09 Feb 2013

Evergreen Triumphs at Stanford

See full results here

After two days of battling it out on the beautiful Stanford campus, it came down to this: CFL stalwart Evergreen Khan & Park v. Fresno dark horse Nazareth Christian Browatzke & Vehrs matched up in the Santa Clara Marriott’s Salon C. Also, a rarity: the number 1 seed against the number 2 seed, an occurrence that seems to have last happened in an alternative universe where top seeds aren’t dropped with regularity in double-octofinal rounds.

And at 12:35 p.m. the championship round kicked off. Nazareth Christian affirmed the resolution “U.S. foreign policy is too little too late” and after 38 scintillating minutes of debate the two teams were asked to step out into the hallway and experience the nerves that only a championship round can provide.

After a few minutes the two teams were invited to resume their spots at the front of the room and after a dramatic pause the curtain was pulled back to reveal the judgement. Evergreen KP had successfully negated on a 3-0 ballot and the Kindles had found a home with the not-as-tall team.

Let it be entered into the record that Khan & Park won with style by winning all 10 rounds of debate and claiming an extraordinary 19 out of 20 ballots cast. Things are shaping up for a spectacular finish to the season. With so many quality teams in the mix, this year’s TOC just might be the best of them all. Stay tuned.

46 Comments to Evergreen Triumphs at Stanford

  • Anonymous says:

    Any updates? Round postings?

  • Armand Domalewski says:


  • Saif Khan says:


    Obama is the most polarizing president ever.

    Music is the more influential than literature.

    Palestinians should accept complete demilitarization in return for a guaranteed sovereign state.

  • Anon says:

    Round 4 Resolutions
    4A1 – Africa should solve its own problems.
    4A2 – This House should prohibit genetically modified food sources.
    4A3 – Prominent people should enjoy the right to privacy.

  • From Above says:

    James Logan: “In the eyes of future generations, Obama‚Äôs policies have done more harm than good.”

    Stanford: “Obama is the most polarizing president ever.” (How does aff win if neg runs Abraham Lincoln?)

    Outside of the fact that these resolutions are just ridiculous, what I find a little worrying is the tone. What’s next? Perhaps: “Resolved: Obama is the worst president in U.S. History.” Maybe “Resolved: Obama has set back race relations more than any other president in U.S. History.”

    Why not have debates about specific policies Obama has implemented or plans on implementing and weigh them on their merits or demerits? Oh, yeah, that would lead to some focused debates.

  • Sarah McGuinn says:

    I’ve already probably talked Artem’s ear off about these topics but :|

    Suddenly I am longing for the days of Batman vs. Spiderman.

  • Karthik says:

    If aff doesn’t have a 100% win rate on 4B….

  • Karthik says:


  • Really? says:

    From above:

    The Logan res was actually one of the more interesting from that tournament. While I think that it does fall to opp between two good teams, that isn’t anywhere near uncommon, and is vastly tempered by the circuit’s views on debt.

    Now for Stanford, if the Aff was half-decent, they could frame the round such that it is the individual, not the time, such that it’s compared to a generic politician from their party. Lincoln was conciliatory, moderate. Any Republican elected would have been grounds for secession. Lincoln had nothing to do with it.

    The tone is an interesting point, and while I don’t think you can take anything from these two resolutions, except that the writers were trying to buck the standard assumptions on the circuit (unfortunately making the case more lopsided).

    While the former resolution would probably warrant an Aff K depending on the judge, the latter is actually a very interesting question, even if it wouldn’t be a good debate. Most research in that direction does point to a higher correlation between Obama vote count and opinions on race (most so in the ’08 primary) than was ever noted before. Of course, that doesn’t go back anywhere near 200 years.

  • Firoz Gill says:

    Does anyone know the semis matchups?

  • Robert says:

    i am beginning to understand the logic behind vague/unpredictable topics. I think the people writing them are knowledgeable enough to write your normal “this house would intervene in syria” type questions but are purposefully choosing not to to keep parliamentary debate spontaneous/about logic rather than prep/evidence. very grateful for the good judging though, wish every tourney was similar

  • Armand Domalewski says:

    Anyone defending these topics is silly.

    The “Obama is most polarizing” topic requires you to prove he was more polarizing THAN ALL 43 OTHER PRESIDENTS.

    The “international minimum wage” topic required you TO USE A NON-EXISTENT ACTOR.

    The change is often mistaken for progress resolution did not even require you to prove it was mistaken for change MORE OFTEN than it was actually change; you just have to find a reasonably acceptable definition for “often”, pick enough examples, and win.

    “The EU should not tolerate attacks within its territory by organized terrorist organizations.”

    What is the neg ground? DEFENDING TERRORISM?

    This is crap.

    Oh, and the whole “oh it tests your logic!” argument is also nonsense.

    1. Any judge will tell you that these rounds have been far from logical.
    2. Parliamentary debate has a specific format so we can provide ways to logically assess competing claims and arguments; there is no good “logical” way to resolve whether HEALTH AS A WHOLE IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN WEALTH.
    3. Logic is grounded in evidence and examples; unless you want parli to become pure A=A Logic 101, then evidence/warrants matter.

  • Artem says:

    On the skewed topics.
    There are decent arguments that can be run on all these topics (eco-terrorism or states CP on the EU topic, Schopenhauer on the music vs lit topic, WTO & GDP-per-capita indexed minimum wage, ask the neg who they think the most polarizing president was and then prove that Obama is more polarizing than that one president). The problem is that there are no good stock arguments, leaving less experienced debaters with atrocious rounds. In a tournament with a diverse field, a good topic is one which allows for both good stock arguments and good advanced arguments.

    On spontaneity
    If you want to encourage spontaneity, the last thing you want is metaphorical resolutions. When faced with a metaphorical, any smart aff team would just parametricize it and run a pre-prepared pet case. This is what happened in the APDA league, where tournaments used a lot of metaphorical topics. Eventually everyone was running pet cases, so APDA just doesn’t bother to have resolutions anymore.

  • Marshawn says:

    How is O’Dowd AP in semis if they lost to Nazareth in quarters?

  • Armand Domalewski says:

    Artem, ecoterrorism is just really really weak ground for the neg.

    The neg would have to win that ecoterrorism a) has some decent lit base of success b) is a better alternative to peaceful environmental movements and c) outweighs the fact that the aff will gain the benefits of tolerating NO terrorism (even if eco terror is good, does peta liberating a chimp outweigh letting al quaeda let nukes loose?).


    On the Obama topic, a neg that is thinking will say “we think every president has been more polarizing.” Then the neg steps up and runs ten different polarizing presidents, the aff replies (and somehow convinces me the man who sparked the civil war was less polarizing), the neg picks the stuff the aff undercovered, and extends.

  • Claire Crossman says:

    Pen PC is hitting Nazareth BV in semis ^

  • Benjamin Morris says:

    Terrorists are like bullies, all they really want is attention. If you ignore them, they will go away.

    Car bombs and surface to air missiles may break my bones, but terrorist manifestos will never hurt me.

    Tolerance is what MLK wanted, it’s what we, the negation want.

  • Benjamin Morris says:

    Also, updated, thanks Claire.

  • Artem says:

    Impacts on the eco-terrorism case are stopping global warming, not liberating a chimp. I don’t have to prove that it’s better than nonviolent tactics, they’re not mutually exclusive. And the reason why eco-terrorism doesn’t have solvency in the status quo is because government security forces effectively counter it. If the government declares it will tolerate eco-terrorism, I could single-handedly end global warming by walking into the HQ of every oil corporation and punching their CEO until they agree to give all their profits to green energy research.

    And if you want a more lay case, this is the one time when States CP is actually a smart strat. There is no reason why counterterrorism operations should be conducted by the EU, which is primarily an economic organization, rather than by national governments (or by NATO for that matter). And there are a bunch of reasons why giving unelected Brussels bureaucrats control over European security is bad.

    Also, the POI was not “name a president who was more polarizing than Obama,” but rather “name the single most polarizing president.” If then they refuse to answer, they link hard into theory (pretty self-explanatory).

  • Anonymous says:

    With the upmost respect to champions of invitationals, I’m beginning to question what it means to win on these topics. In my opinion, it almost seems the luckier debater win, not the smarter one.

  • anonymous says:

    ^poi should do something about that, if HS debaters can’t use the strats artem laid out or similar ones, the debate becomes really ugly

  • Thorpe says:

    Evergreen def. Nazareth in finals (3-0). Congrats to KP!

  • Anon says:


  • Parli dude says:

    Stanford should not be counted for POI points because it’s idiotic.

  • Mark Crossman says:

    Pen would like to thank the folks at Stanford for hosting. From what I have heard, judging was much better than last year-having a judging pool that can articulate why they are voting is the first step-having one able to explain how to improve is the next. Putting a body in the back of the room that can do neither is slightly better than nothing. Topic creation is hard-particularly with regard to ground division. I typically research my topic submissions to insure decent ground division. I would recommend that topics that include the word should could actually lead to a plan text. Like many above, I prefer current event oriented topics because I believe it rewards research and (like I’ve written before), if you are debating NPDA parli in college, you will need to debate current events. Would help a bit if CHSSA would reverse its call that made extemp and parli exclusive events at state. Can’t really critique parli for being less substantial than policy while cutting the one ie that informs the event well. We made it north a few times this year, and have been very impressed with the quality of the debate. Useful to have critical voices that keep moving it in the right direction.

  • Sarah McGuinn says:

    I don’t even have a problem with metaphorical topics (okay, I do, but only because so many teams refuse to parametrize them) but the metaphorical topics that are SKEWED are an issue. Because half the time, it’s just who happened to be on the right side of a skewed topic. That’s not rhetorical skill determining the outcome, it’s essentially a flip of a coin. I don’t know that the judging was all THAT much better, but you’re always going to have primarily parent judges in Parli, as there is no real ‘circuit’ and thus no impetus for the tournament to make the standards for judges higher. I thought they were fine, the same parent judges we see in league tournaments mostly. Though there was one apparently coach judge who dropped my team because she didn’t like one of my team’s hairstyle and also didn’t understand that speaks are on a 25-30 point scale even after it was explained multiple times to her. *sigh*

    Congrats to Evergreen! Artem and Armand, you guys do an amazing job and wonky topics or not, it’s clear your team is excellent.

  • Jeff Leibenhaut says:

    Congrats Evergreen!

    As for topics, CHSSA needs more time-space resolutions XD

  • Armand Domalewski says:

    I demand that whenever POI mentions me or Artem they link to the infamous photo.

  • Benjamin Morris says:

    Many resolutions are time-space friendly, I think the strategy is just under-utilized.

  • Jeff Leibenhaut says:

    This weekend, a gov team ran “You are in charge of a catholic sunday school. Do you make the sunday school teachers swear on the bible that they believe in the church’s doctrine? Opp choice.” That was a good debate.

  • Benjamin Morris says:

    …also it’s set during the Salem Witch Trials. Boom, time-space.

    Oh, wait, they’re not Catholic. Oh well.

  • Rohan says:

    Way to go Saif and Bum.

  • Armand Domalewski says:

    This is kind of a sidenote, but I researched this: the WTO does not have the ability to set minimum wages. This was actually explicitly argued in several WTO trade disputes. So no topical actor.

  • Parli dude says:

    Sample topics from next year’s Stanford Invitational:

    Resolved: The Rwandan genocide was justified.
    Resolved: Peter Griffin is more athletic than Lebron James.
    Resolved: Nuclear strikes ought to be valued over diplomacy when dealing with foreign policy conflicts.

  • Karthik Konath says:

    You forgot “The USFG should tolerate a North Korean nuclear strike on California.”

  • Benjamin Morris says:

    Peter Griffin fought a human-sized chicken in space, let’s see Lebron James do that.

  • Swagged Out Pair of Boots says:

    All of the open topics are rooted in current events. The terrorism one about the EU pertained to recent bus bombing in Bulgaria. The open topics still can be debated using current events and if you aren’t super solid on the news there is still ground for an educational debate.

  • Karthik says:

    I am glad it is rooted in current events, but that is not the only important criterion it must meet. It also has to have an equitable split of ground. The topic is ridiculously one-sided.

  • Swagged Out Pair of Boots says:

    That thinking shows the lack of intellectual flexibility that is growing in the parliamentary debate community.

  • Armand says:

    I mean it’s just not true. There is no one advocating for an international minimum wage, there’s no actor with the power to implement it. There’s no one calling for the EU to tolerate terrorism. Even the decent topics were not rooted in current events; there are no legislative proposals to legalize organ sales. If you’d ask me to say what was current events preceding Stanford, I’d say:

    Gun control, tax policy, defense cuts, and Syria.


    And it is not a “lack of intellectual flexibility” to say that ground should be equitable and fair. Just because a neg or aff CAN win a round with a bad Rez doesn’t mean the Rez was fair. Fairness as Artem pointed out, doesn’t just mean one side could be super creative and come up with some decent ground; it means that at the novice level, both teams should have access to plausible, viable arguments that are somewhat obvious. (Especially with no Internet.) The terrorism resolution is a great example of that—being able to articulate specific Eco terror args and weigh them against al quada requires a depth of mnowedge far beyond a novice. Aff novice teams should not get guaranteed wins against neg novice teams.

  • Swagged Out Pair of Boots says:

    Good thing there was no novice division at Stanford. Moreover, parli isn’t supposed to be impromptu policy. Does intellectual flexibility come second to canned arguments?

  • Armand says:

    Uh a huge portion of the people at Stanford were novices, regardless of the divisions, and you’re not replying to the argument that open level debaters should also have equal access to ground. Are you seriously telling me you don’t believe there should ever be equitable ground? Should resolutions include “Hitler was right to kill Jews” and “We should execute gay people”? There’s a point at which you demand way more creativity from one side of the resolution than the other—that destroys fairness. Competitions are supposed to be fair. Otherwise we’d just flip coins.

    There is a difference between “canned arguments” and “no incentive to read/research.” If you want debate focused purely on delivery, then do spar. If you want debate focused purely on content, do policy. Parli is supposed to be the happy medium. Debate topics for which THERE IS NO LITERATURE don’t inspire creativity; they inspire lying and stupidity. The level of outright dishonesty and economic nonsense that happened in the “international minimum wage” round demonstrates that. The purpose of parli is to have extemperaneous, intelligent arguments based on current events—if you hate discussing current events and don’t like education, then that’s your prerogative, but as an educator I find that an uneducational, contentless debate format is not worth spending taxpayer dollars on.

    (And don’t give me that “WAH WE’RE BECOMING POLICY” crap. Since when does policy consist solely of “canned arguments”? Have you seen the level of research, creativity, and hard work those kids put in? It’s one thing to have a different vision of debate—it’s another to insult a debate format filled with kids who work far harder than you.)

  • Swagged Out Pair of Boots says:

    There are no topics like “we should execute gay people.” Also, when I say that parli is not supposed to be policy, I mean that the TOPICS aren’t supposed to be like policy ones.

  • Benjamin Morris says:

    You’re right. Armand was trying to make a point, the topics aren’t as bad as condoning a genocide. However, they were still really bad, to the point at which one side still had to support tolerating mass killings for political purposes (terrorism).

    Why not only have policy topics? Even if it’s not a state actor (USFG, CASG), policy debates have clearly divided ground (do it or don’t), real world applications (convincing someone your approach is better…you’ll use it a LOT), and often encompass the fact and value debates that (SOME) people claim to love.

    If you’d like to give a reason why there should be non-policy topics included, please do so.

  • Artem says:

    “Does intellectual flexibility come second to canned arguments?”

    At the risk of feeding the troll, let me repeat:

    If you don’t like canned arguments, you should hate metaphorical resolutions. Because the best aff strat on a metaphorical is to run a canned case.

  • The spice of life says:

    Why have topics other than policy?

    Because they are so different. Despite what your post implies, policy differs drastically from fact and value rounds. Sure, some of these elements can be brought up in policy rounds, but they only do in rounds between good teams, and unfortunately scarcely at that. However, policy rounds by and large don’t do this. They generally come down to rudimentary cost-benefit analyses. In NPDA or APDA, you’d expect things on the role of government, some meaningful views at how society would change, and maybe some economics beyond explaining Keynesian multipliers. For whatever reason though, you don’t see this on the circuit.

    Not to name names, but I’ve seen top teams assert that democracy is a “de-facto value” in rounds, *admitting* that it wasn’t going to be warranted, then moving on. This became a voter in round, after not being disputed by the other team. In the last few years, I don’t think I’ve seen more than one team that actually defended even short-term deficit increases, and very few who wouldn’t just crumble when their only offence in the round, debt, was brought into question. Being able to explain the term “negative real interest rates” has single-handedly won rounds. Individually, these gaps can be explained away as questionable strategy decisions or not haven taken econ, but together? Together, they belie a closed-mindedness withing CAHSSA. Debaters just aren’t thinking about these things, because it’s policy, so they don’t need to.

    Therefore, we remove the only way that debaters are actually going to think about these things? The possibility of “Socialism does more harm than good” and its variants forces us to know some philosophy, and history doesn’t hurt. “War is not a path to peace” – Again, know some history. Tie it together with some cogent analysis (could be philosophy, econ, just about anything)
    “Smaller government should be valued over larger government” – This is pretty clear. Forces you to widen the scope of the analysis, speak generally. Too many policy debates dig into the details and ignore all of this. Have this round, and you can turn the analysis you gave and heard in future rounds, improving their quality in turn.
    “Knowledge should be valued over belief” – probably a little one-sided, but at least both teams will be forced to ask themselves in prep “What does it mean to know something?” That type of thinking is critical, not just to being a better debater, but not going through life blind.
    (Many thanks to Windsor 2010 for its topics)

    Now, I will admit that they can be more difficult to balance ground-wise (and even that policy rounds are more likely to be high quality, at least in my experience), but they do exist and can be important. Further, having these type (even if the fact that there are “types” that are so harshly divided hurts each with the division) makes Parli what it is. Pretty much every other type of debate that is available in high school does something better than Parli. Taken together, there is very little little left that makes it special. Variety is one of those things. Parli may not have the deepest arguments or the best speakers, but what it does have is flexibility, having to debate absolutely anything at the drop of the hat.

    Don’t stifle that because of a couple bad reses, hoping to become better by shaving off the weakest links. Strengthen them, allow Parli to become better by embracing what makes this activity special, and improving all of the rounds in the future.

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