Paul Waldman writes that Senator Richard Shelby (R-Alabama) has put a hold on every single Obama appointee up for a vote in the Senate until the Democrats fork over some extra defense funds for his state - a disgusting display of blackmail that absolutely should not be tolerated. Along with the filibuster, there must be costs for such blatantly obstructive actions.
As for the filibuster, the reason Senators don't have to talk on and on and on and on when they filibuster is because there was an agreement that a filibuster should not have to halt all Senate business. When the ability of the Senate to do any business for the people is stopped because of the misuse of the filibuster, then Senators must once again be made to get up and talk until they and their allies are talked out (*) if only to make it extremely visible to the Public who is responsible for the deadlock in the Senate. If they want to filibuster, then as Steve says make them talk.
(*) Doing so they can spend their energy trying to convince their colleagues to vote with them with their public oratory or they can rally the country to their side. Somehow visibility on who is responsible for the stalemate must be brought back if there is any hope to bringing balance to our form of government.
Note also, I believe the Democrats could have found some very eloquent voices on why they were blocking the terrible Bush judicial nominees if they had been required to talk. The Republicans should be required to be explicit about their objections in a very public way. Just as Martin Luther King, Jr. preached civil disobedience it was only because he was willing to pay the price for his actions by going to jail that his actions got moral authority. These guys who are playing with blackmail don't expect to have to pay anything for their acts. Like all bullies and cheats they believe they are above the laws and rules of honorable behavior. Make them talk.