Catastrophe has bracketed Obama's first two years in office. He was elected in the wake of an economic catastrophe without parallel in the last 70 years. Today in the Gulf, he faces an environmental catastrophe without parallel in U.S. history.

Elliot Spitzer connects the dots:

At a political level, big business over the past 30 years superficially won by limiting liability and neutering the effectiveness of regulatory supervision. And the public has ended up absorbing the enormous costs of two disasters--one financial, one ecological. We will reclaim the proper balance and protection for the public only when we remedy these errors. Eliminate false caps on liability that distort incentives and behavior, or re-establish the effectiveness of the oversight agencies--from the SEC to the MMS. If we don't, the tragedies of the past several years will be premonitions of the crises to come.

Read the full story at Slate.