I am not sure how you found my site, but if you are interested in checking out what seems to be a growing forum for Public Forum debate, I would encourage you to check out PFDebate where there is a blog, wiki, and forums. While I always take the general populations comments with a grain of salt, I think Bob, the owner of PFDebate, is doing a huge community service by hosting and maintaining the site. It is always interesting to see what happens when a community forum is made available to a national audience of high school academics. Enjoy!
While we haven’t received an email from the National Forensics League, the three Public Forum topics are up for voting for January. And the choices are…
- Resolved: The United States federal government should legalize marijuana.
- Resolved: In the United States, elections for federal office should be financed exclusively with public funding.
- Resolved: In the United States, plea bargaining undermines the criminal justice system.
I was beginning to do research on the topics and write out my deliberations before voting and then realized I could write them out here just as easily as on a piece of paper (and maybe save a tree in the process?).
The first thing I can do is rule out the marijuana topic. I recognize kids may want to debate it. We wanted to debate it 12-15 years ago when I was a high school debater. It was worn out then and the debate really hasn’t evolved much. The research is still skewed, there are still lots of biased sources around. For selfish reasons, I would love to see a more unique topic proposed. Additionally, having seen a number of PF rounds this year, I could easily see students turning this into a medical merijuana debate which isn’t what the broad topic proposes but is an easy way out of a fair number of arguments. And the medicinal debate has been beaten to death.
Let’s move on to the Plea Bargaining topic. I think this topic is pretty interesting. However, it is a rehash of a 2007 Lincoln-Douglas debate topic and let’s be honest, how many debaters are going to complain about that. Because heaven forbid we ever see a topic repeat in our history. There definitely have never been political battles about similar topics, or wars over similar… oh wait….
But on a serious note, I do worry the topic is a bit broad for a 37 minute debate. The criminal justice system is pretty huge. Which means we will probably have lots of counterexample wars where winning arguments on both sides lack comparable quantifications and pass by each other like ships in the night, forcing judges to cherry-pick what they want to vote on.
I recognize the complaints from people who think the public funding for elections smells like the lobbying topic. I think some of those arguments could be made here (see above sarcasm as to why I don’t care about that argument), however I also think this resolution poses some real world, real time questions. This is especially true with the mid-term elections just ending and the run for the 2012 presidential campaigns getting heated up.
You can guess how I voted. Now I can only hope that in the month my team debates multiple tournaments every weekend, that I get to see some amazing debates!
I have been reading a delicious book that I encourage foodies and the socially conscious to check out.
Can’t wait to make the recipes I am reading about but I am loving the themes of healthy eating, loving yourself, and caring for the world around you.
It only makes sense that the longest break I get is also the first time I get sick in forever. Go figure! I used to joke that the reason I never took a vacation was because my body wouldn’t get a chance to get sick because it was too busy. Despite it being totally unhealthy, I think there may have been some truth to it.
Aside from sleeping tons, I am also drinking a fair amount of tea, making sure I take my vitamins, and eating an umeboshi plum a day. Hoping to be better by tomorrow so I can get some more cleaning done. Would love for this place to be shiny before I head back to work on Monday!
What are your non-drug cure-alls?
There are many things I am thankful for this season. In celebration, today we will drive to Lodi to feast with the family. After a couple months of eating mostly vegan with a couple of cheats, I decided to plunge in for good this week. What a time, right? Thanksgiving? Well guess what! Today’s meal was fabulous!
- Field Roast Grain Meat Co. Celebration Loaf
- Clementine Cranberry Sauce
- Sage Mushrooms (with vegan margarine)
- Mashed Potatoes (sans dairy)
- Garlic Green Beans
- Sweet Potato Salad
- French Bread
- Maple Walnut Cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World
What is your favorite Thanksgiving dish?
Schedule for today:
- Spa appointment
- Grocery shopping for Thanksgiving
- Meet with department member to review budget proposals for her area
What a short short list! Can you believe it? Aside from cleaning house and budget prep, I have five fabulous days of freedom!!! I am off to enjoy it while it lasts. This is the longest block of time off I have had since June!