Month: April 2008

Extemp Questions for the Week of April 30th-May 6th, 2008

1. Is Felipe Calderon doing too little to resolve the illegal immigration issue with the U.S.?

2. Should the U.S. government suspend gas taxes?

3. Has Indiana become the tiebreaker state in the Democratic primary?

4. Is it time for John Edwards to make an endorsement in the Democratic primary?

5. Should Israel accept Hamas’s offer of a ten year truce?

6. Is the EU being too lax in its membership requirements?

7. Should Yudhoyono be doing more to decrease religious tensions in Indonesia?

8. Why is Chicago experiencing a massive crime wave?

9. Is Afghanistan becoming more like Iraq?

10. Was the acquittal of the police officers involved in the Sean Bell shooting justified?

Extemp Questions for the Week of April 23rd-29th, 2008

1. What was the impact of the Pennsylvania primary on the Democratic presidential race?

2. Who should be the first permanent European Council president?

3. What should be the future of Kirkuk?

4. Why is the U.S. budget deficit at a record high?

5. Should DNA evidence be required for a death sentence?

6. How can the U.S. improve its nation building operations?

7. Should one year of college education be mandated for all U.S. students?

8. Are we on the brink of a worldwide famine?

9. Why is Spain’s economy slumping?

10. Was John McCain’s appeal to black voters in Selma successful?

Topic Brief: Pope Benedict XVI’s Visit to America


The Pope was touring America past week.  In his first visit to the US, Pope Benedict XVI went on a five day tour of New York City and Washington D.C.  During the tour he met with President Bush, held mass at Yankee stadium, visited Ground Zero and blessed countless passersby.   The trip was toured as an attempt to connect with an American population that was losing trust in Catholicism and especially the new Pope.  However, since it’s not every day that the leader of a major world religion comes to town, let’s talk about what it means for the US, for the Catholic Church, and for the Benedict himself.

Extemp Questions for the Week of April 16th-22nd, 2008

1. Can the Libertarian Party get five percent of the vote in the presidential election this November

2. Is Jimmy Carter’s planned meeting with Kaled Meshaal appropriate?

3. Why are food costs rising?

4. Should the U.S. sign a free trade deal with Colombia?

5. Can Silvio Berlusconi now reform Italy after a decisive election win?

6. Should India cut off foreign aid to Nepal if Maoists win control of its parliament?

7. Is the world being too silent about the loss of democracy in Africa?

8. What can be done to stop the brain drain of medical professionals from developing countries

9. Should judges be elected

10. Will the Democrats establish a veto proof majority in Congress after the 2008 elections?

Topic Brief: Columbian Free Trade Agreement


This week President Bush tried to fast track a free trade agreement (FTA) with Columbia through Congress.  However, the House has already undone the mechanism that would have forced them to vote on it today and has promised to stop the agreement from passing.  What is peculiar about this move is that the same Congress approved a nearly identical FTA with Peru last year.  Many analysts believe that the rejection of this current bill, as well as the promise to interfere with a similar South Korean FTA, has more to do with election season posturing then it does with genuine policy concerns.  Therefore, this brief will outline some of the details of the FTA and what the different sides are saying before assessing the political and economic ramifications of the little FTA that is causing a whole lot of ruckus.

Extemp Questions for the Week of April 9th-15th, 2008

1. Should the Federal Reserve be given more power over the U.S. economy?

2. Is Israel’s political system dysfunctional?

3. Why are John McCain’s poll numbers rising?

4. Why are North Korea-South Korea relations worsening?

5. Should the DNC force Hillary to drop out?

6. Would another Berlusconi government be bad for Italy?

7. Is legalized gambling the answer for state budget woes?

8. Would Condoleeza Rice be a good vice-presidential candidate?

9. Should the Olympic torch relay be cancelled?

10. Would a EU military be a benefit or a death blow to NATO?

Topic Brief: Turkey Banning the AK Party


Seeking EU membership, Turkey has been trying to keep its politics on the up and up for quite a few years now.  As things start to smooth out on Cyprus and human rights abuses against the Kurds seem less common, it seemed that Turkey had achieved a level of stability that would hurry it ascension to the EU.  However, that momentum seems to be quashed as the high court is considering outlawing the AK party – the current ruling party of the nation.  Turkey has multiple provisions that are intended to ensure that the government remains secular, and has banned parties with Islamist leanings before;, however, this would represent the first time that the president, PM and majority of parliament would all be a part of the banned party.  As such, the potential ruling of the court will not only immediately threaten the stability of Turkey, but also may hamper the long-term ambitions of the nation’s leaders.

Extemp Questions for the Week of April 2nd-8th, 2008

1. What does the rising number of Americans on food stamps signal about the state of the U.S. economy?

2. How can Australia resolve its water problem?

3. Will its refusal to accept an independent Kosovo doom Serbia’s chances at becoming an EU member?

4. What is the state of e-commerce?

5. Is Argentina being careless with its economy?

6. How will the political changes in Pakistan affect US-Pakistani relations?

7. Is Hezbollah still a threat to Israel?

8. Would a Olympic boycott produce change in Chinese policy making?

9. Is our military getting the support it deserves?

10. Should Hillary drop out?

Topic Brief: 2008 Zimbabwean Elections


Because the big news of the weekend was the elections in Zimbabwe, and the fact that they could bring an end to the twenty-eight-year-rule of Robert Mugabe, we thought it would be a good subject for a briefing.  However, April Fools on us, because the results haven’t come in yet, so we will give you a rundown of what has happened so far, and what victory means for either side.

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