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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Around the Nation
6:48 am
Sat December 15, 2012

Investigation Continues Into Shooter's Motive

Originally published on Sun December 16, 2012 1:43 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

And this morning, of course, we are reporting the story from Newtown, Connecticut; where yesterday, a young man named Adam Lanza shot and killed some 26 people at an elementary school - 20 of them, small children. Connecticut state police have briefed residents of Newtown, and reporters, on the latest from the crime scene at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, and at second crime scene.

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Around the Nation
6:48 am
Sat December 15, 2012

Search For Answers Begins Following Deadly Shootings

Originally published on Sun December 16, 2012 1:43 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

NPR justice correspondent Carrie Johnson joins us in the studio for more on the investigation. Carrie, thanks for being with us.

CARRIE JOHNSON, BYLINE: Thank you, Scott.

SIMON: What do we know about the shooter, and is anything developing on what I noticed Lieutenant Vance carefully called - he didn't use the word motive, he said the how and the why of the shooting?

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Analysis
6:48 am
Sat December 15, 2012

Connecticut School Joins Growing List Of Deadly Shootings

Originally published on Sun December 16, 2012 1:43 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

The Sandy Hook Elementary School joins a sad and lengthening list of names in recent U.S. history. Since 12 students and a teacher were killed at Colorado's Columbine High School in 1999, there have been scores of other school shootings - so many it may be hard to recall all the names: Red Lake, Nickel Mines, Virginia Tech and Chardon High School are just a few of the names that have become branded by tragedy. Ben Markus of Colorado Public Radio spoke with Frank DeAngelis, the principal of Columbine High School.

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Europe
5:20 am
Sat December 15, 2012

Ready. Set. Memorize!

Argh, it's on the tip of my tongue! Contestants in the Names and Faces competition focus at last year's World Memory Championships held in Guangzhou, China. A new field of mental athletes is currently vying for the 2012 championship.
Peng Tong Xinhua/Landov

Originally published on Sun December 16, 2012 1:43 pm

In the gymnasium of a South London technical school, site of this year's World Memory Championships, Norwegian Ola Kaere Risa checks his stopwatch.

Risa is Norway's only contestant this year.

"I hope to defend the glory of my country," he says, laughing.

The 21st World Memory Championships are under way in London this weekend. About 75 competitors from some two dozen countries are vying to see who can memorize the most numbers, faces, playing cards or random words in a set amount of time.

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U.S.
5:20 am
Sat December 15, 2012

A Vision For Chicago Public Housing, Stymied And Contested

The Lathrop Homes, pictured here in 2006, are part of the latest revamp effort by the Chicago Housing Authority.
Chicago Housing Authority

Originally published on Sun December 16, 2012 1:43 pm

Chicago's $1.6 billion "Plan for Transformation" envisioned public housing in a way that would deconstruct an image of the city's poor all concentrated in huge housing silos.

The idea was to mix public-housing residents with market-rate condos and subsidized rentals or homes, with one-third of each in these new communities.

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It's All Politics
5:19 am
Sat December 15, 2012

Democrats Dig In Their Heels On Entitlement Cuts

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California said Democrats aren't going to throw America's seniors over the fiscal cliff to give a tax cut to the wealthiest.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Sun December 16, 2012 1:43 pm

Congress has barely two weeks to agree on a deficit-cutting deal to keep the nation from going over the "fiscal cliff" in the new year. The problem is that right now there is no such deal to agree on.

Republicans reject the higher tax rates for top incomes that President Obama demands. And they also insist on more austere entitlement programs, which has Democrats digging in their heels.

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Shootings In Newtown, Conn.
4:34 am
Sat December 15, 2012

Small Town Tries To Cope With Unimaginable Tragedy

Mourners gather for a vigil service for victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting at St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church in Newtown, Conn., on Friday night.
Andrew Gombert AP

Originally published on Sun December 16, 2012 1:43 pm

Newtown, Conn., is a white-collar community an hour and a half northeast of New York City. It's the kind of place where crime is rare and the biggest thing that happens each year is the Labor Day parade.

Now the peace and quiet has been shattered, and residents are trying to make sense of what's happened.

Hours after the shootings that left so many people dead, St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church opened its doors for a prayer vigil. People filed through the streets and past houses decorated with Christmas lights.

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Music Interviews
2:03 am
Sat December 15, 2012

A Civil Rights Figure's Long Road — To Carnegie Hall

Myrlie Evers-Williams leads her three children — Reena (from left), Van and Darrell — at the family piano, circa 1965.
Courtesy of the Evers family

Originally published on Sun December 16, 2012 1:43 pm

You know the old joke: "How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice." Myrlie Evers-Williams took a different route.

Her late husband, Medgar Evers, was the Mississippi head of the NAACP; he was assassinated for his work in 1963. Evers-Williams wound up moving to Southern California, where she became an educational, corporate and political leader and, in the 1990s, chairwoman of the NAACP.

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Africa
7:38 am
Sat December 8, 2012

Tensions Continue Over Egypt's Constitution Fight

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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

Tens of thousands of people were again protesting at the gates of the Presidential Palace in Cairo overnight. And yesterday, protesters broke through the barbed-wire barricades to climb on tanks that were stationed to keep them at bay.

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Strange News
7:38 am
Sat December 8, 2012

'Hey Bird, What Are You Doing With That Butt?'

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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Around the Nation
6:54 am
Sat December 8, 2012

Unemployment Rate Drops, But Picture Not All Rosy

Originally published on Sat December 8, 2012 7:37 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Turns out that Superstorm Sandy didn't do as much damage as many expected, to the nation's unemployment predicament. At least, that's what the government's monthly data on the jobs market told us yesterday. As NPR's John Ydstie reports, analysts and businesses are already looking past that report, to the dangers to jobs posed by the fiscal cliff.

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Middle East
6:54 am
Sat December 8, 2012

Young Gazans Brave Fear To Welcome Hamas Leader

Exiled Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal (left) and Gaza's Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh wave during a news conference upon Meshaal's arrival at Rafah crossing in the southern Gaza Strip on Friday.
Suhaib Salem AP

Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 9:14 am

Tens of thousands of people turned out for a mass rally in the Gaza Strip on Friday to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Hamas, which governs Gaza. The guest of honor was the leader of Hamas, Khaled Meshaal.

This is Meshaal's first-ever trip to Gaza, and it's been seen as a political milestone in Hamas' attempt to gain wider acceptance in the region.

Gaza is a small, very crowded strip of land that is full of young people. Roughly 1.7 million people live here, and about half are under the age of 18.

Young People, Politically Minded

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Around the Nation
6:54 am
Sat December 8, 2012

Detroit Driving Toward Its Own Debt Cliff

Originally published on Sat December 8, 2012 7:38 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, BYLINE: The city of Detroit is approaching its own fiscal precipice. The city is deeply in debt and could run out of cash by the end of this month. That would mean more layoffs from a city workforce that's already been cut so much that a reported two-thirds of the city's streetlights do not work. The amount of empty, abandoned land in the city, which produces no tax revenue, is estimated to be as large as the entire city of Paris.

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The Salt
6:47 am
Sat December 8, 2012

At Hanukkah, Pastry Reminds Portland Jews Of Their Mediterranean Roots

Called a boyo or bulema, this Turkish-style pastry was traditionally made for the Jewish Shabbat. Today, boyos are mostly reserved for holidays like Hanukkah.
Deena Prichep for NPR

Originally published on Sat December 8, 2012 7:29 pm

In some Jewish homes this Hanukkah, families will celebrate with an alternative to the traditional potato latke: the boyo. These Turkish-style stuffed pastries — also known as bulemas, depending on their shape and the village their maker comes from — are made by Jews whose ancestors lived in the Ottoman Empire.

Traditionally, boyos were made for Shabbat (the Sabbath) and the Jewish holidays. But these busy days, they're reserved mostly for the holidays.

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Africa
5:29 am
Sat December 8, 2012

Voters Decide How To Share Ghana's Boom

Ghana's President John Dramani Mahama arrives at a polling station to cast his vote.
Pius Utomi Ekpei AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat December 8, 2012 9:39 pm

Voting for a new president and parliament in Ghana has been extended into a second day in some areas due to glitches with the new biometric voter verification system.

Ghana, which began pumping crude oil in 2010 and is also a major cocoa and gold exporter, has gained an enviable reputation in its often-turbulent West African neighborhood. It's admired for being a relative oasis of stability and peace in the region — despite tensions in the build-up to the vote.

A Peaceful Democracy

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Europe
5:28 am
Sat December 8, 2012

Getting The Royal Treatment En Route To Versailles

The Belvedere on Marie Antoinette's estate.

Courtesy of Christian Recoura

Originally published on Sat December 8, 2012 2:39 pm

The opulence of the court of Louis XIV ... on a commuter train from Paris?

That's the surprise awaiting some lucky visitors to the Palace of Versailles. The cars of about 30 trains traveling between Paris and the palace have been completely decked out to reflect the sprawling and stately residence of former French kings, providing a sneak preview of sorts.

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Music Interviews
2:03 am
Sat December 8, 2012

Tracey Thorn Finds Joy And Angst In Christmas Songs

Tracey Thorn's new holiday-themed album is called Tinsel and Lights.
Molly Bloom StateImpact Ohio

Originally published on Sat December 8, 2012 7:38 am

A season for being with friends and family can be hard on those who are lonely; a season of giving can be hard on those who go without. All the tinsel and lights can also make people blink, shudder and wonder about which of life's gifts they'll never find under the tree — or which they'll unwrap and find fleeting and fragile.

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Simon Says
10:41 am
Sat December 1, 2012

Sexiest Man Alive Gets 'The Onion' Taken Seriously

The satirical news source The Onion named North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un 2012's Sexiest Man Alive.
Ed Jones AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat December 1, 2012 11:09 am

If satire had an Olympics, The Onion might have won a gold medal this week. The satirical news source announced that its Sexiest Man Alive for 2012 is Kim Jong Un, North Korea's Supreme Leader.

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Latin America
6:28 am
Sat December 1, 2012

What's In Store For Mexico And Its New President?

Originally published on Sat December 1, 2012 10:41 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

For more on the developing relationship between Mexico and United States, we're joined now by Jorge Castaneda. Mr. Castaneda served as Mexico's secretary of foreign affairs from 2000-2003. In 2004, he launched an independent bid to run for president as the people's candidate, but Mexico's Supreme Court declared he couldn't run without the endorsement of an official party. These days, Mr. Castaneda is an academic and commentator. He joins us from his home in Manhattan. Thanks very much for being with us.

JORGE CASTANEDA: Thank you.

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Latin America
6:28 am
Sat December 1, 2012

How Brazil Sees The U.S. Battle Over Taxes

Originally published on Sat December 1, 2012 10:41 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This month on WEEKEND EDITION, we've been taking a look at the so-called fiscal cliff from the perspective of other countries. After all, the government's automatic spending cuts and tax increases scheduled for January could have impacts throughout what's an increasingly linked global economy.

Tomorrow, my colleague Rachel Martin checks in with Hong Kong. Right now, we'll go to Latin America. We're joined now by Joseph Leahy. He's the Brazil bureau chief for the Financial Times. Joe, thanks very much for being with us.

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Sports
6:28 am
Sat December 1, 2012

The Galaxy Waves Bye Bye To Beckham

Originally published on Sat December 1, 2012 10:41 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Tonight marks the end of the on-field career of a man who's been arguably the most famous athlete in the world. David Beckham will play his last competitive game for the L.A. Galaxy. He signed with the team in 2007 and earned himself something close to a 4250 million over the last five years in salary, and his own line of underwear, sportswear and cologne. Roger Bennett joins us now, he's the voice of Premier League soccer on ESPN, an ESPN columnist and co-host of Grantland's "Men In Blazers" show. Roger, thanks for being with us.

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Author Interviews
5:56 am
Sat December 1, 2012

A Compelling, Chutzpadik History Of 'Jews And Words'

Scott Rothstein iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 8:42 am

For thousands of years the Jewish people have been forced to move around — fleeing bigotry, slavery, pogroms, famines and tyrants. But words are portable, and to Jews — who are among those known as "the People of the Book" — they are precious possessions. As Amos Oz and his daughter, Fania Oz-Salzberger, write in their new book, Jews and Words, "Ours is not a bloodline, but a text line."

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It's All Politics
5:49 am
Sat December 1, 2012

Obama Back In Campaign Mode; This Time, It's Taxes

President Obama looks over a roller coaster with K'Nex inventor and Chairman Joel Glickman (left) and President and CEO Michael Araten on Friday during a tour of the company in Hatfield, Pa.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Sat December 1, 2012 4:07 pm

President Obama is hoping the same campaign tools that helped him win re-election will also deliver a policy win in the fight over federal taxes.

The president wants Congress to extend Bush-era tax cuts for most Americans, while allowing taxes to go up for the wealthiest 2 percent. His aides are using email, social media and beyond-the-Beltway campaign appearances in hopes of putting pressure on Republican lawmakers.

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National Security
5:43 am
Sat December 1, 2012

Farewell: USS Enterprise Starred In History And Film

Petty Officer 3rd Class Michael Joseph carries his 1-year-old daughter, Maleah, to his re-enlistment ceremony aboard the USS Enterprise at the Norfolk Naval Station on March 8. The ship began its final deployment on March 11.
Steve Helber AP

Originally published on Sun December 2, 2012 1:17 pm

Sailors, veterans and their families are saying goodbye in Norfolk, Va., on Saturday to the USS Enterprise, which was the largest ship in the world and the first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier when it was commissioned in 1961.

In its illustrious history, the Enterprise served at the center of international events for a half-century — from the Cuban missile crisis to Vietnam to the Iraq War.

And it had a distinguished Hollywood career as well, playing a leading role in the 1986 film Top Gun, which starred Tom Cruise as a young naval aviator.

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Performing Arts
5:43 am
Sat December 1, 2012

Hispanics Call For Kennedy Center Honors

Honorees (from left) James Levine, Elizabeth Taylor, Paul Simon, Chita Rivera and James Earl Jones stand beside first lady Laura Bush and President George W. Bush during the 25th Kennedy Center Honors in 2002. Rivera was the last Hispanic recipient of the award.
Shawn Thew AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat December 1, 2012 10:41 am

This weekend, some big names are coming to Washington for a red-carpet event. Dustin Hoffman, David Letterman, ballerina Natalia Makarova, blues guitarist Buddy Guy and the British rock band Led Zeppelin will be receiving the annual Kennedy Center Honors.

It's a prestigious award given to only a handful of performers each year. But over the past few months there's been controversy surrounding the awards. In its 35-year history, only two honorees have been Hispanic, despite the fact that Hispanics are the largest minority in the United States.

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Music Interviews
9:43 pm
Fri November 30, 2012

A Trove Of Chats With Music Icons, Now Online

Joe Smith poses with Rod Stewart, circa 1974. The former record executive conducted informal interviews with dozens of musicians in the mid-1980s.
Jeff Smith

Originally published on Sat December 1, 2012 1:26 pm

In the mid-1980s, a record executive and former DJ named Joe Smith saw that a lot of the big-band greats were disappearing: Count Basie, Harry James and others.

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Music Interviews
10:30 am
Sat November 24, 2012

Piney Gir: From 'The Muppets' To 'Geronimo'

Piney Gir grew to love performing after getting solos in the choir at church.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sat November 24, 2012 2:44 pm

What do you do if you're an aspiring drummer and someone steals your drum set? Well, if you're Piney Gir, you become a singer — because, as she figured it, they can't steal your voice.

Gir grew up in a fundamentalist Pentecostal household in Kansas, attending church four or five times a week. She got the solos in the choir and grew to love performing. The singer, whose real name is Angela Penhaligon, eventually found her way to London and the world of indie art-rock.

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NPR Story
10:30 am
Sat November 24, 2012

Songwriter Paloma Faith's 'Fall To Grace'

Paloma Faith's newest album is called Fall to Grace.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sat November 24, 2012 2:48 pm

Paloma Faith has been described as smart, vivacious, red-streaked and a singular talent. Before breaking into the music business, Faith worked as a magician's assistant and a dancer. She debuted as a solo artist in the UK in 2009 with the album Do You Want the Truth or Something Beautiful? Her latest album is no less provocatively titled — it's called Fall to Grace.

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Movie Interviews
6:34 am
Sat November 24, 2012

The Unsung Overdub Star In 'Sound Of Music'

Originally published on Sat November 24, 2012 10:30 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

We spoke with Christopher Plummer last week, and couldn't resist asking the famed stage and screen actor if he ever still sings "Edelweiss."

CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER: Of course not.

SIMON: (Laughter)

PLUMMER: Are you mad?

(LAUGHTER)

SIMON: I had to ask.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "THE SOUND OF MUSIC")

BILL LEE: (as Plummer's Captain Von Trapp) (Singing) Edelweiss, edelweiss, every morning you greet me...

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Sports
6:34 am
Sat November 24, 2012

'Winningest' Coach Succeeded With Discipline

Originally published on Sat November 24, 2012 10:30 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

John Gagliardi is hanging up his clipboard. He announced his retirement this week, as the winningest coach in the history of college football. Over the course of 64 seasons - that's also a record; most of them at the St. John's University in Collegeville, Minnesota - Coach Gagliardi has racked up 489 wins, 138 losses and 11 ties. He's now 86 years old. Coach Gagliardi joins us from his home. Thanks very much for being with us.

JOHN GAGLIARDI: It's my pleasure.

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