live from vermont
June 20, 2014

In celebration of Saturday Night Live's 40th anniversary, Ben & Jerry's is introducing two new flavors: Lazy Sunday and Gilly's Catastrophic Crunch.

Lazy Sunday is named after the famous Andy Samberg and Chris Parnell sketch of the same name, featuring Magnolia Bakery, and is comprised of vanilla cake batter ice cream with chocolate and yellow cupcake pieces and a chocolate frosting swirl. Gilly's Catastrophic Crunch is in honor of Kristen Wiig's mischievous young girl character, and is a mixture of chocolate and sweet cream ice creams with fudge-covered almonds, caramel clusters, and a marshmallow swirl.

Don't run to the grocery store just yet; the flavors will only be available at U.S. Ben & Jerry's ice cream shops. Catherine Garcia

Thou shalt not
1:50 p.m. ET

On Tuesday, Oklahoma's high court ruled that the Ten Commandments monument in place at the state's Capitol indirectly benefits the Jewish and Christian faiths, and thus must be taken down, the Associated Press reports. 

Though it was funded with private money, the 6-foot monument violates the state's Constitution which prohibits the use of public property for religious benefit.

In defense of the display, Attorney General Scott Pruitt cited a nearly identical monument in Texas, which the U.S. Supreme Court found to be constitutional. Other lawmakers have argued it serves a historical, as opposed to religious, purpose. That argument, however, led other groups — including Satanists and the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster — to advocate for the permission to erect displays at the Capitol marking their own historical events. Stephanie Talmadge

This just in
1:29 p.m. ET
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

After California legislators voted Monday to eliminate the state's personal belief exemption for school vaccinations, Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed the bill into law Tuesday. The legislation will require virtually all school-attending children in California to be fully vaccinated, the San Jose Mercury News reports, whether the school is public or private and regardless of their parents' religious or personal beliefs.

California's law does allow medical exemptions for children with serious health concerns and permits children with existing personal belief exemptions to go unvaccinated until their next checkpoint. Otherwise, the new law effectively requires all of California's school-age children either be vaccinated or be homeschooled. Only Mississippi and West Virginia have similarly strict laws.

"The science is clear that vaccines dramatically protect children against a number of infectious and dangerous diseases," Brown wrote in an official statement. "While it's true that no medical intervention is without risk, the evidence shows that immunization powerfully benefits and protects the community." Kimberly Alters

champs
1:20 p.m. ET
Shaul Schwarz/Getty Images

The World Health Organization has confirmed that Cuba is the first country in the world to eradicate mother-to-child transmitted HIV and syphilis. WHO Director General Dr. Margaret Chen called the progress a "major victory."

"It shows that ending the AIDS epidemic is possible and we expect Cuba to be the first of many countries coming forward to seek validation that they have ended their epidemics among children," Executive Director of UNAIDS Michel Sidibé added in the WHO report.

The Pan American Health Organization and WHO have worked jointly in Cuba since 2010. Globally, the organization estimates that 1.4 million women with HIV become pregnant every year and have a 15 to 45 percent chance of transmitting the virus to their children during pregnancy, labor, delivery, or breastfeeding. Likewise, nearly one million pregnant women become infected with syphilis. Jeva Lange

en pointe
12:56 p.m. ET
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The American Ballet Theater named Misty Copeland, 32, principal ballerina on Tuesday, making her the first African-American woman to hold the position in the company's 75-year history. Stella Abrera was also promoted to principal.

Copeland has been with the American Ballet Theater for 14 years and spent eight of those years as a soloist. Last week, she performed as Odette/Odile in "Swan Lake" at the Met; she has also performed in Alexei Ratmansky's "Firebird" and debuted in "Romeo and Juliet."

"When she's on, the audience is totally diverse," Artistic Director Emerita of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Judith Jamison told The Wall Street Journal. "This is what happens when you give people opportunity to do things they are capable of doing." Jeva Lange

D'oh
12:56 p.m. ET

As of today, 14 Republicans have announced their intentions to run for president in 2016 — which means 13 will be probably be looking for a new gig when the party selects its official nominee next year. In a video for Buzzfeed, Ted Cruz has submitted himself as a possible contender for another high-profile gig: a voice role on The Simpsons.

Mr. Burns, Ned Flanders, Homer and Lisa... they're all there, kind of. Scott Meslow

Race and the South
12:43 p.m. ET
Win McNamee/Getty Images

Less than two weeks after a white man shot and killed nine people at a historic African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina, officials granted approval to the Ku Klux Klan to hold a pro-Confederate flag rally on the Statehouse grounds.

The KKK's reservation was confirmed by Brian Gains of the South Carolina Budget and Control Board, Politico reports. Gains explained in an email that the KKK was given the reservation because the office allows "any group, regardless of ideology, to reserve the grounds on a first-come, first-serve basis."

The event is slated for July 18 from 3-5 p.m. James Spears, Great Titan of the Ku Klux Klan's Pelham, North Carolina chapter, which reserved the grounds, said the group will be protesting "the Confederate flag being t[aken] down for all the reasons." Becca Stanek

Quoteables
12:28 p.m. ET

One day after NBC severed ties with 2016 GOP nominee Donald Trump over "derogatory statements" he made about Mexican immigrants, fellow GOP candidate Sen. Ted Cruz has sided with Trump.

"When it comes to Donald Trump, I like Donald Trump. I think he's terrific. I think he's brash. I think he speaks the truth," Cruz said in a Tuesday morning interview on Fox & Friends. Cruz added that NBC is "engaging in political correctness that is silly and that is wrong."

NBC announced Monday it would no longer air the Miss USA and Miss Universe beauty pageants, which Trump owns, and indicated Trump would be bumped from his role as host of The Apprentice. 

When asked if Mexican immigrants are "mostly" rapists and drug dealers, as Trump suggested in his speech, Cruz replied: "They're not mostly that. But Donald Trump — he has a way of speaking that gets attention. And I credit him for focusing on an issue that needs to be focused on."

"I don't think you should apologize for speaking out against the problem that is illegal immigration," Cruz said. "Donald Trump is exactly right to highlight the need" to crack down on illegal immigration, he added.

Trump expressed gratitude for having Cruz in his corner, sending a "thank you" tweet on Tuesday morning. Emily Goldberg

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