Weekend Edition Saturday

Saturdays from 8-10 a.m.

Saturday mornings are made for Weekend Edition Saturday, the program wraps up the week's news and offers a mix of analysis and features on a wide range of topics, including arts, sports, entertainment, and human interest stories. The two-hour program is hosted by NPR's Peabody Award-winning Scott Simon.

Drawing on his experience in covering 10 wars and stories in all 50 states and seven continents, Simon brings a humorous, sophisticated and often moving perspective to each show. He is as comfortable having a conversation with a major world leader as he is talking with a Hollywood celebrity or the guy next door.

Weekend Edition Saturday has a unique and entertaining roster of other regular contributors. Marin Alsop, conductor of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, talks about music. Daniel Pinkwater, one of the biggest names in children's literature, talks about and reads stories with Simon. Financial journalist Joe Nocera follows the economy. Howard Bryant of EPSN.com and NPR's Tom Goldman chime in on sports. Keith Devlin, of Stanford University, unravels the mystery of math, and Will Grozier, a London cabbie, talks about good books that have just been released, and what well-read people leave in the back of his taxi. Simon contributes his own award-winning essays, which are sometimes humorous, sometimes poignant.

Weekend Edition Saturday is heard on NPR Member stations across the United States, and around the globe on NPR Worldwide. The conversation between the audience and the program staff continues throughout the social media world.

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7:46am

Sat May 31, 2014
Music Interviews

Mandolin Orchestra Celebrates 90 Years Of Harmony

Originally published on Mon June 2, 2014 11:45 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Mandolin fever swept the United States in the early 20th century, and alas, they didn't have a cure in those days. The lute-like instrument was the rage on college campuses. And mandolin orchestras - hundreds spread across the country played to wildly enthusiastic crowds.

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7:46am

Sat May 31, 2014
Author Interviews

Laura Bridgeman, A Pioneer 50 Years Before Helen Keller

Originally published on Sat May 31, 2014 11:38 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

When the novel, "What Is Visible" opens, one of the most famous people in the world is about to meet a little girl who's supposed to be like her - another freak in bloom, is how Laura Bridgman puts it. The little girl is Helen Keller. Laura Bridgman was 50 years older and heralded around the world for learning language after losing four of her five senses as a child to scarlet fever.

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2:09pm

Sat May 24, 2014
Around the Nation

Gunman Fires Into Crowds In Santa Barbara, Killing Six

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Seven people have died including the shooter after a gunman drove through the beachside community of Santa Barbara, Calif. last night. John Palminteri of station KCLU joins us now from Santa Barbara. Mr. Palminteri, thanks very much for being with us.

JOHN PALMINTERI: Yeah. It's a sad morning in the college town of Ila Vista, which is right next to the University of California Santa Barbara.

SIMON: Do police have any sense of whether these were random killings? Were they targeted premeditation?

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10:41am

Sat May 24, 2014
Around the Nation

Second Summer Post-Sandy, Jersey Shore Hopes For Tourist Boom

Originally published on Mon May 26, 2014 1:11 pm

A couple strolls on the rebuilt boardwalk in Seaside Heights on May 12. As the second summer after Superstorm Sandy arrives, some are hoping for banner business.
Wayne Parry AP

Memorial Day weekend kicks off the peak tourism season on the Jersey Shore, an area that's still rebuilding a year and a half after Superstorm Sandy.

Last summer, business owners rushed to reopen — and they largely succeeded. But homeowners struggled to repair and rent their properties.

This year, homeowners are a lot more optimistic. But before we get to this summer, let's recap last year's season. Both statistics and anecdotes suggest the tourism industry had mixed results.

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10:11am

Sat May 24, 2014
Politics

Conservatives Brainstorm To Win Voters In The Middle

Originally published on Sat May 24, 2014 2:09 pm

Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., says that Great Society social programs aren't helping working people.
Jose Luis Magana AP

Election watchers say Republicans could take control of the Senate this fall. At the same time, many of these same analysts see problems for the Grand Old Party in the longer term.

Republican voters tend to be white, older and more affluent, and their share of the overall population is shrinking. That's why at least some conservatives think it's time for the party to broaden its appeal to the middle class.

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7:49am

Sat May 24, 2014
Sports

Wrigley Field, The Much-Imitated, Never Duplicated Ballpark

Originally published on Sat May 24, 2014 2:09 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

We went to a ballgame this week. Cubs versus Yankees at Chicago's Wrigley Field, which is observing, no, celebrating its 100th anniversary. Now the Taj Mahal and the Great Pyramids are wonders of the world and older by a few centuries, but you can't get a Chicago dog with celery salt and hot peppers there.

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7:49am

Sat May 24, 2014
Sports

Donovan Is Off U.S. World Cup Team And Other Sports News

Originally published on Sat May 24, 2014 2:09 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Let's open the toy department. Time for sports.

SIMON: Goal! Just warming up for the World Cup in soccer three weeks away. Didn't sound like it, did it?

The U.S. roster was announced on Thursday and made news with who is not on the list. Landon Donovan, the U.S. team's biggest star, won't play in Brazil. Why not? Who did he possibly offend? Not NPR's Tom Goldman. Tom, thanks for being with us.

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7:49am

Sat May 24, 2014
Interviews

'TED Radio Hour': What We Fear And How To Fight It

Originally published on Sat May 24, 2014 2:09 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

What are you afraid of? The TED Radio Hour is asking that question this week. Guy Raz spoke to retired astronaut Chris Hadfield, who commanded the International Space Station, about the scariest day of his life.

GUY RAZ, BYLINE: Can you describe the day of a launch? Like, what happens on that day?

CHRIS HADFIELD: It's like a - that feeling in a roller coaster, I think, where you get into that little chunka, chunka, chunka chain thing that drags you up the hill to make the ride begin.

RAZ: Right.

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7:47am

Sat May 24, 2014
Europe

Ultra-Nationalist Party Surges In Hungary

Originally published on Sat May 24, 2014 2:09 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

And the far right is poised to do well in Hungary's EU election tomorrow. Candidates blame the EU for many of that country's problems. NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson reports from Budapest.

SORAYA SARHADDI NELSON, BYLINE: To many Hungarians, a half-finished World War II monument next to a popular fountain in downtown Budapest highlights the extremist tenor of politics in this former East Bloc country.

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11:10am

Sat May 17, 2014
Sports

Defending Champs Advance In NHL, NBA Series

Originally published on Sat May 17, 2014 11:29 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Now, with pleasure to note, it's time for sports. Conference championships in hockey and basketball, both defending champions seem to be making their move. So to the strains of B.J. Leiderman's theme music of which he writes all of ours, we're joined now by Howard Bryant of espn.com and ESPN The Magazine from the studios of New England Public Radio. Thanks for being with us, Howard.

HOWARD BRYANT: Boy, that's a lot of energy, Scott. You must be a Blackhawks fan.

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8:34am

Sat May 17, 2014
Education

Teacher certification test rollout reminiscent of Common Core

Thomas Favre-Bulle via Flickr

A new assessment for students seeking teacher certification in New York state has been causing controversy. Implementation of the educative teacher performance assessment, known as edTPA, has been delayed. But some are saying the assessment still has unresolved issues.

The new assessment was scheduled to become a requirement for teacher certification on May 1. But the New York State Board of Regents made a last-minute decision to implement a safety net for students who fail the edTPA, so they can still earn initial certification.

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7:49am

Sat May 17, 2014
Europe

Turkish Coal Miner Faces Future After Tragedy

Originally published on Sat May 17, 2014 11:29 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

The mining town of Soma in Western Turkey is reeling after Tuesday's mine explosion. At least 300 people have died there. The government's now winding down the recovery operation, but many townspeople fear more miners remain underground and believe officials are covering up the real number of the dead. The mine has been shut and survivors are asking how they can support their families with no jobs. NPR's Leila Fadel sat down with one of the miners and sent this report.

MURAT YOKUS: (Turkish spoken).

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7:49am

Sat May 17, 2014
Movie Interviews

Director Bendjelloul Searched For Mysterious 'Sugar Man'

Originally published on Sat May 17, 2014 11:29 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This week, Malik Bendejelloul, who won the 2013 Oscar for his film "Searching for Sugar Man," was found dead in Stockholm. The cause of death is unknown, though his brother told the Guardian newspaper that Malik Bendejelloul took his own life after a struggle with depression.

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7:49am

Sat May 17, 2014
Author Interviews

Mark Twain's Famous Outcasts Float Through Three Centuries

Originally published on Sat May 17, 2014 11:29 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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7:49am

Sat May 17, 2014
Author Interviews

'Wynne's War,' A Modern Take On The Classic 'Mideastern'

Originally published on Sat May 17, 2014 11:29 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Aaron Gwyn has written a novel about modern man at war on horses. He calls it a mideastern. "Wynne's War" is the story of a U.S. Army Ranger from Okla., Elijah Russell, whose stellar horsemanship gets him assigned to train Green Berets for a special mission in Afghanistan, a horseback raid on the Taliban in treacherous mountain territory.

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1:31pm

Sat May 10, 2014
She Votes

Easy On The Ears: GOP Ads Adapt To Reach Women Voters

Originally published on Tue May 13, 2014 10:02 am

Dr. Monica Wehby, pediatric neurosurgeon, is among the Republican candidates turning up the emotions in campaign ads.
Dave Killen The Oregonian/Landov

It's only April, but it looks and sounds like October. More than $80 million has been spent on political advertising in only about a dozen Senate battleground states.

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10:49am

Sat May 10, 2014
All Tech Considered

High-Ho, The Derry-O, The Farmer And The Drone

Originally published on Mon May 12, 2014 11:11 am

North Dakota farmer Jim Reimers shows off one of the drones he uses to collect data on his family's 30,000-acre farm.
Steve Henn NPR

There was a near-miss in the skies above Tallahassee recently. According to a Federal Aviation Administration official, an American Airlines regional jet nearly collided with a "small, remotely piloted aircraft" — a drone — cruising 2,300-feet above sea level.

Exactly who was flying the unmanned aircraft remains unknown, but drones are becoming increasingly common in U.S. skies. This week in North Dakota, the FAA began allowing tests of drones for agricultural purposes.

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8:34am

Sat May 10, 2014
Arts

Keeping the craft of instrument making alive

Noelle Evans/WXXI

John Delmonico works at a small violin shop on East Avenue in Rochester, continuing a tradition that dates back to the 16th century.

"You know it's something we don't hear about that much anymore," said Delmonico, who began working at Sullivan Violins five years ago.

“Really, the story is I couldn't find a teaching job and I needed a job.”

He’s a classically-trained cellist with a background in music education. He started out as an office clerk at Sullivan’s, but soon took an interest in how the instruments were built and maintained.

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7:59am

Sat May 10, 2014
Author Interviews

Seeing The Whole Picture In We'll Go To 'Coney Island'

Originally published on Sat May 10, 2014 11:44 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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7:59am

Sat May 10, 2014
Music Interviews

The Music Of Oak And Forest Sprite Blend In Sylvan Esso

Originally published on Wed May 14, 2014 5:28 pm

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "PLAY IT RIGHT")

MOUNTAIN MAN: (Singing) When the sounds come together so close to my face...

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

A few years ago, Amelia Meath's folksy group Mountain Man recorded this song, called "Play It Right." Then a chance encounter with an electronic music producer named Nick Sanborn led to this.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "PLAY IT RIGHT")

MOUNTAIN MAN: (Singing) Play it right. Play it right. Play it right. Play it right. Play it right. Play it right...

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7:59am

Sat May 10, 2014
Around the Nation

Neurosurgeons Express Their Medical Challenges Through Art

Originally published on Sat May 10, 2014 11:44 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Neurosurgery is a stressful occupation. So is being a neurosurgical patient. With their superior eyes and hand skills, some neurosurgeons are turning to making art, and several are getting exposure at art exhibits throughout the country - including at this year's annual meeting of neurosurgeons. From member station KQED in San Francisco, April Dembosky sent us this audio postcard.

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7:59am

Sat May 10, 2014
Sports

Michael Sam Waiting For An Invite In NFL Draft Spectacle

Originally published on Sat May 10, 2014 11:44 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

And, by the way, BG Lederman didn't write a single one of those songs. But he does write our theme music, including this one that says it's time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SIMON: Post season - sorry, basketball. Forget about it, hockey. For theatrics, we're watching football's off season. The spectacle that is the NFL draft enters its third day today and America wants to know, can it be as good as the Kevin Costner film? NPR's Tom Goldman joins us - any Kevin Costner film. Thanks for being with us, Tom.

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11:31am

Sat May 3, 2014
Europe

Sanctions Put Pentagon's Business Deals With Russia Up For Debate

Originally published on Tue May 6, 2014 9:39 am

An Mi-17 helicopter used by the Afghan air force sits on Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan in May 2013. The Pentagon purchases the Russian-made helicopters for the Afghan air force, but recent sanctions may put that deal in jeopardy.
Kristin M. Hall AP

Washington has imposed a number of economic sanctions on Russia in retaliation for that country's push into Ukraine.

Getting European allies to do the same has not always been easy, since many of those nations trade with Russia and fear getting hurt themselves.

But the Europeans are not the only ones balking: The Pentagon also buys Russian military hardware.

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10:52am

Sat May 3, 2014
Media

Poised And Persistent, Reporter Broke White House Color Barrier

Originally published on Sat May 3, 2014 12:33 pm

Reporter Harry McAlpin leaves the White House in 1944. McAlpin was the first black reporter to cover a presidential press conference. He'll be honored Saturday at the Correspondents' Dinner.
George Skadding Time & Life Pictures/Getty Image

Hollywood starlets will mingle with politicians and even humble reporters in Washington on Saturday night. That can only mean one thing: the annual White House Correspondents' Dinner. The black-tie event has evolved into a glitzy celebrity roast, but it began as a simple chance for journalists to break bread with the presidents they cover.

This year, the White House Correspondents' Association is celebrating its 100th anniversary, and it plans to posthumously honor the first African-American reporter to cover a presidential news conference.

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10:19am

Sat May 3, 2014
Race

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar On Sterling: 'There's Light Now'

Originally published on Sat May 3, 2014 7:46 pm

Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar embraces Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson during a news conference on Tuesday after NBA Commissioner Adam Silver banned LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling from basketball for life.
AP

Basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar says he believes the entire LA Clippers corporate organization is better off now that owner Donald Sterling has lost his standing with the NBA.

Sterling was banned for life from the NBA last week for racist remarks made on a recording released by TMZ Sports. Abdul-Jabbar says the punishment announced by NBA commissioner Adam Silver is wise and just, and has given the team confidence.

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10:14am

Sat May 3, 2014
Sports

A Black Sheep Crashes The Kentucky Derby

Originally published on Sat May 3, 2014 12:33 pm

Kentucky Derby contender California Chrome exercises at Churchill Downs on Thursday in Louisville, Ky.
Jamie Squire Getty Images

The favorite for Saturday's Kentucky Derby is a flashy red horse with a big white blaze down his face. California Chrome is of humble origin, and he'll be taking on expensive horses with Kentucky bluegrass connections, but he also comes with a lot of quirks that have folks rooting for him.

At age 77, trainer Art Sherman has finally hit the jackpot.

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9:52am

Sat May 3, 2014
Television

'24' Returns To Live Another Action-Packed Day

Originally published on Sat May 3, 2014 12:33 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

The world is in a terrible fix. Drones are zipping. Threats are flying. Secrets are leaking. The president of the United States is in the crosshairs of crisis. Only one person can help - Chloe O'Brian. Oh, and her friend, Jack Bauer. But not everyone's happy.

(SOUNDBITE OF TRAILER)

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11:30am

Sat April 26, 2014
Europe

What Russia Might Gain From A Decentralized Ukraine

Ukrainian soldiers watch a helicopter fly overhead outside the eastern town of Kramatorsk. Under Moscow's proposal for Ukraine's constitution, the east and other regions would be strongly autonomous.
Evgeniy Maloletka AP

Ukraine's interim government is facing major obstacles: a separatist uprising in the east of the country, an economy in tatters and a presidential election next month.

But the leadership is also facing a longer-term challenge, one that will shape the future of the country: the creation of a new constitution.

The task will be complicated by pressure from Russia, which has already made clear what kind of constitution it thinks Ukraine should have. Russia's foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, laid out Russia's position in an interview last month.

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10:04am

Sat April 26, 2014
All Tech Considered

Stopping Link Rot: Aiming To End A Virtual Epidemic

Originally published on Sat April 26, 2014 11:30 am

An 404 message appears when the linked page has been moved or deleted.
Devon Yu iStockphoto.com

Just about anyone who's gone online has encountered the message: "Error 404" or page "Not Found." It's what you see when a link is broken or dead — when the resource is no longer available.

It happens all across the Internet, on blogs, news websites, even links cited in decisions by the Supreme Court. It's called link rot, and it spreads over time as more pages die.

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9:28am

Sat April 26, 2014
Author Interviews

Justice Stevens: Six Little Ways To Change The Constitution

Originally published on Sat April 26, 2014 11:30 am

In a new book, former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens says we should rewrite the Second Amendment, abolish the death penalty and restrict political campaign spending.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Just a few words can hold a world of meaning. John Paul Stevens, the retired Supreme Court justice, has written a short new book in which he proposes a few words here and there that would create some sweeping changes.

The book, Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution, details the half-dozen ways Stevens thinks the Constitution could be improved, changes that he says are worth the trouble of the arduous amendment process.

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