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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The Salt
5:35 am
Sat September 21, 2013

No Schmear Job: A Brief History Of Bagels And Lox

A marriage made in New York, though both partners came with plenty of baggage.
Jerry Deutsch iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon September 23, 2013 5:35 pm

There's a certain kind of joy in breaking the overnight fast by biting into a bagel: crackling crust, chewy center, smooth and silky cream cheese, sharp smoked salmon. For some, capers and onions join the ritual.

But just who invented this breakfast staple, which has become as American as apple pie?

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Deceptive Cadence
5:31 am
Sat September 21, 2013

Leonard Bernstein's Unconventional 'Anxiety'

Leonard Bernstein's Age of Anxiety symphony is as unconventional as its creator.
Courtesy of Library of Congress

Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 5:30 pm

Like Leonard Bernstein himself, there is absolutely nothing predictable about the music he wrote. None of the three amazing works Bernstein labeled as "symphonies" in any way resemble a conventional orchestral symphony.

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NPR Story
7:22 am
Sat September 14, 2013

Diplomats Sing For Peace

Originally published on Sat September 14, 2013 11:28 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

In the midst of international crisis and consternation this week, five U.N. diplomats stepped onto the stage at the United Nations headquarters to sing.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG)

CHORUS: (Singing) Many people, one world...

SIMON: From Romania, Canada, Cape Verde and Costa Rica, we've got the singing ambassadors with us to tell us about their new CD, "Ambassadors Sing for Peace." Thank you very much for being with us.

AMBASSADOR GUILLERMO RISHCHYNSKI: Our pleasure.

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NPR Story
7:22 am
Sat September 14, 2013

Colorado Voters Recall Two Gun Control Backers

Originally published on Sat September 14, 2013 11:28 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Another Colorado story now. Gun control advocates had hoped that last year's shootings in Newtown, Connecticut and Aurora, Colorado might move more Americans to call for stricter gun laws. Gun control measures ground down in the U.S. Congress but some states did pass legislation, including Colorado. Yet this past week, Colorado voters recalled two lawmakers who had backed the legislation.

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NPR Story
7:22 am
Sat September 14, 2013

Rescue Operations Underway In Flooded Colorado

Originally published on Sat September 14, 2013 11:28 am

Heavy rain and flooding have destroyed scores of communities, with at least four people dead. While the rain had let up a little, more is expected Saturday.

Technology
7:00 am
Sat September 14, 2013

New Computer School Makes French Students Teach Themselves

Xavier Niel, the French Internet billionaire and founder of the Internet provider Free, reacts after delivering his speech in January 2012. Niel has founded a new computer school in Paris named 42.
Jacques Brinon AP

Originally published on Sat September 14, 2013 1:25 pm

A new computer school in Paris has been overwhelmed by some 60,000 applicants.

The school, called 42, was founded by a telecom magnate who says the French education system is failing young people. His aim is to reduce France's shortage in computer programmers while giving those who've fallen by the wayside a new chance.

In the hallways of 42, suitcases and sleeping bags are piled, and people are stretched out on mattresses in some of the corners. There are showers and dozens of colorful bath towels.

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National Security
6:57 am
Sat September 14, 2013

Medea Benjamin's Anti-War Activism: Wearing Pink, Seeing Red

A Code Pink protester holds up a red-painted hand behind Secretary of State John Kerry as he testifies on Capitol Hill on Sept. 4 about possible military strikes on Syria.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Mon September 23, 2013 11:49 am

As the Obama administration made its case for military action in Syria, one of the loudest voices in opposition came from Medea Benjamin, the co-founder of Code Pink.

You may not know her by name, but if you follow national politics, you've no doubt seen her work.

At the House Foreign Affairs Committee earlier this month, for instance, as Secretary of State John Kerry made the case for a military strike in Syria, Medea Benjamin sat behind him, holding up her hands, painted bright red.

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Author Interviews
6:55 am
Sat September 14, 2013

Art Spiegelman Reflects On 60 Years Of Pen And Ink

Originally published on Sat September 14, 2013 11:28 am

It's axiomatic now that comics have gone from being kids' stuff to, in some cases, adults only. These days, comics are recognized as a real artistic form, one that can be complex, subtle, pointed, probing and profane.

One of the artists most responsible for this is Art Spiegelman, who drew for Topps Bubble Gum comics, invented the Garbage Pail Kids, created a character who was all head, no body, for Playboy and won the Pulitzer Prize for Maus, his Holocaust comic — a phrase that was once unfathomable.

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Author Interviews
4:58 am
Sat September 14, 2013

McMillan 'Asks' Readers To Empathize With A Family's Problems

Terry McMillan is the best-selling author of Waiting to Exhale and How Stella Got Her Groove Back
Matthew Jordan Smith Courtesy of Penguin Group USA

Originally published on Sat September 14, 2013 11:28 am

Terry McMillan weaves together different voices, generations, races and surprises in her latest novel, Who Asked You?. It's a family story that revolves around Betty Jean — known as BJ — a woman who worked as a Los Angeles maid and raised three kids. Her husband is now retired and suffers from Alzheimer's and her children have grown up in radically different ways. One son, Dexter, is in prison. Another son, Quentin, is a successful chiropractor who has had multiple marriages, pointedly lives out of town and wants little contact with his family.

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Architecture
4:57 am
Sat September 14, 2013

In Los Angeles, Showcasing A City That Might Have Been

Pereira and Luckman, Los Angeles International Airport Original Plan, 1952
LAWA Flight Path Learning Center

Originally published on Sat September 14, 2013 10:52 pm

A museum exhibit about buildings that don't exist might not sound all that exciting. But the Architecture & Design Museum in Los Angeles has had its crowds grow to 10 times their normal level for a show called Never Built: Los Angeles. It's on through Oct. 13 – and it's all about projects that were imagined for the city but never constructed.

Let's start with one of the most high-profile: a 1968 proposal that would've dramatically altered the profile of Mount Hollywood.

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Middle East
4:54 am
Sat September 14, 2013

In Syria Debate, Obama's Internal Dialogue Becomes Audible

President Obama's speeches about Syria have at times seemed to reveal his own internal struggle on the topic.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Sat September 14, 2013 6:21 pm

A surprise agreement between the U.S. and Russia, announced Saturday, calls for Syria to destroy all of its chemical weapons by mid-2014. The deal follows a chaotic week of seat-of-the-pants foreign policy.

Performing on the international stage, Obama and his Cabinet secretaries have offered up one plot twist after another, though it often seems as if the actors are working without a script.

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Music News
2:03 am
Sat September 14, 2013

Barbez Mines Resistance And Tradition Of Italian Jews

New York musician Dan Kaufman (third from right) traveled to Rome to learn more about the city's Jewish community and the Italian resistance during WWII. The result is a new album by his band Barbez, based in part on the lost melodies of Roman Jewish music.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sat September 14, 2013 11:28 am

The unique musical traditions of Rome's ancient Jewish community were almost lost for good. Now, those melodies are being revived — not by musicologists, but by a rock band based in New York.

"I fell in love with the melodies, and I started to re-imagine them for my band in our own style," says Dan Kaufman, guitarist and leader of the Brooklyn band Barbez.

The Tradition

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Sports
7:23 am
Sat September 7, 2013

History Repeats Itself At Women's U.S. Open

Originally published on Sat September 7, 2013 1:01 pm

Serena Williams will take on Victoria Azarenka in the U.S. Open final. Host Scott Simon talks to NPR's Tom Goldman about tennis, as well as the season opener of the NFL.

NPR Story
7:03 am
Sat September 7, 2013

Cow Tipping: The Myth That Just Won't Stand Up

Originally published on Sat September 7, 2013 1:01 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Cow tipping is considered an adolescent rite of passage in some places. Now, we have members of our staff in this very office of urban sophisticates who say they've been part of a group that tipped a bovine. But a journalist named Jake Swearingen insists that cow tipping is what amounts to a rural legend - no more real than jackalopes. His sod-breaking analysis appears in the new quarterly magazine Modern Farmer. Jake Swearingen joins us from our studios in New York. Thanks so much for being with us.

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NPR Story
7:03 am
Sat September 7, 2013

Former Champion Makes Case For Squash As An Olympic Sport

Originally published on Sat September 7, 2013 1:01 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Tomorrow, the International Olympic Committee will meet in Buenos Aires to decide which sport - wrestling, the combined sports of baseball and softball, or squash - will be added to the 2020 Olympics. Now, if squash is chosen, it would make its debut as an Olympic sport. Jonathon Power was the first North American to become the world's top-ranked squash player. He joins us on the line now. Thanks very much for being with us.

JONATHON POWER: An absolute pleasure. Thanks for having me.

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Education
6:25 am
Sat September 7, 2013

New School Year Brings Sequestration Pain For Many Districts

A student at Red Lake High School starts the 2005 school year following a shooting the year before in which eight people were killed. Because of sequestration, the district is not able to keep on staff a school psychologist brought in after the shootings.
Ann Heisenfelt AP

Originally published on Sat September 7, 2013 8:39 pm

The superintendent of the Lancaster, Pa., school district is meeting with teachers and staff at George Washington Elementary. It's the start of a new school year, and he's trying to sound upbeat about the district's finances.

"We continue to lose 5 and 10 percent of budgets each year," Pedro Rivera tells them. "And our overall goal is to make those plans and stretch out dollars to not impact you, because no kids should go without. Right?"

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Music
5:36 am
Sat September 7, 2013

A Children's Author Wrangles A Cowboy Soundtrack

Sandra Boynton's new children's album and songbook is titled Frog Trouble.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sat September 7, 2013 6:11 pm

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Simon Says
5:33 am
Sat September 7, 2013

When Weighing Intervention In Syria, Consider The Children

Leo del Aguila (from left), Vesa Gashi, Scott Simon, Erblin Mehmetaj and Shawn Fox in 1999 in a housing complex in Pristina. Del Aguila, Simon and Fox were covering the Kosovo conflict for NPR; the children lived in the war-stricken area.
Courtesy of Erblin Mehmetaj

Originally published on Sat September 7, 2013 1:01 pm

I was in a grocery store one night this week when a sturdy young man approached with a smile.

"Do you remember me?" he asked. "Bini."

Bini — Erblin Mehmataj — was a bony-shouldered 9-year-old boy with a full, toothy grin who lived in an Albanian Muslim housing complex in Pristina, where we stayed to cover the war in Kosovo in 1999.

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Author Interviews
5:32 am
Sat September 7, 2013

Billy Crystal's 'Foolin', Full Of Fun — And Feeling

Billy Crystal returned to voice the role of Mike Wazowski in 2013's Monsters University, sequel to the hit Pixar comedy that introduced the outgoing one-eyed scareball — sidekick to John Goodman's furry blue-and-purple star.
Joe Klamar AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 16, 2013 5:07 pm

Billy Crystal is ... 65. He feels that he's gone from being, as he puts it, "a cool Baby Boomer into a Diane Arbus photograph."

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Author Interviews
5:32 am
Sat September 7, 2013

Suspicious? In 'United States Of Paranoia,' It's Not Just You

Conspiracy theorists and other protesters march through downtown Denver on Aug. 26, 2008.
Ben Woloszyn AP

Originally published on Sat September 7, 2013 1:01 pm

Weekend Edition gets a lot of emails that start like this: "Why don't you tell the truth about ..." The Kennedy assassination, Sept. 11, the Lincoln assassination, the birthplace of Barack Obama or John McCain, Pearl Harbor, Area 51, black helicopters or the moon landing — fill in the blank however you like.

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NPR Story
7:38 am
Sat August 31, 2013

NBC To Broadcast Britsh Soccer League

Originally published on Sat August 31, 2013 11:59 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

There's no joke in American sport circles. Soccer is the sport of the future and always will be. Is the future here? Big time soccer finally has a major American television contract, but it's not the L.A. Galaxy, Chicago Fire, San Jose Earthquake, or Columbus Crew. The NBC sports network has started broadcasting a full schedule - should that be schedule - from Britain's premier league. That's Manchester United Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, the Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham.

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NPR Story
7:38 am
Sat August 31, 2013

Contenders Battle In The U.S. Open

Originally published on Sat August 31, 2013 11:59 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon and nice to say time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SIMON: The U.S. Open full swing. We've seen a curtain call for James Blake, an early exit by Venus Williams, a glitter of greatness from Victoria Duval and Serena Williams star burning bright as ever. For the latest from Blushing Meadows we turn to Howard Bryant of ESPN.com and ESPN the Magazine. He joins us from his studios of the Radio Foundation in New York City. Howard, thanks for being with us.

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NPR Story
7:38 am
Sat August 31, 2013

If 'Humanitarian,' Why Not Intervene In Syria Sooner?

Originally published on Sat August 31, 2013 11:59 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

As U.S. forced reportedly prepare to launch a limited military action against the Syrian government, we turn now to a voice who's long made the case that the U.S. must take some action in Syria. Michael Ignatieff is a leading voice for the idea of humanitarian intervention. He helped develop the concept of the responsibility to protect. He is the former leader of Canada's Liberal party and now back on the faculty of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard's Kennedy School.

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All Tech Considered
4:56 am
Sat August 31, 2013

Call Me, Haiti? One Man's Quest To Skype Around The World

YouTube

Originally published on Sat August 31, 2013 11:59 am

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Music Interviews
4:56 am
Sat August 31, 2013

Typhoon: Songs For A Lost Childhood

Typhoon, the Portland, Ore. band led by Kyle Morton, features a dozen musicians playing precise and complicated arrangements.
Jaclyn Campanaro Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sat August 31, 2013 11:59 am

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NPR Story
7:35 am
Sat August 24, 2013

1972 Dolphins Finally Get To Meet The President

Originally published on Sat August 24, 2013 11:39 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

These days the team that wins the Super Bowl usually counts on meeting with the president of the United States. But that wasn't the case when the Miami Dolphins went undefeated in 1972. So, early this week 31 members of that record-setting team finally got their chance to meet this president, more than 40 years later.

Their coach, hall of famer Don Shula joins us. Coach, thanks very much for being with us.

DON SHULA: Yes, glad to be with you.

SIMON: Any idea how this trip came about?

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NPR Story
7:35 am
Sat August 24, 2013

ESPN Backs Out Of Concussion Documentary

Originally published on Sat August 24, 2013 11:39 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. So good to say it's time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF THEME MUSIC)

SIMON: And we're just a couple of weeks away from the start of the NFL season but inquiring minds want to know did ESPN take a dive for the NFL? Joining us now to explore this and a couple of other questions is our man, NPR's Tom Goldman. Tom, thanks for being with us.

TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: Good to be with you again, Scott.

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NPR Story
7:35 am
Sat August 24, 2013

Trading Domain Names For A Day With The Candidates

Originally published on Sat August 24, 2013 11:39 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Last month, Kentucky Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes declared she'll run against minority leader, Mitch McConnell for the U.S. Senate.

ALISON LUNDERGAN GRIMES: ...Kentucky by running for the U.S. Senate.

(APPLAUSE)

SIMON: Her candidacy had been rumored for months. The obvious Web domain name, Grimesforsenate.com, had already been purchased. But not by the Grimes' campaign. By a man who's a kind of political hobbyist.

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Author Interviews
6:23 am
Sat August 24, 2013

Sisterly Conflict Against A Great War Backdrop In 'Daughters Of Mars'

Topical Press Agency Getty Images

Originally published on Sat August 24, 2013 11:39 am

Naomi and Sally Durance are heroes of the Great War, that war which was supposed to end all wars. It didn't, but it did help these two Australian sisters overcome sibling suspicion and grow closer to each other.

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Books
6:22 am
Sat August 24, 2013

'Bummers, Blisters And Boondoggles': A Jokester Joins The Army

Originally published on Tue August 27, 2013 2:59 pm

In a time when recollections can be reduced to just a few words, Jean Shepherd delivered monologues, soliloquies and musings. He was a raconteur.

Shepherd served in the Army during World War II — that same Army that stormed the beaches on D-Day, though Shepherd and his unit would never see the front lines. They were the homefront Army: stocking, re-stocking, sending, schlepping and training for a war they helped win — but only at a distance.

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