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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Dank memes, big dreams: MN State 2k16

Departure for state this year took an exciting twist, as we discovered late last night that the tournament did not in fact begin on Saturday, but rather this afternoon! Which wouldn’t be an issue, but because this tournament is in Moorhead (basically North Dakota), we had to leave hella early for the 4 hour drive – which unfortunately resulted in two debaters being left behind :(.

In order to best represent the trip, these quotes (mostly from the wonderful Dan “I see dank memes” Gold) are unaltered. “Whoa, that sign that says Yellow is orange and black – that’s such a dank meme.” In reference to George W.: “Think of history if we didn’t have that rabbit-eared shit in the White House” “You guys remember that singer Avril La-va-gan?” (Seriously Dan, how do you not know Avril Lavigne’s name?) “A good Third Reich is one that exterminates ALL the jews” (in a conversation about virtue ethics) “So I got banned from my favorite dank meme page for making fun of trigger warnings…” “Lowkey, fuck white people” “If we were actually the North Korean government, we’d probably believe our rockets worked” “That circle thing would make such a dank meme if it had some cool text” “This house is the Taliban, and we will entice women to vote by not killing them and making them shwarma!” “Sometimes, I wonder if we’re bad people, and definitely yes” “Wait, what does dank actually mean?” (Dan asks the hard questions)

Getting to the round just before rounds, we pretty much started right away with the debating.

Round 1: Resolved: Minnesota should welcome more refugees.

Ben and Josh were gov, and, realizing that the state of Minnesota doesn’t actually control federal refugee policy, decided that Mark Dayton should talk to the appropriate federal authorities and offer to take in refugees. Their opponents suggested that this might lead to the overpopulation of Minnesota – a concern that seems very legitimate here in the dense urban metropolis of Moorhead. Ben and Josh talked about the innovation that diversity brings, citing such examples as pizza, burgers, and hot dogs (is it clear we were hungy?) which Ben followed up by eating primarily garlic bread and gas station donuts for dinner.

Carolyn and Amanda treated the topic as a facts case – their opponents accepted this, but argued that their semi-existent plan would fail due to the underfunding of Somali basketball teams. People are still racist, so it would be inappropriate to bring in more refugees. Because the way to solve racism is make sure white Minnesotans never live near people of color.

Dan and Ani were also gov (3 for 3!) and decided to throw their opponents for a loop and accept Latin American refugees rather than Syrian refugees. In the middle of a debate over private prisons, their opponents intimated that if refugees have mental illness, it might be better to keep them out of Minnesota, as they might not be the most productive in the economy. This fit well with their framework of net-benefits to only Minnesotans, which Dan pointed out maybe justified everyone else in the world working in sweatshops to help Minnesotans (it’s like the utility monster, but passive-aggressive). Uff da.

Round 2: This house would entice people to vote.

Ben and Josh was opp, and their Stolaf opponents ran a pretty damn clever plan of providing refreshments at polling places – after thinking over attacking the cookies in the plan on vegan grounds, Ben and Josh instead took to describing the plan as coercion through taxes. Also, if the plan makes people happier with the system and the system is still bad, then maybe the plan is a bad idea? This debate also encouraged a high quality discussion on the concept of mandating shots before caucuses, which would result in some particularly interesting results. Dan, our local Jim Gilmore enthusiast, was a fan.

Carolyn and Amanda were also opp. There opponents defined this house as Marco Rubio, and for the plan to him totalk to people in cities. After pointing out that Marco Rubio is already, y’know, campaigning, their opponents suggested that he simply do more – which elicited concerns from our team for his software developers. All that work must be bad on the system. The disad that he might run out of batteries was sadly missing. There was never really a clear reason why Marco Rubio had an impact, but the real clincher was the counterplan to reduce voter turnout and swing the election for the GOP. Their opponents noted that Marco might not make it to the general election – which, I mean, not with that attitude! Surprisingly, there was no perm on this counterplan.

Dan and Ani were (surprise!) also opp. Their judge noted before the round that the debaters should know that she was a “stepmother of cats”, and that her main hope for the round was that there be “less debate shit”, which we wholeheartedly support. Their opponents gave a $50 tax rebate to everyone who voted, which they claimed would solve for people who might lose their job if they took time to vote. Dan and Ani were skeptical of whether $50 was a fair price for a job, but whatever. They argued that increasing voter turnout would push liberals to the right, which maybe Bernie Sanders solved? Also, the funding mechanism apparently used welfare money to fund this rebate, which seems incredibly fair and not regressive at all. For the second straight round, Dan and Ani used the phrase “states are the laboratory of democracy” successfully. Also, they ran a CP which removed the electoral college and created a federal voting holiday. Is this competitive? Probably not! Was there a perm? Nope!

Afterwards, we decided that it might be a good plan this round to interpret this house as an oppressive regime (or the Taliban!), and then open up for democracy, which might have bigger impacts than cookies (not to trash talk cookies though!)

The debanquet was pretty fantastic, with a touching tribute to a retiring coach and a hilarious speech about forensics as an activity, and with senior quotes left for another date. We retired to our high quality hotel, where we now had three rooms for six people, which in the words of Dan Gold is “dank af”. I think. We’ll be back for two whole rounds tomorrow!


This House Would Nuke The Crap Out Of Tibet

Round 4:

Topic: THBT Iran is the key to peace in the Middle East

Carolyn/Thomas were Opp, and thought the round was pretty fair – the Government advocated for support of the Iran deal and an increase in trade between the United States and Iran. Carolyn/Thomas argued that this would isolate US allies and allow Iran to export radicalism to other states in the region, which may or not be offensive? We’re not sure.

Ben/Josh were Gov, and ran a facts case because we’re in Minnesota and sometimes you just need to tell the truth! Arguing that only Iran was in a position to intervene successfully in Syria due to manpower and long-term stability, they also made the fantastic argument that Iranian clerics are a model for Syrian Islam, because there is no division between Shia and Sunni. Their opponents countered that Egypt was key to peace in Syria because of weapons flows, which failed to address some key issues (like what do about weapons in the region?)

At the end of the tournament, Carolyn/Thomas were 2-2 and Ben/Josh were 4-0 and the top seed (a novel experience for both) and broke to quarters.

Quarters topic: This House believes it is time for a military downgrade.

Ben/Josh flipped Gov and argued that the US and Russia should conclude a nuclear disarmament treaty to around 300 total warheads, with all the run-of-the-mill nuclear apocalypse type stuff. Their opponents argued that deterrence is key to reducing North Korean nukes. In response, Ben pointed out that 300 weapons was probably still enough to “nuke the crap” out of North Korea, which may have lacked decorum if not a degree of accuracy. At the end of the round, the hippy peaceniks from Carleton prevailed 3-0 and moved on to the semifinal round.

Sems topic: This House would reevaluate its “One China” policy

In a trend of two, Ben/Josh once again flipped Gov and advocated for a classic cause of the left, suggesting that China should give Tibet the right of self-determination in a referendum. Their opponents were very solid debaters, arguing on multiple fronts: first, that being a part of China is good for Tibet; second, that implementation was difficult; and third, that cost benefit analysis by China requires only costs and benefits to the PRC. Ben and Josh disagreed on all points, but the debate ultimately came down to the question of whether a cost-benefit paradigm can involve China making ethical decisions even if they don’t strictly help China. In a 2-1 decision, Carleton WhYo lost. Sad, but made better by Culvers.

Apparently there were more Vocal Vikings, although Carolyn was 9th and Josh was 7th speaker! Whoooo!

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Loudly Screaming Norsemen In Mankato

The Carleton Debate Team has traveled to sunny Mankato for the Vocal Viking tournament, breaking a nice streak of not making it to a tournament during fall term!

Two teams are here: Carolyn Grahn/Thomas Redding (Carleton Grr…) and Ben White/Josh You (Carleton Why?) We’ve had three pretty fun rounds so far!

Round 1
“This House would increase the value of college education.”

Carolyn and Thomas were Opp this round and had what they thought was an invisible plan: The Triangle.

da triangle

If Gov had increased grants, they would have countered free college. If Gov had called for free college, they would argue for only increasing trade schools. If Gov had argued for increasing trade schools, then they would go one of the other two positions.

Sadly, this beautiful picture was desecrated by their opponents, who defined “this House” as the government of Germany, who would give students the ability to choose between Gymnasium and Realschule.  We of course ran topicality (because who knows about German high schools???–Actually Thomas knew some things).  But we also ran trade school advantages because giving kids the choice to go to college will undervalue trade schools, or at least that’s what we said.  The gov provided one argument that if kids were given choice about higher education that they would be happier.  We responded that if people aren’t taking blue collar jobs then there will be higher unemployment and that makes everyone sad.  Unfortunately the judge did not see it that way.  I guess happy unemployed kids are good too.

Josh and Ben were also Opp. Given the variety of possible plans, Josh decided to reprise the tried-and-true strategy of going all the way right and prepared a libertarian NC that argued that government intervention in higher education is inherently wrong because it’s a violation of property rights. Luckily for them, the gov’s plan ended up being banning for-profit schools and providing free community college, which actually had a somewhat compelling link to the NC (otherwise, he would have had to say something about taxes being slavery or what not). In the LOC, Josh read the aforementioned NC and a convoluted T shell that had two violations linking to two contradictory definitions of increase value (banning for-profit colleges fails to raise the value of for-profit degrees, but increasing community college enrollment decreases the average value of college degrees). He also read a CP about mandating transparency for for-profit schools and ending government subsidies for loans to for-profit schools, only he forgot to read the second plank in the CP text (he referenced it later in the speech, which is good enough, right?). Ben had the good sense not to go for T and to go hard for libertarianism, providing a compelling argument for why for-profit colleges ought to have the right to exploit misinformed veterans. Because everyone should have the right to make bad decisions. How else could Ben get through Fridays at Carleton?

Round 2:

“This house prefers the walking dead to flying monkeys.”

Carolyn and Thomas had a (good) bye, and watched Ben and Josh’s round.

Ben and Josh were gov and decided to interpret the topic literally, arguing that a zombie apocalypse solved for all harms in the quo by ending the neoliberal order in a fiery orgy of death.

But actually, Ben and Josh took a much less reasonable approach to the topic, defining the walking dead as survivors of medical issues who might have otherwise died and flying monkeys as “the diseases that come and carry people off of the yellow brick road that is life.” Logically, this demanded the creation of a single-payer health system. After a PMC so organized it might have been in German, the opposition (from Stolaf! boo hiss) ran the states counter-plan with a politics disad. Ben’s MGC argued that there really isn’t any uniqueness for a politics disad, but also did lots of solvency comparison. Most critically, Ben talked about the implied politics disads in state legislatures, bemoaning the lack of attention to these issues (which we would never be guilty of, of course.) After the LOR went all in on magnitude outweighs from the disad, Josh reprised his time in LD and closed out the debate with a passionate defense of damn socialist commie nonsense.

Round 3:

Carolyn and Thomas were government with the topic “This house would change the way politicians are paid.”  We said that we would tie congressmen’s pay to Congress’s public opinion.  We said this would be better because it would provide incentives for the government to respond to the will of the people and cooperate.  Carolyn said that the impact would be people would have greater faith in the government (and she cited The West Wing and House of Cards to show the change in public perception of Washington).  The opposition were die hard idealists who believed that politicians should do things because they are right not because they are getting paid.  Also they expected us to have all the details of how to implement the plan now, which we didn’t have because we only had 15 minutes to prep.  Thomas did a great job in the MGC telling the opposition we needed to accept that politicians are selfish and that this was a debate about ideas not to actually create policy.  They also mentioned that Abraham Lincoln didn’t have approval ratings when he was trying to get the 13th amendment passed.  We were confused but finished the round by reminding the judge that because they did not run a counter plan all we had to improve America a little bit.  Of course we were restoring hope in the American dream up in there.

Ben and Josh were opp, and their opponents decided to end pensions for former congressmen and presidents in order to reduce the national debt. Ben and Josh discussed the incentive systems of democracy, arguing that guaranteeing stability for former politicians makes it more likely that they won’t be corrupt or influenced by moneyed interests in any way. This is reflected by American democracy’s current total isolation from influence by money, providing really strong uniqueness arguments. In a battle of who had the tinier link story, the debate ultimately came down to a question of fundamentals. Is fiscal responsibility as important as democratic equality? And how will this tiny change influence either?

Also of note was a team trip to Ragstock that resulted in Ben wearing a cowboy hat for the rest of the day.

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Save the Polar Bears

Just a quick update on the debate team’s progress at state.

Round 4: This house affirms the rights of animals

Ben/Josh were gov, and went full vegetarian and banned the slaughter of birds and mammals for consumption. Their opponents argued 1) That this wasn’t realistic and 2) That we should only ban factory farms. In an astonishing change from their usual conservative core, Ben/Josh argued that radical ideas are important for debate, and also that reality is a secondary concern. Which is probably the governing principle of their debate philosophy anyways.

Amanda/Carolyn were opp, and were able to determine that the role of the ballot was to affirm the rights of humans, which runs a fair bit counter to the resolution. In a great victory for feminism, this was an all-girl round. Take that, patriarchy!

Cal/Chris were opp, and their opponents argued that polar bears have a right to not die. It’s still unclear what their advocacy is beyond that polar bears shouldn’t die. Cal/Chris felt that this didn’t leave them too much ground, because they don’t actually think polar bears should die. What softies. They argued for subsets topicality, because it’s probably abusive if you can just pick any animal you think is good and argue for it.

Both Cal/Chris an Ben/Josh broke to quarters! There is much excitement. The obligatory banquet blog post will come later, hopefully along with updates from the out rounds.

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