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America the Beautiful
July 30, 2014

There's no better way to celebrate the end of July than with a cool treat like cheesecake. Luckily, Americans know how to celebrate summer right: July 30 is National Cheesecake Day.

Local cheesecake eateries, like Eli's Cheesecake in Chicago and Eileen's Special Cheesecake in New York, are hosting deals to celebrate the holiday. Chains are getting in on the action, too — The Cheesecake Factory is offering half price slices today and tomorrow. Check out more cheesecake deals over at the Examiner.

(Facebook.com/Eli's Cheesecake)

(Facebook.com/The Cheesecake Factory)

(Facebook.com/Eileen's Cheesecake)

Mmm, America. Sweet, sweet calories. Meghan DeMaria

you're fired
3:45 p.m. ET

Brands will do just about anything to get the attention of college students, and the new social networking app Shattr is no different. But instead of giving away T-shirts or other freebies, they're banking on piquing students' interest in a slightly different way: by trashing GOP 2016 presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Shattr passed out these cards on Boston University's campus:

(Imgur)

"It's not meant to be political," Shattr co-founder Ben Fichter said of the seemingly random, expletive-laden "F--k Donald Trump" tagline. "We thought it was funny. We saw it as a lighthearted way to break through to these kids who are being bombarded by all these companies."

Shattr allows users to take a selfie, add a description, and tag friends in the photo. The post then enters a pool for nearby users to reach out to groups of interest and "Shattr" the ice. Of course, branching out of your social group can always be a little awkward, but everyone on Shattr can rest assured of this: If the business cards serve their intended purpose, Shattr users will likely have at least one opinion in common from the start. Jeva Lange

Presidential polling
2:37 p.m. ET
Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

Ben Carson is tied with Donald Trump in Iowa in the latest Monmouth University Poll released Monday, marking the first time that a GOP contender has closed the gap in Trump's lead in the primary. Both Carson and Trump got 23 percent support from Iowa's Republican voters, while former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina came in third with 10 percent of the vote. None of the other candidates in the Republican field eked out double-digit support.

Aside from marking the big moment in which Trump no longer leads the rest of the GOP field by a wide margin, the poll also provides an illuminating look at what Iowa voters value in a Republican presidential candidate. None of the poll's top three contenders (Trump, Carson, and Fiorina) comes from a political background; all are considered outsider candidates.

The poll, which was conducted between August 27-30, has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percentage points. Becca Stanek

baby steps
2:35 p.m. ET

Reopening the U.S. embassy in Tehran is still a long, long way away from happening, but that doesn't mean Iranians aren't rethinking their relationship with Uncle Sam. Iranian state media said this weekend that a number of people painted over "Death to America" graffiti on the wall of the former U.S. embassy, the Jerusalem Post reported. Similar anti-American slogans have been wiped from other streets in Tehran.

Formal diplomatic ties have been severed between the United States and Iran since 1979, when student protesters overran the embassy; the hostage crisis that followed lasted 444 days. Britain, meanwhile, is restoring diplomatic relations with Iran, four years after its own embassy was ransacked. Iranians weren't as willing to clean the graffiti there, however; "Death to England" is still scrawled on a wall above a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, according to The Washington Post.

As we await a vote in Congress on the Iran nuclear deal, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif remains convinced that opening the U.S. embassy isn't a healthy next step, calling Washington's "illogical attitude" toward Iran a situation that needs to be resolved first.

Jeva Lange

are you ready kids?
2:32 p.m. ET
Facebook.com/Spongebob Squarepants

Better drop on the deck and flop like a fish, landlubbers: SpongeBob SquarePants is set for a Broadway debut in 2016, Playbill reports. The SpongeBob Musical, which Nickelodeon first confirmed was in the works in February, will first head to Chicago on June 7 for a month-long tryout at the Oriental Theatre.

"One of our challenges has been to take an episodic art form, remain true to its spirit of non-sequiturs and outrageousness and then create a really strong storyline that will not only get people involved but pay off emotionally," director Tina Landau told the Chicago Tribune. "So we have a story and a subplot, but it's all spiced with the particular flavorings of the SpongeBob universe."

The plot Landau touts is described as follows: "Only one sponge can save the day. But he's going to need help from some of the greatest songwriters in rock and pop music history."

A star-studded score should help the longest-running Nicktoon make a smooth transition from screen to stage. David Bowie, John Legend, Aerosmith, Cyndi Lauper, and They Might Be Giants are among the artists signed onto the project.

Diehard fans of the sea sponge's earlier work will recall his first cinematic appearance, in 2004, was also pretty rockin'. Julie Kliegman

Second chances
1:14 p.m. ET

While the NFL and Tom Brady failed to reach a settlement on Monday, that still meant that Jane Rosenberg — the courtroom sketch artist who became infamous after her unconventional sketch of the usually handsome Patriots quarterback went viral — had to show up for work and get a drawing done.

However, while today's sketch captures less of the surreal qualities of the original, it still expresses Rosenberg's signature style.

Rosenberg told CBS that in the days leading up to Monday's anticipated second-chance sketch, she "had sleepless nights" with Tom Brady on her mind. "It was a nightmare," she said.

Before Monday's appearance in court, Rosenberg also showed CBS her practice sketch of Brady, in which he looks decidedly less like he's melting:

"I don't like knowing people are really watching what I'm doing," Rosenberg told CBS. She added to the New York Daily News that even doing her practice sketch was hard. "I still found him very hard to draw — from a photo as well. Something subtle goes on with his eyes."

Sweet dreams, Rosenberg. It's all over — for now. Jeva Lange

scandal
1:00 p.m. ET

Disgraced wrestling star Hulk Hogan sat down with Good Morning America on Monday for his first interview since WWE terminated his contract in July over a racist rant. He was caught calling his daughter's then-boyfriend the n-word in an old tape brought to light in the aftermath of Hogan's lawsuit against Gawker Media.

"I'm not a racist, but I never should have said what I said," Hogan said, reiterating an earlier apology. "It was wrong. I'm embarrassed by it."

He connected his use of the slur to the area he was raised in.

"People need to realize that you inherit things from your environment," he said. "And where I grew up was south Tampa, Port Tampa, and it was a really rough neighborhood, very low income. And all my friends, we greeted each other saying that word."

Hogan also divulged that he was suicidal in 2007, when the secret tape was believed to be filmed. Watch his full interview below. Julie Kliegman

balls
12:08 p.m. ET
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The NFL and Tom Brady failed to reach a settlement Monday in the ongoing Deflategate controversy. After just minutes of talks in court, Judge Richard Berman sent everyone home, saying he will make a ruling in the case by Friday, but potentially as early as Tuesday, CBS reports.

In May, the New England Patriots quarterback received a four-game suspension after an independent report suggested he was likely involved in the team's deliberate tampering with footballs during the 2015 playoffs. Brady appealed his suspension and maintained he was unaware of any foul play on his team.

Lest you assume this national nightmare will finally end once Berman announces a decision, rest assured both sides have appeal options that will likely keep the scandal afloat for the foreseeable future. Julie Kliegman

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