Newsletter: ‘Weird,’ ‘alarming,’ ‘confusing’ and ‘crazy’

William B. Taylor, left, the top U.S. diplomat to Ukraine, arrives at the Capitol on Tuesday to testify.
William Taylor, left, the top U.S. diplomat to Ukraine, arrives at the Capitol on Tuesday to testify.
(Kirk McKoy/Los Angeles Times)

Here are the stories you shouldn’t miss today:


‘Weird,’ ‘Alarming,’ ‘Confusing’ and ‘Crazy’

William B. Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, has told House impeachment investigators that President Trump directly linked an order to withhold American security aid to Ukraine to his demand that the country’s government publicly announce investigations into his political rivals. Taylor’s deposition, recounted from copious notes and presented in exacting detail (including a 15-page opening statement), explicitly contradicts Trump’s denial of a quid pro quo.


Taylor, who was tapped in June by Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo to lead the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, alternately described the events he was witnessing as “weird,” “alarming,” “confusing” and “crazy.” Democrats called it conclusive evidence for the impeachment case, while the White House denounced the account as “triple hearsay.”

They’re New Citizens, and They Vote

At ceremonies across the country, hundreds of thousands of immigrants are expected to receive their U.S. citizenship and become eligible to vote before November 2020. More and more, they are developing into a force at the ballot box. Witness the 2018 midterm elections, when naturalized citizens cast more than 8% of the ballots, almost double their share in the 1996 presidential contest.

Surveys show that many of the new citizens are liberal-leaning, though the Trump campaign maintains “a great many legal immigrants agree with President Trump’s position on enforcing immigration laws.”

More Politics

-- Trump injected racial overtones into the House impeachment inquiry by comparing it to a “lynching.” Many Democrats condemned his word choice, while Republican legislators largely tried to put the focus on what they said was the unfair way in which Democrats are conducting the inquiry


-- The anonymous writer behind the “I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration” op-ed published last year in the New York Times has written a forthcoming tell-all book.

Fish Gotta Swim, Birds Got a Fry

Humankind’s fraught relationship with nature is one of the defining stories of life in California. Up north, federal fishery agencies under Trump are weakening longtime endangered-species protections for some of the state’s most imperiled native fish in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta east of San Francisco.

Down south, scientists are studying how sea gulls may be spoiling their home in the Channel Islands by eating fast food and trash. Where do they get it? They fly to the mainland to feast, including at an In-N-Out in El Segundo, not far from The Times’ headquarters.

Feet Are the Gateway to the Soul

Times staff writer Thomas Curwen recently set out on a quest: to buy a pair of custom hiking boots. Though that might seem like an extravagance, consider his feet first: “I stopped measuring them years ago. 14s? 15s? 16s? Narrow? Super-narrow?” Curwen found what he was looking for — and a whole lot more — from a 68-year-old boot maker and armchair theologian outside Vernal, Utah.

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On this date in 1940, demonstrations opposing the Democratic Party’s nomination of President Franklin D. Roosevelt for a third term took place in Los Angeles County. “No Third Term Day” featured “more than 1,100 decorated automobiles parading from city to city, hundreds of volunteers distributing literature, buttons and stickers, speakers addressing mass meetings and a number of novel demonstrations,” according to a Times report published the next day.

Nevertheless, Roosevelt won reelection with nearly 55% of the popular vote and, in 1944, won reelection to a fourth term. The 22nd Amendment to the Constitution, which sets a two-term limit, was passed in 1951.

Oct. 23, 1940: Frances Voltz and Les Sachs ride down Spring Street during "No Third Term Day" observances in Los Angeles.
(Los Angeles Times)


-- California is bracing for days of hot conditions, dangerous winds and possible power outages. Red flag warnings went into effect in a large swath of Northern California as well the Los Angeles area.

-- The Los Angeles City Council has approved an emergency moratorium on evictions to stop landlords from quickly booting tenants before new statewide rental rules take effect in January. Columnist Steve Lopez calls it a victory for the little guy.

-- Most of the parents — including actress Lori Loughlin and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli — and coaches who have maintained their innocence in a federal investigation of corruption in college admissions have been indicted on new charges.

-- Imaad Zuberi, an L.A. venture capitalist who made large donations to Democratic and then Republican campaigns, has been charged with concealing his lobbying efforts for foreign entities, secretly using foreign money for political contributions and fleecing clients of millions of dollars.


-- A longtime associate of Rosario Dawson’s family is suing the actress and her family members, alleging gender discrimination, battery, assault and emotional distress in the months after he came out to them as a transgender man.

-- Art critic Christopher Knight says a new show of Edouard Manet‘s work at the J. Paul Getty Museum delivers some unexpected pleasures and unforeseen insights.

-- Author Michael Connelly says he plans to give detective Harry Bosch a break and will instead publish two new books next year that focus on a newspaper reporter and the defense lawyer at the heart of “The Lincoln Lawyer.”

-- Kylie Jenner has applied to trademark the phrase “rise and shine,” along with a more laid-back version, “riiise and shiiinee.”


-- Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, have outlined a plan to divvy up territory and control of large parts of Syria after the U.S. withdrawal from the region and the Turkish military’s offensive to drive out Kurdish fighters.

-- Thirty-nine people were found dead in England on Wednesday inside a truck container believed to have come from Bulgaria.

-- British Prime Minister Boris Johnson won one vote and lost another in Parliament. That brings him closer to his goal of leading Britain out of the European Union, but effectively guarantees it won’t happen on the scheduled date of Oct. 31.

-- Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau may have won a second term this week, but the election results made it clear that Canada is an increasingly diverse and divided nation.

-- Recent protests in Hong Kong and Indonesia point up Asia’s rich history of student-driven movements.

-- The ozone hole near the South Pole this year is the smallest since it was discovered, but it is more due to freakish Antarctic weather than efforts to cut down on pollution, NASA reported.


-- California ditched coal as an energy source. Now, Southern California Gas Co. is worried natural gas will be next.

-- What if a delivery drone falls on your head? There are some of the thorny legal questions that will have to be answered as companies such as Google parent Alphabet Inc., Inc. and UPS Inc. plan for the future.


-- With a host of A-list stars on and off the court, the Clippers defeated the Lakers to open the NBA season. China’s state-run television did not broadcast the game, but supporters for pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong were outside Staples Center beforehand.

-- In the World Series opener, the Washington Nationals topped the Houston Astros, while the Astros’ assistant general manager apologized for using “inappropriate language” toward a group of female reporters.


-- Columnist Doyle McManus explains how Pierre Delecto — OK, Mitt Romney — is helping to save the Republic.

-- Is the Trump impeachment snowball finally becoming an avalanche? Columnist Robin Abcarian takes a look at the evidence.


-- Trump personally directed administration officials to report to one of his largest donors, Marvel Entertainment chairman Ike Perlmutter, according to a new book by former Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin. (ProPublica)

-- Qatar is so hot, it’s using outdoor air-conditioning, at a cost to the environment. (Washington Post)

-- Long before cat memes, Walter Chandoha began taking pictures of felines: more than 90,000 photographs over a 70-year career. (1843 Magazine)


The autumn heat wave is threatening to wreak havoc with power outages and fires, but it has also had its quirkier side. On Monday, the “happiest place on Earth” became the hottest place in the United States. At 98 degrees, Disneyland was hotter than Death Valley, according to the National Weather Service.

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