When I was a junior in high school, I was pretty sure the only other feminist in my small town was my AAUW card-carrying mother. I also thought that a dial up modem was the height of technology.

Since then, technology has made it possible for teenaged feminists to do much more to connect with each other and the world.

Miranda, a soon-to-be high school senior, is the brains behind Women's Glib, a feminist community blog made up of self-proclaimed "nerdy foul-mouthed youth." Since starting the blog this winter, she has already been featured as a guest blogger on long-running blog Feministe.

The fantasticly titled FBomb was started by 16-year-old founder Julie Zeilinger and has been highlighted by Feministing and other feminist blogs, and caught like wildfire after being highlighted on Jezebel.

Both blogs are at once accessible and enlightening, wittily covering everything from the gendered implications of high school popularity and dating to Sonia Sotomayor's nomination. But not all attention has been positive. A week after the online media blitz, F-Bomb founder Zeilinger Tweeted:

"older feminist readers I'm a teen its for teens can't be perfect don't have a degree. get some perspective plz & stop writing mean comments!"

Miranda ended her Feministe guest blogging stint with remorse for a post that asked for the community's advice on being a womanist ally.

Here at Mother Jones, we've had our own share of contentious conversation on generational feminism. But these young women also point out other rifts contemporary feminism is working to untangle.

Not only are these young women actively working to expand their political viewpoint—and the tools they need to work within their communities—they are negotiating their personal and online identities in real time for the world to see. As both of the blogs note, simply claiming the title "feminist" is a powerful act, for both teenagers and adults (there is a reason Julie Z. called her blog The FBomb), and these bloggers are actively working to ensure more people claim it, grapple with its meaning, and work towards achieving its goals.

As Julie Z's twitter bio screams: "badass teenage feminists who give a shit unite!"

If you want to be a Very Serious Person in the foreign policy wonk community, Stephen Walt lays out the rules of the road here.  I'm not sure he's correct about #5 and #6, but the others sound about right.  Via Dan Drezner.

NRA's Backfire

How did that happen? The NRA was just wiped in a 58-39 Senate vote that defeated an amendment to a military spending bill that would allow folks with concealed weapons permits to carry their hidden guns into another state. The measure would have forced states with tough guns laws to accept gun-toting visitors from states with weaker laws.

It was an unusual loss for the gun lobby. A quite pleased Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, said, "I am hopeful that our Congress will now start addressing proactive measures to reduce gun violence in this country by doing things like requiring background checks for all gun sales, particularly at gun shows.  We make it too easy for dangerous people to get dangerous weapons in America.”

And don't forget about reviving the ban on assault weapons--which President Barack Obama supports but doesn't like to talk about.

This one vote may not represent a larger turn-around. But the NRA effort to spread concealed weapons throughout the country has backfired, showing that it possesses less political clout than might be assumed.

 

Righteous Anger

It's true, as Josh Marshall said yesterday, that the political and institutional landscape is more receptive to healthcare reform this year than it was in 1994.  We have bigger majorities in Congress; the GOP is in tatters; the HMO revolution has failed; the AMA and the hospital industry are willing to play ball; unions are working with us; business opposition is far more muted; and Obama's legislative strategy is more sophisticated than Clinton's.

Oh, and the public mood is more favorable to healthcare reform too.  Right?  Bob Somerby doesn't think so:

In fact, the Democrats “went into this round” with a public which is massively clueless about health care reform — and massively lacking in righteous anger, in angry desire for change....Real progressives would work for years — for decades — to develop public understanding and anger about such complex affairs. It takes a long, aggressive struggle to develop progressive political frameworks. As Krugman explained, the other side has pimped its poll-tested narratives down through all those years. But our own denatured “liberal leaders” are too fat and happy to fight against that. When have you ever seen them fight to develop a winning politics about anything known to this earth?

I'm not quite that gloomy, but I think Bob is basically right.  Sure, if you take a survey and ask people if they "support healthcare reform," a large majority will say yes.  But while that may be better than a large majority saying no, it's mostly meaningless.  Most repondents haven't thought about it much, don't really know what healthcare "reform" is, and will switch views in a millisecond once they see a single TV attack ad.  What you need isn't people willing to murmur yes to a pollster, it's people pissed off enough to inundate their congressmen with phone calls.  But we don't have that.

Even though it's an even day and I'm supposed to be pessimistic about healthcare, I still think it's more likely than not that we'll get a fairly decent bill passed this year.  Call it 60-40, maybe a little better.  But the odds would be a lot shorter if liberals had done a better job over the past decade of getting middle class voters as angry about their healthcare as they get over, say, a pothole outside their front door.  Note to Dems: it's still not too late.

In a world...of disappointing literary movie adaptations, one film must make it to the screen with its nuance, political integrity, and 50-page monologues intact: Atlas Shrugged. At least that's the hope of Ayn Rand fans in Hollywood, who have long sought to bring the Objectivist tome to the silver screen, without much luck. Angelina Jolie was recently rumored to be interested in starring in the tale of top-down class warfare, but the latest reports from Tinseltown say that Charlize Theron is eyeing the project—on the condition that it be made into a cable TV miniseries so its subtleties aren't diluted. Assuming this gets off the ground in the next three years, this could be exciting news for the Go Galt crowd, the folks who, as Amy Benfer writes in our current issue, are creatively reading (or skimming, or just Wikipedia-ing) Atlas Shrugged for clues on how to rebel against the United States' recent transformation into a collectivist totalitarian gulag, i.e., the election of Barack Obama. So far, the Galt movement—named after Atlas' protagonist, capitalist übermensch John Galt—hasn't done much more than inspire lots of online fist shaking. But with Theron playing kinky railroad magnate Dagny Taggart, things could really pick up for it. Now who to play her lover and the namesake of the current recessionist movement? For some reason, I really like the sound of the line (use your best movie trailer voice here): "Nicholas Cage IS John Galt." And this one, too: "This summer, America is going, going...Galt!"

Lou Dobbs is a Crackpot

I see that Lou Dobbs is continuing to take seriously the "birthers" — the clowns who claim that Barack Obama wasn't really born in Hawaii and is therefore president illegally.  I'm very pleased to hear this, since it means maybe — just maybe — it will finally make obvious to the broader world just how far off his rocker Dobbs has gone.  If it does, it will have been worth it.

POSTSCRIPT: And as long as we're on the subject, note that this guy is my congressman.  Dresses nice, doesn't he?

Iran Update

After the public demonstrations against Iran's election debacle were put down a couple of weeks ago, the conflict switched to behind-the-scenes maneuvering among various powerful and well-connected factions.  Then, more recently, it switched again to a much more public fight between powerful and well-connected factions.  Borzou Daragahi has the latest:

Iran's president, under attack by reformists after his disputed election victory last month, on Tuesday openly defied his most powerful backer, refusing an order by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to dump a newly chosen vice president who is despised by hard-liners for insisting last year that Iranians had no quarrel with the Israeli people.

....Ahmadinejad surprised many observers by defending the vice president, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, an in-law, in the face of a torrent of criticism from his hard-line allies.

News agencies confirmed Tuesday that Khamenei sent a letter to Ahmadinejad on Monday asking for the removal of Mashaei.  "The president should announce the dismissal, or acceptance of the resignation of Rahim Mashaei right away," said Mohammad Hasan Abu- torabi, the deputy speaker of parliament, according to the semiofficial Iranian Students News Agency.

But Ahmadinejad insisted on state television that Mashaei "will continue his job," adding, "he is very loyal to the Islamic Revolution and a servant of people."

Juan Cole says there's something "fishy" about this story: "If Khamenei wanted Ahmadinejad to do something, why would he do it in a secret letter that only two MPs have seen?"  And this:

One possibility is that Khamenei is displeased but does not want to weaken Ahmadinejad by publicly overruling him, at this juncture when things are already unstable. That would make sense of his sending a private letter. Maybe it was circulated to other hard liners only when Ahmadinejad declined to heed it?

In the Iranian constitution, Supreme Leader Khamenei can overrule Ahmadinejad on virtually anything, and can dismiss him at will. So if Khamenei really wants Rahim-Masha'i gone, he'll be history.

Perhaps.  But this has gone so far beyond merely a conflict between Khamenei and Mir Hossein Mousavi that it's hard to say what's really happening behind the scenes.  Khamenei is obviously not the unquestioned authority he was before all this started, and the fact that he's now being challenged by Ahmadinejad, the very guy he attached his fortunes to in the first place, says something about his position.  Or about Ahmadinejad.  Or about something else none of us can even guess at.  Stay tuned.

I just listened in on an Organizing for America conference call with Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), who previewed President Barack Obama's visit to his state tomorrow. Brown said that the health care bill "will" have a public option and that it "has to happen this year." If there was news, it was this: Brown said that if Senators need to stay into the August recess to work on the bill, they will. Why? Because "the cost of inaction" is too great. That cost of inaction is what Brown expects Obama will be talking about at tomorrow's town hall in Ohio.

A U.S. Air Force MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aircraft system waits in a hangar at Balad Air Base, Iraq, July 14, 2008, during Operation Iraqi Freedom. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Julianne Showalter/Released)

The Dodd wars continue. As I noted recently, the embattled five-term senator and his surrogates have been fighting to dispel the notion that Dodd is too cozy with K Street and Wall Street, which he oversees as the chairman of the Senate banking committee. In the past, lobbyists and finance industry execs and PACs—along with insurance industry interests—have been prolific donors to Dodd's campaigns, which make him a fairly easy target for attack campaigns like this. And Team Dodd, strenously trying to rehab the senator's image, has fired back with ads like this.