Cheat-Seeking Missles

Friday, December 01, 2006

An Inconvenient Prejudice

Laurie David is one of my least favorite people. Incredibly wealthy (she's pictured here with her husband Larry, who co-created Seinfeld with Jerry Seinfeld), she jets around from estate to estate trying to shame us for not being environmentally sensitive enough to meet her snooty standards.

In a WaPo op/ed last Sunday, David ranted on and on about the National Science Teachers Association, calling the organization propagandists for Big Oil, the timber industry and genetic plant products.

Her problem with NSTA was that the organization refused to distribute to its members 50,000 free copies of a certain little film she produced, Al Gore's global warming passion play An Inconvenient Truth.

Never mind that NSTA correctly reserves the right not to send its members unsolicited materials. Never mind that David has never given a penny of support to NSTA and that NSTA doesn't let non-members communicate directly with its members. They should drop all that because she is, after all, the Laurie David, global warming activist.

But they didn't, so David dug in and found that -- horror of horrors! -- Exxon Mobil had given $6 million dollars to NSTA since 1996 ($600,000 a year), and has a seat on the organization's advisory board. Not its board, mind you, its powerless advisory board. She didn't point out that Exxon Mobil's contributions are a very minor part of NSTA's budget. The organization doesn't disclose specific companies' contributions, but said total oil and gas contributions make up a measily 3.7% of its annual budget.

What Exxon Mobil gave NSTA is a miniscule part of the $43 million the oil company spent promoting science. That it does this should come as no surprise to the green-gened Ms. Davis. Exxon Mobil is, after all, a company that is greatly dependent on scientists for its future. Geologists, chemist, physicists -- all have a key role in the success of the company's mission.

David's angst really boils down to this: NSTA insists that science teachers should teach how science touches us in our lives. Students should learn about chemicals and oil and all those bad, bad things business brings us. David would rather not teach them that; she would rather teach them that business is bad, the Earth is good, and the only true application of science is to help the earth, even if it's at the expense of people.

I have a better idea. Instead of trying to force her movie on the organization, why doesn't she give them $600,000 a year (that's probably roughly equal to her annual budget for cut flowers or shoes ... for her right foot only, $1.2 million total shoe budget) and ask for a seat on their advisory board.

Then maybe she could start learning things instead of shrieking things.

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