New York Guardians

Washington Guardian

Stage and screen actor Orson Bean, whom Time magazine called “a unique American personality,” has died at the age of 91. He was the victim of a traffic accident near his home in Las Angeles, California, according to a report from the LA Police Department.

Mr. Bean began his entertainment career while stationed with American Occupation Forces in Japan in 1946.

In his 1988 memoir “Too Much is Not Enough,” he recalled that he grew bored of standing in line at the mess hall and would improvise comedy monologue lampooning his commanding officers. When one of those officers accidentally heard his routine, he was transferred to the USO to entertain troops in the Far East.

In the 1950s Bean became ubiquitous on television game shows and live dramatic presentations. Making his home in New York City, he became active in education and founded the famous 15th Street School in Manhattan, where kindergarten and first grade children were encouraged to develop their own rules and curriculum.

A quick wit, one of his most famous quips occured when he saw a famous producer at a Hollywood cocktail party, and said “There but for the grace of God, goes God.”

Bean was a founding member of The Sons of the Desert, the official fan club for Laurel and Hardy.

China has announced it will reduce tariffs on American goods by nearly one-half, in compliance with the first part of its recently inked trade agreement with the United States, while economists in both China and the US wonder how badly the coronavirus outbreak will affect manufacturing and sales in both countries. The first part of the agreement that starts the ball rolling was written last month in order to bring stability to the ongoing trade war between the two giant economies. The threatened tariffs were creating a chaotic Wall Street response and plunging multinational corporations into a frenzy of retrenchment, causing layoffs and reduction of inventory. Unter the first phase, China will increase its spending on US products by more than two-hundred billion dollars over the next 24 months.The new levy system requires China to reduce tariffs on certain products from ten percent to two-point-five percent, starting next week. Because the US has been slow to implement its part of the bargain, says the Chinese Finance Ministry, American products such as automobiles, soybeans and their byproducts, and pharmaceuticals will not be reduced until late this coming September.

At this point, no one knows just how bad the coronavirus’ impact will be on American oil profits. China is the world’s largest consumer of fossil fuels, including oil, but there are indications that with major shipping ports quarantined, oil imports from the US will be held up, if not canceled completely.

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has astounded political experts and heartened his supporters by reporting today that his campaign has raised over twenty-five million dollars last month, January. The media are calling this sum ‘staggering,’ and predict the financial windfall will be of significant help to him in New Hampshire’s upcoming precinct caucus meetings. In the primary race in Iowas, Sanders is basically neck-and-neck with Buttigieg, and needs to break out in a big way in New Hampshire in order to build up enough steam to win nomination as the official Democratic contender.

Sanders’ campaign staff is already busy buying up as much television, radio, newspaper, and online advertising as it possibly can around the country to promote the Sanders campaign platform.

Sanders can now afford to boost his digital media buys by an enormous amount, while most other Democratic candidates are having to start pulling in their horns and cutting back on digital advertising.

Sanders secret to fundraising, as he is quick to explain to reporters and to his audiences, is that he shuns the big celebrity-crowded dinners where it costs a thousand dollars or more to sit down for chicken cordon bleu and a speech. Instead, says Sanders, he relies on the small contributions of tens of thousands of supporters throughout the country who agree with his agenda. So far, that strategy is working well for him.

The Health and Human Services Department has added four Ohio men to their list of most wanted fugitives for taking $970,000 from Medicaid according to investigators at the HHS Office of Inspector General.

The four men created what appeared to be six different ambulette companies for transporting people, but the six companies coordinated all their efforts, acting as a single company. One man was convicted, but fled before going to prison. The other three fled prior to their trial.

Investigators believe the men are currently residing in Sudan.

The Veterans Affairs Department found several issues at two medical facilities after an evaluation by the department’s Office of Inspector General.

At the Hampton VA Medical Center in Virginia, four out of the ten patients on the “high risk for suicide list” did not receive weekly mental health evaluations, investigators said. 11 other patients not at high risk for suicide also did not receive timely medical follow-ups, the inspector general said.

And at the Northport VA Medical Center in New York, investigators found that the facility expert panel in charge of nurse staffing levels didn’t include staff from several areas of the hospital, as required, and that nine of the 11 members hadn’t completed the required training to serve on the panel.

Officials at both hospitals said they are working to correct the problems.

A review of foreign businesses contracting with the U.S. government found one firm was also doing work in Iran’s energy sector, violating an international embargo designed to put pressure on stopping the Middle East nation from furthering its nuclear program, said the Government Accountability Office, Congress’ watchdog arm.

Investigators found that Daelim Industtrial in South Korea was hired by the U.S. government for $1.5 million to construct military housing at a U.S. base in South Korea. But the GAO said the company was also “engaged in commercial activity in Iran’s energy sector.”

The information was passed along to the State Department, and the GAO report did not give indication as to what action, if any, U.S. officials might take against the South Korean company.

Many private pensions are working on reforms to make sure their programs remain solvent and funded, said a report from the Government Accountability Office, although it sometimes means reduced benefits for retirees.

Investigators had expressed concern that the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation might be libel for plans that would exceed the amount it has available to pay in assets.

Most lobbyists in Washington, D.C. provided the proper paperwork allowing a disclosure of financial records and helping to keep the lobbying process as transparent as possible, said a report by the Government Accountability Office, Congress’ watchdog arm.

97 percent of lobbyists produced documentation of their income and expenses, while 74 percent properly rounded those reports to the nearest $10,000 investigators said. 85 percent also filed federal political campaign reports as required.

The U.S. Army is training military cats, hoping they will be a cheaper alternative to dogs that conduct drug-sniffing operations.

Or so that’s the claim in a news post celebrating April Fools’ Day.

“Soldiers around the regiment have been doing their part to support the program by capturing stray cats in their neighborhoods and bringing them into the detachment located on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Va. More than 100 cats have been collected since the program started earlier this month,” says the “press release” from the Army’s website.