Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Still work to do

The filibuster is over, but we still have work to do!

Call these senators (especially if you are a constituent!!!):

- Susan Collins (ME) - (202) 224-2523
· Judd Gregg (NH) - (202) 224-3324
· Chuck Hagel (NE) - (202) 224-4224
· Dick Lugar (IN) - (202) 224-4814
· Lisa Murkowski (AK) - (202) 224-6665
· Olympia Snowe (ME) - (202) 224-5344
· Arlen Specter (PA) - (202) 224-4254
· John Sununu (NH) - (202) 224-2841
· John Warner (VA) - (202) 224-2023

Here's what you should say (don't be bombastic, verbose, or rude. Be brief, simple, and polite).

"Hello. I'm a citizen concerned about the Republican leadership's attempt to change Senate rules, and I would like to urge Senator [name here] to oppose the 'nuclear option' to eliminate the right to filibuster judicial nominations. I believe in fair judges, and checks and balances. Thank you very much."

Princeton students are also trying to spread the filibuster to more schools. It's not that hard to set up a filibuster (Megan and I did it in a couple of days). Time is of the essence -- Frist is going to force the issue as soon as TOMORROW!!!

E-mail me if you want more info on organizing your own filibuster: okeller@wellesley.edu


it's over

Our 24 hour filibuster for judicial fairness is ended.
Thanks to everyone who read and called their senators.


Monday, May 16, 2005

We Keep Going

It's 11:27. We're cold. It's late. And we're going to keep going.

Cortni's monologue

Cortni, our next student bursar, has just finished an extremely long monologue. Included in her improvisational musings: social security, the Metro system in D.C., meth, her small town in Montana, working in a Senator's office, the burgers and fries at the student center, the expanding universe, seeing a professor at the gym, the library, the "putting things in perspective" requirement, Forrest Gump, campus po, community (an online forum for Wellesley students), raccoons, Officer Karen, President Walsh and non-profits taking over the world, the QR overlay, econometrics and the crazy words she has learned in that class, dorm lottery and people who complain about it, and taking care of each other. Thanks for that highly entertaining flow of ideas.

Cortni feels strongly that filibusters are fun and important. Here she is reading the preamble to NAFTA! Posted by Hello

Sarah does an "I Love Democracy" cartwheel! Posted by Hello

Kirsten performs an interpretive dance to Megan's reading of the Bill of Rights.  Posted by Hello

Ona does an "I love Democracy" dance! Posted by Hello

Some dog walkers from the town stopped by and read JFKs innauguration speech. Thanks! Posted by Hello

Four More Hours to Go!

Considering that it's reading period and finals begin tomorrow, we've had a good number of people show up to support our "Filibuster." I can't believe we've been here for 20 hours! Currently, we're having a little comic relief as Sarah is now reading Non Campus Mentis. Wellesley students - if you have time, come by at midnight for our conclusion as we read The Declaration of Independence!

18th hour and counting . . .

Maintaining the right to filibuster is critical to democracy. The filibuster ensures the right of the minority to freely express their opinion. Without the filibuster, the government will truly become a tyranny of the majority. Here at Wellesley we have decided to do our own filibuster to demonstrate what the filibuster means to us. Show your support!! Call the swing senators to make sure they hear our voices!-Kayla Calkin

Oh the power of the internet! Some folks from a neighboring town read about us on another blog and drove over! Here's Victoria reading from the "Boxcar Children." Thanks to her and her mom and sister for coming out. May Victoria and her sister participate in many more protests! Posted by Hello

Emily Amick, our wonderful Wellesley town meeting representative, reading Lincoln.  Posted by Hello

The Great Society

I just read one of my favorite speeches, Lyndon Johnson's "Great Society." It's such an inspiring speech. He speaks of a society in which we're all in it together. Everyone has a responsibility to his neighbor. It's a beautiful idea for government, but it is an idea that is being destroyed by the current administration.

Is it too much to ask that, in America, if you work full-time, you should be able to afford healthcare?
Is it too much to ask that, in America, a child's education will not be just how to take standardized tests, but how to appreciate the wonders of knowledge?
Is it to much to ask that, in America, if we send our soldiers into war, they will be properly equipped?

I'm filibustering because I'm mad that the Republicans (some, not all), are focusing on cheap pandering to their right wing base, instead of passing legislation that will make this country a better place. I'm filibustering because I'm mad as hell that the only thing the Republicans have accomplished this Session is passing bankruptcy legislation that benefits the wealthy and credit card companies. Maybe I'm naive, but I thought the Congress was created to represent the People, not the Corporation. I love America. I love our system of democracy, that has so many opportunities for debate. 217 years of Senate tradition can't be wrong.


Everyone chillin' at the filibuster. Katie is reading Joe Trippi's book "The Revolution will not be Televised." But this revolution will be "bloggicized"!!! OK, give me a break, I'm running on very little sleep. Bad jokes are inevitable.... Posted by Hello

Still Going Strong!

It got pretty lonely out here last night, but now we're going strong! We've had 29 readers since we started and many more have voiced their support and encouragement. We've also been busy calling our Senators and encouraging them to oppose the "nuclear option." Right now, Ona's reading a reprise of The Conscience of a Liberal, a book we've returned to again and again. Yay for Paul Wellstone! We're approaching our 18th hour!

why i read today

I participated today because I believe the filibuster is an important senate tradition which must be upheld to promote constructive dialouge and to protect minority political rights. Today I read a speech called "Beyond Vietnam" by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In addition to the fact that it was written by a prolific author, this speech was meaningful to me because of its many pertinent messages to politics today, in particular the call to a shift in national values. In closing, I want to thank everyone who organized this - Megan and Ona especially. Come and read something - it's a beautiful day!

Wellesley Protestant chaplain stops by to read from the "Filibuster Binder" that Ona created. Thanks to everyone who has stopped by, showed interest in the matter, and agreed to read! Posted by Hello

Wonderful Kirstin reading about the Vietnam war. Posted by Hello

Bailey, who is currently reading her thesis about redistricting. Before her, a woman read about Sudafed cold medication. Anything goes... Posted by Hello

Democracy at it's best

Democratic governments are characterized by the right to protest, to raise awareness and express disconent at current or proposed policies, and therefore ensure that current politics and political culture represent the views and voices of the people that the government is built upon. "For the people, by the people..."
However, electoral politics are not built to represent only the views of the majority party, but a fair and balanced comprimise between all voices in government. The right to filibuster is designed to ensure that the majority party listens to the minority party, rather than running amok with their own policies.
Today, the right to filibuster is at stake. Senator Bill Frist has proposed to block the filibuster on judicial nominees, virtually guaranteeing that the Republican party be able to push through several ultra-conservative judges, who will keep their positions for the duration of their livetimes.
The right to filibuster is not solely a Democratic technique, but has been used by both parties often throughout history. To ban filibusters would permanently cripple Senate protest by the minority party, allowing the majority party to push through legislation without checks.
Please join us today as we "filibuster Frist," holding our own protest to ensure the right to protest.

Katie reading stuff for finals Posted by Hello

Hour Ten

It's cold and rainy, but we're having a lot of fun. I just read an entire episode of The West Wing, "17 People," and before that I read two chapters of Thomas Frank's "What's the Matter With Kansas?" "17 People" is one of my favorite episodes. Now, we have someone else reading an editorial by PA Senator Arlen Specter. We have a fair amount of people stopping by the table and looking at information, but it's still early and hopefully we'll have many more people around lunch time!
--Emily Buss

Emily reading from the West Wing. Posted by Hello

Wonderful Sarah reads Barak's speech from the Democratic Convention. Posted by Hello


It's been eight hours and the sky is light (but still cloudy). Megan and Sarah stayed through the night, and were joined in the morning by Emily and her wonderful West Wing scripts. Bartlett would have never put up with the nuclear option.
Come join us!

1/8th down

It's been three hours! YES! Sarah, Ona, and Megan have been passing the hours with a delightful sequence of speeches from the Democratic and Republican conventions including those of the infamous Bush twins, Zell Miller, Al Sharpton, Barak Obama, and Bill Clinton. It's forty-three degrees and rainy, but we're inspired to keep on going!


Once we got to article 2 of the Constitution, it started raining. Symbolic? Perhaps.
We're having great turnout and still going strong. So far, reading has included the afore-mentioned Constitution, the Conscience of a Liberal, the history of the DFL in MN, a trashy shopaholic novel, a funny book about college, and Bushwhacked.
And it's only been one hour!

Megan reading the Bill of Rights. oh yeah.... Posted by Hello

Ona kicking off the filibuster by reading Article one of the Constitution. Posted by Hello

Bailey reading article two of the Constitution. The filibuster has begun! Posted by Hello

Sunday, May 15, 2005

What people are reading

My thesis, some of Lincoln and/or Jefferson's speeches and writings.

John Stuart Mill's On Liberty, because it discusses how silencing the minority is wrong.

10,000 Places to See Before You Die (because it's almost summer and we should all get working on our lists)
The Girl's Guide to Social Savvy (because it's just too rediculous that someone was paid to write this)

Acting out West Wing scripts, because it'll be 6AM and it'll probably be just us hardcore crazies. Come by and prove me wrong about that!

Conscience of a Liberal by the late Senator Paul Wellstone from Minnesota. Wellstone was a minority in the Senate; he would often cast the single dissenting vote on a bill. But the people of Minnesota loved him because of his integrity and his willingness to stand up and fight for what he believed in -- even if he was the only one doing it. He is a perfect demonstration of why minority voices need to be heard in the Senate (especially since many of the things he fought for would have helped a majority of Americans).

Why people are filibustering

These judges will be on the bench for life, so I believe it is necessary for these nominees to receive broad bi-partisan support. Taking away the right to filibuster will turn the judiciary into a partisan branch of the government. Though I'm a hard core Democrat, I don't want to turn the judiciary over to either party.

Because I believe that the minority party should always have a voice, regardless which party that might be at any given time. Were the Democrats to be the majority, I would *still* want the right to filibuster in place.

I am filibustering because I want this tradition in Senate to be upheld and be able to protect the rights of ALL Americans--regardless of political party. The filibuster is part of the system of "checks and blances" and is what the fathers of this country based the The Constitution on. American government protects the rights of the majority AND minority with the help of the filibuster.

Because everyone deserves a voice. Because I'm afraid of tryanny of the majority. Because Republicans are in control of the house, senate, and executive.

I believe that the Senate should be a place for debate and discussion, or what Thomas Jefferson called "a saucer into which the nation’s passions may be poured to cool."
The current plan is to cut off the filibuster for lifetime judicial appointments, but not legislation (which can easily be altered or proven unconstitutional by the Courts). I do not think that the right to filibuster either of these should be taken away, but we should have the strongest system to discuss and debate these lifetime judicial appointments.
This is not just an issue for the Democrats, but all Americans who care about a strong system of checks and balances. This is a rare time when the House, Senate, and White House are controlled by one party, but this country's founders gave us a system where "majority rule" is not absolute, and where the rights of the minority are also protected.

We know from the results of the last election that America is very polarized right now. Legislative tools such as the filibuster prevent our government from becoming similarly polarized by filtering out the extremes and bringing our laws and policies back toward the middle, where Americans can find compromise.

Because even though I'm a Democrat, I'd do the same thing if they were trying to pull this stunt. I'm old school. Tradition, rules, and etiquette are there for a reason.

at midnight....

We will kick off our filibuster with a reading of the Constitution. Hope everyone can stop by for a bit. While it's great if you can read, we also REALLY NEED PEOPLE TO CALL THE NINE POTENTIAL "SWING SENATORS": Collins, Gregg, Hagel, Lugar, Murkowski, Snowe, Specter, Sununu, and Warner. It takes less than a minute and can have a big impact if tons of people call.

alpacas Posted by Hello

Friday, May 13, 2005

It's official!

The Wellesley Filibuster for Judicial Fairness will take place from Sunday at 11:59 pm to Monday at 11:59 pm in Schneider Student Center (in the little alcove by the ATM). Please join us! You can e-mail your Senator, call your Senator (after 9pm with free cellphone minutes), or participate in the filibuster by reading.
Questions? Call me at 612-210-1056 or e-mail okeller@wellesley.edu or mmitchel@wellesley.edu

Wednesday, May 11, 2005


Approval for our filibuster is pending. If it's OK'd by the administration, it will take place from midnight Sunday until midnight Monday in Schneider. Stop by and read or write/call your Senator!