Mark Memmott

Mark Memmott is one of the hosts of NPR's "The Two-Way" news blog.

"The Two-Way," which Memmott helped to launched when he came to NPR in 2009, focuses on breaking news, analysis, and the most compelling stories being reported by NPR News and other news media.

Before joining NPR, Memmott worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor at USA Today. He focused on a range of coverage from politics, foreign affairs, economics, and the media. He's reported from places across the Unites States and the world, including half a dozen trips to Afghanistan in 2002-2003.

During his time at USA Today, Memmott, helped launch and lead three USAToday.com news blogs: "On Deadline," "The Oval" and "On Politics," the site's 2008 presidential campaign blog.

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10:16am

Tue May 29, 2012
The Two-Way

On Second Thought, Maybe Consumer Confidence Isn't That High

Originally published on Tue May 29, 2012 10:45 am

Last week, the researchers who put out the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Survey of Consumers said their index rose in May to "its highest level since October 2007" — before the last recession began.

But when it comes to economics, there always seem to be an "on the other hand" moment coming — especially when the economy appears to be at a turning point.

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9:21am

Tue May 29, 2012
The Two-Way

Home Prices Haven't 'Turned,' But Some Edged Up As Quarter Ended

Originally published on Tue May 29, 2012 9:41 am

Home prices slipped further in the first quarter, according to the widely watched S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices. It reports that:

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9:00am

Tue May 29, 2012

8:45am

Tue May 29, 2012
The Two-Way

How Do You Spell Precocious? 6-Year-Old Spelling Bee Contestant Would Know

The National Spelling Bee gets going Wednesday and the story that's got everyone buzzing is about the youngest competitor in the contest's history: 6-year-old Lori Anne Madison from Woodbridge, Va.

She is, as Washington's WJLA-TV says, a "precocious little girl" who "is anything but ordinary" and will be on stage with others twice her age.

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8:06am

Tue May 29, 2012
The Two-Way

Italy Rocked By Second Deadly Quake

Originally published on Tue May 29, 2012 9:25 am

Two police officers in Mirandola try to comfort a woman after today's earthquake in Northern Italy.
Pierre Teyssot AFP/Getty Images

The news has gotten worse from Italy. Just after 9:15 a.m. ET, The Associated Press reported that authorities say at least 15 people were killed today by an earthquake that struck the northern part of the country.

Our original post, from 8:05 a.m. ET:

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7:39am

Tue May 29, 2012
The Two-Way

Good News: Beryl Weakened. Better News: It Drenched Parched Areas

A National Weather Service radar image of Beryl early this morning. It was stretching from North Florida into Georgia.
National Weather Service

As residents in Northeast Florida give thanks that Tropical Storm Beryl did relatively little damage over the weekend and did not develop into a hurricane, they're also grateful that it brought rain to an area plagued by drought.

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7:13am

Tue May 29, 2012
The Two-Way

Most Victims Of Friday's Massacre In Syria Were Executed, U.N. Says

Originally published on Tue May 29, 2012 3:42 pm

Saturday: In this picture provided by the Syrian opposition's Shaam News Network, people watch the mass burial of victims from Friday's violence in Houla.
AFP/Getty Images

"The U.N. said Tuesday that entire families were shot in their homes during a massacre in Syria on Friday that killed more than 100 people, including children," The Associated Press reports. And as nations around the world have reacted this morning to news about the atrocities, they're expelling Syrian diplomats in protest.

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1:35pm

Fri May 25, 2012
The Two-Way

Cleared Of Rape Conviction, California Man Remains 'Unbroken'

Originally published on Fri May 25, 2012 5:24 pm

A tear of relief: Brian Banks after his rape conviction was dismissed Thursday.
Nick Ut AP
  • Brian Banks on Southern California Public Radio

Five years in prison. Then five years of probation and wearing an electronic monitoring device. The shame of being a registered sex offender. Not being able to get a job. His dream of playing in the NFL destroyed, possibly forever.

Brian Banks, now 26, has gone through all that.

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11:44am

Fri May 25, 2012
The Two-Way

Consumer Confidence Highest Since Before Recession, Survey Says

Originally published on Fri May 25, 2012 12:13 pm

If consumers are in the mood to shop, that could give the economy a lift.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Here's news that could affect both the economy and the presidential race:

Consumer confidence has improved "in each of the past nine monthly surveys" and is now at "its highest level since October 2007," according to the latest Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Survey of Consumers. The most recent recession officially began in December 2007, and lasted into early summer 2009.

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10:51am

Fri May 25, 2012
The Two-Way

Man At Center Of Federal Agency's Las Vegas Scandal Leaves His Job

Jeff Neely during an April 16 hearing on Capitol Hill. He declined to answer any of the lawmakers' questions.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Jeff Neely, the regional official at the General Services Administration who hosted a 2010 taxpayer-funded conference in Las Vegas that became a scandal as details about excessive spending, gifts and lavish parties were revealed, has left his job at the agency.

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9:53am

Fri May 25, 2012
The Two-Way

Lost Bike Found After 41 Years; Then, The Story Gets Weird

Originally published on Fri May 25, 2012 2:06 pm

Lisa Brown, in front, during a "dramatic" recreation of how she lost her bike in 1970.
Cape Cod Times

In 1970 a young girl lost her banana-seat bike. Lisa Brown was riding it across a rickety bridge in Cape Cod, Mass., when she and the bike tumbled into a little river. The bike sank into the muck and was gone.

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7:53am

Fri May 25, 2012
The Two-Way

Egypt May Be Headed To Runoff Between Islamist And Former Mubarak Aide

An Egyptian election official counting ballots from the presidential election.
Fredrik Persson AP

As Egyptian officials count ballots from this week's first-ever free presidential election in that country, the Muslim Brotherhood is claiming its candidate got the most votes and will likely be in a runoff next month against ousted President Hosni Mubarak's last prime minister.

From Cairo, NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson cautions that officials are advising against "believing statements by groups claiming to know who won." Official results aren't due to be released until next Tuesday.

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7:18am

Fri May 25, 2012
The Two-Way

SpaceX Craft Docks With Space Station; Commercial Era Begins

Originally published on Fri May 25, 2012 1:48 pm

An image of the Dragon spacecraft, taken earlier today with a thermal camera aboard the International Space Station.
Twitter.com/SpaceX

The historic first docking of a commercial spacecraft at the International Space Station orbiting above Earth happened without a hitch today, as SpaceX's Dragon capsule arrived with supplies for the crew orbiting high above Earth.

Just before 10 a.m. ET, astronauts aboard the space station successfully grabbed the capsule with a robotic arm. A little after noon ET, the pulled the Dragon into its docking space.

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1:59pm

Thu May 24, 2012
The Two-Way

Kid Told Westboro Protesters 'God Hates No One' Because, 'That Is True'

Josef Miles, making his own statement.
Patty Akrouche Facebook.com/FeverDreams
  • From 'Tell Me More': Josef Miles and his mom

"I just don't like seeing those signs and I kind of wanted to put a stop to that."

That's 9-year-old Josef Miles' simple explanation for why he held up a notepad that said "GOD HATES NO ONE" as supporters of the tiny Westboro Baptist Church staged another small demonstration featuring their signs that say God hates homosexuals.

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1:29pm

Thu May 24, 2012
The Two-Way

Talks With Iran To Reconvene Next Month

"Iran and world powers have agreed to meet in Moscow next month for another round of negotiations over Tehran's nuclear program," The Associated Press reports.

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11:34am

Thu May 24, 2012
The Two-Way

Bad News In New Orleans: 'Times-Picayune' Slashing Staff, Going To 3 Days

The highly respected journalists at New Orleans' Times-Picayune last night found out the hard way — from another news outlet — that they're about to face deep staff cuts and that the newspaper will soon only print three days a week.

The New York Times' Media Decoder broke the story Wednesday just before midnight ET.

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10:08am

Thu May 24, 2012
The Two-Way

Ted, What Have You Been Doing With Yourself? Unabomber, You Say?

Unabomber Ted Kaczynski being led into a Montana court in 1996.
Elaine Thompson AP

No, the Unabomber won't be attending his 50th class reunion at Harvard this week.

But Ted Kaczynski has updated his former classmates about what he's been up to all these years.

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9:17am

Thu May 24, 2012
The Two-Way

Egypt's Historic Voting Continues

Originally published on Thu May 24, 2012 2:27 pm

An Egyptian man shows his ink-stained finger after voting in Cairo earlier today.
Mahmud Hams AFP/Getty Images
  • Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson, on 'Morning Edition'
  • Merrit Kennedy on 'Morning Edition'

A quick update:

Day two of the voting in Egypt's first-ever free presidential election is underway. From Cairo, NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson reports that while turnout early in the day was slightly lower than on Wednesday, officials expect the lines will build as the day continues.

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8:44am

Thu May 24, 2012
The Two-Way

Jobless Claims Dip; Orders For Durable Goods Are Soft

The number of first-time claims for jobless benefits dipped slightly last week, to 370,000 from 372,000 the week before, the Employment and Training Administration reports.

The 4-week moving average for claims — which economists say gives a better picture of the trend — was also 370,000, down by 5,500.

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8:07am

Thu May 24, 2012
The Two-Way

Cyber Countershot: U.S. Hacks Web Ads Of Al-Qaida's Yemen Affiliate

Originally published on Thu May 24, 2012 5:06 pm

Update at 4:53 p.m. ET. U.S. Is Not 'Hacking':

NPR's Dina Temple-Raston tells us State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland made it clear that the United States is not "hacking" the websites that appeal to al-Qaida. Instead, they are "countering propaganda with a counter-narrative that we believe is closer to the truth of the situation."

In her All Things Considered report, Dina provides an example:

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7:28am

Thu May 24, 2012
The Two-Way

Man Has Implicated Himself In Etan Patz Disappearance, NY Police Say

Originally published on Thu May 24, 2012 9:13 pm

Etan Patz, and the "lost child" poster issued after his 1979 disappearance.
AFP/Getty Images

Update at 7:13 p.m. ET: Police Announce Arrest Of Suspect:

At a press conference in New York, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said police had arrested Pedro Hernandez in the killing of Etan Patz, the 6-year-old boy who disappeared as he was walking to school in 1979.

Officials say Hernandez, a former convenience store worker, confessed to police that he suffocated the boy, placing his body in a cardboard box. Etan's body has never been found.

Kelly said Hernandez also took police to the site where he contends the killing occurred.

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3:22pm

Wed May 23, 2012
The Two-Way

Poachers Can Be Shot, Officials In India Declare

An Indian tiger looks out from a camouflaged cover in the Ranthambhore National Park. (March 2000 file photo.)
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Poachers caught hunting tigers in India's Maharashtra state are on notice that they could be shot on sight.

The Times of India says the "stern stand against poachers" means "if the forest officials fire upon the poachers injuring or killing them, the action will not be considered a crime." Prior to this week's announcement by state officials, those guards were subject to prosecution for such actions.

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1:00pm

Wed May 23, 2012
The Two-Way

Patrick Fitzgerald, High-Profile Prosecutor, Stepping Down

United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois Patrick Fitzgerald.
John Gress Getty Images

Patrick Fitzgerald, the federal prosecutor who obtained the conviction of Vice President Cheney's chief of staff for lying to authorities about the leaking of a CIA officer's name and who sent former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) to jail on corruption charges, is stepping down from his post.

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12:22pm

Wed May 23, 2012
The Two-Way

Challenge: Use The Moog Doodle To Play The 'All Things Considered' Theme

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 6:05 pm

Google's Moog Doodle.
Google.com
  • A clip of the current 'All Things Considered' theme
  • Bob Boilen reporting, in 2002
  • Two early versions of the 'All Things Considered' theme

You've probably know by now that Google is paying homage to Robert Moog today with a Doodle that's a virtual version of the iconic Moog Synthesizer. Moog died in 2005. Today would have been his 78th birthday.

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10:21am

Wed May 23, 2012
The Two-Way

As Talks Begin, Iran And World Powers Stake Out Positions

  • Tom Gjelten reporting
  • Mike Shuster reporting

As talks opened in Baghdad today, "diplomats from six world powers offered Iran new proposals Wednesday to ease international concerns about its nuclear program, but appeared to reject Tehran's appeals to ease economic sanctions to help move along talks," The Associated Press reports.

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9:35am

Wed May 23, 2012
The Two-Way

Primary Protests: 4 In 10 Say No To Obama; 3 In 10 Say No To Romney

President Obama during a news conference Monday in Chicago.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Though there's no doubt about the nominees, presidential primaries are still being held.

And in both Democratic and Republican contests, some voters continue to register their unhappiness with the choices before them.

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8:35am

Wed May 23, 2012
The Two-Way

'Morally Repugnant' Behavior Tolerated By Secret Service, Senator Says

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 11:09 am

In Cartagena, a prostitute stands on a corner in the historical district.
Manuel Pedraza AFP/Getty Images

The first congressional hearing into the scandal involving Secret Service personnel who allegedly cavorted with prostitutes in Colombia last month is set for this morning. As the time for that hearing approaches, a key senator is charging that such "morally repugnant" behavior appears to have been tolerated within the elite agency.

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7:58am

Wed May 23, 2012
The Two-Way

33 Years In Prison For Pakistani Doctor Who Aided Hunt For Bin Laden

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 7:22 pm

Osama bin Laden.
AP

Shakil Afridi, a Pakistani doctor who helped in the hunt for Osama bin Laden by trying to collect DNA from the al-Qaida leader and his family members, has been convicted of treason and sentenced to 33 years in prison, according to reports from Pakistan.

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7:21am

Wed May 23, 2012
The Two-Way

Finally, Egyptians Have Their Say

In Cairo, earlier today, a man cast his ballot.
Marco Longari AFP/Getty Images
  • Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson on 'Morning Edition'

"This is definitely the big event" on Egypt's way toward its own form of democracy.

That's how NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson summed up the news earlier on Morning Edition as she reported from Cairo about the opening day of the first free presidential elections in a nation that just a little more than a year ago was in the throes of a revolution that toppled President Hosni Mubarak's regime.

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3:53pm

Tue May 22, 2012
The Two-Way

As Egyptians Prepare To Vote, Jimmy Carter Watches 'Complete Transformation'

Originally published on Tue May 22, 2012 7:44 pm

In Cairo on Monday, Egyptian Parliament Speaker Saad al-Katatni (left) met with former U.S. President Jimmy Carter.
AFP/Getty Images

On All Things Considered today, NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson will look ahead to Egypt's first free presidential election — voting begins Wednesday and is expected to lead to a mid-June runoff — and how some Egyptians who played roles in last year's revolution there are refusing to take part because they don't trust the military leaders who run the country.

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