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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2:19pm

Wed April 20, 2011
The Two-Way

Kindle Readers Will Be Able To Borrow From Libraries

Kindle e-readers will soon be able to borrow books from 11,000 libraries across the U.S., Amazon announced today.

According to the company, later this year:

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11:45am

Wed April 20, 2011
The Two-Way

Obama Outburst? Aggressive Reporter? See Complete Interview And Decide

Since Politico labeled it "the outburst heard 'round the world" and Matt Drudge declared that for the "first time" a reporter had been "aggressive with Obama," we've been wondering just what did happen when Brad Watson of WFAA-TV in Dallas/Fort Worth sat down with the president on Monday.

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10:15am

Wed April 20, 2011
The Two-Way

Sales Of Existing Homes Rose 3.7 Percent In March

There was a 3.7 percent rise in sales of previously owned homes in March from February, the National Association of Realtors reports.

Still, at a 5.1 million annual rate, sales remained 6.3 percent below the level of March 2010.

And the increase from February was driven in part by investors and others who snapped up bargain-priced foreclosed homes, not by a return to the market by first-time buyers. According to NAR:

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9:00am

Wed April 20, 2011
The Two-Way

3-D Porn Film Beats Hong Kong Box Office Record Set By 'Avatar'

Blue creatures in 3-D can't quite keep up with a 3-D blue movie at the box office in Hong Kong, apparently.

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8:35am

Wed April 20, 2011
The Two-Way

'Elevated' And 'Imminent' Will Replace Color-Coded Terror Alert Levels

The long-anticipated reworking of the nation's terror alert system gets its formal introduction today when Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano announces that the five color codes used since the early years of the George W. Bush administration are being replaced by two phrases:

-- Elevated Threat: which "warns of a credible terrorist threat against the United States."

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8:10am

Wed April 20, 2011
The Two-Way

Year Later, Gulf Still Recovering From Spill

Good morning.

One year ago today, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico. Eleven workers were killed and the worst oil spill in U.S. history took months to contain.

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7:35am

Wed April 20, 2011
The Two-Way

CIA Reveals Its Six Oldest Classified Documents; Now We Can All Read Them

They're not exactly sexy. You won't come away after reading them feeling like you're James Bond.

And you'll need some milk.

But it is fascinating that the Central Intelligence Agency has "declassified the United States Government's six oldest classified documents, dating from 1917 and 1918," it says.

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3:10pm

Tue April 19, 2011
The Two-Way

After 35 Years, Woman Regains Her Voice; Now, She Has 'So Much' To Say

"There's so much that I have inside of me that I wanted to get out," Jan Christian of Alexandria, Ky., told All Things Considered host Michele Norris today.

Now she can.

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1:20pm

Tue April 19, 2011
The Two-Way

Houston Kindergartner Reportedly Brings Gun To School; Three Injured

Details are still coming in from Houston, where the Chronicle's main headline at this moment is "Kindergartner's Gun Injured 3 At Houston School."

Local TV station KPRC says that "three children were injured [this morning] when a gun brought to an elementary school by a 6-year-old discharged."

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1:03pm

Tue April 19, 2011
The Two-Way

Report: Job Growth In 47 States Over Past Year

Though the unemployment rates in most states changed little last month vs. February, the Bureau of Labor Statistics offers this additional data that signals there's been at least some improvement in the labor market over the longer term:

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11:05am

Tue April 19, 2011
The Two-Way

Though Fidel Castro Has Stepped Aside, Cuba's Old Guard Remains In Charge

"Raul Castro has been named first secretary of Cuba's Communist Party, with his aging brother Fidel not included in the party's leadership for the first time since its creation more than four decades ago," The Associated Press writes from Havana.

And, "despite raising hopes during the gathering that a new generation of leaders was poised to take up important positions, Raul announced Tuesday that 80-year-old longtime confidante Jose Ramon Machado Ventura would be his No. 2. The 78-year-old vice president Ramiro Valdes was named to the No. 3 spot."

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10:40am

Tue April 19, 2011
The Two-Way

Bureaucrats: Freeze Tag Is Risky; Tug Of War Isn't

Remember playing red rover when you were a kid? How about dodgeball? Or kickball?

Since you're reading this post, we assume you survived.

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9:35am

Tue April 19, 2011
The Two-Way

Housing Starts Rose In March

There was a 7.2 percent increase in housing starts last month, the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development report.

Starts were still down 13.4 percent from a year earlier, however.

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8:55am

Tue April 19, 2011
The Two-Way

Meet The New Beetle; Same (Or Close?) As The Old Beetle

Volkswagen is going after male buyers with its new, supposedly more masculine Beetle, NPR's Sonari Glinton reported on Morning Edition.

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8:10am

Tue April 19, 2011
The Two-Way

Should Air Traffic Controllers Be Allowed To Sleep During Their Breaks?

During his story today on Morning Edition about the half-dozen incidents in recent weeks when air traffic controllers were reportedly asleep on the job as passenger jets came in for late

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7:45am

Tue April 19, 2011
The Two-Way

S&P's Warning Was 'Shot Across The Bow' Aimed At Congress

Good morning.

There was word overnight, as we reported earlier, about the death of marathon great Grete Waitz of Norway. She was 57 and had battled cancer for many years.

As for other stories making headlines, they include:

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7:15am

Tue April 19, 2011
The Two-Way

Marathoner Grete Waitz Has Died; She Was 57

The day after the latest Boston Marathon, there's this sad news of note for runners around the world:

"Grete Waitz, the elite Norwegian runner who won nine New York City Marathons and a silver medal at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, died Tuesday after a six-year battle with cancer. She was 57." (The Associated Press)

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4:30pm

Thu April 14, 2011
The Two-Way

Royally Ridiculous: The Kate Middleton Jelly Bean

As if we all didn't know that the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton long ago jumped the shark into the land of ENOUGH ALREADY:

A guy in Somerset, England, says he has a jelly bean with an image of Kate on it.

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2:17pm

Thu April 14, 2011
The Two-Way

House OKs Budget Deal

Update at 5:56 p.m. ET: The United States Senate has just passed the budget deal by a vote of 81 to 19. Earlier, the House passed the deal agreed to by the White House and a group of bi-partisan legislators.

The legislation now moves to the White House where President Barack Obama is expected to sign it into law.

The AP reports that the bill's passage also marks the beginning of a brand new struggle:

Its passage closes the books on the current budget year.

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1:15pm

Thu April 14, 2011
The Two-Way

Haven't Done Your Taxes Yet? You're Certainly Not Alone

www.irs.gov

It's here. Friday is April 15. Tax Day.

Except that this year, Americans get an extra three days before they have to file their income tax returns. That's because of the Emancipation Day holiday in the District of Columbia, which honors the day that President Lincoln signed the Compensated Emancipation Act, which freed slaves in the nation's capital.

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11:05am

Thu April 14, 2011
The Two-Way

At Crippled Japanese Nuclear Plant: Sign Says 'Zero Disasters For This Year'

Two American reporters, John Glionna of the Los Angeles Times and Steve Herman from Voice of America, drove into the evacuation zone around Japan's crippled Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant on Wednesday and made it all the way to the facility's main gate.

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10:30am

Thu April 14, 2011
The Two-Way

FAA's Chief Of Air Traffic Control Has Resigned

The "sleeping air traffic controllers" revelations have cost the head of the Federal Aviation Administration's air traffic control unit his job.

"This morning I met with the head of our Air Traffic Organization, the part of the Federal Aviation Administration charged with operating our air traffic control system," FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt says in a statement the agency just posted online. "Hank Krakowski has submitted his resignation and I have accepted it."

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10:10am

Thu April 14, 2011
The Two-Way

'Spillionaires,' A Dirty Word From The Past, Is Back

"The oil spill that was once expected to bring economic ruin to the Gulf Coast appears to have delivered something entirely different: a gusher of money," ProPublica and The Washington Post report.

And as some people and companies in the region have tapped into the $16 billion spent — so far — by BP on cleanup and damage claims, a term that was coined back in 1989 after the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska has been resurrected:

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9:15am

Thu April 14, 2011
The Two-Way

Reports: White iPhone 4s Are Finally Coming

This is something many folks have been anxiously waiting to hear, because having an alternative to black is a big deal to some.

Bloomberg News says that:

"Apple Inc. will start selling a white version of its iPhone 4 in the next few weeks, following a delay of 10 months, according to three people with knowledge of the plans."

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8:44am

Thu April 14, 2011
The Two-Way

Wholesale Prices Up 0.7 Percent; Jobless Claims Rise

Two fresh economic indicators:

-- The number of people filing first-time claims for unemployment benefits rose by 27,000 last week, to 412,000, the Employment and Training Administration says. Claims had edged down the previous two weeks.

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8:30am

Thu April 14, 2011
The Two-Way

VIDEO: San Fran To Paris In Two Minutes, With An Aurora Borealis

If you haven't seen it yet, and have 120 seconds to spare, we recommend watching SF to Paris In Two Minutes, a clever creation from entrepreneur/artist/photographer Nate Bolt.

It has, as they say, gone viral since he put it on YouTube on April 1 — in part because of the cool views of an aurora borealis that he captured from his seat aboard an Air France flight.

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8:00am

Thu April 14, 2011
The Two-Way

More Air Traffic Controllers Caught Sleeping; FAA Vows To Fix Problem

Update at 10:35 a.m. ET. FAA Official Resigns:

Hank Krakowski, head of the Federal Aviation Administration's Air Traffic Organization has resigned. We've have more about that here.

Our original post:

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5:05pm

Wed April 13, 2011
The Two-Way

On The Lighter Side: As Obama Spoke, Biden Rested

ABC News' caught the "action" this afternoon as Vice President Biden appeared to nod off for a moment during President Obama's speech on deficit reduction.

And if you look closely, he wasn't the only one: the young woman behind and to his right does a bit of dozing herself.

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3:50pm

Wed April 13, 2011
The Two-Way

From Misurata: Video Of A Father's Desperate 'Dash To Hospital'

One of the cities in Libya where it's known that fighting has been fierce and that forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi have not spared civilians, is Misurata.

From Britain's ITVNews comes a revealing video report by correspondent John Irvine and photographer Sean Sean. They got to Misurata aboard an aid ship, and were there to see how out-gunned civilians are trying to fight back.

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1:00pm

Wed April 13, 2011
The Two-Way

Live-Blog: President Obama On The Deficit And Debt Reduction

Update at 3:10 p.m. ET: Saying that lawmakers need to come together in a bipartisan manner as they did in the 1980s and 1990s to tackle the exploding federal deficits and debt, President Obama offered his proposals today for how to get the government's books in order. He said his plan would cut $4 trillion from deficits over 12 years, and that it includes trims in spending on defense and health care, as well as the end of the so-called Bush-era tax cuts for wealthier Americans.

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