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HOH’s One-Minute Recess: Alaska Testimony Gets Don Young Fired Up

That famously fiery firebrand of an Alaskan, Rep. Don Young, got all hot and bothered over a witness talking smack about the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for some reason Friday.

The House Natural Resources Committee held a hearing last week for Members of Congress to hear expert testimony on the economic and environmental effect of drilling in the Arctic, but after a half-hour, the staid back-and-forth devolved into a few minutes of ridiculous name-calling between the Republican lawmaker and Dr. Douglas Brinkley of Rice University.

The first bomb was lobbed by Brinkley before the exchange began.

“[I]t’s always been called the Arctic Refuge until the oil lobby started calling it ANWR because it sounds like ANWR’s the dot or some country in the Middle East,” Brinkley said. “Do you want to drill ANWR? Yes. Do you want to molest Eisenhower’s great wildlife reserve? No. So it’s the way the issues frame.”

Fair enough, professor.

As far as we can tell Brinkley’s whole testimony got Young pissed, so when it was the Congressman’s turn at the microphone, he began thusly:

“I — I will tell you: If you ever want to see an exercise in futility, it’s this hearing,” he snapped. “And I call it garbage, Dr. Rice, that comes from the mouth — ”

“Dr. Brinkley. Rice is a university,” the professor interrupted.

“Well, OK…” Young replied. “[I’ll] call you anything I want while you sat in that chair.”

“Pardon?” Brinkley asked.

“You just be quiet,” Young said, um, twice.

“You don’t own me,” Brinkley declared. “I pay your salary.”

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is our democracy at work.

The exchange begins at around minute 31.

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