Weekend Edition Saturday on AM 870 NewsTalk

10am - Noon

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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Africa
6:45 am
Sat February 23, 2013

Pistorius Case Puts South African Courts In Spotlight

Originally published on Sat February 23, 2013 11:55 am

Transcript

DON GONYEA, HOST:

Now, to a case that has gripped not only South Africa but much of the world: Olympian and double-amputee Oscar Pistorius posted bail on Friday, at a cost of one million rand, or roughly 112,000 U.S. dollars. The trial will begin June 4th. Pistorius is facing charges of murdering his girlfriend nearly two weeks ago on Valentines Day.

David Smith has been covering the Pistorius case for the Guardian newspaper and he joins us via satellite from his home in Pretoria, South Africa. Thanks for joining us, David.

DAVID SMITH: Thank you.

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Sports
6:45 am
Sat February 23, 2013

Week In Sports: The NFL Begins Hunt For New Talent

Originally published on Sat February 23, 2013 11:55 am

Transcript

DON GONYEA, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Don Gonyea. Time now for sports.

It is officially springtime in the world of sports. Baseball is back. And the NFL Combine has commenced, plus the justice department makes a big move in the case against disgraced cycling star Lance Armstrong. NPR Sports correspondent, Tom Goldman, joins me now. Good morning, Tom.

TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: Hi Don, how are you?

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Around the Nation
6:45 am
Sat February 23, 2013

Statement Over 'Three-Fifths' Creates Full Controversy

Originally published on Sat February 23, 2013 11:55 am

Transcript

DON GONYEA, HOST:

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It's All Politics
5:49 am
Sat February 23, 2013

Senate Decisions Could Put Lindsey Graham's Seat At Risk

Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina voices his opposition to President Obama's choice of former Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska as secretary of defense, on Capitol Hill last week.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Sat February 23, 2013 11:55 am

It seems Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham has done his best in recent weeks to get as much ink as possible, talking about things that play well with the conservatives in his home state of South Carolina, like Benghazi and gun rights.

Graham also held up the nomination of Chuck Hagel as defense secretary to get more answers about what happened in Benghazi, even as he admitted Hagel had nothing to do with it. But his opposition might have more to do with home state politics than the nomination itself.

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Music Interviews
5:32 am
Sat February 23, 2013

The Man In Black Goes To The County Fair

Gonyea's copy of Johnny Cash's Rockabilly Blues, signed by the man himself.
NPR

Originally published on Sat February 23, 2013 10:26 pm

I started out in radio more than 30 years ago. My first job right out of college was as a country-western DJ at WVMO, my hometown radio station in Monroe, Mich.

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Art & Design
5:31 am
Sat February 23, 2013

'Nordic Cool' Illuminates D.C.'s Kennedy Center

Nordic Cool Facade.
Yassine El Mansouri Courtesy: John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 1:18 am

What is Nordic cool?

Right now, it's a massive festival at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., with artists and designers displaying art and culture from their very top sliver of the globe.

The festival arrives at what seems like just the right moment for Americans.

From the Danish modern furniture of the 1950s to the omnipresence of Ikea, Americans have long been attracted to the austere design of Nordic countries.

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Africa
5:12 am
Sat February 23, 2013

Fighting Stream Of Terrorist Capital, Kenya Cracks Down On Somali Businesses

People walk down a market street in Eastleigh, a predominantly Muslim Somali neighborhood in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2009. The neighborhood has come under scrutiny as the U.S. cracks down on terrorism financing.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Sat February 23, 2013 10:26 pm

U.S. counterterrorism efforts include choking off the flow of cash to extremists, and urging friendly countries to help. But in Nairobi, Kenya, suspicion of Somali money — and an increase in terrorist attacks — has prompted a country-wide crackdown, with Kenyan police accused of extortion and arbitrary arrests of thousands of Somali refugees.

But how do you tell the difference between tainted money and honest cash?

Take Eastleigh, a neighborhood in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.

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The Salt
5:10 am
Sat February 23, 2013

A Dramatic Way To Uncork The Bubbly: Use A Sword

Brice from the Bubble Lounge in New York City demonstrates how to saber a bottle of champagne.
About.com

Originally published on Sat February 23, 2013 9:07 pm

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Around the Nation
8:40 am
Sat February 16, 2013

Jesse Jackson Jr. Charged With Illegally Spending Campaign Funds

Originally published on Sat February 16, 2013 10:05 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Now to another remarkable fall from grace. Just three months after he resigned from Congress, Jesse Jackson, Jr. is preparing to plead guilty to a criminal conspiracy charge. Prosecutors say the Illinois Democrat used $750,000 in campaign funds to buy a Rolex watch, mink coats, sports memorabilia. His wife Sandy will plead guilty to a tax change for failing to report that money to the IRS.

NPR's Carrie Johnson has the story.

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NPR Story
6:33 am
Sat February 16, 2013

New Gun Laws Still A Touchy Subject In Congress

Originally published on Sat February 16, 2013 10:05 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

President Obama's also trying to get the government more involved in trying to stop gun violence, but his supporters in Congress face an uphill battle in getting new gun control measures passed. Senator Richard Durbin's Senate judiciary subcommittee held hearings this week. The senator from Illinois, who is also majority whip, joins us now. Thanks for being with us.

SENATOR RICHARD DURBIN: It's good to be with you, Scott.

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NPR Story
6:33 am
Sat February 16, 2013

Week In Sport: A Track Star's Fall From Grace

Originally published on Sat February 16, 2013 10:05 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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

Oscar Pistorius remains in prison, the athlete who mesmerized so much of the world last summer when he became the first double amputee to compete in the Olympic Games, has been changed with the premeditated murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. Oscar Pistorius has been a hero in South Africa and lionized all over the world as the blade runner.

We're joined now by Howard Bryant of ESPN.com and ESPN The Magazine. Howard, thanks for being with us.

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NPR Story
6:33 am
Sat February 16, 2013

When The Pope Speaks (Latin), Who Is Listening?

Originally published on Sat February 16, 2013 10:05 am

Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation this week. He gave the announcement in Latin, but who still understands the language? Apparently there are more than 50,000 people in Finland who do. Weekend Edition Saturday host Scott Simon speaks with Finnish radio broadcaster Tuomo Pekkanen about his Latin radio show.

Europe
5:20 am
Sat February 16, 2013

Activists Offer Protest Tour Of Spain's Modern Ruins

A protest banner in Valencia, Spain, reflects the view that the city's economic woes are a result of political corruption.
Courtesy of Ruta Despilfarro Valencia

Originally published on Sat February 16, 2013 10:05 am

In his hometown of Valencia, Spain, Miguel Angel Ferris Gil runs a "wastefulness tour."

Every Saturday, he charters a bus to take people past government buildings where bribery is rumored to take place, and then to elementary schools where kids go to class in trailers. He wants to show foreign investors where their money has gone.

"Here we are, in [the] face of the Valencian parliament," he says. "We start all our tours, our waste tours, protesting against the political corruption and waste."

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StoryCorps
5:20 am
Sat February 16, 2013

In Loving Memory Of A Wife, Daughter And Fallen Soldier

Tracy Johnson and her mother-in-law, Sandra Johnson.
StoryCorps

Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 4:20 pm

North Carolina National Guardsman Tracy Johnson is an Iraq War veteran and an Army widow.

She is also one of the first gay spouses to lose a partner at war since the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell."

On Feb. 14, 2012, Tracy married her longtime partner, Staff Sgt. Donna Johnson. But eight months later, Donna was killed by a suicide bomber while serving in Khost, Afghanistan.

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Simon Says
5:20 am
Sat February 16, 2013

Is Honest Abe's Stovepipe Hat A Fake?

Abraham Lincoln's iconic stovepipe hat is on display at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Ill.
Seth Perlman AP

Originally published on Sat February 16, 2013 10:06 am

Abraham Lincoln's black stovepipe hat is an icon. It seemed to enhance his height, emphasize his dignity and, I suppose, keep his head warm.

There is a stovepipe hat at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Ill., soiled and slightly brown with age. Lincoln is said to have given it to William Waller, a farmer and political supporter in Jackson County, Ill., and kept by his family for decades.

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Sports
7:00 am
Sat February 9, 2013

Week In Sports: NBA Season Hits Halfway Point

Originally published on Sat February 9, 2013 12:11 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. You know what gets me through the week sometimes? The chance to say time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SIMON: Halftime in the NBA just a week away. The Lakers look like they could use a snooze. Hear about A-Rod's anti-aging clinic in South Florida; doesn't just take care of fine lines and wrinkles, and NPR Sports correspondent Tom Goldman joins us now. Morning, Tom.

TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: Hello, Scott.

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Around the Nation
6:37 am
Sat February 9, 2013

Despite Shadow Of Sandy Hook, Schools Considered 'Safe'

Originally published on Sat February 9, 2013 12:11 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

And of course, members of Congress aren't alone in reconsidering their position on guns and public safety. Schools across the country have been increasing security since the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary. As one school official in suburban Washington, D.C. said, Newtown changed school security the way 9/11 changed air travel. A high school in Illinois recently staged a lockdown drill with administrators shooting blanks in the hallways while the kids huddled in the classrooms with the doors locked and lights off.

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NPR Story
6:35 am
Sat February 9, 2013

Blizzard Batters Northeast with Heavy Snow, High Winds

Originally published on Sat February 9, 2013 12:11 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. A winter storm in New England has dumped more than two feet of snow and left 650,000 homes and businesses without power. Right now, authorities are closely watching the shoreline as huge waves from the powerful storm cause flooding. High tide hit a bit earlier today. NPR's Jeff Brady has been monitoring developments from Boston and he joins us now. Jeff, thanks for being with us. What can you tell us?

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NPR Story
6:35 am
Sat February 9, 2013

Effects Of Postal Service Cuts Could Ripple Through Middle Class

Originally published on Sat February 9, 2013 12:11 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

The continued downsizing of the U.S. Postal Service has especially hit African-Americans and armed forces veterans. These are two groups that have long relied on postal jobs for a good income, job security and a path to the middle class. For more, we're joined by Philip Rubio. He's a former letter carrier who's now an assistant professor of history at North Carolina A&T State University and author of the book, "There's Always Work at the Post Office: African American Postal Workers and the Fight for Jobs, Justice and Equality."

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Music News
5:45 am
Sat February 9, 2013

Frank Ocean's Big Year, And What Hasn't Changed In Hip-Hop

Frank Ocean performs at the MTV Video Music Awards in September 2012.
Kevin Mazur WireImage

Originally published on Sat February 9, 2013 12:11 pm

Frank Ocean is set to take a victory lap at this year's Grammys. He's up for six awards for his album Channel Orange, including best new artist, and he'll be performing as well. But just a few months ago, Frank Ocean's music wasn't the story — his sexuality was.

To review: After a listening party for Channel Orange last July, a BBC journalist pointed out that a few of the love songs referenced a "him" where you might have expected to hear "her."

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Afghanistan
5:09 am
Sat February 9, 2013

Afghanistan, Pakistan Seek A Fatwa Against Suicide Attacks

Afghan police and officials visit the site of a suicide attack in Kabul in September. A suicide bomber blew himself up alongside a minivan carrying foreigners on a major highway leading to the international airport in the Afghan capital, police said, killing at least 10 people, including nine foreigners.
Massoud Hossaini AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat February 9, 2013 10:21 pm

The Muhammad Mustafa mosque sits in a fairly well-off part of Kabul where government employees and some high-ranking officials live. Muhammad Ehsan Saiqal, a moderate, 54-year-old Muslim who welcomes girls into his Quran classes, is the imam. The slight, gray-bearded cleric preaches against suicide bombings.

"Islam doesn't permit suicide attacks," he says. "If someone kills any Muslim without any cause, under Shariah law [Islamic law] it means that he kills the whole Muslim world."

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Economy
5:09 am
Sat February 9, 2013

For Rural Towns, Postal Service Cuts Could Mean A Loss Of Identity

Brookfield, Vt., residents fear that Postal Service changes will eventually lead to the closing of their small town post office. About 1,300 people live in Brookfield, according to 2010 U.S. Census figures.
Steve Zind Vermont Public Radio

Originally published on Sat February 9, 2013 12:11 pm

In rural Vermont, the U.S. Postal Service decision to discontinue Saturday letter delivery is yet another blow to an institution that's long been a fixture of village life.

Last year, the U.S. Postal Service abandoned plans to close thousands of small post offices, opting instead to cut hours. But there are fears the cuts will continue until the rural post office is no more.

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Reporter's Notebook
5:08 am
Sat February 9, 2013

For Some In Minneapolis, National Gun Debate Hits Close To Home

President Obama greets law enforcement officers after speaking on ideas to reduce gun violence at the Minneapolis Police Department Special Operations on Monday.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Sat February 9, 2013 12:11 pm

The shooting massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., in December revived a national debate about gun violence. It's one that is emotional and often highly personal, and it's happening in places far from the halls of Congress. Earlier this week, President Obama was in Minneapolis advocating new limits on guns; no law or set of laws, he said, can keep children completely safe. NPR's David Welna was there for the visit and sent this reporter's notebook about the voices he encountered.

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Monkey See
3:49 pm
Fri February 8, 2013

Play-By-Play: Read Along With The Grammy Awards

Taylor Swift gives the opening performance at the 55th Annual Grammy Awards Sunday in Los Angeles.
Christopher Polk Getty Images for NARAS

Originally published on Mon February 11, 2013 1:11 am

With the conclusion of Sunday night's ceremony, Linda Holmes and I have now live-blogged fully one-eleventh of the Grammy Awards' 55 annual incarnations. Below is our original post and an archived live blog of the telecast:

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Remembrances
6:39 am
Sat February 2, 2013

Remembering New York's Large-Than-Life Mayor, Ed Koch

Originally published on Sat February 2, 2013 3:07 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

ED KOCH: Hi, hi. How am I doing?

SIMON: Ed Koch, the former mayor of New York, died yesterday at the age of 88. He was as New York as a salt bagel with an extra schmear. I profiled him when he ran for re-election in 1981.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

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Television
6:39 am
Sat February 2, 2013

'House Of Cards' A Delicate Balance Of Politics And Drama

Originally published on Sat February 2, 2013 3:07 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Kevin Spacey's got a memorable entrance in the new series "House of Cards." He looks into the camera and talks to the audience while he strangles an injured dog.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "HOUSE OF CARDS")

KEVIN SPACEY: (as Francis Underwood) There are two kinds of pain: the sort of pain that makes you strong; or useless pain, the sort of pain that's only suffering. I have no patience for useless things.

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Africa
6:39 am
Sat February 2, 2013

Dodging Clashes, Cairo's Deliverymen Take Big Risks

An Egyptian man delivering bread rides through Cairo's Tahrir Square last year. Couriers are taking great risks as they work around Egypt's capital.
Marco Longari AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat February 2, 2013 10:14 pm

In Cairo you can get most anything — food, medicine, groceries — delivered right to your door, anytime. But civil unrest in the streets of the Egyptian capital has made it a riskier job for deliverymen.

Tabouleh restaurant, an upscale Lebanese joint, is tucked into a quiet neighborhood just south of Tahrir Square, the center of Egypt's revolution.

It's usually packed. But clashes between protesters and police have been ongoing for a week just two blocks away. On a recent night, there's only one table of diners.

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The Salt
5:17 am
Sat February 2, 2013

How To Save A Public Library: Make It A Seed Bank

The seed library is a partnership between the Basalt Public Library and the Central Rocky Mountain Permaculture Institute. Seed packets encourage gardeners to write their names and take credit for their harvested seeds.
Courtesy of Dylan Johns

Originally published on Sat February 2, 2013 3:07 pm

Despite the cold and snow, some signs of spring are starting to break through in Colorado. The public library in the small town of Basalt is trying an experiment: In addition to borrowing books, residents can now check out seeds.

In a corner of the library, Stephanie Syson and her 4-year-old daughter, Gray, are just finishing a book with a white rabbit on the cover.

When Gray approaches the knee-high shelves filled with seed packets, she zeroes in on a pack labeled "rainbow carrots."

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Around the Nation
5:17 am
Sat February 2, 2013

Undocumented In The U.S.: 11 Million And Counting

While a vast majority of undocumented immigrants in the United States come from Mexico, many also come from Central American nations, China, parts of Africa and India.
David McNew Getty Images

Originally published on Sun April 7, 2013 8:06 pm

There are an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States, and it's a number you might have heard a lot about this week from Washington lawmakers.

Since the 1970s, Jeff Passel, now senior demographer at the Pew Hispanic Center, has been keeping tabs on a group that actively tries to stay off the radar. He says many actually do participate in the census count and other surveys.

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Simon Says
5:12 am
Sat February 2, 2013

History Sometimes Rewards Those Who Are Sidelined

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith looks on from the sidelines during the overtime period against the New York Giants on Jan. 22, 2012, in San Francisco.
G. Newman Lowrance AP

Originally published on Sat June 15, 2013 5:26 am

You might look for a player along the sidelines in the Super Bowl on Sunday named Alex Smith and wonder, as he might, if he'll be the next Wally Pipp or Ken Mattingly.

Pipp was the Yankee first baseman in 1925 who had a headache and was told to take two aspirin and sit out the game. A young player named Lou Gehrig took his place — and stayed at first base for 14 years, becoming one of baseball's most storied players.

Pipp wound up working in a screw factory. He was a good sport who told fans in later years, "I took the two most expensive aspirin in history."

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