Saturday, July 28, 2012

Infrastructure - Review of Cases - Part 4

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

Airport Improvement Program
Electric Vehicle Infrastructure

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.

Airport Improvement Program (AIP)
The AIP is a block of funding grants available for a wide range of improvement projects as long as they meet a nebulous set of National objectives which give top priority to noise abatement and military projects.  Because there is such a wide range of projects that may qualify, the Aff is potentially a shell for any kind of project a team hopes to advocate.

At the time I reviewed the case files, NDCA had filed two AIP cases.  One was a shell which I review below and the other was a specific case.  Both used some of the same cards.  The specific case identified a few other advantages, the shell did not.  Those interested can look at the specific case to see how to use the shell to create a specific case.  I am not a fan of the political advantage claimed by the case however, since it may only be valid until the election and in my opinion, it's links are opinion or speculative at best.

Increased capacity enables reduced delays with a net benefit to the economy. Airports are a source of jobs and revenues. As you might expect if you are a policy debater, upholding the economy avoids a worldwide collapse and resulting conflicts and increased risk of terror attacks.

Improved security reduces the risk of terrorists using general aviation aircraft and facilities to carry out their nefarious deeds. This scenario generates bio and nuclear terror potentials. Guess what terrorism leads to...yup nuclear war.

If airports succeed in reducing their carbon footprints then global warming is slowed, environmental damage mitigated and the biosphere thanks you for preserving the earth. Otherwise, environmental damage leads to famine which leads to yet another nuke war scenario.

Various Solvency/Advantage Add-ons
Bomb Detection
Improved screening for baggage bombs. The advantage links for this should be obvious.

NextGen is the satellite based aircraft navigation system and is a case by itself. AIP provides the infrastructure improvements required to support NextGen which requires substantial upgrades to airports and aircraft. Therefore AIP links to NextGen's copious advantages.

Military Airport Program (MAP)
This program is an AIP pre-approved grant so, if AIP gets funding, the advantage or perhaps, better, solvency for capacity and congestion problems, is a no-brainer.  MAP does not increase militarization or security. It merely converts idled military air-bases into commercial and private airports.

The Good
I like the idea and think it makes a good shell for a variety of specific cases which can fall under AIP in general.  Topically and states CP challenges should be non-starters since airport management has long been a USFG responsibility.  The files has good extensions, and background cards with help in understanding how the funding can be achieved.

The Bad
The case file I looked at is a shell, but a pretty good start.  This needs work so don't expect to just start reading the cards and expect to have a case.  The links could be a little better. Certainly, the environmental advantage is a stretch in my opinion.

Good shell. I would recommend it as a basis for creating a pretty good case. Definitely a good start for a novice team if a coach or varsity teammate helps them develop it.

Electric Vehicle Support
Provides investment in infrastructure for electric vehicle charging stations.

Increase in EV infrastructure means more vehicles which means lower prices for EVs and batteries so then this feeding frenzy sort of begins and consumers get excited and the industry skyrockets.
PPPs (Public Private Partnerships) can provide the mechanism for funding.

Clean energy industry is stimulated by targeting electric vehicle infrastructure.
Auto industry is stimulated as the sales of electric vehicles increase.
Either of the above advantages are linked to a declining economy in the SQ which is on the brink of collapse with expected nuclear war impact.  By stimulating one or the other industries, clean energy or automobile, the flagging economy harm is solved and nuke annihilation averted.

Heg is supported by the competitive auto industry which we helped out by investing in charging stations.  When heg is strong, the military-industrial complex thrives. Strong heg also allows the case to claim the electric vehicle industry is helped because the military uses the technologies which spin out of that industry.  Of course we all know what happens if heg is weak or collapses.

Electric Grid
The power grid is vulnerable to nuclear attack which would be devastating if we had no way to charge our iPads.  The claim is made that investment in EV infrastructure stimulates the powers that be to build up and harden the grid. Well, maybe build up but hardening is only suggested by the tag on the card.

Dwindling Oil
We are rapidly running out of oil and when that happens all manner of stuff will hit the fan.  EVs are the key to ending our dependency on oil.

Climate Change
You can no doubt see the connection between electric vehicles and mitigating climate change.  Electric cars reduce harmful emissions and since all global warming is anthropogenic, problem solved.

The Good
I see the case as topical and certainly the inherency is valid.

The Bad
Is there any reason at all this infrastructure can not fall under state initiatives?  The inherency evidence claims that most of the EV charging facilities are in California which strongly suggests the State of California spurred the development locally rather than some federal push to build the infrastructure.

The link to the Heg advantage is non-existent.  I mean, if Heg is strong it benefits industry and a strong industry benefits Heg is very circular.  Heg is pretty strong right now, and that alone has not been a particular stimulus to the EV industry, otherwise this case would not even be inherent.  Also, the electric grid advantage is overstated.  The nuclear vulnerability is not even remotely solved in the evidence provided.  The case wants us to assume that, hey since we're upgrading, why not harden against nuclear attack? That shouldn't add too much to the upgrade cost.

Even though people may support the idea of stimulating the EV industry, this case is going to be met with all kinds of good Neg challenges. Most significantly, other than funding, there are no real inherent barriers to normal market forces building up the EV industry.  Besides the fact the need for USFG action is unclear, many of the advantages are not linked in a consistent way.  You may want to consider a different case altogether.

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