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

U.S.
1:10 pm
Mon October 29, 2012

Pumps And Polls: Why Americans Wait In Lines

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

Originally published on Mon October 29, 2012 1:55 pm

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

Read more
The Future Of Nonhuman Rights
4:03 am
Sat October 27, 2012

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."

Read more
The Future Of Nonhuman Rights
4:03 am
Fri October 26, 2012

Recognizing The Right Of Plants To Evolve

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

Originally published on Fri October 26, 2012 5:55 am

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

Read more
The Future Of Nonhuman Rights
7:02 am
Thu October 25, 2012

Championing Life And Liberty For Animals

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

Originally published on Thu October 25, 2012 7:49 am

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.

Read more
Presidential Race
11:13 am
Mon October 22, 2012

Debates And Debauchery: Drinking Games In 2012

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

Originally published on Mon October 22, 2012 1:32 pm

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.

Read more
Election 2012
3:44 pm
Sat October 20, 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

Originally published on Sat October 20, 2012 3:46 pm

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.

Read more
Election 2012
11:09 am
Wed October 17, 2012

October Surmise: Predicting The Next President

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

Originally published on Wed October 17, 2012 2:07 pm

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

Read more
It's All Politics
5:37 am
Wed October 3, 2012

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

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

Originally published on Wed October 3, 2012 2:55 pm

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.

Read more
Election 2012
11:11 am
Fri September 28, 2012

Secrets Of Winning The Presidential Debates

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

Originally published on Fri September 28, 2012 12:29 pm

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.

Read more
Election 2012
10:37 am
Fri September 7, 2012

The 7 Coolest Presidents In American History

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

Originally published on Fri September 7, 2012 1:34 pm

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.

Read more
Election 2012
11:44 am
Fri August 31, 2012

A Few Convention Oddities, Pre-Clint Eastwood

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

Originally published on Fri August 31, 2012 11:51 am

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.

Read more
Participation Nation
9:33 am
Thu August 30, 2012

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."

Read more
Participation Nation
5:33 pm
Wed August 29, 2012

Foamy Philanthropy In Spanish Fork, Utah

Sliding through Foam Fest.
Justin Nathaniel Kenderes Courtesy of 5kFF

Dave Ballard got the idea of a wacky charity race while watching a YouTube video of someone slip-sliding through a slough of foam. The first 5K Foam Fest was held in the fall of 2011 in Idaho.

A year and more than a dozen events later, Ballard says his group has raised more than $10,000 for charity, with most of those funds being donated to Shared Hope International, an organization that combats human trafficking.

Read more
Participation Nation
3:33 pm
Wed August 29, 2012

Protecting Families In Fort Thompson, S.D.

A handmade poster at Wiconi Wawokiya.
Courtesy of WWI

In Crow, Wiconi Wawokiya means "helping families."

The Wiconi Wawokiya, Inc. shelter — also known as Project SAFE — is on the Crow Creek Sioux Indian Reservation in central South Dakota. It serves more than 350 victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse.

"The needs are great," says the program's director Lisa Thompson-Heth. The center provides an array of services, including crisis counseling, medical assistance and legal advocacy.

Read more
Participation Nation
4:04 pm
Tue August 28, 2012

Circles Of Friends In Cheyenne, Wyo.

A caring circle in Wyoming.
Courtesy of Connections Corner

The mission of Circles Wyoming, part of a national anti-poverty movement, is "to build intentional, diverse and long-term relationships as people move from barely surviving to thriving."

Trained "intentional friends" are matched with someone who is looking to escape poverty, explains Director Tim Thorson. They do everything "from having coffee once a month to talk about financial goals to going to the gym together ... things that any friends would do."

Read more
Participation Nation
1:34 pm
Tue August 28, 2012

Home Away From Home In Bismarck, N.D.

Tracy's Sanctuary House
Courtesy of TSH

Originally published on Tue August 28, 2012 8:00 pm

In August 2004, Tracy Rittel was in a fatal car accident near Fargo. While Tracy battled for her life, her family had trouble finding a place to stay near the hospital.

From that experience, the Rittels created Tracy's Sanctuary House in Bismarck for families who find themselves in a similar situation. Since 2005, some 1,500 families have used the home.

A dozen volunteers "put their hearts and souls into making sure the house is kept up," says Tracy's daughter Kelsey Zottnick.

Read more
Participation Nation
11:04 am
Tue August 28, 2012

Saying Thanks In Hattiesburg, Miss.

Capt. Michael Davidson of the Hattiesburg Fire Dept. and Jaycee Marquise Slator.
Picasa Courtesy of Hattiesburg Jaycees

Every year since 1994, volunteers from the Hattiesburg Jaycees have been holding a blood drive to replenish the area's blood supply. This Friday, the group will be grilling burgers and hot dogs for anyone willing to kick off Labor Day Weekend by donating at the Labor of Love Blood Drive.

Read more
Participation Nation
2:33 pm
Mon August 27, 2012

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.

Read more
Participation Nation
3:03 pm
Sat August 25, 2012

Replanting Trees In New Orleans, La.

City Park in New Orleans.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu September 20, 2012 9:18 am

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.

Read more
Sports
3:24 pm
Fri August 24, 2012

Lance Armstrong: When A Hero Lets Us Down

Originally published on Sun August 26, 2012 10:54 am

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.

Read more
Participation Nation
1:33 pm
Fri August 24, 2012

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.

Read more
Participation Nation
10:33 am
Fri August 24, 2012

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.

Read more
Around the Nation
7:52 am
Thu August 23, 2012

From Politics To Pestilence: Everything Is Earlier

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu August 23, 2012 2:17 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.

Read more
Participation Nation
10:32 am
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.

Read more
Participation Nation
10:42 am
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 8:11 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.

Read more
Participation Nation
5:03 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 8:23 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.

Read more
Pop Culture
10:32 am
Thu August 2, 2012

R Grammar Gaffes Ruining The Language? Maybe Not

Sharon Dominick iStockphoto.com

Good grammar may have came and went.

Maybe you've winced at the decline of the past participle. Or folks writing and saying "he had sank" and "she would have went." Perhaps it was the singer Gotye going on about "Somebody That I Used to Know" instead of "Somebody Whom I Used to Know." Or any of a number of other tramplings of traditional grammar — rules that have been force-fed to American schoolchildren for decades — in popular parlance and prose.

Read more
Participation Nation
10:53 am
Wed August 1, 2012

Homeless Kids At Play In Washington, D.C.

A volunteer reads a book with a visitor at The Homeless Children's Playtime Project.
Courtesy of The Homeless Children's Playtime Project

Originally published on Wed August 8, 2012 10:58 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.

Read more
It's All Politics
7:06 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 8:49 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.

Read more
Politics
3:57 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.

Read more

Pages