8:00am

Sat January 28, 2012
NPR Story

'Backstage With' Fred Willard and Martin Mull

Martin Mull and Fred Willard are comic partners in many minds. They helped create Fernwood Tonight in the late 1970s, and while they went on to solo careers in films and stage, they were reunited to play one of TV's first gay couples on Roseanne. Host Scott Simon sat down with the duo for the public television show Backstage With.

8:00am

Sat January 28, 2012
NPR Story

Obama's Plan To Kick-Start Housing Market

Originally published on Sat January 28, 2012 10:46 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

The future of the state of the U.S. housing market was a primary focus for the White House this week. On Tuesday's State of the Union address, President Obama unveiled a new plan to try to correct the housing downturn. It would allow qualifying homeowners the chance to refinance their mortgages at historically low rates.

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8:00am

Sat January 28, 2012
NPR Story

Israeli Outpost Pits Courts Vs. Government

Originally published on Sun January 29, 2012 8:42 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.

An illegal Jewish outpost in the occupied West Bank is at the center of a battle over settlements. The collection of trailers and makeshift buildings is called Migron, and the Israeli Supreme Court has said it must be dismantled by the end of March. The Israeli government has tried to come up with a compromise which the settlers have rejected. And the issue even threatens to bring down the government of Prime Minister Netanyahu.

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8:00am

Sat January 28, 2012
NPR Story

On The Stump: Obama Roams Pivotal Swing States

President Obama is back in Washington Saturday after visiting five different states, all of which are likely to be hotly contested in November. He expanded on some of the ideas he outlined in Tuesday's State of the Union address and offered a preview of the argument he'll be making in the general election. NPR's Scott Horsley reports.

7:40am

Sat January 28, 2012
Simon Says

A Fan's Notes On Pro Sports, Brain Damage

Originally published on Sat January 28, 2012 1:31 pm

Trainers help Cleveland Browns quarterback Colt McCoy after he took a hit during a game in December. In a series of interviews with The Associated Press, 23 of 44 NFL players said they would try to hide a brain injury rather than leave a game.
Don Wright AP

I will watch the Super Bowl next weekend, along with several billion other people. I expect to cheer, shout and have some guacamole.

But as a fan, I'm finding it a little harder to cheer, especially for my favorite football and hockey players, without thinking: They're hurting themselves.

Not just breaks and sprains but dangerous, disabling brain damage.

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7:12am

Sat January 28, 2012
The Salt

Deception Diet: How Optical Illusions Can Trick Your Appetite

Originally published on Sat January 28, 2012 2:12 pm

The Delboeuf illusion makes one dot appear larger than the other. But they're the same size. Your brain is misled by comparing the dots to the surrounding circles.
Washiucho Wikimedia Commons

Think you know how to avoid overeating? Think again.

Research suggests that choices, like how much to eat during a meal, are often made subconsciously. Trouble is, our brains are hard-wired to mislead us in lots of little ways, which can have a big impact on our diets.

Take the Delboeuf effect, an optical illusion first documented in 1865. It starts with two dots of equal size. But surround one dot with a large circle and the other dot with a small one, and suddenly the second dot looks bigger.

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6:24am

Sat January 28, 2012
Election 2012

Why New Photo ID Laws Mean Some Won't Vote

Originally published on Sat January 28, 2012 12:55 pm

Stickers at a Nevada polling place on Election Day 2010.
Max Whittaker Getty Images

The argument over whether voters should have to present photo identification at the polls usually splits along party lines. Republicans who favor the requirement say it prevents ballot fraud. Democrats and election rights groups who oppose it say it is meant to suppress turnout.

And people of all political stripes wonder what all the fuss is about.

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6:19am

Sat January 28, 2012
Television

'Smash' Stars An 'Interesting Tribe': Theater People

Ingenue or Leading Lady: Ivy Bell (Megan Hilty, left) and Karen (Katharine McPhee, right) compete for the coveted lead role in a new Marilyn Monroe Broadway musical in Smash, which premieres Feb. 6 on NBC.
Will Hart NBC

NBC's new drama, Smash, plumbs the drama behind the curtain. The series is the story of a Broadway musical — from the first idea, to auditions, rehearsals and the big premiere.

Theresa Rebeck is the show's creator and executive producer. She's also a screenwriter, playwright and a Broadway veteran — with a hit play "Seminar," that's now on Broadway.

Rebeck tells Weekend Edition host Scott Simon that Smash is a "workplace drama — it's just that the workplace is a musical."

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6:18am

Sat January 28, 2012
Author Interviews

'How It All Began': A Lively Ode To Happenstance

Viking

British writer Penelope Lively was in her late 30s before she began her career writing children's books. Now, four decades and 20 works of fiction later, she has just released the novel How It All Began, in which she explores the capricious role that chance plays in our lives.

Lively's lifetime habit of storytelling began when she was growing up in Egypt during World War II. She spent a lot of time alone and amused herself by making up stories, which often involved embellishing the classics with her own personal touch.

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6:18am

Sat January 28, 2012
Mitt Romney

'Battling Was Won': Romney Gets Boost In Florida

Originally published on Sat January 28, 2012 1:07 pm

Puerto Rico Gov. Luis Fortuno endorsed Mitt Romney at a campaign rally in Orlando, Fla., on Friday.
Emmanuel Dunand AFP/Getty Images

After his second-place finish in the South Carolina primary, Mitt Romney arrived in Florida armed with money and organization. He's used both to stop Newt Gingrich's momentum. With three days until the primary, polls give Romney a solid lead over Gingrich in Florida.

Florida is a big state, but Romney and Gingrich's paths have crossed often this week. There were the two debates, and in Miami on Friday, Romney, like Gingrich, spoke to the Hispanic Leadership Network.

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