“We Will Never Give Up”: Charlie Hebdo Republishes Mohammed Cartoons

France is starting to reflect on the dramatic decline in its freedom of expression. ‘My unfortunate client will be freedom….’ — Richard Malka, attorney for Charlie Hebdo, Le Point, August 13, 2020. Western democracies have paid dearly for the right to

Source: “We Will Never Give Up”: Charlie Hebdo Republishes Mohammed Cartoons

This Day in History: September 2

Encyclopaedia Britannica

Featured Event

Great Fire of London 1666 – Great Fire of London. On this day in 1666 the Great Fire of London began accidentally in the house of the king’s baker; it burned for four days and destroyed a large part of the city, including Old St. Paul’s Cathedral and about 13,000 houses.

Swissair flight 111

1998 – Swissair flight 111 crashed off the coast of Nova Scotia, Canada, killing all 229 on board; it was later determined that faulty wires had caused the plane’s flammable insulation to catch fire.

Ho Chi Minh

1945 – Ho Chi Minh declared Vietnam independent from France.

Why Google Shouldn’t Drive Your SEO Strategy

By Robert Rose published August 27, 2020

Why are we chasing the Google algorithm instead of leading it?

That might seem like a weird question. But perhaps our existing presumptions and predictions are part of the chasing problem. As SEO-minded content marketers, we continually ask, “What will Google do next?”

Will Google find a new way to blend ads in with organic search?

Will Google serve audio in search results?

Will Google release a scary new algorithm named Skunk or Flamingo or Ernie?

All the answers are the same: We don’t know. And worrying too much about what Google will do is pointless. We’ll find out when Google tells us.Worrying about what @Google will do is pointless, say @Robert_Rose and @LiamCarnahan via @CMIContent. #SEO Click To Tweet

But do we have to wait around for Google to give us instructions?

Do we need to sit on our haunches, like dogs begging for treats, waiting for Google to hand us the next update? Inevitably, this leads to us scrambling to please, lest Google swat us with a newspaper for getting it wrong.

Too often, we look at Google as synonymous with the internet. But research and trends show that is not the case. In fact, the world of search may be moving away from Google – and the world we’re living in is changing faster than Google can keep up.

We’ll get to that. For now, let’s look at the practical issues that arise when we treat Google like an omnipotent being that we must follow.

What is SEO really?

We need to be clear: Great people are doing extraordinary work in the field of search engine optimization. When you think about it, it’s amazing that Google’s search product has become so important to business. The majority of an $80 billion industry is built around trying to decipher how to optimize businesses to comply with Google’s complex, sophisticated algorithm.

Companies all over the world have benefited from the consulting, software, and advice these experts provide. But we should recognize that most businesses attempting to decipher Google are not in the elite category. In fact, only 36% of small and medium-sized businesses (SMB) even have an SEO strategy.

Between the two of us, we’ve worked with more than 300 companies over the last decade. One of them, an enormous, well-known technology company, had an all too common SEO strategy. In fact, about seven of 10 companies we visit rely on something similar.

The strategy consists of a lot of smart people focusing on three activities:

  1. Create a list of important keywords and phrases and work diligently to retrofit existing on-site content and create new content to comport with these keywords.
  2. Work on off-page tactics to gain more backlinks that highlight those keywords.
  3. Continue work on technical “errors” on the website to improve their rankings.

They work like heck on all that for nine months.

Then rinse. And repeat.

We have seen clients who literally had to start over when they decided the keywords selected nine months before no longer served their brand or product direction purpose.

Now, by definition, you can never be done with SEO. And smart SEO strategists may complain (and they would be right) that this three-step process is oversimplified. But truly, some version of this process is the limit of what most organizations can do.

Even without the internal disruption of new keyword lists or shifting needs from marketing, we’ve seen changes in Google’s algorithm upend what was (at the time) a sane and smart SEO strategy. One CEO at a mid-sized company threatened to walk Robert out of the office if he recommended an increased budget for SEO keywords. He said, “I’ve invested $150,000 in SEO over two years, only to watch Google obliterate that with two updates.”

Is it any wonder that SEO-minded content marketers monitor the Google search algorithm like a natural phenomenon, and that SEO-leader MOZ actually has something called the Google Algorithm Weather Report?

For most marketing strategies, SEO is a bit like a tax. Paying it theoretically gets us better infrastructure and services to help us deal with things like the weather. But we still look for ways to cheat just enough to beat the system without incurring the wrath of the tax collector.

So, what should we do about SEO?HANDPICKED RELATED CONTENT: 20 SEO and Keyword Tips for Your Best Google Rankings in 2020

Future of search engines: The big picture

Before we can nudge search in the right direction, we need to get a good look at where we think Google thinks it is headed. We aren’t talking about things like voice search and mobile optimization – we need to think bigger than that.

Where does Google think OUR search is really headed in the long term? Here’s what we know: Google is focusing more on search journeys, less on queries..@Google Is focusing more on search journeys, less on queries, say @LiamCarnahan and @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. #SEO Click To Tweet

Google doesn’t just want to be the place you go for a quick answer. It knows searches have evolved beyond that. (In fact, only 8% of Google searches are questions.)

Sure, people still will turn to Google to find out a celebrity’s age or how many ounces are in a cup. But Google wants to guide them to the next step and the next so they return to Google again and again for guidance in their day-to-day life. (Google has been transparent about this.)

So instead of just helping a searcher find out how old Harrison Ford is, Google wants to be there waiting with answers to inevitable follow-up questions such as what year Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom came out. When a searcher asks about ounces in a cup, Google will have the best chocolate chip cookie recipes ready to go.

Google reorganized search results, particularly in mobile, to advance this goal. This isn’t exactly new either. Google has offered related searches for years, but it is improving (and will continue to improve) the way it presents this information.

Despite Google’s obvious intentions to keep people on its site (and ideally clicking on ads), this function is useful for users. It puts their searches in context and helps them find the most relevant content.

Google also said it is moving away from query-based searches in favor of personalized feeds. You’ve already seen this if you use the Google app – open the app and before you even search, you see cards related to that video game you’ve been playing or that recipe you made last night.

Again, there are nefarious implications. These cards are often eerily relevant because Google is using your personal data and search history to compile them. That may give you the heebie-jeebies, but hey, it makes for a good search experience.

Beyond this, Google’s new tactics, theoretically, take ranking to another level of difficulty. As our friend Arnie Kuenn once said, “The best place to hide a dead body is on page two of a Google search.” The fight to be a top spot just got way more difficult with personalized pages.The fight to be in @Google’s top spot just got way more difficult with personalized pages, say @Robert_Rose and @LiamCarnahan via @CMIContent. #SEO Click To Tweet

Why? My search results for “headphones” are going to be different than yours because I’m on an iPhone in California logged in to my Google account and just looked for new microphones. It becomes overwhelming to think about how to strategize for so many variables.

But we shouldn’t just be talking about Google.

Yes, Google still has the lion’s share of searches on the internet now – but remember when AOL was the biggest internet provider and Yahoo was where you went for search? Times change, and it’s naive to think Google will always be the No. 1 place for search. Yes. Really. That may be hard to swallow, but we should be prepared for any kind of new … well … weather.

Every day, Google’s share of the search pie is encroached upon by other search engines that also are becoming more sophisticated (and in some ways, more diabolical). For example, when it comes to product searches, more users (46.7%) turn to Amazon before they get to Google (36.4%). And as privacy becomes a more important issue, Apple maps may give Google a run for its money in the search for where we’re going..@Google’s share of the search piece Is being encroached upon by other search engines, say @Robert_Rose and @LiamCarnahan via @CMIContent. #SEO Click To Tweet

With social media search, many of the things Google tells us to do are no longer relevant. We know Google prefers longer content for blogs and websites, but LinkedIn limits posts to just 1,300 characters. And Twitter? A mere 280.

It may be that the internet is getting too big and deep for one type of search engine. It’s quite possible vertical searching through the apps we use every day may become the norm.

Remember: SEO stands for search engine optimization – not Google optimization. If you work on SEO and only think about what Google wants, you’re bound to be left in the dust.#SEO stands for search engine optimization – not Google optimization. If you only think about what @Google wants, you’re bound to be left in the dust, says @LiamCarnahan via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

The future of search drivers: That’s us

We now have an idea of what the search engines want for our future. But though they might want to, Mark Zuckerberg, Satya Nadella, and Jeff Bezos can’t actually control the future.

In fact, if the last few months (years? we stopped counting in March) have taught us anything, it’s that the future is anything but predictable. Things are happening now that impact the way all search works – and more importantly, current events are changing the way search should work.

Rather than being those obedient dogs waiting for a treat, it’s time to take stock of what’s going on in our world and how we need to change search to make our world better, at least marginally.

In 2020, content sometimes moves faster than search. In March 2020, 57% of millennials surveyed said they got their news from social media sites more than any other source.

Think carefully about what that means. It does not mean that more than half of millennials are cruising Facebook every morning, clicking on links to CNN and The Washington Post.

Often, the news is served directly to them (and other social media users) well before any news media site gets its hands on it. The horrific video of George Floyd’s murder was first uploaded to Facebook and spread virally across every major social media platform before it hit MSNBC. In the days that followed, people tuned in to livestreams of protests on Facebook and Instagram, seeing rubber bullets and gas canisters flying in real time.

When it comes to COVID-19, there’s a different problem – misinformation spreads almost as fast as the virus itself. Everyone is hungry for news about the greatest disruption in modern human history and conspiracy theorists can use Twitter as effectively as anyone else.

What does this mean for content and search?

On the one hand, if we want to be cutting-edge thought leaders, we can’t wait for Google to index the news. We must react to what we see on Reddit, Facebook, Twitter, and right in front of us as we walk down the street (or gaze out our window, if you’re still in lockdown).

At the same time, we cannot be complicit in the spread of fake news. Google is doing its part; it’s changed its algorithm for COVID-related searches, scrubbing misinformation and presenting resources from trusted health and news organizations (like NPR). Twitter has been censoring misinformation coming from the White House itself, and Mark Zuckerberg has reluctantly put more stringent fact-checking in place on Facebook.

We, as content creators, need to balance both sides of the coin. This means resisting two knee-jerk reactions – one that tells us to post the most viral stuff as quickly as possible and the other that tells us to remain silent on complex and difficult topics. Put simply: The best way to reach more people is to create the thought, not try and be a fast follower of it.The best way to reach more people is to create the thought, not try and be a fast follower of it, say @Robert_Rose and @LiamCarnahan via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet


The future of search isn’t an answer

What does all this mean for content marketers? If we’re going to lead Google, instead of following it, what are we supposed to be doing today?

Well, put simply, we have to go beyond answering queries, to providing solutions.

If we are to lead Google, we must recognize that it’s not about a battle for the best, longest, or even most keyword-rich answer to a frequently asked question. We must present connected content experiences that not only answer the questions but present and enable the entire solution to why the question was asked.

For consideration, let’s assume the future of search is:

  • Voice-driven (Nearly half of consumers are using voice search for “general web searches.”)
  • Complex AI-intent-oriented rather than query or keyword based (Google has plainly stated this.)
  • More personalized (See reasoning above.)

Then it stands to reason that, as content practitioners, our role is to present an enabling solution to a challenge, not just answers to questions.

For example, the query for an enterprise software search may evolve from “What is the best CRM system?” to “Show me a demonstration of what a great CRM system can do.” Or if we are a restaurant, it won’t be “What are the best Mexican restaurants near me,” but will become “Tell me availability at the best Mexican restaurants for two for Monday night.”

The aim of future content-driven experiences will not be to answer questions; it will be to provide solutions to challenges that aren’t even asked yet. Google co-founder Sergey Brin affirmed this in 2013: “My vision was that information would come to you as you need it. You wouldn’t have to search query at all.”

If we are to lead Google and get ahead of the search game, it’s time to provide connected, human experiences that help our customers solve things they don’t know can be solved, to be surprisingly entertained and satisfied with a story, or to be inspired to do something they don’t even know they want to do.

This means much more connection, integration, collaboration, and rethinking of the way we present content today. Content marketers must think less about siloed search pages and sections of optimized content and do more to create connected content experiences.#Content marketers must think less about siloed search pages and sections of optimized content and do more to create connected content experiences, say @Robert_Rose and @LiamCarnahan via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

We need a new approach to content and SEO – to truly write contextually and integrate rich media content for humans that serves humans – so that we help the newer technologies evolve faster. Then, the search engines can develop around that.

SEO becomes a long-term experiential development strategy, not a game of matching semantics. As content marketers we are ultimately NOT trying to simply understand how people search for content – and are served it via Google – but rather how people are finding and experiencing the solutions to challenges they may not even know they have.

What does the Bible say about trusting others?

Trust is foundational to human relationship, but not all people are trustworthy. So how can we know whom to trust and with what? The Bible gives us advice.

We must first acknowledge that all humans are sinful (Romans 3:23). More than likely our trust will be broken at some point in several relationships. Perhaps even more sobering to realize, we will hurt others in our relationships and prove ourselves unworthy of their complete trust. But this is not a reason to avoid relationship or decide to never trust. Rather, this understanding helps us reset our expectations. Sometimes we feel betrayed or as if our trust is broken simply because we expected the other person to be and do what only God is and does. Any time we put our trust in another human to be our God, we will be disappointed, and rightly so. At the same time, we may expect another person to be honest or to act with integrity or to fulfill a promise and still find our trust broken. But, again, the answer is not to avoid relationship all together. Rather, we must rely on God first and put our trust ultimately in Him.

Psalm 118:8–9 says, “It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes.” Proverbs 3:5–6 says, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” When our trust is first in God—not in others or in ourselves—we are free to trust others. An understanding that God is sovereign and that He works on behalf of His children (Romans 8:28–29) removes much of our fear in relating to others. We know that even if we are betrayed, God will never forsake us. Hebrews 13 gives some instructions for Christian living. In part, it reminds followers of Jesus that God has said, “‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So we can confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?'” (Hebrews 13:5–6).

That our trust is ultimately in God instead of others does not mean that we blindly trust everyone with everything. Jesus warned His disciples, “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves” (Matthew 10:16). It is good to recognize that not all people have pure motives and to temper our trust accordingly. Proverbs 13:20 says, “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” First Corinthians 15:33 says, “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company ruins good morals.'” Proverbs 22:24–25 says, “Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man, lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare.” Second Corinthians 6:14 cautions believers from being unequally yoked with other believers in close relationships such as marriage. We must be discerning about our relationships and the people to whom we give our trust.

Equally important is discernment about the institutions or societal influencers we trust. First John 4:1 says, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.” Just because a particular teaching appears to have authority or popular acceptance does not mean it is biblically sound. While we should submit to our leaders (Romans 13:1–7), we cannot blindly trust everything we hear from sources of supposed authority. We should be especially skeptical of institutions with worldly motives.

While caution is advised in giving trust, engaging in trusting relationships with others is rewarding and certainly biblical. Ecclesiastes 4:9–12 talks about the ways in which “two are better than one.” Proverbs 27:17 says, “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:5–6 says, “Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.” Hebrews 10:24–25 talks about the importance of believers gathering together and stirring one another up to love and good works. Ephesians 4:15 talks about speaking truth to one another in love. Real trust includes willingness to be honest with one another, even if that honesty feels awkward or potentially painful. There is no substitute for faithful friends and vibrant Christian community. When we can live in trusting relationships with one another, we edify and encourage one another.

One practical way to go about learning to trust others is to focus on being trustworthy yourself. Being a person others can trust involves honesty and integrity. It means keeping your word, not belittling others, admitting when you are wrong, seeking forgiveness, being willing to forgive as you have been forgiven in Christ, and having the courage to share the truths of God’s Word and to strive to live them out.

Psalm 1 declares that the man who delights in the law of the Lord is blessed. When we seek God’s kingdom and His ways first, we will draw closer to Him and our trust in Him will increase. We will also learn to be trustworthy people ourselves. As we do these things, we can learn to more freely trust others. We can ask God for discernment in whom to trust and with what things, and ultimately trust Him with the results.

Online & worth-it ebook: “Catholics in the Public Square”, by Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted

Catholic eBooks Project

See this online and worth-it ebook:

  • Catholics in the Public Square, revised 4th Edition, by the Most Rev. Thomas J. Olmsted, Bishop of the Diocese of Phoenix, with a Foreword by Jose H. Gomez, Archbishop of Los Angeles (Charlotte, NC: Saint Benedict Press, 2016). May be read online on this page at the Diocese of Phoenix (linked by this page of Catholic Culture.org). May be purchased at Amazon in kindle and hardcover formats.

See also these related texts on the ethics of voting:

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“The Red Mirage” theory provides the justification for Democrat mischief post Election Day

    Posted by William A. Jacobson    Tuesday, September 1, 2020

The Red Mirage theory, that Trump will have a significant lead on Election Night, but will lose when mail-in ballots are counted, is the excuse for Democrats to spend weeks trying to count ballots in Democrat areas that arrive late or that don’t comply with the rules, and to disqualify valid ballots in Republican areas.


Last month I warned about post-Election Day chaos and civil unrest if the election is close, If the November election is close, expect bad things due to a surge of mail-in ballots.

That likelihood was a combination of the surge of mail-in ballots mostly from Biden supporters, normal delays in delivery of mail-in ballots (having nothing to do with the insane conspiracy theories leveled against Trump), and the high percentage of mail-in ballots that have been disqualified as non-compliant in Democrat primaries so far this year.

Combine a surprise Trump win though Biden was ahead in the polls, mail delays, election board incompetence, and massive disqualification of (mostly Biden) ballots, and you have the recipe for an eruption.

Hell, Democrats rioted at the 2017 Inauguration even though Trump won fair and square. Expect rioting, looting, arson, and violence that will dwarf what has happened so far post-George Floyd killing.

A court fight may suit Democrats just fine, it may even be part of the plan….

What if Trump loses in the midst of such a mess? Will the 82nd Airborne need to remove him from the White House? Will Trump supporters loot Target and attack courthouses. Doubtful, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be civil disruption.

Unless one candidate wins by a margin outside of delayed and disqualified ballots, there are going to be problems. Big league.

Writing about this likelihood is becoming more frequent as the polls tighten. Axio had an article today that is generating a lot of attention, Exclusive: Dem group warns of apparent Trump Election Day landslide:

A top Democratic data and analytics firm told “Axios on HBO” it’s highly likely that President Trump will appear to have won — potentially in a landslide — on election night, even if he ultimately loses when all the votes are counted.

Why this matters: Way more Democrats will vote by mail than Republicans, due to fears of the coronavirus, and it will take days if not weeks to tally these. This means Trump, thanks to Republicans doing almost all of their voting in person, could hold big electoral college and popular vote leads on election night.

  • Imagine America, with its polarization and misinformation, if the vote tally swings wildly toward Joe Biden and Trump loses days later as the mail ballots are counted.
  • That is what this group, Hawkfish, which is funded by Michael Bloomberg and also does work for the Democratic National Committee and pro-Biden Super PACs, is warning is a very real, if not foreordained, outcome.

What they’re saying: Hawkfish CEO Josh Mendelsohn calls the scenario a “red mirage.”

  • “We are sounding an alarm and saying that this is a very real possibility, that the data is going to show on election night an incredible victory for Donald Trump,” he said.
  • “When every legitimate vote is tallied and we get to that final day, which will be some day after Election Day, it will in fact show that what happened on election night was exactly that, a mirage,” Mendelsohn said. “It looked like Donald Trump was in the lead and he fundamentally was not when every ballot gets counted.”

What is the significance of all this?

Democrats are going to try to steal the election after Election Day. The way they tried to steal Florida 2000 through selective recounting until the Supreme Court stopped them. If Trump is far ahead on Election Day, there will be pitched battles in swing states to count ballots in Democrat areas that arrive late or that don’t comply with the rules, and to disqualify valid ballots in Republican areas. The “Red Mirage” theory is the excuse to try.

Having spent four years perfecting resistance litigation against Trump, there is little doubt that Democrats will try to find a judge somewhere somehow who will issue an injunction or other relief to enable this theft to take place. Such relief may not ultimately prevail, but it will further the chaos.

I don’t think we’ll get to a situation where we have to figure out what the Presidential Succession Act of 1947 means in such a situation. Because if we do, and there is no elected President by January 20, 2021, then hell will already have broken loose not because of a Red Mirage, but because of post-Election Day mischief.

How to Find 1000 Blog Post Ideas in Less Than 1 Minute

WP ExpertBlogging

August 31, 2020 1 Minute https://www.youtube.com/embed/a3YwOQeZoG0?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

How to Increase More Sales

So I want you to head to Ubersuggest, and I’m going to be breaking down the exact process I use to come up with blog posts ideas for my own blog, Neil Patel. And this worked for any industry. So I want you to head over to Ubersuggest and just type in any keyword related to your space. So let’s say I type in digital marketing, because I have a blog that covers a SEO paper. Click advertising, social media marketing, online marketing. It literally covers all aspects of marketing.

Remembering Hurricane Katrina

28 August 2020 Harvard University Press

August 29 is the fifteenth anniversary of when Hurricane Katrina made landfall in New Orleans. In his new, definitive history, Katrina: A History, 1915–2015, Andy Horowitz shows how the decisions that caused the disaster extend across the twentieth century. Here is an excerpt.

Photo of Andy Horowitz, author of Katrina: A History, 1915–2015, Harvard University Press

On Sept. 29, 1915, at the muddy end of the Mississippi’s farthest reach into the Gulf of Mexico, 100 miles down river from New Orleans, an unnamed hurricane made landfall. An anemometer recorded wind gusts of 140 miles per hour there, at the town of Burrwood, La., where on easier days several hundred members of the Army Corps of Engineers lived in orderly cottages and worked to keep the shipping canal at the river’s mouth clear of sediment.

As the storm moved upriver, the barometer at Tulane University plummeted to 28.10 inches. The rain gauge filled with 8.36 inches of precipitation in 21 hours. Even in a region accustomed to hurricanes, these were extraordinary measurements. Isaac Cline, the chief meteorologist at the United States Weather Bureau in New Orleans, reported that the storm was “the most intense hurricane of which we have record in the history of the Mexican Gulf coast, and probably in the United States.”

On their own, these data reveal little about how the storm might have mattered to people, or how they might have responded to it. These precise metrics of wind speed, rainfall, and barometric pressure do not trace the shape of life in places that seem, repeatedly, to come under assault from the forces of nature. We need different tools to gauge those times when coincidences of earth, wind, and water upset the course of human events in ways so overwhelming that we name them with a word whose basic meaning suggests that the entire universe is out of joint: disaster.

Consider that during the 1915 hurricane, across the state of Louisiana, 275 people died. Property damage estimates ran to $12 million ($280 million in 2015 dollars). Upriver from Burrwood, only four houses remained standing in the town called Empire. East of New Orleans, in St. Bernard Parish, the settlement of Saint Malo was washed from the map entirely. A foot of water remained in parts of New Orleans for five days.

Nonetheless, once the storm passed, many New Orleanians celebrated. “Storm proof!” a newspaper proclaimed. The mayor quickly rejected outside offers of aid. Surveying the event a month later, the New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board, the agency charged with protecting the city from floods, concluded that its new drainage system had passed a defining test. “It is safe to say,” its report asserted, “that no city anywhere in the world could have withstood these conditions with less damage and less inconvenience than has New Orleans.” The report reasoned that the recent extreme occurrence of wind and rain “renders more remote the probability of a repetition of any of these things in the early future.”

It was a curious logic in a city that had seen 92 hurricanes or tropical storms since its European colonial founding in 1718. Despite this history, the Sewerage and Water Board believed that even if another big storm came, New Orleans would be safe. The report’s authors reflected on the storm’s “lessons” this way: “there is no reason why this city and its surrounding country should not continue, even more successfully than heretofore, [its] developments in all directions.” The experience of the 1915 hurricane affirmed the consensus among engineers and investors, city planners and politicians, home builders and home buyers, that New Orleans should grow.

The city they created became one of the most celebrated places in the world. “Ain’t no city like the one I’m from!” the women in the Original Pinettes Brass Band sang a century later. New Orleans’s admirers lauded it as “The Land of Dreams,” “The Big Easy,” “The City that Care Forgot,” “America’s Most Interesting City,” and “the soul of America.” With its jazz, Mardi Gras, and other iconic contributions to world culture, more than any other place in America, New Orleans called to mind creativity, cosmopolitanism, and love of life.

But today, New Orleans also calls to mind catastrophe. The city drowned when its levee system collapsed on Aug. 29, 2005, killing hundreds of people, destroying thousands of homes, and precipitating not only one of the most horrific moments in modern American history, but offering an emblem for the idea of disaster itself: Katrina. The response to the 1915 storm thus cast a century-long shadow, because the new neighborhoods developed after that storm experienced the worst flooding in 2005.

More than any other single factor, including the race or class of its inhabitants, the age of a building best predicted how it would fare in 2005. Tracing the outline of the Katrina flood reveals the shape of New Orleans as it stood nine decades earlier: most houses built before 1915 did not flood, but most houses built after the Sewerage and Water Board’s 1915 call for further growth did.

Usually, we imagine disasters as exceptions. We describe them as external attacks, ahistorical acts of God, blows from without. That is why most accounts of Katrina begin when the levees broke and conclude not long after.

But these stories offer a denuded sense of what happened, why, or what might have prevented the catastrophe. Somebody had to build the levees before they could break.

I begin the story of Katrina in 1915 in order to pursue a different idea: that disasters come from within. Disasters are less discrete events than they are contingent processes. Seemingly acute incidents, like the largely forgotten 1915 hurricane, live on as the lessons they teach, the decisions they prompt, and the accommodations they oblige. Their causes and consequences stretch across much longer periods of time and space than we commonly imagine. Seeing disasters in history, and as history, demonstrates that the places we live, and the disasters that imperil them, are at once artifacts of state policy, cultural imagination, economic order, and environmental possibility.

And yet, if understanding history usually demands drawing connections between seemingly disparate dots, trying to make sense of what happened in Louisiana after Aug. 29, 2005, also poses the opposite problem, because the hurricane called Katrina did not cause many of the effects commonly attributed to it.

After the storm passed, New Orleans police officers shot and killed unarmed citizens. The Federal Emergency Management Agency gave flood victims trailers laced with formaldehyde. The New Orleans City Council voted to demolish the city’s public housing apartments. The Louisiana State Legislature voted to transform the city’s public school system into a confederacy of charter schools. Congress voted to fund the largest housing recovery program in United States history; the program appropriated money to homeowners but not to renters. New Orleans police officers arrested musicians for leading jazz funerals without permits, while violent crime plagued the city.

Jacket of Katrina: A History, 1915–2015 by Andy Horowitz, Harvard University Press

Louisiana State University shut down New Orleans’s public Charity Hospital, while rates of mental illness surged. The Army Corps of Engineers encircled the city with a new levee system, while the wetlands beyond the walls continued to erode and the city itself continued to sink. A decade after the storm, New Orleans’s population had fallen from 484,674 to 390,711. Of the people missing, the vast majority—nearly 92,000 people— were African American. We have come to refer to this sequence of events as “Katrina,” but for none of these effects was the hurricane the proximate cause. The flood line thus tells one important story, but it is not the only story that matters.

After the flood receded, policymakers reapportioned the challenges the water had posed. Legislators designed recovery programs that favored white people over African American people, wealthy people over poor people, and people who owned homes over people who rented them. These policies reinforced existing inequalities. And they often undermined what the many Louisianians who opposed them argued were essential facts of life: the bonds of family, the solidarity of community, notions of political legitimacy, feelings of cultural belonging, and a sense of moral order.

The etymology of the word disaster refers to stars out of alignment; but if the changes in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina seemed to some to proceed with the force of destiny, it is well to remember, as Shakespeare cautioned, “The fault . . . is not in our stars, But in ourselves, that we are underlings.”

Governor of Zamfara, Northwest Nigeria appoints cleric freed from death sentence in Saudi Arabia as aide


Zamfara Governor Welcomes ClericZamfara Governor Welcomes Cleric

The Zamfara State Governor, Bello Matawalle, has appointed an Islamic cleric recently freed from death sentence in Saudi Arabia as one of his senior special assistants.

According to a statement by his spokesperson, Zailani Bappa, on Wednesday, the governor announced the appointment after receiving the cleric, Ibrahim Ibrahim, who had just found his way back home from Saudi Arabia after escaping a date with the hangman.

Mr Bappa said for nearly four years, Mr Ibrahim, a Quranic memoriser, faced the death penalty in Saudi Arabia after he was wrongly charged with drug trafficking.

SEE ALSO: Court Strikes Out Rape Case against Islamic Cleric

He described the meeting as emotional as the governor formally handed over the cleric to his waiting family.

The statement said members of the family “had their hearts in their mouths for nearly four years as their loved one cooled his feet in a Saudi Arabia gaol awaiting death sentence.”

Mr Ibrahim was in Saudi Arabia in early 2020 to perform the lesser Hajj but was arrested by the police shortly after he has lodged in his hotel room. He was charged with drug trafficking following a bag full of banned substance linked to his passport details.

The cleric was found guilty in a lower Saudi court and also in the upper court.

“He was to be announced guilty and sentenced when Governor Bello Mohammed assumed office last year.

“The governor then vowed to rescue the innocent Ibrahim as he sent a team of experts with the help of the Federal Government and appealed the case. He employed a team of Saudi lawyers for Ibrahim who proved to the court that the said bag did not belong to Hafeez Ibrahim.

Mr Ibrahim was finally acquitted early this year but could not return home due to restriction on international flights as a result of Covid-19.

He, however, landed at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport from Lagos on Tuesday following a night journey from Cotonou.

Mr Matawalle appointed Mr Ibrahim as one of his Senior Special Assistants.

He assured that his administration will continue to fight for the rights of citizens of the state wherever they are. He said that the travails of Mr Ibrahim is a lesson to all especially international travellers to be vigil and extra careful especially with their luggage

President Buhari laments deaths, destruction of farms by flood in Kebbi State, Northwest Nigeria


Press ReleaseFLOOD: Kebbi State Governor, Abubakar Bagudu visit to assess farmlands and communities affected by the ravaging flood in the state, spent the day visiting rice farms submerged by water in Suru, Bunza, Kalgo and Birnin Kebbi LGAs. [PHOTO CREDIT: @KBStGovt]FLOOD: Kebbi State Governor, Abubakar Bagudu visit to assess farmlands and communities affected by the ravaging flood in the state, spent the day visiting rice farms submerged by water in Suru, Bunza, Kalgo and Birnin Kebbi LGAs. [PHOTO CREDIT: @KBStGovt]

Nigeria to provide subsidy for rice farmers in Kebbi – Minister

President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed deep concern over the heavy floods that took a number of lives, submerged thousands of hectares of farmlands and houses, destroying farm produce and personal belongings in the affected communities.

According to the President, “I am particularly sad over this incident because it’s a setback to our efforts to boost local rice production as part of measures to stop food importation.”

President Buhari noted that, “Kebbi State is the focal point of our policy to produce rice locally as part this administration’s commitment to agricultural revival which suffered relative neglect in favour of food importation.”

He said that “With the loss of six lives and still counting; thousands of hectares of land flooded and estimated economic losses of more than one billion Naira by rice farmers in Kebbi State, we face a major setback in our efforts to boost local food production.”

President Buhari noted that, “This bad news couldn’t have come at a worse time for our farmers and other Nigerians who looked forward to a bumper harvest this year in order to reduce the current astronomical rise in the costs of food items in the markets.”

The President, while sympathising with the bereaved families and farmers affected by the devastating floods, has assured that “we are going to work closely with the Kebbi State government in order to bring relief to the victims.”