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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Middle East
11:29 am
Sat November 10, 2012

Fractured Syrian Opposition Eyed Warily

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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Simon Says
10:35 am
Sat November 10, 2012

Making A Case For Closer Contact In Congress

From left, Sens. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) await President Obama's State of the Union address in January 2011, when a bipartisan seating arrangement symbolically suggested a more cooperative spirit among lawmakers.
Brendan Smialowski Getty Images

Originally published on Sat November 10, 2012 2:32 pm

Gridlock is the term many use to describe what happens when legislation gets stalled in the U.S. Congress.

But gridlock suggests that people in Congress at least run into each other. I've had enough casual, personal conversations with representatives in both parties in recent years to begin to think a more critical problem might be that politicians of opposing parties are almost strangers to each other.

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Commentary
7:33 am
Sat November 10, 2012

What A Life: The Day I Met Elliott Carter

Originally published on Sat November 10, 2012 11:29 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Elliott Carter died this week, a month shy of his 104th birthday. He had a huge influence on modern classical music. So in 2008, when Elliott Carter was celebrating his centennial, NPR's Tom Cole went to New York City to interview him. And he has this remembrance of what it was like to meet the storied composer.

TOM COLE, BYLINE: I was terrified. I mean, this was a man who had lived history; a composer who'd won two Pulitzer Prizes, for his Second and Third String Quartets.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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Politics
7:33 am
Sat November 10, 2012

Political Sparring Ahead Of Fiscal Cliff

Originally published on Sat November 10, 2012 11:29 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

And we're joined now by New York Times columnist Joe Nocera, who often joins us to talk about business and the economy. Joe, thanks for being with us.

JOE NOCERA: Thanks for having me, Scott.

SIMON: Did you hear anything from President Obama or Speaker Boehner that screams deal to you?

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U.S.
7:33 am
Sat November 10, 2012

A Stunning Fall For CIA's Celebrated Petraeus

Originally published on Sat November 10, 2012 11:29 am

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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

David Petraeus has resigned as director of the Central Intelligence Agency, citing an extramarital affair and saying that he showed, quote, "extremely poor judgment." It was a stunning fall for one of the most celebrated generals in recent U.S. history. NPR's Tom Bowman is here to talk about it. Tom, thanks so much for being with us.

TOM BOWMAN, BYLINE: You're welcome, Scott.

SIMON: What do we know now about what happened?

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Author Interviews
5:43 am
Sat November 10, 2012

Ian McEwan's 'Sweet Tooth' Pits Spy Vs. Scribe

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sat November 10, 2012 11:29 am

Author Ian McEwan's latest creation, Serena Frome, isn't much of a spy. She got recruited into MI5 by her Cambridge history tutor, whom she wanted to dazzle. But he dumps her, and she never sees it coming. She winds up on the clerical side of the operation, cross-filing schemes and plots to stop terrorists, until one day, in the middle of the Cold War, she's summoned to the fifth floor of the agency, where five wise men ask her to rank three British novelists according to their merit: Kingsley Amis, William Golding and David Storey.

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Politics
5:26 am
Sat November 10, 2012

Taxing Work Ahead: Have Negotiating Tables Turned?

President Obama speaks about the economy and the deficit at the White House on Friday. He says this time around, he has proof that Americans agree with his approach.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Sat November 10, 2012 1:38 pm

Republicans and Democrats agree: Election season may have ended just four days ago, but it's already time to get back to work. In this case, "back to work" might mean "back to fighting."

Leaders in both parties made their opening bids Friday on how to deal with the tax, spending and debt problems that face the country at the end of this year.

While the scenario echoes last year's spending battle, there are some differences that could push the parties toward the resolution they never reached last time around.

Where The President Stands

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Asia
5:26 am
Sat November 10, 2012

A Grim Chronicle Of China's Great Famine

Chinese villagers welcome the arrival of tractors purchased by a farmers' cooperative in April 1958, during the Great Leap Forward campaign. The disastrous modernization program ended in China's great famine and tens of millions of deaths.
Keystone-France Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images

Originally published on Sat November 10, 2012 11:29 am

First of two parts

It's not often that a book comes out that rewrites a country's history. But that's the case with Tombstone, which was written by a retired Chinese reporter who spent 10 years secretly collecting official evidence about the country's devastating great famine. The famine, which began in the late 1950s, resulted in the deaths of millions of Chinese.

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StoryCorps
5:25 am
Sat November 10, 2012

Amidst War, U.S. Guardsman Forges Unexpected Bond

Ali, an Iraqi teenager, wears Spc. Justin Cliburn's helmet and radio equipment in Baghdad. Ali and Cliburn became unlikely friends while Cliburn trained Iraqi police in 2005 and 2006.
Courtesy of Justin Cliburn

Originally published on Sat November 10, 2012 3:11 pm

The Military Voices Initiative, a StoryCorps' project, collects stories from members of the U.S. armed forces, with a special focus on those who served in post-Sept. 11, 2001, conflicts. Every month, highlights from that initiative air on Weekend Edition Saturday.

Spc. Justin Cliburn, 30, was deployed to Iraq in 2005 with the Oklahoma Army National Guard. His job was to train the Iraqi police in Baghdad. During his time there, he got to know a boy in his early teens named Ali, who walked through their compound one day.

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Music News
12:10 am
Sat November 10, 2012

A Veteran's Standing Ovation, 70 Years In The Making

This month, a symphony composed by World War II veteran Harold Van Heuvelen had its premiere.
Kevin Gift

Originally published on Thu November 15, 2012 10:55 am

When you reach a certain age, big life surprises tend to come few and far between, unless you're Harold Van Heuvelen. Van, as everyone calls him, has had a blockbuster week full of dreams fulfilled. The story of his dream starts more than 70 years ago, on Dec. 7, 1941.

Van Heuvelen enlisted in the Army after Pearl Harbor. He was posted to a base in New Orleans as an instructor for recruits. He spent the war stateside, training men who were being shipped out to Europe and the South Pacific.

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Deceptive Cadence
12:00 am
Sat November 10, 2012

John Williams' Inevitable Themes

Flanked by composer Leonard Slatkin and soprano Jessye Norman, John Williams takes a bow during his 80th-birthday celebration at Tanglewood in August.
Stu Rosner

Originally published on Thu November 15, 2012 10:52 am

For more than 50 years, John Williams' music has taken us to galaxies far, far away through adventures here on earth, made us feel giddy joy and occasionally scared us to death.

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NPR Story
10:48 am
Sat November 3, 2012

Staten Island 'Wiped Out' As Storm Relief Trickles In

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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NPR Story
10:48 am
Sat November 3, 2012

Ohio Gets Love And Hot Rhetoric From Romney Camp

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Mitt Romney is also trying to pack as much campaigning into these final days as he can. Mr. Romney is working at a new level of intensity in the race as makes his closing arguments to American voters. NPR's Ari Shapiro is one the road with the Romney campaign and has this report.

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NPR Story
10:48 am
Sat November 3, 2012

Storm Whips Up Acts Of Kindness In Northeast

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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NPR Story
7:55 am
Sat November 3, 2012

The Political Middle: What Ohioans Have To Say

Originally published on Sat November 3, 2012 10:48 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

It's already starting to rain over northern Ohio this past weekend as the outer whirls of Hurricane Sandy approached. Just a few days before the election, people in Reminderville, the village of about 3,000, were concerned about turnout.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Trick or treat.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: Trick or treat.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Hey, what's going on?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: Hi.

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NPR Story
7:41 am
Sat November 3, 2012

China Prepares For New Leaders In Critical Transition

Originally published on Sat November 3, 2012 10:48 am

Just two days after the U.S. presidential election, China opens the most important event in a decade on its political calendar: a transition of power. Host Scott Simon talks to NPR's Louisa Lim and Frank Langfitt in China about the upcoming 18th Party Congress.

NPR Story
7:41 am
Sat November 3, 2012

In Storm-Drenched New Jersey, A Fight For Ice

Originally published on Sat November 3, 2012 10:48 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

In the aftermath of giant storms and during long power outages, common things can become precious commodities, things like gasoline, fresh milk and ice.

JOE ROMANO: Well, they need it for their perishable foods and also one thing that people don't keep in mind is medicine has to be refrigerated.

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NPR Story
7:41 am
Sat November 3, 2012

Obama Tries To Bank Early Votes In Ohio

Originally published on Sat November 3, 2012 10:48 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. And the multi-billion dollar presidential campaign has come down to its final weekend. All that money, all these months are campaigning come down to just a few more frantic days for the candidates. The polls now show a close contest between President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney as they campaign in a handful of swing states. Mr. Obama begins campaigning today where he left off yesterday in - have we said this before? - Ohio. NPR's Scott Horsley reports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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House & Senate Races
5:17 am
Sat November 3, 2012

Race For Redrawn Calif. District Is Tight And Pricey

Democrat Ami Bera is challenging Lungren. Bera ran against Lungren in 2004 and lost, but since the district was redrawn, the race has become competitive.
Rich Pedroncelli AP

Originally published on Sat November 3, 2012 10:48 am

Dan Lungren has been in and out of public office since 1979. The Republican represented a Southern California district in the '80s, served as the state's attorney general for eight years, and then returned to Congress to represent the Sacramento area in 2004.

These days, he's still the same pro-business, limited-government conservative he's always been, Lungren told a friendly audience in the Sacramento suburb of Rancho Cordova.

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Fine Art
5:17 am
Sat November 3, 2012

The Story Of Steadman, Drawn From His 'Gonzo' Art

Among his many accomplishments, Ralph Steadman illustrated Hunter S. Thompson's 1971 novel, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, about a journalist's reporting trip turned hallucinogenic bender.
Courtesy of Itch Film

Originally published on Mon November 5, 2012 9:36 am

Every morning, British illustrator Ralph Steadman wakes up in his country estate in rural England and attacks a piece of paper, hurling ink, blowing paint through a straw and scratching away layers to reveal lines and forms that surprise even him.

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Deceptive Cadence
5:17 am
Sat November 3, 2012

Storm Scores: Finding Poignant Reminders In Water-Damaged Music

A window-screen view toward conductor Marin Alsop's studio, badly damaged during the hurricane.
courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon November 12, 2012 10:18 am

This past week has been filled with some truly tragic stories of loss and devastation in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. There are also a few stories of near misses and disasters averted. Marin Alsop, music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, fortunately has one of the latter.

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Music News
2:03 am
Sat November 3, 2012

Radio Tanzania: A Disappearing History On Tape

Radio Tanzania archivist Bruno Nanguka stands with just a few of the 15,000 reel-to-reel tapes stored in the station's archives.
Jonathan Kalan

Originally published on Sat November 3, 2012 7:10 pm

At the archives of Radio Tanzania, more than 15,000 reel-to-reel tapes are stacked in floor-to-ceiling shelves. Each band, musician and recording date is painstakingly notated. The tapes reside inside three musty rooms of the Tanzania Broadcasting Corp., which occupies the old brick-and-concrete BBC building in Dar es Salaam.

Radio Tanzania was the country's only station from its birth in 1951 until the mid-1990s, when competing stations came on the air and state-controlled radio became irrelevant.

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Movies
11:18 am
Sat October 27, 2012

Horror Movies Surge Back To Mainstream Audiences

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Halloween is almost here, so perhaps it's no surprise that the film "Paranormal Activity 4" led the box office in its opening weekend. It is the latest entry in an already successful movie franchise. As Beth Accomando of member station KPBS reports, film audiences still enjoy a good scare - but what scares us keeps changing.

BETH ACCOMANDO, BYLINE: Horror renaissance man Clive Barker says the first person to scare him was Walt Disney.

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Politics
11:18 am
Sat October 27, 2012

Campaigns Upgrade, But Political Buttons Endure

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Political campaigns have been transformed in so many ways over the decades. But you wouldn't want to wear a silicon chip or a yard sign in your lapel. Mort Berkowitz has made political buttons since 1976, and says business is still good. He joins us now from member station WBUR in Boston. Mr. Berkowitz, thanks for being with us.

MORT BERKOWITZ: My pleasure.

SIMON: You've seen a lot of buttons over the years, haven't you?

BERKOWITZ: Yes, I have.

SIMON: Any favorites you can share with us?

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Media
11:18 am
Sat October 27, 2012

Sexual Abuse Scandal Rocks U.K.'s BBC Network

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. The BBC, one of the world's most prominent broadcasters, is in an uproar over allegations that one of its most famous TV personalities was a pedophile who preyed upon youths who appeared on his shows. As NPR's David Folkenflik reports, the BBC is both investigating the actions of the late Jimmy Savile and fielding sharp questions about why it killed a documentary exploring such accusations late last year.

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Middle East
11:18 am
Sat October 27, 2012

Variety Of Weapons Increases In Syrian Conflict

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

In the months leading up to the cease-fire, combatants on both sides have escalated the scale of weaponry used in the conflict. The war in Syria is notoriously difficult to cover, making it very hard to know exactly what weapons are being used. Eliot Higgins runs the Brown-Moses blog, which is often cited as an authoritative source on the weapons used in the Syrian conflict. We've reached him in the United Kingdom. Mr. Higgins, thanks so much for being with us.

ELIOT HIGGINS: That's no problem.

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World
11:18 am
Sat October 27, 2012

Reporter's Notebook: Celebrating In Pakistan

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Muslims around the world are celebrating the holy festival of Eid this weekend. That includes almost all of the people of Pakistan. NPR's Philip Reeves is in that country, and sent us this postcard.

(SOUNDBITE OF TRAFFIC NOISES)

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Media
11:18 am
Sat October 27, 2012

How Is The BBC Handling Abuse Scandal?

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

For more about the implications of the scandal with the BBC, we're joined by Martin Bell, OBE. He has a distinguished career as one of the BBC's most famous war correspondents. He covered 11 conflicts, reported from 80 countries over the course of 30 years. Martin Bell was seriously wounded by shrapnel while reporting the war in Bosnia, and if that weren't punishment enough, he then went on to be an independent member of the British parliament from 1997 to 2001.

Martin Bell joins us from London. Thanks so much for being with us.

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Sports
11:18 am
Sat October 27, 2012

World Series Heats Up; NBA's Commish Retires

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SIMON: Baseball comes to Motown for game three of the World Series. But, will Detroit's heavy hitters show up? The International Cycling Union says none of the above, or below, won the Tour de France in the years that Lance Armstrong copped the title and it plans for some organizational soul-searching. NPR's Tom Goldman joins us.

Morning, Tom.

TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: Hi, Scott.

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Presidential Race
11:18 am
Sat October 27, 2012

Tax Reform: Then And Now

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

In an election year marked by heated partisan exchanges and personal attacks, President Obama and Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, agree on something: tax reform.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: When it comes to our tax code, Governor Romney and I both agree that our corporate tax rate is too high. So I want to lower it, particularly for manufacturing...

MITT ROMNEY: The secondary then, taxation, we agree, we've got to bring the tax rates down, and I do, both for corporations and for individuals.

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