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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7:55am

Sat June 2, 2012
Middle East

As Killings Continue In Syria, A Look At UN's Role

Originally published on Sat June 2, 2012 11:01 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Last night in Syria, the third massacre in a week. This time a dozen workers were found shot to death, their bodies dumped in a field. The United Nations has called for an investigation into the mass killings last weekend in Houla of more than 100 people, many of them women and children. We're joined now from the United Nations in New York by Kieran Dwyer. He's the chief spokesman for the U.N. Peacekeeping Department. Mr. Dwyer, thanks for taking the time to speak with us.

KIERAN DWYER: Hello.

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7:55am

Sat June 2, 2012
Middle East

A Case For Military Intervention In Syria

Originally published on Sat June 2, 2012 11:01 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

For more on possible options in Syria, we're joined by Thomas P.M. Barnett. He is a former Pentagon analyst who's written in support of military intervention in Syria on Time magazine's Battleland blog. Mr. Barnett's also chief analyst at Wikistrat, a consultancy firm on geopolitical analysis. He joins us from his office in Indianapolis. Mr. Barnett, thanks for being with us.

THOMAS P.M. BARNETT: Thanks for having me on.

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7:55am

Sat June 2, 2012
Business

Implications Of The Facebook Let-Down

Originally published on Sat June 2, 2012 11:01 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

You know, if Facebook were a Broadway show, they'd be firing the director and rewriting the script. Facebook share price closed this week at $27.72. That's more than a 25 percent drop from its initial public offering price. The social networks debut as a publically traded company last month has been panned, questioned and trouble by a Securities and Exchange Commission probe and shareholder lawsuits.

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7:55am

Sat June 2, 2012
Economy

Europe's Debt Weighs On U.S. Employers

Originally published on Sat June 2, 2012 11:01 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

So, why is job growth slowing? Well, part of the problem, as we just heard, appears to be in Europe. The economic turmoil there is looking worse, and that has ripped into the U.S. economy and slowing down hiring. NPR's Chris Arnold has more from Boston.

CHRIS ARNOLD, BYLINE: The weather this week was beautiful in Boston, so it's perfect for tourists having lunch outside by the harbor or taking a trolley bus around to do some sightseeing.

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7:55am

Sat June 2, 2012
Religion

Nuns Fight Back Against Vatican Report

Originally published on Sat June 2, 2012 11:01 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. There's a showdown between American sisters and the Vatican. The Vatican is cracking down on the largest organization for U.S. sisters, called the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. Pope Benedict has appointed an archbishop to oversee and reform the organization, accusing it of what amounts to doctrinal dissidence. Now, the sisters are fighting back - at least verbally. We're joined by NPR's religion correspondent, Barbara Bradley Hagerty. Barbara, thanks for being with us.

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6:43am

Sat June 2, 2012
Monkey See

For Impressionist Jim Meskimen, The Voice Is 'A Sample Of Who We Are'

Originally published on Sat June 2, 2012 11:50 pm

Jim Meskimen arrives at the premiere of Frost/Nixon in November 2008.
Vince Bucci Getty Images

Jim Meskimen is the only person I've ever heard open an interview with NPR's Scott Simon in the voice of NPR's Robert Siegel.

In fairness, he's the one most likely to do so, since he is a noted impressionist. He acknowledges "you don't see people doing their Robert Siegel in nightclubs much," though he's noted what he calls Siegel's "bemused kind of delivery."

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6:20am

Sat June 2, 2012
Food

America's Gone Bananas: Here's How It Happened

Originally published on Sat June 2, 2012 11:01 am

iStockphoto.com

Today, Americans take bananas for granted. They're cheap, they're ripe, they're everywhere. But take a moment and consider: How did a pale, fragile tropical fruit become so commonplace in America? Immigrants arriving at the South Ferry terminal, where the Ellis Island ferry landed, were once handed bananas and told, "Welcome to America."

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6:09am

Sat June 2, 2012
Books

London's Mayor On 'The City That Made The World'

Originally published on Sat June 2, 2012 11:01 am

London Mayor Boris Johnson stands atop the ArcelorMittal Orbit, an observation tower in London's Olympic Park, at its unveiling on May 11. Johnson is the author of Johnson's Life of London: The People Who Made the City That Made the World.
Christopher Lee Getty Images

In just a few weeks, the world will descend on London for the Olympic Games.

But the world goes to London every day, according to Boris Johnson, the former journalist who has just been re-elected mayor of London. In his new book, Johnson says people don't just visit the city, they've made their lives there for centuries now. It's a city, Johnson writes, where national soccer teams from all over the world can show up and count on crowds of thousands of fans to support them.

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5:57am

Sat June 2, 2012
Religion

Conspiracies Swirl As Vatican Scandal Engulfs Rome

Originally published on Sat June 2, 2012 7:13 pm

Pope Benedict XVI waves as he arrives for his weekly general audience on May 30 at St. Peter's Square at the Vatican.
Andreas Solaro AFP/Getty Images

The scandal over leaked documents that has been engulfing the Vatican is the biggest breach of confidence and security at the Holy See in recent memory.

Known as Vatileaks, the crisis has shed light on a Vatican gripped by intrigue and power struggles like a Renaissance court.

Vatileaks erupted into a full-blown scandal with the publication two weeks ago of a book of Vatican documents alleging corruption and conspiracies among cardinals.

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5:56am

Sat June 2, 2012
National Security

'Flame' Virus Fuels Political Heat Over Cyber Threats

Originally published on Sat June 2, 2012 1:51 pm

iStockphoto.com

New information about computer viruses shows how countries may be lining up to fight a cyberwar. The New York Times reported that former President George W. Bush and President Obama both authorized computer attacks against Iran, culminating in the Stuxnet virus, which targeted Iranian nuclear facilities.

Meanwhile, a United Nations agency raised alarms about another virus, dubbed "Flame," which may also have been designed for use against Iran.

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2:03am

Sat June 2, 2012
Deceptive Cadence

A (Very) Young Composer Gets His Chance At The New York Philharmonic

Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 4:51 pm

Very Young Composer Milo Poniewozik at the New York Philharmonic's School Day Concerts, where his piece was performed in front of more than 2,000 kids.
Michael DiVito New York Philharmonic

What would it be like if you were 10 years old and composed a piece of music that was played by the New York Philharmonic? For a few New York City school kids, including one fifth-grader, it's a dream come true, thanks to the orchestra's Very Young Composers program.

Composer Jon Deak, who played bass with the New York Philharmonic for more than 40 years, says the idea for Very Young Composers came when he and conductor Marin Alsop visited an elementary school in Brooklyn several years ago.

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6:59pm

Fri June 1, 2012
Music Interviews

Kelly Hogan: Cashing In An Album's Worth Of Favors

Originally published on Sat June 2, 2012 11:01 am

Kelly Hogan's new album is I Like to Keep Myself in Pain.
Courtesy of the artist

"I started singing in bars when I was still in high school," says Kelly Hogan. "It's not the easiest thing to do if you like to eat something besides ramen noodles and have insurance."

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7:49am

Sat May 26, 2012
Sports

Sports: Ice, Hoops And Rackets

Originally published on Sat May 26, 2012 10:52 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. And I wait all week to say: time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SIMON: The Stanley Cup finals are set - left versus right, a frequent flier bonanza. The NBA playoffs feature a thrilling matchup between Texas and Oklahoma, the Old Hands versus the Young Guns. And tennis, red, dusty and with a side of frites - the French Open opens. Here to talk about all of it, NPR Tom Goldman,

Morning, Tom.

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7:49am

Sat May 26, 2012
Middle East

Egypt's Elections Stamp The Arab Spring Timeline

Originally published on Sat May 26, 2012 10:52 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. This week in Egypt, a nation that has been ruled for thousands of years by pharaohs, colonial rulers, military regimes and dictators held its first free election for a national leader. Egyptians went to the polls on Wednesday and Thursday, and though the official results are not yet in, the election is certainly a milestone in the democratic awakening known as the Arab Spring. Here's a selection of voices from Cairo in the week that Egypt voted.

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7:49am

Sat May 26, 2012
Media

Residents Expect New Orleans Paper Cut To Hurt

Originally published on Sat May 26, 2012 10:52 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

New Orleans had endured so much - the Civil War, yellow fever, the Depression and a string of spectacular political shenanigans, but its award-winning daily newspaper, the Times-Picayune, has not been able to survive as a daily. Eileen Fleming of member station WWNO reports now on the diminution of a paper that's continued reporting during the darkest days of Hurricane Katrina.

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7:49am

Sat May 26, 2012
Politics

Reading Between The Polls: What Voters Should Watch

Originally published on Sat May 26, 2012 10:52 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

As we just heard from Ari, early polling can do much to shape political campaigns, but voters who are just trying to follow the debate, polls and surveys can seem contradictory and confusing. To help us see through some of the fog of polling, we're joined now by Michael Dimock. He's the associate director for research at the Pew Research Center in Washington D.C. Thanks for being with us.

MICHAEL DIMOCK: Thank you.

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7:49am

Sat May 26, 2012
Author Interviews

Author's Tweets Give New Meaning To Short Fiction

Originally published on Sat May 26, 2012 10:52 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Thursday night, dispatches from a glum future began to appear on the Twitter account of The New Yorker magazine's fiction department - a science fiction story, told sentence by sentence, tweet by tweet, a story about Jennifer Egan titled "Black Box." It features a character from her 2010 novel "A Visit from the Goon Squad" which won the Pulitzer Prize.

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7:34am

Sat May 26, 2012
NPR Story

Harvard Diversity Stats Put Warren In Hot Seat Again

Originally published on Sat May 26, 2012 10:52 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Massachusetts Democratic Senate candidate and Harvard law professor Elizabeth Warren continues to be dogged by the question of if she has claimed American Indian heritage. Yesterday, in the wake of new allegations, Republican Senator Scott Brown accused Professor Warren of misleading Harvard about her Native American ethnicity. From member station WBUR in Boston, Fred Thys reports.

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7:34am

Sat May 26, 2012
NPR Story

A Holiday Treat: Lower Prices At The Pump

Originally published on Sat May 26, 2012 10:52 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

And if you're one of millions of motorists on the roads this holiday weekend, you may have noticed something unexpected and welcome. Gas prices are falling. This at the start of the summer driving season when gas prices usually spike. We turn now to Daniel Yergin. He's author of "The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World," and chairman of IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates. He joins us from his office in Washington, D.C.

Mr. Yergin, thanks so much for being with us.

DANIEL YERGIN: Thank you.

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7:34am

Sat May 26, 2012
NPR Story

At Eurovision 2012, Politics Take The Stage

Originally published on Sat May 26, 2012 10:52 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

The annual kitsch contest known as the Eurovision Song Contest takes place later today. It's always held in the home country of the previous year's winner. This time, it's authoritarian Azerbaijan in central Asia. So it's been hard to avoid politics at what's supposed to be a nonpolitical event. Vicki Barker reports on both the contest and the context.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WATERLINE")

JEDWARD: (Singing) Oh, I am close to the waterline.

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7:18am

Sat May 26, 2012
The Salt

Clean Your Grill, And Other Hot Holiday Tips From Food Network's Alton Brown

Originally published on Sat May 26, 2012 3:40 pm

Food science guy Alton Brown says the last thing you want to see is flames touching food on the grill.
iStockphoto.com

If there's one grilling tip to remember this Memorial Day weekend, it should be this: Flame is bad.

"Flame does nasty things to food," food historian and science guy Alton Brown tells NPR's Scott Simon in the kick-off segment of Weekend Edition's "Taste of Summer" series.

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6:18am

Sat May 26, 2012
Election 2012

Can May Polls Predict A November Winner?

Originally published on Sat May 26, 2012 10:52 am

Mitt Romney greets guests after addressing the Latino Coalition's 2012 Small Business Summit at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday.
Mario Tama Getty Images

A Quinnipiac University poll out this week found Mitt Romney with a 6-point lead over President Obama in Florida. That would seem to be very good news for the presumptive Republican nominee in what may be the biggest swing state this fall.

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6:18am

Sat May 26, 2012
Author Interviews

'Istanbul': A Twisted Tale Of Foreign Espionage

Originally published on Sat May 26, 2012 10:52 am

Atria Books

The big war is over, and the Cold War has just begun. Leon Bauer, an American tobacco man, wonders how to fit into this new world.

Bauer and his wife, Anna, a German Jew, made it to Istanbul just before World War II began. With his U.S. passport and fluency in German and Turkish, the tobacco man became useful to allied intelligence.

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6:17am

Sat May 26, 2012
Music Interviews

Cadence Weapon: A Poet Hones A Musical Personality

Originally published on Sat May 26, 2012 10:52 am

Hope in Dirt City is the third album by Cadence Weapon, the performing name of Canadian poet Rollie Pemberton.
Evan Prosofsky Courtesy of the artist

Rollie Pemberton is a poet — in fact, he was poet laureate of his hometown, Edmonton, Alberta, for a couple of years. That meant he was expected to write three poems a year about events in a town sometimes nicknamed "Dirt City." But outside of Edmonton, Pemberton is better known under a different name: Cadence Weapon, the hip-hop artist.

In poetry and song, Pemberton finds inspiration, tough and otherwise, in his Edmonton roots. The latest Cadence Weapon album, his third, is called Hope in Dirt City.

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8:16am

Sat May 19, 2012
Technology

Journey Through Musical Time With This App

Originally published on Sat May 19, 2012 11:19 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Music has a way of transporting us in time.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "G.I. JIVE")

SIMON: So, indulge a little. Close your eyes, turn up the radio, you might just get transported to 1944.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "G.I. JIVE")

LOUIS JORDAN: (Singing) P-F-C to C-P-L, S-G-T to the L-T. C-P the O-D, the M-P makes ya do K-P. It's the G. I. Jive Man.

SIMON: 1971.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MAGGIE MAY")

ROD STEWART: (Singing) Wake up Maggie, I think I've got something to say to you.

SIMON: Or 1993.

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8:16am

Sat May 19, 2012
Business

What To Expect In Facebook's Future

Originally published on Sat May 19, 2012 11:19 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Stock in Facebook went on sale for the first time yesterday, the largest initial public offering of stock for an Internet company, and the sale instantly created scores of millionaires in Silicon Valley, about half a dozen or so billionaires. NPR's technology correspondent Steven Henn joins us. He's followed it all from Silicon Valley. Steve, thanks for being with us.

STEVE HENN, BYLINE: Sure, my pleasure.

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8:16am

Sat May 19, 2012
Business

Average Investors Share Facebook Feelings

Originally published on Sat May 19, 2012 11:19 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

The Facebook IPO hasn't just sent a jolt of excitement through Silicon Valley, there are many average individual investors who are also thrilled. NPR's Sonari Glinton has more.

SONARI GLINTON, BYLINE: All right. It's a little after 9:30 on Friday. The bell just rang on the NASDAQ, and I'm gonna check in with some regular investors. I'm gonna start with Nelly Sai-Palm. She's a student at the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business, and I'm going to give her a call.

(SOUNDBITE OF TELEPHONE RINGING)

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8:16am

Sat May 19, 2012
Asia

Chinese Activist Leaves Beijing For U.S.

Originally published on Sat May 19, 2012 11:19 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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

Chen Guangcheng, the blind, Chinese human rights lawyer, is on a plane headed for America right now, according to his friends and supporters. Chinese authorities gave Mr. Chen a passport today and drove him to an airport in Beijing. His departure caps a remarkable few weeks that included a daring escape from house arrest and high-stakes, diplomatic negotiations.

NPR's Frank Langfitt has been following the story from Shanghai. Frank, thanks for being with us.

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8:16am

Sat May 19, 2012
World

In Group Of Eight, A Lack Of Leadership?

Originally published on Sat May 19, 2012 11:19 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

The world leaders at the G-8 Summit meet at a time of many urgent concerns, including the shaky world economy. But an article on ForeignPolicy.com says that the nations represented at the summit lack the power to lead right now, and questions what the G-8 can accomplish at this meeting or in the future. Ian Bremmer is the author of that article. His is the president of the Eurasia Group, an international consulting firm, and he joins us from New York. Mr. Bremmer, thanks for being with us.

IAN BREMMER: I'm very happy to join you.

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8:16am

Sat May 19, 2012
Africa

Violence Haunts Zimbabwe Ahead Of Elections

Originally published on Sat May 19, 2012 11:19 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

To Zimbabwe now, where elections are in 2008 elections were marred by extreme violence. Now, elections are once again on the horizon.

And as Anders Kelto reports, violence is escalating while many are still trying to heal.

ANDERS KELTO, BYLINE: In a quiet garden on the outskirts of Harare, a group of men and women sit in a large circle. They stretch their arms and perform breathing exercises.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC AND BREATHING)

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