Weekend Edition Saturday for Saturday, October 12, 2013

To The Debt Limit And Beyond

Will the bottom fall out of the economy on Oct. 17 if Congress refuses to raise the debt ceiling? New York Times columnist Joe Nocera talks to Weekend Edition Sunday host Scott Simon about what the extended government shutdown and the debt limit could mean for our economy.
Donald Eugene Miller Jr. of Ohio is legally dead. But here's the thing: He's actually alive. Miller disappeared in 1986 and was declared dead in 1994. When he went in front of a judge this week to get his status clarified, Miller learned that declarations of death can only be rescinded within three years.

Would The U.S. Be Better Off With A Parliament?

The extreme paralysis that has become the norm in Washington is almost never seen in Western European democracies. Political scientists say there are lessons the U.S. can take from Europe.
Sachin Tendulkar made his cricket debut as at the age of 16, and he's captivated fans ever since. This week, he announced his plans to retire. Indian politician Shashi Tharoor says batsman Tendulkar is "possibly one of the greatest in the history of the entire sport worldwide."
Azerbaijan's Central Election Commission announced President Ilham Aliyev had been re-elected a full day before voting had even begun. Host Scott Simon considers elections and democracy in Azerbaijan.
Doctors said Erik Schei would be a "vegetable" for the rest of his life — and he was only 21. He had been shot in the head on his second tour in Iraq. But his parents choose to bring him home and give him another chance at life. Now, they say he's smiling every day and grateful to be alive.

Red Cross Wants Video Games To Get Real On War Crimes

The organization is pushing to have war-themed games adhere to the Geneva Convention — at least to its main principles. Spokesman Bernard Barrett says the goal is to implement consequences for things like shooting civilians and torture.

Shutdown's Reach Extends To South Pole

Research season was just getting started when the government shutdown put McMurdo Station into "caretaker" mode, halting data collection. Host Scott Simon speaks to Gretchen Hofmann, a professor at University of California, Santa Barbara, about the government shutdown's impact on research in Antarctica.

Rebuilding A Small Town After Double Disaster

Cordova, Ala., got hit not by one but two tornadoes on the same day in 2011. The twisters destroyed much of the town, and in the past two years, people living there have struggled with how best to rebuild what was a dying town.
The craft-brewing industry has long been a male-dominated world. But that's starting to change. This weekend, several female-owned craft breweries are favored to take home the most prestigious awards at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver.

Utah Couple Takes The Last Trip Together

Jerry and Edith Dunn from Spanish Fork, Utah, both born in 1931 and sweethearts since high school, died in their sleep last week within hours of each other. They are remembered by their son, Donald Dunn, and daughter, Deanna Golden.
A quiet block on the city's northwest side appeared to be taken over by villagers from the mountains of southern Poland. As the festivities began, the bride's anxious father was desperate to make room for five wooden carriages, 12 horses and the band.

Obamacare Drops Off The Shutdown Script

When the government shutdown was still a just a potential threat, it was all about the Affordable Care Act. Tea Party Republicans said it was their last chance to stop the health law, even if tying a defunding provision to a government spending bill would result in a government shutdown. Now, nearly two weeks in, Republicans have abandoned mention of the law.

Tea Party Leaders Unwilling To Rebrand

Polls show the Republican Party is taking the biggest hit politically for the government shutdown, and leaders are wondering how to appeal to more diverse voters nationwide. But Tea Party leaders are holding the line on the shutdown, and have no interest in muting their message. Host Scott Simon talks with political correspondent Don Gonyea about the strategy crisis for Republicans.

Kerry Wraps Up Surprise Visit To Kabul

The secretary of state met with Afghan President Hamid Karzai in an effort to break the impasse in talks on a new bilateral security pact. Those negotiations will determine how many, if any, U.S. troops remain in the country after the NATO mission ends next year. Host Scott Simon speaks with NPR's Sean Carberry about the trip.

Health Insurance Exchanges Suffer Ills Of Geography

The new online marketplaces are now in their second week, and almost across the board, it's been a rocky start. But just how rocky depends on the state and how many navigators have been hired to help people sign up.

'Fun' Teams Out Of Baseball Playoffs

The Red Sox have their beards and the Tigers their bankrupt city, but the Moneyball boys from Oakland and the Pirates, who had their first winning season in 21 years, are eliminated. Host Scott Simon talks to NPR's Tom Goldman about the week's sports news, checking in on the Major League Championship Series and the early weeks of the NFL season.

RJD2 Explains How He Builds Songs From Scraps

The electronic artist best known for creating the Mad Men theme says making sample-based music can feel like chasing a ghost. Here, he walks Weekend Edition Saturday through the making of a song from his new album, More Is Than Isn't.

D.C. Tourists Shell Out Admission Fees Amid Shutdown

With the Smithsonian museums, the White House and other popular — and free of charge — venues closed, visitors are left scrambling to find other Washington, D.C., sights. Many have added admission fees to private museums to their travel budget.
Vast distances and cultural differences may separate America's states, but remarkably, regional rivalries are fairly trivial. This unity is no accident; it's the legacy of the explorers, leaders and inventors who brought the country together. British author Simon Winchester tells their stories in The Men Who United the States.

Some In Congress Has Behaved Badly From The Start

The shutdown of the U.S. government has sparked lots of finger-pointing and name-calling in Congress. But A.J. Jacobs, editor at large at Esquire Magazine, tells host Scott Simon that this is hardly the nastiest dispute in the history of our democracy.

Electronic Music's Godfather Isn't Done Innovating

Morton Subotnick has been a pioneer in the creation, composition and popularization of electronic music since the 1960s. Now 80, he recently unveiled his latest creation: an iPad app that allows children (and everyone else) to create their own electronic compositions.
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