NPR: 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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4:33pm

Mon August 27, 2012
Participation Nation

Honoring Elders In Green Bay, Wis.

From the Women Over 90 project.
Courtesy of Kara Counard

When Kara Counard staged a photography exhibit at the ARTgarage in Green Bay this summer, she interviewed and photographed 33 subjects — women from the ages of 89-100 years old. She called it the Women Over 90 Project.

To give more volume to the exhibit, Kara brought in a group of fifth grade girls. The young people visited a nursing home and interviewed and photographed women in their 90s.

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5:03pm

Sat August 25, 2012
Participation Nation

Replanting Trees In New Orleans, La.

Originally published on Thu September 20, 2012 11:18 am

City Park in New Orleans.
iStockphoto.com

More than 100,000 trees — including many beautiful live oaks and magnolias — were lost when Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2005.

In response, Hike For KaTREEna — a nonprofit group dedicated to reforesting the Crescent City — was created.

Since 2006, more than 10,000 volunteers have helped to plant 13,400 trees — including oaks, cypress, red maples, crepe myrtles, magnolias, redbuds, Savannah hollies and citrus trees such as navel orange, satsuma, lemon, lime and grapefruit.

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5:05pm

Fri August 24, 2012
Sports

Lance Armstrong: When A Hero Lets Us Down

Originally published on Sun August 26, 2012 12:54 pm

Lance Armstrong. He has a superhero's name, right out of the comic books. He moved from conquering stages of one kind — bike racing — to stages of another kind — cancer. He's chiseled and driven and known all over the world.

But now we learn that the superhero has given up in one of his biggest battles. He says he will no longer continue to fight charges by the United States Anti-Doping Agency that he used performance enhancing drugs to win bicycle races.

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3:33pm

Fri August 24, 2012
Participation Nation

Barrio Basketball In El Paso, Texas

A rainbow of teams at basketball camp.
Mike James Courtesy of AUFP

A summertime basketball camp can cost a kid several hundred dollars. But the Basketball in the Barrio camp — held just two blocks from the U.S.-Mexico border in El Paso — costs just one buck.

Actually, only a portion of the camp is about basketball, says co-founder Rus Bradburd. The experience is sponsored by Athletes United for Peace, a group that tries to promote peace and harmony through sports.

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12:33pm

Fri August 24, 2012
Participation Nation

Taking Care In Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Community service in Alabama.
Courtesy of UA

One of the first activities of the new school year at the University of Alabama is Hands On Tuscaloosa, a morning of community service. On Sat., Aug. 25, students can choose to refurbish a neighborhood baseball diamond, clean-up a local high school, create a carnival or do something else worthwhile.

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9:52am

Thu August 23, 2012
Around the Nation

From Politics To Pestilence: Everything Is Earlier

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

iStockphoto.com

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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12:32pm

Tue August 14, 2012
Participation Nation

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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12:42pm

Wed August 8, 2012
Participation Nation

Providing Holistic Care In Durham, N.C.

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

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

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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7:03am

Fri August 3, 2012
Participation Nation

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

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

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

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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9:06am

Thu July 19, 2012
It's All Politics

The ABCs Of Election Reform

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

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

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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5:57am

Sat July 14, 2012
Politics

'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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6:03am

Mon July 9, 2012
It's All Politics

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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10:18am

Thu July 5, 2012
Monkey See

Life In Juxtopia

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

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

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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12:34pm

Fri June 15, 2012
Politics

In Washington, Leaking As A Way Of Life

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

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

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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1:05pm

Wed June 13, 2012
It's All Politics

International Skinny On The U.S. Election

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

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

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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11:01am

Mon June 11, 2012
It's All Politics

Why It's Good To Be The Incumbent

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

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

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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12:49pm

Tue June 5, 2012
It's All Politics

The Uniqueness Of The 2012 Election

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

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

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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2:46pm

Wed May 30, 2012
American Dreams: Then And Now

With The American Dream Comes The Nightmare

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

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

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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12:38pm

Tue May 29, 2012
It's All Politics

Hmmm. The 2012 Election Reminds Me Of Something

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

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

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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2:15pm

Sun May 27, 2012
Pop Culture

Hey! You! The Unstoppable Rise Of Heckling

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

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

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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12:31pm

Wed May 23, 2012
Election 2012

Get Ready For The First Robot President

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

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

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

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9:04am

Wed May 16, 2012
Remembrances

A Fleeting Memory Of Carlos Fuentes

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

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

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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4:04pm

Mon May 7, 2012
Politics

5 (Plus 1) Options For The Aging Politician

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

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

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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6:29pm

Fri May 4, 2012
Pop Culture

Alcoholidays In America: ¡Viva El Tequila Julep!

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

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

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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1:12pm

Fri May 4, 2012
Election 2012

Are Obama And Romney The Same Guy?

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

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

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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5:30pm

Thu April 26, 2012
Digital Life

What We Have Here: A Failure To Communicate

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

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

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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6:06am

Sun April 15, 2012
Around the Nation

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

Vallarie Enriquez iStockphoto.com

7:31am

Fri April 6, 2012
Barack Obama

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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7:49am

Mon April 2, 2012
Around the Nation

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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5:44am

Sat March 24, 2012
News

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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