Friday, July 27, 2012

Infrastructure - Review of Cases - Part 3

For other Policy Debate postings, including an analysis of the Infrastructure topic follow the links here.

Army Corps Waterways
Mobility Disability

Case Reviews
Since camp cases are emerging, I have decided to scan through select case Affirmatives and deliver some summaries. While I will be looking at specific camp cases, I intend to summarize the general advocacy without reference to specific files. So, if several camps put out a high-speed rail case, for example, I will generally summarize the case plans, advantages, etc. without referencing a particular file. Now for sure, some of the reviews will be one particular file, if no other camp puts out a similar case.

This series will spread out over several postings as I find time to review the cases. In general, the posts will be short, the comments will be brief and they are strictly my opinions. If I say I do not like a case, it does not mean you should avoid looking at it, especially since sometimes the files are updated and improved.

The case files, I review will be taken from the National Debate Coaches Association, Open Evidence Project.


Army Corps Aff
Save the waterways based on the fact that lock systems are failing at an alarming rate. The claim is made that by 2020, some 80% of the locks will have failed.  Interestingly, the case file I looked at offered numerous funding alternatives and if nothing else it is very useful to understand how the funding scenarios work to fund infrastructure projects which are not always directly allocated by an act of Congress, which is considered "normal means" in many cases.

Advantages/solvency
Eroding waterways harms economic competitiveness and rebuilding the waterways is key to solvency.  A principle part of the solvency rests in the concept of FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) built upon an export-based economy. Interestingly, the case evidence advocates a sort of "golden arches" theory of International Relations which could link to a laundry list of advantage scenarios, though the file I saw does not expand it.

Rebuilding the waterways will create jobs both directly and a spillover from regional economic development.


Rebuilding the waterways is key to agricultural competitiveness where increases translate to a return on the investment. Amazingly, the file i examined links the growth in Ag competitiveness to avoidance of heg collapse in a Khalilzad '11 card.  The Ag increase also solves rising food prices which is, as one would expect, internally linked to global economic collapse and when that happens, all kinds of bad scenarios emerge among rogue states.

The Good
This case is really quite good and packed with good cards and information which goes well beyond the 1AC. There are nearly 200 pages in the file I examined so its big but the research seems pretty comprehensive.

The Bad
Perhaps it is not terrible, but there is no table of contents so there is going to be lot of time invested in sorting through this file and organizing it.  For some reason, there are no identified advantages and this case could be stronger if advantages are added.

The idea of FDI is not really explained well in the evidence.  I assume the foreign direct investments are happening on both sides of the ocean because it is never really clear which way that money is flowing, although the export economy depends on U.S. goods flowing out.  While an export economy would be great for many businesses, it is not necessarily driven by any of the plan actions and that is a flaw in my opinion since more often than not, an export economy emerges when the dollar is weakest in foreign markets.  The economics of this case can be disputed because of the assumptions which are made in the solvency framework.

Summary
A smart case overall.  It could be strengthen by adding advantages.  The drivers of the export economy and the economics of such an economy overall are a concern and may invite some pretty strong econ disads.


Mobility Disability
A criticism of investment decisions which demonstrate a harmful mindset about mobility for persons experiencing disabilities.  While this Aff has major elements of a kritik, it advocates a real investment of dollars, not simoleons.

Inherency/Harms
Transportation projects tend to isolate persons with disabilities by denying them mobility. In fact this case indicts the transportation infrastructure by claiming it intentionally isolates society from persons with limited mobility. This of course, fosters a mindset of otherization which nurtures our genocidal tendencies.

Solvency/Alternatives
The case challenges students to alter their thinking about the perception of persons experiencing disabilities. The case then enumerates specific things that can be remedied.
The case provides numerous solvency cards which seeks to remove mobility barriers which are both real and physical, and barriers which arise from attitudes.

Advantages
The case does provide a few advantage/solvency extensions, such as solving for exclusion and dehumanization.  For me, these are more or less identified as problems in the SQ that I would think, supposed to be solved directly by the case.  Other specific advantages include a slap against Eugenics, the "science" of the master race, so to speak, with its laundry list of negative impacts.  Eugenics is not that big of a problem in the U.S., is it?  Okay, don't answer that.

The Good
The case is big. In fact, its huge but the good thing is, it does go well beyond the 1AC including 2AC extensions, and answers to anticipated Neg arguments.  Excellent cards, good links, wonderful advocacy most of the time.

The Bad
This case is big.  A team will need to cut it down.  The version I saw was 110 pages
One of the things that strikes me and perhaps I need to absorb it a little more, is the mix of real-world and philosophical, mindset-only actions required for solvency.  For me it muddles things and is a little confusing.  Because the plan is specific in action and calls for a financial investment, it is not possible, in my opinion to argue this like a pre-plan kritik even though it wants to sound like one.

Summary
The case begins well and then it gets messy because after it indicts infrastructure planning, it advocates an infrastructure plan. Of course this time, because we debated it, its going to work out correctly and not exclude people. Nevertheless, I do have to congratulate the authors.  They seem to have put a lot of work into this case and no doubt it can be honed or whatever to make it "feel" right for a more mainstream judge like myself.


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