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Oil Pipeline Debate, revisited

Do you remember the Dakota Access oil pipeline debate (“The US should immediately stop construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline,” 2016-2017)? It pitted the Standing Rock Sioux tribe in South Dakota with an oil company who wanted to build an oil pipeline near their land. When we debated this topic several years ago, the pipeline had the “green light” to be built. Now, that light has turned “red.”

Dakota Access Pipeline News Article

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Voting for Disabled Citizens

With all the hubbub over the next debate topic (whether election day should be a national holiday) and this November’s presidential election, did you ever wonder how New Yorkers with limited dexterity or other disabilities can exercise their right to vote?

This website shows how the Image Cast ballot-marking device (BMD) helps disabled citizens to vote.

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Bye-Bye No-Cash Restaurants, We Hardly Knew Ya

A debate topic several years ago discussed whether a cash-free society would be the right way to go in the future. And for a while it looked as if New York City was going cash-free. Many restaurants started implementing a no-cash policy, and only accepted credit cards or other “digital currency” instead of cash.

That may be about to come to an end. The government got involved, and the New York City Council may pass a law that prohibits credit-card-only stores.

The New York Times has more information on this story.

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Should Washington D.C. be a state?

The third topic of our debate season is “Washington D.C. should be a state.” It is a tough call. Already there is a Washington state over on the west coast. If Washington D.C. were to become our 51st state, what would we name it? New Washington? What if I sent a letter to my sister in Seattle, and it wound up in the Potomac River? So many questions…

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The News Literacy Project

The News Literacy Project is an organization that helps students learn to tell media fact from fiction.

Among other resources, they have a crop of videos that may be very useful for your student debaters. I watched the one entitled Double Check Your Facts and got most of the quiz questions wrong! Hah!

Watch the video and see how well you do.



For more information on The News Literacy Project and what they offer:

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Woman Killed by Driverless Car

Tragedy struck when a woman was killed by a driverless car. The car was an Uber taxicab, and there was a person in the car (though not driving at the time).

Uber plans to suspend its driverless car project for the time being.

Read article

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Virtual Currency, Revisited

Back in 2014, our debate topic was “In the future, all currency should be virtual.” Well, Israel took a step in that direction, when it passed a law to limit cash transactions between people and stores. They did it to stop different kinds of economic crimes, as well as to make sure the goverment collects all of the taxes to which they are entitled.

Reuters Article

At the same time, bankers around the world met to discuss whether the countries’ central banks (the main governemnt banks) should issue virtual currency at all. They were afraid it could ruin economies and contribute to financing terrorism.

Washington Post Article

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What About Self-driving Trucks?

As we delve deeper into the topic of automated (aka self-driving) cars, we keep running into questions about self-driving trucks. Would the same rules apply? Do we need different laws for trucks than for cars? Which should come first? What about all the trucking jobs? We are curious to hear what the teams found out in their research. Round 2 begins next week. Are you ready?!

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Digital Currency a Reality

Well, the kids debated it in 2014, and three years later it is a reality. Look at this sign in a Japanese restaurant on 31st street in Manhattan. They only accept credit and debit cards…no money allowed! Which means that if you wanted to pay for your meal with dollars and coins, or if you are not old enough to have a credit/debit card, or if your credit card was turned down, etc., etc., you have to go to another restaurant. Bad luck if you are craving sushi!

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Sanctuary Cities

The debate is over, but we just now came across a map showing some of the major sanctuary cities in the U.S.

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