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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6:48am

Sat December 15, 2012
Around the Nation

Investigation Continues Into Shooter's Motive

Originally published on Sun December 16, 2012 1:43 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

And this morning, of course, we are reporting the story from Newtown, Connecticut; where yesterday, a young man named Adam Lanza shot and killed some 26 people at an elementary school - 20 of them, small children. Connecticut state police have briefed residents of Newtown, and reporters, on the latest from the crime scene at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, and at second crime scene.

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6:48am

Sat December 15, 2012
Around the Nation

Search For Answers Begins Following Deadly Shootings

Originally published on Sun December 16, 2012 1:43 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

NPR justice correspondent Carrie Johnson joins us in the studio for more on the investigation. Carrie, thanks for being with us.

CARRIE JOHNSON, BYLINE: Thank you, Scott.

SIMON: What do we know about the shooter, and is anything developing on what I noticed Lieutenant Vance carefully called - he didn't use the word motive, he said the how and the why of the shooting?

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6:48am

Sat December 15, 2012
Analysis

Connecticut School Joins Growing List Of Deadly Shootings

Originally published on Sun December 16, 2012 1:43 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

The Sandy Hook Elementary School joins a sad and lengthening list of names in recent U.S. history. Since 12 students and a teacher were killed at Colorado's Columbine High School in 1999, there have been scores of other school shootings - so many it may be hard to recall all the names: Red Lake, Nickel Mines, Virginia Tech and Chardon High School are just a few of the names that have become branded by tragedy. Ben Markus of Colorado Public Radio spoke with Frank DeAngelis, the principal of Columbine High School.

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5:20am

Sat December 15, 2012
U.S.

A Vision For Chicago Public Housing, Stymied And Contested

Originally published on Sun December 16, 2012 1:43 pm

The Lathrop Homes, pictured here in 2006, are part of the latest revamp effort by the Chicago Housing Authority.
Chicago Housing Authority

Chicago's $1.6 billion "Plan for Transformation" envisioned public housing in a way that would deconstruct an image of the city's poor all concentrated in huge housing silos.

The idea was to mix public-housing residents with market-rate condos and subsidized rentals or homes, with one-third of each in these new communities.

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5:20am

Sat December 15, 2012
Europe

Ready. Set. Memorize!

Originally published on Sun December 16, 2012 1:43 pm

Argh, it's on the tip of my tongue! Contestants in the Names and Faces competition focus at last year's World Memory Championships held in Guangzhou, China. A new field of mental athletes is currently vying for the 2012 championship.
Peng Tong Xinhua/Landov

In the gymnasium of a South London technical school, site of this year's World Memory Championships, Norwegian Ola Kaere Risa checks his stopwatch.

Risa is Norway's only contestant this year.

"I hope to defend the glory of my country," he says, laughing.

The 21st World Memory Championships are under way in London this weekend. About 75 competitors from some two dozen countries are vying to see who can memorize the most numbers, faces, playing cards or random words in a set amount of time.

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5:19am

Sat December 15, 2012
It's All Politics

Democrats Dig In Their Heels On Entitlement Cuts

Originally published on Sun December 16, 2012 1:43 pm

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California said Democrats aren't going to throw America's seniors over the fiscal cliff to give a tax cut to the wealthiest.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Congress has barely two weeks to agree on a deficit-cutting deal to keep the nation from going over the "fiscal cliff" in the new year. The problem is that right now there is no such deal to agree on.

Republicans reject the higher tax rates for top incomes that President Obama demands. And they also insist on more austere entitlement programs, which has Democrats digging in their heels.

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4:34am

Sat December 15, 2012
Shootings In Newtown, Conn.

Small Town Tries To Cope With Unimaginable Tragedy

Originally published on Sun December 16, 2012 1:43 pm

Mourners gather for a vigil service for victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting at St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church in Newtown, Conn., on Friday night.
Andrew Gombert AP

Newtown, Conn., is a white-collar community an hour and a half northeast of New York City. It's the kind of place where crime is rare and the biggest thing that happens each year is the Labor Day parade.

Now the peace and quiet has been shattered, and residents are trying to make sense of what's happened.

Hours after the shootings that left so many people dead, St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church opened its doors for a prayer vigil. People filed through the streets and past houses decorated with Christmas lights.

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2:03am

Sat December 15, 2012
Music Interviews

A Civil Rights Figure's Long Road — To Carnegie Hall

Originally published on Sun December 16, 2012 1:43 pm

Myrlie Evers-Williams leads her three children — Reena (from left), Van and Darrell — at the family piano, circa 1965.
Courtesy of the Evers family

You know the old joke: "How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice." Myrlie Evers-Williams took a different route.

Her late husband, Medgar Evers, was the Mississippi head of the NAACP; he was assassinated for his work in 1963. Evers-Williams wound up moving to Southern California, where she became an educational, corporate and political leader and, in the 1990s, chairwoman of the NAACP.

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6:54am

Sat December 8, 2012
Strange News

'Hey Bird, What Are You Doing With That Butt?'

Originally published on Sat December 8, 2012 7:38 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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6:54am

Sat December 8, 2012
Africa

Tensions Continue Over Egypt's Constitution Fight

Originally published on Sat December 8, 2012 7:38 am

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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

Tens of thousands of people were again protesting at the gates of the Presidential Palace in Cairo overnight. And yesterday, protesters broke through the barbed-wire barricades to climb on tanks that were stationed to keep them at bay.

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6:54am

Sat December 8, 2012
Remembrances

A Special Visit From Jazz Great Dave Brubeck

Originally published on Sat December 8, 2012 4:25 pm

Jazz pianist Dave Brubeck plays at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1981, the same year he played for Susan Stamberg on her family's upright piano.
Paul Mello AP

Dave Brubeck died this week, a day short of his 92nd birthday. The pianist and composer was jazz for millions around the world, building blocks of chords that mixed classical influences with contemporary harmonies and opposing rhythms.

Dave Brubeck and saxophonist Paul Desmond created fresh sounds in the 1950s, with the Dave Brubeck Quartet. Their 1959 collaboration, Take Five, may be the best-known jazz composition of all time.

NPR Special Correspondent Susan Stamberg grew up with the sounds of Dave Brubeck, and has a Brubeck memory that's dear to her.

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6:47am

Sat December 8, 2012
The Salt

At Hanukkah, Pastry Reminds Portland Jews Of Their Mediterranean Roots

Originally published on Sat December 8, 2012 7:29 pm

Called a boyo or bulema, this Turkish-style pastry was traditionally made for the Jewish Shabbat. Today, boyos are mostly reserved for holidays like Hanukkah.
Deena Prichep for NPR

In some Jewish homes this Hanukkah, families will celebrate with an alternative to the traditional potato latke: the boyo. These Turkish-style stuffed pastries — also known as bulemas, depending on their shape and the village their maker comes from — are made by Jews whose ancestors lived in the Ottoman Empire.

Traditionally, boyos were made for Shabbat (the Sabbath) and the Jewish holidays. But these busy days, they're reserved mostly for the holidays.

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6:47am

Sat December 8, 2012
Middle East

Young Gazans Brave Fear To Welcome Hamas Leader

Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 9:14 am

Exiled Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal (left) and Gaza's Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh wave during a news conference upon Meshaal's arrival at Rafah crossing in the southern Gaza Strip on Friday.
Suhaib Salem AP

Tens of thousands of people turned out for a mass rally in the Gaza Strip on Friday to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Hamas, which governs Gaza. The guest of honor was the leader of Hamas, Khaled Meshaal.

This is Meshaal's first-ever trip to Gaza, and it's been seen as a political milestone in Hamas' attempt to gain wider acceptance in the region.

Gaza is a small, very crowded strip of land that is full of young people. Roughly 1.7 million people live here, and about half are under the age of 18.

Young People, Politically Minded

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6:47am

Sat December 8, 2012
Around the Nation

Unemployment Rate Drops, But Picture Not All Rosy

Originally published on Sat December 8, 2012 7:37 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Turns out that Superstorm Sandy didn't do as much damage as many expected, to the nation's unemployment predicament. At least, that's what the government's monthly data on the jobs market told us yesterday. As NPR's John Ydstie reports, analysts and businesses are already looking past that report, to the dangers to jobs posed by the fiscal cliff.

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6:47am

Sat December 8, 2012
Around the Nation

Detroit Driving Toward Its Own Debt Cliff

Originally published on Sat December 8, 2012 7:38 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, BYLINE: The city of Detroit is approaching its own fiscal precipice. The city is deeply in debt and could run out of cash by the end of this month. That would mean more layoffs from a city workforce that's already been cut so much that a reported two-thirds of the city's streetlights do not work. The amount of empty, abandoned land in the city, which produces no tax revenue, is estimated to be as large as the entire city of Paris.

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5:57am

Sat December 8, 2012
Technology

Optics & photonics Industry growing in upstate NY

The industry around the scientific fields of optics and photonics has a strong presence in upstate New York. Monroe County alone is home to around 50 companies working in the field that is behind things like lasers, smart phones, and the Internet.

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5:29am

Sat December 8, 2012
Africa

Voters Decide How To Share Ghana's Boom

Originally published on Sat December 8, 2012 9:39 pm

Ghana's President John Dramani Mahama arrives at a polling station to cast his vote.
Pius Utomi Ekpei AFP/Getty Images

Voting for a new president and parliament in Ghana has been extended into a second day in some areas due to glitches with the new biometric voter verification system.

Ghana, which began pumping crude oil in 2010 and is also a major cocoa and gold exporter, has gained an enviable reputation in its often-turbulent West African neighborhood. It's admired for being a relative oasis of stability and peace in the region — despite tensions in the build-up to the vote.

A Peaceful Democracy

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5:28am

Sat December 8, 2012
Europe

Getting The Royal Treatment En Route To Versailles

Originally published on Sat December 8, 2012 2:39 pm

The Belvedere on Marie Antoinette's estate.

Courtesy of Christian Recoura

The opulence of the court of Louis XIV ... on a commuter train from Paris?

That's the surprise awaiting some lucky visitors to the Palace of Versailles. The cars of about 30 trains traveling between Paris and the palace have been completely decked out to reflect the sprawling and stately residence of former French kings, providing a sneak preview of sorts.

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2:03am

Sat December 8, 2012
Music Interviews

Tracey Thorn Finds Joy And Angst In Christmas Songs

Originally published on Sat December 8, 2012 7:38 am

Tracey Thorn's new holiday-themed album is called Tinsel and Lights.
Molly Bloom StateImpact Ohio

A season for being with friends and family can be hard on those who are lonely; a season of giving can be hard on those who go without. All the tinsel and lights can also make people blink, shudder and wonder about which of life's gifts they'll never find under the tree — or which they'll unwrap and find fleeting and fragile.

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10:41am

Sat December 1, 2012
Simon Says

Sexiest Man Alive Gets 'The Onion' Taken Seriously

Originally published on Sat December 1, 2012 11:09 am

The satirical news source The Onion named North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un 2012's Sexiest Man Alive.
Ed Jones AFP/Getty Images

If satire had an Olympics, The Onion might have won a gold medal this week. The satirical news source announced that its Sexiest Man Alive for 2012 is Kim Jong Un, North Korea's Supreme Leader.

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6:23am

Sat December 1, 2012
NPR Story

What's In Store For Mexico And Its New President?

Originally published on Sat December 1, 2012 10:41 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

For more on the developing relationship between Mexico and United States, we're joined now by Jorge Castaneda. Mr. Castaneda served as Mexico's secretary of foreign affairs from 2000-2003. In 2004, he launched an independent bid to run for president as the people's candidate, but Mexico's Supreme Court declared he couldn't run without the endorsement of an official party. These days, Mr. Castaneda is an academic and commentator. He joins us from his home in Manhattan. Thanks very much for being with us.

JORGE CASTANEDA: Thank you.

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6:23am

Sat December 1, 2012
NPR Story

How Brazil Sees The U.S. Battle Over Taxes

Originally published on Sat December 1, 2012 10:41 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This month on WEEKEND EDITION, we've been taking a look at the so-called fiscal cliff from the perspective of other countries. After all, the government's automatic spending cuts and tax increases scheduled for January could have impacts throughout what's an increasingly linked global economy.

Tomorrow, my colleague Rachel Martin checks in with Hong Kong. Right now, we'll go to Latin America. We're joined now by Joseph Leahy. He's the Brazil bureau chief for the Financial Times. Joe, thanks very much for being with us.

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6:23am

Sat December 1, 2012
NPR Story

The Galaxy Waves Bye Bye To Beckham

Originally published on Sat December 1, 2012 10:41 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Tonight marks the end of the on-field career of a man who's been arguably the most famous athlete in the world. David Beckham will play his last competitive game for the L.A. Galaxy. He signed with the team in 2007 and earned himself something close to a 4250 million over the last five years in salary, and his own line of underwear, sportswear and cologne. Roger Bennett joins us now, he's the voice of Premier League soccer on ESPN, an ESPN columnist and co-host of Grantland's "Men In Blazers" show. Roger, thanks for being with us.

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5:49am

Sat December 1, 2012
It's All Politics

Obama Back In Campaign Mode; This Time, It's Taxes

Originally published on Sat December 1, 2012 4:07 pm

President Obama looks over a roller coaster with K'Nex inventor and Chairman Joel Glickman (left) and President and CEO Michael Araten on Friday during a tour of the company in Hatfield, Pa.
Susan Walsh AP

President Obama is hoping the same campaign tools that helped him win re-election will also deliver a policy win in the fight over federal taxes.

The president wants Congress to extend Bush-era tax cuts for most Americans, while allowing taxes to go up for the wealthiest 2 percent. His aides are using email, social media and beyond-the-Beltway campaign appearances in hopes of putting pressure on Republican lawmakers.

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5:43am

Sat December 1, 2012
National Security

Farewell: USS Enterprise Starred In History And Film

Originally published on Sun December 2, 2012 1:17 pm

Petty Officer 3rd Class Michael Joseph carries his 1-year-old daughter, Maleah, to his re-enlistment ceremony aboard the USS Enterprise at the Norfolk Naval Station on March 8. The ship began its final deployment on March 11.
Steve Helber AP

Sailors, veterans and their families are saying goodbye in Norfolk, Va., on Saturday to the USS Enterprise, which was the largest ship in the world and the first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier when it was commissioned in 1961.

In its illustrious history, the Enterprise served at the center of international events for a half-century — from the Cuban missile crisis to Vietnam to the Iraq War.

And it had a distinguished Hollywood career as well, playing a leading role in the 1986 film Top Gun, which starred Tom Cruise as a young naval aviator.

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5:43am

Sat December 1, 2012
Performing Arts

Hispanics Call For Kennedy Center Honors

Originally published on Sat December 1, 2012 10:41 am

Honorees (from left) James Levine, Elizabeth Taylor, Paul Simon, Chita Rivera and James Earl Jones stand beside first lady Laura Bush and President George W. Bush during the 25th Kennedy Center Honors in 2002. Rivera was the last Hispanic recipient of the award.
Shawn Thew AFP/Getty Images

This weekend, some big names are coming to Washington for a red-carpet event. Dustin Hoffman, David Letterman, ballerina Natalia Makarova, blues guitarist Buddy Guy and the British rock band Led Zeppelin will be receiving the annual Kennedy Center Honors.

It's a prestigious award given to only a handful of performers each year. But over the past few months there's been controversy surrounding the awards. In its 35-year history, only two honorees have been Hispanic, despite the fact that Hispanics are the largest minority in the United States.

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9:43pm

Fri November 30, 2012
Music Interviews

A Trove Of Chats With Music Icons, Now Online

Originally published on Sat December 1, 2012 1:26 pm

Joe Smith poses with Rod Stewart, circa 1974. The former record executive conducted informal interviews with dozens of musicians in the mid-1980s.
Jeff Smith

In the mid-1980s, a record executive and former DJ named Joe Smith saw that a lot of the big-band greats were disappearing: Count Basie, Harry James and others.

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10:30am

Sat November 24, 2012
Music Interviews

Piney Gir: From 'The Muppets' To 'Geronimo'

Originally published on Sat November 24, 2012 2:44 pm

Piney Gir grew to love performing after getting solos in the choir at church.
Courtesy of the artist

What do you do if you're an aspiring drummer and someone steals your drum set? Well, if you're Piney Gir, you become a singer — because, as she figured it, they can't steal your voice.

Gir grew up in a fundamentalist Pentecostal household in Kansas, attending church four or five times a week. She got the solos in the choir and grew to love performing. The singer, whose real name is Angela Penhaligon, eventually found her way to London and the world of indie art-rock.

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10:30am

Sat November 24, 2012
NPR Story

Songwriter Paloma Faith's 'Fall To Grace'

Originally published on Sat November 24, 2012 2:48 pm

Paloma Faith's newest album is called Fall to Grace.
Courtesy of the artist

Paloma Faith has been described as smart, vivacious, red-streaked and a singular talent. Before breaking into the music business, Faith worked as a magician's assistant and a dancer. She debuted as a solo artist in the UK in 2009 with the album Do You Want the Truth or Something Beautiful? Her latest album is no less provocatively titled — it's called Fall to Grace.

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7:57am

Sat November 24, 2012
Health

Does watching TV reruns create better mental health?

The growing Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus is one of main reasons folks in western New York have hope for the region's economic future. Entrepreneurs are trying to translate research into new businesses that sell the next big thing in medicine. But not all research at the campus will cure cancer or create a corporation. Some experiments focus on aspects of life that are less life-or-death.

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