Month: May 2009 Page 1 of 2

CFL Extemp Results!

After receiving some assistance from the extemp community, here are the results from last week’s 2009 CFL National extemp competition. All of these people will receive points in the Extemp Central National Points Race, whose new standings will be released in the NFL edition of the Ex Files, set to be released next weekend.

1st: Alex Draime (Howland HS, Ohio)
2nd: John Lisman (E.L. Myers HS, Pennsylvania)
3rd: Phil Gillen (Regis HS, New York)
4th: John Mern (J.P. Talaverra HS, Florida)
5th: Audrey Denis (Berkeley Carroll School, New York)
6th: Manish Mehta (Howland HS, Ohio)


*Jane Kessner (Walt Whitman HS, Maryland)
*Luckmini Liyanage (Newton South HS, Massachusetts)
*Rebecca Moberly (Plymouth HS, Indiana)
*Emily Martin (Boone County HS, Kentucky)
*Robert Warchol (Robert Mooney HS, Ohio)
*JP Gooderham (Upper St. Clair HS, Pennsylvania)

Thanks to Stacey Chen, Joseph Dineen, and Matt Vansuch for providing information for this posting.

Topic Brief: The Politics of National Security

Last week, extempers were given the treat of seeing President Barack Obama and former Vice-President Dick Cheney give speeches on national security.  The Obama administration has continued to advocate that the Bush administration’s policies were negligent in winning international support and made hasty decisions concerning the treatment of detainees in the conflict.  Not to take these allegations lying down, Cheney has fired back that Obama is trying to compromise with an enemy that will never compromise and is endangering America’s national security when he is releasing information about interrogation techniques and wanting to close Guantanamo Bay.

On top of this, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has been under fire for accusing the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of lying before Congress and for arguing that she was unaware that waterboarding techniques where being utilized on detainees.  This has created yet another partisan, and some would say distracting, conflict on Capitol Hill that augurs ill for Obama’s promise of getting past the politics of division.

With NFL several weeks away, extempers need to brush up on their understanding of America’s national security debate.  Even international extempers could face questions about how America’s image abroad is being impacted by the domestic debate we are seeing play out.  Thus, this brief will provide a quick overview of the conflict between Republicans and Democrats on national security, the steps being implemented by President Obama to settle some of these national security issues and what the GOP is doing to attack Democratic opposition, and then provide some political impacts for the current national security debate.

Extemp Questions for the Week of May 27th-June 2nd, 2009

1. Should the international community recognize North Korea as a questions permanent member of the world’s nuclear club?
2. Would sizeable BNP gains in the European parliamentary elections reflect poorly on Britain?
3. Should the GOP filibuster Sotomayor?
4. Is the recent court ruling on Proposition 8 a significant setback for gay rights?
5. Would a new state constitution pull California back from the financial brink?
6. Will Ethiopia’s renewed intervention in Somalia reflect poorly on Sheikh Sharif Ahmed’s faltering government?
7. Does the Senate’s decision to strip funding for closing Gitmo help or hurt the Democrat’s security agenda?
8. How can France reform its political system to increase minority representation?
9. Is the foiling of the New York terror plot a major victory for anti-terror task forces?
10. Should Canada mediate a permanent peace settlement between the Sri Lankan government and its Tamil minority?

Extemp Questions for the Week of May 20th-26th, 2009

1. Should Gordon Brown follow Michael Martin’s lead? questions
2. Is Netanyahu’s idea of an Israeli-Sunni Arab coalition to check Iran’s nuclear ambitions realistic?
3. Should Obama nominate a woman to fill the Souter vacancy on the Supreme Court?
4. Was the Indian election a rejection of communal politics?
5. Will Prabhakaran’s death eliminate the ability of the Tamil Tigers to wage a low level insurgency?
6. Should the international community recognize Somaliland?
7. Is the Obama administration hostile to gun rights?
8. Will the U.S. withdrawal from Iraqi cities at the end of June lead to an increase in violence throughout the country?
9. Did the Supreme Court rule correctly in AT&T v. Hulteen?
10. Will Obama’s new fuel efficiency standards help or hinder the American auto industry?

Extemp TOC Results: Chen Notches Third Victory of the Season

Here are the results from the 2009 Extemp TOC @ Northwestern tocUniversity:

Champion: Stacey Chen (North Allegheny Senior HS, Pennsylvania)
2nd: Dillon Huff (Southlake Carroll HS, Texas)
3rd: Matt Arons (Millburn HS, New Jersey)
4th: Amanda Johnson (Eagan HS, Minnesota)
5th: Dylan Slinger (Lakeville South HS, Minnesota)
6th: Shaan Heng-Devan (Anderson HS, Texas)

The round was judged by Steve Moss, Michael Garson, Jason Warren, Adam Johnson, Ryan Murphy, Logan Scisco, and Jon Carter. There was a tie between Huff and Arons for 2nd place that was broken on judges preference. Triad questions were used for the final round.

Other notable results:

Supplemental Impromptu Champion: Grant Dowling (Scarsdale HS, New York)
Extemp TOC Service Award: Adam Johnson (Montgomery Bell Academy, Tennessee)
Coaching Excellence in Extemporaneous Speaking: Diane Forbes (Southlake Carroll HS, Texas)

Ex Files Correction & TOC News

In the latest Ex Files the number of points given for the CFL National exfiles tournament were listed wrongly. The correct point values are as follows:

1st-150 pts.
Semi-finalists: 25


Also, the Extemp TOC begins tomorrow morning at 8 AM at Northwestern University. Following prelims and as soon as breaks become available, Extemp Central will try to provide you with an update on semi-finalists.

There is a smaller field at the TOC than last year, possibly because of the swine flu scare and travel difficulties for the state of Texas. There are 45 competitors in the field.

Due to numbers, the TOC has decided that it will now break to semi-finals in elimination rounds and has made the decision that there will be two rounds of semi-finals like NFL Nationals. This is a great decision as it will allow maximum rotation in these semi-finals and still preserves the number of expected elimination rounds at the tournament.

Extemp Questions for the Week of May 13th-19th, 2009

1. Can Russia play a constructive role in the Middle East peace process? questions
2. Has the pope’s visit to the Middle East achieved its goals?
3. Is the French economic model better than the Anglo-Saxon economic model?
4. Should the U.S. decriminalize marijuana?
5. Will Iran’s release of Roxana Saberi help Ahmadinejad’s chances of re-election?
6. How can the EU best solve its North Africa illegal immigration problem?
7. Are Chrysler’s lenders getting a raw deal?
8. How can the expansion of women’s rights in the Middle East be achieved?
9. Is it time for the U.S. to get serious about entitlement reform?
10. Will her comments about her knowledge of waterboarding eventually lead to Nancy Pelosi’s ouster as Speaker of the House?

Topic Brief: Sri Lankan Civil War

One international event that has brought about unified international outrage is the military offensive of the Sri Lankan government against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).  Over the last two years, the Sri Lankan government has managed to corner the Tigers, a group that claims to be fighting for the islands Tamil minority and is labeled as a terrorist group by the United States and the European Union, into a narrow strip of land in the northern part of the country.  The concluding offensive, which has the potential to end a military conflict that began in 1983, has put civilians in danger from both sides and there have been numerous calls around the world for the Sri Lankan government to enact a ceasefire with the Tigers so as to allow humanitarian assistance to best be brought to the civilians trapped in the conflict zone.

As the military offensive continues and as the Sri Lankan government appears closer to victory over the LTTE, extempers will be faced with questions concerning the ethics of the military offensive and how the Sri Lankan government can best integrate the Tamil minority into a unitary government structure so as to avoid future hostilities and a re-emergence of the LTTE.

Therefore, this brief will educate extempers about the history of the conflict, the international response to recent events in the conflict zone, and the implications the end of the conflict will have for the Sri Lankan government of Mahinda Rajapaksa.

The EX Files: From the Publisher

xmas-partyOver the next two weeks, two crucial tournaments on the extemp calendar take place: the Extemp TOC at Northwestern University and the CFL national tournament in Albany, New York. These tournaments have big implications for the national points race, which has not moved since our last edition because of the “dull period” in April, and provide an early test for extempers seeking to write their names into the national record books.

To provide some information about the TOC, Ex Files contributor and TOC co-tournament director Michael Garson, sat down for an interview about the tournament, sharing some details on how it operates and how it hopes to grow in the coming years.

In preparation for the CFL tournament, this issue will provide a breakdown of the eight topic areas. This topic breakdown will provide a synopsis of major issues and some sample questions for extempers to practice with before the tournament.

Rounding out this issue are a topic brief over the future of the Supreme Court after David Souter’s departure and how Obama might go about choosing a nominee. We also have an article on canned intros from Hunter Kendrick and Omar Qureshi, both of which were finalists last year in IX at NFL Nationals.

The next issue of The Ex Files will be a NFL Nationals preview, which will feature an USX and IX topic area breakdown by Colin West (2006 NFL USX National Champion) and Omar Qureshi (2008 NFL IX Runner-Up). This will also feature an update on the national points race, a roundtable discussion of NFL, and a few strategy articles by our writers.
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 and at the Extemp TOC and CFL Nationals!

-Logan Scisco

TOC and CFL Nationals Edition (Volume 1, No. 6)

TOC & CFL Nationals Edition (.pdf file)
Extemp Central National Points Race
by Logan Scisco
2009 CFL Nationals Extemp Topic Area Analysis
by Logan Scisco
Inside the Extemp TOC: An Interview with Michael Garon
by Logan Scisco
Can Do and Don’ts: A Discussion of Canned Intros in Extemp
by Hunter Kendrick and Omar Qureshi
David Souter Retirement
by Logan Scisco

Inside the Extemp TOC: An Interview with Michael Garson

buzzInterview by Logan Scisco

Gearing up for its seventh installment, the Extemp TOC at Northwestern University has gradually established itself as one of the premier tournaments for extemporaneous speaking.  Seeing its talent pool continue to increase in quality over those seven years, the Extemp TOC is now the place to be in early May prior to CFL and NFL Nationals.  Michael Garson, former NFL IX finalist, Ex Files contributor, and current co-tournament director of the Extemp TOC sat down to discuss his experiences at the tournament, some changes the tournament is making for the 2009 edition, and what competitors can expect at Northwestern University this weekend.

Logan Scisco: Thanks for sitting down with us Michael to discuss the Extemp TOC.  I think a question from those who may not know you is how long have you been involved in the Extemp TOC and what made you want to involved in running this special event?

Michael Garson: I first got involved back in March 2005, when I met Dr. Steve Moss at my NFL Districts tournament. It was there that Dr. Moss suggested that I “go national”. TOC Extemp was my first foray into top-notch competition. I haven’t checked the old tab sheets, but I think I finished somewhere around 42nd out of a pool of 47. Needless to say, it was a very humbling, and educational, experience. In 2006 I went if for no other reason than to visit Northwestern and finalize my college plans. At that time, I barely qualified for NFLs and was resigned to mediocrity. Through a combination of luck, attitude, and a style particularly well-suited to the TOC Extemp, I ended up finishing 4th.

Part of the reason I came to Northwestern was the TOC Extemp and the NU Speech Team. I have since stopped competing to pursue other endeavors, but I haven’t left the tournament. For everything that it gave me, I just can’t let it go.

Scisco: I think many observers could comment that each year the TOC field continues to get stronger and stronger.  What efforts have Northwestern University made to make this tournament one of the premier events in the country?

Extemp Central National Points Race

strategyby Logan Scisco

Although there have been no changes in the national points race from the last edition, the next two tournaments (the Extemp TOC and the CFL national tournament) will have a major impact on the standings.  The trophy for both the individual and team standings is being searched for and ordered as we speak, and pictures of those will be released on the website when they become available.

Since the Extemp TOC is a “second tier” tournament, the points available for the Extemp TOC are as follows:


Points Received











6th (not awarded for MBA)


The CFL national tournament is a “first tier” tournament.  The points available for the CFL national tournament are as follows:


Points Received













Below is a snapshot of what the standings look like heading into this weekend’s Extemp TOC.

2009 CFL Nationals Extemp Topic Area Analysis

questionsBy Logan Scisco

In less than two weeks the 2009 CFL national tournament will commence in Albany, New York.  It will offer the first nationwide test of extempers across the country, occurring three weeks before the NFL national tournament in Birmingham, Alabama.  As a well versed extemper knows, preparation is everything before a competition and to assist in this process CFL, like its NFL counterpart, releases the extemp topic areas prior to the competition.  These eight topic areas have been listed on the organization’s website,

For an extemper who has not been to the CFL national tournament, there are eight rounds of competition.  Extempers compete in for preset preliminary rounds followed by four elimination rounds.  A typical preliminary field starts with nearly 200 competitors and each preliminary rounds is adjudicated by three judges.  The average size of a preliminary round is seven competitors.  It must also be said that there is no precise order for the topic areas.  All topic areas are drawn at random prior to each round of competition, so there is no point in guessing what topic areas you will hit in each round, although there are probably some topic areas that you would rather see in preliminary rounds and avoid in elimination rounds.

The CFL extemp tournament is unique in that it centers more on domestic issues than international ones.  While there have been exceptions in the past, the topic areas of the tournament have often placed domestic concerns over those in the international arena and this year’s topic areas signify a continuation of that process.  At first glance, five of the topic areas are named for domestic concerns or departments in the federal government and three of the topic areas represent a broad collection of global regions.

While these topic areas are broad, I will reiterate a point made by Colin West and myself last summer when we did the NFL topic area analysis for International and United States extemp (and which will appear in the next edition of The Ex Files).  This is that although these topic areas are broad (sometimes extraordinarily so), they do provide a framework that the rounds of competition will take place in, and the judges you will see in each of these rounds will be listening to a maximum of seven speeches about the same topic area.  Therefore, preparing for possible questions, and using those in your practice routine before the tournament, may make the difference between going far in the tournament or having to sit and watch the remainder of the tournament on the sidelines.

As with last year, this topic area analysis will break down each of the eight topic areas released for the 2009 CFL national tournament, providing some issues that extempers should look into and some sample questions extempers can use to practice.

Can Do and Don’ts: A Discussion of Canned Intros in Extemp


OMAR: First of all, I believe that discussion of introductions in extemp will continue until the end of time. They call on ideological differences in the school of thought on extemp so it will never be easily resolved. That being said I recall a conversation I had with NFL National Champion Spencer Rockwell, where we came to the agreement that it doesn’t matter where and when someone comes up with an introduction so long as it pertains directly to the topic. Whether that be a minute before the round or at home three months before.

HUNTER: Thus far, I agree with my friend. However, once we delve deeper into the issue, he and I come to some serious disagreements about what is kosher and what is not in terms of how far developed the idea should be before a tournament.

OMAR: When it comes to the event of extemp, I believe that everything must be intrinsically rooted to the topic. A good speaker should read a substantial amount of material before tournament time and think about  particular areas of analysis from his/her reading. Just like preparation should be used with evidence and analysis I think good preparation includes introductions. This isn’t to say I advocate a “canned” intro. Rather, I am in favor of developing the concept of an intro and perhaps even giving it in the practice speech setting if it has a clear and direct link to the topic at hand. I think it is important I clarify what I mean by a link to the topic.  A link to the topic means that the subject of the introduction is explicitly the topic area. For example a funny story about Yulia Tymoshenko that a  speaker read about a month before the round and made into an intro could be used perfectly in a Ukraine speech because it is tied directly to the topic. I think that is a mark of a well prepared extemper.

HUNTER: Well, Omar and I got to the disagreements before I estimated we would.  As I said earlier, I am not against “coming up with” and intro before a tournament. To me, though, that means something entirely different than what Omar was hinting at.

To me, the development of an intro should stop entirely after the initial brainstorming. Going back to the Tymoshenko example, if a speaker read said article and thought, “Hm… that could be a funny intro…” I have no problem with that. However, if that speaker read the article and then began to plan what they would say/how they would say it and then began to practice it, that is where I would take offense. To me, the practice of the intro, or the development thereof beyond the brainstorming, perverts the event and turns it into more of an oration and less of a limited prep event.

OMAR: Allow me to apologize for not smoothly delving into our disagreements.  Hunter is far more subtle than I am, and I feel it is his punishment for allowing me to begin the conversation. I believe that the nature of extemporaneous speaking is dynamic- that is to say it changes with every speech every day- and it requires a dedicated focus of preparation. While I do agree that extemp must be a limited preparation event, I strongly believe that extemp tournaments are won outside of the tournament itself.  I think that coming up with an intro beforehand that pertains to a topic actually enhances the event. It places a focus on preparation. Instead of perversing the event, as Hunter noted, I believe it shows the most prepared speakers. Just like quality analysis shows the most prepared speakers in the gathering and reading of evidence. I feel like an introduction is an extension of the preparation before the limited preparation. Despite sounding redundant, I strongly believe that this event is bent upon preparation as I am sure Hunter agrees. I don’t see a problem with fully developing an introduction and practicing it. It will change with every speech and become better. Showing a true mastery of the event itself, not a butchery of it. I mean eventually the introduction will be fully thought out-
why not earlier than later?

Site Updates!

The NFL qualifiers section has been updated. I currently need a listing of state champions for the 2009 year, so if you have that information please send it to me so I can update the state champions page.

Also, the TOC/CFL edition of the Ex Files will be released early this week (Monday or Tuesday). It will have a discussion of canned intros, an interview with TOC co-tournament director Michael Garson, and a topic area breakdown for CFL.

Page 1 of 2

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén