De-worm Debate

Carleton’s in Missouri! Six of us spent our Friday afternoon/evening driving down to Columbia, where Mizzou is. Google Maps did not have its best performance, locating a fake Chipotle and leading the car down county roads that felt a bit too much like Stranger Things, but the trip was otherwise relatively decent. Because we don’t feel like writing up all six rounds for everyone, we decided to write about one team per round – which is why this might seem different from other posts!

Round 1: The United States federal government should enact legislation to significantly reform civil asset forfeiture.

Ani and Thomas were opp, and ran their Effective Altruism argument, which we’ll get into in more detail below. Their opponents read a plan text, and they said “fiat based plan implementation good,” and then immediately launched into a narrative performance, arguing that using the plan debate as a springboard into narrative was useful – which Ani and Thomas thought was a pretty cool methodology. Unfortunately, it was such a cool methodology that Ani and Thomas lost.

Round 2: The United States federal government should make public colleges and universities in the United States tuition-free.

Amanda and Carolyn were opp, and means tested the funding for colleges proposed by their opponents. Their opponents argued a semi-Keynesian interpretation where the money spent on even wealthy students would create economic growth. (It should surprise no one to hear that Ben and Josh ran Negative Income Tax on the same topic.) Fun fact from the round: apparently raising a child is “really difficult!”, which is probably a fair point, but y’know, whatever.

Round 3: Scotland should secede from the United Kingdom.

After seeing the topic, Carolyn got really excited to defend Scottish independence, before realizing that she and Amanda were opp. After their opponents argued that Scotland should secede due to the fact that they’re basically an English colony, comparing Scots to the Wildlings beyond the Wall in Game of Thrones, Amanda and Carolyn argued that Scots are blatantly prominent in British culture, with the pretty obvious example of Doctor Who, which went conceded – although Amanda and Carolyn ultimately lost. Historical fact of the day: The Scottish and English Union of 1707 was a parliamentary resolution adopted by both countries following the failure of a Scottish colonial mission which had over 25% of national wealth invested, leading to popular sentiment in Scotland looking to England for fiscal stability. #goodtimetobeaMARSconcentrator #jkitsalwaysagoodtimetobeaMARSconcentrator

Round 4: The United States federal government should implement a destination-based cash flow tax.

The tax geeks on the team celebrated #DBCFT before realizing no one wanted to actually debate it – which is a good time to discuss the Effective Altruists! Ani and Thomas, for the entire tournament, have advocated (independent of topic) that judges should vote for them in order to encourage people to talk about effective altruism, increasing the likelihood that people will do effective altruism – which is the best possible utilitarian outcome of the round. (Effective altruism is all about donating to super high impact charities, which Ani and Thomas have decided to measure in terms of number of people dewormed.) Ani and Thomas were opp. Their judge noted in her philosophy that she “didn’t really like kritiks”, which didn’t bode well, but Ani and Thomas forged ahead anyways. Their opponents argued that debating against Ani and Thomas made them less likely to be effective altruists, which is very unutilitarian. In her RFD, the judge noted “I voted for the neg. Which I’m pretty surprised by.” and mentioned that she had donated $25 to the De-Worm The World Foundation, which is pretty great. Side note for any readers: if you are interested in philanthropy or utility or whatever, consider effective altruism – here’s a link with more:

Round 5: The United States federal government should eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency.

Continuing their trend of being broadly on the side they disagreed with, Ben and Josh were gov, and ran the topic as a plan. Their opponents focused on Global Warming as the main negative impact of EPA elimination, and Ben and Josh argued that eliminating the EPA would galvanize environmentalist opposition creating the greatest possibility of substantial change in environmental policy in the future. Try or die! They also argued that the EPA has perverse incentives, excessive executive control, and will be ineffective under Trump in any case, and so the best case when the presidency returns to the hands of someone who doesn’t think global warming is a hoax is to be able to replace the EPA wholesale rather than simply work with the existing institution. Surprisingly, Ben and Josh picked up.

Round 6: The United States Congress should pass legislation to protect undocumented DREAMers.

Guess what? Ben and Josh remain on their least favorite side of the topic. Josh got the chance to tap in to his long hidden K debater. After prepping a borders K (which is a pretty big step in itself!) Josh heard the phrase “policy paralysis” in round and decide to throw in an ableist rhetoric argument to boot! Two kritiks for the price of one! Their opponents ran the topic, which seems broadly pretty good, so Ben and Josh did their best to win impact level debates about borders. Alas, although it was honestly not a terrible effort, Ben and Josh did not win.

And then we got Thai food and everything is good! We have rounds tomorrow morning. I’d promise updates but looking back it’s pretty clear that I haven’t delivered on that promise before… But I can say that Josh and Ben won the Vocal Viking, so that’s cool!

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Resolved: THBT it is the case that the US should value something

I’ll have more details on round four in a post tomorrow, but good news – both teams broke! Bad news is that means rounds at 8 tomorrow morning, but into every life a little rain must fall.

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Small Business Saturday? More like, Big State Saturday (Gottem)

Round 1: This House believes that no matter who wins the presidential election, America loses.

Ben/Josh were opp, and took advantage of the apparent structural advantage of the topic to stump for Hillary (not the most convenient day for that, huh?) and argue that Americans would be better off if she was elected. If you enjoyed such classics as the 2016 DNC, the first presidential debate, the second presidential debate, the third presidential debate, or any other speech Hillary has given this campaign cycle, you’d be in for a treat with this round!

Dan/Jonah (hereafter referred to by a portmanteau of their last names, GoldFish) were gov, and argued that America would be worse under either Hillary or Donald. They noted that marijuana would likely not be legalized under either president, and Dan struggled internally after the opponents claimed that Gary Johnson could still win. Evan McMuffin made a cameo appearance too!

Round 2: This House would provide paid family leave.

Ben/Josh were gov, and had the USFG mandate 12 weeks of paid leave with tax credits to businesses to offset the costs of the policy. Their opponents tried to have unions pay for paid family leave – we’re still not entirely clear on how these new unions would have enough membership to be a superior funding mechanism, but Ben relished the chance to emphasize good classic American values like moms, kids, and families in general.

GoldFish were opp, and implemented a negative income tax as an alternative to family leave. The NIT is maybe becoming a cliche of the Carleton Debate team at this point, but you can’t argue with the results!

Round 3: This House would root for the underdog.

Ben/Josh were opp, and after prepping for arguments ranging from Aleppo to welfare to Trump to Israel/Palestine ended up debating the implementation of a North Dakota Small Business Saturday advertising campaign (it’s the day after Black Friday?). Being the good opponents of state economic control that they are, Ben and Josh ran a counterplan giving the same money directly to the small businesses. Josh managed not to actually say the quote in the title, but only barely.

GoldFish were also opp, and argued topicality and disad/case against a plan that would add Ukraine to NATO. Their first topicality argued that rooting couldn’t take an action, and their second topicality denied governments the option to pick one underdog in particular. Obviously they were unaware of how much the action of rooting for the Vikings directly influences the outcomes of games. (They also mentioned that adding Ukraine to NATO might provoke Russia just a little bit, which seems like a reasonable point.)

Dinner now and round 4 later! If we break elims will be tomorrow morning, so we get to spend the night enjoying the climes of balmy Mankato!

img_20161028_185042486Josh googles Egg McMuffin in preparation for rounds


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In Which Dan Discovers That Small Towns Exist

It’s almost halloween again, which means that it’s time for the Vocal Viking! Ben, Josh, Dan, Jonah, and Weijia have successfully schlepped to Mankato, MN. The drive playlist consisted of a mix of “white girl music and Hamilton songs”, which several members actively sung along to. As we entered Elysian, MN, Dan was shocked to see a population listed at 652, a number which was apparently inconceivably low. It took a few minutes of stunned commentary on the number of streets, size of the houses (“shacks”), and the gas station called General  Store to adjust to this new reality, but Dan seems to now be comfortable with the concept of small towns. Fun fact: Mark Kirk is the “deadest incumbent from Illinois since Abraham Lincoln”. We’ll be posting more as the tournament progresses, but actually because there is a lot of down time in this schedule!

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First Half

We just finished the first half of the McKendree tournament. A more detailed post will be forthcoming, but the short story is that Ani/Dan and Josh/Thomas both went 3-2 and advanced to outrounds, while Amanda/Jordan finished 2-3. This was after all three teams were 2-2 and debating in the bubble, which was exciting. In octos, Ani/Dan lost on a 3-0 while Josh/Thomas won on a 3-0, to their surprise. In quarters, Josh/Thomas lost to the cap K on a 3-0. Josh decided not to go for cap good for a change, and when the judges said that they should have gone for impact turns, Josh was quite sad.

Round 1 of the second half starts in an hour. Let’s go Carleton.

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McSomething University, Day One

The Carleton Forensics Society is at their first tournament of the season at McKendree University in beautiful Lebanon, IL. A.k.a. McSomething University, which is what Dan called it when asking Google for directions while we were pulling out of Taco Bell. The theme of the day so far has been Evan McMullin jokes, such as when we got Evan McMuffins at the airport McDonald’s. We saw someone at the airport whom Dan thought looked like Evan McMullin, but it was really just a random bald white guy.

In other news, we are driving a bomb-ass 10-passenger van because the rental place wouldn’t rent SUVs to people under 25. Also, we saw a giant fluffy dog on campus, which Dan promptly posted to Dogspotting.

Round 1 in 20 minutes.

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This House would stump the Trump

Looks like we never posted that final update for the state tournament. Whoops.

Round 3: Assuming the constitutional amendment could pass, THBT Supreme Court justices should have term limits.

Once again all Carleton teams were the same side (opp).

Ben/Josh channeled the Founding Fathers and argued that lifetime appointments were key to a strong, politically independent judiciary that could check the federal government and protect the rule of law. The government argued that term limits would result in a Court that was more adaptable to the times, and that without them justices with outdated ideas would stay on the bench for decades. Josh responded with a eulogy for the late Justice Scalia, saying that such justices are zealous defenders of basic, timeless rights such as the right to free speech and against unreasonable search and seizure. As well as the right of straight people not to have their sensibilities harmed by the gays, apparently. May he rest in peace.

In Carolyn/Amanda’s round, the gov team argued that without term limits, Supreme Court justices would not be diverse enough, and also just be too old. For example, Scalia didn’t know how to use Facebook. Carolyn and Amanda responded that SCOTUS is already diverse, and that term limits might lead to Roe v Wade getting overturned, which means more coat-hanger abortions.

Round 4: Tech companies should increase their cooperation with law enforcement.

Obviously, this topic was inspired by the controversy about Apple and the San Bernardino shooters. Naturally, none of the Carleton teams went this route.

Ben/Josh argued for tech companies providing discount body cameras to improve accountability and reduce police brutality. The opp team made some arguments about why this might not be feasible because companies wouldn’t be able to afford it, but according to Ben that doesn’t matter because something something values cases.

Final prelim records: 4-0 Ben/Josh

2-2 Ani/Dan

1-3 Amanda/Carolyn

Quarters: All US citizens should be required to register for the draft.


Semis: TH would prepare for the Zika Virus

Ani/Dan take the reasonable approach here, defending greater investment in public health measures to stop the spread of Zika in Brazil. They also specified that the funding would be taken from the UN’s anti-piracy (i.e. digital piracy) program, which doesn’t exist.

Ben/Josh decided to interpret preparing for the Zika virus as killing all mosquitoes via genetic engineering. Because, you know, if there are no more mosquitoes then we’re completely prepared for Zika. They weren’t sure whether Zika was spread via a specific mosquito species (it is) so they hedged against extra-T by saying that there would be spillover from the Zika program that would lead to the eradication of malaria and every other mosquito-borne disease. The other team read T and expressed somewhat reasonable concerns about the unintended consequences of killing every single mosquito.

Ben/Josh lost on a 3-0, leaving Ani/Dan to face Bethany Lutheran in finals.

Finals: The Republican Party should disavow Donald Trump

Yep, that was the finals topic. Ani/Dan were gov, and ran with the super cheeky interpretation of defining disavow as just denying support, and the Republican Party as the RNC. So their burden was just to show that the RNC should decline to actively support Trump in the primaries, which is standard procedure for the RNC during the primaries. They also said a lot of things about Trump being a racist who inspires hate crimes.  The same team that ran T against Ben/Josh’s perfectly reasonable interpretation in semis declined to push back against this interpretation for some reason. So Ani and Dan won on a 3-0. Fun stuff.

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After a long day of plane flights in which Josh was moved to first class for free and Ani’s connecting flight from Denver was delayed for 1.5 hours due to all the “dank fluffy snow” (and then almost crashed and burned because Ani forgot to put his phone on airplane mode), the Carleton Debate team is in beautiful Long Beach, CA, for NPDA nationals! Rounds are starting tomorrow, but Ani has already won by finally getting the 4096 tile in 2048. Also we are very tired partly because of the early flights and jet lag, but mostly because Dan is not here to power us with dank memes.

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Bringing Home the (Dan) Gold

And the MCFA state parli tournament ends with Daniel “Dirty Dan” Gold and Ani “Hediga” Nadiga (collectively known as the Gold Diggers) prevailing over Bethany Lutheran in finals and winning it all! This is especially remarkable since both are freshmen competing at their first parli tournament ever. Ben and Josh finished in semis, meaning that Carleton was one round away from a close-out. Also, we won the debate sweepstakes and quality award, and Ben was top speaker. So all in all it was a pretty good tournament for Carleton Forensics.

Expect a more detailed post in the coming days. I know you are all dying of anticipation.

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In which Ani debates in two semifinal rounds

Quick update: Ben/Josh and Ani/Dan both cleared to quarters, and both won their quarters rounds and will be debating in semis in 20 minutes. Also, Ani was listed as being in both semis rounds for some reason.

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