HotTopics: United States Extemp Questions for the Week of May 2-8, 2016

HOTtopics1. Will large scale protests provide a boon to Donald Trump’s presidential hopes?
2. Should U.S. students take a year off before attending college?
3. Is the U.S. military prepared to fight the wars of the future?
4. Did Ted Cruz pick his vice-presidential nominee too early?
5. How will United Healthcare’s decision to drop out of health insurance exchanges affect the future of the Affordable Care Act?
6. Will the Democratic Party have a “contested convention” this summer?
7. How should the U.S. handle Puerto Rico’s debt crisis?
8. Should the Federal Reserve be concerned about sluggish first quarter GDP growth?
9. What is the biggest challenge facing the U.S. public education system?
10. Should women’s rights constitute a key part of American foreign policy?

HotTopics: International Extemp Questions for the Week of May 2-8, 2016

HOTtopics1. Is Russia really a wounded bear?
2. Will the concept of “global citizenship” become a popular notion over the next century?
3. Would a turn toward the political right do significant damage to the European economy?
4. How can the Iraqi government fight corruption more effectively?
5. Are environmental demands on developing nations a form of neo-imperialism?
6. Is Bangladesh becoming the next battleground in the war on terrorism?
7. Was Germany justified in banning Airbnb?
8. Will communist rule in Cuba continue long after the Castros are gone?
9. Is the West making it harder for Libya to form a unity government?
10. Will China’s new NGO law have significant negative side effects for poorer Chinese communities?

R&D from Prepd: Weekly Roundup for the Week of April 25-May 1, 2016

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 April 25-May 1, 2016.

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

SLC NationsNSDA District Tournaments have been held over the last two months and we would like to assemble the 2016 International and United States Extemp qualifications boards on Extemp Central.  To do that, though, we need the help of the extemp community to send us your qualifiers.

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 NSDA 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.  The first qualification board will go up next week.

R&D from Prepd: Austria’s Turn to the Right

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 Austria’s turn to the right.  Last week, the Austrian Freedom Party, a far-right party that campaigns on a platform of immigration restriction and euroskepticism won the first round of the Austrian presidential election.  The party won the most votes in its sixty-year history for the ceremonial post.  However, if its candidate, Norbert Hofer wins the runoff it would pave the way for new parliamentary elections that could also benefit it.  Anti-EU parties across Europe championed Hofer’s win, but critics warned that it showed Europe was becoming increasingly intolerant of migrants and other cultures.

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2015-2016 Extemp Central National Points Race: Standings Updated After the Barkley Forum, the Marshall Speech Spectacular, Harvard, and the California Invitational

pointsraceheader-01The updated standings of the 2015-2016 Extemp Central National Points Race have been posted to reflect the results of the Barkley Forum, the Marshall Speech Spectacular, 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 next National Points Race competition will take place this weekend at the University of Kentucky Tournament of Champions in Lexington, Kentucky.  The tournament is a fourth tier tournament in the National Points Race, with the winner receiving seventy points and points being awarded to all competitors that reach the semi-final round.

R&D from Prepd: Social Security

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 from Prepd provides resources on Social Security.  The program was part of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal in 1935, but is now encountering problems related to a lack of workers for current retirees and questions about whether benefit cuts will have to take place in order to keep the program afloat.  The popularity of the program has traditionally thwarted radical attempts to change it, as former President George W. Bush experienced first-hand in 2005.  Nevertheless, members of both parties agree that some type of adjustment will have to take place within the program within the next twenty years to make it sustainable.

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2016 California Invitational: Zheng Wins First National Circuit Title of the Year; Levenson Wins Final Round and Takes Second

berkeleyThis year’s National Points Race features the California Invitational as a third tier tournament and Matthew Zheng of Mira Loma High School (CA) seized the chance to move into the rankings by winning the tournament in February. Zheng took the title in the cumulative competition by three ranks, defeating Jacob Levenson of Nova High School (FL), although Levenson did win the tournament’s final round by one rank. Daniel Ginsburg of Miramonte High School (CA) finished in third place.

If Levenson had defeated Zheng he would have become the first non-Californian to win the tournament in eleven years.

As expected, California schools dominated the tournament, with twelve of the fifteen competitors that survived to the semi-finals and finals coming from the state. However, there were some notable names that made the trip to Berkeley. One of them was Glenbrooks winner Marshall Webb of Saint Mary’s Hall (TX), who finished in fifth place.

All of the competitors that reached the quarter-final round and beyond will earn National Points Race points. The new National Points Race standings will be released late Wednesday night.

Here are the results of the 2016 California Invitational (Click here for tab sheet):
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HotTopics: International Extemp Questions for the Week of April 25-May 1, 2016

HOTtopics1. Is Macedonia bound to become the next flare-up in the Western-Russian relationship?
2. Are there any economic benefits to climate change?
3. What are the strategic implications of Japan building a stealth jet?
4. How can Saudi Arabia liberate its economy from dependence on foreign oil exports?
5. Is ISIS a more dangerous terror group than al-Qaeda?
6. Will President Obama’s entrance into the Brexit debate help or hinder pro-EU forces?
7. How will a recent earthquake affect Ecuador’s economy?
8. Will the Freedom Party win the second round of the Austrian presidential election?
9. Should the international community create “safe zones” inside of Syria?
10. Will new UN sanctions against North Korea restrict the communist nation’s nuclear program?