Pete's Prep: Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018

Federal Immigration officials want NC voter info

Just when you thought the North Carolina election couldn't be crazier... North Carolina election officials are scrambling after the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency demanded voting records from the last eight years.

From the News & Observer:

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina  subpoenaed records Friday from the state board of elections and 44  county elections boards in the eastern part of the state. A meeting  notice from the board says the subpoena came at the request of  Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Among the state records from Jan.  1, 2010 through Aug. 30, 2018 that were requested: all voter  registration applications, federal write-in absentee ballots, federal  post card applications, early-voting application forms, provisional  voting forms, absentee ballot request forms, all “admission or denial of  non-citizen return forms,” and all voter registration cancellation or  revocation forms.

North Carolina has nearly 7 million registered voters, according to the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement. The board said it has more than 15 million documents and images stored within the state’s voter registration database.

Democrats call it an attempt to suppress voting and interfere with the upcoming election.

The State Board of Elections says it will create serious administrative problems for counties preparing for the November election.

Horses being airlifted to Greenville, SC

From USAToday:

The largest commercial airlift of horses in history gets underway this week at Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport in preparation for the FEI World Equestrian Games in Tryon, North Carolina.

On Sunday, a Boeing 777 freighter aircraft carrying 67 horses landed at GSP after a nine hour flight from Liege, Belgium, according to FEI officials and GSP spokesman Dudley Brown.

Nearly 600 horses are being brought in for the WEG.

You might recall, former Buncombe County Manager Wanda Greene spent  $577,000 in taxpayer money in equestrian sponsorships and advertisements. The Board of County Commissioners say they never knew about the payments. But it appears Greenville area folks were:

A current list on the equestrian center's website shows the Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport as a 2017 sponsor.

The  sponsorship was celebrated by President and CEO Dave Edwards, who said  in a news release that Tryon could "significantly impact the economic  and entertainment landscape here in the region."

I can only imagine how much Greene would've been able to embezzle had this event been located closer to Asheville.

We're building a dystopia just to make people click on ads

I was sent a TED Talk video done by Zeynep Tufekci (@zeynep). She is an associate professor at the School of Information and Library Science at UNC.

It seems more and more people are sounding the alarms over artificial intelligence and how big tech companies are manipulating people to an extent unknown by the public - and even the companies themselves.

Tufekci calls it the "computational exploitation of a natural human desire: to look “behind the curtain,” to dig deeper into something that engages us" in her recent NYTimes op-ed:

What keeps people glued to YouTube? Its algorithm seems to have concluded that people are drawn to content that is more extreme than what they started with — or to incendiary content in general.

Is this suspicion correct? Good data is hard to come by; Google is loath to share information with independent researchers. But we now have the first inklings of confirmation, thanks in part to a former Google engineer named Guillaume Chaslot.

Mr. Chaslot worked on the recommender algorithm while at YouTube. He grew alarmed at the tactics used to increase the time people spent on the site. Google fired him in 2013, citing his job performance. He maintains the real reason was that he pushed too hard for changes in how the company handles such issues.

The Wall Street Journal conducted an investigation of YouTube content with the help of Mr. Chaslot. It found that YouTube often “fed far-right or far-left videos to users who watched relatively mainstream news sources,” and that such extremist tendencies were evident with a wide variety of material. If you searched for information on the flu vaccine, you were recommended anti-vaccination conspiracy videos.

Here is the video that "Wild Bill" e-mailed to me.

I urge you to watch it.


But, wait! There's more!

Asheville City Councilman Vijay Kapoor is the latest to raise questions about the timing of the release of body cam video in the Johnnie Rush beating.

The lead singer of the band The Cranberries drowned in a bathtub.

Democrats have leaked "committee confidential" material in the Kavanaugh hearing.

Pete Kaliner

Pete Kaliner

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