Archive for the topic Category

2013-2014 High School Topic Announced!

Posted in High School, topic on January 24, 2013 by izak

Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially increase its economic engagement toward Cuba, Mexico or Venezuela.

Voting breakdown can be found here.

We college folk are jealous ;)

Podcast: Dr Hester’s Relfection on the 2012 College Debate Season

Posted in 2011-2012 College Democracy Topic, College, Critical Issues in Debate, elimination round, Know Your History, Podcasts with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 8, 2012 by Scott Odekirk

In our triumphant return to podcasting, Critical Issues in Debate welcomes back a long time contributor, Dr. Michael Hester. Dr Hester is the Director of West Georgia Debate and also a dean in the Honors College at West Georgia. Dr Hester is also a member of the Edebate Allstars. This conversation covers the 2012 NDT, the DSRB interview, the Loyolla v Georgetown semifinal round, preparing during the off-season, and more. Thanks Dr Hester for giving the website more great insights!

you can also download the postcast by clicking this link: hester 2012 reflection

This podcast is also available on itunes, just search “puttingthekindebate”

Transportation Infrastructure

Posted in camp, High School, topic with tags , , , , , on April 6, 2012 by kevin kuswa

More on the high school topic to follow, an interesting choice given the space exploration topic because exploring and developing could be seen as increasing investment in transportation infrastructure, particularly with a broad interpretation of “in the United States” as “initiated in the U.S.”

Here is the wording and the brief overview provided by the NFL:

Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially increase its transportation infrastructure investment in the United States
Over the last ten years, there have been a series of significant transportation infrastructure failures indicating the nation’s once world-class infrastructure is falling apart and other nation’s are pulling ahead of the United States. Transportation infrastructure policy featured prominently in President Obama’s 2011 State of the Union address and is likely to be a main component of his re-election campaign. This topic offers debaters a rare opportunity to consider how government and policy affect the physical structures of daily life; at the same time as the public at-large considers these investments. The national policy debate topic has only discussed transportation policy once, in 1939-40, and the national topic has never considered “infrastructure.” Proponents of increasing investment in transportation infrastructure argue there is a substantial need to invest in transportation infrastructure and that infrastructure is central to a modern economy, the United States’ leadership position in the world, the security of our nation and a high quality of life. Opponents argue that government spending in this area is unnecessary and further complicates fiscal policy. Examples of affirmative cases include direct investment in high-speed rail, highways, bridges, airports and seaports. Other affirmatives might propose new federal structures to finance transportation infrastructure projects. Negative positions could focus on the economic consequences of additional spending, the effectiveness of various transportation solutions, the political implications of infrastructure investment and critiques of economic development.

…This is a helpful overview, to be sure, laying out the main controversy and justifying debate in this area.  The main issue for the affirmative will be finding the resources to substantially increase investment and the main issue for the negative will challenging the large impact claims made by most affirmatives.  A few angles/approaches to keep in mind at the outset involve scope, reach, and history.  The scope of the topic will involve definitions of transportation and infrastructure and how narrow or broad that phrase becomes–everything from “only the material/physical condition of roads, bridges and runways” to “all aspects of human movement.”  The latter implicates areas such as the mobility of particular groups, real time data exchange, military readiness, the internet, circulation of goods and services, and mass communication.  The reach of the topic will center on infrastructure–will we limit debates to the blueprints or expand our discussion to include future possibilities (oceans, space, other scientific explorations)?  And, perhaps, most telling, where have humans been and where are they going?  Do we maintain or can we build?  How have we “progressed” from human power, to animal power, to steam power, to fossil fuels, and now beyond?  Should this include urban planning or is it about travel–the movement to and through our current conception of the City? The long-term history of transportation, not just in the U.S. (destiny, expansion, colonization), but throughout time will shed light (pave the way) toward a more complete view of the topic.  One example–just a sliver of the iceberg, is here:  Transportation means progress and life, but also clash, accidents, and destruction.  Infrastructure needs propping up, but to what ends?  A quick little story to ask more of these questions can be found here:  Be creative with this topic because transportation is nothing if not the imagination of change and the human capacity for expanding circulation.  Ambulate your arguments! Enjoy and frequent puttingthekindebate for further updates.

Critical Issues in Debate: Dr. Hester on the Democracy Assistance topic

Posted in 2011-2012 College Democracy Topic, College, Critical Issues in Debate, Podcasts with tags on June 29, 2011 by Scott Odekirk

In this podcast Dr. Michael Hester, and friend and frequent contributor to the podcast series talk about various aspects of the upcoming Democracy Assistance Topic.

Dr. Michael Hester is the Associate Dean of the Honors College at the University of West Georgia and has been the director of UWG Debate for 16 years. During his tenure, UWG Debate has won CEDA National championships twice (as well as reaching the finals and semifinals in other years), reached the semifinals, quarterfinals (3 times), and octafinals (4 times) of the NDT, and received 1st Round At-Large Bids to the NDT nine times. He coached the first African-American male to win a national championship, the first all-female team to win a national championship, the first team to win a national championship running a K, as well as the first teams to introduce arguments about gendered language into debate. He has worked at more than two dozen summer debate camps since 1989, including serving on the faculty of debate institutes at Arizona State, Bates, Berkeley, Emory, Gonzaga, and Michigan, as well as lecturing to the University of Kentucky Fellows.


Also look for the podcast on iTunes. You can download the podcast by clicking this link: hester on democracy assistance

Critical Issues in Debate: Democracy Assistance Topic Roundup Part 2

Posted in 2011-2012 College Democracy Topic, College, Critical Issues in Debate, Podcasts with tags , , , on June 28, 2011 by Scott Odekirk

In this podcast we continue our discussion of the upcoming college topic wording vote. Ballots are due by July 13!

Follow this link to view the resolutions on the ballot and download Stables’ country chart (it helps).

Coaches on this edition include:

Andrea Reed is currently heading into her second year as the director of the University of Kentucky debate team. She has now attended 4 topic meetings through her years as a coach and has a lot of great thoughts on this year’s college topic. She also talks briefly about the high school space topic. This is her second appearance on Critical Issues in Debate.

Gabe Murillo was a very successful debater at Wayne State and has coached the University of Oklahoma to recent and well-known success. Gabe is making his second appearance on the podcast and has some interesting ideas about how topics like this could be crafted in the future.

Sarah PartlowLefevre is the director of the highly successful debate team at Idaho State University. She has won a number of college coaching awards including the coach of the year award given at the NDT. She is also currently serving as the Cross Examination Debate Association’s First Vice President which makes her highly involved in the topic process. This is her first appearance on the podcast.


You can listen to the podcast here, download it on iTunes, or download it here by clicking this link: Democracy Assistance Topic Roundup Part 2

Critical Issues in Debate: Democracy Assistance Topic Roundup

Posted in 2011-2012 College Democracy Topic, College, Critical Issues in Debate, Podcasts with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 26, 2011 by Scott Odekirk

Follow this link to view the resolutions on the ballot and download Stables’ country chart (it helps).

We are back for another roundup on this year’s slate of resolution choices. This is part one of a series dedicated to the upcoming vote for this year’s wording and what debaters have to expect from the democracy assistance debate.

This part features some great debate coaches:

Carly Wunderlich was one of the best 2As of her generation and in her senior year at Michigan State she won the NDT on a unanimous decision in the final round. While coaching last year at Gonzaga she helped the team of Moculski and Kannelopolous to a first round bid to the NDT. She is returning to coach at Michigan State this fall.

Chris Crowe is one of the most widely preferred judges in the country and is currently a coach for the University of Texas at San Antonio debate team. He is making he second appearance on the podcast while he works at the Dartmouth Debate Institute.

Sarah Spring coaches at the University of Iowa and is getting her PHD in Iowa’s world renowned communications department. Sarah is a very popular judge and all around great member of the community. She is making her second appearance on Critical Issues in Debate. Look for Sarah’s work in an upcoming issue in the communications journal Argumentation and Debate.

Jonah Feldman was a highly succesful debater at the University of Michigan and is going into his second year as the director of one of debate’s most storied programs, Cal Berkeley. This past year he coached one of the most successful partnerships in the country and judged a bunch of debates.

You can also download Critical Issues in Debate on iTunes or dowload it here by clicking this link: Democracy Assistance Topic Roundup Part 1

US Democracy Assistance to the “Middle East and North Africa”

Posted in College, topic with tags , , on May 24, 2011 by kevin kuswa

Hi all,

You may have heard that the college community is contemplating an “Arab Spring” topic area put together by Gordon Stables.  A quick question for the folks here: how would you set up variables for what countries to include/exclude?

In other words, if you look at all the countries in the region, which ones would be best to debate in terms of increasing US democracy assistance?  Why would you select those particular countries?  There are a lot of ways to answer this and many people are engaged in research on this very question.  If you have any thoughts on how to evaluate this question, post them here or on the CEDA Forums!

Thanks in advance,