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cjfernan last won the day on November 18 2004

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About cjfernan

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  1. "Section 5 preclearance" is election law jargon for Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act that requires certain local jurisdictions to "get permission" (preclearing) to change election standards before putting them into effect. From the DOJ website: Section 5 freezes election practices or procedures in certain states until the new procedures have been subjected to review, either after an administrative review by the United States Attorney General, or after a lawsuit before the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. This means that voting changes in covered jurisdictions may not be used until that review has been obtained. I don't know how deep it is, but there is lit. It's a popular topic for behavioral economists. Most do it under the guise of "how much is a vote worth" but there is a literature base advocating free transferability. It makes sense for the radical "free marketer" types.
  2. Why not? Reapportioning the seats of the House amongst states could be a good aff. Why not? While there's no unique reason why the States CP doesn't solve, I think Jim Crow laws and other more recent examples of state incompetence would be persuasive aff answers to the CP. I'm not sure how an aff could run this case. I guess mandate that federal elections take public financing? Section 5 preclearance is the perm and a total answer to the States CP. States can't act without federal involvement. The only States CP that could work would be 50 State Constitutional Amendments...but constitutional amendments either can't re-district or solve substantially worse than the the feds. Section 5 preclearance answers the States CP back. I don't know how the aff would run this either, but there are more clever people than me. The more strategic counterplan will probably be: Have 49 states do the plan, but have a particular state do something else. Also, other potential topical areas include: 1) Voter education- holding mandatory seminars about the importance of voting 2) Mandatory voting 3) Legalizing the ability to sell a vote
  3. I think federal election reform is a great topic for people to learn about. I think things like the Voting Rights Act, the EAC and other issues need to be incorporated into the debate vernacular. From a competitive standpoint, however, this topic might create bizarre results. Given that there are no traditional advantage areas, affirmatives might go small. Like really small. Because of Section 5 preclearance requirements, an aff can have the Attorney General allow electronic voting machines in the affirmative team's home town (like Denver County, for example). It'd be federal action, small enough that it avoids all the major bodycount disads, and yet would probably have a solid solvency literature base from local newspapers. Teams that want to go big on the aff side most likely would take on gerrymandering or campaign finance- the gerrymandering cases have a fiat hurdle in that re-districting occurs every 10 years based on the new census demographics...so I'm not sure how the aff can handle the rollback arguments and preserve their advantage claims. Hopefully, the people discussing the topics can figure out ways to balance the topic a bit so it can meet the competitive requirements of debate.
  4. Ankur, I know you write a lot. I don't know whether I should chalk up some of these last few posts to simply having a bad week, but your statements are off base or simply made up. This argument sounds great, but it really distorts the truth. Efficiency, from an economic perspective, examines whether your actions best achieve your goals. Therefore, if your goal is to equally re-distribute wealth, taxes are somewhat efficient. If you believe in economic independence, it's not very efficient. If you believe the Republican agenda- taxes are inefficient. If you don't, they might not be. I find it interesting that your takeaway point from the race empowerment discussion was that attitude was key. Yet, your attitude towards social programs is inherently skeptical. If I take your analysis seriously and believe you've pegged the situation right- with this attitude, social programs are doomed to fail. You're entitled to think that social service programs are key to economic growth. That, after all, was the premise behind Keynesian economics and achieved amazing results in the US during the Great Depression. For whatever reason, the Keynesian approach doesn't work anymore- the data on this point is pretty overwhelming. The IMF also bought into your idea of "safety net" investing in order to spur growth in developing countries...and they've been repeatedly burned with little to no results. You make a bold point, and on some level, I wish it were true. The evidence, however, does not support your analysis. If I take your arguments seriously, social programs will best help the poor if they accomplish two things: 1) foster a positive, can-do attitude and 2) immediately improve their situation. I can test your arguments by examining job training programs. Everyone, in theory, loves job training programs. They give skills to people who will then become eligible for higher paying jobs, getting them out of poverty. The federal and state governments spend tens of millions of dollars on job training programs yearly. There is almost never a problem of getting people to sign up for these job training classes and most people that take these classes tend to have a robust work history. We're not talking about lazy people- just poor people that are trying to get a higher paying job. I think this passes the two-part test because it identifies ambitious people who need an extra boost to immediately improve their situation (since job training takes significantly less time to complete than community college- we're talking months instead of years). So do they work? It obviously depends program to program, but more often than not, job training usually a disaster. I'm no expert in the field, but the last time I looked at the figures, roughly 10% of the people who complete these programs actually get a job that pays more than minimum wage. A huge portion simply end up getting the same jobs they had before during the programs. In most cases, it would have been more efficient to simply just hand out the job training funds while the people worked their minimum wage job. So does job training programs disprove your underlying theory? Maybe, maybe not. It's definitely a wrinkle you'd have to explain.
  5. If you want to play the "don't talk about things you know nothing about" card, you might want to have evidence outside anecdotal evidence. Anyway, I'm not posting to point out the flaws in Ankur's ramblings. I just wanted to post a link to a worthwhile argument that actually has evidential support for why certain immigrants do well and others don't.
  6. Emery Roe wrote a book called Policy Narrative Analysis. One chapter critiqued the use of the word "global warming" in environmental policy (I believe specific to tradeable permits and carbon taxes- it's been a while though, so don't hold me to that). It was a semi-popular argument on the old renewable energy topic. It's not very "kritikal" because the impact to Roe's argument is no solvency, but it's got pretty good link evidence. Last time I checked, Professor Roe was pretty familiar with policy debate and applying his policy analysis approach to debate style thinking. For people wanting to run narrative affs and/or kritiks using a narrative approach, he'd be a wonderful resource.
  7. Speaking as a judge, this card does nothing for me by itself. To win the argument of value to life, with this card as the centerpiece, the negative would have to do the following: 1. Provide evidence that extinction is inevitable (i.e., that "humanity must someday die out"). At the very least, the negative would have to prove the aff nuclear war scenarios are inevitable. 2. Provide evidence or clarify what "tragic disposition" is 3. Provide link analysis as to why the affirmative's value system prioritizes prolonging death over everything else. (I don't think an impact is needed for this- if the aff tries to prolong an inevitable death, I can safely assume that the aff's priorities are bad) 4. Extend the alternative, which presumably offers a different way to prioritize values. 5. Use the above card for impact comparison. If the negative didn't do this, I think the aff response of "living is the prerequisite to having a value structure" would be a complete answer to the negative claim because it completely undercuts the entire premise of the "value to life" argument (well, to the card posted- I really have no idea how other kritik authors articulate the claim).
  8. Is there a link to the original thread and/or paper where you outline these arguments? I'd be fascinated reading the evidence for the three posits.
  9. It's not that hard, it's been done before. Any plan that creates individual tax credits/deductions for consumers for using alternative energy stimulates the demand side. There's empirical evidence from the hybrid car tax credit, home energy efficiency deductions, etc.
  10. When I coached Saratoga, I went to pretty much every TOC tournament. More generally, I judge most California tournments at the circuit and league level. I think last year was the first year I haven't judged at the Glenbrooks in a long time (Ted Belch still owes me for judging JV octos in 1999!). I don't know. There are just so many claims that you (Ankur) make that I just don't agree with- it doesn't correlate with the debate world I've seen at all. It may be true that the "average" debater doesn't focus on the warrants. That observation doesn't bother me too much- those debaters will consistently lose rounds. If the average debater wants to win rounds, he/she will have no choice but to learn how to make convincing comparative claims. Based on the definitions laid out, it seems that "warrants focused" arguments are skills that seperate an "average" debater from an "elite" debater...so I can't consider the observation a critique of debate- it's simply a truism: Debaters that engage in warrant focused debates are elite debaters and those that don't are average debaters. I'm pretty confident the current debate world currently supports and rewards warrants focused debates. Debate camps are taught by "elite" level debaters. Warrants focused debaters also consistently win rounds. Perusing the judge wiki, I couldn't find a single philosophy that didn't emphasize and reward comparative analysis. There might be many crises in debate: it's too strategic, it's too costly, the community is shrinking, it's too academic, there are too many arguments, there are not enough arguments, the list goes on. From my personal perspective, argumentation style (i.e., the "lack" of warrants focused debate) isn't one of them- I've actually literally seen the opposite of that. Current debate is more diverse, more sophisticated, more complex and deeper than it was before. To me at least, the average debater today is better than the average debater 20 years ago. That's just my opinion though.
  11. I'll take you at your word since I don't know what the average is. I suppose I am lucky to only be exposed to above average debate. If the difference between "average" and "elite" is skill level, then it's unsurprising to me that an elite debater engages in warrants focused debate and an average debater doesn't. To me, that's like saying on average a senior debater is better than a sophomore debater. Perhaps I'm not so worried since I see the competetive and strategic aspects of debate as incentives for average debaters to become elite debaters. I'll take you at your word. Again, this must be differences in perspective since, in my experience, students that do well at local invitationals tend to do well at national invitationals and vice versa. For whatever it's worth, I apologize for saying that you are out of touch with reality. I never realized that our realities could be so different.
  12. I'm probably not qualified to speak on this topic. I don't know when the "debate of yore" was or what it looked like- I guess it predates my debate career. I also don't know what the "average" debater looks like, so I suppose my perspective is unusual. At the national circuit, at least, what differentiates a 4-2 from a 3-3 is warrants focused debate. A 4-2 debater might not be an "average" debater, but if an "average" debater wants to become a "good" debater, rebuttal work has to improve. The incentive to learn might not be driven at the teaching level (I simply don't know enough about the "average" coach to say one way or the other), but the incentive definitely exists. Looking at the consistently successful teams at the national level, such teaching certainly exists and yields fantastic results.
  13. A solvency turn is offense. Finding solvency turns that applies to the plethora of aff cases out there is harder. Research burden is a cost that can't be igored when developing strategy. We'll chalk this up to differences of experiences and who you (generally, not Ankur) consider the "average" debater to be. From my experience (and I have traveled the national circuit extensively for about 10 years and also judged numerous regional and local competitions), debaters in the 4-2 bracket and above argue warrants. Kids in the 2-4 bracket and lower don't. Debaters in the middle have uneven track records, sometimes doing it and sometimes not. For whatever it's worth, I don't consider Klinger the "average debater." I think the marketplace of ideas answers this argument. If the argument was as strong as Ankur says, it would be used quite often. The fact that it's not used often doesn't necessarily mean it's a bad idea- it just means that it's too costly to implement on a consistent basis. At the higher levels, you'll see a lot of case-specific strategies so it clearly is a good strategy.
  14. Sorry for the miscommunication, I guess. Based on the topic and where the posts were going, that's what I assumed the argument to be. I guess I'll tone down my takeaway point: communication is just as important as it was before. However, the notion of what is and is not communication may have evolved and changed over time. This may very well be true. There aren't many "outside distractions." Well, there aren't enough to make a signficant dent in direction of policy debate. High school policy debate clearly marches to the beat of the college debate drum. I'm unsure of what other drums are out there. I didn't mean my post to be an insult to you (Miller) or your way of thinking. I think your exuberance and passion for policy debate should be praised, not chastised. If we could bottle some Miller passion and sell it around the country, policy debate would be a better place. That said, the tone of this thread so far seems very detached from the reality that is currently debate. But in the end, you're right: once you strip away all the bells and whistles that have been attached to policy debate, it still boils down to the same thing as it was 50 years ago and will be the same thing 50 years from now- a team will have to persuade the judge their argument is better than their opponent's. It requires part communication, part content, part strategy. It's every individual's decision on how those parts gets divided up, but there's no question that the current debate world emphasizes strategy much more than ever before.
  15. Did policy debate ever emphasize communication over content? In 1969, I'm pretty sure that people were afraid of Houston's Seikel/Miller not because they were slick talkin' Texans, but because they were rigorously prepared to discuss any facet of the topic. Communication is still important. Those that communicate well win, those that don't lose. Communication now ignores rate of delivery and instead focuses on organization, clarity, and summary. Regardless of how debate evolves, you need to be understood to do well. No one is saying that the Miller method of "oratory first, content second" is a bad strategy- it just tends to be losing strategy (ok, I suppose that makes it a bad strategy). Debaters that speak well can hold an audience, but as they progress to higher levels of the activity- content reigns supreme. Those that don't care about winning or losing will embrace the "Miller method" wholeheartedly. Those that view debate as a competitive activity will ignore it. I suppose Ankur can be nostalgic about the 1960s and 70s when case debate reigned supreme...but the reality of today is that focusing exclusively on case debate is stupid and inefficient. It's stupid in that the best defense is a good offense. It's inefficient because the evolution of debate and information gathering have created thousands of new opportunities and ground that need to be covered. That's why if you look at debate at the national level for the last 20 years, negative positions have taken the ideas of the old throw-down case debate and applied them to the off case positions of today. I think the reason why you (Miller) are received with so much hostility is that the posts in this thread so far completely ignore the reality of today. Debate does embrace a diversity of opinions- it's just that debate as an activity is expensive: a coach would be pretty unwise to devote their time and effort to losing strategies. No one wants to respond to a criticism of "debate," when the meaning of the word has changed considerably since 1984. Many of Ankur's criticisms, to me, also show that he's out of touch with reality. Case debate is important, it always has been important, it will continue to be important- it's just less important than it was 30 years ago. Evidence comparison and direct clash on the warrants continues to this day- just apparently not very often in the rounds Ankur judges. Debate, at its very core, is still the same animal it was in 1990, in 1984, in 1969. It's just that there's a lot of extra "stuff" added into debate which makes it more complex and harder- stuff that can't be ignored and certainly alters its essence. Some people think these changes are bad. Most think these changes are good. No one can claim that debate is the same. I also disagree with the contention that the legal system is predicated on dodoness. Sure, when you get down to it- the characteristics of a good lawyer in 1969 will be the same as a good lawyer in 2008. However, in the last 40 years, there's been substantial changes to the legal system- especially on the strategy side. The lawyer in 2008 can't ignore those realities- he/she needs to think about forum shopping, pre-trial strategy, making extensive counterclaims, scope of discovery and many other choices that will have real dollar cost effects on his/her client- many variables that the lawyer in 1969 never had to deal with. You can argue that those changes are bad- but a good lawyer has to deal with his/her reality. There's no time machine that will make those considerations go away. If you (Miller) want to argue communication is still important, fine. Given that there are 1000 things to balance on the teaching schedule in addition to rhetorical style- where are you going to place it on the pecking order?
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