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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8:12am

Sat April 19, 2014
Movie Reviews

'Say Anything,' Still Full Of Guileless Affection

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 11:44 am

Transcript

WADE GOODWYN, HOST:

Twenty-five years ago, Lloyd Dobler raised a boombox over his head and changed the world of movie boyfriends forever.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "IN YOUR EYES")

PETER GABRIEL: (Singing) All my instincts, they return...

GOODWYN: Linda Holmes, of our pop culture blog "Monkey See," was a teenager when she first saw the film "Say Anything..." She says all these years later, she has a new appreciation of it.

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10:55am

Sat April 12, 2014
Europe

Between Friends, Family And Country, Ukrainian Police Lie Low

Originally published on Mon April 14, 2014 1:33 pm

Pro-Russian activists sit at a barricade at the regional administration building in Donetsk on Wednesday. Police have been conspicuously absent at Eastern Ukraine protest sites.
Efrem Lukatsky AP

At occupied government buildings in eastern Ukraine, there is plenty of razor wire, sandbags and Molotov cocktails.

One thing is conspicuously absent, though — law enforcement.

When protests in Eastern Ukraine started on Sunday, police were everywhere.

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9:04am

Sat April 12, 2014
Author Interviews

Jackie Collins' Mob Princess Serves Up A Cookbook You Can't Refuse

Originally published on Mon April 14, 2014 1:52 pm

Courtesy of St. Martin's Press

Lucky Santangelo is a household name — at least, in those households where the shelves are packed with Jackie Collins novels. And considering there are more than 500 million copies sold, well, Santangelo's certainly got a fan base.

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9:04am

Sat April 12, 2014
Parallels

Iran's Culture Wars: Who's Winning These Days?

Originally published on Mon April 14, 2014 1:49 pm

Members of the Iranian band Accolade perform in an unauthorized stage performance in the capital Tehran in January 2013. Those seeking greater social freedoms are often testing the limits in Iran.
Vahid Salemi AP

In Iran, hardline critics are waging a campaign against President Hassan Rouhani to limit his campaign pledge of opening Iran to more social and cultural freedoms.

The "culture wars" are as old as the Islamic revolution that swept conservative clerics to power more than three decades ago. The latest chapter comes as Rouhani is negotiating a nuclear deal with six world powers. He has the backing of Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, to continue the nuclear discussions, but cultural hardliners are stepping up the domestic pressure.

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9:04am

Sat April 12, 2014
NPR Story

A Sheep Killer Is On The Loose In 'All the Birds, Singing'

Originally published on Sat April 12, 2014 1:26 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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9:04am

Sat April 12, 2014
NPR Story

School Lunch: Any Chicken In Those 'Food-Like Nubbins'?

Originally published on Sat April 12, 2014 1:26 pm

It took a Freedom of Information Act to get the Chicago Public Schools to disclose what's in the chicken nuggets they serve in their cafeterias. NPR's Scott Simon reveals the chemical contents.

9:04am

Sat April 12, 2014
NPR Story

PGA Puts On A Masters Without Tiger

Originally published on Sat April 12, 2014 1:26 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. I look forward all week to saying it's time for sports. The tigers without master - the Masters without Tiger? You know, it's so hard to imagine, I can barely say it. And the Indiana Pacers are swooning like Justin Bieber fans this week. We're joined now by NPR's Tom Goldman. Good morning, Tom.

TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: Hi, Scott.

SIMON: So there was a slight glimmer of hope that the Pacers could be coming out of a tailspin, but alas...

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8:34am

Sat April 12, 2014
The Upstate Economy

Ant-poverty tour highlighting inequality in New York state

Sister Simone Campbell speaking at the New York State Community Action Association 8th Annual Symposium on Poverty
Jenna Flanagan/Innovation Trail

A campaign by the New York State Community Action Association to change perceptions of poverty was launched last week in Albany. The "From Poverty to Opportunity Tour 2014" is running in conjunction with a series of speaking events around the state that will feature people sharing personal stories of their experience of poverty.

Karla Digirolamo, CEO of the New York State Community Action Association put together the anti-poverty tour to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Economic Opportunity Act or as it's more commonly known, President Lyndon B. Johnson's War on Poverty.

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12:32pm

Sat April 5, 2014
Health Care

With Enrollee Goal Met, Obamacare Still Faces Political Trial

Originally published on Sat April 5, 2014 1:03 pm

President Obama arrives in the Rose Garden on Tuesday to trumpet 7.1 million signups under the Affordable Care Act.
Carolyn Kaster AP

President Obama and his supporters had a rare opportunity to celebrate this week.

A last-minute surge in people signing up for health insurance sent the total government enrollment figures over the seven-million mark.

That number seemed out of reach just a few months ago, when a crash-prone website threatened to undermine the president's signature health care law.

Republicans are still bent on repealing the law, but now millions more Americans have a stake in Obamacare's survival.

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11:46am

Sat April 5, 2014
Africa

'Hotel Rwanda' Manager: We've Failed To Learn From History

Originally published on Sat April 5, 2014 1:38 pm

Paul Rusesabagina, who sheltered more than 1,000 people in his hotel during the Rwandan genocide, says the brutal violence in Syria, the Central African Republic and the Congo shows history repeats itself while people fail to learn from it.
Courtesy Hotel Rwanda Rusesabagina Foundation

Paul Rusesabagina is a figure from history — a terrible history.

He was the manager of the Diplomat Hotel in Kigali, Rwanda, 20 years ago, when the genocide of Rwanda's Tutsi people began. More than 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus would be killed in just three months.

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9:15am

Sat April 5, 2014
Science

Art and science flow together in the Lava Project

Bob Wysocki

There's a place at Syracuse University where art meets science.  The Lava Project has been fusing the two disciplines for four years now, and soon anyone can get in on the collaboration, through a free online course.

For the scientist, creating lava and watching it flow means to “understand how lava behaves and what it means when we have certain structures in lava flows, what controls that.”

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7:42am

Sat April 5, 2014
Book Reviews

'In Paradise,' Matthiessen Considers Our Capacity For Cruelty

Originally published on

In his six-decade career, Peter Matthiessen has written 33 books, including The Snow Leopard and Shadow Country.
Linda Girvin Courtesy of Riverhead Books

At age 86, Peter Matthiessen has written what he says "may be his last word" — a novel due out Tuesday about a visit to a Nazi extermination camp. It's called In Paradise, and it caps a career spanning six decades and 33 books.

Matthiessen is the only writer to ever win a National Book Award in both fiction — for his last book, Shadow Country, and adult nonfiction for his 1978 travel journal, The Snow Leopard.

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7:42am

Sat April 5, 2014
Middle East

For Syrian Refugees, 'Life Has Stopped'

Originally published on Sat April 5, 2014 11:18 am

Syrian refugees have flooded into Lebanon since the war began. The UN said this week that 1 million refugees are now in the country. NPR's Scott Simon and Alice Fordham discuss the impact.

7:42am

Sat April 5, 2014
Music Interviews

Puerto Rico's Most-Loved And Most-Hated Band

Originally published on Sat April 5, 2014 11:11 am

The bad boys of Puerto Rico have grown up. Step brothers Rene Perez Joglar and Eduardo Cabra of Calle 13 have a new album that takes a more thoughtful route to deliver their message.

7:42am

Sat April 5, 2014
Sports

Final Four Fans Bedeck Themselves In Team Colors

Originally published on Sat April 5, 2014 11:18 am

The men's Final Four in college basketball is Saturday in North Texas. With the teams come fans, some rabid in their love for for all things Huskies, Gators, Badgers and Wildcats.

1:12pm

Sat March 29, 2014
Politics

The Story Of Calif. Senator's Arrest Reads Like Pulp Fiction

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 4:04 pm

San Francisco state Sen. Leland Yee leaves the San Francisco Federal Building after he was arrested and released on bond Wednesday.
Ben Margot AP

It's a case that has stunned California's political community: A prominent Democratic lawmaker has been accused in a federal complaint of participating in an elaborate conspiracy involving guns, gangs, drugs and bribery.

State Sen. Leland Yee was known as a champion of open government and gun control, but not any more. A 137-page federal affidavit accuses the lawmaker of soliciting and taking bribes from an undercover FBI agent in exchange for political favors.

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12:51pm

Sat March 29, 2014
Health Care

Latinos Wary Of All-Out Push To Sign Up For ACA

Planned Parenthood worker Alicia Gonzales promotes the Affordable Care Act during an outreach event for the Latino community in Los Angeles in September.
Jonathan Alcorn Reuters /Landov

All throughout the country, supporters of the Affordable Care Act have worked to reach the uninsured, holding health fairs and putting ads on TV and radio.

The push continues to get as many enrolled as possible, especially Latinos — the most uninsured group in the country.

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11:11am

Sat March 29, 2014
Business

Boeing's Iconic 747 May Be Flying Into The Sunset

Originally published on Sat March 29, 2014 11:36 am

Sales of the airliner are flagging, and airlines are retiring their 747 fleets. The end may be near for the original "jumbo jet," but in its day, it offered an experience like no other.
Elaine Thompson AP

While global attention has been focused on Malaysia Airlines' missing 777 this week, Boeing's best-known aircraft, the 747, was also in the news. The Federal Aviation Administration ordered Boeing to immediately fix a software glitch that could cause problems during landing.

The software flaw is not the only problem for the enormous 747. Over four decades ago, it was the original "jumbo jet," but the newest version of Boeing's iconic plane has not sold well. On Monday, Japan's All Nippon Airways announced it will officially retire its aging 747 passenger fleet.

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8:09am

Sat March 29, 2014
Simon Says

A Bill To Distill Simmers In Tennessee

Originally published on Sat March 29, 2014 11:27 am

What legally makes whiskey taste like Tennessee?
Piotr Wawryniuk iStockphoto.com

Would Tennessee whiskey by any other name taste as sweet?

A debate in Tennessee simmers over a legal definition of what makes Tennessee whiskey "Tennessee."

The state legislature passed a bill last year saying whiskey can be labeled "Tennessee" only if it's made in the state from a mash that's 51-percent corn, trickles through maple charcoal, and is aged in new, charred oak barrels.

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7:59am

Sat March 29, 2014
History

Helen Keller's Glimpse Of Beethoven's 'Heavenly Vibration'

Originally published on Sat March 29, 2014 11:27 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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7:59am

Sat March 29, 2014
Author Interviews

'Lovesongs' Examines What It Means To Come Home

Originally published on Sat March 29, 2014 11:27 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

How long do good friends keep growing up with each other? Leland, or Lee, is a rock star. He tours the world but keeps coming back, if not back home, to the place where he grew up - Little Wing, Wisconsin, a fictitious Midwestern town that feels as real as Eau Claire, which is where the author, Nickolas Butler grew up. His new novel, "Shotgun Lovesongs" interlaces the stories of friends who keep coming back to each other and try to get hold of where they are in the world.

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12:22pm

Sat March 22, 2014
Parallels

Always Watching: A Fragile Trust Lines The U.S.-Mexico Border

Originally published on Sat March 22, 2014 2:21 pm

Dob Cunningham (left) and his friend Larry Johnson look over the edge of Cunningham's 800-acre ranch in Quemado, Texas.
Kainaz Amaria NPR

We drove 2,428 miles on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border, and it's safe to say that for much of the road trip, we were being watched.

Border Patrol agents, customs officers, cameras, sensors, radar and aircraft track movement in the Borderland. None of that has stopped the struggle to control the border, or the debate over how best to do it.

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10:28am

Sat March 22, 2014
Parallels

Russia-U.S. Tensions Could Stall Syrian Chemical Weapons Removal

Originally published on Sat March 22, 2014 11:18 am

The Russian ship Pyotr Velikiy (Peter the Great), seen here docked in the Cypriot port of Limassol in February, is part of the team involved in escorting shipments of Syria's chemical weapons material for destruction.
AFP/Getty Images

As U.S.-Russian relations sour, some observers fear the plan to eliminate Syria's chemical arsenal might stall.

This past week, the removal of chemicals from Syria reached the halfway mark. Without pressure from both superpowers, however, some believe Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will begin to drag his feet.

"I think what you're likely to see is that the Assad regime will comply just enough, at a slower pace, as it consolidates its hold over the country militarily," says Andrew Tabler, a Syria expert, at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

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9:37am

Sat March 22, 2014
Around the Nation

Commuters Ditch Cars For Public Transit In Record Numbers

Originally published on Mon March 24, 2014 1:38 pm

On a typical weekday, riders make a total of about 300,000 trips on the Chicago Metra commuter line.
M. Spencer Green AP

During the morning rush at Chicago's Union Station, commuter trains pull in, the doors open and a crush of people, newspapers and coffee cups in hand, pour off like a flood.

Financial analyst Nader Kouklan says he makes the trip from the suburbs to Chicago's downtown every day.

"It's easier and just a faster way to get to work, rather than having to deal with the traffic of the morning commute," Kouklan says.

Law student Amalia Romano rides Chicago's Metra line, too.

"I take it because I don't want to pay $16 to park every day," Romano explains.

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8:34am

Sat March 22, 2014
Environment

How much do bass fishing tournaments hurt the fish?

Bassmaster Elite angler Randy Howell reels in a small mouth during a tournament practice session near Ogdensburg last summer.
David Sommerstein/NCPR

Last summer, the country's top professional anglers were catching hundreds of pounds of Bass in the St. Lawrence River for the Bassmasters Elite tournament. Elite series officials deemed it a big success. A study found it generated $1-3 million for the region.

But are tournaments like Bassmasters Elite bad for the fish?

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7:50am

Sat March 22, 2014
Movie Interviews

'Flaco And Max' Keep A South Texas Musical Tradition Thriving

Originally published on Sun March 23, 2014 11:45 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Conjunto music can be as American as cherry pie - with Mexican and German flavoring:

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

FLACO AND MAX: (Singing in foreign language)

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7:50am

Sat March 22, 2014
Sports

Mercer, Dayton Break The Brackets

Originally published on Sat March 22, 2014 11:18 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SIMON: And the upsets keep coming in the NCAA tournament. Do they call it March Madness because Coach K at Duke, probably a little mad at the way his Blue Devils played. ESPN.com's Howard Bryant joins us. Howard, thanks so much for being with us.

HOWARD BRYANT: Oh, good morning, Scott.

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7:50am

Sat March 22, 2014
Animals

Put Haggis In The Feeder, And Other Scottish Bird Feeding Tips

Originally published on Sat March 22, 2014 11:18 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Springtime is just about to bloom. So how do you attract a few good-looking birds? To the gardener balcony, that is. We're joined now by Malcie Smith, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. He joins us from the studios of the BBC in the Shetland Islands of Scotland. Thanks very much for being with us.

MALCIE SMITH: Hi, Scott. You're welcome.

SIMON: What kind of food do you put out this time of year?

SMITH: Just a wide range of nuts and seeds would be quite good. Sunflower seeds particularly are very good.

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1:00pm

Sat March 15, 2014
Religion

Tiny Italian Town Thumbs Its Nose At Lenten Abstinence

Originally published on Sun March 16, 2014 5:53 pm

On the first Sunday of Lent in Poggio Mirteto, a priest in the town's cathedral recalls the serpent in the Garden of Eden.

He admonishes parishioners in this hilltop hamlet just outside Vatican City to resist earthly delights during the time of penance and self-denial leading up to Easter.

"We must remember we are weak before evil, because the devil is very tricky," he says.

Just outside the doors, the warning goes unheeded as a parade of revelers passes.

The Freedom Festival

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11:05am

Sat March 15, 2014
Sports

Why You Won't Win Warren Buffett's Billion-Dollar Bracket

Originally published on Sat March 15, 2014 1:19 pm

Florida's Will Yeguete shoots over Missouri's Keanau Post in the quarterfinal round of the Southeastern Conference men's tournament on Friday in Atlanta. Investor Warren Buffett is betting $1 billion that no one can pick all 63 winners of the NCAA college basketball tournament that begins next week.
John Bazemore AP

The men's NCAA college basketball tournament starts next week.

In a twist on the familiar March Madness bracket, a mortgage company and a world-famous investor are offering a billion dollars to anyone who picks the winner of all 63 games in the NCAA college basketball tournament.

It's a contest, and it may also be the perfect publicity stunt.

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