September 2, 2005


After Centuries of 'Controlling' Land, Gulf Learns Who's the Boss (CORNELIA DEAN and ANDREW C. REVKIN

The Gulf Coast has always been vulnerable to coastal storms, but over the years people have made things worse, particularly in Louisiana, where Hurricane Katrina struck yesterday. Since the 18th century, when French colonial administrators required land claimants to establish ownership by building levees along bayous, streams and rivers, people have been trying to dominate the region's landscape and the forces of its nature.

As long as people could control floods, they could do business. But, as people learned too late, the landscape of South Louisiana depends on floods: it is made of loose Mississippi River silt, and the ground subsides as this silt consolidates. Only regular floods of muddy water can replenish the sediment and keep the landscape above water. But flood control projects channel the river's nourishing sediment to the end of the birdfoot delta and out into the deep water of the Gulf of Mexico.

Although early travelers realized the irrationality of building a port on shifting mud in an area regularly ravaged by storms and disease, the opportunities to make money overrode all objections.

One thing you have to say for George W. Bush, here's a guy the Left hates so much that they're apoplectic that land speculators got their comeuppance and that gasoline costs have risen.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 2, 2005 6:52 PM

Speaking of land speculators, am I wrong to think that this decrease in supply & increase in demand for housing is going to make a real estate bubble "pop" even less likely?

Posted by: Timothy at September 2, 2005 7:01 PM

When OBL gets his act together again and the sh-t really hits the fan, do you trust the GOP to protect you?

Posted by: Rick Perlstein at September 3, 2005 1:46 AM

And your alternative is, what? The Dems? They haven't offered a solution to any problem this century, and have shown no evidence they intend to start any time soon.

Worse, the amount of time between a problem or crises and the time the Left politicizes it is an exponentially decreasing function. It was only hours this time before their recriminations began. When "OBL gets his act together again", it'll be minutes.

Posted by: at September 3, 2005 2:23 AM

Uh, we're in negative time already. See: Rick

Posted by: RC at September 3, 2005 5:33 AM


No. We aren't protected against terrorist attack and never will be. If you want security vote for dictatorship.

But either party would respond to the incident itself in much the same way and the GOP without W would have been as unlikely as Democrats to have undertaken the Reform of the entire Middle East. The deadf OBL and the remnants of his organization, though still dangerous, are a mere sideshow.

Posted by: oj at September 3, 2005 8:06 AM

That anonymous comment was mine. The smug and empty self-rightousness of the previous comment really ticked me off. His kind squawk that Bush hasn't shown enough "personal compassion" and so he goes down there, and now they're already accusing him of grandstanding and questioning the timing and choices of locations visited (i.e., too white).

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at September 3, 2005 2:49 PM

Rick, Sorry, I hope you don't take this too hard, but OBL's molecules have been part the slime on a cave wall in Afghanistan for quite a while, but don't fret, he's with his houris now and happy.

Posted by: erp [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 3, 2005 3:36 PM