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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4:30pm

Wed April 27, 2011
The Two-Way

Weary Of The Pressure, The Voice Of The Triple Crown Races Walks Away

It's called the "most exciting 2 minutes in sports."

But the Kentucky Derby — and the months surrounding that race and the other two legs of the Triple Crown series — were an incredibly stressful part of Tom Durkin's life.

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2:10pm

Wed April 27, 2011
The Two-Way

Royal Reality: Law, Not Just Order Of Birth, Determines Succession

As Friday's big wedding in London has drawn near, we (and perhaps you) have been refreshing our memories about how things are done when it comes to royalty.

For instance, what is the line of succession and how does it work?

It's certainly well known that Prince Charles, the eldest son of Queen Elizabeth, is next in line to the throne.

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12:45pm

Wed April 27, 2011
The Two-Way

Federal Reserve: Economy Continues To Recover At 'Moderate Pace'

"The economic recovery is proceeding at a moderate pace and overall conditions in the labor market are improving gradually," policymakers at the Federal Reserve just reported.

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11:20am

Wed April 27, 2011
The Two-Way

Rep. Giffords Walks, With Help, On To Plane For Flight To Florida

There's new video — shot from quite far away — from Houston's KTRK-TV of what the station says is Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) walking up the steps of a small passenger jet this morning for a flight to Florida.

KHOU-TV in Houston reports that Giffords was "guided by a second person" as she boarded.

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11:04am

Wed April 27, 2011
The Two-Way

DEBATE: Is The 'Birthers' Issue Settled?

With this morning's release of President Obama's "long-form" birth certificate, a question occurs:

Is this going to settle once and for all the questions that those in the so-called birthers movement kept raising?

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9:04am

Wed April 27, 2011
The Two-Way

Obama's 'Certificate Of Live Birth' Released By The White House

The White House just released President Obama's "long-form birth certificate," NPR's Scott Horsley reports.

CBS News' Mark Knoller has posted a photo of the document (presumably a copy of the original) on his twitpic page.

Scott tells us an image of the document will be posted at WhiteHouse.gov shortly.

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8:50am

Wed April 27, 2011
The Two-Way

Arlington Graves Of Iraq And Afghanistan Vets Digitized By Teen

"Richard 'Ricky' Gilleland III — 11th-grader and Junior Future Business Leaders of America computer ace — has succeeded where the Army failed," the Los Angeles Times writes this morning. "He has created the only digitized record of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans laid to rest at Arlington [National Cemetery].

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7:45am

Wed April 27, 2011
The Two-Way

Reports: Bush's Iraq Ambassador To Be Next Ambassador To Afghanistan

The Associated Press, Washington Post and a few other news outlets are following up this morning on reporting done earlier this month by NPR's Tom Bowman about a shake-up in the Obama administration's national security team.

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4:25pm

Tue April 26, 2011
The Two-Way

Aflac Duck Finds His Voice In Minnesota

The new voice of the Aflac duck will be courtesy of a radio station sales manager from Minnesota.

Daniel McKeague, 36, has been chosen by the insurance giant as the replacement for comedian Gilbert Gottfried — who, you may recall, lost the job after making some offensive jokes related to the earthquake/tsunami disaster in Japan.

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4:00pm

Tue April 26, 2011
The Two-Way

Guantanamo Papers Reveal A Great Deal, Reporter Says

The previously secret documents released this week about the suspected terrorists that the U.S. has held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, reveal a lot about how that detention center works, says one of the journalists who has done some of the most extensive reporting about that facility since it began receiving prisoners in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

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3:15pm

Tue April 26, 2011
The Two-Way

Katie Couric Makes It Official: She's Leaving 'CBS Evening News'

We've known she was going to go for several weeks.

Now, Katie Couric has confirmed — to People magazine — that "I have decided to step down from the CBS Evening News."

"What's next for the 32-year broadcast veteran?" People asks"

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2:55pm

Tue April 26, 2011
The Two-Way

Taliban's Mass Escape Was Long In The Planning; Here's How It Was Done

Time, patience "and most likely, inside help."

Those were some of the keys to the Taliban's successful break into a prison in Kandahar, Afghanistan, which was followed Monday by the escape through a 1,000-foot tunnel of around 500 prisoners.

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1:40pm

Tue April 26, 2011
The Two-Way

Has The Last Typewriter Factory Closed? Not Really

Way back when we first got into the reporting business, an editor (or perhaps several), said that you'd better be absolutely, positively sure if you ever use phrases like "best ever" or "last ever" or "only one in the world."

You're almost surely going to be proved wrong, the crusty old newshounds would say.

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12:50pm

Tue April 26, 2011
The Two-Way

More Misery In Missouri: Levee Breached In Poplar Bluff; Region Drenched

The soaking continues from Arkansas northeast through Missouri and on to the Ohio River Valley.

In Poplar Bluff, Mo., "a levee keeping a swollen river from inundating a southeast Missouri town cracked in at least one place Tuesday," The Associated Press reports.

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11:54am

Tue April 26, 2011
The Two-Way

Suspect In Colorado Pipe Bomb Incident Arrested

The man wanted in connection to the discovery of a pipe bomb and two propane tanks at a Colorado shopping mall last week has been arrested in Boulder, The Denver Post reports.

It quotes law enforcement sources as saying that Earl Albert Moore, 65, was taken into custody at a supermarket.

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11:40am

Tue April 26, 2011
The Two-Way

Report: Justice Drops Probe Of Leaker Who Exposed Bush-Era Wiretapping

"The Justice Department has dropped its long-running criminal investigation of a lawyer who publicly admitted leaking information about President George W. Bush's top-secret warrantless wiretapping program to The New York Times," Politico reports.

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10:45am

Tue April 26, 2011
The Two-Way

Consumer Confidence Rose Slightly In April

There was a "modest gain" in consumer confidence this month, the private Conference Board just reported.

Its widely watched consumer confidence index edged up to 65.4 from 63.8 in March.

The increase was due in part to more optimism about the economy's short-term outlook and somewhat less concern among consumers about inflation — something that could change in coming months if gasoline prices continue their sharp upward trend.

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10:05am

Tue April 26, 2011
The Two-Way

Royal Wedding Washout? Heavy Rain May Force Some Changes

We may not get to see Prince William and Kate Middleton riding away from Westminster Abbey in an open carriage on Friday.

There's heavy rain in the forecast. And if that happens, "a closed-in [glass-covered] carriage is on standby" to take the newlyweds away, says The Telegraph.

Of course, the spectators lining the streets won't have such protection.

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9:25am

Tue April 26, 2011
The Two-Way

Home Prices Fall Further

"There is very little, if any, good news about housing. Prices continue to weaken, trends in sales and construction are disappointing," David M.

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8:50am

Tue April 26, 2011
The Two-Way

Ron Paul To Join 2012 White House Race Today

Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), the GOP congressman with "libertarian leanings, is expected to announce Tuesday in Des Moines that he's forming a presidential exploratory committee," The Des Moines Register writes.

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8:20am

Tue April 26, 2011
The Two-Way

'Small Circle' In Al-Qaida Plotted Post-Sept. 11 Attacks

News outlets continue to sift through the latest WikiLeaks documents to see what the previously secret U.S. files contain.

This morning:

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4:45pm

Mon April 25, 2011
The Two-Way

Report: U.S. And Allies Don't Know How Many Afghan Police Are On The Job

After nine years and more than $500 million in U.S taxpayers' funds, and another $700 million or so from other nations, Afghanistan's Ministry of Interior "cannot determine the actual number of personnel that work" for the country's National Police, the U.S. Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Restruction reported today.

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3:30pm

Mon April 25, 2011
The Two-Way

Mississippi Gov. Barbour Says He Won't Run For President

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (Nov. 2, 2010, file photo).
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Calling it a "difficult, personal decision" and saying that he had been encouraged by hundreds of people to run, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour just announced that he will not be a candidate for the GOP presidential nomination in 2012.

"A candidate for president today is embracing a 10-year commitment to an all-consuming effort, to the virtual exclusion of all else," Barbour added in a statment. "His (or her) supporters expect and deserve no less than absolute fire in the belly from their candidate. I cannot offer that with certainty, and total certainty is required."

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3:25pm

Mon April 25, 2011
The Two-Way

ElBaradei: Nuclear Nonproliferation System Is Broken

Established in 1970 with the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, the world's system for keeping nuclear weapons from spreading to other nations is now clearly broken, Mohamed ElBaradei, the former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency and a potential presidential contender in his native Egypt, tells Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep.

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2:20pm

Mon April 25, 2011
The Two-Way

'The T-Mobile Royal Wedding' Video: 11 Million Views And Counting

It isn't close to the nearly 65 million views that its inspiration — JK Wedding Entrance Dance — has collected since July 2009.

But The T-Mobile Royal Wedding has topped 11 million views in just 10 days. Not bad. And it's a nice bit of viral marketing for the cellphone company.

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1:25pm

Mon April 25, 2011
The Two-Way

'Awesome,' Rep. Giffords Says After Getting OK To Be At Shuttle Launch

Saying that "medically, there is no reason she could not travel safely to Florida to participate in this incredible event with her husband," the director of the neuroscience institute at Houston's TIRR Memorial Hermann Hospital confirmed today that Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) has been given the OK by her doctors to be at Friday's scheduled last launch of the space shuttle Endeavour.

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12:20pm

Mon April 25, 2011
The Two-Way

Lawmaker Drops Idea About Second-Hand Clothes; Critics Don't Notice

Back on April 15, our colleagues at Michigan Radio posted about state Sen. Bruce Caswell's proposal that the $80-a-year clothing allowance Michigan provides for a child in foster care only be eligible for use at thrift stores.

As Michigan Radio wrote:

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11:15am

Mon April 25, 2011
The Two-Way

White House Condemns Crackdown In Syria; Talks Of 'Targeted Sanctions'

This statement from National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor was just sent to reporters by the White House:

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10:55am

Mon April 25, 2011
The Two-Way

VIDEO: Tornado Roars Through St. Louis Airport Concourse

This is frightening. When a tornado struck Lambert-St. Louis International Airport Friday night, a security camera caught some amazing footage as things went flying in one concourse.

Amazingly, there were no deaths reported from the twister, which along with the extensive damage at the airport also destroyed up to 100 homes. Officials credit "early warnings, good timing and common sense," The Associated Press says.

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10:30am

Mon April 25, 2011
The Two-Way

Sales Of New Homes Rose 11.1 Percent In March

Sales of newly built homes rose 11.1 percent in March from February, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 300,000, the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development report.

Still, the pace is 21.9 percent below that of March 2010.

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