Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Frostweed flowers and buds

with 11 comments

Starting in September and still continuing, frostweed (Verbesina virginica) has been flowering in many places around Austin. This portrait comes from near Bull Creek on September 30th.

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Silly me expects the news media to examine the evidence and tell the truth.

A week ago today was election day in the United States. One race that people particularly focused on was the governorship of Virginia. Because the state just one year earlier had gone for the Democratic candidate for president of the United States by a margin of some 10 percentage points, the Democratic candidate for governor, former governor Terry McAuliffe, was favored to win last week over the Republican challenger, political novice Glenn Youngkin.

One issue that became especially hot in the final month of the campaign was education. Support for Youngkin surged after McAuliffe said in a debate at the end of September that he does not believe parents should tell schools what to teach. “I’m not going to let parents come into schools and actually take books out and make their own decision.” Thanks in part—perhaps a large part—to those statements by McAuliffe, Youngkin ended up winning the race for governor by about 2 percentage points.

One educational point of contention in the campaign had been the way in which public school teachers have been increasingly teaching their subjects through a “lens” of power differentials and hierarchies of groups defined by race and gender. That treatment categorizes each individual as “privileged” or “oppressed” according to the supposed status of the groups the individual happens to be a part of. There’s no one agreed-upon name for that kind of emphasis on power and race and gender, but many people have taken to calling it Critical Race Theory, or CRT, a term that originally appeared in higher education in the 1970s. I discussed this back on August 9th. In that commentary I pointed out how some of the people in politics and education who are pushing CRT have resorted to the sophistic defense that what they’re promoting is not actually CRT. I mentioned as an example of that denial the head of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), and then I linked to an AFT document showing that the group does indeed promote CRT and is mobilizing to fight opponents of CRT.

The same sort of untrue denial of Critical Race Theory in the schools came up in the Virginia gubernatorial race, where McAuliffe and his supporters, including many commenters in the legacy media, insisted that the state’s public schools do not use CRT. McAuliffe called Critical Race Theory a “racist dog whistle” that has “never been taught in Virginia.” But all it takes is a look at the Virginia Department of Education’s website to confirm that the deniers were and still are lying. For example, on the page of memos from the Superintendent of Schools for 2019, memo 050-19 is a document entitled “Resources to Support Student and Community Dialogues on Racism.” That document endorses the book Foundations of Critical Race Theory in Education. Or go to a different place on the Department of Education’s website to see the slide presentation entitled “Legal Implications of School Discipline.” Slide 22 says “Incorporate Critical Race Theory (CRT) Lens.” Christopher Rufo has documented these and other examples.

And yet on election night, as it became clearer and clearer that Youngkin would win, commenters on networks like MSNBC and CNN still kept insisting that CRT “isn’t real,” even with the ready accessibility of public evidence that it is.

Even worse, some people on those networks claimed that the election of the Republican candidate for vice-president of Virginia, Winsome Sears, was proof of white supremacy—despite the fact that Winsome Sears, a black immigrant from Jamaica, is now the first woman ever elected to that office in Virginia. In addition, commenters in the legacy media often avoided mentioning that Republican Jason Miyares, who won Virginia’s election for attorney general, is the son of a Cuban immigrant. Apparently Virginia is home to some very incompetent or very confused white supremacists, who chose “people of color” for two of the top three positions in the election. Talk about delusion in the media!

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 9, 2021 at 4:51 AM

11 Responses

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  1. When I read the title, I was thinking of a frost-created beauty of a plant. But then I realized that you would not have any below-freezing temperatures in your neck of the woods.

    Peter Klopp

    November 9, 2021 at 8:24 AM

  2. It’s time to begin looking for stands of this plant and logging their locations so I can find them when the first freeze arrives. After last year, I’d be happy enough to avoid any freezing temperatures, but that isn’t going to happen. Maybe this will be the year I finally get to see some ‘frost flowers’ again.

    While this old Charles Osgood piece isn’t directly related to your post today, I thought you’d appreciate it. One of my commenters left it for me. Osgood saw our current troubles coming a very long time ago; the piece is from the Osgood File in 1986.


    November 9, 2021 at 8:24 PM

    • Logging locations of frostweed is the way to go. I’m fortunate to have a stand half a mile from home in Great Hills Park that I’ve relied on for years when the first good freeze hits. You probably saw in my previous response that that has been as early as mid-November, just a week from now. (No sign of anything colder than 44° in the current 10-day forecast.)

      Of course I appreciate the Charles Osgood verse, which was new to me. Two years ago I conceived the idea of getting in touch with Charles Osgood to ask him what he thinks about “CBS Sunday Morning,” which he hosted for 22 years, going woke, like so many other institutions. I’ve given up watching the show, which I used to enjoy.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 9, 2021 at 9:55 PM

  3. I’ve been seeing lots of “frosty weeds” but no Frostweed and ours is quite different from yours. I went to where I have found them flowering this past Monday but the gates were closed so opted for frost elsewhere.

    Steve Gingold

    November 10, 2021 at 3:52 AM

    • As you’re already getting frost, it might well be time for your frostweed to be extruding some ice; too bad the gates were closed. At least you have actual frost to compensate you. None has appeared here yet.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 10, 2021 at 6:47 AM

  4. Have you had a frost yet? I am still to see the ice formations at the base of this plant in winter

    Alessandra Chaves

    November 10, 2021 at 4:02 PM

    • No, it’s still too early for frost here and the weather forecast for the next whole week shows low daily temperatures well above freezing. At least with cooler overnight temperatures we’ve been getting more morning dew to adorn things.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 10, 2021 at 9:36 PM

  5. […] August 9th and November 9th and December 4th I reported that the people in charge of many American elementary and secondary […]

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