NPR News

Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:

The Tea Party Makes Sense Of The Shutdown

Oct 5, 2013

The Affordable Care Act has been at the center of the budget debate that has shut down the government.

Tea Party Republicans in the House have led the charge to try to repeal or delay Obamacare in exchange for funding the government.

They were cheered for taking on the health law by Tea Party activists across the country, including Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder and national coordinator for the group, Tea Party Patriots. Martin told Weekend Edition Saturday host Scott Simon recently that Congress ignored the will of the people when Obamacare was enacted.

An international team of weapons experts is at work in Syria on the job of finding and destroying the nation's chemical stockpile. Inspectors crossed in Syria from Lebanon on Tuesday.

But the job will be difficult and possibly dangerous, says Amy Smithson, a senior fellow at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies.

The work that Shaun O'Connell does is required by law, yet now he's sidelined by the government shutdown.

O'Connell reviews disability claims for the Social Security Administration in New York, checking that no one's gaming the system, while ensuring people with legitimate medical problems are compensated properly.

Billions of dollars are at stake with this kind of work, yet O'Connell is considered a nonessential employee for purposes of the partial government shutdown.

For one month each fall, residents of interior Alaska don chest waders and splash through the clear, frigid water of the Chatanika River. With large homemade lanterns hanging from their necks and spears in their hands, the fishermen keep their eyes peeled for whitefish.

Lifelong Alaskan Cory Kuryla leads his best friend Dave Ensley and me down a dark forest trail.

"We make rookies take a bite out of the first fish they catch!" he says.

I'm walking through Times Square, the crossroads of the world. Just when I reach the line for cheap Broadway tickets, I see it: a giant billboard with the word "capitalism" in bright white lights and the words "works for me!" in cursive below. There's a podium and two buttons where you can vote whether the statement is "true" or "false."

Peggy Demitrack, a tourist from Cleveland, is adamant when she pushes the "true" button. She says capitalism works for anyone who strives and educates themselves.



David Shannon has written books about an adorable West Highland terrier, a duck on a bike and a fairy named Alice. Maybe he's tired of drawing cute. So, now the author and illustrator has done a book called "Bugs in My Hair," and it isn't about pets, forests or fantasy creatures. No, it's about head lice. David Shannon joins us from the studios of KQED in San Francisco. Thanks so much for being with us.

DAVID SHANNON: Oh, my pleasure. Thank you.

SIMON: Yuck.


SIMON: Why a book about head lice?

Baseball Swings Into Playoffs

Oct 5, 2013



This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. I wait all week to say time for sports.


SIMON: Playoff time in Major League Baseball. So many games, but the Cubs aren't in any of them. However, we are joined by Howard Bryant of and ESPN The Magazine to talk about those good clubs playing now. Thanks for being with us, Howard.

HOWARD BRYANT: Good morning, Scott. If the Cubs are what you're looking for in playoff baseball, I suggest a new team, a new century.



This is "West Side Story" - on six legs. Dr. Mark Stoeckle, who's a researcher at Rockefeller University, says that New York cockroaches can be just about as territorial as the sharks and the jets. He joins us from the studios of the Radio Foundation on the Upper West Side. Thanks so much for being with us.

MARK STOECKLE: It's good to be here. Thank you.

SIMON: So are cockroaches as native to New York as poppy seed bagels?

Run River North is a band that's gotten a few more breaks than most on its level. Last year, the Los Angeles-based Korean-American musicians produced a music video from inside their Hondas. The video went viral — and straight to the carmaker. The company rewarded the group with a surprise performance on Jimmy Kimmel Live.