Weekend Edition Saturday on AM 870 NewsTalk

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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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NPR Story
2:09 pm
Sat August 11, 2012

Budget Colleague Van Hollan On Ryan's Selection

Originally published on Sat August 11, 2012 2:38 pm

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Earlier this morning, we had Democratic reaction to the VP pick. I spoke about Mitt Romney's choice with Maryland congressman Chris Van Hollen, who, along with Ryan - who is on the House Budget Committee with Congressman Ryan.

REPRESENTATIVE CHRIS VAN HOLLEN: Morning. It's great to be with you.

WERTHEIMER: Now, I wonder if you could tell me what you think of this choice. You've worked closely with Paul Ryan.

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NPR Story
2:09 pm
Sat August 11, 2012

Grover Norquist On Paul Ryan's Candidacy

Originally published on Sat August 11, 2012 2:38 pm

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

After leaving the USS Wisconsin, Romney and Ryan are probably hungry. They'll head to a little café and catering business called Homemades by Suzanne - where they'll meet, among others, this lady.

KIMBERLY MILLS: I'm Kimberly Mills(ph). I am co-owner of Homemades by Suzanne, in Ashland, Virginia.

WERTHEIMER: Mills is no novice, when it comes to meeting politicians. Homemades by Suzanne was the site of another candidate visit, back in 2008.

MILLS: We had Sarah Palin, you know, four years ago.

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NPR Story
1:20 pm
Sat August 11, 2012

Ryan's Budget Makes Plans For Medicare

Originally published on Sat August 11, 2012 2:38 pm

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer. If you are just joining us, we're following a big announcement this morning. The Republican candidate, Mitt Romney, has chosen his running mate. Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin will share the ticket. For more, I'm joined in the studio by our health policy correspondent, Julie Rovner.

Julie, hello.

JULIE ROVNER, BYLINE: Hello.

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NPR Story
1:20 pm
Sat August 11, 2012

Romney-Ticket Debuts Aboard The USS Wisconsin

Originally published on Sat August 11, 2012 2:38 pm

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.

The Romney campaign is now the Romney-Ryan campaign. The newly minted Republican ticket was presented at an event in Norfolk, Virginia. Mitt Romney named Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan as his running mate beside the aptly named USS Wisconsin. In his introduction of Ryan, he extolled the Midwestern virtues of the congressman.

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NPR Story
1:20 pm
Sat August 11, 2012

Why Virginia For Romney's VP Announcement?

Originally published on Sat August 11, 2012 2:38 pm

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Mitt Romney made his big VP announcement this morning in Norfolk, Virginia, and that, of course, is no coincidence. Virginia is one of the swing states. And in this year's presidential race, and both the Romney and Obama campaigns, have been heavily targeting voters in that state for months. Joining us now, is Larry Sabato. He is the director of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics, and he's on the line from Charlottesville. Larry Sabato, welcome.

LARRY SABATO: Good morning, Linda.

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Presidential Race
8:07 am
Sat August 11, 2012

A Look At Paul Ryan's Budget

Originally published on Sat August 11, 2012 2:38 pm

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

The selection of Paul Ryan as Mitt Romney's running mate will energize conservatives and liberals for the same reason. Ryan is the architect of the Republican House budget, which makes him a champion for conservatives, but a lightning rod, as well.

Joining us now to talk about that Ryan budget is NPR's Scott Horsley. Scott, this is a choice that activists in both parties will have something to say about it.

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Presidential Race
8:07 am
Sat August 11, 2012

Romney Announces VP Choice In Norfolk, Va.

Originally published on Sat August 11, 2012 2:38 pm

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer. It is no coincidence that Mitt Romney makes his vice presidential announcement aboard the U.S.S. Wisconsin, since Congressman Paul Ryan is from the Badger State. The U.S.S. Wisconsin is one of the largest battleships ever built by the U.S. Navy.

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Presidential Race
8:07 am
Sat August 11, 2012

Wisconsin Reacts To Ryan As Romney's VP Choice

Originally published on Sat August 11, 2012 10:39 am

Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin has been named Mitt Romney's running mate. Weekend Edition Saturday guest host Linda Wertheimer speaks with Craig Gilbert about reaction in Wisconsin. Gilbert is the Washington bureau chief for the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

Presidential Race
8:07 am
Sat August 11, 2012

Introcuding Rep. Paul Ryan Of Wisconsin

Originally published on Sat August 11, 2012 2:38 pm

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.

Paul Ryan, the congressman from Wisconsin, has been selected as the Republican candidate for vice president. Mitt Romney is expected to formally make this announcement of his obvious vice presidential running mate at an event later this morning in Virginia. The pick is a bit of a surprise. Congressman Ryan was not at the top of many lists. He shook off speculation on Fox News in May.

(SOUNDBITE OF FOX NEWS BROADCAST)

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Presidential Race
8:07 am
Sat August 11, 2012

Romney Picks Rep. Paul Ryan

Originally published on Sat August 11, 2012 11:13 am

Weekend Edition Saturday guest host Linda Wertheimer has an update on this morning's announcement.

Presidential Race
8:07 am
Sat August 11, 2012

Looking Ahead At The Romney-Ryan Ticket

Originally published on Sat August 11, 2012 2:38 pm

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Now we're going back to the big, high-profile contest this morning in politics: this morning's announcement that Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan is Mitt Romney's pick to be the next vice president. Romney would not speculate about his chances in an interview with MSNBC earlier this week, but he said that he was looking for a running mate with vision.

(SOUNDBITE OF MSNBC BROADCAST)

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NPR Story
8:02 am
Sat August 11, 2012

Mitt Romney To Announce Running Mate

Originally published on Sat August 11, 2012 2:38 pm

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.

Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan is Mitt Romney's choice to be the next vice president. Mitt Romney's campaign made the announcement earlier this morning, calling the ticket America's Comeback Team. Romney and Ryan are expected to appear together, for the first time as a ticket, at an event in Virginia later this morning. And we will be broadcasting that event when it happens.

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NPR Story
8:02 am
Sat August 11, 2012

Romney Officially Announces Running Mate

Originally published on Sat August 11, 2012 2:38 pm

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer. Today, and in fact we think in just a few minutes, Mitt Romney will make it official. Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan will be his choice for vice president. Romney is expected to make the announcement at an event in Norfolk, Virginia within sight of the Battleship Wisconsin.

Paul Ryan endorsed Mitt Romney during the Republican primaries and just before the Wisconsin primary, Ryan called Romney the right leader for the moment.

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NPR Story
8:02 am
Sat August 11, 2012

A Look At Romney's VP Pick

Originally published on Sat August 11, 2012 2:38 pm

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Now, we also have with us, for more on this announcement, NPR's Washington editor, Ron Elving. Hi, Ron.

RON ELVING, BYLINE: Good to be with you, Linda.

WERTHEIMER: Now, we - also here, NPR political correspondent Don Gonyea. Don.

DON GONYEA, BYLINE: Good morning.

WERTHEIMER: Now, Ron, let me begin with you. Who is Paul Ryan?

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Around the Nation
4:44 am
Sat August 11, 2012

Some Idaho Farmers Pray, Others Turn On The Water

Farmer Hans Hayden walks through his drought-stricken wheat field in Idaho. He says the wheat should be 3 feet tall by now.
Molly Messick for NPR

Originally published on Sat August 11, 2012 2:38 pm

In the West, in Idaho's arid, high desert, the drought has a mixed effect. There's a big divide between farmers with deep wells and irrigation and those without.

Hans Hayden is a rare find: a talkative farmer. He likes to explain things. But when it comes to the wheat he planted this spring, there's not much to say. This field needed rain. It didn't get it.

"At this point in time, it kind of looks like a desert," he says.

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Around the Nation
4:44 am
Sat August 11, 2012

Joplin's New Trees Struggle To Survive Amid Drought

Volunteers water saplings planted in Cunningham Park in Joplin, Mo. The trees were planted to help reforest Joplin after a deadly tornado last year destroyed many of the city's trees.
Michele Skalicky KSMU

Originally published on Sat August 11, 2012 2:38 pm

Saplings — no more than 6 feet tall — dot the landscape in Joplin, Mo. They replace the large shade trees that were ripped out of the ground by a massive tornado that swept through town in May of 2011.

Nearly 7,000 new trees, donated by various organizations, have been planted. They include sturdy, mostly native, varieties, such as oak, sycamore and redbud — trees that can withstand strong winds when they're taller.

With temperatures above normal for the past few months and precipitation below normal, those trees have had a hard time taking root.

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Music Interviews
2:03 am
Sat August 11, 2012

Marian McPartland's Storied Life, Told 'In Good Time'

Marian McPartland hosted NPR's Piano Jazz for 33 years.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun August 19, 2012 12:32 pm

More than half a century ago this week, on Aug. 12, 1958, some of the greatest jazz musicians of the day assembled in Harlem at what was, for them, the ungodly hour of 10 a.m. Fifty-seven players came to East 126th Street to have their picture taken for Esquire magazine.

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Author Interviews
2:03 am
Sat August 11, 2012

'This Will End In Tears': Soundtracks For Down Days

HarperCollins

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

Even the strongest among us get the blues: You can't get out of bed, you don't want to talk to a single other humanoid, and you just want to close the curtains and turn on the music. The songs you choose for those miseries have to be just right.

Adam Brent Houghtaling is something of a connoisseur of the melancholy moment. Perhaps to cheer himself up, he's put that expertise to use by producing a kind of encyclopedia of the best soundtracks for lonely days and nights. It's called This Will End in Tears: The Miserablist Guide to Music.

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Music Interviews
2:03 am
Sat August 11, 2012

Busking In Lansing, To Rave Reviews

Alexis Dawdy plays her violin on the streets of Lansing, Mich.
Scott Pohl WKAR

Originally published on Mon August 27, 2012 1:02 pm

All summer long, Weekend Edition has been sampling the sounds of America's street musicians. The latest to catch our ear is Alexis Dawdy, a young violinist who returned to her hometown of Lansing, Mich., to study at Michigan State University — and do a little busking on the side.

"I'm actually not a music major. This is really a hobby that accidentally became a profession," Dawdy says. "I'm studying linguistics, and I'm 17 credits out from graduation. My goal is to do it debt-free, and this helps a lot. This pays for books and this pays for food."

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Middle East
8:09 am
Sat August 4, 2012

On Syria's Newest Battleground: The Rebels' View

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 11:43 am

Transcript

SUSAN STAMBERG, HOST:

For more on what's happening on the ground in the Syrian city of Aleppo, we reached Abdul Rahman Abu Hothyfa. Throughout the conflict in Syria, he has been the spokesperson for an administrative organization called the Union of Coordinators of Aleppo. I asked him who makes up that group.

ABDUL RAHMAN ABU HOTHYFA: We represent a large sector of the people on the ground. We are like the - a group of young people and activists. So whatever new accident or something happens, we (unintelligible) each other.

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Middle East
8:07 am
Sat August 4, 2012

Syrian President's Cousin Denounces Violence

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 11:43 am

Transcript

SUSAN STAMBERG, HOST:

One man who's been watching developments in Syria more closely than most, has a curiously familiar-sounding name. Ribal al-Assad is President Bashar al-Assad's first cousin. He also supports efforts to depose him. His view, from exile in London, is grim.

RIBAL AL-ASSAD: Everybody is arming. Everybody is following violence. Nobody wants to sit together and have dialogue. Everybody is really, in to win. Everybody is really after power. This could lead to the disintegration of Syria and its society, and everybody will lose out.

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Economy
7:32 am
Sat August 4, 2012

Economists Cautiously Applaud Jobs Report

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 11:43 am

Transcript

SUSAN STAMBERG, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Susan Stamberg in for Scott Simon. In an encouraging sign for the U.S. economy, the Labor Department told us yesterday that the country gained 163,000 jobs in July. That was better than expected but not all signs are pointing up. In a separate government survey, the unemployment rate increased slightly to 8.3 percent. NPR's Chris Arnold is at a gathering of economists in northern Maine. He sent this report.

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Africa
7:32 am
Sat August 4, 2012

South Sudan, Young And In Need, Visited By Clinton

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 11:43 am

Transcript

SUSAN STAMBERG, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Susan Stamberg. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is on a seven-country trip through Africa, talking about strengthening democracies, building economic growth. Yesterday, she dropped in South Sudan - that's the world's newest country - to encourage the infant nation. But she warned of so many challenges ahead. NPR's John Burnett was in South Sudan when the secretary was, and he joins us now on the line from Nairobi. Hi, John.

JOHN BURNETT, BYLINE: Hey, Susan.

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Animals
7:32 am
Sat August 4, 2012

Bee Professionals Help Canadian In Sticky Situation

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 11:43 am

Transcript

SUSAN STAMBERG, HOST:

A homeowner in the town of Varney, Ontario found herself in what you might call a sticky situation not long ago when she discovered honey dripping from her kitchen ceiling. Turns out, there were some 80,000 bees nesting between floors. Loretta Yates called a pest control company to help her out. They told her they couldn't really take care of it, so they called in an expert. Dave Schuit is the beekeeper and co-owner of Saugeen Country Honey. He's on the line with us. Now, Mr. Schuit, tell us about this distress call that you got.

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Politics
7:32 am
Sat August 4, 2012

Congress Takes A Break With Looming To-Do List

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 11:43 am

Transcript

SUSAN STAMBERG, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Susan Stamberg in for Scott Simon. Congress wrapped up its summer session this week and members headed back to their home district. But with public approval ratings of Congress wallowing in the teens and constant headlines about gridlock, a lot of people might be wondering what exactly did the Congress accomplish anyway? For some answers about congressional actions and what is still unfinished, we are joined by NPR's David Welna. Hiya, David.

DAVID WELNA, BYLINE: Hi, Susan.

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Space
7:32 am
Sat August 4, 2012

Anxiety Hovers Over Rover's Mars Landing

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 11:43 am

Transcript

SUSAN STAMBERG, HOST:

These are tense times for scientists and engineers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena. Late Sunday night Pacific Time, they'll learn if nearly a decade of hard work will result in a priceless scientific laboratory landing safely on Mars or if the rover known as Curiosity will turn into a useless pile of junk. Everything depends on what happens during the seven minutes of terror, the time it takes the probe to go from the top of the Martian atmosphere to the planet's surface.

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Sports
7:32 am
Sat August 4, 2012

An Olympic Impression Of London 2012 So Far

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 11:43 am

Transcript

SUSAN STAMBERG, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Susan Stamberg. Time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SPANDAU BALLET: (Singing) Gold. Always believe in your soul, you've got the power...

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Europe
7:32 am
Sat August 4, 2012

Olympics Sets Off British Tears

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 11:43 am

Transcript

SUSAN STAMBERG, HOST:

You find out so much about a country, you know, when it's hosting the Olympics. It's almost as if the games lay bare a nation's soul. NPR's Philip Reeves says that is what's happening in Britain. He's finding the experience unnerving, as he explains, in this letter from the Olympics.

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Deceptive Cadence
6:39 am
Sat August 4, 2012

Gathering Of The Viols: The 50th Annual Viola Da Gamba Conclave

Jack Ashworth, Tina Chancey, Lisa Terry and Phillip Serna perform Sunday during the closing banquet of the weeklong conclave at the University of Delaware in Newark, Del.
Scott Mason

Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 3:59 pm

Viola da gamba players are a special breed — a tiny subset in the already small world of early classical music. They rarely meet their own kind, but once a year they come together for a week in July at an annual jam session they call a conclave. Wendy Gillespie, who just finished her term as president of the Viola da Gamba Society of America, says attending the event is the highlight of her year.

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World
5:54 am
Sat August 4, 2012

No Space, Mate: Koalas' Habitat Under Threat

A male koala visits the female enclosure at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Brisbane, Australia. Koalas are dwindling in number as their habitat along Australia's east coast gives way to urban growth.
Stuart Cohen for NPR

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 11:43 am

Earlier this year, the Australian government added the koala to the country's list of endangered species. By some counts, only about 100,000 remain in the wild in a country that once boasted a population in the millions. But many conservationists say the listing doesn't go far enough.

Paul O'Donnell is one of the many volunteers at Friends of the Koala in the northern New South Wales town of Lismore.

"We go out every day for about an hour or so collecting leaf; usually we get about one bin per koala," O'Donnell says.

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