It’s time to bury this weary gag in a lead vault with the miserable remnants of 2020

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In 2019, the U.S. Census Bureau recorded 438 newborns named Karen in the United States vs. 32,873 in 1965, the Zenith of Karen-a few years after I was born. Safe to say, there will be even fewer from now on. This correction should cut down on Gross Domestic Therapy costs in the future, but doesn’t help the vast herd of Karens now roaming through midlife, as bison once covered the plains, wondering how the hell we ended up in 2020’s crosshairs.

Before my name became a curse full of sound and fury, it was an anodyne choice for babies in…


One macabre frame captures the essence of the Trump presidency and the era it unleashed.

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President Donald Trump and Melania Trump, holding 8-week-old Paul Anchondo, whose parents were among the 22 victims of the El Paso massacre. August 9, 2019. Andrea Hanks/The White House

To the curator of the future Donald J. Trump Presidential Library: put this photo in the front lobby. Make it huge. Tremendously huge.

Supporters will see their win-at-all-costs optimist, whose humanitarian instincts were simply misunderstood. Detractors will recognize in this frame Trump’s savage incompetence and obsession with image above all else.

Students of history will eventually make up most of the visitors to the Donald J. Trump Presidential Library, and even through a less polarized lens, they will still find much to pore over in this image.

Start with the backdrop: We are in a hospital, where survivors of the…


Lessons of the bonsai garden during a season of anguish

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Over the past ten days, we have been asked to digest a lot: an allied government’s admission that it murdered and dismembered a Washington Post columnist; a spree of pipe bombs; the Sabbath slaughter of worshippers inside Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue. Almost overlooked were the two shoppers shot to death at a Louisville, Kentucky supermarket, both African-American, by a shooter who reportedly picked out his victims by race, saying, “whites don’t shoot whites.” …


Independence Day reflections on our neighbor’s quiet success

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New Canadian citizens celebrate in Montreal, July 1, 2018

Imagine. You are about to be sworn in as a new Canadian citizen on Canada Day. As a military band serenades, the announcer asks that you remove your hat prior to taking the oath, so long as it does not interfere with religious, health or official uniform obligations. You can swear or affirm, as you please, and if you choose the former, you are invited to place “your” Holy Book, rather than “the” Holy Bible, into your left hand and raise your right. You are encouraged to sing the national anthem “proudly and loudly.” You hear about your gift from…


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For our Mother’s Day outing this year, my daughter and I went to see “RBG”, the revealing new documentary about the life of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. There is much to commend about this film: a woman flexing her power at the age of 84; the way it unpacks the reverential partnership the Justice shared with her late husband, Martin; RBG’s masterful case work in the 1970s that dismantled U.S. laws codifying gender discrimination (she intentionally chose both women and men as plaintiffs in a series of landmark cases). Then there is her supple and good-humored appreciation of…


Hiring Tips for the Chief People Officer of the United States

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Dr. Ronny Jackson is gone. By now, there is much that is familiar about yet another ill-fated nomination, in this case for the White House physician to be elevated to Secretary of Veterans Affairs. Donald Trump is not the first president to become isolated and fall into thinking that the gene pool for top government talent is small. George W. Bush nominated his White House lawyer Harriet Miers to become a U.S. Supreme Court Justice.

Nor is Trump the first president to make a vetting error during prime time. Bill Clinton recovered from his stumble over nominating Zoe Baird to…


A copy of the Constitution (and some hand sanitizer) for the flight to D.C.

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My daughter Sarah leaves San Francisco tonight for Washington DC, where she will join March for Our Lives.

Sarah is 15, a freshman at the Oakland School for the Arts (OSA), a California public charter school. As 9th grade class representative, she helped organize OSA’s participation in the recent 17-minute National School Walkout on the one-month anniversary of the shooting that killed 17 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Students from thousands of American schools organized themselves on Twitter.

Sarah and her classmates…


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On March 13, Donald Trump made his first presidential visit to California, one week — and a political light year — after Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the administration will sue California for interfering with federal immigration laws. Trump labeled Mayor Libby Schaaf of Oakland, where I live, as a “disgrace” for tipping off residents to upcoming immigration raids. As a former White House correspondent for Newsweek, I tagged along on many previous presidential visits to California. They start like this:

Aboard Air Force One — entering California airspace

Are we there yet?

Goddamn Wi-Fi is down. Did Rex get…

Karen Breslau

Relapsing journalist, midlife rebel, home renovation addict.

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