Linton Weeks

Linton Weeks joined NPR in the summer of 2008, as its national correspondent for Digital News. He immediately hit the campaign trail, covering the Democratic and Republican National Conventions; fact-checking the debates; and exploring the candidates, the issues and the electorate.

Weeks is originally from Tennessee, and graduated from Rhodes College in 1976. He was the founding editor of Southern Magazine in 1986. The magazine was bought — and crushed — in 1989 by Time-Warner. In 1990, he was named managing editor of The Washington Post's Sunday magazine. Four years later, he became the first director of the newspaper's website, Washingtonpost.com. From 1995 until 2008, he was a staff writer in the Style section of The Washington Post.

He currently lives in a suburb of Washington with the artist Jan Taylor Weeks. In 2009, they created The Stone and Holt Weeks Foundation to honor their beloved sons.

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Around the Nation
9:52 am
Thu August 23, 2012

From Politics To Pestilence: Everything Is Earlier

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu August 23, 2012 4:17 pm

Leaves are falling in the summertime. School starts in early August in many places. Politicos are already talking about the presidential election — of 2016.

Everything is happening earlier.

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Participation Nation
12:32 pm
Tue August 14, 2012

Blind Stokers Club In San Diego, Calif.

Captain and stoker in the BSC.
Evan Rasmussen Courtesy of the BSC

In tandem bicycle lingo, the captain is in the front, the stoker in the back.

The San Diego-based Blind Stokers Club, founded by Dave White, pairs sighted captains with blind stokers on high performance tandem bikes. As part of a year-round cycling program, members train for Cycling for Sight, a three-day, 200-mile event that benefits the San Diego Center for the Blind.

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Participation Nation
12:42 pm
Wed August 8, 2012

Providing Holistic Care In Durham, N.C.

Sharon Elliott-Bynum is the co-founder of Caare.
Courtesy of Caare

Originally published on Mon August 20, 2012 10:11 am

This month we are collecting your stories about the good things Americans are doing to make their community a better place. Some of your contributions will become blog posts and the project will end with a story that weaves together submissions to make a story of Americans by Americans for Americans.

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Participation Nation
7:03 am
Fri August 3, 2012

The Pick Of The Litter In Taos, N.M.

Bruce Boyd helps clean up his community by gathering the litter that collects on the highway.
Linton Weeks

Originally published on Fri August 3, 2012 10:23 am

This month we are collecting your stories about the good things Americans are doing to make their community a better place. Some of your contributions will become blog posts and the project will end with a story that weaves together submissions to make a story of Americans by Americans for Americans.

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It's All Politics
9:06 am
Thu July 19, 2012

The ABCs Of Election Reform

A Florida election official tests the accuracy of a voting machine on Aug. 4, 2010, in Miami.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 19, 2012 10:49 am

A. Following the controversy-crazy U.S. presidential election of 2000, in which the Supreme Court was drafted to determine the outcome, there have been efforts by various groups to reform the country's electoral system. However, "we have not changed much of substance really since the 2000 debacle," says Norman Ornstein, a co-writer of the 2010 Election Reform Project report.

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Politics
5:57 am
Sat July 14, 2012

'Exhaustion' Can Signify A Lot More Than 'Tired'

The office of U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. initially said he had gone into seclusion for exhaustion. Later, that was revised to a mood disorder.
Manuel Balce Ceneta AP

We may never know all the reasons why Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Ill., has dropped out of sight, but history teaches us that if a public figure is linked to "exhaustion," the word can be code for something more problematic than simply being tired.

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It's All Politics
6:03 am
Mon July 9, 2012

The ABCs Of Politicians

Even in zoos, donkeys and elephants turn their backs on their parties.
iStockphoto.com

A. First, politicians began omitting their party affiliations on campaign literature and websites. Politics "is a dirty word," says David King, a lecturer on public policy at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. King told the MetroWest Daily News: "Why would you want to put it right out there; why would you sell a shirt with a stain on it? You need to appeal on other terms by downplaying partisanship."

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Monkey See
10:18 am
Thu July 5, 2012

Life In Juxtopia

Katie Kiang sits by an electrical outlet and a quiet spot to study inside the air-conditioned Westfield Montgomery Mall in Bethesda, Md., on Monday.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 5, 2012 2:48 pm

For five full days — following Friday night's nasty wind-and-rain flashstorm — you were without electricity in the Washington suburbs. Dodging felled trees and fallen power wires, you made daily forays to nearby cafes and coffee shops, establishments that did have power. There you could recharge the batteries in your laptop and smartphone and take care of various electronic chores, such as banking, sending gifts, ordering necessities and sorting through email.

But mostly you stayed home, reading books and actual newspapers, just like in the Olden Days.

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Politics
12:34 pm
Fri June 15, 2012

In Washington, Leaking As A Way Of Life

President Richard Nixon tells reporters he will not allow his legal counsel, John Dean, to testify before Congress in the Watergate investigation, March 15, 1973. Leaks about the Watergate break-in eventually helped lead to Nixon's resignation. And his administration fought and lost a Supreme Court battle over leaking of the so-called Pentagon Papers about Vietnam.
Charles Tasnadi AP

Originally published on Fri June 15, 2012 2:27 pm

A leak — in a pipeline, at a nuclear plant, within a top-secret agency — can be dangerous, disastrous, deadly. But sometimes a leak can also be a good thing — drawing attention to a larger systemic problem.

The debate over news leaks bubbled up again this week after reports that The New York Times relied on information from top-tier and unnamed U.S. officials to reveal details about the U.S. cyberbattle against Iran.

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It's All Politics
1:05 pm
Wed June 13, 2012

International Skinny On The U.S. Election

President Obama climbs the podium to give a media briefing at the end of a NATO summit in Lisbon, Portugal, on Nov. 20, 2010.
Markus Schreiber AP

Originally published on Wed June 13, 2012 1:54 pm

If it's true that America now resides smack dab in the middle of an interdependent global village, then we should probably pay attention to what other countries think about us — our values, our leadership and the presidential election of 2012.

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It's All Politics
10:56 am
Mon June 11, 2012

Why It's Good To Be The Incumbent

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry debates President George W. Bush on Oct. 13, 2004. Bush later won re-election.
Rick T. Wilking AP

Originally published on Mon June 11, 2012 1:33 pm

Two political tried-and-truisms: Sitting presidents are hard to unseat, and history repeats itself.

To the first point: In the past 10 presidential elections with incumbent candidates, the incumbents have won seven times. The only incumbent losers were Gerald Ford in 1976, Jimmy Carter in 1980 and George H.W. Bush in 1992.

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It's All Politics
12:25 pm
Tue June 5, 2012

The Uniqueness Of The 2012 Election

Protesters in Nice, France, hold banners depicting then-French President Nicolas Sarkozy and President Obama before a November 2011 G-20 summit where global financial issues were discussed. Sarkozy has since lost re-election; some political scientists say economic problems in Europe also could play an unprecedented role in the upcoming U.S. election.
Frederic Nebinger Getty Images

Originally published on Tue June 5, 2012 3:11 pm

All U.S. presidential elections "are unique in some fashion," says John G. Geer, a political science professor at Vanderbilt University.

Sure, but what about 2012? What exactly will make the 2012 election between President Obama and Mitt Romney truly unique?

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American Dreams: Then And Now
2:46 pm
Wed May 30, 2012

With The American Dream Comes The Nightmare

Unemployed circus clown Tim Torkildson, aka Dusty the Clown, sits on a bench on the north side of the U.S. Capitol in May.
Bill Clark CQ Roll Call

Originally published on Mon August 6, 2012 11:34 am

One American's dream can be another American's nightmare.

Consider: Some people long to live in big cities; others think cities have ruined the landscape. Some Americans love to drive big old honking SUVs; others see huge cars as pollution-producing monsters. For some people, the American dream is a steady office job. For others, the office is a sinkhole and the real dream is freedom from the office.

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It's All Politics
12:38 pm
Tue May 29, 2012

Hmmm. The 2012 Election Reminds Me Of Something

President George W. Bush passes behind Democratic challenger Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., after a debate in Tempe, Ariz., in October 2004.
Ron Edmonds AP

Originally published on Tue May 29, 2012 4:50 pm

It's the sort of question you toss out to a table full of politics buffs — sharing a pitcher of cold beer. (We'll provide the aficionados; you imagine the table and the cold pitcher.)

Which presidential election in American history most resembles the coming election between President Obama and Mitt Romney — and why?

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Pop Culture
2:15 pm
Sun May 27, 2012

Hey! You! The Unstoppable Rise Of Heckling

An unidentified heckler lets loose as President Obama begins a speech at the Martin Luther King memorial dedication in Washington, D.C., in October 2011.
Mannie Garcia UPI/Landov

Originally published on Tue May 29, 2012 7:51 pm

As summer nears, Great American Hecklers are being spotted all over the place.

You can see them — and hear their calls — at commencements, sporting events, political gatherings. Hecklers on the right and hecklers on the left.

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Election 2012
12:31 pm
Wed May 23, 2012

Get Ready For The First Robot President

While American politicians may be scripted, they're not this robotic. But whoever wins the presidency this year will preside over a U.S. economy where automation is becoming increasingly important.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 2:48 pm

As many folks know, Bill Clinton was called the First Black President by Toni Morrison in The New Yorker.

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Remembrances
9:04 am
Wed May 16, 2012

A Fleeting Memory Of Carlos Fuentes

Mexican write Carlos Fuentes at the Hay Festival Cartagena in January.
Claudio Rubio AP

Originally published on Wed May 16, 2012 4:43 pm

When I heard that the Mexican literary legend Carlos Fuentes died Tuesday at 83, I remembered a long, easygoing interview I did with him years ago. We talked about many things — including what epitaph he wanted carved on his tombstone.

It was the autumn of 1995 and I was a reporter at The Washington Post, assigned to write a profile of the elegant, eloquent Fuentes. I draw on that story now, for twice-told tales worth telling.

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Politics
4:04 pm
Mon May 7, 2012

5 (Plus 1) Options For The Aging Politician

Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., 80, faces a GOP primary battle Tuesday that could end his political career. Here, Lugar talks with Capitol Hill colleagues on March 6.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 10:49 am

At the ripening age of 80 years old — more than 35 of them spent in Congress — Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., is scrapping for political survival. On Tuesday he faces state Treasurer Richard Mourdock in his party's primary.

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Pop Culture
6:29 pm
Fri May 4, 2012

Alcoholidays In America: ¡Viva El Tequila Julep!

The infield at Churchill Downs can get pretty beer-soaked, as this scene from the 2011 Kentucky Derby proves. But this year, things could get even more crazy: The Derby falls on another of America's favorite "alcoholidays," Cinco de Mayo.
Matt Slocum AP

Originally published on Fri May 4, 2012 10:20 pm

America is not a two-party country — it's a multiparty extravaganza.

We turn every possible pause from work into a party: New Year's Day, the Super Bowl, Mardi Gras, St. Patrick's Day, Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, Labor Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Eve.

And on Saturday, many Americans will play overtime by reveling in a pair of nationwide celebrations — Cinco de Mayo and the Kentucky Derby. Establishments everywhere will be mashing up Mexico and the Bluegrass State.

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Election 2012
1:12 pm
Fri May 4, 2012

Are Obama And Romney The Same Guy?

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and President Obama will spend the next six months highlighting their differences. But they also share some striking similarities.
Chip Somodevilla/Olivier Douliery Getty Images

Originally published on Mon May 7, 2012 6:34 pm

Barack Obama and Mitt Romney just may be the same person. Think about it. Have you ever seen the two of them in the same limo?

All right. Of course, the pair of politicians who will in all likelihood be the major party nominees for the 2012 presidential election have their differences. Republican Romney, for instance, has been a governor and chairman of the Olympics; Democrat Obama has not. Obama, on the other hand, has been a senator and a president. Romney has not.

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Digital Life
5:30 pm
Thu April 26, 2012

What We Have Here: A Failure To Communicate

Commuters immersed in their smartphones ride the subway in Beijing.
Nelson Ching Bloomberg via Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 27, 2012 7:45 am

It is the weirdest thing. There are more ways than ever to communicate with people, yet it sometimes seems like it is more difficult to connect — and stay connected — with anyone.

Should you shoot off an email? Tap out a text? Post a private message on Facebook? Write on their Facebook wall? Skype, poke, ping or conjure them up on a digital tin can phone?

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Around the Nation
6:06 am
Sun April 15, 2012

The 2080 Census: The World As We (Don't) Know It

Vallarie Enriquez iStockphoto.com

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Barack Obama
7:31 am
Fri April 6, 2012

Obama Is The Best And The Worst President. Discuss

President Obama inspires strong feelings, some positive, some negative. This composite image shows Obama at two separate events.
AP and Getty Images NPR

Close your books, America. It's time for a pop quiz.

Do you believe Barack Obama is:

a) The best of presidents? A blogger who goes by the name Troubadour on Daily Kos, Brian Altmeyer, pretty much makes the claim in a recent post: "Barack Obama is either the best President we've ever had, or more humbly, equal to the best Presidents we've ever had (and thereby one of their number)."

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Around the Nation
7:49 am
Mon April 2, 2012

The 1940 Census: 72-Year-Old Secrets Revealed

An enumerator interviews a woman for the 1940 census. Veiled in secrecy for 72 years because of privacy protections, the 1940 U.S. census is the first historical federal decennial survey to be made available on the Internet initially rather than on microfilm.
National Archives at College Park

Nylon stockings became all the rage. Black fedoras were the "pure quill" — meaning the real deal. Bing Crosby crooned Only Forever on the console. And Hattie McDaniel was the first African-American actor ever to take home an Oscar.

Ah, 1940. Three score and 12 years ago, America was in a very different place — economically and culturally.

But on April 2, 2012, when the National Archives releases detailed data from the 1940 census, we will get an even keener idea of how much — or how little — this nation has really changed in the past 72 years.

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News
5:44 am
Sat March 24, 2012

Tragedy Gives The Hoodie A Whole New Meaning

James Gilchrist of Orlando, Fla., attends a rally for slain teenager Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla., on Thursday. Trayvon was wearing a hoodie when he was shot.
Roberto Gonzalez AP

From the tragic death of Trayvon Martin, a symbol emerges: the hoodie.

A simple hooded sweatshirt has become emblematic of certain assumptions in America. And of a desire by many to overturn those assumptions.

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U.S.
10:17 am
Thu March 22, 2012

An Open Letter ... About Open Letters

Anneke Schram iStockphoto.com

Dear Open Letter Writers,

Are you open to the idea that the open letter has become the victim of its own success?

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U.S.
1:08 pm
Wed March 14, 2012

Please Read This Story, Thank You

Politeness seems to be falling by the wayside these days, with phrases like "you're welcome" replaced by the more casual "you bet" or "no problem." Good manners were more the norm in 1960, when these kids at a junior theatrical school learned how to curtsy and bow.
Chris Ware Keystone Features/Getty Images

Listen to the conversations around you — colleagues at the office, customers in the coffeehouse line, those who serve you, those you serve, the people you meet each day. "Give me a tall latte." "Hand me that hammer." "Have a good one."

Notice anything missing? The traditional magic words "please" and "thank you" that many people learn as children appear to be disappearing.

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It's All Politics
10:00 am
Tue March 13, 2012

Like Grits? You Just Might Be A Republican Candidate

You know you're campaigning in the South if you've got comedian Jeff Foxworthy by your side. Foxworthy introduces Mitt Romney at a campaign stop at the Whistle Stop Cafe, Monday, in Mobile, Ala.
John David Mercer AP

"Strange things are happenin' to me" a bewitched Mitt Romney said recently to a crowd of Mississippi supporters. The former Massachusetts governor is right: Strange things do happen to folks, especially national political candidates, when they talk to us Southerners. They start drawling and twanging, trying to sound like us. Sometimes, they're mocking us; sometimes they're just trying to be friendly. We know the difference.

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News
12:24 pm
Wed March 7, 2012

Public Apology: The 'Mea Culpa' Matching Game

Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh talks with guests at the White House in 2009. Limbaugh apologized March 3 to Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke after he branded her a "slut" and "prostitute."
Ron Edmonds AP

Originally published on Wed March 7, 2012 1:29 pm

March 7, 2012

"Sorry" may seem to be the hardest word, but a lot of famous folks seem to always be saying it. Rush Limbaugh and President Obama both apologized recently. When a public figure makes a mistake, the public wants an apology. A public apology. In this quiz, match the apology with the famous apologist.

Digital Life
2:08 pm
Wed February 29, 2012

Google Wins. He's Giving Up On Privacy

Google new privacy rules, which are set to take effect Thursday, have drawn scrutiny from privacy advocates and state officials.
Jens Meyer AP

That's it. They win. He's giving up his privacy.

Trying to maintain privacy in contemporary America is just too time consuming, too complicated, too exhausting. He can't tell the good guys from the bad guys anymore. He doesn't know whom to trust.

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