[eDebate] Today's Menu: Iron Chef Battle Prison Reform

Ede Warner ewarner
Wed Jul 18 13:24:58 CDT 2007

Hello, this is Alton Brown and welcome to Kitchen stadium, home of Iron Chef America.  Today's battle is between the challenger from that Van's Pig Stand in Norman, Oklahoma, Chef Jackie "Are those Ribs" Massey.  
Chef Jackie, which Iron Chef do you want to battle asks the chairman?  I chose Iron Chef Josh "yes, I'm a Rangers fan" Hoe.
Chairman says today's secret ingredient is..."Prison Reform!"  Alllllaaaaay cuisine!!!!!
Alton to sideline reporter Kevin - "who are today's judges."  Kevin responds, "Well, since today is such an important battle that will determine what CEDA/NDT will debate for the next 10 months, we have nine judges, aka the topic committee."  Alton lets each one have a quick comment but Darren starts blithering about Royals history and Alton is forced to cut to commercial.
"Back to the battle" says Alton, after the commercial break, "What does each side have going on Kevin?"
Kevin responds, "Well Chef Josh has what looks to be a very standard general area paper on prison reform working.  It's well-researched, beautifully written, and he seems to be using the traditional ingredients of a stem and several lists to augment his dish.  It is very layered and complex.  You can tell only a master chef could create such a dish.  He has also called in plenty of sous chef support as it looks like he has about 30 debate directors lined up to garnish his paper.  It's going to be hard for the judges to ignore this meal Alton."
Alton:  "So now tell us about the challenger.  Please tell us he is not making ice cream with prison reform?"  
Kevin:  "No, not at all Alton.  But his radical approach is mind-blowing."  Chef Jackie is also creating a general area paper but it's design has far fewer ingredients.  The paper is a simple examination of the problem of the prison-industrial complex, with a couple of old school resolutions along the lines of, Resolved: That the United States substantially reform the prison-industrial complex; and Resolved: That the United States Supreme Court create a new precedent establishing substantial prison reform; and finally "Resolved: That the United States Federal Government increase national control over prisons".  Very little complexity to their dishes as any cook at home could try this.  But I don't know how they will taste?"  One other thing Alton, the challenger's paper has an addendum at the bottom which says that voting for this paper represents a vote for a broad topic similar to those of yesteryear.  That's going to make it tougher for the judges to dismiss their worldview I think.
Alton:  But how will the challenger compete with the 30 debate directors lined up for garnishing Iron Chef Josh's dish?  I heard that Challenger Massey wants to over season his dish by attempting a coup on both the topic committee and the CEDA excutive council?  
Kevin:  I overheard a conversation between Jackie and his sous chef Andy.  They believe that the overthrow ingredient is too spicy and unnecessary for this dish.  It is their belief that they can appeal to authority if they season the food correctly.  While Massey has only 10 directors presently to garnish his dish, he and Ellis have decided to not only create a transparent web site to make discussion of their area paper visible and participatory, they are going to engage in a massive public relations campaign in an effort to lure former CEDA members back.  Each of the 10 directors has committed to trying to get 5 former or new members to join the organization with a commitment to also garnish the Massey dish.  if they get 25-30 new members in addition to the ten they have to garnish already, they believe their general area paper can win handily because of the judge's will be persuaded by symbolic value of how they prepared their meal with mobilization of new schools.
Alton:  So instead of a revolutionary overthrow of the officials, the Massey and crew strategy is going to appeal to the current authority by 1) winning the general area vote for a broadly worded topic; 2) creating some evidence for the past claims made about topic size and the relationship the CEDA membership.
Kevin:  Yes, it seems both sides are attempting to use the real secret ingredient of competition in a productive way to produce social changes for the good of the community. You see if the challengers win, it then motivates the Iron Chef to make mobilization of more schools part of his recipe in 2009.  If both sides now have incentives to persuade and recruit new schools as part of the meal making process, then the entire community wins, no matter whose topic is selected.  This invigorates and infuses the democratic process that judge Stables has worked endlessly on creating, but that currently fails because it lacks a substantial increase in membership participation.  And while the judges may have a tough decision after this battle, there will be clear evaluation guidelines and concrete evidence to support the topic committee's decision.  It's okay to compete, at least that's what we justify and rationale all season long, but it's merely a question of how we compete and ensuring that our competition moves us towards our shared goals as a community, instead of away from them.
Alton:  Wow!  Using competition to create great meals!  Who knew?  Well the competitors are starting to cook.  Let's see after the commercial break where these different strategies take us?  Iron Chef Josh, is that sous chef Shakira "I'm not really a poker player, but I stayed at a Holiday Inn last night" Repko attempting to light the grill again.  Tell him he can't leave the gas on that long before he lights it........Damnit Will, I told you to let Hanson light the grill <inaudible> 
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