1. Florida

Florida's 'wicked ditch'

It was a classic pork-barrel project whose very justification for being was built upon a flimsy web of half-baked economic suppositions, ginned up cost-benefit estimates and, yes, outright lies, Ron Cunningham wrote in his piece about the new biography about early Florida environmentalist Marjorie Harris Carr.

Want to know more? Read more? You could buy this book. Or you could read what Craig Pittman had in the Times in 1999:

Built in the wrong century for the wrong reasons with the wrong numbers to justify it, the Cross Florida Barge Canal will forever stand as one of the biggest blunders in Florida history, one that permanently altered the state's landscape.

Imagine the reaction if you proposed it today:

Hey, let's cut a monstrous ditch across the middle of the state to link the Atlantic with the Gulf of Mexico, effectively turning most of the Florida peninsula into a big island, destroying everything in our path and letting seawater taint the underground supply of freshwater!

Oh, yeah, that would fly.