Weekend Edition Saturday

Saturdays at 7 a.m. on IPR News and News/Studio One
 

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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The Salt
6:01 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 4:38 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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Presidential Race
5:17 am
Sat October 13, 2012

Candidates Return To The Trail After VP Debate

Originally published on Sat October 13, 2012 9:15 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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Middle East
5:17 am
Sat October 13, 2012

Border Incidents Ratchet Up Turkey-Syria Tensions

Originally published on Sat October 13, 2012 9:15 am

Weekend Edition host Scott Simon talks with NPR's Peter Kenyon and NPR's Kelly McEvers about the latest news in Turkey and Syria, where fighting from Syria's internal conflict has spilled across the border the two nations share.

Movie Interviews
5:17 am
Sat October 13, 2012

Hoop Dreams Land Basketball Player An 'Iran Job'

Originally published on Sat October 13, 2012 9:15 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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Author Interviews
1:03 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 10:38 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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Economy
9:18 am
Sat October 6, 2012

Jobs Report Has Surprising Results

Originally published on Sat October 6, 2012 6:55 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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Author Interviews
9:18 am
Sat October 6, 2012

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

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

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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Simon Says
7:05 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 6:55 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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NPR Story
6:56 am
Sat October 6, 2012

Economic News Brightens Obama Rally

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

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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NPR Story
6:56 am
Sat October 6, 2012

Wild-Card Wins And Anxiety-Prone Players

Originally published on Sat October 6, 2012 6:55 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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NPR Story
6:56 am
Sat October 6, 2012

States Struggle To Manage Meningitis Scare

Originally published on Sat October 6, 2012 6:55 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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Deceptive Cadence
5:26 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 6:55 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
4:59 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 6:55 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
4:58 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 7:15 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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Music Interviews
1:03 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 6:55 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
12:58 pm
Sat September 29, 2012

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

Originally published on Sat September 29, 2012 2:17 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
6:43 am
Sat September 29, 2012

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

Originally published on Sat September 29, 2012 2:17 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
6:43 am
Sat September 29, 2012

'Instant' Recounts The Magic Of Polaroids

Originally published on Sat September 29, 2012 2:17 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
6:43 am
Sat September 29, 2012

Online And In The Open: Transparent Novel Writing

Originally published on Sat September 29, 2012 2:17 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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Health
5:38 am
Sat September 29, 2012

Why Tylenol Bottles Are Hard To Open

Thirty years ago this weekend, seven people died from ingesting Tylenol that had been poisoned. Since then, Johnson & Johnson has overhauled its packaging.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sat September 29, 2012 2:17 pm

Opening a new package of Tylenol can take some effort. There's the cardboard packaging, plus the push-and-twist top and the safety seal.

It used to be a matter of just popping off a cap. Thirty years ago, seven people died in Chicago suburbs after taking poisoned Tylenol. Pharmacies pulled Tylenol off the shelf in a panic, and the nation was in shock.

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The Salt
5:37 am
Sat September 29, 2012

Bouillabaisse: From Humble Beginnings To High-Class Tourist Meal

The ingredients for a vrai bouillaibaisse at Le Miramar in Marseille, France.
Eleanor Beardsley NPR

Originally published on Sat September 29, 2012 2:17 pm

The southern French city of Marseille on the Mediterranean Sea has long been famous for its spicy fish soup, known as bouillabaisse. The soup started as a poor man's meal, made with leftover fish scraps, but these days, it's evolved to the point that it can run connoisseurs about $75 for a generously sized meal.

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Music Interviews
5:23 am
Sat September 29, 2012

Frankie Valli On Hair Products And Finding His Falsetto

The Four Seasons pose for a portrait circa 1963 in New York City. They are, clockwise from the top, Nick Massi, Tommy DeVito, Frankie Valli and Bob Gaudio.
Michael Ochs Archives Getty Images

Originally published on Mon October 1, 2012 7:31 am

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Deceptive Cadence
5:14 am
Sat September 29, 2012

Leonard Bernstein's 'Kaddish' Symphony: A Crisis Of Faith

The traditional Jewish Kaddish prayer gets turned on its head in Leonard Bernstein's Symphony No. 3.
Fethi Belaid AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 16, 2012 2:46 pm

I can't think of anything I loved more than talking to Leonard Bernstein. Or, more accurately, listening to him talk — about music or any topic under the sun. I remember a long discourse we had about one of my favorite books, Thomas Mann's The Magic Mountain, and Bernstein's summarizing statement: "Well, of course, every author spends his whole life writing the same book."

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Author Interviews
5:11 am
Sat September 29, 2012

'Listening In' To JFK's Secret White House Recordings

Listening In, a new book and CD set, includes more than 260 hours of transcribed conversations and 2.5 hours of audio from inside the Kennedy White House.
Evening Standard Getty Images

Originally published on Mon October 1, 2012 6:41 pm

In the spring of 1963, as the U.S. was mired in conflicts with Vietnam and Cuba and the Soviet Union, President John F. Kennedy called his old friend David Hackett to express his frustration at the U.S. men's ice hockey team — and their miserable record overseas.

JFK: Dave, I noticed that in the paper this morning that the Swedish team beat the American hockey team 17-2.
Hackett: Yeah, I saw that.
JFK: Christ! Who are we sending over there? Girls?

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Around the Nation
4:55 am
Sat September 29, 2012

L.A. Sheriff Rebuked For Alleged Inmate Abuse

County Sheriff Lee Baca faces what may be the toughest fight of his 14-year political career.
Damian Dovarganes AP

Originally published on Sat September 29, 2012 2:23 pm

Los Angeles County's sheriff is under fire. A blue-ribbon commission issued a scathing report Friday accusing Sheriff Lee Baca of failing to address long-standing allegations of inmate abuse in his jails. The accusations include deputies beating inmates, cover-ups and a persistent culture of violence.

The sheriff has been able to weather many storms during his 14-year tenure, but this may be the toughest fight of his political career.

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Europe
4:52 am
Sat September 29, 2012

Greeks Battle To 'Survive' Amid New Budget Proposal

People with disabilities take part in a march against the government's new austerity measures in central Athens on Thursday.
Petros Giannakouris AP

Originally published on Sat September 29, 2012 10:25 pm

The Greek government is set to present a new austerity budget on Monday that's supposed to please the institutions that are lending billions to the country to save it from bankruptcy.

But the cuts also come at a time when a deep recession has dragged into its fifth year. More than a third of businesses in Greece have closed, and nearly a quarter of Greeks are unemployed.

Busking For The Next Generation

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Simon Says
9:35 am
Sat September 22, 2012

The Emoticon Turns 30, Seems Happy About It :-)

The emoticon turns 30 this week.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sat September 22, 2012 10:33 am

The emoticon, punctuation to depict a facial expression, began 30 years ago this week. Using three keystrokes, the colon, dash and parenthesis, to suggest a smile may not be a great scientific advance, like the coronary stent or computer chip. But the emoticon has been simple, useful and enduring.

There had been previous hints of emoticons. A newspaper transcript of Abraham Lincoln drawing a laugh in 1862 follows it with a semi-colon and parentheses, but that may have simply been a printer's typo.

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It's All Politics
8:55 am
Sat September 22, 2012

There's Still Time For Romney To Make An Effective Case

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks at a campaign event at the Cox Pavilion Friday in Las Vegas.
David Becker Getty Images

Originally published on Sat September 22, 2012 9:35 am

Despite a series of political fumbles, Mitt Romney is "still very much in the game," according to political strategist Steve Schmidt. But, he says, it will take some work.

Schmidt served as John McCain's senior strategist in the 2008 election and helped George W. Bush get reelected in 2004. He spoke with Weekend Edition Saturday host Scott Simon about the Romney campaign's stresses.

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Education
7:23 am
Sat September 22, 2012

Duncan On Chicago: 'When Adults Fight, Kids Lose'

Originally published on Sat September 22, 2012 9:35 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Chicago teachers voted to end their strike this week, the first in 25 years, and came back to class. It brought an end to a heated confrontation between leaders of the Chicago teachers union and Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who repeated this phrase time and again during the strike.

MAYOR RAHM EMANUEL: This was a strike of choice and it's a wrong choice for the children. Really, it was a choice.

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Presidential Race
7:23 am
Sat September 22, 2012

Why Didn't Romney Pay Less Than 14 Percent In 2011?

Originally published on Sat September 22, 2012 9:35 am

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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

Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney released his 2011 tax return this week in an effort to quell fiscal controversy about his personal finances. The Romney Campaign accompanied the release with a letter from his accountant that says the candidate paid at least 13 percent of his income in taxes in each of the past 20 years.

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