It’s not too early to find fault

KATRINA PUMMELED New Orleans just two days ago, and already several editorial boards are engaged in finger-pointing today.

For the New York Times, it’s President Bush’s speech Wednesday, which it faults for lacking both style and substance. “George W. Bush gave one of the worst speeches of his life” in which he “seemed casual to the point of carelessness,” it says.

The Wall Street Journal, meanwhile, directs some ire at Germany’s environment minister, Juergen Tritten, for blaming Katrina on global warming. The Journal also takes a shot at Rep. Bobby Jindal, a Louisiana Republican who lost his home in the flooding, for attracting media attention by taking Bush to task for overlooking his state’s coastal restoration. The Washington Post, though, thinks that’s a point worth considering. “The Bush administration has long ignored Louisiana politicians’ requests for more help in protecting their fragile coast,” which could have softened Katrina’s blows, it says.

For USA Today, the emergency response doesn’t have many bright spots. For nearly three days, residents have been without food or water, and looting in New Orleans has been rampant. Still, no timely response plan “has emerged from any source,” it says.


Elsewhere, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution calls the country’s increasing poverty rate “a real shame.” Its editorial points out that although the U.S. poverty rate has, for the first time, increased over three consecutive years of an economic recovery, neither Democrats nor Republicans are solely responsible, since “poverty has been a persistent problem in the United States under both [parties’] administrations.”

Paul Thornton