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Latest posts

Free Plea Bargaining Evidence

If you’re in NSDA LD, Christmas just came early. Just a little while ago, the NSDA released its LD resolution for January and February: “Resolved: Plea bargaining ought to be abolished in the United States criminal justice system.” Back in 2011-2012,... read more

Transform Your Speaking: Figures of Speech

Having trouble getting your points across? Feel as though your audience is almost falling asleep as you talk? Getting comments like, “try not to speak monotone” or, “try to sound more interesting”? If any of this sounds like you, fear not, because all is not lost. You... read more

The Triangle of Debate

Quite a few sports have been suggested as the real “gentleman’s sport.”  Golf, tennis, fencing, motorsports…these have all held the title.  There is one sport, however, that supersedes all of these.  One sport that combines everyday life, procedures, and... read more

Burden of Proof: What It Really Means

Burdens.  Love them or hate them, you can’t escape them.  Whether it’s a Negative team arguing you don’t have enough evidence or an Affirmative team arguing that the resolution only requires one successful application, debate of all forms is filled with arguments... read more

Negative Strategy: Pretending You’re Affirmative

Throughout life (and especially in debate), the biggest improvements are oftentimes made with the slightest of changes. And usually, those changes have to do with the way you think. Change your mindset, and you can change the way you play the game. So what does this... read more

Introducing: Ethics Bowl

What do the Electoral College, “Fake News,” the Goldwater Rule, and 13 Reasons Why all have in common? Not much, except they were all cases in the Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl this season. In fact, they are just four of the 15 cases/topics that ethics bowl teams at... read more

Evidence the Right Way

In early 2003, the US was convinced it had to do something about the Iraqi nuclear threat. Secretary of State Colin Powell stood in front of the United Nations Security Council, outlined the proof of Iraq’s supposed nuclear program, and urged the world leaders... read more

How To Recover From Mistakes: Here’s A Simple Drill

Audiences dread public speaking because they think, from a whole pile of bad coaching on the subject, that public speaking is about being perfect. It’s not. Nobody likes a perfect person. Public speaking is about being likable, so your message shines through. Today... read more

Parli: Throwaway PMRs

Time for some new theory. Only a couple weeks ago, I was doing some Parliamentary debate.  We were Opposition, and the debate had come down to the mass of historical examples on our side vs. the Government’s contention that the resolution was necessarily true.  They... read more

Progress: Moving Past the Plateau

We’ve all dealt with it. Whether you were working on dropping your mile time, increasing your vertical, or improving your speaking skills, you’ve probably faced the unfortunate reality of the “Law of Diminishing Returns”. Contrary to what we may think, people do not... read more

We Messed Up: Here’s How We’re Making it Right

Friends of Ethos, Let’s cut to it. We messed up. The final versions of our TP sourcebooks contained far fewer briefs than we had previously planned and previously advertised and all of our sourcebooks were released late. So as the new owner of Ethos, I owe all of our... read more

When the Judge Disagrees: Overcoming Bias

One of my favorite subjects is Russia.  Russian culture, politics, language, history…it’s all fun to me.  Because of this deep interest, I decided to deliver a platform speech about U.S.-Russian relations last year.  Let’s just say my opinion wasn’t the most popular... read more

How to Respond to Every Argument, Ever

It was 10:30 pm at NITOC 2016, and I was about to give the last speech of the last out round of the day. I had almost everything prepared. Almost. The problem was, Neg had run an argument that I just couldn’t come up with a response to. But it was okay, I had two... read more

Stoa LD – What’s Different, Part 3: The Exceptions

In the last two pieces, I’ve discussed a couple of things that have changed due to the new resolution we’ve drawn for Stoa this year.  So far, we’ve covered the proper role of values in a fact resolution and the lack of need for applications to prove the resolution.... read more

Dealing with Conspiracy Theorists, Propaganda, and Extremism

“Surely, surely you can’t be serious; that’s absurd—borderline conspiracy theorist!” Yet, sure enough, he was being serious. And as we got into a heated conversation, I soon regretted not taking him seriously. In this age of rapid information and opinion sharing,... read more