Children are working the tobacco fields of Virginia and other US States!

It's hard to believe that our children are still working in the tobacco fields today!
It’s hard to believe that our children are still working in the tobacco fields today! Photo credit: Reg Speller/Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images and CBS DC

Virginia, what am I going to do with you?  Since moving away at the end of 2007 I have witnessed from afar as the commonwealth has consistently taken two steps forward and then one step back over and over again.  It’s a state that has experienced drastic local and state-wide changes over the past decade (much like the rest of the country), but some things seem to have gone unnoticed!

Are tobacco farms in Virginia really using child labor?  Not only are they apparently using child labor, but the underage employees are having adverse health issues due to their jobs in the tobacco fields.  What year are we living in? Are we sure we aren’t talking about 1934 instead of 2014?

According to an article by this is a photo of tar from the tobacco leaves stained on the hands of young workers. (
According to an article by this is a photo of tar from the tobacco leaves stained on the hands of young workers. (

According to the CNN article titled, Report slams child labor in tobacco fields, it is legal for children to work in the fields. Children as young as 7 turn to these positions for income, a majority of which are Hispanic and minorities.  I’m not shocked by the ethnic breakdown, although I wish it weren’t the case, but I am shocked by the ages of field workers.

Yes, other states also use child labor in their tobacco fields, but that doesn’t make it right.  I’m proud to be a Virginian, but embarrassed of Virginia after learning about this issue. 75% of children who were questioned for the report that CNN was referring to claimed to have experienced symptoms of acute nicotine poisoning including nausea, vomiting, not being hungry, headaches, dizziness, irritation and breathing issues.

No child at age 11 or 12 or even 13 should be dealing with this issue. There are laws in place not allowing people under the age of 18 to smoke for a reason.  Nicotine is bad for you, but society is letting our youth roll around in it.  This will just not do!

The children also reported not getting regular breaks and working overly long hours.  What country are we in? Don’t we have laws against this? I guess not!

virginia-tobacco-in_1Virginia should set the president for other states by setting a hire age restriction for those who have to work in tobacco fields.  In a perfect world technology could help limit the number of people required to work in these fields, but until that time it is our human responsibility to act.  I hope all Virginians get involved and correct this problem.

The report suggest making it illegal for anyone under 18 to work in tobacco fields due to the health risks.  I support this. Do you? Call your representatives and let them know you care about this topic. Get it on their radar and tell them we won’t settle for children working in our tobacco fields. Not in our country, not in our state and not in our lifetime. It’s not acceptable.

To find out who your State Senator is in Virginia and how to contact them click here!

To find out who your representative is in the Virginia House of Delegates click here!

Another article to check out is on CBS DC titled Children As Young As 7 Working on Tobacco Farms in U.S.


Overall, Obama Comes Out On Top in Second Presidential Debate According to Major Media Outlets

Who won the overall debate? Obama.  It’s the simple fact, narrow or not (as I have said repeatedly). Saying he narrowly won does mean that Romney may have had higher numbers when it comes to specific topic areas, but in the end Obama came out on top.

Some people latch onto one or two polls that are focused on one or two topic areas so they have something to argue about, but the overall consensus is… Romney is a loser (mind you, I could have told you that without anyone having to hold a debate).

Below are some of the highlighted articles and quotes for your review, apparently some people enjoy making up what the media says.  With that in mind I decided to give you some exact quotes.


Article: CNN Poll – Split Decision

Forty-six percent of voters who watched Tuesday night’s presidential debate said that the president won the showdown, according to a CNN/ORC International nationwide poll conducted right after Tuesday night’s faceoff here at Hofstra University on New York’s Long Island. Thirty-nine percent questioned said Republican nominee Mitt Romney did the better job.


Article – Second Presidential Debate – Obama the winner and Romney on binders full of women. 

tonight’s debate clearly went to President Obama for properly portraying the image of a Commander-in-Chief.

New York Times:

Article – Instant Reaction Polls Show Narrow Obama Advantage in Second Debate

Scientific polls conducted after Tuesday night’s presidential debate in New York give a modest edge to President Obama.

Washington Post:

Article – Winners and losers from the second presidential debate

Obama marked as winner, Romney as loser.

CBS News:

Article Title: The President’s Narrow Victory

If you had to score a winner (and I am obligated by the memorandum of understanding to do so), you’d give the night to the president–barely.


Paul Ryan is nothing but a liar

Photo from

Paul Ryan, a scam artist to the core, but my question is why is anyone surprised?  Have the republican’s ever proven to not be scam artist when it comes to politics?

I am calling Ryan a liar because of a recent incident I learned of thanks to Gawker.  I am referring to his alleged trip into the philanthropic and volunteering world where he claims to have helped out, along with his wife and children, at a soup kitchen in Ohio.  These wonderfully staged photos show Ryan scrubbing clean, an already clean pot, and his wife walking around holding another perfectly clean pot.

As explained on Gawker:

Among the critics calling out Ryan and his camp for their sham goodwill gesture is Brian J. Antal, president of the Ohio charity that runs the soup kitchen in question.

Speaking with the Washington Post, Antal says Ryan “did not have permission” to stage the photo op, and simply “ramrodded their way” in with the help of a volunteer.

“The photo-op they did wasn’t even accurate,” Antal said. “He did nothing. He just came in here to get his picture taken at the dining hall.”

Indeed, as noted by a pool reporter, the soup kitchen was empty by the time Ryan and his family arrived, and volunteers had already scrubbed clean all the dishes from breakfast. That didn’t stop Ryan, his wife, and their three children from putting on aprons and scrubbing clean dishes for a few minutes while photographers took photos.

Antal said his charity was “apolitical” and couldn’t appear to be picking sides. “I can’t afford to lose funding from these private individuals,” he told the Post. “If this was the Democrats, I’d have the same exact problem.”

As I asked earlier, is anyone surprised that a republican politician who is also running for office is full of it?  The worst part in my opinion is not only that he is he full of it, but his actions actually puts the soup kitchen at risk of losing their funding for getting involved in a political issue.  What was Ryan thinking?  Not only was he too cool to actually show up and feed the hungry, but he puts them at risk for losing this source of food.

I can’t answer what Ryan was thinking beyond saying that I assume his team didn’t plan on this becoming an issue, because they don’t plan well.  They probably borrowed some of George Bush’s methodology.  Let’s not forget his many lies to the American people to make himself look good including the Mission Accomplished announcement in 2003 about the Iraq War, where troops actually continued to fight until 2011 when Barack Obama finally pulled our men and women out.

Why would we vote for another man to be in office that is even remotely like Bush?  Ryan (and Romney) has proven to be a liar, not once, not twice, but multiple times since entering the election on the Romney ticket.  I for one would rather someone who knows what they are doing and is honest with the American people to be Vice President (and President) of the United States.  I know there are going to be people out there that disagree with me and think of Obama as a liar, but we will just have to agree to disagree on this particular topic.

I hope people get out and vote against Romney and Ryan and elect President Obama for a second term.  (Then we can vote Hillary Clinton into office in 2016!)

With this all said, I would like to dedicate a song to Paul Ryan and all his Republican colleagues in politics.

WHITE LIAR by Miranda Lambert

Why are you so interested in everything politics?

Why are you so interested in everything politics?

Why am I so obsessed with politics?   This is a question I get asked often.  Many people prefer not discussing political topics when in social or family situations.  I am not one of those people.  Politics fascinate me.  I don’t care if someone disagrees with me, but I like to hear their logic on a subject (particularly when we disagree) and to hear why the define their political ideology the way they do.  I find that, in my opinion, a lot of people label themselves as something but really have no clue what the label really means.  Politics is an addictive drug for me and this is the story of how I got hooked.

When I was a freshman in high school I lived a very sheltered life.  If a specific topic wasn’t something I needed to know to get through the day I probably didn’t know much about it, whatever “it” may have been.  That’s why I was floored when I first came out of the closet and didn’t receive the exact response I had anticipated and hoped for.  Don’t get my wrong, now everyone in my family is 100% supportive of my being an out and proud gay man.  With that said, I know it came as a bit of a blow when I did announce I was gay, especially at such a young age.

That’s when I felt as if I was forced to truly listen to what defines a conservative and/or Republican versus a liberal and/or Democrat.

It was late in the afternoon and I was sitting in the passenger seat of my sisters silver Chevy Cavalier.  It was parked in the back of a parking lot outside of a Starbucks away from all the other cars in the lot.  My sister said one thing to me after I retold the experience I had of coming out to family, “you came out to everyone? Are… you… crazy?  Do you know how Republican our family is?”

Up until that comment the extent of my understanding of what the label Republican meant was that Republicans always say they are better with money than Democrats and that we just didn’t like democrats.  Other than that I hadn’t had much exposure either way.

I wanted to change  my lack of knowledge on the topic almost immediately after that conversation.  I was so shocked by the delayed acceptance I received from different people in my life that I had to understand why I wasn’t accepted.  Being that the only reason I was given for not being fully accepted was that I was surrounded by republicans, I set off on a quest to understand political ideology, political platforms, political parties and really everything politics.

That night, after the passing commentary from my sister, I immediately started to investigate what defined a republican versus a democrat and I was a bit taken back by what I learned.  I learned a lot at the introduction of my education on politics, but it still took until my freshman year of college to completely announce I was a democrat.  None-the-less the process was started by my coming out and my obsession with politics was started by coming out of the closet.

Over the next few years I learned a bit more each day about the topic, and frankly I still learn a bit more each day, that republicans do in fact suck, especially when it comes to the LGBT equality issues. (Please don’t get mad, not all republicans suck, this is a generalization of the stereotype)

Republicans, and this is more of a generalization, want the government to back off on issues that should be handled privately.  They want less taxes, less deficit, and less regulations and oversight on business.  They want welfare programs to be handled more by religious affiliated groups and charitable organizations as oppose to government welfare systems.  They want small government.  They want their guns.  They want less government intrusion.

That is, less government intrusions on things that are important to their lives, but they want full regulations on all things they view their religion may dictate.

They seem to think the government should have no involvement in healthcare.  That should stay privatized, at least health insurance should.  Yet, they have no problem suggesting that the government regulate abortion clinics, which when looked at logically is actually a clinic promoting women’s healthcare.

Republicans are against estate taxes.  They seem to question why the government should have control over a family matter, yet republicans want the government to get involved in marriage.  Marriage is just as much of a family issues as death.  You can argue that estate taxes is a financial issue, but marriage is as well, in part.  A part of marriage is merging bank accounts, assets, property, etc.  Hence why we have prenuptial agreements.

I also learned that on the fiscal topic republicans still can’t get their head wrapped around their stances to make a logical argument of substance.  They want to cut taxes and decrease the deficit.  Tell me team Romney, how the heck do you plan to pay down the deficit if you cut the country’s income?  Cutting spending will help, but isn’t the end all solution.  We have a load of bills to pay and cutting spending won’t end the deficit.  (Just a suggestion, but maybe Republican’s should call the Clintons for a lesson on economics.  President Clinton did get rid of the deficit and leave a nice economic green light for Bush to ruin.)

Every argument I heard from Republican’s seemed to be so empty, hypocritical and lacking in overall logic.  While I started learning all things politics I realized just how fascinating it all really is.  Politics is life.  Politics is religion. Politics is just freaking entertaining.

I immediately became obsessed after soaking in some of these basic issues, stances and missing puzzle pieces.  I think went to college and my major was all but decided for me by my obsession.  I went straight into political science.  Can I just say one thing?  I miss college!  Being immersed in everything political was a poli sci geeks wet dream.

In one class, US Congress, we learned all about the senate and house of representatives.  Part of the final project was to run a faux campaign for a congressman.  Define the candidates issues clearly and logically.  Write the candidates speeches.  Show that you can win over the constituents.

In the end of the educational period of my life I realized that politics is and will always be a part of life.  I find it highly important for people to be involved in the political realm and to participate to the fullest extent possible.   I feel like politics is just as much a part of who I am as running is!  Narrowing down my obsession to one or two topics is nearly impossible.  I feel like a kid at a candy store when any political issues is broached.  I love soaking in as much information as possible from every side of the aisle.

How could you not like politics?

Dear Mr. President by Pink

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton

Since I am starting to feel a little more like the strong woman I am (okay guy) I decided it’s time to post my tribute to Hillary again. With that said I realized recently I may just have to edit it some now that there are increasing rumors that she is starting to consider running in 2016!