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.

Pages

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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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?

Read more
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

Read more
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)."

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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?

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
Politics
6:05 pm
Tue February 28, 2012

Found Time: How To Spend The 24 Hours Of Leap Day

Leap day is the perfect moment to contemplate time. Here a man looks at the Seine river through the giant clock of the Orsay Museum in Paris.
Pierre Verdy AFP/Getty Images

Found time! An extra day. How will you use it? Here are 24 ideas. None of them takes longer than an hour. Because time is tight, time is of the essence, time is money. And if you don't have time to get to everything on the list, don't worry. Maybe in 2016.

Feb. 29, 2012 Hour By Hour:

Read more
Around the Nation
10:11 am
Tue February 28, 2012

A Nation Divided: Can We Agree On Anything?

Chris McDonough, a Republican (left), and Robert O'Brien, a Democrat, argue about political issues outside a caucus in Portland, Maine, in February.
Robert F. Bukaty AP

Originally published on Tue February 28, 2012 6:09 pm

Like baseballs in a batting cage, the controversies that divide us just keep on coming. Fast and unpredictable.

Last month it was the flap over the Susan G. Komen foundation and its move to cut financial support of Planned Parenthood. The resulting imbroglio dredged up deeply held convictions among Americans about women's health issues and "cause marketing" that, in this case, has resulted in profits for companies promoting breast cancer awareness and research through pink and omnipresent product tie-ins.

Read more
Presidential Race
7:59 am
Wed February 22, 2012

6 Reasons We're Feeling Debate Fatigue

Depending on how you tally them up, there have been 26 debates so far this GOP primary season. How many is too many?
Brian Snyder Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Wed February 22, 2012 8:03 am

Oh no. Not another debate among those guys who are running for the Republican presidential nomination. By at least one count, Wednesday night's Dustup in the Desert — sponsored by CNN and Arizona's Republican Party — is the 26th such face-off — if you count forums and head-to-head encounters.

Read more
Pop Culture
11:39 am
Sun February 19, 2012

The Deep-Seated Meaning Of The American Sofa

The sofa can be the epicenter of our lives. It is home base, North Star, study carrel, dining booth and royal throne rolled into one.
Dierk Schaefer Flickr

A tale of two couches: The first, pictured recently in the New York Daily News, is where NBA supernova Jeremy Lin reportedly spent nights — perhaps battling Linsomnia — before erupting into a game-changing beast and leading the New York Knicks to a euphoric win streak.

Read more
Politics
11:38 am
Wed February 15, 2012

Why America Pursues More Perfect Politics

Americans are always searching for a "more perfect union." Volunteers roll up a giant banner printed with the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution during a demonstration against the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington on Oct. 20, 2010.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Americans are obsessed with perfection.

We implement zero-tolerance policies in our schools and businesses. We improve on the atomic clock with the quantum-logic clock that is twice as precise. We use multi-angle instant replay cameras in certain professional sporting contests to make sure the referees' calls are flawless. We spend millions on plastic surgery. We strive for higher fidelity, resolution, definition, everything.

Read more
Politics
12:21 pm
Mon February 13, 2012

America Is Angry, Very Angry. Why That's Not All Bad

For so many reasons, Americans are seething. Here, a protestor shouts as he holds an American flag after storming the Wisconsin State Capitol on in Madison, Wis., March 9, 2011 after Republicans in the state Senate voted to curb collective bargaining rights for public union workers.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Through the smog and the smeariness of the seemingly ceaseless process of selecting a president, one thing is clear: Americans are seething.

Read more
Around the Nation
3:46 pm
Thu February 9, 2012

Over Bowls Of Soup, Donors Find Recipe For Change

Jon Landau serves others at PhilaSoup, a soup group based in Philadelphia.
Linton Weeks NPR

Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 6:15 pm

The Soup Movement in America is based on a simple recipe: Bring a bunch of people together to eat soup. Ask each person for a modest donation — say $5. Listen to a few proposals about how people might use that pool of money for a worthwhile project. Vote on the best proposal, and give all the money to the top vote-getter. Go home full and fulfilled.

Read more
Pop Culture
1:53 pm
Fri February 3, 2012

3 Hidden Themes Of This Year's Super Bowl Ads

Many of this year's Super Bowl ads, like this one from CareerBuilders.com, play off our affection for animals.
CareerBuilders.com AP

Originally published on Sat February 4, 2012 10:01 am

Read more
Presidential Race
9:40 am
Tue January 31, 2012

The Slimary Process: Is This The Nastiest Race Ever?

Republican presidential hopefuls former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney debate in Jacksonville, Fla., on Thursday.
Matt Rourke AP

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 11:04 am

Read more
Presidential Race
12:18 pm
Thu January 26, 2012

The Baffling, Befuddling Primary Season

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney greets supporters during a campaign event at Paramount Printing in Jacksonville, Fla., on Thursday.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 26, 2012 1:38 pm

It was so clear for a moment: Mitt Romney was in the lead in the presidential nomination race. Newt Gingrich was a distant second. Rick Santorum — the youthful candidate — was appealing to the socially conservative voters. And Ron Paul was hanging on.

Then things got weird.

Read more
Politics
7:00 am
Tue January 24, 2012

Is The State Of The Union Address Obsolete?

President Obama delivers last year's State of the Union Address on Jan. 25, 2011.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Tue January 24, 2012 5:07 pm

Given the nonstop, stereo-rock news cycle, the warp speed tempo of geopolitics and the constant to-and-fro between the media and the president, has the State of the Union address become obsolete?

Traditionally, the speech — an annual where-we-stand lecture delivered by the president to a joint session of Congress — has for decades been an opportunity for the professor in chief to issue a national report card and put current events in calm, codifiable context.

Read more
Presidential Race
3:22 pm
Fri January 20, 2012

Does Regionalism Matter Anymore, Y'all?

The presidential election brings out the media's obsession with regional differences. Reporters and politicians do stand-ups from cornfields in the Midwest, beaches in California, honky-tonks in Texas — and in front of this sand sculpture of the GOP candidates in Myrtle Beach, S.C., last weekend.
Emmanuel Dunand AFP/Getty Images

The race for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination is fixing to get, as we Southerners tongue-in-cheekly say, about as slippery as a greased pig in a hog wallow. Nasty as a old possum in a croaker sack. Murky as South Carolina swamp mud.

The Republican primary focus is shifting to the South, where folks talk and act different from the rest of the country. And where they look for different characteristics in candidates than other regions of the ...

Read more
Politics
12:30 pm
Fri January 13, 2012

When Did 'Kumbaya' Become Such A Bad Thing?

Texas Gov. Rick Perry greets voters Jan. 10 after speaking to a town hall meeting in Indian Land, S.C. He has said that if voters want someone to sing "Kumbaya," "I'm not your guy."
Jeff Siner MCT/Landov

Read more
Around the Nation
6:07 am
Sun January 8, 2012

A Year After Tucson Tragedies, Incivility Continues

Captain Mark Kelly hugs his wife, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords at the White House in October.
Pete Souza The White House via Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 11:09 am

When a gunman opened fire on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., and others at a shopping center near Tucson exactly a year ago — killing six people and injuring Giffords and many others — some people were quick to blame the episode on the overheated political climate.

Read more
Presidential Race
12:20 pm
Wed January 4, 2012

U.S. Politics: Hurrah For The Red, White And Screwy

Voters register to cast their ballots during Republican caucuses at a school in Des Moines, Iowa, on Tuesday.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

The American political system — as corny, eclectic, chaotic and screwed up as it is with its straw polls, caucuses, primaries and contested elections — somehow gets the job done time after time.

It's weird, really: In this country that celebrates unity and national spirit, a president is chosen via quirky, jerky state-by-state (sometimes precinct-by-precinct) methods. In this society that seeks perfection, the leader is selected in a painfully imperfect process.

But, to paraphrase the old saw: Our funky form of democracy may just be the least worst way to govern.

Read more

Pages