Mark Memmott

Mark Memmott joined NPR News in the spring of 2009 to launch a new blog, "The Two-Way," with co-blogger Frank James.

"The Two-Way" is the place where NPR.org gives readers breaking news and analysis — and where it engages users in conversations ("two-ways") about the most compelling stories being reported by NPR News and other news media.

Memmott came to NPR from USA Today, where for over 20 years he worked as a reporter and editor on subjects ranging from politics and, foreign affairs to economics and the media.

In recent years he helped launch and then led three different news blogs at USATODAY.com, including the website's 2008 presidential campaign blog, On Politics.

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10:45am

Wed December 7, 2011
The Two-Way

Shouldn't Rush Be In The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame?

Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson (left) and singer/bassist Geddy Lee.
Ethan Miller Getty Images

Pardon this blogger for a moment of venting.

We've heard today that the new inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the performers category are Guns N' Roses, the Beastie Boys, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Laura Nyro, Donovan and The Small Faces.

I don't have any problem with the honorees.

As usual, it's who still isn't in the hall that irks me.

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10:05am

Wed December 7, 2011
The Two-Way

Mexico Says It Blocked Plot To Smuggle Gadhafi's Son Into Country

Originally published on Wed December 7, 2011 10:10 am

Saadi Gadhafi at January 2010 news conference in Tripoli.
Mahmud Turkia AFP/Getty Images

A report in Canada's National Post that former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's "playboy son Saadi made plans to flee to a Mexican beach resort whose celebrity visitors include Kim Kardashian, Charlie Sheen and Lady Gaga," has prompted Mexico's interior secretary to say today that his country's intelligence service has broken up the plot, The Associated Press says.

According to the AP:

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9:20am

Wed December 7, 2011

9:05am

Wed December 7, 2011
The Two-Way

Pearl Harbor Attack's 70th Anniversary: Memories, Moment Of Silence

Dec. 7, 1941: The USS Shaw explodes during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

On this 70th anniversary of the date "which will live in infamy," there will be a moment of silence in Hawaii at 7:55 a.m. (12:55 a.m. ET) to remember the 2,390 Americans who died when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor.

It was 7:55 a.m. local time when the attack began — a strike that would push America into World War II.

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8:10am

Wed December 7, 2011
The Two-Way

Roadside Bomb Kills 19 In Afghanistan

One day after dozens of people were killed in two suicide bomb attacks aimed at Shiites, there's been another deadly explosion in Afghanistan:

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8:00am

Wed December 7, 2011
The Two-Way

Trip To Dubai Raises Questions About Pakistani Leader's Future

Originally published on Wed December 7, 2011 8:54 am

President Asif Ali Zardari is in Dubai for heart treatment, his office says. But Zardari's government is embroiled in controversy. That has Pakistanis wondering if he might resign while he's out of the country.
Ben Stansall AFP/Getty Images

With his government embroiled in controversy over a memo that many in Pakistan view as potentially treasonous, President Asif Ali Zardari's sudden departure for medical treatment in Dubai has "people [here] questioning the timing" and wondering if Zardari might be about to step down, NPR's Corey Flintoff reported this morning from Islamabad.

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7:30am

Wed December 7, 2011
The Two-Way

Syria's Assad: 'We Don't Kill Our People'

Originally published on Wed December 7, 2011 7:35 am

President Bashar Assad during his interview with ABC News' Barbara Walters.
ABC News

"We don't kill our people ... no government in the world kills its people, unless it's led by a crazy person."

So says Syrian President Bashar Assad to ABC News Barbara Walters in an interview that's airing across several of the network's shows today.

Pushing back against reports from the United Nations and witnesses in several Syrian cities, Assad denied that his security forces have killed thousands of civilians.

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12:35pm

Tue December 6, 2011
The Two-Way

Egypt And Tigerblood Top Twitter's List Of Hashtags This Year

Originally published on Tue December 6, 2011 12:38 pm

Charlie Sheen turned #tigerblood into a hashtag of note.
Ethan Miller Getty Images

Yet another sign of the very diverse interests of the world's webizens:

Twitter says the top two hashtags this year have been #egypt and #tigerblood.

Egypt went to the top of words to search and post thanks to the Arab Spring and the uprising that toppled President Hosni Mubarak. As for No. 2, its popularity is all due to actor Charlie Sheen and his famous claim to have "tiger blood."

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11:10am

Tue December 6, 2011
The Two-Way

U.S. Ambassador Returning To Syria

Originally published on Tue December 6, 2011 11:14 am

U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford on June 20, 2011, in Jisr al-Shughur, Syria.
Louai Beshara AFP/Getty Images

"Ambassador Robert Ford has completed his consultations in Washington and is returning to Syria," the State Department confirms on its official Twitter page.

He left there the weekend of Oct. 22 because of what State said had been "credible threats against his personal safety."

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10:40am

Tue December 6, 2011
The Two-Way

Green Bay Packers Stock Is Hot As Sale Begins

Originally published on Tue December 6, 2011 10:44 am

Packers fans do love their team.
Scott Boehm Getty Images

They're Super Bowl champions. They're 12-0 this season.

And they're hot with investors (sort of).

Things couldn't be much better for the Green Bay Packers. And this morning we're hearing that the team's fifth sale of stock in its 92-year history is going very well.

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10:00am

Tue December 6, 2011
The Two-Way

Gingrich Takes Lead In New Iowa Poll

Originally published on Tue December 6, 2011 10:32 am

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

With the Jan. 3 Iowa Republican caucuses set to kick off the "real" battle for the party's presidential nomination, there's word that:

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9:15am

Tue December 6, 2011

8:40am

Tue December 6, 2011
The Two-Way

Before Obama Invites Teddy Roosevelt Comparisons, Read TR's Words

Originally published on Tue December 6, 2011 3:01 pm

Theodore Roosevelt, twenty-sixth president of the United States serving from 1901 to 1909.
National Archives Getty Images

As NPR's Scott Horsley reported for Morning Edition:

"President Obama will try Tuesday to follow in the footsteps of Teddy Roosevelt when he delivers an economic speech in Osawatomie, Kan., the same city where Roosevelt issued a famous call for a 'New Nationalism' more than 100 years ago.

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7:50am

Tue December 6, 2011
The Two-Way

BP Accuses Halliburton Of Destroying Gulf Spill Evidence

Originally published on Tue December 6, 2011 9:13 am

The Deepwater Horizon oil rig burned on April 21, 2010.
U.S. Coast Guard Getty Images

The complicated effort to assign blame for the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history took another legal twist Monday when BP went to court to accuse Halliburton of "destroying damaging evidence about the quality of its cement slurry that went into drilling the oil well," The Associated Press writes.

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7:30am

Tue December 6, 2011
The Two-Way

Coal Company To Pay More Than $200 Million In W. Va. Disaster

Originally published on Tue December 6, 2011 3:33 pm

(1:45 p.m. ET: We've retopped this post with the latest news and put earlier entries in chronological order so you can see how the story developed.)

The owner of West Virginia's Upper Big Branch coal mine where 29 men died in an explosion last year has agreed to a nearly $210 million settlement that will compensate the victims' families, pay fines and fund upgrades in safety standards at its facilities, NPR's Howard Berkes reports from Charleston, W. Va.

That package includes about $46 million for the miners' families.

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7:10am

Tue December 6, 2011
The Two-Way

Dozens Of Bodies Scattered After Deadly Bombings In Afghanistan

A man grieves as others try to help victims and remove bodies from the scene in Kabul earlier today (Nov. 6, 2011) after a suicide bomb exploded in a crowd of Shiite worshipers.
Massoud Hossaini AFP/Getty Images

A suicide bomb detonated today in the midst of a crowd of Shiite worshipers in Kabul has left about 50 people dead. NPR's Quil Lawrence reports from there that witnesses say dozens of bodies were scattered around the gate of a mosque.

Al-Jazeera says the Afghan ministry of health reports more than 100 people were injured.

Another four people were reportedly killed and more were injured in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif by a similar attack. Al-Jazeera adds that:

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4:30pm

Mon December 5, 2011
The Two-Way

Record Folders: 54,000 Feet Of Paper; 13 Folds; One New Standard

The St. Mark's School record folders.
Courtesy of St. Mark's School.

Using 54,000 feet of toilet paper and the 825-foot long "Infinite Corridor" at MIT as a workspace, students from a small boarding school in Massachusetts say they broke an unofficial record for folding paper on Sunday.

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2:20pm

Mon December 5, 2011
The Two-Way

FAA Administrator Charged With DWI

Originally published on Mon December 5, 2011 2:28 pm

The head of the Federal Aviation Administration, who among other duties is in charge of the nation's air traffic controllers, was charged with driving while intoxicated Saturday night in Fairfax, Va., a suburb of Washington, D.C.

And Federal News Radio says Jerome "Randy" Babbitt has now been "placed on a leave of absence." The Associated Press reports that the leave was "at Babbitt's request."

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1:08pm

Mon December 5, 2011
The Two-Way

Queen Elizabeth's 'Pay' Has Been Frozen

Queen Elizabeth II in November.
Cris Jackson/pool AFP/Getty Images

She'll still get about $50 million a year in taxpayers' money to run her palaces and travel the world, but there's word from the U.K. that Queen Elizabeth II has had her "pay" frozen until at least 2015.

Hard times, after all, require sacrifices.

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11:17am

Mon December 5, 2011
The Two-Way

Post Office Lays Out More Details On Service Changes, Closings

Originally published on Mon December 5, 2011 2:30 pm

Scott Schechter, a United States Postal Service employee, collected mail from the boxes in front of a mail processing center on Sept. 16, 2011 in Pembroke Pines, Fla.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Dropping a first-class letter in the mail in the morning and expecting it will get to its destination by the next day would be a thing of the past under changes the U.S. Postal Service is detailing this hour.

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8:53am

Mon December 5, 2011

8:25am

Mon December 5, 2011
The Two-Way

All Eyes On 'Merkozy' As Leaders Try To Save Euro

French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Paris today (Dec. 5, 2011).
Lionel Bonaventure AFP/Getty Images

While The New York Times says German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy are working on a deal to save the euro that has "several moving parts," The Financial Times cautions that "officials on both sides have cautioned against expectations of an announcement of a detailed plan by the two."

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7:45am

Mon December 5, 2011
The Two-Way

Report: Cain To Endorse Gingrich

Former House speaker Newt Gingrich (right) and Herman Cain during a Republican presidential debate Nov. 22, 2011, in Washington, D.C.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Update at 12:35 p.m. ET. Not Today:

Newt Gingrich's campaign just told Reuters that there are no plans for former GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain to endorse his fellow Georgian's quest for the Republican nomination today — which, of course, does not rule out it happening at another time.

Our original post and an earlier update:

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7:30am

Mon December 5, 2011
The Two-Way

Putin 'Still Sure To Win' Next Year Despite Setback For His Party

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin as he voted in Moscow on Sunday (Dec. 4, 2011).
Alexander Nemenov AFP/Getty Images

Though Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's United Russia party lost dozens of seats in Russia's parliament in elections held Sunday, and may have had to resort to fraud to keep from losing even more, he's "still sure to win" election as president next March, Masha Lipman, an analyst at the Carnegie Moscow Center, said on Morning Edition today.

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5:00pm

Sat December 3, 2011
The Two-Way

Cain's Train Comes To A Stop

Originally published on Sat December 3, 2011 5:16 pm

In case you haven't heard yet:

Republican Herman Cain effectively ended his presidential campaign this afternoon, as the toll from allegations about sexual harassment and an affair (all of which he has denied) combined to effectively end his chances at getting the GOP nomination.

Here's how the story is playing:

-- "Campaign Over, Cain Vows To Go With 'Plan B'." (NPR.org)

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7:00am

Sat December 3, 2011
The Two-Way

Son's Funny And Loving Obituary About Dad Charms Readers

"Robert Spiegel's passion for Russian literature, the New York Mets, ethnic cooking and beagles endeared him to generations of students and colleagues at Central Connecticut State University," The Associated Press says. "Now, through the power of social media, the 77-year-old former English professor's obituary is charming strangers, as well."

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2:33pm

Fri December 2, 2011
The Two-Way

Cain To Make Announcement Saturday; Wife Leads 'Women For Cain' Effort

There's word from Rock Hill, S.C., that Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain says he'll be making an announcement on Saturday about the future of his presidential bid, The Associated Press reports.

Meanwhile, here's a related bit of news to consider: His campaign just launched a "Women for Cain" effort, chaired by the candidate's wife Gloria.

As the webpage says:

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1:50pm

Fri December 2, 2011
The Two-Way

Egyptian Elections: 62 Percent Turnout

Nov. 28: Women place their votes in a ballot box at a polling station in a girls school in Cairo.
Peter Macdiarmid Getty Images

Results from the first round of voting in Egypt's parliamentary elections are being announced this hour. Already, according to al-Jazeera and other news outlets, there's word from the head of Egypt's Elections High commission that 62 percent of eligible voters cast ballots.

The Associated Press adds that Abdel-Mooaez Ibrahim called the number "the highest since the time of pharaohs."

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12:45pm

Fri December 2, 2011
The Two-Way

Why Burma? Why Myanmar? Why Both?

Originally published on Fri December 2, 2011 2:10 pm

Aung San Suu Kyi, right, and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton embraced today when they met at Suu Kyi's home in Yangon, Myanmar (also known as Burma).
Saul Loeb AP

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's visit to Myanmar, where she has pledged with opposition leader Aung Sang Suu Kyi to continue the push for democracy and respect for human rights there, has focused attention on that long-oppressed Asian nation.

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10:12am

Fri December 2, 2011
The Two-Way

Some Combat Dogs Suffer Post-Traumatic Stress Too

Originally published on Fri December 2, 2011 3:17 pm

A U.S. Army soldier with the 10th Special Forces Group and his military working dog jump off the ramp of a CH-47 Chinook helicopter from the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment during water training over the Gulf of Mexico as part of exercise Emerald Warrior 2011 on March 1, 2011.
Tech Sgt. Manuel J. Martinez defense.gov

Dogs who have served alongside U.S. military personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan now typically go on to live with their handlers in the civilian world after their service days are over, as All Things Considered reported in August.

That's a change from the past, when many combat dogs were euthanized once they were done working with the military.

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