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Published: Sunday, 3/18/2007

The Backstory on Today's Column

SUNDAY

10 AM

When I started to write today s column, it was all about the gov s SOTS speech and his subsequent budget. I will admit, Governor Strickland surprised me all around. But then, to be perfectly honest about it, the governor s race is probably the one campaign I paid the least attention to: Trust me, the Dems could have put up a three-horned toad against Ken Blackwell and still won my vote.

I didn t vote for Ted Strickland, per se.

I voted against Ken Blackwell -- fiercely, adamantly, urgently.

So when Gov. Strickland got up there and gave his jaw-dropping SOTS speech complete with not just the usual Democratic platitudes, but with some astonishing and encouraging policy announcements, especially re: charter schools (!!!) well, it was kinda like Christmas morning.

And I was writing about all that until one stark realization hit me through the fog of my sinusitis: Holy jeepers, we're coming up on yet another anniversary for the Iraq War.

And so I canned the State of Ohio column (too bad, too, since it was two-thirds finished) and, fueled by Sudafed and outrage, started over. This is the result.

Let me also direct your attention to a depressingly fascinating Web site. I ve written before about the National Priorities Project, a group whose central mission is to provide us with the cold, hard numbers to gauge the local effect of federal projects.

The NPP s motto is: Turning data into action, and in this particular case, the federal project I recommend you monitor is the Iraq War.

Trust me, this Web site is worth your time. Whether you oppose or support this war, now entering its fifth year, you deserve to know its opportunity costs, and this site s data lets you drill down to the most local level.

Toledo s share of the national war kitty, for example, is $351,200,000.

I did a column based on the NPP s collected data on Dec. 3, 2006. At that time, Toledo s share of the Iraq War amounted to $267,152,412.

Either sum could sure buy a coupla Packo dogs .



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