NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday

Saturdays, 7am - 9am
Scott Simon

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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5:54am

Sat December 8, 2012
Around the Nation

Unemployment Rate Drops, But Picture Not All Rosy

Originally published on Sat December 8, 2012 6:37 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Turns out that Superstorm Sandy didn't do as much damage as many expected, to the nation's unemployment predicament. At least, that's what the government's monthly data on the jobs market told us yesterday. As NPR's John Ydstie reports, analysts and businesses are already looking past that report, to the dangers to jobs posed by the fiscal cliff.

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5:54am

Sat December 8, 2012
Middle East

Young Gazans Brave Fear To Welcome Hamas Leader

Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 8:14 am

Exiled Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal (left) and Gaza's Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh wave during a news conference upon Meshaal's arrival at Rafah crossing in the southern Gaza Strip on Friday.
Suhaib Salem AP

Tens of thousands of people turned out for a mass rally in the Gaza Strip on Friday to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Hamas, which governs Gaza. The guest of honor was the leader of Hamas, Khaled Meshaal.

This is Meshaal's first-ever trip to Gaza, and it's been seen as a political milestone in Hamas' attempt to gain wider acceptance in the region.

Gaza is a small, very crowded strip of land that is full of young people. Roughly 1.7 million people live here, and about half are under the age of 18.

Young People, Politically Minded

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5:54am

Sat December 8, 2012
Around the Nation

Detroit Driving Toward Its Own Debt Cliff

Originally published on Sat December 8, 2012 6:38 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, BYLINE: The city of Detroit is approaching its own fiscal precipice. The city is deeply in debt and could run out of cash by the end of this month. That would mean more layoffs from a city workforce that's already been cut so much that a reported two-thirds of the city's streetlights do not work. The amount of empty, abandoned land in the city, which produces no tax revenue, is estimated to be as large as the entire city of Paris.

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4:38am

Sat December 8, 2012
Europe

Getting The Royal Treatment En Route To Versailles

Originally published on Sat December 8, 2012 1:39 pm

The Belvedere on Marie Antoinette's estate.

Courtesy of Christian Recoura

The opulence of the court of Louis XIV ... on a commuter train from Paris?

That's the surprise awaiting some lucky visitors to the Palace of Versailles. The cars of about 30 trains traveling between Paris and the palace have been completely decked out to reflect the sprawling and stately residence of former French kings, providing a sneak preview of sorts.

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4:29am

Sat December 8, 2012
Africa

Voters Decide How To Share Ghana's Boom

Originally published on Sat December 8, 2012 8:39 pm

Ghana's President John Dramani Mahama arrives at a polling station to cast his vote.
Pius Utomi Ekpei AFP/Getty Images

Voting for a new president and parliament in Ghana has been extended into a second day in some areas due to glitches with the new biometric voter verification system.

Ghana, which began pumping crude oil in 2010 and is also a major cocoa and gold exporter, has gained an enviable reputation in its often-turbulent West African neighborhood. It's admired for being a relative oasis of stability and peace in the region — despite tensions in the build-up to the vote.

A Peaceful Democracy

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1:03am

Sat December 8, 2012
Music Interviews

Tracey Thorn Finds Joy And Angst In Christmas Songs

Originally published on Sat December 8, 2012 6:38 am

Tracey Thorn's new holiday-themed album is called Tinsel and Lights.
Molly Bloom StateImpact Ohio

A season for being with friends and family can be hard on those who are lonely; a season of giving can be hard on those who go without. All the tinsel and lights can also make people blink, shudder and wonder about which of life's gifts they'll never find under the tree — or which they'll unwrap and find fleeting and fragile.

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9:40am

Sat December 1, 2012
Simon Says

Sexiest Man Alive Gets 'The Onion' Taken Seriously

Originally published on Sat December 1, 2012 10:09 am

The satirical news source The Onion named North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un 2012's Sexiest Man Alive.
Ed Jones AFP/Getty Images

If satire had an Olympics, The Onion might have won a gold medal this week. The satirical news source announced that its Sexiest Man Alive for 2012 is Kim Jong Un, North Korea's Supreme Leader.

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5:28am

Sat December 1, 2012
Latin America

How Brazil Sees The U.S. Battle Over Taxes

Originally published on Sat December 1, 2012 9:41 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This month on WEEKEND EDITION, we've been taking a look at the so-called fiscal cliff from the perspective of other countries. After all, the government's automatic spending cuts and tax increases scheduled for January could have impacts throughout what's an increasingly linked global economy.

Tomorrow, my colleague Rachel Martin checks in with Hong Kong. Right now, we'll go to Latin America. We're joined now by Joseph Leahy. He's the Brazil bureau chief for the Financial Times. Joe, thanks very much for being with us.

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5:28am

Sat December 1, 2012
Sports

The Galaxy Waves Bye Bye To Beckham

Originally published on Sat December 1, 2012 9:41 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Tonight marks the end of the on-field career of a man who's been arguably the most famous athlete in the world. David Beckham will play his last competitive game for the L.A. Galaxy. He signed with the team in 2007 and earned himself something close to a 4250 million over the last five years in salary, and his own line of underwear, sportswear and cologne. Roger Bennett joins us now, he's the voice of Premier League soccer on ESPN, an ESPN columnist and co-host of Grantland's "Men In Blazers" show. Roger, thanks for being with us.

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5:28am

Sat December 1, 2012
Latin America

What's In Store For Mexico And Its New President?

Originally published on Sat December 1, 2012 9:41 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

For more on the developing relationship between Mexico and United States, we're joined now by Jorge Castaneda. Mr. Castaneda served as Mexico's secretary of foreign affairs from 2000-2003. In 2004, he launched an independent bid to run for president as the people's candidate, but Mexico's Supreme Court declared he couldn't run without the endorsement of an official party. These days, Mr. Castaneda is an academic and commentator. He joins us from his home in Manhattan. Thanks very much for being with us.

JORGE CASTANEDA: Thank you.

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4:56am

Sat December 1, 2012
Author Interviews

A Compelling, Chutzpadik History Of 'Jews And Words'

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 7:42 am

Scott Rothstein iStockphoto.com

For thousands of years the Jewish people have been forced to move around — fleeing bigotry, slavery, pogroms, famines and tyrants. But words are portable, and to Jews — who are among those known as "the People of the Book" — they are precious possessions. As Amos Oz and his daughter, Fania Oz-Salzberger, write in their new book, Jews and Words, "Ours is not a bloodline, but a text line."

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4:49am

Sat December 1, 2012
It's All Politics

Obama Back In Campaign Mode; This Time, It's Taxes

Originally published on Sat December 1, 2012 3:07 pm

President Obama looks over a roller coaster with K'Nex inventor and Chairman Joel Glickman (left) and President and CEO Michael Araten on Friday during a tour of the company in Hatfield, Pa.
Susan Walsh AP

President Obama is hoping the same campaign tools that helped him win re-election will also deliver a policy win in the fight over federal taxes.

The president wants Congress to extend Bush-era tax cuts for most Americans, while allowing taxes to go up for the wealthiest 2 percent. His aides are using email, social media and beyond-the-Beltway campaign appearances in hopes of putting pressure on Republican lawmakers.

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4:43am

Sat December 1, 2012
National Security

Farewell: USS Enterprise Starred In History And Film

Originally published on Sun December 2, 2012 12:17 pm

Petty Officer 3rd Class Michael Joseph carries his 1-year-old daughter, Maleah, to his re-enlistment ceremony aboard the USS Enterprise at the Norfolk Naval Station on March 8. The ship began its final deployment on March 11.
Steve Helber AP

Sailors, veterans and their families are saying goodbye in Norfolk, Va., on Saturday to the USS Enterprise, which was the largest ship in the world and the first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier when it was commissioned in 1961.

In its illustrious history, the Enterprise served at the center of international events for a half-century — from the Cuban missile crisis to Vietnam to the Iraq War.

And it had a distinguished Hollywood career as well, playing a leading role in the 1986 film Top Gun, which starred Tom Cruise as a young naval aviator.

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8:43pm

Fri November 30, 2012
Music Interviews

A Trove Of Chats With Music Icons, Now Online

Originally published on Sat December 1, 2012 12:26 pm

Joe Smith poses with Rod Stewart, circa 1974. The former record executive conducted informal interviews with dozens of musicians in the mid-1980s.
Jeff Smith

In the mid-1980s, a record executive and former DJ named Joe Smith saw that a lot of the big-band greats were disappearing: Count Basie, Harry James and others.

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9:48am

Sat November 24, 2012
Music Interviews

Piney Gir: From 'The Muppets' To 'Geronimo'

Originally published on Sat November 24, 2012 1:44 pm

Piney Gir grew to love performing after getting solos in the choir at church.
Courtesy of the artist

What do you do if you're an aspiring drummer and someone steals your drum set? Well, if you're Piney Gir, you become a singer — because, as she figured it, they can't steal your voice.

Gir grew up in a fundamentalist Pentecostal household in Kansas, attending church four or five times a week. She got the solos in the choir and grew to love performing. The singer, whose real name is Angela Penhaligon, eventually found her way to London and the world of indie art-rock.

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