The Atlantic Daily: A Night at the Museum

The Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and the American Museum of Natural History. Plus: What Ivanka Trump wants, Game of Thrones returns, and more

What We’re Following

The American Museum of Natural History is coming under fire for hosting Jair Bolsonaro. Since coming into office in October, Bolsonaro—the newly elected, ultranationalist president of Brazil—has repeatedly prioritized business interests over environmental concerns, opening up the Amazon rainforest for agriculture and mining while wresting land away from indigenous communities. He’s scheduled to speak at a black-tie gala at the museum in May—and some AMNH scientists are furious, since Bolsonaro’s actions are antithetical to the institution’s mission and values. While event organizers contend that the ceremony, while at the museum, isn’t technically affiliated with it, that might be a distinction without a difference.

The Trump administration has been on a mission to tack on work requirements to Medicaid benefits. Seema Verma, a top health-care wonk in the administration, has been leading the effort under the guise that the stipulations will help wean low-income Americans off government programs and lead them to enter the workforce. In 2018, Arkansas became the first state to mandate that residents at or below the poverty line find work or volunteer in order to receive health-care coverage through Medicaid. Since then, an estimated 16,000 people have lost their coverage because of the requirements, while fewer than 2,000 earned enough money to no longer qualify for the program. Work requirements tend to most severely affect African Americans, so they could widen the galling racial disparities in the health-care system if they spread nationwide.

This Week in Numbers

💍 The American wedding ceremony is changing. According to one recent study, this percent of married couples polled said they had been married by a friend or family member rather than a religious officiant in 2017, up from 16.4 percent in 2010.

🇮🇳 The world’s largest democratic exercise is under way, and like elections in the U.S., it’s about the economy, stupid. India has this many young people under 25—more than the population of the entire European Union—and job growth hasn’t kept up.

🎓 Colleges are opening their doors to more students of color, but opportunities for minority professors are lagging. From 1993 to 2013, the percentage of underrepresented minorities in full-time tenure-track positions grew by just 30 percent, while the percentage in less stable non-tenure-track positions grew by this much.

Our Critics’ Picks

Game of Thrones

(Helen Sloane / HBO)

Watch: The appointment-viewing fantasy phenomenon Game of Thrones returns this weekend for its final season. How will the series, which has outstripped its George R. R. Martin source material, end? Christopher Orr looks back at the labyrinth of story lines. Plus: For some reason, someone decided to reboot Hellboy.

Read: Sally Rooney’s second novel, Normal People, finds that “despite class differences, and the judgments of others, radical politics can work on a small scale and are worth pursuing even if the world’s broader inequalities feel both inevitable and unsolvable,” writes Annalisa Quinn.

Weekend Read

Ivanka Trump's Dream World

She has spent years curating her image and trying to perfect her aura of authenticity: “What her friends say she couldn’t understand was why, this time, many people weren’t buying it.” Elaina Plott spent the past several months profiling the first daughter Ivanka Trump:

You could tell by his eyes, the way they popped and gleamed and fixed on someone behind me. Only one person gets that kind of look from Donald Trump. “Oh!” the president said. “Ivanka!”

Ivanka Trump lifted her hands, astonished. “I forgot you guys were meeting—I was just coming by!” she said. “Uh-oh!”

The first daughter (though not the only daughter), wearing a fitted black mockneck and black pants, her golden hair fastened in a low twist, glided across the Oval Office. It was a Tuesday afternoon, and it was apparently vital to inform Trump, at that very moment, that Siemens had pledged to expand its education and training opportunities to more workers as part of Ivanka’s workforce-development initiative. She also wanted to remind him that tomorrow would be the inaugural session of the program’s advisory board, and that Tim Cook would be joining the meeting.

“She loves doing it,” Trump said, presumably to me but while looking at Ivanka. “And she wants no credit. Just like me, she wants no credit.” They both started laughing.

Poem of the Week

This Friday, an excerpt from “Love Sonnets: XXII,” by Pablo Neruda, from our February 1986 issue.

Love, how often I loved you without seeing—without remembering you—
not recognizing your glance, not knowing you, a gentian
in the wrong place, scorching in the hot noon,
but I loved only the smell of the wheat.

→ Read the rest

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