Fast & Loose (with our money) Senator Wallin

Well, Canadians can rest easy because it doesn’t look like Pamela Wallin spent any of her senatorial pot o’ gold on a publicist. I’m pretty sure a publicist would have said (screamed?) “Don’t do an interview with Peter Mansbridge,” or anyone for that matter.

But you know how the urge to get the “truth” out in front of the “people” can drive you.

Even though it was a softball, low lobbing interview (shame on you, Mr. Mansbridge), it sharpened her image as a self-absorbed, I-can-do-no-wrong narcissist.  Yes, I know those are categorically the same thing but it bears repeating in various forms.

The amount of money over a certain period of time keeps changing in the articles I read, so let’s just say Ms. Wallin spent $350,000 over a 24 month period in travel alone.

That’s $3365 a week. That’s more money than I and most Canadians earn in a month. On average Ms. Wallin spent that in one week.

She falls on her sword and takes responsibility for the expense reporting but I’m pretty sure the sword was one of those movie ones that retract. She says she “should have gone over it [her expenses] with a fine tooth comb.” With the level of accountability that senators are held to, she could have used a comb with four out of every five teeth missing and her result would have been the same.

One of her deflections was that she felt she needed to be out there, Doing Things, not sitting behind a desk. When she threw out “When the prime minister asks you to go to Afghanistan,” the penny dropped for me. Of course, that has to be where most of the money went:  she went to Afghanistan and she picked up the cost of the cargo/troop plane that flew her there. Makes perfect sense—easy to miss the difference between the cost of an Air Canada flight from Ontario to Saskatchewan, and a troop flight to Afghanistan. Simple mistake. Now, do we have to start auditing the Ministry of Defense and Peter MacKay?

Another favourite was “I don’t charge my per diems in many, many cases if I’m sitting on airplanes.” Such a sacrifice but she doesn’t have to purchase the inflight bagged ham sandwich because the gourmet meal comes with her first/business class ticket.

And by that comment does she mean that she charges the per diems when she is on some airplanes? That it’s noon somewhere so I should claim that meal? I wonder if the per diem has a cap or if it’s calculated for each time zone. Let’s see, it’s now 12:01 AM in Newfoundland, so I should charge for a breakfast?

I read that the senate per diem is $87.55 (no receipts required) while the senator is in Ottawa on senate business or while the senate is sitting. Sitting on an airplane somewhere does not seem to meet the criteria.

And why would they need a per diem in Ottawa when they are given a housing allowance so that presumably they can have a residence with a kitchen? A kitchen that should go beyond the function of displaying high-end appliances. A kitchen where you can cook a breakfast, bake a cake and bag a lunch for the day. The same things most of us senate-funders do every day.

Ms. Wallin states that she didn’t have any concerns about her expenses until she was given a head’s up by the committee. She says that none of her expense claims were rejected.

That gives me pause for thought. When does the auditing of the office that processes the senators’ expenses start?

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Nine Seconds

Nine seconds is the time it takes me to cross the street near my house.

A street that is a four way stop and has crosswalks.  Which should indicate that there will be crossing of said street; and cars, trucks, bicycles, etc. should be stopping to let the people, cats, dogs, occasional squirrel, cross the street.

It takes about six seconds for me to lose my temper when crossing and a guy driving a large white truck can’t wait for me to get to the other side.  He pauses at his stop sign and then roars up to stop a few feet away from me.

For some reason vehicles moving toward me cause me to stop walking.  Not sure why and it may turn out to be unhealthy but it is what it is right now.

The driver and I exchange glances…more like a glare on my part.  He revs the engine.  This action does not calm my temper and I glare at him some more.

He flaps his hand at me to move on, an annoying gesture I detest, and revs the engine some more.

I would like to say that I went all Ghandi on him and with a small lift of my chin continued to walk.  I really would like to say that.  But alas, I break eye contact, continue to walk and throw a right handed procreation sign at him.

I berate myself for not being like Ghandi or even Russell Brand who seems like a nice centred British gent.

As truck roars down the street I comfort myself with the thought that the handicapped plague on the rear view mirror must be there to let us all know that the driver is a brain dead scum sucking mutant.

Works for me.

Celebrities….

….who have children need to realize that their children and their children’s friends can access the media.

I’ve grumbled about celebrities lack of self-censoring for awhile, but silently.  However, Michael Douglas’ statement that he got throat cancer because of oral sex was just too much.

It isn’t that he shouldn’t necessarily talk about it but does he ever focus on repercussions, think things through?  You think you had it tough on the playground because your father was goofy or your parents had the wrong type of job?  Or you were poor or too rich?  Imagine Michael Douglas’ children staring down a kid making fun of their father talking about oral sex.  And did he get cancer from their mother?

Oral sex or the HPV virus might be a contributing factor in throat cancer but so are alcohol and smoking which Mr. Douglas says he did as well.  Perhaps Mr. Douglas felt it was best to talk about it as a public service?  I don’t think his children will thank him.

Nicole Kidman is another one; she whines on and on at various times about Tom Cruise.  Does she have a movie coming out?  Okay, drag out the Tom Cruise stories.  Does she not realize that she has re-married and has two children that are Scientology free?  And young though they may be, they will be able to google at some point and see what mummy has said.  If an interviewer asks, isn’t it possible to say, “that was the past and I’m not going to talk about it”?

Sean Penn stated that he doesn’t think he was ever loved.  Way to slag everyone in his life.  His ex-wives were probably shaking their heads and his children were probably hiding theirs.  He just makes me want to say here’s the wood and the nails, sir, you know what to do.

Those are just a few of the celebrities spilling their guts in the media.  It is their right to do so, but I wish they’d think of someone else besides themselves in the moment.  May not be possible in this day and age.  I wish they would just quietly talk to a therapist and work things out there, instead of in public.  Their children would probably thank them and it would save on the children’s future therapy bills.

There are so many “celebrities” who go about their work, on the stage, in movies & television, in sports, etc. without needing to rattle on about everything in public.  They usually support good causes in understated ways as well.  I admire their discretion.  To the rest I just want to say, please think of your children before speaking.  Thank you.