Ned

Ned’s Picks

In Ned's Picks on November 28, 2008 at 12:36 pm

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It’s a tale of secret societies, murderous conspiracies and shocking revelations.  But is there any historical truth behind the wildly popular novel The Da Vinci Code?  Did Jesus and Mary Magdalene marry and have children, producing descendants that walk among us today?  Did a furtive cult form to protect “the bloodline of Christ,” and did Leonardo Da Vinci hide clues about it in his best-known paintings?  National Geographic takes you around the globe in a search for the reality behind on of the most controversial bestsellers.

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In America’s earliest days, there were barn-raising parties in which neighbors helped each other build up their farms. Today, in some churches, there are debt liquidation revivals in which parishioners chip in to free each other from growing credit card debts that are driving American families to bankruptcy and desperation. ‘In Debt We Trust’ is the latest film from Danny Schechter, “The News Dissector,” director of the internationally distributed and award-winning WMD (Weapons of Mass Deception), an expose of the media’s role in the Iraq War. The Emmy-winning former ABC News and CNN producer’s new hard-hitting documentary investigates why so many Americans are being strangled by debt. It is a journalistic confrontation with what former Reagan advisor Kevin Phillips calls “Financialization”–the “powerful emergence of a debt-and-credit industrial complex.” While many Americans may be “maxing out” on credit cards, there is a deeper story: power is shifting into fewer hands. And with frightening consequences.
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CALL IT DEMOCRACY takes a serious look at the history of Presidential elections and the Electoral College.

Unlike films which wonder “why,” CALL IT DEMOCRACY presents historical and non-partisan analysis of both the 2000 and 2004 Presidential elections and tells amazing stories such as the 1960 Kennedy v. Nixon recounts, the attempts by Segregationist Third Party Candidate George Wallace to manipulate the Electoral College in 1968, and President Ford’s consideration about whether he should overturn the election results in close states.  Those and other elections prior to the 20th century show that “one man one vote” is not always a guarantee if the other party is in power.

The film features interviews with Senator Birch Bayh, author of two constitutional Amendments (the only American to do so since the Founding Fathers), prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi, Prof. Alan Dershowitz, Federal Judge Richard A. Posner, Mary Frances Berry, Chairperson of the US Commission on Civil Rights, Rep. John Conyers, and Rep. Jesse L. Jackson, Jr. on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

In a sweeping study of how elections are controlled by local election administrators, Call it Democracy argues that the Electoral College directly impacted 2002’s Help America Vote Act which tried to eliminate punch card ballots but brought us electronic voting.

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Filmed when the author was 81, HENRY MILLER ASLEEP AND AWAKE is a voyage of ideas about life, writing, sex, spirituality, nightmares, and New York that captures the warmth, vigor and high animal spirits of a singular American artist. The man is Henry Miller and the room is his bathroom. It’s a miraculous shrine covered with photos and drawings collected by the author over the course of his long and fruitful life. Graciously, in his raspy, sonorous voice, he points out the highlights of his improvised gallery, speaking of philosophers, writers, painters,mad kings, women, and friends.

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