FX/NX/PF – Extemp Files update

The Extemp Files were just updated, through the end of January (today). For space reasons, a few folders no longer have the June and July 2015 articles – I’m at 98% of space used, and might not have had room for the newest articles had I not transferred a few things to my backfiles.  On active topics, like Russia, everything is still there. (I didn’t purge know upcoming areas – carbon tax/global warming for PF next month, and China for CX next season.) I did purge the Elections folder of all but the last three months of articles. (Plans are to upgrade Dropbox soon. Having the backfiles available would be nice, particularly with China coming up for CX next year.)

Extemp Files instructions repost: The link takes you to a Dropbox folder; if a pop-over window saying something about setting up an account or logging in comes up, just close it.

The files are serious overkill – about 17,000 articles right now. There should be a way to copy or download individual articles when you find the ones you want in your files – try right-clicking the specific PDF file/article and selecting the ‘save link as’ option.

The four-digit numbers at the beginning of most of the file names (and the names of the sub-folders) are simply mm/yy codes so that you can tell how recent the article is at a glance.

Please don’t download the whole thing; it trips up my Dropbox limits and bad things happen that shut down access for others. If you need a full copy, let me know (see the About link for an email address) and I’ll make arrangements to get you a copy.

Topics – CX 2016-2017 – China!

2016-2017 Topic
Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially increase its economic and/or diplomatic engagement with the People’s Republic of China.

I love international topics, and this one is similar to one we did about 20 years ago:

1995-1996

Resolved: That the United States government should substantially change its foreign policy toward the People’s Republic of China.

I think I still have a case from back then. I’ll post it eventually, as an example of what a traditional case structure looked like then.

If you do CX and you’re not graduating this year, start reading. I’ll leave the full China folder in the Extemp Files (no purging). Know what’s in there before camp, or the season, begins and you’ll do well early on. Really.

FX/NX/PF – Extemp Files update

The Extemp Files were just updated, through today. For space reasons, a few folders no longer have the June and July 2015 articles – I hit high 90s on percent of space used, and might not have had room for the newest articles had I not transferred a few things to my backfiles.  On active topics, like Russia, everything is still there. (I didn’t purge know upcoming areas – carbon tax/global warming for PF next month, and China for CX next season.)

Extemp Files instructions repost: The link takes you to a Dropbox folder; if a pop-over window saying something about setting up an account or logging in comes up, just close it.

The files are serious overkill – about 17,000 articles right now. There should be a way to copy or download individual articles when you find the ones you want in your files – try right-clicking the specific PDF file/article and selecting the ‘save link as’ option.

The four-digit numbers at the beginning of most of the file names (and the names of the sub-folders) are simply mm/yy codes so that you can tell how recent the article is at a glance.

Please don’t download the whole thing; it trips up my Dropbox limits and bad things happen that shut down access for others. If you need a full copy, let me know (see the About link for an email address) and I’ll make arrangements to get you a copy.

L/D – Jan/Feb ’16 – Handgun ban

The Gun Issues folder is available through Dropbox, and was just updated through today’s articles.

Affs consistently run safety as a core value, with a variety of value criteria. I’ve been thinking that, while safety is important, perhaps approaching the issue from a public health standpoint (as any number of writers and medical professionals have urged) might work better. You could conceivably use safety as a CV, but then go with public health as your VC. Even a Social Contract approach might work – part of the social contract is the protection of citizens, and 30+k deaths a year suggest we’re not meeting the protection standard very well. Public health, or even utilitarianism (again, 30+k deaths hardly meets the greatest good standard), would match up as a VC. I don’t know that public health would come across as an impressive core value, but it would work as an evaluative measure. (Whatever Neg runs, Aff gets to argue that they’re supporting a system that allows for a huge number of deaths annually, which means a failure to meet a public health measurement/standard.)

This article might help:

Why Haven’t Gunmakers Improved Safety Technology the Way Automakers Did – The Atlantic

L/D – Jan/Feb ’16 – Handgun ban

See the articles posted Jan 14th for some useful numbers. The Blow article has the racial percentages for gun deaths. The Kristof article, p.2, has a gun homicide rate comparison between the U.S. and Australia. Same article p. 3 has the state/state comparison numbers.

More on the racial percentages:

The shocking difference in how blacks and whites are killed by guns

The 2013 numbers:

Waldman – We’re ignoring the real gun problem

Black market numbers:

Blow – Focus on Illegal Guns

Suicides – U.S. numbers and details, plus the Australia 650k/20% figures for the buyback:

To Reduce Suicides, Keep the Guns Away

Australia, from an Australian – note that his numbers are 1M from buyback, about 1/3 of the total number of guns. This is higher than the other number I cited.

Alpers – An Australian gun expert critiques America – You’ve lost control

Gun violence – and the reasons aren’t increases or decreases in guns:

We’ve had a massive decline in gun violence in the United States – Here’s why

Where does the question of domestic abuse enter into our discussion?

Keep Guns Away From Abusers

Smart guns – The opening and closing paragraphs of The Atlantic article are worth quoting:

Hirsch – These are the weapons that could prevent gun violence

The gun lobby maddeningly prevents development of safer, childproof weapons

Is There Such a Thing as a Safe Gun – The Atlantic

So much for the self-defense argument:

Collins – Wanted – Straight Shooters

(In NYC a while back, police confronted an armed disgruntled employee in front of his former place of employment. Something like 7 bystanders were subsequently injured by bullets. All from police firearms.)

Are bullets the avenue to gun safety?

Brown – America should regulate bullets

Another one from Kristof –  he makes the gun control vs. gun safety argument, and has some good statistics (concealed carry, homicide rate, intimate partner violence).

Kristof – Some Inconvenient Gun Facts for Liberals

Read this one carefully – it’s hardly all sheriffs calling for this, and there are some qualifying statements that should be noted.

Sheriffs issue a call to arms – ‘Take advantage of your legal right to carry a firearm’

L/D – Jan/Feb ’16 – Handgun ban

Judged several LD rounds on this topic Fri/Sat; some thoughts.

Numbers are being tossed around rather casually. There are around 30,000 gun deaths each year, with about 2/3 of those being suicides. One article listed a recent year at 33,000+ deaths, with 11,000+ being homicides. Other articles list gun suicides as 20,000-21,000/yr, (around 55% of all suicides) and suicides with guns are 85% successful. Citing the 30,000 figure as murders/homicides is misleading, and not recognizing the suicide numbers skew the subsequent argument.

Some debaters cited increases in violent crime related to handguns. Bluntly, that’s irrelevant, and is more of a correlation than a causation. Violent crime fluctuates for a lot of reasons, rarely related to guns. The key is that decreasing handguns would decrease violent deaths via guns. Violent crime is certainly to be regretted, and guns are connected to a fair percentage of violent crimes, but the safety issue is the death rate.

Several Negs asked why criminals wouldn’t continue to get guns on the black market even if handguns were banned. Statistics here really matter; the question is where do those black market guns come from? Our gun ownership rates have gone up from upper 80s per 100 people to over 115 per 100 people. Our current population is 315-320 million or so. That’s a lot of guns. One source said 300,000 guns are stolen each year; another gave a figure of almost 500,000 per year stolen. Add to that things like straw purchases (someone able to buy a gun gets one for someone who legally can’t get a gun) and sales without background checks, and that’s a lot of black market guns circulating. The thing is, if a handgun ban goes into effect, then there won’t be handguns to steal, nor handguns to be sold with or without background checks. What illegal handguns remain will likely cost a whole lot more (supply and demand kicking in), perhaps pricing them out of the range of many criminals.

Race matters when it comes to gun deaths. White = 77% suicide; Black = 82% homicide.

Comparing the U.S. to other countries isn’t cutting it in actual rounds. No one cited state vs. state statistics. You can find them in the Kristof article, posted previously. Handgun restrictions (short of outright bans) have a surprisingly big effect.

Australia can be misleading. After a mass shooting there, they had a huge gun buyback – about 650,000 weapons, though that was only about 20% of their total number of guns. Again, what effect that had on violent crime (which may have gone up afterwards) is irrelevant (see above). It’s a death rate question, not a violent crime question.

If Aff has to, by the resolution’s wording, go with gun control, should the Neg counter that the real issue is gun safety? Nobody mentioned smart guns in the 5 debates that I judged (which included finals).

More Americans are shot by toddlers than terrorists.

Articles in the next post – this is long enough.

FX – Foreign Policy

Four years of CX debate in high school (the only kind of debate back then), and a freshman year as a chemistry major beating my head against the wall competing with the pre-med cohort, resulted in a quick switch to Political Science as a major (finally completed decades later).

One of the key concepts in PSci foreign relations reading is the concept of Realism, one of the lenses through which foreign policy decisions can be evaluated. An unexpected firestorm on the subject was recently triggered by the following article in Foreign Policy.

Walt – What Would a Realist World Have Looked Like – Foreign Policy

Two responses immediately popped up, citing perceived shortcomings in the original article.

Roger Cohen – The Limits of American Realism

Drezner – Do the greatest op-ed pages in America discriminate against foreign policy realists

Why does this matter to you? In extemp, we primarily deal with policy issues, and are asked questions in rounds that force us to analyze those policy issues. One of the fastest ways to build an extemp file is with articles from the editorial page, since editorial writers essentially do just what we need – analyze policy issues. (One of the fastest ways to do an initial skim of the Etemp Files is to look for articles with file names that start [after the date code] with author names.)

The three articles above talk about a lot of the people you’ll find in my files. You need to know who they are, and have some sense of what lens they’re using to evaluate foreign policy. The articles above will help you do that.