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.

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.

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.

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."

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.

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."

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Through the traveling Mid-America Murals Project, "artists are working with small communities to translate their stories into dynamic visual poems on the walls of downtown buildings," says the project's lead artist Dave Loewenstein.

The group has already created colorful murals in Joplin, Mo., Newton, Kan. and Tonkawa, Okla.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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."

Life In Juxtopia

Jul 5, 2012

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.

From the maple sugar moose heads of New England to the chile brittle of the Southwest, from the Almond Roca of the Pacific Northwest to the key lime coconut patties of Florida, America loves its candy.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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?

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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