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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Simon Says
7:54 am
Sat February 11, 2012

Ralph Nader's $2,680 Airplane Aisle Seat

When Americans traveled by stagecoach, they had to worry about rocks, rattlesnakes, robbers and other varmints. But I wonder if there weren't fewer passenger complaints.

Ralph Nader is not running for president this year. But he's giving a couple of speeches in Dallas this weekend and booked an American Airlines flight a couple of weeks ago for a $750 fare.

The flight takes three hours. Mr. Nader is 6 feet, 4 inches tall. His longtime travel agent tried to select an aisle seat, which is more comfortable for Mr. Nader. Probably for whoever might be next to him, too.

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Movie Interviews
7:00 am
Sat February 11, 2012

'Chico And Rita': A Love Story With A Latin Groove

Big Sounds, Bright Lights: Chico and Rita's musically inflected story follows a pair of lovers, a pianist and a singer, from Havana to New York to Paris.
GKIDS

Originally published on Mon February 13, 2012 5:03 pm

Fernando Trueba, whose film Belle Epoque won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 1993, will be back at the Academy Awards this year; his film Chico and Rita, a love story about a Cuban pianist and singer, is up for a statue in the Animated Feature category.

Trueba says animation has some of the qualities that classic old movies had — "a more concise, more synthetical way of storytelling."

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NPR Story
7:00 am
Sat February 11, 2012

Museum Dedicated To All Of French Artist's Many Talents

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

As most people who care about modern art, to list the major 20th century painters, they may start with Picasso, Matisse, then move on to the Americans, Jackson Pollock, Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns. But in France, a new museum just opened, devoted exclusively to one of the most multi-talented, controversial and often forgotten artist of the last century, Jean Cocteau.

Frank Browning traveled to France on the Cote d'Azure to report on this very peculiar man and the museum that celebrates him.

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NPR Story
7:00 am
Sat February 11, 2012

Sports: Lin Shoots For Stardom; Patriot Fans Sour

Lin-sanity grips basketball! Gripes and second-guesses grip Pats fans! And what do we owe great four-legged athletes when they go past their prime? Host Scott Simon talks with NPR sports correspondent Tom Goldman about the sports of the week.

Author Interviews
5:13 am
Sat February 11, 2012

In A StoryCorps Booth, Love Is 'All There Is'

iStockphoto.com

Dave Isay begins his new book with a quote from co-worker Lillie Love, whose name resonates deeply with his latest project. Shortly before she died in 2010, Love said, "Love is all there is ... When you take your last breath, you remember the people you love, how much love you inspired and how much love you gave."

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Music Interviews
4:02 pm
Fri February 10, 2012

An Understudy Turned Star Shines On The Met Stage

Jay Hunter Morris has received glowing reviews for his role as Siegfried in the Metropolitan Opera's most recent production of Wagner's Ring Cycle.
Ken Howard Metropolitan Opera

Originally published on Sat February 11, 2012 10:46 am

Siegfried is a Norse hero, and one of the most demanding roles in all of opera. He slays dragons and has to sing about it — in Gotterdammerung, The Twilight of the Gods, the last opera in Wagner's Ring Cycle.

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NPR Story
11:18 am
Sat February 4, 2012

UN Vote On Syria Fails

Originally published on Sat February 4, 2012 12:05 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene, in for Scott Simon. It's been nearly a year since anti-government protests began in Syria. President Bashar al-Assad has carried out a violent crackdown. We've heard tough statements, warnings from capitals around the world. And today, it appeared the U.N. Security Council was poised to issue a resolution condemning the crackdown.

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NPR Story
11:18 am
Sat February 4, 2012

Massive Moscow Rally Calls For Putin's Exit

In Moscow on Saturday, tens of thousands of protesters braved the sub-zero temperatures to gather in the city center. They were demonstrating against Vladimir Putin's planned return to the presidency next month. Guest host David Greene has more.

NPR Story
8:25 am
Sat February 4, 2012

20 Million Years Later, Russians Work To Drill Into Lake

Originally published on Sat February 4, 2012 12:05 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Imagine a place on earth where there's been no light, no wind for millions of years. Lake Vostok is one such place. The world's third largest lake, in terms of amount of water, has long been hidden, buried beneath two miles of ice until, perhaps, this coming week. Russian researchers are about to break through that ice.

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Simon Says
7:01 am
Sat February 4, 2012

Standing In Defense Of Diet Coke

Diet Coke. David Greene likes it.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sat February 4, 2012 12:05 pm

I would like to rise up today in defense of Diet Coke. All diet sodas, in fact. But Diet Coke happens to be my favorite.

I like the stuff.

Cracking open a can of it, or pouring some over ice, helps me survive a long work day.

This love of Diet Coke is one reason my re-entry into the United States has been a little rocky. When I moved back recently after a reporting assignment in Russia, nobody warned me that war had been declared on Diet Coke.

The artillery was fired by Men's Health magazine.

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NPR Story
7:00 am
Sat February 4, 2012

China's New Pick-Up Truck Suspiciously Ford Tough

The Chinese automaker JAC unveiled their latest design this week, and it bears a rather notable resemblance to the Ford F-150. Though the engine is much smaller, the JAC 4R3 will go on sale across China and in Africa and Latin America, after its debut at the Beijing motor show in April.

Author Interviews
5:08 am
Sat February 4, 2012

Media 'Miracle': The 'Big' Story Of Three Whales

Big Miracle by Tom Rose

In October 1988, the big news was presidential politics — the race between George H.W. Bush and Michael Dukakis was in its final weeks — but a dramatic whale rescue was about to captivate the world. This story is the focus of a movie now in theaters starring Drew Barrymore and John Krasinski.

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Music Interviews
3:39 pm
Fri February 3, 2012

Ruthie Foster: Texas Gospel With A Worldly Touch

Ruthie Foster's new album is Let It Burn.
John Carrico

Ruthie Foster is from a small town in central Texas — but there's nothing small about the way she sings on her new album, Let It Burn. Zigzagging between blues, soul, gospel and rock, the album features solid originals and surprising covers, along with several stirring collaborations with The Blind Boys of Alabama.

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NPR Story
7:00 am
Sat January 28, 2012

Wolves Attract Tourists, But Reality Lurks

A niche industry of tour companies is taking people into wolves' habitat at Yellowstone National Park. Montana Public Radio's Dan Boyce went on an expedition with a man who recognizes the problems wolves bring to the landscape even as he makes his living off of them.

NPR Story
7:00 am
Sat January 28, 2012

A Short Talk About The World's Longest Interview

Originally published on Tue February 21, 2012 2:03 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

What do you do when the conversation lags? Our friend Richard Glover of the ABC in Sydney, Australia might know. This week he and sports author and journalist Peter FitzSimons set a new Guinness World Record for Longest Radio or TV interview: 24 hours, with only an occasional loo break. [POST-BROADCAST CORRECTION: The record-setting interview did not take place "this week." It was actually in December 2011.]

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NPR Story
7:00 am
Sat January 28, 2012

Your Letters: On Propaganda And Appreciation

Originally published on Sat January 28, 2012 9:46 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Time now for your letters. Last week we spoke with Christian Bale who stars in the new film, "The Flowers of War." The movie takes place in China during Japan's violent occupation of Nanjing in 1937. "The Flowers of War" has been criticized as being part of an effort by the Chinese government to improve China's image in the world.

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NPR Story
7:00 am
Sat January 28, 2012

Sports: Finals Down Under; A New Tiger In Detroit

The women's finals in the Australian Open are already over. In baseball, power-hitter Prince Fielder has returned to his childhood team, the Detroit Tigers, for which his father played. Host Scott Simon talks sports with Howard Bryant of ESPN the Magazine and ESPN.com.

NPR Story
7:00 am
Sat January 28, 2012

On The Stump: Obama Roams Pivotal Swing States

President Obama is back in Washington Saturday after visiting five different states, all of which are likely to be hotly contested in November. He expanded on some of the ideas he outlined in Tuesday's State of the Union address and offered a preview of the argument he'll be making in the general election. NPR's Scott Horsley reports.

NPR Story
7:00 am
Sat January 28, 2012

Obama's Plan To Kick-Start Housing Market

Originally published on Sat January 28, 2012 9:46 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

The future of the state of the U.S. housing market was a primary focus for the White House this week. On Tuesday's State of the Union address, President Obama unveiled a new plan to try to correct the housing downturn. It would allow qualifying homeowners the chance to refinance their mortgages at historically low rates.

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NPR Story
7:00 am
Sat January 28, 2012

GOP Candidates Court Hispanic Voters

Republican candidates' efforts to win Hispanic voters have intensified in advance of the Florida primary, airing ads in Spanish and contending over immigration. Host Scott Simon speaks with Maria Elena Salinas, co-host of Noticiero Univision, about Hispanic voters' role in the Republican primary and the upcoming presidential election.

NPR Story
7:00 am
Sat January 28, 2012

Israeli Outpost Pits Courts Vs. Government

Originally published on Sun January 29, 2012 7:42 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.

An illegal Jewish outpost in the occupied West Bank is at the center of a battle over settlements. The collection of trailers and makeshift buildings is called Migron, and the Israeli Supreme Court has said it must be dismantled by the end of March. The Israeli government has tried to come up with a compromise which the settlers have rejected. And the issue even threatens to bring down the government of Prime Minister Netanyahu.

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NPR Story
7:00 am
Sat January 28, 2012

'Backstage With' Fred Willard and Martin Mull

Martin Mull and Fred Willard are comic partners in many minds. They helped create Fernwood Tonight in the late 1970s, and while they went on to solo careers in films and stage, they were reunited to play one of TV's first gay couples on Roseanne. Host Scott Simon sat down with the duo for the public television show Backstage With.

NPR Story
7:00 am
Sat January 28, 2012

Gingrich Tries To Scoop Up Votes In Fla.

Originally published on Sat January 28, 2012 9:46 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. We begin with the latest in the Republican race for president. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney campaigned in Florida yesterday. Mr. Gingrich made appearances before two communities whose votes he hopes to win in Tuesday's primary. He spoke to Latino home builders and businesspeople in the morning, and had a rally with a group of Republican Jewish voters in the afternoon. NPR's Brian Naylor reports.

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NPR Story
7:00 am
Sat January 28, 2012

Egyptians Divide As They Celebrate Together

This week, Egyptians marked the first anniversary of the uprising that led to the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak. Deepening political divisions between pro-Islamist and secular protesters marred the event, erupting into violent scuffles. NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson reports.

NPR Story
7:00 am
Sat January 28, 2012

Changes Stir Cuba's Communist Conference

Originally published on Sat January 28, 2012 9:46 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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Simon Says
6:40 am
Sat January 28, 2012

A Fan's Notes On Pro Sports, Brain Damage

Trainers help Cleveland Browns quarterback Colt McCoy after he took a hit during a game in December. In a series of interviews with The Associated Press, 23 of 44 NFL players said they would try to hide a brain injury rather than leave a game.
Don Wright AP

Originally published on Sat January 28, 2012 12:31 pm

I will watch the Super Bowl next weekend, along with several billion other people. I expect to cheer, shout and have some guacamole.

But as a fan, I'm finding it a little harder to cheer, especially for my favorite football and hockey players, without thinking: They're hurting themselves.

Not just breaks and sprains but dangerous, disabling brain damage.

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Television
5:19 am
Sat January 28, 2012

'Smash' Stars An 'Interesting Tribe': Theater People

Ingenue or Leading Lady: Ivy Bell (Megan Hilty, left) and Karen (Katharine McPhee, right) compete for the coveted lead role in a new Marilyn Monroe Broadway musical in Smash, which premieres Feb. 6 on NBC.
Will Hart NBC

NBC's new drama, Smash, plumbs the drama behind the curtain. The series is the story of a Broadway musical — from the first idea, to auditions, rehearsals and the big premiere.

Theresa Rebeck is the show's creator and executive producer. She's also a screenwriter, playwright and a Broadway veteran — with a hit play "Seminar," that's now on Broadway.

Rebeck tells Weekend Edition host Scott Simon that Smash is a "workplace drama — it's just that the workplace is a musical."

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Author Interviews
5:18 am
Sat January 28, 2012

'How It All Began': A Lively Ode To Happenstance

Viking

British writer Penelope Lively was in her late 30s before she began her career writing children's books. Now, four decades and 20 works of fiction later, she has just released the novel How It All Began, in which she explores the capricious role that chance plays in our lives.

Lively's lifetime habit of storytelling began when she was growing up in Egypt during World War II. She spent a lot of time alone and amused herself by making up stories, which often involved embellishing the classics with her own personal touch.

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A Blog Supreme
6:29 pm
Mon January 23, 2012

The Extraordinary Career Of A Man Who Managed Jazz Musicians

John Levy.
Tom Pich NEA

Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 5:13 pm

This post was originally published shortly after John Levy's death late last week. Click the audio link above to hear a remembrance of Levy by NPR's Sami Yenigun.

This weekend, we learned that the jazz businessman John Levy died on Friday. His wife, Devra Hall Levy, announced the news on Saturday in a press release available on John Levy's website, Lushlife. He was nearly 100 years old.

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NPR Story
8:57 am
Sat January 21, 2012

Wait Just A Second, And Other Things To Do With It

Every few years, official clocks around the world repeat a second. It's not much, but in an age of atomic clocks, it's time enough to give the matter a second thought.
Uwe Merkel iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sat January 21, 2012 8:57 am

Let me take a second here.

Not very long, was it?

But a second tied up delegates to the UN's International Telecommunication Union, who postponed a decision this week on whether to abolish the extra second that's added to clocks every few years to compensate for the earth's natural doddering.

The earth slows down slightly as we spin through space. No one falls off, but earthquakes and tides routinely slow the earth by a fraction of a fraction of a second, which makes clocks minutely wrong. If not corrected, it could make a minute of difference a century.

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