Help us decrease the massive income inequality in America. Sign our petition to make sure that executives can’t earn too many times more income than their lowest-paid workers. #wageratio

But if you read Teddy Roosevelt on this – his principle push for breaking up the trusts was because they had too much political power. They overwhelmed the government. It wasn’t so much that they were stronger than government, but they could persuade government to shift the rules to make themselves even more powerful. And when that happens, it’s not just a threat to the economy. It’s a threat to democracy.
—  Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), on Teddy Roosevelt and trustbusting, in an interview with former FDIC Chair Sheila Bair (Fortune).
Mr. President, the stroke of your pen can have transformative impact for millions of workers. As low-wage fast food, retail and federal contract workers continue to strike in growing numbers to ‘Fight for $15 and a Union,’ we urge you to harness the power of the Presidency to help these workers achieve the American Dream.


THE PHANTOM MENACE: The appeal to the Senate is the last orthodox action Amidala can take to save her people. Consequently, she appears in all her glory to address the august body of delegates and plead for their help. Her magnificent gown is designed to showcase the majesty of Naboo, as well as to help Amidala remain courageous when faced with the most trying and important speech of her career. 

Her gown consists of a thick red velvet robe with embossed rosettes and golden, triple-braided soutache on the cuffs of the sleeves and the collar, and an underdress of pleated orange silk. The imposing headdress binds her hair into a severe form with golden hairbands, while finial hairtip ornaments balance the headpiece. Intricate suspensas of orichalc finework parallel the ornaments and border Amidala’s face. Directly on top of the Queen’s head rests the Royal Sovereign of Naboo medal, a constant reminder or who she is and the power she wields. When she addresses the Senate, Amidala chooses to wear a large black cloak over the gown.

DESIGN: “She lives on a beautiful, lush planet; so we looked at flowers for inspiration. But because she is a queen, we wanted costumes that would also be imposing. We researched Mongolian and Tibetan costumes, styles that aggrandize the person - and I found the more outrageous it got, the better.” No other gown demonstrates Iain McCaig’s principle behind the Queen’s gowns better than this one.

The gown was incredibly expensive and time-consuming, made up of three complex layers. The underdress was made from a seventy year-old vintage orange-shot-gold silk taffeta with a green weave. It was constructed with layers of sharp sunray-pleated panels. The pleats were designed to catch the light whenever Amidala moved, an effect enhanced by antique beaded lace pieces. The most beautiful and most visible layer, the middle red robe, was made of red and green shot silk velvet with bronze metallic embroidery and ruched yoke and hem panels. A special technique added depth and texture to the robe. The lining of the robe was orange silk taffeta overlaid with gold metallic organza. At the cuffs and collar, this lining is visible and it was further decorated with seed pearls and gold braid made from a stitching process known as trapunto. Small tubes were stitched into a design, and then thread was injected into the tubes to create a padded effect. A time-consuming project, it took one person a week to do the trapunto. The final layer, the outer robe, was faux fur with shoulders padded into a pyramid shape and lined with red silk.

Though magnificent on its own, the gown would be incomplete without the unbelievable headdress. Its base was a close-fitting metallic gold cap; using an electo-forming technique, it was constructed from copper and then plated in real gold. Petite colored jewels and filigree details completed the incredibly heavy, expensive, uncomfortable - and yet stunning - headdress.


Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) announced she will not seek a 6th term. She’s the longest serving woman in Congress. She was first elected to the House in 1976, and has served in the Senate since 1987. 

“Do I spend my time raising money or raising hell to meet your day-to-day needs?” she said at today’s announcement. 

NPR’s Jasmine Garsd has more on the two-way blog and Brian Naylor will report on All Things Considered tonight.

Note: Apologies, we could only find a #whiteandgold outfit for that 5th photo.

(Photos: Getty Images

Red - On stage at the DNC, 2012; Orange - With then FBI Director Robert Mueller before a Senate Appropriations Committee meeting, 2012; Yellow - At a Girl Scouts event on Capitol Hill, 2012; Green - With Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Singaporean PM Hsien Loong, 2014; Blue - Leaving a closed-door Senate Select Intelligence Committee meeting, 2013. Purple - Mimicking a raven after a Baltimore Ravens Super Bowl win, 2001.)

The Senate may consider legalizing medical marijuana.

A bipartisan group of U.S. senators will introduce Tuesday a bill that would end the federal ban on medical marijuana, reversing a decades-old law that prohibits even military doctors from prescribing cannabis to war veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress. This is great news — but which of the potential Republican 2016 candidates would be on board with legal weed in the future?

(GIF via)



Congress is in the midst of negotiating the new version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the main legislation authorizing federal funding and rules for public schools across the country.  Senator Alexander and Senator Murray (D-W), the Ranking Member on the Committee, are negotiating changes to the bill. Many Members of Congress do not understand the impact these changes would have on students with disabilities and they need to hear directly from their constituents.

Three parts of the bill threaten quality education and the future of students with disabilities:

1)     Allowing an unlimited number of students with disabilities to be diverted from pursuing a high school diploma;

2)     Lowering standards for teaching children with disabilities, thereby making them not ready for any post-secondary education and entry level jobs;

3)     Making it easier for school districts to overrule parents and place their children with disabilities on track to receive a lower quality education.

To keep protections in place for children and youth with disabilities and to keep expectations high and keep open their opportunities in the future, tell your senator:

  • that you have great expectations for children with disabilities and that you want schools to have those same high expectations.
  • that students with disabilities should have the equal opportunity to earn a high school diploma and quality for a job
  • that the decision to remove a child from the general education curriculum that will allow him or her to graduate with a high school diploma shouldn’t be happening without parental permission;
  • that you oppose any revision to ESEA that allows for unlimited numbers of students to be assessed using an alternate assessment;
  • that research tells us that less than 1% of students with the most significant cognitive disabilities need alternate assessments; and
  • that no more than 1% students should be tested with an alternate assessment so that as many students as possible can earn a high school diploma, a chance to go on for further education, and the opportunity to work.

The reauthorization of ESEA is happening fast – purposely fast so that we don’t have time to oppose!
 Senator Alexander’s version could be very harmful to the future of children with disabilities.  Your senators need to hear from you now about the issues above and that you OPPOSE the bill as it is currently written.


Call your Senators:

  • Call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask for the office of your Senators

Message:  “I am calling to ask Senator _________ to oppose Sen. Alexander’s version of the reauthorization of ESEA and to make sure any reauthorization of ESEA includes all students with disabilities in the assessment and accountability systems using the same standards and assessments with accommodations.  Students with disabilities can achieve, they can work, they can contribute to society, and they can go on to college and other education programs after high school.  Don’t limit them by having low expectations and tracking their future as early as third grade.  Limit the ability of schools to lower expectations for children with disabilities by limiting the use of lower standards and alternate assessments.  Senator Alexander’s draft bill puts the future of children with disabilities at risk.  Please oppose Senator Alexander’s bill and keep the expectations for my child as high as possible.”

You can also send a message to your senator at: