ND Higher Ed Board Member Mike Haugen Loses His Cool On The Radio

While guest hosting for Scott Hennen today we were discussing the topic of the Fighting Sioux nickname controversy, and I pointed out that effort by many in the higher education community in this state to be rid of the nickname illustrates just how out of control, unaccountable and out of touch with the taxpayers they are.

North Dakota Higher Education Board Member Mike Haugen was apparently listening and called in, and he wasn’t happy with my comments. What ensued was, I think, a rather interesting conversation that revealed a lot about the attitude the folks in charge of higher education have in so far as their performance and their accountability to the taxpayers.

Here’s the audio of the discussion:

[flv]https://s3.amazonaws.com/sayanythingblog/03-11/HAUGENPORT030111.flv[/flv]

I’ve done a lot of guest hosting for Scott, and I’m not sure I’ve ever done anything on his show that has gotten as much feedback as this comment did, and not one email or Facebook message or Twitter reply was complimentary of Haugen or the job the State Board of Higher Education is doing.

When I asked Haugen if he and his fellow board members realized that they and the institutions they manage are funded by the taxpayers, he tried to discount how much those universities get from the taxpayers. When I pointed out that he and his fellow higher education bureaucrats throw a collective hissy fit when the legislature even tries to slow down the growth of taxpayer expenditures on their budgets, he scoffed and said that the spending increases were necessary to pay the heating bills.

I pointed out that since the 2003 – 2005 legislative session higher education spending has gone up 63% and tuition revenues have gone up 36% he accused me of making up numbers (it’s worth noting that those growth numbers come from the state government).

He said that North Dakotans get a lot of bang for the buck for the money they put into higher education. I pointed out that nearly 80% of the students who enroll and NDSU and UND don’t graduate, that 60% of incoming freshman at those universities aren’t from North Dakota and that over 60% of the just over 20% of students who ultimately do graduate from them leave the state he accused me of making up facts.

When I tried to ask him what the actual graduation rates were, he either didn’t know or didn’t want to admit that I actually did have my facts straight.

The most common response I got from listeners who heard this live was that they were shocked at how arrogant Haugen was. I would submit that this attitude permeates North Dakota’s higher education system. These people think they’re building an empire, and anyone who questions what they’re doing (up to and including the taxpayers footing the bill) are the enemy.

One interesting note: Haugen admits that the university system has no fewer than 17 people at the legislative session lobbying. Now, Haugen said that these people aren’t lobbyists, and while it’s true that under the law they are exempted from having to register as lobbyists because they’re working for the state, what they’re doing is absolutely lobbying.

So not only are we taxpayers footing the bill for these seventeen people, are also footing the bill for all the new spending they’re lobbying for.

Plus, now that the Board of Higher Education has come out against the Fighting Sioux nickname you can bet they’re lobbying against that legislation.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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  • Jimmypop

    fyi: your link is wrong.

    thank you for posting this, port! i tried to post earlier asking you to do it, but there was an ‘error’ here so it would not let me do it. this guy should have KNOWN better than to call a radio show unprepared. he really looked the fool.

    i only caught 4ish minutes of it…..but it was the part where he said you lied. these people are dullards. its a board made up of old, white, guys lawyers and then one female professor (in minnesota interestingly enough) and a college girl for equality/ diversity.

    and they now have a snappy new website!
    http://www.ndus.edu/default.asp

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      Video link is fixed.

      Not sure what the error was earlier.

      I think he thought he was going to ambush me. I’m not sure these guys are used to be challenging by, well, anybody.

      • Jimmypop

        no, i think they hear people cry, but they are not used to INFORMED challenge. in fairness, few if any state workers are.

        and thank you again. we are a state of ‘north dakota nicers’ and i am sick of it. we are talking MASSIVE amounts of cash used to forever grow government here. polite has GOT TO GO out the window and be replaced with logic and prudence when you are talking millions and billions of dollars.

        as you are aware, i am more ashamed of these people than disappointed most of the time. i know this guy. shook his hand many times when we were younger. he is a good, smart man that just should have known better to call….and more to the point…. should have known better to let spending get this out of control.

        • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

          Let it get out of control? The man is still pushing for more spending!

          Whatever else he may be, he needs to longer be in charge of anything the taxpayers are paying for.

          • Jimmypop

            i could NOT agree more. like i said…hes smarter than this. or, he was anyway.

            i would love to have a person on that board being a devil advocate fighting for LESS cash to be inserted each year.

            as an example; like oil….we have a product EVERYONE wants right now…. if anything, should be charging MORE for tuition, not less. lowering it should not even be in the cards. the tax payers have done their share. now its time for the people that benefit, meaning the 60%+ that leave after they finish school, to do theirs.

          • NDNative

            Are you serious?! Raise tuition…yeah, that’s a great idea. In a state where college students basically flee the state upon graduating all that would do is drive more students to pursue education and careers out of state. North Dakota is a great state and I’m proud I grew up there and am a PROUD graduate of the UND Fighting Sioux. But don’t tell me that I should be doing more. Where do you think my hard earned tax dollars went while I was in school an my parents tax dollars still go? I didn’t have a free ride and paid my way so I feel I’ve more than paid my dues and will continue to do so for the next 20 years with my student loans through the Bank of North Dakota. (Yes, I know that’s not necessarily tax dollars but it is still a state owned & run bank) The fact of the matter is North Dakota just doesn’t have the opportunities for graduates to make a decent living as other opportunities do out-of-state. ND is great for someone who’s been in the workforce at least 5-10 years but let me speak from experience. If you want any chance of making a decent living and getting the experience necessary to move up in a given career, most students will opt to move out-of-state and move up quickly in their career probably making at least 1.5 times as much as they would have in North Dakota. (not an actual fact, just experience) I know you’re just spouting off possibilities, but why doesn’t the state use it’s money wisely and look for ways to keep graduates in ND. Not an easy task but if the state doesn’t want to become a complete summer home for the snow birds they would be wise to put more of their efforts in to developing a wider range of industries and job placement for graduating college students. Job placement and assistance is severely lacking.

          • Jimmypop

            why should tax payers be forced to dole out even MORE cash for administrative costs, to build housing and classrooms for kids that leave anyway? its crazy to even think like this.

            the bucks should be given back to tax payers (like you and your parents) to spend as you see fit. those dollars you get back will help you pay your increased tuition. if all goes as expected, those dollars will help build businesses that might entice those kids to eventually stay.

            most important of all….. we all know kids leave because you can make more elsewhere. so what? the role of the government is not to feed you an education nor help you find work when youre done. its task should be basic services like police, fire, blah, blah….and then it should get out of the way of the private sector and let them create jobs and allow you the freedom to find your own path.

  • http://nofreelunch.areavoices.com/ Kevin Flanagan

    Calling into a talk show while driving doesn’t seem “safe.”

    • Jimmypop

      oh, Lord……well, its seemingly not safe depending on the host.

      • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

        Hey now, I didn’t make him call in while he was driving!

  • http://nofreelunch.areavoices.com/ Kevin Flanagan

    Haugen and his fellow travelers have driven the state budget into a ditch; I have the tax bill to prove it!

  • http://ndgoon.blogspot.com Goon

    This guy sounds like your typical ivory tower liberal who thinks he knows better than the rest of us, he sounds like an ass hat…

    • di_da_is_alpha

      I wonder if Proof can take Hannitized’s avatar and a picture of Rob, animate them so their mouths move, and sync them to this audio? He can call it “Rob and the Asshat.”

      • http://ndgoon.blogspot.com Goon

        That is an awesome Idea…

  • JustRuss

    I’d actually say his attitude is typical of all liberals, if your facts do not match his preconceived or downloaded meme then you are making up the facts. It doesn’t matter where the facts came from, even democrat polls or think tanks, if the facts don’t match the meme then they are made up or skewed in some way.

    As long as a lib FEELS that they are correct, no fact or truth will change their mind. In fact (no pun intended) the less the facts match their meme, the MORE they feel to the point of frothing at the mouth anger and violence to MAKE the facts fit.

    They attack the person, not the problem.

  • Don Barcome, Jr

    The State Board of Higher Education intervened in the selection of an Athletic Conference for UND – there is absolutely no precedence for this action. The SBoHE had until this fall to give Standing Rock time to take a vote, instead they set an arbitrary deadline almost a year earlier! The SBoHE has got itself into a bind, and the truth is coming out, slowly but surely. I have never questioned their integrity, nor their compassion for their position nor their hard work, but this was a fight that they should not have been involved with.

    I am also left wondering at statements from the SBoHE, Big Sky Conference Commissioner, Representative Elliott Glassheim & GFG Herald Editorialist Lloyd Omdahl, over the past 2 days, downplaying, belittling and questioning the integrity of the representatives of the Citizens of North Dakota wanting to hear the voice of Standing Rock Tribal members. You would think that at, in the least, members of the SBoHE would take a seat and watch how the ND Senate votes on this, rather than flexing their muscles one more time.

    I can only imagine the chagrin Mr. Haugen feels tonight after his shockingly abysmal performance on statewide radio today. I would not be at all surprised to read/hear of his immediate resignation for the SBoHE.

    • Camsaure

      HeHe, If that is all it takes to get them to resign, Rob needs to get each and everyone on his show asap.

  • cashdog

    Kudo’s Rob. One of the best evisceration’s I’ve heard in a long time.

    He needs to go lay down by his dish.

    • Camsaure

      Yup, Robs got him howlin at the moon and eatin his dinner outta a hubcap.

  • Guest

    UGH!!! The Attorney General did make a decision, Mike Haugen is correct, BUT the Board of Higher Ed moved up the deadline all on their own!!! What about that, MIKE?????????
    And remember, the tribal council is repressing their people, the PEOPLE of Standing Rock want the name to remain the SAME!

    • johnnylink

      You forget though. In the minds of people like Haugen, the Peoples’ voice doesn’t matter. It HAS to be a government entity speaking “for” the people.

      And for good measure, let’s just conveniently forget that the entity the SBoHE needs to hear from is the same entity who gave the Fighting Sioux name as a perpetual gift 23 short years ago….in short, willful, arrogant ignorance to achieve a desired outcome on the Board’s part.

    • http://ndgoon.blogspot.com Goon

      The left always seems to get that wrong, that the Standing Rock Tribal council will not let the people have a vote, they are squashing the voice of their people…

    • http://Sayanythingblog.com The Whistler

      The Attorney General did not make the decision. He did negotiate a deal under direction of the Board of Higher Education and the same board made the final decision.

      For them to blame the AG is absolute BS.

  • Brent

    Mike Haugen is just another wonderful example of “leadership” provided to us by the Hoeven / Dalrymple Team!

  • DopeyDem

    So did you guys vote this clown in or was he appointed? Can he be recalled and replaced?

  • ND in MD

    Wasn’t it the state board of higher ed who sat on the sidelines watching Joe Chapman and NDSU run up massive costs over runs on a new house for the president, the new downtown school of business, attendance at the Obama imaculation, etc? Wasn’t the board suppose to provide oversight?

  • Davidd12

    Haugen is a conservative Republican, appointed by a Republican Governor. He spent his entire life in the military, retiring at the rank of Major General. He is No liberal!

    • Brent

      Government employee for life, appointed by a BIG Government State Banker / Democrat turned-Republican.

      Is it any wonder he’s a statist, too?

    • http://ndgoon.blogspot.com Goon

      he sure as hell is an utter failure on the North Dakota State Board of Higher Education

  • sbark

    …..but he does seem to be the epitome of the self perceived Ruleing Class Elite that has taken root.

    We like to think up here in N.Dak there are few entrenched RC Elite, but where there is money and there is power there is the Ruleing class Elite

    Look for backup and retort coming soon from diff sources of the RC Elite…..

    • Davidd12

      Absolutely true. My comment was aimed at folks like Goon who draw knee-jerk conclusions about someone they know nothing about. In this case, Haugen has cleary demonstrated a ruling class mentality that you speak of, but Haugen’s whole life’s body of work is anchored in conservative thought and action. You should have seen him at the State GOP convention in Fargo back in 2008. He was like a kid in a candy store! LOL! He was preparing to give the nomination speech for Brian Kalk, back then.

      • NDSuperman

        “Power corrupts….and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

      • http://Sayanythingblog.com The Whistler

        Point taken, Haugen has been a great North Dakotan. But on at least this issue he’s turned into a liar.

        The basic premise of the BOHE is flawed. They feel they represent the University administrations and the faculty. They care very little about the students and NOT AT ALL about the taxpayer.

  • http://Sayanythingblog.com The Whistler

    Haugen is lying in his first breath. The Board of Higher Education approved the settlement and took an active role in the negotiation settlement. Haugen is trying to throw all the blame on the AG.

    • http://ndgoon.blogspot.com Goon

      I think we are going to see a lot of scapegoating as this plays out and we go through the process of working this out… I also think there is going to be a lot of in fighting and name calling and a bunch of adults acting like children, the fact remains is that the whole thing has been handled very poorly… Our elected leaders have to take the blame for their ineptness. The ND SBoHE has failed in an epic manner and now that they are being exposed for being inept, they are made for being called on it… I really enjoyed listening to this buffoon come unglued as Rob picked him apart… The fact remains is they are not listening to the people and the pointed headed vocal minority is the only ones that want this logo changed.

  • Lianne

    WOW!!! Rob you are ruthless and that is meant as a great compliment! You did not back down. And one of our great leaders admits to driving while talking on the cell phone. As flustered as he was, do you think he may have also been a little distracted from his primary activity—driving? But, he didn’t have an accident. Even he can multi-task!

    • http://ndgoon.blogspot.com Goon

      Nothing like dring while talking on a cell phone pissed off. Nice!!!

  • Greg

    Interesting exchange. I have to say, thought, the graduation rates that were thrown out there are absolutely wrong. To say that 80% of students don’t graduate is false. That statistic may well be the 4-year graduation rate. Most of those students DO graduate with a degree in 4.5 to 5 years. Many students transfer from one NDUS institution to another delaying their graduation a semester or two. It is disingenuous to spout that 80% figure without the context implying that almost all of the students fail. Come on.

    • http://Sayanythingblog.com The Whistler

      So do you know the graduation rates in 4.5 to 5 years?

      • Davidd12

        Speaking for just myself…. it took me 7 years (1991-1998) Three years at Dickinson State. Took a year off, and then three more years to graduate at UND. Worked my way through college and used GI Bill to keep loans at a minimum. Only took 12-15 credits at a time so I could work and go to school at the same time. A part from the military benefits I had, I think my story is rule rather than the exception in N.D. Although, I think most could handle more credits than me per semester and probably graduated a little quicker.

        When I think of my own situation, I have to laugh, as I am reminded of that line from “Tommy Boy” “A lot of people graduate in (seven) years …. they’re called doctors.”

        • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

          Graduation rate after four years for NDSU is 19%

          http://www.forbes.com/lists/2010/94/best-colleges-10_North-Dakota-State-University_94281.html

          UND it is 22%:

          http://www.forbes.com/lists/2010/94/best-colleges-10_University-of-North-Dakota_950350.html

          You have a valid point, but that still doesn’t explain nearly 80%.

          • Greg

            Please keep in mind that many students at NDSU are in programs that are designed to be more than four years. The very popular pharmacy program, for example, is a 5 year program. Thus, all of the students in that program are part of the 80% that do not graduate in 4 years. The architecture program is also a 5 year program. I believe several other professional programs are 5 year programs. Those graduate rates are not reflective of the student success because it considers only traditional 4-year graduations. 80% of the students are definitely not failing out.

          • http://Sayanythingblog.com The Whistler

            Yes I’m aware that higher education is trying to stretch out the time kids
            are in school. After all if they move a program from 4 to 5 years that’s a
            25% increase in tuition for the school to spend. Plus they take that
            increased enrollment to the legislature and say they need more money.

            Whether it’s a good thing for the kids is different consideration.

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_4RKUEHF3NG2Z32RT4B5A3Y7HUE Kenny

          But most doctors get a pre-med degree in four years.

          http://www.bls.gov/k12/help06.htm

          Since becoming a doctor takes about 11 years full time school, the comparison is null and void. If most doctors took school like you were saying, and started at 18…they’d become doctors into their late 40s or early 50s.

          A doctoral degree takes seven years minimum yes…but you still originally graduate with an under grad in 4.

          Nothing against people who take longer, or have to take night classes because they’re working, but that doesn’t explain the average college student who is in their late teens out of high school.

      • Greg

        I have those numbers somewhere in my office for NDSU. I will see if I can dig them out.

    • http://Sayanythingblog.com The Whistler

      I found a page on the UND website relating to graduation rates and I believe
      you’re right about that being a four year graduation rate.

      http://www.und.nodak.edu/dept/registrar/gradrates/index.htm

      The four year
      rate for back then was 23% and the 6 year is 54%.

      Of course this info is fro 2003, so things may be different. I don’t know
      how current Rob’s info was.

      Whether you consider Rob’s rate or the 6 year rate I don’t think that either
      is anything to brag about. Too many people are being pushed to college
      because we don’t have anything better for it.

      The students wind up with big student loans. The taxpayer winds up paying
      for the students to sit through intro to art. But the University faculty
      has another round of equity pay increases and the administrators get rich as
      well.

  • borborygmi

    Put Rob Port on the Higher Ed Board.

  • Game

    First off, I think that the State Government is wasting time in trying to pass a law about the UND nickname. I have heard enough white folks say that the Indians should be honored (as if I get to tell anybody else what they should be honored by)by it to make me puke. I am all for changing it because it is a stupid nickname and a stupid topic.

    However, I think we need to talk about major reform to our higher ed system. We have basically no community college system in this state. Community Colleges provide a quality eduction at a fraction of the price of the “research” based colleges like UND and NDSU. Right know those schools are stealing money from people who are sitting in English 101 with 300 other students, when a MN community college would have 25 people in English 101 and it would cost those students a fraction of the price.

    • http://Sayanythingblog.com The Whistler

      You mean no community colleges besides Mayville, Bismarck, Dickinson,
      Williston, Devils Lake, Minot and Bottineau.

      Is that what you meant.

      And when the members of the Indian tribes said they were honored by the name
      and in fact fought to keep it was that a stupid argument.

      • Game

        A Community College is a two year college that offers AS and AA degrees and other learning diploma’s. A community college for the most part does not offer a Baccalaureate degree. The people that teach classes at a CC are “Instructors (Normally Masters level)” whole at a University, they are “Professors” and they are normally Doctorate level.

        Let me make this even clearer. If it says “University” in the name, it is not a community college.

        • http://Sayanythingblog.com The Whistler

          What we have are a bunch of junior colleges that have pretensions.

    • Alexander

      I go to Lake Region State College. The ‘generals’ are a LOT cheaper than at UND, so I would consider LRSC a community college.

  • Proudsioux

    CLowns like haugen and shaft shoudntbe on the board. Haugen is too cocky and Shaft’s daddys has done everything for him. Your awesome Port. Go get em!

  • ec99

    When are the people of ND going to realize that the only qualification to be on the SBHE is to a be a mover and shaker in the Republican Party? This has been going on for decades, and has gotten us all the boneheaded decisions we’ve seen over the years: hiring Isaac and Goetz as chancellors, when they were both grossly unqualified; firing Baker at UND; siding with that putz Chapman. Is there any group which, no matter who its members were, has so consistently shown such profound incompetence?

  • borborygmi

    Rob was eviscerating Mr. Haugen on graduation rates and I know his position on too many people going into college that shouldn’t (he is right) . The trouble is that its too cheap.
    ” there is a notable difference when it comes to public colleges and private colleges. A private college is more likely to be on the more expensive side compared to a public college. Almost all private colleges have the same tuition price.The average price for a private college is about $30,360 a year now vs the price of a public college which is about $15,836″
    Cranking up the price will push the student to graduate in 4 to 5 years, lower the number of students coming in, lower the amount of subsidies the Universities need from the State, raise the number of students going to trade schools. This is win win all around. Also with less students you need fewer buildings.
    Public Universities were created so a higher education was available to more residents at an affordable price. This lower price plus accessibility to loans and grant obviously entices too many students that are not college ready. Raise the tuition so it is about the same as private institutuions, lower the accessibility to loans, and eliminate grants based on financial needs, at least for the first year (someone else proposed this on SAB), and scholarships should be for academics unless they are private endowments set up for specific fields. Problem solved ….Next

    • http://Sayanythingblog.com The Whistler

      College was cheap when I went to school. Now the ND University system has
      gone nuts in jacking tuition, even though the legislature has showered them
      with money.

      So the Universities were formed to make it available for more people to have
      access. But now they’re about creating cushy no work positions for the
      faculty and the administration.

  • devilschild

    UND should have investigated their benefactor before they agreed to except his money. His “in your face” attitude toward the American Indian incited alot of anger from the tribes as well as the taxpayers. Ralph’s racism became UND’s racism. UND is a greedy institution. The REA is a beautiful arena but I would be happy to see it go if we could keep “The Fighting Sioux.” The place is tainted. Let’s build our own hockey arena and call it what it should still be “The Serge Gambucci Arena.”

    • http://Sayanythingblog.com The Whistler

      wow, pretty easy to accuse a dead person of being a racist.

      I think you’re a racist and an idiot.

      • Gamescrows

        He held Hitler birthday parties…. he gave his staff T-shirts that said “Hitler world Tour on them. You can decide for yourself if he is a good guy, But that sort of action is not the sort of person I want a building named after that is being partially funded by my tax dollars.

  • whowon

    Great job Rob, we need much more of this!

  • devilschild

    I am not offended by your comments. I have my opinion and you are welcome to yours. I feel that Ralph’s gift is what has made this issue a blistering sore. UND saw $$$ and welcomed it with open arms. UND turned a blind eye to his reputation.

    • http://Sayanythingblog.com The Whistler

      In case you weren’t aware of it the overwhelming majority of people that
      have attended UND or living in the area love the name as well.

      Not only that it’s as popular on the reservation as it is in Grand Forks.

      Saying that it’s all about Ralph is another stupid thing.

    • ec99

      There is no “gift.” UND does not own the REA. Ralph lied through his teeth on that scam.

    • Don Barcome, Jr

      Tj – the amount of misinformaiton & disinformation that you have digested has left you bloated and ignorant. Mr. Engelstad was a man of conviction, passion for workers and gave more than he took. He liked to keep to the background, and his charitable acts will outlive all of us. Next time that you are in Vegas, try going to the pulic library (Google?) and check out how he treated his employtees: no union (they did not want ont), onsite day care & healthcare decades before it became popular to name a couple. Donations to hospitals, nursing homes, istitutions of learning at all levels. having been honored to meet him a couple of times, I can say he is a person that I will always look up to, and that “racism” was not part of of his life in any way.

      • ec99

        Oh yes, by all means let’s canonize the guy. We can take pride in the fact he celebrated Hitler’s birthday. And got fined millions for that. And worked hand in glove with the Mafia for his Vegas construction company and casino. And reneged on his promise of $50 million for UND academics in order to build a $104 million arena in his honor.

        • Cathy_nd1

          http://www.lvstriphistory.com/imperial.htm
          “On September 27, 1988, Gaming Control Board agents entered Imperial Palace where they found a “war room” which housed a multi-million dollar collection of Nazi memorabilia. On October 6th, Engelstad apologized publicly for showing “poor taste” in housing the collection at his resort and throwing the parties, which he called “stupid and insensitive.” He also denounced Hitler. The Nevada Gaming Commission commenced an investigation.

          “In February, 1989, the five-month investigation ended with the issuance of a $1.5 million fine levied against Engelstad by the Nevada Gaming Commission for disgracing the state of Nevada. It was the second highest fine in Nevada gaming history. The highest was the $3 million fine issued in 1984 against the owners of the Stardust for skimming. The commission had considered pulling Engelstad’s gaming license that was originally issued in July 1973 amid moral turpitude allegations. But Engelstad’s apology, the removal of the Nazi memorabilia, and his otherwise clean record contributed to the panel’s decision not to go that route.”

          • http://Sayanythingblog.com The Whistler

            He’s a car collector that went overboard.

            I can see how you’d spaz all over that.

          • ec99

            TW,

            We agree on alot, but not this. Can you really excuse the Hitler parties? Or his portrait with the inscription “To Ralphie, from your friend Adolph.”? “Stupid and insensitive” doesn’t cut it. Vegas is not exactly the Vatican, and if they fined him, that’s news.

          • http://Sayanythingblog.com The Whistler

            Nothing in his life aside from the car collection showed any fascination
            with Hitler.

            Personally I wouldn’t want to own Hitler’s car but I think those things
            should be preserved.

          • ec99

            And the Hitler birthday parties dressed in SS uniforms and the portrait?

          • http://Sayanythingblog.com The Whistler

            That was part of the whole car thing.

          • Game

            No, that is part of the he was a racist thing. I own some WW2 memorabilia, but I am not going to pay anybody to dress up and celebrate Hitler’s birthday.

            The “Ralph” is an embarrassment to this state.

          • ec99

            TW rightly lament the Alerus and the proposed library as Taj Mahals. The Ralph is also a Taj Mahal, built by Ralph in honor of himself. Now, if it was his money, so I don’t care about that. But given all the stuff he pulled in Vegas, with Hitler parties, portraits, brown shirts with swazstika armbands, I can’t see much room to see him in a good light.

          • Cathy_nd1

            Did it ever occur to you that there are many people who have Nazi stuff given to them after the war from the Germans to the American soldiers? Also, people were in denial that it ever happened. Having a collection shows there can be no denial. Maybe the party of wearing those things was in celebration of occupying Germany and taking over the Nazi. Americans wearing their things shows they dominated them. I guess we don’t know what was behind their reason, but there are more ways to perceive it, then one way.

          • http://flamemeister.com flamemeister

            A Jewish friend of mine who lived in a suburb of Minneapolis had an entire room dedicated to his collection of Nazi items. Later I found out that this “fetish” is not rare.

          • http://enigma-cypher.blogspot.com/ Enigma_Cypher

            I have a few relics from the Nazi era. They were given to me several years ago by my great-uncle, who served in France and Germany during World War II. There’s nothing inherently wrong with owning stuff like that.

          • http://flamemeister.com flamemeister

            My dad brought home some choice stuff, including the Nazi standard “skeleton stock” machine gun—pin & clip removed (!). Heh.

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_4RKUEHF3NG2Z32RT4B5A3Y7HUE Kenny

          Let’s go through that though. Even if he was celebrating Hitler, who the hell is Nevada to fine him for that? I’m sorry, but the home of debauchery seems a little lacking in moral standing to criticize someone for dressing like Hitler. Nevada is full of pimps, racists, drug dealers and thieves, and that’s not even counting the casinos.

          The majority of the case in him being a nazi seems to be that he loved cars owned by famous Nazis. Ignoring that the cars are rather nice by themselves, and that the fame makes them valuable…this is hardly a new thing. People go for Nazi memorabilia, mob cars and guns, and all kinds of things owned by famous people, even those that were monsters. Who cares?

          And building an arena for a school is a gift to the school. But ok, whatever?

          • ec99

            One more time, there is no gift.

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