What is filibustering?

Some Americans have been asking themselves that question after Sen. Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, began to use an old-school sort of speech where someone speaks until no longer being able to continue. The senator revived the old method when he began speaking just before noon on Wednesday, and had yet to stop hours later.

Filibustering, according to  Merriam-Webster’s definition, is an “act in an obstructive manner in a legislature, esp. by speaking at inordinate length or Obstruct (a measure) in such a way.”

Paul opposes the nomination of John O. Brennan to lead the Central Intelligence Agency. In the past he has said he would filibuster President Obama’s nominee after he received a letter from Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. that stated he refused to rule out using drone strikes in the United States during “extraordinary circumstances” like the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the New York Times wrote.

On Wednesday, Paul did exactly as promised, taking to the Senate floor to filibuster Mr. Brennan’s nomination.

“I rise today to begin to filibuster John Brennan’s nomination for the C.I.A.,” Paul began. “I will speak until I can no longer speak. I will speak as long as it takes, until the alarm is sounded from coast to coast that our Constitution is important, that your rights to trial by jury are precious, that no American should be killed by a drone on American soil without first being charged with a crime, without first being found to be guilty by a court.”

Once Twitter took notice of Paul's Senate antics, #filibuster and #filiblizzard began trending on the social media site and, in a modern-day twist, instead of reading from a phone book or the Bible, fellow Republican party member Texas Sen. Ted Cruz read tweets.