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Elbert Files: Letter to a granddaughter


Dear Bix,

That’s what we’re calling you. Along with Bea, Bixy and Bea-nut.
Your full name is Beatrix Anne Elbert.

You were born in the early hours of Oct. 4, 2018, in New York.
Like your brother Whit, you came via C-section. But unlike Whit, you arrived about a month early.

Despite your early appearance, all went well. You weighed 4 pounds, 13 ounces and were 19 ½ inches long at birth. That’s about normal for length.
Grandma Amy says if you’d stayed inside, you’d have spent most of that last month putting on weight. As it turned out, on your original due date you weighed a little over 7 pounds, which is about the same as your Aunt Holly when she was born nearly 40 years ago. 

Right now you weigh about as much as a small cat, which is something you’ll understand soon enough.

There’s only one cat in your Brooklyn apartment now, a scrawny, short-haired, ginger boy named Reggie. When your parents lived in Manhattan, your parents adopted Reggie and his buddy Clive, a street-wise, black and white tom who had a bum leg, among other issues.

Whit will explain to you some day that Clive’s bad habits included eating Whit’s food. Clive left to “look for an apartment” a few months before you were born. At least, that’s what Whit says.

Your brother is friends with another neighborhood cat named Oreo. She’s a sweet female and a good mouser who lives in the bodega near your Brooklyn brownstone. On many mornings when Whit wakes up — often before dawn — he drags your dad out to converse with Oreo while her owners prepare to open their store.

But back to you.

A lot of thought went into selecting your name, but because you arrived early, your parents didn’t really settle on one until a few days after you were born.

They narrowed the choice to Alice and Beatrix, but wanted to see what you looked like before making a final decision.

Your parents were both English majors, so we’re assuming your role models will be Alice of “Wonderland” fame and Beatrix Potter, who wrote “The Tale of Peter Rabbit” and other children’s stories.

Your mom and dad are avid readers and imaginative storytellers who are sure to inspire you to create your own stories, like your brother already does.
At some point you’ll discover that while you are not an only child, you are cousinless. Neither of your parents’ siblings have children, but you are blessed with three doting aunts, Meagan, Holly and Dawn, who will watch over and protect you like fairy godmothers.  

— Grandpa Dave

Woodward book

On page 274 of “Fear,” Bob Woodward’s Trump administration chronicle, National Economic Council Chairman Gary Cohn gives an assessment of the president’s desire to blow up the North American Free Trade Agreement.
“Once you blow it up, it may be over. That’s the most high-risk strategy. That either works or you go bankrupt,” Cohn said.

Woodward then added: “Cohn realized that Trump had gone bankrupt six times and seemed not to mind. Bankruptcy was just another business strategy.”
On the following page, Woodward wrote: “In another discussion with the president Cohn unveiled a Commerce Department study showing the U.S. absolutely needed to trade with China.”

“If you’re the Chinese and you really wanted to destroy us,” Cohn reportedly told Trump, “just stop selling us antibiotics. You know we don’t really produce antibiotics in the United States.”

Cohn added that the commerce study found that nine major antibiotics were not produced in the United States, including penicillin, and that China sold 96.6 percent of all antibiotics used here. 

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