Thursday, January 21, 2010

Freshwater on Bob Burney Transcript

Bob Burney Live on WRFD June 10 - John Freshwater Interview Part 1 of 4

BB: - Bob Burney of Bob Burney Live radio show on WRFD
JF: - John Freshwater, suspended 8th-grade science teacher in Mt. Vernon, OH
DM: - Don Matolyak, Freshwater's pastor at Trinity Worship Center in Mt. Vernon
KH: - Kelly Hamilton, Freshwater's attorney
ANN: - Announcers on WRFD

BB: Welcome back to Bob Burney live and this is Friday, which means usually it's open phones, but not this segment. Unless you have been living in a cave for the last 12, 18 months I'm sure you have heard the name John Freshwater. John Freshwater is the 8th-grade science teacher that made national news, not by his own choice by any means, for daring to have a Bible on his desk, that began the controversy.

He is embroiled in a legal battle now for his job, for his livelihood. And I have wanted to have john on the air for a long, long time but, well, his legal assistance has encouraged him not to until now, and they feel it's time for John to tell his story, and we are delighted that they are doing it here today on Bob Burney Live.

In the studio with me is John Freshwater, Don Matolyak his pastor and has been his, well, unofficial and official spokesman and Kelly Hamilton who is his lead attorney. Gentlemen, welcome.

DM: Thanks Bob

JF: Thank you, Bob

BB: Now, John, I've met you before, but I'm a little surprised, the horns are gone. I thought you had horns, I thought you had fangs, you know John, you seem almost normal.

JF: I'm glad you see it that way Bob.

BB: John, walk us through how all of this started. I want to know the facts from you. How did all of this mess begin? And I want to start by saying John, I have known a lot of people through the years who have forced the issue of a lawsuit, termination of employment just so they could get their face on the news and their, their voice on radio and get their name in the headlines. I know that's not true with you. Take us back. How long have you been teaching in the school district, and then what is the genesis of this mess that you're embroiled in right now?

JF: First of all Bob, thanks for allowing me here to speak today, I appreciate that. I've been teaching for 24 years and the, 21 of those years're in, in Mt. Vernon ohio, and three of those years was out in Idaho, and I've been teaching abroad, one year I taught abroad over in China, did some teaching over in Romania, on a, in a summer one time I was over there doing a little teaching. And sure, yeah, I gotta bring my wife and my kids into this a little bit. My wife's name's Nancy and I've got three kids Luke, Sarah and Jordan Freshwater and Luke's, he spent a year there at West Point and now he's at Cedarville and my daughter's, she's a swimmer there at the Naval Academy, she's going also the military route, and then I've got my daughter Jordan, she's, she's going to be a sophomore this year in, in school there at the Mt. Vernon High School.

Started, I believe, 20, in 2003. At that time President Bush did No Child Left Behind policy came out and Santorium[sic] out of Pennsylvania senator there he attached to No Child Left Behind policy the, the, to critically analyze evolution. I, I was studying it very closely through the years I'm kind of watching the process of all this and at that time I brought a proposal to the school board to critically analyze evolution. And I followed the Administration's steps that they wanted me to follow and I went to the science, science committee and then I, it did - didn't fly there and so I asked the principal at that time his name was Mr. Kuhns and he said, well, take it to the school board, so I proceeded to go to the school board, that would be my next step.

BB: So this was following the guidelines of federal legislation.

JF: Yes, yes, yes.

BB: Okay. Alright.

JF: And it - we worked through the process, it took two, three months and was very, it was very outspoken then. It was, a lot of people showing up at the meetings, hundreds were showing up there, and giving their

DM: Support of you, John.

JF: Thanks, pastor. In support there was a, it was, it ended up not passing, and all I wanted to do was critically analyze evolution. And I was tagged then, I believe, and let's use the word that they used on me, branded, that was the word that they you know they attached onto me, I'll use it, I was branded and at that time and,

BB: Even though, even though I don't want, and we'll back up because I want to make sure this is clear, you were asking the school board to follow federal guidelines in the No Child Left Behind legislation

JF: Yes, Mmm hmm.

BB: Okay

JF: At that time it was a 10th grade standard to critically analyze evolution in biology at the 10th grade and I was trying to bring it down to the lower grades and be able to critically analyze evolution. And at that time there was some letters to the editor some different things out there and they started branding me some religious freak, you know, they sort of attaching onto me oh he's trying to teach creationism, he's trying to teach intelligent design, and no I don't teach creationism, I don't teach intelligent design, just let's examine evolution, and let's look at evolution and what's out there, what, what are the facts out there with evolution, what does the scientist, dig em up, and let's examine them, let's use the scientific method.

So that, that was the beginning of it, and April 16th of 2008, new administration and things changed, and they asked me to remove my Bible from my desk. And after discussion with my family and much prayer, we chose - the Bible is gonna stay on my desk and that's when the battle enlarged after that. But it was all about the Bible on the desk.

BB: Now, okay, John, did you, did you have devotions from your Bible with the children, in your students?

JF: No no no

BB: You didn't, did you read your Bible to the students.

JF: No, no I did not.

BB: Did you teach from the Bible to your students?

JF: No, no, this is a science class.

BB: Okay, so the Bible was simply on the corner of your desk. And why was it there then? If you were not teaching from it, if you were not using it for the students, why was it there?

JF: Real simple - it's my inspiration. Just like you would have, I'm sure Bob, you have Bibles around your house and so forth. It's my inspiration. l've always had it with me, I've had some unusual jobs, such as fighting forest fires, smokejumping, and traveling in China, Romania, different things have been around and, i have it with me. It's, it's, it, it's me. It's my inspiration. Simple as that. And some, some times, I asked my previous students and they don't even notice that it was even there. My desk is, it's a mess.

DM: Yes, it is.

BB: Well, you have to see my desk. Do you know if any of these students were offended? Is, the reason, do you under, do you know the reason, why the school board asked you to remove the bible from your desk?

JF: That's a great question, Bob, that's a,

BB: Is it documented that students were offended and came to the school board and said, I've got a religious fanatic teacher who's got this Bible on his desk, and I'm offended?

JF: I have never heard that from any of my sudents in the 24 years I've been teaching, I've never had anybody come up to me, a parent or anybody come up to me,

BB: So what was the reasoning that the school board gave you for asking you to remove the Bible?

JF: I believe that - different administration. Things changed. Things changed, and I think it was offensive to some of the administration.

BB: Alright, so in your opinion that's kind of the beginning of the, of the end, you refused to remove the Bible. Alright, in the time frame here, you have been accused, the big thing that's caught all the media attention, that Bill O'Reilly flipped out, Geraldo Rivera flipped out, and a lot of the national news reporters flipped out, is this religious fanatic in Mt. Vernon Ohio actually branded, the Columbus Dispatch used that word branded, over and over and over again, as well as a lot of the other national news sources, that you actually branded, and John, you know, I'm a city kid from Los Angeles, but I lived on my grandpa's farm in the summers and i know what branding is, and you were accused of branding, burning a cross in one of your student's arms, intentionally in the shape of a cross in order to brand him with your religious convictions. I've got to ask you the question first. Did you burn a cross in a kid's arm?

JF: No, no, no. We've, I've said that, from the beginning, I have not branded anybody, I didn't brand myself, I've never branded myself, I wouldn't brand my kids, I wouldn't brand any student. I've never branded anybody. This,

BB: You were doing a science experiment.

JF: Right.

BB: And the kids volunteered?

JF: Yes. This science experiment, using the Tesla coil, and I'm not going to go into all the aspects of the Tesla coil, but there's about five, I can think of five or six teachers there at the building now, that have used the Tesla coil same, same method I've used it, and I've talked to them they've been on the witness chair and not one of them ever said they've had a complaint about the Tesla coil, and used it. So, I've never had a complaint to this point about the Tesla coil. So, we have, we have,

BB: Unequivocally, categorically, you did not brand a child with a cross?

JF: No, i did not brand a child with a cross.

BB: Alright. The timeline. When did this supposed branding/burning take place in the timeline of asking you to remove the Bible from your desk?

JF: It took place in December of 2007 when that incident took place

BB: Which incident, the Bible or the Tesla coil?

JF: Tesla coil

BB: The Tesla coil, December 2007.

JF: Yes. And I was in the office, they went down and talked to the office about it, at that, my principal at that time, Mr. White. And we discussed it and it was, I was told that it wasn't going in your personal file, it was a done deal.

BB: Mmkay.

JF: And April, 2008, it came back out, it surfaced again.

BB: Okay, but when was the asking, the request to take the Bible off your desk, chronologically?

JF: April 16, so about five months later, April 16 when I was told to take the Bible off my desk.

KH: You'd been given a letter prior to that, John, and that, but, then on April 16 you said that was the date I will not take my Bible off my desk.

BB: Alright, I've got to take a break, in fact, I'm about two minutes, two minutes late. We're here with John Freshwater, Don Matolyak his pastor, and Kelly Hamilton his attorney. And, you folks, listen, you have heard so much; this is an opportunity to hear the truth. And, yes we will entertain your phone calls. Obviously, there will be some things because of pending litigation they will not be able to discuss, but 877-BOB-LIVE.

ANN: Janet Partial's America: Covering America and the World. Weekdays from 9 to midnight on The Word at

BB: Welcome back to Bob Burney Live. Normally, this would be Open Phone Friday, but well, we've made an, an exception today for a very good reason. John Freshwater, the embattled eight-grade, eighth-grade science teacher from Mt. Vernon, is live in the studio along with his pastor and his attorney. And gentlemen, again, it is great to have you back.

John, lets continue the discussion, I asked you did you ever brand a cross in a child's arm and you said, unequivocally, no. You, you have been a teacher for 21 years in the Mt. Vernon schools, correct?

JF: Yes.

BB: Alright. Have you ever been disciplined for anything in those 21 years?

JF: No. Bob, my, my personal file, about 20, 250 pages of it when I looked, I, I, to be honest with you, I had never looked at it before till last year April, it's the first time I really looked at my file, and, I haven't had any need to, because I knew what was in there, and all my evaluations that I've received from my principals over the years, and multiple principals, I've received copies of that and they were always excellent, very well done, and they were, always were very positive that I was on the right track,

BB: Yeah.

JF: And once, and the, the whole aspect of now with all of my personal file being so, so good and nothing wrong with it and then all of a sudden this little bleep comes along here, and me, what makes sense, sometimes I have, sometimes I have to step back and say, whoa, what makes sense here?

BB: But John, you were voted, declared Teacher of the Year, correct?

JF: Yeah, it's a distinguished award and there was,

BB: And when was that?

JF: Uh that was at 2000 and, I think it was at 2006 and 2, year 2000, yeah.

BB: 2006-7.

JF: Yeah

BB: Okay, 2006-7. Alright. All of this happened 2007-8.

JF: Yes.

BB: So the year before all of this happened you were the Teacher of the Year. How do you become Teacher of the Year? Who makes that decision?

JF: By the administration. The principal submits it, and the superintendent,

BB: No wait. No, let me interrupt, let me get this straight, John. So the year before all of this came up, you were fired, you were declared to be insubordinate, who knows what all else, the year before that, you were the Teacher of the Year.

JF: Yes.

BB: And you have 21 years of an exemplary record. No discipline whatsoever, and all of a sudden, after 21 years, you become a wild-eyed religious fanatic that has to be fired. There is something a little weird, there, John.

JF: Doesn't make much sense.

BB: There is something a little strange there.

Now, I've got to ask this no more details about, you know, what's going on, but I've got to ask you, how's your family doing? This has got to be really hard on your, on your wife and two of your kids are gone out of the house, but, but, y'all hurt. How're, how are they doing?

JF: You know what? There's obviously been some struggles, there's no question. My wife and I and my daughter that is home, we're doing well. But it hasn't been easy. We've come, there have been some things that've taken place physically, that has happened with my wife also with myself. And we're working through it. We are working through it and, we're going, we're going to be fine. We're going to be fine. With my, with my faith I believe so strongly that i'm in good hands.

BB: Yeah, I, and I don't know you well, John. We've met two or three times, we've talked on the phone. But I perceive that you're a very private person.

JF: You know what? If I had my rathers, yeah, I would like to just stay at home on my farm, and work on my Christmas trees,

BB: So,

JF: Listen to talk radio,

BB: Thank you, and what talk radio would you be listening to?

JF: 880!

BB: Thank you. Thank you. And again I want to stress this, because people don't know you. This is not something you sought, this is not something that you desired, this is not, this not something that's a part of your nature, this is exactly the opposite of what appeals to you. And this has got to have been very difficult for you. Being in the headlines, being in the national news, and for, and rightfully so, and I understand it, but you were told don't talk, don't talk! And again, i understand that. But my goodness, when so many mean, nasty things are being said about you, tell me what that was like, John, not being able to even speak when all of these things are being, being broadcast, not only locally, but nat- and around the world.

JF: Right, that, very difficult. It is, and even today it's still difficult. There's, I am bonded in my attorney, I really am, I, we have, we've become very, very close friends it's absolutely amazing, and I, I trust him, and what he tells me, I, that's what I do and if he says don't be speaking, don't be speaking. So it, we're talking, it's been over a year. And we're starting to speak out some, you know what? Just in the paper this past week,

BB: Oh wait a minute, the phone's ringing, it's Bill O'Reilly.

JF: (Laughter)

BB: John, don't. Don't, don't! And by all means, don't go on "the View!"

Ah, we gotta take a break, John.

JF: thank you, Bob.

BB: John Freshwater is here, and if you have questions or comments, maybe you just want to encourage this godly man who has been through so much, primarily because of his faith. Our number is 877-BOB-LIVE. 877-262-5483.

ANN: It's Bob Burney Live, only it's not live! Catch the Bob Burney Rewind weekday mornings from 3 to 6 on the Word at

End of part 1 of 4

This is an unofficial transcript from the mp3 audio files at

by Marion Delgado July 12 and 13, 2009

Bob Burney Live on WRFD June 10 - John Freshwater Interview Part 2 of 4

BB: - Bob Burney of Bob Burney Live radio show on WRFD
JF: - John Freshwater, suspended 8th-grade science teacher in Mt. Vernon, OH
DM: - Don Matolyak, Freshwater's pastor at Trinity Worship Center in Mt. Vernon
KH: - Kelly Hamilton, Freshwater's attorney
ANN: - Announcers on WRFD
JB: Joy in Westerville, Bob Burney's wife.

ANN: The Word 880 WRFD streaming live 24 hours a day at!

BB: Well you've heard so much about him in the news. John Freshwater, eight-grade science teacher in Mt. Vernon, Ohio. Finally, we are able to hear John's side of the story, which by the is quite different than what you have read in your local newspaper or even on the, in the national news.

John, you'll have to forgive me we got a little goofy there before the last break I was asking you how this has been for you and your family, and you were starting to get in some serious things and sharing your own personal heart of this struggle, this battle, for you. What's it been like for you going through this?

JF: Yeah, like i mentioned this in the last section that, I, I do have a very strong faith, Bob. And I rely on that. Simple, just as simple as that. Its, that's, that's where i stand. And,

BB: Doesn't, doesn't mean you have not gotten very discouraged.

JF: Oh. Oh, yeah, I mean, it's a roller-coaster ride there's no doubt.

BB: Been through some valleys.

JF: Yes, yes.

BB: Where are you, now, you are, are you officially fired?

JF: No. I am, and that's been in the paper that I am. I'm suspended without pay as of last year in June.

BB: So did the school board vote to fire you, and that firing is pending the employment hearing, is that technically what's going on?

JF: That's correct.

BB: Okay, so currently you are suspended without pay.

JF: Yes

BB: Okay. Kelly, I'm going to have to ask you, Kelly Hamilton is here in, and Kelly is John's attorney. This, this case is a little unique in Ohio, isn't it?

KH: It is an exceptionally,

BB: You're gonna have to get real close. There you go.

KH: It's an exceptionally unique case, Bob. We've done a lot of legal research. There's not another case quite like the one here involving John. In this situation, even the most recent ruling, by the Common Pleas Court judge there, in Knox County, wasn't necessarily a surprise, but it certainly was a disappointment. Essentially, what we have asked is that the school board issue subpoenas to people we want to have testify at the employment hearing. We have had every subpoena honored, up until we subpoenaed two members of the school board in some of the materials that they would have kept notes on.

BB: Wait, now, aren't these basically the accusers?

KH: Absolutely. Not only is John asking to face his accusers, but these two particular school board members, they were involved in this situation well before any investigation took place. And because of that, there's some information that we believe that they have. We have asked that they be subpoenaed, but the school board took the unusual step of taking a look at the subpoenas that we issued and then quashing them. There's no legal reason for it, there's no legal basis for it, there's no reason that they're allowed to do that, but they went ahead and they no, we're just not going to issue subpoenas to ourself. So then we, John, had to file an application, with the Common Pleas Court, pay another $300, to ask the Common Pleas Court to enforce Ohio Revised Code. And the court says you know what, because the subpoenas were never issued, we, the court, do not have jurisdiction. So at this point, I just got done explaining to John and Nancy today, how the different options are that we can proceed. One of them is of course to appeal the Common Pleas Court ruling. We anticipate doing that. Another one is to file a mandeamus action, and then, quite frankly, there's two federal lawsuits going on, and there's a lawsuit by John against the school board. By the time we finally resume hearings again, I think that we're probably going to be a few months away as we wait for this appeal of, of the Common Pleas Court's decision, as we wait for that to be heard.

BB: Aren't, this is employment hearing, right?

KH: Correct.

BB: That's going on right now, that's the technical term, an employment hearing.

KH: Yes, sir.

BB: As provided by law.

KH: Correct.

BB: Isn't it extremely unusal that an employment hearing would drag out this long?

KH: It's very, very unusal. We've had over 20 days of trial. There aren't many attorneys that have a trial to go a week. We've had over 20 days of trial trying to get just answers, all we're trying to get to is the truth. I find it very ironic that we're trying to get to the truth, and the school board is quashing subpoenas that essentially say you know what, we weren't interested in the truth to begin with, that's why we had this one-sided, predetermined investigation, where John wasn't even asked certain questions, where witnesses weren't even interviewed, witnesses that John actually identified, and these people were not even interviewed. Conclusions were made, and we believe that John has been defamed not only by the school board, by the investigators,

BB: Sure.

KH: But by the, the school board's attorney who was involved in crafting this particular investigative report. This is a very unique case and that's part of the reason it's taken so long. Also keep in mind, John has had the benefit of my legal counsel, and along the way we've been able to get some pro bono help from a few other attorneys but only for very specific issues. On the other side, there's 12 different attorneys, and there's about to get a few more because of the number of people that we had to file suit against back in June of this year.

BB: Talk about David and Goliath.

KH: Oh.

BB: I mean, seriously. This is, This is David and Goliath. And Pastor Don, Don Matolyak, has gotten very involved in this as John's pastor. What is the cost of, of the school board, currently? How much has the school board of Mt. Vernon spent so far trying to fire one employee that was Teacher of the Year before they tried to fire him. With 250 pages in his employee file with absolutely nothing negative.

DM: They have spent $308,000 of my taxpayered money, and this is not money that's going to be reimbursed from an insurance company, this is money that should have gone to take care of teachers and provide things for our students, but instead they've spent over $308,000.

BB: $308,000. How do you, how do you spend $308,000?

DM: I don't know, but I do know that the, the school board's attorney has a real good cash cow here, and milking the district for this money, but when he does come to town, I'm sure that's all on the clock, and he stays in the largest room in the hotel and eats in the best restaurants, and that's all on my dime, and so, I mean but the question's been raised over and over is, why is this dragging out so long, well, here's the thing, I don't think that that attorney has any a desire to bring this to a rapid conclusion. He's getting paid for it.

BB: $308,000. John, is that more than you made in a year? Is that a little more than your yearly salary?

JF: Just a little bit!

BB: Yeah, that's what I thought. My goodness.

Our telephone number is 877-BOB-LIVE get on the phone call someone because you've heard about the John Freshwater case. Today, you're hearing the truth.
877-BOB-LIVE. We'd love to have your phone calls. Questions, comments as well. We'll return.

ANN: The Word. 880 WRFD

BB: We're talking today with John Freshwater. Eighth-grade science teacher from Mt. Vernon, Ohio. Who has been in the fight of his life for over a year now. Suspended without pay, had all kinds of accusations made against him, but gentlemen, all three of you if you want to jump in on this, I, you know, is this still primarily about the Bible on the desk?

DM: Yes. Absolutely, it's about the Bible on the desk. And they've had a lot of peripheral things,

BB: This is Don Matolyak, John's pastor

DM: There are a lot of peripheral things that have come out, but the main issue is still, you know, this teacher being permitted to have his personal Bible on his desk. So, we've said that all along, and we still stand on that.

BB: Alright. Now, several teachers, I don't know how many, but several teachers, have put Bibles on their desk in Mt. Vernon to support you, John. Have they not?

JF: They, no. what, you, they put 'em on, they were on already.

BB: Okay.

JF: It's not just they, just didn't put em on then, they had Bibles on their desk. And so,

BB: Did any of them get letters to remove their Bibles from their desk?

JF: You know what, there was a little battle with one, but no. Mean, this is much after the fact, but no, they did not receive letters to remove their Bibles. I was the only one.

KH: And actually, what we have to make certain that we understand here is that they only thought John was, this school board administration thought John was the only one that had a Bible. Then all of a sudden they found out that there were more bibles there. We have people that will testify that the school board president knew those Bibles were there, and he knew those were there in April, May and June.

BB: But singled out, singled out John.

KH: Singled out John, and then, it's very remarkable and I just can't understand the logic of what's transpired on the administration's side, but in March there was a teacher that testified that she in fact had a Bible on her desk along with Bible verses and all kinds of things. The next week after spring break when she came back to school she had a letter telling her to take the Bible and all the other anything that could be construed as religious or biblical, to remove that from her work area. She did. She was also told at that point in time specifically by the superintendent and by the principal if you don't like this then we want you to file the grievance process. Recognize this. John Freshwater was never given that kind of opportunity. He wasn't even in the union. He didn't even know that there was a grievance process, he was just told, this is the way it is, and if you don't like it then, too bad. That teacher, that female teacher, about two and a half to three weeks later received another letter, from the school, that said that you know what, there was a misunderstanding. You can keep your Bible on your desk. So we can't figure out exactly what is going on in this little town and at this school. Because some teachers can keep their Bibles on their desk, some can't.

BB: Well, John maybe the letter telling you that there was just a misunderstanding got lost in the mail.

JF: Yeah, we're still looking. Haven't found it yet.

BB: Alright John, let's deal with some of the other specific accusations. The big one was the branding. I asked you did you ever brand a cross in a student's arm, and your answer was

JF: No.

BB: Did you teach creationism at any time in your class.

JF: No. I don't teach creationism or intelligent design, i teach evolution. With the, you know, creation and intelligent design, both those would be, they're not scientific, that would fall under the base faith. You know based on faith. i teach critically, and I teach evolution, I study evolution. And that's one of my standards, eighth grade standards.

BB: Alright. Now, let's also straighten something out, because if I remember, and this is just my memory, it was released in the newspaper today that one of the teachers after you and in 9th grade, 10th grade, said we had to re-teach john's students about evolution. We had to constantly reteach Mr. Freshwater's students about evolution. But in reality, your students scored higher on the state science test than any other students. Is that, am I, did I get that story right?

JF: Yes, I, and, be honest I am proud of that. My students stepped up to bat on that. They came through and they scored very high, passing

BB: On the Ohio State Science Standards.

JF: The OAT standards, yes, which is what is driven, that's what drives teachers today

BB: So the newspapers reported that your students didn't learn evolution, they were taught creationism, they had to be retaught after they left your class, but the truth is, and you can prove this, correct? Can you prove this?

KH: Absolutely prove it, and what we can prove is empirical. It is, the proof is in the empirical results. 89% of John's students passed the Life Science portions of the Ohio Achievement Test. Not a single other teacher in the Mt. Vernon city school system at that grade level or at any other grade level had a higher success rate than what John did. In fact John's students, even though despite the fact that he had the most students that have special needs, special education plans, etc., John's students achieved a higher grade collectively than all the other grades. Bob, what's so especially important about that is that, if John was confusing kids with creationism and intelligent design or anything else non-evolutionary or, more importantly, not related to the standards, then his students would not have been able to decipher and prevail as well as they did.

BB: You know, the more I learn about this case, the more I shake my head and say, why are we here? I mean seriously, why are, why are we here? I don't get it. I really don't get it. We'l be back with more Bob Burney Live. Our number, 877-BOB-LIVE.

ANN: Call Bob now at 1-877-BOB-LIVE. This is Bob Burney Live.

BB: This is Bob Burney live, and we've been talking with John Freshwater, eighth-grade science teacher, who is suspended without pay because he had a Bible on the corner of his desk and refused to remove it. School board has spent over $300,000 trying to get rid of this good man.

Let's go to the phones, and we've got Joy in Westerville. You're on Bob Burney Live. Welcome!

JB: Hi, this is Joy.

BB: Well, this sounds like my Joy!

JB: It is your Joy.

BB: Ah.

JB: But, I don't want to take up a lot of time, but, I just want to tell you how thrilling it has been to listen to the program today with Mr. Freshwater because I'm so thankful for these three men that are standing true and standing firm and, and taking a stand. The rest of us can have these freedoms as well, and I know they've paid a price for that and I just want to say thank you!

JF: Thank you, thank you, Joy, I appreciate that.

JB: Yeah, and I appreciate Pastor Smith being a support,

DM: that's our little inside joke.

BB: That's a private joke between Don Matolyak and my wife Joy, 'cause nobody can pronounce Matolyak so she just calls him Smith.

JB: Yeah, and I appreciate Pastor Smith being a support to the family and I appreciate attorney Kelly for staying and staying with this case, and I want to tell you, John, I don't know, I hope that you understand what I'm saying. Every morning when I wake up, I go to uncover my parakeet 'cause I cover him up every night, so I go over and I uncover him every morning and I check his food and I check, you know, everything about him and then look at his water, and I say, oh, do you need some fresh water? And when I say fresh water, God clicks it in my mind and says, oh, Mr. Freshwater, make sure you say a prayer for mr. Freshwater today.

JF: Thank you.

BB: John, you're for the birds, I guess.

JF: thanks

JB: Yeah every day, every day I say a prayer for Mr. Freshwater because, you know, I am reminded of him. And I know that God has used that.

BB: Thanks. Thanks, hon. I don't want to cut off my own wife, but we have to take a break. 877-BOB-LIVE. We'll return.

Bob Burney Live on WRFD June 10 - John Freshwater Interview Part 3 of 4

BB: - Bob Burney of Bob Burney Live radio show on WRFD
JF: - John Freshwater, suspended 8th-grade science teacher in Mt. Vernon, OH
DM: - Don Matolyak, pastor of Trinity Worship Center in Mt. Vernon
ANN: - Announcers
NC: - Nancy in Columbus, OH
BG: - Bill in Glenford, OH
LD: - Lori in Delaware, OH (probably Lori Miller, math teacher at Mt. Vernon's middle school).

ANN: The Word - 880 WRFD


BB: Welcome to Bob Burney Live, and of course it is Friday, and that would normally be Open Phone Friday but I have special guests in the studio with me. John Freshwater, eighth grade sun- I keep wanting to say Sunday school teacher, I don't know whether that's a Freudian slip, eighth-grade science teacher in Mt. Vernon that is on unpaid leave and many, myself included, believe unjustly. Don Matolyak, his pastor, is with us in the studio, and Kelly Hamilton, his attorney, had to leave, but gentlemen, thanks you for spending some more time with us this afternoon, I really appreciate you making the trip down from Mt. Vernon to be with us to, to get the truth out.

DM: Our privilege Bob, thank you.

JF: Thank you.

BB: You know, I know it has been frustrating, particularly for you, John, not to be able to defend yourself, not being able to speak when, when vicious things have been said about you and continue to be said. So, I'm thrilled that the muzzle is off a little bit. I know we have to be careful because there is litigation pending so I know we have to be somewhat careful, but I'm grateful that, that you're able to, to talk.

This, this has got to, and I don't want to get too personal, John, but this has got to be tough on you financially. You're suspended without pay. I don't want any details, but how you, how you doing? And I mean, I mean I can't get into the details of your legal offense but if the school board has spent 300, how much Don, 308?

DM: $308,00.

BB: $308,000 trying to get rid of you. You're defending yourself, you have an attorney, obviously there are fees involved. So, without going into a whole lot of personal how, how you doing?

JF: You know, I first have to, I've got a great attorney, and I want to mention that again. Kelly Hamilton's been excellent. He, he has well over a 1000 hours in this

BB: Oh my goodness.

JF: He certainly deserves to be paid. He deserves to be paid. And I, I have, I'm fortunate that I, I do have a farm and I do have some crops that I can sell, okay. It's not lucrative, but it's asparagus and Christmas trees and apples and things like that that I do have. And that does, that has been,

BB: That's a weird combination. Asparagus, asparagus and Christmas trees. No wonder you got fired.

JF: But you know, my clientele was my teachers so you know, I kind of lost a hunk of my clientele there. But, you know, I, we're surviving. I have been overly, overly blessed by my church. My home church has, have shook my hands many times and in their hands there is, there is money. And I have been just, really have been blessed with that. So, and not just my church. There has been, the local churches in Mt. Vernon have been supporting me. There's been some people outside the state, I don't even know who they are, that has heard wind of this, caught wind of this and has been sending some finances my way. I see myself as a blessed man.

BB: Since we've broached this, and we're going to go to the phones, those of you that are holding on the phone, be patient, I'll be with you in just a moment.

Don, how can listeners help support John and his legal defense fund.

DM: We have set up a non-profit corporation.

BB: 'Cause you're not drawing tax dollars, are you,

DM: Absolutely not.

BB: You can't go to the treasury, draw $300,000.

DM: No, we can't go ask for another levy to pay for it, either. But God's People have been very, very good, and we set up a legal defense fund, and the organization's called Community Council for Free Expression. You can just say Community Council. And if you would want to help us, you can make your check out to Community Council, you can send it to us at 1051 Beach street, Mt. Vernon Ohio, 43050. And I guarantee that every penny that comes in is being used for his legal defense and example all these appeals, they take money $300-$400 a pop, so, plus we are trying to, when we get some money in, we, we want to pay Kelly so we're involved in doing that. So,Community Council for Free Expression 1051 Beach street, Mt. Vernon Ohio, and every penny is going to this.

BB: Let's go back to the phones, we've got Nancy in Columbus. Nancy, you're on the air with John Freshwater. Thank you for calling, and welome.

NC: Thank you! Thank you for having this subject, and blessings to you John Freshwater, I really, really admire your constitution and steadfastness, bless your heart.

JF: Thank you, Nancy

DM: Thank you.

NC: Keep it up! Oh, thank you, God. I say lots of prayers for you. And you probably listen every once in a while to Jay Seculo he's, you know, on the radio, with, like you. Well, I have to say that it takes my breath away on several accounts because when I was teaching in China, twelve years ago at the university level, we were allowed to bring in one Bible, we could not talk, I would talk to the students out on the balcony. And they gave me trouble when I was leaving there, and It takes my breath away to think that this is going on in our country,

BB: Yeah.

NC: And also, I talked with the head of, person, who certifies in Washington what the science program is going to look like, and that person said to me other countries are laughing at us, because they, we have this issue, and other countries do not. And she said this is not an issue in her country. That takes my breath away.

BB: Well, it is indeed sad, Nancy, that many, many countries who are even considered socialist have more freedom in their public schools to discuss issues like this than we do in America. I've been in Moldova, which is a communist country, and have actually given my testimony and taught Bible stories in public schools in a communist country, and here we have Mt. Vernon, Ohio, and a man's trying to be fired because he has a Bible on his desk. On his desk, not reading it, you know, not sharing it, just laying on his desk. Nancy, thank you for your support and your prayers. I know that means a lot to John.

NC: Blessings to you, John.

JF: Thank you, Nancy, and just want to make a comment on that is that, also, I did actually teach for one year in China, and I know exactly where you're coming from on some of those things. And I did have the freedom to share over there and my Bible was on my desk there.

NC: Good, good, good.

BB: Alright, Nancy, thank you.

NC: Hey, be blessed.

BB: Thank you, you, too. Bill in Glenford, you're up next on Bob Burney Live with John Freshwater and Don Matolyak. Hi, Bill.

BG: Hello, pastor

DM: Hello.

BG: I got, actually, two-part question, one is for the lawyer. I was wondering, isn't the American judicial system set up to the, with the premise that anybody who is accused of anything has the right to face their accusers. And two, this is a question for John Freshwater himself, I was wondering, you know, since he teaches evolution, what his real belief is about creationism, creationalism, you know, according to the Scriptures. And that's about it.

BB: Alright. Well, Bill, the attorney, Kelly Hamilton, has had to leave, and that's something we're not allowed to discuss, because it may bear on present or future litigation. So, we're forbidden to discuss that, unfortunately. Alright?

BG: Okay.

BB: Alright, Bill. Hey, thanks.

BG: Alright, you're welcome.

BB: Quickly to Lori, in Delaware, Ohio. Hi, Lori. You're on Bob Burney Live. LD

LD: Hey.

BB: Thank you for calling, and welcome.

LD: Well, welcome right back. Hey, Fresh! Hi, Pastor Don.

DM: Hello, Lori

JF: Hello.

BB: Now, wait a minute! Wait a minute! There's something going on here? Lori, it sounds like you know these gentlemen.

LD: Oh, absolutely, in fact I, I teach with John, and I guess, you know, the thing that bothers me the most, and John, God bless you, man, is that I really think it's important that the public really, truly knows that John Freshwater is a man of absolute integrity. This is a man that truly, truly loves the Lord and, and, for the accusations that have been brought out about him are so wrong and so unjustified that for those of us that know John, and for those of us that know the truth it, it is absolutely heartbreaking. And I guess I just, you know, part of me just wants to say, you know, shame on our board of education. Shame on the board of education of Mt. Vernon, that there isn't a single one of them that's gonna step up and say you know what? This is absolutely foolish; this is wrong. This is absolutely wrong what is happening to John Freshwater. And somebody needs to stop it. And I just felt absolutely compelled. John, you know I love you, my heart goes out to you, and you know, I don't know what else to say except, you and I both know that the truth, sooner or later, will finally get out there.

BB: Now, Lori,

LD: It will finally get out there.

BB: You are a teacher in the Mt. Vernon schools?

LD: Yes, yes i am.

BB: Can I ask you a question, and if you don't want to answer, please just tell me it's none of my business. Do you have,

LD: Yes, I have a Bible on my desk

BB: Well, I was gonna ask

LD: Absolutely.

BB: And do you understand the possible consequences?

LD: Absolutely. Yes, yep.

BB: And it's still gonna stay there?

LD: It's okay. Absol- I've been told it's allowed to stay there.

BB: Alright.

LD: I've been told that it is allowed to stay there, and stay it will. So, and, again, that just goes to show the total injustice that is happening with Freshwater, which is just this, it's such a foolish waste of money and the wrongness that is being done to such a good, good man. So,

BB: Well, Lori, thank you for your call.

DM: Thanks for your courage, even, in calling today.

BB: Absolutely, thank you so much, yeah, thank you for your courage not only in calling, but by taking your own personal stand in the Mt. Vernon schools. Thank you and God bless you.

LD: Alright. Same right back to you.

JF: Thank you, Lori

DM: Thank you, Lori.

LD: Uh-huh, bye bye.

BB: John, you might want to know, just as we go into this break, when all of this broke, I got probably a dozen emails from teachers all over the state of Ohio who said: "I have not had a Bible on my desk, but from now on I will." And you have encouraged them to do that, and because of this, teachers all over the state of Ohio have placed a Bible on their desk, willing to take the consequences. We'll be right back

ANN: Find your new church home in your neighborhood with WRFD's Church Quest. Now available at

BB: This is Bob Burney Live, a Friday edition, and in the studio with me today, John Freshwater, the embattled and I think very courageous eighth-grade science teacher. I got one email, John, from one of our listeners, and it wasn't mean-spirited by any means, but it was kind of castigating me for only giving one side of the story today. Well, my response to that is the other side has already been given in the press. You know, your side not has exactly been communicated through the news media. And I think that the other side has been well published. And I think we are giving the other side today. Am I exaggerating that, Don? I'm not gonna ask John that.

DM: You're exactly right on. We've had so much of the other stuff out there that I believe that this is equal time, so to speak.

BB: Yeah. Yeah. This is the other side.

And by the way, there is breaking news down at the state house. We're not going to take a lot of time to talk about this, but evidently, the stalemate on the state budget has been broken. A deal has been reached on the state budget. And as a result, guess what, Ohio? We're gonna have thousands of very addictive video lottery terminals at Ohio's seven race tracks. It's gonna be a done deal.

DM: Mmm hmm.

BB: Now, when I first read that, and I want to talk about John Freshwater today, I don't want to spend a whole lot of time on this, but first read the headline I thought oh, Bill Harris caved. And I consider Bill a friend, the president of the Ohio senate, I think he's a good man. And my heart just sank and I thought, he caved; that's not really true. They have forced, Bill Harris and the senate Republicans have forced Governor Strickland to agree to implement the video lottery terminals by executive order. In other words, it will be his single decision, one man signing a piece of paper putting increased gambling in the state of Ohio. A man who campaigned,

DM: That's right.

BB: On no increased gambling. And it will be his signature that will bring it about. In return, the legislature will put forth legislation to legislate the slot machines. And I think that they were at an impasse. It was more than a Mexican stand-off. And I think that the governor blinked because he said that he absolutely never would implement it through an executive order. But if the news report that I'm getting, that I'm looking at right now is correct, he is going to sign an executive order, and then the legislature will implement legislation to regulate the increased gambling. So I'm not happy with that, but at least the senate Republicans did not cave completely.

Now. Don, you're a pastor and I know you're concerned about this gambling thing. Let me look through my stack of stuff here just real quick. You know, this just came,

DM: Right.

BB: Today, you know the ink isn't even dry on getting the slot machines only in the, only in the seven race tracks here in Ohio.

DM: Right.

BB: Okay. Now, Don, I want you to look at this. This is Ohio House of Representatives,

DM: Okay.

BB: The office of Joseph F. Kuzira. Look at the co-sponsor request and the subject of the legislation he wants to pass.

DM: "Co-Sponsor Request: Expanded VL, video lottery terminal opportunity" and, looking here for co-sponsor, that,

BB: Yeah. It's a co-sponsor request.

DM: Yes.

BB: From this legislator.

DM: Yes.

BB: And he's saying,

DM: "I plan on introducing legislation which would substantionally expand the types of establishments allowed, allowed to bid on video lottery terminals beyond race tracks. So they want to go beyond the race tracks, now.

BB: Oh yeah. Oh yeah.

DM: Yeah.

BB: You know, the governor said,

DM: Right.

BB: The governor said "only the seven race tracks. That's all."

DM: Right.

BB: The ink is not even dry,

DM: Exactly.

BB: And we have right here, this just came to me today, this afternoon, where legislation is now going to be introduced to expand it beyond the race tracks, because it says "The expanded list would include businesses, hotels, restaurants, other establishments with liquor licenses, bowling alleys, because many," - and I'm quoting - "many businesses in these categories are well-suited to offer VLT gambling in a safe and economically conducive environment. It is the goal of offering VLTs to make them available to the public and increase the state of Ohio's revenue. Furthermore, I do not believe in giving race tracks a monopoly." It's not fair!

DM: Oh, really. What are they going to do, take it to Mt. Vernon middle school next to help pay for firing John?

BB: You knew. You knew this was going to happen.

DM: Sure, absolutely, Bob.

BB: You knew it was going to happen. The governor, you know, I mean, just a month ago, thirty days ago, the governor says never.

DM: Right.

BB: Those video lottery terminals, and I have quotes from him, from just a month ago, "they don't pay off."

DM: Right.

BB: "We seced research in other states and they don't pay off."

DM: And he campaigned on that, Bob.

BB: "They don't bring the money in that they promise. No, no, no, no." And less than 30 days later, the governor says "Well, we don't have any choice. But we're only going to do it at the race tracks."

DM: Hmmmm.

BB: And already,

DM: Right.

BB: I mean, before this is even a done deal, officially, we have legislation that is going to be presented to the Ohio House of Representatives, well if you do it at the race tracks, you gotta do it everywhere else.

DM: Pandora's box, Pandora's box.

BB: Welcome to Las Vegas east of the Missisippi. Just don't you love Ohio politics and Ohio school boards. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to take away,

DM: That's alright, Bob. No.

BB: But this is breaking news, it just came out. Just came out. Alright, I'd love to hear from you, and questions, comments for John Freshwater. 877-BOB-LIVE.

ANN: This is Bob Burney Live

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Bob Burney Live on WRFD June 10 - John Freshwater Interview Part 4 of 4

BB: - Bob Burney of Bob Burney Live radio show on WRFD
JF: - John Freshwater, suspended 8th-grade science teacher in Mt. Vernon, OH
DM: - Don Matolyak, Freshwater's pastor at Trinity Worship Center in Mt. Vernon
JW: - Jason Whitt, Bob Burney Live producer, host of Mid-day Magazine on WRFD
ANN: - Announcers on WRFD
SC: - Sam in Columbus, OH
DC: - David in Columbus, OH

ANN: Pastors: Get news, information and insight from pastors for pastors. Sign up
to become a Very Important Pastor at

BB: It's a Friday edition of Bob Burney Live. And I've got guests in the studio. John Freshwater, and Don Matolyak, his pastor. And we're going to go back to the phones, but Jason, are you doing anything tomorrow, or are you just laying around the house watching sports all day?

JW: Well, that'll be after 1 o'clock.

BB: From 10 to 1, Jason and I both are going to be at chick-fil-As. I will be at the Polaris chick-fil-A on Sankis. I've got the Wheel of Fun, all kinds of things to give away, I, I don't think Jason will have anything, but,

JW: I will have all the same tickets, and the advantage of not having you, out at the chick-fil-A on Hilliard Road

BB: See, folks. You've got to come to Sankis. Because if not, Jason will never let me hear the end of it. Anyway, we're going to have a good time. 10-1 tomorrow, and we do have lots of neat things to give away. And I'm looking forward to meeting many of you, and I'm sure, Jason, you are looking forward to meeting the three people who come by to see you tomorrow.

JW: Hey, the more the merrier. If there are three, then that's two more than I expected.

BB: 10 - 1 tomorrow, and where are you going to be?

JW: I'm going to be at the chick-fil-A at the Market at Hilliard, that's over on Hilliard Rome Road, not too far off of 70.

BB: Alright, and I will be at the Polaris chick-fil-A on Sankis Boulevard, and we'll both be there 10-1 tomorrow.

JW: Worst comes to worst, we get chicken sandwiches to eat.

BB: Alright. John, let's go back to the phone. We've got Sam in Columbus who has some comments for you. Sam, welcome. You're on the air on Bob Burney Live with John Freshwater.

SC: Thank you, Bob. It's, it's cost the Mt. Vernon school board $300k to this point, what has it cost Mr Freshwater?

BB: Don, you wanna handle that?

DM: Lemmee, I'll answer as best I can. It's actually cost John everything, but you know.

SC: Or is that anybody's business? It may not be, I don't know.

DM: Well, I'll tell you that the school, the Board of Education's paid out $308,000. We have been able to raise through the Community Council for Free Expression a fraction of that, and, probably 10% maybe of that i don't have the exact figures in front of me. So, we have, we've done our best, and, as John said earlier, Kelly Hamilton deserves to be paid, and by the way, the school board's attorney I believe is getting $400 / hour. So, Kelly has over 1000 hours, actually more like 1100 hours in on this case to this point.

BB: Whoa.

DM: So, it's not even close.

BB: Is it, we know that John has made a tremendous sacrifice financially. He is on unpaid leave, he's suspended without pay, so we know he's made a tremendous financial sacrifice. And again, it's none of my business, but would it be correct to say that Kelly Hamilton has made a tremendous financial sacrifice to be involved in this endeavor.

DM: He sure has, absolutely, Bob. And Kelly has, he has not been in this for money. He has made a huge sacrifice. And I believe that there are cases that he has probably not even taken because of this case, that he would have been paid handsomely.

BB: Sure, sure. And the school board has how many attorneys at their disposal? Did I hear Kelly say 12?

DM: At least 12. And because there are more people that, that will need to be represented because of the lawsuits out, so there'll be considerably more. Bob, you would be amazed hearing room, to see what goes on, because over on, I'm sitting facing the referee and I've been there virtually every day sitting in the little gallery, and to my left is John Freshwater and, and then there's one attorney from the insurance company, and he's sitting there; but then there's only one other attorney sitting there, and that's Kelly Hamilton. On the other side, we have Mr. Millstone from the Board of Education, we have, generally there's an insurance attorney, then there's an attorney for the boy's family who claims that he was branded, and sometimes there's even another attorney sitting in there, so it's almost like, yeah, take, like you said David vs Goliath, and now in this other, they're all the more attorneys - 12 to 1.

BB: Does that help, Sam?

SC: Is there any idea what this final, total cost is gonna be?

BB: For John?

SC: Yeah, if this was gonna be totaled up today. What would it be?

DM: Wow. We, we have no clue, really but yeah, if Kelly has had a thousand, 1100 hours in, I'm going to say that at least half a million, $300,000 should be going to Kelly

BB: Which is not.

DM: Right. Which is not.

BB: Which is not, but it should be.

SC: So now, now when the Mt Vernon board loses because it's a unfair trial, will they pay Kelly what he's worth?

DM: You know, in the settlements, and I'm, I'm not the one that really knows all the details in this, but in a settlement you know, yeah, we hope to, to recoup legal fees for Kelly Hamilton absolutely. So, and that would come,

BB: And by the way,

DM: I believe, from an insurance company.

BB: Yeah, okay, thanks. Alright Sam, hey thanks for the call. Yeah, go ahead.

SC: One more question on the school board. Now, do they have the money in hand to pay what, what they need to pay their attorney and Kelly?

BB: Well, to my,

SC: Where will that come from?

BB: They have, they are paid up, correct?

DM: They are paid up. They have paid out of their funds $308,000 plus.

BB: That's how much has been paid

DM: Yes.

BB: Not, not billed, but that has actually been paid

DM: Right. The bill is going up every day.

BB: Out of their coffers

DM: Out of my tax dollars

BB: yeah

SC: Okay.

BB: Alright?

SC: One more, one more general question. If anyone there knows the answer, I'm not sure, but, can Mr. Strickland be removed from office for breaking a campaign promise?

BB: You know, I don't think so. You know, that's really weird, Sam, because just yesterday I was thinking about an effort to remove him from office, but lawsuits - if, when this deal is done, and Governor Strickland starts expanded gambling through an executive order, there're a couple of organizations here in the state of Ohio file that are going to file a lawsuit against him and against the state, stating that he does not have the constitutional authority to expand gambling. So, we'll see where that goes. So. Sam, good talk to ya, thanks for the call, I appreciate it.

Again, our telephone number is 877-BOB-LIVE. Visiting with John Freshwater, Don Matolyak. We'll be back with more of your phone calls and comments from my guests as well.

ANN: From Cincinnati to Canton. From Toledo to Portsmouth. This is Bob Burney Live.

ANN: The Word. 880 WRFD.

BB: Thank you again for joining me on a special, and I think very significant edition of Bob Burney Live. I thin it's so important that John Freshwater have the opportunity to tell his side of this story. He's not been able to respond because of legal restrictions, and I understand that, but, John, I'm just so grateful that you were wiling to come today and bare your heart and soul with our, with our listeners. Now, I've gotta ask a question, the hearings

DM: Yes.

BB: Right now, have been going on forever. They started right after Noah landed. I'm sure that's got to seem like that to you, John. How long have they been going on, the hearings, actually?

DM: Since October, and I believe we've had over 20 days of hearing to this point.

BB: Okay, the hearings have been going on since October, and this is you appealing the firing, correct?

JF: Yes.

DM: Yes.

BB: This is an employment hearing,

JF: Yes.

BB: That you legally have a right to. Okay. Now, since the school board brought about this action, they've obviously got to be very, very concerned about what's going on in these hearings and how their money is being spent. How many of the school board members are usually at these hearings?

DM: Bob, I have been there every day of the hearing and not one day has any member of the Board of Education showed up at the hearing.

BB: You're kidding.

DM: Not one day.

BB: You're kidding.

DM: not kidding at all

BB: So, the people who initiated this action.

DM: Right.

BB: Have not been to even one hearing?

DM: Not at all. And, see, they're getting all of their information about the, about this, from guess what? Their attorney! He's telling them how well the case is going. He's informing them of those things. They're not coming at all to, to show up. And, I mean they have brought nothing, I mean, they have no first-hand knowledge,

BB: See, that did it. Don, John, it's a good thing I don't live in Mt. Vernon. If I was a taxpayer, and I was watching this circus go on, I mean, Mt. Vernon's not that big a town.

DM: No, it's not.

BB: $300000

DM: Correct.

BB: And we're a long ways from being done.

DM: We're a long ways from being done.

BB: Is it possible this could reach a half-million dollars?

DM: Very much so, Bob. The way it looks now, and if they continue in this, this vein, half a milion is not in any way, shape or form implausible.

BB: And John, maybe I shouldnt ask you this. Seriously, maybe I shouldn't. But this has gotta rip your heart out. Because you love the kids. You love the schools. You've invested 21 years of your life. And to see $300,000 being flushed down the toilet,

DM: Right.

BB: To get rid of you, how do you, how do you handle that, John?

JF: Well, you know what? I, be honest I really do miss teaching. All I want is the truth to come out, and I wanna get back in the classroom teaching again.

BB: You'd be willing to go back in the Mt Vernon schools,

JF: Yes!

BB: After all they've done to you.

JF: Yes!

BB: you'd we willing to go back, after, after all they've done to you. You'd go back, because of the kids. To teach the kids.

JF: Yes, I would love to be back there with my Bible on the corner of the desk.

DM: By the way, it should be known that John Freshwater asked the Board of Education to show up at the, to be there, and they have not been there. And something else. In the previous segment we were talking about money. I think it really, yeah, John and Nancy have put everything on the line, but, it should be known that Kelly Hamilton will be paid in full,

JF: Yes, he will.

DM: One way or another, and that, I mean, John and Nancy, their commitment has been all the way through this that we you know, we will do what we need to do. And they have committed to, to paying Kelly regardless.

BB: Wow. Let's go back to the phones. David in Columbus, you're on the air with John Freshwater. Hi, David.

DC: Hi Bob. John, you know, I'll pray for you that you get your job, and, you know, that I think that everyone out in the listening audience ought to pray for you too, because,

JF: Thank you.

DC: Because having a Bible on the desk, I think that's important. And, you know, a week ago last Thursday I was down to OEA building, 225 East Broad, I guess that's Ohio Education Association.It's, it's some type of union, right? Are you familiar with them?

JF: Yes. That is,

DC: I heard that they were pro-choice and pro-homosexual. And we've all, you know, pro-life signs down there and handed out Bible tracts. And, but, you know, do you have much knowledge of that group, OEA

DM: Ah, lemme just state, take this question because really, John, that's not really good for John to come in and answer that.

DC: Oh, okay.

DM: But, but know this, you know, we, I appreciate people that are standing for, for biblical truth, but, I don't know that John really knows much as much about what they stand for, because he's never been a member of the union.

BB: And that really doesn't bear on this issue anyway, so,

DM: Yeah.

BB: We gotta take a break. We'll be back with the final moments of today's program with John Freshwater and Don Matolyak.

ANN: Call 1-877-BOB-LIVE. Bob Burney Live. Listen. Think. Discern.

ANN: Daily Devotionals. Bible Search. And your own personalized Bible. Just click on Bible study tools at

BB: Closing moments of today's program with John Freshwater. John, I'm gonna ask you two quick questions. We don't have a whole lot of time. In hindsight, if when the school board first demanded that you remove the Bible from your desk, if you had complied and just taken that Bible off your desk, do you think the rest of this would have happened?

JF: No. No.

BB: Okay. So, in hindsight, John, you've lost your job, you've lost your livelihood, and obviously 18 months have been the most difficult time of your entire life and for your family. Just a simple little thing of taking that Bible of your desk. In hindsight, if you knew that all of this would go away, would you have taken the Bible off your desk?

JF: No i would not, it's, like I say it's my inspiration. Its what guides me.

BB: It's that important.

JF: That, it's that important.

BB: Principle is that important to you.

JF: Yes. I was raised that way, and I, that is me.

BB: Listen, folks, you need to pray for John Freshwater, because if his rights are taken away, yours are next.

DM: That's right.

BB: Yours are next. Now Don, quickly, in the final seconds, give us the address where people can contribute to the legal defense fund.

DM: They can help us out by sending to Community Council, 1051 Beech Street, Mt. Vernon, Ohio. 1051 Beech Street, Mt. Vernon, Ohio. 43050

BB: And if you want to send an encouraging note to John Freshwater, send it to me, And I'll make sure that John receives it. Gentlemen, we're praying for you. Thank you for being here.

JF: Thank you Bob.

DM: Thank you, Bob.

BB: And John, thank you for taking a stand for all of us because that's what you're doing.

Have a wonderful weekend. Please, be in a good Bible-believing church. If you don't have one, make this the weekend you find one. And wherever you go and whatever you do, remember whose you are.

ANN: Listen. Think. Discern. The Word. 880 WRFD.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Scientific American Podcast 1/7/10 "Alan Alda's Human Spark"

[The podcast started with them talking about how Alda had been reading Scientific American and other popular science magazines cover to cover for 50 years, that Alda came from what is now called a New Age family background, but that his years of reading scientific articles had led him to a skeptical, pro-science viewpoint]

SciAm: Speaking of doors opening, how did you wind up hosting "Scientiific American Frontiers" all those [11] years?"

Alda: I got a letter from the producers asking me if I was interested in hosting the show. And I .. my guess was that what they really wanted me to do was to come on camera at the beginning and say "Welcome to the show!" and then to get off camera and read a narration, and I really wasn't interested in that. But I said to them "if you're interested, what really interests me is if I can talk to the scientists, if I can interview them." Because then I knew that I'd be spending the whole day, not just on camera but the rest of the day, having a chance to talk with them about their work, and that really interested me a lot. And they took a big chance doing that, because they didn't know how it would work out. I wasn't a professional interviewer. I was just curious.
But what was really good, and none of us expected, was that what would happen was that it would become an improvisation where I would use a couple of skills I have as an actor, one of which is to listen, and I would get to exercise my curiosity. And that became a dynamic interaction between me and the scientists, where they really had to talk to me and explain to me what they did so that I understood it. I wasn't there to just lob questions to them so that they could just make a lecture to the camera about what they did. They actually had to make me understand. And that changed their voice, it changed their face. It engaged them, and made them more engaging. And we just stumbled into that because I was curious in the first place, and wanted to be able to talk with them. But it was the conversation that changed them.

SciAm: Well, you've just been teaching scientists some of these improvisational acting techniques in an effort to get them to communicate better.

Alda: I have. It's kind of an experiment that I've been doing. Partly because I realized how much it benefited most of the scientists to get engaged in a conversation and not to go into lecture mode. It made them so much more appealing and easier to understand, their work easier to understand. So I thought, I benefited in my life as an actor from studying improvisation and everybody I know who has improvised for a certain period of time has become more charismatic. Every actor. So I thought, well, experiment with this. I had a friend, a teacher who taught at USC and I was gonna be at USC one day so I said "why don't you ask 20 engineering students to come in, prepared to talk about their work for about 2 minutes?"

SciAm: You picked engineering students because you figured they'd be the most obtuse?

Alda: Not necessarily! I just knew that they had an engineering school there. So, yeah, sure, get me in trouble with engineers now! So they came in and they talked about their work, each for about two minutes. And then we did about 3 hours of improvising games. Which are very rigorous. They're not just about getting up and making things up. They go by strict rules which you have to follow. At the end, I asked them to get up again and talk for a minute or so about their work. And it was amazing, the difference. There was a real difference; they were much more conversational, they made eye contact, their language was a little more personal. I did ask them to be more personal, so it wasn't just a result of the improvising. But they were more engaged. So now, I've done it a couple of other places - just did a 6-week workshop at Stonybrook, and we had physicists and biologists, so I also did it at Brookhaven Research Center. And I've been videotaping these sessions, because I don't want to waste anybody's time, including my own. If it's going to work, I want to have some record that it's working, and how it worked, and why it worked. And most importantly, to what extent is there carry-over. I mean, they may get better after one or two sessions. And maybe because they're jumping around - they're getting physically energized. Or maybe the improvising does, over a period of time, make them more available to themselves and to the people they're talking to. So we're going to do more of this, and we'll see if it has a lasting effect.

(This is a transcription I made 1/20/10 - the SciAm podcast is available via iTunes Music Store for free)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Thursday, March 23, 2006

My Comment on the new WaPo Plagiarnazi

I left this at Atrios/ but i thought it was enlightening enough to COPY AND PASTE here.
[on Ben Domenech/Red State/WaPo/etc.]

I almost did not believe this. Then I thought, hey, Self, you used to make a living plagiarizing!

And so I did. I was a radio ad copywriter. Pretty damned soul-destroying whorish work, if you actually did it. Plus, who can write an ad saying something nice about plastic awnings or overpriced brand name sneakers? Not me, for sure.

So from week one, I wrote a few ads with a mind to what the inbred people running the place (mostly a sports and bad music station) probably wanted (basically I was acting, which I'm reasonable at). And I listened to radio ads all the time (while I read dime novels). By the end of the week I had accumulated dozens, almost a hundred, phrase bits, some medium long, many of them very cliche. I then simply mixed them together at semi random and turned in the ads.

I tried to avoid the top ten phrases being stolen by the other ads (unless it was something expected like "step into summer with our new shoes" or what have you).

They said I was a gifted copywriter but had a bad, anti-business attitude and was surly, so I didn't last.

Still, in the end analysis, they never noticed that the competing ads were being recycled by me (I was reading a lot of Wm. Burroughs at the time, so it felt like detournement). After my first week, I never once wrote an original sentence. it was 100% plagiarized.

Moral: Ben Domenech should write ad copy, and I should be the WaPo Moral Values and Heartland Dreams weblog editor!



Here I am even plagiarizing myself. It feels gooooood.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Don't use the phony right-wing "blogosphere ecosystem"

I won't even link to it.

Check this out:
Top 4 Conservative Blogs - Via
Powerline - 590,127
RedState - 288,135
HughHewitt - 263.388
Wizbang - 188,841

Top 4 Liberal Blogs - Via
DailyKos - 4,053,290
Democratic Underground - 1,434,904
Crooks and Liars - 1,282,182
Talking Points Memo - 990,132

And this:

Boing Boing: A Directory of Wonderful Things
Last updated 11 hours ago.
68,124 links from 20,298 sites
Last updated 11 hours ago.
85,560 links from 15,323 sites
PostSecret is an ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a homemade postcard.

By frank warren. Last updated 1 day ago.
21,271 links from 12,907 sites
Daily Kos: State of the Nation
Last updated 11 hours ago.
50,127 links from 10,760 sites
Last updated 1 day ago.
27,380 links from 8,916 sites
Last updated 1 day ago.
30,841 links from 8,506 sites
The Huffington Post

By Arianna Huffington. Last updated 1 day ago.
41,065 links from 8,353 sites
Official Google Blog
Last updated 1 day ago.
17,119 links from 7,224 sites
Thought Mechanics

By Theron Parlin and Matthew Good. Last updated 16 hours ago.
8,351 links from 7,152 sites
Michelle Malkin

By Michelle Malkin. Last updated 13 hours ago.
42,345 links from 6,852 sites

And now compare that to the right-wing biased "blogosphere ecosystem." This mendacious, often tweaked (and usually in favor of con blogs) list lets our mass media pretend sites like instapundit or EVEN LITTLE GREEN FOOTBALLS are popular and influential:

1.Michelle Malkin (3249) details (3181) details
3.Power Line (2225) details
4.Daily Kos: State of the Nation (2165) details
5.Boing Boing: A Directory of Wonderful Things (1995) details
6.lgf: germans at the alamo (1985) details
7.Captain's Quarters (1878) details
8.Hugh Hewitt (1577) details
9.Mudville Gazette (1431) details
10.Talking Points Memo: by Joshua Micah Marshall (1409) details

The fraud running the list program claims "liberals" (always "liberals") "game" his system, and that justifies him tweaking it to make conservative sites look more popular. If you are, in fact, inclined to "game" this farce, I suggest, "ignore" would work better. Your more popular weblogs are enabling the promotion of less popular right-wing blogs to your disadvantage. Just say no to the blogosphere ecology.

Monday, February 27, 2006

And another commentator who gets things

Marxism Through the Looking Glass by Jane Smiley

So, who's surprised that citizens, wherever in the world that they happen to reside, are to serve the interests of capital? Not me. Not George Bush. Not Thomas Friedman. Not Paul Krugman. Who's surprised that the citizens didn't realize that? George Bush, but not me. From their opposite sides of the globalization aisle, Krugman and Friedman aren't so surprised, either, but they're sorry about it.

All three are promoters and apologists for globalization, and so they support the Dubai Ports deal. The first premise of globalization is that capital can, will, and must move freely around the world. Nothing should stop a sale or get in the way of market efficiency. George Bush has shown over and over in the last five years what he is willing to fight for, and it is capitalism. Sometimes, no doubt in his own mind most of the time, he identifies capitalism with the US, the company of which he is president. But other times, the US seems to defy him, and to disagree with him about the right thing to do, and then he reveals that he doesn't understand a thing about the citizenry, or about the differences between living and shopping, or governing and deal-making, and, further, that he doesn't care one iota about the US when it is in disagreement with pure capitalism.
It seems to come as a surprise to all three of these globalizers that human society is not and does not seem to most people to be simply an outgrowth of a particular economic idea, capitalism, so they should pay attention to the symbolic power of turning our ports over to Dubai. Most people do not mind shopping at Walmart but that doesn't mean that they think of themselves simply as Walmart shoppers, or that they feel that their interests and Walmart's interests must necessarily be the same. At the end of the Cold War, capitalists declared, with much chest-pounding, that they had won. But, in fact, they did not give up a Marxist analysis of what makes us human. They continued to believe that people are essentially economic agents, they just thought that the value of capital had beat out the value of labor. According to Francis Fukuyama, lots of the neo-con theorists started out as Marxists. In fact, these guys didn't change their spots at all-they just changed their allegiance to the winning side.

What, therefore, should not come as a surprise to the citizens, and this includes our soldiers in Iraq, is the fact that they have value only insofar as they are useful to Bush and his capitalist "base". From
Bush's point of view, every citizen is a worker who should work for as little as possible. It doesn't matter, as far as he is concerned, whether the worker's employer is Dubai or the US or whether the worker himself is American or Chinese or Indian. Capital has its requirements and those come first-before making a decent society in the US (of course), and before national security, and before patriotism. The capitalists are perfectly willing to use patriotism (and religion) for their own ends (say, to gain control of Iraqi oil by going to war on other pretexts), but that doesn't mean that when the time comes to give up maximum profit, patriotic or religious concerns hold any weight in their deal-making.

These days, the news is full of conservative recanters-William Buckley, Fukuyama, Bruce Bartlett. They are alleging feelings of surprise and disquiet at the failure of the war machine to subdue Iraq. But in fact, of course, as progressives have known all along, the debacle of the Bush administration, from beginning (stealing the 2000 election) to end (importing a company from Dubai to run the ports),
with all the stations along the way (tax breaks for the rich, crony corruption, stupid and criminal war in Iraq, badly conceived education policies, bungled medicare drug bill, deaf, dumb, and blind policies on
global warming and other environmental issues, voting machine fraud, media payola, gutting of the federal agencies) is the natural outcome of corporate conservative capitalism, and especially the ideas of Ronald Reagan and his own cronies. What we have now is what you get when businessmen run the government like a corporation-short term thinking, public relations as policy, repeated attempts to do things on the cheap, careless attitudes toward things like torture and spying, contempt for everyone outside the inner circle, aggressiveness and secretiveness, lack of accountability, and just plain selfish arrogant ignorance. Who knows whether their intentions are good or not? It could
be that, after a generation of free-market orthodoxy, they just don't know any better.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Capitalism is a sickness

Why did Ayn Rand hate folk music?

Why does Bill O'Reilly rant about the ACLU in nearly the exact same sentences Hitler used to describe communists, labor organizers, Russians, and Jews?

In neither case are the alleged explanations the honest truth. Ayn Rand hated folk music because it was inherently harder to privatize. She talked about it's naiivete, religiousity, endorsement of rural communalism and pastoralism, etc. etc., none of which are traits of all folk music. What makes folk music folk music is the fact that it's built out of other folk music. And economic royalism has decreed that music needs to be commoditized, privatized, and locked up. In other words, sheer economic determinism made Ayn Rand speak for or against anything.

Why Bill O'Reilly attacks the ACLU more than any other group is made immediately clear looking at Fox News' history of attempting censorship by lawsuit. They sued T-shirt makers who made fun of them. O'Reilly and Fox News sued Al Franken for mocking their fair-and-balanced slogan. They even started to sue Fox itself because the "news crawl" on cartoon TV sets in The Simpsons mocked the Fox News chiron. In all but the last case, whenever Fox has tried to harrass critics into silence the ACLU has stepped in on behalf of the victims and shut Fox down. Therefore, O'Reilly's money source and his book sales determine what he hates.

Capitalism has not been with us that long. Only since the post-war era, in fact. Before that you had some of the components, but they weren't welded into an ideology. Slavery existed all over the world for a long time as a necessary evil, but no one turned it into a virtue until it became bound into the nationalism of the American South before and during the Civil War. That slavery-as-ideology is similar to what capitalism really is.

In the 1940s the US noticed that command economies - essentially still on a wartime footing - were rapidly reindustrializing in the Soviet Union and most of eastern Europe. It was clear that both the communists and the Kuomintang in China were also going to follow a command economy of some sort, with Chiang Kai-Shiek leaning towards Mussolini's corporatism and Mao imitating Lenin and Stalin. US The State Department has documents showing that Marxism was seen as a real ideological threat already as the war ended. It provided a simple analysis of politics, war, economics and government. Economic conditions trumped everything else, and commerce had to be subdued by government in every sphere of activity. The United States government consciously decided to support a counter-ideology, which we now know as capitalism. As a mirror-image of Marxism-Leninism, it would agree that economics was the only "real" dimension of human activity, the one that controlled and created all the others. But it would fanatically invert the central Marxist doctrine that commerce was always subordinate to government. Government must always be subordinate to commerce, and everything else would fall into place magically. Of course, most places in the world found Marxism more inherently acceptable, so the ideology was modified to say that, just as communism was something that would be arrived at for real only after generations of building socialism in the Marxist ideology, real capitalism would only be arrived at after first establishing increasing economic freedom, quite often through mercantilism, foreign aid and command economies.

This simple inversion of Marxism-Leninism had a parallel in the domestic US political culture. The "neoconservatives," among other features, were people who had believed, crudely, that Marxism had all the answers and Russia was always right - either Russia as it was (Stalin) or Russia as it ought to have been (Trotsky). Disillusioned - or just feeling disenfranchised - they hadimmediately flipped to a posture of "capitalism has all the answers and America is always right" (later changing to "Israel is always right" after the 1960s started).

The earlier "anti-Bolshevism" of the US government had been in the form of Red Scares, with Bolshevism seen as anarchy and mass murder of the deserving elites by a Jacobin mob. That had blended, in the 1930s, with a strong attraction of fascism for the rich and powerful of America. That culminated in an attempted coup against Roosevelt in the mid-30s, as Smedley Butler reported. What I believe the business elites were most impressed with was that Mussolini and Hitler were able to lead the masses to act against their interests and in the interests of rich elites without and overdependence on religion. Clearly, Hitler and Mussolini cited the Church and the Nation nonstop, but they also adapted the language of the left dissidents and modified it to twist their masses into ideological knots. One of the most important things they accomplished was creating enough confusion that people couldn't tell the ideologues paid to do the rich man's bidding from the spontaneous ones. Astroturf, as we call it now, was what brought fascism to power.

Thus, by the 1940s and 50s there was US government support for a "capitalist" and specifically "anti-Marxist" ideology. There was tremendous elite support for it - Herbert Hoover repurposed his Stanford Institute on War, Peace and Revolution as an explicit source of "capitalist" propaganda, making it the very first "think tank" that was only for propaganda purposes (FDR's were for problem-solving).

It was against that background that the coming to prominence of the Young Americans for Freedom, Barry Goldwater, Ayn Rand and her Objectivism, and what became the Libertarian Party is easy to understand. In essence, they were all beneficiaries of astroturf. While they pretended to attack the State Department, out of sheer demagoguery, in fact they were in a tight alliance of the State Department, the Defense Department, the OSS/CIA/NSA, and so on, all shoulder to shoulder in complete agreement on goals but only quibbling over tactics (with the astroturf rabble rousers deliberately always advocating impossible and insane tactics to look like true rebels).

By the 1970s, elites and government agents were so successful at fooling the American people and the masses of much of the world that they had become complacent. That's the true meaning behind the (Lewis) Powell memo. Justice Powell claimed capitalism had no ideological defenders, unlike Marxism, and that it needed such a defender, since Marxism was being advocated all over society and government. Of course, that was completely false. In H.L. Mencken's time, as he noted, anything outside of the most pro-business, pro-rich, pro-corporate economic teaching was completely banned from American universities, and only against that background did the presence of some left, liberal, and even Marxist professors (and only a few, most not connected with economics courses) on American campuses later on become a profusion. More importantaly, as I have indicated, Marxism had a few paltry impoverished defenders here and there, and capitalism had a huge machine built in behind it.

So Powell, not an idiot, could not have meant what he wrote. What he was saying was that he felt the capitalism machine was getting slack and complacent and that its propaganda would suffer, and people would start turning against the super-rich and the multinational corporations and the large financial institutions, and start clamoring for relief. Therefore, to head that off, the Cold War would have to be revamped, more money poured directly not just into capitalist propaganda, but into a group of parasites whose only career would be propagandizing the masses on behalf of capitalism, and luring working class people into supporting pro-capitalist policies through cultural conflict. One of the totally intentional ironies of complete business control of America's media, educational system and historical training is that no average Americans were ever exposed to Antonio Gramsci (who far predates people like Guy DeBord or Marshall McCluhan), but clearly the elites and their defenders were close students of his theories.

We all know the fallout from that - Thomas Frank's What's the Matter with Kansas? deals with how well the culture wars played out. The Cold War was indeed ramped up for no reason other than elite interests. Then, just before Reagan and Bush yanked that out from under the masses, a false existential threat from terrorism* was created in the 1980s. The elites and their representatives embraced deficit spending on the military-industrial complex not just for its own sake, but as a strategy to privatize the social network, reduce the educational level of the masses to nonthreatening levels, and create enough unemployment and underemployment to assure the death of unions and the supremacy of the elites, as well as slowly dissolving the middle class.

When I say that capitalism is a sickness, I don't mean business, commerce or profits are a sickness. But privatization of everything human beings do is a sickness. It's the mental illness fallout from trying to shoehorn all human activity into a tight-fitting capitalist mold. The tendency to capitalize everything is perhaps a necessary evil, something we have to allow around because eliminating it would be even worse. But making it not only a virtue, but the only virtue, is a recipe for a sick society. Given where the worst communist societies started from, in fact, I think it's a recipe for a sicker society even than theirs were.

*When I say the existential threat of terrorism was false, I mean it. Had the elites and their surrogates truly regarded international terrorism as a threat they would not have done the following:

1. Ignored all right wing terrorism, from the most lethal terrorist bombing in decades - a fascist bomb in Bologna Italy - to the right-wing terrorists who actually shot the Pope. The Reaganites played politics with that by pretending the KGB and Russia and Bulgaria were behind it, but they knew, we can now show, all along that that was a lie.

2. Played politics with other terrorist incidents. For instance, they milked a discotheque bomging in Berlin to justify a Mussolini-like attack on Libya, then turned around and, within weeks, declared that it was an Iranian sponsored bombing.

3. Most importantly, funded Islamists all over the world, including Al Qaeda, the mujaheddin in general, and the Taliban. Similarly, if Israel really regarded "Islamic terrorism" as a true existential threat, then their government would never have funded Hamas, a splinter of the Moslem Brotherhood, nor given it status as a recognized charity. They would have struck back at terrorist groups, as they did, but not played politics by pretending the largely military group the PLO was a terrorist organization, nor by lying and saying groups who targetted both the PLO and Israel were in fact PLO-controlled. This is leaving alone the American funding and training and harboring and general sponsorship of international terrorism in Cuba, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, Namibia, Angola, and so on. Or direct US terrorism in Southeast Asia from the 1950s through the late 1980s.

The truth is, terrorism in the 1980s was a useful tool for the elites, and nothing more.