Month: February 2009 Page 1 of 2

Extemp Questions for the Week of February 25th-March 3rd, 2009

1. Is it wise for Republican governors to reject stimulus money?questions
2. Should Kadima enter into a Netanyahu-led Israeli government?
3. Would a nationalization of some major U.S. banks be good for the economy?
4. By the end of 2009 will the U.S. still have an embargo on Cuba?
5. Do fertility clinics need more oversight?
6. Can Obama cut the budget deficit in half by the end of his first term?
7. Should the U.S. government encourage Uribe to run for a third term?
8. Was Hillary Clinton’s recent tour of Asia a success?
9. Is China’s purchase in global companies over the last month wise?
10. Should Burris resign?

United States Extemp Questions for the Week of February 25 – March 3, 2009

febfreeHow are disagreements over the stimulus plan hurting the GOP?
Is General Motors on life support?
How will new homeowners benefit from the stimulus plan?
What is the cause of political dysfunction in California?
Is low consumer confidence exacerbating the recession?
Will other states follow Massachusetts decriminalization of marijuana?
What kind of backlash will face governors who refuse stimulus funds?
Which Republican governor is most likely to refuse stimulus money?
Is it time for Burris to go?
Are Obama’s aims to cut the federal deficit in half by 2013 realistic?
Will collaborative efforts to fight poverty bridge idealistic differences between American faiths?
How are Obama’s favorable ratings faring after one month on the job?
Should US nationalize its banks?
Is the movement to “go green” losing steam?
Who will be the next mayor of Detroit?
Was Obama wise to scrap the plan to replace the presidential helicopter fleet?
What role will Steven Rattner take as the Treasury’s point person on the auto bailout?
Would a rebranding of NCLB help the flagging movement?
Will Hawaii be the next state to allow same-sex unions?
Should schools make recess and outdoor time a bigger priority for the children?
Can Michael Steele broaden the GOP?
What are the three key issues to look for in Obama’s “State of the Union”?
Can Obama actually achieve entitlement reform?
Will the current recession doom remaining Sunday “blue laws”?
What was Oscar night’s biggest surprise?
Should the US throw in the towel of bringing democracy to Cuba?
Is the announcement of Archbishop Timothy Dolan to lead the archdiocese of New York a papal PR boon?

International Extemp Questions for the Week of February 25 – March 3, 2009

febfreeShould China continue to buy U.S. debt?
How will a Netanyahu-led Israeli government alter U.S. foreign policy in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?
Will the Sri Lankan governments fight against the Tamil Tiger soon degenerate into a guerilla war?
How can Mexico get its drug violence under control?
Are Saudi reforms too late?
Why is Chile’s government best able to stimulate its economy than other countries in Latin America?
Should Chavez’s victory in Venezuela frighten other Latin American leaders?
Is the trial of Tuol Sleng good for Cambodia?
Will improved Iraqi Kurdish relations with Turkey pave the way for the creation of a Kurdish state?
Is Ukraine headed for a debt default?
Does Iraq need a strong central government or a more decentralized model?
What happened to Club Med?
Can Labour win an election with Gordon Brown at the helm?
Should the ICC look into indicting CIA officials for abuses of prisoners held in the war on terrorism?
How is Italy doing as leader of the G7?|
What government or organization should take up the cause of policing international waters against pirates?
Will the ICC be successful in obtaining an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir?
Why are European companies rushing to rebuild Iraq?
Will a cease-fire continue in the Swat region of Pakistan?
How is China benefitting from a global fire sale?
Was Hillary Clinton successful in reenergizing key US ties to Asia on her recent visit?
Will Tzipi Livni join Benjamin Netanyahu?
Will Benjamin Netanyahu be forced into a centrist stance in order to form a government?
Why has Canada been largely protected from the global economic crisis?
Why did Barack Obama select Canada as the location for his first international visit as president?
Is North Korea open to negotiating its stance on its nuclear weapons program?

Topic Brief: Hillary’s Clinton’s Asia Tour

Ever since she joined Barack Obama’s cabinet as Secretary of State, insiders across the political spectrum have weighed in about Hillary Clinton’s intentions in taking the job.  Was she coming on board to overshadow the new president?  Was she going to try to use the position to increase her political clout and make another run at the White House in 2016, or potentially 2012 if Obama failed?  Or was she going into the job in order to provide a valuable supplement to the Obama team in the foreign arena?

Hillary’s trip of Asia had made clear that it may be too early to answer those questions.  What is apparent is that the Obama administration will use the State Department to communicate a different message of how America is going to treat its allies and its enemies.  Hillary’s trip, which spanned four countries, Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, and China, also communicated stances the administration had on the issues of global climate change, global economic recovery, and human rights.

This topic brief will break down Hillary Clinton’s trip abroad by giving some background on what was accomplished during the tour, criticisms of the tour, and some ramifications it will have for future American policymaking.

Extemp Questions for the Week of February 18th-24th, 2009

1.  Is Obama’s plan to drop the “car czar” a good idea?questions
2.  Who should be tapped to create Israel’s next government?
3.  Is Pope Benedict XVI alienating mainstream Catholics?
4.  Why did Chavez win his term limits referendum?
5.  Is space junk a major problem that warrants international attention?
6.  Are Pakistani concessions with the Taliban an indictment of the U.S.’s war on terror strategy?
7.  Is the Israeli election or the upcoming Iranian presidential election more important for Middle Eastern stability?
8.  Are fixing America’s banks the key to economic recovery?
9.  Is the window closing for a two-state solution to the Middle East conflict?
10.  Did Obama mishandle the presentation of the economic stimulus package?

International Extemp Questions for the Week of February 18-24, 2009

febfreeWhat effect would Russian support have on NATO dealings in Afghanistan?
Hugo Chavez for life?
Will Ireland default on its debts?
What does Hugo Chavez’s victory over term limits mean for Venezuela’s future?
By the end of 2009 will the LDP still be a strong political force in Japan?
Should the world get more serious over “space junk”?
Will Europe’s economic problems be a boon for the far right?
How should the world respond if North Korea proceeds with a planned rocket launch?
Should Russia aid NATO in Afghanistan?
After recent elections, Who should be Israel’s next prime minister?
Is Pakistan’s governments willingness to negotiate with the Taliban a sign of weakness?
Will the scandal involving Carl Neihaus damage the ANC’s political prospects?
How can Mexico stop violent crime?
Is Saudi Arabia becoming more moderate?
Are Moammar Kadafi’s plans to shake up the Libyan bureaucracy sound?
Why is Somali President Sharif Sheik Ahmed getting good reviews?
Is Iraq’s stability being threatened by its stagnant economy?
Are sectarian tensions between Sunnis and Shiites in Iraq beginning to ease?
How is mobile banking changing commerce in Africa?
Should the Obama administration rescind the American Service Members Protection Act?
What challenges are resulting from increased urbanization in Latin America?
What has been the cost of a joint operation to eliminate the LRA in Africa?
What does Richard Holbrooke hope to gain from his “listening tour” in Pakistan?
Who holds the keys to opening a new line of dialogue between the U.S. and Iran?
Why did the Pakistani government call a true over the Swat valley region?
Will a recent collision of nuclear submarines lead to changes in “waterspace management”?
Will Italy’s plan to crack down on “criminal content” on the internet result in a loss of freedom of expression?

United States Extemp Questions for the Week of February 18-24, 2009

febfreeWhat role will the UAW play in negotiating the fate of General Motors?
How will improvements in platelet-rich plasma therapy help athletes?
Who should be responsible for preventing and monitoring cyber-bullying?
How will Arne Duncan spend the portion of the stimulus allocated to education?
Is California headed off the fiscal rails?
What are Sec. of State Clinton’s top three goals for her week-long trip of Asia?
Why do Republican governors support the stimulus even though their senatorial counterparts didn’t?
Will A-Rod’s admission spur a cleanup of Major League Baseball?
Why have food prices begun to settle?
What is the highest gas prices will go in the coming year?
Despite celebrations abroad, why are Americans skeptical of the legacy of Charles Darwin?
Will other states copy Louisiana’s “academic freedom” law?
Will the Buffalo plane crash raise issues on the use of autopilot in commercial airlines?
Is the makeup of the current U.S. Supreme Court resulting in a more legal than policy perspective?
Will Sen. Napolitano’s call for reform in national security spark any departmental changes?
What findings will the Justice Department’s ethics office issue regarding policies of the Bush administration?
Is Roland Burris back in the hot seat?
Would a University of Memphis basketball plan to wear a Fed-Ex “inspired” jersey have crossed an ethical boundary?
Why did Obama decide against appointing a “car czar”?
Should Obama proceed with plans to modernize the fleet of presidential helicopters?
Why is the Obama administration already calling for revisions to the stimulus in regard to executive bonuses?
How will Gil Kerlikowske shape the role of America’s “drug czar”?
Will film will win the Academy Award for best picture?
Should Bill Clinton be blamed for the economic crisis?
Why is the 2010 census stirring up claims of partisan politics?

Topic Brief: 2009 Israeli Elections

Considering all the recent tension in the Middle East, it is no surprise that the recent Israeli parliamentary election was watched closely by governments across the world, especially those keen on the Middle East peace process.  The election was a test for the ruling Kadima Party and its leader Tzipi Livni and was also a referendum on what course of action Israeli citizens preferred to the violence that has come their way from Hamas and Hezbollah in recent years.

The recent Israeli election was started back in September of last year when the Kadima Party, created by former prime minister Ariel Sharon in 2006, decided to replace embattled prime minister Ehud Olmert with foreign minister Tzipi Livni.  Livni was given six weeks to form a new government after Olmert submitted his resignation.  However, Livni was unable to create a governing majority in the Israeli parliament, known as the Knesset, and on October 26th recommended that early elections be held to establish a new Israeli government.  This kept Olmert in the prime minister post on an interim basis.

This brief will describe the outcome of the Israeli election, what message voters appear to be sending, and what a future Israeli government may look like.

Extemp Questions for the Week of February 11th-17th

1.  Will the economic stimulus package hurt the Democrats chances in 2010?questions
2.  Are Asian countries complaints about how the West is responsible for its economic problems valid?
3.  Was Tom Daschle’s withdrawal as Secretary of Health and Human Services a blow to Obama’s healthcare plans?
4.  Is the current global economic turmoil bad for global stability?
5.  Should NCAA athletes get paid?
6.  Why has the honeymoon ended so soon for Obama?
7.  Will current economic unrest in China provoke a Tiananmen Square II?
8.  How can the U.S. get more support from its allies for its current operations in Afghanistan?
9.  Will Hugo Chavez win his referendum to lift term limits?
10.  How long will Zimbabwe’s new unity government last?

International Extemp Questions for the Week of February 11-17, 2009

febfreeIn light of recent wildfires, should the Australian government revise its “stay and defend” policy?
Were Australian officials prepared to deal with recent wildfires?
Is the U.S. government willing to accept the reality of a nuclear North Korea?
Will the Kadima Party suffer significant losses in upcoming Israeli elections?
How did the Israel-Gaza conflict shape this week’s elections?
What effect would Benjamin Netanyahu’s return to prominence in Israeli politics have on the country?
Was China successful in defending its human rights before the UN Human Rights Council?
Can George Mitchell do for the Middle East what he did in Northern Ireland?
Will Europe support the call for additional Western forces in Afghanistan?
What group has benefitted the most from passage of the Schengen Agreement?
Why is Ukraine’s financial state going from bad to worse?
Is Iran ready to reverse its anti-American stance?
Was Prime Minister Erdogan’s recent statement a setback for Turkey’s emerging role as Middle East peace broker?
Will Venezuelans vote to lift term limits?
How will the world receive an China-sponsored international TV news channel?
What is wrong with Britain’s military?
Why does Thailand’s government worry about refugees?
Were foreign complaints about the U.S. economic stimulus package valid?
Should China quit using GDP growth figures to judge local officials’ performance?
Will Qaddafi be able to accomplish his pan-African goals as leader of the AU?
Due to recent political developments in Zimbabwe, should sanctions be lifted against the country?
Will Ukraine’s economic woes negatively impact the development of its democracy?
Is the latest criticism about the Vatican overblown?
Will Canada’s latest budget save the Conservative government or did it just temporarily put it on life support?
Why is isolationist sentiment rising in Switzerland?
Was the UN’s Universal Periodic Review of China’s human rights record thorough?
What is the state of press freedom in Sudan?
Did Israel commit war crimes in Gaza?
Is Bangladesh’s democracy slipping back into corruption?
Why is Russia scrapping plans to station short-range missiles in Kaliningrad?

United States Extemp Questions for the Week of February 11-17, 2009

febfreeWill a lack of bipartisan support hurt the perception of the Obama stimulus plan?
Will Justice Ginsberg step down from the Supreme Court?
What qualities would an Obama-appointed Supreme Court justice need?
Is the stimulus bill too costly?
Are “standards-based” educational approaches the key to school reform?
Will improved military enlistment last?
Will the US adjust life at Guantánamo for detainees?
Should Congress scrap the stimulus and let the economy recover on its own?
Did the Obama administration recapture the campaign spirit with weekend “stimulus parties”?
Has America lost its food safety net?
Should MySpace be praised or criticized for its recent purge of convicted sex offenders?
Was “Raising Sand” a surprise Grammy win?
Why were 90% of requests for aid after Hurricane Ike rejected by FEMA?
Do medical records belong online?
Why has the Roman Catholic church reintroduced the tradition of indulgences?
Will the Unite Here union divide in light of recent tensions?
What must Michael Steele do to revive the Republican Party?
Will Afghanistan become Obama’s “Vietnam”?
Why does the CIA and NSA want you to become their friend on Facebook?
Should Alex Rodriguez be held responsible for his use of anabolic steroids?
Why is heroin use among US teens on the rise?
Should the filibuster be abolished?
Has the media treated Nadya Suleman unfairly?
Will Amazon’s “Kindle 2” do for books what the iPod did for music?
Will Meg Whitman seek the California governorship?
How can officials prevent Mexican drug-related violence from spilling over into the U.S.?
Did Shepherd Fairey overstep “Fair Use” and AP copyright in his depictions of President Obama?

Topic Brief: New RNC Chairman Michael Steele

The Republican Party, walloped in the last two major national elections in 2006 and 2008, is a party suffering an identity crisis.  Torn between fiscal and social conservatives, the party is not sure how to best rebound and try to gain seats in 2010.  After all, a divided Republican Party without a coherent national agenda may not only find it difficult to defend their 2010 seats, but will also find it difficult to dislodge President Obama from the White House in 2012.

The recent election within the Republican Party for a new chairman to replace Mike Duncan was seen by political observers as an opportunity for the party to signify a change in direction and a chance to show voters that they had learned from their thrashing in November.  After all, a party chairman’s responsibility is to be the media representative for his/her party, held build the infrastructure for future election races, and getting the base of the party excited about future elections.  The election of Michael Steele, the first African-American Republican National Committee (RNC) chairman, sends mixed signals on how the party has interpreted its election results, but does send a signal as to how they plan to respond to the future Obama administration.

This topic brief will give extempers some background on Michael Steele, what his plans are for the Republican Party, and what advantages Steele offers the GOP in confronting the Obama machine.

Topic Brief: Obama’s Economic Stimulus Plan

SpeechGeek February Free for Allby Logan Scisco

Over the last week, the news concerning the state of the U.S. economy continues to be troubling.  Unemployment rates stand at the highest they have been in twenty-five years, banks continue to suffer problems despite the federal government’s willingness to give them aid, there is still doubt and uncertainty over the fate of America’s automakers, the federal deficit is expected to climb, and the gross domestic product (GDP) of the U.S. shrinking 3.8 percent in the fourth quarter, the biggest such contraction in GDP since 1982.

Faced with these massive economic problems, newly elected president Barack Obama has urged Congress to pass a new round of stimulus spending, over $800 billion worth, in attempt to get the economy growing again and avoid a second Great Depression in the United States.  This is no surprise considering that the economic meltdown helped to elect Obama as president and if he fails to fix the economy over the next four years his chances of re-election look grim.

For extempers, the ongoing battle over this stimulus package is of utmost importance in examining domestic topics over the next two months.  The success of the passage of this stimulus bill will demonstrate how well Obama can cross the aisle and win bipartisan support for his initiatives.  This battle is also the first major legislative test of Obama’s presidency and a failure could cost his administration valuable momentum in its first several months in office.

This brief will clarify the components of the recent economic stimulus bill that passed the House of Representatives last week, describe what modifications the U.S. Senate may make to the bill, and the political implications that arise from these decisions.

International Extemp Questions for the Week of February 4 – 10, 2009

febfreeAre recent protests against the Russian government only a sign of things to come?
Will a Likud victory in the Israeli parliamentary elections make war with Iran imminent?
How will Mexico’s recession impact elections there this July?
Are free speech rights being eroded in the Netherlands?
Is there too much political meddling in the trial of Chen Shui-bian?
Will Thailand’s lese-majeste laws be abolished soon?
Should the U.S. force Pakistan to hand over terror suspects to India?
Does the world have al-Qaeda on the defensive?
Is the fighting in Gaza over?
Will rising unemployment in China threaten the position of the Communist Party?
Who should be NATO’s new secretary general?
Why did Zimbabwe’s opposition agree to join Robert Mugabe’s government?
Is the ICC mishandling the prosecution of Thomas Lubanga?
Who was the big loser in the recent Iraqi elections?
What is the most important outcome of the recent Iraqi provincial elections?
Should Iceland join the EU?
Is Iraq finally taking control of its future?
What will be the legacy of Umar S. Israilov?
Is a coup on the horizon for Madagascar?
How can the European Central Bank ensure equal benefits in a bailout?
How will the naming of Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed as president affect Somali politics?
How will Bolivia benefit from the global push for hybrid vehicles?
Can the government of Greek Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis regain credibility?
Why has the recent snowstorm in London ground the city to a halt?
Will other nations agree to Qaddafi’s plans for a single African state?

United States Extemp Questions for the Week of February 4 – 10, 2009

febfreeWhich outcome should be preferred in the stimulus plan: reform or recovery?
How has the Obama administration taken the presidency into the digital age?
Is Tom Daschle’s confirmation in peril thanks to his tax snafu?
Are professional sports suffering as a result of the current recession?
What would Sen. Judd Gregg offer to the position of Commerce Secretary?
Which governor is best handling her or her state’s fiscal adversity?
Was FEMA’s response to recent ice storms in the Midwest sufficient?
Are Obama cabinet nominees confusing his promise of ethics reform?
Should the economic stimulus plan include monies to expand rural broadband internet?
Will Sen. Gillibrand shift any of her key policy stances now that she has been sworn in?
Should other states adopt New York’s new revision of rent-regulation laws?
Will Gitmo be less punitive after an Obama-ordered review?
What does the GOP want in a revised stimulus plan?
Is a rise in the rate of Americans saving money a good sign of future economic behaviors?
Is the formation of a “bad bank” the solution to banking woes?
Will Jose Padilla’s case against Bush administration officials be heard in court?
Why has Florida become a hotbed of tobacco litigation?
Has the tide shifted against capital punishment in America?
Did the Illinois Senate handle the trial of Rod Blagojevich properly?
Will Rod Blagojevich be found guilty on federal corruption charges?
Should fertility doctors set limits on their services?
What must the CIA do to overcome two recent major scandals?
Is KGB the future of information accessibility?
Are 4% mortgages the key to restoring the housing market?
Will Chrysler and GM get requested concessions from the UAW?

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