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Press release: Debatepedia creates definitive pro/con article on the Filibuster

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Summary: Debatepedia has created a definitive article on the pros and cons of the Filibuster, as the debate regarding the increasingly common and influential use of the tool heats up in American politics.

Washington, DC -- July 22, 2009 -- Debatepedia's community of editors completed through early July a comprehensive pro/con article on the Filibuster. The article relates to the use of the filibuster generally, in the United States and around the world, but it has assumed particular relevance in US politics. While filibusters were not used very frequently in most of the 19th and 20th centuries, they became more commonly used by opponents of the civil rights movement in the 50s and 60s, and became even more common during the Clinton administration by a Republican Congress intent on blocking a number of the President's initiatives. Now, the Filibuster is a staple of American politics, with almost all pieces of controvercial legislation requiring a "filibuster-proof" majority of 60 votes in the United States Senate in order to pass. This became particularly relevant in July 2009, as Al Franken was elected the 60th Democrat in the Senate, completing the all important "filibuster proof majority" for the Democrats. This series of events has elevated the debate surrounding the filibuster - which many believe to distort the intended processes of the US Senate. Debatepedia's community responded by resolving in early July to offer a resource to document all the arguments that have been presented thus far in the public debate.

Debatepedia's article isolates 29 of the most important pro and con arguments and quotations drawn from over 19 of the most important pro and con editorials, opinion pieces, speeches, and books on the topic. While the article can be advanced even further, it already is the most definitive break-down of the pros and cons in the public debate to date. As such, Debatepedia offers a valuable resource for the public and legislators to use in weighing the arguments and forming opinions and positions on the topic. On a question of such great importance to the US legislative process, it is key that all the arguments are seen clearly and that frank deliberations can take place. Debatepedia's Filibuster article offers significant value to the Democratic process by enabling this enhanced process of public deliberation.

Debatepedia is a global wiki encyclopedia of public debates, pro and con arguments, and supporting quotations. A project of the International Debate Education Association (IDEA), Debatepedia is something like "the Wikipedia of pros and cons". It aims to engage citizen-editors in centralizing original arguments - as well as arguments and quotations found in millions of articles, essays, and books - into a single pro/con encyclopedia. This helps citizens and leaders better weigh the pros and cons in important public debates, take positions, and make decisions.

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