Tag Archives: Olivia Wilde

Patrik Henry Bass … Book recommendations


Essence in-house  reviewer

discovers …


The Heiress – The Richest 11 yr old Black Girl in America

Searching for Sarah Rector … Abrams Books for young Readers

author Tonya Bolden recounts a gripping tale of Rector


Lost & Found – American Cocktail: A”Coloured Girl” in the World

Harvard Univ Press … Memoir of Anita Reynolds

an irrepressible chameleon who rubbed shoulders with Harlem Renaissance literati, modeled for Coco Chanel and more


Shameful Past

David Beasley’s shocking book …

Without Mercy … St. Martin’s Press

sheds light on 6 Black men who were electrocuted on a single day in December 1938 at the same prison


The Truth

Black Stats … The New Press

The go to source for the 411 on Black folks

Monique W. Morris

breaks down the numbers on those working on green jobs to our incarceration rates … Did you know that in the five years before the Great Depression, Black owned businesses in the United States increased by 61%

1,600,000 And Counting…


Bring the Unemployed in From the Cold


The number of Americans who have lost their unemployment benefits is huge…and growing.

Today, we will hit the 1.6 million mark for the number of people who have been cut off from emergency unemployment benefits since December 28. That is 1.6 million Americans whose financial security, and in many cases their children’s financial security, is in jeopardy because Republicans in Congress have failed to act.

Last week, a majority of Senators voted to extend these benefits. But because of Republican obstruction, it didn’t pass the filibuster-proof 60 vote threshold. In fact, as shown below, many of the Republicans who voted against renewing unemployment benefits come from states where it is especially needed.


Not only did these and other Republican Senators vote against the unemployed in their states, they also voted against the will of a vast majority of Americans. Poll after poll (after poll!), including the latest from CBS News released yesterday, finds up to seven in 10 Americans want to extend unemployment insurance benefits for those that lost them when they expired at the end of 2013.

Meanwhile, Republican grandees gathered at the winter meeting of the Republican National Committee actually voted to call for an end to a successful crackdown on wealthy tax dodgers in order to help, as they explained it, raise more money from wealthy Americans living abroad. It’s no wonder that 63 percent of Americans believe the policies pushed by Republicans in Congress favor the wealthy, while just 9 percent think they favor the middle class.

BOTTOM LINE: Profits at the biggest banks may have bounced back to record highs, but the economy is still not working for too many struggling families.  Letting the extended, emergency unemployment benefits lapse through the next year would cost us 240,000 jobs and slash economic growth.  It already drained $400 million from state economies in the first week alone. We can’t afford for Republicans to oppose this vital program that would support their state economies and extend lifeline for those looking for work.

Panasonic’s … Solar Project


Design Lampshades for Solar Lanterns to Help People in Need

During Panasonic’s Cut Out the Darkness project, visitors to the company’s website can design lampshades for solar lanterns that will be donated to regions without electricity. Photo: Panasonic
Want to light up the life of someone who needs it? Now you can. Panasonic’s Cut Out the Darkness project allows visitors to the company’s website to design lampshades that could be sent along with solar lanterns to those who live in areas without access to electricity.


“by the way, we have to fix that.”


How to Improve Access to Voting, Everywhere

On election night in 2012, a newly re-elected President Barack Obama uttered an important aside in his speech: “I want to thank every American who participated in this election. Whether you voted for the very first time — or waited in line for a very long time — by the way, we have to fix that.” Sticking to his word, Obama went on to issue an executive order forming a nonpartisan Presidential Commission on Election Administration to, in his words, “improve the voting experience in America.”

Almost a year later, that commission — chaired by the top attorneys from both the Obama and Romney campaigns — has issued a series of recommendations based on six months of study. Overall, the report calls for the creation of a new national standard: “no citizen should have to wait more than 30 minutes to vote.” The recommendations focus primarily on two categories of improving voter access: expanding access to the ballot box in an effort to reduce lines, and modernizing voting procedures and equipment.

Here are some of the more noteworthy specific recommendations offered by the commission, via the Huffington Post:

  • An expansion of online voter registration by the states to enhance both accuracy of the voter rolls and efficiency;
  • The expansion of voting before Election Day, recognizing that the majority of states now provide either mail balloting or in-person early voting and that voters are increasingly seeking these options;
  • The increased use of schools as polling places, since they are the best-equipped facilities in most jurisdictions, with security concerns met by scheduling an in-service training day for students and teachers on Election Day;
  • Recognizing and addressing the impending crisis in voting technology as machines bought 10 years ago with post-2000 federal funds wear out and require replacement with no federal appropriations on the horizon;
  • To usher in this needed next generation of equipment, reforming the standards and certification process to allow innovation and the adoption of widely available and significantly less expensive off-the-shelf technologies and “software-only” solutions;
  • Assuring that polling places are accessible to all voters, are located close to where voters live and are designed to function smoothly;
  • Increasing and enhancing training and recruitment of poll workers, in the recognition that volunteer poll workers are voters’ primary source of contact during the actual voting process.

The commission also called for improving the data collected about election administration and voting machine performance so policymakers can better assess actual election administration performance against ideals.

The bipartisan commission stayed away from the most controversial issue surrounding voting: voter ID law. But many of these recommendations are an important validation of the work of many voting rights advocates. They are also an explicit rebuke to some conservative state governments that have taken steps to reduce voting access by decreasing early voting days and restricting the absentee ballot process.

The Commission’s findings complement a report that CAP Action released last week on voting access. Our report analyzes county-level data in seventeen 2012 swing states and ranks each county in those states on voter access. It highlights how there are wide discrepancies in a voter’s access to the polls not just based on which state he or she lives in, but also which county within the state.

If you live in a swing state and want to see how your county stacks up, check out the full CAP Action report HERE.

BREAKING NEWS: Victory for New Jersey Women!


The New Jerey legislature passed an important pregnancy discrimination bill (S2995/A4486) by an overwhelming majority earlier this year. This morning, Governor Christie signed the bill into law. According to Dina Bakst, Co-Founder and Co-President of A Better Balance, “This is a great day for the women of New Jersey–this path breaking law will allow women the ability to stay healthy and on the job while pregnant, ensuring economic security and fairness for them and their families.”

A huge thanks goes out to our New Jersey supporters, who called and e-mailed Governor Christie to encourage him to sign the bill. You made this happen!


The law will protect New Jersey women who are pregnant and need a simple accommodation in order to stay healthy and on the job. Unfortunately, despite the fact that pregnancy discrimination has been illegal in the United States for over thirty-five years, women are still forced off the job when they need a simple adjustment at work, such as temporary relief from heavy lifting, extra bathroom or water breaks, or time off to recover from childbirth. The law will put an end to this practice in New Jersey. A Better Balance was instrumental in getting the law passed, including testifying at both a Senate and Assembly hearing on the law and crafting bill language.

The law goes into effect immediately, so if you or someone you know has any problems at work while pregnant, please call our advice and counseling legal hotline at 212-430-5982.

This bill, which passed with vast bipartisan support, represents the latest victory in a growing movement for stronger pregnancy discrimination protections. Philadelphia and Wisconsin recently introduced pregnancy discrimination legislation and later this month, a similar law in New York City will go into effect. Finally, the federal Pregnant Workers Fairness Act currently has 117 cosponsors in the House of Representatives and 20 cosponsors in the Senate.

Thank you for all your support,

Sherry, Dina, Phoebe, Jared, Elizabeth, Liz, Risha, & Rachel

P.S. Watch  this video of NYC Mayor de Blasio at last week’s New York City Paid Sick Days press conference, where he thanks A Better Balance for our leadership (at the two minute mark).