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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6:25am

Sat April 21, 2012
Theater

Blair Underwood On Stanley, Stella And 'Streetcar'

Originally published on Sat April 21, 2012 10:46 am

Stanley (Blair Underwood) and his sister-in-law, Blanche DuBois (Nicole Ari Parker), spar while Stanley's wife, Stella (Daphne Rubin-Vega), sits outside.
Ken Howard

There's a lot of juicy material for an actor in Tennessee Williams' landmark drama A Streetcar Named Desire. Sex, booze, class, betrayal — all set in the seething French Quarter of 1940s New Orleans.

A new Broadway revival has added another set of layers to the play: The multiracial production stars Blair Underwood in one of the most iconic roles in American theater — Stanley Kowalski.

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11:15am

Sat April 14, 2012
NPR Story

A Political Tempest In A Tweetpot

Originally published on Sat April 14, 2012 11:25 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

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8:00am

Sat April 14, 2012
The Record

Indian Record Label Hits The Road To Save Traditional Music

Originally published on Sat April 14, 2012 4:24 pm

Sakar Khan with his kamancha in his home in Hamira, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan. He's passed his favorite kamancha — the one he got from his father — to his son, Darra. But this one plays just fine, if he's the guy playing it.
Michael Sullivan NPR

The number of major record labels is down to three. But that's not necessarily a bad thing when it comes to promoting music that's out of the mainstream. A label called Amarrass Records, founded in the Indian state of Rajasthan, is dedicated to exposing and preserving indigenous folk music before it disappears.

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8:00am

Sat April 14, 2012
NPR Story

As Brazil Grows, U.S. Refits Relationship

Originally published on Sat April 14, 2012 11:25 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Now that President Obama is in Cartagena, he'll begin the conversations about trade and business opportunities in Latin America. But the Summit of the Americas is not the first meeting this week for President Obama and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff.

On Monday, Rousseff visited the White House. And after this weekend's summit, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will head to that Brazil's capital, Brasilia.

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8:00am

Sat April 14, 2012
NPR Story

World Powers Meet With Iran For Nuclear Talks

Originally published on Sun April 15, 2012 8:43 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

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8:00am

Sat April 14, 2012
Books

'The Lifeboat': Who Gets Saved In Titanic Times?

Originally published on Sat April 14, 2012 11:25 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Now, a piece of fiction inspired by the Titanic's fateful voyage. In the weeks leading up to the anniversary of the famous shipwreck, a cluster of books have been released looking back on the voyage. But the book that caught the eye of NPR's Lynn Neary is invented. It's the story of a fictional shipwreck that occurred two years after the Titanic. It's called "Lifeboat." Here's her report.

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6:02am

Sat April 14, 2012
Books

'Prague Fatale': 'Downton Abbey With SS'

Penguin USA

Philip Kerr is a British novelist, born a decade after the end of World War II, who has written a series of compelling thrillers about crime in wartime Nazi Germany. His hero — mostly a hero — is a tough and cynical Berliner, a cop named Bernie Gunther. The newest book is the eighth in the series; it's called Prague Fatale.

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6:01am

Sat April 14, 2012
Author Interviews

'Heretics': The Crisis Of American Christianity

iStock Photo

The United States ranks as the most religious country in the developed world. And New York Times columnist Ross Douthat says that despite our politics, debates and doubts, this country is as God-besotted today as ever.

But in his new book, Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics, Douthat argues that religion has fallen into heresy (hence the feisty subtitle). Douthat recently spoke with NPR's Linda Wertheimer about why he thinks American Christianity has become distorted.


Interview Highlights

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6:01am

Sat April 14, 2012
Titanic: Voyage To The Past

History Lost And Found: A Letter From Titanic

Originally published on Sat April 14, 2012 2:36 pm

Surviving officers of the Titanic recalled ship's doctor John Edward Simpson as perfectly calm in the face of death, even giving his pocket flashlight to one of the lifeboat captains.
Courtesy of Kate Dornan

Many famous names went down with the Titanic, like the American millionaire John Jacob Astor IV, the wealthiest person on the ship, and Macy's department store owner Isidor Straus.

But you may not know about one of the ship's doctors — John Edward Simpson. Aboard the Titanic, Simpson wrote a letter to his mother back home in Belfast. It was mailed from the great ship's last port of call before it made its disastrous turn across the North Atlantic.

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12:01am

Sat April 14, 2012
Monkey See

The Fourth Stooge: Memories Of 'Uncle Shemp'

Originally published on Mon April 16, 2012 10:02 am

This weekend, the Farrelly Brothers' version of The Three Stooges arrives in theaters. You'll see plenty of Larry, Moe and Curly. But who won't you see? Shemp. Or, as NPR's Sue Goodwin calls him, "Uncle Shemp."

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5:04pm

Fri April 13, 2012
Music Interviews

The Magnetic Fields: 'Out Late At A Bar, Writing A Song'

Stephin Merritt (far left) has led The Magnetic Fields since the early 1990s, with a songwriting style that ranges from sincere to bitter to ironic.
Marcelo Krasilcic

For more than 20 years, the indie-pop group The Magnetic Fields has been singing songs about love, though not always in the traditional sense. With a style that ranges from bitter to sincere to ironic, Stephin Merritt — the group's frontman, writer and producer — has created a growing cast of characters surviving love's vicissitudes.

In his characteristic deadpan, Merritt tells NPR's Linda Wertheimer that he owes the inspiration for many of those characters to a particular ritual of his.

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8:43am

Sat April 7, 2012
Simon Says

Bosnia Remembers When The World Looked Away

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 10:53 am

Red chairs fill a main street in Sarajevo on Friday as the city marks the 20th anniversary of the start of the Bosnian war. Officials lined up 11,541 chairs in 825 rows to represent the 11,541 Sarajevans who were killed during the siege.
Amel Emric AP

I think that one of the great works of humankind runs below an airport runway in Sarajevo.

Sixty-six feet of a 3,000-foot-long tunnel built during the Siege of Sarajevo have been restored. Twenty years ago this weekend, the city was surrounded by Serb armies, who rained down mortar, rockets and sniper fire.

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8:00am

Sat April 7, 2012
NPR Story

On A Mission: What The U.N. Faces In Syria

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

So, what's the situation facing the United Nations team on the ground in Syria this weekend? For more on the kinds of challenges that Norwegian Major General Robert Mood and his staff will face, we're joined by Peter Harling. Mr. Harling is Middle East project director with the International Crisis Group. He's in and out of Syria frequently, and he joins us by Skype from Cairo. Mr. Harling, thanks for being with us.

PETER HARLING: Thank you.

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8:00am

Sat April 7, 2012
NPR Story

Embattled D.C. School District Has A New Vibe

Originally published on Sat April 7, 2012 12:16 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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8:00am

Sat April 7, 2012
NPR Story

Your Letters: Racial Terms And Baseball Legends

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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

(SOUNDBITE OF LETTERS THEME MUSIC)

SIMON: A particular phrase we used in last week's coverage of the Trayvon Martin shooting prompted many listener comments. In our profile of Angela Corey, the Florida state attorney directing Florida's investigation into the circumstances surrounding Martin's death, we described George Zimmerman the neighborhood watch volunteer who shot Trayvon Martin in February as a white Latino.

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8:00am

Sat April 7, 2012
NPR Story

Unemployment Fell, But More Ended Job Hunt

Just when it seemed to be gaining steam, the U.S. job market pretty much stalled in March. Employers added a net 120,000 jobs during the month, defying the higher expectations of a lot of economists. And though the unemployment rate fell, it did so for the wrong reasons.

Over the past few months, the economy has been adding jobs at a good, if not spectacular, pace, and all the signs suggested that trend had continued through March. As it happened, jobs increased at a rate that barely keeps up with population growth.

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8:00am

Sat April 7, 2012
NPR Story

Obama Makes A Pitch To Working Women

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

A weaker than expected jobs report is a setback for President Obama as the election nears. The president says that while private employers have added some four million jobs over the last two years, economic security remains elusive. The president spoke yesterday at a White House conference on women in the economy, and as NPR's Scott Horsley reports, voters who are women may be the key to the president's political future.

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8:00am

Sat April 7, 2012
NPR Story

Congressional Races, Strategies Take Shape

Originally published on Sat April 7, 2012 12:16 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

The race for the Republican presidential nomination has hit a lull. The next group of primaries isn't for more than two weeks, so it might be a good time to look around at another campaign for control of the U.S. House of Representatives. After all, they control the federal budget. Norman Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute devotes his attention to Congress year round, and he joins us from their studios. Thanks very much for being with us, Norm.

NORMAN ORNSTEIN: Oh, my pleasure.

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8:00am

Sat April 7, 2012
Religion

The 'Heart Of Spiritual Life': Joy, Not Happiness

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Tomorrow, Christians all over the world will observe Easter Sunday with joy. But what is joy? Not just happiness, laughs, or satisfaction, but joy? We turn to Father James Martin. He's a Jesuit priest, a contributing editor to America Magazine, and the author of "Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor and Laughter Are at the Heart of Spiritual Life." He joins us from our studios in New York.

Jim, thanks for being with us.

FATHER JAMES MARTIN: My pleasure.

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4:59pm

Fri April 6, 2012
Music Interviews

Rascal Flatts: 'Rekindling The Fire' Of Its Country Roots

Originally published on Sat April 7, 2012 12:16 pm

Rascal Flatts is one of the most popular country groups of the last decade.
Courtesy of the artist

Rascal Flatts is one of the most successful country crossover acts of the past decade. The award-winning trio has released eight studio records in 10 years and sold more than 21 million albums.

So why did the group recently consider breaking up?

"We had reached a crossroads to where we needed to dig deep to see if we, in fact, had the fire and hunger that we did when we first started out — to keep trying to forge ahead and be better than we'd been and push ourselves to be creatively energized again," bass player Jay DeMarcus says.

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9:26am

Sat March 31, 2012
Simon Says

Beef, Tarantula And Gout: Food Critics Suffer, Too

Originally published on Sat March 31, 2012 2:26 pm

Food professionals will tell you: Eating asks a lot of your body.
iStockphoto.com

Burp!

'Scuse me, but is someone trying to kill off food critics?

What about themselves?

Frank Bruni, the former restaurant critic of The New York Times, now an op-ed columnist, has revealed that he has gout.

Gout is a painful inflammation of the joints that's been called the King's Disease because it's historically associated with the kind of gluttony only kings could afford: profuse servings of beef, lobster, goose liver and strong drink.

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8:00am

Sat March 31, 2012
NPR Story

What Does N. Korea, 'The Impossible State,' Want?

Originally published on Sat March 31, 2012 11:00 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

North Korea is the most secretive country in the world. Its pursuit of nuclear weapons is a cause of great concern all over the world, and just this week, the country tested two short-range missiles soon after President Obama left the region after attending a nuclear summit. United States has suspended food aid to that regime in response to North Korea's planned long-range missile test later this year.

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12:01am

Sat March 31, 2012
Monkey See

Snow White Rising: Why This Princess, And Why This Moment?

Originally published on Tue April 3, 2012 2:44 pm

Lily Collins plays Snow White in Mirror Mirror opposite Julia Roberts as the vain Queen jealous of Snow's beauty.
Jan Thijs Relativity Media

Snow White is having a moment.

The new movie Mirror Mirror stars Julia Roberts as the Evil Queen. In June, another Snow White movie opens starring another Oscar winner, Charlize Theron, in the same role. And Disney is working on a new animated film loosely based on Snow White set in 19th-century China. So what makes Snow White so right for right now?

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4:56pm

Fri March 30, 2012
Jazz

Reviving James Booker, The 'Piano Prince Of New Orleans'

Piano player James Booker is considered a New Orleans legend.
Bunny Matthews

Every day in New Orleans, Lily Keber rolls out of bed and walks to a flat, minor office building to meet her muse. Keber makes a cup of coffee with chicory, hooks up her computer and waits for what sounds like a dozen spiders to crawl across a piano.

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10:41am

Sat March 24, 2012
Middle East

Despite Cease-Fire Push, Violence Escalates In Syria

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

The situation in Syria has deteriorated further this week. Government troops once again opened fire on thousands of protesters, armed rebels continued their own resistance, which looks more and more like an insurgency. All this despite a push by the United Nations fro a cease-fire. NPR's Kelly McEvers reports.

KELLY MCEVERS, BYLINE: It's hard to know where to start when it comes to Syria. First, let's go the protests that continued despite the fact that violence is on the rise.

(SOUNDBITE OF PROTESTING)

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8:00am

Sat March 24, 2012
NPR Story

How Does The Secret Service Create Code Names?

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This week, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum got their secret service code names. Mr. Romney is Javelin. Mr. Santorum is Petrus. We asked Ian Chillag and Mike Danforth from the NPR podcast How to Do Everything to look into how secret service code names are assigned.

IAN CHILLAG, BYLINE: Presidents have been getting codenames all the way back to Harry Truman. The secret service called him General.

MIKE DANFORTH, BYLINE: Here's historian Michael Beschloss.

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8:00am

Sat March 24, 2012
NPR Story

New Prosecutor In Fla. Shooting Case; Protests Spread

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Outrage over the shooting death of Trayvon Martin spread across the country this week following the release of the recordings of 911 calls. Trayvon Martin was unarmed. He'd gone out to purchase candy. Thousands of people protested this week, donning hooded sweatshirts in solidarity with Trayvon Martin, who was wearing one when he was shot. Many called for the arrest of George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer who says he shot the 17-year-old in self-defense.

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8:00am

Sat March 24, 2012
Presidential Race

GOP Primary Season: Helpful Or Harmfully Long?

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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

Be careful what you wish for. After John McCain so quickly clinched the Republican presidential nomination the last time around, the party changed its rules with an eye to extending their primary season, reaping public interest for months like the long Democratic primary season of 2008. You might wonder how they feel about that now. John McCain himself has dubbed this campaign the nastiest he's ever seen - akin to watching a Greek tragedy.

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6:03am

Sat March 24, 2012
Performing Arts

Basil Twist: A Genius, With Many A String Attached

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 10:56 am

Puppeteer Basil Twist poses with Ballerina, the marionette at the center of a tragic love triangle in his adaptation of Petrushka.
Doriane Raiman NPR

Basil Twist has been called a genius. The art he's a genius at? Puppetry — which he knows can be a hard sell.

"It's not of this time," he says. "It's not of the world we live in now."

But Twist, a highly trained practitioner, brings this art of the past to the present with innovative creations beyond the likes of the Muppets or their foul-mouthed cousins on Avenue Q.

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5:57am

Sat March 24, 2012
Author Interviews

'The Big Con': If You Can't Avoid It, Avenge It

promo image
istockphoto.com

Americans have always been fascinated by con men. Why else would we have so many movies about legendary swindlers? Most real-life cons are probably less entertaining than the ones on the silver screen, but in her new book, Amy Reading unearths a historical swindle that rivals anything ever imagined by Hollywood.

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