R&D from Prepd: Weekly Roundup for the Week of February 23-March 1, 2015

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 February 23-March 1, 2015.

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R&D from Prepd: Egypt’s Battle With Islamic Militants

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 Egypt’s fight against Islamic militants.  The Egyptian government has spent the early part of 2015 conducting military strikes on militants on the Sinai peninsula.  Militants there have attacked Egyptian military personnel since a coup ousted the Muslim Brotherhood in July 2013.  The Egyptian military has also directed strikes against members of the Islamic State in Libya last week after the group released a video showing the beheading of Egyptian Christians.

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R&D from Prepd: Wage Growth in the U.S. 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 covers wage growth in the U.S. economy.  Although the U.S. economy is improving, wage growth for Americans has lagged behind, with hourly wages rising 0.5% last month.  Economists are optimistic that significant wage growth could take place in 2015, as businesses such as Wal-Mart have recently decided to raise the pay of its workers to $10 an hour.  If wage growth takes off, it could compel the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates in order to temper inflation in the economy.  Creating better wage growth is also a rallying call for those who seek to reduce income inequality in the United States.

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2015 Illinois High School Association State Speech Final: There’s No Tie This Year as Abiona Defeats Patel by One Rank to Claim Sandburg’s First Championship

This year’s Illinois High School Association State Speech Final was primed as a showdown between Parth Patel of Huntley High School and Vinesh Kannan of the Illinois Math and Science Academy. Last year both extempers, along with Saumya Jain of Neuqua Valley High School, shared the state championship after an unbreakable three-way tie. However, the anticipated story did not go as planned as Kannan finished one rank out of the final round and Moyo Abiona of Carl Sandburg High School defeated Patel by one rank to win Sandburg’s first-ever extemporaneous speaking state championship.

Abiona had an interesting road to the final, being one of the last extempers to make the break into the round with a cumulative score of twelve. Once there, though, Abiona took control of the tournament, winning three of the five available first place ranks. Although Patel had a better cumulative score across all five judges, Illinois drops the lowest rank from a competitor’s final round total. This enabled Abiona to shed a fifth place rank and win with a 1-1-1-2 composite versus Patel’s 1-1-2-2.

Aside from Patel, the final round also featured another return finalist, Bethany Dain of Belleville West High School. Dain took fifth place at the tournament, which was an improvement over her sixth place finish last year.

Steven Chun of Hinsdale Central High School, who finished third, was the only extemper in the final round to have pre-qualified for this year’s Extemp TOC at Northwestern University. By virtue of TOC rules, which allow for the automatic qualification of 2015 state finalists (as long as their tournaments are held prior to April 2), Illinois qualified five new extempers to this year’s TOC. Those acquiring a qualifying leg are indicated in italics below.

Here are the results of the 2015 Illinois High School Association State Speech Final (Click here for tab sheet):
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HotTopics: International Extemp Questions for the Week of February 23-March 1, 2015

HOTtopics1. Should the UN name alleged war criminals in the Syrian civil war?
2. Is a global regulatory effort needed to alleviate commercial surrogacy abuses?
3. Has Europe castrophically misread Russia?
4. How should India react to the proposed Sri Lanka-Pakistani nuclear accord?
5. Is the growth of organic farming good for the world?
6. How can child soldiers be removed from the South Sudanese civil war?
7. Did the EU cave into Greece in the latest round of debt talks?
8. Will the Iraqi government’s push to retake Mosul hinder its quest for national unity?
9. What role should China play in Afghan peace negotiations?
10. Can Egypt effectively fight Islamic militants on two fronts?

HotTopics: United States Extemp Questions for the Week of February 23-March 1, 2015

HOTtopics1. Is the GOP presidential field stronger than 2012?
2. Will the Fifth Circuit undo President Obama’s executive actions on immigration?
3. Has President Obama properly defined America’s fight against terrorism?
4. Will 2015 be a year of better wage growth in the U.S. economy?
5. Does the Chicago mayoral election show growing fault lines within the Democratic Party?
6. Would the sale of U.S. Foods to Sysco hurt consumers?
7. Why is President Obama enjoying improved approval ratings?
8. Is net neutrality a solution in search of a problem?
9. Can school voucher programs significantly improve the American education system?
10. Will Bruce Rauner’s win his fight against public unions?

Know Your District’s NSDA Qualifiers? Send Them Our Way!

Dallas 15With NFL Districts beginning their qualifying tournaments for this year’s national tournament, we would like to begin assembling qualification lists for those extempers who will be competing in Dallas, Texas this year in International and United States Extemp.

We currently have the qualifiers for the New England District and Tarheel East District (NC).  Those will be posted next week when we release our first qualification board update.

If you have the information from your NSDA District, please send it to me at logan.scisco@topper.wku.edu.

When sending the information, please provide the following:

  • The name of the NSDA District and the state that is located in
  • The names of those who will be ATTENDING nationals in IX and USX. Please do not send us the names of those who technically qualified, but opted to go in another event. We only want the names of those who will be going in the categories to avoid confusion.
  • The schools those competitors attend.
  • IF your district has an automatic qualifier from last year’s NFL Tournament (a competitor that reached finals or semi-finals in IX and USX) and that person will be going back to NSDA in that event, please let us know. If you are an automatic qualifier and want to give this information to us yourself, fantastic!

As always, thank you to our loyal readers who help us assemble our results and qualifiers list each year.

2014-2015 Extemp Central National Points Race: New Standings Posted to Reflect Harvard and the California Invitational!

pointsraceheader-01The 2014-2015 Extemp Central National Points Race standings have been updated to reflect the results of Harvard and the California Invitational. To access the standings, you can click on the National Points Race tab on the right of the main page or click here.

The current standings reflect the end of the 2014-2015 regular season.  The next National Points Race event will not take place until late April, when the University of Kentucky Tournament of Champions (TOC) will be held in Lexington, Kentucky.  The event will be the final fourth tier event in this year’s competition, with the winner receiving seventy points.

R&D from Prepd: Weekly Roundup for the Week of February 16-22, 2015

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 February 16-22, 2015.

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