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Sunday, February 6, 2011

Happy Birthday, Ronnie!

Today is the 100th anniversary of the birth of President Ronald Reagan. And across the country, conservatives are celebrating the centennial of the Man that Never Existed. Sure there was a real Ronald Reagan who did serve as President. But that man and the one conservatives celebrate are two different beings.

Republican members of the Rhode Island House introduced their own surreal version of the Reagan myth, putting a resolution forward to celebrate Reagan as a "union leader" among other things, as well as a leader who shrunk the size of the federal government, annual deficits, the national debt and taxes. None of these claims are true: under Reagan, the size of the federal government and its workforce grew substantially, as did deficits and the national debt. While Reagan greatly reduced taxes on the wealthy in his first year in office, he signed tax increases on the middle class and working families each other year he was in office.

But RI House Republicans don't need the facts. They are quite content to promote both dangerous legislation and frivolous gestures without regard for need or truth. Today's Providence Journal Politifact labels Republican claims that illegal immigration costs Rhode Island $400 million a year to be a "Pants On Fire" lie. to Claim on Immigration Costs Ruled "Pants on Fire". This week's important vote on E-Verify is being driven largely by this bogus claim.

Among the leaders in promoting frivolous gestures is freshman GOP Rep. Doreen Costa of NO Kingstown, the Tea Party's standard bearer in the General Assembly. She made her mark with her "Christmas Tree" resolution, which forbids the state to call a Christmas Tree anything but that. She was one of the prime movers behind the resolution to memorialize the fictional version of Ronald Reagan.

To see how far she was willing to go with the concept, I ran a small experiment. On Feb. 1, I e-mailed her the suggestion for a memorializing resolution to honor a great annual event happening on Tuesday February 8 - Truck Day! That's the day when the Red Sox support crews load the team's gear into a truck caravan which will take the stuff to Red Sox spring training camp.

Ms. Costa e-mailed me back within two hours with this reply:

Hi Will..
I love the idea seeing my plate is Remdog and my dogs name is Fenway!
Can you imagine what would happen if I put this resolution in? Holy Cow
It does give me something to think about.
Thanks so much for contacting me.
Stay safe and Stay Warm!
Rep. Doreen Costa

Her other e-mail is

Since Ms. Costa seems to get really excited about the idea of memorializing big days, I say let's give her some ideas. Personally, I like National Gorilla Suit Day (January 31) and of course International Talk Like a Pirate Day (Sept. 19). I'm not making these up, BTW. Check out

If you have favorite days or events you want immortalized, Rep. Doreen Costa is the one for you. Just e-mail her at