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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6:11am

Sat September 29, 2012
Author Interviews

'Listening In' To JFK's Secret White House Recordings

Originally published on Mon October 1, 2012 7:41 pm

Listening In, a new book and CD set, includes more than 260 hours of transcribed conversations and 2.5 hours of audio from inside the Kennedy White House.
Evening Standard Getty Images

In the spring of 1963, as the U.S. was mired in conflicts with Vietnam and Cuba and the Soviet Union, President John F. Kennedy called his old friend David Hackett to express his frustration at the U.S. men's ice hockey team — and their miserable record overseas.

JFK: Dave, I noticed that in the paper this morning that the Swedish team beat the American hockey team 17-2.
Hackett: Yeah, I saw that.
JFK: Christ! Who are we sending over there? Girls?

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6:07am

Sat September 29, 2012
Monkey See

Damian Lewis On The Conflicts And Complexities Of 'Homeland'

Originally published on Sat September 29, 2012 3:17 pm

Damian Lewis as Nicholas Brody in Showtime's Homeland.
Bob Leverone Showtime

There weren't a whole lot of upset winners at last Sunday's Emmy Awards, but one of the few was Homeland star Damian Lewis, who beat out, among others, Mad Men's Jon Hamm and three-time winner Bryan Cranston of Breaking Bad to take home the award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series. Lewis' co-star, Claire Danes, won for her lead performance as well, and the show ended a four-year Mad Men streak when it was named Outstanding Drama Series.

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5:56am

Sat September 29, 2012
House & Senate Races

Utah House Candidates Both Have The 'Right Strategy'

Originally published on Sat September 29, 2012 4:53 pm

Mia Love, the mayor of Saratoga Springs, Utah, addresses the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Aug. 28. She's running for Congress against incumbent Democrat Jim Matheson.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

In Utah, the state's lone Democratic congressman is in a tough battle for a seventh term. Jim Matheson's opponent, Mia Love, has the support of national GOP superstars and, if elected, would become the first black Republican woman in Congress.

In a state where only about 25 percent of residents vote as Democrats, Matheson has successfully gotten enough Republicans to vote for him and keep him in office for the past 12 years. He can trace his political roots back to his father, Scott Matheson, the state's last Democratic governor.

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10:35am

Sat September 22, 2012
Simon Says

The Emoticon Turns 30, Seems Happy About It :-)

Originally published on Sat September 22, 2012 11:33 am

The emoticon turns 30 this week.
iStockphoto.com

The emoticon, punctuation to depict a facial expression, began 30 years ago this week. Using three keystrokes, the colon, dash and parenthesis, to suggest a smile may not be a great scientific advance, like the coronary stent or computer chip. But the emoticon has been simple, useful and enduring.

There had been previous hints of emoticons. A newspaper transcript of Abraham Lincoln drawing a laugh in 1862 follows it with a semi-colon and parentheses, but that may have simply been a printer's typo.

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9:55am

Sat September 22, 2012
It's All Politics

There's Still Time For Romney To Make An Effective Case

Originally published on Sat September 22, 2012 10:35 am

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks at a campaign event at the Cox Pavilion Friday in Las Vegas.
David Becker Getty Images

Despite a series of political fumbles, Mitt Romney is "still very much in the game," according to political strategist Steve Schmidt. But, he says, it will take some work.

Schmidt served as John McCain's senior strategist in the 2008 election and helped George W. Bush get reelected in 2004. He spoke with Weekend Edition Saturday host Scott Simon about the Romney campaign's stresses.

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8:23am

Sat September 22, 2012
Education

Duncan On Chicago: 'When Adults Fight, Kids Lose'

Originally published on Sat September 22, 2012 10:35 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Chicago teachers voted to end their strike this week, the first in 25 years, and came back to class. It brought an end to a heated confrontation between leaders of the Chicago teachers union and Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who repeated this phrase time and again during the strike.

MAYOR RAHM EMANUEL: This was a strike of choice and it's a wrong choice for the children. Really, it was a choice.

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8:23am

Sat September 22, 2012
Presidential Race

Nev. Voters Scrutinize Candidates' Economic Messages

Originally published on Sat September 22, 2012 10:35 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Mitt Romney released his 2011 tax returns yesterday after months of pressure, and this week President Obama and his opponent sparred over remarks secretly recorded at a recent Romney fundraiser. Mr. Romney was in Nevada again yesterday. Both candidates have spent a lot of time in that battleground state. NPR national political correspondent Don Gonyea talked to voters in Reno.

DON GONYEA, BYLINE: The battle for Nevada will likely be settled in Washoe County, which is home to Reno.

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8:23am

Sat September 22, 2012
Sports

Baseball Breakdown: What's Left In MLB

Originally published on Sat September 22, 2012 10:35 am

Only 12 days left of Major League Baseball. Host Scott Simon looks at the numbers with baseball historian Bill James.

8:23am

Sat September 22, 2012
Science

Study On Dead Fish's Thoughts Snags Ig Nobel Prize

Originally published on Sat September 22, 2012 10:35 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

In a couple weeks, the prestigious Nobel Prizes will be announced. But this week, the Ig Nobels honored the silliest discoveries of 2012. A study on the physics of the ponytail; a paper on why coffee spills when you walk; and a prize for a group of psychologists who scanned the brain of an unpromising patient: a deceased Atlantic salmon. Even more unlikely were their findings: the dead fish had thoughts. Who knows - maybe dreams. Craig Bennett did the experiment and accepted the award with good humor, and a couple of fish jokes.

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7:21am

Sat September 22, 2012
Presidential Race

Warring Political Ads: One Community's Experience

Originally published on Sat September 22, 2012 10:35 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

If you live in a swing state, the political ads on TV right now are inescapable, and they're only going to get more intense in the seven weeks before Election Day. NPR's Ari Shapiro wanted to see the impact that all this advertising's having on one community. He's been in Colorado Springs for the last week reporting a pair of stories that will air on Morning Edition and All Things Considered on Monday. Ari joins us now. Thanks so much for being with us.

ARI SHAPIRO, BYLINE: Hi, Scott.

SIMON: How deep and profound is this impact?

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7:21am

Sat September 22, 2012
Around the Nation

U.S. Border Industry Grows As Immigration Slows

Originally published on Sat September 22, 2012 10:35 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

It's been more than a quarter century since the federal government enacted any immigration legislation which wasn't about enforcement and over that time, the government has spend hundreds of billions of dollars on fences, aircrafts, detention centers and agents. NPR's Ted Robbins looks at what taxpayer money has bought and why it's not likely to go away, even as budgets shrink and illegal immigration lessens.

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7:21am

Sat September 22, 2012
Presidential Race

Why Didn't Romney Pay Less Than 14 Percent In 2011?

Originally published on Sat September 22, 2012 10:35 am

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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

Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney released his 2011 tax return this week in an effort to quell fiscal controversy about his personal finances. The Romney Campaign accompanied the release with a letter from his accountant that says the candidate paid at least 13 percent of his income in taxes in each of the past 20 years.

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7:21am

Sat September 22, 2012
Presidential Race

Obama, Ryan Pitch Medicare Plans To Older Voters

Originally published on Sat September 22, 2012 10:35 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Both campaigns tried to appeal to older voters yesterday. President Obama and Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan addressed thousands of members of the AARP in New Orleans. Changes to Medicare and Social Security topped the agenda for both, but NPR's Ina Jaffee reports, there was more to these voters reactions to the candidates.

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5:49am

Sat September 22, 2012
Author Interviews

The Haunted Life Of Ray 'Boom Boom' Mancini

Originally published on Sat September 22, 2012 10:35 am

AP

Ray Mancini carried hopes and ghosts into the boxing ring. He was the son of a great contender, Lenny Mancini, who was wounded in World War II before he ever got a chance at a championship. Mancini inherited his father's ring nickname — "Boom Boom" — and his championship dreams. In 1980, Mancini succeeded in winning the lightweight championship of the world, earning him widespread adoration.

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5:34am

Sat September 22, 2012
History

Harlem Hosts First Strokes Of Emancipation

Originally published on Sat September 22, 2012 12:01 pm

Emancipation, a wood engraving by Thomas Nast in 1865. The official Emancipation Proclamation was signed in 1863.
Courtesy of the Library of Congress

Saturday marks the 150th anniversary of a crucial moment in U.S. history. On Sept. 22, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln issued the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, announcing his intention to free the slaves in the states rebelling against the Union.

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5:34am

Sat September 22, 2012
Europe

'Time Banks' Help Spaniards Weather Financial Crisis

Originally published on Sat September 22, 2012 10:35 am

Unemployment is rampant in Spain and full-time jobs are scarce. Here a woman works at a street stall in Madrid. Some Spaniards are signing up for "time banks," where individuals perform services based on their skills, and receive another service in return. No money changes hands. A woman is shown here working at a street stall in Madrid.
Oli Scarff Getty Images

After saving money for years, Lola Sanchez was finally able to buy a car refitted with a ramp and space for a wheelchair in the back for her teenage son, who has cerebral palsy.

A nurse used to come each day to help with her son's care. That service was cut amid government austerity measures, though Sanchez still gets a small check every month.

"What I need is physical help, even more than financial assistance," Sanchez says, "because I can't physically lift him on my own."

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5:33am

Sat September 22, 2012
Author Interviews

'Clifford The Big Red Dog' Turns 50 (In Human Years)

Originally published on Sat September 22, 2012 10:35 am

Scholastic

A big dog celebrates a big birthday this year: Clifford the beloved "Big Red Dog" first appeared on the literary scene 50 years ago, along with Emily Elizabeth, the little girl who loves him.

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2:03am

Sat September 22, 2012
Music Interviews

Rickie Lee Jones: 'One Devil With One Guitar'

Originally published on Sat September 22, 2012 10:35 am

Rickie Lee Jones' new album, The Devil You Know, is a collection of covers. "I think [I recorded the album] partially to remind people that a singer is the one who interprets the song," she says. "And once you do that, it's yours."
Myriam Santos Courtesy of the artist

It takes chutzpah to redo the kind of songs that get labeled as iconic, like The Rolling Stones' "Sympathy for the Devil," or "The Weight' by The Band, or Neil Young's "Only Love Can Break Your Heart." But Rickie Lee Jones has made a career out of surprising p

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2:03am

Sat September 22, 2012
Music Interviews

Kid Koala: All Roads Lead To The Blues

Originally published on Sat September 22, 2012 10:35 am

Kid Koala's new album is titled 12 Bit Blues.
Corinne Merrell Courtesy of the artist

Eric San, who goes by the name Kid Koala, plays the blues. But just as Kid Koala isn't a traditional blues name like Blind Lemon Jefferson or Doctor Ross the Harmonica Boss, he isn't a standard blues man.

Kid Koala is a DJ. Big turntables, fast hands, scratching old-fashioned vinyl records — the whole deal. Now, he's taken that DJ equipment and produced a "turntable blues" album titled 12 Bit Blues.

So how did a Canadian DJ discover the blues, exactly? San says it all happened in high school.

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8:01am

Sat September 15, 2012
Politics and Government

State ethics board impeded by secrecy rules

New York state’s ethics board is coming under criticism as it launches an investigation that is believed to focus on a sexual harassment scandal in the Assembly. The secrecy rules imposed in the laws governing the commission are causing some unanticipated problems. 

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7:52am

Sat September 15, 2012
Middle East

Egypt Explores Limits Of Tolerance For Free Speech

Originally published on Sat September 15, 2012 10:55 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

We turn now to Egypt where, as we mentioned earlier, the protest started this week. More than 250 people have been reported injured in clashes there that began when protesters scaled the embassy wall in Cairo and tore down an American flag. Many of them are demonstrating against a film, which portrayed the prophet Muhammad as a womanizer and a religious fraud.

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7:52am

Sat September 15, 2012
Around the Nation

Chicago Teachers Rally With Deal In The Works

Originally published on Sat September 15, 2012 10:55 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. The Chicago Teachers Union and city school officials have reportedly reached what they call a framework for an agreement that would end a five-day teacher strike. The walkout has shut down school for 350,000 students this week. They could be back in class as early as Monday.

We're joined now by NPR education correspondent Claudio Sanchez. Claudio, thanks for being with us.

CLAUDIO SANCHEZ, BYLINE: Good to be here.

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7:52am

Sat September 15, 2012
Sports

Sports: Chances In Baseball And NFL Midwest Battle

Originally published on Sat September 15, 2012 10:55 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is Weekend Edition from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SIMON: Baseball's pennant races are in full swing. Will the words Baltimore, October, and baseball be heard in the same sentence for the first time since Cal Ripken Jr. was in short pants? But times are more trying for the Pittsburgh Pirates. And the battle in the American League Central between the surging Tigers and some nimble pale hose. For more, we're joined by Howard Bryant of ESPN.com and ESPN the Magazine.

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7:52am

Sat September 15, 2012
Politics

Foreign Policy Pulls Political Focus

Originally published on Sat September 15, 2012 10:55 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Joined now by Ron Elving, NPR's senior Washington editor in our studios. Ron, thanks very much for being with us.

RON ELVING, BYLINE: Good to be with you, Scott.

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7:52am

Sat September 15, 2012
Africa

Libya Hit With Turbulent Week

Originally published on Sat September 15, 2012 10:55 am

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. There have been unexpectedly violent protests across much of the Arab world this week. The first was in Cairo. Then, of course, in Benghazi, Libya, protesters attacked and killed four U.S. embassy staff there.

Since then, protests have broken out across the region, again in Egypt, in Tunisia and in Yemen. NPR's correspondent in Benghazi is Leila Fadel. She joins us now. Leila, thanks for being with us.

LEILA FADEL, BYLINE: Thanks for having me.

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7:52am

Sat September 15, 2012
NPR Story

Would You Like A Calorie Count With That?

Originally published on Sat September 15, 2012 10:55 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Next week, McDonald's will become the largest fast-food chain in the country to display calorie counts on its menu boards. Won't that make you think twice when asked: You want fries with that?

NPR's Allison Aubrey has been reporting on McDonald's announcement this week. She joins us in our studios. Allison, thanks for being with us.

ALLISON AUBREY, BYLINE: Hi, Scott. Glad to be here.

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6:37am

Sat September 15, 2012
Books

'The Black Count,' A Hero On The Field, And The Page

Originally published on Sat September 15, 2012 11:35 am

General Thomas-Alexandre Dumas.
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Gen. Thomas-Alexandre Dumas was one of the heroes of the French Revolution — but you won't find a statue of him in Paris today.

He led armies of thousands in triumph through treacherous territory, from the snows of the Alps to the sands of Egypt, and his true life stories inspired his son, Alexandre Dumas, to write The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers.

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6:06am

Sat September 15, 2012
Movie Interviews

Amy Adams: A Steely Wife Stands Behind 'The Master'

Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 12:57 pm

In Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master, Amy Adams plays Peggy Dodd, the spouse of a charismatic spiritual leader, played by Philip Seymour Hoffman. Adams says her character is smart and educated but feels "more powerful behind a man than in front of a man."
The Weinstein Co.

Amy Adams has played a Disney princess, a puckish Amelia Earhart, an innocent young nun and a blogging Brooklynite who wants to follow the recipe for being Julia Child.

But she takes a more steely turn in her latest role in The Master, which has just opened in New York and Los Angeles. The film, written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, also stars Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman.

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6:06am

Sat September 15, 2012
Books News & Features

A Father's Decades-Old Bedtime Story Is Back In Print

Originally published on Sat September 15, 2012 2:13 pm

One night in 1947, an intensely curious 5-year-old boy named Michael McCleery asked his father for a story. So his father, William McCleery, produced a tale that revolved around a wolf named Waldo, a hen named Rainbow, and another little boy, the son of a farmer, named Jimmy Tractorwheel. Over weeks and weeks, William serialized the story, telling it in installments to Michael and his best friend during bedtimes and Sunday afternoon outings.

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6:05am

Sat September 15, 2012
Author Interviews

'Skagboys': Heroin Highs In 'Trainspotting' Prequel

Originally published on Sat September 15, 2012 2:43 pm

The boys are back — Mark Renton, Sick Boy, Spud, Begbie and other memorable characters from Irvine Welsh's 1994 novel, Trainspotting, come back to life in Welsh's new book, Skagboys.

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