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Everything posted by madmadmurrell

  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.
  15. We're waiting to get those results emailed to us as they were read quickly at the end of the meeting... but I do know that the top 5 were China (Human Rights), Overseas Troop Deployment, Russia, China (Economics), and Latin America (unsure on that last one, but Latin America was still incredibly high). I know that all of those topics are spoken for by potential authors as well. I also know that Cuba and Central Asia are spoken for as well. For those of you unfamiliar with that part of the process, after everything is said and done on Sunday and we have the ballot of five, we create a list of potential topics for next year and then take a straw vote of everyone in the room to see if a topic has legs. Everyone in the room can vote as many times as they want. Typically there's a list of around thirty to forty topics. The vote isn't binding and isn't 100% predictive of what will get written for next year's meeting - usually the NFHS tries to make sure the top four or five in the straw vote get written but won't stop an author from writing a paper that isn't "popular" in that initial straw vote. Space would be a great example - it didn't do well in the straw vote last year, but the author wanted to write it, and bam, it's on the ballot. I'll echo the comments above and additionally say that after the search and seizure debacle, there was an enormous outcry from the community on this board and in other places that the decision-making was led by elites in a smoke filled room. As one of the people that was part of the process of changing the wording, I thought it hilarious that someone would think I was an evil, backroom-dealing maniac with power. Then I thought about the process. I didn't know a thing about the meeting before I went, and everyone else that posted here is right - the NFHS website is a maze. Even for enterprising folks, without some guidance, it isn't readily apparent how we select topics. So, I decided to use the resources at my disposal and type up what's going on at the meeting because I think there's a lot of people in the community that either can't make the meeting or don't have any clue that there is a meeting.
  16. Marcus' explanation is spot on. I'd like to flesh out a couple of additional things. 1) As Marcus says, ANYONE can attend and participate in the meeting. All you have to do is register with the NFHS by the deadline (usually around July 1st) and take care of your travel and accommodation expenses. For example, next year's meeting is in Niagara Falls, New York, which means that as long as you register and foot the cost for attending, you're there. Everyone in attendance can participate in almost every step of the process besides the final voting on Sunday. Since the meeting runs as a committee-of-the-whole most of the time, any attendee's vote counts as much as anyone else's. In addition, there is a one hour "new attendees" session every year on Friday morning that is a great orientation to the process. 2) Each state gets one vote when determining what goes on the final ballot of five. Since the NFHS is in charge of the process, they determine who the voting delegate for each state is typically by empowering that state's activities association to choose the delegate. How states choose that delegate varies. For example, in Texas, the officially recognized activities association is the University Interscholastic League. Since they have a Director of Speech and Debate in the Academic Department, she serves as our state's official delegate every year. Additional states like Kansas also use a representative from the activities association. Other state associations nominate or choose a coach to represent their state. As far as I understand it, typically it is the official activities association, and not a coach's association, that is empowered at the state level. Again, in Texas, we have the UIL, which is the official public activities association. We also have the Texas Forensics Association, which hosts individual tournaments and a separate state tournament, but allows open enrollment so private schools can join as well. In Texas, UIL gets the voting delegate. I'm not sure what organization is the organization of record for Wisconsin, but I can tell you who Wisconsin's voting delegate this year was if you want to email me or send me a private message here. In addition to each state getting a vote, the NFHS gives one vote to each of three national organizations - the NFL, the NDCA, and the NCFL. Scott Wunn represents the NFL and historically an officer of the NDCA and the NCFL represents them respectively. Typically, 25-30 state delegates attend the meeting, with 25-40 more people, including the authors and the Wording Committee. 3) The route of attending as an author offers few perks unless you can get your state organization or high school to pick up the tab. For example, I will be personally funding my trip to Niagara Falls next August even though I'll be writing a paper. For anyone interested in writing a topic paper, I STRONGLY urge them to attend and participate in a meeting before writing a paper. Representing and defending a topic, even for the most intelligent person, is a process that does not even remotely resemble anything else in this activity. My first meeting was in Minnesota, the year before I defended my first paper in Little Rock. Attending the meeting in Minnesota VASTLY changed how I wrote and approached the topic. There's just no substitute. I appreciate the thank you's. I already have plans to step up this process with a live chat room (especially for the Saturday discussions) and some video blogging. I've thought about streaming and that may be incredibly difficult both technically (most of the meeting is a wide open discussion and capturing all the sound would be a nightmare) and temporally (on Friday there's four meetings going on at once). What I've envisioned is recording things like the four minute author summaries on Friday, some of the general sessions discussion on Saturday, the voting on Sunday, and doing things like interviewing topic authors to get their insight (looking forward to interviewing myself) and other attendees so that they can express concern or discuss key points like word choices or topic balance. It would be pretty easy to get videos edited soon after they're shot and put them up on YouTube with links in the live updates here on Cross-X and over at Planet Debate. I'll see what I can work out; I have about eleven months to figure it out. I think it's vital to keep this process as transparent as possible and I've been fortunate to be able to attend the meetings for four years in a row. Anything that I can do to aid the transparency, I will. It's actually starting to take root as well; like I've said in other posts, people were actually turning to me during the meeting asking what was being posted on Cross-X.
  17. History actually bears out that it's not a popular topic. It's certainly something that is worthy of debate, but you articulate an emotion that the community at large seems to feel. Federal Election Reform has appeared on the ballot A LOT, and historically hasn't performed very well. It makes the ballot because a lot of the state delegates believe that our election system is jacked (which is true) and that it's an area ripe for change (which is also true). But the committee and voting delegates are well aware that it's not a particularly appealing topic vis-a-vis almost anything else on the ballot. And when you throw something super sexy on there like space, poor little Federal Election Reform can't even get a date to the dance. I disagree that it would be boring, but it would certainly change the way we debate for a year. Our election system, at least in recent history, just hasn't killed very many people, and really doesn't have the potential to, compared to, I don't know, space-based laser weapons. See, look at those four words. Space-based laser weapons. Sexy. Poor Federal Election Reform.
  18. I hesitate to take this on, but the size of each topic was certainly discussed at the meetings and there's not any topic that is ridiculously large (especially when compared to some of the international topics we may get next year like "increase relations with country X"). Space: The number of 1ACs, though initially seen as enormous, is limited by the USFG. The counterplan ground for things like international coop keeps the affirmative in check by forcing them to justify USFG action only. Health Care: There would certainly be disease or subpopulation cases on this topic, but aldjzair is correct - the terms of art in the resolution can be incredibly limiting. There are definitions of "universal health care" in regards to systems, in fact, that say the ONLY topical case would be a single-payer system. On top of that, the Obama-Hillary health care debate certainly provides lots of literature that "universal" better cover every single human living in the U.S. or it's not "universal". One topical case is certainly a check on a big topic. Immigration: As the author, there is plenty of affirmative ground, but it's certainly not big compared to recent topics, and the unidirectionality of the topic provides incredibly stable negative ground through multiple avenues. As my paper suggests, you could basically boil the affs down to three-ish groups. Federal Election Reform: This topic isn't big at all. There was a lot of debate over the word "presidential" vs. "federal" in the resolution, and ultimately we went with "federal" because the consensus was that "presidential" was too limiting. One of the big checks on the affirmative we discussed is the States CP - since the entire primary/caucus system is out of the hands of the federal government, there are great arguments that any change in that system shouldn't be done at the federal level. In addition, listing the mechanisms GREATLY limits the topic - there just aren't thousands of proposed constitutional amendments or existing court cases that the affirmative could take up. Poverty: This is probably the biggest topic, and to believe some people at the meeting, this is probably the biggest topic by far. Affirmative case areas can deal with virtually anything since the definition of "social services" is so big. At the meeting, however, Stefan astutely pointed out that this topic has to be big because a lot of social service programs for people in poverty are administered at the state level, which means this topic more than most others will have phenomenal States CP solvency. That would force the affirmative to choose 1ACs that actually under the purview of the USFG, and that amount of cases is much smaller than the initial topic suggests. The justification for the use of the word "significantly" is much less mystic than the initial reaction. I raised that very question to the person defending the paper (Dr. Rich Edwards, who has an insane knowledge of debate history in terms of resolutions and arguments), and his argument was basically that there was not a huge difference, and that the 84-85 college and 90-91 high school topics both had "significantly" in the wording. He said that using the word to parallel those topics instead of "substantially" would provide consistency without creating any measurable difference in ground. There was a discussion about the Con-Con CP (that's Constitutional Convention CP for those of you too young to remember) and how sweet it would be to run on this topic. I think the neg's biggest weapon is that nearly anything they could run, ever, is going to have bigger harms than the 1AC. The discussion about traditional debate and body counts that I documented on the other post made it clear that the topic just doesn't have sexy 1AC impacts, like at all. But you're right - no big harms areas, but a lot of the time on the negative, you'd just be on the wrong side of the literature. But Steven, you often are.
  19. I had a bet with some other folks at the Topic Selection meeting about how much time would elapse between my posting the summaries and someone else posting a poll of those five topics. 10 minutes means I won the bet. No one believed it would go up this quick. Thanks for not letting me down, cross-x.com community. In all seriousness, there has been a concerted effort by some of us in the coaching community to make this process more transparent. Stefan blogged the entire event at Planet Debate, and obviously I tried to do that here. I hope to continue this process in the future starting with next year's meeting. Your feedback throughout the meeting was noted in the committee and a number of people would turn to me and say "Is there any student response or question to this particular issue online?" Your participation makes the process better. PLEASE, talk to other debaters and your coaches about these topics. The more people we have involved, and the more coaches that vote, the more likely it is that we select good topics. ....and judging by the response thus far, I predict space crushes this particular poll.
  20. There was a bit of surprise and quite a bit of disappointment in the room when the votes were tallied and prisons was out. I know that sounds weird since it's a vote of the people in the room, but it's true.
  21. Space Resolved: The United States federal government should significantly increase its exploration and/or its development of space beyond Earth's mesosphere. Space, the “final frontier,” captures the human imagination as few other subjects are able to do. As the space telescope and various probes continue to add to our knowledge about the universe, new areas for research continue to emerge. The application of space research has already changed our lives in numerous areas involving communication technology, electronics miniaturization, propulsion, and military capabilities. Advocates imagine that the exploration and development of space can lead to even more dramatic breakthroughs involving resource extraction and space colonization. Others emphasize the cost and technological barriers preventing the realization of these claims. Affirmative case areas may include the use of space to improve medical technologies, space manufacturing in microgravity, space colonization, remote sensing for agriculture or climate research, laser systems for anti-missile defenses, space battle stations, among others. Negative teams may argue that the exploration and/or development of space will lead to space militarization, delay environmental efforts (creating a false sense that humans can escape the limits of Earth’s resources), cause runaway federal spending, undermine international space programs, trade-off with private space programs, catch the attention of malevolent extraterrestrial beings, among others. Health Care Resolved: The United States federal government should establish a universal health care system in the United States. Health care is the most important domestic issue facing policymakers in the United States today. This topic offers an opportunity to expose students to divergent views on a crucial topic. The ongoing national debate over health care in the United States centers on three key problems: cost, quality and access. Total spending on health care has been rising at about twice the rate of national income, increasing from 2.5 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 1970 to 16.2 percent today. Currently the United States spends about $2 trillion on health care, or $6,500 per year per person. This is $477 billion a year more than any other developed country. Despite spending much more, 47 million Americans have no health insurance. Affirmative positions would include cases dealing with single pay systems, international models, programs to fill in the lapses in coverage, Medicare and Medicaid expansion and others. Negative positions could include substantial case debate on empirical problems associated with existing single payer systems programs, state solutions, problems with rationing and the high cost of health care. Negatives would explore competitiveness, political scenarios, federalism, spending and trade off positions, as well as host of critical arguments on increased governmental intervention. As the 2008 election nears, the issue of national health care will only continue to grow increasingly important in the media and in the public debate throughout the country. Immigration Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially decrease its restriction of immigration to the United States. In a myriad of post-9/11 political issues, none has been at the forefront of more controversy than United States immigration policy. In the wake of the major defeat of President Bush's immigration proposal, we stand at a crossroads in determining the future of foreign citizens who wish to immigrate to the United States. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services estimates over 35.2 million immigrants are currently living in the United States with another 2.9 million citizenship applications submitted per year. Affirmatives would be able to alter existing policies including the USA PATRIOT Act and the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act, create new policies or organizations to process immigration related issues, grant amnesty, increase asylum in one or more areas, and increase approved visa applications, among others. Disadvantages would include terrorism, crime, politics, economy, disease, drugs, social fragmentation, social services, cultural dilution, and hegemony, among others. The negative could also argue that the states or other nations are better suited to address immigration issues. International organizations like the UN or Amnesty International could be better suited to address global issues like refugee crises. Never far from the headlines, immigration offers an incredibly rich area for discussion. Federal Election Reform Resolved: The United States should substantially change its federal election system through one or more of the following means: legislation, court decision, constitutional amendment. Our federal election system is the cornerstone of our democratic process. It begins after the previous election and may not end until weeks or months after the final votes are cast. Its participants include candidates, party officials, lobbyists, interest groups, the media, and, of course, voters. Though four years have passed since major problems were exposed in November of 2000, little substantive change has occurred, voting technology problems remain significant and political passions have rarely run so high. Although one significant piece of campaign-finance legislation (McCain-Feingold) was signed into law by President Bush, critics argue that it ignores serious loopholes such as interest group attack ads. Specific affirmative case areas could include primaries, terms of office, political party processes, campaign finance, voting technology, the Electoral College, third parties, Federal Election Commission powers, voter civil rights, media limitations, and structural reforms such as changing Congressional proportions, electing federal judges, a bifurcated presidency, a unicameral legislature, or a parliamentary system. Negatives could dispute case impacts on a variety of philosophical grounds, including racial equality, freedom of expression, and disenfranchisement of various voting groups. Solvency issues might be raised with regard to voter participation, excess or inadequate party influence, denial of a convincing majority, and the role of fringe-party candidates. The face that several key issues lie within state purview provides solid ground for counterplans. Disadvantages would include free speech and press rights, political gridlock, voter apathy, loss of influence by voters and/or states, increased power of lobbies, vote fraud, and, of course, federalism. Poverty Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially increase social services for persons living in poverty in the United States. Unfortunately, more than four decades after Michael Harrington identified those living in poverty as “The Other America,” poverty is still an endemic problem in the United States. In 2005, close to 13 percent of the total U.S. population—about 37 million people—were counted as living below the poverty line, a number that essentially remained unchanged from 2004. Of these, 12.3 million were children. Poverty is associated with many harmful outcomes, including poor health, crime, educational difficulties, and other social problems. Poverty continues to plague our society despite over four decades of national effort and trillions of dollars in federal spending to combat it. In a nation as wealthy as the United States, such a high level of poverty is certainly appropriate for the examination and reflection provided by a variety of debates on the topic. Affirmatives advocating this topic will be able to defend a wide range of social services designed to both ameliorate the harms of poverty and to reduce the number of people living in poverty. These services would include expanding child care, health care, Food Stamps, housing assistance, mental health care, educational assistance, early Head Start and job training, among others. Negatives would be able debate against the harms of poverty, the ability of various plans to solve the problems identified, and many disadvantages, including spending, politics, federalism and net widening. They would also be able to counterplan many of the affirmative plans with the state counterplan. The negative would also have several critical options, including objectivism, statism, dependency, and even critiquing the use of the term poverty.
  22. Again, each voting entity (the 26 states and the 3 organizations) gets 5 votes each. The vote totals from all previous votes are erased. In a shocker, Elections pulls out an upset against Prisons: 1. Space: 29 2. Health Care: 29 5. Immigration: 27 6. Federal Election Reform: 18 7. Prison Reform: 16 8. Poverty: 26 So, the final ballot will have the following five resolutions: 1. Space: Resolved: The United States federal government should significantly increase its exploration and/or its development of space beyond Earth's mesosphere. 2. Health Care: Resolved: The United States federal government should establish a universal health care system in the United States. 5. Immigration: Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially decrease its restriction of immigration to the United States. 6. Federal Election Reform: Resolved: The United States should substantially change its federal election system through one or more of the following means: legislation, court decision, constitutional amendment. 8. Poverty: Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially increase social services for persons living in poverty in the United States. The five authors now have to write a 200 word summary that will accompany the resolution on the ballot that will go out to the nation. I will try to acquire those five summaries to post here; if I don't, they will be posted on the NFHS website and I will post that hyperlink as soon as that page goes live. You have at least three months to dream about a space topic before the ballot goes from 5 to 2. Dream your little hearts out.
  23. Here's the vote totals for the 8 to 7 vote (29 votes in the room, each voting entity gets 5 votes): 1. Space: 27 2. Health Care: 28 3. Illegal Drug Use: 5 4. Cyber Security: 5 5. Immigration: 28 6. Federal Election Reform: 13 7. Prison Reform: 19 8. Poverty:19 The rules state that in the event of a tie for the last two spots, both are eliminated. So, Illegal Drug Use and Cyber Security are both gone. Now we'll vote from 6 to the final 5 that make the National ballot. These vote totals are erased and don't count for the next vote, but clearly, Federal Election Reform is seeded last going into this final vote. We vote in ten minutes.
  24. I'm on board with that. Ugh.

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