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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9:09am

Wed June 15, 2011
The Two-Way

Consumer Prices Rose 0.2 Percent In May; Smallest Gain In Six Months

There was a 0.2 percent increase in consumer prices last month vs. April, the Bureau of Labor Statistics just reported.

And that's the smallest increase since November's 0.1 percent gain, BLS adds.

Inflation was kept in check in large part because of a 2 percent drop in gasoline costs. As The Associated Press writes:

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8:23am

Wed June 15, 2011

7:48am

Wed June 15, 2011
The Two-Way

Springsteen: 'Initial Signs Are Encouraging' On Clemons

Bruce Springsteen says that E Street Band sax player Clarence Clemons "will need much care and support to achieve his potential once again," but "all initial signs are encouraging" as he recovers from a serious stroke suffered over the weekend.

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7:25am

Wed June 15, 2011
The Two-Way

'Crumbling' U.S.-Pakistan Relations Highlighted By Arrests Of Informants

May 6, 2011: A man leans against a wall in Abbottabad, Pakistan, near the compound where al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden was discovered and killed.
Aamir Qureshi AFP/Getty Images

The hottest story of the morning so far is The New York Times' report that "Pakistan's top military spy agency has arrested some of the Pakistani informants who fed information to the Central Intelligence Agency in the months leading up to the raid that led to the death of Osama bin Laden, according to American officials."

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4:23pm

Tue June 14, 2011
The Two-Way

Boehner Presses Obama To Comply With War Powers Resolution

Saying that "I remain deeply concerned the Congress has not been provided answers from the executive branch to fundamental questions regarding the Libya mission," House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has sent a letter to President Obama urging him to "faithfully comply with the War Powers Resolution" by Friday.

Boehner writes that:

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3:51pm

Tue June 14, 2011
The Two-Way

Hugh Hefner's Wedding Called Off With Five Days To Go

"The wedding is off. Crystal has had a change of heart."

And with that message on his Twitter page — the same place where he announced the engagement last December -- Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, 85, told the world today that he won't be marrying one-time Playmate Crystal Harris on Saturday.

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12:24pm

Tue June 14, 2011
The Two-Way

Many Children Still Don't Know Much About History

The good news: "At all grades, the average U.S. history scores in 2010 were higher than the scores in 1994, and the score for eighth-graders was also higher than in 2006."

The bad news: "Less than one-quarter of students perform at or above the 'proficient' level in 2010."

That's the word this morning from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, part of the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics.

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11:43am

Tue June 14, 2011
The Two-Way

Huntsman Ready To Get Into White House Race, AP Says

Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, a Republican who served as Democratic President Obama's first ambassador to China, "will officially join the GOP presidential field June 21 at a site near the Statue of Liberty," The Associated Press reports.

The wire service says it is getting that word from "officials familiar with Huntsman's thinking."

Our colleague Frank James follows all this sort of news over at It's All Politics.

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10:33am

Tue June 14, 2011
The Two-Way

Have You Ever Heard 'The Hum?'

"According to sufferers," the BBC writes, "it is as if someone has parked next to your house and left the engine running. The Hum is a mystery low frequency noise, a phenomenon that has been reported across Britain, North America and Australia in the past four decades."

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9:18am

Tue June 14, 2011
The Two-Way

Another Supposedly Lesbian Blogger Turns Out To Be A Man

The revelation that the Gay Girl In Damascus blog was actually written by a married American man has led to the discovery that a founding editor at the lesbian news website Lez Get Real is a guy in Ohio, not "Paula Brooks."

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8:45am

Tue June 14, 2011
The Two-Way

Retail Sales Drop; Inflation In Check At Wholesale Level

There was a 0.2 percent drop in retail sales in May from April, the Census Bureau just reported. Driving the decline: A 2.9 percent drop in motor vehicle sales. Car sales were hurt by a disruption in supply among Japanese manufacturers following that country's devastating earthquake and tsunami in March.

According to The Associated Press, the overall decrease is "the first decline after 10 straight increases."

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8:22am

Tue June 14, 2011
The Two-Way

Arizona Fire About To Be State's Biggest Ever

Sunday, this butterfly hovered over some flowers even as smoke from the fire rose above the Lee Valley Recreational area in the Apache National Forest.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Good morning

As we've already reported, the morning-after analyses from last night's Republican presidential debate in New Hampshire are focusing on Rep. Michele Bachmann's announcement that she's officially entered the race, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney emerging "unscathed" and the general focus on criticism of President Obama rather than each other.

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7:45am

Tue June 14, 2011
The Two-Way

Republican Debate Highlights: Romney 'Unscathed,' Bachmann Jumps In

Left to right: Former Sen. Rick Santorum; Rep. Michele Bachmann; former House Speaker Newt Gingrich; former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney; Rep. Ron Paul; former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty; entrepreneur Herman Cain.
Emmanuel Dunand AFP/Getty Images

A few headlines and morning-after analyses of last night's seven-candidate Republican presidential debate in New Hampshire (which was live-blogged over at It's All Politics):

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7:26am

Tue June 14, 2011
The Two-Way

VIDEO: Obama Adds To Pressure On Rep. Weiner To Resign

June 6, 2011: Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) admits to inappropriate Internet exchanges and lying about them.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

The news broke last evening — President Obama thinks Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) should step aside.

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3:48pm

Mon June 13, 2011
The Two-Way

Investigation Into Alleged Mistreatment Of Detainees At Crucial Point

One of the country's most sensitive federal criminal investigations has reached a critical stage, NPR's Carrie Johnson tells us.

She reports that a grand jury in Virginia is hearing secret testimony in the two-year-old inquiry into the alleged mistreatment of detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan, and that federal prosecutor John Durham has begun issuing subpoenas for witnesses to appear.

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3:29pm

Mon June 13, 2011
The Two-Way

Daniel Ellsberg Expected Life In Prison After Leaking Pentagon Papers

Originally published on Mon June 13, 2011 6:40 pm

Daniel Ellsberg; Jan. 16, 2010.
Frederick M. Brown Getty Images

Forty years after he saw them start appearing in newspapers, the man who leaked the Pentagon Papers sounds somewhat surprised that he isn't sitting in a prison cell.

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2:30pm

Mon June 13, 2011
The Two-Way

Blimp Pilot Saved Passengers, Died In Fiery Crash, Witnesses Say

Germany's BILD captured the dramatic scene as the blimp burst into flames and crashed.
BILD

"A Goodyear blimp in Germany caught on fire and crashed on Sunday, killing the pilot while three passengers escaped," The Akron Beacon Journal reports.

And stories from the scene paint a picture of heroism.

As MSNBC writes:

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1:05pm

Mon June 13, 2011
The Two-Way

WWII-Era B-17 Bomber Crashes In Illinois; Seven On Board Said To Be OK

"A vintage World War II bomber crashed and burned in a field southeast of Aurora Municipal [Ill.] Airport this morning," the Chicago Tribune writes, "but the seven people on board escaped without injury, according to aviation officials."

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12:25pm

Mon June 13, 2011
The Two-Way

Clang! 'Miami Herald' Runs Ad Congratulating NBA's Heat

Oops.
Courtesy of Miami New Times

These things happen. But they're still funny (or not, we guess, depending on your team allegiance):

This morning, "Miami Herald readers opened their paper to find a nearly full-page ad reading 'Congratulations Miami!' next to photos of Heat championship T-shirts and hats from Macy's," writes Tim Elfrink at Miami New Times' Riptide 2.0 blog.

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11:56am

Mon June 13, 2011
The Two-Way

Report: $6.6B Meant For Iraq May Be 'Largest Theft' In U.S. History

July 21, 2003: A former Iraqi Army officer holds his military I.D. and an emergency cash payment of $80.
Scott Nelson Getty Images

Four paragraphs into a story in today's Los Angeles Times about the flood of reconstruction money that the U.S. poured into Iraq in 2003 and 2004, and $6.6 billion of it that remains unaccounted for, is this stunner:

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10:36am

Mon June 13, 2011
The Two-Way

'Rapture' Preacher Harold Camping Suffers Stroke

Harold Camping speaks during a taping of his show Open Forum in Oakland, Calif., on Monday (May 23, 2011).
Marcio Jose Sanchez AP

The radio preacher who warned the world that the Rapture would begin on May 21 is in the hospital after suffering a stroke.

Harold Camping, 89, was taken ill last Thursday evening at his Alameda, Calif., home, the Oakland Tribune reported over the weekend.

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9:31am

Mon June 13, 2011
The Two-Way

No 'Gotcha' Moments In Palin Emails

Hindsight is 20-20.

And in hindsight, we're glad we haven't invested a lot of time in the thousands of emails from Sarah Palin's time as governor of Alaska (beyond a post that said the emails would be released and another on the day they were about the news media's rush to read them).

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8:15am

Mon June 13, 2011
The Two-Way

40 Years Later, Pentagon Papers Being Declassified; Go Online Today

Head over to the National Archives website at noon ET if you're interested in reading the Pentagon Papers in all their 7,000-page glory.

Specifically, click on this url: http://www.archives.gov/research/pentagon-papers/.

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7:50am

Mon June 13, 2011
The Two-Way

Reports: E Street Band Saxophonist Clarence Clemons Suffers Stroke

Clarence Clemons during a 2002 show in East Rutherford, N.J.
Frank Micelotta Getty Images

The Big Man, saxophonist Clarence Clemons of Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band, has suffered a stroke and is seriously ill, The Associated Press and Rolling Stone say they have confirmed.

The news was first reported at ShowBiz411.com.

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7:36am

Mon June 13, 2011

7:54am

Sun June 12, 2011
The Two-Way

First Post-Shooting Photos Of Rep. Giffords Released

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, in a recent photo. It was posted on her Facebook page earlier today (June 12, 2011).
Facebook.com/GabrielleGiffords

A smiling Rep. Gabrielle Giffords can be seen this morning in the first photos released of the Arizona Democrat's face since she was shot in the head on Jan. 8.

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5:43pm

Fri June 10, 2011
The Two-Way

'I Tried Not To Think About The Possibilities,' Says American Held In Syria

Pathik Root.
Amanda Steen NPR

Pathik Root had been in Syria just 10 days when he stopped on March 18 to watch as one of the first protests against the regime of President Bashar Assad broke out in Damascus.

Within seconds after he pulled his BlackBerry from a pocket, he was in the hands of Syrian security. Quickly, he was put in the back of an SUV and whisked away.

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1:45pm

Fri June 10, 2011
The Two-Way

Brilliant News: Light Bulb That's Been Burning Since 1901 Is Still On

The Centennial Bulb. Click the link to be taken to the "BulbCam."
CentennialBulb.org

We trust no one is going to hit the switch between now and next Saturday (June 18) at Fire Station 6 in Livermore, Calif.

Not with the city's Centennial Bulb set to mark its 110th year in (almost) continuous use that day.

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1:21pm

Fri June 10, 2011
The Two-Way

Palin Emails Released; Now The Rush Is On To Read And Post Them

There's no news from them yet because the more than 24,000 pages of paper were just handed to reporters. But here's the latest:

"JUNEAU, Alaska — Alaska officials have released thousands of pages of emails sent and received by Sarah Palin [R] during her first 21 months as governor." (The Associated Press)

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12:05pm

Fri June 10, 2011
The Two-Way

Hang On, Some Relief From Heat Is Coming

The 6- to 10-day outlook.
National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center

Welcome news for many:

"As promised earlier this week, a cold front will bring some heat relief to much of the Midwest and Northeast as we end the week and enter the weekend," The Weather Channel says.

But, it also cautions that "you may have to pay a price, as this same front will hang around these regions, instigating a persistent 'stormy zone.' "

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