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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12:20pm

Thu June 30, 2011
The Two-Way

Fearing 'Carmageddon,' Los Angeles Police Ask Celebs To Tweet

With some predicting there will be "carmageddon" when 10 miles of the 405 Freeway in Los Angeles are shut down from the evening of Friday, July 15 until 5 a.m. local time on Monday the 18th, the Los Angeles Police Department is reaching out for help in urging folks to avoid the area.

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11:47am

Thu June 30, 2011
The Two-Way

FEC OKs Stephen Colbert's 'Super PAC'

Stephen Colbert at last October's "Rally to Restore Sanity And/Or Fear" on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Comedian Stephen Colbert can launch a so-called super political action committee and, in theory, raise unlimited amounts of campaign cash for the 2012 political season, USA Today's On Politics blog reports.

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11:15am

Thu June 30, 2011
The Two-Way

'Not A Close Call' Says Editor Who Kept 'Undocumented' Reporter's Secret

Buried a bit in the stories about journalist Jose Antonio Vargas and his decision last week to reveal that he has been in the U.S. illegally since he came here from the Philippines as a young boy, was the fact that in 2004 he told an editor at The Washington Post about his situation.

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10:32am

Thu June 30, 2011
The Two-Way

Senate Will Stay In Session Next Week To Work On Debt And Deficit

"The Senate has abandoned plans for a July 4 break and instead will work next week as lawmakers race the clock in an attempt to strike a compromise on avoiding a government default and reducing mammoth federal deficits," The Associated Press writes.

The office of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) released a statement a short time ago in which Reid says:

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9:52am

Thu June 30, 2011
The Two-Way

China Opens World's Longest Bridge: Would You Cross If You Came To It?

It looks like they're going to have to change some promotional materials down in Louisiana, where the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway has long claimed to be the world's longest bridge over open water.

At nearly 24 miles, the causeway is plenty long.

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9:08am

Thu June 30, 2011
The Two-Way

'Time' Magazine's Halperin Calls Obama A Four-Letter Word On MSNBC

Using a common euphemism for penis, Time magazine editor-at-large Mark Halperin said during MSNBC's Morning Joe program today that President Obama was a "@#$% yesterday," during his White House news conference.

Apparently, Halperin — a frequent guest on TV — didn't know his comment would be broadcast live. He may have thought it would be covered up by a "delay" switch that allows engineers to block inappropriate comments from being broadcast.

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8:45am

Thu June 30, 2011
The Two-Way

Jobless Claims Barely Changed Last Week; Remain High

There were 428,000 first-time claims for unemployment insurance last week, a decrease of just 1,000 from the previous week, the Employment and Training Administration just reported.

Though down from the peak of more than 650,000 a week during the official recession that stretched from late 2007 to mid-2009, weekly claims remain above the 350,000-or-less level that's generally associated with a healthy economy.

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8:40am

Thu June 30, 2011
The Two-Way

VIDEO: French President Sarkozy Grabbed By Man In Crowd

Sarkozy, at center, was pulled toward a barrier and almost knocked over.
BFMTV.com

There was a scary moment in Brax, France, earlier today when a man grabbed President Nicolas Sarkozy by the shoulder and almost pulled the French leader down.

Guards quickly tackled the man and got him away from Sarkozy, who did not appear to be injured. The incident happened as the president was walking down a line of people, shaking hands.

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7:57am

Thu June 30, 2011
The Two-Way

Firefighters Push To Protect Los Alamos Lab

Areas in red are flooding now or will be soon.
National Weather Service

Good morning.

There's word from Afghanistan, as we just reported, that a NATO airstrike has killed a senior militant believed to be linked to Tuesday's deadly attack on Kabul's Inter-Continental Hotel.

Other stories making headlines include:

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7:24am

Thu June 30, 2011
The Two-Way

NATO Says It Has Killed Senior Militant Linked To Hotel Attack

Fire broke out in Kabul's Inter-Continental Hotel on Tuesday during the attack.
Massoud Hossaini AFP/Getty Images

"NATO forces in Afghanistan say they have killed a senior militant they suspect of involvement in [Tuesday's] attack on the Inter-Continental Hotel in Kabul," the BBC reports. "Ismail Jan died in an airstrike in the eastern province of Paktia on Wednesday, the alliance said."

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3:22pm

Wed June 29, 2011
The Two-Way

Boehner: President Is Ignoring Reality

Here's the official reaction from House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) to President Obama's news conference, during which the president said Republicans need to be willing to compromise on taxes just as Democrats need to agree to spending cuts in programs they like if progress is to be made on cutting the federal deficit and long-term debt:

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2:30pm

Wed June 29, 2011
The Two-Way

AP To Open News Bureau In North Korea

"The Associated Press and the North Korean state news agency have signed a series of agreements, including one for the opening of a comprehensive AP news bureau in Pyongyang," the AP announced today.

The wire service says it will be "the first permanent text and photo bureau operated by a Western news organization in the North Korean capital." Currently, AP Television News has an office in North Korea that distributes video news.

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2:15pm

Wed June 29, 2011
The Two-Way

The 'JFK Turtles' Are Back, And This Time They're Tweeting

The "JFK Turtles" spokesterrapin.
twitter.com/JFKTurtles

It's becoming something of early summer tradition.

Turtles — hundreds of them — slowly crossing the runways at New York's Kennedy International Airport, and in the process forcing flight delays.

According to The New York Times' City Room blog:

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1:18pm

Wed June 29, 2011
The Two-Way

Appeals Court Upholds Health Care Law; Many More Challenges In Pipeline

"In the first ruling by a federal appeals court on President Obama's health care overhaul, a judicial panel in Cincinnati on Wednesday affirmed an earlier ruling that Congress can require Americans to have minimum insurance coverage," The Associated Press reports.

But, as the wire service notes, "more than 30 legal challenges have been filed over the health care overhaul. The case is expected to eventually reach the U.S. Supreme Court."

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1:05pm

Tue June 28, 2011
The Two-Way

'Riot Dog' Is Back In Athens

Loukanikos paused in front of riot police in central Athens on December 8, 2010.
Aris Messinis AFP/Getty Images

10:28am

Tue June 28, 2011
The Two-Way

U.S. Endorses French Finance Minister's Bid To Head IMF

Praising her "exceptional talent and broad experience," U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner this morning announced that the Obama administration supports the selection of French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde to be the managing director of the International Monetary Fund.

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10:08am

Tue June 28, 2011
The Two-Way

Consumer Confidence Dipped Again This Month

Consumers, who drive the economy because they purchase about 70 percent of all goods and services, are less optimistic again this month about how things are going.

The private Conference Board just reported that its consumer confidence index fell 3.2 points in June from May, to 58.5.

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9:15am

Tue June 28, 2011
The Two-Way

Home Prices Rise, But Seasonal Factors Played Big Role

Home prices have risen in major U.S.

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8:45am

Tue June 28, 2011
The Two-Way

Rep. Giffords Makes Public Appearance

Taken on May 17, this photo of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (left) and her mother, Gloria Giffords, was posted on her Facebook page on June 12.
P.K. Weis Facebook.com/GabrielleGiffords

"She did not look sick at all," ABC News' Gina Sunseri says of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) after the congresswoman's first public appearance before a large crowd since being shot and critically wounded on Jan. 8.

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8:21am

Tue June 28, 2011
The Two-Way

Violence Flares At Protests In Greece

"The overwhelming smell is one of tear gas," the BBC's Jon Sopel reports from Athens, where a 48-hour general strike has begun as workers and protesters express their anger over new austerity measures that parliament will vote on Wednesday and Thursday.

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7:55am

Tue June 28, 2011
The Two-Way

Hero Of N.C. State's '83 Championship Killed In Bus Crash

If you're even a casual fan of college basketball, you know the story of the "cardiac kids" from North Carolina State, their coach Jim Valvano and the underdog Wolfpack's remarkable 54-52 win over Houston in the 1983 NCAA championship game.

The player who sealed the victory with a last-second dunk, Lorenzo Charles, died Monday when the bus he was driving crashed into some trees in West Raleigh, N.C.

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7:21am

Tue June 28, 2011

11:55am

Thu June 23, 2011
The Two-Way

'We Will Have Our Voices,' Advocate For Afghan Women Says

What happens to the gains, modest as they may be, that women have made in Afghanistan the past 10 years once the U.S. begins to withdraw its troops?

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11:12am

Thu June 23, 2011
The Two-Way

Supreme Court Rules Against Anna Nicole Smith's Estate

Feb. 28, 2006: Anna Nicole Smith arrives at the U.S. Supreme Court the first time her case came before it.
Win McNamee Getty Images

"The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled against the estate of Anna Nicole Smith in its quest to capture some of the $1.6 billion estate left behind by her late Texas billionaire husband," The Associated Press reports.

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10:32am

Thu June 23, 2011
The Two-Way

Sales Of New Homes Fell 2.1 Percent In May

There was a 2.1 percent drop in sales of new homes in May from April, to an annual rate of 319,000, the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development just reported.

Sales were up 13.5 percent from May 2010, but that month last year was among the worst in recent times.

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10:00am

Thu June 23, 2011
The Two-Way

Strategic Petroleum Reserve Being Tapped To Offset Lost Crude

"The U.S. and its partners in the International Energy Agency have decided to release a total of 60 million barrels of oil onto the world market over the next 30 days to offset the disruption in the oil supply caused by unrest in the Middle East," the White House just announced.

Of that, 30 million barrels will come from the United States' Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

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9:45am

Thu June 23, 2011
The Two-Way

Southwest Flight Attendants May File Complaint Over Pilot's Rant

Outraged over a Southwest Airlines pilot's offensive rant that was broadcast over an air traffic control frequency this spring, and not satisfied with the airline's response, Southwest flight attendants may file a federal workplace discrimination complaint, Houston's KPRC-TV reports.

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9:03am

Thu June 23, 2011
The Two-Way

'Washington Post' Debated 'Undocumented' Reporter's Veracity

Before his surprising revelation Wednesday on the website of The New York Times magazine that he is an undocumented immigrant, journalist Jose Antonio Vargas had worked with editors at one of his previous employers, The Washington Post, to tell the story on the Post's p

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8:38am

Thu June 23, 2011
The Two-Way

Jobless Claims Rose By 9,000 Last Week

There were 429,000 first-time claims for unemployment insurance filed last week, an increase of 9,000 from the week before, the Employment and Training Administration just reported.

And in further evidence of a weak labor market, it revised up its estimate of first-time claims from that previous week: to 420,000 from the initial estimate of 414,000 for the week ending June 11.

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8:25am

Thu June 23, 2011

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