R&D from Prepd: The General Motors Ignition Switch Case

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 General Motors (GM) ignition switch case.  The company is facing lawsuits and a federal investigation into an ignition switch defect that has been linked to more than one hundred deaths.  The defect caused the ignition switch to move out of position in older vehicles, disabling brakes, steering, and airbags.  GM recalled 2.6 million vehicles last year that were linked to the problem and reports are surfacing that federal investigators are likely to press criminal charges against some of the company’s employees that were allegedly aware of the problem and did little to fix it.

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R&D from Prepd: Ethiopia

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 Ethiopia.  The nation held parliamentary elections on Sunday and the governing Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) coalition was expected to win.  Opposition parties said that the poll was not fair, but African observers said that the election was free of large irregularities.  The Ethiopian government has strong ties to Western nations despite its recent history of silencing critics of the government.

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2015 National Catholic Forensic League Grand National Tournament: Liang “Wakes Up” to Win His First National Championship; Trinity Preparatory Places Two in the Final Round

2015 NCFLYijia Liang of Upper Arlington High School (OH) ended the National Catholic Forensic League (NCFL) Grand National Tournament exactly where he began the season – in the winner’s circle – as he defeated the top two competitors in the National Points Race – Justin Graham of Trinity Preparatory School (FL) and Brian Anderson of LaRue County High School (KY) – to win his first major championship. Liang’s victory is his second national circuit title of the season as he won the Wake Forest National Early Bird back in September. His win is the first time that an Ohio extemper has won the NCFL national title since Alex Draime of Howland High School took the crown in 2009.

Graham and Anderson tied for second place, but Graham had a cumulative score that was two ranks better than Anderson in the final round. This matters for the National Points Race as Graham will be able to enlarge his lead by fifteen points going into the National Speech and Debate Association (NSDA) National Tournament.

Montville Township High School (NJ) placed an extemper in the final round for the second consecutive year, with Christopher Mayer coming within four places of repeating teammate Monica Coscia’s national winning performance at last year’s tournament.

Samhitha Sunkara of Ardrey Kell High School (NC) finished the tournament in sixth place, becoming the first North Carolina extemp finalist at NCFL Nationals since 2011.

Trinity Preparatory School (FL) did quite well at the tournament, placing two competitors in the final round. Along with Graham’s runner-up performance, Nathaniel Saffran took fourth. This is the first time since 2009 that a school has had two extemp finalists at an NCFL National Tournament. Howland High School was the last school to accomplish the feat.

The tournament’s octo-final round also lived up to its cursed reputation as several prominent national competitors had their dreams of a national title end prematurely. Josh Wartel of Lake Braddock Secondary School (VA), who took third at last year’s tournament, was eliminated in octo-finals and was denied the opportunity to win the third leg of the Grand Slam. Yale Invitational winner Jasper Primack of Newton South High School (MA) and New York state champion Charlie Barton of Regis High School were also eliminated from the competition early Sunday morning.

Since the NCFL National Tournament is a third tier tournament in the National Points Race all of the competitor who reached the quarter-final round and beyond will earn points. If the Extemp TOC maintains its existing qualification system for next year, all of the underclassmen that reached the semi-final round will earn a leg for next year’s competition in Evanston, Illinois.

Here are the results of the 2015 NCFL Grand National Tournament (Click here for tab sheet):
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HotTopics: United States Extemp Questions for the Week of May 25-31, 2015

HOTtopics1. Should Congress eliminate the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program?
2. How can the mass incarceration problem be ended?
3. Should individual employees face criminal charges in the GM ignition case?
4. How can fast food worker protests gain more traction?
5. Did Rand Paul’s recent filibuster against the Patriot Act bolster his presidential chances?
6. Is the Department of Agriculture effectively dealing with the domestic bird flu outbreak?
7. Are sustained low interest rates harming American economic growth?
8. How can the liberal arts secure more funding in a “STEM era”?
9. Will Republicans pay a significant political price for backing trade promotion authority?
10. Does the U.S. need to do more to fight ISIS in Syria?

HotTopics: International Extemp Questions for the Week of May 25-31, 2015

HOTtopics1. What economic problems demand immediate attention from the Egyptian government?
2. Why has the Quebec separatist movement faltered?
3. How can development aid be improved to better assist poor nations?
4. Should other nations emulate France’s food waste law?
5. Does the EU need Great Britain more than Great Britain needs the EU?
6. Should the world press for more democratic reform in Ethiopia?
7. Will Greece default on its debts next month?
8. How can the international community bolster the capabilities of Iraq’s military forces?
9. What action should the UN take concerning human trafficking?
10. How significant was the Irish referendum on same-sex marriage?

R&D from Prepd: Weekly Roundup for the Week of May 18-24, 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 May 18-24, 2015.

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R&D from Prepd: Southeast Asia’s Migrant Crisis

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 Southeast Asia’s migrant crisis.  Recently, Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia have turned away migrant boats coming from Burma and Bangladesh.  The migrants are fleeing political persecution, but Thai, Indonesian, and Malaysian authorities argue that they do not want to encourage future refugees to arrive and have cast the boats back out to sea.  The United Nations has condemned the treatment of these refugees, mirroring its complains about European and Australian treatment of migrants over the past year.

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R&D from Prepd: Abortion Rights

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.

Today’s R&D provides resources on the most divisive topic in American politics and arguably one that you should stay away from in extemp rounds:  abortion.  Since the U.S. Supreme Court found that there was a constitutional right to have an abortion in Roe v. Wade in 1973 the subject has steadily come to define the differences between America’s two major political parties.  Last week, the House passed legislation that would prohibit abortions after twenty weeks with pro-life lawmakers arguing that a fetus can feel pain after that length of time.  Pro-choice forces argue that the science for that finding is hardly definitive and that such legislation would further encroach on women’s rights.  Gallup polls show that Americans favor legalized abortion, but support for the procedure significantly falls after the first trimester (twelve weeks).  For example, Gallup finds that more than 60% of Americans favor prohibitions on partial birth abortion.

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