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Local Hero Dallas Jessup Combats Abduction and Sexual Assault

Posted on 02 January 2010 by Tim

Would you know what to do if a stranger tried to abduct you? Well, many young ladies don’t know what to do and helping them stay safe is Dallas Jessup founder of the non-profit Just Yell Fire.

When she was just 14-years old, Dallas produced one of the most popular movie downloads of 2006. The film was a 48-minute instructional film that teaches teens personal safety and defensive tactics to avoid abduction or sexual assault.

When you first started Just Yell Fire, you wanted to develop a movie. How did your initial vision for the film change when you gained such a large volunteer crew and 100 extras?

The idea for a film came about when my schoolmates at St. Mary’s Academy in Portland were asking me what to do in an attempted abduction or date rape situation. They knew I was taking a street fighting program and they wanted some get-away moves because at the time two teen girls were killed in our area and there were quite a few instances of predators trying to take girls. The initial vision was simply a home movie where we could show girls how to eye gouge, bite…out of bad situations. I thought we could make some copies and pass them around at school and then people could pass them along to friends. Just Yell Fire, the movie, was born when some terrific film pros like director Takafumi Uehara, camera guru Ed Henry and others spread the word that we were making a movie to keep girls safe. With a professional crew (all volunteers) of 28 so much more became possible. Add to that 100 extras from area high schools, and the scenes became very realistic. When LOST stars Evangeline Lilly and Josh Holloway agreed to lend their celebrity to the cause with cameos in the film we knew we had something that would get the interest of girls across the country and as it turned out, around the world in 48 countries so far.

Since the film was first released, how many times has it been downloaded? How many DVDs have been mailed out?

Just Yell Fire has been downloaded more than 1 million times and more than 30,000 DVDs have been sent to teens, schools, shelters, and law enforcement agencies all over the world. It’s rewarding for all of us involved with Just Yell Fire to hear from an AIDS orphans shelter in Africa, a New York sex crimes unit, a girls’ empowerment group in Pakistan and a thousand other places that they’re using Just Yell Fire to let girls know they have rights and to give them tools to keep themselves safe.

From JustYellFire.org:
There is a community out there, girls 11 to 19, who according to the YWCA face a 1 in 4 risk of sexual assault and according to the Department of Justice could be one of the 114,000 attempted non-family abductions each year in the US. More than 550,000 registered sex offenders are on the streets (and many more not yet caught) and teenage girls are pretty much on their own because parents can’t be everywhere, nor can the police.

Has anyone contacted you about a time they had to use the techniques you teach?

Sure, and these are always our best moments. Recently we got a thank you call from a fourteen year old’s parents in Seattle. A predator grabbed their daughter but she’d watched the Just Yell Fire film; she yelled “Fire!” to attract attention and used a couple of the Just Yell Fire techniques to momentarily disable the bad guy and used those couple of seconds to get away. Rather than become a statistic, she made it home to her parents. It’s amazing how effective an eye gouge, a strategic kick or a bite can be when used by an angry teenage girl. They just need to know it’s okay to fight back and how to do it. It’s stories like that that keeps everyone involved with Just Yell Fire working and spreading the word.

Among her other accomplishments, Dallas was a 2007 CNN Hero.

One of the strategies your organization works on is lobbying for legislative reform. Is there anything of note currently happening on this front?

I’m convinced that empowerment and self defense should be a mandatory part of every teen girl’s education. If we can make this happen in Middle and High Schools across the country it will go a long way toward eliminating dating violence, abductions and other crimes against young women. We’ve gotten endorsements from a broad group of elected officials and we’re implementing programs at strategic venues across the country so we’ll have a strong proof-of-concept when we go for legislation. For example Just Yell Fire is now a for-credit course at MIT and we recently did a day-long program for teachers and coaches at the Vancouver School District so they can teach Just Yell Fire information to their students. We call the program “Just Yell Fire Train the Trainer” and have presented it quite a few places across the country and will do more in 2010.

I noticed that on January 9th, 2010, you will be presenting at the Northwest Conference Against Trafficking. What will your discussion be focused on? Is this your first time presenting there?

I’m really excited to participate in the Northwest Conference Against Trafficking. Raising awareness of the problem is important and the event is doing that in a big way with some news celebrities like Priya David and Jane Velez – Mitchell and even a U.S. Senator. Kudos to the Soroptimist organization and other cool groups for making it all happen. I learned about trafficking when I toured rural India speaking at colleges to girls about how to avoid the modern day slave traders for the sex trafficking industry and at village after village girls told me they were scared and police told me just how pervasive the crisis had become. It was a blast to connect with thousands of college girls and see their joy as they learned they could fight back and exactly how to do it. My big shock was flying home from the other side of the world and learning that trafficking is an immense problem in the U.S. too! So, that’s my motivation for joining in. My message is to warn girls of the dangers out there and to let them know they have the right to stand up for themselves. Of course, the street fighting self defense is always a part of my message – it’s something anyone can learn in an hour, for free and use to get away from an attacker twice their size every time. So my message? Awareness and empowerment for girls and young women.

Dallas, thank you for answering my questions!

Jessup has keynoted at the FBI National Academy, the Mensa national conference, and her program is a for-credit course at MIT. She is a freshman at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee as a McKelvey Scholar for Social Entrepreneurship. [More from The Huffington Post]

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Talk with Tim TV Episode 1

Posted on 30 December 2009 by Tim

Yesterday, I broke out my new Flip Ultra HD video camera to record my first episode of Talk with Tim TV on YouTube. The weather was chilly and I started just as the snow began. Overall, we ended up with 1-2 inches in town and much more in the hills around Vancouver, Washington.

Episode #1 Notes and Links:
Pirates kidnap 40+ sailors AGAIN! http://bit.ly/53Zusj
Snow in Vancouver, WA! Go away! But it looks nice at the graveyard… Graveyard? Yeah.
Visit Ben Hughes from ObviouslyBenHughes.com http://bit.ly/5×0eFb

Last year snow in Vancouver, WA and Portland, OR was crazy. We don’t normally get snow so this year…when we got a measly 1-2″ everyone freaks out. Eeeek! Snooooow!! But the Columbia River looks great with the fog and snow and so does the graveyard. Oooh, spooky!

I’d like to put out some positive thoughts for the sailors who were captured by Somali pirates. It’s ridiculous we have to deal with pirates in the year 2009…this is a several hundred year old fad. Now it’s back in style like tight jeans and shaggy mop heads for guys (yuk!).

Music in Episode #1 by:

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10 Questions with Robb Sutton

Posted on 21 December 2009 by Tim

Whether it’s hittin’ his keyboard at home or racing down some single-track in the wilderness, Robb Sutton is making himself known. Robb is among the most influential bloggers of 2009 (#30 of 50 on IncomeDiary.com) and is best known for getting over $100,000 of free review product for his mountain biking blog – Mountain Biking by 198.

I first heard about him after Yaro Starak interviewed him. Since then I’ve been soaking up his content about mountain biking (one of my favorite sports) and enjoying his comments on Twitter. For all his success, Robb has been very friendly and easy to work with. I was really pumped when he agreed to an interview.

10 Questions with Robb Sutton

Before blogging, what did you do and how did this lead you into blogging?

Regional Sales Manager for a manufacturing firm. I covered the southeast United States with about 11 million in annual sales. Blogging actually hit on accident believe it or not. I started a website with the goal of making it a user submitted trail review site. About a week into it, I made the realization that a user submitted site is very hard to start without traffic! I started a blog section to bring in visitors and that eventually just took the site over. What started as a passionate outlet for my hobby (been mountain biking for 14+ years), has turned into a business all its own. From that point, I branched off in to blogging, coffee and several others. Blogging is addicting.

At what point did your sites get to a point where you could blog full-time? What caused this?

Full time income hit once the traffic really stabilized and that gave me a chance to try out and test multiple monetization techniques. The trick to making money online is really diversifying your income streams so that one way does not completely dominate your income. This can be done with a very targeted following, but the larger your targeted readership…the bigger your income. I was blogging daily for about a year and a half before that kind of income started appearing. Blogging is no different than any other business…you really have to be willing to put in the work with little gain in the beginning.

What is RobbSutton.com About?
RobbSutton.com is to teach bloggers how to grow their reach through solid fundamental values instead of fly by night tricks. By finding a way to make that connection through blogging and social media, you can grow a real business online in whatever niche you decide to call home. To keep things rolling, I’ll through in motivational/life design posts aimed at combating laziness and self doubt.

I know you joined Blog Mastermind with Yaro Starak, how did that program help you get started?

I had been blogging steadily for about 6 months before I started that program. To my surprise…I had actually fell into (purely by chance) doing a lot of things correctly. Blog Mastermind allowed me to fine tune things quickly and efficiently so the learning curve was shorter. At that point, spending money on a training program also made me take my blogging more seriously. It was more making the decision to really make a run at it than training looking back on it. The program is great for beginning bloggers though…action step after action step.

What has been the biggest challenge for you (content, SEO, links, multimedia…)?

The biggest challenge….

Probably site design honestly. The content had been in my head for years…it was just a matter of publishing it out onto a screen. I have a background in video production and amateur photography, so the multimedia aspect came naturally. I am a computer geek at heart…so the SEO and technical side was something I was able to pick up pretty quickly. Site design is one of those things that you learn by doing since most beginning bloggers have zero room in their budget for anything custom.

What made you decide to write your first ebook – Ramped Reviews?

A couple hundred emails asking me how I did it! Before the 14 month point in mtbtrailreview.com, I had already received over $100k in review product and that was something pretty unique. After a lot of emails inquiring on the how and where’s of the process, I decided to write Ramped Reviews. From that, I have been able to help other bloggers see that same kind of success no matter what their niche.

Recently, you published two additional ebooks. Could you briefly describe them?

It’s actually up to three now! (and about to grow more in 2010)

Ramped Blogging – The Ultimate Blogging Guide – I was still getting a lot of emails asking how I achieved what I did with blogging in a short period of time, so I created Ramped Blogging to take any blogger, regardless of skill level, through the process. It takes you from setup to monetizing and traffic generation.

When I set out to create an eBook for bloggers looking to build a business that generates income out of their blogging, I wanted to come to the table with something completely different. Basically, I wanted to write the eBook I didn’t have and wish I did.

Ramped Mindset – Success is all about your thought processes. You have to think like a successful business owner far before you make your first dollar to really make it big. Ramped Mindset is that kickstart to successful thinking.

Ramped Mindset is going to change the way you think about blogging and life. Once you change that mindset, you are ready to realize the success that other successful professionals have seen. The only thing that stands in your way is you as you continue this path to self created happiness.”

Ramped Riding – Just released on Bike198.com, Ramped Riding is an ebook that teaches you how to be a better mountain biker.

Ramped Riding is designed to give you real world application that will drastically improve your on trail experience. From personal experience, I have seen riders increase their riding ability in a big way by making fine adjustments to their current skill set. What you might not realize is that you are much closer to that perfect ride than you first thought!

Do you prefer downhill or crosscountry?

Downhill…but that is hard choice. I have even been known to do a couple of 100 mile rides on the road bike this year. I’ll ride just about anything that pedals.

What is your favorite place to ride? Pisgah National Forest, NC

If you could ride anywhere in the world, where would you like to go? British Columbia, Canada and Switzerland

How long have you been mountain biking? 14+ years

Thanks Robb!

Other Interview With Robb:

  • On Profits Masterplan
  • On IncomeDiary.com, “Today I am very pleased to introduce you an amazing guy who only started blogging last year and has done some amazing things.
  • On WP Stitch, “From out of the woods, on some dusty trail we find ourselves an avid cyclist and blogger, Robb Sutton.

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Darth Hater Talks Star Wars: The Old Republic

Posted on 08 December 2009 by Tim

Star Wars: The Old Republic is the upcoming massively multiplayer online-game (MMO) from BioWare and LucasArts. The game is set long ago, during a time period that hasn’t been explored much. The Treaty of Coruscant has been signed by the Sith Empire and the Republic but tensions are running high.

Tension leads to conflict. Conflict leads to a great setting. And a great setting is just what an epic MMO needs! Oh and just to put this in perspective, according to SWTOR FAQ, the game is set 3,500 years before the rise of Darth Vader.

Darth Hater - SWTOR Community and Podcast

But this is about Darth Hater, a SWTOR blog and podcast, that aims to bring you all the latest news and commentary. I was able to speak with Justin Lowe, also known as sado on the website and forum, he is the Founder and a Content Producer on DarthHater.com. Follow Darth Hater on Twitter here.

Interview with Darth Hater

How’d you come up with the name Darth Hater?

Originally I had an idea to make a personal blog out of my own excitement for Star Wars: The Old Republic. This website needed a name so I asked a few friends for some ideas. One response in particular stuck with me – Darth Hater. Nick Cerbini, a friend of mine, originally used the name as an alias in Unreal Tournament and he made the suggestion. After deciding it sounded right, I went to see if the domain was available and, to my surprise, it was. Apparently the person who owned it before let the domain lapse and went back on the market just a month or so prior to me attempting to register it. You could say I encountered a stream of unending luck.

What aspect of The Old Republic are you most excited about?

I will be hated for saying this, but I am looking forward to story the most. There is much yet to see of The Old Republic, but from what I have seen thus far the story of the game intrigues me the most. Story in MMORPGs is one of those features that I feel has been sorely lacking up till this point. I can also say that it is one of the biggest selling points to friends of mine who have not played MMORPGs before and, until recently, have seen no reason to start. This is anecdotal of course, but take the case of my brother – he has never played an MMORPG or even come close to playing one, but now with story being a primary focus of The Old Republic, and BioWare’s track record, is considering checking it out. The draw of a good story in an MMORPG should not be underestimated. We all have confidence that The Old Republic will retain everything previous MMORPG have had, but I feel we have yet to see story done well in an MMORPG, and that is why it is the most exciting aspect of The Old Republic to me.

What are your readers most interested in when it comes to TOR?

Everyone is looking for the facts when it comes to The Old Republic. We have tried to cater to that by removing as much speculation as possible and piece together the facts of what is shown without the fluff. It has been a centerpiece of our website in the form of dissections which have garnered us an immense amount of traffic in response.

From what you’ve seen so far, is BioWare on the right track with the game?

Everything I have seen thus far suggests that. There have been complaints from the community of BioWare/LucasArts not showing off enough of the actual mechanics of The Old Republic, but I think the latest Imperial Agent demo that was shown to the press demonstrates that they are trying to address those concerns. Speaking just of myself, I couldn’t be more excited about the track of the game at this point. If sometime down the line they announce Wookiee or Jawa Jedi then I might have to rethink that statement.

SWTOR Jedi and Sith Battle

It’s hard to tell without playing the game, but do you think TOR could be bigger than World of Warcraft?

That’s a bit too speculative for me. World of Warcraft is definitely the eight billion pound gorilla in the room when it comes to MMORPGs and I am not under any delusions that The Old Republic will somehow dethrone them as king of the genre. While this is an interesting discussion for many, I don’t see why they both can’t exist side by side. I can say that I quit World of Warcraft for the simple reason of boredom. After 4+ years of playing the same game you are bound to get a little burnt out of the game. I have to imagine that there are people out there in my same position regarding World of Warcraft, but do I think that the release of The Old Republic will lead to a mass exodus from World of Warcraft? Simply put, no. However I do think both will be quite healthy long after this debate is over.

The storyline of the game is intriguing. Do you happen to know how much of this time period has been covered in books and comics?

The story of this time period is extremely open which is most likely why Bioware chose this time period to use in the game. There are a couple books coming out as well as the paperback version of the Threat of Peace which you will be able to pick up sometime down the line that will discuss the time period but other than that there is not much known of this time period. There is alot known however about 300 years in the past which deals with Revan but in the current time period is seems as if Bioware is completely open along with LucasArts to craft what they want regarding the story and setting.

Who are you most likely to side with? The Republic or the Sith Empire?

All of us at Darth Hater have decided on Sith Empire to start off with. It would be a bit weird having all of the Darth Hater staff rolling Republic first.

The Sith Empire seems like a good choice to start off. Have you guys decided on classes yet?

The team has vastly different opinions regarding the classes. For myself I am looking forward to either playing the bounty hunter or imperial agent. Dover is looking forward to playing an imperial agent and Emleah is looking forward to playing a Sith Inquisitor. Unfortunately the rest of our team is rather undecided at the moment regarding their class. Most of our team will likely decide what class they will play a couple weeks before launch.

Is Darth Hater the first blog you guys have worked on or are you all experienced bloggers?

Most of us have worked on other blogs or news sites before but this is definitely the most trafficked one any of us have worked on. The Star Wars: The Old Republic community, and our own community at Darth Hater, have been incredibly supportive all the way. We wouldn’t be where we are without them.

Thank you sado for chatting with me! If you’re interested in getting more from Darth Hater, I suggest you check out their blog, podcast or follow them on Twitter.

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Net News Daily Brings You Digestable News

Posted on 01 December 2009 by Tim

Most news articles tend to be long with few readers making it past the first few lines. Net News Daily is working to bring you bite size news stories. This way you can get the main idea and facts but not get bogged down by the fluff. As Net News Daily likes to say, “We take the news and mash it up.”

Net News Daily Net News Daily was launched in January 2009 by two young British men – Nathan Adam and Scott Campbell. Along with about 15 writers, they keep the site constantly updated with stories from around the world.

Editor-in-Chief Nathan Adam told me they started Net News Daily because, “We had a small ‘news’ blog before and we thought that we could create a new, more professional and informative news website.”

When it comes to their mashup style Nathan says, “…we like to strive to keep our news short so that it gives the key information in a good and well understood style. For those who don’t have much time to read the news.”

They seem to be on the right track. For being so new, the site has quite a bit of traffic. According to Compete, the site receives about 4,500 unique visitors per month. Not bad for being less than a year old. You’ll also find that the sites layout is fairly typical for a news page, so it should be familiar and simple to navigate.

NND could be a nice alternative, or addition, to the usual stuff you find on CNN, MSNBC and others.

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The Family by Jeff Sharlet

Posted on 17 November 2009 by Tim

Jeff Sharlet, bestselling author of The Family, was recently on the Thom Hartmann Show which is where I heard about him. The topic of his book, The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power, is a group of Christian fundamentalists who are influencing American policies and gaining a powerful hold in politics.

I knew after hearing Jeff on the air with Thom that I had to at least try to get an interview. Amazingly, Jeff wrote back the next day! Here’s what we talked about.

Interview with Jeff Sharlet, Author of The Family

What is The Family and what distinguishes their elite fundamentalism, as you call it, from other fundamental Christian groups?

The Family — or the Fellowship, as they’re known to some — is the oldest and most influential religious right group in Washington. It dates back to 1935, when founder Abraham Vereide received what he believed was a new revelation from God, a message that he should give up ministering to the down and out and focus instead on the “up and out,” society’s elites, chosen for power by God. Unlike populist fundamentalist groups, the Family isn’t interested in the souls of the masses. Their membership is small by design. And their interests tend more toward economics and foreign affairs, toward what some in the group call “biblical capitalism” and “worldwide spiritual offensive.”

How were you able to get involved in and live with The Family?

I was invited. In the beginning of the book I tell the story of how a friend asked me to meet with her brother, whom she worried had joined a cult. I write a lot about religion, so she thought I’d be able to help. The brother, whom I’d known for many years, invited me to come see for myself. At the time, I didn’t know there was a political — or a powerful — side to the group. I didn’t even really know it was a group — it was presented to me as just a group of friends. The tax records and the group’s archives tell a different tale.

Jeff Sharlet author of The Family The members of The Family seem fixated on power and attaining positions of power. Where can members be found and what agenda are they pushing?

Some prominent members include senators James Inhofe, Tom Coburn, John Ensign, Sam Brownback, Chuck Grassley, and Bill Nelson, and representatives Frank Wolf, Zach Wamp, Bart Stupak, Mike McIntyre, Joe Pitts, and Heath Shuler. Congress buffs will note that that list includes both Republicans and Democrats. The Family has always been bipartisan; it’s also always been conservative. It doesn’t push an agenda, per se. Rather, it offers what it calls a “worldview,” a frame for understanding politics through a religious lens that emphasizes rule by elites, free market fundamentalism, and Christian-oriented approaches to foreign affairs, such as Senator Coburn’s attempts to create secretive Christian prayer cells in the Lebanese government, or Senator Brownback’s attempts to get Jordan’s King Abdullah to study the New Testament, or Senator Grassley’s involvement, in the 80s, with the Somali dictator Siad Barre, a self-described “Koranic Marxist” who agreed to pray with Grassley to Jesus in exchange for access to American military aid, which he got — and which he used to lay waste to his country. The Family, while not necessarily approving of Barre’s murderous methods, never objected, seeing it as part of God’s plan for the nation.

You’ve written that Mao, Hitler and Stalin provide inspiration or a model of leadership. How are these figures portrayed as leaders to emulate?

That’s Family boilerplate, the idea that one can gain insight into Jesus by studying strongman killers. The Family will say, “These are evil men, but look how effective they were! They understood power, just as Jesus did. They used it for evil; Jesus, and you, can use it for good.” Which is absurd, of course. When I was living with the Family, I said I didn’t think we had many positive things to learn from Hitler. “Oh no,” one of the “brothers” assured me, “it’s not his ends we’re interested in, it’s his method.” That method was called fascism.

This doesn’t sound like a cult per se but more of a social ideology or movement. What have they been able to change to align American policies with their agenda?

I agree; that’s one of the main arguments of my book. It’s been frustrating to see friends on the left mislabel the movement as a cult and critics on the right dismiss my work by insisting that I’m labeling the Family a cult. It’s not a cult, it’s a movement, and its power lies not in any kind of conspiracy but in cultural transformation. The bulk of the book is a chronicle of the ways in which they’ve influenced American policy, “influence” being the key word. Any great change is the result of many factors.

So, for instance, they teamed up with the National Association of Manufacturers in the 1940s to roll back organized labor’s New Deal gains. In the postwar era, they were instrumental in whitewashing the records of former Nazi sympathizers such as Hermann Abs, the “wizard” of West Germany’s financial resurrection until the Simon Wiesenthal Center exposed him as Hitler’s banker. That kind of work helped stoke the Cold War in its early days; the Family viewed it as World War III. In 1959, two powerful senators, Frank Carlson and Homer Capehart, became champions for the Haitan dictator Papa Doc Duvalier, initiating the long and awful American relationship with the lunatic leader, who actually thought he was God. In the late 60s, they declared the coup that brought Indonesian strongman Suharto to power — considered by the CIA “one of the worst mass killings in the 20th century” — a “spiritual revolution,” and began sending delegations of congressmen and oil executives to meet with Suharto, who they considered God’s anointed man for Indonesia. They lobbied hard — and successfully — for massive American aid to the junta of generals that sidelined Brazilian democracy for more than a decade, and they stood by the Filipino dictator Ferdinand Marcos to the end. More recently, they’ve become champions of the Ugandan dictator Yoweri Museveni, whom they’ve designated a “key man” for Africa. Museveni has no bigger champion in Congress than Family men James Inhofe and Sam Brownback, two senators who’ve taken a very involved role in Ugandan politics.

Is there a connection between this group and the rise of fundamentalism in the military?

I’m looking at that now for my next book. Last spring I published a piece on fundamentalism in the military called “Jesus Killed Muhammad’ in Harper’s magazine (it’s online and free, now). At the time, I thought they were parallel but not directly related movements. Now, I’m not so sure. Working with an advocacy outfit called the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, I’ve been able to document some surprising connections. More on that front to come.

About Writing The Family

I’ve read that it took you 5 years of work to produce your book The Family. What aspect of the research was the most challenging? Did you find it difficult to get the information you needed?

The most significant source for the book was Collection 459 of the Billy Graham Center Archives, the papers of the Fellowship Foundation — one of the Family’s several nonprofit entities, and the one that dumped the papers of many of the different nonprofit groups in the archive. Nearly 600 boxes and hundreds of hours of tape. Literally millions of pages — budgets, memos, plans, correspondence, membership lists, prayer, diaries. Some of it crucial, some of it banal, some of it fascinating, a lot of it, frankly, boring. I worked with quite a few research assistants and spent literally years on these papers — and I still only saw a fraction of them. On top of that, I conducted research in a number of other archives around the country. I’ve a giant stack of documents I copied from the Reagan Library, for instance, that I didn’t end up using. The most challenging aspect was wading through all this paper. At the same time, I struggled for a long time to understand what I was seeing. The Family really represents a different strain of religious conservatism than has previously been identified. That made it difficult. Then, too, there’s the secrecy of the group, which officially “submerged” — their word — in the late 1960s. Since the success of the book, quite a few former Family members have come to me with just amazing documents — if only I’d had these when I was writing the book! There’s still a lot more to learn.

It has been about a year since The Family first came out, where do you plan to go from here with your writing on religion and politics?

At the beginning of this summer I was working on a book I’ve owed to Basic Books for awhile, using the story of “If I Had a Hammer” to trace the transformation — and, in many ways, collapse — of an organized left from its first public performance in 1947 to now. The Family scandals of the summer — the affairs of Senator Ensign, Governor Mark Sanford, and former congressman Chip Pickering, all linked to the Family’s C Street House — have put me back on the religion beat. This time I’ll be looking more broadly at the role of scandal in how we think about religion and politics. That book should be out next fall, and then it’ll be followed by a collection of essays called “What They Wanted,” which approaches religion and politics through a consideration of the tension between despair and desire. And then, at last, I’ll finish up The Hammer Song, a book I originally conceived as a sort of antidote for myself after too many years in the shadow of the Family.

Thanks again for talking with me Jeff!

If you’re interested in finding out more about Jeff Sharlet or his work head on over to JeffSharlet.com.

In addition to writing books, Jeff Sharlet is a contributing editor at Rolling Stone. Sharlet has also been featured on numerous TV shows. Not surprisingly, one of the best ones I found was his appearance on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. See the video below.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Jeff Sharlet
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political Humor Health Care Crisis

The Cross Image by Glen

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Julie O’Halloran Plays Druinia in Spellfury

Posted on 12 November 2009 by Tim

Recently, I wrote about Spellfury the fantasy web series written and directed by Travis Gordon, who I interviewed.

What is Spellfury? In brief…

Fantasy. Action. Adventure. Watching SPELLFURY is like watching a live recreation of a Dungeons and Dragons game. Evil creatures, bladed weapons and magic abound in the world of Spellfury. The web series follows an elf named Druinia and her gang of adventurers.

In this interview, I talk with Julie O’Halloran who plays Druinia, the main character of the show.

Talk with Tim Interviews Julie O’Halloran

How long have you been acting?

Wow, lets see. Officially I started acting in 1998, (about 11 years) I attended Theatre Arts at Algonquin College in Ottawa Canada and I graduated in 2000. Since then I haven’t stopped. I’ve done commercial work, four independent films and now I’m focusing on SPELLFURY. I am very excited to be apart of SPELLFURY. It’s the most challenging acting I have done so far and I’m having a great time!!

julie-ohalloran It sounds like you and Travis Gordon have known each other for a while. How did you two meet and begin working together?

I met Travis in 1998. He was in his second year of the same theatre arts program. I auditioned for a play that he wrote and was directing and I managed to get the lead part! After working with him on that play, every time he had a project that he was working on I wanted to be involved.

Can you share some background on your character Druinia from Spellfury?

Druinia at a very young age was separated from her parents. She lived in a boarding school for most of her youth. She’s knows nothing of her mother and only a little bit about her father. As the show evolves we will see her learning more and more about who her father really was and the part she is destined to play in the realm of SPELLFURY.

What challenges come with your role as Druinia?

The biggest challenge I face as Dru is the physical stuff. I have never done anything quite like it before, battling mist demons with a magical sword for example, that’s a new one for me. Or fighting off giant bats, you’ve really got to be in good shape for that!
Another challenge I face in the role as Druinia is acting against something that isn’t actually there with you on set that day. Reacting to something in the scene (like the giant bats) that will be added later in post-production is a challenge. It’s a good thing that I have a pretty active imagination!

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B-Type from Letters vs. Numbers and Superpowerless

Posted on 09 November 2009 by Tim

With thick mutton chops and a fairly high-pitched, heavily-accented British voice, B-Type is certainly not your typical rapper. But lo, he is a nerd! So, his look fits right in.

I first became acquainted with B-Type on Rhyme Torrents, the largest nerdcore hip hop community forum. Although he’s become more refined in his style, he started off a bit rough but came across as a cool dude which instantly makes him likable. I’ve heard him progress through the first Rhyme Torrents rap battle tournament, various Rhyme Torrents compilation albums and the occasional episode of Letters vs. Numbers. Over the last couple years, I’ve come to appreciate his style and the effort he puts into his work.

Previously known as Mister B, he is now part of the chiptune group Superpowerless which is definitely worth checking out! Also in the works is a solo album titled Hugs.

Check Out The Picture Gallery Below!

Interview with B-Type

So B-Type, how’d you get involved in music and what projects are you working on right now?

I started out as a bassist in a terrible skapunk/poprock band called Should Have Seen It Coming, which then changed its name to Third Floor, and then to No More nightfall, and finally Raziel. It lasted something like 16 months, we had about 15 practices and 15 less gigs. When I moved to Bradford for University, I was lucky enough to be in Halls of Residence with a punk named Duncan, and we formed the band Dead Mercredi, with the logic that there was a band for every day of the week except Wednesday. (Wednesday13 totally dosnt count.)

This band was similarly unproductive, and I spent my time trolling Emo chatrooms and going to whatever local live gigs I could. Someone in the emo chat thought I would get a kick out of the MC Lars song Signing Emo, which of course I did. This, combined with a blossoming love of live Hip-Hop shows, cemented my decision to become a Nerdcore Rapper.

That, and I wanted to be the Bloodhound Gang but was sick of putting together bands that went no-where!

As for right now, Im working on my 3rd Album, technically my debut album as B-Type, entitled “Hugs”. For the first time since I started making music, I am working with a producer, Jaylyn Coffin of Emergency Pizza Party, which has made the world of difference. While ive always enjoyed making music, this is the first time ive truly been excited about it.

Are any MCs making a feature on your upcoming album Hugs?

Hugs is kinda a long way away, Im thinking like early 2010, so while solo-songs are very close to completion, the collaborations are some ways away. That said, I already have Verses coming my way from Fanatical/Jaylyn Coffin, and Quartz Relic of Magitek fame. My usual co-conspirators, Category, Illithid, and Superpowerless will probably feature at some point. Ive been trying to come up with a concept for a song to do with My Parents Favourite Music, and I have a list of dream collaborations I might start trying to tick off.

So, in answer to your question, yes!

What inspired the album’s title?

Well, the first album was called Snogs, which is, um, English I guess for kissing with tongues. While I was in Florida for Nerdapalooza 08, everyone seemed to find this word hilarious. Genoboost made a hilarious comic about it and i decided to use it as album art. Ever since, ive gone for like….monosyllabic gestures of affection, so Hugs was a natural one to think. Plus, at one stage, many of the (now scrapped) songs were about frustrations with relationships and hugs were the only affection i was getting so it fitted that tone well, and alot of the songs im writing now are much happier and sweet on account of finding love and such, so it still fits. Im running out of words though. Snogs, Winks, Hugs……I figure “Daps” might be next. Maybe it will be a Zealous1 Collaboc1de style album, although im jumping the gun a bit there.

How did you and Jaylyn Coffin meet up? Is Coffin the only producer on Hugs?

Akin to many people involved in nerdcore, we were both part of the Rhyme Torrents community, and both attended Nerdapalooza. I should probably point out that I am lucky enough to be able to say we are romantically involved! After this years Nerdapalooza, she was on the Superpowerless / Jaylyn Coffin / B-Type mini-tour and became a member of Superpowerless, as part of the live band as well as shooting 3 videos for us.

Superpowerless-Rock-Thumb Production wise, she is in charge of recording and mixing my vocals. Oliver Hindle (Superpowerless) has volunteered his skills to do the same job, so I dare say he will be involved there as well. On the beats side of things, I still make the odd beat myself and tend to go to Illithid first for beats that, you know, dont suck. Although this time round, Im on beats by way more people than last time, including Wholemilk, b0wlman, Category and Quartz Relic thus far.

Superpowerless has had a lot of success in the 8bit genre, who comprises the group and how did you guys form up?

Superpowerless is Oliver Hindle, but has had a hilariously rotating cast for a long time. I have the questionable honor of being the longest serving member besides Oliver, and currently the group comprises of the two of us. Jaylyn Coffin played with us on our first tour, and Mike Slevin played guitar when we were gigging round Leeds. We yoyo between being a two and three piece, but not counting stage invasions we have been 5 members thick before.

As for how we formed, Superpowerless was Olivers project for a while. I booked him to play Nerdapalooza UK and we became friends. One time I let him know I was coming to a gig, and he texted me asking if I would join him on stage, as his bandmates at the time were unable to show. I had dabbled in chiptune before so I was down with it, and the gig went pretty well! I just kept showing up to gigs ever since….I never did see his other band mates. He is pretty much a monster so he may well have made them up.

How many live gigs have you done with Superpowerless?

Gosh, Im not sure. At one point we were gigging at least once a week, sometimes 4 times, for a couple of months. I would speculate we have done approximately 15000 gigs, including open mics, family fun days, radio shows and completely unattended pubs.

You gotta be a drinker to be the sidekick in Superpowerless.

Letters-vs-Numbers-Logo-Thumb What is the Letters vs. Numbers podcast? Does the name have any special meaning?

LvN is a show I do with Genoboost and Chibi-Ma from gamemusic4all.com. it can be found at www.lettersvsnumbers.net and has a music/chat format. It mainly consists of Ma and I teasing eachother, and Geno cracking us up with one-liners, although we do of course discuss geeky music, videogames and other nerd things.

The name was originally for an online label Genoboost and Hex Warrior of Nerdapalooza were putting together. Neither had the time to do it really, but Geno loved the name, and when we whimsically decided to do a podcast, he mentioned the name to me and I thought it was awesome. Its come to represent our relationship with our listeners, with the hosts being the Letters and the listeners being the Numbers. We tease our listeners somewhat, but they love it. Actually, we mostly tease other podcasts and their inability to be as good as us!

Yes Vagina Deep in Podcast, you sicken us.

How long has LvN been around?

Since April 12th 2008, which is the day we decided to do a podcast, did a podcast, and put it out.

For a new listener, what 1 or 2 LvN podcasts would you recommend?

Generally speaking, I would say whichever one went out the most recently! But my personal favourites are the 2 from Nerdapalooza 08, which represented the first time Genoboost and I had ever met in real life. The insanely long episodes 14a and 14b are also ones I listen to from time to time. Featuring Shinobi Onibocho from Krondor Krew as well as what I am fairly sure was Chibi-Ma’s second Letters vs Numbers show, the vast majority of in-jokes we have come from that show, as well as the first one Ma was on, “The Lifestream made me do it”.

I know you have in the past but did you attend Nerdapalooza this year?

I did! My Letters vs Numbers co-host Genoboost of gamemusic4all.com and I had the honor of hosting the event this year, which was an absolute blast. I got to do a song with a long time hero of mine My Parents Favorite Music, as well as introduce some mind-blowing acts like MC Lars, Zealous1, Scrub Club, I Fight Dragons…argh Im making a mess, dropping names everywhere.

I also got incredibly drunk.

What prompted the name change to B-Type from Mister B?

It was something that was on my mind for a while. There were many problems with the name MisterB. For a start, there were a bunch of different musicians already performing under that name. If you put misterb into google, I was usually the top result music wise, unless one of the others had put out an album recently, so this wasnt a huge problem. The main problem was the top result: A Hardcore Sex Webshop catering to the gay BDSM market.



I still answer to the name MisterB, still refer to myself as MisterB, but the music I do from now on is B-Type. It was pretty cathartic, actually, as no-one has heard any B-Type music (apart from, you know. Tetris) so I felt like I could work and release things without having to worry that people would assume it was rubbish because I did it!

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6 Questions with David from MoneyNing.com

Posted on 05 November 2009 by Tim

MoneyNing is all about becoming debt free, building wealth and demonstrating the effects of personal finance decisions. One reason I like David’s writing so much is that he approaches it from a great philosophy – “Life throws you unexpected challenges, but I promise the path to be fun, entertaining and informative.” David has also written a book called The Little Budget Travel Book.

In addition to MoneyNing, David also runs PFBuzz.com a personal finance social networking site and Investing-School.com which offers real lessons about investing.

MoneyNing.com also made my list of Top 20 Personal Finance Blogs.

Interview with MoneyNing.com

Briefly describe MoneyNing.com and what makes your site different than other personal finance blogs.

MoneyNing allows all of us to share our journey to be financially free. Unlike many other sites that try to tell you exactly what to do, I see mine as a buddy system where we can encourage each other by talking about our daily lives as it relates to our finances.

What do you enjoy most about owning/running a blog?

What I enjoy most about the blog is the reader interactions and the idea that I’m earning a living helping other people. Readers email me with questions all the time, and I’m very lucky in that I can relay that information on my site and have not only myself, but other readers provide feedback and suggestions.

When you launched MoneyNing, what were your expectations for the site and how have those been met or have they evolved?

To be honest, I had absolutely no expectations when I launched MoneyNing. I saw it as a good way to establish some accountability for my own finances, so the earlier articles were much more personal in nature. Eventually, I realized that what I write about is read by hundreds of thousands of people, and it was at that juncture that I started making sure I put enough emphasis on how responsible spending helped me, and can help others as well.

How has running a successful blog affected your life?

Having my online presence literally changed my life. I was in sales before so I was traveling all the time, not having enough sleep, not seeing my family while eating fast food everyday. Now, I work at home, my hours are flexible and I have a regular plan for my meals. One thing that hasn’t changed is the hours I put into work. People think it’s so relaxing to work at home and you can do anything you want, but it’s exactly the same as your career in that the more you put in, the more you get out. If anything, I work longer and harder now than ever before.

Within personal finances, what is your favorite topic to write about?

I like variety, so the “change” is actually what I love the most. I do however talk about my spending and frugal habits often, because frugality is what enabled me to have the courage to step out into the unknown to do this, which I love, full time. Without some level of confidence in my own ability to control expenses, both business and personal, I would never have the guts to take a crack at this full time.

From your experience, what would you say are the most common mistakes people make with their money?

The most common mistake people make with their money is not knowing how their actions affect their finances. It’s not wrong to buy a cup of coffee, nor is it to use a credit card because those are just personal choices. If you can afford it and doing so makes you happy, then go ahead. People get into trouble only because they repeatedly allow their ignorance drive their behavior.

Thanks for your time David!

Image by bdjsb7

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