Weekend Edition Saturday on The News And Ideas Network

Saturdays, 8am - 10am
Scott Simon

From civil wars in Bosnia and El Salvador, to hospital rooms, police stations, and America's backyards, NPR's Peabody Award-winning correspondent Scott Simon brings a well-traveled perspective as he hosts Weekend Edition Saturday.
 

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The Salt
6:17 am
Sat October 13, 2012

When It Comes To Falafel, The Flavors Of Home Can Vary

The reporter's mother, Nawal Elbager, of Khartoum, Sudan, shows off her falafel.
Rashad Baba Courtesy Nawal Elbager

Originally published on Sat October 13, 2012 5:38 pm

Falafel — those crispy, filling fried balls of mashed beans, herbs and spices — is found in cafes and homes all over the Middle East and parts of Africa. It's like a common language shared among sometimes fractious nations.

But until recently, I always thought falafel was made one way — garbanzo beans, onion, garlic, parsley, cilantro and cumin. (That's how my Sudanese mother taught me.) But it turns out there are many recipes out there, each with a flavor distinct to its region.

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Movie Interviews
6:17 am
Sat October 13, 2012

Hoop Dreams Land Basketball Player An 'Iran Job'

Originally published on Sat October 13, 2012 10:15 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Kevin Sheppard was an outstanding point guard at Jacksonville University and he hoped to play professional basketball - maybe in places like Miami, Boston or Los Angeles. Instead, he wound up playing in places like Brazil, China and Israel. Then, came an offer from the heart of the Axis of Evil.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "THE IRAN JOB")

KEVIN SHEPPARD: I had no idea they played basketball in Iran. But it was actually very popular in Iran.

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Presidential Race
6:17 am
Sat October 13, 2012

Candidates Return To The Trail After VP Debate

Originally published on Sat October 13, 2012 10:15 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. It's a time-honored tradition in presidential campaigns to debate after the debate. Both sides are still squabbling now over who won this week's vice presidential faceoff. And on the campaign trail yesterday, the running mates themselves were out spinning for their side. NPR's Ari Shapiro has this round-up of the day on the trail.

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Author Interviews
2:03 am
Sat October 13, 2012

Michael Feinstein: What I Learned From The Gershwins

Composer and educator Michael Feinstein's new memoir is called The Gershwins and Me: A Personal History in Twelve Songs.
Gilles Toucas Courtesy of the author

Originally published on Sat October 13, 2012 11:38 am

Michael Feinstein, the singer and pianist known as the "ambassador of the Great American Songbook," has a serious pedigree to back up that title: a real-life connection to one of America's greatest songwriting teams. It's the subject of Feinstein's new memoir, The Gershwins and Me: A Personal History in Twelve Songs. (A CD of Feinstein singing those songs also comes with the book.)

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Author Interviews
10:18 am
Sat October 6, 2012

Fallen 'Lion': How The 'House Of Assad' Came Down

Originally published on Sat October 6, 2012 7:55 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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Simon Says
8:05 am
Sat October 6, 2012

Does Voting Early Prompt Hasty Choices?

Voters cast their ballots during early voting in Bowling Green, Ohio. Early voting began Oct. 2 in the battleground state, five weeks before Election Day on November 6.
J.D. Pooley Getty Images

Originally published on Sat October 6, 2012 7:55 pm

Nov. 6 is 32 days away, but for millions of Americans, there is no longer an Election Day.

Thirty-two states and the District of Columbia now have early voting, which is under way even now in eight states. Hundreds of thousands of votes have already been cast, most before this week's presidential debates or Friday's jobs report, and all ahead of the three future debates and any unforeseen October event that might test the mettle of a candidate.

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Sports
8:05 am
Sat October 6, 2012

Wild-Card Wins And Anxiety-Prone Players

Originally published on Sat October 6, 2012 7:55 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SIMON: Major League Baseball premiered its new high-stakes, single game wild-card playoff round last night. But a controversial call involving a famously vague old rule is at the center of attention today. The - eh-eh - defending world champion St. Louis Cardinals defeated the Atlanta Braves in that game. The Baltimore Orioles put away the Texas Rangers. NPR sports correspondent Tom Goldman joins us now. Morning, Tom.

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Health
8:05 am
Sat October 6, 2012

States Struggle To Manage Meningitis Scare

Originally published on Sat October 6, 2012 7:55 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Nearly two-dozen states are watching for new cases of a rare kind of meningitis, caused by fungal contamination in injections for back pain. Officials say the shots were custom made by a Massachusetts pharmacy that shipped about 17,000 doses to states from New York to California. While the disease cannot spread from person-to-person, at least five people have died and dozens more are sick. The outbreak first showed up in Tennessee as we hear from Daniel Potter of member station WPLN.

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Presidential Race
8:05 am
Sat October 6, 2012

Economic News Brightens Obama Rally

Originally published on Sat October 6, 2012 7:55 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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Economy
8:05 am
Sat October 6, 2012

Jobs Report Has Surprising Results

Originally published on Sat October 6, 2012 7:55 pm

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. The jobless rate fell sharply to 7.8 percent in September, which happens to be exactly where it was when President Obama took office. That's according to the U.S. Labor Department's latest monthly jobs report. But even though the unemployment rate dropped, the Labor Department's payroll survey reveals that businesses did not significantly hire new people. NPR's Yuki Noguchi has this report on how experts are interpreting the numbers.

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Latin America
7:46 am
Sat October 6, 2012

Chavez's Socialism At Stake In Venezuelan Election

A picture of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was on display this week at a state-run market that provides subsidized food and basic goods in Caracas.
Eitan Abramovich AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat October 6, 2012 9:17 pm

On Sunday, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez faces his most serious election test in 14 years of power. Though he has easily beaten his adversaries in the past, Chavez now confronts a 40-year-old former governor who has been electrifying the crowds.

The stakes are high. If Chavez loses, it could mean the end of his socialist experiment in the oil-rich nation.

In speech after speech, Chavez is like the Chavez of old — bombastic, loud, defiant, with grand dreams about projecting Venezuelan influence worldwide.

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Deceptive Cadence
6:26 am
Sat October 6, 2012

The MacArthur 'Genius' Bow Maker Who Makes Violins Sing

Over the past four decades, Benoit Rolland has made more than 1,400 bows for violins, violas and cellos.
Courtesy of the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Originally published on Sat October 6, 2012 7:55 pm

Among the 23 recipients of the MacArthur "genius" grants this past week: an economist, a mathematician, a photographer, a neuroscientist, and a Boston-based stringed instrument bow maker.

Benoit Rolland acknowledges that the violin reigns supreme as the star of the strings, capable of fetching millions of dollars at auction. But what about the bow? "A violin with no bow is not a violin, that's clear," says Rolland.

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Author Interviews
5:59 am
Sat October 6, 2012

A Love Song To Family, New York In 'Sunlight'

Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Sat October 6, 2012 7:55 pm

When we get an early glimpse of Harry Copeland, he's falling in love in an instant, with a girl he sees on the Staten Island Ferry. Her hair "trapped the sun and seemed to radiate light," he writes, "and with New York in 1947, when it brimmed with color, light, drama and a babble of voices that reminded him of the world he fought to save as a paratrooper in World War II."

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Asia
5:58 am
Sat October 6, 2012

U.S. Drones Navigate Murky Legal Path In Pakistan

An unmanned U.S. Predator drone sits on the tarmac of Kandahar military airport in southern Afghanistan in 2010. The U.S. has been using drones in Pakistan for years. The Pakistanis initially claimed the drone attacks as the work of their own military, but the strikes have become a source of friction.
Massoud Hossaini AP

Originally published on Sat October 6, 2012 8:15 pm

The U.S. has been carrying out drone strikes in Pakistan for some eight years, but it's done so under a policy that has emerged piecemeal over that time.

"It started in 2004, when drones were really an oddity," says Daniel Markey, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. He was on the State Department's policy planning staff when it all started during the Bush administration.

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Economy
5:58 am
Sat October 6, 2012

Holiday Jobs Come With Uncertainty For Workers

Retailers expect to hire hundreds of thousands of extra holiday workers this year, but the hours can be scarce — and unpredictable.
Ross D. Franklin AP

Originally published on Sat October 6, 2012 7:55 pm

Retailers across the country expect to hire hundreds of thousands of extra workers this holiday season to help with the anticipated spike in sales. Retail workers who have been hustling year-round for more hours are looking at that news with a jaded eye — because the vast majority of these seasonal jobs will disappear after December, sending many of these workers back scrounging for more work.

With a 17-hour workweek, Onieka O'Kieffe is left with a lot of time on her hands. Too much time. She said she very often sleeps 12 hours a day just because she can.

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Music Interviews
2:03 am
Sat October 6, 2012

Josephine Foster: A 'Vibrating Voice' To Shake The Soul

Josephine Foster's newest album is titled Blood Rushing.
Jessica Knights Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sat October 6, 2012 7:55 pm

Don't try to pigeonhole Josephine Foster. She has recorded albums of psychedelic rock and Tin Pan Alley, music for children, blues, Spanish folk tunes, 19th century German art songs and a song cycle based on the poems of Emily Dickinson. Although her soprano may be a little unusual, it's arresting.

Foster recently released a new album, Blood Rushing. She spoke with NPR's Scott Simon about finding her voice, collaborating with her husband, singing at funerals and embracing small-town life.

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NPR Story
1:58 pm
Sat September 29, 2012

Arthur O. Sulzberger, Former 'New York Times' Publisher, Dies

Originally published on Sat September 29, 2012 3:17 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Former New York Times publisher Arthur Ochs Sulzberger has died today. He was 86 years old. Mr. Sulzberger took over the New York Times in 1963 after his brother-in-law and predecessor died unexpectedly of a heart attack. Arthur Ochs Sulzberger was 37, the youngest publisher in the newspaper's history.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED TAPE)

ARTHUR OCHS SULZBERGER: As I told my sister Ruth, said do I bade my first executive decision, decided not to throw up.

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Middle East
7:43 am
Sat September 29, 2012

U.S. Increases Aid To Syria As Violence Rages On

Originally published on Sat September 29, 2012 3:17 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the United States will give another $45 million in aid to Syria. That aid will mostly go toward humanitarian assistance, but it will also include communications equipment for the opposition in Syria. The news came at the end of a week of speeches at the U.N. General Assembly in New York, where many raised alarms about the bloodshed in Syria. NPR's Michele Kelemen reports.

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Author Interviews
7:43 am
Sat September 29, 2012

'Instant' Recounts The Magic Of Polaroids

Originally published on Sat September 29, 2012 3:17 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Decades before people would camp out for days, to get the latest next-big-thing in new technology, there was the magic of pictures you could snap and see instantly - or almost. Edwin Land created a company in his garage - sound familiar? - that would be both a success, and an inspiration, to Steve Jobs and other inventive entrepreneurs of a new era, Polaroid. Its products were considered elegant, original and desirable. The company was miles and dollars above any other, in innovative technology. So why couldn't it last into the 21st century?

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Author Interviews
7:43 am
Sat September 29, 2012

Online And In The Open: Transparent Novel Writing

Originally published on Sat September 29, 2012 3:17 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Writing's often depicted as a private act - scribbling, crossing out, then crumpling two sheets into a fireplace; trial, error and angst - all of which is best kept private. Silvia Hartmann is now writing on a kind of electronic stage - in an open document, a Google doc - so that readers can see her story appear line by line, edit by edit. Silvia Hartmann joins us from the south coast of England. Thanks so much for being with us.

SILVIA HARTMANN: Hi.

SIMON: So what are you trying to do here, write a novel?

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