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Think Tank Specials

Art Under the Radar
Premiering August 23, 2001
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For more than a century, modern art has moved from one “ism” to another: Impressionism, Expressionism, Post-Impressionism, Futurism, Surrealism, Cubism, Abstract Expressionism and more. But as a new century dawns, some artists and their patrons are working on a different track, hoping to preserve and revive traditional standards of beauty and craft.

“Art Under the Radar,” a one-hour documentary premiering Thursday, August 23, at 10 PM on PBS, examines another side of contemporary art. Among the artists profiled in “Art Under the Radar” are contemporary representational painters Paul Georges, Janet Fish, Graham Nickson and Jacob Collins. These artists may be working within tradition, but they don't think what they're doing is old hat. In fact, many will tell you the avant-garde is what has become stale. Is it possible that traditionalism is the next new thing?

Host Ben Wattenberg says “We hope to show that beneath all the talk about what is shocking and provocative, there is a healthy growth of traditional art, across the board — painting can be representational, fiction can tell a story, poetry can rhyme, music can have melodies.”

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The Giving Boom: How the New Philantropy Will Change America
Premiering July 12th, 2001
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“The Giving Boom,” a one-hour documentary premiering Thursday, July 12, at 10 PM (ET) on PBS (check local listings), explores how the wealth created by America’s recent economic prosperity could transform philanthropy. By some estimates, Americans will give away about $34 trillion to charity over the next half-century.

The Giving Boom highlights new research that indicates a very substantial increase in giving in the years to come, predicated on three key trends: a half-century without a major depression or recession, the movement of the Baby Boom generation into their most productive years, and the remarkable increase in the total net worth of Americans.

Against this backdrop, the program takes a look back at the philanthropic ventures of Rockefeller and Carnegie one hundred years ago, and then profiles key figures of today, including Bill Gates, Michael Milken, Ted Forstmann, and Seattle’s Social Venture Partners.

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The First Measured Century
Premiered December 20th, 2000
The twentieth century was truly the “first measured century,” a time when nearly every aspect of human life came to be seen as quantifiable, and people set out to change the world using data. “The First Measured Century” is a three-hour documentary that explores the trends that defined twentieth century America. The program looks at the history of the twentieth century through the stories of those who did the measuring - their triumphs and failures, and the burning controversies they started. From Julia Lathrop’s data-driven crusade to reduce infant mortality, to George Gallup’s bold wager that put the public opinion poll on the front page forever, to Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s controversial analysis of the breakdown of the black family, “The First Measured Century” demonstrates how public policy came to be driven by numbers.

The major trends surveyed in the program are also presented in a comprehensive reference book, “The First Measured Century: An Illustrated Guide to Trends in America, 1900-2000,” by Theodore Caplow, Louis Hicks, and Ben Wattenberg, published by the American Enterprise Institute. “The First Measured Century” has its own website at www.pbs.org/fmc.

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A Third Choice
Premiered August 18, 2000
Third party candidates have played an enormous role in American elections by giving voice to new concerns, putting new issues on the agenda, and reshaping existing coalitions. Even when they fail to get elected, they often drive the national agenda when their issues are co-opted by the major parties. Originally aired in 1996, the award-winning “A Third Choice” was updated for the 2000 election year to include new segments on Ralph Nader, Pat Buchanan, Jesse Ventura, Ross Perot, and others.

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The Stockholder Society
Premiered October 29, 1999
About half of all Americans now participate in the stock market through 401(k) plans, Individual Retirement Accounts, stock options, and direct ownership - up from just 15% twenty-five years ago. And stock ownership is no longer only for the rich. Most mutual fund owners today have household incomes less than $50,000.

This level of stock ownership is a trend with potent social, political, and economic implications for the country. How does employee stock ownership affect workers’ attitudes towards their companies? How will increased stock ownership affect our politics? Our retirement? Might this trend ease class tension and improve labor-management relations?

Shot on location from Silicon Valley to Wall Street, “The Stockholder Society” features colorful graphics, real-life stories, and interviews with prominent thinkers. Among those interviewed include Nobel prize-winning economist Milton Friedman of the Hoover Institution; CNBC market reporter Maria Bartiromo; James Glassman, author of Dow 36,000; David Gardner, co-founder of the Motley Fool; Louis Rukeyser, host of the PBS series “Wall Street Week”; Washington Post columnist Michelle Singletary; Dallas Salisbury of the Employee Benefits Research Institute; Robert Kuttner, co-editor of “The American Prospect”; Damon Slivers of the AFL-CIO; Robert Samuelson, economics columnist for Newsweek; Corey Rosen from the Center for Employee Ownership; Kevin Boston, host of the PBS series “Moneywise”; and Jeremy Siegel from the Wharton School of Business.

Among the real-life stories in “The Stockholder Society”: a teen-age investment class in inner-city Washington, DC; the fast-paced world of daytraders; Silicon Valley employees with stock options; and a suburban women’s investment club.

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America's Number One: Now What?
Premiered September 8, 1998
This documentary explored America’s role as the world’s only superpower and the debate over how we should use this power and responsibility. Guests included Patrick Buchanan, Joseph Nye, Ronald Steele, Donald McHenry and Susan Eisenhower.

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The Grandchild Gap
Premiered April 1997
This one-hour special looked at how current low birth and fertility rates drive important social and political trends, including less government resources for programs like Social Security and Medicare, a turn away from the welfare state, and a grandchild shortage.

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Affirmative Action
Mixing documentary and discussion formats, this program traces U.S. affirmative action policies from the civil rights movement of the 1960s to the 1996 presidential election.

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Can the States Do It Better?
Devolution — moving power out of Washington and closer to states, localities and individuals — is at the center of many of today’s most contentious political and legal battles. The program looks at the history of the arument and its current status.

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Values Matter Most
Premiered 1995
Using charts, graphics and interviews with focus groups and experts, Wattenberg tells the story of crime, welfare, education and preference in American politics. Medal winner at the Houston International Film Festival.

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