Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for March 24th, 2023

Another dense mixed wildflower group

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This bright scene is from March 19th in western Bastrop County. The yellow flowers are Texas groundsel (Senecio ampullaceus), the red are phlox (Phlox drummondii), and the white are known as old plainsman or woolly white (Hymenopappus artemisiifolius).




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On September 19 at 7 o’clock your child’s high school hosts an open house for parents to meet their children’s teachers. You attend, and when you’re introduced to your child’s algebra teacher you point out that it’s auspicious to be meeting a math teacher on March 19 at 7 o’clock because both 7 and 19 are prime numbers. The teacher looks at you with a quizzical expression and asks: “What do you mean by “prime numbers”?

A little later you get to meet your child’s American history teacher. During the conversation you mention how during summer vacation the previous year you took your whole family on a two-week trip following the route of Lewis and Clark. The American history teacher looks at you with a quizzical expression and asks: “Who are Lewis and Clark”?

Then you get to meet your child’s art teacher. You mention that you’ve been fond of the Impressionists since you yourself were in high school and that you’re looking forward to the Impressionist exhibition coming to your city’s art museum next month. The art teacher looks at you with a quizzical expression and asks: “What do you mean by ‘Impressionist'”?

Finally you get to meet your child’s chemistry teacher. You mention a story you read in the newspaper that morning about the discovery in Africa of a large deposit not only of platinum but also of iridium. The chemistry teacher looks at you with a quizzical expression and asks: “What are platinum and iridium”?

Now, I think you’ll agree that if those encounters really happened, a parent would have good reason to doubt the competence of his child’s high school teachers. Yet comparable things do happen. On March 22, Colorado Magistrate Judge Kato Crews, who has been nominated for a district court seat in Denver, sat before the Senate Judiciary Committee, where lawmakers from both sides ask questions to probe the qualifications of nominees. When it came the turn of Louisiana’s Senator John Kennedy, this dialogue ensued:


SEN. JOHN KENNEDY (R-LA): “Okay. Thank you, Judge. Tell me how you analyze a Brady motion.”
JUDGE KATO CREWS: “How I analyze a Brady motion?”
JUDGE CREWS: “Senator, in my four-and-a-half years on the bench I’m not—I don’t believe I’ve had the occasion to address a Brady motion in my career.”
SEN. KENNEDY: “Do you know what a Brady motion is?”
JUDGE CREWS: “Senator, in my time on the bench, I’ve not had occasion to address that. And so, it’s not coming to mind at the moment what a Brady motion is.”
SEN. KENNEDY: “Do you recall the U.S. Supreme Court case Brady v. Maryland?”
JUDGE CREWS: “I do recall the name of the case, Senator, yes.”
SEN. KENNEDY: “And what did it hold?”
JUDGE CREWS: “I believe that the Brady case in—Well, Senator, I believe the Brady case involves something regarding the Second Amendment.* It has not—I’ve not had occasion to address that. If that issue were to come before me, I would certainly analyze that Supreme Court precedent and apply it, as I would need to, to the facts in front of me.”
SEN. KENNEDY: “Thank you, Mr. Chairman.”


Would the average American citizen know what a Brady motion is? No, of course not. But someone who went through law school, who worked as an attorney from 2000–2018, and who has been a magistrate judge since then would be expected to know.

As I noted in a commentary on March 9, the requirement of prosecutors to turn over all exculpatory evidence to the defense is known as the Brady Rule. It’s part of what’s called due process, the set of rules ensuring that someone accused of a crime gets a fair trial. Prosecutors who withhold exculpatory evidence are guilty of prosecutorial misconduct and can themselves be prosecuted for wrongdoing.

The reason the Brady rule came up in my March 9 commentary was that newly released video recorded during the riot at the Capitol on January 6, 2021, included footage favorable to at least one of the people who had been convicted of a crime in the absence of that footage. The defendant’s lawyer had repeatedly asked for video footage of that sort but the prosecution hadn’t complied.

I’ll go out on a limb again: if you were accused of a crime, you’d want the jury to hear all the evidence favorable to you. You’d think it unjust for the prosecution to flout the Brady rule by keeping that evidence secret from you, your lawyer, and the jury.

And now we have a nominee for a district court seat who doesn’t even know what the Brady rule is.



* I’ll take a guess at why Judge Kato Crews mistakenly thought the Brady Rule has something to do with the Second Amendment, which guarantees American citizens the right to keep and bear arms. On March 30, 1981, during an attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan that almost succeeded, White House press secretary James Brady got shot in the head and remained incapacitated for the rest of his life. As a result of his shooting, Brady lobbied for stricter gun control.


© 2023 Steven Schwartzman



Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 24, 2023 at 4:28 PM

Posted in nature photography

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Gaillardia suavis

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I’ve never seen Gaillardia suavis var. suavis, known as pincushion daisy and perfume balls, in Travis County.
If I hop east to adjacent Bastrop County, as I did on March 19th, finding it isn’t unusual. Each solitary flower head grows atop a tall, erect stalk, making it relatively easy for me to get below it and aim toward the sky.


© 2023 Steven Schwartzman




Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 24, 2023 at 4:32 AM

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