Weekend Edition Saturday

Scott Simon

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.

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StoryCorps
6:02 am
Sat October 12, 2013

With Veteran's Life In Peril, His Parents Take Up The Fight

The Schei family in 2010 (from left): Anneka, Gordon, Erik, Deven and Christine.
Courtesy of the Schei family

Originally published on Fri October 18, 2013 12:28 pm

In October 2005, 21-year-old Army Sgt. Erik Schei was shot in the head during his second tour in Iraq. The bullet shattered the top half of his skull.

Christine and Gordon Schei got the phone call about their son's injury at around 4 a.m. Christine Schei says her husband was "white as a sheet" and shaking after answering.

A sniper had struck their son; a bullet "entered above his right ear and exited above his left," Gordon Schei says.

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It's All Politics
6:01 am
Sat October 12, 2013

Would The U.S. Be Better Off With A Parliament?

A view of the German Bundestag, or federal Parliament, in Berlin.
Michael Sohn AP

Originally published on Sat October 12, 2013 3:31 pm

There are many reasons for the gridlock in Washington. Some are recent developments, as the U.S. becomes more politically polarized. Others are structural, built into the American political system.

Regardless, the extreme paralysis that has recently become the norm in D.C. almost never happens in Western European democracies.

"You're asking: Do other democracies have this problem? And the answer is: Not many," says Jane Mansbridge, a professor at the Harvard Kennedy School.

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Music Interviews
2:03 am
Sat October 12, 2013

Electronic Music's Godfather Isn't Done Innovating

Morton Subotnick performs at New York's La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club in 2004. The pioneering electronic composer recently created a mobile app for children.
Jack Vartoogian Getty Images

Originally published on Sat October 12, 2013 8:05 am

Morton Subotnick could fairly be called electronic music's first hitmaker. His 1967 album Silver Apples of the Moon was an international sensation. Or, in his words, "It was like a bombshell."

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Author Interviews
8:03 am
Sat October 5, 2013

Children's Author Takes On The Dreaded Itchy Head

Originally published on Sat October 5, 2013 11:11 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

David Shannon has written books about an adorable West Highland terrier, a duck on a bike and a fairy named Alice. Maybe he's tired of drawing cute. So, now the author and illustrator has done a book called "Bugs in My Hair," and it isn't about pets, forests or fantasy creatures. No, it's about head lice. David Shannon joins us from the studios of KQED in San Francisco. Thanks so much for being with us.

DAVID SHANNON: Oh, my pleasure. Thank you.

SIMON: Yuck.

SHANNON: Yeah.

SIMON: Why a book about head lice?

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Sports
8:03 am
Sat October 5, 2013

Baseball Swings Into Playoffs

Originally published on Sat October 5, 2013 11:11 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. I wait all week to say time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SIMON: Playoff time in Major League Baseball. So many games, but the Cubs aren't in any of them. However, we are joined by Howard Bryant of ESPN.com and ESPN The Magazine to talk about those good clubs playing now. Thanks for being with us, Howard.

HOWARD BRYANT: Good morning, Scott. If the Cubs are what you're looking for in playoff baseball, I suggest a new team, a new century.

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Research News
8:03 am
Sat October 5, 2013

NYC Cockroaches Stick To Their Neighborhoods

Originally published on Sat October 5, 2013 11:11 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is "West Side Story" - on six legs. Dr. Mark Stoeckle, who's a researcher at Rockefeller University, says that New York cockroaches can be just about as territorial as the sharks and the jets. He joins us from the studios of the Radio Foundation on the Upper West Side. Thanks so much for being with us.

MARK STOECKLE: It's good to be here. Thank you.

SIMON: So are cockroaches as native to New York as poppy seed bagels?

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Music
6:58 am
Sat October 5, 2013

Run River North Stays The Course — And Finds Success

John Chong (from left), Sally Kang, Joe Chun, Alex Hwang, Jennifer Rim and Daniel Chae of Run River North.
Doualy Xaykaothao

Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 4:36 pm

Run River North is a band that's gotten a few more breaks than most on its level. Last year, the Los Angeles-based Korean-American musicians produced a music video from inside their Hondas. The video went viral — and straight to the carmaker. The company rewarded the group with a surprise performance on Jimmy Kimmel Live.

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Politics
6:49 am
Sat October 5, 2013

What Furlough? GOP Lawmakers Choose How Much Burden To Bear

A seagull walks on the edge of the reflecting pool near the Capitol on Friday.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Sat October 5, 2013 12:20 pm

As the government shutdown enters its fifth day, House Republicans and Senate Democrats continue to spar over who's being more unreasonable in this fight.

GOP members now find themselves on the defensive, as they face questions about forgoing pay and forgoing staff during the widespread furloughs.

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Code Switch
6:15 am
Sat October 5, 2013

'Linsanity': For Asian Fans, It Felt Just Like 'Young Love'

Jeremy Lin fans cheer during a game between the New York Knicks and Philadelphia 76ers in March 2012.
Drew Hallowell Getty Images

Originally published on Sat October 5, 2013 12:44 pm

Twenty months after it first took pop culture by storm, the global sports craze known as "Linsanity" has found a revival on screen.

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Author Interviews
6:07 am
Sat October 5, 2013

40 Years Ago, 'Fear Of Flying' Showed Women Like Sex, Too

Courtesy of Henry Holt and Co.

Originally published on Mon October 7, 2013 9:31 am

In 1973, Erica Jong was tired of reading about silent, seething housewifes, so she introduced a new kind of female protagonist: a frank young woman who loved sex and wasn't ashamed to admit it. Fear of Flying turns 40 this year, as does its most famous phrase: "the zipless f - - - ." Jong defines it in the novel:

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Around the Nation
7:58 am
Sat September 28, 2013

Pirate Treasure May Lie In Waters Off Cape Cod

Originally published on Sat September 28, 2013 11:16 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Barry Clifford has spent the last 30 years diving in the waters off Cape Cod. He's searching for buried treasure spilled by the pirate ship Whydah, which sunk there in 1717. He's pulled a trove of artifacts out of the sea and sand over the years and this summer he learned there may be far more treasure waiting. He joins us now from Provincetown, Massachusetts. Mr. Clifford, thanks so much for being with us.

BARRY CLIFFORD: Oh, it's my pleasure.

SIMON: What did you find out?

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Sports
7:58 am
Sat September 28, 2013

Rangers, Reds, Indians Battle For AL Wild Card Spot

Originally published on Sat September 28, 2013 11:16 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

And it's so nice to say time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SIMON: Just a day left to the end of regular baseball season. The Cardinals clinched a playoff spot last night. Of course they were playing the Cubs. But those rampaging Cleveland Indians won their eighth game in a row to move a game closer to a wildcard spot. They're knotted up with the Tampa Bay Rays, trying to keep the Texas Rangers in the rearview mirror.

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Law
7:58 am
Sat September 28, 2013

BP Oil Spill Trial To Begin Second Phase

Originally published on Sat September 28, 2013 11:16 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Officials from BP, formerly British Petroleum, will be back in a New Orleans courtroom next week. It's part of a complex federal case that will ultimately determine responsibility in damages for the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history. And that's the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. NPR's Debbie Elliott's been following the trial and joins us. Deb, thanks for being with us.

DEBBIE ELLIOTT, BYLINE: Glad to be here.

SIMON: Remind us of what's at stake in this phase of the case.

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Author Interviews
6:05 am
Sat September 28, 2013

On Eliot's 125th, His 'Waste Land' Hasn't Lost Its Glamour

American-born British poet and playwright T.S. Eliot received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1948.
Chris Bacon AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 3, 2013 9:55 am

What do you get a Nobel Prize-winning poet for his birthday?

The poet, in this case, is T.S. Eliot, and this year he would have turned the intimidating age of 125. It's a tough question, but New Yorker poetry editor Paul Muldoon has got an answer: a new re-issue of the first edition of Eliot's groundbreaking poem, The Waste Land.

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Music News
5:25 am
Sat September 28, 2013

'If It Swings': An Asian-American Jazzman's Pioneering Career

Gabe Baltazar (fourth from left) at New York City's Birdland Club in 1962, with members of Stan Kenton's band and the Count Basie Orchestra. The photo, from Baltazar's collection, is signed by Kenton (fourth from from right) and trumpeter Harry "Sweets" Edison (second from right).
Courtesy of Gabe Baltazar

Originally published on Sat September 28, 2013 11:16 am

Saxophonist Gabe Baltazar got his big break after Stan Kenton heard him playing in a college band and invited him to join his Orchestra in 1960.

"One of my biggest highlights in Stan's band was being featured on a beautiful standard tune called 'Stairway to the Stars,'" the 83-year-old Baltazar says. "He liked that tune, and he thought it would be my signature song. And throughout my career, four years with the band, I was featured on that and it was just great."

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Author Interviews
5:25 am
Sat September 28, 2013

I, Spy: Valerie Plame Makes Her Fiction Debut In CIA Thriller

Valerie Plame was outed as a covert CIA operative in a 2003 Washington Post column. Her story was depicted in the 2010 film Fair Game, starring Naomi Watts as Plame.
Dennis Cook AP

Originally published on Sat September 28, 2013 11:16 am

Vanessa Pierson, the heroine of Valerie Plame's first novel, is — ahem — "blonde, lithe, and nicely sexy." She is also a CIA agent, determined to lasso a nuclear arms dealer named Bhoot before he arrives at an underground nuclear facility in Iran.

But just as her informant is about to tell her where Bhoot will be, he's shot by a sniper who misses Vanessa — or does he simply overlook her? How will Vanessa Pierson halt the terrorists, protect the world and, by the way, also keep the secret of her forbidden romance with David, a fellow CIA ops officer with green-flecked hazel eyes?

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Poetry
5:24 am
Sat September 28, 2013

News From Lake Wobegon: Garrison Keillor Has A New Book Of Poetry

Garrison Keillor has been the host of A Prairie Home Companion since it began nearly four decades ago. He was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1994.
Courtesy of Grove Press

Originally published on Sat September 28, 2013 11:16 am

If you're a regular public radio listener, you may hear Garrison Keillor every morning reading other people's poems on The Writer's Almanac. Now, the Prairie Home Companion host has decided to share some of his own poems for a change.

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It's All Politics
3:44 am
Sat September 28, 2013

In Washington's Fiscal Tango, Obama's Lacking A Dance Partner

President Obama speaks about the Affordable Care Act on Thursday in Largo, Md. In the latest fiscal fight with Republicans, the president is lacking a partner to make a deal with — or even to vilify.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Sat September 28, 2013 11:16 am

Top White House aides constantly refer to a "civil war" in the Republican Party.

They sometimes use the phrase with near delight, reveling in the tensions that threaten to pull apart the GOP. But for President Obama, the divided opposition creates a major problem: He has neither a partner to cut a deal with nor a high-profile adversary to vilify.

That situation stands in stark contrast to previous fiscal standoffs.

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Politics
3:43 am
Sat September 28, 2013

With Government Shutdown Looming, All Eyes Turn To House GOP

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, center, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., left, and Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, express frustration on Friday after the Senate passed a bill to fund the government, but stripped it of language crafted by House Republicans to defund Obamacare.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Sat September 28, 2013 3:21 pm

As expected, the Senate passed a bill Friday to keep the government funded through mid-November — without stripping any funding away from the president's health care law.

Now the action returns to the House, where Republicans earlier in the week tied the measure to defunding the Affordable Care Act. With the threat of a shutdown looming three days away, the question is now, what will the House do?

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NPR Story
11:01 am
Sat September 21, 2013

Deadly Shooting In Nairobi Mall

Originally published on Sat September 21, 2013 11:34 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. An upscale shopping mall in Nairobi is the scene of a deadly standoff.

(SOUNDBITE OF SCREAMING AND CRYING)

SIMON: Kenyan armed forces are battling gunmen who stormed that mall earlier today. The Red Cross says that at least 20 people have been killed in the attack. NPR's Gregory Warner is on the scene. Greg, thanks for being with us.

GREGORY WARNER, BYLINE: Thanks, Scott.

SIMON: And what's the latest?

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NPR Story
7:21 am
Sat September 21, 2013

Art Dealer Pleads Guilty To Selling Fraudulent Paintings

Originally published on Tue September 24, 2013 10:43 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. This week, an art dealer named Glafira Rosales pleaded guilty to wire fraud, money laundering and tax evasion after she admitted that she sold paintings that she claimed were by Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko and Willem de Kooning to a couple of Manhattan galleries.

They were actually painted by an artist living in Queens. Those paintings sold for $80 million. I'm joined now from New York by Jerry Saltz, senior art critic for New York magazine. Thanks very much for being with us.

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NPR Story
7:21 am
Sat September 21, 2013

Cities Race To The Top Of The Ferris Wheel

Originally published on Sat September 21, 2013 11:34 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Las Vegas is set to claim the title for the world's largest Ferris Wheel. It completed it's 550 foot tall high roller last week. But New York City plans for an even taller one, 625 feet, and rumor has it Dubai may be planning an even taller Ferris Wheel, but Chicago can always claim the first and definitive Ferris Wheel, so named because it was George Ferris himself who designed it for the 1893 World's Fair.

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NPR Story
7:21 am
Sat September 21, 2013

NFL Treats Hard Hits With A Light Touch

Originally published on Sat September 21, 2013 11:34 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Know what gets me through the week? The chance to say, time for sports!

(SOUNDBITE OF THEME MUSIC)

SIMON: Football season is back with a kathunk(ph). Plus, the first two teams have qualified for the Major League Baseball playoffs, and the WMBA playoffs are on. NPR's Tom Goldman joins us. Good morning, Tom.

TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: Hiya, Scott.

SIMON: Thanks so much for being with us.

GOLDMAN: A pleasure.

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Author Interview
5:36 am
Sat September 21, 2013

A Road Trip Sparks An Unlikely Friendship In 'Norvelt To Nowhere'

Jack Gantos recently won the Newbery Medal, the highest award in children's literature, for his novel Dead End in Norvelt.
Anne Lower Courtesy of Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Originally published on Sat September 21, 2013 11:34 am

From Norvelt to Nowhere is a book that begins in the shadow of nuclear annihilation, during the Cuban missile crisis in 1962. The first few paragraphs also disclose that nine elderly women in the town of Norvelt are dead by poison.

Did we mention it's a kids' book, too?

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The Salt
5:35 am
Sat September 21, 2013

No Schmear Job: A Brief History Of Bagels And Lox

A marriage made in New York, though both partners came with plenty of baggage.
Jerry Deutsch iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon September 23, 2013 5:35 pm

There's a certain kind of joy in breaking the overnight fast by biting into a bagel: crackling crust, chewy center, smooth and silky cream cheese, sharp smoked salmon. For some, capers and onions join the ritual.

But just who invented this breakfast staple, which has become as American as apple pie?

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Deceptive Cadence
5:31 am
Sat September 21, 2013

Leonard Bernstein's Unconventional 'Anxiety'

Leonard Bernstein's Age of Anxiety symphony is as unconventional as its creator.
Courtesy of Library of Congress

Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 5:30 pm

Like Leonard Bernstein himself, there is absolutely nothing predictable about the music he wrote. None of the three amazing works Bernstein labeled as "symphonies" in any way resemble a conventional orchestral symphony.

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NPR Story
7:22 am
Sat September 14, 2013

Diplomats Sing For Peace

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

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

In the midst of international crisis and consternation this week, five U.N. diplomats stepped onto the stage at the United Nations headquarters to sing.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG)

CHORUS: (Singing) Many people, one world...

SIMON: From Romania, Canada, Cape Verde and Costa Rica, we've got the singing ambassadors with us to tell us about their new CD, "Ambassadors Sing for Peace." Thank you very much for being with us.

AMBASSADOR GUILLERMO RISHCHYNSKI: Our pleasure.

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NPR Story
7:22 am
Sat September 14, 2013

Colorado Voters Recall Two Gun Control Backers

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

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Another Colorado story now. Gun control advocates had hoped that last year's shootings in Newtown, Connecticut and Aurora, Colorado might move more Americans to call for stricter gun laws. Gun control measures ground down in the U.S. Congress but some states did pass legislation, including Colorado. Yet this past week, Colorado voters recalled two lawmakers who had backed the legislation.

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NPR Story
7:22 am
Sat September 14, 2013

Rescue Operations Underway In Flooded Colorado

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

Heavy rain and flooding have destroyed scores of communities, with at least four people dead. While the rain had let up a little, more is expected Saturday.

Technology
7:00 am
Sat September 14, 2013

New Computer School Makes French Students Teach Themselves

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

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

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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