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
8:16 am
Sat September 8, 2012

The Burn Of Unemployment Still Stings New Hampshire

Transcript

JOSH ROGERS, BYLINE: I'm Josh Rogers in Concord, New Hampshire. Pretty much every poll in this race shows the Granite State as a tossup. Economic issues tend to dominate here, and even though New Hampshire has weathered the recession relatively well - unemployment stands at just 5.2 percent - you wouldn't know it by talking to voters at Manchester's Red Arrow Diner.

NEAL POITRAS: I ran into a tough situation where I actually bought a house five years ago and I just recently sold it for a $46,000 loss.

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Around the Nation
6:06 am
Sat September 8, 2012

Looking To 'Future,' Ga. Schools Require Mandarin

Instructor Huiling Li encourages second-grader Trinity Faulkner on the first day of Mandarin Chinese classes at Brookdale Elementary School in Macon, Ga.
Adam Ragusea for NPR

Originally published on Mon September 10, 2012 11:57 am

Public schools in Macon, Ga., and surrounding Bibb County have a lot of problems. Most of the 25,000 students are poor enough to qualify for free and reduced lunch, and about half don't graduate.

Bibb County's Haitian-born superintendent Romain Dallemand came into the job last year with a bag of changes he calls "The Macon Miracle." There are now longer schools days, year-round instruction, and one mandate nobody saw coming: Mandarin Chinese for every student, pre-K through 12th grade.

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Latin America
6:03 am
Sat September 8, 2012

Plan For Cuban Ballet School A Dance Of Art, Politics

Cuban ballet dancer Carlos Acosta has a bold plan to transform a long-abandoned, incompletely built ballet school in Havana into a global cultural and dance center. But some fear the plan is a step toward "privatization."
Nick Miroff for NPR

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

A radical proposal to restore one of Cuba's most important architectural landmarks is rekindling a 50-year-old controversy. At the center is ballet superstar Carlos Acosta, who left the island and went on to a lead role in London's Royal Ballet. Acosta wants to return to the island and restore an abandoned ballet school with help from one of the world's most famous architects.

But the proposal has opened old wounds from the school's past and stirred a debate about the future of Cuba's state-sponsored cultural model.

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Author Interviews
6:00 am
Sat September 8, 2012

An Invitation To Join 'The Dangerous Animals Club'

The Tobolowsky Files." href="/post/invitation-join-dangerous-animals-club" class="noexit lightbox">
Stephen Tobolowsky is an actor and writer. He also hosts the podcast The Tobolowsky Files.
Jim Britt Simon & Schuster

Originally published on Sat September 8, 2012 8:16 am

Stephen Tobolowsky calls his book, The Dangerous Animals Club, a group of "pieces." They are partly essays, partly short stories, partly memoir. They are anecdotes, stories and insights that are shuffled in and out of order, like cards in a deck.

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Music News
2:03 am
Sat September 8, 2012

Sauti Sol: Native Sons Sing Straight To Kenya's Youth

Sauti Sol has become the most popular band in Kenya.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sat September 8, 2012 9:40 pm

The members of Sauti Sol rehearse in a cramped recording studio above a chapati restaurant off a noisy highway in Nairobi. Bien-Aime Baraza, Delvin Mudigi and Willis Chimano — the founding members, all 25 — have been friends since they sang together as part of a gospel ensemble in high school. When they graduated in 2005, they didn't want to stop singing, so they formed Sauti Sol. Sauti is Swahili for voice, while sol is Spanish for sun. "Voices of light."

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Presidential Race
6:12 am
Sat September 1, 2012

Romney Visits Storm-Stricken La. Ahead Of Obama

Originally published on Sat September 1, 2012 3:31 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. And there are a little more than 60 days left until the presidential election. Democrats are gearing up for their nominating convention, in North Carolina next week. Republicans, of course, held their convention this week, in Florida. And in a moment, we'll hear a report on President Obama's visit to a U.S. military base.

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Economy
6:12 am
Sat September 1, 2012

The Economy: What Are The Central Bankers Saying?

Originally published on Sat September 1, 2012 3:31 pm

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Every year at this time, many of the world's central bankers gather in Jackson Hole, Wyoming for an annual economic policy symposium, within sight of snow-capped mountain peaks. The economy continues to be weak in much of the world. A select group of journalists is allowed to attend - and Robin Harding, the U.S. Economics Editor of the Financial Times, is one of those journalists.

He joins us from Jackson Hole. Mr. Harding, thank you for being with us.

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Politics
6:12 am
Sat September 1, 2012

The GOP Convention Is Done, But The Swag Lives On

Originally published on Sat September 1, 2012 3:31 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Finally, a story of a couple of guys on a road trip to find a few things that may be priceless. Remember, it's a road trip. Our two stars are...

LARRY BIRD: I'm Larry Bird.

HARRY RUBENSTEIN: Hi, this is Harry Rubenstein.

SIMON: Larry Bird and Harry Rubenstein are curators at the National Museum of American History. They've been in Tampa this week and will be in Charlotte next to collect stuff.

BIRD: I mean, it could be anything - banner, badges, buttons, ribbons.

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Book Reviews
6:12 am
Sat September 1, 2012

'Headbangers' And The New American Pastime

Originally published on Tue September 4, 2012 10:24 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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

Baseball is still called the national pastime, and poets still compose paeans to its subtlety and gentle pace. But in the 1970s, pro football began to become America's defining game, and it was about as subtle as a kick in the head. As Kevin Cook suggests in his new book, the '70s - the days of Mean Joe, "Mad Dog" John Madden, buttoned-up Tom Landry and Howard Cosell - the days when football was raw and unfiltered.

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NPR Story
6:07 am
Sat September 1, 2012

Gone But Not Forgotten, Isaac Leaves Messy Wake

Originally published on Sat September 1, 2012 3:31 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News, I'm Scott Simon. The remnants of Hurricane Isaac have now moved north, dumping heavy rain in Arkansas and Missouri. In Louisiana and Mississippi, it will take many weeks - if not months - to clean up the mess from the flooding and torrential downpours. As NPR's Russell Lewis reports, residents there are taking things kind of in stride, even as they need to rebuild yet again.

(SOUNDBITE OF SPLASHING WATER)

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NPR Story
6:07 am
Sat September 1, 2012

Week In Sports: U.S. Open To Be Roddick's Last

Originally published on Sat September 1, 2012 3:31 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

And I wait all week to say time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SIMON: The 2012 tennis season is in the home stretch - or is it the last set? What do we call it? The U.S. Open in New York, and it's been eventful. We'll also hit the gridiron in a moment. First, Howard Bryant of ESPN.com and ESPN the Magazine joins us now from New York. Howard, good morning.

HOWARD BRYANT: Good morning, Scott. How are you?

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Europe
6:04 am
Sat September 1, 2012

In Bike-Friendly Copenhagen, Highways For Cyclists

Many Copenhagen residents already travel by bike, and now the city is building high-speed routes designed to encourage commuters even in the outlying suburbs.
Slim Allagui AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat September 1, 2012 10:17 pm

Every day, one-third of the people of Copenhagen ride their bikes to work or school. Collectively, they cycle more than 750,000 miles daily, enough to make it to the moon and back. And city officials want even more people to commute, and over longer distances.

So a network of 26 new bike routes, dubbed "the cycling superhighway," is being built to link the surrounding suburbs to Copenhagen.

Lars Gaardhoj, an official with the Copenhagen capital region, says the routes will be straight and direct.

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'Weekend Edition's' Taste Of Summer
5:47 am
Sat September 1, 2012

Swimming And Snacking On Egypt's North Coast

Freska are small, sweet treats — thin, crispy wafers sandwiching patties of sesame, peanuts or coconut, often held together by honey or sugar.
Kimberly Adams

Originally published on Sat September 1, 2012 3:31 pm

In the summer, many middle- and upper-class Egyptians flee the sweltering heat and humidity of Cairo to a string of private beach communities that hug the Mediterranean coast. Here, the weather is cooler and the breeze off the sea carries the shouts of snack sellers. Those vendors make it possible for beachgoers to purchase snacks without leaving the shade of their umbrellas.

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Simon Says
5:58 pm
Fri August 31, 2012

Without A Career, How Do We Know Who We Are?

Originally published on Sat September 1, 2012 3:31 pm

Are we what we do?

A lot of Americans identify themselves by their work. It's often how we introduce ourselves or describe our friends and parents: "I'm a police officer." "I'm a spot-welder." "My dad was a druggist." "My mom was a teacher." "My wife is a pilot." "My friend is a firefighter." "I sell insurance."

Our work has been a kind of identity stamp, defining us as much as our last name or place of birth. As Studs Terkel wrote in his 1974 classic, Working, "Our jobs give us daily meaning as well as daily bread."

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Sports
10:16 am
Sat August 25, 2012

Armstrong Decision Ripples Outside Of Sporting World

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon and it's time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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Simon Says
9:45 am
Sat August 25, 2012

Phyllis Diller: Showing, And Celebrating, Her Age

Phyllis Diller attends an Academy of Television Arts & Sciences event in North Hollywood, Calif., in 2008. The comedic legend died this week at 95.
Charley Gallay Getty Images

Originally published on Sat August 25, 2012 10:16 am

When Phyllis Diller died this week at the age of 95, much was made of the way she burst open doors for women in comedy. But she also showed a way for people to make a midlife crisis into a breakthrough.

Diller was an Eisenhower-era housewife in the smokestack-and-factory-whistle suburbs of Oakland, Calif., whose husband worked at the naval air base. They had five children and could use some extra income. Phyllis, who had been an art and music student in her youth, also had extra, unfulfilled ambitions to entertain. She volunteered at veteran's hospitals for the Red Cross.

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Around the Nation
8:25 am
Sat August 25, 2012

'D'Oh!' Simpsons Stamps A Flop For Postal Service

Originally published on Sat August 25, 2012 10:16 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

There's only one way to begin this item.

(SOUNDBITE OF THEME FROM "THE SIMPSONS")

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Business
6:28 am
Sat August 25, 2012

Apple Win Over Samsung Sends Message To Industry

Originally published on Sat August 25, 2012 10:16 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Apple has won a decisive victory in a closely watched patent lawsuit. A federal jury in California yesterday ordered Samsung to pay Apple slightly more than $1 billion. The jury found that the world's largest maker of smartphones had essentially stolen iPhone and iPad technology. As NPR's Wendy Kaufman reports, the impact of the ruling is likely to be felt throughout the tech industry.

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Strange News
6:28 am
Sat August 25, 2012

Need A Soprano? Get A Gibbon On Helium

Originally published on Sat August 25, 2012 10:16 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This just in: Gibbons on helium sing like sopranos. Wired magazine reports on a study at Kyoto University in which an ape named Fuku-chan was placed in a chamber filled with helium enriched air. This was not a party trick. Helium-rich air apparently allows scientists to more easily analyze vocalizations. Fuku-chan's bellow went from this:

(SOUNDBITE OF BELLOWING)

SIMON: To this:

(SOUNDBITE OF BELLOWING)

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Around the Nation
6:28 am
Sat August 25, 2012

Hurricane Andrew: Florida's Unwelcome Visitor

Originally published on Sat August 25, 2012 10:16 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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World
6:28 am
Sat August 25, 2012

What's Next For Jailed Pakistani Christian

Originally published on Sat August 25, 2012 8:31 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

There's been international outcry over the arrest of a young Christian girl in Pakistan, who's charged with blasphemy. A Muslim neighbor denounced her for allegedly burning parts of the Quran, a crime that's punishable by death in Pakistan. An Islamic cleric caught word of it and stirred up an angry mob that beat the young girl. NPR's Lauren Frayer reports from Islamabad, the girl is now behind bars and unable to see her lawyer or family.

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Politics
6:28 am
Sat August 25, 2012

Ahead Of Conventions, Candidates Hone Message

Originally published on Sat August 25, 2012 10:16 am

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Republicans and Democrats will talk a lot about the economy during their national conventions over the next couple of weeks. And yet, the man who is about to be nominated by the Republican convention, Mitt Romney, briefly strayed from an economic message yesterday, while speaking in the Detroit suburb of Commerce, Michigan.

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Politics
6:28 am
Sat August 25, 2012

Revisiting Conventions Of Elections Past

Originally published on Sat August 25, 2012 10:16 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Political conventions used to be dramatic events that made history. They nominated candidates for president. They debated crucial issues under glaring lights. Now, not so much. Presidential candidates win or lose nominations in primaries, and parties tend to see - and use - conventions as what amounts to advertisements for themselves. Our apologies to Norman Mailer.

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NPR Story
5:47 am
Sat August 25, 2012

Remembering Meles Zenawi, Ethiopia's Champion

Originally published on Sat August 25, 2012 8:35 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Ethiopia's longtime prime minister died this week. Meles Zenawi was 57. He came to power in 1991 when a rebel army toppled that nation's Marxist dictator and the Ethiopian leader became a trusted U.S. ally in the war against terrorism. As NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reports, he leaves behind a mixed legacy.

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NPR Story
5:47 am
Sat August 25, 2012

New U.S. Ambassador To Afghanistan Faces Tough Job

Originally published on Sat August 25, 2012 10:16 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. James Cunningham has taken one of the most difficult diplomatic posts in the world. He is the new U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan.

AMBASSADOR JAMES CUNNINGHAM: I, James D. Cunningham...

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Do solemnly swear.

CUNNINGHAM: ...do solemnly swear...

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: That I will support and defend.

CUNNINGHAM: ...that I will support and defend...

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NPR Story
5:47 am
Sat August 25, 2012

Not All Chinese Restaurants Are Created Equal

Originally published on Sat August 25, 2012 10:16 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Hungry? You might give a listen now to David Chan. Mr. Chan is a Los Angeles tax lawyer who says he's eaten in more than 6,000 Chinese restaurants in North America and knows how to identify the best. David Chan joins us on the line now.

Thanks very much for being with us.

DAVID CHAN: Well, thanks for having me, Scott.

SIMON: So what do you look for?

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Music Al Fresco
2:03 am
Sat August 25, 2012

A Roving Percussionist On The Big Easy's Busy Streets

Clyde Casey has been performing on the streets of New Orleans for 40 years.
Tegan Wendland

Originally published on Sat August 25, 2012 12:53 pm

All summer long, Weekend Edition has been bringing listeners the sounds of music played outdoors by all manner of street performers. Of all the cities in America that embrace buskers, New Orleans, with its tradition of jazz and oompah bands at Mardi Gras, may be the most welcoming. It also happens to be a city with a certain eccentric flair — so Weekend Edition wasn't surprised to find Clyde Casey there.

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Music Interviews
2:03 am
Sat August 25, 2012

Selah Sue: From Online Stardom To A Stage With Prince

Selah Sue performs at NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Coburn Dukehart NPR

Originally published on Sat August 25, 2012 11:18 am

Just a small-town girl, living in a lonely world — in Belgium, with her guitar and a MySpace page. That's how Selah Sue used to introduce her music to those outside her hometown: with short videos made between high-school classes and weekend shows at local clubs, posted to her online journal.

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Music Interviews
2:03 am
Sat August 25, 2012

Sean Rowe: An Outdoorsman Enters Civilization

Sean Rowe's new album is The Salesman and the Shark.
Marius Bugge

Originally published on Sat August 25, 2012 10:16 am

Sean Rowe has a voice and a style that stands out in popular music. His voice is deep — really, truly deep — fine, and often doleful. He's a baritone troubadour who sings of roads not taken, regrets and the dreams that shake you awake at 3 in the morning.

After years of working bars, road houses and more bars, Rowe is playing concert stages and winning over critics for his story-songs and that remarkable voice. But, as he tells NPR's Scott Simon, he wasn't always so proud to be a singer.

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Sports
3:03 pm
Sat August 18, 2012

Preparing For The 2012 Paralympic Games In London

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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