Weekend Edition Saturday

Saturday at 8-10am
Join Scott Simon Saturday Mornings for Weekend Edition
Scott Simon


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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8:24am

Thu October 3, 2013
Education

SUNY Oswego's new science building promotes STEM ideas

Students talk and get food near the Fusion Cafe inside SUNY Oswego's new Shineman Center.
Gino Geruntino/WRVO

Science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, education has become a focal point for schools throughout New York and the nation. At SUNY Oswego, the college's emphasis on STEM education has culminated in a $118 million four-story science building.

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8:34am

Sat September 28, 2013
Performing Arts and Culture

Area film festivals highlight human rights issues

Tom Magnarelli WRVO

Human rights issues -- including the ongoing civil war in Syria -- are being highlighted at different film festivals in Syracuse this fall.

Abdulwahab Tahhan left Aleppo, Syria 11 months ago. He was living in a refugee camp in Turkey when the documentary "The Suffering Grasses" was filmed. That film was screened at the ArtRage Gallery in Syracuse Tuesday night and Tahan spoke with the audience via Skype from the U.K. where he now lives.

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7:58am

Sat September 28, 2013
Around the Nation

Pirate Treasure May Lie In Waters Off Cape Cod

Originally published on Sat September 28, 2013 11:16 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Barry Clifford has spent the last 30 years diving in the waters off Cape Cod. He's searching for buried treasure spilled by the pirate ship Whydah, which sunk there in 1717. He's pulled a trove of artifacts out of the sea and sand over the years and this summer he learned there may be far more treasure waiting. He joins us now from Provincetown, Massachusetts. Mr. Clifford, thanks so much for being with us.

BARRY CLIFFORD: Oh, it's my pleasure.

SIMON: What did you find out?

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7:58am

Sat September 28, 2013
Sports

Rangers, Reds, Indians Battle For AL Wild Card Spot

Originally published on Sat September 28, 2013 11:16 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

And it's so nice to say time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SIMON: Just a day left to the end of regular baseball season. The Cardinals clinched a playoff spot last night. Of course they were playing the Cubs. But those rampaging Cleveland Indians won their eighth game in a row to move a game closer to a wildcard spot. They're knotted up with the Tampa Bay Rays, trying to keep the Texas Rangers in the rearview mirror.

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7:58am

Sat September 28, 2013
Law

BP Oil Spill Trial To Begin Second Phase

Originally published on Sat September 28, 2013 11:16 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Officials from BP, formerly British Petroleum, will be back in a New Orleans courtroom next week. It's part of a complex federal case that will ultimately determine responsibility in damages for the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history. And that's the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. NPR's Debbie Elliott's been following the trial and joins us. Deb, thanks for being with us.

DEBBIE ELLIOTT, BYLINE: Glad to be here.

SIMON: Remind us of what's at stake in this phase of the case.

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6:05am

Sat September 28, 2013
Author Interviews

On Eliot's 125th, His 'Waste Land' Hasn't Lost Its Glamour

Originally published on Thu October 3, 2013 9:55 am

American-born British poet and playwright T.S. Eliot received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1948.
Chris Bacon AFP/Getty Images

What do you get a Nobel Prize-winning poet for his birthday?

The poet, in this case, is T.S. Eliot, and this year he would have turned the intimidating age of 125. It's a tough question, but New Yorker poetry editor Paul Muldoon has got an answer: a new re-issue of the first edition of Eliot's groundbreaking poem, The Waste Land.

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5:25am

Sat September 28, 2013
Author Interviews

I, Spy: Valerie Plame Makes Her Fiction Debut In CIA Thriller

Originally published on Sat September 28, 2013 11:16 am

Valerie Plame was outed as a covert CIA operative in a 2003 Washington Post column. Her story was depicted in the 2010 film Fair Game, starring Naomi Watts as Plame.
Dennis Cook AP

Vanessa Pierson, the heroine of Valerie Plame's first novel, is — ahem — "blonde, lithe, and nicely sexy." She is also a CIA agent, determined to lasso a nuclear arms dealer named Bhoot before he arrives at an underground nuclear facility in Iran.

But just as her informant is about to tell her where Bhoot will be, he's shot by a sniper who misses Vanessa — or does he simply overlook her? How will Vanessa Pierson halt the terrorists, protect the world and, by the way, also keep the secret of her forbidden romance with David, a fellow CIA ops officer with green-flecked hazel eyes?

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5:25am

Sat September 28, 2013
Music News

'If It Swings': An Asian-American Jazzman's Pioneering Career

Originally published on Sat September 28, 2013 11:16 am

Gabe Baltazar (fourth from left) at New York City's Birdland Club in 1962, with members of Stan Kenton's band and the Count Basie Orchestra. The photo, from Baltazar's collection, is signed by Kenton (fourth from from right) and trumpeter Harry "Sweets" Edison (second from right).
Courtesy of Gabe Baltazar

Saxophonist Gabe Baltazar got his big break after Stan Kenton heard him playing in a college band and invited him to join his Orchestra in 1960.

"One of my biggest highlights in Stan's band was being featured on a beautiful standard tune called 'Stairway to the Stars,'" the 83-year-old Baltazar says. "He liked that tune, and he thought it would be my signature song. And throughout my career, four years with the band, I was featured on that and it was just great."

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5:24am

Sat September 28, 2013
Poetry

News From Lake Wobegon: Garrison Keillor Has A New Book Of Poetry

Originally published on Sat September 28, 2013 11:16 am

Garrison Keillor has been the host of A Prairie Home Companion since it began nearly four decades ago. He was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1994.
Courtesy of Grove Press

If you're a regular public radio listener, you may hear Garrison Keillor every morning reading other people's poems on The Writer's Almanac. Now, the Prairie Home Companion host has decided to share some of his own poems for a change.

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3:44am

Sat September 28, 2013
It's All Politics

In Washington's Fiscal Tango, Obama's Lacking A Dance Partner

Originally published on Sat September 28, 2013 11:16 am

President Obama speaks about the Affordable Care Act on Thursday in Largo, Md. In the latest fiscal fight with Republicans, the president is lacking a partner to make a deal with — or even to vilify.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Top White House aides constantly refer to a "civil war" in the Republican Party.

They sometimes use the phrase with near delight, reveling in the tensions that threaten to pull apart the GOP. But for President Obama, the divided opposition creates a major problem: He has neither a partner to cut a deal with nor a high-profile adversary to vilify.

That situation stands in stark contrast to previous fiscal standoffs.

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3:43am

Sat September 28, 2013
Politics

With Government Shutdown Looming, All Eyes Turn To House GOP

Originally published on Sat September 28, 2013 3:21 pm

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, center, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., left, and Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, express frustration on Friday after the Senate passed a bill to fund the government, but stripped it of language crafted by House Republicans to defund Obamacare.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

As expected, the Senate passed a bill Friday to keep the government funded through mid-November — without stripping any funding away from the president's health care law.

Now the action returns to the House, where Republicans earlier in the week tied the measure to defunding the Affordable Care Act. With the threat of a shutdown looming three days away, the question is now, what will the House do?

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11:01am

Sat September 21, 2013
NPR Story

Deadly Shooting In Nairobi Mall

Originally published on Sat September 21, 2013 11:34 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. An upscale shopping mall in Nairobi is the scene of a deadly standoff.

(SOUNDBITE OF SCREAMING AND CRYING)

SIMON: Kenyan armed forces are battling gunmen who stormed that mall earlier today. The Red Cross says that at least 20 people have been killed in the attack. NPR's Gregory Warner is on the scene. Greg, thanks for being with us.

GREGORY WARNER, BYLINE: Thanks, Scott.

SIMON: And what's the latest?

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8:34am

Sat September 21, 2013
Health

New study links excessive copper intake to Alzheimer's

Copper is an important aspect of proper nutrition, and vital for us to maintain a healthy body. But a group of upstate New York researchers have concluded too much copper in our diet could be a contributing factor in the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

Tap water coming through copper pipes, fruits, vegetables, red meat and nuts; these are all sources of copper that we consume on a daily basis.

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7:21am

Sat September 21, 2013
NPR Story

Art Dealer Pleads Guilty To Selling Fraudulent Paintings

Originally published on Tue September 24, 2013 10:43 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. This week, an art dealer named Glafira Rosales pleaded guilty to wire fraud, money laundering and tax evasion after she admitted that she sold paintings that she claimed were by Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko and Willem de Kooning to a couple of Manhattan galleries.

They were actually painted by an artist living in Queens. Those paintings sold for $80 million. I'm joined now from New York by Jerry Saltz, senior art critic for New York magazine. Thanks very much for being with us.

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7:21am

Sat September 21, 2013
NPR Story

Cities Race To The Top Of The Ferris Wheel

Originally published on Sat September 21, 2013 11:34 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Las Vegas is set to claim the title for the world's largest Ferris Wheel. It completed it's 550 foot tall high roller last week. But New York City plans for an even taller one, 625 feet, and rumor has it Dubai may be planning an even taller Ferris Wheel, but Chicago can always claim the first and definitive Ferris Wheel, so named because it was George Ferris himself who designed it for the 1893 World's Fair.

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7:21am

Sat September 21, 2013
NPR Story

NFL Treats Hard Hits With A Light Touch

Originally published on Sat September 21, 2013 11:34 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Know what gets me through the week? The chance to say, time for sports!

(SOUNDBITE OF THEME MUSIC)

SIMON: Football season is back with a kathunk(ph). Plus, the first two teams have qualified for the Major League Baseball playoffs, and the WMBA playoffs are on. NPR's Tom Goldman joins us. Good morning, Tom.

TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: Hiya, Scott.

SIMON: Thanks so much for being with us.

GOLDMAN: A pleasure.

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5:36am

Sat September 21, 2013
Author Interviews

A Road Trip Sparks An Unlikely Friendship In 'Norvelt To Nowhere'

Originally published on Sat September 21, 2013 11:34 am

Jack Gantos recently won the Newbery Medal, the highest award in children's literature, for his novel Dead End in Norvelt.
Anne Lower Courtesy of Farrar, Straus and Giroux

From Norvelt to Nowhere is a book that begins in the shadow of nuclear annihilation, during the Cuban missile crisis in 1962. The first few paragraphs also disclose that nine elderly women in the town of Norvelt are dead by poison.

Did we mention it's a kids' book, too?

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5:35am

Sat September 21, 2013
The Salt

No Schmear Job: A Brief History Of Bagels And Lox

Originally published on Mon September 23, 2013 5:35 pm

A marriage made in New York, though both partners came with plenty of baggage.
Jerry Deutsch iStockphoto.com

There's a certain kind of joy in breaking the overnight fast by biting into a bagel: crackling crust, chewy center, smooth and silky cream cheese, sharp smoked salmon. For some, capers and onions join the ritual.

But just who invented this breakfast staple, which has become as American as apple pie?

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5:31am

Sat September 21, 2013
Deceptive Cadence

Leonard Bernstein's Unconventional 'Anxiety'

Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 5:30 pm

Leonard Bernstein's Age of Anxiety symphony is as unconventional as its creator.
Courtesy of Library of Congress

Like Leonard Bernstein himself, there is absolutely nothing predictable about the music he wrote. None of the three amazing works Bernstein labeled as "symphonies" in any way resemble a conventional orchestral symphony.

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5:27pm

Fri September 20, 2013
Arts

Light Work gallery celebrates 40 years

Shane Lavalette, the director of Light Work
Tom Magnarelli/WRVO

For forty years, the nonprofit photography gallery Light Work has been bringing photographers from around the world to Syracuse through its residency program. A new exhibition at Syracuse University celebrates that anniversary by showcasing one photographer from each year.  

The first artist-in-residence at Light Work, was Charles Gatewood who photographed the New York State Fair when he was in Syracuse. His black and white portrait of the human pincushion at a sideshow is part of the exhibition “40 Artists - 40 Years.”

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8:34am

Sat September 14, 2013
Technology

Mobile emergency response still hampered by low bandwidth and fragmented networks

Elerts.com

Mobile technology is driving the modernization of disaster relief and public safety response.  And, according to a recent report from the Brookings Institution, the rapid expansion of mobile devices and mobile driven data has already begun to save lives and alleviate suffering in disaster-struck communities.

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7:22am

Sat September 14, 2013
NPR Story

Diplomats Sing For Peace

Originally published on Sat September 14, 2013 11:28 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

In the midst of international crisis and consternation this week, five U.N. diplomats stepped onto the stage at the United Nations headquarters to sing.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG)

CHORUS: (Singing) Many people, one world...

SIMON: From Romania, Canada, Cape Verde and Costa Rica, we've got the singing ambassadors with us to tell us about their new CD, "Ambassadors Sing for Peace." Thank you very much for being with us.

AMBASSADOR GUILLERMO RISHCHYNSKI: Our pleasure.

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7:22am

Sat September 14, 2013
NPR Story

Colorado Voters Recall Two Gun Control Backers

Originally published on Sat September 14, 2013 11:28 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Another Colorado story now. Gun control advocates had hoped that last year's shootings in Newtown, Connecticut and Aurora, Colorado might move more Americans to call for stricter gun laws. Gun control measures ground down in the U.S. Congress but some states did pass legislation, including Colorado. Yet this past week, Colorado voters recalled two lawmakers who had backed the legislation.

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7:22am

Sat September 14, 2013
NPR Story

Rescue Operations Underway In Flooded Colorado

Originally published on Sat September 14, 2013 11:28 am

Heavy rain and flooding have destroyed scores of communities, with at least four people dead. While the rain had let up a little, more is expected Saturday.

7:00am

Sat September 14, 2013
Technology

New Computer School Makes French Students Teach Themselves

Originally published on Sat September 14, 2013 1:25 pm

Xavier Niel, the French Internet billionaire and founder of the Internet provider Free, reacts after delivering his speech in January 2012. Niel has founded a new computer school in Paris named 42.
Jacques Brinon AP

A new computer school in Paris has been overwhelmed by some 60,000 applicants.

The school, called 42, was founded by a telecom magnate who says the French education system is failing young people. His aim is to reduce France's shortage in computer programmers while giving those who've fallen by the wayside a new chance.

In the hallways of 42, suitcases and sleeping bags are piled, and people are stretched out on mattresses in some of the corners. There are showers and dozens of colorful bath towels.

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6:57am

Sat September 14, 2013
National Security

Medea Benjamin's Anti-War Activism: Wearing Pink, Seeing Red

Originally published on Mon September 23, 2013 11:49 am

A Code Pink protester holds up a red-painted hand behind Secretary of State John Kerry as he testifies on Capitol Hill on Sept. 4 about possible military strikes on Syria.
Carolyn Kaster AP

As the Obama administration made its case for military action in Syria, one of the loudest voices in opposition came from Medea Benjamin, the co-founder of Code Pink.

You may not know her by name, but if you follow national politics, you've no doubt seen her work.

At the House Foreign Affairs Committee earlier this month, for instance, as Secretary of State John Kerry made the case for a military strike in Syria, Medea Benjamin sat behind him, holding up her hands, painted bright red.

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6:55am

Sat September 14, 2013
Author Interviews

Art Spiegelman Reflects On 60 Years Of Pen And Ink

Originally published on Sat September 14, 2013 11:28 am

It's axiomatic now that comics have gone from being kids' stuff to, in some cases, adults only. These days, comics are recognized as a real artistic form, one that can be complex, subtle, pointed, probing and profane.

One of the artists most responsible for this is Art Spiegelman, who drew for Topps Bubble Gum comics, invented the Garbage Pail Kids, created a character who was all head, no body, for Playboy and won the Pulitzer Prize for Maus, his Holocaust comic — a phrase that was once unfathomable.

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4:58am

Sat September 14, 2013
Author Interviews

McMillan 'Asks' Readers To Empathize With A Family's Problems

Originally published on Sat September 14, 2013 11:28 am

Terry McMillan is the best-selling author of Waiting to Exhale and How Stella Got Her Groove Back
Matthew Jordan Smith Courtesy of Penguin Group USA

Terry McMillan weaves together different voices, generations, races and surprises in her latest novel, Who Asked You?. It's a family story that revolves around Betty Jean — known as BJ — a woman who worked as a Los Angeles maid and raised three kids. Her husband is now retired and suffers from Alzheimer's and her children have grown up in radically different ways. One son, Dexter, is in prison. Another son, Quentin, is a successful chiropractor who has had multiple marriages, pointedly lives out of town and wants little contact with his family.

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4:57am

Sat September 14, 2013
Architecture

In Los Angeles, Showcasing A City That Might Have Been

Originally published on Sat September 14, 2013 10:52 pm

Pereira and Luckman, Los Angeles International Airport Original Plan, 1952
LAWA Flight Path Learning Center

A museum exhibit about buildings that don't exist might not sound all that exciting. But the Architecture & Design Museum in Los Angeles has had its crowds grow to 10 times their normal level for a show called Never Built: Los Angeles. It's on through Oct. 13 – and it's all about projects that were imagined for the city but never constructed.

Let's start with one of the most high-profile: a 1968 proposal that would've dramatically altered the profile of Mount Hollywood.

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4:54am

Sat September 14, 2013
Middle East

In Syria Debate, Obama's Internal Dialogue Becomes Audible

Originally published on Sat September 14, 2013 6:21 pm

President Obama's speeches about Syria have at times seemed to reveal his own internal struggle on the topic.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

A surprise agreement between the U.S. and Russia, announced Saturday, calls for Syria to destroy all of its chemical weapons by mid-2014. The deal follows a chaotic week of seat-of-the-pants foreign policy.

Performing on the international stage, Obama and his Cabinet secretaries have offered up one plot twist after another, though it often seems as if the actors are working without a script.

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