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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8:00am

Sat April 16, 2011
Media

Russian Journalist's Writing Lives Past Her Murder

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, host:

There are brave reporters that work in several war zones now. And if American reporters do good work that's admired by the public and respected by their colleagues, they may expect to win awards, fame and appearances on "The Daily Show." But Reporters Without Borders says that 22 Russian reporters have been murdered since 2000. Not in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya or Chechnya but at home -in fact, often in their homes.

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8:00am

Sat April 16, 2011
Fiction

No Love Lost In Crime Authors' New Story

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, host:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. Im Scott Simon.

"Heads You Lose" is a witty and engaging crime novel, but you might find yourself flipping through the pages furiously to get to the stuff in between the chapters. Lisa Lutz and David Hayward decided to write a crime novel together. Ms. Lutz is the best-selling author of the "Spellman" comedic crime series. Mr. Hayward is a poet. They used to be a couple. They decided to alternate chapters.

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8:00am

Sat April 16, 2011
From Our Listeners

Your Letters: Humane Society CEO; Japan Radiation

We talked with Wayne Pacelle last week, president and CEO of the Humane Society. We also had a heated debate on our site following a report by NPR's Joe Palca on the risk, or lack of it, of radiation exposure from Japan's badly damaged nuclear plant. Host Scott Simon reads listeners' e-mails and comments.

7:56pm

Fri April 15, 2011
The Record

20 Years Later, Seattle Music Scene Still Channels Spirit Of Nirvana

Twenty-five years ago, if you thought about Seattle at all, you might have known it as the home of Boeing airplanes. Then along came a band that shook up the world's ideas about rock music. In September 1991, Nirvana released its major-label debut, Nevermind.

Nirvana's success helped transform Seattle from an isolated working-class city to an international hub of art, technology and cafe society. On Saturday, Seattle's Experience Music Project opens the first major exhibition ever devoted to Nirvana and the music scene that spawned the band.

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8:09am

Sat April 9, 2011
Kee Facts: A Few Things You Didn't Know

The Civil War's First Death Was An Accident

Originally published on Sat May 5, 2012 4:42 pm

Lithograph of the 1861 bombardment of Fort Sumter in South Carolina's Charleston Harbor.
Currier & Ives Library Of Congress

April 14 marks the date 150 years ago that the first person was killed in the Civil War — but there's more to the story.

The First To Die

The first shots of the War Between the States were fired at Fort Sumter in South Carolina's Charleston Harbor in 1861. Federal troops, under command of Maj. Robert Anderson, surrendered to Confederate Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard after an artillery bombardment that had begun on April 12.

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8:00am

Sat April 9, 2011
Politics

Tough Talk, Wary Compromise, And Finally, No Shutdown

With one hour to spare, the federal government averted a shutdown Friday night. The budget deal will carry the government through the remaining six months of the fiscal year.

7:54am

Sat April 9, 2011
Books

Humane Society CEO On Katrina, Michael Vick And More

When quarterback Michael Vick met with Wayne Pacelle, the president of the Humane Society, in Fort Leavenworth Penitentiary in 2009, he told him something that a lot of people would have a hard time believing: He actually loves animals.

Vick was nearing the end of an 18-month sentence for dogfighting crimes, and Pacelle had been one of his most vocal critics. But through their relationship, Vick eventually (and controversially) became an advocate for animal welfare.

A Utility For The Animal Protection Cause

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7:50am

Sat April 9, 2011
Music Interviews

How The Beatnik Riot Helped Kick Off The '60s

Dan Drasin's 1961 film, Sunday, captured the April 9, 1961, conflict between New York City folk musicians and police that came to be known as the Beatnik Riot.
Via Dan Drasin

On April 9, 1961, several hundred musicians and their friends gathered in New York's Washington Square Park to sing folk songs and hang out, just like they did most Sundays. But on this day, the New York Police Department came to kick them out.

The events of that day became known as the Beatnik Riot, and Saturday marks its 50th anniversary.

'A Nice Little Subject For A Documentary'

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5:32pm

Fri April 8, 2011
Music Interviews

A Jazz Singer Teams With Nashville's Finest

Patsy Cline probably never imagined that "Walkin' After Midnight" could sound quite like it does on a new CD called Countrypolitan Duets.

Jazz singer Anna Wilson, working in collaboration with country group Lady Antebellum, twists Cline's original from a bouncy country ballad into a full-throated swing number. Wilson has brought together an A-list roster of other country music performers to reinterpret classic songs with a touch of jazz.

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1:46pm

Sat March 26, 2011
Remembrances

Remembering The Strengths Of Geraldine Ferraro

Geraldine Ferraro, who died Saturday at age 75, was the first woman nominated for U.S. vice president by a major political party. Host Scott Simon talks to Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank about what led Walter Mondale to pick her for the No. 2 spot on the 1984 Democratic ticket.

8:17am

Sat March 26, 2011
Simon Says

Elizabeth Taylor: Front-Page News To The Last

When Richard Burton first took up with his co-star in Cleopatra, he claimed to be astonished at how famous she was. "She knocks Khrushchev off the bloody front page!"

When Elizabeth Taylor — or, as many remembrances, including this one, I suppose, couldn't resist putting it, Elizabeth Taylor Hilton Wilding Todd Fisher Burton Burton Warner Fortensky — died this week at the age of 79, she shared the front page with an earthquake, a nuclear crisis, and rising revolutions.

Elizabeth Taylor never lost top billing.

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8:00am

Sat March 26, 2011
Sports

March Madness: The Rise Of The Elite 8

March Madness is in full swing, and host Scott Simon talks with NPR sports correspondent Tom Goldman about the latest in men's NCAA basketball.

8:00am

Sat March 26, 2011
Animals

In Africa, Oil Hunt Raises Concerns About Gorillas

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, host:

Virunga National Park, Africa's oldest, is home to an estimated 200 of the world's 700 remaining wild Mountain Gorillas. The park straddles parts of Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. And, of course, was featured in Dian's Fossey's book, "Gorillas in the Mist."

But Virunga has been targeted by a British oil company, SOCO International, as an area for oil exploration. The Congolese government rejected their bid, but SOCO says it got the okay from Uganda to explore its side of the park.

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8:00am

Sat March 26, 2011
Middle East

Israel Warily Watches Arab Turmoil

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, host:

After leaving Egypt, Secretary Gates traveled to Israel, his second time there as Defense secretary. He talked with Israeli officials about taking action on the stalled peace process, the spike in violence and civil uprisings in the Middle East.

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8:00am

Sat March 26, 2011
Around the Nation

Jim Brady, 30 Years Later

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, host:

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

(Soundbite of people talking)

SIMON: The place in which presidential press secretaries spar with reporters is called the James A. Brady Press Briefing Room.

Unidentified Woman: This is a two-minute warning for the press briefing. This is a two-minute warning for the press briefing.

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7:26am

Sat March 26, 2011
Music Interviews

Alligator Records: Pushing Blues Forward For 40 Years

Back in 1970, a young blues fanatic named Bruce Iglauer walked into Florence's Lounge on the South Side of Chicago. The band he heard, Hound Dog Taylor and the House Rockers, inspired a record label that endures to this day.

Hound Dog Taylor and the House Rockers made the first record released on Alligator Records. Some 280 releases later, the label is marking its 40th anniversary this year.

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5:00am

Sat March 26, 2011
Books

Joe DiMaggio, A Star With The Power of Silence

For a couple of generations, Joe DiMaggio symbolized the word class. He was called the Yankee Clipper because he seemed to glide across the baseball field: stately, graceful and powerful. He set an untouchable baseball record of hits in 56 consecutive games, and he married Marilyn Monroe, who quickly jilted him even as he remained devoted to her through sickness, health and death.

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12:00am

Sat March 26, 2011
Theater

Tennessee At 100: Forever 'The Poet Of The Outcast'

Even people who've never seen a Tennessee Williams play know his words — and the kinds of characters who speak them.

"Whoever you are, I have always depended on the kindness of strangers." — Blanche Dubois, in A Streetcar Named Desire.

"Stella! ... Stella!" — tough-guy Stanley Kowalski, filled with liquor and guilt, calling to his wife from the steamy streets of New Orleans in the same play.

Blanche is Stanley's sister-in-law, a faded Southern belle at once attracted to and repulsed by the brute.

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12:53pm

Sat March 19, 2011
Remembrances

Warren Christopher Dies At Age 85

Transcript

SIMON: Warren Christopher was a famously meticulous man. When he stepped down as President Clintons secretary of State, the president referred to him as the only man ever to eat M&Ms on Air Force One with a fork.

Warren Christopher died last night at the age 85, at home in Los Angeles. He was the son of a North Dakota bank clerk who became a blue chip, L.A. lawyer in splendid suits, and a famously self-effacing diplomat.

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8:00am

Sat March 19, 2011
Middle East

Egyptians Vote On Amendments To Constitution

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, host:

Egyptians vote today in the first election since ousting Hosni Mubarak from power last month. At stake: nine amendments to the constitution that the former ruler helped create. Supporters say the referendum is the first step toward a real democracy in Egypt. But opponents argue the measures leave too much power in the hands of Egypt's future presidents and they want the constitution scrapped.

NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson reports voter turnout is unusually high in some districts.

(Soundbite of people speaking foreign language)

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8:00am

Sat March 19, 2011
Japan In Crisis

Japan's Survivors Bid Dignified Farewell To Deceased

The earthquake and tsunami that ravaged Japan's northeast has torn the social fabric of many communities wrought havoc on the normal cycles of life and death. In the northern city of Kesennuma, where at least 300 people were killed by the tsunami, communities are struggling to maintain dignity and respect as they send off the deceased.

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8:00am

Sat March 19, 2011
Africa

U.S., Allies Discuss Military Action Against Libya

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, host:

This is Weekend Edition from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.

In Libya, forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi are continuing their attacks on rebel-held towns less than a day after Gadhafi's government declared a cease-fire. In Paris today, Secretary of State Clinton is meeting with key allies to plan possible military action in Libya. The U.S., France, Great Britain and others are set to give final approval for a no-fly zone over Libya but the details of how this military operation might work are unclear.

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8:00am

Sat March 19, 2011
Digital Life

Twitter Turns Five: #happybirthday!

The social networking site Twitter turns five today. The service now boasts 200 million users, who send more than 100 million tweets each day. Twitter co-founder Isaac "Biz" Stone joined NPR's Scott Simon to answer questions about the popular social media site — including the one we've all been dying to know: Why 140 characters?

"I have a good answer for that," says Stone. "From the very beginning we built Twitter to work over SMS, or simple mobile text messaging. The limit internationally for text messages is 160 characters."

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8:00am

Sat March 19, 2011
Sports

March Madness Indeed: Early NCAA Upsets

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, host:

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

Time for sports. It's March and, as usual, upset Madness in the early rounds of the NCAA men's basketball tournament. Underdogs: Virginia Commonwealth, Morehead State and Richmond might be sizing their feet for glass slippers to wear to the big dance, after beating some heavily-favored teams this week.

NPR's Mike Pesca joins us in our studio. Good to be with you personally, right across from each other.

MIKE PESCA: Good to be with you.

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8:00am

Sat March 19, 2011
Digital Life

Separation Anxiety? Taking Cell Phones From Teens

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, host:

Teenagers have become as devoted to cell phones as they can be to gum snapping or Lady Gaga. They text, talk and leap at the bleeble of any possible message from a friend, a parent - or Miley Cyrus. So we were intrigued to learn about a high school senior named Michelle Hackman, who won second place in a national science competition. She conducted a study to see what happens when a teenager is deprived of his or her phone.

She joins us on a phone from John L. Miller Great Neck North High School on Long Island.

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8:00am

Sat March 19, 2011
Sports

Branch Rickey: Breaking Baseball's Color Barrier

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, host:

To baseball now. Jimmy Breslin, the great New York columnist, has written a new Penguin Lives biography of Branch Rickey, the great general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers. He was the man who invented the minor league system, coined bromides like: Luck is the residue of design, and made American - not just sports history - by signing Jackie Robinson and integrating the game of baseball.

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