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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7:50am

Sat July 7, 2012
NPR Story

NOAA: Just To Be Clear, Mermaids Do Not Exist

Originally published on Sat July 7, 2012 8:57 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

If the blobfish rarely moves, who does it encounter to spell its loneliness in the briny deep? The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Agency would urge the blobfish not to hold out for the chance to meet the mermaid of its dreams. NOAA issued a statement this week after receiving several queries following the broadcast of an Animal Planet program called "Mermaids: The Body Found."

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6:47am

Sat July 7, 2012
Author Interviews

Abraham Lincoln 'Impeached.' Wait, What?

Originally published on Sat July 7, 2012 8:57 am

Hulton Archive Getty Images

Abraham Lincoln is not just America's greatest president. To many, his very face is an emblem of America: honest, homespun, strong and sad, haunted, brooding and humorous.

So where does some famous Yale Law School professor get off writing a novel in which President Lincoln is accused of subverting the Constitution?

In Stephen Carter's new novel, The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln, the man we know as the Great Emancipator imprisons critics, invokes martial law, suspends the writ of habeus corpus, and throttles the press — all to win the Civil War.

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6:46am

Sat July 7, 2012
It's All Politics

'Social Welfare' Organizations Play Big Role In Presidential Politics

Originally published on Sat July 7, 2012 8:57 am

Karl Rove attends a ceremony to unveil the portrait of former President George W. Bush at the White House in May. A former Bush adviser, Rove also is a founder of Crossroads GPS.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Some of the heaviest advertisers in the 2012 presidential campaign are groups financed by anonymous donors. They're not organized as political committees, but as "social welfare" organizations.

Peter Overby, NPR's money and politics correspondent, says one of those groups is rivaling the campaigns themselves for money spent on high-profile ads so far in the campaign.

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6:46am

Sat July 7, 2012
Around the Nation

USS Iowa's Guns Are Now For Show

Originally published on Thu July 12, 2012 1:53 pm

Pacific Battleship Center

On Saturday, the USS Iowa battleship opens its decks to visitors in the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro. The battleship, commissioned by the Navy for World War II, will now serve as a museum.

On a gray morning, former USS Iowa crew member Mike McEnteggart shows off the ship's main deck. McEnteggart first arrived on the Iowa in 1985, fresh out of boot camp.

"I was 20 years old," he says. "Just barely 20 years old."

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6:08am

Sat July 7, 2012
U.S.

How One Drought Changed Texas Agriculture Forever

Originally published on Wed November 6, 2013 3:40 pm

Siblings Charles Hagood and Nancy Hagood Nunns grew up in Junction, Texas, in the 1950s. Charles says the drought drove ranchers to find other types of work.
Michael O'Brien Michael O'Brien

In Texas, there is still the drought against which all other droughts are measured: the seven-year dry spell in the 1950s. It was so devastating that agriculture losses exceeded those of the Dust Bowl years, and so momentous that it kicked off the modern era of water planning in Texas.

From 1950 to 1957, the sky dried up and the rain refused to fall. Every day, Texans scanned the pale-blue heavens for rainclouds, but year after year they never came.

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2:03am

Sat July 7, 2012
Author Interviews

Remembering George Szell, Powerhouse Conductor

Originally published on Sat July 7, 2012 5:42 pm

Michael Charry was the "sorcerer's apprentice" to celebrated 20th-century conductor George Szell. For the last decade of Szell's tenure at the Cleveland Orchestra, Charry was an assistant conductor.

Now, Charry has captured the power of Szell's artistry — as well as his tempestuous personality — in a new biography called George Szell: A Life of Music.

Charry vividly recalls Szell testing him on how many notes he could find in a chord when he first auditioned for the job.

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5:12pm

Fri July 6, 2012
Music Interviews

16 Musical Odes To Very Strange Animals

Originally published on Sat July 7, 2012 1:21 pm

Illustrator Jelmer Noordeman's rendering of a real-life creature: the venomous, nocturnal solenodon.
Jelmer Noordeman

CD sleeves usually feature pictures of the musicians, the text of lyrics and copious thanks.

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7:32am

Sat June 30, 2012
From Our Listeners

Your Letters: Out Of Home Ec, Into Moose Calling

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF TYPING)

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Time for your letters.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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7:29am

Sat June 30, 2012
Middle East

Kofi Annan Appeals To Leaders For Solution In Syria

Originally published on Sat June 30, 2012 7:32 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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7:29am

Sat June 30, 2012
Sports

Sports: Talking Wimbledon Match-Ups

Originally published on Sat June 30, 2012 7:32 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SIMON: And Wimbledon is underway, the world's oldest, most esteemed, greenest and strawberries and creamiest tennis tournament. Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic seem set on the collision course for a semifinal. Maria Sharapova on course for a potential showdown with Kim Clijsters. Howard Bryant of ESPN.com, ESPN the magazine, and ESPN the full grain, fibrous and nutritious snack cracker on the line from the All England Club.

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7:29am

Sat June 30, 2012
Middle East

Egypt's New President Officially Sworn In

Originally published on Sat June 30, 2012 7:32 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Of course, Egypt has a new president - an Islamist from the once-banned Muslim Brotherhood. Mohamed Morsi took the oath of office in Cairo today, a day after appearing at Tahrir Square to proclaim that the people are the real source of power, not the generals and the supreme military council. NPR's Peter Kenyon reports from Cairo that despite the swearing-in ceremony, Mr. Morsi may not have really taken hold of the reins of power.

PRESIDENT MOHAMED MORSI: (Foreign language spoken)

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7:29am

Sat June 30, 2012
Around the Nation

Colorado Firefighters Gain Ground On Blaze

Originally published on Sat June 30, 2012 3:54 pm

Nearly 350 homes have been destroyed by the Waldo Canyon fire in Colorado.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Firefighters are slowly gaining ground on the Waldo Canyon fire in Colorado. It's scorched about 17,000 acres and believed to have claimed two lives.

More than 300 homes have burned. There's been a lot of talk about how many houses were lost in the fire, but Colorado Springs Fire Chief Rich Brown wants you to know there's a flip side to that: He says crews worked hard to minimize damage.

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7:29am

Sat June 30, 2012
Around the Nation

Corn Dries Up, Even As Farmers Try To Combat Heat

Originally published on Sat June 30, 2012 7:32 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

The heat and drought that brought much of Colorado Springs into danger has also hit the Midwest. Temperatures broke 100 degrees in the Great Plains, and the heat and the lack of rain is endangering what was expected to be a bumper crop of corn. Tim Lenz is a farmer near the town of Strasburg in south central Illinois, where he grows corn and soybeans. Mr. Lenz, thanks for being with us.

TIM LENZ: Thank you.

SIMON: What's it been like there for the past couple of weeks?

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7:29am

Sat June 30, 2012
Europe

Metal Detector Hobbyists Find Rare Heap Of Celtic Coins

Originally published on Sat June 30, 2012 7:32 am

For more than 30 years, Richard Miles and Reg Mead scoured the fields of their native Jersey with metal detectors, hoping to one day come across an ancient coin or two. Earlier this week, the detector beeped and they found the world's largest-ever stash of Celtic coins. Host Scott Simon speaks with Reg Mead about their find.

7:29am

Sat June 30, 2012
Politics

Obama's Health Care-Infused, Fire-Stoked Week

Originally published on Sat June 30, 2012 7:32 am

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. President Obama told residents of Colorado yesterday that the country has their back. The president visited an evacuation center and met with some of the firefighters who have been battling the deadly Waldo Canyon fire near Colorado Springs.

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7:29am

Sat June 30, 2012
Politics

GOP Rolls Out Campaign To Repeal Health Care

Originally published on Sat June 30, 2012 7:32 am

Facing an unexpected ruling validating the Affordable Care Act, Republicans in Congress promised to redouble efforts to repeal it, starting with another vote in the House early next month. Host Scott Simon talks with NPR's David Welna to explain the battle ahead.

7:29am

Sat June 30, 2012
Europe

French President Inserts New Voice In EU Summit

Originally published on Sat June 30, 2012 7:32 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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7:29am

Sat June 30, 2012
Food

The Season Of Ice Cream: Tips From The Top

Originally published on Sat June 30, 2012 7:32 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Now, to our occasional WEEKEND EDITION series Taste of Summer.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HOT FUN IN THE SUMMERTIME")

SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE: (Singing) Hot fun in the summertime.

SIMON: A few weeks ago, Alton Brown shared some grilling secrets with us. Today, it'll be ice cream. Whether plain old standard vanilla, or artisanal organic squash blossom rhubarb poblano crunch - a flavor I just made up, by the way - summer is the season of ice cream. And so today, we head to the Pumphouse Creamery in Minneapolis.

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5:55am

Sat June 30, 2012
Education

Student Loan Deal Pales Against Other Education Cuts

Originally published on Sat June 30, 2012 3:26 pm

College students surrounded President Obama earlier this month when he called on Congress to stop student loan interest rates from doubling. Congress agreed on a deal to prevent the hike on Friday.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

It came down to the wire, but finally, Republicans and Democrats agreed on a deal that keeps the interest rate on government-backed student loans from doubling. It will save the average borrower about $1,000 a year, but the compromise is likely to cost students a lot more than that over the long term.

The agreement that lawmakers passed Friday will keep interest rates at 3.4 percent for another year. Anthony DeLaRosa, a 23-year-old University of Colorado graduate, says it's a big victory.

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5:54am

Sat June 30, 2012
Author Interviews

In 'Gold,' Olympic Rivalry Is Personal, Professional

Originally published on Sat June 30, 2012 7:32 am

More than 10,000 athletes are headed to London this summer to run, swim, cycle, shoot, fence and compete in the events of the Olympic Games. Each of them has a story — what they've won, what they've lost and what they've sacrificed just to get their chance to get there.

Chris Cleave's latest novel, Gold, tells the stories of three world-ranked cyclists — Zoe, Jack and Kate — who are training for their last chance at Olympic gold. Zoe and Kate are friends as well as rivals; Jack and Kate are raising an 8-year-old who suffers from leukemia.

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5:53am

Sat June 30, 2012
Latin America

Youthful Candiate Favored To Be Mexico's President

Originally published on Sat June 30, 2012 7:26 pm

A man walks past a campaign sign for Enrique Pena Nieto, of the opposition Institutional Revolutionary Party. Mexicans vote for their next president on Sunday.
Esteban Felix AP

As Mexicans prepare to elect a new president Sunday, the clear front-runner is Enrique Pena Nieto, who is seeking to return his PRI party to power after 12 years.

The PRI, or Institutional Revolutionary Party, ruled Mexico for more than 70 years before being ousted in 2000. Most polls show Pena Nieto with a comfortable double-digit lead in the race.

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5:51am

Sat June 30, 2012
American Dreams: Then And Now

Buried In Debt, Young People Find Dreams Elusive

Originally published on Sat June 30, 2012 7:32 am

Michelle Holshue racked up $140,000 in student loan debt while training to become a public health nurse. She's living her dream of helping others, she says, but never expected it "to be so hard."
Emily Bogle NPR

Growing up near Philadelphia, Michelle Holshue's dream was to serve those in need. Applying to nursing school at the University of Pennsylvania seemed like a smart move — in 2007.

Nursing jobs were plentiful. The students' running joke was that hospital executives would soon be stopping them in the street, begging them to come to work.

Then the economy tanked. For a time, Holshue was an Ivy League grad on unemployment and food stamps.

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5:51am

Sat June 30, 2012
Europe

European Leaders Cling To Ideal Of Integration

Originally published on Sat June 30, 2012 7:32 am

German Chancellor Angela Merkel talks with European Central Bank President Mario Draghi (left) and Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti (right) during a summit of European leaders in Brussels. They reached an agreement on a growth plan for the continent, and world markets surged.
Bertrand Langlois AFP/Getty Images

It has taken several years of financial upheaval and nearly 20 summits, but the prospect of Europe's disintegration has apparently frightened leaders into working together.

This seems to be the larger message emerging from the European summit in Brussels, Belgium, where EU leaders agreed Friday to a $150 growth plan for the struggling economies across the continent. The deal sent stock markets surging in Europe, the U.S. and elsewhere.

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12:03am

Sat June 30, 2012
Movies

Eugene Levy Stays Smart, Even In The Cheapest Gag

Originally published on Sat June 30, 2012 7:32 am

In Madea's Witness Protection, George Needleman (Eugene Levy, center) is put in witness protection with Madea (Tyler Perry, right) after he discovers he's the fall man for a Ponzi scheme.
KC Bailey Lionsgate

George Needleman is the chief bean counter of an investment bank who, in Madea's Witness Protection, is too consumed with family problems to realize he's being set up to take the fall for a Ponzi scheme. When he grasps what's going on, he's placed in witness protection — at Madea's house.

Tyler Perry, who wrote and directed the movie, plays Madea, as well as most other members of her family. Needleman, the latest fussy, funny, bushy-eyebrowed, precise and put-upon man, is portrayed by Eugene Levy.

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6:27pm

Fri June 29, 2012
Music Interviews

A Lone Trumpeter Serenades The National Mall

Originally published on Fri August 24, 2012 4:23 pm

Trumpeter John Thornton plays at the corner of 7th Street and Constitution Avenue in Washington, D.C., just a few blocks from NPR's headquarters.
Devon Kodzis NPR

This summer, Weekend Edition Saturday is listening to the sounds of music al fresco. Today, we present an audio postcard of a trumpeter we recently heard blowing "The Star-Spangled Banner" just down the street from NPR.

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4:54pm

Fri June 29, 2012
Music News

Young Musicians Leave Nest For New Opportunities

Originally published on Sat June 30, 2012 8:48 am

Nathan Schram (back row, third from left) performs with his students from PS 75 in Brooklyn.
Stephanie Berger Getty Images

The odds of making it in the classical music business are long, but for the past two years, 25-year-old viola player Nathan Schram has received a stipend, health insurance, lots of amazing performance opportunities and a real-world education teaching violin students at an inner-city elementary school in Brooklyn. Now, Schram and his colleagues have to say goodbye to The Academy.

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8:09am

Sat June 23, 2012
Simon Says

Behind The 'Model Minority,' An American Struggle

Originally published on Sat June 23, 2012 1:43 pm

A Pew Research Center study shows Asian-Americans are the fastest-growing immigrant group in the U.S., but that doesn't make theirs a success story.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

The Pew Research Center says Asian-Americans are now the fastest-growing ethnic and immigrant group in the United States: 18 million Americans, almost 6 percent of the population. Pew says Asian-Americans also tend to be the most educated and prosperous.

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7:58am

Sat June 23, 2012
Presidential Race

Presidential Campaign Takes On A Spanish Accent

Originally published on Sat June 23, 2012 11:07 am

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. The presidential campaign shifted focus a bit this week as President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney both reached out to the fast-growing population of Latino voters. The two men spoke to a national gathering of Hispanic politicians in Florida. Immigration, of course, is an urgent issue after Mr. Obama's decision last week to try to stop deporting some illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children.

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7:58am

Sat June 23, 2012
Presidential Race

Contrasting Romney And Obama On Immigration

Originally published on Sat June 23, 2012 11:07 am

We get two perspectives on President Obama's policy shift on immigration and the election year efforts to reach Hispanic voters. Host Scott Simon speaks with Rep. Charlie Gonzalez, co-chair of Obama campaign and head of Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and former Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey, who served alongside Mitt Romney when he was governor in Massachusetts and is now an adviser to the campaign.

7:58am

Sat June 23, 2012
Europe

Euro Mini-Summit Takes New Focus

Originally published on Sat June 23, 2012 11:07 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. With the eurozone crisis well into its third year, the leaders of the four major eurozone countries tried once again in Rome to reach agreement on how to try to salvage the single currency. For the first time, the focus shifted away from austerity to growth and job creation. But as NPR's Sylvia Poggioli reports, agreement was not reached on how to end the sovereign debt crisis.

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