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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10:47am

Sat February 8, 2014
Opinion

Forego The Faux Snow: The Games Could Use A Permanent Home

Originally published on Sat February 8, 2014 2:43 pm

China's National Stadium, right, and National Aquatics Center, cost half a billion dollars to build and struggle to attract visitors.
Greg Baker AP

The Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, are certifiably the most expensive and allegedly staggeringly corrupt.

Upwards of $50 billion has been spent to turn a place that's been best known as a Black Sea beach resort, where rich Russians could warm themselves under palm trees during long Moscow winters, into a winter sports capital with ski slopes and bobsled runs.

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10:05am

Sat February 8, 2014
Sports

Sochi An Olympic Spectacle Even Without The Games

Originally published on Sat February 8, 2014 12:05 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. It's the first day of Winter Olympic in Sochi. Winners and losers are flying off the slopes. Those that don't want to know what happened before you have a chance to see it on TV, consider this is a spoiler alert. We're joined now by NPR's Tamara Keith from Sochi. Tamara, thanks very much for being with us.

TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: Glad to be with you.

SIMON: And let's start with the biathlon because someone who's regarded as a legend, I guess, has performed....

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10:05am

Sat February 8, 2014
Pop Culture

For Top-Flight Animators, The Gag Is An Art All Its Own

Originally published on Sat February 8, 2014 12:05 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

The Lego Movie opened last night in theaters across the country. It's latest example of the magic of animation, filmmakers who bring plastic to life, make animals talk and send toys singing and dancing across a big screen. But animators also love to hurl our most beloved characters over cliffs. They blow them up with dynamite, flatten them with speeding trains. Seconds later, they pop back up and dust themselves off.

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10:05am

Sat February 8, 2014
Strange News

A Furry Feline Welcome From A Cat Cafe

Originally published on Sat February 8, 2014 12:05 pm

Plans are underway to open KitTea, a gourmet tea house in San Francisco, where patrons mingle with "resident" cats. The felines will come from rescue shelters and be up for adoption. NPR's Scott Simon talks to Courtney Hatt, the co-founder of KitTea, about starting a cat cafe.

12:07pm

Sat February 1, 2014
Sports

How To Predict The Super Bowl Champions

Originally published on Sun February 2, 2014 12:00 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

"Rule Britannia." But did you hear, did you hear? There's a football game tomorrow. Time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SIMON: For the first time since the Bronze Age, or at least since 1995, two teams from the West are in the Super Bowl. Between beer and Cialis ads, football's best offense, Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos, goes up against football's best defense, Richard Sherman and the Seattle Seahawks. NPR's Tom Goldman joins us. Tom, thanks so much for being with us.

TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: Always a pleasure.

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10:03am

Sat February 1, 2014
Simon Says

Opera Star Renee Fleming Brings Grace To The Super Bowl

Originally published on Sun February 2, 2014 12:00 am

Opera singer Renee Fleming will sing "The Star-Spangled Banner" live on Sunday night.
Larry Busacca Getty Images

Who knows who'll win the Super Bowl tomorrow, but history will be made before the coin toss.

Renee Fleming will sing the national anthem at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey. She is the first opera star to be asked, and it seems so utterly fitting, both for the first Super Bowl to be played within view of the towers of New York, and in the 200th anniversary year of the national anthem.

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10:03am

Sat February 1, 2014
Movies

Comedian's Career Is Central To 'Quality Balls'

Originally published on Sun February 2, 2014 12:00 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

So a Rabbinical student, a Canadian and a comic walk into Chicago's "Second City." They turn out to be the same person, David Steinberg.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED SECOND CITY ACT)

MARTIN SHORT: So this evening we're very, very glad to have with us the first Eskimo folk singer, Mr. Nanook Smith.

DAVID STEINBERG: No, I'm the second. My brother was the first and was swallowed by a big huge polar bear.

SHORT: Oh, that's too bad. I'm sorry to hear that.

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10:03am

Sat February 1, 2014
Pop Culture

A Major Oscar Dust-Up Over A Song From A Minor Movie

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 5:45 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

When the Oscar nominees for best song were announced earlier this month, there were, of course, several well-known titles, including Karen O's "The Moon Song," from the movie "Her"; and Pharrell Williams' "Happy," from "Despicable Me 2." Then there was this...

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "ALONE...YET NOT ALONE")

JONI EARECKSON TADA: (Singing) I will not be bent in fear. He's the refuge I know is near...

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8:48am

Sat February 1, 2014
Arts

The play's the thing SU professor discovers

Statue of Lope de Vega at the entrance of the National Library of Spain, in Madrid.
via Flickr. Some rights reserved by Zaqarbal

It’s not every day you come across a lost play from a master of 16th century literature.  But that’s what happened to a professor at Syracuse University’s department of languages, literatures and linguistics.  

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12:26pm

Sat January 25, 2014
Author Interviews

'Le Divorce' Author Finds Stories Closer To Home In 'Flyover'

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 9:31 am

For most of her readers, the American author Diane Johnson is wholly identified with France and especially Paris. She's the author of novels like L'Affaire, Le Marriage, and Le Divorce — the last of which was made into a film.

So it comes as something of a surprise that Johnson's new book is about her roots in the American Midwest. And not only her own roots, but the roots of a family tree going back two centuries, painstakingly reconstructed from a trove of diaries and letters passed on by her mother.

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12:14pm

Sat January 25, 2014
Opinion

Violence Abroad Threatens Students, As Do Guns At U.S. Schools

Originally published on Mon January 27, 2014 12:06 pm

This handout provided by the Santa Monica Police Department shows ammunition, magazines and guns believed to have been dropped by a suspected gunman during a mass shooting at Santa Monica College in June 2013.
Getty Images

Last year, there were more than two-dozen shootings on or near college campuses in the United States. This past Tuesday, that number went up, with the fatal shooting of a student at Purdue University. Then Friday, a fatal shooting at South Carolina State University. It will, of course, tick up again.

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12:14pm

Sat January 25, 2014
Books News & Features

Before He Fell To Earth, 'The Little Prince' Was Born In N.Y.

Originally published on Sat January 25, 2014 1:31 pm

A detail of a drawing from The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery.
Graham S. Haber Courtesy of The Morgan Library & Museum

One of the world's most beloved books is The Little Prince by Antoine Saint-Exupery. Published in 1943, almost two million copies are sold every year, in about 250 languages.

If asked where you think the book was written, you might say Paris. You'd be wrong. Try Long Island — as in Long Island, N.Y.

When the late Nikos Kefalidis bought the house on Beven Road in Northport, Long Island, in the late 1970s, he knew that 30 years before, Saint-Exupery had written and illustrated part of Le Petit Prince in that house.

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11:07am

Sat January 25, 2014
Middle East

Three Years Later, Tahrir Protesters Drained And Defeated

Originally published on Sat January 25, 2014 8:17 pm

Egyptian security forces close Tahrir Square to disperse protesters in December.
Ahmed Abd El Latif AP

Three years after the start of the 2011 revolution, many of the young secular activists who led the protests are behind bars.

Others have gone silent, afraid to speak out as the military and the ousted Muslim Brotherhood are locked in a battle for Egypt itself.

For most of those revolutionaries, this is a dark and bitter time.

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10:04am

Sat January 25, 2014
Sports

Li Wins Australian Open; Ralph Lauren Overdoes Olympic Cardigan

Originally published on Sat January 25, 2014 12:14 pm

The Australian Open is drawing to a close with Li Na of China winning the women's tournament on Saturday. If Rafael Nadal wins on Sunday, he'll be the first man to win all the majors twice in the era of opens. Howard Bryant of ESPN.com and ESPN the Magazine joins NPR's Jacki Lyden to talk tennis and weigh in on the U.S. Olympic team's uniforms.

10:04am

Sat January 25, 2014
Author Interviews

An Admitted 'Ham' Shares Slices Of Show-Biz Life

Originally published on Sat January 25, 2014 12:14 pm

Transcript

JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

Sam Harris says he's been a ham all his life. He's been drawn to the spotlight since he was a kid, belting out "Sound of Music" tunes in a makeshift nun's habit, in his family's garage. Practice, practice, practice - and plenty of audacity - paid off all the way to Carnegie Hall. In 1983, Harris won the very first season of the television show "Star Search" with his performance of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SOMEWHERE OVER THE RAINBOW")

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10:04am

Sat January 25, 2014
NPR Story

Brushing Off The Mockery, Curlers Push For Olympic Glory

Originally published on Sat January 25, 2014 12:14 pm

It's difficult to find a sport more maligned than curling, but curlers say that's changing. NPR's Jacki Lyden talks with Paul Savage, a formerly overweight Canadian curling champion who took home an Olympic medal at age 50. These days, the sport is more about fitness than it is about the beer.

1:48pm

Fri January 24, 2014
Religion

Plans for Saint Marianne Cope Museum and Shrine unveiled

Sister Roberta Smith of The Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities and St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center during a digital groundbreaking of the Saint Marianne Cope Shrine and Museum that’s being built near St. Joseph’s Hospital.
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Plans have been finalized for the new Saint Marianne Cope Museum and Shrine in Syracuse. This week, the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities used Cope’s birthday for a digital groundbreaking, where a prototype of the center was unveiled.

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11:35am

Sat January 18, 2014
Latin America

Under Government Pressure, Mexican Vigilantes Vow To Fight On

Originally published on Sat January 18, 2014 7:20 pm

Civilian militia members stand guard in the town of Nueva Italia on Monday. Since a government crackdown last weekend, militia groups say they have laid down their weapons against drug traffickers.
Eduardo Verdugo AP

After a week of fighting between civilian militias, drug traffickers and federal forces, there is a tense calm in the western Mexico state of Michoacan.

It's been the site of clashes between civilian militias defending themselves from ruthless drug traffickers, and federal forces trying to regain control.

For now, businesses are slowly reopening, school will restart on Monday, and the militias who took up arms have put down their weapons. It's unclear how long this fragile peace will last.

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10:56am

Sat January 18, 2014
Reporter's Notebook

In Appalachia, Poverty Is In The Eye Of The Beholder

Originally published on Mon April 28, 2014 2:21 pm

President Lyndon B. Johnson went to eastern Kentucky in 1964 to promote his War on Poverty. But when he did, he opened a wound that remains raw today. People in the region say they're tired of always being depicted as poor, so when NPR's Pam Fessler went to Appalachia to report on how the War on Poverty is going, she was warned that people would be reluctant to talk. Instead, she got an earful.

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9:31am

Sat January 18, 2014
Around the Nation

Donors Pitch In To Protect Detroit's Art And Pensions

Originally published on Sat January 18, 2014 11:35 am

Transcript

LYNN NEARY, HOST:

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9:09am

Sat January 18, 2014
Author Interviews

Living, And 'Forgiving,' In A Brilliant Writer's Orbit

Originally published on Sat January 18, 2014 11:35 am

Knopf

A lot of writers can be fairly easily stereotyped. They write stories about dysfunctional families, star crossed lovers, endearing losers; they write historical fiction, literary fiction or crime novels. But Jay Cantor's body of work defies categorization. His fiction has been inspired by topics as wide-ranging as the revolutionary life of Che Guevara and the comic strip world of Krazy Kat.

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8:01am

Sat January 18, 2014
NPR Story

Countdown To The Super Bowl

Originally published on Sat January 18, 2014 11:35 am

Transcript

LYNN NEARY, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Lynn Neary. Time now for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

NEARY: And then there were four. Tomorrow is the Sunday before the Sunday before the Super Bowl. And that means New England takes on Denver and San Francisco goes up against Seattle to see who's headed to the big game. NPR's Tom Goldman, who's caught in the middle of that San Fran-Seattle crossfire, joins us on the line from Portland. Good morning, Tom.

TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: I'm ducking here. Hiya, Lynn.

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8:01am

Sat January 18, 2014
NPR Story

Ford's New Truck, GM's New CEO Star At Detroit Auto Show

Originally published on Sat January 18, 2014 11:35 am

Transcript

LYNN NEARY, HOST:

The North American International Auto Show opens to the public today. That's the fancy name for the Detroit car show. NPR's Sonari Glinton has been getting a sneak preview in the Motor City, hanging out with engineers and auto execs. And he's with us now. Good to talk with you, Sonari.

SONARI GLINTON, BYLINE: It's good to be here, Lynn.

NEARY: Now, you've spent, I think, four days at the car show. What are the standouts?

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7:59am

Sat January 18, 2014
Music Interviews

'Made For This': The Rootless Life Of A Roving Musician

Originally published on Sat January 18, 2014 11:35 am

David Dondero performs at D.G.'s Tap House in Ames, Iowa.
John Pemble

Guitarist and songwriter David Dondero is a transient. He's lived all over the country, from Alaska to Texas. When he's not touring, he finds work — most recently as a carpenter in California. But it never lasts. Music always finds its way back into his life.

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12:37pm

Sat January 11, 2014
Technology

A First Look At New Tech Products To Hit The Market

Originally published on Sat January 11, 2014 12:53 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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

The biggest show in Vegas this week wasn't Celine Dion or DJ Afrojack. It was the Consumer Electronics Show. The annual show where buyers, journalists and consumers get a first look at new tech products that are about to hit the market. Snoop Dogg was there, Secretary of Commerce Pritzker was there. And so was NPR's Steve Henn, who joined us as the show was packing up, from the floor of the Consumer Electronic Show on Friday. Steve, thanks so much for being with us.

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12:37pm

Sat January 11, 2014
Movie Interviews

'Osage' Hits Close To Home For Writer Tracy Letts

Originally published on Sat January 11, 2014 12:53 pm

From left, Meryl Streep, Julianne Nicholson and Juliette Lewis star in August: Osage County.
Claire Folger The Weinstein Company

The movie August: Osage County has just opened, with its all-star cast.

Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Chris Cooper, Benedict Cumberbatch and more play various members of the Weston clan. They converge on their Oklahoma home when the patriarch, Beverly, who is a poet somewhat past his rhymes, goes missing.

His wife, Violet, gobbles pills, some of which are for the pain of mouth cancer and some of which are just because.

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11:46am

Sat January 11, 2014
Politics

The War Over Poverty: A Deep Divide On How To Help

Originally published on Mon January 13, 2014 6:51 pm

Homeless women sit amid their belongings in downtown Los Angeles on Wednesday. Democrats and Republicans say income inequality is a problem, but they disagree over a solution.
Frederic J. Brown AFP/Getty Images

All this week, Majority Leader Harry Reid declared over and over on the Senate floor that there's a downside to the recovering economy.

"It's true," he said. "The rich are getting a lot richer, and the poor are getting poorer."

That observation may not be surprising, coming from a Democrat. Less expected, perhaps, is a similar lament made the same day by the Senate's Republican leader, Mitch McConnell.

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10:48am

Sat January 11, 2014
National Security

Gates Memoir Tests Civilian-Military Rules Of Engagement

Originally published on Mon January 27, 2014 12:52 pm

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates says he didn't want to wait until Obama's term was up before releasing his memoir because the issues were too urgent.
Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates' new book, Duty, Memoirs of a Secretary at War, paints a picture of a White House suspicious of military leaders and their motives.

In the book, Gates criticizes both President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden over issues like the Afghanistan war. It's a case study of civilian-military tensions that are as old as the Republic.

A President Wary Of Being Boxed In

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10:10am

Sat January 11, 2014
Simon Says

Rodman's Tour Of North Korea: Diplomacy Or Propaganda?

Originally published on Sat January 11, 2014 12:53 pm

Former NBA basketball star Dennis Rodman leaves a sports arena after a practice session for North Korean basketball players in Pyongyang in December 2013.
David Guttenfelder AP

There's been a publicity circus trailing Dennis Rodman to North Korea to present a big, bouncing birthday present of a basketball game to Kim Jong Un. But did you see the score of the game?

The U.S. team of former NBA players lost the first half, 47 to 39, before the sides were combined.

Well, if you play a team sponsored by a ruthless leader who recently had his own uncle iced, losing is probably the smart move.

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8:47am

Sat January 11, 2014
Middle East

Ariel Sharon, Whose Life And Career Shaped Israeli History, Dies

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 12:09 pm

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon speaks during a news conference in his offices on Nov. 21, 2005, in Jerusalem. Sharon announced his split from his right-wing Likud party to form a new political party, Kadima. He was on the way to re-election in 2006 when he suffered a stroke and fell into a coma from which he never awoke.
David Silverman Getty Images

Former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, a towering figure in the history of Israel as a soldier and politician, died on Saturday. He was 85.

His death was announced by Shlomo Noy, the director of Sheba Medical Center where Sharon was being treated. Sharon had been in a coma since he suffered a massive stroke in January 2006 during the last Israeli election campaign, in which he was assured of re-election.

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