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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12:50pm

Tue March 13, 2012
The Two-Way

If You're Hiding It From Your Wife, That Payday Loan's 'Gotta Be Bad News'

Originally published on Tue March 13, 2012 12:53 pm

A payday store in Madison, Wis.,
Ryan J. Foley AP
  • Petula Dvorak talks with guest host Allison Keyes

Much has been reported in recent years about payday loans and the huge fees and sky-high interest charges that borrowers can rack up if they use such services.

And though their demise has been predicted, they live on.

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11:45am

Tue March 13, 2012

10:50am

Tue March 13, 2012
The Two-Way

Has Southern Hospitality Steered Pollsters The Wrong Way In Ala. & Miss.?

Originally published on Tue March 13, 2012 11:07 am

In Madison, Miss., earlier today, precinct worker Bob Shirley was handing out "I Voted" stickers.
Rogelio V. Solis AP

Our friend Liz Halloran reports that Mitt Romney "might just win in the South" today as Republicans go to the polls in Alabama and Mississippi to pick between the four remaining candidates for the GOP presidential nomination.

As she writes:

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9:34am

Tue March 13, 2012
The Two-Way

Report: Assad Regime Is Laying Landmines Along Syria's Borders

One of several landmines that were planted by the Syrian army on the border with Lebanon and later removed by anti-Assad activists.
AFP/Getty Images

President Bashar Assad's forces have placed landmines "near the borders with Lebanon and Turkey" along routes used by refugees trying to flee the fighting inside Syria, the watchdog group Human Rights Watch reported today.

Saying it has collected "reports and confirmations from witnesses and Syrian deminers," the organization called such actions "unconscionable."

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9:04am

Tue March 13, 2012
The Two-Way

Retail Sales Posted Solid Gain In February

There was a 1.1 percent increase in retail sales in February from January, the Census Bureau says. It was the largest rise in five months, Reuters reports.

And the gain didn't come just become rising gas prices led to a 3.3 percent increase in the value of gasoline sales. According to The Associated Press, retail sales rose 0.8 percent excluding gasoline.

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7:30am

Tue March 13, 2012
The Two-Way

Latest From Afghanistan: Some Gunfire, Small Protests, Reaction Muted So Far

Originally published on Tue March 13, 2012 3:25 pm

Afghan protesters shouted anti-U.S. slogans during a demonstration in Jalalabad earlier today.
Noorullah Shirzada AFP/Getty Images

There are fears that the killing of 16 Afghan civilians on Sunday, reportedly by a U.S. Army staff sergeant who gunned down the men, women and children in cold blood, will inflame the people of that nation.

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2:25pm

Fri March 9, 2012
The Two-Way

With 'Mouth To Snout' CPR, 'Mushing Mortician' Saves Iditarod Dog

Marshall, after his brush with death.
SB Nation

This story broke Wednesday in the Anchorage Daily News, but it has too much going for it not to pass along.

Monday night while competing in Alaska's Iditarod dog sled race, Scott Janssen's 9-year-old husky Marshall collapsed.

"Janssen raced to the dog," the newspaper writes. "Marshall did not appear to be breathing."

"I know what death looks like, and he was gone. Nobody home," Janssen told the Daily News.

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12:00pm

Fri March 9, 2012
The Two-Way

Photo: Northern Lights Over Iceland

Originally published on Fri March 9, 2012 1:28 pm

The Northern Lights in the sky Thursday above Faskusfjordur on the east coast of Iceland Thursday.
Jonina Oskardottir AP

The solar storm that swept over Earth Thursday didn't seem to cause any major problems, as some had feared.

But the prediction that it would create some beautiful Northern Lights has proved to be quite true. The Associated Press has moved a quite striking photo taken Thursday on the east coast of Iceland.

If you see others, and good videos as well, share any links in the comments thread.

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11:00am

Fri March 9, 2012
The Two-Way

VIDEO: Check Out This 7-Year-Old's Monster Trap

Audri, up close.
YouTube.com

If you have a few minutes, you might enjoy 7-year-old Audri Clemmons' Rube Goldberg machine.

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9:30am

Fri March 9, 2012
The Two-Way

'Horrified' by Destruction She Saw, U.N. Humanitarian Chief Presses Syria

Feb. 11, 2012: some of the damage in the Baba Amr district of Homs, Syria.
AFP/Getty Images

There are stark words this morning from the U.N.'s top humanitarian affairs official about what she saw this week during a two-day visit to Syria. In a statement sent to reporters, Valerie Amos says, in part:

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8:32am

Fri March 9, 2012
The Two-Way

Unemployment Rate Stayed At 8.3 Percent In February

Originally published on Fri March 9, 2012 9:53 am

There were 227,000 net jobs added to private and public payrolls last month and the nation's unemployment rate remained unchanged, at 8.3 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics just reported.

We'll have more from the report shortly. And watch for the Planet Money blog to add its take later.

Update at 9:50 a.m. ET. White House Comment:

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8:05am

Fri March 9, 2012

7:45am

Fri March 9, 2012
The Two-Way

Unemployment Rate Likely Held Steady At 8.3 Percent, Economists Say

Will more signs such as this be showing up? (Nov. 30, 2011 file photo from San Rafael, Calif.)
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Here's what to expect at 8:30 a.m. ET when the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases its much-anticipated February jobs report, economists say:

-- "The economy probably created 210,000 jobs last month, according to a Reuters survey, following January's tally of 243,000. The unemployment rate is expected to have held at a three-year low of 8.3 percent."

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7:30am

Fri March 9, 2012
The Two-Way

Deal To Hand Over Prison To Afghans Is Key To Transition, U.S. General Says

Originally published on Fri March 9, 2012 7:34 am

Afghan and American officials today signed an agreement that will hand over control of the main U.S. detention center in that country to the Afghan government.

And the American commander of U.S. and international forces in Afghanistan called the agreement "another example of the progress of transition, and our efforts to ensure that Afghanistan can never again be a safe haven for terrorists."

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7:05am

Fri March 9, 2012
The Two-Way

Greece Takes Critical Step Toward Avoiding Bankruptcy

The European Union flag flies in front of the Parthenon in Athens. Greece's EU partners are about to give it another massive bailout.
Louisa Gouliamaki AFP/Getty Images

The important takeaway from this morning's news about Europe's financial mess:

It seems less likely that Greece will go bankrupt and more likely that it will get another international bailout that hopefully will shore up the nation's economy and prevent a domino-like tumble of other ailing European nations and the unsettling repercussions that could have for the U.S. economy.

As The Associated Press writes:

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12:01am

Fri March 9, 2012
The Two-Way

Facebook Co-Founder Chris Hughes Is Buying 'The New Republic'

Originally published on Mon March 12, 2012 11:09 am

www.tnr.com

Social media meets old media:

Saying that he's convinced "the demand for long-form, quality journalism is strong in our country," Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes tells NPR's Steve Inskeep that he's buying The New Republic.

That's a magazine, as Steve says, which is four times older than its new owner. Hughes is 28.

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3:10pm

Thu March 8, 2012
The Two-Way

While Controversial, 'Kony 2012' Has Put Focus On Atrocities

Originally published on Thu March 8, 2012 3:17 pm

The leader of the Lord's Resistance Army, Joseph Kony, in 2006.
Stuart Price AP

The arguments continue over the merits of the viral video and Kony 2012 social media blitz that this week have exploded onto the Web.

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11:34am

Thu March 8, 2012
The Two-Way

Inside Bin Laden's House, 'A Fading Splash Of Blood'

The compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, where al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden was found and killed. (May 3, 2011, file photo.)
Getty Images

The New York Times writes this morning about a retired Pakistani Army brigadier's attempt to reconstruct what happened last May when U.S. Navy Seals killed Osama bin Laden at the al-Qaida leader's hideout in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

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10:00am

Thu March 8, 2012
The Two-Way

Report: 'Explosive' Growth Of 'Patriot Movement' And Militias Continues

"Patriot movement groups" in red. Militias — armed wings of such organizations — in gray.
Southern Poverty Law Center

An enormous surge in the number of groups that "see the federal government as their primary enemy" and in some cases have militias as their "armed wings" continues, the Southern Poverty Law Center reports today.

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8:55am

Thu March 8, 2012

8:35am

Thu March 8, 2012
The Two-Way

Jobless Claims Rise By 8,000

There were 362,000 first-time clams for unemployment insurance last week, up 8,000 from the week before, the Employment and Training Administration just reported.

That means the number of claims has moved up slightly, but remains around the lowest level since this time four years ago.

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7:45am

Thu March 8, 2012
The Two-Way

In Video, Man Said To Be Syrian Oil Ministry Official Says He's Defecting

  • Kelly McEvers on 'Morning Edition'

As we've relearned from the overthrows of oppressive leaders in Libya and Egypt, among the signs to watch for when looking or evidence of cracks in such regimes are defections and transfers of money out of the country by a dictator's cronies.

Today:

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7:00am

Thu March 8, 2012
The Two-Way

House Expected To OK Jobs Bill In 'Rare Agreement' With Obama

Originally published on Thu March 8, 2012 2:01 pm

Sometimes bipartisanship does shine down on the Capitol.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Update at 1:55 p.m. ET. The House Passes JOBS Act:

Saying that it shows the federal legislature can work in a bipartisan fashion, the Republican-controlled House passed the JOBS Act, which was supported by President Obama.

"It is a welcome sign that we can put our differences aside and work together to produce results to help boost the economy and get people back to work," House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said, according to the AP.

The bill was passed with a vote of 390-23.

Our Original Post Continues:

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6:05pm

Wed March 7, 2012
The Two-Way

Utah Legislature Votes To Prohibit Schools From Teaching About Contraception

Originally published on Wed March 7, 2012 6:07 pm

A bill "that would let schools skip teaching sex education and prohibit instruction in the use of contraception" is headed to Utah Gov. Gary Herbert's desk after the state Senate today approved it by a 19-10 vote, The Salt Lake Tribune writes.

Schools would need to focus on "abstinence-only" instruction.

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2:50pm

Wed March 7, 2012
The Two-Way

Limbaugh Says Business Is Fine; Maybe 28 Of 18,000 Advertisers Have Left

Things are fine, Limbaugh says. (January 2010 file photo.)
Ethan Miller Getty Images

Saying that "everything is fine on the business side" and that the number of advertisers who have left his show is akin to "losing a couple of french fries in the container when it's delivered to you at the drive-thru," conservative radio broadcaster Rush Limbaugh today took time to clear up what he says has been "misinformation" about the repercussions from his recent comments about Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke.

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2:00pm

Wed March 7, 2012
The Two-Way

Ugandan Warlord Joseph Kony Under Spotlight Thanks To Viral Video

Originally published on Thu March 8, 2012 12:08 pm

The leader of the Lord's Resistance Army, Joseph Kony, in 2006.
Stuart Price AP

6:34pm

Tue March 6, 2012
The Two-Way

Colts Will Release Peyton Manning, Making Him A Free Agent, ESPN Says

Originally published on Wed March 7, 2012 1:07 pm

Peyton Manning.
Rob Carr Getty Images

ESPN is reporting that sources close to the NFL's Indianapolis Colts say the team is going to let star quarterback Peyton Manning become a free agent.

An announcement is due Wednesday, the network adds.

Manning, who has spent his entire 14-year career with the Colts and is a lock to be a hall of famer, "missed the entire 2011 season after having his third neck surgery in 19 months, a fusion of two vertebrae," as ESPN writes.

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5:10pm

Tue March 6, 2012
The Two-Way

Join Us For Live Blogging Of Super Tuesday Contests

Originally published on Tue March 6, 2012 5:56 pm

As the news comes in tonight about the Republican presidential campaign's 10 Super Tuesday contests, we'll be helping out the Elections Desk by live blogging.

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4:55pm

Tue March 6, 2012
It's All Politics

Obama To Romney: 'Good Luck Tonight ... Really'

Originally published on Tue March 6, 2012 4:58 pm

Before we get deep into the news of the Super Tuesday primaries, here's something from the lighter side of politics.

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4:10pm

Tue March 6, 2012
The Two-Way

Rough Day On Wall Street; Dow Has Sharpest Drop Of Year

The stock market has been having a good year, so you might have been expecting some sort of a "correction."

Today may have been that day.

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