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.

Learn more about the program on their website.

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NPR Story
7:00 am
Sat April 14, 2012

Romney Talks Freedom At NRA Conference

Originally published on Sat April 14, 2012 10:25 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. Scott Simon is away. I'm Linda Wertheimer. After a long, turbulent primary season, Mitt Romney is now fully in general election mode. With Rick Santorum out of the race, Romney is trying to clarify the differences between himself and President Obama. He's also trying to nail down his support from the Republican base. NPR's Ari Shapiro reports from St. Louis on Romney's speech yesterday, to the annual convention of the National Rifle Association.

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The Record
7:00 am
Sat April 14, 2012

Indian Record Label Hits The Road To Save Traditional Music

Sakar Khan with his kamancha in his home in Hamira, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan. He's passed his favorite kamancha — the one he got from his father — to his son, Darra. But this one plays just fine, if he's the guy playing it.
Michael Sullivan NPR

Originally published on Sat April 14, 2012 3:24 pm

The number of major record labels is down to three. But that's not necessarily a bad thing when it comes to promoting music that's out of the mainstream. A label called Amarrass Records, founded in the Indian state of Rajasthan, is dedicated to exposing and preserving indigenous folk music before it disappears.

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Books
5:02 am
Sat April 14, 2012

'Prague Fatale': 'Downton Abbey With SS'

Penguin USA

Philip Kerr is a British novelist, born a decade after the end of World War II, who has written a series of compelling thrillers about crime in wartime Nazi Germany. His hero — mostly a hero — is a tough and cynical Berliner, a cop named Bernie Gunther. The newest book is the eighth in the series; it's called Prague Fatale.

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Author Interviews
5:01 am
Sat April 14, 2012

'Heretics': The Crisis Of American Christianity

iStock Photo

The United States ranks as the most religious country in the developed world. And New York Times columnist Ross Douthat says that despite our politics, debates and doubts, this country is as God-besotted today as ever.

But in his new book, Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics, Douthat argues that religion has fallen into heresy (hence the feisty subtitle). Douthat recently spoke with NPR's Linda Wertheimer about why he thinks American Christianity has become distorted.


Interview Highlights

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Titanic: Voyage To The Past
5:01 am
Sat April 14, 2012

History Lost And Found: A Letter From Titanic

Surviving officers of the Titanic recalled ship's doctor John Edward Simpson as perfectly calm in the face of death, even giving his pocket flashlight to one of the lifeboat captains.
Courtesy of Kate Dornan

Originally published on Sat April 14, 2012 1:36 pm

Many famous names went down with the Titanic, like the American millionaire John Jacob Astor IV, the wealthiest person on the ship, and Macy's department store owner Isidor Straus.

But you may not know about one of the ship's doctors — John Edward Simpson. Aboard the Titanic, Simpson wrote a letter to his mother back home in Belfast. It was mailed from the great ship's last port of call before it made its disastrous turn across the North Atlantic.

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Monkey See
11:01 pm
Fri April 13, 2012

The Fourth Stooge: Memories Of 'Uncle Shemp'

Originally published on Mon April 16, 2012 9:02 am

This weekend, the Farrelly Brothers' version of The Three Stooges arrives in theaters. You'll see plenty of Larry, Moe and Curly. But who won't you see? Shemp. Or, as NPR's Sue Goodwin calls him, "Uncle Shemp."

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Music Interviews
4:04 pm
Fri April 13, 2012

The Magnetic Fields: 'Out Late At A Bar, Writing A Song'

Stephin Merritt (far left) has led The Magnetic Fields since the early 1990s, with a songwriting style that ranges from sincere to bitter to ironic.
Marcelo Krasilcic

For more than 20 years, the indie-pop group The Magnetic Fields has been singing songs about love, though not always in the traditional sense. With a style that ranges from bitter to sincere to ironic, Stephin Merritt — the group's frontman, writer and producer — has created a growing cast of characters surviving love's vicissitudes.

In his characteristic deadpan, Merritt tells NPR's Linda Wertheimer that he owes the inspiration for many of those characters to a particular ritual of his.

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Simon Says
7:43 am
Sat April 7, 2012

Bosnia Remembers When The World Looked Away

Red chairs fill a main street in Sarajevo on Friday as the city marks the 20th anniversary of the start of the Bosnian war. Officials lined up 11,541 chairs in 825 rows to represent the 11,541 Sarajevans who were killed during the siege.
Amel Emric AP

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 9:53 am

I think that one of the great works of humankind runs below an airport runway in Sarajevo.

Sixty-six feet of a 3,000-foot-long tunnel built during the Siege of Sarajevo have been restored. Twenty years ago this weekend, the city was surrounded by Serb armies, who rained down mortar, rockets and sniper fire.

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NPR Story
7:00 am
Sat April 7, 2012

Unemployment Fell, But More Ended Job Hunt

Just when it seemed to be gaining steam, the U.S. job market pretty much stalled in March. Employers added a net 120,000 jobs during the month, defying the higher expectations of a lot of economists. And though the unemployment rate fell, it did so for the wrong reasons.

Over the past few months, the economy has been adding jobs at a good, if not spectacular, pace, and all the signs suggested that trend had continued through March. As it happened, jobs increased at a rate that barely keeps up with population growth.

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NPR Story
7:00 am
Sat April 7, 2012

Obama Makes A Pitch To Working Women

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

A weaker than expected jobs report is a setback for President Obama as the election nears. The president says that while private employers have added some four million jobs over the last two years, economic security remains elusive. The president spoke yesterday at a White House conference on women in the economy, and as NPR's Scott Horsley reports, voters who are women may be the key to the president's political future.

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NPR Story
7:00 am
Sat April 7, 2012

Congressional Races, Strategies Take Shape

Originally published on Sat April 7, 2012 11:16 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

The race for the Republican presidential nomination has hit a lull. The next group of primaries isn't for more than two weeks, so it might be a good time to look around at another campaign for control of the U.S. House of Representatives. After all, they control the federal budget. Norman Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute devotes his attention to Congress year round, and he joins us from their studios. Thanks very much for being with us, Norm.

NORMAN ORNSTEIN: Oh, my pleasure.

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From Our Listeners
7:00 am
Sat April 7, 2012

Your Letters: Racial Terms And Baseball Legends

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Time for your letters.

(SOUNDBITE OF LETTERS THEME MUSIC)

SIMON: A particular phrase we used in last week's coverage of the Trayvon Martin shooting prompted many listener comments. In our profile of Angela Corey, the Florida state attorney directing Florida's investigation into the circumstances surrounding Martin's death, we described George Zimmerman the neighborhood watch volunteer who shot Trayvon Martin in February as a white Latino.

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Religion
7:00 am
Sat April 7, 2012

The 'Heart Of Spiritual Life': Joy, Not Happiness

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Tomorrow, Christians all over the world will observe Easter Sunday with joy. But what is joy? Not just happiness, laughs, or satisfaction, but joy? We turn to Father James Martin. He's a Jesuit priest, a contributing editor to America Magazine, and the author of "Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor and Laughter Are at the Heart of Spiritual Life." He joins us from our studios in New York.

Jim, thanks for being with us.

FATHER JAMES MARTIN: My pleasure.

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Music Interviews
3:59 pm
Fri April 6, 2012

Rascal Flatts: 'Rekindling The Fire' Of Its Country Roots

Rascal Flatts is one of the most popular country groups of the last decade.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sat April 7, 2012 11:16 am

Rascal Flatts is one of the most successful country crossover acts of the past decade. The award-winning trio has released eight studio records in 10 years and sold more than 21 million albums.

So why did the group recently consider breaking up?

"We had reached a crossroads to where we needed to dig deep to see if we, in fact, had the fire and hunger that we did when we first started out — to keep trying to forge ahead and be better than we'd been and push ourselves to be creatively energized again," bass player Jay DeMarcus says.

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Simon Says
8:26 am
Sat March 31, 2012

Beef, Tarantula And Gout: Food Critics Suffer, Too

Food professionals will tell you: Eating asks a lot of your body.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sat March 31, 2012 1:26 pm

Burp!

'Scuse me, but is someone trying to kill off food critics?

What about themselves?

Frank Bruni, the former restaurant critic of The New York Times, now an op-ed columnist, has revealed that he has gout.

Gout is a painful inflammation of the joints that's been called the King's Disease because it's historically associated with the kind of gluttony only kings could afford: profuse servings of beef, lobster, goose liver and strong drink.

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Monkey See
11:01 pm
Fri March 30, 2012

Snow White Rising: Why This Princess, And Why This Moment?

Lily Collins plays Snow White in Mirror Mirror opposite Julia Roberts as the vain Queen jealous of Snow's beauty.
Jan Thijs Relativity Media

Originally published on Tue April 3, 2012 1:44 pm

Snow White is having a moment.

The new movie Mirror Mirror stars Julia Roberts as the Evil Queen. In June, another Snow White movie opens starring another Oscar winner, Charlize Theron, in the same role. And Disney is working on a new animated film loosely based on Snow White set in 19th-century China. So what makes Snow White so right for right now?

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Jazz
3:56 pm
Fri March 30, 2012

Reviving James Booker, The 'Piano Prince Of New Orleans'

Piano player James Booker is considered a New Orleans legend.
Bunny Matthews

Every day in New Orleans, Lily Keber rolls out of bed and walks to a flat, minor office building to meet her muse. Keber makes a cup of coffee with chicory, hooks up her computer and waits for what sounds like a dozen spiders to crawl across a piano.

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Middle East
9:41 am
Sat March 24, 2012

Despite Cease-Fire Push, Violence Escalates In Syria

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

The situation in Syria has deteriorated further this week. Government troops once again opened fire on thousands of protesters, armed rebels continued their own resistance, which looks more and more like an insurgency. All this despite a push by the United Nations fro a cease-fire. NPR's Kelly McEvers reports.

KELLY MCEVERS, BYLINE: It's hard to know where to start when it comes to Syria. First, let's go the protests that continued despite the fact that violence is on the rise.

(SOUNDBITE OF PROTESTING)

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Performing Arts
5:03 am
Sat March 24, 2012

Basil Twist: A Genius, With Many A String Attached

Puppeteer Basil Twist poses with Ballerina, the marionette at the center of a tragic love triangle in his adaptation of Petrushka.
Doriane Raiman NPR

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 9:56 am

Basil Twist has been called a genius. The art he's a genius at? Puppetry — which he knows can be a hard sell.

"It's not of this time," he says. "It's not of the world we live in now."

But Twist, a highly trained practitioner, brings this art of the past to the present with innovative creations beyond the likes of the Muppets or their foul-mouthed cousins on Avenue Q.

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Author Interviews
4:57 am
Sat March 24, 2012

'The Big Con': If You Can't Avoid It, Avenge It

promo image
istockphoto.com

Americans have always been fascinated by con men. Why else would we have so many movies about legendary swindlers? Most real-life cons are probably less entertaining than the ones on the silver screen, but in her new book, Amy Reading unearths a historical swindle that rivals anything ever imagined by Hollywood.

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Monkey See
4:56 am
Sat March 24, 2012

Shakespeare's Accent: How Did The Bard Really Sound?

How were William Shakespeare's words pronounced more than 400 years ago? A new recording from the British Library aims to replicate the authentic accent of Shakespeare's day. Above, a depiction of the dramatist at work in his study, by A.H. Payne.
Edward Gooch Getty Images

Originally published on Sat March 24, 2012 4:45 pm

"To be or not to be" may be the question, but there's another question that's been nagging Shakespeare scholars for a long time: What did Hamlet, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, Mercutio, Portia or Puck really sound like when Shakespeare was first performed more than four centuries ago?

The British Library has completed a new recording of 75 minutes of The Bard's most famous scenes, speeches and sonnets, all performed in the original pronunciation of Shakespeare's time.

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Music Interviews
5:09 pm
Fri March 23, 2012

Julia Nunes: Homesick Anthems Spawn An Internet Star

Julia Nunes' new, fan-funded album is titled Settle Down.
Shervin Lainez

Originally published on Sat March 24, 2012 9:41 am

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NPR Story
7:00 am
Sat March 17, 2012

Suspect In Afghanistan Shooting Shocks Neighbors

Transcript

JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

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NPR Story
7:00 am
Sat March 17, 2012

A Basketball Wrap-Up, In Verse

Originally published on Sun March 18, 2012 9:07 am

Transcript

JACKI LYDEN, BYLINE: Every school invited to the NCAA basketball tournament has had a chance to play. So we thought we'd bring you details of every game. Well, maybe not details, but at least a mention from NPR's Mike Pesca. And what he lacks in specifics, he makes up for in rhyme.

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NPR Story
7:00 am
Sat March 17, 2012

Who Will Rule In Congress? A Look At The Races

Originally published on Sun March 18, 2012 9:07 am

Transcript

JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

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Music Interviews
7:00 am
Sat March 17, 2012

Composer Matches Music To Horse Hooves

Originally published on Sun March 18, 2012 9:07 am

Transcript

JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

As London prepares for an Olympic influx, the world's athletes are not the only ones limbering up. Composer Tom Hunt is at work with members of a British team who compete in the equestrian sport called dressage. He joins us from the BBC studios in Salford.

Thank you for joining us.

TOM HUNT: Thank you for having me.

LYDEN: The music that you compose for the equestrian competition, tell us how the music and the horse work together.

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Author Interviews
5:23 am
Sat March 17, 2012

'The O'Briens': A Multigenerational Canadian Epic

Pantheon

In the Law of Dreams, Canadian writer Peter Behrens' first novel, an Irish immigrant, based on Behrens' grandfather, makes his way out of famine-starved Ireland to Canada. The novel came out in 2006 to wide acclaim and won Canada's Governor-General's award for fiction.

Now, Behrens has followed up with another multigenerational novel. The O'Briens opens in 1867, with teenage Joe O'Brien scratching out a living in Quebec after his father and mother have both died.

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Poetry
5:22 am
Sat March 17, 2012

A St. Patrick's Poem On Shamrocks And Stereotypes

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sun March 18, 2012 9:07 am

Ireland has launched some of the greatest writers in English literature, from William Butler Yeats to Oscar Wilde to George Bernard Shaw.

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Music Interviews
5:27 pm
Fri March 16, 2012

Moot Davis: A Rocker With A Honky-Tonk Heart

Moot Davis' new album is Man about Town.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun March 18, 2012 9:07 am

Though guitarist Moot Davis grew up a New Jersey rocker, he had an appreciation for country music thanks to his West Virginian parents. But it wasn't until he saw a certain cola commercial that he really turned a corner.

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Simon Says
7:57 am
Sat March 10, 2012

Actress Sues IMDB, But It's Internet Privacy On Trial

Actress Junie Hoang is going to court because her IMDB profile reveals her age.
IMDB

Originally published on Sat March 10, 2012 12:49 pm

I hope it's not ungentlemanly to note that Junie Hoang is 40 years old. Her birth date appears in the Internet Movie Database, or IMDb, as does the fact that she has played a headless woman in Domain of the Damned and Ms. Fix-It in Voodoo Dolly.

She doesn't sound like a woman to cross.

Junie Hoang is going to court against IMDb, which is owned by Amazon, because it reveals her age in her entry. She believes that could cost her work.

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