Wasatch County in Utah has a tax revenue shortfall of $6 million when they realized that a single property was over-valued by $1 billion. “I’m thinking it was a data entry that would be something like they dropped their phone on the keyboard and it kicked out all these numbers without verifying,” said County Assessor Maureen “Buff” Griffiths.
Your long read of the week is a fantastic story of lost gold. The Fishermen’s Secret is told by The SF Chronicle.
Someone starting posting advertisements for trips to Eroda. The only problem was that it doesn’t exist.
From the ‘this can’t be good’ department, mercury has been found in Northern California coastal mountain lions and researchers are fingering the famous regional fog as the culprit.
It’s been reported that Trump’s golfing budget exceeds $115 million. Considerably more (287-times more) than the annual presidential salary Trump promised to give up.
This week’s dystopian news comes from Moscow where farmers have concluded that cows jacked into VR projections of greener pastures have less anxiety and may potentially produce more and better tasting milk.
I know that members of this committee have frequently framed these complicated issues in the form of a simple question: Was there a ‘quid pro quo?’ As I testified previously, with regard to the requested White House call and White House meeting, the answer is ‘yes.’
In this surreal moment, at the same moment when they were talking about Trump on twitter, Trump tweeted and may have earned himself another article of impeachment for threatening a witness. Did he walk into a trap? Surreal.
David Holmes had a front row seat to a follow up phone call between Ambassador Sondland and the President. Here is a selection from his testimony,
The four of us went to a nearby restaurant and sat on an outdoor terrace. I sat directly across from Ambassador Sondland and the two staffers sat off to our sides. At first, the lunch was largely social. Ambassador Sondland selected a bottle of wine that he shared among the four of us, and we discussed topics such as marketing strategies for his hotel business.
During the lunch, Ambassador Sondland said that he was going to call President Trump to give him an update. Ambassador Sondland placed a call on his mobile phone, and I heard him announce himself several times, along the lines of “Gordon Sondland holding for the President.” It appeared that he was being transferred through several layers of switchboards and assistants. I then noticed Ambassador Sondland’s demeanor change, and understood that he had been connected to President Trump. While Ambassador Sondland’s phone was not on speakerphone, I could hear the President’s voice through the earpiece of the phone. The President’s voice was very loud and recognizable, and Ambassador Sondland held the phone away from his ear for a period of time, presumably because of the loud volume.
I heard Ambassador Sondland greet the President and explain that he was calling from Kyiv. I heard President Trump then clarify that Ambassador Sondland was in Ukraine. Ambassador Sondland replied, yes, he was in Ukraine, and went on to state that President Zelenskyy “loves your ass.” I then heard President Trump ask, “So, he’s gonna do the investigation?” Ambassador Sondland replied that “he’s gonna do it,” adding that President Zelenskyy will do “anything you ask him to.” Even though I did not take notes of these statements, I have a clear recollection that these statements were made. I believe that my colleagues who were sitting at the table also knew that Ambassador Sondland was speaking with the President.
In the Bay Area, a man was handcuffed and cited for eating a sandwich on a train platform. Outrage at the heavy-handed police action sparked sandwich-eating protests and “eat-ins.” BART later apologized.
Aeroflot has stripped Mikhail Galin of his frequent flier miles for sneaking his cat into the cabin of an airplane. Viktor, his 17 lbs. cat, was clearly over the weight limit of in-cabin pets and his switcheroo scheme fell apart when he posted photos on Facebook.
Alex Trebek, the host of Jeopardy announced he’s going back into treatment for pancreatic cancer and one of the contestants showed his support and touched a chord.
All wildlife, including a herd of wild horses, were feared lost months ago when a storm surge swept their island home clean. All except for three cows who managed a 4-mile swim to the island where they were found this week adding new meaning to the phrase, “when the cows come home.”
Ambassador Taylor had to reach for his water before dropping this one.
Following that meeting, in the presence of my staff at a restaurant, Ambassador Sondland called President Trump and told him of his meetings in Kyiv. The member of my staff could hear President Trump on the phone, asking Ambassador Sondland about “the investigations.” Ambassador Sondland told President Trump that the Ukrainians were ready to move forward.
Ambassador William B. Taylor, Opening Statement – 11-13-19
Imagine how loud the President must have been talking into his phone for someone sitting nearby to be able to overhear and recognize not only his voice but the words.