Month: May 2013

R&D: Japan’s Non-proliferation Future, U.S. Support for Euthanasia, The Failures of Legalized Prostitution in Germany, and More

Can Japan Remain Committed to Nonproliferation by The Washington Quarterly
This academic article, from the Spring 2013 edition of the Washington Quarterly, provides an interesting overview of whether Japan can afford to not have a nuclear weapons program. However, the authors conclude that Japan could provide a model for other nation-states that merely use nuclear power for domestic energy and avoid militarizing it.

U.S. Support for Euthanasia Hinges on How It’s Described from Gallup
This month Vermont became the fourth state in the nation to legalize physician-assisted suicide. This poll provides evidence that if the word “suicide” is used in asking a question about the practice then support plummets from 70% to 51%.

Unprotected: How Legalizing Prostitution Has Failed from Der Spiegel
This enlightening article from the German magazine Der Spiegel describes how attempts at legalizing prostitution within Germany have not succeeded in reducing exploitation and human trafficking. It provides an indictment of libertarian policies towards prostitution.

R&D: U.S. Weapons Systems Compromised by China, Pharmaceutical Battles in the Developing World, Fighting Future Unemployment, and More

Confidential report lists U.S. weapons system designs compromised by Chinese cyberspies from The Washington Post
In an alarming confident report, the Pentagon revealed that Chinese hackers acquired designs for over twenty major weapons systems, which could harm America’s chances in a future war with China.

Preventing Pharmageddon: Treatment Access for Noncommunicable Diseases from The Council on Foreign Relations
This policy memorandum from the Council on Foreign Relations discusses battles over access to patented medicines by developing nations.  It is a helpful article for extempers looking to increase evidence in their files about global medical issues.

Winning the jobs war from Politico
This op-ed piece, written by Delaware Governor Jack Markell discusses strategies that the country needs to take to make sure current students are ready for jobs of the future.  The op-ed heavily promotes the STEM education program.

Northwest TOC

2014 Extemp TOC Qualification Board Debuts

The qualification board of the 2014 Extemp TOC has been created and updated to reflect the results of the 2013 Extemporaneous Speaking Tournament of Champions at Northwestern University and the 2013 National Catholic Forensic League Grand National Tournament. All elimination round participants in those tournaments earn an automatic qualification to the 2014 Extemp TOC. Currently, 36 extempers have already reserved a place in next year’s tournament.

The next update to the qualification board will take place after NFL Nationals. All elimination round participants in United States Extemp and International Extemp will qualify to the TOC.

To find out more about the Extemporaneous Speaking Tournament of Champions, visit their website.

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HotTopics: United States Extemp Questions for the Week of May 27th-June 2nd, 2013

1. Will recent bridge collapses produce momentum for a national public works program?
2. Why has political momentum evaporated for cap and trade?
3. Is Benghazi an issue in search of a scandal?
4. How can the GOP recapture the Senate in 2014?
5. Does America need a smaller military?
6. Will private, not public, funding produce the next moon landing?
7. Is a Netflix-style model the future of cable television?
8. Should public officials be allowed to classify Americans as “enemy combatants”?
9. Is it time to end the war on terrorism?
10. Will the Boy Scouts recent decision to admit gay members lead to a sharp decline in membership?

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HotTopics: International Extemp Questions for the Week of May 27th-June 2nd, 2013

1. Will the Syrian civil war widen to include Israel and Lebanon?
2. Should Great Britain tighted its immigration policy?
3. How should the Indian government respond to the latest political attack by Maoist insurgents?
4. Should Saudi Arabia begin a nuclear weapons program?
5. Does the Maduro government need recognition from the United States?
6. Can Myanmar’s old soldiers fade away?
7. Are Middle Eastern governments encouraging a “Christian flight” from the region?
8. Will a recent land reform agreement between the Colombian government and FARC rebels significantly reduce violence?
9. Can greater Japanese-Indian cooperation thwart Chinese ambitions in East Asia?
10. Should China rescue Greece?

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2013 NCFL National Tournament: Ferrante Wins CFL National Championship, Ethe Takes Second

Here are the final results from the 2013 Catholic Forensic League Grand National Tournament that was held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania over the weekend.  Half of this year’s final round was composed of finalists from the previous year.  Winner Gabe Ferrante of Iona Preparatory School in New York took sixth in last year’s final.   Allison McKibban of El Dorado High School in Kansas took third, the same place that she took in last year’s tournament, and Robert McDonough of Holy Ghost Preparatory School in Pennsylvania improved his performance by one placing and finished fourth.  Jake Ethe of Half Hollow Hills High School took second, giving New York the top two extempers in this year’s tournament.  Ferrante becomes the first New York winner of the CFL extemp championship since at least 1997.

Defending national champion Lily Nellans of Des Moines Roosevelt High School in Iowa was not in attendance to defend her title.

Here is the complete listing of elimination round results.  All elimination round participants have qualified to next year’s Extemporaneous Speaking Tournament of Champions at Northwestern University (Rankings for the tournament can be viewed at this link):

Champion: Gabe Ferrante (Iona Preparatory School, New York)
2nd: Jake Ethe (Half Hollow Hills High School, New York)
3rd: Allison McKibban (El Dorado High School, Kansas)
4th: Robert McDonough (Holy Ghost Preparatory School, Pennsylvania)
5th: Omkar Mahajan (James Logan High School, California)
6th: Dylan Adelman (Lakeville South High School, Minnesota)

R&D: A Republican Senate Majority in 2014?, A Helpful Glossary for Iran’s Nuclear Program, President Obama Alters U.S. Drone Policy, and More

A Republican Senate Majority in 2014: So Close, But Yet so Far by Shrinking the Margin of Error
Although this source is a blog, it provides an excellent resource for extempers looking for a quick overview of the 2014 Senate races. Since an easy, generic domestic politics question is to ask about these campaigns, this blog post can help guide extempers in the right direction and prepare them for those topics.

Nuclear Iran: A Glossary of Terms from The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
Are you confused by some of the terminology surrounding Iran’s nuclear program? This excellent policy brief (make sure to download the .pdf) provides a dictionary for terms about Iran’s nuclear program and provides an updated overview of the topic. A fantastic resource for rookie and veteran extempers that have likely had to speak about this topic several times in their careers.

Obama reaches for moral high ground on drones, Gitmo from The Christian Science Monitor
Yesterday, President Obama gave an important foreign policy speech where he explained that the war on terrorism could not last forever, that American drone policy would be severely restricted to those who posed an imminent danger to the United States, and that Guantanamo Bay should be closed. This article explains the big ideas of Obama’s speech, centering mostly on drones and Gitmo.

R&D: Drone Strikes in Pakistan, Who’s to Blame for the IRS Scandal, Rob Ford’s Cocaine Issues, and Other News

Drones: Myths And Reality In Pakistan from The International Crisis Group
President Obama’s drone policy has been one of the most controversial parts of his foreign policy. This executive summary, and full report, discusses America’s drone policy in the 21st century and discusses ways to make the American drone policy more transparent.

Who’s to blame for murky regulation in IRS scandal: Agency or lawmakers? from The Christian Science Monitor
Evaluating the tax exempt status of various groups lies at the heart of the recent IRS scandal, especially since conservative groups seem to have received the most vetting. However, was this scandal generated by IRS confusion or Congress not making regulations clear enough? This article lays out that debate, which may come in handy when talking about th
e IRS scandal at this week’s national tournament.

Rob Ford faces more calls to address crack allegations from CBC News
In one of the more interesting international stories of the week, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford faces allegations of smoking crack cocaine. The incident has been a hot topic throughout Canada, where Ford generates mixed reactions. He is quite a character and extempers might find it useful to discuss him in an AGD this weekend at NCFL Nationals.

HotTopics: International Extemp Questions for the Week of May 20th-26th, 2013

1. What explains North Korea’s provocative actions this year?
2. If India provides military aid to Afghanistan, how does that change the geopolitical situation in South and Central Asia?
3. Is it in Israel’s best interest that Bashar al-Assad stays in power?
4. How can Francois Hollande boost the lagging French economy?
5. Why is Italy’s economy contracting?
6. Can Shinzo Abe do what his predecessors have failed to do in resuscitating the Japanese economy?
7. Should economic reform or domestic security be the top priority of Pakistan’s new government?
8. How can the drug war in Latin America be fought in a “smarter” way?
9. Should Angela Merkel be concerned with the rise of the Alternative fur Deutschland party?
10. Why are developing countries struggling to provide jobs for younger workers?

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HotTopics: United States Extemp Questions for the Week of May 20th-26th, 2013

1. How should the Obama administration handle the IRS scandal?
2. Is it in America’s best interest to back the Syrian opposition?
3. Will online education make attendance at a physical college campus obsolete for most Americans?
4. With America’s mission nearly complete, should Afghanistan be viewed as a success or a foreign policy blunder?
5. Will Medicaid expansion cripple state budgets within the next ten years?
6. Is President Obama’s governing style too “hands off”?
7. What impact, if any, will the recent Washington D.C. scandals have on the Massachusetts Senate race?
8. Should the federal government invest in a massive public works campaign to lower national unemployment?
9. Does law enforcement’s use of drones violate Fourth Amendment protections?
10. Google Glass: Useful invention or public nightmare?

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Content Schedule for Next Week

As my school year dies down I will be able to update Extemp Central on a more regular basis. This week, the International and U.S. Extemp questions were posted to get back on a regular content schedule. Next week will see the return of two R&D postings, which will link to pertinent articles for CFL and NFL Nationals. These will happen on Wednesday and Friday.

I plan on unveiling a new form of a topic brief, which is still in development, for the week after next. I want something that communicates the information quickly, but is a useful read. Those who have ideas for the first topic brief, feel free to comment here or on our Facebook page.

Schedule for next week (May 20th-May 24th):

Monday: Release of new International & United States extemp questions
Wednesday: R&D articles
Friday: R&D articles

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HotTopics: International Extemp Questions for the Week of May 13th-19th, 2013

1. Would a war against Israel save the Assad regime?
2. Will the Turkish government reach a peace deal with the PKK before the end of 2013?
3. Was Great Britain justified in eliminating foreign aid to South Africa?
4. In regards to the Middle East peace process, can China succeed where the United States has failed?
5. Is Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner becoming an autocrat?
6. What steps does Pope Francis need to take to enhance Catholicism’s reputation in Europe?
7. Is natural gas the global energy source of the future?
8. What can the international community do to encourage more corporate responsibility in areas of the developing world?
9. Will Pervez Musharraf eventually go on trial in Pakistan?
10. Why is anti-Semitism rising in Hungary?

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HotTopics: United States Extemp Questions for the Week of May 13th-19th, 2013

1. Will the U.S. launch a manned mission to Mars by 2030?
2. Is Benghazi the next Watergate?
3. Will Mark Sanford’s victory assist the Democrats in enhancing their appeal to female voters in 2014?
4. Can Jeb Bush escape his brother’s shadow and win the presidency in 2016?
5. What explains the lack of white voter turnout in 2012?
6. How should the Department of Defense handle new allegations of sexual assault in the military?
7. What changes should be made to the Senate immigration reform bill?
8. How can John Kerry “reset” America’s relationship with Russia?
9. Dow at 15,000: So what?
10. Will the U.S. Senate approve the UN arms trade treaty?

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Return to Extemp Central

Hello readers,

Everyone is aware that for much of the 2012-2013 season I stepped away from Extemp Central as work responsibilities and burn out took their toll. However, I am returning to the site and will be regularly updating content from here until NFL Nationals. I will also be resuming duties for the 2013-2014 season. So check back regularly for questions and other content.  A content schedule will be released later in the week, but tomorrow (Monday) I will post U.S. Extemp and International Extemp questions, which match the topic areas released by the NCFL extemp topic committee.

If you have results from Harvard, the California Invitational, NIETOC, and state tournaments from the last two seasons, feel free to send them to me at [email protected] so that I can update our champions page.

-Logan Scisco

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