On Television: Senate Vacancies, University Foundation Audits, And Saving Bob


I was on Valley News Live with Chris Berg last night for his 6:30 Point of View program. We did three segments covering some of the issues I’ve been writing about on the blog.

We talked about Bob the Triceratops, a national treasure (the largest and most complete triceratops skeleton in the world, apparently) which was discovered here in North Dakota but may be leaving the state unless it gets some funding. Berg was surprised that I, a penny-pinching conservative, would be in favor of a state appropriation to keep the skeleton in the state, but I think it’s important. Letting the skeleton leave the state (the museum curator told the Jay Thomas Show yesterday on WDAY AM970 that there was a buyer who wanted to take the skeleton to the middle east) would be akin to the Romans or Napoleon robbing conquered lands of their treasured works of art.

It’s just not right. I’m hoping we can build a network of private donors to keep Bob in the state, but I don’t think it would be inappropriate for the state to step in as well. Preserving our state’s history is a valid use of taxpayer dollars, I think.

We also talked about the state’s university foundations talking about fighting audits ordered by the Legislature. I think lawmakers need to act decisively to remind these foundations that they are not private entities. They are spin-offs from state-owned institutions. They will be transparent and accountable to the public, or the state should sever ties with them.

The anti-discrimination bill which passed the Senate this week also came up, and the fact that supporters of the bill couldn’t find anyone who was actually the victim of discrimination in North Dakota to testify in favor of it before committee. Which speaks to the necessity of the bill, in that there’s not much, but I also have a hard time mandating in law that one group of people can demand the unwilling service of another. Even if we might find the motivations for that unwillingness repugnant.