Monday, November 17, 2008

Day One of a Week on Air America

Today I started a week-long stint filling in for Rachel Maddow and Ron Reagan on Air America. They're on the Air America cruise this week, so I get to fill in for Rachel through Wednesday, as well as taking over her second hour on Thursday, and guest-host the Ron Reagan show all week.

Unfortunately, today was one of those days when anything that can go wrong did go wrong... and that included some horrible technical difficulties. On Air America's end, the phones were down! And on our end, the studio had a button stuck that created a feedback loop. Although we couldn't figure out what was creating the problem in time for the start of the show... so people who tuned in at the start of the Rachel Maddow Show heard a repeat of her Friday program!

Ugh... Needless to say, I was pretty freaked out. We pushed buttons and tried everything for about 35 minutes, when I noticed one button that was stuck and seemed like it might be the problem. I had everyone inside the Atlantic Radio Studios (who were kind enough to let me broadcast from there) trying to find needlenose pliers so I could try to get this button popped out. Finally, someone found me a pair and. lo and behold, it did the trick! I fixed it!

As my first guest, Judge David Young said, "not bad for a straight woman!" But I think I'll keep a pair of needlenose pliers with me from now on. It's my tool of choice.

So, we finally got on the air at around 6:45, and I was joined by Judge David Young, a former Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge .. until Hollywood called. He now hosts the nationally syndicated Judge David Young Show on TV.

I invited David on to the show because tonight's topic was the passage of disciminatory constitutional amendments in California, Florida and Arizona which basically say it's ok to take away the right to marry from a group of citizens. I'm talking California's Prop 8, Florida's Amendment 2, and whatever number it was in Arizona. In these three states, the people who voted in favor of these hateful, discriminatory measures basically said it's ok to categorize gays as a second class of citizens.

Melissa Etheridge joined us on the air as well. She wrote a piece for in which she basically said that if 51% of California voters said she was less than a citizen, then she didn't feel she had to give California any more of her tax dollars. She said a lot more than that, and you can read the whole post here.

I also spoke with Barry Lynn. He's the Executive Director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. I have a serious problem with the fact that the big money behind these measures came from the church-- most notably the Mormon and Catholic churches. I believe they should lose their tax-exempt status for pushing their members to vote in favor of these measures. Barry Lynn pointed out that, though what they did was hateful and despicable, they didn't break any laws. There's a pretty straightforward explanation of what houses of worship may and may not do when it comes to candidates and issues at
There are a number of people who are protesting the treatment of the gay community in America with by witholding their taxes. Melissa Etheridge threatened it. Charles Merrill is doing it. Charles Merrill is an "activist artist" multi-millionaire who stopped paying taxes in 2004 when the Bush administration threatened a federal constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. Check out Charles Merrill's website at for a look into this fascinating man.

The discrimination against gays doesn't stop with laws against them marrying. Before Nov. 4, there were two states in which it is illegal for gays to adopt: Mississippi and Florida. Oh yes, can't you tell I'm so proud to be a Floridian? On Nov. 4, Arkansas passed a bill precluding single people from adopting, figuring out that since gays can't marry in Arkansas, that group includes all of them too! Unbelievable.

Robert Lamarche is the regional director of Alliance for Children, an adoption agency that specializes in international adoption. I met him last November when I wanted to do a segment on adoption in honor of National Adoption month. He's also a gay man who, with his partner, have become foster parents and legal guardians of a 14 year old. Unfortunately, due to Florida law, they cannot legally adopt their child.

I'm a single adoptive mother! I adopted my daughter from Kazakhstan eight years ago this month. In fact, it was eight years ago tomorrow that I left Los Angeles to head to Almaty Kazakhstan to bring my daughter Alison home. You can read my adoption journal and watch the video I produced of our story here. Just to show you what love can do, here are Alison's referral pictures... she was 15 months old and weighed about 15 pounds in these pictures:

When I took Alison out of the orphanage on November 24, 2000, She was 18 months old and weighed 18 pounds. After six months at home, and lots of love and good food, she was your typical two year old! And today she's a beautiful, strong-willed, smart as a whip with a mouth to match 9 year old, and I couldn't be any prouder than I am today!

Alison Sandler today at 9 years old. She's the light of my life.

Here's a segment from today's Air America show when I spoke about adopting my daughter.

Tomorrow on the Rachel Maddow and Ron Reagan shows on Air America, we'll deal with media... talk radio, the Fairness Doctrine (what it is, was and could mean for the future), and the internet and where it's headed. I hope you'll listen!

Hear the final hour of the show -- the Ron Reagan Show hour -- by clicking the player below:


Conscience Whig said...

Hey, Nicole! Mazel tov on handling an avalanche of technical catastrophes with grace and aplomb (and amazing technical prowess)! First time listener and confirmed admirer, looking forward to the rest of the week.

elkojohn said...

Nicole, this is Tuesday -- just heard you for the first time on airamerica. You are intelligent, articulate, polite & soft-spoken. I look forward to supporting your website & podcast. Keep the Faith.

John said...

It was good to hear Jim and yourself on the air. Also I hate the fact I grew up listening too Cardinal Baseball on one of the leaders of Right Winged Radio, KMOX. BTW KMOX call letters stand for K- West of the Missippi, MO - Missouri, X - For Xmas. The station first went on the air on Dec 24th. Great guests, as always I left better informed.

I was disappointed when I left work and realized that you weren't on the air in S. Florida. I will be listening the rest of the week.

hillbilly ragger said...

Some of the most enlightening material about radio and the future of broadcasting I've ever heard in a two-hour space. Thanks for bringing this to light, and best of luck with your newly repurposed website.