Monthly Archives: April 2010

NDCA Octos

Beacon DF Vs McDonogh RB

Bronx ME Vs MBA MH

Carrolton DG Vs Lexington VE

Damien GE vs Glenbrook North MP

GBS TD vs Westmin DM

Kinkaid KB vs Chattahoochee CR

Westminster TA vs Greenhill KP

Woodward PP vs GBN SS

NDCA Partial Dubs

GBN MP (aff) vs Lexington CS – Phillips, Hantel, Kallmyer

Grenhill KP vs Jesuit College YM – Rebrovik, Burk, Lamballe

Westminster DM vs Mountain Brook GM – Cholera, Gannon, Peterson

Live From The NDCA Championships: Special Podcast With Will Repko and Jonathan Paul

On Saturday at the NDCA Championships, The 3NR recorded a special podcast with Will Repko—Debate Coach at Michigan State University—and Jonathan Paul—Director of Debate at Georgetown University (and the host of this weekend’s tournament). We brought Will and Jonathan together to discuss two major topics: how to prepare for season-ending/championship tournaments and how to succeed as a college debater regardless of your competitive successes in high school. As expected, the discussion provides important insights into the approaches that these accomplished coaches take and the overarching philosophies they bring to debate coaching.

Why should you listen to this podcast? It gives you the chance to get tangible, timely advice from two incredibly successful coaches whose track records speak for themselves. The coach of the 2010 National Debate Tournament Champions, Repko has now coached three NDT Champions in the last seven years and is widely regarded as one of the nation’s best debate educators. Paul—an NDT Champion himself in 2002 for Northwestern University—coached two TOC Champions while at The Greenhill School in the span of only three years and is now rebuilding a top-level national college program at Georgetown.

Not going to the TOC? Worried that the discussion will go over your head? Fear not: the advice that Repko and Paul provide is applicable to every debate team who puts it all on the line at their most important tournament of the season. Regardless of whether your focus is on winning the TOC or on winning your NFL District Tournament or your City Championship, the discussion of preparation and strategy for “The Big One” is sure to be helpful.

Worried that you don’t have what it takes to debate in college? Convinced that your lack of experience and competitive success in high school renders unreachable your dreams of becoming a champion college debater? Both Repko and Paul ease your fears and explain what they look for in a young student joining their program; learn from the best what it takes to achieve your goals as a college debater.

Clocking in at an un-3NR-like 55 minutes, you can download this special edition podcast directly or access it through iTunes.

Live From The NDCA Championships: Fill Out The Debater Survey

The 3NR is conducting the second half of its 2010 Policy Debater Survey at this weekend’s NDCA Championships in Washington, DC. The first half of the survey was conducted at the Woodward 1st and 2nd Year National Championships and targeted debaters who are still early in their high school careers. This time, the target demographic is much more mature: the vast majority of debaters at the NDCA Championships are in their junior or senior seasons.

If you will be competing at the TOC but not the NDCA Championships, you are also encouraged to fill out the survey. There will be a separate call for debaters at the TOC to fill out the survey but it will be identical and if you do it ahead of time, you don’t have to worry about it in Lexington.

The data that is compiled through this survey project will be analyzed and the results will be published here on The 3NR. Please take a few minutes to take part in this project so that our sample size is as large as possible. The results are sure to be fascinating—make sure your opinions are represented in the data!

The form is embedded below the fold; you can also fill it out directly via Google Docs.

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Live From The NDCA Championships: Ray's Hell Burger

Based on the recommendations in the NDCA Dining post (and a few others received via backchannel), it was clear that Ray’s Hell Burger was not to be missed. One of several restaurants in the portfolio of Michael Landrum, a man the Washington Post calls “the enfant terrible of Washington dining,” Ray’s Hell Burger is a unique amalgamation of upscale ingredients and a no-frills, no-nonsense atmosphere. Where else can you get a burger with Seared Foie Gras With A Balsamic Glaze, White Truffle Oil, Crispy Shallots, and Vine-Ripened Tomato? Or one with Roasted Bone Marrow, Persillade, Lettuce and Tomato?

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Good "Policy Relevance" Card

Scott posted some good cards in his Framework Throwdown that indict “policy relevance”; here’s a good (new) card for the other side. Have a favorite “framework” card? Post it in the comments.

Bruce Russett, Dean Acheson Professor of International Relations at Yale University, Editor of the Journal of Conflict Resolution, and former President of the International Studies Association and the Peace Science Society, et al., with Harvey Starr, Dag Hammarskjld Professor in International Affairs in the Department of Political Science at the University of South Carolina, and David Kinsella, Professor of Political Science in the Mark O. Hatfield School of Government at Portland State University, 2009
[“Thinking About World Politics: Theory and Reality,” World Politics: The Menu for Choice, Ninth Edition, Published by Cengage Learning, ISBN 0495410683, p. 44-46]

Social scientists often work at levels of analysis different from those that policy makers find most relevant when facing situations requiring immediate decisions. This difference can be illustrated by comparing the work of a medical researcher and a practicing physician both concerned with coronary illness. Research scientists have established that a number of personal characteristics and environmental conditions contribute to heart disease. They now know that an individual’s probability of suffering a heart attack is greater if that person is male and middle-aged or older and if one or both parents suffered heart attacks. Factors that increase the likelihood of heart disease include being overweight, smoking, a diet high in cholesterol-rich fats, and lack of exercise. High blood pressure also contributes to the likelihood, as do stress and anxiety at work or at home. Finally, some people with aggressive, hard-driving personalities appear especially prone to heart disease. For the scientist, all these influences may seem interesting and provide information that may, at some point, prove important.

For the physician who must treat patients, however, different influences are not of equal interest. Some are beyond the control of the individual patient or doctor: The patient cannot stop aging or change sex—at least in a way that would affect coronary health—and cannot change biological parents. A patient, to some degree, [end page 44] may be able to change lifestyle or even quit a stressful job, but most people cannot do much about their basic personality. A doctor may actually increase the danger of a heart attack by frightening an already worried or anxious patient.

Other influences, however, can be more readily controlled. High blood pressure or high cholesterol, for instance, can be reduced by medication. A patient can be told to lose weight, stop smoking, change diet, or get more exercise. Controlling just one of these conditions may be enough, especially if two contributing influences, such as smoking and obesity, interact. In a particular patient, heart disease may be “overdetermined”; that is, any one of the several contributing conditions is sufficient to produce a high risk of disease, and therefore all must be eliminated. Here, very careful theory, as well as detailed understanding of a particular case, is essential for responsible treatment. Patients who refuse to take any steps to reduce their risks can at least be advised to keep their life insurance premiums paid up—prediction is of some value, even without control over the medical events! Finally, some ethical considerations may also apply. Suppose a patient also suffers from a painful and terminal cancer. Should that patient be saved from a heart attack only to be faced with a difficult death from cancer shortly thereafter? Neither the doctor nor the patient can be indifferent to such a question, whatever their answers.

In our concern with world politics, we must take into account many considerations similar to those facing the physician.17 At times the student of world politics proceeds chiefly with the kind of concern typical of scientists—at other times, with that typical of policy makers, policy advisers, or citizen activists. A scientist wants to understand the causes of a particular outcome. Because both the causes and the outcome vary (they are “variables”), we hope to find those causes (or “independent variables”) that make the greatest difference in bringing about that outcome (the “dependent variable”). In other words, certain causes may account or most of the variation in the outcome. These causes, therefore, should figure most prominently in our theory. The social scientist may not be immediately concerned with whether those causes identified as most important are readily manipulable by policy makers. If pure knowledge is what interests us, then, in principle, there should be no reason for preferring an explanation that highlights one set of independent variables over another. Of course, because most scientific endeavors are driven partly by practical concerns, the social scientist will care about finding ways to make a difference (say, in promoting peace or justice). But the social scientist is not necessarily looking to put acquired knowledge to immediate use.

The policy maker, by contrast, *is* centrally concerned with putting information to use, especially with an eye toward changing outcomes from what they might otherwise be. To change outcomes, the policy maker must identify variables that are not just important but also manipulable. Explanations that identify causes that are controllable are more useful to policy makers than those that identify broad historical forces on which policy makers can have little impact. They are likely to [end page 45] be much more interested in explanations about how a crisis can be resolved short of war than in knowing about the sociological developments that brought about the crisis. Although “knowledge for knowledge’s sake” often drives social scientific research, the fruits of that research are not always immediately useful to foreign policy makers.

Suppose we can show that states with systemwide interests are more likely to be involved in world-endangering military crises. Would a policy maker for such a government want to fundamentally alter the state’s alliances and other international relationships, even if the necessary steps could be identified? An explanation of how decision makers perceive and act under crisis conditions may seem more pressing. Suppose we are fairly certain that the growth and liberalization of global financial markets increase the likelihood of future currency crises. Does that mean policy makers will want to find a way to return to the days when states could better manage currency exchange rates? It’s probably not possible, so it is more useful to know how to calm volatile markets when a crisis seems to be brewing. Or suppose we conclude that Islamic terrorism has its roots in political repression and the lack of economic opportunities available to young males in some Middle Eastern societies. Policy makers in countries targeted by terrorist organizations would like to see these social problems addressed, but their immediate concerns are more likely to be securing their homelands. In short, policy makers may have little control over the external environment but may believe that it is possible to exert substantial influence over the decision processes that operate in times of crisis, whether in governments or markets, in order to improve crisis management.