Topics – PF Feb ’17

Public Forum Debate – 2017 Feb Topic Area: Cuba

Resolved: The United States should lift its embargo against Cuba.

A regular topic comes around again – in the Extemp Files folder, look for the Cuba subfolder. It has all of the 2016 articles. The Extemp Backfiles has articles on Cuba from 2015 and before.

Obama’s opening of contacts with Cuba, and the death of Fidel Castro, will change the dynamics of the arguments this time around – as will a Trump administration. The Cuban exile community has long opposed relaxing the embargo – will Castro’s death change that, or will they have more influence in a Trump administration than they did with Obama. Younger Cuban-Americans don’t support the embargo the way older Cuban-Americans do – have demographic changes altered the debate?

Topic recap/repost:

Public Forum Debate – 2017 Jan Topic Area: U.S. Military

Resolved: In order to better respond to international conflicts, the United States should significantly increase its military spending.

Starting point: Extemp Files – folders: US Military – Cyber, Russia, China, and possibly US Foreign Policy. Do we increase spending because our military has been worn down by our involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq? Because Trump will take us into Syria? Because we’ve used too many bombs against ISIS and the Taliban and need to restock? Because our technological lead is shrinking? Are Russia or China active threats? Do we need more spending on cyberwar prep – defense and/or offense? Are we still the ‘Cops of the World’ (an old Phil Ochs protest song from the Vietnam era – I think that Spotify has it). Is Trump changing focus from Asia to the Middle East, and if so what are the implications? This topic seems to have more possible arguments on both sides than other recent PF topics have had. The Extemp Backfiles have the same folders and the 2015 articles may be worth skimming.

Lincoln-Douglas Debate – 2017 Jan/Feb

Resolved: Public colleges and universities in the United States ought not restrict any constitutionally protected speech.

It’s trigger warning and safe space time!

Starting point: The LD-Values folder has a Free Speech folder in it. Of more use, though, may be the Education – College folder (just updated today). You’ll want to go back beyond the 2016 articles on this topic. (Sidebar: There should be several articles throughout the folder about writing college admission essays, too – they show up periodically every year.) The folder covers a multitude of topics, so some digging through the files may be required. Look for examples!

Policy Debate – 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.

All topics can be found on the NSDA’s Current Topics page.

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