Saturday, July 02, 2005

Will Sears, 18 and legal

Cunningham-Mancuso lab member Will Sears is celebrating his 18th birthday today. The rumor is that he has a date with the 40-somthing librarian, now that he's legal.

The lab took a break from a grueling...I mean rewarding...research session this afternoon to have some cake. We also produced what might possibly be the worst rendition of "Happy Birthday" in history.

He closed his eyes, made a wish, and blew out the candles -- apparently he wished to be able to do more DNA Databases politics link work, because that's what he's doing now.

Congratulations Will, and we wish you many, many more.

Steve and Kenda

Friday, July 01, 2005

LLS reaching the finish line

Lantz, Lee, and Serrano Lab has spent most of the day finiishing our Gitmo Affirmative. While things started a little slow, we are all excited about the AFF.... especially the rubber dinghy.

We also had a good day of Theory. A strong session that fellowed up on Kenda's Counterplan lecture and a session on AFF answers to Disads.

While the Lab leaders still have a long night of evidence sorting, the students have begun their Negative reserch efforts - Courts CP and a China DA.

I think Lantz has a couple of students working on his summer assignment during their down time. At this point they have surpassed his evidence production for next year's college topic :-)

off to party like it is 1999 ....

Hall/Lundberg T Debate Assignments

Topicality Debates

1. Instructions--
One person debates the negative and one person debates the affirmative. The negative needs to prepare a T violation as you would present it in a round. The affirmative needs to prepare 2AC answers. The negative will then answer the aff answers.

Use the theory house to construct your violation, you can use Planet Debate to get evidence.

There will be a 1 minute cross x after each of the first two speeches.

2. Assignments—
Laura & Jen: Plan: The USSC will overrule its decision in Brignoni-Ponce to require that police only make border enforcement stops based on probable cause. Race is not a legitimate basis for probable cause.

Kevin & Trevor, Plan: Congress will pass a law requiring that the executive branch either charge or release all people detained under the label “enemy combatant.”

Debs & Nick, Plan: Congress will pass a law limiting presidential authority to detain without charge by requiring that all detentions comply with relevant international law.

Eli & Spencer, Plan: The USSC will overrule Brignoni-Ponce by prohibiting race as a factor in border stops.

Ashley & Matt, Plan: Congress will limit presidential authority to detain without charge by preventing rendition to other countries for the purpose of torture.

James & Izzi, Plan: The Supreme Court will declare that Guantanamo Bay detentions are unconstitutional and order the executive to release all detainees held there.

Clint & Cliff: Plan: The Congress will substantially reduce presidential authority to detain without charge by preventing torture of detainees.

Eli & Alex: Plan: The Congress will pass legislation prohibiting the detention of anyone under the age of 18.

Theory Debates - Cunningham-Mancuso Lab

We held four mini-debates on topicality theory this afternoon. Considering this is the first "debate" for the summer they were generally excellent.

There was consistent improvement throughout the session, especially on the technique of "embedded clash" that Kenda stressed. It's a technique that dramatically increases word economy while at the same time generating clash.

It felt good to start getting down in the trenches and working on actual debating.

Kenda: "Have impacts to your theory arguments."

Steve: "Stay on your flow."

Kenda: "You can establish control of the room with a confident assertive tone."

Steve: "Sometimes slowing down helps you speed up. Speed is effective communication per minute, not words per minute."

Kenda: "In your final speech you should be making comparative arguments."

Kenda: "I'm not a fan of the 'little a' and 'little b' ultra-substructuring."

Student comments/critiques at the end of each debate were also insightful.

Here were the match-ups:

1) Extra-topicality not a voting issue: Chris Barnett and Stefan Jiang (aff) vs. Will Sears and Sam Caporal

2) Affirmatives need only be reasonable, not best: Alec Wright and Priya Parikh (aff) vs. Kurt Woolford vs. Tylor Orme

3) Grammar outweighs debatability: Christa Neblett and Leonard Lewis (aff) vs. Michael Butera and Kate Haynal

4) Best Definition is the Most Limiting: Matt Young and James Joseph (aff) vs. Vicki Henning-Smedja and Abe Corrigan

We also had a great seminar where we established that the ideal number of plans for a resolution is 18.6.

Duly reported,

Steve Mancuso

Awesome Topicality Lecture by Ed Lee

"Awesome" = "inspiring awe, remarkable, outstanding" (the best interpretation)

This morning Ed Lee delivered a wide-ranging analysis of the Civil Liberties topic combined with a healthy dose of T theory.

Ed is the long-time director of the University of Alabama debate program - leaving Alabama to take a job coaching at Emory University in Atlanta. Ed has also been a staff member at the Emory high school workshop for many years.

If you have any questions for Ed about the lecture ask through the comment section.

Steve Mancuso


The aff's coming along, despite some setbacks with angry grad students in the lab. The Democracy promotion add-on seems to be pretty sweet. Now we're churning along with negative assignments. After Aaron generously offered to cut both Spanos and Neo-managerialism, we decided instead to cut the Race K and a Consequentalism/Deontolgy file.

The assignments for the following few days are as follows.

Terrorism DA: Anjali, Sara and Eddie

Executive Order: Kevin, Chris, Harsha

Consult NATO: Scott S, Pat M, Libby

Deont/Conseq: Scott M, Tony, Aaron, Iris

Race: Lee, Walter, Budri Pat E

Topicality : Dennys

Also the Lab Leaders are pleased that we seem to be the only lab with the skill to operate scissors.

Cunningham/Mancuso labbies need help..........

The lab is fairly busy producing two great affirmatives: Korematsu and DNA. In order to progress in an efficient manner can someone please answer the following five questions for our lab students:

1. "Oh........when you say cut up the cards are we supposed to use scissors?" (asked by a rising male senior from a well-known program)

2. "Even though we all have copies of the sorting matrix on our computers why shouldn't we all stand in a circle and use the one on Matt's computer?" (asked silently by certain members of the Korematsu aff group)

3. "Wait! You meant library when you said library? We thought we should go to the dorm instead." (these two will be seen at another institute later in the summer)

4. "I hope Mancuso doesn't hate us" (literal quote by two female students on their first of five times asking to leave early/arriving late")

5. "LUNDY....... did you really indict the fashion industry? The most interesting thing about me is my obsession with clothes. What am I supposed to do now?" (this is the easiest to guess)

Have a great day at camp!


Thursday, June 30, 2005

Hall/Lundberg Lab -- Wave 1 and 2 Assignments

Borders Affirmative:
Trevor, Spencer, Matt, Jen, Kevin, Laura, Ashley

Enemy Combatants Affirmative:
Debs, Nick, Cliff, Eli, James, Kaitlin, Clint, Izzi, Alex

Negative Assignments:

Race Neg: Kevin, Matt, Kaitlin, Trevor

Terrorism: Jen, Cliff

War on Drugs: Alex

Human Rights Promo Bad: Debs

Statism/Authority K: Laura, Izzi, Eli

Word Substitution PICs: Spencer, Ashley

X Category: Clint, James, Nick

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

So what does Dallas Perkins, debate coach at Harvard, think about the high school topic?

Well, you'd have to be here, at the Miami Debate Institute, room Laws 301, to know.

In his only lecturing appearance anywhere in the US this summer, Dallas offered the Oxford Scholars program at Miami his views on the Civil Liberties topic.

Dallas is one of the nation's greatest and most accoplished debate coaches, having coached several national champions and the 2005 NDT Top Speaker. His insights into debate policy strategies are unparalleled in their perceptiveness.

Today he extensively outlined the detailed strategies the government would use to counteract affirmative plans to decrease detention without charge. His conclusion: run a case about "search without probable cause".

Excerpt from Dallas: "Please note that this topic does not say 'decrease detention' it says 'decrease the authority to detain'.

Chris Lundberg:"Plans that establish a code regarding treatment or behavior of detainees could be anti-topical, they are an exercise of authority over the detainees, not a decrease."

If you have any questions for Dallas about his lecture, ask one in a comment on this post.

Steve Mancuso

Introductory Kritik Lecture - Chris Lundberg

Today, Chris Lundberg gave the first lecture on debating the Kritik. Focusing on representations, he outlined three main themes within the lecture: power pleasure and politics of the person. Power was examined in two parts, disciplinary and juridical power.

He reminded the campers that juridical power is the type of power that RAs love to exert on the campers, while disciplinary power is the kind of power that makes people internalize rituals which they believe is “right”.
Room check is at midnight, and you wouldn’t want to be late, would you?

Moreover, Lundberg connected the lecture to the students by highlighting fashion as a form of disciplinary power. There is no such thing as the Fashion police, (even though Alec Wright is working on it), but we all watch how we dress and try to fit in though clothing.

Applying this to the topic, Lundy went on to explain how discipline creates rituals which create absolute truths, specifically in the areas of privacy and searches.

In our own social rituals, every night the campers have played ultimate Frisbee. We have some results to report:
Team Domination: 29
Team Trojan Horse: 4

Team One: 13
Team Two: 11

When not playing Frisbee, there have been a few rap “battles” (until someone takes a vote from will, I'll use the word battle lightly):

Will Sears: 12
Matt Young: 0

Will Sears: 33
Alec Wright: 0

Dr Voth is still waiting to show off his Frisbee golf skills, any challengers?


LLS Schedule for Wednesday June 29

10am Disad lecture with Steve Mancuso - laws 303
11am small seminar groups
12 lunch!
1pm lab in Bachelor 131
5pm dinner!
6:30 lab in Bachelor 131

If everyone works hard, we'll call it an early night and give the kids an evening off. Given the hard work the kids did last night, it looks promising!

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Mirchandani Spring Strait lab aff assignments

Here are the assignments we agreed upon in lab this morning:


Race advantage, Security advantage, and answers: Anjali, Dennys, Eddie, Scott Movens, Budri

Solvency, answers, and alternate justification counterplan: Pat McEwen, Pat Elwell, Sara

AT: DAs: Harsha

Food prices add-on: Dennys


Surveillance advantage, security advantage, and answers: Tony, Iris, Lee, Chris

Civil Rights advantage/democracy/SOP: Aaron, Scott S., Walter, Kevin

Solvency and answers and possible CP: Libby, Kevin, Lee

AT: DAs: Tony

So far so good...

Seems like things are going smashigly so far. Our lab's been broken into two groups, one working on enemy combatants, and one on border searches. Both groups have been crankin' and seem to have good vision about where they are going.

Lectures have been good so far, though Steve spoke about this new "political capital" DA that he's been working on... apparently something to do with president clinton... in all seriousness, he did declare he cut the best "winners win" card he's ever seen last night, which given his considerable chops on all things politics is a serious claim.

Hope all is well with everyone here at Miami, and with anyone else in the debate community droppin' in from cyberspace.

And just so this message gets picked up in web searches, here's some random words:

Sex, Michael Jackson, Pokemon, Danica, Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes, War of the worlds, and Melissa Maxcy Wade...

Peace out, as they used to say on the hard streets of SLC.


Lantz-Lee-Serrano Lab

We discussed Ed's infatuation with Purple Rain thoroughly as the lab introduced themselves to each other. Only about four students shocked us by admitting that they have done absolutely nothing all summer. They all seemed excited to be in Oxford and even more excited to work with myself, Ed, and Nicole.

After the survey lectures to introduce the topic to our students, we brainstormed the Affirmative that our lab will be writing this week -- detentions at Guantanamo Bay. Due to technical difficulties, we were unable to show an inspirational scene from A Few Good Men where Guantanamo Bay was sort of mentioned. Perhaps those technical difficulties were an omen of a brewing storm (literally).

After dinner, our lab met at King Library to get a tour of the library resources at Miami. A few members of our lab, including all of the lab leaders, got stuck outside during a complete downpour thunderstorm. However, not even being dripping wet would stop us from learning how to use the library, including the most thrilling lecture we will most likely hear by far.

Today, our lab is getting their feet wet (not literally) with Topicality, including a lecture from Ed and seminars with other lab leaders. Later today, we will unleash the fury of the LLS research force at the library to start our assignments.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Cunningham-Mancuso Lab

We learned a few things about people in the lab today.

One of our lab members has webbed-fingers (Abe) which should have served him well in the downpour tonight. One of us impressively speaks four languages (Vicki) while others apparently are still working on their first. One of us recently competed in a sailing contest - but cheated - from Annapolis to the Bahama's (Matt). One person loves clothes (Alec, of course).

A few people in the lab have seemingly led such boring lives up to now that their experiences here this summer will undoubtedly qualify as the most interesting things they've ever done.

I actually overheard a prolonged discussion about transitive verbs.

Priya and Kate got incredibly lost on their way to the library tonight during the rain storm and ended up dripping all the way through the library lobby.

Here's the schedule for tomorrow morning:

9:00 a.m. Lab meeting - Reid Classroom (the depressing dungeon)
10:00 a.m. Lecture - Disadvantages on the Topic - Steve Mancuso - Laws 301
11:20 a.m. Seminar - small group discussion of lecture topic with various faculty

Congrats on a great first day!


And We're Off.....

It's the first day of the Miami Debate Institute.

The first day of a debate workshop always seems really, really long. There are usually a high number of lectures, always some orientation-type sessions (library, computers) and introductory lab meetings.

We had our share of those today.

We had two introductory lectures this morning - one by Sherry Hall (Harvard) on the "detention without charge" part of the topic, the other by Steve Mancuso (Miami) on the "search without probable cause" half.

There were a number of great questions by students - no doubt future criminal masterminds who were trying to figure out how easy it would be for the police to foil their plans.

Sarah Spring, graduating senior from Miami, gave a very helpful lecture on "How to Research at Miami."

The four affirmatives that we are working on in the five-week workshop are:

Enemy Combatants - Chris Lundberg (Northwestern)
Border Searches - Sherry Hall
Korematsu - Kenda Cunningham (Georgetown)
DNA Databases - Steve Mancuso

Tonight, most of the debaters are in the library working on the topicality file or their affirmatives.

We suffered through a GINORMOUS rain storm right around the start of the library session tonight, so many of us are soaking wet, but still working at our research. Apparently the rain also caused the postponement of the first ultimate frisbee game.

Tomorrow, we have a lecture on "Topicality Arguments on the Topic" by Ed Lee (Alabama, now Emory) and "Disadvantages on the Topic" by Steve Mancuso.

Everyone arrived at the workshop as scheduled, with little travel difficulties (well, maybe a lost wallet on an airplane - way to go Spencer).

We're off to a great start. Comments?

Steve Mancuso