Weekly Q & A

For this week’s Q & A, I will answer one question about Beyond Resolved: The Manual and one about the upcoming November 2013 topic.

Q: Why should I buy Beyond Resolved? What makes this different than the other debate books out there?


There are a few reasons why Beyond Resolved is a unique Public Forum Manual.

1. Beyond Resolved is the only manual available that is specific to Public Forum. The NFL published one in 2007, but since there has not been a book dedicated to PF. There are various books out there that cover PF and an additional debate. This means that Beyond Resolved goes deeper into Public Forum than other available titles. Specific topics such as Framework, Judge Adaptation, and Impact Calculus are necessary for advanced PF debaters to get better. Beyond Resolved provides a unique book on the market that covers the basics and advanced PF topics.

2. Beyond Resolved is written by someone who has debated PF, judged PF, and coached PF. Most of the available books are written by coaches. As an ex-PF debater, I have an intimate knowledge of what a debaters needs to know in a round and what kind of obstacles you will face in trying to improve your debating. As a coach, I have developed a teaching curriculum for five years that I used at St. Francis High School and the Stanford National Forensic Institute. Both produced top debaters and allowed me to test and refine the material presented in Beyond Resolved. I am close enough to debating and distant enough as a coach to meet the needs of both debaters and coaches in this manual.

3. Beyond Resolved was written to put knowledge into your hands. I know firsthand the inequality that can exist in debate resources. Having debated for a public school team with one coach, I learned to debate mainly with Varsity debaters teaching me skills with some in-class instruction. We were able to travel limitedly to California tournaments, but national tournaments were harder to attend. Now that I have taught at summer camps and worked as a Public Forum specific coach, I know that it is difficult for teams without the resources to attend camps, hire PF coaches, and travel to national tournaments to compete with schools that have these opportunities. Beyond Resolved distills the lessons I have learned as a debater and coach to make these resources more easily accessible, both materially and monetarily.


Q: What are terms I need to know that are not in the November 2013 resolution?


Like many topics, NSA domestic surveillance has a language all its own. This means it is a good idea to have a dictionary handy while you are researching the topic. It also means that you may have to explain terms to the judge during a debate.

Here are a few terms you should know and understand for the November 2013 topic:

warrant: a document issued by a court that gives the police the power to do something. From Merriam-Webster.

A warrant is legal permission to perform a search or seize property from a person. This implies there is some judicial oversight, or checks and balances provided by a court, over a law enforcement or intelligence agency’s actions.

back-door searches: in order to search data for foreign persons, the NSA can use identifiers (name, location, phone number, etc) of US persons who have been in contact with the foreign person. There may be “incidental collection” of data of the US person, allowing for a back-door search of that US person’s Data. the NSA claims there are minimization procedures to protect against the acquisition of information from US persons. There have been claims that under a limited criteria, however, the data of the US person can be kept. Read more at The Guardian.

fundamental rights: “Fundamental rights are a group of rights that have been recognized by the Supreme Court as requiring a high degree of protection from government encroachment.  These rights are specifically identified in the Constitution (especially in the Bill of Rights), or have been found under Due Process.  Laws limiting these rights generally must pass strict scrutiny to be upheld as constitutional.  Examples of fundamental rights not specifically listed in the Constitution include the right to marry and the right to privacy, which includes a right to contraception and the right to interstate travel.” (From Cornell University Law School)

I note this term because the right to privacy, which is at stake in this resolution, is not a right that is written in the law. It has been read into the law through judicial interpretation over time.

Section 215 of the Patriot Act: Section 215 allows the FBI to order any person or entity to turn over “any tangible things,” so long as the FBI “specif[ies]” that the order is “for an authorized investigation . . . to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities.” (from the ACLU)

metadata:” structured information that describes, explains, locates, or otherwise makes it easier to retrieve, use, or manage an information resource. Metadata is often called data about data or information about information.” (From NISO)

How technology makes this surveillance possible? Check out the Electronic Frontier Foundation for more information. The EFF is also great because it is a nonpartisan institution.


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