Weekend Edition Saturday for Saturday, September 21, 2013

Observers say the president's recent fumbles on Syria and other issues have emboldened Republicans. But President Obama's supporters say he has the upper hand when it comes to showdowns over a possible government shutdown and default on the nation's debt.

Syria Agreement Makes For Unstable Alliances

As Syria turns over its "initial declaration" of chemical weapons, President Bashar Assad and Russian President Vladimir Putin have become partners with the U.S., argues Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic. Host Scott Simon talks to Goldberg about the foreign affairs strategy with Syria.

Hemingway's Rejected Early Work Is Fit To Print After All

Ernest Hemingway's son turned down an offer from the publication that dismissed his father's work in 1924. Patrick Hemingway calls today's Vanity Fair a "luxury thinker's magazine," so he went to Harper's instead. NPR's Scott Simon suspects Hemingway himself would have sold the story to the highest bidder.
In the United States, 40 percent of the food produced annually goes to waste. Doug Rauch, former president of Trader Joe's, wants to do something about it. He's opening a restaurant that will transform produce past its sell date into healthful take-out food.

The Other Side Of The Economic Divide

One dinner at a restaurant cost NPR reporter Pam Fessler about the same as what one of her interview subjects gets for two weeks on welfare. Fessler, who reports on poverty for NPR, reflects on how much divides her and the people she covers.
Young Jack hits the road with his cranky, elderly teacher Miss Volker (and a couple of cranky, elderly cars) in From Norvelt to Nowhere, the new young adult novel from Jack Gantos. The sequel to 2011's Newbery-winning Dead End in Norvelt is set in 1962, in the shadow of the Cuban missile crisis.

No Schmear Job: A Brief History Of Bagels And Lox

The origin of the bagel "is somewhat mysterious," says a writer who recently explored the topic. What is unquestionable is that bagel met and married lox in New York. But as in so many modern unions, both partners came to the marriage with plenty of baggage.

Being Head Chef In A Theatrical Test Kitchen

Lou Volpe ran the theater program at Harry S. Truman High in Levittown, Pa., for four decades, presenting famous, edgy shows before they become classics in high school theater, and has sent scores of students out into lives in professional theater. Host Scott Simon speaks with Michael Sokolove, author of Drama High: The Incredible True Story of a Brilliant Teacher, a Struggling Town and the Magic of Theater, and another former student, Antonio Addeo, an aspiring Broadway actor.

Battling For The Bottom In Chicago Baseball

The Cubs and the White Socks are both in last place in their divisions. How can one major city have two teams in a race to the bottom? Host Scott Simon asks former Weekend Edition Saturday sports commentator Ron Rapoport, editor of a new anthology, From Black Sox to Three Peats: A Century of Chicago's Best Sportswriting.

When AM Radio Was More Than Talk And Static

Dick Biondi, a radio DJ since the 1950s, has worked for 28 stations and has been fired 25 times, and may have been the first person to play the Beatles on the radio in the U.S. Host Scott Simon asks Biondi about those days, and what keeps him in radio at age 81.

What's Next In The Congressional Budget Showdown?

A measure from the Republican-controlled House to temporarily fund the government while crippling the Affordable Care Act now goes to the Senate. But that chamber, controlled by Democrats, won't follow suit. And the clock is ticking toward a possible government shutdown.

Benghazi Attacks Still Resonate On Capitol Hill

More than a year after four Americans were killed during an attack on a diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, House Republicans continue to hold hearings dedicated to pushing their view of the episode. But Democrats also highlighted this week's hearing, believing it would help put the matter to rest.

Chicago Residents Caught In Gang Crossfire

Thirteen were shot, including a 3-year-old boy, in Chicago's Cornell Square Park Thursday night. Host Scott Simon talks with Willie Cochran, an alderman who represents part of the neighborhood in which the shootings occurred. He is also a former Chicago police officer.
Germany's government has not legalized gay marriage or adoption, a position that could cost it votes in Sunday's election.

New York's Next Mayor, Bound To Be A Brooklynite

Brooklyn emerged as the big winner in New York City's mayoral primary. Republican candidate Joe Lhota and Democratic candidate Bill de Blasio both live there. That means New York will have a mayor from Brooklyn for the first time since the 1970s, and many hope it will shift power away from Manhattan.

NFL Treats Hard Hits With A Light Touch

The league overturned the suspension of Dashon Goldson of Tampa Bay for a helmet-to-helmet hit. Host Scott Simon talks with NPR's Tom Goldman about the culture of hard head shots in the NFL.

Cities Race To The Top Of The Ferris Wheel

Las Vegas is set to claim the title of city with the largest Ferris wheel, but not for long. New York City plans for a taller wheel, and rumors swirl that Dubai may top even that. Host Scott Simon talks to John Russick, director of Curatorial Affairs at the Chicago History Museum, about the first ever Ferris wheel, which debuted at the 1893 World Fair in Chicago.

Art Dealer Pleads Guilty To Selling Fraudulent Paintings

Glafira Rosales sold work she claimed was painted by Jackson Pollack, Mark Rothko and Willem de Kooning to two Manhattan galleries. Host Scott Simon talks to New York Magazine art critic Jerry Saltz about the paintings, which were actually done by a Chinese artist living in Queens.

Isaiah Washington, Taking On A Killer Of A Character

In Blue Caprice, the onetime Grey's Anatomy star portrays a man modeled on one of the 2002 Beltway snipers. He talks with NPR's Scott Simon about the challenges of humanizing a character capable of the inhuman.

Leonard Bernstein's Unconventional 'Anxiety'

For conductor Marin Alsop, Bernstein's idiosyncratic Second Symphony — inspired by W.H. Auden's poem The Age of Anxiety — is a musical quest to answer life's big questions with time out to throw a hip-swinging party.
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