Wednesday, May 11, 2011

MISSOURI - May 12, 2011

Today the Mississippi R is flooding again, as it does from time to time, but today it is within 2” of the record flood at Memphis in 1937. When I was a kid in the 1930s, the R flooded almost every year, as did its companion, the Tennessee. And the TN valley was a mess of swamps, malaria, and underdevelopment. But the New Deal changed that for them, as new dams converted the swamps into lakes, managed the mosquitoes by manipulating the water levels in them, and electrified SE TN into the industrial giant of that State. After being interrupted by WW II, the move to do a similar thing to the MO R was restored. Since that did not have the same geography, it would have involved diverting the R SE through many farm fields when necessary prevent the destruction caused in river cities. But after 1945, the anger of the corporate bureaucracy against what they called the Red Menace in the form of the TVA not only prevented the upper Midwest from profiting from TN’s example, but as soon as GOP got their hands on government, Eisenhower began to restrict the socially beneficial effects of the TVA, resulting on a stress on coal burning power plants which left a toxic legacy of coal ash in place of the long-past floods. MVA was out of the Q, and remained so to this day. Today 400 miles W of TVA in TN, Memphis is the victim of the lack of flood control while TX is consumed by a drought and could dearly love the MO R water if they could get it. Of course, TX leads the country in finding Reds under their beds, so perhaps it is plain divine justice that they are not getting the MO Valley’s surplus to wet their fields. But a week or so back one part of MO was flooded to save the city of Cairo IL, while MO raged and TX was bone dry. But just try to get the Senators from TX to see the value in MVA today, even as they thirst and pray for rain.

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