Month: March 2009 Page 1 of 2

Extemp Questions for the Week of April 1st-7th, 2009

1. Should the U.S. cut funding for a questionsmissile defense system?
2. Why does Germany oppose a fiscal stimulus for the global economy?
3. How much progress on a peace deal with the Palestinians will be made by Netanyahu’s government?
4. Will U.S. efforts to engage Iran on Afghanistan lead to improvements in the country?
5. Is it a good idea for the U.S. to join the Human Rights Council?
6. Will recent financial scandals squash the DPJ’s hopes for leading the next Japanese government?
7. How can the international community better crackdown on tax havens?
8. Are attempts to regulate the pay of employees that receive federal bailout money constitutional?
9. How serious should threats made by the Pakistani Taliban against Washington D.C. be taken?
10. Is the Kirchner’s political hold over Argentina coming to a close?

The EX Files: End of 2009 Regular Season Edition

exfilesAfter a bit of a delay, the next edition of The Ex Files is here. The national invitational portion of the 2008-2009 season is finished and many competitors are currently preparing for national tournaments, national qualifiers, and/or state championship competitions. The staff of The Ex Files wishes competitors doing each of these the best of luck. For those who have had their season ended, The Ex Files hopes that you will still read this, and future editions, to learn more about extemporaneous speaking and can better hone your performance for the 2009-2010 season.

This issue provides a recap of that national invitational season, with a heavy focus on the new Extemp Central National Points Race standings, which have included four national circuit tournaments: the Montgomery Bell Extemp Round Robin, the Barkley Forum, the Harvard Invitational, and the California Invitational Forensic Tournament.

Also contained in this issue is an interview with Matt Arons, the champion of the 2009 MBA Extemp Round Robin. Arons breaks down his experience at the Round Robin and how he emerged victorious against tough competition in Nashville.

Rounding out this issue are three topic briefs, an extra one provided this month for extempers still competing at national qualifiers or state competitions. The first is by Sarah Anand who discusses the concept of leftism in Latin America, a topic that extempers might find more questions on in the upcoming months due to the election in El Salvador. The second concerns the ICC arrest warrant for Omar al-Bashir of Sudan. Then, for a change of pace, there is a small topic brief concerning space junk.

The next issue of The Ex Files will be a Extemp TOC and CFL Nationals preview, which will feature some strategy articles and most importantly, a topic area analysis, with accompanying practice questions that can help extempers prepare for these two important tournaments. Also, an interview with Michael Garson, the co-tournament director of the Extemp TOC will be included.

As always, the staff of The Ex Files thanks you for your support of this magazine and Extemp Central. Good luck in the prep room!

End of 2009 Regular Season Edition (Volume 1, No. 5)

Complete End of Regular Season Edition (.pdf file)
Extemp Central National Points Race
by Logan Scisco
2009 Montgomery Bell Academy Champion: An Interview with Matt Arons
by Logan Scisco
Leftism in Latin America
by Sarah Anand
Omar al-Bashir Arrest Warrant
by Logan Scisco
Space Junk
by Logan Scisco

2009 Montgomery Bell Academy Champion: An Interview with Matt Arons

buzzInterview by Logan Scisco

The Montgomery Bell Extemp Round Robin is one of the most prestigious extemp tournaments in the country. Its unique, select field makes it an honor to be invited. The Ex Files was able to secure an interview with Matt Arons of Millburn High School in New Jersey who won this year’s Round Robin against the best extempers the tournament could bring together in early January.

Topic Brief: Space Junk

topicbriefby Logan Scisco

Although space issues are a well researched area by extempers, who focus more on domestic politics and international situations such as those involving North Korea, they do arise in the later rounds of tournaments when question writers have exhausted all possible options for questions. The chance of drawing a question concerning space issues also increases at a national qualifying tournament or at national competitions when “science and technology” is an often used topic area, especially at CFL Nationals and as one of the thirteen topic areas for United States extemp at NFL.

Considering that nationals keeps creeping up and recent events surrounding the issue of space junk, such as the collision last month of a U.S. and Russian satellite over Siberia, and how the International Space Station (ISS) was almost struck by a piece of space junk last week, an issue that is followed by scientists has started to become an issue of public debate. As this debate grows and as “close calls” in space become more reported, extempers have a higher likelihood of getting a question on space junk.

This topic brief will provide some informational facts concerning space junk, the reason it is a concern for space programs, and its implications on future space policies.

Extemp Central National Points Race: March 2009 Update

buzzby Logan Scisco

The “invitational” portion of the national extemporaneous speaking season has finished for the 2008-2009 season and after the completion of one second tier tournament and three third tier tournaments the standings are still lead by Stacey Chen of North Allegheny Senior High School in Wexford, Pennsylvania. In fact, over the last three months, Chen has opened a bigger gap on her competition than she had at the end of December.

The most notable tournament to occur over the last three months was the Montgomery Bell Academy Extemp Round Robin in Nashville, Tennessee. Extemp Central provided live coverage for this event, and as many around the country now know, Matt Arons of Millburn High School in New Jersey won the tournament over Evan Larson of Bellarmine College Prep in California. Points leader Stacey Chen placed third at the competition. The Round Robin was notable because it is the first time that the fifth place finisher at the event, in this case Dillon Huff of Southlake Carroll High School in Texas, won the Exhibition Round at the end of the tournament.

However, the standings below are still subject to much change. The three tournaments that remain on the calendar, the Extemp TOC, CFL Nationals, and NFL Nationals, are worth two to three times the size of invitational tournaments and could do much to change the dynamic. The next edition of The Ex Files will be a TOC and CFL Nationals preview and will not include an extensive points race update. However, the NFL Nationals preview edition of The Ex Files will provide updated standings after those tournaments finish so that extempers know where they stand heading into the final tournament of the season.

Topic Brief: Leftism in Latin America

topicbriefBy Sarah Anand[1]

The term leftism itself has been used quite frequently (especially in relation to Latin American politics) to characterize the state of a country’s affairs. However, there is a tendency to ascribe the particular adjective without fully understanding it’s entire meaning. For the past couple of years, specific countries in Latin America have started making shifts to becoming more “leftist.” The world has taken notice of these changes, whether through the antics of Hugo Chavez, the comeback of Daniel Ortega, or the improbability of Evo Morales as president. But, what exactly is leftism, and how does it relate to what is happening in Latin America?

Topic Brief: Tensions in Korea (2009)

If any extempers thought that the removal of the Bush administration would see a reduction in international tensions they have been proved wrong by the recent tensions on the Korean peninsula that continue to rise daily.  The North Korean regime of Kim Jong-Il, known for its inability to refrain from shining the international media spotlight on it for too long, is threatening to launch a long range missile, called Taepodong 2 or Paektusan 2, which it claims is actually a rocket meant to send a satellite into space.

International pundits are worried about the fallout of this missile launch.  Whether or not the missile launch succeeds is not as much of an issue as whether or not North Korea launches the missile at all.  U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has warned that if North Korea proceeds with this launch, which North Korea says will come between April 4th and 8th, it could lead to the destruction of the six party talks concerning North Korea’s nuclear program and leave it more isolated than it was before.  North Korea, for its part, says that it would consider any attempt to interfere with this launch as an act of war, which could have very negative ramifications for the entire East Asia region.

This brief will provide extempers with the details of why North Korea may be launching this missile, international reaction to North Korea’s plans to launch this missile, and how a successful missile launch could impact U.S. and international policy towards North Korea.

Extemp Question Overload

strategyAs the old adage goes, one can never truly be too prepared.   With this in mind, Extemp Central is proud to make available the question sets from the Kentucky Education Speech and Debate Association and Kentucky High School Speech League, Inc. state tournaments.  In addition, we also have questions from the Kentucky NCFL qualifier.   As with all of Logan’s questions, you can expect a variety of topics that will challenge your students and team as we move toward important state tournaments and national qualifiers.

2009 KYCFL Questions
2009 KESDA Questions
2009 KHSSL Questions

And a big congratulations to KESDA state champions Rowan County High School and KHSSL state champions Danville High School.

Extemp Questions for the Week of March 25th-March 31st, 2009

1. Can the recent U.S. border security plan effectively stop smuggling along the U.S.-Mexican border?questions
2. Will the Employee Free Choice Act pass the Senate?
3. Why did the Czech government collapse?
4. Will Michael Bloomberg win a third term as New York City mayor?
5. What grade does Great Britain deserve for its anti-terror strategy?
6. Will the creation of a Labor-Likud governing coalition force the Kadima party to join a national unity government?
7. Should the U.S. government aid failing newspapers?
8. Should the Kurdistan Regional Government work closer with Turkey to cripple the PKK?
9. Will the AIG bonus debacle give the GOP a winning issue for the 2010 midterms?
10. Why is 2009 looking grim for the airline industry?

Topic Brief: AIG Bonuses

Throughout much of the last week, the U.S. media has been obsessed with the bonuses that American International Group (AIG) was planning on paying its executives.  Corporate bonuses are regularly scrutinized by the media as a way of the richer getting richer, but these carry with them special weight due to the fact that AIG has received over $170 billion in government bailout funds due to the financial crisis that began last September.  With bonuses over $100 million set to be rewarded to executives who have been ridiculed for their incompetence during the crisis, the American people are outraged that some of their taxpayer dollars may go to filling the pockets of Wall Street executives as opposed to people who are without employment or who might lose their jobs in Detroit’s automotive plants.

The government response to the AIG debacle has been one of backtracking on initial promises and overreactions with hurried through Congressional legislation.  Chances are that when the dust settles and smoke clears, much of the bonuses will not be paid out.  Yet this incident has caused the American public to lose more trust in the ability of the federal government to resolve the financial crisis appropriately and has been a public embarrassment for the Obama administration.

Considering these ramifications, this brief will break down why AIG’s is in such bad financial shape, the response of Washington and the American people to the bonus payments, and what implications these bonuses will have for the American economic and political scene.

Site Announcements: National Qualifiers, Spring Ex Files, and Kentucky State Questions

Do you have a list of national qualifiers for your NFL District? If so, comment below so that Extemp Central can recognize these individuals or send the names of the qualifiers (with school name if possible) to [email protected].

Also, to follow up on a previous post, the new edition of the Ex Files will be released by April 1st, and that is not a joke!

Finally, questions that were used at the Kentucky CFL District tournament, the Kentucky KESDA tournament, and the Kentucky High School Speech League (KHSSL) state tournament will be posted to the site by late Saturday for extempers looking for lots of questions to prepare for upcoming tournaments.

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

1. Should AIG be forced to give backquestions their bonuses?
2. Will Madgascar’s political situation get worse?
3. How serious should the saber rattling between North Korea and South Korea be taken?
4. Will tight economic times prompt states to abolish the death penalty?
5. What insight does the appointment of David Hamilton to the U.S. Court of Appeals give about Obama’s judicial philosophy?
6. Is the Vatican’s stance on condom use counterproductive to AIDS prevention efforts in Africa?
7. How can Israel secure the release of Gilad Shalit?
8. Is increased U.S. intervention in the Mexican drug war a good idea?
9. Will Vermont become the third state to allow same-sex marriage?
10. Should the U.S. be worried about its growing national debt burden?

Extemp Questions for the Week of March 11th-17th, 2009

1. Will the arrest warrant for Omar al-Bashir eventually lead to thequestions disintegration of the CPA?
2. Are North Korea’s threats of war to be taken seriously?
3. Will the recent violence in Northern Ireland weaken Sinn Fein’s leadership?
4. What are the chances of an Israeli-Syrian peace accord by the end of the year?
5. Is it time for America to end the war on drugs?
6. Should America’s school day be longer?
7. Is Rush Limbaugh the most powerful figure in the Republican Party?
8. Will the EPA’s attempt to require major U.S. industries to measure greenhouse gasses hurt the economy?
9. Should the U.S. government quit bailing out AIG?
10. Why is Obama facing Congressional resistance to his budget proposals?

Topic Brief: Omar al-Bashir Arrest Warrant

The International Criminal Court (ICC) issued its largest arrest warrant to date when last Wednesday they targeted Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity for actions that have taken place in Sudan’s Darfur region from 2003-2008.  Bashir is alleged to have provided support and ordered the violence in that region of the country which has left over 300,000 people dead and displaced up to 2.5 million people.  Due to the actions of Sudan’s Arab population in killing blacks farmers in Darfur, there has also been charges of genocide leveled against Bashir’s regime, although the ICC decided not to issue an arrest warrant with that charge attached.

The arrest warrant against Bashir marks the first time that a sitting head of state has been charged with crimes against humanity and war crimes in world history.  Supporters of the ICC hail this as a milestone in international justice, as it shows world leaders that they are not immune from prosecution for their acts against civilians or enemies in combat zones.  Opponents of the ICC say that the arrest warrant will only further inflame disputes in Sudan and that Bashir will never be tried before the court.

This brief will break down a brief history of the ICC, so that extempers can best understand the circumstances behind the arrest warrant, explain why the arrest warrant was issued, and look into some implications for what the arrest warrant may mean for Sudan’s tenuous political situation and for future world leaders who could be targeted by the court.

Extemp Questions for the Week of March 4th-10th, 2009

1.  Does Obama’s current push for universal healthcare have a better chancequestions at succeeding that Bill Clinton’s attempt?
2.  Should Russia be willing to exchange support for actions against Iran for U.S. abandonment of a missile defense shield in Europe?
3.  Was Hillary Clinton’s announcement that she plans to press for a Palestinian state bad for Israel?
4.  Is Zardari hold on Pakistan weakening?
5.  Should the U.S. pay more attention to Mexico drug problem?
6.  What changes should be made when No Child Left Behind is reauthorized?
7.  Will more planned education spending by the Obama administration improve the quality of American schools?
8.  Should Minnesota re-run its Senate election?
9.  Will the recent lawsuit filed by gay rights advocates for federal benefits lead to DOMA being declared unconstitutional?
10.  Is it wise to let the Bush tax cuts expire?

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