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Don't mess with historians

Especially the really good, bestselling author ones, like Douglas Brinkley of Rice University:

Brinkley went before the House Natural Resources Committee on Friday to advocate national monument status for mountains, tundra, rivers and coasts of Alaskas vast Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska.He incurred the wrath of Alaskas Congressman-for-life Don Young, who has fought nearly 40 years to cut down his states national forests, build open pit mines and drill for oil in the Arctic Refuge.Young referred to Brinkley as Dr. Rice and sneered that his testimony was garbage. (Known for outbursts, the congressman once brandished a walrus penis at the director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.)Its Dr. Brinkley, Rice is a university, and I know you went to Yuba Community College and couldnt graduate . . . Brinkley shot back.A fiery Young then interrupted Brinkley, saying: Ill call you anything I want to call you when you sit in that (witness) chair. You just be quiet.You dont own me, Brinkley replied. I pay your salary. I work for the private sector and you work for the taxpayers.Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, thereupon threatened to remove Brinkley from the panel unless he would agree to speak only when spoken to.

Rod cheers:

I conditionally support ANWR drilling, by the way. But I also support standing up to ill-mannered, nitwit Congressmen.

Still, as the Seattle Post-Intelligencer notes, Brinkley's blast at Young's academic record merits an incomplete:

After a stint in the Army, Young eventually did get through Yuba Community College in California and went on to graduate from Chico State College.

So Young has that going for him.

About the Author

David Gibson is a national reporter for Religion News Service and author of The Coming Catholic Church (HarperOne) and The Rule of Benedict (HarperOne). He blogs at dotCommonweal.



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There's nothing like a thug for bringing out the snob in a man.

Is it possible that some of our masters -- in Washington and elsewhere -- will only accept cringing, fawning (and paying) adulation? Good for Brinkley, who had the grace (apparently) not to say anything about Young's appetite for pork (e.g., the famous Bridge to Nowhere). I gather there are those who find Young ethicallychallenged, as we say these days.

There's nothing like a snob to bring out the thug in a man. And it was the congressman's home turf. Academics are gods only on campus and in their own minds. Congressmen are hired to strut and bluster and bring home the pork. Sigh.

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