$10,000 for your name, dignity, and reputation. No? How about $10,500?

Just what is the American Enterprise Institute? A group of aging Trekkies, studying how to optimize the remaining supply of dilithium crystals to allow their beloved starship to make one final warp-speed exploration of the galaxy to search for a younger humanoid population to lure into their cult?

No, although AEI is a cult of sorts. Here’s how the Guardian described AEI:

The AEI has received more than $1.6m from ExxonMobil and more than 20 of its staff have worked as consultants to the Bush administration. Lee Raymond, a former head of ExxonMobil, is the vice-chairman of AEI’s board of trustees.

And from someone who’s not even attempting to preserve a veneer of impartiality, here’s a description more to my liking:

Ben Stewart of Greenpeace said: “The AEI is more than just a thinktank, it functions as the Bush administration’s intellectual Cosa Nostra. They are White House surrogates in the last throes of their campaign of climate change denial. They lost on the science; they lost on the moral case for action. All they’ve got left is a suitcase full of cash.”

So I’m sure that you were as shocked–shocked!–to discover that they offered scientists $10,000 to write reports that criticize the report on climate change from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). I learned what precious little I know about running a business from Dan “The Hatchet Man,” who was nothing if not brutally honest and brilliantly profane.

The Hatchet always said, “For me to commit a crime, the payoff would have to be so big that I could retire to a safe country with no extradition treaties and live like a king until I was 100.” Amen, brother. The scientists appear to be at least as smart as The Hatchet, since they all appear to have turned down the blood–er–oil money.

And really, I know that scientists are underpaid and all, but $10K to become a turncoat? Are the flaks at AEI so humorless that they haven’t seen Austin Powers?

Dr. Evil: Okay, here’s the plan. We get the warhead and then hold the world ransom for… 1 MILLION dollars!
Number Two: [clears throat] Sir, strictly speaking, a million dollars will not go very far these days. Virtucon alone makes over 9 billion dollars a year.
Dr. Evil: Really? Okay then… we hold the world ransom for 1… hundred… BILLION dollars!

But hey, AEI is saving all their pennies for the 2008 elections, so perhaps their useless propaganda budget has been scaled back.

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  • I’ve been doing some contributing and editing over at Wikipedia, and I chuckle to myself every time someone questions whether a citation is “verifiable”, “neutral”, or “peer-reviewed”. Like most science hasn’t been fully compromised by economic pressures.

  • This is why I vote for myself in elections…I figure if corruption’s going on, and it is, i want a piece of the action.

  • Luckily, people seem to be coming to their senses. Unfortunately, they won’t really do anything until it’s made to cost too much to do it. And will quit wanting to help as soon as it starts to cost too much.

  • Ten grand? Lowly impoverished grad student though I may be, being ostracized from the entire scientific community has got to be worth more than THAT.