March 13, 2023

700: Bringing Calvin Coolidge Back to Life with AI

@AP4Liberty & @SteffiP4Liberty Unveiling the Making of 'Calvin the Coolest President

Are you looking for a fun and educational book to teach your children about American history? Look no further than "Calvin the Coolest President," the new children's book written by Austin and Stephanie Petersen. Join Brian Nichols as he interviews the couple about their new book and how it can inspire young minds.

As a married couple with a shared passion for limited government and freedom, Austin and Stephanie Petersen have been working hard to spread the message of liberty. From Austin's Libertarian presidential campaign in 2015 to their current work with and their new children's book, the Petersens are dedicated to creating value in the libertarian movement.

Their new book, "Calvin the Coolest President," is a fun and educational way to teach children about American history. Based on the life of Calvin Coolidge, the book is generated using ChatGPT and contains factual information about the former president. The illustrations in the book were created using an AI tool called MidJourney, which gives a unique depiction of Coolidge.

The Petersens hope that their book will help parents and educators educate children on the importance of American history and inspire young minds to learn more. As Austin explains, "We want to create something that not only teaches children about American history but also inspires them to want to learn more and be curious about the world around them."

Join Brian Nichols as he talks to Austin and Stephanie Petersen about their new children's book and how it can be a valuable tool in teaching young minds about American history. Don't miss this episode of The Brian Nichols Show and be sure to grab a copy of "Calvin the Coolest President" for the young readers in your life.


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Brian Nichols  0:09  
Is that your dog snoring? Yes. Fantastic.

Stephanie Petersen  0:13  
If he's a problem, we can move. No, no,

Brian Nichols  0:15  
no, no, no, no, no, it's cute. No, we're gonna keep it. All right, well.

Let's talk about Calvin, the coolest president. Let's talk about that instead of focusing on winning arguments, we're teaching the basic fundamentals of sales and marketing and how we can use them to win in the world of politics, teaching you how to meet people where they're at on the issues they care about. Welcome to The Brian Nichols Show. Well, hey there folks, right here on The Brian Nichols Show. And thank you for joining us on of course another episode. I am as always your humble host joining me live marfy NC Studios here in lovely Eastern Indiana. Don't let outdated visits prospecting tip, put your company at risk. We are heading into a recession and you need to be prepared. Learn more by emailing me at Brian at Brian Nichols. Well, was Calvin Coolidge. In fact, the coolest President Well, if you're a libertarian leaning, you're probably gonna say absolutely but if you're Stephanie and Austin Peterson, not only will you agree, but also your write a book about it. Joining us today, Austin Peterson and Stephanie Peterson. Welcome.

Stephanie Petersen  1:27  
I love your energy. Excited, we're

Austin Petersen  1:30  
ready to rock.

Brian Nichols  1:31  
Hey, guys, good to have you back. And thank you. Yeah, we got to bring some energy because we're talking about Calvin, the coolest of all presidents a brand new kids book. Here it is. You guys just wrote I know. It's so great. But before we get there, do us a favor, guys. It's been a little bit since we both had you on the show. reintroduce yourself. So The Brian Nichols Show audience and what the heck has been going on here? Since you guys were last in the show? Stephanie asked. I think you guys were separate at the time, but now together at last.

Stephanie Petersen  1:57  
That's right. I think when I last talked to you, oh my gosh, it was several years ago when I was a YouTuber myself. Yep. So my channel was up and coming. And I think it was after I volunteered for Austin's campaign for US Senate. And, and so I was, you know, just trying to build my name. But then COVID Hit Yeah. And that's when Austin and I we got closer. And we got together in a relationship. But I was like, Hey, I'm on lockdown here in Michigan. I should move to Missouri to be with you. lock you

Austin Petersen  2:27  
down, baby. But it's all voluntary. Yeah, literally,

Stephanie Petersen  2:31  
I packed up my car, I quit my job. I'm a social worker. So I worked at a hospital for 10 years. And I became a telehealth social worker. And I moved to Missouri, and we fell in love and we got married. And we have two dogs.

Austin Petersen  2:47  
Yeah. And we wrote our first kids books. But, you know, we just, you know, it's a marriage made in Liberty, right? We both love limited government and freedom and the Constitution and our country. And we both have the same values and goals and dreams, and we want to accomplish the same things. And, you know, we're both very entrepreneurial, and you know, it for us. We have like, we really do have a dream marriage, I would say, and it's only been, you know, we're only in our second year for sure. But I mean, the thing is, is that like Stephanie and I, we have something that you know, I never had in any relationship before her. And I really think that people are, you know, have struggling to get together these days. It's so hard to find like your one. And so many people are complaining, but I mean, you want to hear I'll tell you a little secret. I don't think I've ever done this public. What's the secret? One time I actually had a conversation with John Stossel. Oh, yeah, he told me privately. He's like Austin, whatever you do, do not marry a woman who is not a libertarian. He's like, You marry a girl who agrees with your values, because your life will be much easier. And I took John Stossel as advice and I married a smokin hot redheaded libertarian girl, Stephanie Peterson and thank you, we've had a wonderful time the last couple of years. And, you know, I've had my career has had ups and downs and sides decides and, and it's nice to know that Stephanie, you know, loves me and supports me even when things aren't necessarily going. The greatest, which, you know, when you do what we do, and we're kind of in this entrepreneurial sort of podcasting media world, sometimes you're on top of the world. And the other times, nobody's paying attention to you, and everybody ignores you, you know, it doesn't matter. You ran for president united states, like who cares, right? There's a lot of competition and there's just there's a lot of heartache too, so you know, having a fulfilling relationship with someone who shares your values and supports you and no matter what is I mean, it's a difference between life and death. It feels like

Brian Nichols  4:44  
I love seeing you two together I love seeing you too happy I mean, awesome. You and I go way back with the the TLR days back in 2015. I mean, like to see Yeah, all that's transpired over the past like gosh, almost 10 years now. It's

Stephanie Petersen  4:57  
it's really cool right before I knew You Yeah, because I first found you for the libertarian debate. Yeah. running for president.

Austin Petersen  5:05  
Yeah. And, you know, I've always thought that, you know, the ideas of liberty needed a sort of a capitalistic approach to sell capitalism. You know, there are a lot of great nonprofits that do a lot of good work. But I think the idea of how using free market ideas to sell free market ideas is one that has merit. So you know, from the libertarian republic in 2015, to AP for liberty And Calvin, the coolest President books today, you know, I think I've made a good career, probably one of the best known libertarians out there that is, in the mix of living, selling the ideas that I deeply am very passionate about, you know, some people sometimes, you know, you'll always get accused of being a grifter. But people who know me, and who know have known me for a long time, people like yourself, know that I deeply care about these ideas that it's more than justified. It's more than just a bumper sticker slogan. Yeah. Right.

Brian Nichols  5:58  
Yeah. Well, and this is, the important thing to people seem to forget in our movement is that when we're creating value value itself, cost something, right, whether it's the time that we're investing in to bring the value of the table or the resources we're bringing to the table. So I mean, it's not that we're grifting, it's that we're trying to bring value and in return, be able to compensate ourselves for the value that we're trying to bring this movement. And let's, that's a great segue, because what you guys have done is you have taken this entrepreneurial spirit that we not only promote here in the greater liberty movement, but now you guys are actually turning it into a business but also again, bringing value to the table. Now we just had Connor boy back here on the show recently from the Libertas Institute, they do the amazing Tuttle twins series. So obviously, yeah, talking about bringing the books to kids is so important, because education is vital when we're trying to not just like raise the next generation, but also make sure that the values, the morals, the principles that we know, helped build this country are maintained. So you guys want a brand new AI inspired book called Calvin, the coolest president, jump ball, give us a little bit of context behind this book, and what's been the reception thus far.

Stephanie Petersen  7:06  
You go ahead and sort of stuff. Yeah, so we wanted to write a book. I mean, Austin is really good at writing. But I know that you're a little bit apprehensive to write a book yourself. And so AI helps to give you that framework for your book. So you don't get stuck in writer's block. And so basically, we use chat GPT. And so you literally just type in a prompt, and you say, write me a children's book for ages two to six, about the life of Calvin Coolidge and make it factual. And it literally does that for you. However, it's not entirely factual, all the times mistakes. That's the problem. For example, it told us that Calvin Coolidge had an ice cream machine in the White House, and he could push a button at any given moment and get ice cream. And we tried to fact check that we even contacted this lady Frodo

Austin Petersen  7:58  
Amity Shlaes. Yeah. So we contacted her and asked her Did he like, you know, did you like ice cream? Do you have an ice cream machine and she's like, he didn't have an ice cream machine. But he liked milky food.

Stephanie Petersen  8:08  
So we can only confirm he liked milky foods. But I did find a picture of him online, in the White House garden, having a party with a bunch of people and they're all eating ice cream. So we're like, hey, he had ice cream parties at the White House.

Austin Petersen  8:24  
So we wrote it ourselves. But the real miracle of artificial intelligence wasn't the writing of the book, because we had to kind of scrap that the real miracle of AI were the illustrations, because that yeah, that we could not have done right. So Calvin Coolidge brought to life in a way that no one has ever seen him before. Is this is how people like to get their their stories. This is how people like to get their histories. You know, do people know there's only one president who was born on the fourth of July? And that was Calvin Coolidge. Yeah, right. In

Stephanie Petersen  8:55  
fact, GPT knows that right? So we gave

Austin Petersen  8:59  
we told mid journey, which is the the picture drawing tool to give us a picture of Calvin Coolidge. He was a redhead. So we had to tell him making pictures of redhead. It says, we said, playing with fireworks as a little boy. So it gave us several iterations of that. And then we chose this and use that as the as the picture that we wanted to have for him. With the on the Fourth of July, there's you know, he has had a menagerie the White House of animals. So we told it to you know, give us a picture of Calvin Coolidge as a redhead, with surrounded by lots of cute little animals.

Stephanie Petersen  9:35  
Yeah, the fun thing about mid journey that helped us to make our illustrations is that sometimes it has imperfections. It doesn't exactly know how many fingers a person has or how many eyes we have on our face. So there's some people that may have three eyes in our book,

Austin Petersen  9:51  
but it's getting better. It's getting better all the time. Here's here's what it created when I said make a picture of me and my wife, Stephanie, because you know, I've been out there The public sphere long enough that it makes the journey knows who I am. Yeah. So. So if you type in, you know, make a picture of Austin Peterson, it's gonna go out there and be able to make a fairly decent representation. Right? It's not the best, but it's fairly, it's close enough for government work, right? Here we are. And that's definitely over there looking cute, like in a Disney movie with our little dog. Right? So this, that is the real revolution, not the necessarily the writing of the book, which just kind of like got me out of our writer's block and started writing. But what really was the revolution was the art because in order for us to do something like that, it would have been way too cost prohibitive. And we would have shared royalties, and you know, we probably would have made, it's not like we're getting to be millionaires on this book. But you know, the money that we have made off of it, probably two thirds of it would have gone to the publisher and then to the children's book author, and then we would have left been left with pennies on

Stephanie Petersen  10:53  
Yeah, and if we had an illustrator that we had to pay, yeah, and it would have been

Austin Petersen  10:57  
a no risk too much risk, right? You speculate all that you would have put out a lot of money for no guarantee guaranteed return, we put our instead, it took us maybe 12 to 20 hours to produce this book, from from idea to publication. And it's one

Stephanie Petersen  11:13  
weekend, basically, when it was a really fun bonding exercise. I mean, we just sat here together, and we were typing in different prompts on mid journey. And we were looking at the pictures together. And it was just really cool. It was fun. Because again, we're creative individuals, yeah, that's how we enjoy ourselves,

Austin Petersen  11:30  
you can find it on And like the Kindle, and then you can get a paperback version of it. And we're gonna we're gonna start selling a signed copy version on our website for people who are like, just like super super fans of which there are five. But, but once we once we finish this up in this, we kind of feel like the the, this has died down a little bit, we're gonna move on, we're gonna write four more books, hopefully by the end of the year. So we can have the five most libertarian presidents of which there are really actually only five, and even kept silent cow had his issues. But this is a great way to introduce these ideas to kids, because there are a million kids books of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln. And everybody says the great presidents are the ones who fought the war. You know, this is a president who didn't do much. But in not doing much, he did everything, you know, and contributed to one of the greatest periods of American history, an era of good feelings, which is what they call it, which was the roaring 20s. And having a president who wasn't an imperialist led to and was more laissez faire, led to the flourishing of the American economy.

Brian Nichols  12:42  
It's so great to be able to not only have the resources now to tell these stories, but actually reminds me there's a YouTube channel I follow called corridor crew. And I talked about this last week, actually on the show, where they just did a brand new, entirely CGI slash AI generated anime. And it's like a legitimate 10 minute or so long video. And what they did was they were able to use green screens, live action recordings of themselves, and then layer in the AI technology that's available and create a full like actual, like, animated series basically, that they could turn into something beyond what it would have taken otherwise, if it was to your point. illustrators, entire teams, directors, producers, they could take that and democratize this entire process. And really open it up to your average person. I think right there that is speaking exactly to why the libertarian entrepreneur mindset is so important, because we see the barriers, right? We see the the traditional roadblocks that are in our way to try and bring these things to the table to bring it to the market. Whereas as we have the advancement of technology for all the negative things we hear about there from technology, there's also a lot of positive because it opens the door to possibilities that we're even in the like the purview before it even became a thing. So I would love for you guys kind of talk about as a libertarian entrepreneur, using technology to help advance not just our ability to speak to our audience, but also to help you guys along the way on your path to trying to earn a living. Well, if

Austin Petersen  14:11  
you if you think about it, you know, ask yourself if you went out there to try and raise money for somebody to invest and say, Hey, listen, you know, you could split the profits, but we invest in a children's book about Calvin Coolidge baby like, Who the hell was Calvin Coolidge? Right? A lot of us don't even know existed, right? So Right. So when you say it democratizes our ability to tell these stories? It absolutely does. And I'm working on other projects as well. That would help us just tell the stories of libertarians from history because, I mean, what where's the documentary about Frederick? postion? Right. Where's the movie about Murray Rothbard. Where's the stories of Ludwig von Mises escaping from the Nazis of Austria, right in the beginning of World War Two, right? These stories haven't been told and it's because there were such a small group of people and investment into the This would be very risky. So it's, it's really gotten rid of a lot of the risk for us to be able to tell some of these stories. And because I find so many of these stories from history fascinating, and they've never been told before in pictures, and in, in sounds in in music, you know, now we can actually, if you are a creative person, but say you can't draw, right now you can write so you can actually bring technology to bear to help you to tell stories that have never been told before. And what I really hope is, and this is quite a romantic belief, I guess, but I really hope that this helps to revitalize and restore the liberty movement. Yes, because I hope it brings more people over to our ideas of freedom and convinces them of why it's possible to be a boss without being bossy.

Stephanie Petersen  15:47  
Yeah, I mean, we both have been entrepreneurs, even before I met you. I mean, you know, I was a YouTuber, I also had a jewelry store on Etsy, back in the day. So we both liked entrepreneurship in general, and you used to have shops, I remember, I used to buy your shirts, yeah, I had very limited shops, and quite an entrepreneur, too. It

Austin Petersen  16:06  
was, but I never, I never really profited from those those were always usually when I was using them to fund like Liberty projects or my campaigns. So if I had shops before, now, just now is the first time I've ever had like a merchandise store. They libertarian merchandise store that is actually like a for profit venture and not to fund necessarily anything else. So our new AP for Liberty show, Stephanie makes a lot of the designs.

Stephanie Petersen  16:31  
I mean, I was the main graphic designer for your campaign for US Senate. So I got a lot of practice doing that. But technology has advanced so much that it's easier and easier now to design graphics for things. That's the thing, if you have the idea, we use Adobe Express, for example, or there's like Canva that you can use. Oh, sorry. Yeah,

Brian Nichols  16:51  
I made this on Canva. No, I hear you.

Stephanie Petersen  16:53  
Yeah. But it it literally allows you to become an artist. Yeah. If you don't want to learn Photoshop, because that's really hard stuff.

Austin Petersen  17:01  
Yeah. And so like, you know, again, back to the romantic ideals. I like the idea that, you know, somebody might buy my 50 caliber bullet bottle opener, and hand it to their buddy and their buddies like, oh, my god, is this real? And I'm like, Yeah, that's a real, that's a 50 caliber bullet. And it starts a conversation and they start talking about gun rights and freedom and all that stuff. And I know it seems silly, because I think people on a surface level will say, that's not going to change the world or anything like that. But like the journey of 1000 miles begins with one step. Right? So if if having somebody wearing a t shirt that says EU government on it gets people to talk, or I have a shirt now that people actually bought it's a tank top that says FDR sucked and prolonging the Great Depression. And I mean, that was not even the most controversial thing I posted recently, but it certainly that angered a lot of socialists and got people talking and debating because who's having a conversation about why FDR sucked? No, but

Stephanie Petersen  17:59  
I have a friend who tried to have a conversation with me, oh, people

Austin Petersen  18:02  
were upset. She was getting angry DMS from her friend, I

Stephanie Petersen  18:05  
may have lost a friend or

Brian Nichols  18:08  
a friend, honestly. But not to your point. That's, that's exactly what we're doing. Like I have my what happened in 1971 shirt. That's one of our top selling shirts in Austin, you hit it right? It starts a conversation. And that is exactly what we're trying to do. We're not trying to get people to vote libertarian by seeing our ship. We're trying to get them to like start a conversation, learn along the way, but also that we're trying to build something outside of the political realm, it starts and this is the old Andrew Breitbart, quote unquote, right politics is downstream from culture, I firmly believe that and we have so long neglected to take part. In this cultural conversation, we we get off on the talking about politics, that fixation on the isms versus trying to actually focus on what is going to move the needle and culture by like, by far is the thing that pushes people to actually consider things in a different way, like Harry Potter, or the I forget the name of the book, book five, though, where you have Dolores Umbridge. I talked about that to folks. And I'm like, You do realize the reason you hate her is because she is government entity coming into private school that tell them how to run their school. And they're like, Oh, my God, you're right. I'm like, exactly. But that right there does so much more to show the value of getting government out of schooling than me sending them white papers on school choice. It's it's night and day, and anybody who's like pretending that that doesn't matter. They're not really trying to change people's minds. They're just trying to be right.

Stephanie Petersen  19:36  
And that's the thing about this book that I really like is that it's not just for libertarians, it's not just for Republic, and it can be for everybody, honestly. So no matter you know what political affiliation you have, as a parent, you can read this to your kid. So that's what I like about it is it's marketable to everybody. It's not just our niche.

Austin Petersen  19:55  
It's not like it's the agenda isn't necessarily there because oh really is is telling you know what he did and talked about why he was so cool. And you know, because he did become president united states. After all, there must have been something special about him. Well, what was it that made him special? Or what was it that made him unique? Well, he was he was silent. He was humble. He was quiet. He was not. He was the boss, but he wasn't bossy. And you know, he rose to power, but he had an opportunity to stay in power, and he decided to go home instead. So those kinds of concepts I feel like are, are just they're only talked about maybe in the context, perhaps of George Washington, when you think about George Washington walked away from power. But were there any other presidents who kind of follow that example? Well, Coolidge was was actually one of them. Most people don't know that, like, most other presidents tried to run for more than two terms, and either failed to win a nomination died while they were in office, or whatever, what have you. I mean, Coolidge could have run for another term, he could have been, I think, the first third term president, but he didn't do it, he decided to walk away from power. I mean, from Woodrow Wilson, to Teddy Roosevelt to all these other presidents, they wanted to be a president for more than three terms, which is why we're all glad that FDR, you know, who sucked you know, got out of office, you know, die, aka died, and then they passed the constitutional amendment to prevent that. But you know, the thing in here, the page that probably really is the the part that matters the most, is this page where he talks about, he didn't do his job like most presidents by being bossy and telling people what to do. Calvin mostly just let people be free to make their own choices.

Stephanie Petersen  21:40  
So that's where the libertarian values

Austin Petersen  21:43  
are, that's laissez faire, right? Without without saying laissez faire or beating them over the head with it. So, you know, there's some there's little jokes in there and things like that, and some themes. So this is it. This is universal, right? If if you're a Democrat, even if you're a Stalinist, and you read this to your kids, what they're really going to get out of this is what Calvin Coolidge was like, where he was from and born, that kind of life that he led, you know, how he became president, and why he chose to walk away.

Brian Nichols  22:12  
It's good stuff, guys, you guys are doing great things. And truly, I can't thank you enough for actually helping bring real like solutions to the cultural space that we so desperately need. And I just want to say, I know we're already hard pressed for time. But you know, this is something folks that we need more of, we need more people in the greater liberty movement to get off of line, stop arguing in your Facebook groups and start building something better start building the solutions, start being the change you wish to see, because otherwise, it's just gonna be more of the same. And it starts with us changing the cultural conversation. So I guess that's my final thoughts as we wrap things up, what do you guys have for us as we wrap things up on your end?

Stephanie Petersen  22:50  
Yeah, that's right, channel that energy into productivity. When you want to go yell at somebody, go write a book instead.

Austin Petersen  22:58  
Yeah, take all of that anger. And you have, you know, blown up people's DMS and turn that into something productive. That's what I say. If you're interested in getting a copy, you can find it on Amazon. Again, it's on Kindle. So if you've got Kindle Unlimited, you can get it. But we highly recommend the paperback and we're also going to if you really, absolutely, positively must have a signed copy. We'll have that up on our website by this.

Stephanie Petersen  23:21  
Yeah, we've got our markers so that we can find

Austin Petersen  23:25  
gold so get yourself a copy over to

Brian Nichols  23:29  
Perfect. Well, folks, if you enjoyed today's episode, you know the drill, I'm gonna ask you go ahead and give it a share. But number two, more importantly, click the artwork in your podcast catcher, it'll bring you over to today's episode, where you're gonna find the entire transcript for today's episode, plus all those very important Affer mentioned links, including the link to Yes, Calvin, the coolest president. And again, thank you, Austin and Stephanie for doing the amazing things that you guys are doing behind the scenes it truly it speaks to how we're going to make a difference here in the greater liberty movement, you guys are leading by example. So folks, if you want to go ahead and learn more, please go ahead and reach out to Austin and Stephanie where folks can find you guys and by the way, social media links hit us with those

Stephanie Petersen  24:09  
Yeah, so I'm now Steffi. P for liberty, I used to not have that name. But now that I'm married Stephie P for liberty,

Austin Petersen  24:17  
AP for Liberty AP the number for AP for liberty, which you can find me everywhere on that perfect

Brian Nichols  24:23  
links in the show notes. And by the way, folks, we have a video version of the show. If you're missing that, well, don't worry, again, head over to rumble Odyssey or YouTube, just do me a favor, hit that subscribe button and little notification bell so you don't miss a single time we go live. So with that being said, talking about changing the culture, we're going to go ahead if you're on the YouTubes we're going to continue the conversations about changing the culture with our good friend Connor boy yak from the Liberty Libertas Institute. That video will start right here. So I'll see you guys if you stick around for that otherwise, that being said, Brian Nichols signing off. You're on The Brian Nichols Show for Austin and Stephanie Peterson. We'll see you tomorrow. Bye, guys. Hi.

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