Thai Pongal (Hinduism)
I've spent the last couple of hours harvesting some reads for you. No festival necessary.
Pongal (Tamil: பொங்கல்) is a Hindu festival to give thanks for the harvest. Pongal in Tamil means 'boiling over'. Traditionally celebrated at harvest time, it is a celebration of the prosperity associated with the event.
While Pongal is predominantly a Tamil festival, the same festival celebrated in several other places under different names. In Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Karnataka, the harvest festival Sankranthi is celebrated. In northern India, it is called Makara Sankranti. In Maharashtra and Gujarat, it is the date of the annual kite-flying day, Uttarayan. It also coincides with the bonfire and harvest festival in Punjab and Haryana, known as Lohri.
I'm pleased to see state legislators working on strengthening and freshening the Open Records and Open Meetings laws. There are two major disappointments in the article, though:
1) According to the story (and there's no source quoted on this), the process might take two years.
2) People like Susan Judkins of the Iowa League of Cities seem to think this is a tremendous opportunity to limit their accountability:
Judkins also said that the cities want the Legislature to review a decision made last year as part of the CIETC scandal, requiring intergovernmental agencies to publish financial records and other decisions made by the agency.If these organizations really have no money, then why should they be afraid to publish that? These are organizations run on tax dollars, presumably for the public good. They should be accountable at every turn of the road. But apparently the Iowa League of Cities doesn't want you to know about them.
"Many of these agencies really have no money and are used by governments to hold down costs on joint efforts," Judkins said. "We think the Legislature went too far on requiring the publishing of this information and would like them to reconsider it."
The Iowa Occupational Safety and Health Bureau has fined the Iowa Department of Corrections $92,000 for four workplace incidents resulting in injury, three of which resulted in injuries to inmates. The DOC is appealing the fines. Again, I take issue with a quote:
Money to pay the fines - $12,000 at Fort Madison, $80,000 at Newton - would come from the corrections department and be deposited into the state's general fund, "which is a lot like robbing Peter to pay Paul," said Gail Sheridan-Lucht, a state lawyer for the safety bureau.This is not robbing Peter to pay Paul. This is fining a negligent state organization for leaving inmates and state employees in situations that resulted in injuries, including the loss of a finger. And that quote didn't come from the Department of Corrections. It came from the people who handed down the fine in the first place. That's hardly the attitude to take when promoting workplace safety.
On Thursday, I admitted in a post that I don't know a lot about Jimmy Carter. I'm pleasantly surprised by the level of discussion that one comment created. There's ten comments up now from both sides of the political spectrum discussing Carter's legacy. Definitely worth a read.
The Republican Party of Iowa has lost control of both houses of the state legislature, lost a race for governor, lost two seats in Congress, and ran a joke of a race for Secretary of State, but party chair Ray Hoffman was re-elected by the state central committee over the weekend. I'll defer to Common Iowan on this one, I think he did the best job of summing up the situation.
But finally, while we're on the subject of party chairs, I'm greatly disappointed, angered and disgusted by something Polk County GOP chairman Ted Sporer had the balls to say on Friday:
What do birds do? They flock together. So what do the Syrian Baathist dictator Bashar Assad, Iranian Islamofacsist President Mahmoud “Israel’s Days Are Numbered” Ahmadinejad and Iowa Senator Tom Harkin have in common?
They all oppose U.S. victory in Iraq. Kind of makes you wonder whose side Harkin is on doesn’t it.