The Nuclear Option
It looks as if the Republicans in the Senate have the votes to go through with the "nuclear option".
To alleviate some of the confusion, the Republicans are not trying to end the use of the filibuster. What they are doing is trying to end its use on judicial nominees. The filibuster will always be available for use against legislation. There is an explanation of the details here.
I disagree with this course of action - only because I feel a better one is available. The filibuster, as designed, involves the minority of senators speaking constantly, on the floor, for every hour of operation in the Senate. This effectively paralyzes the legislative branch of the federal government, becuase no bills can be passed in the senate while the floor is being utilized for speaking. The filibuster rules require that 60 senators agree to a 'cloture', which terminates the discussion on the issue.
The filibuster was designed this way for one reason - so that a minority of senators could bring an issue to public attention. If the legislature is paralyzed, it is obviously for a critical reason. Two things would happen: either the public would see the wisdom of the minority party's senators and pressure those in the majority to drop the bill, or the public would see the lunacy of the minority party's government shutdown for an issue that is either wrong or at least not worthy of such attention, and would pressurre the minority party to stop the filibuster themselves (or increase the number willing to cloture). Therefore, the filibuster had a potential cost to the filibustering party. This occurred with the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which had a minority of senators in opposition, who were defeated.
The current "gentleman's filibuster" requires no such government shut down. All that happens is that the minority party says, "we're filibustering this", and the issue cannot pass without 60 votes. This costs the minority party NOTHING. That is why it is used with impunity these days - most of the public doesn't know enough of the details of the nominees to have an opinion, and because nothing as drastic as government stoppage is occurring, they continue to not know, and the minority party benefits from the ignorance of the populace.
The best option is to restore the filibuster to its original state. The Democrats don't want this either, as it would expose the current lunacy. I can't figure out why the Republicans haven't already done this - it is truly a gut check for the minority party. I suspect some self-serving purpose is involved.
Since my choice will not be acted upon, I suppose the current "nuclear option" is somewhat acceptable. I just think that pretty much 100% of Americans would prefer to go with the "Team Hammer Option" instead.