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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7:00am

Thu January 12, 2012
The Two-Way

Video Depicting Urination On Corpses Won't Derail Peace Talks, Taliban Says

Though experts are warning it will inflame anti-American sentiment in Afghanistan and hurt efforts to start peace talks with the Taliban, a video that appears to show four U.S. Marines urinating on the corpses of three Afghan men will not affect efforts to begin such negotiations, a Taliban spokesman tells Reuters.

"This is not the first time we see such brutality," the spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, said.

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5:30pm

Wed January 11, 2012
The Two-Way

Pentagon Disgusted, Marines Investigating Disturbing Video

Originally published on Wed January 11, 2012 5:31 pm

"The Marine Corps is promising to investigate a disturbing web video that appears to show [four] Marines in Afghanistan urinating on the bloody corpses of [three] alleged Taliban fighters," Gannett Co.'s Marine Corps Times reports.

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4:40pm

Wed January 11, 2012
The Two-Way

Ethics Committee Releases Report On Rep. Hastings, Probe Will Continue

Originally published on Wed January 11, 2012 4:57 pm

Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.)
Carl de Souza AFP/Getty Images

"The House Ethics Committee said Wednesday it needs more time to consider sexual harassment allegations against Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.)," The Associated Press writes, "but released a report in which the alleged victim detailed a pattern of sexually suggestive remarks and unwanted hugs."

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3:15pm

Wed January 11, 2012
The Two-Way

How's The Economy? Federal Reserve Reports 'Ongoing Improvement'

As we've said before, to figure out what the Federal Reserve means when it reports about how the economy is doing and whether policymakers think it's doing better or worse, you need to carefully compare the central bank's latest words to what it has said in preceding months.

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2:02pm

Wed January 11, 2012
The Two-Way

'El Gordo,' Galaxy With Mass 2 Quadrillion Times The Sun's, Discovered

"El Gordo" — the "big" or "fat" one in Spanish — as seen in a composite image produced by NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory.
NASA/CXC/Rutgers/J.Hughes

Take the number 2. Put 15 zeroes behind it, as Space.com says:

2,000,000,000,000,000

Now, think about the news from this story at that website:

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1:08pm

Wed January 11, 2012
The Two-Way

Hundreds Of Pardons, Some For Killers, Spark Outrage In Mississippi

Just before he left office this week, outgoing Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) issued more than 200 pardons or sentence reductions — including more than a dozen to persons convicted of murder, manslaughter or other death-related crimes. And that has sparked outrage and calls for changes in the law that gives the state's governor such authority.

The list of Barbour's executive orders in the last four days before his departure from office on Tuesday is posted here.

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12:00pm

Wed January 11, 2012
The Two-Way

Natalie Wood's Death Still Looks Like An Accident, Investigators Say

Originally published on Wed January 11, 2012 12:01 pm

Natalie Wood in 1960.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Two months after announcing they were going to take another look at the circumstances surrounding the 1981 death of actress Natalie Wood, authorities in Los Angeles are saying there's "no evidence to suggest that the cause was anything but accidental," the Los Angeles Times reports.

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11:30am

Wed January 11, 2012
The Two-Way

Suspect In Natalee Holloway Case Pleads Guilty To Murder In Peru

Dutch national Joran Van der Sloot as he arrived for a court hearing earlier today (Jan. 11, 2012) at the Lurigancho prison in Lima.
Ernesto Benavides AFP/Getty Images

Joran van der Sloot, the main suspect in the 2005 disappearance of Alabama teen Natalee Holloway in Aruba, this morning pleaded guilty to the 2010 murder of a 21-year-old Peruvian woman, Stephany Flores, in Lima.

The Associated Press reports that van der Sloot told a court in Lima that "yes, I want to plead guilty. I wanted from the first moment to confess sincerely. ... I truly am sorry for this act. I feel very bad."

The wire service adds that:

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6:10pm

Tue January 10, 2012
The Two-Way

New Hampshire Primary: Join Us For Live Updates

Here it is: The New Hampshire Republican presidential primary — the second significant vote of the 2012 presidential campaign.

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2:24pm

Mon January 9, 2012
The Two-Way

White House Chief Of Staff Daley Stepping Down

Originally published on Tue January 10, 2012 7:20 am

White House Chief of Staff William Daley.
Win McNamee Getty Images

White House Chief of Staff William Daley is stepping down from his post and will be replaced by Budget Director Jack Lew, NPR's Scott Horsley has confirmed.

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1:50pm

Mon January 9, 2012
The Two-Way

20-Year Ban Put On Mining Claims Near Grand Canyon

Originally published on Mon January 9, 2012 2:05 pm

A view into the Grand Canyon from the South Rim in Arizona.
Robyn Beck AFP/Getty Images

The Obama administration just announced a 20-year federal ban "on new mining claims affecting a million acres near the Grand Canyon, an area known to be rich in high-grade uranium ore reserves," as The Associated Press writes.

And "in doing so," the wire service adds, "the administration brushed off pressure from congressional Republicans and mining industry figures who wanted a policy change."

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12:12pm

Mon January 9, 2012
The Two-Way

In Alaska: Nome Waits For Fuel; Cordova Digs Out From 18-Feet Of Snow

They're running out of places to put the snow in Cordova, Alaska. This photo was taken on Saturday (Jan. 7, 2012).
Erv Petty/Alaska Div. of Homeland Security and Emergency Management AP

Winter continues to wallop Alaska with some weather and some challenges that even the seen-it-all locals seem to be amazed about.

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10:45am

Mon January 9, 2012
The Two-Way

VIDEO: Bungee Cord Snaps; Woman Survives 365-Foot Plunge

Don't press play if you're don't like heights and scary thrills. But rest assured, 22-year-old Australian Erin Langworthy survived to tell the tale after her bungee cord broke on New Year's Eve during a jump from a bridge over the Zambezi River on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe.

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10:00am

Mon January 9, 2012
The Two-Way

Beer For Bowser? It's Been Around For A While

Our friends at Morning Edition picked up on the news from Newcastle, England, that The Branding Villa pub has created a non-alcoholic beer for dogs and is inviting its customers to bring their four-legged friends in to have a pint or two.

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8:55am

Mon January 9, 2012

8:15am

Mon January 9, 2012
The Two-Way

Steelers Dared Tebow To Beat Them, And He Did

Originally published on Mon January 9, 2012 8:18 am

Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow celebrates after beating the Pittsburgh Steelers 29-23 in overtime of an NFL wild card playoff football game on Sunday, (Jan. 8, 2012).
Chris Schneider AP
  • David Greene and Tom Goldman talk football

Just as football fans around the country (outside of Denver, that is) were thinking that Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow was out of miracles because he hadn't played well in recent weeks, he came through Sunday on the first play of overtime against the favored Pittsburgh Steelers.

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7:30am

Mon January 9, 2012
The Two-Way

VIDEO: Rep. Giffords Leads Crowd In 'Pledge' At Tucson Memorial

One year to the day after a gunman opened fire during a Tucson meet-and-greet with her constituents — killing six people and wounding 13 — the still-recovering Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) on Sunday spoke for the first time since then at a public event.

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7:00am

Mon January 9, 2012
The Two-Way

Iran Sentences Former U.S. Marine To Death, Accused Him Of Spying

An American man has been sentenced to death in Iran after a court there convicted him of working for the CIA and going to the Persian nation to spy.

The family of Amir Mirzaei Hekmati, a 28-year-old former U.S. Marine, says he was in Iran to visit his grandmothers.

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7:00am

Sun January 8, 2012
The Two-Way

At One Maryland Prison, They're 'Knitting Behind Bars'

Originally published on Sun January 8, 2012 7:03 am

Yarn. It's good for you.
Michael Brandy AP
  • Lynn Zwerling talks with Michel Martin

This blogger's mom was a knitter. She and a friend made hundreds of knit caps that went to children in Rochester, N.Y. Some made their way to a village in Afghanistan when her youngest son went there on assignment for USA Today in 2002 and 2003.

Watching her, it always seemed as if knitting was calming and challenging at the same time. It's repetitive, yet also has to be done precisely right if you want to succeed. And if you mess up, you may have to unravel and start over.

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2:00pm

Fri January 6, 2012
The Two-Way

Mountain Dew Mouse Story Goes Viral

No, he wasn't going extreme, Pepsi says.
Eric Isselee iStockphoto.com

We thought the World Wide Web was supposed to make information fly.

But now we have to question that notion.

It's taken a year and a half for us to hear that Pepsi is defending itself against a lawsuit claiming that a mouse was found in a can of Mountain Dew by saying that the furry little creature couldn't have been there because:

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12:00pm

Fri January 6, 2012
The Two-Way

U.S. Navy Reports Rescuing 13 Iranians From Somali Pirates

Thursday: The guided-missile destroyer USS Kidd responds to a distress call from the master of the Iranian-flagged fishing dhow Al Molai.
U.S. Navy photo

A team from the aircraft carrier strike force group that Iran threatened earlier this week has rescued 13 Iranian sailors who were being held by Somali pirates for several weeks, the U.S. Navy reports.

In a statement issued this morning, the Navy says:

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11:25am

Fri January 6, 2012
The Two-Way

Pained By Prices At The Pump? They're Likely To Go Even Higher

Originally published on Fri January 6, 2012 11:26 am

Don't spill any. It's expensive.
Ben Margot AP

This could be "the year of the gas-pocalypse" analysts tell the Los Angeles Times, "because gasoline prices are the highest ever for the start of the year, and they're on the rise, supercharged by expensive oil and changes in refinery operations."

Indeed, check out some of this reporting and analysis from GasBuddy.com:

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10:30am

Fri January 6, 2012
The Two-Way

Report: Tiny Miscalculation Might Have Slightly Skewed Iowa Caucuses Count

Originally published on Fri January 6, 2012 10:38 am

Barb Hansen tallies votes during a GOP caucus in precinct 42 near Smithland, Iowa, on Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2012.
Dave Weaver AP

"Could Typo Rewrite Caucus History?"

That's the headline at the website of Des Moines' KCCI-TV, which reports that one Republican from Iowa's Appanoose County thinks a miscount at a caucus attended by 53 people there might have mistakenly contributed to Mitt Romney's reported eight-vote victory over Rick Santorum.

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8:34am

Fri January 6, 2012
The Two-Way

Jobless Rate Dips To 8.5 Percent, 200,000 Jobs Added To Payrolls

The nation's unemployment rate edged down to 8.5 percent — its lowest level in nearly three years — as 200,000 jobs were were added to payrolls, the Bureau of Labor Statistics just reported.

We'll add more details from the report shortly, so hit your "refresh" button to see our latest updates.

Update at 8:45 a.m. ET. Looking Back:

At 8.5 percent, the jobless rate is the lowest since February 2009's 8.3 percent.

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8:15am

Fri January 6, 2012

7:55am

Fri January 6, 2012
The Two-Way

Coming Up: December Jobs And Unemployment Report

Originally published on Fri January 6, 2012 7:57 am

The most-anticipated story of the morning seems to be the December jobs and unemployment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which is due for release at 8:30 a.m. ET.

We'll post on the news as soon as possible after it's available.

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7:40am

Fri January 6, 2012
The Two-Way

Penn State Ready To Name New Football Coach, ESPN Says

Originally published on Fri January 6, 2012 7:42 am

Bill O'Brien, offensive coordinator of the New England Patriots.
Elsa Getty Images

Penn State University has chosen New England Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien to be its next head football coach and the man who will try to rebuild a program that was rocked last fall by a scandal that cost legendary coach Joe Paterno the job, ESPN reports. The sports network says an announcement is expected to be made Saturday.

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7:10am

Fri January 6, 2012
The Two-Way

Bomb Wreaks Death, Destruction In Damascus

Syria's official news agency distributed this photo of a bus said to have been damaged by today's explosion in Damascus.
AFP/Getty Images

There's been an explosion in central Damascus today and there are reports of multiple deaths and dozens of injuries.

As always in Syria, where the regime of President Bashar Assad tries to control the news, it's difficult to get an accurate sense of just what is going on. The regime is blaming its opponents, who have been protesting against Assad since last spring. Activists are questioning whether the attack was staged by supporters of the regime to make the opposition look bad.

Here's some of what's being reported:

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2:25pm

Thu January 5, 2012
The Two-Way

VIDEO: Car Lands On Roof, Driver Charged With Hit-And-Run

That's not Santa's sleigh up there.
KFSN-TV, Fresno

This is why we created a category called The No-Way:

"A family in Northwest Fresno was stunned Wednesday morning to find a car on the roof of their apartment," KFSN-TV reports.

Police say a 26-year-old man who allegedly stole a car was apparently driving it way too fast when he missed a turn, went on to some rocks and the vehicle launched into the air.

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12:15pm

Thu January 5, 2012
The Two-Way

A Young Kennedy Is Lining Up To Run For Frank's House Seat

Joseph P. Kennedy III, the son of former Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy II and grandson of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, "is taking the final steps to launch a run for Congress this year, hoping to succeed [the retiring] U.S. Rep. Barney Frank," the Boston Globe reports.

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