May 13, 2011
Judgement Day

Not a post about Terminator, I’m sorry. 

More a post about termination, the terminus, and the terminal.

The semester is over, and I cannot stop judging it. I feel this semester I was terribly incompitent. I let myself get distracted and did not attend to the work, the people, the human beings around me who were placed in my life.

My questions were not sharp, and my answers came too quickly. 

I was very much like the people who fund and support these trucks and their message. “If I can just make it to that day,” I thought, “Everything will be settled. I will be happy. All will be solved.”

Well, here is that day, and I would like nothing more than to go back and have another go with these people. But that can’t be done. Suffering, suffering. I create Judgement Day and its required hell, punishment, and grief.

Attitudes like the one that funds this sort of message (the truck message) is a distraction from an atttiude that, while definitionally secular in many senses, is the beating heart of religion - attend to the moments of your life as they come, and only as they come.

Worrying or planning for a day of attonement (even if not as extreme as these folks make it out to be) can distract you from the attonement of this moment, and this one, and myriad millions of instances which for convenience and to keep ourselves sane we call “our life.”

Attending to our lives and not an imaginary day to come insures that we all fall into grace and pass our judgement day - the question is: Who are you and where are you right now? If you can answer that, if you can attend to that, I think you are on your way to avoiding hell.

Why do I not attend to right now and write about these feelings? Why do I sit, eating an orange, and play my Obi-Wan semester back in my head again and again? One can’t clean up without picking up what’s immediately around her.

The semester is over, this cannot be changed. It will never come around again. The students will not have another teacher, nor another go at that class. All of this can be mourned or it can be accepted as it is. Terminus does not mean terminal. Today: There are clouds; the leaves dance in the breeze. I examine articles for my summer course. Judgement day, right now, always right now. Always right here.

April 18, 2011
Anxiously Awaiting Summer

It is a horrible time. That time just before summer where debate fades out and you realize just how behind on everything else in your life you have become.
It’s also the time of year where I constantly worry that I have forgotten to make a hotel reservation, book travel, or register for something. I live in a state of paranoia about quiet, long evenings at home. Something is wrong, something has been forgotten.
But it’s an adjustment period, and by late May I will have fully embraced the summer life. But I am already thinking about next term. Walking home today I was thinking of how to re-arrange my speech course to make it more useful. I was thinking of eliminating an argument based assignment on identifying propaganda, but it’s too good to really dismiss. Here are the questions we had today:
What was the first official act of propaganda?
Is seeking such an origin useful?
Are toys propaganda?
What will you hand your child to play with when you are a parent?
At what age are you immune from propagandistic images? Is age a good determinant?
What are the systemic and surface modes of propaganda? (derived from watching a clip of the TV show “Jersey Shore” which I had never seen and was proud of, thanks for ruining it for me)
Is it ok to use propaganda to combat propaganda?
Is it ok to use something based solely on the rubric of effectiveness?
This has me thinking of some sort of assessment or some final examination project where students generate lists of questions as the result of the semester. For what else do we have of value?

March 5, 2011
Vienna IV Motions so far

U.S. President Harry Truman signs the bill rat...

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1. THW ban all extremist parties.
2. THW return cultural goods to the countries of their origin.

3. THB that the depiction of women in the music industry harms their standing in society.
4. THW dissolve NATO

5. Given a passenger in a car with a driver too intoxicated to drive, THBT that person should be held equally responsible.
I like the round 5 motion a lot, but I am curious as to how Opening Propositions will do. There’s a lot of principle ground to cover in setting up that debate.

March 5, 2011

Right now the first world’s tournament in Vienna is happening, and I’m pretty jealous. I’m taking a weekend off from debate to do real-life stuff, like cleaning and such, and to prepare for a trip to visit family. Next week is our Spring Break at University. I hope to get a lot of reading and writing done.
For news from the Vienna IV, I suggest Achte Minute (@achteminute), and the has tag #viv11. The motions are being tweeted directly from the source, @dkwien.

I wish everyone there the best of luck, and next year I plan to be updating this blog from the tournament!

February 28, 2011
WCSU Debate Videos

Here’s the final round. It was the closest debate I’ve judged so far in the world’s format, probably because the teams are so evenly matched. It was one of those debates where the difference between the first and second was almost so slim to be impossible to account for, and we had to take a lot of time to work it out in a way we felt comfortable with.

Here is the semifinal debate about Wikileaks. 

February 28, 2011
Final West Conn Vlog: Tournament Summary

Great tournament, and I hope to see everyone there again next year!

February 27, 2011
Western Connecticut Results

The winner is Vermont in closing Opposition on consensus.

February 27, 2011
Western Connecticut Final Round

Cornell BZ
Cornell YB
Vermont DA
Vermont SB
In order of position.

Wright, Hernandez, Llano
This House believes that civil disobedience is an essential part of a democratic society.

February 27, 2011
Semifinals at Western Connecticut State University

Room 1

Cornell YB

St John’s/Ohio Wesleyan Swing

Vermont GA

Cornell BZ

Paroske, Teubl, Ohbayashi

Room 2

St. John’s CM

Claremont CB

Vermont SB

Vermont DA

Nelson, Watkins. Leventhal

The Motion is: This House would allow police entrapment.

February 27, 2011
WCSU Round 6

2fer!! THW give India a permanent seat on the UN Security Council and only allow one seat to a European nation to be decided by the EU.

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