If you're bored slapping mosquitoes, here's something to think about.
The salaries teachers receive these days are a favorite target of people who seek lower taxes.
They figure someone has to be blamed for taxes that push Minnesota near the top of the list in tax burden. The volume of the criticism is increased whenever school bond issues are in the air.
The Associated Press reported last week that data from the American Federation of Teachers shows Minnesota public school teachers earn less than the national average.
The average for the state's 56,000 teachers in 2000-01 was $42,212. The national average was $43,250. Minnesota ranks 18th.
Beginning teachers statewide on average make $27,003. Nationally, the figure is $28,986. Twenty-six states are ahead of Minnesota in that category.
Closer to home, the beginning salary for teachers in the Brainerd School District for the coming school year is $29,896. Overall, the Brainerd teacher average salary is $45,167. The top-paid teacher here makes $56,342 a year.
Outside of the Twin Cities metro area Brainerd is the fifth largest school district. You'd expect salaries to top the averages.
Lindh deal lets nation move forward
When it was first revealed that American John Walker Lindh fought alongside the Taliban in Afghanistan there were cries of outrage. Some people thought he should receive the death penalty.
But in the intervening weeks there was little evidence of him being guilty of anything other than stupidity for picking up a weapon for a foreign power that eventually came to be at war with the United States. So last week Lindh pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with investigators.
That spares him life in prison. He now faces a maximum of 20 years in prison.
This deal gets the Lindh deal behind us. And at the same time it sends a message that you have to be responsible for your actions.
Flying high, but...
Don't start planning your World Series trip yet
At last glance, the Minnesota Twins were leading the American League Central Division by 11 games. The club hasn't held such a cushy lead since 1969.
Realism is in order, however, before trying to figure where to place the World Series championship banner.
The standings show that the Twins have only the sixth best record in the American League, according to the won-lost percentages.
But that's realism. We owe it to ourselves to be proud of our division leaders. Enjoy it while it lasts.
Quarterly statements bring frowns to investors
People used to eagerly await mutual fund and 401k statements every quarter. Now, with a stock market gone haywire, they throw the reports unopened into a drawer and hope they will go away.
Those brave souls who do look at the statements probably are trying to decide how much they lost and if they may be forced to delay when they plan to retire.
The Dow Jones was down more than 300 points at one point Friday. The news of corporate scandals remains unsettling to investors.
Senate and House leaders in Congress are trying to get together on bills that create new criminal penalties for fraud and provide oversight of the accounting industry.
Passage needs to come sooner rather than later. Corporate leaders need to know that you can't cook the books to make the profits look better. They are what they are. It's time to forget voodoo accounting.
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