Month: December 2008 Page 1 of 2

Extemp Questions for the Week of December 31st, 2008-January 6th, 2009

questions1. Which country will be the biggest threat to international security in 2009?

2. Should the Senate refuse to seat Burris?

3. Is Caroline Kennedy a qualified candidate for U.S. Senate?

4. Will the Israeli offensive in Gaza help or hinder future Middle East peace talks?

5. Should the EU intervene in the Russia-Ukraine gas dispute?

6. Will the winner of the Minnesota Senate race have a tainted victory?

7. Do Bulgaria’s problems mean that the EU should cease expansion plans for the near future?

8. Should China change its export driven economic model?

9. Are “obesity taxes” a good idea?

10. Will OPEC’s production cuts save the global economy from deflation?

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Welcome to Extemp Central (The Former Extemp Question Central)!

xmas-partyWelcome Extemp Central, formerly known as Extemp Question Central. After several years at the old site, I have moved to a new type of platform that will be more pleasing to the eye and hopefully more user-friendly.

The name for the site has been changed to encompass the growth we have experienced over the last three years.  A website that started offering weekly extemp questions has grown into a site that offers a wide range of services such as topic briefs, strategy articles, tournament descriptions, and this year, the first-ever extemp magazine.

The website will continue to have all of the content that the old site did, but we will be in the process of moving some of the content from the old site (such as question archives and older topic briefs) to this site in the next few weeks.

For now, you can use the top tabs to navigate some of the main content on the site, such as past editions of the Ex Files and the champions page. You can also use the tabs on the right to look at resources for the different forms of extemp (USX and IX), strategy articles, tournament previews, and extemp results from all over the country.

Thank you for your continued support and thank you to Corey Alderdice for his design of this new website.  I wish everyone a great finish to the 2008-2009 competitive year!

Logan Scisco

Topic Brief: 2008 Gaza Conflict

When the incoming presidential administration of Barack Obama considered what foreign policy challenges they might face in the first few weeks of office, it is fair to say that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was not at the top of the list.  With international analysts warning of how close Iran is to having the capability to build a nuclear weapon and with the latest military moves by Pakistan along the Indian border, Obama’s transition team envisioned conflicts, but not one that has the potential to ruin much of the international goodwill Obama brings with him into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

The latest attacks by the Israeli air force, and the massing of ground forces on the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip, a piece of territory Israel unilaterally and controversially disengaged from in 2005, have thus far led to 318 people being killed (although those numbers are guaranteed to change by the time you have read this brief).  The UN Palestinian refugee agency has reported that 57 of the deaths thus far are civilians, prompting cries from the Middle East and at the United Nations for Israel to cease its military actions and allow for a ceasefire to be negotiated with themselves and Hamas, the militant organization and part of the Palestinian government that has control of Gaza.

This brief will give background and summarize the current conflict and provide some implications it has for the Obama administration and Israeli politics.

The EX Files: From the Publisher

mba-round-robinThe first semester of the season has come and gone and Extemp Question Central is happy to be part of it.  After the recent tournaments at Glenbrooks and George Mason University, the National Points Race standings have seen more of a shakeup and the second half of the year looks to be even more exciting, with nationals only six months away.

This edition of The Ex Files is a special edition for the Montgomery Bell Extemp Round Robin, a prestigious tournament held in Nashville, Tennessee in early January that features sixteen of the most talented extemporaneous speaking competitors in the country.  In this edition, The Ex Files had sat down with Adam Johnson, the man behind the tournament, to uncover some of the history of the tournament as well as how participants are selected.  Also, MBA champion David Tannenwald has made a guest appearance and provided insight in a special MBA roundtable discussion to help those competitors attending the tournament and inspire those who may one day like to compete there.  Finally, there is a special breakdown of this year’s field as well as past MBA results.

Keep in mind that the MBA Extemp Round Robin is a “second tier” tournament in the Extemp Question Central Nationals Points Race, meaning that the winner will receive 100 points.  This has the possibility of creating a whirl-wind in the standings.  The second half of the year will have lots of these changes, with the Extemp TOC and nationals’ providing more volatility until the first National Points Race champion is crowned.

Expect the next edition of The Ex Files to be released the week of the Barkley Forum, which will include a tournament preview, updated rankings, a recap of the MBA round robin, and further topic briefs.

The staff of The Ex Files thanks you again for your continued support and wishes everyone a very happy holiday season!

Logan Scisco

Montgomery Bell Academy Extemp Round Robin Results (1999-2008)

mba-round-robinThe Montgomery Bell Academy Extemp Round Robin has included some of the biggest names in extemp over the last decade. Below are the results of each tournament from 1999-2008.

November and December 2008 Extemp Tournament Results

mba-round-robinNote: This section will be used to contain extemporaneous speaking results from around the country. If you have the results of a local/state tournament you would like to see here, simply e-mail them to [email protected].


Glenview, Northbrook, and Northfield, IL @ Glenbrook North and South HS and Various Sites
November 22-23, 2008

Champion: Stacey Chen
(North Allegheny Senior HS, PA)

2nd: Ryan Pereira (Nova HS, FL)
3rd: Jared Odessky (Nova HS, FL)
4th: Jane Kessner (Walt Whitman HS, MD)
5th: Nabeel Zewail (San Marino HS, CA)
6th: Morgan Booksh (McNeil HS, TX)

Fairfax, VA @ George Mason University
December 6-8, 2008

Champion: Stacey Chen
(North Allegheny Senior HS, PA)

2nd: Jane Kessner (Walt Whitman HS, MD)

Fairfax, VA @ George Mason University
December 6-8, 2008

Champion: Aaron Lutkowitz
(Montgomery Bell Academy, TN)

2nd: Jason Bell(Ladue Horton Watkins HS, MO)
3rd: Stacey Chen (North Allegheny Senior HS, PA)
4th: Jovalin Dedaj (Fordham Prep, NY)
5th: Megan Race(North Mecklenburg HS, NC)
6th: Carl David Goette-Luciak (Blacksburg HS, VA)

MBA Roundtable

mba-round-robinThe Montgomery Bell Extemp Round Robin is a unique experience for those extempers who have attended it. For the participants that are getting ready to compete, as well as those extempers who one day aspire to compete in the tournament, The Ex Files has assembled a panel discussion of four extempers who have competed at the tournament over the last several years, including one overall tournament champion, David Tannenwald. This panel discusses their experiences at the tournament in the hope that competitors can learn more about how the tournament works, what they should expect in Nashville in a few weeks, and advice to extempers who won day hope to receive an MBA bid.

Extemp Question Central National Points Race

by Logan Scisco

The first semester of the extemporaneous speaking season has come and gone with the conclusion of the prestigious Glenbrooks tournament in Illinois on November 23rd-24th and the George Mason University Patriot Games tournament on December 6th-8th in Fairfax, Virginia.  These tournaments were both “third tier” tournaments, with the winner of each receiving 50 points towards the inaugural Extemp Question Central National Points Race standings.

It is worth noting that the George Mason University Extemp Round Robin, which features a very unique head-to-head format, and was won by Stacey Chen of North Allegheny Senior High School in Pennsylvania, does not count towards the standings.  Instead, only the “open” portion of the tournament where all extempers could compete counts.

The George Mason University Patriot Games tournament, a tournament that grows in stature each year, had a final round that greatly impacted the standings with the third through sixth place finishers already established in the National Points Race.  The Glenbrooks tournament also had the unique distinction of putting Nova High School in Florida on the map in the National Points Race team standings.

The Sweet Sixteen: The 2009 MBA Field

mba-round-robinBelow are biographical profiles for the sixteen competitors who will compete in Nashville, Tennessee at the Montgomery Bell Extemp Round Robin in two weeks.  The participants are profiled in alphabetical order.

Inside the MBA Round Robin: An Interview with Adam Johnson

mba-round-robinInterview by Logan Scisco

The Montgomery Bell Extemp Round Robin is a tournament that has occurred since 1999 and has featured the best extemporaneous speaking competitors the nation has ever seen.  The list of participants over the years includes six CFL national champions, ten NFL national champions, and twelve NFL final round national champions.  While the tournament is prestigious, it has often been shrouded by misconceptions about how it evolved and how its participants are selected.

Adam Johnson, a former extemporaneous speaking competitor for Montgomery Bell Academy and who has run the Round Robin for nearly a decade, was nice enough to sit down with Logan Scisco for this exclusive interview to clarify the misconceptions that has existed over the years about the Round Robin and to provide his insight into current trends in the extemporaneous speaking community.

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

1. How should Obama’s Senate seat be filled?

2. Can the Congress of the People Party successfully challenge the ANC in the 2009 South African elections?

3. Are higher cigarette taxes a good idea for tobacco growing states?

4. Would it be wise for Obama to overturn the Cuban embargo?

5. Will the Blagojevich scandal ruin Obama’s economic stimulus plan?

6. Can Michael Ignatieff guide the Liberal Party of Canada back to power?

7. Should U.S. policymakers be more fearful of hyperinflationary or deflationary pressure in the economy?

8. Why are communal tensions in the Philippines on the rise?

9. Should the Big 3 automakers be allowed to go bankrupt?

10. How will Obama’s counter-terror strategy differ from President Bush?

Topic Brief: The Blagojevich Scandal

Last week, when it appeared that the Obama presidential transition would proceed as smoothly as possible in the midst of economic turmoil, two foreign wars, and a crisis of relations between India and Pakistan, the entire U.S. political climate was shaken to its core by the arrest of acting Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich.  The controversy has been a distraction for the incoming Obama administration and his transition team has been beating a quiet message for the media, while circling the wagons to prevent any negative political fallout.  The incident has also put into question Obama’s economic plan, worth up to $1 trillion, and has the implication of eventually altering the makeup of the U.S. Senate, at a time when Democrats assumed that Obama’s successor would be a Democratic candidate.

While controversy surrounding Blagojevich is not new, his accused actions of trying to sell Obama’s Senate seat for future campaign cash or for personal gain as well as trying to eliminate editorial members of the Chicago Tribune who disagreed with him are some of the most brazen acts of political corruption the U.S. political system has ever seen and will most likely be talked about by extempers for years to come.

This brief will give some brief background on the scandal, actions being taken against the governor, and the political fallout of the scandal for the Obama administration and Illinois politics.

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

questions1.  Is Somalia the next Afghanistan?

2.  Does the print news industry deserve a government bailout?

3.  After an outbreak of violence by Zimbabwe’s army, is Mugabe’s regime in its final days?

4.  Is the world closing in to becoming victorious over the AIDS virus?

5.  Will the raid by British authorities over Damian Green make the British public resistant to future laws that encroach on their civil liberties?

6.  What can Hugo Chavez do to reduce Venezuela’s homicide rate?

7.  Why is Greece seeing an outbreak of riots?

8.  What was President Bush’s biggest foreign policy accomplishment?

9.  Is Nepal’s decision to close down its private schools misguided?

10.  Will Obama’s economic plan work?

Topic Brief: Stephen Harper’s Minority Government

While Canadian politics is not a topic that extempers are accustomed to speaking about at great length, the last month has slowly began to change that evaluation.  Loyal readers of the SpeechGeek HOTtopics services know that several weeks ago I wrote a topic brief concerning the outcome of the Canadian elections, elections which strengthened the Conservative Party but denied Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper a majority government.  While analysts debated how long Harper’s government could hold on, and my earlier topic brief indicated that the government would last until the summer, just several weeks into its term the government has been thrown into a crisis, as opposition parties have unified to oust Harper and the Conservative government from power.

Due to the fact that extempers may not be as aware as the rules for a parliamentary government that would allow for such a change to take place and because this political drama is practically unheard of for Canada, I thought that it would be important to resist the Canadian political situation in this week’s brief.  This brief will provide some background of what led up to this recent political crisis and what the latest developments are, how parliamentary procedure allows this to occur, and what the future of Harper’s current government looks like.

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

questions1.  Should the Senate intervene in the Minnesota Senate race?

2.  Why is California in a fiscal emergency?

3.  Should Britain join the euro?

4.  To the U.S.:  Is Turkey important??

5.  Should Obama have campaigned for Martin?

6.  What impact will the banning of the PPP have on Thai politics?

7.  Are African nations coddling Omar al-Bashir?

8.  What impact will the Mumbai attacks have on Indian politics?

9.  Why did Obama keep Gates?

10.  After eight years, what grade does the Bush administration deserve on its environmental report card?

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