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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Election 2012
1:19 pm
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 1:51 pm

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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Participation Nation
11:33 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."

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Participation Nation
7:33 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.

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Participation Nation
5:33 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.

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Participation Nation
6:04 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."

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Participation Nation
3:34 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 10:00 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.

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Participation Nation
1:04 pm
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.

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Participation Nation
4:33 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.

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Participation Nation
5:03 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 11:18 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.

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Sports
5:05 pm
Fri August 24, 2012

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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Participation Nation
3:33 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.

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Participation Nation
12:33 pm
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.

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Around the Nation
9:52 am
Thu August 23, 2012

From Politics To Pestilence: Everything Is Earlier

iStockphoto.com

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

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Participation Nation
12:32 pm
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.

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Participation Nation
12:42 pm
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 10:11 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.

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Pop Culture
10:34 am
Fri August 3, 2012

R Grammar Gaffes Ruining The Language? Maybe Not

Sharon Dominick iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu August 2, 2012 12:32 pm

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.

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Participation Nation
7:03 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 10:23 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.

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It's All Politics
9:06 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 10:49 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.

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Politics
5:57 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.

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It's All Politics
6:03 am
Mon July 9, 2012

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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