Weekend Edition

Weekends at 8-10AM
Scott Simon

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, courtesy of hosts Scott Simon and Liane Hansen.

On Saturdays, 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.

On Sundays, Weekend Edition combines the news with colorful arts and human-interest features, appealing to the curious and eclectic. With a nod to traditional Sunday habits, the program offers a fix for diehard crossword addicts-word games and brainteasers with The Puzzlemaster, a.k.a. Will Shortz, puzzle editor of The New York Times. With Hansen on the sidelines, a caller plays the latest word game on the air while listeners compete silently at home. The NPR mailbag is proof that the competition to go head-to-head with Shortz is rather vigorous.

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1:00pm

Sat March 15, 2014
Religion

Tiny Italian Town Thumbs Its Nose At Lenten Abstinence

Originally published on Sun March 16, 2014 5:53 pm

On the first Sunday of Lent in Poggio Mirteto, a priest in the town's cathedral recalls the serpent in the Garden of Eden.

He admonishes parishioners in this hilltop hamlet just outside Vatican City to resist earthly delights during the time of penance and self-denial leading up to Easter.

"We must remember we are weak before evil, because the devil is very tricky," he says.

Just outside the doors, the warning goes unheeded as a parade of revelers passes.

The Freedom Festival

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11:05am

Sat March 15, 2014
Sports

Why You Won't Win Warren Buffett's Billion-Dollar Bracket

Originally published on Sat March 15, 2014 1:19 pm

Florida's Will Yeguete shoots over Missouri's Keanau Post in the quarterfinal round of the Southeastern Conference men's tournament on Friday in Atlanta. Investor Warren Buffett is betting $1 billion that no one can pick all 63 winners of the NCAA college basketball tournament that begins next week.
John Bazemore AP

The men's NCAA college basketball tournament starts next week.

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9:52am

Sat March 15, 2014
Health Care

Under 30? The President Would Like You To Know Health Care Is Hip

Originally published on Sat March 15, 2014 11:32 am

The president joined host Zach Galifianakis on the Funny or Die mock talk show, Between Two Ferns this week. Obama was there to promote the Affordable Care Act.
Funny or Die

7:45am

Sat March 15, 2014
Around the Nation

Drought Closes Oregon Resort Before The Season Even Opens

Originally published on Mon March 17, 2014 2:03 pm

Transcript

JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Jacki Lyden. This was supposed to be a special year for the Mount Ashland ski area in Southern Oregon as it celebrated its 50th anniversary. But after a long drought this summer, Mount Ashland had to call it a season early. Yesterday, it declared slope season was over due to a lack of snow. NPR's Tom Goldman reports.

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7:45am

Sat March 15, 2014
Music Interviews

A Fresh Vocalist From The Same School As Adele, Winehouse

Originally published on Sat March 15, 2014 11:32 am

Transcript

JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

Discovering Zara McFarlane's voice is like discovering something exquisite and lush and gorgeous.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

ZARA MCFARLANE: (Singing) There you are, though I cannot see your face. I feel you, your presence just entered this place...

LYDEN: Zara McFarlane's latest album is called "If You Knew Her." And she's at our London bureau to talk to us about her music and so that we can get to know here. Zara McFarlane, thank you so much for joining us.

MCFARLANE: Hello. How are you doing?

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7:45am

Sat March 15, 2014
Sports

An Ex-Dolphin Gets A New Home: The Week In Sports

Originally published on Sat March 15, 2014 11:32 am

Transcript

JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

It's time now for sport.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

LYDEN: This week, former Miami Dolphin's offensive lineman Jonathan Martin found a new home with his new team, the San Francisco 49ers. Martin tweeted this week that he's beyond blessed about being traded and can't wait to get to work. Jonathan Martin is, of course, the player who was the primary target of taunts and racist insults by his teammates on the Dolphins.

ESPN's Howard Bryant is with us now taking a break from the Indian Wells Tennis Tournament. Hello there Howard.

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11:31am

Sat March 8, 2014
Politics

CPAC Is A Siren Call To GOP Presidential Hopefuls

Originally published on Sat March 8, 2014 2:00 pm

At CPAC this year, even Sen. Rand Paul's cardboard cutout was drawing attention. The Kentucky lawmaker was leading in the straw poll among attendees Friday.
Jim Lo Scalzo EPA/Landov

Start with a big ballroom at a resort hotel just outside D.C. Add thousands of conservative activists. Stir in hundreds of political journalists, and you've got an irresistible attraction for any Republican presidential hopeful.

For those with their eye on the Oval Office, it's also an early audition before a key audience.

It's the annual Conservative Political Action Conference — CPAC for short — where there's always talk of the next presidential election. This year as many as 10 possible 2016 candidates were invited to speak during the three-day event.

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10:52am

Sat March 8, 2014
Economy

What Germans Know Could Help Bridge U.S. Workers' Skill Gap

Originally published on Sat March 8, 2014 11:31 am

President Barack Obama promotes job training at General Electric's Waukesha, Wis., gas engine plant in January.
Jeffrey Phelps AP

Job training programs are failing to turn out enough skilled workers to fill job openings in the U.S., a phenomenon that puzzles some European companies that expand into the U.S.

President Obama freely admits that America needs to improve the way it trains workers. In a speech at a General Electric manufacturing plant in Wisconsin earlier this year, he said, "We gotta move away from what my labor secretary, Tom Perez, calls 'train and pray.' You train workers first and then you hope they get a job."

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7:53am

Sat March 8, 2014
Europe

Tensions Rise In Ukraine Standoff

Originally published on Sat March 8, 2014 11:31 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

To Ukraine now where tensions continue to rise between that country's new government and Russia. Yesterday, pro-Russian soldiers held a standoff at a Ukrainian military base and although it seemed to end without incident, it shows just how quickly the situation has become militarized. We're joined now by Steven Erlanger, reporter for the New York Times, who's in Kiev. Steven, thanks so much for being with us.

STEVEN ERLANGER: Happy to be here.

SIMON: What do we know about this standoff yesterday in Crimea?

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7:53am

Sat March 8, 2014
Sports

In A First, The Paralympics Get Political

Originally published on Sat March 8, 2014 11:31 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SIMON: The Paralympics Games have begun in Sochi. Over the next week, nearly 700 athletes with disabilities will compete at events that range from ice sledge hockey to wheelchair curling to downhill racing. NPR's Tom Goldman joins us. Morning Tom, thanks for being with us.

TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: Hello. Thank you.

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7:53am

Sat March 8, 2014
Digital Life

Making A Computerized Voice A Little More Human

Originally published on Sat March 8, 2014 11:31 am

Transcript

STEPEHN HAWKING: Here did we come from? Are we alone in the universe?

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

You may recognize this as the voice of Stephen Hawking, the physicist. It's actually the generic voice of men and women who use computers to speak for them. Synthetic speech though can be cold and impersonal, but a scientist in Boston wants to change that. Guy Raz of the TED RADIO HOUR has more.

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9:50am

Sat March 1, 2014
Business

A Picket Line At The Oscars: Visual-Effects Artists To Protest

Originally published on Sat March 1, 2014 11:37 am

Hundreds of visual-effects artists are planning to picket the Academy Awards on Sunday for the second year in a row. They're hoping to bring attention to what's been happening in their industry.

The field is losing jobs and relocating to countries with bigger subsidies for employers. It's the result of a technical revolution that's changed the profession since it kicked off in the 70s with Star Wars creator George Lucas' visual-effects company, Industrial Light and Magic.

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7:59am

Sat March 1, 2014
Sports

Teen Pop Idol Attracts Extra Fans To UK Soccer Match

Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 10:35 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This week, one-fifth of the biggest boy band in the world made up one-eleventh of an English professional soccer team. In a charity game, the One Direction singer Louis Tomlinson turned out to play for his hometown club, the reserve team of Doncaster Rovers.

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7:56am

Sat March 1, 2014
Sports

Worldwide Attention Expected For Track Star's Murder Trial

Originally published on Sat March 1, 2014 11:03 am

South African paralympian Oscar Pistorius goes on trial next week for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. NPR's Scott Simon speaks with Guardian reporter David Smith about the upcoming court case.

7:56am

Sat March 1, 2014
Media

BuzzFeed Quizzes: What Data Set Do You Belong To?

Originally published on Sat March 1, 2014 11:03 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Online personality quizzes are going viral. The website BuzzFeed says their quizzes, which ask questions like which Harry Potter character are you or which city should you actually live in, break Web traffic records. But are these seemingly silly and inconsequential quizzes only for fun? With tens of millions of people filling them out, it could be a marketer's dream.

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12:08pm

Sat February 22, 2014
Europe

Russia's Cossacks Ride Back From History As 'Patriots'

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 5:17 pm

Cossacks, who formed a feared military force in czarist times, start their 2012 ceremonial march from Moscow to Paris in memory of soldiers killed during the war against Napoleon in 1812.
Alexander Zemlianichenko AP

The contrast couldn't have been greater: the protest band Pussy Riot in colorful ski masks and mini dresses, attempting to film a segment for a new video on Sochi's waterfront; and Cossacks in traditional uniform with black sheepskin hats and riding boots, patrolling Sochi streets as part of security for the Olympics.

The Cossacks, trying to enforce a government ban on protests, knocked band member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova to the ground, lashed her with a horse whip, and roughed up other musicians.

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9:58am

Sat February 22, 2014
Simon Says

Ukrainian Olympic Skier's Stand Is A Sacrifice For Her Country

Originally published on Sat February 22, 2014 1:06 pm

Ukrainian skier Bogdana Matsotska decided not to compete in Friday's slalom race, in a show of solidarity with protesters in Kiev.
Fabrice Coffrini AFP/Getty Images

Sports are supposed to be separate from politics, but athletes and games can't always be kept separate from life and death.

Scores of people were killed in Ukraine this week, as the security forces of President Viktor Yanukovich opened fire on anti-government protesters in Kiev's Maidan, now called Independence Square.

While some 800 miles away, more than 40 Ukrainian athletes have been skiing, skating, working hard to win medals at the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.

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8:03am

Sat February 22, 2014
Books News & Features

'The Natural' Of 1952 Holds Lessons For Today's MLB

Originally published on Sat February 22, 2014 1:06 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

There's an old baseball legend about the kid out of nowhere who boards a train for a tryout in Chicago with nothing but his toothbrush and a bat he calls Wonderboy. The kid strikes out the Whammer, the best hitter in the game, but gets to his hotel and opens his door to a pretty girl. Wham, bam, she shoots him in the stomach and he doesn't make a comeback for 15 years.

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8:03am

Sat February 22, 2014
Sports

Olympics Serve Up A Surfeit Of Strife On Ice

Originally published on Sat February 22, 2014 1:06 pm

While the 2014 Winter Olympics are coming to an end, there are still opportunities to take home the gold. Reporter Tom Goldman joins NPR's Scott Simon to talk about ice hockey and the speed skating.

8:03am

Sat February 22, 2014
Summer Reading: Kids

The Last Undefeated College Basketball Team Plays For Title

Originally published on Sat February 22, 2014 1:06 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Wichita State's basketball team is the last undefeated men's team in America - 28 wins. That got them on one of the regional covers of Sports Illustrated, and that adds a little pressure. If the Shockers win tonight, they'll clinch the Missouri Valley Conference title. From member station KMUW in Wichita, Carla Eckels reports on the team's winning season.

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12:12pm

Sat February 15, 2014
Sports

U.S. Men's Hockey Team Triumphs Over Russia In Shootout Ending

Originally published on Sat February 15, 2014 1:13 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. The U.S. and Russian hockey teams played into overtime and beyond at Winter Olympic in Sochi today. NPR's Robert Smith was in the Bolshoi Ice Dome and joins us now. Robert, thanks for being with us.

ROBERT SMITH, BYLINE: Oh, my pleasure.

SIMON: Boy, what a lucky guy you were to see this. Now, get away from the radio if you don't want to hear the score. We might drop it. This is a game that lived up to the hype.

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11:53am

Sat February 15, 2014
Code Switch

Walking Down The Widening Aisle Of Interracial Marriages

Originally published on Sat February 15, 2014 1:13 pm

Kelly Mottershead and Louie Okamoto held a beach party last October for their wedding ceremony in Carmel, Calif.
Dana Barsuhn Courtesy of Louie Okamoto

Editor's Note: Code Switch has been engaged in a month-long exploration of romance across racial and cultural lines. Follow the Twitter conversation via the hashtag #xculturelove.

The numbers are small but growing.

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11:29am

Sat February 15, 2014
Law

Flood Of Gay Marriage Cases Releasing Stream Of Federal Rulings

Originally published on Sun February 16, 2014 10:48 pm

Virginians demonstrate outside Federal Court in Norfolk, Va., on Feb. 4. The judge ruled this week that Virginia's ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional.
Steve Helber AP

A federal judge in Virginia struck down that state's voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage this week. It's just the latest in a string of similar rulings in conservative states, and it indicates that the strategy for winning marriage equality in federal courts is moving faster than many had expected.

In her ruling, U.S. District Judge Arenda Wright Allen said Virginia's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional because "core civil rights are at stake." She compared the case to the landmark 1967 Supreme Court ruling recognizing interracial marriage.

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11:13am

Sat February 15, 2014
Around the Nation

Tenn. Workers Vote To Reject Union At VW Plant

Originally published on Sat February 15, 2014 1:13 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Tough night for the United Auto Workers. The union hoped employees at Volkswagen's only U.S. plant might help give them a foothold into foreign-owned auto plants across the South, but VW workers voted no, and Volkswagen had not opposed their efforts. Blake Farmer of member station WPLN in Nashville has been covering the story and joins us now. Blake, thanks for being with us.

BLAKE FARMER, BYLINE: Thanks for having me.

SIMON: Didn't the union think they had the numbers?

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10:34am

Sat February 15, 2014
Simon Says

Shirley Temple's Films Still Charm After All These Years

Originally published on Sun February 16, 2014 10:47 pm

Shirley Temple started performing in films when she was just 3 years old.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Shirley Temple really could be as effervescent as a jolt of ginger ale and as cheery as a maraschino cherry in the kid's cocktail that is still ordered by her name. When Shirley Temple Black, the name she used after her marriage to Charles Black, laughed — and she liked to laugh — tears came to her eyes.

She told us how once she'd been called to jury duty, and learned the case involved erotic bondage.

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9:54am

Sat February 15, 2014
Digital Life

An App On The Search For The Secret To Happiness

Originally published on Sat February 15, 2014 1:13 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Social scientists have a new way of researching happiness. Now, for years you had to ask somebody why they were happy in order study what makes somebody happy, but that's been hard to do every minute of every day until now. Guy Raz of the TED Radio Hour explains.

GUY RAZ, BYLINE: Matt Killingsworth is a scientist who...

MATT KILLINGSWORTH: ...studies the causes and nature of human happiness.

RAZ: Which used to mean bringing people to a lab and interviewing them and trying to figure out...

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8:16am

Sat February 15, 2014
Code Switch

Love In Technicolor: Interracial Families On Television

Originally published on Sat February 15, 2014 7:04 pm

In Parenthood, Dax Shepard plays Crosby, whose wife, Jasmine, is played by Joy Bryant. Their son is Jabbar (Tyree Brown).
NBC NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

I Love Lucy was one of the most popular shows in the history of television. Its stars, redheaded Lucille Ball and her Cuban-American husband Desi Arnaz, became TV icons — but they almost didn't get on TV.

Kathleen Brady is the author of Lucille: The Life of Lucille Ball. She says the network that wanted Ball to star in her own sitcom was not interested in her husband.

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10:47am

Sat February 8, 2014
Opinion

Forego The Faux Snow: The Games Could Use A Permanent Home

Originally published on Sat February 8, 2014 2:43 pm

China's National Stadium, right, and National Aquatics Center, cost half a billion dollars to build and struggle to attract visitors.
Greg Baker AP

The Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, are certifiably the most expensive and allegedly staggeringly corrupt.

Upwards of $50 billion has been spent to turn a place that's been best known as a Black Sea beach resort, where rich Russians could warm themselves under palm trees during long Moscow winters, into a winter sports capital with ski slopes and bobsled runs.

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10:20am

Sat February 8, 2014
Pop Culture

For Top-Flight Animators, The Gag Is An Art All Its Own

Originally published on Sat February 8, 2014 12:05 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

The Lego Movie opened last night in theaters across the country. It's latest example of the magic of animation, filmmakers who bring plastic to life, make animals talk and send toys singing and dancing across a big screen. But animators also love to hurl our most beloved characters over cliffs. They blow them up with dynamite, flatten them with speeding trains. Seconds later, they pop back up and dust themselves off.

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10:01am

Sat February 8, 2014
Sports

Sochi An Olympic Spectacle Even Without The Games

Originally published on Sat February 8, 2014 12:05 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. It's the first day of Winter Olympic in Sochi. Winners and losers are flying off the slopes. Those that don't want to know what happened before you have a chance to see it on TV, consider this is a spoiler alert. We're joined now by NPR's Tamara Keith from Sochi. Tamara, thanks very much for being with us.

TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: Glad to be with you.

SIMON: And let's start with the biathlon because someone who's regarded as a legend, I guess, has performed....

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