Thursday, July 16, 2009

Author of Second Helpings Responds to Book Controversy

Books such as Second Helpings provide an opportunity for parents to discuss the challenges of adolescence with their teens, according to author Megan McCafferty.

McCafferty’s novel was brought up during the last Mount Vernon, Ohio, City School Board meeting. Jeff Cline spoke about the book briefly and gave the board a list of words he said were in the book and that he deemed to be inappropriate. (See article about the last board meeting.)

Although McCafferty stated banning a book was probably not the best way to deal with a controversial book, she did agree that parents should be involved in the reading choices their teens make. McCafferty said the first step should be for the parent to read the book. “If a parent finds the content problematic then it is by all means his/her right to discourage his/her child from reading it,” McCafferty said.

Author Megan McCafferty posted a “Tweet” on her website about Jeff Cline’s comments concerning her book.

The following is the complete text of McCafferty’s response to an email query from

“Whenever someone asks whether my books are appropriate for his/her teen, I **always** recommend that he/she read it first. If a parent finds the content problematic then it is by all means his/her right to discourage his/her child from reading it. (A great benefit to the teen book boon is that there are plenty of other options to choose from.) However, it's been my experience that the majority of parents don't object to the language because they understand that my books reflect how teens actually act and speak, rather than how some adults wish they did. The older readers often see themselves in the realistically-drawn characters and they appreciate the series for revealing how we all make mistakes and (hopefully) learn from them. I've been thanked by countless mothers for opening up a dialogue with their daughters. My books have provided a means for discussing uncomfortable--and universal--aspects of adolescence. Having that conversation, however awkward, seems more beneficial than banning.”

For more information on McCafferty’s books, visit her website.

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Politics of Scientists and the Media

It isn’t news that the media has a liberal bias—but what about scientists? According to a recent survey by Pew Research Center, 87% of scientists identify themselves as being either moderates or liberals while only 9% of scientists are conservatives.

Promoters of Darwinian evolution don’t like it when they are confronted with the public’s desire that both sides be taught on the issue of origins science. They often defend the exclusion of other views by stating that science isn’t a democracy.

It sure isn’t—it sounds like they think they are an aristocracy.

The survey found that the public’s views on the issue of evolution was “strongly linked to religion.” “The dominant position among scientists – that living things have evolved due to natural processes – is shared by only about third (32%) of the public,” the survey stated.

Among scientists, 51% believe in God or a higher power while 95% of the general public believes in God or a higher power.

Should the “aristocracy” decide what is taught in the PUBLIC classroom?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Judge Says He Doesn’t Have Jurisdiction

Knox County Common Pleas Judge Otho Eyster said he only has jurisdiction to compel the attendance of a witness when the person refuses to comply with a subpoena. In the case of Mount Vernon school board members, they were not refusing to comply because they had already “quashed” their own subpoenas, Eyster stated.

In his ruling on Tuesday, Eyster gave no explanation as to the legal reasons for the board being able to dismiss their own subpoenas.
(Click here for copy of ruling.)

For further information, see past articles on this topic:

“School Board ‘quashed’ Subpoenas in the John Freshwater Hearing.” (6-12-09)

"School Board Gives Reason for Not Complying With Subpoenas." (6-18-09)

"Subpoenas in John Freshwater Hearing -- School Board Says Judge Doesn’t Have Jurisdiction" (6-20-09)

UPDATE: 7-11-09

Mount Vernon News reporter Pamela Schehl has written an article—“Judge explains denial in Freshwater case”—that gives further details on the judge’s decision. “First, he explained, to quash a subpoena means it’s as if it never existed,” Schehl wrote.

The judge is credited as saying that his ruling had nothing to do with the appropriateness of the board choosing to quash the subpoenas—it’s a matter of them simply being able to quash. “Since the matter is an administrative hearing, the judge said, the board has the legal authority to issue and quash subpoenas,” Schehl wrote.

UPDATE 7/14/09:

R. Kelly Hamilton, Attorney for John Freshwater, stated that he plans to appeal the decision made by Judge Eyster. Hamilton said that there will probably not be a decision on that appeal until close to the time when the two related federal cases go to trial—the hearing will be on hold until that time. (Source: “John Freshwater interview” 7-10-09 Bob Burney Live Programs.)


See the following Mount Vernon News article regarding the resolution of this matter before the Ohio Supreme Court: “Ohio supreme court rules in school board’s favor.”