Archive for the 'My Life' Category

Inbox Bankruptcy

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

For the first time in as long as I can remember, my email inbox is finally empty. It’s nice, but frankly it’s also a little uncomfortable. It’s going to take some getting used to, as strange as that sounds.

This morning I had over 18,000 unread messages in my inbox, some dating back to 2006. After doing some basic math, I determined that it would be nearly impossible to catch up at this point, and it’s pointless to respond to emails that are years old anyway.

So, today I caught up to the beginning of the year… Jan 1, 2013. I created a new tag, “pre-2013″. I highlighted everything in my inbox, tagged it, and archived it.

Now, for nearly the first time ever, my inbox count is meaningful (3 messages since I starting composing this blog post).

I would highly recommend this approach to anyone who is hopelessly behind on their email. Take the plunge. It’s worth it.

The Case Against Adolescence

Friday, June 17th, 2011

It’s a shame that I never blog anymore, now that I have things to say. I feel like I’ve grown more in the last three years than any other period in my life.

My cousin Aaron and I have recently started exchanging some unfettered thoughts, which I’ve very much enjoyed. I’m thrilled that I lucked out with regard to the family I have, both immediate and extended. Without them, I would have had no chance… no values, no foundation, nobody to look up to, etc… My parents and grandparents set one hell of an example, and I pity most of my generation for not having been so lucky.

Anyway, something Aaron said in his last message prompted me to do a little searching, and I rediscovered two great links on Mises’s website. One of the two links is Doug French’s review of the book, The Case Against Adolescence, which I’ve blatantly lifted below:

In his book, Democracy: The God that Failed, Hans Hoppe argues that democracy and government have made people less farsighted and not as concerned with providing for ever-more-distant goals. Thus, society is tending toward decivilization. As Hoppe describes, adults are being turned into children. Children have very high time preferences, living “day to day and from one immediate gratification to the next,” Hoppe explains. American society has essentially lengthened childhood by creating adolescence.

In a very provocative new book, The Case Against Adolescence: Rediscovering the Adult in Every Teen, psychologist Robert Epstein contends that when mammals reach puberty, they function as adults — except in America that is. Starting a hundred years ago, Americans gradually increased the age of adulthood to what many Americans now believe to be 26. You’ve heard, “30 is the new 20,” and “50 is the new 30.” Soon we will all be kids again.

Epstein argues effectively that American culture collaborates in artificially extending childhood through public schooling and labor laws. In most of human history, young people worked side by side with adults from their early teens with young women becoming wives and mothers. Early on, he fingers the labor unions as the culprits behind child labor laws. In 1881, the forerunner to the AFL-CIO made child labor a high priority: “We are in favor of the passage of laws in the several states forbidding the employment of children under fourteen in any capacity, under penalty of fine and imprisonment.”

Of course, unions didn’t want the competition from young workers who are likely smarter and more productive than older workers. Work by David Wechsler and J.C. Raven indicates that our highest mental age is in our midteens. According to Raven, “Apparently by the age of fourteen, a child’s trainability has reached its maximum, while after the age of thirty, a person’s ability to understand a new method of thinking, adopt new methods of working, and even to adapt a new environment, steadily decreases.”

Of course today’s teens don’t act like they have the most brainpower in society. How could they? They are isolated in government schools away from adults and given no responsibilities — they are infantilized. Infantilized by the many laws restricting young people: curfew laws, tougher driving laws, teen-wage laws, laws curtailing sexual activities, free-speech restrictions at school, censorship of educational activities, dress codes, smoking and drinking laws, ad infinitum.

But government and unions are not the only teen enemies. The author makes the case (sometimes effectively, sometimes not) that everyone works against teens being adults. The media portray teens as self-absorbed; business makes big bucks promoting teen culture; and even parents underestimate their teens’ abilities.

Epstein’s book is chock-full of examples of young people in history who have made tremendous contributions. Louis Braille, if he were a blind kid today, would be cooped up in special-needs classes. Fortunately, he lived in the early 1800s and had perfected the Braille system by the time he was 15 years old. Samuel Colt invented the multiround, revolving-head pistol when he was 16. Edgar Allen Poe had his first book published at 18, including poems he had written at age 12 and 13.

The fact is, creativity is at its peak in early childhood and the teen years. But as we enter adulthood, we learn to conform, which takes a toll on creativity. Public schooling was created to mold young people into compliant citizens, sapping their creativity. Teen ingenuity remains high, but given the need to rebel, lack of adult companionship, and laws prohibiting the signing of contracts, their creativity is rarely channeled into positive pursuits.

In a test for “adultness” cocreated by the author, the difference between how adults and how teens scored was statistically insignificant: “Age is simply not a reliable measure of adultness,” Epstein writes, “at least not once people are past puberty.”

So what should we do about all of this? Obviously abolishing the myriad of laws restricting teens would be a good first start. But, unfortunately, Epstein believes young (and old) people should be given rights only if they can pass competency tests. And one gets the feeling that government would be doing the administering of these tests — as if government bureaucrats should be trusted with the job.

As well done and interesting as Epstein’s book is, he doesn’t go far enough. As Murray Rothbard wrote in The Ethics of Liberty, a child has rights “when he leaves or ‘runs away’ from home.” Forget the tests; just set kids free.

See also: Education: Free and Compulsory, by Murray Rothbard

My Last Will and Testament

Friday, June 17th, 2011

I’ve had a hell of a life — better than I ever could have imagined or wished for — and, I plan to keep living it. However, it did occur to me recently that it would be preferable for my survivors to know my wishes in the event that it ends sooner than I expect it to. I don’t think anything I would want would surprise anyone, so I figured I’d just blog it. I’m not sure that this will be legally binding, but I feel confident that at least some of my business partners would attempt to honor it, even if they weren’t obligated to by law.

So, here it goes: :)

—–BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE—–
Hash: SHA1

* I, Christopher Lee Brunner, a resident of Birmingham, Alabama,
being of sound and disposing mind and memory and over the age of
eighteen (18) years, and not being actuated by any duress, menace,
fraud, mistake, or undue influence, do make, publish, and declare this
to be my last Will, hereby expressly revoking all Wills and Codicils
previously made by me.
* I appoint Saba Dovlatabadi as Executor of this my Last Will and
Testament and provide if this Executor is unable or unwilling to serve
then I appoint Frederick Lee Brunner as alternate Executor. If this
Executor is unable or unwilling to serve then I appoint Marjorie Hoffman
Brunner. If this Executor is unable or unwilling to serve then I appoint
Shannon Nicole Brunner. My Executor shall be authorized to carry out all
provisions of this Will and pay my just debts, obligations and funeral
expenses.
* Except where overridden by properly executed partnership and
operating agreements, I hereby bequeath all dividends, profit
distributions, and any other compensation resulting from the ownership
interest of any legal entity during the period of eighteen (18) months
after my death to my immediate family and charitable organization in the
following proportions: Ninety (90) percent of said monies shall be
distributed to Frederick Lee Brunner and Marjorie Hoffman Brunner, or
Shannon Nicole Brunner if Shannon Nicole Brunner survives both Frederick
Lee Brunner and Marjorie Hoffman Brunner. The remaining ten (10) percent
of said monies shall be distributed to the Ludwig von Mises Institute in
Auburn, Alabama.
* Once a period of eighteen (18) months has elapsed after my death,
all ownership interest shall be either liquidated or gifted to the
affected business partners in proportion to vested ownership of the each
affected business, at the discretion of the affected business partners.
Should the affected business partners elect to liquidate said ownership
interest, the resulting monies shall be bequeathed to my immediate
family and charitable organization in the same manner as outlined in the
prior clause.
* Ownership and resulting benefits of all promissory notes for which
the aggregate outstanding balance, per debtor, is greater than or equal
to ten thousand (10,000) dollars at the time of my death shall be
assigned to Saba Dovlatabadi for collection under the condition that
seventy-five (75) percent of the resulting monies are distributed to my
immediate family and charitable organization in the same manner that is
outlined above. The interest of said promissory notes may be waived at
the sole discretion of Saba Dovlatabadi, if Saba Dovlatabadi is willing
to meet this condition. If Saba Dovlatabadi is unable or unwilling to
collect the benefits owed to me or the trust established by this Will,
then one hundred percent of the ownership and resulting benefits shall
be assigned to Frederick Lee Brunner and Marjorie Hoffman Brunner, or
Shannon Nicole Brunner if Shannon Nicole Brunner survives both Frederick
Lee Brunner and Marjorie Hoffman Brunner.
* If a named beneficiary to this Will predeceases me, the bequest to
such person shall lapse, and the property shall pass under the other
provisions of this Will.
* If I do not possess or own any property listed above on the date
of my death, the bequest of that property shall lapse.
* I give, devise, and bequeath ninety (90) percent of the rest,
residue, and remainder of my estate, of whatever kind and character, and
wherever located, to Frederick Lee Brunner and Marjorie Hoffman Brunner,
or Shannon Nicole Brunner if Shannon Nicole Brunner survives both
Frederick Lee Brunner and Marjorie Hoffman Brunner. I request that the
remaining ten (10) percent of the rest, residue, and remainder of my
estate, of whatever kind and character, and wherever located, be
liquidated and given to, devised, and bequeathed to the Ludwig von Mises
Institute in Auburn, Alabama.
* If none of my named beneficiaries survives me, then the rest and
residue of my estate shall pass according to the order of intestate
succession in the State of Alabama.
* My Executor and alternate Executor shall serve without any bond,
and I hereby waive the necessity of preparing or filing any inventory,
accounting, appraisal, reporting, approvals or final appraisement of my
estate. I direct that no expert appraisal be made of my estate unless
required by law.
* The term ?testator? as used in this Will is deemed to include me
as Testator or Testatrix. The pronouns used in this Will shall include,
where appropriate, either gender or both, singular and plural.
* If any part of this Will is declared invalid, illegal, or
inoperative for any reason, it is my intent that the remaining parts
shall be effective and fully operative, and that any Court so
interpreting this Will and any provision in it construe in favor of
survival.
* I, Christopher Lee Brunner, hereby set my hand to this last Will,
on this 17th day of June, 2011 at 2222 2nd Avenue North, Suite 305,
Birmingham, State of Alabama.
* My secure cryptographic signature, which follows, shall serve as
undeniable, mathematical proof that I am the author of the foregoing
instrument, and that this instrument could not have been altered
retroactively.
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Version: GnuPG v1.4.10 (GNU/Linux)

iQEcBAEBAgAGBQJN+v3tAAoJEA2rgsu8n3PP4tsH/ihnydhArcJUA6qOa1y6V6YW
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Where the Hell is Chris?

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

It’s been ages since I’ve kept my blog up to date. If you’ve come to ChrisBrunner.com to see what I’m up to, your best bet would be to read my Twitter feed or check my Google Latitude widget to see where I am. The updates are sparse, but it’s more than you’ll find on the rest of my blog.

I look forward to sitting down someday soon to blog about the adventure that RCG and TIDS have been, but my phone keeps ringing, so it’ll have to happen on another day.

I finally joined Twitter. You should add me.

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

Okay, so I actually joined Twitter ages ago to check it out. I just couldn’t understand why someone would want to use a site that was basically Facebook minus everything except for the status updates. It seemed pretty stupid, so I just left it alone.

But after about six months, I got an email. Someone was following me on Twitter, which puzzled me because I hadn’t ever posted a single tweet. I deleted the email and went on with life.

But a week later, I got another email. Delete. Move on.

Gradually, the frequency increased until I had accrued forty followers without posting a single Tweet!

Today I finally decided to give in and see what it was all about, and I must admit, it’s kind of fun.

Sure, it’s true that the functionality basically boils down to Facebook status updates without the rest of Facebook, but people use it a little differently.

I do like having the option of being able to post tiny updates from anywhere, using my cell phone, without having to commit to writing an entire blog post. Sure, I have an Android application on my G1 that let’s me blog remotely, but it’s still a pain in the ass to type several paragraphs on a mobile device, even with a nice QWERTY keyboard. I like that I can integrate my twitter updates with my existing blog. I also like that my “tweets” can show up as status updates on Facebook and as instant messaging status, even when I’m away from my computer.

It turns out that in practice, micro-blogging is a pretty fun. So, give in and join me!

Internet TV

Friday, September 26th, 2008

So recently I went to a lot of trouble to hook up the MythTV system I built a couple years ago, only to realize two weeks later that I don’t use it. I don’t really watch TV much at all anymore. However, there are a few YouTube channels I enjoy. More specifically, I tend to prefer the bias of Russia Today and AlJazeera English versus the horse shit that tends to come out of American media. There are a few other YouTube channels that are worth watching.

So, the problem I ran into after a week or so of watching these YouTube channels is that YouTube’s interface completely sucks. After checking around for other options for interfaces, Miro is what I ended up settling on. Miro is basically a video podcast client, but it supports BitTorrent and YouTube channels. I remember checking it out when it was called Democracy Player, but I wasn’t really impressed for reasons I can no longer remember.

What this means for you is that you can always have interesting, free, on-demand content available on your computer for when you’re ready to watch. Channels I subscribe to can basically be divided into four categories: News, Science & Technology, Libertarianism, and Humor. When I open Miro each day, I click on “New” and click Play. I am then shown a mix of videos that I am almost always interested in watching. I can skip, delete, keep each video, or just let it play through and expire ones I’ve seen after five days. The result is by far more stimulating than the content I get from my cable company.

Just FYI for those of you looking for something better than traditional cable television.

See? Not all Americans are evil.

Friday, September 5th, 2008

Many of those who aren’t pro-war gathered in Minneapolis, MN this week to celebrate the ideas of freedom and liberty. Check it out:

It was a blast to attend.

The Live Free or Die Experience

Wednesday, January 9th, 2008

My time in New Hampshire has been more incredible than I could have ever imagined.  Everything has been non-stop since I arrived almost a week ago.  This is the first chance I’ve had to stop long enough to write a quick blog post.

I have a few announcements to make:

  • First of all, I’d like a apologize to everyone who has sent me email.  I try to keep up with it, but I’ve had almost no time at all to read and respond since I arrived in New Hampshire.  I currently have hundreds of unread messages, but hopefully I’ll have a chance to tend to my inbox when I reach New Jersey.
  • Secondly, everyone is asking about the Frank Luntz audio file.  I haven’t even had a chance until now to plug the voice recorder into my laptop.  The recording should be around three hours long, and it will take some time to wade through it.  I will do that when I start working on the article with Max Raskn in New Jersey.  As long as the quality of the audio is good, I should be able to release it when the article is published.  This probably isn’t going to happen in the next two days, and I’ve given Lew Rockwell first dibs on publishing rights.  So, watch LewRockwell.com and subscribe to my RSS feed in order to be one of the first to know when it gets published!
  • Thirdly, I haven’t forgotten about the Triangle Ron Paul Meetup!  You guys rock, and I still plan on blogging my experience!

I’ve had such a blast meeting and hanging out with everyone!  Thanks for being a part of the Ron Paul Revolution!

Frank Luntz Exposed: A Teaser

Monday, January 7th, 2008

I wasn’t going to post this until the final article was ready, but since the Daily Paul broke it, I feel a bit pressured to at least offer a teaser.

First of all, if you don’t know who Frank Luntz is, watch this video for some critical background information:

Well, to make a long story short, I was invited to one of these focus groups. More on how I managed that will be in the coming article. Because I had heard first-hand accounts of Luntz’s manipulative tactics, I purchased a voice recorder and decided to check it out for myself. For now, suffice to say that there is indeed a tremendous amount of bias involved in both the selection process as well as Frank’s administration of the focus group session itself. In fact, the very person I randomly sat down next to to have dinner with turned out to be incredibly shady. More on details on that will be in the article to come, but for now, see for yourself that this isn’t his first time in one of Frank’s group:

So, after the “focus group” was concluded, a gathering of people who apparently already knew what Luntz was all about met him at the door and started to confront him. I was completely content to stand by and watch the show until I heard Frank claiming that he didn’t try to influence participants. After sitting through three hours of his tricks, I couldn’t help but chime in to clarify what I had just seen. Frank calls the crowd “mean”, but having seen what Frank does for a living, I don’t at all blame them for being displeased with him.

Stay tuned for an article that includes a rundown of Frank’s incredibly biased selection process, my hour-long discussion with the mysterious Chuck, and Frank’s manipulative “focus group” methods.

A few important notes:
– I did not ambush Frank Luntz. Other people did that, and Mike and I walked up and saw it happening. I only opened my mouth when he tried to tell people that he doesn’t misrepresent public opinion.
– These people were supporting various different candidates. This was not a crowd of supporters from any one campaign.
– Mike videotaped and uploaded it to YouTube. However, I never asked for it to be posted on a high profile blog. However, since it was already public, I wanted to explain and figured I might as well use it as a teaser for the article I was already planning to write.

It IS true: Ron Paul Is Being Excluded From The FOX News Debate

Saturday, December 29th, 2007

So, as it turns out, the story I broke yesterday at 8PM on LewRockwell.com about Ron Paul being excluded from the debates was true.  I cited an AP story which listed five other candidates who are to be attending.  Several people called the official campaign and were told that it was true, and between the AP and official campaign, I felt there was ample evidence to justify breaking the news on LRC.

Well, it wasn’t long before I got an email from someone who profusely insisted that my post was likely incorrect, that the New Hampshire GOP would not allow this to happen, and that I was a horrible person for posting it.  (I’m paraphrasing here.  She actually copied my boss on her emails and asked how I could post such “nonsense” several times.) Because she’s someone who seemed to be very close to the campaign and very close to the New Hampshire GOP, I believed her when she said, “I have an invitation at my home with his name printed on it.” (That’s a quote.)

It was one of my most embarrassing moments since childhood.  I thought I had tarnished the reputation of Lew Rockwell and had discredited myself in the eyes of tens of thousands of Ron Paul supporters who read LRC daily as their primary source of information. As a result of my post, the New Hampshire GOP’s servers and phone lines were out of commission because of hordes of angry Ron Paul supporters.

I quickly posted a very personal retraction that resonated around the blogosphere.  I received dozens of emails from angry Ron Paul fans who asked how I could have posted something like without checking out my sources.  (One would think the Associated Press and the official
campaign would be reliable sources of information, right?)  I then spent the next 17 hours trying to squelch copies of my news on dozens
of others blogs as they popped up, further making myself look like an ass.

Well, as it turns out, FOX has indeed excluded Ron Paul from the forum.  The official campaign has published a press release about it
The AP was right.  The people answering the phones at the campaign were right, and the retractions on all of the major Ron Paul sites were in vain.

In the defense of the person who sent me these emails that caused me to post a retraction, her chief complaint now is that the NH GOP is not the right outlet to complain to.  Due to reasons I agreed not to publish, she may be right
about that.

What a horrible experience.  I will, however, be confirming all Ron Paul-related news with the chairman of the Ron Paul campaign from now on if we end up making contact tomorrow.

Now, about Ron Paul being excluded…  Here’s where you can send your complaints:

  • General Comments
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TOYOTA
19001 S Western Ave
Torrance, CA 90501-1106
TEL: (310) 468-4000
FAX: (310) 468-7800

Eric Milledge
Company Group Chairman
LifeScan, Inc.
1000 Gibraltar Drive
Milpitas, CA 95035
TEL: (408) 263-9789
FAX:

Jim Julow
Vice President
Dodge Magnum/Dakota,
DamlierChysler Corp
1000 Chrysler Dr
Auburn Hills, MI 48326-2766
TEL: (248) 576-5741
FAX: (248) 512-2817

Emil J. Brolick
President
Taco Bell
17901 Von Karman Ave
Irvine, CA 92614-6253
TEL: (949) 863-4500
FAX: (949) 863-409

Marc Covent
President
Slim Fast
777 S Flagler Dr Ste 1400
West Palm Beach, FL 33401-
6176
TEL: (561) 833-9920
FAX: (561) 822-2876

William R Rhodes
Chairman
Citigroup
TEL: (212) 793-6872

And here’s a link to more FOX News sponsors.

I’ll post more contact info as I get it.