Future for SoCal-LD?

Hello everyone – this site has now been around since September, 2006 – 488 posts and 8+ years ago! Since then NFA-LD has become well established in Southern California. I’m thinking of removing the ‘blog’ part of this website and just archiving all the articles & evidence.

I also have run out of interest & time to keep posting new articles. If anyone has any thoughts on the future for SoCal-LD.net I’d appreciate any feedback.

Danny Cantrell

Sample Case

Here is the first affirmative constructive that Jendi ran at the 2014 PSCFA Seminar last weekend at Orange Coast College.
As I’ve covered before on this site, my philosophy towards cases is that they should always be under revision. This is the first draft that Jendi worked on for about 2 weeks for the seminar. It’s certainly not the best case and before we would run it at a tournament we’d want to substantially improve it. We originally had a different harms scenario but ended up going with Global Warming because we thought that would be easier for the seminar audience.

But if you’re looking for a sample case for this year – here ya go!


2014-2015 Topic!

Time to get started! Here is the topic for this season:
2014-2015 Resolution


We’ve started doing some research here at Mt. SAC and are finding a lot of neat and interesting case areas. I think this is a great topic for novices because you can go to your first tournament with 5 negative folders – topicality, generic neg, and one folder for each of the areas specified in the resolution.

Best of luck!

One week left to vote!

School Name:

Person Submitting Ballot:


Ballots should be returned to President Larry Schnoor at the National Tournament or by e-mail (lgene9535@aol.com), but in either case not later than April 30th. A weighted preferential voting system will be used to determine the final resolution (1st place receives 5 points, 2nd place – 4 pts., 3rd place – 3 pts., 4th place – 2 pts. and 5th place – 1 pt.). Ties will be broken by the President of the NFA, who may at his/her discretion, consult with the NFA-LD Committee Chair. The winning resolution will be announced on July 1st.


A. Resolved: the United States Federal Government should increase its development of the Earth’s moon in one or more of the following areas: energy, minerals, and/or water.

B. Resolved: the United States Federal Government should substantially increase its regulation of commercial satellites.

C. Resolved: the United States Federal Government should adopt one or more of the following policies:
– Adopt and fully implement the International Code of Conduct for Outer Space Activities;
– Eliminate all or nearly all export controls on technology and materials for space programs;
– Substantially increase support for NASA’s Asteroid Redirect Mission.

D. Resolved: the United States Federal Government should increase its support for NASA’s Astrophysics research.

E. Resolved: the United States Federal Government should change its policy regarding military satellites.

NOTE: All 5 resolutions must be ranked in order for ballot to count. Please indicate name of school at top of the ballot and the name of the person submitting the ballot.

The Final Frontier…

From John Boyer:

27 ballots were returned (around the same number of votes from previous years) and the winner is:

D. U.S. Space Policy

Voting reflected the quality of submissions this year as the gap between the first place and last place topic was only 13 points (a topic received 5 points for a 1st place ballot and 1 point for a 5th place ballot, with intervals in between). Each topic area received a first place and a last place vote.

The committee will now begin the work on developing resolutions. The ballot with final resolutions will be released to the public on April 10th.

The community is invited to participate in this process. The committee will accept submissions of resolutions until April 1st. If you wish to submit a resolution or potential area of focus for consideration, please propose your resolution or focus area and then provide a one paragraph justification of why you chose the resolution or focus area. Please take care to justify word choices (as either a term of art from the literature or as something with debatable literature on both sides, etc) and resolutional limiters as these justifications will help the committee formulate an opinion on your submission/idea. Please send all submissions to lafayettedebate@gmail.com prior to April 1st for consideration. The earlier the better!

John Boyer
Chair, NFA-LD Committee
Lafayette College

2014-2015 Topic Areas

From John Boyer:

Attached to this message you will find copies of the NFA-LD Topic Papers that were submitted for consideration. You will also find a copy of the ballot. The Topic Papers are available in .docx and .pdf formats.

Please take the time to consider the topic papers and fill out your ballot by February 14th. When you have ranked all 5 topic areas, please return the completed ballot to the NFA President, Larry Schnoor (lgene9535@aol.com).

Please note that two of the submitted topic papers were VERY similar. The papers submitted by Ryan Monahan and Joseph Rothschild at Lafayette College and Kevin Ambrose at Hillsdale College both dealt with issues pertaining to US military interventions and policies abroad. To avoid confusion on the ballot, I have only included one entry, but both papers have been included in the collection of Topic Papers. Both papers will be considered by the committee when constructing resolutions should that area win. The students at both institutions have been made aware of this decision and have consented to it.


John Boyer
Chair, NFA-LD Committee
Member, NFA Executive Council
Assistant Director of Forensics Activities
Lafayette College


Case List Contributions

Received this note from Jason Ames, DOF at Chabot College in Northern California:

Hello colleagues at PSCFA, At our coaches conference in August, we voted unanimously to share all of our Affirmative cases at the wiki listserve and we would like to invite you to do the same. As you know, Open Evidence is beneficial to debaters and debate in a number of different ways. It makes for better debate, better clash, more depth on the topic, a decrease in the number of “try or die” procedurals, and eases novice apprehension into the event. This is also the norm not only in CEDA, but also in the law (the discovery process). We believe this topic especially requires some clarity by the Aff., since this topic is bi-directional and a huge research burden. In fact, you as an organization have realized this as you voted to limit the topic for novices at your tournaments. We believe that not posting your cases will create a high level of inequity in debates against Nor. Cal. Schools and could create situations of ignorance on this very important topic. Thus, we encourage you to post all your cases at the following website prior to you entering a tournament: http://nfacaselist.wikispaces.com/


New Facebook Group for NFA-LD

Thanks to Chad Meadows for creating a new facebook group for NFA-LD discussion. In the past few weeks there has been great debates over full citations, case lists, potential topic areas and more. Certainly recommend joining the group!

NFA-LD Facebook Group

Livestreaming PSCFA Demo Debate Tomorrow

As a reminder PSCFA is sponsoring its annual seminar (“Demo Day”) tomorrow at Cerritos College. For a full schedule you can go to the PSCFA Website.

At 1:15pm I will be moderating a demonstration debate between Mt. SAC’s Barrett Tate on the affirmative against Irvine Valley’s Aditya Sharma in SS 139. As I wrote earlier the affirmative and negative evidence that will be used is available for all to see.

I hope you will be able to join us. If not, I plan on both video taping and attempting to livestream the debate tomorrow. Here is the link to the Ustream video channel that should go live around 1:15pm PST tomorrow (Sat 9/21). This is my first attempt at livestreaming a debate so any and all feedback is much appreciated!

Video streaming by Ustream

Sample Affirmative and Negative Evidence

On Saturday, September 21 at Cerritos College, PSCFA will be holding its annual demo day. More information about the event is available on the PSCFA website. As part of the day, two debaters, Barrett Tate from Mt. SAC and Aditya Sharma from Irvine Valley, will demonstrate NFA-LD.

As part of the demo we wanted to make the evidence the students will use during the debate available to the community. Professor Rybold and I have tried to make this debate as productive as possible and felt it we post the evidence here ahead of time new students will be able to see what happens “before the debate” as well as during the debate.

Over the summer Barrett wrote an affirmative on GATE (Gifted and Talented Education) reform. You can view the draft Barrett will be running at the PSCFA seminar here. We sent Professor Rybold a copy of the case a few weeks ago for Aditya to prepare on the negative. As a debater this is rather unusual – most of the time you will not know what your opponent will be running until the start of the round.


As part of the deal Aditya agreed to share the evidence back with us ahead of the demonstration debate. Our hope is this will really encourage clash during the debate. You can view the files Aditya prepared here:

Tradeoff Disadvantage

Topicality on “reform”

No solvency for exam schools

exam schools bad

It is very likely that neither Barrett nor Aditya will use this evidence again this year =) Part of the process of NFA-LD is continuously revising and editing evidence as you proceed throughout the year. At each successive tournament cases and evidence should be more precise.

But hopefully seeing example evidence can be a good learning tool for new programs and debaters. Hope to see you on Saturday!

PSCFA Changes to NFA-LD

Last weekend at the PSCFA Coaches conference we made quite a few changes to the rules for NFA-LD. I want to especially thank Professor Gary Rybold (Irvine Valley) for leading the discussion on Friday. About 20 or so coaches were present to discuss these changes – so please note that these changes were not made lightly or without substantial deliberation and thoughtful debate.

These changes apply ONLY to the PSCFA tournaments – but it is very likely that regional tournaments will adopt these rules as well. Please check the invitation and/or email the tournament directors for confirmation.

You can read the minutes here but here are the relevant changes with some explanation for each one:

Proposal 1: The novice entry for NFA/LD shall debate a limited topic:

“The United States Federal Government should substantially reform
elementary and/orsecondary education in the United States in one
more areas: Student evaluations, Teacher evaluations, and Core
Standards.” Passed

Given the rather huge research burden on this year’s topic we felt strongly that novices should have a more limited topic to encourage clash in the debates. Gary proposed this topic since it was one of the potential topics from the ballot.

I fully support this idea – the topic is still on education and all of the novice cases written under the limited topic are still topical when the student moves up to junior/open. My argument was that this helps the novice negative debater – we can now go into each round with a strategy for each of the 3 areas that should clash.

Proposal 2: Novice NFA/LD teams shall be prohibited from running
counterplans and/or critique (aka Kritik) arguments.

Did Not Pass

Although this proposal did not pass I thought it might be helpful to leave it here so coaches/debaters who were not in attendance know what was discussed. It may very likely come up again next year.

Proposal 3: Paper Copies:

When asked to provide evidence used in a round the debater
shall provide a legible copy of the evidence on a paper when asked to do
so by the other debater or the judge. The evidence must include the
entire context of the paragraph(s) without the use of ellipses. The font
size of the evidence shall be no smaller than 12pt type or legible hand
print. Parts of the evidence that were read must clearly be delineated.
The evidence must be returned by the end of round. Passed

This proposal was discussed and debated at length. Both sides had persuasive arguments. I covered this topic a few months ago here in this post.

I fully supported this rule as I believe it allows debaters to better interrogate each other’s evidence. I saw many problems with debaters who exclusively used laptops last year. We may be fighting an uphill battle on this one (debate exclusively on laptops may well be inevitable) – but I felt strongly this creates a more pedagogically sound debate format.

Proposal 4: On-line research:

Debaters are prohibited from doing on-line research during
the round. Passed

This proposal was debated at great lengths with, again, good arguments on both sides. However, the chance for ‘lazy’ debate seemed too high – negative debaters who wait until the round to do case research. NFA-LD is, in my mind at least, designed for you to research and prepare ahead of time on the topic. While the research burden for negatives is huge this year, my hope is that with a solid understanding of the topic a few generic presses will be very valuable (and hopefully persuasive!).

I should reiterate that these changes apply only to the PSCFA tournaments. Other tournaments may or may not adopt them as they see fit – although its likely that most local tournaments will start adopting the rules.

Your thoughts?

— FYI: On Saturday, Sept 21 at Cerritos college we will be hosting a demonstration NFA-LD debate between Mt. SAC and Irvine Valley. More information available on the PSCFA website.

Using Evernote Technology in Research

This time of year, I like to think about the “smarter not harder” ways of accumulating evidence. I know I appreciate the great tips I've received from the debate community over the years, and I thought I'd share a simple set of technologies I've come to depend on for debate research. Feel free to ignore or use at your leisure.

hives treatment

In this post, I want to talk about getting research from sites like Google News. It works, but you end up with crazy sites with weird ads and different formatting for each source. What can help us?

Evernote – http://evernote.com/

This core app allows you to store pictures, notes, etc. in easily organizable notebooks that you can tag like a blog entry. Not terribly useful by itself, but just wait.

Evernote clearly – http://evernote.com/clearly

This might be the best app for web research you're not using right now. It is a plugin for Chrome, Firefox, or Opera that takes a news webpage and filters out all the ads and fluff.
It turns this:

A web site without the clearly app applied

Into this:


But we're not done yet! What do we do with the neat and trimmed version? Do we copy and paste everything into a Google Doc? (You're not using Word or LibreOffice.. are you?) Not necessarily. Install the Evernote Web Clipper (http://evernote.com/webclipper), and with one click a screenshot of the entire article can be saved to your Evernote notebook of choice. For coaches, you could use this to send articles to students to cut, or to save them for later. How many times have you found a great article when you're not ready to be cutting? Save it, and cut them all at a better time.

Also, for those of you using Windows 8, you can make screenshots like the ones I made above without having to copy and paste. Hold down the “Windows” key and press the Print Scrn button, and a .png automagically shows up in your pictures/screenshots folder.

Any other ideas for this or other technologies? I'll share some more in the weeks ahead.

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