Judy Blume threw the gauntlet down earlier this year when she declared Kelly Fremon Craig's upcoming film version of Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret to be better than her seminal 1970 novel that's been a must-read for multiple generations of teenagers. And filmmakers Davina Pardo and Leah Wolchok can confirm that the author's reaction is 100% genuine. Speaking with Yahoo Entertainment from the 2023 Sundance Film Festival — where their new documentary, Judy Blume Forever, had its world premiere — the directors reveal that they were in the audience the first time Craig screened the film for Blume, now 84.
"It was so exciting to watch Judy watching the movie," says Wolchok. "And we were so excited to be in the audience with all of the people who made it and all of her fans. We're so excited for her, because it's her baby! She held onto her baby for so long, and now we're all gonna get to watch her baby onscreen."
General audiences will get to judge for themselves when Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret premieres in theaters on April 28. And they'll be able to prep for the movie by watching Judy Blume Forever, which debuts on Prime Video on April 21.
This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
Wednesday, January 25, 2023. UFOs (and witchcraft?) in Iraq, the prime minister is feeling pressure over his upcoming trip to the US, Iraqis take to the street to protest and much more.
Starting with Iraq, Bill Gallucio (KFI AM) reports:
The United States government is reportedly investigating a potential unidentified flying object seen flying over the Iraqi city of Mosul. A still image from a brief video clip was shared on Twitter by Jeremy Corbell and George Knapp during the first episode of their new podcast Weaponized.
Corbell said that the video, which was taken in April 2016 and shared with members of Congress during a classified briefing, shows a metallic-colored sphere moving next to the spyplane without losing any altitude.
"It's one of many images, this one is a still from a video. It's a brief video, maybe four seconds, where this orb or metallic ball runs alongside a spy plane, and it's shown moving beside the plane without dropping altitude at all," Corbell said on the podcast.
Corbell and Knapp did not say how they obtained the image, and the Pentagon has not responded to their claims that a UFO was spotted over Iraq.
One source stated: “These drones operate 20-25,000 feet up in the air and they’re flying around. We’re keeping an eye on bad guys all over the world. An operator will be zoomed in looking at a town in Syria. And all of a sudden, a little orb will go flying through the viewfinder. The operator’s like, “What the hell?” And so, he starts focusing on it and he just watches the orb for a while. We might get it for 30 seconds, we might watch it for 10 minutes. And then it will do something remarkable, like suddenly bolt off the screen.”
The Mosul orb image, obtained by the Daily Mail, was taken at 9:47 am on April 16, 2016, according to its timestamp.Although the image had precise coordinates of where it was taken in northern Iraq, Corbell said that he removed them in order to be cautious not to release sensitive information.It is understood that Congressional intelligence and defense committees have seen the image and footage, as part of a briefing given by the
Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force (UAPTF), a previous incarnation of the US government’s UFO office, on November 4, 2021.Corbell also added that the flying spherical object captured in Iraq is reminiscent of similar UFOs previously encountered by naval aviators on the US’ west and east coasts everyday, but the fact that it was caught in an active conflict zone makes it a little more complicated.
“For the first time, we are releasing a military-filmed image of a UAP [unidentified anomalous phenomena] over an active conflict zone. This is an entirely different scenario to the east and west Coast incursions over training ranges,” the Mail quoted Corbell as saying.“UAP pose significant risk to our service men and women, and this case highlights this – and is unfortunately not unique.
“This is not just about safety concerns to pilots and ground troops. Its potential consequences are far deeper. And the scope is now proven to be global.”
TECHEBLOG covers it here.
Is it a drone, what was it? It's captured attention in Iraq and outside of Iraq. It's fed into the same fascination that ARAB TIMES' article earlier this month did, "The Abdali customs men have seized tools used in magic and sorcery from a female citizen coming from Iraq, reports Al-Rai daily. A customs source told the daily the customs men suspected the woman, and when the customs inspector checked her luggage, he discovered prohibited materials used in witchcraft and sorcery. When asked about the reasons for bringing them, she replied, 'Personal interes' but the materials were confiscated and handed over to the competent authorities."
In other news, Ismaeel Naar and Sinan Mahmoud (THE NATIONAL) report:
Security personnel were on Wednesday out in force to safeguard the Central Bank of Iraq headquarters in Baghdad from protesters demonstrating over the currency inflation crisis.
Iraqi riot police cordoned off the area as dozens of activists gathered near the Central Bank building. Some merchants in the surrounding area also closed down their shops and joined the protesters, some of whom raised placards that read: “The politicians are the ones covering up financial corruption for the banks.”
Activists close to the Sadrist and youth-led Tishreen movement, as well as civil rights groups, had called for gatherings outside the bank on Wednesday after a week-long plunge of the Iraqi dinar that led Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al Sudani to sack Central Bank governor Mustafa Ghaleb Mukheef.
The demonstrations were expected and a journalist from The National earlier confirmed that several groups of people had been seen crossing Al Shuhadaa (Martyrs') Bridge that leads to the bank.
Qassim Abdul-Zahra (AP) notes, "The protesters -- mainly young people -- rallied amid a heavy security presence, with many carrying the Iraqi flag and banners with slogans."
Earlier this week, Ahmed Rasheed (REUTERs) noted, "Under pressure from Washington to stem the flow of dollars into Iran, Iraq's prime minister sent elite counter-terrorism forces more accustomed to battling Islamist militants to shut down dealers smuggling the currency to the Islamic Republic."
Pressure? As usual, the big story is missing from the filings. Mohammed's real pressure and the dance he's doing right now has to do with the upcoming trip to the US. The US government is happily going to welcome him but -- and this is why Brett McGurk and other Americans were visiting in the last days -- not everyone would be welcomed. Meaning? He's having to do a dance with regards to the entourage accompanying him. He's been informed that certain people he might want to bring are persona non grata in the US (due to past actions).
Otherwise, Mohammed's turned out to be an American dream for the US government -- a point Jack Detsch (FOREIGN POLICY) underscores throughout his latest article:
Just three years ago, Iraq was on the brink of expelling U.S. troops that had helped drive the Islamic State out of the country. In January 2020, days after a monthslong military tit-for-tat between the United States and Iran had culminated in the U.S. assassination of a notorious Iranian military commander and a retaliatory ballistic missile attack on U.S. troops in Iraq, the Iraqi parliament, with the backing of the then-caretaker prime minister, took a symbolic vote to kick out foreign forces.
The scene in Baghdad, according to former U.S. officials, was a state of near-pandemonium, with Iran-backed Hezbollah operatives whipping votes in a flurry of calls just as U.S. lawmakers would on Capitol Hill—only in this case, with much more serious carrots and sticks attached.
“You had Kataib Hezbollah guys texting and calling the cellphones of sitting members of the Council of Representatives, threatening them and/or bribing them if they didn’t vote in support,” said Jonathan Lord, a former U.S. defense official and congressional aide who is now the director of the Middle East security program at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), a Washington-based think tank. “There was an immense amount of coercion to get that vote across the finish line.”
But the U.S. presence that was hanging by a thread in pre-pandemic Iraq, at the tenuous invite of the Baghdad government, now appears to be there to stay—indefinitely. That’s after freshly inaugurated Prime Minister Mohammed al-Sudani, in his first interview with Western media last week, told the Wall Street Journal that he wants the 2,000 U.S. forces in the country, who are there training Iraqi troops to fight the Islamic State, to keep doing their work for the foreseeable future.
“We think that we need the foreign forces,” Sudani told the Journal. “Elimination of ISIS needs some more time.”
Though Sudani’s public support for the U.S. mission—which has grown increasingly limited since Iraq declared the Islamic State’s physical caliphate defeated in late 2017 and combat troops were drawn down—seems like an abrupt turn of the tide in Baghdad, it reflects a steady movement toward Washington in recent years.
Monday, we noted the hideous Tony Dungy. Where homophobia and transphobia abound, Jonathan Turley rushes in to embrace it, as Ty noted in "Ty's Corner." In the real world -- a world Turley left long ago -- Kevin B. Blackistone (WASHINGTON POST) points out:
It isn’t my intent to criticize religiosity, though Dungy has used his to pan non-Christian religions and people whom his version of Christianity rejects. He is an evangelical Christian who has been an outspoken opponent not just of abortion but same-sex marriage, which he campaigned against in Indiana when he was coach of the Colts, and against gay people in general, including those who may toil as professional athletes. He infamously said he wouldn’t have Michael Sam, the would-be first openly gay player in the NFL, in his locker room.
This is all yet another reminder that sports can be, has been and often continues to be an agent for the opposite of which it is celebrated: regression, not progress. Dungy isn’t in the sports world’s ballyhooed vanguard of social change no matter his historical achievement as the first Black head coach to lead a team to a Super Bowl championship.
This was not just a recent Tweet, this is a history for Dungy, this is a pattern. And at some point, NBC's going to have to decide where they stand on this issue. Dungy was hired to bring in viewers, if his statements are repelling people? NBC already has enough problems without taking on more of them. And maybe someone needs to ask Dungy to comment on the Chicago TV shows and their storylines? I have a feeling that five minutes after he weighed in on one of the same-sex relationships, NBC would dump his ass. In other words, Dungy pretends to be brave about being a homophobe but even he knows there are limits to his hate speech. Paid whores always do know that line.
Look for Jonathan Turley to wrap his arms around Dungy and the two to roll around on the floor while panting "religious rights!" to one another.
The following sites updated: