Sunday, May 07, 2006

New York Times article



Anonymous said...

I knew something was up this morning when I tried to use my spiffy IBWO credit card to pay for breakfast and the waitress came back to the table asking if I might have another credit card – preferably one that was not an affinity card based on the natural history delusions of people who didn't have lives. I paid with cash.

Anonymous said...

Ok. I'll bite. In Hitt's NYT piece we have Fitzcrow and none other than McCormick (Google him and read the Washington Post pieces from 18 months ago if you are unfariliar with his august tenure at TNC) saying.......

"Am I worried?" Fitzpatrick mused. "That if the ivory-bill is never seen again that people will look back and say, 'Fitzpatrick laid an egg'? No. I did the right thing to jump on the story and put resources on the ground. We continue to focus on this as a conservation story whether or not the bird decorates the treetops."
I'll say yeah you were wrong. You were wrong to "jump on the STORY" cause it was a STORY, not a fact. You didn't confer with the experts (like Jackson, who sat on the Recovery Team, and wrote the book on the bird), rather you confered with...(again from Hitt)
"From the moment the Inventory Project began, according to Scott Simon, environmental organizations carefully laid out a fund-raising strategy. The Nature Conservancy immediately went to work raising money to buy or option some 18,500 more acres. "Because 18,500 acres is about $28 million," Simon said, "we went to about seven or eight key donors who have supported other projects. We shared everything with them, like you would with a board member." Simon contacted people like Marshall Field, the department-store owner; Roger Sant, a founder of AES Corporation; and John Norris of Lennox Corporation. They were briefed on the ivory-bill after being asked to sign confidentiality agreements. "

So then the second person to "see" the bird Dr. Fitzcrow is your brother (read Gallagher's book), and you've taken all this money cause you and your Team have hoodwinked millions from the TNC and CLO donors. Now you are in a dedp gator hole. Your brother, your Lab, your donors, the Feds, now is no time to critically review anything. Now is time to dig in. So dig you do, and create a huge boondoggle that NOW you say.


"We continue to focus on this as a conservation story whether or not the bird decorates the treetops."

Well, the bird doesnt' decorate the treetops (and chance are, it spent little time in the treetops even when it was extant...maybe that is why you can't find it, maybe you are looking in the treetops...but I digress), or the video, or the double-knocking ARU Wood Duck wing recordings. The bird, while I guess (but doubt) may be somewhere, isn't in your "Inventory Area, never was in your "Inventory Area" and dispite what Steve NcCormick says below will never be in your "Inventory Area".

You took their money, hijacked the process, polluted the scientific record, and now are attempting to wrap yourself in the warm and fuzzy cloak of The Good Conservationist.

You have learned nothing about the bird. Nothing.


Again from Hitt...

After the disputed sighting in Texas in 1966, 84,550 acres became the Big Thicket National Preserve. The Nature Conservancy says it will be satisfied if this sighting has a similar ending. "There may not be an ivory-bill there," said Steve McCormick, president of the conservancy, "but it's a habitat that now and forever could sustain an ivory-bill."

There are real species and habitats that need protection. The above reasoning, from an organization that has barely escaped indictment (see the Washington Post articles), is astonishing.

Methinks it could be re-worked to say that "but it's a habitat that now and forever could sustain our budget in the red not in the black".

Anonymous said...

That may be the best newspaper article I've read on the topic.

Among the many interesting things I found were statements by key players, including Fitzpatrick, to the effect "if the bird exists."


Also very enlightening was Harrison's excitement with his "double-knock" heard with the article's author.

People saw what they wanted to see. That's why there's no photo, and why there won't be.

To Curtis Croulet on Birdforum: You have misinterpreted Sibley's thoughts on the IBWO. His paper critiqued the video because that's the best "hard evidence" Cornell has. Clearly he's not buying the sightings, either.

Anonymous said...

Mysticism is beautiful.

Fills us with tears.

It's not about reality only heavenly grace.

Mary Scott is John the Baptist

And Gallagher the Christ.

The Holy Grail search will continue for eternity

But at least we milked the rich and taxpayers of their hard earned pay.

Anonymous said...

Jack, of all the people to really villanize as a lunatic wandering around in a Ghillie suit, you choose Harrison ... a fellow southerner.

Fitzpatrick is still a scientist with his grids and rational protocols ... but Harrison has gone stark raving mad. Just like a Florence King character with the vapors.

Resign your claim souther roots - you've lived in East Rock too long. Those are Elms not live Oaks.

You can turn a phrase with your kangaroo balls and all - but you take it all out on the poor professor from some 4th tier school in bama??? And ... Mary Scott?

No one will touch the original "peer review" that Fitzpatrick prevented ... will they? Don Kennedy gets to keep his hands clean? Fitzcrow gets to keep rocking back in Allen's chair for the "rest of his life" ... and best of all we don't get to hear about who loaned the jet?

Anonymous said...

I agree with the Carpentario's comments. And other's too. Except for one little itty bitty portion of his analysis.

I still maintain that Fitzcrow is just beginning his long scientific glacial period. Yes, the Nature Conservancy et al can just focus on saving the big woods. But Fitzcrow promised us an IBWO. I mean he published the paper that unequivocally, undeniably, and definitively "proved" that he IBWO is still with us.

You can see the fear he already has. Just read the NYT article. Already, he is denying that it hurts when people say "Fitz laid an egg". Well, it's just beginning. Sibley et al are now in ascendancy. Another heaven and earth will have to be before Fitzcrow will ever see his eminent reputation again.

Anonymous said...

Internally, in the Federal and state agencies, it's over. No one is trying to get transfers to Arkansas anymore. It's not the "reputation maker" that it once was. It's not the stepping stone for District Head or even the Washington office anymore.

Yes, the internal job offer postings are coming down. But you've got to admit that it would be nice to have one of those plaques, right? It would be so awesome. An award for saving the Ivory-billed Woodpecker! What a hoot to display that on my wall. A conversation piece for years to come.

Anonymous said...

In Seattle last November Hoose and Sparling gave a presentation on the "rediscovery" to an audience of 800 people. They charged $10 per head to people who had no reason to doubt the integrity of Cornell or TNC and I suggest that those monies now be returned. These people were not wanting to help buy swampland in Arkansas. They thought they were seeing two of the principals in the biggest conservation story in North America in the last century. They were instead being fleeced by two people providing bad entertainment and showing no concern for what real data or conservation looks like. This is the point where the real test of integrity comes to those involved. A simple "never mind" is not going to cut it.

Anonymous said...

The Carpinterio opines that Hitt was playing it safe - starting out with the position that he has no position allowed him to even talk to McCormick (who clearly is positioning the orgaanization as "beyond IBWO" - and Fitzpatrick who would play the "I'm insulted card" that he played on Jerry Jackson - even bird chick was "pleased" by her portrayal - Hitt's piece is all things to all people -

But the Carpinterio feels that this is a new day for those who feel like Fitzcrow pulled a fast one on 33.3 ... perhaps the door has been cracked - it may be acceptable - even normal to be a skeptic, and when that happens how can it be acceptable to not demand some accounting for the lack of evidence - how can Fitzcrow just say "I did the right thing" ... and let it go at that?

Maybe Hitt has changed everything, this won't just fade down the memory hole but some brave journalist will ask "what happend to the peer review?" or did Fitzcrow review this for himself and Marshall Field and Arthur Sant?

"we've learned that the bird is not common".


Anonymous said...

Yes, this blog is NOT done. Tom's blog is about the evidence. It wan't about purchasing hardwood bottomlands. That the Nature Conservancy is good at getting money from people that have it is old news. Hell, if TNC didn't exist we'd have to invent it. Who's against the idea of buying habitat?

I certainly am not. But the evidence of IBWO....that's another matter. Tom took abuse for questioning the evidence. This blog should follow the accounting that must and should follow for the abuse of science. Nothing more and nothing less.

Heck, in some ways it's getting even crazier. How many funded searches are there now in other states?

Anonymous said...

well lets not get too carried away thinking that this story isn't, as fitzcrow said under the redwoods, "a moot issue" ...

Hitt has only pointed in the direction of a discussion of the "evidence" - he didn't actually discuss the evidence, other than to say that Fitz et al have called "no better than a bigfoot video" ...

No one is asking the hard questions of how exactly Science published an article that the authors themselves now describe as a "bigfoot video".

Fitzcrow still did the "right thing" by putting boots on the ground and sending enough ghillie suits to keep the troops safe.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like Fitz has become a

Anonymous said...

Let's leave Christ out of this, shall we?

Anonymous said...

Accountable, Accountable, Accountable; it ain't going to happen.

In politics and now science; people believe what they want to believe despite the facts.

If you believe George Bush is an idiot then you are always going to believe it.

So the academics victimized themselves with what they accuse George W. of. Ironic, ain't it?

Anonymous said...

Somehow, in the last 12 months, I had missed the Mary Scott and the Ivory-billed Whisperer story.

Is that a true story? I hope someone is writing a book about all of this. I still suggest, Tom Wolfe. Tom Wolfe in a white suit in a canoe on the bayou. Does anybody know the guy? We have to get him working on this.

Anonymous said...

My apologies, simply using Christ as a metaphor for belief versus science.

The realm of Scott and Gallagher, et al is metaphysical. Mystical. They will always believe that IBWOs exist, with or without proof. Nothing personal against Jesus, his stripped down preachings are an inspiration to humanity.

Anonymous said...

You're apologising for comparing Gallagher to Christ?

Why that seems like a perfectly good analogy to me.

Anonymous said...

Oh, never mind -- change "Gallagher" to FIASCO.

And when is he going to give all that money back?

Anonymous said...


I have ventured into a strange land called Bird Forum. To borrow from Spamalot - "it is a strange world where people sing and dance, often at the same time". They are not much fun, but you must give it a try.

There are people there who believe that the NYT is a paper filled with lies, and that this is another one (somehow they don't think that Science, and the montage and the Stem Cell debacle is a problem) and that it is OK to spend $28,000,000 for nothing.

They appear quite rich - can we overthrow them and take all their money? We can survive on our wits alone, they are a bit dull.

Methinks it is worth a try - the poetry alone will dazzle them.

Anonymous said...

Some of them check in on Ivory Bill Skeptic periodically. We live in parallel universes.

Anonymous said...

Let's hope they don't shut it down again. I stopped posting there after I found out they had banned Tom because he was dropping the turds of doubt into their punchbowl of happy talk. But then I got pulled back in. There really are two parallel universes.

Anonymous said...

Then we'll need to attack quietly...stealth will be on our side, maybe we'll send them a large wooden model of an Ivory-bill, and jump out after they bring it inside. After all, they have Fitzcrow the Courageous (cause he cares less about his reputation and the credibility of his organization than he does about saving habitat), and they have lots of thingies called Smilies too. But we Brothers and Sisters, we have our poetry.

There is a great post by someone named Timeshadowed (creepy, aye?) where he thinks that a PIWO photo MAY be a Bald Eagle. Try

Their skills are considerable, but again, methinks our poetry alone will sustain us. That and the fact that there are no IBWOs left.

Oh, and don't drink from their punchbowls.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Timeshadowed identified a "Bald Eagle" clinging to the side of a tree imitating a woodpecker.