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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2:10pm

Thu September 29, 2011
The Two-Way

Bank Of America's $5 Per Month Debit Card Fee Is Sign Of The Times

Using one of these is starting to cost more.
iStock

Bank of America is next year going to start charging most holders of its debit cards $5 a month if they use them to make purchases. It's the biggest sign so far of how new bank regulations are going to mean big changes for the millions of customers who have come to rely on cards that are tied to their checking accounts — and don't rack up potentially huge interest bills.

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1:15pm

Thu September 29, 2011
The Two-Way

Germany's OK Of Bailout Means Europe Can Continue To 'Muddle Through'

Word that Germany's parliament today "approved a plan to expand the power of a European bailout fund for troubled countries that use the euro," doesn't mean the crisis across the Atlantic is over, our colleague Jacob Goldstein writes over at the Planet Money blog.

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12:30pm

Thu September 29, 2011
The Two-Way

Capitol Hill Police Not Amused By Tweets From 'The Onion'

Originally published on Thu September 29, 2011 12:36 pm

J. Scott Applewhite AP

A fake story and a series of tweets this morning by the satirical folks at The Onion "reported" that members of Congress had taken schoolchildren hostage inside the Capitol Building.

Officials at the U.S. Capitol Police don't find any of it funny.

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11:04am

Thu September 29, 2011
The Two-Way

Alleged Terrorist Acquired Small Arsenal For Attack, FBI Says

Originally published on Thu September 29, 2011 2:53 pm

According to the United States Attorney's Office, District of Massachusetts, this is the remote controlled model of a US Navy's 1950s Sabre jet fighter that allegedly belonged to Rezwan Ferdaus.
AFP/Getty Images

More details are emerging about the alleged plot and the alleged would-be terrorist who the FBI says planned to attack the Pentagon and Capitol Building with explosives-laden small aircraft and thought he had given devices to al-Qaida operatives that could be used to kill U.S. soldiers stationed overseas.

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9:30am

Thu September 29, 2011
The Two-Way

Reports: Pakistan Has Freed Bin Laden's Former Bodyguard

Originally published on Thu September 29, 2011 12:59 pm

June 2001: al-Qaida members training in Afghanistan (frame grab from an al-Qaida video).
AFP/Getty Images

"Pakistan has freed a senior al-Qaeda commander, who served as a bodyguard to Osama bin Laden," Britain's The Telegraph reports, citing a "senior security source."

CBS News says it has been told the same thing by "two senior Pakistani police officials."

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8:37am

Thu September 29, 2011
The Two-Way

Jobless Claims Dip, GDP Growth Revised Up Slightly

The nation's economy grew at a slow 1.3 percent annual rate in the second quarter, the Bureau of Economic Analysis just reported. That's a slight upward revision from the agency's previous estimate of 1 percent growth vs. first-quarter 2011.

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8:25am

Thu September 29, 2011

8:00am

Thu September 29, 2011
The Two-Way

Cain: Blacks 'Have Been Brainwashed' Into Supporting Liberals

Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain during a Sept. 7 debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

"African-Americans have been brainwashed into not being open minded, not even considering a conservative point of view," Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain said Wednesday on CNN's The Situation Room. "I have received some of that same vitriol simply because I am running for the Republican nomination as a conservative. So it's just brainwashing and people not being open minded, pure and simple."

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7:40am

Thu September 29, 2011
The Two-Way

Baseball Stunners: Red Sox, Braves Suffer 'Big, Historic' Collapses

This might be the morning to go easy on your friends who are fans of the Red Sox or Braves (unless you think it's pay-back time for abuse they've given you in the past).

Until Wednesday night, no Major League Baseball team that had an 8-game lead for a playoff spot in early September had failed to qualify for post-season play, NPR's Tom Goldman says.

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2:38pm

Wed September 28, 2011
The Two-Way

NYPD Will Examine Use Of Pepper Spray On 'Occupy Wall Street' Protesters

Originally published on Wed September 28, 2011 3:13 pm

At the "Occupy Wall Street" demonstration in the financial district near Wall Street on Monday (Sept. 26, 2011).
Spencer Platt Getty Images

2:09pm

Wed September 28, 2011
The Two-Way

Controversial Alabama Immigration Law Upheld In Part

A federal judge in Birmingham, Ala., has blocked some provisions of a controversial immigration law in the state — most notably those that would "make it a state crime to harbor immigrants and make it a misdemeanor to work in the state" — the Montgomery Advertiser reports.

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1:20pm

Wed September 28, 2011
The Two-Way

At Day 2 Of Trial, Promoter Says Michael Jackson Looked Healthy

From The Associated Press:

"Two days before he died, Michael Jackson appeared strong during one of the final rehearsals for his highly anticipated comeback concerts, a promoter told jurors Wednesday as the involuntary manslaughter trial of the pop superstar's physician entered its second day."

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10:35am

Wed September 28, 2011
The Two-Way

Amazon Unveils $199 'Fire' Tablet And New Kindle Readers

Originally published on Wed September 28, 2011 11:30 am

The Kindle Fire.
Amazon.com

There's much breathless live-blogging going on in the tech world as Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos unveils his company's latest gadgets, including what Bloomberg News first reported will be a $199 tablet computer called Kindle Fire — Amazon's much-anticipated competitor to the iPad.

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10:00am

Wed September 28, 2011
The Two-Way

At Berkeley 'Increase Diversity' Bake Sale: Protests, Debates

Originally published on Wed September 28, 2011 12:45 pm

At the bake sale on Tuesday. Protesters to the right. Young Republicans and their supporters to the left.
Ben Margot AP

The controversial "Increase Diversity Bake Sale" sponsored by young Republicans at the University of California, Berkeley, brought a large crowd of students and others to the school's Sproul Plaza on Tuesday, and the student-run Daily Californian says the climax was a counter-demonstration "that saw hundreds of protesters lie on their backs."

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9:10am

Wed September 28, 2011
The Two-Way

Al-Qaida Tells Iran: Stop Promoting Sept. 11 Conspiracy Theories

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the U.N. last week.
Timothy A. Clary AFP/Getty Images

The latest issue of Inspire, an English-language magazine believed to be produced by al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, chastises the Iranian government and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in particular for spreading "conspiracy theories surrounding the events of 9/11."

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8:35am

Wed September 28, 2011

8:15am

Wed September 28, 2011
The Two-Way

Officials Push Back On Mullen's Linking Of Pakistan To Terrorists

Originally published on Wed September 28, 2011 8:16 am

The Washington Post writes this morning that "Adm. Mike Mullen's assertion last week that an anti-American insurgent group in Afghanistan is a 'veritable arm' of Pakistan's spy service was overstated and contributed to overheated reactions in Pakistan and misperceptions in Washington, according to American officials involved in U.S. policy in the region."

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7:50am

Wed September 28, 2011
The Two-Way

Did You Hear About Andy Rooney? He's Retiring

Originally published on Wed September 28, 2011 7:52 am

Andy Rooney.
Bebeto Matthews AP

What is it about Andy Rooney that's kept him on the air with CBS for more than 60 years — the last 33 of them as a regular essayist on 60 Minutes?

Is it his sense of humor?

His distinctive voice?

Those bushy eyebrows?

The questions he's always asking?

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7:30am

Wed September 28, 2011
The Two-Way

Listeria Outbreak Tied To Colorado Cantaloupes; 13 Known Dead

Originally published on Wed September 28, 2011 2:55 pm

A label consumers might find on the cantaloupes.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration

"The number of deaths linked to Colorado-grown cantaloupes keeps climbing, and it soon could become the second-deadliest U.S. outbreak of a food-borne illness," The Denver Post reports.

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3:40pm

Tue September 27, 2011
The Two-Way

Helen Reichert, Who Could Bounce Back From Stress, Dies At 109

Originally published on Tue September 27, 2011 4:28 pm

Helen Reichert.
Courtesy of Olive Villaluna

A passing of note:

Helen Reichert, who Morning Edition introduced to listeners in April, died on Sunday. She was 109.

In that April commentary for Morning Edition, Dr. Mark Lachs said of his patient that:

"Unusual longevity often has a genetic basis, and Reichert probably does have a gene that contributes to her unusual longevity. But she also exhibits a powerful trait geriatricians call adaptive competence.

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2:45pm

Tue September 27, 2011
The Two-Way

Satellite Fell Into South Pacific Far From Land, NASA Says

Originally published on Tue September 27, 2011 2:52 pm

That bus-sized Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite that fell back to Earth late last week broke up and spread its debris "over a broad, remote ocean area in the Southern Hemisphere, far from any major land mass," out in the South Pacific Ocean, NASA just reported.

The space agency adds that:

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1:45pm

Tue September 27, 2011
The Two-Way

OnStar Hits Reverse: It Won't Keep Collecting Data From Old Customers

Just days after it received intense criticism from Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), some other lawmakers and privacy advocates, General Motors' OnStar service has agreed that it won't keep its data connections open to customers who have canceled the service.

In a statement, the company says today that:

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1:10pm

Tue September 27, 2011
The Two-Way

Prosecution Begins Case Against Michael Jackson's Doctor

The early word from the trial of pop star Michael Jackson's physician is that the prosecutor says "the superstar's misplaced trust in the doctor led to his death" in June 2009, The Associated Press reports.

As the AP adds, "Jackson died of an overdose of the powerful anesthetic propofol." Dr. Conrad Murray has been charged with involuntary manslaughter. he has pleaded not guilty.

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12:45pm

Tue September 27, 2011
The Two-Way

No Hoax, BBC Says: Alessio Rastani Is A Trader Who Wants A Recession

Originally published on Thu January 23, 2014 1:29 pm

Alessio Rastani during his appearance this week on the BBC.
bbc.co.uk

His words were provocative enough.

Alessio Rastani dreams of another global recession, the "independent market trader" told the BBC this week, because he knows he — and anyone who's prepared — can make money when that happens.

Traders, he said, don't care if the European bailout plan works or not. They'll profit either way if they're smart.

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10:50am

Tue September 27, 2011
The Two-Way

Shanghai Subway Crash Renews Questions About Safety In China

Rescue workers evacuated passengers after a subway train crashed into another train between stations Tuesday in Shanghai.
AFP/Getty Images

There's been another train crash in China — this time a collision of subway trains in Shanghai earlier today. The accident injured more than 200 people.

It's yet another blow to China's image.

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10:20am

Tue September 27, 2011
The Two-Way

Rappelling Work Begins At Washington Monument

Originally published on Tue September 27, 2011 4:03 pm

At 555 feet above Washington, the work begins.
Paul J. Richards AFP/Getty Images

There's live video now from CNN and Washington's NBC-4 as work begins to have engineers rappel down the sides of the Washington Monument to inspect for damage from the Aug. 23 earthquake that shook much of the eastern U.S.

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10:00am

Tue September 27, 2011
The Two-Way

Texas Turns Down Cook's Offer Of Free 'Last Meals'

Originally published on Tue September 27, 2011 5:42 pm

Last week the state of Texas said it would no longer let condemned prisoners order practically anything they want for their last meals before execution.

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9:30am

Tue September 27, 2011
The Two-Way

Home Prices Edged Up In July, Report Says

Originally published on Tue September 27, 2011 9:52 am

A "sale pending" sign outside a home in Bath, Maine, in July.
Pat Wellenbach AP

July marked a fourth consecutive month of slight gains in home prices in its surveys covering major cities across the nation, researchers who put together the widely watched S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices

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8:40am

Tue September 27, 2011
The Two-Way

Obama To Heckler: 'I Agree Jesus Christ Is The Lord'

Originally published on Tue September 27, 2011 1:01 pm

The man who interrupted President Obama during a fundraiser Monday in Los Angeles is removed from the audience.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

8:10am

Tue September 27, 2011
The Two-Way

Today's Top Stories: Eurozone Crisis, Typhoon In Philippines

Good morning.

Today's top story so far in the U.S. seems to be about the government shutdown that isn't going to happen.

As we reported earlier, Democrats and Republicans reached an agreement last night that averted what might have been at least a partial shutdown later this week. And, as often is the case, both sides are claiming vindication.

Meanwhile, other stories making headlines include:

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