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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Pop Culture
10:03 am
Sat February 1, 2014

A Major Oscar Dust-Up Over A Song From A Minor Movie

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 5:45 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

When the Oscar nominees for best song were announced earlier this month, there were, of course, several well-known titles, including Karen O's "The Moon Song," from the movie "Her"; and Pharrell Williams' "Happy," from "Despicable Me 2." Then there was this...

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "ALONE...YET NOT ALONE")

JONI EARECKSON TADA: (Singing) I will not be bent in fear. He's the refuge I know is near...

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Author Interviews
12:26 pm
Sat January 25, 2014

'Le Divorce' Author Finds Stories Closer To Home In 'Flyover'

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 9:31 am

For most of her readers, the American author Diane Johnson is wholly identified with France and especially Paris. She's the author of novels like L'Affaire, Le Marriage, and Le Divorce — the last of which was made into a film.

So it comes as something of a surprise that Johnson's new book is about her roots in the American Midwest. And not only her own roots, but the roots of a family tree going back two centuries, painstakingly reconstructed from a trove of diaries and letters passed on by her mother.

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Opinion
12:14 pm
Sat January 25, 2014

Violence Abroad Threatens Students, As Do Guns At U.S. Schools

This handout provided by the Santa Monica Police Department shows ammunition, magazines and guns believed to have been dropped by a suspected gunman during a mass shooting at Santa Monica College in June 2013.
Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 27, 2014 12:06 pm

Last year, there were more than two-dozen shootings on or near college campuses in the United States. This past Tuesday, that number went up, with the fatal shooting of a student at Purdue University. Then Friday, a fatal shooting at South Carolina State University. It will, of course, tick up again.

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Books News & Features
12:14 pm
Sat January 25, 2014

Before He Fell To Earth, 'The Little Prince' Was Born In N.Y.

A detail of a drawing from The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery.
Graham S. Haber Courtesy of The Morgan Library & Museum

Originally published on Sat January 25, 2014 1:31 pm

One of the world's most beloved books is The Little Prince by Antoine Saint-Exupery. Published in 1943, almost two million copies are sold every year, in about 250 languages.

If asked where you think the book was written, you might say Paris. You'd be wrong. Try Long Island — as in Long Island, N.Y.

When the late Nikos Kefalidis bought the house on Beven Road in Northport, Long Island, in the late 1970s, he knew that 30 years before, Saint-Exupery had written and illustrated part of Le Petit Prince in that house.

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Middle East
11:07 am
Sat January 25, 2014

Three Years Later, Tahrir Protesters Drained And Defeated

Egyptian security forces close Tahrir Square to disperse protesters in December.
Ahmed Abd El Latif AP

Originally published on Sat January 25, 2014 8:17 pm

Three years after the start of the 2011 revolution, many of the young secular activists who led the protests are behind bars.

Others have gone silent, afraid to speak out as the military and the ousted Muslim Brotherhood are locked in a battle for Egypt itself.

For most of those revolutionaries, this is a dark and bitter time.

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Sports
10:04 am
Sat January 25, 2014

Li Wins Australian Open; Ralph Lauren Overdoes Olympic Cardigan

Originally published on Sat January 25, 2014 12:14 pm

The Australian Open is drawing to a close with Li Na of China winning the women's tournament on Saturday. If Rafael Nadal wins on Sunday, he'll be the first man to win all the majors twice in the era of opens. Howard Bryant of ESPN.com and ESPN the Magazine joins NPR's Jacki Lyden to talk tennis and weigh in on the U.S. Olympic team's uniforms.

Author Interviews
10:04 am
Sat January 25, 2014

An Admitted 'Ham' Shares Slices Of Show-Biz Life

Originally published on Sat January 25, 2014 12:14 pm

Transcript

JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

Sam Harris says he's been a ham all his life. He's been drawn to the spotlight since he was a kid, belting out "Sound of Music" tunes in a makeshift nun's habit, in his family's garage. Practice, practice, practice - and plenty of audacity - paid off all the way to Carnegie Hall. In 1983, Harris won the very first season of the television show "Star Search" with his performance of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SOMEWHERE OVER THE RAINBOW")

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NPR Story
10:04 am
Sat January 25, 2014

Brushing Off The Mockery, Curlers Push For Olympic Glory

Originally published on Sat January 25, 2014 12:14 pm

It's difficult to find a sport more maligned than curling, but curlers say that's changing. NPR's Jacki Lyden talks with Paul Savage, a formerly overweight Canadian curling champion who took home an Olympic medal at age 50. These days, the sport is more about fitness than it is about the beer.

Latin America
11:35 am
Sat January 18, 2014

Under Government Pressure, Mexican Vigilantes Vow To Fight On

Civilian militia members stand guard in the town of Nueva Italia on Monday. Since a government crackdown last weekend, militia groups say they have laid down their weapons against drug traffickers.
Eduardo Verdugo AP

Originally published on Sat January 18, 2014 7:20 pm

After a week of fighting between civilian militias, drug traffickers and federal forces, there is a tense calm in the western Mexico state of Michoacan.

It's been the site of clashes between civilian militias defending themselves from ruthless drug traffickers, and federal forces trying to regain control.

For now, businesses are slowly reopening, school will restart on Monday, and the militias who took up arms have put down their weapons. It's unclear how long this fragile peace will last.

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Reporter's Notebook
10:56 am
Sat January 18, 2014

In Appalachia, Poverty Is In The Eye Of The Beholder

Originally published on Mon April 28, 2014 2:21 pm

President Lyndon B. Johnson went to eastern Kentucky in 1964 to promote his War on Poverty. But when he did, he opened a wound that remains raw today. People in the region say they're tired of always being depicted as poor, so when NPR's Pam Fessler went to Appalachia to report on how the War on Poverty is going, she was warned that people would be reluctant to talk. Instead, she got an earful.

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Around the Nation
9:31 am
Sat January 18, 2014

Donors Pitch In To Protect Detroit's Art And Pensions

Originally published on Sat January 18, 2014 11:35 am

Transcript

LYNN NEARY, HOST:

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Author Interviews
9:09 am
Sat January 18, 2014

Living, And 'Forgiving,' In A Brilliant Writer's Orbit

Knopf

Originally published on Sat January 18, 2014 11:35 am

A lot of writers can be fairly easily stereotyped. They write stories about dysfunctional families, star crossed lovers, endearing losers; they write historical fiction, literary fiction or crime novels. But Jay Cantor's body of work defies categorization. His fiction has been inspired by topics as wide-ranging as the revolutionary life of Che Guevara and the comic strip world of Krazy Kat.

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NPR Story
8:01 am
Sat January 18, 2014

Countdown To The Super Bowl

Originally published on Sat January 18, 2014 11:35 am

Transcript

LYNN NEARY, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Lynn Neary. Time now for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

NEARY: And then there were four. Tomorrow is the Sunday before the Sunday before the Super Bowl. And that means New England takes on Denver and San Francisco goes up against Seattle to see who's headed to the big game. NPR's Tom Goldman, who's caught in the middle of that San Fran-Seattle crossfire, joins us on the line from Portland. Good morning, Tom.

TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: I'm ducking here. Hiya, Lynn.

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NPR Story
8:01 am
Sat January 18, 2014

Ford's New Truck, GM's New CEO Star At Detroit Auto Show

Originally published on Sat January 18, 2014 11:35 am

Transcript

LYNN NEARY, HOST:

The North American International Auto Show opens to the public today. That's the fancy name for the Detroit car show. NPR's Sonari Glinton has been getting a sneak preview in the Motor City, hanging out with engineers and auto execs. And he's with us now. Good to talk with you, Sonari.

SONARI GLINTON, BYLINE: It's good to be here, Lynn.

NEARY: Now, you've spent, I think, four days at the car show. What are the standouts?

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Music Interviews
7:59 am
Sat January 18, 2014

'Made For This': The Rootless Life Of A Roving Musician

David Dondero performs at D.G.'s Tap House in Ames, Iowa.
John Pemble

Originally published on Sat January 18, 2014 11:35 am

Guitarist and songwriter David Dondero is a transient. He's lived all over the country, from Alaska to Texas. When he's not touring, he finds work — most recently as a carpenter in California. But it never lasts. Music always finds its way back into his life.

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Technology
12:37 pm
Sat January 11, 2014

A First Look At New Tech Products To Hit The Market

Originally published on Sat January 11, 2014 12:53 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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

The biggest show in Vegas this week wasn't Celine Dion or DJ Afrojack. It was the Consumer Electronics Show. The annual show where buyers, journalists and consumers get a first look at new tech products that are about to hit the market. Snoop Dogg was there, Secretary of Commerce Pritzker was there. And so was NPR's Steve Henn, who joined us as the show was packing up, from the floor of the Consumer Electronic Show on Friday. Steve, thanks so much for being with us.

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Movie Interviews
12:37 pm
Sat January 11, 2014

'Osage' Hits Close To Home For Writer Tracy Letts

From left, Meryl Streep, Julianne Nicholson and Juliette Lewis star in August: Osage County.
Claire Folger The Weinstein Company

Originally published on Sat January 11, 2014 12:53 pm

The movie August: Osage County has just opened, with its all-star cast.

Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Chris Cooper, Benedict Cumberbatch and more play various members of the Weston clan. They converge on their Oklahoma home when the patriarch, Beverly, who is a poet somewhat past his rhymes, goes missing.

His wife, Violet, gobbles pills, some of which are for the pain of mouth cancer and some of which are just because.

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Politics
11:46 am
Sat January 11, 2014

The War Over Poverty: A Deep Divide On How To Help

Homeless women sit amid their belongings in downtown Los Angeles on Wednesday. Democrats and Republicans say income inequality is a problem, but they disagree over a solution.
Frederic J. Brown AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 13, 2014 6:51 pm

All this week, Majority Leader Harry Reid declared over and over on the Senate floor that there's a downside to the recovering economy.

"It's true," he said. "The rich are getting a lot richer, and the poor are getting poorer."

That observation may not be surprising, coming from a Democrat. Less expected, perhaps, is a similar lament made the same day by the Senate's Republican leader, Mitch McConnell.

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National Security
10:48 am
Sat January 11, 2014

Gates Memoir Tests Civilian-Military Rules Of Engagement

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates says he didn't want to wait until Obama's term was up before releasing his memoir because the issues were too urgent.
Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 27, 2014 12:52 pm

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates' new book, Duty, Memoirs of a Secretary at War, paints a picture of a White House suspicious of military leaders and their motives.

In the book, Gates criticizes both President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden over issues like the Afghanistan war. It's a case study of civilian-military tensions that are as old as the Republic.

A President Wary Of Being Boxed In

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Simon Says
10:10 am
Sat January 11, 2014

Rodman's Tour Of North Korea: Diplomacy Or Propaganda?

Former NBA basketball star Dennis Rodman leaves a sports arena after a practice session for North Korean basketball players in Pyongyang in December 2013.
David Guttenfelder AP

Originally published on Sat January 11, 2014 12:53 pm

There's been a publicity circus trailing Dennis Rodman to North Korea to present a big, bouncing birthday present of a basketball game to Kim Jong Un. But did you see the score of the game?

The U.S. team of former NBA players lost the first half, 47 to 39, before the sides were combined.

Well, if you play a team sponsored by a ruthless leader who recently had his own uncle iced, losing is probably the smart move.

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Israel
8:47 am
Sat January 11, 2014

Ariel Sharon, Whose Life And Career Shaped Israeli History, Dies

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon speaks during a news conference in his offices on Nov. 21, 2005, in Jerusalem. Sharon announced his split from his right-wing Likud party to form a new political party, Kadima. He was on the way to re-election in 2006 when he suffered a stroke and fell into a coma from which he never awoke.
David Silverman Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 12:09 pm

Former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, a towering figure in the history of Israel as a soldier and politician, died on Saturday. He was 85.

His death was announced by Shlomo Noy, the director of Sheba Medical Center where Sharon was being treated. Sharon had been in a coma since he suffered a massive stroke in January 2006 during the last Israeli election campaign, in which he was assured of re-election.

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Afghanistan
12:53 pm
Sat January 4, 2014

Texas Man Becomes Unlikely CFO Of Ragged Kabul Orphanage

Conditions are spare at the Window of Hope orphanage in Kabul, but American NGO worker Siavash Rahbari (upper left) says it's still better than how many Afghan children live.
Sean Carberry NPR

Originally published on Sat January 4, 2014 6:14 pm

On Saturday afternoons, sometimes with a coworker or two, Siavash Rahbari drives up a rutted side street in Kabul to visit the Window of Hope orphanage.

In the living room, there are a dozen boys and two girls. Some are playing, while others lie around on mats on the floor, clearly suffering from a range of disabilities. Rahbari, a Texan who works at an NGO in Kabul, gives the children a cursory inspection.

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Research News
8:19 am
Sat January 4, 2014

Want Perfect Pitch? You Might Be Able To Pop A Pill For That

Jazz singer Ella Fitzergerald was said to have perfect pitch.
Klaus Frings AP

Originally published on Fri April 25, 2014 10:13 am

In the world of music, there is no more remarkable gift than having perfect pitch. As the story goes, Ella Fitzgerald's band would use her perfect pitch to tune their instruments.

Although it has a genetic component, most believe that perfect pitch — or absolute pitch — is a primarily a function of early life exposure and training in music, says Takao Hensch, professor of molecular and cellular biology at Harvard.

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Sports
8:19 am
Sat January 4, 2014

Football Fans Say Farewell To The Bowl Championship Series

Originally published on Sat January 4, 2014 2:38 pm

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer. And it's time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

WERTHEIMER: College football fans are saying goodbye forever to the bowl championship series, and as NFL playoffs skip a kickoff today, wild card weather could be a game changer. For more, I'm joined by NPR's sports correspondent, Tom Goldman. Good morning, Tom.

TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: Happy New Year to you.

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Movies
8:19 am
Sat January 4, 2014

Theaters Hope Recliners Lure Homebodies Off Their Sofas

Originally published on Sat January 4, 2014 2:38 pm

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Movie theatres have tried different ways over the years to combat declining ticket sales. In this encore broadcast, Topher Forhecz reports on the latest attempt to bring in audience by recreating the comforts of home.

TOPHER FORHECZ, BYLINE: When I decided to see a movie at an AMC Theatre in upper Manhattan, the first change I noticed was I had to reserve my seat when I bought my ticket beforehand. So I just walked in and there are about nine rows of leather seats and I am in D6, so I've got to go find it.

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Movies
8:19 am
Sat January 4, 2014

Revenues, But Not Profits, Soar For Hollywood In 2013

Originally published on Sat January 4, 2014 2:38 pm

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

2013 was an up and down year at the movies. There was a crop of box office flops. "The Lone Ranger" and "After Earth" fell into that trap. Steven Spielberg went so far as to predict an implosion of the film industry. Despite all that, 2013 looks to be the most lucrative year ever at the box office, but don't get your hopes up for the movie business just yet.

Stephen Galloway, executive features editor at the Hollywood Reporter, is not impressed by breaking that particular record.

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Research News
1:22 pm
Sat December 28, 2013

The Hunt For Meteorites Begins In Antarctica

The most abundant meteorites found in Antarctica are called chondrites. They are some of the oldest objects known in the solar system.
Katherine Joy Antarctic Search for Meteorites Program / Case Western Reserve University

Originally published on Sun December 29, 2013 10:07 am

Antarctica is one of the best places on Earth to spot these fallen stars.

Each winter — which is summer in down south — a team of geologists camps out on an Antarctic glacier in the middle of nowhere, often where no human has ever tread. It's kind of like a space voyage, but a lot cheaper.

And it's the meteorite that's done most of the traveling.

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Environment
10:10 am
Sat December 28, 2013

A Scientist's New Job: Keeping The Polar Bears' Plight Public

Originally published on Sat December 28, 2013 3:43 pm

The Endangered Species Act, which turns 40 on Saturday, helped bring back iconic species such as the wolf, grizzly bear and bald eagle, after hunting, trapping and pesticides almost wiped those animals out.

But a very different kind of threat — global warming — is pushing some species like the polar bear to the brink of extinction.

One government biologist discovered the best way he could help save polar bears was to quit his job.

A New Kind Of Conservation Problem

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Number Of The Year
9:48 am
Sat December 28, 2013

A Tragic Year For Wildland Firefighters Ends In Reflection

The wildfire in Yarnell, Ariz., last June destroyed homes and killed 19 firefighters. Experts say expansion into wildfire-prone areas has created new challenges for firefighters.
Andy Tobin AP

Originally published on Mon December 30, 2013 8:22 am

Thirty-four wildland firefighters died in the line of duty this year. Some of those fatalities were isolated incidents, but one event captured the nation's attention, sparking a larger conversation about the new dangers firefighters face.

That event unfolded in central Arizona the afternoon of June 30, a Sunday.

"I'm here with Granite Mountain Hot Shots. Our escape route has been cut off," says a crew boss on recently released radio traffic from the Yarnell Hill Fire. "We are preparing a deployment site, and I'll give you a call when we are under the shelters.

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Politics
9:27 am
Sat December 28, 2013

Up Next For Joe Biden, A Busy Year — And A Choice

Joe Biden has a light-hearted moment in the Old Senate Chambers in January. The vice president has not ruled out running for president in 2016.
Cliff Owen AP

Originally published on Sat December 28, 2013 4:24 pm

This was a busy year for Vice President Joe Biden: He was President Obama's point man on gun control; he traveled widely, pushing for infrastructure spending; and he recently returned form a trip to Asia, where he met with the leaders of China, Japan and South Korea.

In 2014, Biden may face an even busier schedule, as he stumps for Democratic congressional candidates in advance of November's midterm elections and tries to decide whether to make another run for president himself.

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