Iraq - 2 28. Iran - 1
  9. I'm going to disagree on the recency of immigration literature. Post-9/11 lit deals with tons of immigration issues. The bib on the topic paper barely begins to scratch the surface. Though some specific case areas from the 94-95 topic may not have legs, there's as many or more areas that make up for it. People can vote against immigration all they want, but don't vote against for lack of recent lit. It's out there.
  10. The straw vote has been released, but I'm walking out the door. I'll post it at some point tomorrow. Look for it then!
  11. Let me first say that I haven't read the literature; I'm only operating off of what others have said about the literature. This is what I can remember after rereading the topic paper and looking at my notes from the meeting. The topic paper only speaks in depth to three areas: Electoral College, Campaign Finance, and Term Limits. It's hard to know what's up beyond that without reading a lot of lit, which will not be happening on this end unless this becomes the topic. I've got cards to cut and some H3 to catch up on. If memory serves correctly, the case areas were: 1) Change who can run (natural born citizens, age limits, the topical version of term limits would fall here, etc). 2) Change who can vote (felons, age, etc). 3) Change or ban the Electoral College (lots of proposals, or so the author says). 4) Campaign Finance Reform (part of the 527 debate goes here as well) 5) Media Coverage/Influence (the other part of 527s, Equal Time Law, etc) 6) Change the way the Vice President is selected (apparently some political scientists hate the fact that the candidate gets to pick their VP but I think this is at best a squirrel or an out-round-at-a-big-tourney case) Cases that aren't T: 1) Rearrange/change/alter the House and/or Senate. 2) Tear down Representative Democracy. 3) Term Limits (if the plan text is anything other than a "who is eligible to run in X election" issue) Other case areas that have a very hard time dealing with States CP: 1) Change how we vote. 2) Change the primary system. 3) Redistricting (this apparently would encompass a litany of cases but States beats the hell out of almost every one). 4) Polling place changes. 5) Party changes. I'm willing to be educated and listen with an open ear. If there's more stuff out there, by all means, tell me about it. I'm not opposed to it as a topic at all. I just think this is one of those topics that by the end of the year is down to around three or four viable cases. I think it's all moot anyway.... it didn't win much favor at the meeting among the state delegates, but hey, fiat is just as important in talking about topics as it is in talking about the 1AC. So let's pretend we're debating Election Reform. Thoughts?
  12. For what it's worth, there was agreement at the meeting that the number of cases would be limited. As I've highlighted before, we voted to replace the word "presidential" in the resolution with "federal" because it was agreed that an entire resolution about only "presidential election reform" would be tiny (like smaller than college-topic tiny). The author argued that there are lots of ways to change the electoral college, but there was general consensus that "electoral college" is still just one case area. Even with the ability to alter vice presidential and house/senate elections, the states counterplan still checks back state stuff like the primary system, which should be a huge case area. The balance is weird though; if you run a Constitutional Amendment 1AC, where the hell is my CP ground? Besides the PIC or some trick Lopez-type CP like "Alaska Doesn't Ratify" or "All 50 Ratify" I'm not sure what I can do. There's few agent or actor CPs, if any at all. In the end, I agree with you; there's just not a lot of aff ground that's not small nuances inside the same proposal.
  13. The overlap is kind of scary. We had an Ag paper that was withdrawn this year, and the straw vote list of potential topics for next year had at least four topics about the Middle East. I'm not sure some people understand there's a policy debate circuit on the collegiate level. I'm on board with the co-authoring route as well. All that I'm saying is that working the politics of everyone there, including balancing all of the personalities in the room, with trying to write and divide a topic that represents ALL types of policy debate, not just yours, with having some of the greats in this activity ask you questions that screwing up the answers to could wreck high school debate for a year, is a lot to balance. More than any other single thing during the process, I think my four years of experience have shown me that bad authors screw up the process the most. If an author is unprepared, or lies about what the literature says because they want their topic selected (which happens every year and is INCREDIBLY frustrating), or refuses to work with the committee and is contentious and defensive, things go to hell in a handbasket quickly. The authors that understand the process, are on top of their lit, and are willing to realize that they are going to have to make concessions, help the meetings tremendously. In my opinion, the best way to get into the second category is to attend a meeting before writing. Co-authoring would help if you were partnered with a veteran to the process, but I think to a lesser degree. In my opinion, the proof is the pudding. The UIL here in Texas sponsors an author every single year, and as someone mentions every year at the meeting, Texas authors are a boon to the process. This year, Texas authors wrote five out of the original nine papers. The year before, when it was in San Diego, we wrote nearly half. Why does it work? Because the UIL selects an apprentice to attend the meeting the year before and work towards learning the process. This year, I had the privilege of working a little bit with the person who will author next year's paper for the UIL. I realize that this doesn't address the cost issue, but it seems to work.
  14. Duane is again correct. I would take his answer a step further and say that they flat out probably wouldn't allow multiple papers on the same exact topic (two Iraq War papers, for example, with competing resolutions). In fact, they tend to not allow multiple resolutions on different areas of the same general topic. Beyond that, however, I would argue that it's not about "allowing" or "disallowing" multiple papers. It's just a bad idea. For example, I'm writing a China paper for next year. China (Human Rights) got first in the straw voting, and China (Economics and Trade) got fourth in the straw voting. You won't see two different China papers at next year's convention, though. Two different papers, and two different resolutions, on China in the bigger picture would be political suicide. They would steal votes from each other, and if both were to make the ballot of five, the chances that one would make it to the ballot of two are slim. In addition, typically only eight to ten papers make it to the convention (some are redundant, some end up being the college topic, some authors speak up for an area then don't write a paper, etc). If a person is actually going to take the hundred or more hours to research and write the paper, they would be MUCH better off both politically and as far as serving the community by writing a paper on a separate issue. Also, topics that tend to be gobbled up by other topics on the same ballot don't do well. Two years ago I wrote an International Water Shortages paper that made the ballot of five with the eventual winner, Sub-Saharan Africa. There was a lot of discussion at the meeting about how a lot of my aff ground would become aff ground on the Africa topic, and ultimately Water lost favor because it was true - about a third of my aff case areas were 1AC's on the Africa topic. These are all examples of why I think it's critical for a potential author to attend a meeting before they write and defend a paper. There is a lot of nuance that must be taken into consideration while writing and presenting a topic paper. Thanks! I am thrilled that more people are becoming interested in the process. I only wish that we could have started this a year ago so that some of you could have come to Austin. I think I got three hours of sleep on Friday night and about three and a half on Saturday night. Love this town.
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