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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9:34am

Tue May 24, 2011
The Two-Way

Royal Watchers: This Picture's For You; Obamas Meet William And Kate

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama talked with Prince William, duke of Cambridge and Catherine, duchess of Cambridge at Buckingham Palace earlier today (May 24, 2011).
Toby Melville WPA Pool/Getty Images

The newlyweds met the American president and first lady today in Buckingham Palace.

Those would be Prince William and Catherine, the duchess of Cambridge (or Kate, as you may know her), talking with President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama. The Obamas also met Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, with whom they'll be dining this evening. And they're scheduled to sleep at Buckingham Palace tonight.

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9:01am

Tue May 24, 2011
The Two-Way

Saudi Woman Defies Ban On Driving While Female

Manal al-Sharif, some supporters say, is Saudi Arabia's Rosa Parks.
Facebook

One woman's effort to end the ban on her gender being able to drive in Saudi Arabia is catching attention around the world.

And on Morning Edition today, the editor of Jeddah's Saudi News said that Manal al-Sharif's campaign is gaining some traction in Saudi Arabia.

"More and more women will take up the wheel," Khalid al Moeena told ME guest host Mary Louise Kelly.

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8:23am

Tue May 24, 2011
The Two-Way

California Prison Doors Not Likely To Swing Open, Officials Say

Inside California's Chino State Prison.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

It's "not at all clear" that Monday's U.S. Supreme Court ruling ordering California to reduce its prison population by about 33,000 "means an opening of the prison gates" anytime soon, NPR's Richard Gonzales reported today on Morning Edition.

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7:51am

Tue May 24, 2011
The Two-Way

'Rapture' Prophet Camping: Did I Say May 21? I Should Have Said Oct. 21

He says he's not going to talk about Judgment Day anymore and that his Family Radio network will now focus on Christian music and related programs.

Oh, and religious broadcaster Harold Camping also now insists that the world will be destroyed on Oct. 21, The San Francisco Chronicle reports.

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4:16pm

Mon May 23, 2011
The Two-Way

Joplin Tornado: The View From Space

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

The heart-breaking photos are those being taken on the ground today, of course, and there is a gallery of shots on the NPR.org homefront of the devastation in Joplin, Mo., where a tornado ripped through on Sunday — killing, it's feared, more than 100 people.

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3:11pm

Mon May 23, 2011
The Two-Way

Obama To Leave Ireland Early To Avoid Ash In Air From Icelandic Volcano

An image released by the the European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites earlier today (May 23, 2011) shows how the ash from Iceland (at top left) is heading toward Europe.
EUMETSAT AFP/Getty Images

For the second year in a row, President Obama's travel plans have been disrupted by volcanic eruptions in Iceland.

The White House announced a short time ago that instead of departing Dublin for London on Tuesday, Air Force One will take the president and his aides to London tonight.

Deputy press secretary Josh Earnest issued a statement saying that the change in schedule is "due to a recent change in the trajectory in the plume of volcanic ash."

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2:22pm

Mon May 23, 2011
The Two-Way

CNN's John King: I Didn't So Much Catch As Knock Down Ortiz's 300th

If you're a news junkie and you look close at the fans atop Fenway Park's Green Monster on Saturday evening after the Red Sox' David Ortiz smacked his 300th career home run, you might spot a familiar face. (Video here.)

It seems that the guy who caught the ball was CNN's John King.

Or, rather, he sort of got in the ball's way:

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2:01pm

Mon May 23, 2011
The Two-Way

Tornado Forecasting Still A Short-Term Science

In late April, deadly tornadoes killed several hundred people in the Southeast. Twisters have been striking, as they do this time of year, across much of the eastern half of the U.S.

And then last night, the city of Joplin, Mo., was crushed by a twister that leveled homes and other buildings and killed at least 89 people as it tore through the area.

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10:23am

Mon May 23, 2011
The Two-Way

NYC's Ban On Outdoor Smoking Takes Effect, Companies Push 'Smokeless'

New York City's much-anticipated ban on smoking in many outdoor spaces, including, as The Village Voice says, "beaches, parks and plazas ... Central Park, Yankee Stadium, the Coney Island boardwalk and so on — or everywhere it's fun to smoke," goes into effect today.

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9:04am

Mon May 23, 2011
The Two-Way

Suspect Arrested In Beating Of Giants Fan; Key Tip Came From Parole Officer

"Giovanni Ramirez, a stocky 31-year-old with a head shaved bald," was arrested by Los Angeles police yesterday in connection with the March 31 beating of a San Francisco Giants fan following the Opening Day game between the Giants and the Los Angeles Dodgers.

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8:26am

Mon May 23, 2011
The Two-Way

'Rapture' Prophet Harold Camping Says He Had 'A Really Tough Weekend'

When you famously predict that Judgment Day will come on May 21, and it doesn't, what do you say for yourself?

"It has been a really tough weekend," 89-year-old radio preacher Harold Camping told The San Francisco Chronicle on Sunday.

He's "flabbergasted" that The Rapture hasn't begun.

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8:00am

Mon May 23, 2011
The Two-Way

VIDEO: Horrifying Scramble To Safety As Tornado Crushed Joplin Store

We're hearing and reading words such as "war zone," "atomic bomb" and "devastation" this morning about the effects of a tornado that roared through Joplin, Mo., Sunday night.

The death toll, already a grim 89, is expected to exceed 100, the local Joplin Globe reports.

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7:29am

Sun May 22, 2011
The Two-Way

Indiana Gov. Daniels Won't Be Running For President

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, in 2003 when he was director of the Office of Management.
Stefan Zaklin Getty Images

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels announced early Sunday that he will not be going after the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.

The Associated Press reports that in an e-mail sent to supporters just after midnight, Daniels said that as he debated whether to run or not, "I was able to resolve every competing consideration but one. The interests and wishes of my family, is the most important consideration of all. If I have disappointed you, I will always be sorry."

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7:01am

Sat May 21, 2011
The Two-Way

Judgment Day? Not According To The Evidence

Despite the warnings, in Manila today life seemed to go on.
Noel Celis AFP/Getty Images

Earthquakes of unprecedented magnitude? No.

Headlines about disasters in places where day has already turned into night? No, no and no.

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3:00pm

Fri May 20, 2011
The Two-Way

Interim IMF Chief Says Strauss-Kahn's '08 Affair Was 'Serious Breach'

Since Dominique Strauss-Kahn was arrested last weekend for an alleged sexual assault on a Manhattan hotel maid, there's been attention paid to the culture at the International Monetary Fund, which he headed.

Today's New York Times includes this headline: "At I.M.F., Men On Prowl And Women On Guard."

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2:11pm

Fri May 20, 2011
The Two-Way

Reports: Pro Wrestler 'Macho Man' Randy Savage Has Died

"Macho Man" Randy Savage in 2003.
Frank Micelotta Getty Images

Fox News says it has confirmed that pro wrestling superstar "Macho Man" Randy Savage "died after having a heart attack while driving his Jeep Wrangler," in Tampa Bay.

The local Bay News 9 adds that:

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2:03pm

Fri May 20, 2011
The Two-Way

At White House, Netanyahu Calls '67 Border Lines 'Indefensible'

One day after President Obama said the U.S. wants Israel's pre-1967 war borders to be the basis for Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu repeated his opposition to that position. Obama, meanwhile, said he still believes "it is possible to shape a deal."

The two leaders met at the White House.

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12:39pm

Fri May 20, 2011
The Two-Way

Update: The Rapture Supposedly Starts Tonight

May 13: A believer walks through the streets of Manhattan.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

We thought there was more time to get ready for the Judgment Day that evangelical radio broadcaster Harold Camping predicts is coming on Saturday.

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9:00am

Fri May 20, 2011
The Two-Way

Support For Gay Marriage Tops 50 Percent For First Time In Gallup's Polling

The dark line shows support for same-sex marriage.
Gallup.com

A slight majority (53 percent) of Americans now "believe same-sex marriage should be recognized by the law as valid," Gallup reports this morning.

It's the first time since it began asking about gay marriage in 1996, the polling organization says, that more than half of those polled have felt that way.

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8:40am

Fri May 20, 2011
The Two-Way

From 'Nothing New' To 'Major Shift:' Views Of Obama's '67 Borders Policy

President Obama, during his address at the State Department on Thursday (May 19, 2011).
Jim Watson AFP/Getty Images

Few things are dissected as carefully and debated as passionately as the words said by a U.S. president about the Middle East peace process.

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8:04am

Fri May 20, 2011
The Two-Way

Lance Armstrong: '20+ Year Career ... Never A Failed Test ... I Rest My Case'

Lance Armstrong, at a race in Australia in January.
Mark Gunter AFP/Getty Images

Cycling superstar Lance Armstrong has, as he often does, used the Web (and in particular his Twitter page) to respond to the latest allegation that he used a performance-enhancing drug when he was competing:

"20+ year career. 500 drug controls worldwide, in and out of competition. Never a failed test. I rest my case."

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4:07pm

Thu May 19, 2011
The Two-Way

Bail Set At $1 Million For Former IMF Chief Strauss-Kahn

A judge in New York City just set bail at $1 million and ordered home detention for former International Monetary Fund Director Dominque Strauss-Kahn, who has been indicted on charges that he sexually assaulted a hotel maid in Manhattan last weekend.

The Associated Press and Reuters say Strauss-Kahn has also been placed under round-the-clock detention, in the U.S., with electronic monitoring.

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3:56pm

Thu May 19, 2011
The Two-Way

Netanyahu Objects To Obama's Talk Of A Return To '67 Borders

"Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said on Thursday [that] Israel would object to any withdrawal to 'indefensible' borders," Israel's Jerusalem Post reports.

The newspaper adds that "in a statement after President Barack Obama's speech outlining Middle East strategy, Netanyahu said before heading to Washington [to see Obama on Friday] that 'the viability of a Palestinian state cannot come at the expense of Israel's existence.' "

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2:52pm

Thu May 19, 2011
The Two-Way

Can't A Zombie Get A Break? Now The CDC's On Their Case

Originally published on Thu February 14, 2013 2:01 pm

We're researchers. May we ask you a few questions? (A "zombie" photographed on Oct. 31, 2010, in San Jose, Costa Rica.)
Yuri Cortez AFP/Getty Images

When we saw that our Shots blog buddy Scott Hensley had posted about the "zombie apocalypse" tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we had this nagging feeling. Hadn't some other respected researchers decided that picking on the undead was the way to go when trying to talk about a serious issue in a humorous way?

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2:01pm

Thu May 19, 2011
The Two-Way

Dr. Jack Kevorkian In Hospital

"Assisted suicide crusader Jack Kevorkian was readmitted to the hospital last night because of a recurring kidney condition and pneumonia," his lawyer tells the Detroit Free Press.

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11:02am

Thu May 19, 2011
The Two-Way

President Obama's Middle East Speech: Live-Blog

President Obama is today giving his first major address aimed at the Muslim world and the Middle East since the Arab Spring movement swept aside regimes in Egypt and Tunisia, and rocked governments in Libya, Yemen and elsewhere in the region.

We're live-blogging in this post before, during and immediately after the address (which is scheduled to begin at 11:40 a.m. ET.). There's no need for you to refresh; this page will do that for you every two minutes.

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10:02am

Thu May 19, 2011
The Two-Way

'Judgment Day' Entrepreneurs And Pranksters Are Revved Up For Saturday

New York City, May 13: Some believers expressed their views on the streets of Manhattan.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

If you haven't heard by now, there's still time to do whatever you think you need to do to get ready.

For Judgment Day on Saturday, that is.

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8:49am

Thu May 19, 2011
The Two-Way

Secret Service Apologizes For Tweet About Fox News' 'Blathering'

Twitter

"Had to monitor Fox for a story. Can't. Deal. With. The. Blathering."

When that appeared on the U.S. Secret Service's official Twitter account on Wednesday it was immediately retweeted by many of the agency's 20,000+ Twitter followers and screengrabs were quickly captured before — as you might expect — it was quickly deleted.

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8:19am

Thu May 19, 2011
The Two-Way

Giffords 'Recovering Well' After Skull Surgery

The surgery Wednesday to put a patch on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' skull went as planned and the Arizona Democrat is "recovering well," according to officials at the Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center. That's the Houston hospital where she is getting rehabilitation treatment for the gunshot wound she suffered during a Jan.

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7:56am

Thu May 19, 2011
The Two-Way

Obama's Middle East Speech: Stakes Are High

Good morning.

The day's major story looks to be President Obama's late-morning address about the United States' relationship with the Muslim World.

As Alan Greenblatt writes for NPR.org, the president "will attempt partially to close the gap between U.S. ideals about democracy and its strategic interests in the Middle East and North Africa. It won't be easy."

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