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

History
10:56 am
Sat April 6, 2013

The First Gun In America

A Spanish soldier aiming an arquebus in the New World, late 1500s. Hand-colored 19th-century woodcut reproduction of an earlier illustration.
North Wind Picture Archives AP

Originally published on Sat April 6, 2013 11:52 am

Guns and America were born around the same time and grew up together. Like feuding cousins, their histories have been linked ever since.

Often helpful in American history — and often harmful — the portable gun has been inarguably influential in the national direction. The American Revolution would not have been won without guns. Precious lives at numerous school shootings would not have been lost without guns. And somewhere in between those two truisms lies the truth about what Americans really feel about firearms.

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Around the Nation
10:00 am
Thu March 28, 2013

Maybe We Should Retire The Word 'Retire'

The official portrait of retirement has changed, and it didn't change to this.
iStockphoto.com

Retirement ads are everywhere these days. The Villages lures retirees to come live, love and golf in Florida. USAA offers financial counsel to retiring military personnel.

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It's All Politics
11:03 am
Fri March 15, 2013

The Bush Family Checklist

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush speaks to the media after being named chairman of the National Constitution Center's Board of Trustees Dec. 6 in Philadelphia.
William Thomas Cain Getty Images

Originally published on Sat March 16, 2013 3:58 am

And the Bushes just keep on coming.

In recent memory, there was George H.W. Bush, 41st president of the United States. Then there was George W. Bush, 43rd president. And now there's John Ellis "Jeb" Bush, who may want to become the 45th president.

Jeb is sending mixed signals: Tonight he is a keynote speaker at a Conservative Political Action Conference dinner, but he has asked that his name be removed from CPAC's 2016 presidential straw poll.

Does Jeb have what it takes to be the next president of the United States?

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On Aging
9:08 am
Thu March 14, 2013

An Age-Old Problem: Who Is 'Elderly'?

Originally published on Thu March 14, 2013 11:51 am

When exactly does someone become elderly?

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Pop Culture
10:42 am
Fri March 1, 2013

V Reasons To Love Roman Numerals

The Roman numerals for NFL Super Bowl XLVII float on the Mississippi River on Feb. 2 in New Orleans.
Charlie Riedel AP

Originally published on Fri March 1, 2013 7:55 pm

Pope Benedict XVI has left the Vatican.

Love the Catholic Church or not, you have to admit the Roman numerals following a pope's name are distinctive. They set the pope apart from the rest of humankind. (As if he needs it.)

Roman numerals always stand out. In an increasingly computer-driven world run by the numbers — population totals, unemployment figures, mortgage payments, health care bills, credit card codes, "the last four of your social" — the occasional brash appearance of an X or an MCM can be surprising and sometimes a little unsettling.

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Governing
2:14 pm
Wed February 27, 2013

5...4...3...2...1... We Have Sequestration

Some countdowns, like the one for the Space Shuttle Atlantis in 2006, are credible and some are not. But they all contribute to the Countdown Effect.
Pete Cosgrove AP

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 8:57 am

Only a few more hours until the sequestration is scheduled to kick in. You can feel the tension. The anxiety. The pre-panic attack.

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Politics
1:41 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

It's A Trap! 4 Possible Presidential Pitfalls

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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U.S.
3:13 am
Sun February 17, 2013

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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Religion
1:27 pm
Mon February 11, 2013

How To Pick A Pope (With Latin Subtitles)

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

Originally published on Tue February 12, 2013 7:27 am

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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Politics
8:13 am
Sun February 10, 2013

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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Sports
12:31 pm
Thu January 31, 2013

Are Shooting Ranges The New Bowling Alleys?

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

Originally published on Fri February 1, 2013 8:33 am

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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Politics
9:40 am
Fri January 25, 2013

Forget 2016. The Pivotal Year In Politics May Be 2020

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

Originally published on Fri January 25, 2013 11:26 am

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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Around the Nation
3:40 am
Sat January 19, 2013

12 Half-Truths We Live With

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

Originally published on Sat January 19, 2013 11:12 am

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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Around the Nation
8:45 am
Wed January 16, 2013

Saying No To The Inauguration

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

Originally published on Wed January 16, 2013 1:22 pm

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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Around the Nation
10:36 am
Mon January 14, 2013

The Great American Signature Fades Away

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

Originally published on Mon January 14, 2013 1:04 pm

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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Around the Nation
10:11 am
Wed January 9, 2013

The Second Amendment: 27 Words, Endless Interpretations

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

Originally published on Wed January 9, 2013 11:00 am

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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Around the Nation
9:17 am
Wed December 26, 2012

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

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

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 11:32 am

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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Commentary
2:06 pm
Wed December 19, 2012

When Someone You Know Loses A Child

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

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 7:21 pm

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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Around the Nation
7:03 am
Thu November 22, 2012

Table For One, Please. A Solo Thanksgiving

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

Originally published on Thu November 22, 2012 6:19 pm

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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It's All Politics
6:03 am
Sat November 17, 2012

Do We Really Need A Second Inauguration?

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

Originally published on Sat November 17, 2012 1:53 pm

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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It's All Politics
9:51 am
Thu November 8, 2012

5 Foul-Ups In The Romney Campaign

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

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 10:37 am

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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It's All Politics
12:11 pm
Wed November 7, 2012

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

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

Originally published on Wed November 7, 2012 12:16 pm

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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It's All Politics
3:12 pm
Sat November 3, 2012

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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Election 2012
10:37 am
Thu November 1, 2012

Why The White House Glass Ceiling Remains Solid

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

Originally published on Thu November 1, 2012 12:50 pm

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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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

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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."

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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.

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Election 2012
10:45 am
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.

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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.

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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.

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