Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for March 20th, 2022

Corallorhiza wisteriana

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On March 18 a new species came my way: Corallorhiza wisteriana, known as spring coral root. I found it at McKinney Roughs Nature Park in Bastrop County, which we hadn’t visited in years. Here’s how the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center describes this plant: “The orchids of genus Corallorhiza have no chlorophyll and are mycoheterotrophic; that is, they utilize fungi to parasitize the roots of other plants. The stem is 15-18 inches tall, and the flowers are scattered along the top third. Flowers have 3 sepals and 3 petals, much alike; the lip is white, heavily spotted with purplish-brown, and curved sharply downward.” The specimen I photographed was only about half the maximum height, so lying on the ground was the way to go.


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Been a while since I reminded you of the continuing crisis on America’s border with Mexico. Just because most news outlets refuse to mention it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist and isn’t a crisis. Here are the numbers of encounters with illegal crossers of the southern border that U.S. Customs and Border Protection has documented for this fiscal year so far:

  • October 2021: 164,841.
  • November 2021: 174,870
  • December 2021: 179,256
  • January 2022: 154,745
  • February 2022: 164,973

Remember that those figures do not include the tens of thousands of illegal entrants each month who manage to evade the overworked and outnumbered border agents.

Looks like the situation is about to get worse. As a March 17 article in Axios reported:

U.S. intelligence officials are privately bracing for a massive influx of more than 170,000 migrants at the Mexico border if COVID-era policies that allow instant expulsions during the public health emergency are ended, sources with direct knowledge of the discussions tell Axios.

The response under way includes a newly created — and previously unreported — Southwest Border Coordination Center (SBCC), essentially a war room to coordinate an interagency response.

Why it matters: Border officials have used Title 42 more than 1 million times to rapidly expel migrants at the southern border without hearing asylum claims. But the Trump-era order wasn’t set up to be permanent, and senior Biden officials are preparing for its end as the virus is brought under control.

Department of Homeland Security intelligence estimates that perhaps 25,000 migrants already are waiting in Mexican shelters just south of the border for Title 42 to end.

On Wednesday, DHS Deputy Secretary John Tien asked employees “to consider stepping forward to support the DHS Volunteer Force,” citing large numbers of migrants at the southwest border, according to an email seen by Axios. The email seeks general support for U.S. Customs and Border Protection and help with data entry.

Last year newsman Chris Wallace interviewed Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas about the problem with throngs of people illegally coming across the southern border. After various questions, Chris Wallace finally asked Alejandro Mayorkas point-blank: “Why don’t you stop them?” Mayorkas spoke words that didn’t answer the question. The American government could largely solve the problem by calling up tens of thousands of soldiers from the National Guard or the military and stationing them along the southern border with orders not to let anyone come in illegally. Of course the current administration is as likely to do that as you are to swim across the Atlantic Ocean.

And look at this act of throw-it-in-their-faces hypocrisy that the current American administration perpetrates on its own citizens and others who legally reside here whenever they fly back into the United States after traveling in a foreign country: “you will need to get a COVID-19 viral test (regardless of vaccination status or citizenship) no more than 1 day before you travel by air into the United States. You must show your negative result to the airline before you board your flight.” What makes the policy hypocritical is that there is no such requirement for the two million people who have been coming across the southern border illegally each year, many of whom have not been vaccinated against Covid-19.

© 2022 Steven Schwartzman



Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 20, 2022 at 4:36 AM

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