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Chelsie Lacny

Teresa Heinz Kerry, wife of John Kerry, hospitalized in Boston

Is now in fair condition after experiencing seizure-like symptoms

Teresa Heinz Kerry, wife of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, was hospitalized on Sunday night after experiencing symptoms consistent with a seizure. After being stabilized by doctors at a Nantucket Island hospital, she was flown to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

Heinz Kerry, 74, arrived at the Nantucket Cottage Hospital via ambulance in critical condition. She was stabilized and tests were conducted throughout Sunday night and Monday morning. Her condition is now labeled as fair.

“She is undergoing further evaluation and Secretary of State John Kerry, her son, and other family members remain with Mrs. Heinz Kerry at the hospital in Boston, as they have been since she became ill,” said Kerry spokesman Glen Johnson. “The family is grateful for the outpouring of support it has received and aware of the interest in her condition, but they ask for privacy at this time.”

Teresa Heinz Kerry is heir to the Heinz ketchup fortune after marrying John Heinz, a Pennsylvania senator. John Heinz died in 1991 after his small plane collided with a helicopter, and Heinz Kerry married John Kerry in 2005.

Previously an interpreter for the United Nations, Heinz Kerry became a philanthropist after her first husband’s death and utilized The Heinz Endowments and the Heinz Family Philanthropies to disburse money to a number of environmental causes.

Heinz Kerry was treated for breast cancer in 2009 after her annual mammogram revealed a lump in her left breast. She underwent two lumpectomies late in 2009.

John Kerry spent nearly 2 weeks on a diplomatic trip to the Mideast and Southeast Asia, and returned to the family’s Nantucket home on July 3. He planned on returning to Washington on Monday, along with departing on a trip to Israel at the end of the week. His schedule may have to be rearranged depending on his wife’s health.

Brett Favre jersey will be retired, according to Packers CEO

Let’s hope the jersey actually stays retired

Brett Favre’s fans may not have gotten over his messy, publicized departure from the Green Bay Packers in 2008, but the Packers CEO is already planning on retiring Favre’s No. 4 jersey by 2016.

When Brett Favre announced his retirement in 2008, the Packers began immediately to prepare Aaron Rodgers as the starting quarterback. Favre then came out of retirement and asked the Packers for an unconditional release to play for another team, which Green Bay denied. He was traded to the New York Jets for the 2008 season, then after a year he went to the Pack’s division rival, the Minnesota Vikings, where he played for two more seasons.

Needless to say, the Packers and their fans haven’t been on very good terms with Favre in recent years. Despite his messy break-up with the team he helped to revive, Favre is still an NFL legend. Over his 16-year stint with the Packers he totaled 442 touchdowns and over 61,000 passing yards, breaking both Green Bay and NFL records.

In May, after jointly presenting the NFL’s Comeback of the Year Award at the NFL Honors Program with Favre, Aaron Rodgers released a statement regarding the legendary quarterback he replaced. “It’s important, I think, to make sure that he’s recognized for all the accomplishments that he’s achieved in our organization especially,” he said. He predicted both Favre’s induction into the Hall of Fame and the retirement of his jersey, both of which are becoming increasingly likely.

Packers CEO Mark Murphy responded to this hot topic in his monthly column. “He deserves to have his number retired for what he accomplished, and meant to the Packers, during his time here,” he wrote. “The timing has to be right for both Brett and the organization. Brett will be a first ballot Hall of Famer in 2016, and we would like to retire his number prior to his induction.”

Murphy hopes that the retirement of Brett Favre’s jersey will help fans get over their animosity toward him, and to help them remember the good things he did for the team.

Wendy Davis waged filibuster against Texas abortion bill

She successfully killed the bill and stole the spotlight

Wendy Davis is a woman you probably wouldn’t have known about before Tuesday, but now she is a nationwide celebrity. She is the current poster-woman for pro-choice activists after leading an 11-hour filibuster against a bill that would ban abortions past 20 weeks and put harsher regulations on abortion clinics throughout the state of Texas.

If the bill would have passed, all but five clinics in the entire state of Texas would have been required to shut down. Some women would have had to travel hundreds of miles to get an abortion, even a legal one completed before 20 weeks. The bill would have rendered it difficult, if not impossible, for these women to access the health care they require for the successful completion of a completely legal operation.

Wendy Davis, a Democratic state senator from District 10, saw the problem with a bill that would take away women’s access and rights to abortions. Her filibuster required her to stand for 11 hours, without food or water or bathroom breaks, and talk down the bill. Wendy Davis had tremendous support, both in the gallery and around the internet, and when the Republicans cited points of order as a reason to end her filibuster, the audience went crazy.

Some call it the “people’s filibuster.” Chaos filled the room for hours, and when Republican Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst attempted to call the final votes just before midnight, nobody heard him underneath the deafening screams of several hundred of Davis’s supporters.

Eventually, the voters ran out of time. The bill had to be voted on before midnight, and that failed. Originally, it was announced that the bill had passed with a 19-10 vote, but it was two minutes past midnight, and that was two minutes too late.   

The state legislative page showed inconsistencies between the days that the bill passed; originally the website showed that the bill passed on Wednesday, but it was soon edited to say the bill passed on Tuesday. This is shady politics at its finest, but the thousands of witnesses, both online and in person, wouldn’t allow an invalid vote to pass without a fight.

It was finally decided that Wendy Davis’s filibuster succeeded, and Senate Bill 5 was pronounced dead on Wednesday. However, Gov. Rick Perry is able to call as many sessions as he desires to get the bill to pass, and he has already called for another special session on July 1.

Regardless of what happens next week, Wendy Davis and her supporters have already shown that there is extreme opposition to this bill. It’s not necessarily about wanting to abort babies after 20 weeks of age; it’s about restricting access to abortion clinics and exercising control over women. The debate is ongoing, and it’s not likely to end very soon, but Wendy Davis did something great for her supporters. She showed that she is willing to stand up and fight for something that she thinks is wrong, and that she will continue to fight until the very end. 

Landlords from Hell plead guilty to felony charges

Justice is finally served after these landlords terrorized their tenants

The authority-dubbed “landlords from hell” are currently in jail after pleading guilty to felony charges of residential burglary, stalking and attempted grand theft. If you’ve ever complained about a tricky landlord, you are not alone. However, you are unlikely to ever encounter landlords like these two.

The landlords from hell, Kip Macy, 38, and his wife, Nicole Macy, 37, attempted to drive their tenants out of the building due to increased prices in their South of Market neighborhood. While prices have recently skyrocketed, city restrictions kept prices down for existing tenants.

This was not acceptable for the landlords from hell. The pair went to great lengths to get their tenants out, and committed a number of crimes along the way. “The actions of these defendants are so outlandish and brazen that it sounds like the plot line of a horror movie,” District Attorney George Gascon said in a statement.

So what exactly is it that the landlords from hell did?

On more than one occasion, the Macys used a power saw to cut holes in a victim’s living room floor while the tenant was still inside.

The couple also consulted a building inspector to figure out which floor beam to cut to make the building structurally unsound. Basically, they wanted the building to collapse. When the building manager, Ricardo Cartagena, refused to cut the joists, the couple did it themselves. Then they threatened to shoot Cartagena with a recently-purchased semi-automatic handgun, as well as changing the locks to his apartment, taking his belongings and destroying them.

On three separate occasions the couple took belongings from other tenants’ apartments, stealing thousands of dollars worth of possessions and destroying them. In one case, the Macys soaked a tenant’s bed, clothes, and electronics with ammonia.

The list continues with fraudulent email accounts, cutting phone lines, shutting off utilities, and reporting legal tenants as trespassers.

After being indicted by a grand jury in 2009, the couple fled to Italy. They were apprehended in May of 2012 and extradited last month.

The formal sentencing will come in August, and the landlords from hell will be sent to prison for four years and four months. 

World's Ugliest Dog competition celebrates 25th year of ugliness

Will another Chinese crested win the trophy?

The World’s Ugliest Dog contest will be held once again at the Sonoma-Marin Fair in Petaluma, Calif. this Friday.

In a world obsessed with aesthetics and the perfect body image, the existence of a competition that showers the ugly with gifts and attention is a little unusual. Still, everybody seems to crave a little ugly in their lives, because this event usually expects 2,000-3,000 people to be in attendance. Since this is not a beauty pageant, and we can’t get our kicks by parading ugly humans around a stage, dogs are the perfect outlet to satisfy our need to witness some floppy tongues and bulging eyes.

This year nearly 30 animals are expected to be entered into the competition. These ugly pooches hail from all over the country, and some have even gone through the competition before. While there is a decent mix of breeds, the Chinese cresteds are consistently the ugliest and have stolen the show during the majority of the event’s history. It’ll be interesting to see which animal wins the title this year. Will one of the Chinese cresteds win top prize this year, or will one of the other lovable pups win the judges’ hearts?

The winner of the competition will receive a $1,500 cash prize, as well as a photo session with Official World’s Ugliest Dog Contest Photographer Kira Stackhouse and a catered dinner from The Sheraton Sonoma County- Petaluma. Other prizes will be handed out during the event, including a basket of dog toys, pet services valued at $250 from Fit ‘N’ Furry and another $250 in prizes from Paradise Pet Resort.

This year there is also an online voting poll set up for the contestants. This is all for entertainment purposes only, and the winner will be chosen and announced by a panel of judges on Friday.  

Organizer Vicki DeArmon is pleased with the success of the show—this is its 25th event, and its popularity is bigger than anybody would have dreamed in the early days of the event. “In a way, we all love an ugly dog, and we love the underdog,” she said. “When you go into a shelter and see a dog that may not normally be adopted, your heart calls to that dog. The contest is a humorous relief that makes the world a little lighter. These are some of the best dog owners in the world. Some of them take it very seriously. I think a few hearts have been broken when they haven’t been the winner.”

Despite the owner’s grief at losing, I’m sure the dogs won’t be upset. They are probably thrilled just for the attention.

Black bear mauls man in Alaska after being provoked by meat

Don’t feed the bears!

A black bear mauled a man in an Alaskan campground on Sunday after the man gave it barbequed meat.

The man reportedly left a church picnic to go on a solo bike ride near Eklutna Lake Campground. When he came across the bear, he threw a piece of meat at it. The bear at the meat, and when the man offered it another, the bear proceeded to attack.

You would think someone camping in bear country would know not to feed the bears, but this man had apparently forgotten that important rule.

The man was found by park rangers after the attack while he was washing his wounds at the campground. He was treated at an Anchorage hospital for puncture wounds and scratches to his jaw and back.

The man, whose name has not been released because he could be charged with illegally feeding wildlife, had been drinking. “He wasn’t terribly coherent,” said Ken Marsh, Alaska Department of Fish and Game spokesman. “He was unsure of where the attack actually happened.”

There were no witnesses to the attack, and the man struggled to convey to the authorities exactly what happened.

The bear wasn’t found, but according to Marsh, it’s unlikely it will repeat the attack. “The bear was pretty much goaded into this,” he said.

Another important fact to keep in mind is that while bears are massive and there is potential for them to cause some serious damage, they are basically harmless. You are more likely to be killed by a dog or get struck by lightning in the United States than you are to die from a bear attack. Nevertheless, exercise good sense when you are out in an area where bears might be present. If you feed a bear barbequed meat, you are pretty much asking for it to maul you.

China supercomputer tops the charts

This supercomputer is fast. Way fast.

 

China has created a supercomputer that tops the list as the fastest in the world, according to the June 2013 TOP500. This biannual list ranks the most powerful computer systems in the world, and China has not had a system at No. 1 since 2010, when it released the Tianhe-1A. 

The Tianhe-2 has now pushed the United States’ Titan to No. 2. It has a peak performance speed of 54.9 quadrillion operations per second, according to the National University of Defence Technology. It is able to execute 33.86 petaflops, which is almost twice that of Titan.

For those of you who don’t speak computer lingo: this computer is fast. We’re talking hundreds of thousands of times faster than your computer at home. This supercomputer can make fast calculations with huge amounts of data that your computer couldn’t even begin to process.

To make these calculations, China’s supercomputer uses Intel Xeon IvyBridge processors and Xeon Phi processors, totaling 3.12 million computing cores.

Despite China’s sudden leap to the top, the United States still holds 253 of the 500 systems on the list (with five sitting in the top 10), while China only holds 65 systems.

“Ranking is not so important,” said Li Nan, spokesman of the Tianhe-2 project. We are producing supercomputers with a fundamental purpose of providing a driving force for the construction of an innovation-oriented country and solutions to sciences that concern the future development of human beings.”

And it’s true, the ranking isn’t that important. China still has something else to be proud of: a locally produced machine. “Most of the features of the system were developed in China, and they are only using Intel for the main compute part,” said TOP500 editor Jack Dongarra, who has visited the site of the Tianhe-2. “The interconnect, operating system, front-end processors and software are mainly Chinese.”

By keeping the production within its own country, the production will benefit China’s science and industries, as well as provide a sound infrastructure for the growing global demands of big data processing.

It is now believed that China has been working on the development of its own chip technology, which would ensure it plays an important role in the world’s high-performance computing (HPC).

China’s $100 million supercomputer will be deployed at the National Supercomputer Centre in Guangzho, China, later this year, a full two years ahead of its expected release date. It is going to be offered as a “research and education” resource for Southern China.

The United States is not expected to release another supercomputer until 2015. 

Judy Blume and her son bring Tiger Eyes to the big screen

Young adult author finally has a big screen movie to boast about

Judy Blume and her son have spent the last few years collaborating on a project, and are now about to fulfill the dreams of all of her fans: her 1981 book Tiger Eyes is now being released as a feature film, which will be officially showing in certain theaters this Friday, June 7. It will also be available on video on demand and on iTunes.

Judy Blume has been a huge name in young adult literature since her first book was published in 1969. She has sold more than 82 million copies of her books in 41 countries. Even now, I remember my mother buying me my first copy of Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. when I was nine years old. From Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing to Summer Sisters, Judy Blume writes books that young readers (especially young women) and adults like to read. They are true to real life, classic and timeless.

Blume, 75, has wanted one of her books to be adapted to film for decades. She approached her film director son, Larry, about it a few years ago, “I am not getting any younger,” she said. “I do not want to die and have someone else make movies of my books and ruin them. I’d like to make one myself.”          

So began the journey to get Tiger Eyes from print to the big screen. Tiger Eyes is the story of Davey, a young girl who is forced to move to New Mexico with her mother and brother to live with relatives after her father’s death. She meets a Native American teenager named Wolf who helps her cope with her feelings about the uprooting.

The financial capabilities for a big-screen movie adaptation of Tiger Eyes became available in 2009. British supermarket giant Tesco decided to dabble in the movie-making business, and offered a deal for Judy Blume and her son to create Tiger Eyes for just over $2 million. Shooting began in 2010 and took just 23 days to complete.

Willa Holland was cast as Davey. Holland had supporting roles in both The O.C. and Gossip Girls, and Blume and her son both knew that she was perfect for the character.

“There was something in her face; you could see her pain,” Larry said. “She had a very complex set of emotions in such a young person, which were right on the surface to see. She was perfect.”

The character of Wolf is played by Tatanka Means, with his real-life father stepping in to play Wolf’s father. Russell Means passed away in 2012, and this was his last film.

The challenge after filming wrapped up was finding a way to get the movie to viewers. It turned out to be a nonissue; Blume’s huge fan base and big name helped get her into film festivals, and the film is now being played in about 40 theaters around the United States.

Nine Inch Nails releases new single, details on new album and tour dates

Nine Inch Nails fans are ecstatic about the band’s reformation after a five-year hiatus

Nine Inch Nails has suddenly come out of a five-year hiatus. Earlier this year it was announced that Nine Inch Nails would be reforming for a North American tour beginning in the fall. Now, the word has gotten out: not only will the band be touring, but they will also be coming out with another album.

Trent Reznor, Nine Inch Nails frontrunner, admits that he’s been “less than honest about what I’ve really been up to lately.” He’s been working with producers Atticus Rose and Alan Moulder on the new album, titled Hesitation Marks, which is scheduled for release Sept. 3.

Fans who preorder the album will be given a free download of the new single, Came Back Haunted, which leaked Wednesday night.

Nine Inch Nails debuted in 1989 with their first album, Pretty Hate Machine. Trent Reznor has been the staple of the band since the beginning, along with a rotating cast of band members that changes with the direction of the band. Since 1989, Nine Inch Nails has produced eight studio albums. The band has been nominated for 12 Grammy Awards, winning twice (once in 1992 for Best Metal Performance for the song Wish, and again in 1995 for Best Metal Performance for the song Happiness in Slavery).

The new Nine Inch Nails will feature Trent Reznor along with Eric Avery of Jane’s Addiction, Adrian Belew of King Crimson, Josh Eustis of Telefon Tel Aviv, Alessandro Cortini, and Ilan Rubin.

Nine Inch Nails also released details on their tour, Tension 2013. The tour will launch on Sept. 28 and run until Nov. 25. This is their first concert series since 2009’s Wave Goodbye Tour, and it is a continuation of 2008’s Lights in the Sky.

“Tension picks up where Lights in the Sky left off,” said Reznor. “This is the full-on NIN live experience realized as we never could before.”

Bruins take 3-0 series lead after double overtime against Pittsburgh Penguins

Patrice Bergeron scores the winning goal, Tuukka Rask saves the game

The Boston Bruins came away from double overtime against the Pittsburgh Penguins Wednesday night with a victory that could very well lead them to the Stanley Cup.

David Krejci scored the first goal for the Boston Bruins less than two minutes in, and the Pittsburgh Penguins tied it during the second period. The score stayed dormant until the second period of overtime, when the Bruins center, Patrice Bergeron, made the game-winning goal with 4:41 remaining in the second overtime.

The hero of the game was Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask, who made 53 saves and kept the Penguins at bay long enough for Bergeron to go for the win.

“He’s really giving us the saves we need, and the energy and the momentum that we need in order to do the job in front of him,” said Bergeron of his team’s goalie.

“At five periods, everyone is tired,” Rask said. “But it’s more of a mental challenge.” The team obviously accepted the challenge and came out on top. The Bruins are now up 3-0 in the best-of-seven series, and if they win just one more game in the series they will knock Pittsburgh out of the finals.

Despite the fact that the Penguins are the No. 1 team in the Eastern Conference, the Bruins have fought hard this series, and their 3-0 lead proves that even the almighty Penguins can be stopped. Unfortunately for Pittsburgh, this is the first time this season that the Penguins have lost three consecutive games. However, hope is not lost for the first-seed team. Recall the 3-1 deficit that the Chicago Blackhawks came out of just a few short weeks ago. Also recall the 2010 Eastern Conference semifinals, when the Boston Bruins gave up a 3-0 series lead to Philadelphia. The series is not a runaway for Boston, and they need to continue to bring all they’ve got to the ice if they want to sweep away with a victory.

The winner of this series will be facing either the Chicago Blackhawks or the Los Angeles Kings in the Stanley Cup. The Blackhawks are currently up 2-1 in their series, and Thursday night’s game could be a turning point for the Western Conference finals.

Game 4 between the Boston Bruins and the Pittsburgh Penguins is scheduled for Friday, June 7 at 8 p.m. EDT. In the meantime, catch the Chicago Blackhawks and the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday, June 6 at 9:00 p.m. EDT.