Monthly Archives: January 2011

1AR Choice

The 1AR, like the lamer Matrix movies, is all about choice. A good 1AR picks from the options presented in the 2AC and hammers home a few key points, it doesn’t crappily extend every argument. I feel like past posts have gone into why this is so ad nausea, so this post will take for granted that you agree the 1AR must collapse and will instead focus on an example. In the attached xl document you will find the flow of a politics debate through the 2NC. The 2NC has done a decent job of extending the disad- no arguments are dropped, there are diverse answers to each 2AC argument, and there is some impact jive at the top. If you give the 1AR you will find yourself giving politics 1AR’s like this frequently because people have blocks to most of the 2AC arguments given in the demo speech.

Below the fold I am going to discuss ways to chose what arguments to go for and why, but before you read that look at the flow and think about what arguments you would select to go for and why. Think about different circumstances

-do they have a cp?

-is the cp plan inclusive?

-are you going to win a big risk of the case or a solvency deficit?

Then think about why these factors might affect what arguments you chose to extend.

1AR demo

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Using Guided Questions With Theory Articles: "Getting out of the Cards and into the Arguments" As An Example

The value of incorporating theory article reading and review into a student’s debate curriculum has been discussed at length in previous articles. One method that coaches can use to encourage students to delve into this literature is to provide a set of guided questions to accompany selected theory articles. In schools with formal debate classes, these short answer questions can be assigned as homework or used as quizzes to confirm that students are keeping up with their assigned reading.

To demonstrate this approach, a set of guided questions for Jim Lyle’s “Getting out of the Cards and into the Arguments: Strategies for Refutation (pdf)” is available below the fold. This article provides a wealth of actionable instruction about refutation techniques and is suggested for debaters of all levels. Coaches, feel free to reuse these questions however you would like.

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2010-2011 Tournament Statistics

I have created a publicly-available spreadsheet (accessible via Google Docs) that compiles entry statistics from all of the policy debate tournaments held so far this season that are qualifiers for the Tournament of Champions. The spreadsheet includes the number of entries at each tournament as well as the number of states that were represented (including a list for double check purposes), the TOC bid level of the tournament, and the strength of the tournament in the NDCA Baker Award formula (DTM+: the number of entries multiplied by the Diversity of Tournament Multiplier).

The list of tournaments that have been included is below the fold. With only a few exceptions, the results for these tournaments are available in The 3NR’s results archive at

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American Enterprise Institute Hosts Afghanistan Panel Discussion

Earlier this week the American Enterprise Institute hosted a panel discussion with Frederick and Kimberly Kagan, Jack Keane, and Andrew Exum about their recent “Defining Success in Afghanistan” report.

Two thousand ten was a pivotal year in determining the prospects for success in Afghanistan. In December, President Barack Obama and his administration favorably reviewed US strategy in Afghanistan and Pakistan, reporting significant progress in weakening al Qaeda’s presence in the region, though acknowledging the short- and long-term challenges that the United States, its allies, and its Afghan partner face in securing a stable Afghanistan. A great deal of confusion, however, remains in the public debate about what success in Afghanistan would look like and why the current approach can succeed after ten years of efforts that did not. Resident scholar Frederick W. Kagan, who directs the Critical Threats Project at AEI, and Kimberly Kagan, founder and president of the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), spent 150 days in Afghanistan in 2010 and will lay out the key details of their latest report, “Defining Success in Afghanistan,” copublished by AEI and ISW. General Jack Keane, former vice chief of staff for the US Army, and Center for a New American Security fellow Andrew M. Exum, who served both on active duty and as a civilian adviser to General Stanley A. McChrystal in Afghanistan, will comment. AEI’s Danielle Pletka will moderate.

The video of the event is available online. This is a good opportunity for debaters to hear the pro-COIN, pro-war side of the Afghanistan debate presented by some of its leading advocates.

Woodward First and Second Year Tournament- Registration

Tomorrow registration will open for the Woodward First and Second Year National Championships.  The tournament will be held April 1st, 2nd and 3rd 2011.   All of the details, including registration are available on

For the most part the tournament will be run in the same manner it has been run in previous years with one notable exception.  This year we will be enforcing strict rules on what constitutes a first year and second year debater.  In order to make sure the playing field is fair and because some camps have offered scholarships in the past to the winners and top speakers in each division, we felt it necessary to draw a line in the sand and clearly define it for you.  Below is the section copied directly from the JOT invite.

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The 3NR Announces New High School Policy Debate Results Archive

To help preserve debate’s institutional memory, The 3NR has begun curating an archive of results from (mostly “national circuit”) high school policy debate tournaments. While we are still in the process of organizing and uploading all of the results that we have compiled over the years (including an extensive collection from Tim Alderete), we wanted to let our readers know about this new resource now. Our goal is to provide as many results packets and elimination round results as possible from previous seasons. With due credit to Phil Kerpen’s old High School Debate Archive site, the archive is extremely bare-bones and simple to navigate. If you have results packets to contribute, please email Bill Batterman.

Preliminary Baker Award Standings: Westminster 1, St. Mark's 2

Preliminary standings for the National Debate Coaches Association David P. Baker Award for Season Long Excellence are available below the fold. Three caveats, however:

  1. I have calculated the results for only the subset of teams that I thought would be in contention for a spot in the top ten at this point in the season. It is inevitable that I will have missed a few teams; as the season progresses, I will continue to add teams to my spreadsheet and they will appear on the rankings. If you notice any egregious omissions, please let me know.

  2. I do not have access to all of the tournament results that are needed for accurate and complete rankings. Please see the note below for a specific list of tournaments that were included as well as a list of tournaments for which results are still needed.

  3. The formula for the Baker Award has changed slightly from last season. Instead of capping the entry number at 100 for the purposes of calculating a tournament’s value, entries are now capped at 80 teams. Tournaments with 80 or more teams from 16 or more states are now maximum-point qualifiers; winning one of these tournaments nets a team 368 Baker points. The maximum number of possible points, therefore, is 1,840 points—teams are allowed to count only their top five point totals.

Without further ado, here are the current (unofficial) standings:

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Unconventional Wisdom

This months edition of the FP feature has some good stuff:

The democracy article has a good new replacement for Diamond

For there is one thing the neocons get right: As I argue in The Democracy Advantage, democratic governments are more likely than autocratic regimes to engage in conduct that advances U.S. interests and avoids situations that pose a threat to peace and security. Democratic states are more likely to develop and to avoid famines and economic collapse. They are also less likely to become failed states or suffer a civil war. Democratic states are also more likely to cooperate in dealing with security issues, such as terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.