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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3:45pm

Wed October 5, 2011
The Two-Way

Ron Paul Asks: Will The Government Assassinate Journalists Next?

Republican presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul of Texas at the National Press Club in Washington today.

Patrick Smith Getty Images

Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) was quick last Friday to condemn the killing of American-born al-Qaida cleric Anwar al-Awlaki by a U.S. drone strike in Yemen.

"If the American people accept this blindly and casually that we now have an accepted practice of the president assassinating people who he thinks are bad guys, I think it's sad," Paul said.

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3:14pm

Wed October 5, 2011
The Two-Way

Senate Democrats Pitch 5 Percent Surtax On Millionaires

Left to right: Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) at a news conference on Capitol Hill today.

Alex Wong Getty Images

Making the case that some of the tax increases that would partly pay for President Obama's $447 billion jobs bill are aimed at Americans who are not that rich, the Senate's Democratic leaders are proposing a 5 percent tax on annual incomes above $1 million instead.

According to The Associated Press:

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12:45pm

Wed October 5, 2011
The Two-Way

Plot To Kill Karzai Foiled, Afghan Intelligence Agency Says

Afghan President Hamid Karzai at the funeral ceremony of slain Afghanistan High Peace Council and former president Burhanuddin Rabbani on Sept. 23, 2011.Â

AFP/Getty Images

Two weeks after the assassination of a former president, Afghan intelligence officials say they have disrupted a plot to kill the country's current leader.

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11:20am

Wed October 5, 2011
The Two-Way

Kenneth Dahlberg, Who Didn't Lie About Watergate, Has Died

Originally published on Wed October 5, 2011 11:53 am

The scene of the crime that brought down a president.

Joe Raedle Getty Images

"There aren't a lot of people in the world who have been war heroes, created a high-flying business, and uttered the words that would bring down a presidency," our Minnesota Public Radio colleague Bob Collins writes today.

"Ken Dahlberg was one of them."

Now, Dahlberg has died at the age of 94.

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10:35am

Wed October 5, 2011
The Two-Way

Life's Still Hard For 'Reality Hits You Hard, Bro' Guy

Arizona Republic

In case you haven't seen this video yet, we'll wait while you watch. It's worth it.

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9:35am

Wed October 5, 2011
The Two-Way

Georgia Woman Wins $15.1M After Clerk Sells Her Wrong Lottery Ticket

Georgia Lottery
(We're a little behind on this story, but it's too good not to pass along.)

Kathy Scruggs of Lithonia, Ga., has won $15.1 million from the Powerball lottery.

And as it turns out, she didn't even intend to buy a ticket for that game.

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9:00am

Wed October 5, 2011

8:40am

Wed October 5, 2011
The Two-Way

Hank Williams Jr.: 'Sorry If It Offended Anyone'

Hank Williams Jr.

Scott Boehm Getty Images

A quick follow to the news that ESPN pulled Hank Williams Jr.'s iconic opening song from this week's Monday Night Football broadcast because he had compared President Obama to Adolf Hitler.

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8:15am

Wed October 5, 2011
The Two-Way

Occupy Wall Street: College Students Urged To Walk Out Today

Originally published on Wed October 5, 2011 12:02 pm

The scene this week at Zuccotti Park in Manhattan.

Spencer Platt Getty Images

As the Occupy Wall Street protests enter their 19th day and continue to spread well beyond lower Manhattan, there's word from the related "Occupy Colleges" movement that a "nationwide college student walk out" has been called for noon today.

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7:30am

Wed October 5, 2011
The Two-Way

Four Accused Of 'Brazen' Federal Contracting Corruption Scheme

Originally published on Wed October 5, 2011 7:34 am

Four men were arrested Tuesday for their alleged roles in what the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, Ronald Machen, alleges was "one of the most brazen corruption schemes in the history of federal contracting."

The Washington Post's Crime Scene blog writes that:

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7:10am

Wed October 5, 2011
The Two-Way

Chemistry Nobel Goes To Scientist Who Discovered Quasicrystals

Originally published on Wed October 5, 2011 12:06 pm

Nobel laureate Daniel Shechtman.

Technion - Israel Institute of Technology

Israeli scientist Daniel Shechtman has been awarded the 2011 Nobel Prize in chemistry for his 1982 discovery of quasicrystals, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced this morning.

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3:05pm

Tue October 4, 2011
The Two-Way

Beware The Bear Market? Here's Why Not To

With the Dow Jones industrial average and other market indexes around 20 percent below their recent peaks, the very definition of a "bear market," there's understandably a fair amount of concern among investors and everyone else who watches the economic indicators.

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12:55pm

Tue October 4, 2011
The Two-Way

Gov. Christie Says No To Presidential Run

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

"Now is not my time," New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie just said at a news conference in Trenton — ruling out a run for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.

"New Jersey, whether you like it or not, you're stuck with me," Christie added.

Update at 1:10 p.m. ET. More From Christie:

The governor said he did consider making a bid. He had been asked to run by many people, Christie said, and "felt an obligation to earnestly consider their advice."

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11:45am

Tue October 4, 2011
The Two-Way

At 'Underwear Bomber' Trial: An Outburst And A Shirt Change

Originally published on Tue October 4, 2011 11:50 am

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab in a 2009 booking photograph released by the U.S. Marshals Service in Detroit.

AFP/Getty Images

The trial of the Nigerian man who authorities say tried to set off a bomb hidden in his underwear as a jetliner prepared to land in Detroit on Christmas Day 2009 began with some drama today in Detroit.

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab declared as jury selection got underway that "Anwar is alive" — a reference to American-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed on Friday by a U.S. drone strike in Yemen.

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10:35am

Tue October 4, 2011
The Two-Way

Bernanke: Economic Outlook Has Deteriorated

Federal Reserve policymakers expect "a somewhat slower pace of economic growth over coming quarters" than they had been forecasting just four months ago, Chairman Ben Bernanke told Congress this hour.

There has been, he added in a statement prepared for the Joint Economic Committee, a "deterioration in the economic outlook over the summer."

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9:45am

Tue October 4, 2011
The Two-Way

In Two Polls, Perry's Down And Cain Is Up; Meanwhile What About Christie?

Originally published on Tue October 4, 2011 3:32 pm

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Apply all the usual caveats: Poll numbers go up, poll numbers go down and we're still months away from Republicans actually casting meaningful votes for their presidential contenders.

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9:20am

Tue October 4, 2011

9:05am

Tue October 4, 2011
The Two-Way

Inspector General: Fannie Mae Was Told About Foreclosure Abuse In 2003

A foreclosure/price reduced sign stands in front of a home for sale on February 11, 2011 in Miami.

Joe Raedle Getty Images

One of the hottest stories this morning is word that, as The Associated Press puts it, "mortgage giant Fannie Mae knew about allegations of improper foreclosure practices by law firms in 2003 but did not act to stop them, a government watchdog says."

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8:20am

Tue October 4, 2011
The Two-Way

Scores Killed By Truck Bomb In Somalia

There's been a deadly bombing today in the capital of Somalia.

"Islamist militants detonated a truck bomb Tuesday in front of the Ministry of Education in Mogadishu, killing at least 70 people, wounding dozens and shattering a relative calm that had prevailed ... for weeks," The Associated Press reports.

According to the BBC:

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8:00am

Tue October 4, 2011
The Two-Way

Ford, UAW Reach Tentative Contract Deal

Originally published on Tue October 4, 2011 8:06 am

Scott Olson Getty Images

"Ford Motor Co. and the United Auto Workers have come to terms on a new four-year contract that trades annual pay raises for profit sharing and a signing bonus and promises thousands of new jobs building cars and trucks," The Associated Press writes.

Details aren't out yet, but the union has confirmed on its Twitter page that a "tentative agreement" has been reached.

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7:30am

Tue October 4, 2011
The Two-Way

As Amanda Knox Heads Home, Murdered Girl's Family Seeks Answers

Originally published on Tue October 4, 2011 7:39 am

Arline Kercher and Lyle Kercher, the mother and brother of murder victim Meredith Kercher, on Monday in Perugia, Italy.

Franco Origlia Getty Images

Her murder conviction overturned by an Italian appeals court, American Amanda Knox has left Italy and is making her way home to Seattle, The Associated Press reports.

Now, the BCC writes:

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7:00am

Tue October 4, 2011
The Two-Way

Nobel Prize In Physics Honors Work On Expanding Universe

NASA Getty Images

Three U.S.-born scientists whose work indicates that the universe is expanding at an accelerating rate have been awarded the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics.

American Saul Perlmutter will share the $1.5 million award with U.S.-Australian Brian Schmidt and U.S. scientist Adam Riess, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced this morning.

In its statement announcing the honors, the academy writes that

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4:25pm

Mon October 3, 2011
The Two-Way

Incoming NPR CEO Makes Case For Public Funding, Will Look At All Sources

Incoming NPR CEO and President Gary Knell.

Sesame Workshop

"Public radio needs to do a better job of making the case" for public funding as one of its revenue sources, the incoming CEO and president of NPR said this afternoon.

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3:00pm

Mon October 3, 2011
The Two-Way

White House Knew Solyndra Was In Trouble, Emails Indicate

May 26, 2010: President Obama tours the Solyndra solar panel company with Executive VP of Engineering Ben Bierman.
Pool Getty Images

"E-Mails Reveal Early White House Worries Over Solyndra," reads the headline on the lead story at NYTimes.com this hour.

"Donor, Officials Warned Obama Not To Visit Solyndra After Financial Warnings," says WashingtonPost.com.

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1:50pm

Mon October 3, 2011
The Two-Way

VIDEO: Comet Hits Sun; Is Brilliant Explosion Related?

www.helioviewer.org

SpaceWeather.com says most solar physicists would likely say that a "puny comet" couldn't set off a "coronal mass ejection" of solar particles.

But check out this video from over the weekend, when a comet struck the sun. The images were animated by Helioviewer.org, "an open-source project for the visualization of solar and heliospheric data" that is funded by the European Space Agency and NASA.

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12:34pm

Mon October 3, 2011
The Two-Way

GM, Chrysler Posted Sharp Sales Gains In September; Ford's Rose Too

"General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group LLC posted double-digit sales increases in September, defying the prevailing malaise in the economy," The Detroit News reports. "GM reported U.S. sales of 207,145 vehicles last month, a 20 percent increase over September 2010. Chrysler's domestic sales were up 27 percent."

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10:40am

Mon October 3, 2011
The Two-Way

Manufacturing Grew In September, Construction Gained In August

Originally published on Mon October 3, 2011 10:43 am

Neither reports signals a sharp turnaround for the sluggish economy, but:

-- The manufacturing sector "expanded in September for the 26th consecutive month," the Institute for Supply Management says. An index it calculates that measures such things as orders, production and employment stood at 51.6 in September vs. 50.6 in August. A reading above 50 is supposed to signal an expanding factory sector. The index has been at 50 or above for those 26 months.

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10:00am

Mon October 3, 2011
The Two-Way

First Up For New Yahoo-ABC News Venture: Obama Interview

Linda Holmes over at Monkey See will be looking at the pluses, minuses and other issues related to the news that Yahoo and ABC News are launching "a strategic online news alliance."

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9:40am

Mon October 3, 2011
The Two-Way

Will Nobel Laureate Who Died On Friday Still Be Honored?

"Work produced by a person since deceased shall not be considered for an award. If, however, a prizewinner dies before he has received the prize, then the prize may be presented."

That's one of the rules in the Statues of the Nobel Foundation, and it's suddenly pertinent because it's just been announced that Rockefeller University scientist Ralph Steinman died on Friday.

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8:35am

Mon October 3, 2011

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