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, 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.

Even though the Virginia-centered earthquake on Tuesday only resulted in mild damage, it did open up a good-sized, good-natured national chasm – between the East Coast and West Coast of the United States.

"Really all this excitement over a 5.8 quake??? Come on East Coast, we have those for breakfast out here!!!!" California-based comedian Dennis Miller famously quipped. The early salvo was cut-and-pasted throughout the Twitterverse,

The news this summer is teeming with trillions. The national debt is more than $14 trillion. In a recent report, the credit rating agency Moody's says the 1,600-plus U.S.-based companies it rates harbored some $1.2 trillion in cash at the end of 2010. The newly minted congressional supercommittee is charged with finding ways to pare the federal deficit by at least $1.2 trillion in the next decade.

As the U.S. economy takes hit after hit, President Obama is taking heat for his 10-day fun-in-the-sun vacation at Martha's Vineyard that began Thursday.

From the left: Colbert I. King, op-ed writer for The Washington Post, observed: "Mr. President, Martha's Vineyard is the last place in the world you should visit. ... You simply don't have time to take time off from America."

From the right: Mike Murphy, a Republican strategist, told the Daily Beast that Obama is "acting like the rich guys he wants to raise taxes on."

Flip-flops are good. Flip-flops are bad. It's summertime and everybody is talking about flip-flops. Political flip-flops, that is.

As the dust settles from the recent Republican debate and straw poll in Iowa, flip-flops keep cropping up like spent corncobs. In the debate, Newt Gingrich "was asked about his position on military action against Libya," the St. Petersburg Times reported. "We explored whether he flip-flopped and rated it Full Flop."

Lions and vultures and bears, oh my.

Animal imagery has been used since the early 18th century to describe human behavior on Wall Street, says Charles R. Geisst, a professor of finance at Manhattan College and author of Wall Street: A History.

With world markets in turmoil, many investors are turning to an age-old safe haven: gold. While the price has fluctuated this week, it has flirted with record highs. But what, exactly, makes this precious metal so valuable? We decided to explore the issue, in verse:

Economic collapse, adrift without maps, lost in a sea with no rudder,
Wall Street is jaded, the U.S. downgraded, financial reports make us shudder.

Call it what you will — an August Occasion, Summery Judgment, Iowa ... wa ... whatever — the hype is hyperbolic this week as Republican presidential aspirants converge on Ames, Iowa, like storm clouds on an open prairie. The candidates will debate Thursday night at Iowa State University and then be subjected to a straw poll on Saturday.

Ah, the Out Years.

During the recent debt-ceiling debate, the phrase became a recurring motif. "You've got to look at the deficit not just in the next 10 years," White House political adviser David Plouffe told NPR, "but does it also produce savings in the out years."

Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) told the Los Angeles Times that enforcement of the plan will be the key to its success, but "it's always in the out years and it never happens."