Weekend Edition Saturday

Saturdays 5:00 a.m - 9:00 a.m.
Scott Simon

Saturday mornings are made for Weekend Edition Saturday, 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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Health Care
10:03 am
Sat April 5, 2014

With Enrollee Goal Met, Obamacare Still Faces Political Trial

President Obama arrives in the Rose Garden on Tuesday to trumpet 7.1 million signups under the Affordable Care Act.
Carolyn Kaster AP

President Obama and his supporters had a rare opportunity to celebrate this week.

A last-minute surge in people signing up for health insurance sent the total government enrollment figures over the seven-million mark.

That number seemed out of reach just a few months ago, when a crash-prone website threatened to undermine the president's signature health care law.

Republicans are still bent on repealing the law, but now millions more Americans have a stake in Obamacare's survival.

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Africa
8:46 am
Sat April 5, 2014

'Hotel Rwanda' Manager: We've Failed To Learn From History

Paul Rusesabagina, who sheltered more than 1,000 people in his hotel during the Rwandan genocide, says the brutal violence in Syria, the Central African Republic and the Congo shows history repeats itself while people fail to learn from it.
Courtesy Hotel Rwanda Rusesabagina Foundation

Originally published on Sat April 5, 2014 10:38 am

Paul Rusesabagina is a figure from history — a terrible history.

He was the manager of the Diplomat Hotel in Kigali, Rwanda, 20 years ago, when the genocide of Rwanda's Tutsi people began. More than 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus would be killed in just three months.

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Book Reviews
4:52 am
Sat April 5, 2014

'In Paradise,' Matthiessen Considers Our Capacity For Cruelty

In his six-decade career, Peter Matthiessen has written 33 books, including The Snow Leopard and Shadow Country.
Linda Girvin Courtesy of Riverhead Books

Originally published on

At age 86, Peter Matthiessen has written what he says "may be his last word" — a novel due out Tuesday about a visit to a Nazi extermination camp. It's called In Paradise, and it caps a career spanning six decades and 33 books.

Matthiessen is the only writer to ever win a National Book Award in both fiction — for his last book, Shadow Country, and adult nonfiction for his 1978 travel journal, The Snow Leopard.

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Music Interviews
4:52 am
Sat April 5, 2014

Puerto Rico's Most-Loved And Most-Hated Band

Originally published on Sat April 5, 2014 8:11 am

The bad boys of Puerto Rico have grown up. Step brothers Rene Perez Joglar and Eduardo Cabra of Calle 13 have a new album that takes a more thoughtful route to deliver their message.

Sports
4:52 am
Sat April 5, 2014

Final Four Fans Bedeck Themselves In Team Colors

Originally published on Sat April 5, 2014 8:18 am

The men's Final Four in college basketball is Saturday in North Texas. With the teams come fans, some rabid in their love for for all things Huskies, Gators, Badgers and Wildcats.

Politics
10:28 am
Sat March 29, 2014

The Story Of Calif. Senator's Arrest Reads Like Pulp Fiction

San Francisco state Sen. Leland Yee leaves the San Francisco Federal Building after he was arrested and released on bond Wednesday.
Ben Margot AP

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 1:04 pm

It's a case that has stunned California's political community: A prominent Democratic lawmaker has been accused in a federal complaint of participating in an elaborate conspiracy involving guns, gangs, drugs and bribery.

State Sen. Leland Yee was known as a champion of open government and gun control, but not any more. A 137-page federal affidavit accuses the lawmaker of soliciting and taking bribes from an undercover FBI agent in exchange for political favors.

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Health Care
9:51 am
Sat March 29, 2014

Latinos Wary Of All-Out Push To Sign Up For ACA

Planned Parenthood worker Alicia Gonzales promotes the Affordable Care Act during an outreach event for the Latino community in Los Angeles in September.
Jonathan Alcorn Reuters /Landov

All throughout the country, supporters of the Affordable Care Act have worked to reach the uninsured, holding health fairs and putting ads on TV and radio.

The push continues to get as many enrolled as possible, especially Latinos — the most uninsured group in the country.

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Business
8:36 am
Sat March 29, 2014

Boeing's Iconic 747 May Be Flying Into The Sunset

Sales of the airliner are flagging, and airlines are retiring their 747 fleets. The end may be near for the original "jumbo jet," but in its day, it offered an experience like no other.
Elaine Thompson AP

While global attention has been focused on Malaysia Airlines' missing 777 this week, Boeing's best-known aircraft, the 747, was also in the news. The Federal Aviation Administration ordered Boeing to immediately fix a software glitch that could cause problems during landing.

The software flaw is not the only problem for the enormous 747. Over four decades ago, it was the original "jumbo jet," but the newest version of Boeing's iconic plane has not sold well. On Monday, Japan's All Nippon Airways announced it will officially retire its aging 747 passenger fleet.

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Simon Says
5:09 am
Sat March 29, 2014

A Bill To Distill Simmers In Tennessee

What legally makes whiskey taste like Tennessee?
Piotr Wawryniuk iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sat March 29, 2014 8:27 am

Would Tennessee whiskey by any other name taste as sweet?

A debate in Tennessee simmers over a legal definition of what makes Tennessee whiskey "Tennessee."

The state legislature passed a bill last year saying whiskey can be labeled "Tennessee" only if it's made in the state from a mash that's 51-percent corn, trickles through maple charcoal, and is aged in new, charred oak barrels.

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History
4:59 am
Sat March 29, 2014

Helen Keller's Glimpse Of Beethoven's 'Heavenly Vibration'

Originally published on Sat March 29, 2014 8:27 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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Author Interviews
4:59 am
Sat March 29, 2014

'Lovesongs' Examines What It Means To Come Home

Originally published on Sat March 29, 2014 8:27 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

How long do good friends keep growing up with each other? Leland, or Lee, is a rock star. He tours the world but keeps coming back, if not back home, to the place where he grew up - Little Wing, Wisconsin, a fictitious Midwestern town that feels as real as Eau Claire, which is where the author, Nickolas Butler grew up. His new novel, "Shotgun Lovesongs" interlaces the stories of friends who keep coming back to each other and try to get hold of where they are in the world.

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Parallels
9:22 am
Sat March 22, 2014

Always Watching: A Fragile Trust Lines The U.S.-Mexico Border

Dob Cunningham (left) and his friend Larry Johnson look over the edge of Cunningham's 800-acre ranch in Quemado, Texas.
Kainaz Amaria NPR

Originally published on Sat March 22, 2014 11:21 am

We drove 2,428 miles on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border, and it's safe to say that for much of the road trip, we were being watched.

Border Patrol agents, customs officers, cameras, sensors, radar and aircraft track movement in the Borderland. None of that has stopped the struggle to control the border, or the debate over how best to do it.

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Parallels
7:02 am
Sat March 22, 2014

Russia-U.S. Tensions Could Stall Syrian Chemical Weapons Removal

The Russian ship Pyotr Velikiy (Peter the Great), seen here docked in the Cypriot port of Limassol in February, is part of the team involved in escorting shipments of Syria's chemical weapons material for destruction.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat March 22, 2014 8:18 am

As U.S.-Russian relations sour, some observers fear the plan to eliminate Syria's chemical arsenal might stall.

This past week, the removal of chemicals from Syria reached the halfway mark. Without pressure from both superpowers, however, some believe Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will begin to drag his feet.

"I think what you're likely to see is that the Assad regime will comply just enough, at a slower pace, as it consolidates its hold over the country militarily," says Andrew Tabler, a Syria expert, at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

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Around the Nation
6:37 am
Sat March 22, 2014

Commuters Ditch Cars For Public Transit In Record Numbers

On a typical weekday, riders make a total of about 300,000 trips on the Chicago Metra commuter line.
M. Spencer Green AP

Originally published on Mon March 24, 2014 10:38 am

During the morning rush at Chicago's Union Station, commuter trains pull in, the doors open and a crush of people, newspapers and coffee cups in hand, pour off like a flood.

Financial analyst Nader Kouklan says he makes the trip from the suburbs to Chicago's downtown every day.

"It's easier and just a faster way to get to work, rather than having to deal with the traffic of the morning commute," Kouklan says.

Law student Amalia Romano rides Chicago's Metra line, too.

"I take it because I don't want to pay $16 to park every day," Romano explains.

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Movie Interviews
4:50 am
Sat March 22, 2014

'Flaco And Max' Keep A South Texas Musical Tradition Thriving

Originally published on Sun March 23, 2014 8:45 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Conjunto music can be as American as cherry pie - with Mexican and German flavoring:

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

FLACO AND MAX: (Singing in foreign language)

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Sports
4:50 am
Sat March 22, 2014

Mercer, Dayton Break The Brackets

Originally published on Sat March 22, 2014 8:18 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SIMON: And the upsets keep coming in the NCAA tournament. Do they call it March Madness because Coach K at Duke, probably a little mad at the way his Blue Devils played. ESPN.com's Howard Bryant joins us. Howard, thanks so much for being with us.

HOWARD BRYANT: Oh, good morning, Scott.

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Animals
4:50 am
Sat March 22, 2014

Put Haggis In The Feeder, And Other Scottish Bird Feeding Tips

Originally published on Sat March 22, 2014 8:18 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Springtime is just about to bloom. So how do you attract a few good-looking birds? To the gardener balcony, that is. We're joined now by Malcie Smith, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. He joins us from the studios of the BBC in the Shetland Islands of Scotland. Thanks very much for being with us.

MALCIE SMITH: Hi, Scott. You're welcome.

SIMON: What kind of food do you put out this time of year?

SMITH: Just a wide range of nuts and seeds would be quite good. Sunflower seeds particularly are very good.

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Religion
10:00 am
Sat March 15, 2014

Tiny Italian Town Thumbs Its Nose At Lenten Abstinence

Originally published on Sun March 16, 2014 2:53 pm

On the first Sunday of Lent in Poggio Mirteto, a priest in the town's cathedral recalls the serpent in the Garden of Eden.

He admonishes parishioners in this hilltop hamlet just outside Vatican City to resist earthly delights during the time of penance and self-denial leading up to Easter.

"We must remember we are weak before evil, because the devil is very tricky," he says.

Just outside the doors, the warning goes unheeded as a parade of revelers passes.

The Freedom Festival

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Sports
8:32 am
Sat March 15, 2014

Why You Won't Win Warren Buffett's Billion-Dollar Bracket

Florida's Will Yeguete shoots over Missouri's Keanau Post in the quarterfinal round of the Southeastern Conference men's tournament on Friday in Atlanta. Investor Warren Buffett is betting $1 billion that no one can pick all 63 winners of the NCAA college basketball tournament that begins next week.
John Bazemore AP

Originally published on Sat March 15, 2014 10:19 am

The men's NCAA college basketball tournament starts next week.

In a twist on the familiar March Madness bracket, a mortgage company and a world-famous investor are offering a billion dollars to anyone who picks the winner of all 63 games in the NCAA college basketball tournament.

It's a contest, and it may also be the perfect publicity stunt.

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Health Care
6:52 am
Sat March 15, 2014

Under 30? The President Would Like You To Know Health Care Is Hip

The president joined host Zach Galifianakis on the Funny or Die mock talk show, Between Two Ferns this week. Obama was there to promote the Affordable Care Act.
Funny or Die

Originally published on Sat March 15, 2014 8:32 am

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