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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7:00am

Sat September 14, 2013
Technology

New Computer School Makes French Students Teach Themselves

Originally published on Sat September 14, 2013 1:25 pm

Xavier Niel, the French Internet billionaire and founder of the Internet provider Free, reacts after delivering his speech in January 2012. Niel has founded a new computer school in Paris named 42.
Jacques Brinon AP

A new computer school in Paris has been overwhelmed by some 60,000 applicants.

The school, called 42, was founded by a telecom magnate who says the French education system is failing young people. His aim is to reduce France's shortage in computer programmers while giving those who've fallen by the wayside a new chance.

In the hallways of 42, suitcases and sleeping bags are piled, and people are stretched out on mattresses in some of the corners. There are showers and dozens of colorful bath towels.

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6:57am

Sat September 14, 2013
National Security

Medea Benjamin's Anti-War Activism: Wearing Pink, Seeing Red

Originally published on Mon September 23, 2013 11:49 am

A Code Pink protester holds up a red-painted hand behind Secretary of State John Kerry as he testifies on Capitol Hill on Sept. 4 about possible military strikes on Syria.
Carolyn Kaster AP

As the Obama administration made its case for military action in Syria, one of the loudest voices in opposition came from Medea Benjamin, the co-founder of Code Pink.

You may not know her by name, but if you follow national politics, you've no doubt seen her work.

At the House Foreign Affairs Committee earlier this month, for instance, as Secretary of State John Kerry made the case for a military strike in Syria, Medea Benjamin sat behind him, holding up her hands, painted bright red.

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6:55am

Sat September 14, 2013
Author Interviews

Art Spiegelman Reflects On 60 Years Of Pen And Ink

Originally published on Sat September 14, 2013 11:28 am

It's axiomatic now that comics have gone from being kids' stuff to, in some cases, adults only. These days, comics are recognized as a real artistic form, one that can be complex, subtle, pointed, probing and profane.

One of the artists most responsible for this is Art Spiegelman, who drew for Topps Bubble Gum comics, invented the Garbage Pail Kids, created a character who was all head, no body, for Playboy and won the Pulitzer Prize for Maus, his Holocaust comic — a phrase that was once unfathomable.

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4:58am

Sat September 14, 2013
Author Interviews

McMillan 'Asks' Readers To Empathize With A Family's Problems

Originally published on Sat September 14, 2013 11:28 am

Terry McMillan is the best-selling author of Waiting to Exhale and How Stella Got Her Groove Back
Matthew Jordan Smith Courtesy of Penguin Group USA

Terry McMillan weaves together different voices, generations, races and surprises in her latest novel, Who Asked You?. It's a family story that revolves around Betty Jean — known as BJ — a woman who worked as a Los Angeles maid and raised three kids. Her husband is now retired and suffers from Alzheimer's and her children have grown up in radically different ways. One son, Dexter, is in prison. Another son, Quentin, is a successful chiropractor who has had multiple marriages, pointedly lives out of town and wants little contact with his family.

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4:57am

Sat September 14, 2013
Architecture

In Los Angeles, Showcasing A City That Might Have Been

Originally published on Sat September 14, 2013 10:52 pm

Pereira and Luckman, Los Angeles International Airport Original Plan, 1952
LAWA Flight Path Learning Center

A museum exhibit about buildings that don't exist might not sound all that exciting. But the Architecture & Design Museum in Los Angeles has had its crowds grow to 10 times their normal level for a show called Never Built: Los Angeles. It's on through Oct. 13 – and it's all about projects that were imagined for the city but never constructed.

Let's start with one of the most high-profile: a 1968 proposal that would've dramatically altered the profile of Mount Hollywood.

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4:54am

Sat September 14, 2013
Middle East

In Syria Debate, Obama's Internal Dialogue Becomes Audible

Originally published on Sat September 14, 2013 6:21 pm

President Obama's speeches about Syria have at times seemed to reveal his own internal struggle on the topic.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

A surprise agreement between the U.S. and Russia, announced Saturday, calls for Syria to destroy all of its chemical weapons by mid-2014. The deal follows a chaotic week of seat-of-the-pants foreign policy.

Performing on the international stage, Obama and his Cabinet secretaries have offered up one plot twist after another, though it often seems as if the actors are working without a script.

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2:03am

Sat September 14, 2013
Music News

Barbez Mines Resistance And Tradition Of Italian Jews

Originally published on Sat September 14, 2013 11:28 am

New York musician Dan Kaufman (third from right) traveled to Rome to learn more about the city's Jewish community and the Italian resistance during WWII. The result is a new album by his band Barbez, based in part on the lost melodies of Roman Jewish music.
Courtesy of the artist

The unique musical traditions of Rome's ancient Jewish community were almost lost for good. Now, those melodies are being revived — not by musicologists, but by a rock band based in New York.

"I fell in love with the melodies, and I started to re-imagine them for my band in our own style," says Dan Kaufman, guitarist and leader of the Brooklyn band Barbez.

The Tradition

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7:23am

Sat September 7, 2013
Sports

History Repeats Itself At Women's U.S. Open

Originally published on Sat September 7, 2013 1:01 pm

Serena Williams will take on Victoria Azarenka in the U.S. Open final. Host Scott Simon talks to NPR's Tom Goldman about tennis, as well as the season opener of the NFL.

7:03am

Sat September 7, 2013
NPR Story

Cow Tipping: The Myth That Just Won't Stand Up

Originally published on Sat September 7, 2013 1:01 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Cow tipping is considered an adolescent rite of passage in some places. Now, we have members of our staff in this very office of urban sophisticates who say they've been part of a group that tipped a bovine. But a journalist named Jake Swearingen insists that cow tipping is what amounts to a rural legend - no more real than jackalopes. His sod-breaking analysis appears in the new quarterly magazine Modern Farmer. Jake Swearingen joins us from our studios in New York. Thanks so much for being with us.

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7:03am

Sat September 7, 2013
NPR Story

Former Champion Makes Case For Squash As An Olympic Sport

Originally published on Sat September 7, 2013 1:01 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Tomorrow, the International Olympic Committee will meet in Buenos Aires to decide which sport - wrestling, the combined sports of baseball and softball, or squash - will be added to the 2020 Olympics. Now, if squash is chosen, it would make its debut as an Olympic sport. Jonathon Power was the first North American to become the world's top-ranked squash player. He joins us on the line now. Thanks very much for being with us.

JONATHON POWER: An absolute pleasure. Thanks for having me.

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6:25am

Sat September 7, 2013
Education

New School Year Brings Sequestration Pain For Many Districts

Originally published on Sat September 7, 2013 8:39 pm

A student at Red Lake High School starts the 2005 school year following a shooting the year before in which eight people were killed. Because of sequestration, the district is not able to keep on staff a school psychologist brought in after the shootings.
Ann Heisenfelt AP

The superintendent of the Lancaster, Pa., school district is meeting with teachers and staff at George Washington Elementary. It's the start of a new school year, and he's trying to sound upbeat about the district's finances.

"We continue to lose 5 and 10 percent of budgets each year," Pedro Rivera tells them. "And our overall goal is to make those plans and stretch out dollars to not impact you, because no kids should go without. Right?"

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5:36am

Sat September 7, 2013
Music

A Children's Author Wrangles A Cowboy Soundtrack

Originally published on Sat September 7, 2013 6:11 pm

Sandra Boynton's new children's album and songbook is titled Frog Trouble.
Courtesy of the artist

5:33am

Sat September 7, 2013
Simon Says

When Weighing Intervention In Syria, Consider The Children

Originally published on Sat September 7, 2013 1:01 pm

Leo del Aguila (from left), Vesa Gashi, Scott Simon, Erblin Mehmetaj and Shawn Fox in 1999 in a housing complex in Pristina. Del Aguila, Simon and Fox were covering the Kosovo conflict for NPR; the children lived in the war-stricken area.
Courtesy of Erblin Mehmetaj

I was in a grocery store one night this week when a sturdy young man approached with a smile.

"Do you remember me?" he asked. "Bini."

Bini — Erblin Mehmataj — was a bony-shouldered 9-year-old boy with a full, toothy grin who lived in an Albanian Muslim housing complex in Pristina, where we stayed to cover the war in Kosovo in 1999.

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5:32am

Sat September 7, 2013
Author Interviews

Billy Crystal's 'Foolin', Full Of Fun — And Feeling

Originally published on Wed October 16, 2013 5:07 pm

Billy Crystal returned to voice the role of Mike Wazowski in 2013's Monsters University, sequel to the hit Pixar comedy that introduced the outgoing one-eyed scareball — sidekick to John Goodman's furry blue-and-purple star.
Joe Klamar AFP/Getty Images

Billy Crystal is ... 65. He feels that he's gone from being, as he puts it, "a cool Baby Boomer into a Diane Arbus photograph."

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5:32am

Sat September 7, 2013
Author Interviews

Suspicious? In 'United States Of Paranoia,' It's Not Just You

Originally published on Sat September 7, 2013 1:01 pm

Conspiracy theorists and other protesters march through downtown Denver on Aug. 26, 2008.
Ben Woloszyn AP

Weekend Edition gets a lot of emails that start like this: "Why don't you tell the truth about ..." The Kennedy assassination, Sept. 11, the Lincoln assassination, the birthplace of Barack Obama or John McCain, Pearl Harbor, Area 51, black helicopters or the moon landing — fill in the blank however you like.

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7:38am

Sat August 31, 2013
NPR Story

NBC To Broadcast Britsh Soccer League

Originally published on Sat August 31, 2013 11:59 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

There's no joke in American sport circles. Soccer is the sport of the future and always will be. Is the future here? Big time soccer finally has a major American television contract, but it's not the L.A. Galaxy, Chicago Fire, San Jose Earthquake, or Columbus Crew. The NBC sports network has started broadcasting a full schedule - should that be schedule - from Britain's premier league. That's Manchester United Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, the Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham.

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7:38am

Sat August 31, 2013
NPR Story

Contenders Battle In The U.S. Open

Originally published on Sat August 31, 2013 11:59 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon and nice to say time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SIMON: The U.S. Open full swing. We've seen a curtain call for James Blake, an early exit by Venus Williams, a glitter of greatness from Victoria Duval and Serena Williams star burning bright as ever. For the latest from Blushing Meadows we turn to Howard Bryant of ESPN.com and ESPN the Magazine. He joins us from his studios of the Radio Foundation in New York City. Howard, thanks for being with us.

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7:38am

Sat August 31, 2013
NPR Story

If 'Humanitarian,' Why Not Intervene In Syria Sooner?

Originally published on Sat August 31, 2013 11:59 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

As U.S. forced reportedly prepare to launch a limited military action against the Syrian government, we turn now to a voice who's long made the case that the U.S. must take some action in Syria. Michael Ignatieff is a leading voice for the idea of humanitarian intervention. He helped develop the concept of the responsibility to protect. He is the former leader of Canada's Liberal party and now back on the faculty of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard's Kennedy School.

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4:56am

Sat August 31, 2013
All Tech Considered

Call Me, Haiti? One Man's Quest To Skype Around The World

Originally published on Sat August 31, 2013 11:59 am

4:56am

Sat August 31, 2013
Music Interviews

Typhoon: Songs For A Lost Childhood

Originally published on Sat August 31, 2013 11:59 am

Typhoon, the Portland, Ore. band led by Kyle Morton, features a dozen musicians playing precise and complicated arrangements.
Jaclyn Campanaro Courtesy of the artist

7:35am

Sat August 24, 2013
NPR Story

1972 Dolphins Finally Get To Meet The President

Originally published on Sat August 24, 2013 11:39 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

These days the team that wins the Super Bowl usually counts on meeting with the president of the United States. But that wasn't the case when the Miami Dolphins went undefeated in 1972. So, early this week 31 members of that record-setting team finally got their chance to meet this president, more than 40 years later.

Their coach, hall of famer Don Shula joins us. Coach, thanks very much for being with us.

DON SHULA: Yes, glad to be with you.

SIMON: Any idea how this trip came about?

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7:35am

Sat August 24, 2013
NPR Story

ESPN Backs Out Of Concussion Documentary

Originally published on Sat August 24, 2013 11:39 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. So good to say it's time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF THEME MUSIC)

SIMON: And we're just a couple of weeks away from the start of the NFL season but inquiring minds want to know did ESPN take a dive for the NFL? Joining us now to explore this and a couple of other questions is our man, NPR's Tom Goldman. Tom, thanks for being with us.

TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: Good to be with you again, Scott.

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7:35am

Sat August 24, 2013
NPR Story

Trading Domain Names For A Day With The Candidates

Originally published on Sat August 24, 2013 11:39 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Last month, Kentucky Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes declared she'll run against minority leader, Mitch McConnell for the U.S. Senate.

ALISON LUNDERGAN GRIMES: ...Kentucky by running for the U.S. Senate.

(APPLAUSE)

SIMON: Her candidacy had been rumored for months. The obvious Web domain name, Grimesforsenate.com, had already been purchased. But not by the Grimes' campaign. By a man who's a kind of political hobbyist.

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6:23am

Sat August 24, 2013
Author Interviews

Sisterly Conflict Against A Great War Backdrop In 'Daughters Of Mars'

Originally published on Sat August 24, 2013 11:39 am

Topical Press Agency Getty Images

Naomi and Sally Durance are heroes of the Great War, that war which was supposed to end all wars. It didn't, but it did help these two Australian sisters overcome sibling suspicion and grow closer to each other.

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6:22am

Sat August 24, 2013
Books

'Bummers, Blisters And Boondoggles': A Jokester Joins The Army

Originally published on Tue August 27, 2013 2:59 pm

In a time when recollections can be reduced to just a few words, Jean Shepherd delivered monologues, soliloquies and musings. He was a raconteur.

Shepherd served in the Army during World War II — that same Army that stormed the beaches on D-Day, though Shepherd and his unit would never see the front lines. They were the homefront Army: stocking, re-stocking, sending, schlepping and training for a war they helped win — but only at a distance.

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5:31am

Sat August 24, 2013
Law

Cutting Public Defenders Can Cost Federal Government More

Originally published on Mon August 26, 2013 1:32 pm

Courts in Tucson, Ariz., are turning to private lawyers to represent clients who would have had public defenders.
Chris Morrison AP

These days, the Federal Public Defender's Office in Tucson, Ariz., has lots of space. Since the federal budget cuts known as sequestration began, the office has lost a quarter of its staff to layoffs or furloughs.

Under the Constitution, clients still need legal representation, so judges have to appoint private attorneys to replace the public defenders.

The sequester was supposed to save money. But in this case, the sequester is costing federal dollars.

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5:28am

Sat August 24, 2013
Education

Obama Campaigns For College Affordability Plan

Originally published on Sat August 24, 2013 11:39 am

President Obama makes an unannounced stop to talk with the Tully Central High School soccer team about their plans for college in Tully, N.Y., on Friday.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

President Obama toured Pennsylvania and New York by bus on Thursday and Friday to promote his college affordability plan.

He's proposing a affordability-rating system that would steer federal aid, but a budget battle with Congressional Republicans is looming.

'A Major Debate'

The tour had a back-to-school theme, but at his stop on Thursday, the fall semester hasn't even begun. Obama spoke to a packed high school gym in Syracuse.

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5:27am

Sat August 24, 2013
Simon Says

Remembering Elmore Leonard, A Writer Who Hated Literature

Originally published on Sat August 24, 2013 11:39 am

Many of Elmore Leonard's stories have been adapted for the screen, from the movie Get Shorty to the TV show, Justified.
Vince Bucci Getty Images

Elmore Leonard was a writer who hated — and I don't mean disliked; Elmore had a contempt for putting pretty clothes on hard, direct words, so I mean hated — literature, or at least what he believed a lot of people mean when they say liter-a-ture, as if it were a Members Only club.

Elmore Leonard wrote for a living, from the time in his 20s when he turned out ads for Detroit department stores and vacuum cleaners during the day, and wrote cowboy and crime stories for pulp magazines at night.

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10:42am

Sat August 17, 2013
NPR Story

Gunfire Exchanged In Standoff At Cairo Mosque

Originally published on Sun August 18, 2013 7:35 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. And this week, Egypt witnessed the bloodiest day in its modern history. More than 600 people were killed, most are in a security crackdown on supporters of the ousted president, Mohamed Morsi. And it isn't over. Dozens more people have died since, some in citizen on citizen violence.

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7:43am

Sat August 17, 2013
Movies

The Words Vivien Leigh Left Behind

Originally published on Sun August 18, 2013 7:35 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "GONE WITH THE WIND")

VIVIEN LEIGH: (as Scarlett O'Hara) Oh, Rhett, please don't go. You can't leave me, please. I'll never forgive you.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "CAESAR AND CLEOPATRA")

CLAUDE RAINS: (as Julius Caesar) Who are you?

LEIGH: (as Cleopatra) Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt.

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