HotTopics: International Extemp Questions for the Week of April 14th-20th, 2014

HOTtopics1. Will the Ukrainian crisis spark a “gas war” in Europe?
2. Is Assad winning the Syrian civil war?
3. Does the resignation of Abdullah al-Thani further complicate Libya’s transition to a stable democracy?
4. Why did the Parti Quebecois suffer such a disastrous defeat in recent local elections?
5. Should the EU enact a boycott of Israeli goods?
6. Has the international community increased the effectiveness of its fight against AIDS?
7. Should Catalonia become independent?
8. Will Rafael Correa eventually decide to seek a fourth term?
9. How can the international community improve its response to outbreaks of ethnic violence and genocide?
10. Is Nigeria Africa’s superpower?

HotTopics: United States Extemp Questions for the Week of April 14th-20th, 2014

HOTtopics1. Is Bobby Jindal’s healthcare proposal a feasible alternative to the Affordable Care Act?
2. Did CBS make the wrong call in deciding to replace David Letterman with Stephen Colbert?
3. If Russia occupies Eastern Ukraine, how should the U.S. react?
4. Should Vance McAllister resign?
5. What is the best way for the federal government to oversee grazing on public lands in the West?
6. How will the U.S. government’s decision to deny a visa to Hamid Abutalebi impact its nuclear talks with Iran?
7. Does Kathleen Sebelius’s resignation improve the public relations dimension of the Affordable Care Act?
8. Is the “war on women” narrative still politically effective?
9. Should state be required to disclose the drugs used for lethal injection?
10. The Heartbleed virus: a significant security threat or a nuisance for businesses?

R&D from Prepd: U.S. Foreign Policy

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 to learn more. Like Prepd on Facebook for special info and contests.

This R&D provides a general overview of U.S. foreign policy issues.  One of the big themes of 2014 has been the Obama administration’s foreign policy setbacks in dealing with Russia, Libya, the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, and Saudi Arabia.  Republicans have taken the administration to task for showing weakness, a charge that the Obama administration and Secretary of State John Kerry deny.  The Obama administration points out that America has improved its ties with Southeast Asian nations, has made substantial progress with Iran over its nuclear program, and has helped facilitate a successful Afghan presidential election.


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R&D from Prepd: Brazil’s Pacification Strategy

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 to learn more. Like Prepd on Facebook for special info and contests.

This R&D provides resources on Brazil’s “pacification” program.  The program’s goal is to enhance security for the 2016 Summer Olympics and World Cup by sending police officers and soldiers into Rio’s slums.  Critics argue that the campaign is violating the human rights of the poor and causing higher levels of crime in other parts of the city.


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HotTopics: United States Extemp Questions for the Week of April 7th-13th, 2014

HOTtopics1. The new jobs report: cause for celebration or source of anxiety about the status of America’s economic recovery?
2. Is Paul Ryan making a mistake by not including defense cuts in his budget proposal?
3. What steps can be taken to make higher education more affordable?
4. Does McCutcheon v. FEC devastate what remains of campaign finance law?
5. What is the best way to measure unemployment?
6. Should soldiers at military posts be armed?
7. Are state increases in the minimum wage helping or hindering Democratic prospects this November?
8. Should the U.S. permanently abandon efforts to broker a Middle East peace agreement?
9. Is Mark Warner’s Senate seat vulnerable?
10. Should General Motors compensate victims of “Switchgate”?

HotTopics: International Extemp Questions for the Week of April 7th-13th, 2014

HOTtopics1. Is the world experiencing a “population bomb”?
2. After local elections, should Francois Hollande move farther to the left?
3. Were the Afghan elections a success?
4. Are Kenya’s anti-terror operations exacerbating religious tensions?
5. Is the new clash between the West and Russia a global culture war instead of a new global Cold War?
6. Can Chile afford free education for all of its citizens?
7. Is Brazil’s pacification campaign of shanty towns in Rio creating more hardship for the city?
8. Are Pakistan’s blasphemy laws going too far?
9. Has Hungarian democracy eroded under Vicktor Orban?
10. Will the recent reduction of energy subsidies help the Iranian economy?

2014 Extemp TOC: Check Out the Last TOC Qualification Board of the 2013-2014 Season!

tocThe last large update to this year’s Extemporaneous Speaking Tournament of Champions (TOC) at Northwestern University has been posted.  To access it, please click here or you can click on the “TOC Qual Board” link that appears if you place your mouse over the “TOC” tab to the right of the main page.  The tournament will take place on May 9th-11th in Evanston, Illinois on Northwestern’s campus.  The TOC has released the invitation to this year’s tournament on their website.  Extempers who did not earn a qualification through last year’s TOC, last year’s CFL and NFL Nationals, their state tournaments between April 2, 2013 and April 4, 2014, or earning two legs at TOC qualifying tournaments are able to apply for an at-large bid, but those bid applications are due to Northwestern by April 11th.

As was the case last year, all state champions will have their entry fees waived for the TOC.  So if you won your state tournament (if held prior to the TOC deadline of April 4th) then all you have to do is get yourself to Evanston to compete!

According to our count, 472 extempers have qualified to this year’s TOC.  However, qualification board is still missing state results from Kansas (2013), New Mexico, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming so the likely number is over 500.  If you have any of these, please send them to me at so we can get a more accurate qualification board.  Even without these results, though, we have assembled the most complete qualification board that we have in our history of putting one together and I’d like to say thank you to all of those who sent in results and the tournaments that posted their results online.


2014 Nebraska School Activities Association State Tournament: Six New State Champions Crowned; Thirty-Four Qualify for the TOC

Like Virginia, Nebraska has six classes for its state championship tournament and this year’s Nebraska School Activities Association State Tournament crowned six new state champions in extemporaneous speaking. Walter Paul of Creighton Preparatory School won Class A, Katlyn Martin of Omaha Marian High School won Class B, Ahinav Suresh of Omaha Brownell-Talbot High School won Class C1, Scott Smith of Nebraska Christian School won Class C2, Matthew Martin of Lourdes Central Catholic School won Class D1, and Isaiah Miller of Leigh High School won Class D2.

The six class system, combined with the fact that only two finalists at the tournament – Erin Sheehan of Millard North High School and Richard Diurba of Millard West High School in Class A – were previously qualified to this year’s TOC, led to thirty-four extempers earning an automatic qualification to this year’s Extemporaneous Speaking Tournament of Champions (TOC) at Northwestern University, which is more qualifiers from a state tournament than any other state in the 2013-2014 season. Qualifiers are indicated with italics in the results listing.

Here are the results of the 2014 Nebraska School Activities Association (Click here for tab sheet):
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