Weekend Edition Saturday

Saturday, 7a.m. - 9 a.m.

Whether revealing events in small-town America or overseas, or profiling notable personalities, Weekend Edition from NPR News appreciates the extraordinary details that make up every story. This two-hour morning newsmagazine covers hard news, a wide variety of newsmakers, and cultural stories with care, accuracy, and a wink of humor. 

On Saturdays, host Scott Simon's award-winning commentaries sum up an idea or event related to the week's news.  There are fresh reports from a cross-section of NPR correspondents on topics from religion to health to food to politics. Simon's interviews with key artists, authors, performers and personalities are always memorable.

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Presidential Race
7:07 am
Sat August 11, 2012

Mitt Romney To Announce Running Mate

Originally published on Sat August 11, 2012 1:38 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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Presidential Race
7:07 am
Sat August 11, 2012

Romney Officially Announces Running Mate

Originally published on Sat August 11, 2012 1:38 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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Presidential Race
7:07 am
Sat August 11, 2012

Introcuding Rep. Paul Ryan Of Wisconsin

Originally published on Sat August 11, 2012 1:38 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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Around the Nation
3:44 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 1:38 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
3:44 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 1:38 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
1:03 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 12:02 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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Music Interviews
1:03 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 11:32 am

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
1:03 am
Sat August 11, 2012

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

HarperCollins

Originally published on Sat September 1, 2012 2:31 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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Middle East
7:09 am
Sat August 4, 2012

On Syria's Newest Battleground: The Rebels' View

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 10:43 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
7:07 am
Sat August 4, 2012

Syrian President's Cousin Denounces Violence

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 10:43 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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Politics
6:32 am
Sat August 4, 2012

Congress Takes A Break With Looming To-Do List

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 10:43 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
6:32 am
Sat August 4, 2012

Anxiety Hovers Over Rover's Mars Landing

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 10:43 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
6:32 am
Sat August 4, 2012

An Olympic Impression Of London 2012 So Far

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 10:43 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
6:32 am
Sat August 4, 2012

Olympics Sets Off British Tears

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 10:43 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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Economy
6:32 am
Sat August 4, 2012

Economists Cautiously Applaud Jobs Report

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 10:43 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
6:32 am
Sat August 4, 2012

South Sudan, Young And In Need, Visited By Clinton

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 10:43 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
6:32 am
Sat August 4, 2012

Bee Professionals Help Canadian In Sticky Situation

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 10:43 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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Deceptive Cadence
5:39 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 2:59 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
4:54 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 10:43 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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Americandy: Sweet Land Of Liberty
4:53 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 10:43 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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Opinion
4:53 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 10:43 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
1:03 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 10:43 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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Presidential Race
6:52 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.

Middle East
6:52 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.

Sports
6:52 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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Sports
6:52 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.

Sports
6:52 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.

Music News
6:41 am
Sat July 28, 2012

The Not-So-Distant History Of Radio Jingles

WABC's Dan Ingram in 1981.
Courtesy of Allan Sniffen

Originally published on Sat July 28, 2012 11:35 am

Many people of a certain generation might remember a jingle or two from one of their hometown radio stations.

"It was, to use the current terminology, the branding or the imaging of the radio station," jingle producer Jonathan Wolfert says.

Jingles helped to create a station's personality. Throughout the 1960s and '70s, New York's WABC, a 50,000-watt powerhouse heard up and down the East Coast, was the Top 40 gold standard.

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Music Interviews
6:40 am
Sat July 28, 2012

Michael Kiwanuka: For Those Who Think Young

Michael Kiwanuka's debut album Home Again was released this spring.
Sam Butt Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sat July 28, 2012 6:52 am

It's been a hugely successful year for Michael Kiwanuka. The British singer-songwriter, who just turned 25, has been voted the BBC Sound of 2012, and was picked to tour with Adele.

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Music News
6:40 am
Sat July 28, 2012

Rodriguez: Forgotten In America, Exalted In Africa

Detroit singer Sixto Rodriguez's sweet voice and socially conscious lyrics made him a legend in apartheid-era South Africa. This photo appears on the cover of his second album, Coming from Reality (1971).
Sony Pictures Classics

Originally published on Sat July 28, 2012 6:52 am

Legends rarely disappear. But Sixto Rodriguez that did just that.

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