Weekend Edition - Saturday

Saturdays 8am to 10am

From civil wars in Bosnia and El Salvador, to hospital rooms, police stations, and America's backyards, National Public Radio's Peabody Award-winning correspondent Scott Simon brings a well-traveled perspective to his role as host of Weekend Edition Saturday.

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NPR Story
6:00 am
Sat February 18, 2012

Michigan Brakes For Santorum

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

That Michigan primary is just in 10 days and the contest there is turning to be closer than expected. Mitt Romney grew up in Michigan. His father, George Romney, ran a car company there. He was the governor. But Santorum has come on strong and even ahead in current polls. We're joined now by another son of Michigan, NPR's Don Gonyea, live in our studio, who spent the week in his home state. Thanks very much for being with us, Don.

DON GONYEA, BYLINE: My pleasure. Good to be here.

SIMON: What's the latest?

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NPR Story
6:00 am
Sat February 18, 2012

Finally, The Physics Of The Ponytail Explained

Originally published on Sat February 18, 2012 8:16 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

There's an article by three British scientists in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters that says, in part: A general continuum theory for the distribution of hairs in a bundle is developed treating individual fibers as elastic filaments with random intrinsic curvatures, applying this formalism to the iconic problem of the ponytail. The iconic problems of the ponytail? Where's the problem? Who better to explain than our math guy, Keith Devlin of Stanford University?

Keith, this is for real?

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NPR Story
6:00 am
Sat February 18, 2012

Payroll Tax Cut Brings Other Benefits

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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NPR Story
6:00 am
Sat February 18, 2012

Sports: Spring Training Begins; Basketball All-Star Ahead

Originally published on Sat February 18, 2012 8:16 am

It's the beginning of the beginning of baseball season, and two major thumpers have jumped leagues. Plus, basketball makes it to a midpoint, and suddenly you have to ask: Who's really the best team in Los Angeles? Host Scott Simon talks with ESPN's Howard Bryant about the sports of the week.

NPR Story
6:00 am
Sat February 18, 2012

Roadblocks That Might Stall China's 'Unstoppable' Rise

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Throughout this last week while the Chinese vice president was visiting the United States, there was a lot of talk about America and American business finding new opportunities in China, selling more to Chinese consumers instead of just buying so much from the world's second largest economy. Many Americans also see China as an unstoppable economic force that's surpassing the United States. But how does all this look from China? We're going to now to NPR's Shanghai correspondent, Frank Langfitt. Frank, thanks for being with us.

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NPR Story
6:00 am
Sat February 18, 2012

Mortgage Woes Pock Irish Landscape

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Many lives are being turned completely upside down by the eurozone crisis. That's especially true in Ireland, where they're still clearing up the mess left when the property bubble burst. Thousands of homes lie empty and unsold. And as NPR's Philip Reeves reports, some people have been left with colossal debts.

PHILIP REEVES, BYLINE: Step, for a minute, into the strange world of Jill Godsil. She lives among the farms and villages and rolling hills of Ireland's Wicklow County. The countryside's spectacular.

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NPR Story
6:00 am
Sat February 18, 2012

Wary Of Another Greek Bailout, EU Procrastinates

Originally published on Sat February 18, 2012 8:16 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

The Greek economy continues to suffer. It's been another painful week for that country starting Sunday when thousands of people demonstrated outside of parliament, and rioters torched buildings in Athens. Greek lawmakers passed harsh new austerity measures despite those protests, and still, Greece's European partners refused to approve the new bailout that the Greeks need to avoid default. NPR's Eric Westervelt reports what EU finance ministers will be considering when they meet again on Monday.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: (Greek spoken)

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NPR Story
6:00 am
Sat February 18, 2012

Troubled U.S. Bobsled Team Races For A Championship

Originally published on Sat February 18, 2012 8:16 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

The best bobsled racers in the world are in Lake Placid, New York this weekend, competing in the World Championships. There's big drama this year for the American team. After capturing a historic gold medal two years ago at the winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, the U.S. has struggled, and lost ground to the Europeans. As North Country Public Radio's Brian Mann reports, American sledders hope to prove on their home track that they can still compete.

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Music Interviews
4:27 pm
Fri February 17, 2012

Roberta Flack's Long And Winding Road

Roberta Flack's new album, Let It Be Roberta, is a collection of reworked Beatles favorites.
Brian T. Silak Courtesy of the artist

Roberta Flack has been singing in a way that plucks at the heartstrings since 1969, when she recorded the breakthrough song "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face." She followed that hit with many, many more, including, "Killing Me Softly with His Song," "Where Is the Love" and "The Closer I Get to You."

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Simon Says
6:54 am
Sat February 11, 2012

Ralph Nader's $2,680 Airplane Aisle Seat

When Americans traveled by stagecoach, they had to worry about rocks, rattlesnakes, robbers and other varmints. But I wonder if there weren't fewer passenger complaints.

Ralph Nader is not running for president this year. But he's giving a couple of speeches in Dallas this weekend and booked an American Airlines flight a couple of weeks ago for a $750 fare.

The flight takes three hours. Mr. Nader is 6 feet, 4 inches tall. His longtime travel agent tried to select an aisle seat, which is more comfortable for Mr. Nader. Probably for whoever might be next to him, too.

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Movie Interviews
6:00 am
Sat February 11, 2012

'Chico And Rita': A Love Story With A Latin Groove

Big Sounds, Bright Lights: Chico and Rita's musically inflected story follows a pair of lovers, a pianist and a singer, from Havana to New York to Paris.
GKIDS

Originally published on Mon February 13, 2012 4:03 pm

Fernando Trueba, whose film Belle Epoque won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 1993, will be back at the Academy Awards this year; his film Chico and Rita, a love story about a Cuban pianist and singer, is up for a statue in the Animated Feature category.

Trueba says animation has some of the qualities that classic old movies had — "a more concise, more synthetical way of storytelling."

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Fine Art
6:00 am
Sat February 11, 2012

Museum Dedicated To All Of French Artist's Many Talents

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

As most people who care about modern art, to list the major 20th century painters, they may start with Picasso, Matisse, then move on to the Americans, Jackson Pollock, Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns. But in France, a new museum just opened, devoted exclusively to one of the most multi-talented, controversial and often forgotten artist of the last century, Jean Cocteau.

Frank Browning traveled to France on the Cote d'Azure to report on this very peculiar man and the museum that celebrates him.

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NPR Story
6:00 am
Sat February 11, 2012

Boston's Neighborhood Parishes May Become Branch Offices

The Archdiocese of Boston is taking a business approach to its problem of too many parishes, too few priests and not enough parishioners. It plans to merge parishes into clusters and placing them under one pastor. It will eliminate dozens of parish jobs for lay people and take away local control of a church's budget and religious education program. The plan is being met with considerable pushback from priests and parishioners. Monica Brady-Myerov of member station WBUR reports.

NPR Story
6:00 am
Sat February 11, 2012

The Zebra's Stripes, A Personal No-Fly Zone

Scientists in Hungary and Sweden say they've found an answer to the age-old question of how the zebra got its stripes. It turns out the pattern may have evolved to repel Africa's biting flies. The researchers discovered this by placing models of patterned zebras next to models of their plainer cousins, horses, and measuring how many flies ended up on each one. Host Scott Simon has more.

Author Interviews
4:13 am
Sat February 11, 2012

In A StoryCorps Booth, Love Is 'All There Is'

iStockphoto.com

Dave Isay begins his new book with a quote from co-worker Lillie Love, whose name resonates deeply with his latest project. Shortly before she died in 2010, Love said, "Love is all there is ... When you take your last breath, you remember the people you love, how much love you inspired and how much love you gave."

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Music Interviews
3:02 pm
Fri February 10, 2012

An Understudy Turned Star Shines On The Met Stage

Jay Hunter Morris has received glowing reviews for his role as Siegfried in the Metropolitan Opera's most recent production of Wagner's Ring Cycle.
Ken Howard Metropolitan Opera

Originally published on Sat February 11, 2012 9:46 am

Siegfried is a Norse hero, and one of the most demanding roles in all of opera. He slays dragons and has to sing about it — in Gotterdammerung, The Twilight of the Gods, the last opera in Wagner's Ring Cycle.

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NPR Story
10:18 am
Sat February 4, 2012

UN Vote On Syria Fails

Originally published on Sat February 4, 2012 11:05 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene, in for Scott Simon. It's been nearly a year since anti-government protests began in Syria. President Bashar al-Assad has carried out a violent crackdown. We've heard tough statements, warnings from capitals around the world. And today, it appeared the U.N. Security Council was poised to issue a resolution condemning the crackdown.

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NPR Story
10:18 am
Sat February 4, 2012

Massive Moscow Rally Calls For Putin's Exit

In Moscow on Saturday, tens of thousands of protesters braved the sub-zero temperatures to gather in the city center. They were demonstrating against Vladimir Putin's planned return to the presidency next month. Guest host David Greene has more.

NPR Story
7:25 am
Sat February 4, 2012

20 Million Years Later, Russians Work To Drill Into Lake

Originally published on Sat February 4, 2012 11:05 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Imagine a place on earth where there's been no light, no wind for millions of years. Lake Vostok is one such place. The world's third largest lake, in terms of amount of water, has long been hidden, buried beneath two miles of ice until, perhaps, this coming week. Russian researchers are about to break through that ice.

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Simon Says
6:01 am
Sat February 4, 2012

Standing In Defense Of Diet Coke

Diet Coke. David Greene likes it.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sat February 4, 2012 11:05 am

I would like to rise up today in defense of Diet Coke. All diet sodas, in fact. But Diet Coke happens to be my favorite.

I like the stuff.

Cracking open a can of it, or pouring some over ice, helps me survive a long work day.

This love of Diet Coke is one reason my re-entry into the United States has been a little rocky. When I moved back recently after a reporting assignment in Russia, nobody warned me that war had been declared on Diet Coke.

The artillery was fired by Men's Health magazine.

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NPR Story
6:00 am
Sat February 4, 2012

Protesters Flood The Streets In Moscow

Opponents of Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin marched through the streets of Moscow Saturday in another large demonstration against alleged voting fraud. The protest is seen as a test both for the opposition and Putin, ahead of March's presidential election. Guest host David Greene gets the latest from NPR's Corey Flintoff in Moscow.

Music Interviews
2:39 pm
Fri February 3, 2012

Ruthie Foster: Texas Gospel With A Worldly Touch

Ruthie Foster's new album is Let It Burn.
John Carrico

Ruthie Foster is from a small town in central Texas — but there's nothing small about the way she sings on her new album, Let It Burn. Zigzagging between blues, soul, gospel and rock, the album features solid originals and surprising covers, along with several stirring collaborations with The Blind Boys of Alabama.

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NPR Story
6:00 am
Sat January 28, 2012

Obama's Plan To Kick-Start Housing Market

Originally published on Sat January 28, 2012 8:46 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

The future of the state of the U.S. housing market was a primary focus for the White House this week. On Tuesday's State of the Union address, President Obama unveiled a new plan to try to correct the housing downturn. It would allow qualifying homeowners the chance to refinance their mortgages at historically low rates.

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NPR Story
6:00 am
Sat January 28, 2012

Wolves Attract Tourists, But Reality Lurks

A niche industry of tour companies is taking people into wolves' habitat at Yellowstone National Park. Montana Public Radio's Dan Boyce went on an expedition with a man who recognizes the problems wolves bring to the landscape even as he makes his living off of them.

NPR Story
6:00 am
Sat January 28, 2012

Gingrich Tries To Scoop Up Votes In Fla.

Originally published on Sat January 28, 2012 8:46 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. We begin with the latest in the Republican race for president. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney campaigned in Florida yesterday. Mr. Gingrich made appearances before two communities whose votes he hopes to win in Tuesday's primary. He spoke to Latino home builders and businesspeople in the morning, and had a rally with a group of Republican Jewish voters in the afternoon. NPR's Brian Naylor reports.

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NPR Story
6:00 am
Sat January 28, 2012

'Backstage With' Fred Willard and Martin Mull

Martin Mull and Fred Willard are comic partners in many minds. They helped create Fernwood Tonight in the late 1970s, and while they went on to solo careers in films and stage, they were reunited to play one of TV's first gay couples on Roseanne. Host Scott Simon sat down with the duo for the public television show Backstage With.

NPR Story
6:00 am
Sat January 28, 2012

A Short Talk About The World's Longest Interview

Originally published on Tue February 21, 2012 1:03 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

What do you do when the conversation lags? Our friend Richard Glover of the ABC in Sydney, Australia might know. This week he and sports author and journalist Peter FitzSimons set a new Guinness World Record for Longest Radio or TV interview: 24 hours, with only an occasional loo break. [POST-BROADCAST CORRECTION: The record-setting interview did not take place "this week." It was actually in December 2011.]

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NPR Story
6:00 am
Sat January 28, 2012

Your Letters: On Propaganda And Appreciation

Originally published on Sat January 28, 2012 8:46 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Time now for your letters. Last week we spoke with Christian Bale who stars in the new film, "The Flowers of War." The movie takes place in China during Japan's violent occupation of Nanjing in 1937. "The Flowers of War" has been criticized as being part of an effort by the Chinese government to improve China's image in the world.

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NPR Story
6:00 am
Sat January 28, 2012

Sports: Finals Down Under; A New Tiger In Detroit

The women's finals in the Australian Open are already over. In baseball, power-hitter Prince Fielder has returned to his childhood team, the Detroit Tigers, for which his father played. Host Scott Simon talks sports with Howard Bryant of ESPN the Magazine and ESPN.com.

NPR Story
6:00 am
Sat January 28, 2012

Egyptians Divide As They Celebrate Together

This week, Egyptians marked the first anniversary of the uprising that led to the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak. Deepening political divisions between pro-Islamist and secular protesters marred the event, erupting into violent scuffles. NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson reports.

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