Author Archives: Bill Batterman

How To Never Clip Cards: A Guide For Debaters

Evidence misrepresentation has become a major issue in high school and college policy debate over the last few seasons. “Card clipping” — the act of misrepresenting the text of evidence that a debater orally presents during a speech — is a particularly pernicious form of academic dishonesty that has drawn the attention of state and national governing organizations. With new guidelines in the process of being implemented, it will be important for students to understand how to protect themselves from accusations of evidence misrepresentation. To that end, this article seeks to provide students with straightforward, actionable advice about how to avoid clipping cards.

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Site Moved To New Host

We have completed moving the site to a new hosting provider. There will be many bugs until all the kinks are worked out, but our existing content should now once again be available. We have also restored our results archive. The podcast and other content will be restored as soon as possible. The new setup should give us a fresh start and make it possible for us to publish new content. Please bear with us as we complete the transition.

The Return of The 3NR Podcast

The long-awaited third season of the 3NR Podcast kicks off with a special guest edition featuring James Herndon (of Emory University) and Whit Whitmore (of the University of Michigan) alongside Scott Phillips. Topics covered include international fiat, impact turning new block impacts after link turning in the 2AC, and research practices/qualifications. The Contemporary Argumentation & Debate issue discussed in the podcast is available here.

Interested? Head over to and download the new episode. If you haven’t done so already, you can also subscribe to the podcast in iTunes.

Glenbrooks To Host Space Policy Forum

This year’s Glenbrooks will feature a free Space Policy Forum on Friday night. Tara Tate—Director of Debate at Glenbrook South and Co-Director of The Glenbrooks—announced the forum today:

The Glenbrooks is pleased to present, in conjunction with the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics as well as the National Forensic League, a Space Policy Forum open to all and free of charge. The forum will be held on Friday, November 18th at 7pm in the Ravinia Room at the Hyatt Deerfield. This panel is a must-see for any policy debater or coach who is interested in expert advice on this year’s topic. Current members of the panel include:

  • Dr. Stanley G. Rosen, former Director of Strategic Development and Integration for Boeing Satellite Systems, now a consultant to the Tofler Associates. Dr. Rosen was also the coach of the U.S. Air Force Academy’s debate team in the 1970’s.
  • AIAA Public Policy, Space Portfolio Manager, Ross G. Bell. Ross will discuss the nature of space policy as it relates to the appropriations committees and other public policy implications.
  • Chelsey Robinson, Southern Illinois University. Chelsea will be speaking to the role of the life sciences in space exploration/development, both as a reality and as a consideration for debaters debating colonization and long-range exploration cases.

Additional forum members will be announced on the Glenbrooks Joy of Tournament web site. Please arrive a few minutes before 7pm to ensure that seating is available. The formal presentation will conclude with a Q/A opportunity for students and coaches to ask specific questions of the experts.

If you’ll be at the Glenbrooks, this is a must-see event.

Infrastructure and Immigration Final 2012-2013 Topic Candidates

The National Federation of High Schools has announced the final two topic candidates for the 2012-2013 season. Based on voting by states and national organizations, the candidates are infrastructure and immigration:

Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially increase its transportation infrastructure investment in the United States.

Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially increase its legal protection of economic migrants in the United States.


Evan McCarty's Senior Speaker Address

Each year at the Heart of Texas Invitational at the St. Mark’s School of Texas, a senior debater is selected to deliver a speech at the Sunday morning breakfast. Quarterfinalist teams, Sophomore Hoe Down competitors, and their coaches are invited to attend. This year’s speaker—joining an impressive list of previous honorees—was Evan McCarty from Mountain Brook High School in Birmingham, Alabama. The text of his speech—about the importance of friendship in debate—is available below the fold.

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Decision Fatigue and Debate

John Tierney, a science columnist at the New York Times, wrote an interesting article in the New York Times Magazine about the concept of “decision fatigue”. In it, he explains that the mental work required to make decisions is substantially more taxing on our brains than we typically think and that the associated “decision fatigue” leads us to make bad decisions.

Decision fatigue helps explain why ordinarily sensible people get angry at colleagues and families, splurge on clothes, buy junk food at the supermarket and can’t resist the dealer’s offer to rustproof their new car. No matter how rational and high-minded you try to be, you can’t make decision after decision without paying a biological price. It’s different from ordinary physical fatigue — you’re not consciously aware of being tired — but you’re low on mental energy. The more choices you make throughout the day, the harder each one becomes for your brain, and eventually it looks for shortcuts, usually in either of two very different ways. One shortcut is to become reckless: to act impulsively instead of expending the energy to first think through the consequences. (Sure, tweet that photo! What could go wrong?) The other shortcut is the ultimate energy saver: do nothing. Instead of agonizing over decisions, avoid any choice. Ducking a decision often creates bigger problems in the long run, but for the moment, it eases the mental strain. You start to resist any change, any potentially risky move — like releasing a prisoner who might commit a crime. So the fatigued judge on a parole board takes the easy way out, and the prisoner keeps doing time.

The concept of decision fatigue has several applications to competitive academic debate.

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Senior Speaker, Acolyte Honored at Heart of Texas

Each year at the Heart of Texas Invitational at the St. Mark’s School of Texas, two special awards are given to deserving students and coaches: the Senior Speaker Award and the Acolyte Award. This year’s recipients were Evan McCarty of Mountain Brook High School and Jon Voss of Glenbrook South High School, respectively. A list of the past recipients of these awards is available below the fold.

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