Mark Memmott, NPR

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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The Two-Way
6:55 am
Thu December 26, 2013

Apologies, Promises From UPS And FedEx About Delivery Delays

UPS delivery man Vinny Ambrosino was dressed for the holiday season on Tuesday as he delivered packages in New York City. Not all the things ordered for Christmas got to their destinations on time.
Carlo Allegri Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 7:28 pm

Update at 8:20 p.m. ET. Amazon, UPS, Offer Refunds:

The Washington Post reports:

"Amazon and UPS said Thursday they would offer refunds to customers who did not receive their Christmas orders on time, after a surge in last-minute online shopping caught the shipping giant off guard."

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Science
10:18 am
Tue December 24, 2013

Repairs Done, Astronauts Wrap Up Spacewalk

Astronaut Mike Hopkins during Saturday's spacewalk. He's going out again Tuesday.
NASA.gov

Originally published on Tue December 24, 2013 3:12 pm

Spacewalking astronauts have successfully replaced a failed coolant pump on the International Space Station.

NPR's Joe Palca reports that American spacewalkers Michael Hopkins and Rick Mastracchio had to bolt the massive pump in place (on the ground, it weighs 780 pounds), connect four ammonia lines and plug in five electrical cables. The ammonia is a refrigerant used in the station's two-part cooling system, which is necessary to dissipate heat from the onboard electrical equipment.

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Happy Holidays
9:42 am
Tue December 24, 2013

Yes, Virginia, NORAD's 'Santa Tracker' Is On

The view Friday morning on NORAD's "Santa Tracker."
North American Aerospace Defense Command

Originally published on Tue December 24, 2013 8:48 am

Some critics — perhaps others would say Grinches? — don't like the North American Aerospace Defense Command's annual online "Santa Tracker."

At WBUR, author Ethan Gilsdorf writes that "real-time digital imagery of Santa and his route, or calculations of the loot he's delivered, take the imagination out of Christmas."

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Russia
8:53 am
Mon December 23, 2013

Their Release Is Just A 'PR Stunt,' Pussy Riot Member Says

Maria Alyokhina, after her release from prison on Monday in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia.
Sergei Karpukhin Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 12:03 pm

The remaining members of the punk rock band Pussy Riot have been released from prison in Russia, a few months short of serving their full two-year sentences for "hooliganism" — a charge that the band's supporters say was just a trumped-up effort to quash free speech.

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Business
6:53 am
Thu December 19, 2013

Breach At Target Stores May Affect 40 Million Card Accounts

Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 19, 2013 8:04 am

Target Corp. acknowledged early Thursday that there was a massive security breach of its customers' credit and debit card accounts starting the day before Thanksgiving and extending at least to Dec. 15 — the heart of the holiday shopping season.

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Special Coverage
9:58 am
Mon December 16, 2013

Harvard Issues 'All Clear' After Unconfirmed Reports Of Explosives

SWAT team officers on the scene Monday at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass. Four buildings on campus were evacuated after an unconfirmed report that explosives may have been placed inside.
Elise Amendola AP

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 1:58 pm

Update at 2:50 p.m. ET. Authorities Issue 'All Clear' For All Four Campus Sites:

Harvard's Emergency website issued has cleared the university's Science Center, the last of four sites that were searched for possible explosives.

After nearly 6 hours of searching by bomb squads and other experts, authorities at Harvard University on Monday had issued "all clear" notices for the four buildings apparently cited in "unconfirmed reports" about explosives on campus.

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Amazon Air
3:38 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

Amazon's Drone Has Many Asking 'What Could Go Wrong?'

Buzzing to a neighborhood near you? Amazon.com's Prime Air prototype may someday fly small packages right to customers' homes.
AP

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 5:37 pm

The news that Amazon is hoping to one day use semi-autonomous drones to deliver small packages to customers has many asking a familiar question:

What could go wrong?

Check this tweet:

"An Amazon drone!? What could go wrong?! 'They're autonomous' - this is how the Terminator started FYI..."

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Politics
1:24 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

Senate Democrats Detonate 'Nuclear Option' To Curb Filibusters

Senate Majority Leader Senator Harry Reid, D-Nev.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 1:09 pm

(We added to the top of this post at 2:08 p.m. ET.)

There was high drama Thursday on the floor of the Senate as Democrats significantly changed the way business in the chamber is done.

In what Republicans cast as a "power grab" but Democrats defended as a way to break gridlock, the Senate's rules were changed to make it much more difficult for a minority of the members to hold up action on key presidential nominees.

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George W. Bush
7:53 am
Wed November 20, 2013

'I Relied Upon My Faith,' George W. Bush Tells Jay Leno

Former President George W. Bush gave Tonight Show host Jay Leno a painting Tuesday night. Since leaving the White House, Bush has taken up painting.
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno's YouTube channel

Originally published on Wed November 20, 2013 9:37 am

Making a relatively rare appearance on national TV, former President George W. Bush told Tonight Show host Jay Leno on Tuesday's show that "I relied upon my faith, my family helped a lot and I had a good team around me" while in the White House.

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Affordable Care Act
10:54 am
Thu November 14, 2013

Obama Moves To Delay Cancellations Of Insurance Plans

President Barack Obama speaking at the White House on Thursday.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 12:18 pm

President Obama announced Thursday that Americans who have had their health insurance plans canceled because of his Affordable Care Act can keep those plans for another year if they wish.

Those cancellations — most effective on Jan. 1 — have sparked intense criticism of the ACA, in part because the president pledged many times that if Americans liked the health plans they had, they wouldn't have to give them up under the terms of his program.

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Affordable Care Act
10:10 am
Wed November 13, 2013

HealthCare.gov's Mystery Lady Says She's Been Cyberbullied

HealthCare.gov

Originally published on Wed November 13, 2013 12:21 pm

The woman whose smiling face adorned the HealthCare.gov website in the first days after its launch has stepped forward to tearfully address those who she says cyberbullied her as they took potshots at the Obama administration's troubled online health exchange.

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Houston
11:44 am
Wed November 6, 2013

Astrodoomed? Famed Houston Stadium May Fall To Wrecking Ball

An interior shot of the Houston Astrodome taken in 1990. The stadium was "the first fully air-conditioned, enclosed, domed, multipurpose sports stadium in the world," according to the Texas Historical Association.
Tony Duffy Getty Images

Originally published on Wed November 6, 2013 12:46 pm

Voters in Houston on Tuesday rejected a bond referendum that would have allowed Harris County, Texas, to borrow $217 million that it could then spend on turning the Astrodome into one very large convention and exhibition hall.

The vote was 53 percent against the referendum, to 47 percent in favor.

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Football
1:34 pm
Thu October 24, 2013

Did Bullying Claim After 91-0 Game Do More Harm Than Good?

A.J. Rich iStock

Originally published on Thu October 24, 2013 11:15 am

Sports talk shows and news outlets have been all over the story of a Texas parent who filed a complaint about bullying after his son's high school football team lost a game last week by the score of 91-0.

If you haven't heard about what happened during that game, here's how Fort Worth's Star-Telegram sums up the story:

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Affordable Care Act
10:25 am
Thu October 24, 2013

At Health Care Hearing, Republicans And Democrats Clash Again

HealthCare.gov

Originally published on Thu October 24, 2013 1:50 pm

(Click here to jump to our latest updates — including a Democrat accusing Republicans of holding a "monkey court.")

Republicans in the House have framed the central question they want answered about the roll-out of the Affordable Care Act this way, NPR's Ailsa Chang said Thursday on Morning Edition:

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Crime & Justice
6:01 pm
Sat October 19, 2013

JPMorgan Strikes Tentative $13B Mortgages Settlement

JP Morgan Chase & Company headquarters in New York.
Emmanuel Dunand AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat October 19, 2013 4:28 pm

In what would be the largest such settlement in U.S. history, JPMorgan Chase & Co. has reportedly reached a tentative deal with the Justice Department that would see the bank pay $13 billion to settle civil charges related to wrongdoing by some of its units just before and during the housing crisis.

The deal, sources tell news outlets including NPR, would not absolve JPMorgan from possible criminal liability.

Word of the tentative agreement emerged around 3 p.m. ET. Saturday. We posted when the news broke and followed with background and more details.

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Tesla Motors
1:19 pm
Thu October 3, 2013

Tesla's Stock Gets Burned After Car Fire And Downgrading

A Tesla Model S at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit on Jan. 15.
Stan Honda AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 3, 2013 12:26 pm

High-flying billionaire Elon Musk's Tesla Motors has seen its shares skid the past couple days because they've been downgraded by analysts and because of a YouTube clip showing one of the all-electric luxury cars engulfed in flames earlier this week.

Just before noon ET, a share of Tesla was trading around $169.50 — down about 6.5 percent for the day and $25 (13 percent) below its 52-week high of $194.50.

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Government Shutdown
9:12 am
Wed October 2, 2013

Shutdown Solution? None To Be Seen Yet, But Sides Will Talk

The Lincoln Memorial is officially closed. National parks and monuments are among the parts of the federal government affected by the shutdown.
Dennis Brack Landov

Originally published on Thu October 3, 2013 5:16 am

(We most recently updated this post at 8:31 p.m. ET.)

We said it Tuesday: "No end in sight."

The story's the same a day later.

Pardon us for being repetitive, but there's no end in sight to the partial shutdown of the federal government.

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Government Shutdown
4:49 am
Tue October 1, 2013

No End In Sight As Government Shutdown Nears First Full Day

Members of the U.S. Park Service place barricades around the Lincoln Memorial on Tuesday in Washington, D.C. A partial shutdown of the federal government has led to the closing of national parks.
Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 8, 2013 1:08 pm

Update at 8:18 p.m. ET. Impasse:

As first day of a federal government shutdown came to a close, Congress was not any closer to a resolution.

Case in point: Republicans in the House proposed three bills that would have reopened national parks, the Department of Veteran's Affairs and kept the D.C. government afloat. But all three bills didn't even make it out of the House.

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Gay Marriage
10:08 am
Thu September 26, 2013

George H.W. Bush Is Witness At Same-Sex Wedding Of Friends

Former President George H.W. Bush, former first lady Barbara Bush, right, and their newly wedded friends Helen Thorgalsen, center, and Bonnie Clement.
Susan Biddle AP

Originally published on Thu September 26, 2013 7:34 am

Former President George H.W. Bush's presence as a witness and guest at the marriage of two women in Maine last weekend is being treated by some as his quiet endorsement of same-sex marriage.

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Navy Yard Shooting
4:58 pm
Mon September 16, 2013

Attack At The Navy Yard: Gunman And 12 Victims Killed

Workers emerge from a building after a deadly shooting at the Washington Navy Yard on Monday. There are multiple injuries and deaths, and one gunman is dead. Police say they are searching for two other "potential" shooters.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 12:31 pm

(We're constantly updating the top of this post and adding to it below as well.)

The nation's capital went on high alert Monday after a shooting attack at the city's U.S. Navy Yard left at least 12 victims and one gunman dead and injured 8 others.

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