Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Our Clematis was still there

with 15 comments

In the northeastern quadrant of Mopac and US 183 on July 10th I photographed my first Clematis drummondii flowers for this year, so the post’s title should really be “Our Clematis was already there.” I put still because when I took this picture and other similar ones, I was reminded of fireworks going off, and then in processing the photograph the line from “The Star-Spangled Banner” came to me about “the rockets’ red glare” that “gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.” Fanciful? Perhaps, but that’s how my mind works.

◊      ◊

You may have heard that a bunch of right-wing extremists were arrested in the fall of 2020 for conspiring to kidnap Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer. Last week BuzzFeed.News broke a story that included the following:

The government has documented at least 12 confidential informants who assisted the sprawling investigation. The trove of evidence they helped gather provides an unprecedented view into American extremism, laying out in often stunning detail the ways that anti-government groups network with each other and, in some cases, discuss violent actions.

An examination of the case by BuzzFeed News also reveals that some of those informants, acting under the direction of the FBI, played a far larger role than has previously been reported. Working in secret, they did more than just passively observe and report on the actions of the suspects. Instead, they had a hand in nearly every aspect of the alleged plot, starting with its inception. The extent of their involvement raises questions as to whether there would have even been a conspiracy without them.

That gives the defendants an opportunity to plead entrapment. As BuzzFeed.News noted:

To date, one defendant has formally accused the government of entrapment, arguing that the FBI assembled the key plotters, encouraged the group’s anti-government feelings, and even gave its members military-style training. Additional defendants have said they plan to make similar claims when the cases, divided between federal and state court, go to trial starting as soon as October…. Last week, the lawyer for one defendant filed a motion that included texts from an FBI agent to a key informant, the Iraq War veteran, directing him to draw specific people into the conspiracy — potential evidence of entrapment that he said the government “inadvertently disclosed.” 

The defendants may well be guilty, but if government informants are found to have entrapped them, then guilty people could get to go free. If you want to know more about the fine line between legitimate undercover work and entrapment, you can read an article by UCLA law professor Paul Bergman.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 27, 2021 at 4:35 AM

15 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. They do look like fireworks.

    Steve Gingold

    July 27, 2021 at 5:10 PM

  2. It’s interesting to see the similarities between these flowers and the seed heads of our purple leatherflower. I usually see this plant once it’s turned fuzzy, but I suspect I found a huge stand of them many years ago at the Audubon birding center near Anahuac. At the time, I was only developing an interest in native plants, but those stopped me in my tracks. I recall that I didn’t have a camera with me, which makes checking my memory a bit difficult. I like the way you’ve juxtaposed the just-opening flower with the less focused, more fully opened ones.


    July 29, 2021 at 6:48 AM

    • We have purple leatherflower here, too. Of the three local native Clematis species, it’s the one I least often see, with Clematis drummondii the most common by a huge margin. We must both have missed many photo opportunities in our early native plant days. Let’s be grateful for how far we’ve come in the years since then.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 29, 2021 at 12:47 PM

      • On the other hand: what I saw at the Audubon place may well have been this invasive, non-native species known as sweet autumn clematis, C. terniflora. When I found this photo in my files, I remembered that it was thick in east Texas a couple of autumns ago, covering shrubs and climbing high into the trees. It’s beautiful, and fragrant as can be, but it’s not one of ours.


        July 31, 2021 at 4:13 PM

        • Good grief. I do need to focus, don’t I?


          July 31, 2021 at 4:13 PM

          • What I do when I want to embed a link in a comment on someone else’s blog is start a dummy post on my own blog, use the built-in editing tools to embed the link in what I’ve written, copy all of that, and paste it as my comment on the other person’s blog. That way I don’t have to keep the HTML link syntax in my head.

            To embed a link in a comment on my own blog, I used to go to the Comments section in the WP dashboard, where clicking Reply brought up a bunch of editing tools across the top of the reply I was about to write. After I switched to the new editor I found that the Comments section in the dashboard no longer offered those editing tools. Why WP would want to remove them, I have no idea. However, I just got an alert from WP pointing out that in the upper right of the dashboard window is a Screen Options button that lets me switch the Comments section back to the Classic format, complete with editing tools.

            Steve Schwartzman

            July 31, 2021 at 5:08 PM

            • Your alternate method surely does work, and it does cut down on errors. Thinking about one thing at a time would help, too. I often have three or four thoughts bouncing around in my head at the same time, and while I’m mentally “over there,” I mess up what’s in front of me. Focus and discipline: that’s the ticket.


              July 31, 2021 at 5:14 PM

        • Japanese honeysuckle is like that, too.

          Steve Schwartzman

          July 31, 2021 at 5:09 PM

  3. Very pretty fireworks! Now I’ll be looking for fireworks in my own garden, hehe!

    Ann Mackay

    July 30, 2021 at 4:59 AM

    • What do you expect the fireworks in your garden to come from?

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 30, 2021 at 5:25 AM

      • Hmm…I think that Allium christophii is a good contender but won’t be back ’til next May. The seed heads of this work well for a firework look when they’re frosted – fennel too. You’ve given me a blog title for if we get some frost this winter – ‘Frozen Fireworks’ 🙂

        Ann Mackay

        July 30, 2021 at 6:08 AM

  4. […] comes to the Clematis drummondii vine, the swirls of silky strands that spring from its fertilized flowers garner much more attention than the flowers themselves. I sure paid plenty of attention to the […]

  5. […] This is a later and more feathery stage than what you saw in a July 28th post, which was later than the flowering stage shown the day […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: