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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11:09am

Fri May 13, 2011
The Two-Way

Nervous Because It's Friday The 13th? We May Be Able To Help

The calendar says it's Friday the 13th — the only one we encounter this year.

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9:36am

Fri May 13, 2011
The Two-Way

'Situation Room Meme' Continues: This Time, All The Men Are Removed

FreeWilliamsburg.com

The "Situation Room photo" and the things that clever folks are doing with it have taken on lives of their own since the White House released the image of President Obama and his top advisors anxiously monitoring events on the day U.S. commandos killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

As Know Your Meme says, it's "a photoshopping trend."

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8:58am

Fri May 13, 2011
The Two-Way

Meghan McCain To Glenn Beck: 'Shut Up About My Body'

MyStyle.com

On his radio show Wednesday, conservative broadcaster Glenn Beck thought it would be funny if he pretended to be vomiting as he watched a public service ad featuring Meghan McCain, daughter of 2008 GOP presidential nominee Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).

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8:49am

Fri May 13, 2011
The Two-Way

Gasoline Pushed Inflation Rate Higher In April

The prices consumers pay for goods and services went up 0.4 percent last month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says, as higher costs for gasoline pushed the inflation rate up.

In the past year, BLS added, consumer prices are up 3.2 percent.

According to BLS, higher prices for gasoline accounted "for almost half" of the overall increase last month.

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8:06am

Fri May 13, 2011
The Two-Way

Key Republican: Success In Afghanistan May Mean Including Taliban

Corporal Daniel Wheeler, Bravo Co. 1/5 Marines, walks through a waist high wheat field on a patrol in Sangin District near the Helmand River in southern Afghanistan earlier this month.
David Gilkey NPR

Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN) is a leading Republican voice on foreign policy and someone who Democratic President Barack Obama listens to.

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3:28pm

Thu May 12, 2011
The Two-Way

Flashes Light Up Sky Over Fort Worth; See The Video

Brian Luenser

Two posts about lightning in one day may be more than we need, but this view of what happened in Fort Worth, Texas, on Tuesday is too interesting not to pass along.

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2:57pm

Thu May 12, 2011
The Two-Way

Mary Tyler Moore To Have Elective Brain Surgery To Remove Benign Tumor

Actress Mary Tyler Moore in July 2009.
Astrid Stawiarz Getty Images

There were tabloid rumors in recent years that actress Mary Tyler Moore had been diagnosed as having a benign tumor, called a meningioma, in the membranes that cover her brain.

Today, as People magazine first reported, the 74-year-old star's publicist announced that she has "decided to proceed with [a] fairly routine procedure" to have it removed. There's no word yet on when the surgery will be done.

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2:04pm

Thu May 12, 2011
The Two-Way

VIDEOS: Lightning Strikes Jumbo Jets

A Quantas jet was hit by this lightning strike in 2004. The plane landed safely.
YouTube

There's been a fair amount of attention today given to a story and video posted by the Daily Mail because it shows an Emirates Airbus A380, with 500 or so people aboard, being struck by lightning as it landed at London's Heathrow Airport last month.

It is pretty compelling.

No one was hurt. And as the Daily Mail explains, passenger jets are designed to handle such strikes.

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1:15pm

Thu May 12, 2011
The Two-Way

Now We Know: Donald Trump's Hair Care Secrets

Donald Trump on April 27, 2011, in Portsmouth, N.H.
Matthew Cavanaugh Getty Images

Leave it to Rolling Stone to get to the root, so to speak, of a question that's been on the minds of some Americans for a couple decades now:

How does developer/reality TV personality/would-be politician Donald Trump get his hair to do that?

Well, Trump says it's not a comb-over.

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12:22pm

Thu May 12, 2011
The Two-Way

Inhofe Adds Details About What's Shown In Bin Laden Death Photos

[Note: If graphic descriptions of fatal wounds bother you, this post might be disturbing.]

The first member of Congress to be shown post-mortem photos of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden tells Politico that "it was hard to tell if the bullet went through his ear and out the eye socket or vice versa. ... There was head matter, appearing to be brains, coming out of the socket."

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11:23am

Thu May 12, 2011
The Two-Way

Tiger Woods Withdraws After Nine Holes At Players Championship

Tiger Woods talked with reporters after withdrawing from The Players Championship this morning.
Streeter Lecka Getty Images

Tiger Woods' bid to once again be the world's best golfer suffered another setback today.

He walked off the course after nine holes at The Players Championship in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., this morning.

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10:50am

Thu May 12, 2011
The Two-Way

Jim Lehrer Stepping Away From Anchor Role On 'PBS NewsHour'

Jim Lehrer, when he moderated the the first 2008 presidential debate, at the University of Mississippi.
David McNew Getty Images

After 36 years anchoring the PBS NewsHour in its various forms, Jim Lehrer is stepping aside.

But he won't be leaving completely.

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9:58am

Thu May 12, 2011
The Two-Way

As Tornadoes Closed In, Air Traffic Controllers Stayed At Their Stations

After all the attention given to air traffic controllers caught sleeping on the job in recent months, it only seems fair to point to this report from ABC News that tells how controllers at the Atlanta Air Route Traffic Control Center in Hampton, Ga., stayed at their work stations on April 27 to

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9:05am

Thu May 12, 2011
The Two-Way

Obama: 'Time For Companies To Step Up' And Bet On American Workers

CBS News

"It is time for companies to step up," President Obama said Wednesday during a town hall hosted by CBS News that's been broadcast this morning on The Early Show.

American taxpayers, he said, helped bail out several industries in 2008 and 2009.

"Companies have benefited from that, and they're making a lot of money," Obama said, "And now's the time for them to start betting on American workers and American products."

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8:42am

Thu May 12, 2011
The Two-Way

Sales Rise Modestly; Jobless Claims Dip; Wholesale Prices Spike

Three more pieces of the economic puzzle were just released:

-- Inflation: The Bureau of Labor Statistics says wholesale prices rose 0.8 percent in April from March, but were up a more modest 0.3 percent if you exclude food and energy costs (which economists do to gauge the underlying inflation pressures, not because they think food and energy costs don't matter).

In the past 12 months, wholesale prices have gone up a sharp 6.8 percent, BLS says.

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8:10am

Thu May 12, 2011
The Two-Way

Reports: Bin Laden's Notes Show Preoccupation With Killing Americans

An image from an undated video released by the Department of Defense on May 7, 2011. Videos of Osama bin Laden and other materials were seized during the raid on his compound in Pakistan, during which the al-Qaida leader was killed by U.S. commandos.
AFP/Getty Images

There's more being reported this morning about what's said to be in notebooks written by Osama bin Laden. His writings, sources tell The Washington Post and Los Angeles Times, add to the evidence that al-Qaida's leader was obsessed with attacking the U.S.

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10:57am

Wed May 11, 2011
The Two-Way

Now It's 'Bronx Zoo Peacock' Who Is On The Loose

Keep your eye out for somebody like this. (Circa 1900 illustration.)
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Fans of the "Bronx Zoo Cobra," who became something of a trending topic on Twitter back in March when she went missing for a while, will want to know that there's now a "Bronx Zoo Peacock" on the loose.

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9:57am

Wed May 11, 2011
The Two-Way

Al Jazeera Says Syria Has Sent Reporter Dorothy Parvaz To Iran

Al-Jazeera says it "has been given information that journalist Dorothy Parvaz has been deported from Syria to Iran."

As we reported last Thursday, Parvaz went missing on April 29 after she arrived in Damascus to report for Al-Jazeera about the ongoing protests against the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

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9:45am

Wed May 11, 2011
The Two-Way

Navy Reverses; Will Not Allow Chaplains To Preside At Same-Sex Weddings

After objections from some lawmakers, the U.S. Navy has decided not to follow through with plans to allow its chaplains to preside at same-sex marriages and civil union ceremonies after the rule banning gays from openly serving in the military is fully lifted.

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8:38am

Wed May 11, 2011
The Two-Way

Across The Delta, Folks 'Watch In Awe' As Rivers Rise

The destructive power of the "slow-moving wall of water" rolling south from Illinois to Louisiana, as NPR's Scott Neuman writes, is hard to capture in words. It's something that has to be seen to be fully understood.

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8:05am

Wed May 11, 2011
The Two-Way

AP Poll Puts Obama's Approval At Two-Year High

President Obama, during a Democratic National Committee event in Austin, Texas, on Tuesday (May 10, 2011).
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

"President Barack Obama's approval rating has hit its highest point in two years — 60 percent — and more than half of Americans now say he deserves to be re-elected, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll taken after U.S. forces killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden."

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7:37am

Wed May 11, 2011
The Two-Way

Report: Bin Laden Was Killed 'Relatively Early' In Raid

Among the evidence seized at bin Laden's compound were videos — including one showing the al-Qaida leader watching TV. The Pentagon released this image from one of the videos on May 7, 2011.
AFP/Getty Images

Osama bin Laden was dead about 20 minutes after U.S. commandos landed at his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, last week "a U.S. official" has told CBS News' David Martin.

The official, saying that the al-Qaida leader was killed "relatively early" in the operation, tells CBS that members of the Navy SEAL team spent about half the 40 minutes they were at the compound collecting computers, hard drives, thumb drives and other evidence about bin Laden's terrorist network.

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3:51pm

Tue May 10, 2011
The Two-Way

'No Way Out' For Syrian Regime, Prominent Dissident Says

The escalating crackdown that has meant an increasing number of deaths is not going to stop the Syrian people from continuing to protest against the regime of President Bashar Assad, a prominent Syrian writer and dissident tells All Things Considered host Robert Siegel.

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2:48pm

Tue May 10, 2011
The Two-Way

Secret Service Starts To Share (A Little) On Twitter

We were hoping (but not really expecting) to go there and find something like this:

#VPOTUS cracks us up. But one more Amtrak story and we're putting in for overtime. Special Agent training doesn't prepare you for that!

Alas, the new U.S. Secret Service Twitter page is focusing on serious subjects.

It went live on Monday with tweets such as these:

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1:50pm

Tue May 10, 2011
The Two-Way

Bin Laden Son Who Rejects Violence Condemns Father's 'Arbitrary Killing'

Saying that "arbitrary killing is not a solution to political problems," an adult son of Osama bin Laden has condemned his father's killing.

The statement from 30-year-old Omar bin Laden, which was sent to The New York Times, is said to be on behalf of himself and other adult sons of the al-Qaida leader, the Times reports.

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11:11am

Tue May 10, 2011
The Two-Way

News Media, Advocacy Groups Press For Release Of Bin Laden Photos

A still image from video released Saturday (May 7, 2011) by the US Department of Defense shows Osama bin Laden. The video was obtained during the raid on bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
AFP/Getty Images

President Obama decided last week that post-mortem photos of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden would not be released because they might pose a national security risk. They could be used as "an incitement to additional violence or as a propaganda tool," he told CBS News' 60 Minutes.

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9:20am

Tue May 10, 2011
The Two-Way

Analysts: Microsoft Will Build Skype Into All Sorts Of Products

Now that it's been confirmed that Microsoft is buying Skype for $8.5 billion, a couple questions arise:

Where does Skype fit into Microsoft's plans?

And will Microsoft succeed where Skype hasn't so far — by making money from the Internet telephone service? Or is that not the point?

A few earlier analyses:

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8:45am

Tue May 10, 2011
The Two-Way

Japanese Prime Minister Gives Up His Salary

Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan said today that he is giving up his $20,200 a month salary "until the crisis at the Fukushima nuclear power plant is brought under control," Kyodo News reports.

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8:13am

Tue May 10, 2011
The Two-Way

U.S. Was 'Braced For Fights' With Pakistanis, 'New York Times' Reports

"President Obama insisted that the assault force hunting down Osama bin Laden last week be large enough to fight its way out of Pakistan if confronted by hostile local police officers and troops," The New York Times writes this morning, citing anonymous "senior administration and military officials" as its sources.

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3:45pm

Mon May 9, 2011
The Two-Way

Taxidermy: A Way To Keep From Wasting 'What Nature Had Given Us'

Some sports and hobbies don't get much coverage in the national media.

Taxidermy and the competitions among its enthusiasts certainly don't.

Today, All Things Considered host Melissa Block talked with Larry Blomquist, editor of Breakthrough magazine ("devoted to the serious wildlife arts") and organizer of the World Taxidermy & Fish Carving Championships, which just wrapped up in St. Charles, Mo.

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