PF Jan 2018 Catalonian independence

Public Forum Debate – 2018 January Topic Area: Europe

Resolved: Spain should grant Catalonia its independence.

I did catch a couple of debates on this topic last weekend; the words ‘treason’ and ‘sedition’ were not mentioned in either round. Perhaps they should be. Is treason acceptable, or was Lincoln right that we are one nation, indivisible?

We answered that question in this country over 150 years ago, at no small cost to the parties involved. With that in mind I offer the following article from  the New York Times in 1863: The National Authority – A Test vote in Congress.

In Political Science, one of the key concepts is that the nation-state has the monopoly on official use of violence. If a state or region tries to break away, what right do they have to assume that monopoly? If they’re allowed to assume it, what does that say about the federal government’s monopoly on force, or authority in general? It’s a question this article explores.

Besides, when else will you get to cite an article from 1863?

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LD J/F 2018 Plea Bargaining

Lincoln-Douglas Debate – 2018 January/February Topic

Resolved: Plea bargaining ought to be abolished in the United States criminal justice system.

We did this topic in January 2011 for PF; I still have the Plea Bargaining folder, and have added to it the two articles on the topic that have come out since the first of the year.

I heard some LD debates last Saturday, and the trend is predictable. Aff argues that plea bargains subvert justice; Neg argues that plea bargains are necessary for our criminal justice system to work at all – our judicial system couldn’t handle a full case load.

The big question, unanswered in the three debates I heard, is how countries that don’t use plea bargaining manage to make their systems work, One person hinted at Germany, but the point wasn’t pursued and details weren’t provided. If an Aff could show how things could/would work without plea bargaining, it would effectively refute most of the Neg cases I heard. (I don’t recall that anyone had this the last time we did this topic, either.)

Extemp Files update

I did get some filing done this week; the Extemp Files were updated late this afternoon, as were the Unfiled Articles. The latter is current through this morning. Other folders haven’t been updated yet.

PF: Check the Spain folder for the most recent Catalonia articles.

CX: I suggested to a local team than an infrastructure case would be a solid possibility this season on the education topic – facilities matter, and they’re in sorry shape. There’s at least one recent article on this.

Extemp Files update

The original goal of this blog was to 1) be a cutting service for current events, to cut down on research time by providing a first-pass screening of material, 2) file the articles to give students a head start on topic areas, and 3) post specific articles, sometimes with comments, on certain topic areas.

Trump did in #2 and #3, by generating more stories than any single individual I’ve ever encountered. Goal #1 was done in several weeks ago by life in general, the result being that while I managed to finish pulling November 2017 articles, December took a serious hit (almost nothing pulled, and what was pulled wasn’t done until the middle of the month), and nothing got filed.

In getting back up to speed, the January articles are current through this morning’s news – but filing isn’t happening yet. As such the Extemp Files haven’t been updated (that’s all filing, for which there hasn’t been time), but the Unfiled Articles do include all of November and all of January to date. So, for those of you looking up topic areas, the articles are there but you’ll have to take the time to go through and find what you need.

Current goals are to try to keep current through January and the rest of the season, and to get back to filing if time permits.

The best laid plans…