Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for March 9th, 2023

Galium aparine

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Among the first species to come up and flower in our yard each year is Galium aparine. I’ve always known it by the common name cleavers, a reference to the many small hairs with tiny hooks on them that cause the plant to cling to anything that touches them. According to Wikipedia, that characteristic has given rise to a lot of other vernacular names, among them hitchhikers, catchweed, stickyweed, sticky bob, stickybud, stickyback, sticky molly, sticky willy, sticky willow, stickyjack, stickeljack, grip grass, sticky grass, whippysticks, and velcro plant.

For whatever reason, this picture from March 2nd marks the plant’s first appearance in Portraits of Wildflowers. It’s the second new species to appear here this month, after bumelia, and a third is in the pipeline.

To give you a sense of scale for cleavers flowers, let me add that each one measures not even a quarter of an inch (6mm) across, so a casual passerby might not even notice them. Beneath each flower a little fruit develops with hairs on it designed to catch on fur or feathers and get transported to new abodes.




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Maximum transparency


I don’t know about you, but I take the stance that a government should reveal to its citizens as much as possible of what it does and the information it has. That means almost everything, the few exceptions being things like grand jury testimony, spycraft, people’s personal records, and military operations.

And yet it’s an unhappy fact of life that governments often hide actions and information that ought to be public. One example is the American government after the riot at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., on January 6, 2021. In the two years since then, the government has refused to release thousands of hours of videos showing what actually went on inside the Capitol that day. I claim that we the people have a right to know.

I’m pleased to find out from a March 2nd article by Rasmussen Reports that a poll on that very question shows a strong majority of Americans feeling the same way I do:

Voters overwhelmingly support releasing all videos of the January 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol, and a majority think it’s likely that government agents helped provoke the riot.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 80% of Likely U.S. Voters believe it is important that the public be able to view all the videos of the Capitol riot, including 58% who think it’s Very Important. Only 17% don’t think it’s important for the public to be able to see all the riot videos. (To see survey question wording, click here.) ….

Eighty-six percent (86%) of Republicans, 78% of Democrats, and 75% of voters not affiliated with either major party believe it is important that the public be able to view all the videos of the Capitol riot….

Sixty-one percent (61%) of voters believe it is likely that undercover government agents helped provoke the Capitol riot, including 39% who think it’s Very Likely. Thirty percent (30%) don’t think it’s likely undercover agents helped provoke the riot, including 18% who say it is Not At All Likely….

The survey of 1,000 U.S. Likely Voters was conducted on February 26-28, 2023 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.

Here’s how to interpret that last sentence. Because it’s not feasible to interview everyone in a large population, pollsters take a representative random sample of the population. The expectation is that the results of the sample will be close to the results you’d get if you could interview everyone in the overall population. In this case, 95% of samples taken under the same conditions as the ones that were used will produce results no more than 3 percentage points above or below the true value in the overall population; 5% of the time, even allowing a 3-percentage point margin of error, the results coming from the sample will not capture the true value in the overall population.

Notice also that the Rasmussen article lets you see the exact wording of the questions. That’s important because disreputable pollsters can word questions in ways that influence people and slant their reactions.

You can read the full Rasmussen article for more and more-specific results of the poll. 


On March 6th, a few days after I wrote the commentary above, a host on Fox News showed some of the previously secret surveillance videos. The hue and cry from opponents was typical: they complained the videos were cherry-picked to downplay the January 6th riots. Perhaps so, but no more than the ones shown by the January 6th Committee had been cherry-picked to exaggerate aspects of what happened that day and support a one-sided view of the events. At least now there’s some balance. The fair thing would be to make all the videos available so Americans can decide for themselves. We deserve the whole truth, not anyone’s particular narrative.

And there was another revelation. Following the lawlessness that rioters engaged in at the Capitol on January came the lawlessness of prosecutors who refused persistent requests by defendants’ lawyers for all videos that would be exculpatory for their clients. Even without being asked for exculpatory evidence, prosecutors are legally bound to turn all of it over to the defense. Not doing so is unethical and constitutes prosecutorial misconduct.

The requirement of prosecutors to turn over all exculpatory evidence to the defense is known as the Brady Rule, about which you can read more.



© 2023 Steven Schwartzman




Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 9, 2023 at 4:30 AM

Posted in nature photography

Tagged with , ,

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