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Author Topic: Pre-Wording Paper Thread  (Read 31564 times)
kevin kuswa
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« on: May 17, 2014, 07:36:34 PM »

We are going to try to keep work on the Decriminalization paper on a series of threads here in the CEDA Forums.  Obviously discussion and comments are welcome across as many platforms as possible, but this should help to keep things in one central location and consolidate the efforts.

What we need over the short term, posted here on this thread if possible, are questions people have about the area and thoughts about what groups to set up for wording papers.  All speculation and commentary welcome--we want to hear as many questions as possible.  This would include comments on the details in the controversy paper, questions about terms or how things work, citations, ideas about areas, potential wording thoughts, concerns about various ways resolutions might be constructed, thoughts on the "activities" should be included or not included, etc.  This is essentially a call for brainstorming in order to help us put our research groups together.

Thanks in advance, we look forward to hearing from you.  Once again, the paper can be found here: http://www.cedadebate.org/forum/index.php/topic,5879.0.html

Sincerely,

Kevin
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jkeeton
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« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2014, 10:04:49 AM »

I'll start with a question I have about this topic.

Do the members of the topic committee envision decriminalization as the only option for the final resolutions, or will some options on the ballot use legalization instead?
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dianadaveli
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« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2014, 12:20:11 PM »

In the specific case of marijuana, will the resolution be specific on consumption or also production?
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kevin kuswa
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« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2014, 12:42:45 PM »

good questions--hope to hear more.  from consulting with Herndon, legalization will be strongly considered as the action/verb.  we will be researching that carefully.  not sure on the production vs. other aspects of marijuana (and that would apply to other narcotics), we'll look into it.

keep things coming--we'll have a broad list of wording paper areas out soon.
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JoeBellon
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« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2014, 03:20:49 PM »

Two questions regarding topic area scope, one broad the other specific.

First, the topic paper offers a very long list of "other" areas that might be considered along with the core group. Which of these, if any, will be given consideration by the committee and how and when will that decision get made?

Second, the organ/tissue area seems ripe for expansion into issues of DNA/genetic material -- basically, the question of whether we own (and can therefore patent and sell) our DNA or whether corporations can patent gene sequences based on, for example, the strong likelihood that Herndon has a mutant spleen. Does fidelity to the topic paper prevent that sort of expansion, and again when and how would such a decision get made?

Thanks for all your work and for putting up with us.

Dr. Joe Bellon
Director of Debate
Georgia State University
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kevin kuswa
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« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2014, 03:53:02 PM »

Thanks, Joe--good questions.  We'll look into all the other areas listed in the paper as much as we can--this is a place where research from the larger community will help and could make a big difference in what we consider.  If we consider the five "should include" activities as the minimum as the paper suggests, I would imagine we would have some broader options that also include some of the other areas listed and potentially some activities that did not make it into the controversy paper explicitly (the paper suggests that there may be more activities worth including and that the wording stage can look into other options).  There other some other variables in addition to the number of actions/behaviors/activities/crimes included (passive voice, for one) that will also help diversify the slate.  In terms of when and how--pretty much between now and the end of the meeting, based on community input and committee votes at the actual meeting.  Resolutions that receive five or more votes from the committee at the meeting will go on the slate.  More details on much of this are being worked out now and will be posted within a day or two.  The feedback really helps--keep it coming.  Kevin

Two questions regarding topic area scope, one broad the other specific.

First, the topic paper offers a very long list of "other" areas that might be considered along with the core group. Which of these, if any, will be given consideration by the committee and how and when will that decision get made?

Second, the organ/tissue area seems ripe for expansion into issues of DNA/genetic material -- basically, the question of whether we own (and can therefore patent and sell) our DNA or whether corporations can patent gene sequences based on, for example, the strong likelihood that Herndon has a mutant spleen. Does fidelity to the topic paper prevent that sort of expansion, and again when and how would such a decision get made?

Thanks for all your work and for putting up with us.

Dr. Joe Bellon
Director of Debate
Georgia State University
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Jessica Kurr
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« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2014, 08:59:19 PM »

not sure on the production vs. other aspects of marijuana (and that would apply to other narcotics), we'll look into it.

In terms of marijuana literature, decriminalization refers to possession whereas legalization refers to distribution. I'm sure there are better cards, but this is fairly typical of lexis

Duke 13
(Steven B., Professor of Law, Yale; "The Future of Marijuana in the United States," 91 Or. L. Rev. 1301, lexis)
"Decriminalization" is the mechanism of choice for the countries and most states that have sought to de-escalate drug prohibition. Decriminalization entails sharply reducing to the equivalent of a traffic offense or completely eliminating criminal penalties for the possession and use of small amounts of the drug. No government, however, has ever legalized the drug's distribution, even if that distribution is small-scale and not for profit. Although decriminalization reduces some of the dreadful costs of full-scale prohibition, it retains and could even encourage black-market distribution. n77 Reducing or eliminating penalties for consumers while failing to legalize and regulate distribution could even exacerbate the violence and corruption that are inherent in illegal distribution networks. Alcohol Prohibition criminalized only the manufacture and distribution of alcohol, not its possession or use. n78 It was, therefore, a model of decriminalization. Though a good start toward legalization, decriminalization cannot be the ultimate solution.

good questions--hope to hear more.  from consulting with Herndon, legalization will be strongly considered as the action/verb.  we will be researching that carefully.

Legalization/decriminalization obviously means different things to each area. For instance, legalization implies a regulatory structure for prostitution whereas decriminalization is simply the absent of penalties.

Miller & Haltiwanger 04
(Coty R., & Nuria, Spring, "Prostitution and The Legalization/Decriminalization Debate," 5 Geo. J. Gender & L. 207, lexis)
Legalization, on the other hand, would allow the government to regulate particular activities regarding prostitution. These regulations could include for example: establishing red-light districts, controlling public solicitation, licensing individual workers, restricting the ability to benefit from the earnings of commercial sex workers, and regulating the places in which commercial sex is practiced. n163 Decriminalization, however, takes a much more hands off approach, by accepting all forms of an activity, which was previously illegal, as now legitimate. In the present context, decriminalization "refers to elimination of all laws against prostitution, including laws against those who associate with whores: i.e. madams, pimps, and johns." n164

Here's an example using Nevada

Miller & Haltiwanger 04
(Coty R., & Nuria, Spring, "Prostitution and The Legalization/Decriminalization Debate," 5 Geo. J. Gender & L. 207, lexis)
The first issue of much criticism involves institutionalization of brothel-prostitution. Unlike decriminalization that would permit all forms of prostitution, the Nevada system only allows and protects prostitution within a licensed brothel. This policy initiative in and of itself eliminates the option of women to work on their own where they would keep their earnings rather than share them with a brothel's management. Many view this institutionalization of brothels as a redefinition of the "pimp-prostitute" relationship, replacing individual pimps with a limited number of brothel owners directly linked to the government. n239 These critics go as far as to say that the government is now the pimp, controlling "with whom, when, and where the prostitute engages in prostitution through a rigid series of time, place, and manner restrictions." n240

As an aside, finding articles that uses decriminalization in the context of organ sales/trading is difficult relative to marijuana and prostitution. Most of the law reviews and other legal literature uses legalize/regulate because such a process if implemented in the U.S. would be regulated and overseen by medical professionals. If anyone has literature describing decriminalization in terms of organ sales--the topic paper only has legalization evidence--that would be helpful for determining a stem.
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jregnier
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« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2014, 09:30:59 AM »

In terms of marijuana literature, decriminalization refers to possession whereas legalization refers to distribution. I'm sure there are better cards, but this is fairly typical of lexis

I have a feeling that contextual definitions are going to make a serious mess out of distinguishing decriminalization from legalization with any sort of precision (not that this is necessarily a bad thing).  For instance, I have no doubt that a common usage of the terms in the context of marijuana is that decriminalization is possession and legalization is distribution, but that distinction quickly becomes unsustainable if you give any thought to how the terms can be used.  It would imply that the phrase "decriminalize marijuana distribution" is a logical impossibility, or that you couldn't "legalize marijuana possession" without also legalizing distribution, both of which are obviously wrong.  For example, I could reduce the penalty for distribution to a misdemeanor, and that would be "decriminalization" based on many definitions.  I will be angry to judge these T debates.

Legalization/decriminalization obviously means different things to each area. For instance, legalization implies a regulatory structure for prostitution whereas decriminalization is simply the absent of penalties.

Do you think that this justifies Affs actually *creating* that regulatory structure with a legalize topic?  I hope not.  I'm pretty sure it would run counter to the topic paper's conception of Aff ground as "negative state action."  It would also eliminate a key area of negative ground (legalization w/o regulation is bad).  Fortunately, I don't think it's supported by the particular card that you give, which just says that legalization "would allow" for regulation, not that it "includes" regulation.  It seems like what this definition is missing is the "why" behind the distinction, which is that decriminalization implies toleration while legalization implies official sanction.  If you have regulations, then you're giving official sanction to an activity, whereas if you decriminalize that you merely tolerate the activity's existence.

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jregnier
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Posts: 94


« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2014, 09:36:12 AM »

Also, hilariously, that first card about prostitution totally just drops the word "whore" in passing.  Is it citing a legal decision there?  If so, that's pretty awesome/terrible.
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Jessica Kurr
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« Reply #9 on: May 20, 2014, 03:10:33 PM »

Legalization/decriminalization obviously means different things to each area. For instance, legalization implies a regulatory structure for prostitution whereas decriminalization is simply the absent of penalties.

Do you think that this justifies Affs actually *creating* that regulatory structure with a legalize topic?  I hope not.  I'm pretty sure it would run counter to the topic paper's conception of Aff ground as "negative state action."  It would also eliminate a key area of negative ground (legalization w/o regulation is bad).  Fortunately, I don't think it's supported by the particular card that you give, which just says that legalization "would allow" for regulation, not that it "includes" regulation.  It seems like what this definition is missing is the "why" behind the distinction, which is that decriminalization implies toleration while legalization implies official sanction.  If you have regulations, then you're giving official sanction to an activity, whereas if you decriminalize that you merely tolerate the activity's existence.


I'm not sure if it is a necessity for prostitution. I saw a couple articles that made that distinction, but none of them had a "why" the term difference was being used. All of the organ/tissue sales/transplant literature I have seen is in the context of legalization with a regulatory structure not decriminalization.

The contextual definition problem could probably be resolved, or clarified, if work is done looking at legalization/decriminalization for each topic area.
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Adam Symonds
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« Reply #10 on: May 20, 2014, 04:23:31 PM »

It does seem likely that selecting a single mechanism (either decriminalization or legalization) will not work uniformly for all of the areas. This will either necessitate decrim attached to areas that work // legalization attached to its own areas or choosing the most ripe areas and constructing a monstrosity of a resolution that adapts to each of the areas....
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kevin kuswa
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Posts: 345


« Reply #11 on: May 20, 2014, 04:34:40 PM »

Favor--need a few people to join one of the wording groups--it's the wording group that will assess the best way to phrase the 5 "must include" activities from the paper and a bit of work on legalization/decrim...the bulk of it is to match the verb with each of the five areas and to figure out what to include on the marijuana component (use, possession, etc). A few volunteers would help accommodate the research interests of the committee. Email me, message me, or post here. We are getting closer to having all of this worked out. Thanks.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2014, 04:57:09 PM by kevin kuswa » Logged
kevin kuswa
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Posts: 345


« Reply #12 on: May 20, 2014, 04:38:22 PM »

You're right, Adam--this is a key question for the verb.  All of the wording groups are going to be diving into this question...the hope is to have a recommendation for each activity along with resolutions that potentially use both...something like:

R:  X,Y, Z, or Q should be fully legalized or H, I, J, or K should be substantially decriminalized.   Yes, very bulky, but coming along...

It does seem likely that selecting a single mechanism (either decriminalization or legalization) will not work uniformly for all of the areas. This will either necessitate decrim attached to areas that work // legalization attached to its own areas or choosing the most ripe areas and constructing a monstrosity of a resolution that adapts to each of the areas....
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jregnier
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« Reply #13 on: May 20, 2014, 09:18:11 PM »

It does seem likely that selecting a single mechanism (either decriminalization or legalization) will not work uniformly for all of the areas. This will either necessitate decrim attached to areas that work // legalization attached to its own areas or choosing the most ripe areas and constructing a monstrosity of a resolution that adapts to each of the areas....

and

You're right, Adam--this is a key question for the verb.  All of the wording groups are going to be diving into this question...the hope is to have a recommendation for each activity along with resolutions that potentially use both...something like:

R:  X,Y, Z, or Q should be fully legalized or H, I, J, or K should be substantially decriminalized.   Yes, very bulky, but coming along...

I wonder whether these distinctions are really valuable to producing a good resolution.  I'm reminded of a few comments from Scott Phillips and Josh Zive on Facebook that made a lot of sense to me (two people I don't think I would have ever predicted I'd cite)

Scott: "I'm just a caveman, but from my time in debate I think its become apparent that the "community" is pretty deranged when it comes to discussing topics. First, they are obsessed with words having definitive meaning that they do not have in the real world. In the real world people are constantly contesting the meaning of words to advance their personal/political agenda, the result is that words like restrict, remove, increase blah blah blah never have the definitive meaning people in debate want them to. Second, related to this, "mechanisms" are not a thing. No real world policy maker ever thinks about or discusses issues in terms of mechanisms. There is no set way things happen, and certainly no highlander esque one way in any "area". A long time ago when research was harder maybe it was possible to defend the idea that "decriminalize" meant X thing and X thing ONLY or that there was a specific "mechanism" congress used to do Y. Anyone involved in debate over the last decade who still thinks this is true/is a viable way to view the world is pretty crazy IMO- either every single debate topic has gotten it wrong, or we will have to admit the paradigm we have used to think about topics."

Josh: "I wonder if policy debate might benefit from confronting the massive volume of materials available online, rather than trying to restrain their applicability through technical topic wording...  Maybe jumping into a topic with more open-textured language (like that identified by Jordana) would force debaters to get into some of the distinctions between types of evidence that are often spoken of by judges and coaches, but too rarely make it into policy rounds. When you do, even a broad word like "change" may not leave that many really good Affs--that was the case in my (dated) experience."
« Last Edit: May 20, 2014, 09:24:49 PM by jregnier » Logged
burke
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« Reply #14 on: May 21, 2014, 11:20:08 AM »

Scott's comment may not be particularly well-suited to legal issues. Courts are every bit as concerned with ascribing definitive meaning to terms as is the debate community.

I don't advise being imprecise with legalistic mechanism language in a Resolution for the sake of eloquence or brevity. It seems worth it to get it right.

-Ryan
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