Worries: Ending Global Poverty

These books offer guides to what might work:

Ending Global Poverty: a Guide to What Works by Stephen C. Smith
The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Time by Jeffrey Sachs

Other books explain why foreign aid has not been more successful and how to improve the delivery of aid:

The White Man's Burden: Why the West's Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good by William Easterly
The Samaritan's Dilemma: The Political Economy of Development Aid by Clark C. Gibson, Krister Andersson, Elinor Ostrom, and Sujai Shikumar

Or suggest that the failure of aid is due to “kleptocratic governments, rampant corruption,…and cultural fatalism” (Publisher’s Weekly, March 9, 2006):

The Trouble with Africa: Why Foreign Aid Isn't Working by Robert Calderisi

Or suggest that multinational corporations can ease or eliminate poverty by creating markets:

A Corporate Solution to Global Poverty: How Multinationals Can Help the Poor and Invigorate Their Own Legitimacy by George Lodge and Craig Wilson

Or explain how ending poverty can be done profitably by selling to those at the bottom of the pyramid: “the world's billions of poor people have immense entrepreneurial capabilities and buying power. You can learn how to serve them and help millions of the world's poorest people escape poverty”:

The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid by C. K. Prahalad
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Brando without a cause

One of my favorite DVD "extras" is the rare screen test with actors who didn't get the part. The clips either make it pretty clear why or leave you endlessly speculating what could have been. Last year I caught Judy Garland's uneven screen test for Annie Get Your Gun, a part that ended up going to Betty Hutton after Garland was fired for erratic behavior associated with her ongoing drug and alcohol problems.

In May, a new edition of "A Streetcar Named Desire" will be out and all the buzz is about one of its many "extras": a heretofore presumed-lost 1947 screen test with 23-year-old Marlo Brando trying on the lead in Rebel without a Cause. (Brando apparently turned down the role and eight years later it was made with James Dean.) Brando biographer Darwin Porter says, "From the moment Brando enters the room...he is lightning on legs...he is at the peak of his physical beauty and virile power."

Poetry: The best medicine

To get your daily dose and to celebrate April as National Poetry Month, check out "Poem-A-Day." When you sign up, you will receive a poem every day in your e-mail beginning April 1 and continuing throughout the month.

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The Academy of American Poets established National Poetry Month in 1996 as a month long celebration of poetry to bring to the general public greater attention to and appreciation of poets, past and present, their books and the importance of poetry in our culture. Events and resorces that have grown out of National Poetry Month include reading series, curriculum ideas for teachers and tip sheets for booksellers and librarians. Their colorful posters are free Even local businesses have become involved as in one restaurant where poems were printed on placemats.

Iraq blog is shortlisted for writing prize

Baghdad Burning, the riveting blog written by Riverbend, a twenty-something Iraqi woman living in Iraq, has been shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize for Nonfiction 2006. Her eyewitness accounts and "on the ground" analysis of what is happening in and to her country have been compiled into a book by the same name and published by Feminist Press.

The Samuel Johnson Prize, Britain's most lucrative award for nonfiction writing (30,000 Pounds), was established in December 1998 by BBC Four. The prize "is awarded to a work in the English language published in the UK and written by an author of any nationality in one of the following areas: current affairs, history, politics, science, sport, travel, biography, autobiography, and the arts."

The winner of the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction 2006, will be announced at an awards dinner in London on Wednesday, June 14.

U.S. Naval Academy's first African American graduate is honored

Wesley Brown

Wesley Brown, the first African American to graduate from the United States Naval Academy, was honored on Saturday, March 25, 2006, in Annapolis.

Brown, the subject of Robert J. Schneller, Jr.'s book, Breaking the Color Barrier: The U.S. Naval Academy's First Black Midshipman and the Struggle for Racial Equality (2005), attended the groundbreaking ceremony at the Academy for the Wesley Brown Field House, a state-of-the-art gym.

Lt. Cmdr. Brown served in three wars -- World War II and the Korean and Vietnam wars -- but he says one of his toughest battles was his four years at the Academy where the well-documented rigors of midshipman life, were compounded by the challenges he faced as he pioneered diversity at Annapolis. Since he graduated in 1949, more than 1600 African Americans have graduated from the Academy.

Science Fiction giant, Stanislaw Lem, is dead

stanislaw lem

Stanislaw Lem, author of such science fiction classics as Solaris and His Master's Voice, died Monday, March 27, 2006, in Krakow, Poland.

Solaris, the first Lem science fiction title to be published in America, was made into a movie in 1972. It won The Grand Prize of the Jury that year at the Cannes Film Festival. Thirty years later, Steven Soderbergh remade Solaris starring George Clooney.

Born in Lvov, Poland (now in Ukraine) on September 12, 1921, Lem studied medicine until he abandoned it during World War II to work as a mechanic.

Following the war, he pursued his writing career with a vengeance, often to the dismay of the Polish Communist regime.

Lem, who won the Kafka award in 1991, was 84 years old.

Grey Gardens Redux

It's hard trying to figure out exactly what the Hollywood producers of Grey Gardens--the upcoming dramatization of the Albert and David Maysles' classic 1975 cinéma vérité documentary by the same name--have in mind. This forthcoming 2007 fictional version of the already stranger-than-fiction biography featuring two of Jackie Kennedy's relatives couldn't possibly measure up to the great cult film. For even if Jessica Lange can resist the temptation to over-act as the otherworldly Edith Bouvier Beale, Drew Barrymore is no match for the real "Little Edie." Accept no substitutes--check out the real thing on DVD or VHS.

Better yet, mark your calendar for May 15 when AADL will celebrate Mother's Day with a free screening of the film.

Happy Birthday, Eric Clapton

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Hard to believe but Eric Clapton turns 61 on March 30. Known for his time with Cream and his virtuoso guitar playing, Clapton's latest cd is titled Back Home. Featuring five original songs co-written with Simon Climie, the cd also includes songs by George Harrison, The Spinners and Vince Gill. Special guests appearing on Back Home are Steve Winwood on synthesizer and John Mayer on guitar. [http:/

Spike & Denzel

Director Spike Lee and actor Denzel Washington have teamed up again for The Inside Man, which also stars Clive Owen and Jodie Foster. The movie debuted at the #1 spot this weekend by earning $29 million. Surprisingly, this is the biggest box-office debut for both Lee and Washington.

Previous collaborations between the two include He Got Game, Malcolm X, and Mo' Better Blues.

"American Theocracy"

Kevin Phillips , a former Republican strategist appeared Friday March 24, 2006 on the Diane Rehm show. . In his latest book "American Theocracy" he writes about the intersection of religion, oil, politics and money and what it means for the future of the country. Kevin Phillips has written a number of interesting, insightful books on politics and wealth in the United States. Expect this to be a best seller.

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