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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3:32pm

Tue February 26, 2013
Politics

It's A Trap! 4 Possible Presidential Pitfalls

Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 3:41 pm

U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower relaxes at the 18th hole during a golf game in Newport, R.I., Sept. 10, 1957.
Henry Burroughs AP

You are Barack Obama and you find yourself hacking away in the weeds of sequestration — and some frustration. What's going on?

After all, you won a second term as President of the United States. You withstood the hooks and slices of a nasty campaign. Your approval rating is on the rise. Over President's Day weekend you played golf with Tiger Woods. For an American politician, it probably doesn't get any better than this.

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5:13am

Sun February 17, 2013
U.S.

Rethinking The U.S. Presidency: 3 Alternative Realities

President Woodrow Wilson meets with his first Cabinet, circa 1912. Should Cabinets have a more central role in a president's decision making?
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Did you pay attention to the State of the Union Address? Were you struck by the countless complexities President Obama has to deal with? The economy. The national budget and deficit. Health care. Tax reform. Education. Jobs. Energy. Climate change. The national infrastructure. Immigration. Gun violence and on and on and on.

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3:27pm

Mon February 11, 2013
Religion

How To Pick A Pope (With Latin Subtitles)

Originally published on Tue February 12, 2013 9:27 am

Black smoke rises from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel on April 18, 2005. Black smoke signaled that the cardinals sequestered inside had failed to elect a new pope, after the death of Pope John Paul II.
Alessandra Tarantino AP

For lovers of the lapsed language Latin, the selection of a new pope is an ecstasyfest.

The Roman Catholic Church is so steeped in centuries-old traditions, Pope Benedict XVI announced his surprise retirement on Monday the old-fashioned way — in Latin.

"Fratres carissimi," the Pope's retirement announcement began. Beloved brothers ...

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10:13am

Sun February 10, 2013
Politics

Eerie Echoes From The First State Of The Union

This print shows George Washington holding a proposed plan for the new capital city of Washington.
Edward Savage Library of Congress

Guns, immigration, support for diplomats abroad, and the nation's financial situation.

These are key issues facing President Obama as he delivers the first State of the Union address of his second term on Tuesday night, Feb. 12.

Surprisingly, these were also key issues facing President George Washington some 223 years ago, when he gave the very first state of the union speech.

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2:31pm

Thu January 31, 2013
Sports

Are Shooting Ranges The New Bowling Alleys?

Originally published on Fri February 1, 2013 10:33 am

Renee Blaine, a leader of the Leander, Texas, chapter of A Girl and A Gun during the "Girls Night Out" event.
Katie Hayes Luke for NPR

The traditional American shooting range is extending its range.

In Summerville, S.C., for example, the ATP Gunshop & Range stages community-minded blood drives and Toys for Tots collections. Twice a week there are ladies' nights, where women can learn to fire pistols and receive free T-shirts.

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11:40am

Fri January 25, 2013
Politics

Forget 2016. The Pivotal Year In Politics May Be 2020

Originally published on Fri January 25, 2013 1:26 pm

Latino voters, shown here on Election Day in Los Angeles, will grow in electoral power by the year 2020.
David McNew Getty Images

Now that President Obama is ensconced in his second term, speculation about the future of American politics is wildfire-ish.

In a post-inaugural story, the Associated Press reports that the name of Democratic Vice President Biden "has surfaced as a potential presidential candidate in 2016." Politico says Biden is intoxicated by the prospect.

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5:40am

Sat January 19, 2013
Around the Nation

12 Half-Truths We Live With

Originally published on Sat January 19, 2013 1:12 pm

Koalas aren't really bears, but we don't seem to mind.
Gabriella Garcia-Pardo NPR

Say it isn't so. Various news organizations have recently reported that on occasion the Subway sandwich chain's $5 footlong measures 11 inches instead of 12 — as advertised. Sure enough, the bacon, lettuce and tomato jewel we bought Friday fell a little short.

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11:08am

Wed January 16, 2013
Around the Nation

Saying No To The Inauguration

Originally published on Wed January 16, 2013 3:22 pm

A U.S. Capitol Police officer secures the area surrounding the west front of the Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 5 as preparations are under way for President Obama's second inauguration.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

As supporters of President Obama prepare for his toned-down but glammed-up second inauguration over the long weekend of Jan. 19-21, the president's detractors are making other plans.

Across the country, disenchanted Americans are engaging in forms of protest — some public, some private — to signal their displeasure with November's election outcome.

How do they NOT love Obama? Let us count the ways.

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12:54pm

Mon January 14, 2013
Around the Nation

The Great American Signature Fades Away

Originally published on Mon January 14, 2013 3:04 pm

John Hancock's famously large signature is part of our visual heritage, but handwritten signatures are used less and less.
www.archives.gov

Much has been made recently of the loopy signature of Jack Lew, the Treasury secretary nominee whose name — if he is confirmed — will appear on new U.S. currency.

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12:34pm

Wed January 9, 2013
Around the Nation

The Second Amendment: 27 Words, Endless Interpretations

Originally published on Wed January 9, 2013 1:00 pm

The Second Amendment is short on words but long on dispute.
iStockphoto.com

The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is like:

  • an Etch A Sketch. You can make it into pretty much whatever you want.
  • an optical-illusory M.C. Escher staircase that climbs back into itself.
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11:17am

Wed December 26, 2012
Around the Nation

A Lull Until New Year's? Not So These Days

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 1:32 pm

The CambridgeSide Galleria was bustling with people exchanging gifts and taking advantage of sales the day after Christmas 2011.
Suzanne Kreiter The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Time was, the stretch following Christmas Day until New Year's Day was a quiet, sleepy spot on the American calendar. The six-day span hung like a lazy hammock between the holidays.

Not anymore.

Nowadays, the WAC — Week After Christmas — is busy and abuzzing. All around the country, Americans continue to celebrate — Kwanzaa, the Christmas afterglow and the coming New Year.

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4:06pm

Wed December 19, 2012
Commentary

When Someone You Know Loses A Child

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 9:21 pm

The grief a bereaved parent feels resides deep within and is individually expressed. Different people respond in different ways.
Brendan Smialkowski Getty Images

Amid the aftershocks of the senseless shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., our ever-more-complex society goes on to publicly discuss what happened and how to avoid such tragedy in the future.

But there are also private considerations and quieter questions of how to respond — on a personal level — to suffering parents.

What can you say to parents who have lost a child? What can you do?

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9:03am

Thu November 22, 2012
Around the Nation

Table For One, Please. A Solo Thanksgiving

Originally published on Thu November 22, 2012 8:19 pm

Some people just aren't into the big Thanksgiving Day extravaganza.
iStockphoto.com

This is America, where Thanksgiving is portrayed in popular culture as a time for gatherings of loving families and friends, holding hands while saying grace over a roast turkey, passing casseroles and footballs, reminiscing about the past and dreaming of the future.

But. This being America, we also know that traditions — just like every other aspect of contemporary life — become more complex the more we examine them.

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8:03am

Sat November 17, 2012
It's All Politics

Do We Really Need A Second Inauguration?

Originally published on Sat November 17, 2012 3:53 pm

President Obama dances with first lady Michelle Obama on the night of his inauguration, Jan. 20, 2009, in Washington.
Charles Dharapak AP

For the sake of argument, let's agree that when we use the word "inauguration" in this particular post, we are talking about the multiday, ball-bestrewn, soiree-soaked, tuxedo-dappled extravaganza that costs tens of millions of dollars and often leaves many Americans out in the cold — figuratively and literally.

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11:48am

Thu November 8, 2012
It's All Politics

5 Foul-Ups In The Romney Campaign

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 12:37 pm

Mitt Romney talks to reporters on his campaign plane on Election Day. "I'm very proud of the campaign we've run," he said. "No campaign is perfect."
Emmanuel Dunand AFP/Getty Images

File this under the Strange Case of the 2012 Presidential Campaign. It was a long, tortuous trip that ended up at a very familiar destination: the re-election of President Obama.

But along the way, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney did garner more electoral votes than a lot of losers, including John McCain in 2008, Bob Dole in 1996 or Jimmy Carter in 1980.

Romney must have done some things right. And he must have done some things wrong.

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1:48pm

Wed November 7, 2012
It's All Politics

5 Truisms About the 2012 Election...That Weren't True

Originally published on Wed November 7, 2012 2:16 pm

The taller candidate always wins? Think again.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

The balloons have fallen, the bunting's down, and President Obama has been re-elected.

That means Mitt Romney has been defeated — and with him, many election aspects that we presumed to be true. (You know what they say about presume — it makes a pres out of u and me.)

Maybe it's because we're sailing into a new and uncharted century. Maybe it's because of climate change or polar shift or Mayan calendrical mayhem. But the presidential election of 2012 provided a highly unusual, if not unique, set of circumstances.

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5:12pm

Sat November 3, 2012
It's All Politics

Nonvoters: The Other Abstinence Movement

iStockphoto.com

To many Americans, the right to vote in a presidential election is a sacred and precious opportunity. To others, the right to not vote is just as meaningful. And they exercise it.

In just-released data, the Pew Research Center reports that about 43 percent of Americans of voting age in 2008 didn't participate in the presidential election.

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12:37pm

Thu November 1, 2012
Election 2012

Why The White House Glass Ceiling Remains Solid

Originally published on Thu November 1, 2012 2:50 pm

The presidency has remained a male-only office throughout American history. Despite changing demographics and huge gains by women in other walks of life, some experts still don't see a female president on the horizon.
Joshua Roberts Getty Images

Will the United States ever elect a woman president?

When President Obama — or Mitt Romney — leaves the Oval Office, there will be a handful of highly touted female candidates for consideration as top-of-the-ticket nominees for both major parties.

On the Republican side, the list includes Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Govs. Susana Martinez of New Mexico, Nikki Haley of South Carolina and maybe even Sarah Palin of Alaska.

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3:10pm

Mon October 29, 2012
U.S.

Pumps And Polls: Why Americans Wait In Lines

Originally published on Mon October 29, 2012 3:55 pm

People wait to purchase groceries in self-checkout lanes at Safeway in Washington, D.C.
Keith Jenkins NPR

Please line up for this multiple choice quiz:

Days before the deluge descended and the chaos commenced, Americans along the Eastern Seaboard waited patiently in single-file lines to try to influence their destiny. Were they ...

A) Waiting to buy gasoline at a station before Hurricane Sandy hit?

B) Showing up to participate in early voting for the 2012 election?

C) All of the above

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6:03am

Sat October 27, 2012
The Future Of Nonhuman Rights

When A Robot Comes Knocking On The Door

Wall-E fell in love with another robot in the movie named after him. Researchers have yet to create a sentient machine, but a breakthrough could be on the horizon.
John M. Heller Getty Images

Peter Remine says he will know it's time to get serious about rights for robots "when a robot knocks on my door asking for some help."

Remine, founder of the Seattle-based American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Robots, says the moment will come when a robot in an automobile factory "will become sentient, realize that it doesn't want to do that unfulfilling and dangerous job anymore, and ask for protection under state workers' rights."

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6:03am

Fri October 26, 2012
The Future Of Nonhuman Rights

Recognizing The Right Of Plants To Evolve

Originally published on Fri October 26, 2012 7:55 am

According to recent reports from a research team led by Australian biologist Monica Gagliano, some plants such as chili peppers may be able to "hear" other plants.
iStockphoto.com

If proposals calling for rights for animals are on the table, why not rights for other living things? Plants, for instance.

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9:02am

Thu October 25, 2012
The Future Of Nonhuman Rights

Championing Life And Liberty For Animals

Originally published on Thu October 25, 2012 9:49 am

A capuchin monkey riding a dog. Tim Lepard, owner and creator of the Monkey Rodeo, says his animals are treated humanely.
Courtesy of Tim Lepard

Before Sam, a white-throated capuchin monkey, threw out the first pitch at a minor league baseball game in Frederick, Md., on a midsummer Friday night, and before Sam and other monkeys — dressed as cowboys and riding shaggy dogs — rounded up longhorn sheep on the baseball diamond as part of Cowboy Monkey Rodeo promotion night, angry animal rights protesters gathered outside the front gate.

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12:48pm

Mon October 22, 2012
Presidential Race

Debates and Debauchery: Drinking Games In 2012

Originally published on Mon October 22, 2012 3:32 pm

Bar patrons watch the Oct. 3 presidential debate at Bullfeathers, a bar a short distance from the U.S. Capitol. Drinking and debate-watching often go hand in hand — to the point where drinking games have been developed around watching the debates.
Paul J. Richards AFP/Getty Images

Here's a new idea for a Presidential Debate Drinking Game: Every time someone says "Presidential Debate Drinking Game" today, take a drink. Just kidding.

But drinking games have become a familiar part of the American political landscape — like buttons, bunting and bumper stickers. Where there are political rallies, there are protesting groups. Where there are campaign speeches, there are fact checking teams. And where there are presidential candidates' debates, there are drinking games.

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5:46pm

Sat October 20, 2012
Election 2012

Obama And Romney, Metaphorically Speaking

Whatever you think about the candidates, we can all agree both have been punching bags for their opponents.
Chris O'Meara AP

Sometimes it feels like everything that should be said about President Obama and Republican Mitt Romney has already been said.

But maybe there is a way to talk about politicians in a fresher, cleaner way — without talking about politics. Like — or as — poets do it. Speaking metaphorically.

Sometimes you can say more about someone by not really talking about the person, but talking about something else. My love is like a red red rose, Robert Burns wrote. He is a feather in the wind, Led Zeppelin sang.

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1:26pm

Wed October 17, 2012
Election 2012

October Surmise: Predicting The Next President

Originally published on Wed October 17, 2012 4:07 pm

Fans wear President Obama and Mitt Romney masks at the Atlanta Braves-Miami Marlins game Sept. 25 in Atlanta. One of many quirky election year predictors is based on which candidate's likeness sells better as a Halloween mask.
David Goldman AP

Predicting a presidential winner is one of America's favorite pastimes in an election year.

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7:37am

Wed October 3, 2012
It's All Politics

OMG! A Deb8! What Young People Really Want To Ask Obama And Romney

Originally published on Wed October 3, 2012 4:55 pm

Students wait in line to vote last Friday on the campus of the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, a day after the swing state began in-person early voting.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Generation Y is asking why.

Why is it so hard to find a job? Why is health care so expensive? Smart questions from a smart generation. Their inquiries — and the presidential candidate they think can provide the best answers — could be a decisive factor in the 2012 election. If not the Tipping Point, as least a Tilting Point.

For many millennials, economic prospects are murky.

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1:11pm

Fri September 28, 2012
Election 2012

Secrets Of Winning The Presidential Debates

Originally published on Fri September 28, 2012 2:29 pm

Then-Sen. Barack Obama gets makeup applied at a presidential candidate forum in Lake Forest, Calif., on Aug. 16, 2008.
Alex Brandon AP

TO: President Obama and Mitt Romney

FROM: NPR News

RE: Prepping (and primping) for debates

With the first 2012 presidential debate slated for Wednesday night, we thought it might be helpful to pass along a few suggestions — some more substantive than others — to the participants.

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12:12pm

Fri September 7, 2012
Election 2012

The 7 Coolest Presidents In American History

Originally published on Fri September 7, 2012 3:34 pm

President George W. Bush dances with members of the KanKouran West African Dance Company during a Rose Garden event to mark Malaria Awareness Day at the White House on April 25, 2007.
Alex Wong Getty Images

When former President Bill Clinton referred to present President Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention as "cool on the outside," Clinton was underscoring the notion that Obama is, well, cool.

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1:19pm

Fri August 31, 2012
Election 2012

A Few Convention Oddities, Pre-Clint Eastwood

Originally published on Fri August 31, 2012 1:51 pm

Sen. Joe Lieberman appears at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn., in 2008, just eight years after he was the Democratic vice presidential nominee. His appearance is just one of several notable oddities at recent political conventions.
Charles Rex Arbogast AP

From one angle, Clint Eastwood's dialogue with an imaginary President Obama — using a tall chair as a prop — at the Republican National Convention in Tampa on Thursday night was sharp-pointed and youthful and edgy and film-schoolish.

From another angle, it could be construed as the meanderings of an older man who is disenchanted by a shaky economy, an ongoing war and the perception of broken promises, but somehow can't put his disgruntlement into words.

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11:33am

Thu August 30, 2012
Participation Nation

Teaching Reading In Clarksburg, W.Va.

Addressing illiteracy in West Virginia.
Courtesy of LVHC

So far this year 21 tutors — under the aegis of Literacy Volunteers of Harrison County — have helped 80 students in and around Clarksburg and Harrison County.

"Many of the adults we tutor have lost their jobs, and now find themselves ill-equipped to find employment in today's job market," says Director Kim Payne. "Most of them are working toward a GED, but many of them have high school diplomas. However, the workplace has changed over the years, and now most jobs require not only higher reading and math levels, but computer skills as well."

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