R&D from Prepd: Weekly Roundup for the Week of October 20th-October 26th, 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 October 20th-October 26th, 2014.

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R&D from Prepd: The Greek Economy

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 the Greek economy.  In 2009, the country faced a debt crisis that threatened the euro zone and it required a €110 billion bailout loan from the European Union (EU) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).  The austerity and fiscal reform measures required by the bailout have proven politically unpopular and investors are fearful of what might happen if the Greek government prematurely ends its IMF program, which is supposed to end in 2016.

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R&D from Prepd: Voter ID Laws

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 covers state voter ID laws.  Supporters of these laws contend that they deter voter fraud, while opponents argue that they are unconstitutional because they serve as a poll tax.  Poll taxes were outlawed by the Twenty-Fourth Amendment, which was ratified in 1964.  On Saturday, the U.S. Supreme Court allowed Texas’s voter ID law to stand for the upcoming election, although it did not find that the law was constitutional.  Wisconsin had hoped to enforce a voter ID requirement for this year’s elections, but the Supreme Court blocked the enforcement of the law earlier this month.

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2014 New York City Invitational: Primack Cruises to Victory and Earns Second Consecutive National Points Race Tournament Win; Wexler Finishes Second

The second National Points Race tournament held last weekend was the New York City Invitational, which took place at the Bronx High School of Science in New York, New York. Jasper Primack of Newton South High School (MA) won his second consecutive National Points Race tournament of the season by defeating Noah Wexler of Nova Senior High School (FL) by an eleven rank margin. Primack’s large margin of victory was owed to him taking four of the five first place ranks in the final round. With this win, Primack earns forty National Points Race points.

The final round of the tournament was very Florida heavy as four of the six finalists compete for schools in the Sunshine State. In addition to Wexler, Justin Graham of Trinity Preparatory School, who won both halves of the Crestian Tradition last week, placed third. Wexler’s teammate Adele Stock took fifth and Nathaniel Saffran of Trinity Preparatory placed sixth in his third final appearance at a National Points Race tournament this season.

Jack Glaser of George Washington High School (CO), who competed at last year’s Montgomery Bell Academy Extemp Round Robin, placed fourth.

The New York City Invitational is not a qualifier to the 2015 Extemporaneous Speaking Tournament of Champions (TOC) at Northwestern University, but it is a qualifier for the University of Kentucky TOC in April. All of the finalists at the tournament earned qualifications to the UK TOC.

Here are the results of the 2014 New York City Invitational (Click here for tab sheet):
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2014 St. Mark’s Heart of Texas Invitational: Sridharan Wins IX; Cash Defends Booker T. Washington’s Title in USX; Lin Scores National Points Race Win

st. marksThe 2014-2015 Extemp Central National Points Race continued last weekend at the St. Mark’s Heart of Texas Invitational. The tournament, a fifth tier contest in the National Points Race, is one of two tournaments in this year’s competition that allows extempers to compete in International and United States Extemp. In International Extemp, Abhinav Sridharan of Plano Senior High School (TX), who won the Texas Forensic Association (TFA) State Championship in International Extemp last season, finished three ranks ahead of teammate Kishan Srikanth to take the title. Phoebe Lin of Plano West Senior High School (TX) tied Srikanth for second place, but fell to third place on a judge’s tiebreaker.  Sridharan is the first Plano Senior extemper to win the IX category at St. Mark’s since the 2010-2011 season.

In United States Extemp, Micah Cash of Booker T. Washington High School (OK), a quarterfinalist at last year’s Extemporaneous Speaking Tournament of Champions (TOC) at Northwestern University, successfully defended his team’s championship in the event by beating Lin by two ranks in the final round. Lin’s teammate Matthew Feng took third place.

To avoid double counting in the National Points Race, Extemp Central awards fifth tier points to the six extempers who had the best performances in each extemp category. Despite not winning either event, Lin will earn the forty first place points from St. Mark’s due to her high placing in IX and USX. She will also be credited with a victory in the National Points Race standings. Cash and Sridharan had the same point total when their finishes in both categories were calculated, so they will split the points awarded to a third and fourth place finisher in the National Points Race and receive twenty-four points each.  The six extempers who will receive points, as well as the extemper who finished next out in the competition, can be found at the bottom of the results listing.

All of the extempers who made the semifinal round of their respective extemp category earned qualifying legs to the 2015 Extemp TOC. Four extempers – Feng, Neil Patel of Plano West, Sridharan, and Srikanth – earned their TOC qualification at the tournament due to their performance in both category. Five other extempers earned their first qualifying legs. All of the extempers that earned a qualifying leg are indicated in italics below.

Here are the results of the 2014 St. Mark’s Heart of Texas Invitational (Click here for tab sheet):
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HotTopics: International Extemp Questions for the Week of October 20th-26th, 2014

HOTtopics1. Should the international community be worried about Venezuela winning a UN Security Council seat?
2. Has a higher consumption tax damaged Japan’s economic recovery?
3. Should the EU change its migration rules?
4. Is German austerity holding back the world economy?
5. How would the EU’s recognition of a Palestinian state affect the Israeli-Palestinian peace process?
6. Will Marina Silva’s endorsement enable Aecio Neves to capture the Brazilian presidency?
7. How should the Catholic Church handle homosexuality?
8. Are investors concerns about Greece’s economic future justified?
9. Should the international community be concerned about ISIS developing an air force capability?
10. Will Ukraine’s political purge do more harm than good?

HotTopics: United States Extemp Questions for the Week of October 20th-26th, 2014

HOTtopics1. What is the most important gubernatorial race in this year’s midterms?
2. How should Detroit handle unpaid water bills?
3. Does the U.S. really need an Ebola czar?
4. How will the Ebola scare affect the American airline industry?
5. Does the Democratic Party have a male problem?
6. Was Houston’s subpoena of pastors sermons a violation of the First Amendment?
7. Does the U.S. have an Islamophobia problem?
8. Will the era of “a la carte television” be good for consumers?
9. Did Democratic midterm candidates make a poor strategic choice in running away from President Obama?
10. Will Texas’s voter ID law become a template for other states?

R&D from Prepd: Weekly Roundup for the Week of October 13th-October 19th, 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 October 6th-October 12th, 2014.

Good luck to all of the extempers attending St. Mark’s and the New York City Invitational.  If you have the results of the Crestian Tradition, please send them to me at logan.scisco@topper.wku.edu so that we can add them to our TOC qualification board.

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2014-2015 Extemp Central National Points Race: How St. Mark’s Results Will Be Calculated

st. marksStarting tomorrow, the St. Mark’s Heart of Texas Invitational will take place in Dallas, Texas.  The tournament is unique in that it allows extempers to do both United States and International extemp.  The St. Mark’s Heart of Texas Invitational is a fifth tier tournament and is the third tournament of the year in the Extemp Central National Points Race.

To award points at this event, Extemp Central will combine extempers performance in both parts of the tournament in US and International extemp.  For each part of the tournament extempers will receive points based on their finish.  The points they can receive are as follows:

1st place = 1 pt.
2nd place = 3 pts.
3rd place = 5 pts.
4th place = 7 pts.
5th place = 9 pts.
6th place = 10 pts.
Semi-Finalist = 15 pts.
Quarter-Finalist = 25 pts.
Non-Break = 35 pts.

The top six extempers with the lowest total of points will be awarded the 1st-6th National Points Race fifth pier points.  This will prevent a double counting of St. Mark’s.  Extemp Central encourages anyone attending the tournament to send us information on finalists and final placings so that we can recognize those individuals in a timely manner.

Extemp Central wishes everyone competing at St. Mark’s this weekend good luck.