For those who have everything
June 18, 2012

Now you don't have to be a superhero only in your notebook doodlings. A Personalized Superhero Action Figure ($125) uses 3-D printing to attach a "Mini-Me" version of your own noggin to the body of any one of several comic-book heroes, from Captain America to Wonder Girl. Just send in two photos of your head — one taken in profile, one straight on. When your package arrives, pop out the head of the original action figure, sub in your own, and Super You is ready for action. But because the heads aren't water-resistant, you'll still be useless if Barbie suffers a shipwreck in the bathtub. Source: CNET

This just in
10:08 p.m. ET
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During her four years as secretary of state, Hillary Clinton used her personal email account exclusively and did not have a government email address, The New York Times reports.

This may have violated the Federal Records Act, which requires that personal emails be preserved on department servers; letters and email written by federal officials are supposed to be retained and filed so congressional committees, media outlets, and historians can easily find them, with some exceptions for classified and sensitive material. To comply with new federal record-keeping practices, Clinton's advisers gave 55,000 pages of emails to the State Department two months ago, and a spokesman said she is adhering to the "letter and spirit of the rules."

Jason R. Baron, a lawyer at Drinker Biddle and Reath and former director of litigation at the National Archives and Records Administration, said there really wasn't a reason why Clinton should have been using just her personal email address throughout her tenure. "It is very difficult to conceive of a scenario — short of nuclear winter — where an agency would be justified in allowing its cabinet-level-head officer to solely use a private email communications channel for the conduct of government business," he said.

9:32 p.m. ET
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Now that Costco's deal with American Express is over, Citigroup Inc. will start issuing the company's credit cards and Visa Inc. will be the credit-card network beginning in 2016.

For the last 15 years, American Express was the only card accepted at Costco, and the partnership, which ended last month, represented 8 percent, or $80 billion, of the credit card company's billed business and 20 percent, or $14 billion, of its interest-bearing credit portfolio, the Los Angeles Times reports.

On April 1, 2016, transactions will be processed by Visa and Citi will be the exclusive issuer of co-branded credit cards, with the company also accepting debit cards, cash, and other Visa cards as forms of payment. The company said in a statement that the deal is still subject to the purchase of Costco's existing co-branded credit card portfolio by Citi, but they expect it to be sold.

saudi arabia
8:40 p.m. ET

The wife of Raif Badawi, the Saudi Arabian blogger currently serving 10 years in prison and facing 1,000 lashes after criticizing clerics on his site, says that her husband could soon face the death penalty on apostasy charges.

Ensaf Haidar told The Independent official sources inside Saudi Arabia told her that criminal court judges want to try him for apostasy, even though charges were thrown out in 2013 after Badawi told the court he was Muslim; the evidence against him was the fact that he "liked" a Facebook page for Arab Christians. His family had been hoping that international condemnation against his sentence would pressure Saudi Arabia to release him from prison. Badawi has been flogged once, and subsequent punishments have been postponed, The Independent reports.

7:25 p.m. ET
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At the AIPAC annual meeting on Monday, National Security Adviser Susan Rice said that a bad nuclear deal with Iran is worse than no deal. Her remarks to the pro-Israel lobbying group took place a day before Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will give an address to Congress against U.S. nuclear talks with Iran. Rice also said that the U.S. approach to Iran is to "distrust, but verify," and any deal must "cut off any pathway for Iran to develop a nuclear weapon," The Associated Press reports.

6:57 p.m. ET
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A new study from Stanford University says that climate change driven by humans is behind the drought in California, which is affecting 98 percent of the state.

The two main weather conditions that lead to drought — higher than average temperatures and tiny amounts of rain and snow — are occurring at the same time because of climate change, the study shows. Researchers also found that the worst droughts in the state's history happened when it was dry and warm, and global warming is increasing the chance that those weather patterns will take place at the same time, USA Today reports. The study's leader, Noah Diffenbaugh, said having dry years that are also warm would not happen without human influence, like burning fossil fuels.

Not everyone agrees with the Stanford study, which appeared in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Scientist Martin Hoerling with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said that most of the warm temperatures have been caused by a ridge of high pressure in the atmosphere that minimized rain and snow, and those natural weather patterns were the main cause of the drought.

Marvel-ous News
4:53 p.m. ET

You just can't keep Spider-Man down. Just three years after Sony launched The Amazing Spider-Man series — itself a reboot of Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy — Marvel and Sony have entered talks with Drew Goddard, the writer/director behind The Cabin in the Woods, to re-reboot the superhero franchise.

Under the terms of a deal between Sony and Marvel, the new Spider-Man will be introduced in a movie set in Marvel's Cinematic Universe, which includes movies like The AvengersThe Guardians of the Galaxy, and the upcoming Ant-ManThe Hollywood Reporter adds that the studio is actively looking for a lead actor to take on the role of Spider-Man, with a story likely set during the webslinger's high school years.

In memory
4:05 p.m. ET

Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed in a gun fight on the Mexican border in 2010 by gang members who were using weapons later determined to have originated from the Justice Department's botched "Fast and Furious" gun running operation. Today, Fox News reports, a statue at the renamed Brian Terry Patrol Station in Bisbee, Arizona, reminds Americans of Terry's sacrifice.

The statue depicts Brian carrying one of his BordTac team members on his shoulders. His cousin, Robert Heyer, said at the unveiling that the likeness "represents everything good about Brian, his strength, his determination, his attention to detail, his love for the Border Patrol, and his love for his fellow agents."

Since his death, Terry's family established the Brian Terry Foundation in honor of the fallen agent to assist fellow border agents and their families financially and to offer emotional support.

Om nom nom
3:59 p.m. ET
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The Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, promoted as part of first lady Michelle Obama's "Let's Move!" initiative against childhood obesity, has been the subject of much criticism since its unappetizing meals debuted in public schools across the country. It even spawned its own hashtag, #ThanksMichelleObama, which took Twitter by storm.

Public school kids protesting the strict standards have found an ally in Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.), who has proposed the "Healthy School Meals Flexibility Act" aimed at giving schools more flexibility in complying with the USDA's regulations.

The Hill reports that Hoeven's bill would "allow schools to revert back to 2012 standards," when the USDA's requirements for acceptable amounts of sodium and whole grains were much more lenient. Hoeven made similar strides in 2012 when he succeeded in persuading the USDA to alter some of its limits regarding grains, starches, and protein.

The Hill also notes the expense of the Healthy Hungry-Free Kids Act: Complying with the requirements will cost districts $1.2 billion in additional food and labor expenses this year, with more than half of schools predicting a budgetary loss, and only 18 percent expecting to break even.

This doesn't look good
3:57 p.m. ET

A new report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has found that antipsychotic drugs are overprescribed for older men and women with dementia, and the drugs could contribute to earlier deaths.

The GAO report, published Monday, found that roughly one-third of older adults with dementia who lived in nursing homes in 2012 were prescribed antipsychotics. Fourteen percent of older adults with dementia who didn't live in nursing homes in 2012 were also prescribed antipsychotic drugs. The GAO used data from Medicare's prescription drug program to reach its conclusions.

As Time notes, the use of antipsychotic drugs may increase the risk of death for dementia patients. In the report, the GAO encouraged the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to "expand its outreach and educational efforts" toward reducing antipsychotic use among older adults and educating caregivers who work outside of nursing homes. The GAO recommended the HHS work to lower antipsychotic use in patients outside of nursing homes, as well as those who reside in them, and according to the report, HHS "concurred with this recommendation."

This just in
3:27 p.m. ET

Los Angeles police fatally shot a homeless man Sunday after the man "forcibly grabbed" an officer's gun, according to LAPD Chief Charlie Beck.

Offering an update Monday on the fatal shooting, Beck said forensic evidence — including an examination of the officer's gun, and a review of footage captured by police body cameras — was "indicative of a struggle over the weapon." However, Beck would not comment on whether the altercation justified the use of deadly force, saying only that an investigation was underway.

"This is an extreme tragedy," he said.

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