Power Plans: President Trump signed a highly anticipated executive order on climate today. The two biggest effects: The EPA will rewrite (and roll back) Obama-era regulations like the Clean Power Plan, and government agencies will no longer need to account for climate change while reporting on a project’s environmental impact. Here’s a guide to the details. Environmental advocates say the order favors fossil-fuel interests over the environment. Meanwhile, warming weather has given Iceland a booming travel industry—but the influx of tourists may not be all to the country’s benefit.
The Business of Politics: Trump’s adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner is set to lead a new initiative to reform how government works, with the help of former business executives. But the federal government operates much differently from a business, and without a deep understanding of the public sector, Kushner’s team could run into trouble. Meanwhile, America’s rising individual wealth and shrinking government means philanthropists’ gifts are supplanting some government functions—but their influence may be at odds with the democratic process.
The unifying through line is Cortázar’s abiding insistence on the elasticity of literary art, the better to capture what he saw as a fleeting, contentious, and ever-fluid reality. At one point, Cortázar tells his students, “I had lived with a complete feeling of familiarity with the fantastic because it seemed as acceptable to me, as possible and as real, as the fact of eating soup at eight o’clock in the evening.” The fantastic, then, was a means of leavening the flatness of the widely accepted, or the merely prosaic. The sentiment becomes something of a refrain. For Cortázar, like his creation Horacio, the joyless—and, in cases, politically expedient—narrowing of lived possibility was forever conspiring with a larger falseness, one he called “the prefabricated, pre-established world.”
Keep reading here, as Illingsworth explores how Cortázar questioned reality. And for an alternate reality that’s far too real, here’s how some TV dramas are tackling the topic of fake news.
What Do You Know?
1. About ____________ percent of Americans describe themselves as Christians.
I don’t want to make too big a deal about this, but here in AK, it’s Denali, as in “I was flying to Fairbanks and saw Denali today!” Almost like we are seeing an old friend or revered being. For some reason, “Mount McKinley” doesn’t feel the same to us. (I think I speak for most Alaskans!)
As another reader, M., points out, Denali isn’t just a local nickname either: In August 2015, after 40 years of lobbying by the Alaskan state government, “Mount McKinley” was officially restored to the name Alaska’s Athabaskan people had given it centuries earlier. I’m sorry for the error! I asked Tom if he had a photo of Denali to add to our America by Air series. He replied:
I, regrettably, don’t have a good picture of Denali. So I’m including one from a local reporter, Emily Kwong. The Sitka herring fishery [in the foreground] is one of the first fisheries of the year and a sure sign of spring. If I’m really lucky, someone will bring in some herring roe on spruce boughs—a traditional Native delicacy.
Check out that photograph, plus Kwong’s account of fishing for herring from an airplane, here. And if you’ve got your own aerial photo of Denali to share, please send it along: firstname.lastname@example.org.