Mike Huckabee joined a country music board. He lasted one day.

You remember Mike Huckabee, right?

Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images.

Ran for president (twice)? Vehemently opposes basic rights for LGBTQ people? Once compared his losing weight to being in a concentration camp? That's him!


Huckabee was named the newest board member for the Country Music Association Foundation on Feb. 28.

The guitar-playing conservative firebrand has supported music education and pushed back against President Donald Trump's threats to defund the National Endowment for the Arts, so the job title might make sense on paper.

But news of Huckabee's new role went south. Fast.

The foundation — which focuses on promoting music education programs and generally stays out of politics — was quickly and sharply criticized for embracing the polarizing former governor from Arkansas.

"It was announced Wednesday that Mike Huckabee has been appointed/elected to the CMA Foundation Board. Yes, that Mike Huckabee," read a post on music industry website Hits Daily Double. "There’s great concern and protest over the appointment, and rightfully so. Many in Nashville are sharing feelings of embarrassment for our country and industry."

Photo by Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images.

The most vocal critic may have been country music powerhouse Jason Owen, whose management company, Sandbox, oversees performers like Faith Hill and Little Big Town.

In an open letter to CMA executives published on Hits Daily Double, Owen, who is openly gay, slammed the "grossly offensive decision" to give Huckabee such an influential role at the foundation.

Jason Owen (left) and Country Music Association CEO Sarah Trahern (middle) in 2017. Photo by Jason Davis/Getty Images for Billboard Magazine.

"It is with a heavy heart that I must let you know moving forward, Sandbox and Monument will no longer support the CMA Foundation in any way (this includes everyone we represent collectively), considering the heartbreaking news shared today regarding Mike Huckabee appointee/elected to the CMA Foundation," Owen wrote.

The letter continued (emphasis added):

"As you may know, I have a child and two on the way. This man has made it clear that my family is not welcome in his America. And the CMA has opened their arms to him, making him feel welcome and relevant. Huckabee speaks of the sort of things that would suggest my family is morally beneath his and uses language that has a profoundly negative impact upon young people all across this country. Not to mention how harmful and damaging his deep involvement with the NRA is. What a shameful choice."

Shortly after Owen's letter went public, Huckabee resigned.

All in all, he lasted just about 24 hours in the role.

In a blog post shared on his website, Huckabee criticized the backlash: "The message here is 'hate wins,'" he wrote. "Bullies succeeded in making it untenable to have 'someone like me' involved."

In a tweet sharing the blog post, the former governor quipped that "Anthony 'The Mooch' Scaramucci lasted longer than me [as White House Communications Director]."

Many supporters are standing in Huckabee's corner. "Excellent article, governor," one Twitter user wrote in response to Huckabee's blog. "I stand with you."

"This is such a shame, Mike, but I'm not surprised," another chimed in. "Country music is now filled with liberals who only want those who align with their views to be heard."

Huckabee's ousting, however, shows why no one should peg country music — or its fans — into one (homophobic) hole.

The genre has built a reputation for attracting a more conservative fan base throughout the years. But any kind of music is best when the bigotry's kept on mute. And country is no exception.

We know that mammals feed their young with milk from their own bodies, and we know that whales are mammals. But the logistics of how some whales make breastfeeding happen has been a bit of a mystery for scientists. Such has been the case with sperm whales.

Sperm whales are uniquely shaped, with humongous, block-shaped heads that house the largest brains in the animal world. Like other cetaceans, sperm whale babies rely on their mother's milk for sustenance in their first year or two. And also like other cetaceans, a sperm whale mama's nipple is inverted—it doesn't stick out from her body like many mammals, but rather is hidden inside a mammary slit.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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