WW Recommends Books & Other Things

In this feature of the Washington Watch, WW will primarily suggest books you may find interesting but may also now and then mention a TV program and other things. I welcome your suggestions and your input. What have you been reading or watching that you think WW readers might like?


By Elizabeth Warren

The inspiring, influential senior senator from Massachusetts and bestselling author mixes vivid personal stories with a passionate plea for political transformation.

Elizabeth Warren is a beacon for everyone who believes that real change can improve the lives of all Americans. Committed, fearless, and famously persistent, she brings her best game to every battle she wages.

In Persist, Warren writes about six perspectives that have influenced her life and advocacy. She’s a mother who learned from wrenching personal experience why childcare is so essential. She’s a teacher who has known since grade school the value of a good and affordable education. She’s a planner who understands that every complex problem requires a comprehensive response. She’s a fighter who discovered the hard way that nobody gives up power willingly. She’s a learner who thinks, listens, and works to fight racism in America. And she’s a woman who has proven over and over that women are just as capable as men.

Candid and compelling, Persist is both a deeply personal book and a powerful call to action. Elizabeth Warren―one of our nation’s most visionary leaders―will inspire everyone to believe that if we’re willing to fight for it, profound change is well within our reach.

The following is the concluding page and a half from this book.

One gorgeous summer afternoon in 2019, I spoke to a crowd of about twelve thousand people in a big green field in St. Paul, Minnesota…

As always, there were many pinkie promises. One was with a lively and impatient little girl of about eight or nine. She had been waiting a long time, and when she and her daddy got to the front of the line, she hopped on one foot and then the other. She wanted her own picture – not just a shot with her father. And she had her pinkie out, ready to go.

With our pinkies locked, I said to her the same thing I’d said a zillion times before, “My name is Elizabeth, and I’m running for president because that is what girls do.”

Big smiles, good photos, another pinkie promise to remember. Next.

The girl started to walk away, and then she seemed to think about what I’d said – and it just wasn’t enough. She abruptly turned around. “And they win!”

I loved and said “Yes-and they win!”

Her father tried to hustle her off, but she was having none of it. She clearly had more she wanted to say. She didn’t move on, and I didn’t turn to the next person in line. For just an instant, it was just this little girl and me, standing in a beautiful, sun-drenched field, with lots of laughing and talking in the background. She planted her feet, put her hands on her narrow hips, and looked straight in my eyes. In her dead-serious, I’m-warning-you tone, she said “You better win. I’ve been waiting for a girl president since…since…since kindergarten!”

Yes, I get it. Waiting is hard.

And no, I didn’t win. But in the middle of the night. I don’t think about losing. I don’t think about waiting. Instead, I think about the plans. I think about the fights ahead that can make those plans real. I think about all the fights we need to win, and all the people who can help us win even if they don’t look like leaders. I think about righteous fights and the extraordinary opportunities packed into this moment in history.

I think about that morning in March 2020 when I walked out my kitchen door and saw a message written in big chalk letters on the sidewalk: PERSIST.

Antitrust: Taking on Monopoly Power from the Gilded Age To the Digital Age

By Amy Klobuchar

Antitrust enforcement is one of the most pressing issues facing America today—and Amy Klobuchar, the widely respected senior senator from Minnesota, is leading the charge. This fascinating history of the antitrust movement shows us what led to the present moment and offers achievable solutions to prevent monopolies, promote business competition, and encourage innovation.

In a world where Google reportedly controls 90 percent of the search engine market and Big Pharma’s drug price hikes impact healthcare accessibility, monopolies can hurt consumers and cause marketplace stagnation. Klobuchar—the much-admired former candidate for president of the United States—argues for swift, sweeping reform in economic, legislative, social welfare, and human rights policies, and describes plans, ideas, and legislative proposals designed to strengthen antitrust laws and antitrust enforcement.

Klobuchar writes of the historic and current fights against monopolies in America, from Standard Oil and the Sherman Anti-Trust Act to the Progressive Era’s trust-busters; from the breakup of Ma Bell (formerly the world’s biggest company and largest private telephone system) to the pricing monopoly of Big Pharma and the future of the giant tech companies like Facebook, Amazon, and Google.

She begins with the Gilded Age (1870s-1900), when builders of fortunes and rapacious robber barons such as J. P. Morgan, John Rockefeller, and Cornelius Vanderbilt were reaping vast fortunes as industrialization swept across the American landscape, with the rich getting vastly richer and the poor, poorer.

She discusses President Theodore Roosevelt, who, during the Progressive Era (1890s-1920), “busted” the trusts, breaking up monopolies; the Clayton Act of 1914; the Federal Trade Commission Act of 1914; and the Celler-Kefauver Act of 1950, which it strengthened the Clayton Act. She explores today’s Big Pharma and its price-gouging; and tech, television, content, and agriculture communities and how a marketplace with few players, or one in which one company dominates distribution, can hurt consumer prices and stifle innovation.

As the Chair of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy, and Consumer Rights, Klobuchar provides a fascinating exploration of antitrust in America and offers a way forward to protect all Americans from the dangers of curtailed competition, and from vast information gathering, through monopolies.

“Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution”
Full Feature – Netflix
YouTube Netflix July 23, 2020

“Crip Camp” offers a uniquely honest look at the lives of persons with disability, and that’s due to arising from a place of personal interest. The film chronicles the history of the disability rights movement from its beginnings at an Upstate New York summer camp “for the handicapped” in the early 1970s.

James LeBrecht who co-directed the film with Nicole Newnham, says “The titles does a lot of heavy lifting to immediately frame that this is a look at disability from the inside and its’s unlike anything else that you may have seen before.”

“Crip Camp” is not an uplifting story of hardships overcome, nor is it a pitiable portrait of impairment, but avoiding those directions was an obstacle for the filmmakers.

“If you’re being told that anybody with a disability their life is full of pain and loneliness and anguish, that’s incredibility harmful. And it’s not the freaking truth. Our lives are only held back by society’s stigma or lack of willingness to really fully embrace people with disabilities when it comes to inclusion or diversity.” (from Lebrecht)