Weekend Edition Saturday

  • Hosted by Scott Simon
  • Local Host Karlie Huckels

A weekend morning news magazine covering hard news, a wide variety of news makers, and cultural stories. On Saturdays, Simon's award-winning commentaries sum up an idea or event related to the week's news. There are clever, informative exchanges, and fresh reports from a cross-section of NPR correspondents on topics from religion to health to food to politics. Simon's interviews with key artists, authors, performers and personalities are always memorable.

A federal appeals court has dismissed a lawsuit brought by nearly two dozen young people aimed at forcing the federal government to take bolder action on climate change, saying the courts were not the appropriate place to address the issue.

A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Friday the young plaintiffs had "made a compelling case that action is needed," but they did not have legal standing to bring the case.

Everyone retires someday.

It's a fact of life — one that folks usually come to terms with in their mid- to late 60s. Unless, of course, you're running for president. Or Clint Eastwood.

There's one man, though, who makes a whippersnapper like Eastwood look like a novice: Bob Vollmer, who, at 102 years old, is only now considering putting his feet up after nearly six decades at Indiana's Department of Natural Resources.

American democracy can seem messy in a week like this. Impeachment hearings looming; six-headed debates; people snapping, sniping; and all the costly, time-consuming and chaotic accouterments of polls, fundraising and campaign rallies.

It's one way to run a country. But we can get a little perspective from around the world.

Just this week in Russia, Vladimir Putin shifted power in the government so when he leaves that office in 2024, he can continue to rule and enrich himself, as he has for 20 years.

The new film, Les Misérables, is not another adaptation of the Victor Hugo novel and it's definitely not a musical. It is set in the same Paris suburb that inspired part of the 19th-century classic, and it is about that neighborhood's impoverished residents. But this film is a modern-day cop thriller — and it's France's entry to the Oscars.

The toll of the Australian bush fires is staggering. 27 people have died, more than 2,000 homes destroyed and 18 million acres have burned. A billion animals may have been killed.

Try to hold that horrifying number in your mind a moment: a billion animals.

The most powerful way to get people to save for retirement in recent decades has been through benefits offered at their job. But a lot of people — about half the American workforce — don't get that from their employers.

"Over 50 million workers right now don't have access to any retirement plan at all," says David Certner, legislative counsel for AARP.

Small employers are the biggest segment lacking coverage, he says. That's because many small businesses lack the time and money to set such programs up, he says.

When Anna Wiener was a 20-something, she left her job at a literary agency in New York and moved to California to join the high-tech world of "inflection points," "designpreneurs," "blitzscaling," "upleveling," and "disrupters." A world she came to see from the inside as destructive, intrusive, dominating and dangerous. And she writes about it in a new memoir, Uncanny Valley. "I think the stories that are told about the industry are largely on the industry's own terms," she says. "They tend to be these sort of triumphalist narratives about innovation and baby geniuses.

California's largest electric utility took the unprecedented step of shutting off power to millions of customers beginning last October. The decision was meant to prevent power equipment from sparking catastrophic wildfires.

Now a renewable energy microgrid on a tiny California Native American reservation is proving to be one solution to this ongoing problem.

The Blue Lake Rancheria is located just north of Eureka, Calif. On the 100-acre campus, just behind the casino and hotel, Jana Ganion opens a chain-link fence.

Guitarist and composer Guinga is a popular songwriter in Brazil: his songs have been recorded by the likes of superstar Elis Regina and he's a favorite of musicians around the world like Michel Legrand and Sergio Mendes. But Guinga is less well-known in the U.S. (he rarely comes here to perform), and considering his successful five-decade career, he's an unusually modest musician.

At the edge of a tree-lined lane in Mumbai, India, Abdul Kareem opens the hood of his taxi and pours water into the radiator. The car is black with a yellow roof, like all Mumbai cabs. But it stands out in a line of cars.

It's antique-looking and kind of boxy, with bulbous headlights. It has a metal luggage rack on its roof that proclaims "Mumbai" in bright orange lettering. On the streets, Kareem says, people point out the taxi to their kids.

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