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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Americandy: Sweet Land Of Liberty
5:53 am
Sat August 4, 2012

Grand Ole Goo Goo Sweetens Fans Old And New

The Goo Goo Cluster, a classic gooey treat from Nashville, Tenn., celebrates its 100th birthday this year.
Melisa Goh NPR

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

No one's entirely sure where the Southern treat called the Goo Goo Cluster got its name.

The iconic candy from Nashville, Tenn., celebrates its 100th birthday this year. The confection of marshmallow, peanuts and caramel wrapped in milk chocolate may owe its longevity in part to another Nashville icon: the Grand Ole Opry.

Goo Goo Cluster sponsored the venue's radio broadcasts from 1966 until 2006. In one popular advertisement, stage performers crooned, "Go get a Goo Goo ... it's gooooooood!"

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The Veepstakes
5:53 am
Sat August 4, 2012

Ayotte Would Add Youth, Conservatism As VP Choice

Sen. Kelly Ayotte campaigns with Mitt Romney in Portsmouth, N.H., in April.
Jim Cole AP

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

That New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte is even being considered as Mitt Romney's running mate is somewhat remarkable. After all, New Hampshire has just four electoral votes, and Ayotte has been a U.S. senator — her first elected office — for less than two years.

But if any senator could be said to possess a refreshing charm, it might be Ayotte, 44, a mother of two young children, who still lives in her hometown of Nashua and is married to a former combat pilot.

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Opinion
5:53 am
Sat August 4, 2012

India's Blackout A Reminder Of How Far We've Come

A girl prepares a meal by candlelight in Jammu, India, during the massive blackout last week.
Channi Anand AP

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

This week, the world's largest democracy experienced the world's largest power outage. Nearly 700 million — that's more than half a billion — Indians were said to have been without power Tuesday. No air conditioning. No traffic lights. No metro system.

Most of the power is back now, but the outage had resonance for me from the long-ago years when I lived in New Delhi and experienced power failures almost as regularly as I did steaming cups of dark, sweet Indian tea.

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Music Interviews
2:03 am
Sat August 4, 2012

Uptown Vocal Jazz Quartet: Scat Singing To Its Own Tune

The Uptown Vocal Jazz Quartet, left to right: Ginny Carr, alto; Robert McBride, tenor; Holly Shockey, soprano; and Andre Enceneat, bass. The group's new album, Hustlin' for a Gig, came out in May.
Michael G. Stewart

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

The Uptown Vocal Jazz Quartet has been serenading audiences in its native Washington, D.C., across the country and even as far as France for more than two decades. But its members are finding ways to bring something new to their performances. Bandleader and co-founder Ginny Carr says she wrote the words and music to all 10 songs on the quartet's new album, Hustlin' for a Gig — a relative rarity in a jazz world defined by time-tested standards.

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NPR Story
7:52 am
Sat July 28, 2012

A British Critique Of The Olympic Opening

The 2012 Olympic Games opened Friday, with a ceremony that included James Bond and Queen Elizabeth parachuting into the stadium, flyovers, rippling Union Jacks, Shakespeare, sheep and fireworks. Host Scott Simon talks to Simon Hoggart, political sketch writer for The Guardian about the opening ceremony.

NPR Story
7:52 am
Sat July 28, 2012

As The Games Begin, A Look At Early Results

NPR's Tom Goldman talks with host Scott Simon about the first medal events, including cycling and swimming.

NPR Story
7:52 am
Sat July 28, 2012

Romney's Olympic Slip-Up: A Lasting Impression?

Mitt Romney is set to depart from London Saturday, after three days of photo ops and closed meetings. But his assessment of London's handling of the games drew a rebuke from Prime Minister David Cameron. Host Scott Simon chats with Financial Times columnist Gideon Rachman about the visit and the perceptions formed by Romney's hosts.

Sports
7:52 am
Sat July 28, 2012

Test Your Olympic Trivia Knowledge

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Our marathon man of trivia is A.J. Jacobs, who once read the entire Encyclopedia Britannica to learn more and get a book contract. Why didn't he just write 50 Shades of Knowledge? A.J. joins us now to talk about Olympic facts, some of which may actually be true.

A.J., thanks for being with us.

A.J. JACOBS: And thank you for having me.

SIMON: Let's start with the marathon, A.J. Apparently, one of your favorite athletes in history was Spiridon Louis, who was the winner of the first modern marathon back in 1896.

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Middle East
7:52 am
Sat July 28, 2012

On Syria's Front Lines: A Week With The Rebels

Throughout this week, NPR's Kelly McEvers has been bringing us stories from parts of Syria controlled by the rebels who are fighting to oust the regime of Bashar Assad. She talks with host Scott Simon about her reporting.

Food
6:22 am
Sat July 28, 2012

You Won't Throw Tomatoes At These Recipes

Chef Cassy Vires uses heirloom tomatoes like these in her tomato terrine.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 12:50 pm

Late July is peak tomato season in much of the country, so for some fresh and inventive twists on the fruit — and yes, it is botanically a fruit, no matter what the Supreme Court says — we're heading to Home Wine Kitchen in Maplewood, Mo.

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World
6:21 am
Sat July 28, 2012

Egyptians Break Fast, Beat Heat At The Same Time

Mohamed Godb works at Paradise Juices in a Cairo suburb. One way Egyptians are trying to beat the heat this Ramadan season is breaking the fast by drinking fresh juice.
Kimberly Adams for NPR

Originally published on Sat July 28, 2012 7:52 am

On a sweltering day in July, Cairo temperatures top 100 degrees and the humidity is an oppressive 83 percent. There hasn't been a single day this month with a high of less than 90 — in a country where access to air conditioning is much more limited than in the United States.

Add to that the fact that much of the country is fasting for Ramadan and it gives a new dimension to what the Egyptian Meteorological Association calls a "humid heat wave."

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Author Interviews
6:21 am
Sat July 28, 2012

Before The D-Day Invasion, Double Talk And Deceit

Allied troops invade Juno Beach on D-Day. Ben MacIntyre's latest book, Double Cross, recounts the grand deception beforehand that helped make the invasion a success.
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat July 28, 2012 7:52 am

Early in 1944, Southern England bristled with 150,000 American, British and Canadian soldiers gathered for an invasion the Allies hoped would end World War II.

The soldiers, pilots, sailors and Marines knew they were there to be launched into Nazi-occupied Europe. But surely the Germans knew also. It's hard to hide the largest invasion force in history. LIFE Magazine even ran photos of GIs in Piccadilly.

The question was: Where would they attack?

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Shots - Health Blog
6:20 am
Sat July 28, 2012

New Funds Could Shorten Waiting Lists For AIDS Drugs

The pharmacy at Atlanta's Ponce de Leon Center stocks medications for 5,200 HIV/AIDS patients. Workers there aren't sure how much an increase in federal aid will help cut Georgia's waiting list for a HIV drug-assistance program.
Jim Burress WABE, Atlanta

Originally published on Sat July 28, 2012 11:07 am

The Obama administration last week announced nearly $80 million in grants to increase access to AIDS care across the United States. But will the money be enough to eliminate waiting lists for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program?

Advocates aren't sure. The program, known as ADAP, provides a safety net for people with HIV who have no means of paying for the drugs they need to fight the virus.

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London 2012: The Summer Olympics
6:19 am
Sat July 28, 2012

Kenyan Runners Dash To Olympic Gold, And Wealth

Every day at 9 a.m. sharp in Iten, Kenya, 200 or so runners — most of them unknowns hoping to become champions — train on the dirt roads surrounding the town.
John Burnett NPR

Originally published on Sat July 28, 2012 8:09 pm

The long- and middle-distance runners to watch during the London Olympics are from Kenya, a country with a rich tradition of producing elite track athletes. The country won 14 medals four years ago in the Beijing Olympics.

Many of the world's best marathoners have come from a highland region above the Great Rift Valley. There, the famed town of Iten produces some of the fastest humans on Earth.

'I Want To Be Rich'

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Music Interviews
6:58 am
Sun July 22, 2012

Janet Feder: An Avant-Garde Artist Takes A Real Risk

Janet Feder built a career on unusual instrumental guitar playing. Her new album, Songs With Words, will feature her singing for the first time.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon July 23, 2012 11:46 am

Janet Feder does things to her guitar.

"If I play the second string with nothing on it, it sounds like this," Feder says, plucking out a note. "Just a pure pitch."

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NPR Story
7:35 am
Sat July 21, 2012

What's Coming Over The Olympic Horizon

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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

(SOUNDBITE OF SPORTS THEME MUSIC)

SIMON: OK, maybe that should be the (hums Olympic theme) because in just a few days, all the pomp and patriotism, the grit and athleticism, the sweat and pomposity of the 2010 Olympic Summer Games begins. Here with a preview NPR's Tom Goldman joins us. Tom, thanks so much for being with us.

TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: Did I just hear doves released in the studio there, Scott?

(LAUGHTER)

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NPR Story
7:35 am
Sat July 21, 2012

Aurora Businesses Pull Resources To Help Victims

Businesses in Aurora, Colo., sprang into action Friday to assist victims and their families. Kevin Hougen, president of the Aurora Chamber of Commerce, worked with businesses to help provide necessities to victims of the shooting. Host Scott Simon spoke with Hougen Friday from his office, which overlooks the movie theater.

NPR Story
7:35 am
Sat July 21, 2012

Deadly Shootings Put Politics In Suspense

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

American flags are flying at half-staff today over the White House, and elsewhere in the country. The shootings in Aurora have silenced politics as usual - at least, for the moment. The Romney and Obama campaigns have both pulled their TV ads from the air in Colorado, a state that had three top political advertising markets in the country this week. NPR's Ari Shapiro reports on a somber day on the campaign trail.

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Middle East
7:35 am
Sat July 21, 2012

Stream Of Refugees Leave Syria With Heavy Violence

Opposition activists in Syria report that there's been another day of heavy shelling in a number of cities, as rebel fighters continue their guerrilla war to topple President Bashar Assad. Host Scott Simon talks with NPR's Peter Kenyon in Beirut, which has seen a huge increase in refugees in recent days.

Middle East
7:35 am
Sat July 21, 2012

In Syria, An Urgent Effort To Organize Rebels

Members of the group Hamza Abdualmuttalib trained this week near the Syrian city of Aleppo.
Bulent Kilic AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat July 21, 2012 9:47 pm

The battle for Syria appears to have reached a decisive stage. Tanks are on the streets of Damascus as civilians flee the city, and rebels have seized outposts on the borders with Turkey and Iraq.

The opposition has shown a surprising military capability over the past few days. As fighting intensifies in the Syrian capital, there's an urgent push under way to organize the rebel force.

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Economy
7:35 am
Sat July 21, 2012

LIBOR Spotlight Shifts To U.S. Regulators

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

There's another dimension to that unfolding LIBOR scandal which cost Barclays, the British bank, its CEO and $450 million in fines after it was revealed that the bank had been manipulating international lending rates. Attention has shifted to why U.S. financial regulators, who knew about the rate rigging, didn't move to stop it more swiftly.

We're going to put that question to Robert Smith, correspondent for NPR's Planet Money. He joins us from New York. Robert, thanks for being with us.

ROBERT SMITH, BYLINE: My pleasure.

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Around the Nation
7:35 am
Sat July 21, 2012

How Columbine Shaped Police Response To Shootings

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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Around the Nation
7:35 am
Sat July 21, 2012

Man-Volvo Love Story May Hit 3 Million-Mile Mark

Host Scott Simon talks with 72-year-old Irv Gordon. His 1966 Volvo P1800S needs about 30,000 more miles to reach the 3 million-mile mark. His license plate reads, "MILNMILER."

Mental Health
7:35 am
Sat July 21, 2012

Treating Mental Trauma: Lessons From Tragedy

Host Scott Simon talks with Tom Olbrich of the Jefferson Center for Mental Health in Denver about some of the lessons learned about treating patients post-Columbine shooting.

Around the Nation
7:35 am
Sat July 21, 2012

Tragedy In Colo. Hits Movie Audiences Nationwide

The phrase "theater number 9" may soon be one of those added to our collective memory. That is where the shootings in Aurora, Colo., took place. It has some movie goers wondering about their safety in cities across the country.

Author Interviews
7:35 am
Sat July 21, 2012

'Our Kind': Unpacking Misconceptions About AIDS

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

A new book about global attitudes to the AIDS epidemic in Africa, lays some of the blame at the door of Joseph Conrad. Conrad's novel "Heart of Darkness," says the author - who's Uzodinma Iweala - connected inferiority and disease with Africa and Africans, in way which is still evident today. Uzodinma Iweala was himself was born in Washington D.C., the city with the worst incidence of AIDS in the United States. His first book, a novel called "Beasts of No Nation," told the harrowing story of child soldiers in Africa.

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Americandy: Sweet Land Of Liberty
6:06 am
Sat July 21, 2012

The Modjeska: A Star On Stage, Sweetly Remembered

The modjeska owes its name to a Victorian-era candy maker's infatuation with a Polish actress.
Melisa Goh NPR

Originally published on Sat July 21, 2012 10:20 am

In the back room of Muth's Candies in Louisville, Ky., Jonathon Skaggs and Bobby Masterson are busy dipping marshmallows into a copper pot.

The pot is filled with a top-secret hot caramel mixture. Skaggs and Masterson tap the excess golden caramel off each candy before placing it on a board to cool.

Masterson says it's a rhythm repeated hundreds of times each day.

"They're good ... they're a big-time seller in here in Kentucky, especially right here in Louisville," Masterson says. "There's a lot of people that come and get 'em."

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Books
6:06 am
Sat July 21, 2012

Get Revved Up: London Cabbie Picks Olympic Reads

Black taxis drive through London. Weekend Edition knows one London cabbie who treats reading like an Olympic sport.
Pierre-Philippe Marcou AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat July 21, 2012 7:35 am

At the end of July, thousands of visitors will descend on one of the great literary landscapes of history for the London Olympics. And if they're lucky, they may find themselves getting a ride from a man who drives for a living, but lives to read. London cabbie Will Grozier occasionally joins Weekend Edition to discuss what he's been reading. Lately, he's been thinking about books for the London Olympics visitor — reads that put both the games and the host city in context. He shares his recommendations with NPR's Scott Simon.

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Deceptive Cadence
6:05 am
Sat July 21, 2012

A Grand Soviet Symphony, By Way Of Brazil

Sergei Prokofiev (pictured) wrote a Fifth Symphony that has special resonance in Sao Paulo for conductor Marin Alsop.
Library of Congress

Originally published on Sat July 21, 2012 9:08 am

People keep asking me why I recorded Sergei Prokofiev's Fifth Symphony for my first CD release in my new post leading the Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestra. The simple answer is that it just felt right. But in thinking about it, I can now see many parallels — at least for me — between Prokofiev's music, the city of Sao Paulo and the country of Brazil.

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Presidential Race
7:54 am
Sat July 14, 2012

Obama On The Stump In Virginia

Originally published on Mon July 16, 2012 4:54 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

As Mitt Romney defends his business record, President Barack Obama is on the campaign trail. He'll be in the suburbs of Richmond, Virginia and Washington, D.C. today. Yesterday, the president traveled to the Tidewater region of southeastern Virginia, and he continued to make his pitch that he is the best champion for the middle class. NPR's Scott Horsley reports.

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