R&D from Prepd: Weekly Roundup for the Week of December 15th-21st, 2014

l_2Today’s R&D is brought to you by Prepd, the only software built specifically for extemp. Prepd makes it easy to research, practice, and compete!  Visit www.prepd.in to learn more. Like Prepd on Facebook for special info and contests.

Here is our weekly survey of news stories to round out the week of December 15th-21st, 2014.

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2014 Isidore Newman School Invitational: Bock Gives Nova Two TOC Champions; England Takes Second

At the Isidore Newman School Invitational, the second ExtemporaneouS Speaking Tournament of Champions (TOC) qualifying tournament held last week, Nova Senior High School (FL) became the second team to have two different winners at TOC qualifying tournaments this season when Eleanor Bock secured a four rank win over Kelsey England of Northland Christian School (TX). Bradley Wascher of Saint James School (AL) took third place.

The final round of the tournament was largely a showdown between Nova Senior and Saint James, as Nova had three finalists and Saint James had two.

All of the finalists at Isidore Newman received a qualifying leg for the Extemp TOC at Northwestern University. No extemper secured their at-large qualification since Bock was already previously qualified to the TOC and none of the other finalists obtained a qualifying leg prior to the tournament. The extempers receiving a qualifying leg are indicated in italics below.

The extempers in the final round also secured an automatic qualification to the University of Kentucky TOC in April.

Here are the results of the 2014 Isidore Newman School Invitational (Click here for tab sheet):
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R&D from Prepd: The Collapse of the Russian Ruble

l_2Today’s R&D is brought to you by Prepd, the only software built specifically for extemp. Prepd makes it easy to research, practice, and compete!  Visit www.prepd.in to learn more. Like Prepd on Facebook for special info and contests.

This R&D provides information on the collapse of the Russian ruble.  The Russian central bank raised interest rates earlier in the week to 17% in an attempt to stop the ruble’s slide, which has coincided with a decline in the global oil price.  The value of the ruble collapsed during Russia’s financial crisis in 1998 and President Vladimir Putin wants to avoid that happening again.

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2014 Dowling Catholic Paradigm: Thompson Defeats Kale; Five Finalize TOC Qualifications

After a series of Extemporaneous Speaking Tournament of Champions (TOC) qualifiers took place last week on university campuses, qualifying tournaments returned to high school hosting sites last week and Dowling Catholic High School was one of them. At the school’s Dowling Catholic Paradigm tournament, Jacob Thompson of Des Moines Roosevelt High School (IA) took the title by three ranks over Alekh Kale of James Madison Memorial High School (WI). Kale won two first place ranks in the final round, but an errant seven cost him the championship. Thompson’s teammate Daniel Drane took third.

The tournament was helpful for those extempers seeking a qualification to this year’s Extemp TOC at Northwestern University as five of the seven finalists completed their at-large applications. In addition to Thompson, Kale, and Drane, Ben Anderson of Liberty Senior High School (MO) and Olivia Shoemaker of Lakeville North High School (MN) earned their second at-large qualifying leg. Two other finalists earned their first TOC qualifying leg of the season. All of those earning TOC qualifying legs are indicated in italics in the results listing.

Here are the results of the 2014 Dowling Catholic Paradigm (Click here for tab sheet):
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R&D from Prepd: Jeb Bush

l_2Today’s R&D is brought to you by Prepd, the only software built specifically for extemp. Prepd makes it easy to research, practice, and compete!  Visit www.prepd.in to learn more. Like Prepd on Facebook for special info and contests.

This R&D provides resources on Jeb Bush’s presidential aspirations.  Bush, the son of former President George H.W. Bush and brother to President George W. Bush, is looking into a possible presidential bid in 2016.  He served as Florida’s governor from 1999 to 2007 and is considered a moderate conservative, favoring immigration reform and having a nuanced position on the death penalty.  A few days ago Bush announced that he would soon release more than 250,000 e-mails from his time as Florida governor and author an electronic book describing his “governing philosophy.” Pundits think this is a clear signal that he will make a bid for the presidency in two years.

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HotTopics: International Extemp Questions for the Week of December 15th-21st, 2014

HOTtopics1. Will U.S. sanctions force the Maduro to change course?
2. After 13 years, did NATO accomplish its mission in Afghanistan?
3. Should Venezuela expand its oil diplomacy initiative?
4. What role should the UN play in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian dispute?
5. Should Michel Martelly resign?
6. What does a feminist foreign policy look like?
7. Was the Lima climate summit a failure?
8. Should the British government open a torture probe?
9. How should the Japanese snap election result be interpreted?
10. Will low oil prices constrain Russia’s foreign policy?

HotTopics: United States Extemp Questions for the Week of December 15th-21st, 2014

HOTtopics1. How will low gas prices affect the U.S. economy?
2. Will Jeb Bush seek the presidency?
3. Should the U.S. provide lethal military aid to Ukraine?
4. Does the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on interrogation techniques strengthen American foreign policy?
5. Should New York City eliminate its horse-carriage industry?
6. Are marijuana laws racially discriminatory?
7. Should President Obama take executive action to lift the embargo on Cuba?
8. Is the new budget bill a defeat for conservatives?
9. Are protests against police brutality making an impact?
10. Should the U.S. government investigate high airline ticket prices?

2014-2015 Extemp Central National Points Race: New Standings Posted to Reflect George Mason!

pointsraceheader-01The 2014-2015 Extemp Central National Points Race standings have been updated to reflect the results of the George Mason University Patriot Games.  To access the standings, you can click on the National Points Race tab on the right of the main page or click here.

The next National Points Race tournament will be the Montgomery Bell Academy Extemp Round Robin, which will be held from January 2-4 in Nashville, Tennessee.  This will be the first second tier tournament of the season and the winner will receive 150 points.  The top six extempers at MBA will receive points.

2014 George Mason University Patriot Games: Wartel Outduels Graham to Win His First National Points Race Event of the Season; Also Wins Round Robin

gmuThe last National Points Race tournament of the first semester took place last weekend at the George Mason University Patriot Games, held on the campus of George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. Josh Wartel of Lake Braddock Secondary School (VA) won his first National Points Race event of the season, defeating arguably the most competitive field at a national circuit tournament this season. In a final round that featured five competitors in the top fifteen of the National Points Race and the winners of four Extemporaneous Speaking Tournament of Champions (TOC) qualifying tournaments, Wartel defeated Justin Graham of Trinity Preparatory School (FL) by judges’ preference after both competitors earned a cumulative total of nine ranks from the five finals judges. Wartel took three of the first place ranks in the final round, whereas Graham took the other two. The final round was largely a duel between Wartel and Graham, as their combined cumulative total was double that of the third place finisher, Brian Anderson of LaRue County High School (KY) who took second at last year’s Patriot Games.

Wartel was also the winner of the tournament’s round robin competition, becoming the second extemper in the last three years to win both the general tournament and the round robin event. In that competition, Wartel defeated Eitan Sapiro-Gheiler of Durham Academy (NC). Graham took third.

The victory at GMU is Wartel’s second national circuit win in as many weeks, as he won Villiger the week prior to competing in Fairfax.

All of the competitors who reached elimination rounds earned points toward this year’s National Points Race. National Points Race leader Jack Glaser of George Washington High School (CO) qualified for elimination rounds, but was knocked out in quarter-finals. Sapiro-Gheiler and Yijia Liang of Upper Arlington High School (OH), who took fourth, made their fourth National Points Race final of the year, which is more than any other competitor.

The Extemp TOC at Northwestern University awards qualification legs to all extempers who made the quarter-final round and beyond at GMU. Ten extempers – Thomas Abel of the Delbarton School (NJ), Varun Bhatia of Trinity Preparatory School (FL), Robby Cummins of Good Counsel High School (MD), Glaser, Clare Halsey and Sejal Waghray of Ridge High School (NJ), Jad Hamdan of Jackson High School (OH), Alexander Hirsch of Stuyvesant High School (NY), Abhishek Kodumugalla of Durham Academy (NC), and Bill Peebles of Cary Academy (NC) – completed their TOC qualification by earning a second leg. Twenty other extempers earned their first qualifying leg at GMU. All of those earning a TOC qualifying leg are indicated in italics in the results listing.

All of the finalists earned an automatic qualification to the University of Kentucky TOC in April, but all of them were previously qualified.

Here are the results from the 2014 George Mason University Patriot Games (Click here for tab sheet):
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