Texas abortion bill and the history of filibustering

I found out about all of this yesterday. What is sad is that Wendy Davis graduated from Texas Christian University. I do not know why she does not go by Scripture because our ELOHIM [Hebrew word for GOD and who I believe is FATHER/SON/SPIRIT] is very clear that no one is to kill another, [read Sh’mot – Exodus – 20]. I know there are debates about when life officially starts but when you study Scripture, you realize that Scripture can be very clear on many things and you also realize just how much we are following men’s ways instead of ELOHIM’S Way.

Men’s ways use creative semantics to create doubt or make something unclear or plausible to push what they want. They do not want the Truth, they want to sin but do not want to be called sinners. Do the last two sentences speak of you? Do you not realize that one day you [and everyone] will face the TRUTH? What will you do if you find out, too late, that you were wrong? Is the sin you are committing worth being punished forever? Have you asked our FATHER in Heaven in prayer what the truth is or have you gone by your own or other people’s understanding? Go by HIS Word and ask HIM in prayer concerning everything in life and obey HIS SON otherwise ELOHIM’S wrath remains on you [Yochanan 3:36 – if your translation does not use the word “obey” in this verse look at a translation that does].


Rick Perry calls special session to pass Texas abortion bill blocked by filibuster:

Governor calls second special session of State legislature to pass tough abortion bill that was filibustered by Wendy Davis.

The Texas governor, Rick Perry, called a second special session of the state legislature to pass controversial abortion restrictions, after the first attempt by Republicans died overnight thanks to a marathon one-woman filibuster.

On Wednesday, Perry ordered lawmakers to meet again on 1 July to act on the abortion proposals, as well as separate bills that would boost highway funding and deal with a juvenile justice issue. The sweeping abortion rules would close nearly all abortion clinics and impose other widespread restrictions on the procedure across the nation’s second-largest state.

The measure passed the House, but died after a Democratic Senator, Wendy Davis, led a filibuster effort that lasted 12 hours. Hundreds of protesters cheered and clapped in the public gallery, disrupting Senate proceedings as the session closed at midnight. That sparked boisterous chanting from the public gallery, which lasted until after midnight and threw proceedings into turmoil. Amid the din, no one was sure if a vote had taken place in time. Democrats claimed it happened a minute or two after the deadline, while Republicans said the vote should stand.

After initially appearing to declare that the bill had gone through, lieutenant governor David Dewhurst said at about 3am that it had passed by 19 votes to 10 – but added that the “ruckus and noise going on” had prevented him from completing the formalities required to rubber-stamp it into law.

“I didn’t lose control of what we were doing. We had an unruly mob … using Occupy Wall Street tactics,” he told reporters. Finally lost for words, Davis said that she was “overwhelmed”.The proposals called for abortions to be banned after 20 weeks, clinics to upgrade their facilities to be classed as surgical centres and doctors to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles. They would have forced 37 of the state’s 42 clinics to close, according to opponents, making it very difficult for women in rural areas to obtain an abortion.

Tuesday’s filibuster went viral and more than 150,000 people watched via YouTube. Thousands more followed on Twitter, especially after President Obama brought events to his 33 million followers’ attention, telling them “Something special is happening in Austin tonight” and using the hashtag #StandWithWendy.

Associated Press in Austin contributed to this report


http://nymag.com/thecut/2013/06/perry-said-worst-possible-thing-about-davis.html   [Perry actually gave Davis a complement and pointed out a big truth]

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/26/wendy-davis-texas-state-senator  [information on Wendy Davis]



Wendy Davis and the lengthy history of the filibuster:

The Texas senator has blocked an anti-abortion bill by speaking for nearly 11 straight hours. But that’s nowhere near the record. Here we look over at the enduring importance of the never-ending political debate.

Senator Wendy Davis’s courageous – and successful – 10 hour 45 minute bid to block a law that would have radically restricted access to abortion in Texas by talking was a wonder to behold. But it was by no means the longest filibuster history has seen, even in America.

Seen by its proponents as an important check on power and by critics as an infuriating waste of time, the filibuster – from the Spanish filibustero, or freebooting – is an attempt by a minority political party to stall a bill, and hopefully prevent a vote, by endlessly debating it.

The tradition dates back to at least Roman times; one of the earliest known practitioners, Cato the Younger, routinely spoke against legislation to which he objected until night fell, at which point – the Roman senate requiring all business to be concluded by dusk – a vote was impossible.

In Britain, the longest speech ever pronounced in the House of Commons – a six-hour effort on law reform by Henry Brougham, in 1828 – was, pleasingly, not even a filibuster. But the practice became common from the 1880s when Irish nationalists, led by Charles Stewart Parnell, started using it to force parliament to take home rule seriously.

In February 1983, the Labour MP John Golding spoke for 11 hours 15 minutes about a minor amendment to the British Telecom privatisation bill; this undoubtedly helped delay privatisation until after the 1983 election, but the feat is often denied full filibuster status because it was performed in a standing committee, not in the Commons chamber, so Golding could take breaks.

Stricter standing orders were subsequently introduced to prevent this kind of thing; the longest Commons speech since was given by the Conservative MP Ivan Lawrence who on 5-6 March 1985 managed to speak for four hours 23 minutes against the Water Fluoridation Bill (friends have since told him that reading the transcript helps them get to sleep).

More recently, the Labour MP Andrew Dismore spoke for three hours 17 minutes in December 2005 to block a Conservative private member’s bill clarifying the force a householder can use against intruders; his performance, too, is not widely viewed as epic because he accepted multiple interventions from other MPs, thus artificially inflating the length of his speech.

Filibustering is a global phenomenon: in the Philippines, Senator Roseller Lim stood at the podium for just over 18 hours in April 1963 in a bid to prevent the election of Ferdinand Marcos to the senate presidency; he ended up being carried off on a stretcher, suffering exhaustion.

In December 2010, the Austrian Green MP Werner Kogler laid into the country’s ruling parties for 12 hours 42 minutes. Canadians are no slouches either: in 2011 the New Democratic party orchestrated a spectacular filibustering session that lasted a total of 58 hours.

But the true experts are to be found in the United States, and particularly in the Senate during the past century. Senators may speak for pretty much as long as they like, on whatever topic they like, to prevent the final vote on a bill and the practice of filibustering is, consequently, sometimes called “the soul of the Senate”.

Elected representatives have been known to read lengthy sections of the phone book out loud, quote recipes for roquefort salad dressing, discuss how best to fry oysters, and cite the entire Declaration of Independence.

The all-time record is held by veteran South Carolina senator Strom Thurmond, who, starting at 8.54pm on 28 August 1957 and finishing at 9.12pm the following evening, spoke for precisely 24 hours 18 minutes against the notion that the vote should be extended to African-Americans. This involved reading aloud the voting laws of each US state, the Bill of Rights and George Washington’s farewell address along the way.

Not far behind Thurmond comes Al D’Amato of New York, who in 1986 held forth for 23 hours 30 minutes to head off a vote on a major military bill (he didn’t like the fact it would have halted funding for a plane being built by a company based in his state).

Wayne Morse of Oregon, the so-called “Tiger of the Senate”, managed 22 hours 26 minutes to stall debate on an oil bill in 1953, while Robert La Follette Sr of Wisconsin kept going for 18 hours 23 minutes in 1908 to talk out a bill that would have allowed the US treasury to lend currency to banks during fiscal crises.

At a mere 15 hours and 30 minutes, the personal best one of the Senate’s most accomplished filibusterers, the Louisiana Democrat Huey Long, in June 1935, no longer makes it into the top three. But Long will long (as it were) be remembered for reading out his family’s favourite recipes, including a soup made of the water left over from boiled greens, known as “potlikker”.

Such astonishing feats of endurance are less common these days, the US Senate seeking to head off filibusterers at the pass and many legislatures, including the US House of Representatives, and both houses of the Australian parliament, imposing strict rules on how long politicians can speak for.

Some commenters have also observed that in the era of 24-hour rolling news, elected representatives may be somewhat less willing to engage publicly in what a good proportion of their electorate may consider time-wasting. Which makes Wendy Davis’s achievement all the more impressive.

There remains one important question. With no breaks permitted, knowing that departure from the chamber would inevitably signal the end of their speech, how do these people cope with such pressing matters as, well, calls of nature?

Thurmond’s biographer, Joseph Crespino, has said the senator was both very fit and very well prepared. He brought in supplies – bread, sirloin steak, lozenges, fruit juices and water – and spoke “in a quiet monotone” so as not to lose his voice.

But, Crespino told the BBC last year, “It is a kind of urological mystery. After [his record filibuster], one of the first questions reporters asked him was how he was able to hold his bladder.”

The senator reportedly replied that he had been to the Senate sauna beforehand – although rumours have long persisted that he had himself fitted with a catheter for the occasion.

• The subheading on this article was amended on 27 June 2013. An earlier version said Wendy Davis’s filibuster took place in the US Senate. It was the Texas state senate.


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