Things That Matter

Here’s What AOC Has Done Since Taking Office

Before Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez became a Congresswoman earlier this year, she was just a bartender, living off tips in the Bronx. She became interested in politics after her father died without leaving a will and AOC was locked into a long probate battle. She told The Intercept that the experience helped her learn “firsthand how attorneys appointed by the court to administer an estate can enrich themselves at the expense of the families struggling to make sense of the bureaucracy.”

It’s been just three months since she’s been sworn into office and she’s following through on her campaign promises to work for the people. That simple cause has shaken the core of politics to the point that the GOP has found their new ‘radical’ obsession. Here’s a headliner grounded in facts, comadres.

AOC was sworn into Congress on January 3, 2019.

CREDIT: @AOC / Instagram

Of course, AOC invited her mami, Blanca Ocasio-Cortez to be by her side during the swearing in. AOC represents New York’s 14th congressional district, which includes parts of The Bronx and Queens.

Her very presence marked one of the first Democratic Socialists to take a seat.

CREDIT: @AOC / Instagram

AOC and Rashida Tlaib are the first two members of the Democratic Socialists of America to have a seat in Congress. That means she advocates for progressive economies that closely resemble Finland and Sweden, not Cuba and Venezuela as her haters claim.

On Day 1, she participated in a climate change protest outside Nancy Pelosi’s office.

CREDIT: @sunrisemvmt / Twitter

This is pretty earth-shattering for a freshman Congresswoman to be calling out her own party. AOC is breaking the system and staying rooted in the people.

Since then, she’s drafted and proposed a Green New Deal, which will basically save the human race.

CREDIT: @Liat_RO / Twitter

In order to pay for the Green New Deal, AOC has been making lots of FOX News headlines for proposing a 70 pertcent marginal tax rate on incomes above $10 million. Let it be known that this rate had been in effect for decades before the GOP changed the law.

She published her Green New Deal proposal to a Google Doc.

CREDIT: @CJAOurPower / Twitter

Millenials taking office means politics becoming accessible to everyone. Literally, every single American with access to the internet could view her edits, and send her feedback.

She’s coining new terms to advance her the people’s political agenda.

CREDIT: @AOC / Twitter

It doesn’t matter what you believe if the end result of that belief is worsening wildfires, hurricanes and heat waves. Thank goodness AOC is here to put out these ignorant-fueled political fires.

And is clapping back harder than ever. 👏

CREDIT: @AOC / Twitter

They will look for anything to hold against her. This was in response to a conservative outlet reporting that she left a Green New Deal protest in a 19 mpg van. Her tía loaned her the van for the day. 🙄

In fact, her social media savviness is so impressive that she was appointed to teach Congress how to use social media.

CREDIT: @AOC / Twitter

Sign me up for that class, AOC. Please distill your wisdom and only share with those of us who are worthy. It’s basically a superhero power these days.

AOC recently interrogated Michael Cohen to the point that he implied Trump may have committed tax and bank fraud.

CREDIT: @AOC / Instagram

When Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, appeared before the Oversight Committee, AOC pointedly asked him if he ever inflated property values for bank or insurance purposes. Some folks asked why she never became a lawyer, and she responded that she couldn’t afford it.

AOC has also invited the American people on a tour of her Congressional orientation.

CREDIT: @ocasio2018 / Instagram

Nope, she didn’t suddenly become an elusive politician overnight. She’s still making her mac ‘n cheese on Instagram Live taking your questions.

During her first month in office, dozens of supportive post-it notes were placed on her nameplate.

CREDIT: @AOC / Instagram

The Superintendent of House Office Buildings removed the post-it notes because they obscured the braille on her nameplate. Nonetheless, it’s the thought that counts.

She’s bringing her Latinidad into every room.

CREDIT: @AOC / Instagram

She actually went up in front of Congress and sang the ‘sana, sana, colita de rana’ song for good luck! That means she had the 40th pick of offices to choose from.

She’s also calling bull on the pushback Congresswoman Ilhan Omar is receiving for her advocacy for Palestinian people.

CREDIT: @AOC / Twitter

Did Rep. Omar poorly word her statement calling out the state of Israel’s financing of American politics? Yes. She did not yell out “Go back to _____” to anyone. We still don’t know which GOP member yelled that at AOC.

AOC is actually calling her constituents.

CREDIT: @AOC / Twitter

Oh, did we mention that her entire campaign was funded by the people? Not a single dollar from lobbyists means that we know that she’s hired by the people and not by corporations.

She’s solving the problems local to her district.

CREDIT: @AOC / Twitter

All politics are local politics. This is what Congress members should be doing for their constituents.

AOC might be the first ever congressperson to actually pay her interns a living wage.

CREDIT: @AOC / Twitter

Why is that important? That means that people who don’t have the privilege of a trust fund can make their way into politics. It opens the door for a much more diverse set of experiences.

In a nod to suffragettes, AOC wore all white to Trump’s State of the Union speech.

CREDIT: @thehill / Twitter

The first Black woman elected to Congress wore white on her first day, along with Geraldine Ferraro, the first woman to run for president. Hillary Clinton wore the white suit to Trump’s inauguration.

AOC was a key speaker in the Women’s March held in January 2019.

CREDIT: @lannadelgrey / Twitter

At the 2019 Women’s March, AOC rallied for intersectional feminism that’s based in a new concept of justice. “Justice is not a concept we read about in a book. Justice is about the water we drink. Justice is about the air we breathe. Justice is about how easy it is to vote. Justice is about how much ladies get paid.”

Well done, AOC. Keep up the good work.

CREDIT: @AmericanIndian / Twitter

Her willingness to continue to fight for her conjsituent’s needs and wants is something to admire.

READ: AOC Fights Back Against Allegations She’s A Hypocrite When It Comes To Protecting The Environment

AOC’s Average Priced Haircut Has Set Off A Twitter Storm On The Right But She’s Clapping Back

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AOC’s Average Priced Haircut Has Set Off A Twitter Storm On The Right But She’s Clapping Back

AP Photos

There is a lot that offends people about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: her Green New Deal, her socialism, her dancing, her previous employment as a bar-tender, and now, apparently, her hair.

On Wednesday, a story from a conservative news outlet that shall not be named—nor linked to—attempted to manufacture outrage over Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s hair salon bill: There was a reported $80 cut, $180 for lowlights, and pure speculation about a $52 tip, for a grand total of approximately $312. The message? How dare a democratic socialist—and someone in the public eye whose appearance very much matters, for better or for worse—get a haircut at market price for a major metropolis?

Other publications have subsequently seized on the invented “controversy,” even if no one seems truly mad about it except for conservative talking heads. On the contrary, much of the outrage online seems to be on AOC’s behalf—that harping on her haircut is typical sexism and hypocrisy. How quickly the right is quick to ignore Mitt Romeny’s comparably priced $70 cut back in 2011, or John Edward’s $1,250 hair bills from 2007.

But as usual there isn’t much need to come to AOC’s defense when, in fact, no one is better at crafting the perfect response to hypocrisy and nonsense than AOC herself.

According to the paper, a self-described Democratic-Socialist shouldn’t be paying fair market price for a haircut.

“The self-declared socialist, who regularly rails against the rich and complains about the cost of living inside the Beltway, spent nearly $300 on her hairdo at a pricey salon she frequents in downtown Washington…” the article began.

Many on the right were incensed that the congresswoman hadn’t paid a visit to the subsidized Capital Hill barbershop.

Others drew attention to the article’s assertion that Ocasio-Cortez “could have saved roughly $100 for the same hairstyle at the government-subsidized Capitol Hill barbershop”.

“Her high-dollar hairdo stands in stark contrast to that of former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a former senator from Alabama who is a regular customer at Senate Hair Care Services,” the article said.

“At that place, open to members of Congress and the public, a men’s cut runs about $20, though men’s haircuts there and everywhere else are cheaper than women’s,” the article acknowledges.

Many questioned the choice of Jeff Sessions as a model. “Damn, why didn’t AOC ask for a rec from hair icon *checks notes* Jeff Sessions?” wrote one person.

Of course, AOC had the perfect response to all this BS.

The New York congresswoman noted that if you’re mad about her $80 haircut, which, by the way, she paid for herself, you’re bound to hate vice president Mike Pence’s $600,000 limo bill from his official visit to Ireland last month, which, according to Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, Pence billed to taxpayers.

Citing State Department contracts, CREW writes that Pence racked up the steep bill because, despite meetings in Dublin, the VP elected to drive four hours away in order to stay at…you guessed it…President Trump’s golf resort in Doonbeg.

So why is AOC’s private salon bill up for debate while Pence’s public limo tab flies under the radar? Sexism. Pure and simple.

And women on Twitter defended the Congresswoman, saying the ones who should be checking their privilege in the haircare wars were men.

It’s obvious men clearly have no idea how much women were routinely charged for haircuts and colour treatments.

“Sorry, you don’t get to create beauty standards that require women to spend hundreds or thousands a year to be considered presentable and then hate us for it,” tweeted the writer Jessica Valenti.

Right now it’s her hair, but the right has come for AOC for so many different things it’s hard to keep track.

And let’s be real. Even if AOC had followed the ‘advice’ and got a $20 bowl cut, she’d still drive them crazy because she is both effective and polished – a fact that makes her feel all that more threatening to her critics.

In the past, her clothes were the “controversy,” from that from-behind photo taken without her consent and tweeted (and later deleted) to the manufactured “outrage” over the borrowed $3,000 Gabriela Hearst suit she wore, fleetingly, for a photo shoot in Interview magazine. It’s almost as if people don’t think AOC deserves to dress, and look, the part of congresswoman.

Reliably, AOC had the sharpest reply to the latest wave of attention around her appearance. “Our policies, like Medicare for All, advance prosperity for working people,” she tweeted on Thursday of Democratic socialism. As for her critics: “They’re just mad we look good doing it.” Now that’s a hair flip.

A Twenty-One Year Old Man Overslept On His First Day Of Jury Duty And Now He’s Being Sentenced To Jail And Has A Record

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A Twenty-One Year Old Man Overslept On His First Day Of Jury Duty And Now He’s Being Sentenced To Jail And Has A Record

screenshot | NBC Nightly News

These days, it doesn’t take much poking around to know that our country’s judicial system is problematic, troublesome and inherently racist. A few months ago, when news broke out about the college admissions scandals, those following the news knew well that the wealthy parents who took part in the scam would walk away essentially scot-free. They weren’t wrong. 

Earlier last month, on September 13th, actress Felicity Huffman, one of the most recognizable names caught up in the admissions scandal, was sentenced to just 14 days in federal prison for her involvement in a case that saw her charged for conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud. Huffman’s case highlighted questions of inequity in our judicial system. Many were quick to point out that Huffman, like the other three dozen parents involved, were from extreme wealth and would undoubtedly be treated differently from poor or nonwhite defendants accused of admission and education fraud. For severe charges that were lobbed at white-collar crime convicts like former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling and took education opportunities away from students far less privileged than her own kids, Huffman received 14 days in jail. 

Twenty-one-year-old Deandre Somerville should have been so lucky. 

The Florida man from West Palm Beach was sentenced to 10 days in jail this past week after a judge found him in criminal contempt of court after he overslept and missed the start of a trial he had been selected to serve jury duty for. At the time, Somerville looked up the repercussions online and according to NBC News said that he “didn’t really see too much there. … [It looked like] nobody actually ever really went to jail for it.”  Because of this, he did not notify the court or its jury office.

Deandre Somerville was sentenced to 10 days in jail, one year of probation and 150 hours of community service for failing to show up for jury duty.

The 21-year-old was also told to write a letter of apology to the court and pay $223 to cover court costs. Speaking about his own sentence, Somerville told NBC that he felt as if he “didn’t need any rehabilitation… I just made a mistake.”

According to Somerville, his 10 days in jail were “traumatic.” Sommerville who recently moved in with his grandparents to help care for them had never been arrested before now has a criminal record for contempt and spent his 10 days in jail amongst hardened criminals and in fear. 

The judge who gave Somerville his sentencing stemmed from his duty to represent his Black community.

Speaking at Somerville’s formal apology in court, Judge John Kastrenakes, of Fort Lauderdale Florida, said that he wanted to “make an example” out of Somerville to ensure more people do not fail to show up to jury duty. “Mr. Somerville was the only African American on our jury and represented a very important cross-section of our community.”

But people of color have long been used to “make an example,” when privileged nonpeople of color have caused greater harm and damage and gotten off easy. 

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was quick to underline this point in a recent tweet shared with her profile. 

“Mass incarceration is our American reality. It is a system whose logic evolved from the same lineage as Jim Crow, American apartheid, & slavery. To end it, we have to change. That means we need to have a real conversation about decarceration & prison abolition in this country,” she wrote in a retweet of a post shared by comedian Chelsea Handler who also lambasted the judge for his decision. 

AOC’s retweet went onto highlight in a thread the flaws of our judicial system citing a recent experience she had meeting a woman who had been sent to Rikers as a teen.” Yesterday morning I spoke with a woman who was thrown in Rikers as a teenager. Put in solitary confinement for MONTHS, aka torture. Force-fed pills. The conditions were so bad, she too had drank out of toilets. A cage is a cage is a cage. And humans don’t belong in them,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote.

The young Congresswoman’s thread highlights the severe punishments people of color have and continued to endure at the cost of our country’s broken prison and judicial system. Her message is a reminder that the actual point of the prison system is to rehabilitate, not punish those who are incarcerated and sent to jail or prison.