Professor Spars With Tree-Hating, Gnome-Like Congressman at Hearing

Alaska Congressman Don Young, who has trouble showing up for work, actually rode his snowmobile all the way to Washington to attend Friday's House Natural Resources Committee hearing and say swear words, most notably in the direction of fancy historian Douglas Brinkley.

Brinkley, who's a professor at Rice University and an author (Teddy Roosevelt and Hurricane Katrina are two of his covered subjects), attended the committee hearing in order to promote national monument status for various Alaskan natural wonders that Young and like-minded Congressfolks are always trying to destroy. All his fancy professor-talking agitated Young, who called Brinkley "Dr. Rice" and referred to his testimony as "garbage." And then Brinkley became agitated:

"It's Dr. Brinkley, Rice is a university, and I know you went to Yuba Community College and couldn't graduate . . ." Brinkley shot back.

A fiery Young then interrupted Brinkley, saying: "‘I'll call you anything I want to call you when you sit in that (witness) chair. You just be quiet."

"You don't own me," Brinkley replied. "I pay your salary. I work for the private sector and you work for the taxpayers."

Committee chair Doc Hastings then threatened to toss Brinkley from the meeting if he didn't follow the rules, even though we're not entirely sure Brinkley broke any rules. He described Young's use of "Dr. Rice" as a "faux pas"—pronouncing it "foo pas" in the right-wing Republican style. Some order was restored. But Young wasn't done venting—calling people who visit Alaska's national wildlife refuge to go camping "an elitist group," and attacking Brinkley for working at a university:

And what hurts me the most as you sit there in the Rice University, when the people support drilling for their good and for the good of this nation, as a college professor in an ivory tower you can go up there and camp and spend your time. And I hope you spend a lot of money.

And then he yelled at Brinkley some more and admitted that he was "really pissed," and then Hastings yelled at Brinkley for being "disrespectful," and then everyone wondered why taxmen are more popular than Congress.

[Post-Intelligencer. Images via AP, Getty]