Weekend Edition Saturday

Saturdays at 8AM

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.

On Saturdays, host Scott 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 Cornish 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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Digital Life
7:53 am
Sat March 8, 2014

Making A Computerized Voice A Little More Human

Originally published on Sat March 8, 2014 11:31 am

Transcript

STEPEHN HAWKING: Here did we come from? Are we alone in the universe?

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

You may recognize this as the voice of Stephen Hawking, the physicist. It's actually the generic voice of men and women who use computers to speak for them. Synthetic speech though can be cold and impersonal, but a scientist in Boston wants to change that. Guy Raz of the TED RADIO HOUR has more.

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Business
9:50 am
Sat March 1, 2014

A Picket Line At The Oscars: Visual-Effects Artists To Protest

Originally published on Sat March 1, 2014 11:37 am

Hundreds of visual-effects artists are planning to picket the Academy Awards on Sunday for the second year in a row. They're hoping to bring attention to what's been happening in their industry.

The field is losing jobs and relocating to countries with bigger subsidies for employers. It's the result of a technical revolution that's changed the profession since it kicked off in the 70s with Star Wars creator George Lucas' visual-effects company, Industrial Light and Magic.

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Sports
7:59 am
Sat March 1, 2014

Teen Pop Idol Attracts Extra Fans To UK Soccer Match

Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 10:35 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This week, one-fifth of the biggest boy band in the world made up one-eleventh of an English professional soccer team. In a charity game, the One Direction singer Louis Tomlinson turned out to play for his hometown club, the reserve team of Doncaster Rovers.

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Sports
7:56 am
Sat March 1, 2014

Worldwide Attention Expected For Track Star's Murder Trial

Originally published on Sat March 1, 2014 11:03 am

South African paralympian Oscar Pistorius goes on trial next week for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. NPR's Scott Simon speaks with Guardian reporter David Smith about the upcoming court case.

Media
7:56 am
Sat March 1, 2014

BuzzFeed Quizzes: What Data Set Do You Belong To?

Originally published on Sat March 1, 2014 11:03 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Online personality quizzes are going viral. The website BuzzFeed says their quizzes, which ask questions like which Harry Potter character are you or which city should you actually live in, break Web traffic records. But are these seemingly silly and inconsequential quizzes only for fun? With tens of millions of people filling them out, it could be a marketer's dream.

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Europe
12:08 pm
Sat February 22, 2014

Russia's Cossacks Ride Back From History As 'Patriots'

Cossacks, who formed a feared military force in czarist times, start their 2012 ceremonial march from Moscow to Paris in memory of soldiers killed during the war against Napoleon in 1812.
Alexander Zemlianichenko AP

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 5:17 pm

The contrast couldn't have been greater: the protest band Pussy Riot in colorful ski masks and mini dresses, attempting to film a segment for a new video on Sochi's waterfront; and Cossacks in traditional uniform with black sheepskin hats and riding boots, patrolling Sochi streets as part of security for the Olympics.

The Cossacks, trying to enforce a government ban on protests, knocked band member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova to the ground, lashed her with a horse whip, and roughed up other musicians.

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Simon Says
9:58 am
Sat February 22, 2014

Ukrainian Olympic Skier's Stand Is A Sacrifice For Her Country

Ukrainian skier Bogdana Matsotska decided not to compete in Friday's slalom race, in a show of solidarity with protesters in Kiev.
Fabrice Coffrini AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat February 22, 2014 1:06 pm

Sports are supposed to be separate from politics, but athletes and games can't always be kept separate from life and death.

Scores of people were killed in Ukraine this week, as the security forces of President Viktor Yanukovich opened fire on anti-government protesters in Kiev's Maidan, now called Independence Square.

While some 800 miles away, more than 40 Ukrainian athletes have been skiing, skating, working hard to win medals at the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.

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Sports
8:03 am
Sat February 22, 2014

Olympics Serve Up A Surfeit Of Strife On Ice

Originally published on Sat February 22, 2014 1:06 pm

While the 2014 Winter Olympics are coming to an end, there are still opportunities to take home the gold. Reporter Tom Goldman joins NPR's Scott Simon to talk about ice hockey and the speed skating.

Summer Reading: Kids
8:03 am
Sat February 22, 2014

The Last Undefeated College Basketball Team Plays For Title

Originally published on Sat February 22, 2014 1:06 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Wichita State's basketball team is the last undefeated men's team in America - 28 wins. That got them on one of the regional covers of Sports Illustrated, and that adds a little pressure. If the Shockers win tonight, they'll clinch the Missouri Valley Conference title. From member station KMUW in Wichita, Carla Eckels reports on the team's winning season.

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Books News & Features
8:03 am
Sat February 22, 2014

'The Natural' Of 1952 Holds Lessons For Today's MLB

Originally published on Sat February 22, 2014 1:06 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

There's an old baseball legend about the kid out of nowhere who boards a train for a tryout in Chicago with nothing but his toothbrush and a bat he calls Wonderboy. The kid strikes out the Whammer, the best hitter in the game, but gets to his hotel and opens his door to a pretty girl. Wham, bam, she shoots him in the stomach and he doesn't make a comeback for 15 years.

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Sports
12:12 pm
Sat February 15, 2014

U.S. Men's Hockey Team Triumphs Over Russia In Shootout Ending

Originally published on Sat February 15, 2014 1:13 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. The U.S. and Russian hockey teams played into overtime and beyond at Winter Olympic in Sochi today. NPR's Robert Smith was in the Bolshoi Ice Dome and joins us now. Robert, thanks for being with us.

ROBERT SMITH, BYLINE: Oh, my pleasure.

SIMON: Boy, what a lucky guy you were to see this. Now, get away from the radio if you don't want to hear the score. We might drop it. This is a game that lived up to the hype.

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Code Switch
11:53 am
Sat February 15, 2014

Walking Down The Widening Aisle Of Interracial Marriages

Kelly Mottershead and Louie Okamoto held a beach party last October for their wedding ceremony in Carmel, Calif.
Dana Barsuhn Courtesy of Louie Okamoto

Originally published on Sat February 15, 2014 1:13 pm

Editor's Note: Code Switch has been engaged in a month-long exploration of romance across racial and cultural lines. Follow the Twitter conversation via the hashtag #xculturelove.

The numbers are small but growing.

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Law
11:14 am
Sat February 15, 2014

Flood Of Gay Marriage Cases Releasing Stream Of Federal Rulings

Virginians demonstrate outside Federal Court in Norfolk, Va., on Feb. 4. The judge ruled this week that Virginia's ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional.
Steve Helber AP

Originally published on Sun February 16, 2014 10:48 pm

A federal judge in Virginia struck down that state's voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage this week. It's just the latest in a string of similar rulings in conservative states, and it indicates that the strategy for winning marriage equality in federal courts is moving faster than many had expected.

In her ruling, U.S. District Judge Arenda Wright Allen said Virginia's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional because "core civil rights are at stake." She compared the case to the landmark 1967 Supreme Court ruling recognizing interracial marriage.

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Around the Nation
11:13 am
Sat February 15, 2014

Tenn. Workers Vote To Reject Union At VW Plant

Originally published on Sat February 15, 2014 1:13 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Tough night for the United Auto Workers. The union hoped employees at Volkswagen's only U.S. plant might help give them a foothold into foreign-owned auto plants across the South, but VW workers voted no, and Volkswagen had not opposed their efforts. Blake Farmer of member station WPLN in Nashville has been covering the story and joins us now. Blake, thanks for being with us.

BLAKE FARMER, BYLINE: Thanks for having me.

SIMON: Didn't the union think they had the numbers?

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Simon Says
10:34 am
Sat February 15, 2014

Shirley Temple's Films Still Charm After All These Years

Shirley Temple started performing in films when she was just 3 years old.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Sun February 16, 2014 10:47 pm

Shirley Temple really could be as effervescent as a jolt of ginger ale and as cheery as a maraschino cherry in the kid's cocktail that is still ordered by her name. When Shirley Temple Black, the name she used after her marriage to Charles Black, laughed — and she liked to laugh — tears came to her eyes.

She told us how once she'd been called to jury duty, and learned the case involved erotic bondage.

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Health Care
9:54 am
Sat February 15, 2014

A Love Of Medicine Runs Through Three Generations

Originally published on Sat February 15, 2014 1:13 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Being a physician today bears little resemblance to the Rockwellian family doctor who generations ago made house calls. The Affordable Care Act is one reason, but just the latest among many factors that have reshaped the practice of medicine. We wanted to get a view of those changes through the eyes of doctors.

Eric Whitney spend time with a father and son who are part of three generations of physicians. We're airing this encore story that looks at whether medicine will still be a good career choice for a fourth generation.

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Digital Life
9:54 am
Sat February 15, 2014

An App On The Search For The Secret To Happiness

Originally published on Sat February 15, 2014 1:13 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Social scientists have a new way of researching happiness. Now, for years you had to ask somebody why they were happy in order study what makes somebody happy, but that's been hard to do every minute of every day until now. Guy Raz of the TED Radio Hour explains.

GUY RAZ, BYLINE: Matt Killingsworth is a scientist who...

MATT KILLINGSWORTH: ...studies the causes and nature of human happiness.

RAZ: Which used to mean bringing people to a lab and interviewing them and trying to figure out...

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Code Switch
8:16 am
Sat February 15, 2014

Love In Technicolor: Interracial Families On Television

In Parenthood, Dax Shepard plays Crosby, whose wife, Jasmine, is played by Joy Bryant. Their son is Jabbar (Tyree Brown).
NBC NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Originally published on Sat February 15, 2014 7:04 pm

I Love Lucy was one of the most popular shows in the history of television. Its stars, redheaded Lucille Ball and her Cuban-American husband Desi Arnaz, became TV icons — but they almost didn't get on TV.

Kathleen Brady is the author of Lucille: The Life of Lucille Ball. She says the network that wanted Ball to star in her own sitcom was not interested in her husband.

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Opinion
10:47 am
Sat February 8, 2014

Forego The Faux Snow: The Games Could Use A Permanent Home

China's National Stadium, right, and National Aquatics Center, cost half a billion dollars to build and struggle to attract visitors.
Greg Baker AP

Originally published on Sat February 8, 2014 2:43 pm

The Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, are certifiably the most expensive and allegedly staggeringly corrupt.

Upwards of $50 billion has been spent to turn a place that's been best known as a Black Sea beach resort, where rich Russians could warm themselves under palm trees during long Moscow winters, into a winter sports capital with ski slopes and bobsled runs.

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Sports
10:05 am
Sat February 8, 2014

Sochi An Olympic Spectacle Even Without The Games

Originally published on Sat February 8, 2014 12:05 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. It's the first day of Winter Olympic in Sochi. Winners and losers are flying off the slopes. Those that don't want to know what happened before you have a chance to see it on TV, consider this is a spoiler alert. We're joined now by NPR's Tamara Keith from Sochi. Tamara, thanks very much for being with us.

TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: Glad to be with you.

SIMON: And let's start with the biathlon because someone who's regarded as a legend, I guess, has performed....

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Pop Culture
10:05 am
Sat February 8, 2014

For Top-Flight Animators, The Gag Is An Art All Its Own

Originally published on Sat February 8, 2014 12:05 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

The Lego Movie opened last night in theaters across the country. It's latest example of the magic of animation, filmmakers who bring plastic to life, make animals talk and send toys singing and dancing across a big screen. But animators also love to hurl our most beloved characters over cliffs. They blow them up with dynamite, flatten them with speeding trains. Seconds later, they pop back up and dust themselves off.

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Strange News
10:05 am
Sat February 8, 2014

A Furry Feline Welcome From A Cat Cafe

Originally published on Sat February 8, 2014 12:05 pm

Plans are underway to open KitTea, a gourmet tea house in San Francisco, where patrons mingle with "resident" cats. The felines will come from rescue shelters and be up for adoption. NPR's Scott Simon talks to Courtney Hatt, the co-founder of KitTea, about starting a cat cafe.

Sports
12:07 pm
Sat February 1, 2014

How To Predict The Super Bowl Champions

Originally published on Sun February 2, 2014 12:00 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

"Rule Britannia." But did you hear, did you hear? There's a football game tomorrow. Time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SIMON: For the first time since the Bronze Age, or at least since 1995, two teams from the West are in the Super Bowl. Between beer and Cialis ads, football's best offense, Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos, goes up against football's best defense, Richard Sherman and the Seattle Seahawks. NPR's Tom Goldman joins us. Tom, thanks so much for being with us.

TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: Always a pleasure.

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Simon Says
10:03 am
Sat February 1, 2014

Opera Star Renee Fleming Brings Grace To The Super Bowl

Opera singer Renee Fleming will sing "The Star-Spangled Banner" live on Sunday night.
Larry Busacca Getty Images

Originally published on Sun February 2, 2014 12:00 am

Who knows who'll win the Super Bowl tomorrow, but history will be made before the coin toss.

Renee Fleming will sing the national anthem at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey. She is the first opera star to be asked, and it seems so utterly fitting, both for the first Super Bowl to be played within view of the towers of New York, and in the 200th anniversary year of the national anthem.

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Movies
10:03 am
Sat February 1, 2014

Comedian's Career Is Central To 'Quality Balls'

Originally published on Sun February 2, 2014 12:00 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

So a Rabbinical student, a Canadian and a comic walk into Chicago's "Second City." They turn out to be the same person, David Steinberg.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED SECOND CITY ACT)

MARTIN SHORT: So this evening we're very, very glad to have with us the first Eskimo folk singer, Mr. Nanook Smith.

DAVID STEINBERG: No, I'm the second. My brother was the first and was swallowed by a big huge polar bear.

SHORT: Oh, that's too bad. I'm sorry to hear that.

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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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