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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5:09am

Sat June 9, 2012
Around the Nation

Saving Niagra Falls, One (Tightrope) Step At A Time

Originally published on Tue June 12, 2012 6:42 pm

Nik Wallenda walks a tightrope in the rain during a training session for his upcoming stunt in Niagara Falls, N.Y.
Gary Wiepert AP

Niagara Falls has long been a magnet for daredevils, but strict laws have kept them away for more than a century. That's expected to change Friday, when circus performer Nik Wallenda will walk a two-inch-thick wire above the giant waterfall. It's an exception officials hope will rescue tourism — and the city's economy.

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5:08am

Sat June 9, 2012
World

The Young And The Jobless: Hopes On Hold In Spain

Originally published on Sat June 9, 2012 8:46 pm

Graffiti on a wall in Madrid reads, "We want to work, let the businessmen who have gotten rich from our labor pay for the crisis." Nearly 50 percent of young adults in Spain are unemployed.
Denis Doyle Getty Images

The crowd of job seekers at an unemployment office in downtown Madrid looks different than it did a few years ago.

When the housing market went bust, construction workers flooded the lobby. Now, labor reforms have made it easier for corporations to fire workers without seniority. So now young people, including those with an education, are unable to find work.

Jaime Garcia de Sola, a former intern at an investment bank, was one of those waiting in the unemployment line.

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1:03am

Sat June 9, 2012
Author Interviews

How 'The Queen Of British Ska' Wrestled With Race

Originally published on Sun June 10, 2012 6:44 am

The British ska-revival band The Selecter formed in the late 1970s, playing what can be described as rock fused with calypso and American jazz.

Much of what set the band apart was its charismatic lead singer, Pauline Black. As one of few women in a musical movement dominated by men, she was called "The Queen of British Ska."

That experience is one of many recounted in her new memoir, Black by Design, which has just been released in the U.S.

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7:29pm

Fri June 8, 2012
Music

Kishi Bashi: Unique Performances In Time

Originally published on Sat June 9, 2012 9:58 am

Kishi Bashi is the stage name of Japanese-American multi-instrumentalist K. Ishibashi.
Jennifer Leigh

Consider this name: Kishi Bashi. It has a pleasant, repetitive character with a nice — if unusual — little loop. It's an apt stage name for a musician who's creating something haunting, beautiful and maybe a little off-kilter through the technology of looping.

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7:35am

Sat June 2, 2012
Simon Says

Just Deserts Follow Attempted Pasty Tax

Originally published on Sat June 2, 2012 1:39 pm

Protesters gather outside Downing Street in London to deliver a petition against the so-called "pasty tax," a government bid to levy 20 percent tax on hot takeaway food.
Justin Tallis AFP/Getty Images

Sometimes, politicians eat their words. This week, the British government reversed course on a plan to place a 20 percent tax on all foods sold hot — with no exemption for pasties.

Pasties are hand food, baked for Cornish miners to eat when they could put aside their pickaxes. People eat pasties today as they sit on a bench for a few minutes' respite or walk along the street between chores. They have become comfort, convenience, pub-crawling and football-watching food.

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6:55am

Sat June 2, 2012
Religion

Nuns Fight Back Against Vatican Report

Originally published on Sat June 2, 2012 10:01 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. There's a showdown between American sisters and the Vatican. The Vatican is cracking down on the largest organization for U.S. sisters, called the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. Pope Benedict has appointed an archbishop to oversee and reform the organization, accusing it of what amounts to doctrinal dissidence. Now, the sisters are fighting back - at least verbally. We're joined by NPR's religion correspondent, Barbara Bradley Hagerty. Barbara, thanks for being with us.

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6:55am

Sat June 2, 2012
Media

Britain's Ad Authority Releases Most-Hated List

Originally published on Sat June 2, 2012 12:30 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

The agency that monitors advertising in Britain turned 50 this week and in honor of the occasion it released a list of the most-hated ads ever to air on the telly. Vicki Barker reports.

VICKI BARKER, BYLINE: In this ad from 2010 for Paddy Power, an Irish-based betting company some blind soccer players kick a ball with a bell on it. They don't see but we see and the ref sees Tiddles the cat wander onto the field and then...

(SOUNDBITE OF CAT SCREECHING)

BARKER: ...the ref puts a consoling arm over the player's shoulder.

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6:55am

Sat June 2, 2012
Sports

French Open Hasn't Been Great For Americans In Paris

Originally published on Sat June 2, 2012 10:01 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Time now for sports!

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SIMON: It's the French Open and you know, already, there's almost not an American left in Paris - Andy Roddick, Serena and Venus Williams all out already. And elsewhere, the NBA semifinals are in full swing. But let's hold the hardwood and go first to the clay. Howard Bryant of ESPN.com and ESPN the magazine joins us now from the Roland Garros Stadium in Paris. Howard, thanks for being with us.

HOWARD BRYANT: Hey, Scott, how are you doing?

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6:55am

Sat June 2, 2012
Middle East

Mubarak Convicted In Charges Of Protesters' Deaths

Originally published on Sat June 2, 2012 10:01 am

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Hosni Mubarak has been sentenced to life in prison for his role in deaths of hundreds of protesters during the revolution that ousted him last year. The former Egyptian president is the first Arab leader to be hauled in for trial by his own people.

(SOUNDBITE OF CROWD)

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6:55am

Sat June 2, 2012
Middle East

As Killings Continue In Syria, A Look At UN's Role

Originally published on Sat June 2, 2012 10:01 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Last night in Syria, the third massacre in a week. This time a dozen workers were found shot to death, their bodies dumped in a field. The United Nations has called for an investigation into the mass killings last weekend in Houla of more than 100 people, many of them women and children. We're joined now from the United Nations in New York by Kieran Dwyer. He's the chief spokesman for the U.N. Peacekeeping Department. Mr. Dwyer, thanks for taking the time to speak with us.

KIERAN DWYER: Hello.

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6:55am

Sat June 2, 2012
Middle East

A Case For Military Intervention In Syria

Originally published on Sat June 2, 2012 10:01 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

For more on possible options in Syria, we're joined by Thomas P.M. Barnett. He is a former Pentagon analyst who's written in support of military intervention in Syria on Time magazine's Battleland blog. Mr. Barnett's also chief analyst at Wikistrat, a consultancy firm on geopolitical analysis. He joins us from his office in Indianapolis. Mr. Barnett, thanks for being with us.

THOMAS P.M. BARNETT: Thanks for having me on.

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6:55am

Sat June 2, 2012
Business

Implications Of The Facebook Let-Down

Originally published on Sat June 2, 2012 10:01 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

You know, if Facebook were a Broadway show, they'd be firing the director and rewriting the script. Facebook share price closed this week at $27.72. That's more than a 25 percent drop from its initial public offering price. The social networks debut as a publically traded company last month has been panned, questioned and trouble by a Securities and Exchange Commission probe and shareholder lawsuits.

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6:51am

Sat June 2, 2012
NPR Story

Europe's Debt Weighs On U.S. Employers

Originally published on Sat June 2, 2012 10:01 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

So, why is job growth slowing? Well, part of the problem, as we just heard, appears to be in Europe. The economic turmoil there is looking worse, and that has ripped into the U.S. economy and slowing down hiring. NPR's Chris Arnold has more from Boston.

CHRIS ARNOLD, BYLINE: The weather this week was beautiful in Boston, so it's perfect for tourists having lunch outside by the harbor or taking a trolley bus around to do some sightseeing.

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5:43am

Sat June 2, 2012
Monkey See

For Impressionist Jim Meskimen, The Voice Is 'A Sample Of Who We Are'

Originally published on Sat June 2, 2012 10:50 pm

Jim Meskimen arrives at the premiere of Frost/Nixon in November 2008.
Vince Bucci Getty Images

Jim Meskimen is the only person I've ever heard open an interview with NPR's Scott Simon in the voice of NPR's Robert Siegel.

In fairness, he's the one most likely to do so, since he is a noted impressionist. He acknowledges "you don't see people doing their Robert Siegel in nightclubs much," though he's noted what he calls Siegel's "bemused kind of delivery."

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5:20am

Sat June 2, 2012
Food

America's Gone Bananas: Here's How It Happened

Originally published on Sat June 2, 2012 10:01 am

iStockphoto.com

Today, Americans take bananas for granted. They're cheap, they're ripe, they're everywhere. But take a moment and consider: How did a pale, fragile tropical fruit become so commonplace in America? Immigrants arriving at the South Ferry terminal, where the Ellis Island ferry landed, were once handed bananas and told, "Welcome to America."

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