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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9:10am

Thu November 17, 2011
The Two-Way

Solyndra Loan Decisions 'Were Mine,' Energy Secretary Chu Says

"The final decisions on Solyndra were mine, and I made them with the best interest of the taxpayer in mind," Energy Secretary Steven Chu plans to tell Congress today, as a House committee digs into the controversial $528 million in federal loans made to the now-bankrupt solar energy company.

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8:45am

Thu November 17, 2011
The Two-Way

Jobless Claims Decline By 5,000

There were 388,000 first-time claims for unemployment insurance last week, down 5,000 from the week before, the Employment and Training Administration just reported.

The agency also said that the "4-week moving average" of claims — a way of gauging the trend over a slightly longer period of time — was "396,750, a decrease of 4,000 from the previous week's revised average of 400,750."

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8:10am

Thu November 17, 2011
The Two-Way

Top Stories: Occupy Wall Street Day Of Action; Penn State Scandal

Good morning.

Occupy Wall Street protesters in New York have begun what they say will be a day full of marches, civil disobedience and other actions aimed at — this is their goal — shutting down Wall Street.

Eyder is there to follow the story as it develops. His posts from the streets are being collected here.

Our other early-morning headlines:

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4:13pm

Wed November 16, 2011
The Two-Way

New Judge Named To Handle Penn State Scandal Case

A judge from a different Pennsylvania county who "has no known connections with Pennsylvania State University, the Second Mile charity, nor any officers or representatives of any of those entities," will handle the Dec. 7 preliminary hearing of the case against accused child sex abuser Jerry Sandusky, The Patriot-News of Harrisburg reports.

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3:50pm

Wed November 16, 2011
The Two-Way

Benetton Drops Image Of Pope Kissing Imam After Vatican Objects

Reacting to sharp objections from the Vatican over a digitally created ad image showing Pope Benedict XVI kissing an Egyptian imam, Benetton has quickly agreed to drop the photo illustration from its new "Unhate" campaign.

The company just posted this statement:

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3:31pm

Wed November 16, 2011
The Two-Way

Other Victims Of Arizona Rampage Move On Without Letting Go

Suzi Hileman inspects an aloe on her front porch on Wednesday, Aug. 24.
Ron Medvescek Courtesy Arizona Daily Star

We've heard from Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) in recent days about her slow recovery from being shot in the head on Jan. 8.

There were 18 other victims of that day's shooting rampage in Tucson — six of whom died. And beyond them, there are dozens of family members and loved ones in pain about what happened.

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11:15am

Wed November 16, 2011
The Two-Way

Bullets Found At White House, One Struck A Window

Originally published on Wed November 16, 2011 2:27 pm

The "Israel" tattoo on Ortega-Herndandez's neck.
U.S. Park Police
(New top to this post added at 2:20 p.m. ET)

The U.S. Secret Service just confirmed that Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez has been arrested in connection with the gunshots fired Friday night in Washington — one of which apparently hit a window at the White House.

In a statement sent to reporters, the agency says:

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9:40am

Wed November 16, 2011
The Two-Way

Manufacturing Output Up For Fourth Straight Month

Though the U.S. economy faces lots of problems, as we said yesterday, there are some encouraging signs out there too.

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9:19am

Wed November 16, 2011
The Two-Way

Syrian Defectors Attack Military Sites, Opposition Groups Say

"Syrian activists say that army defectors have attacked an intelligence complex in the Damascus suburbs in what appears to be one of their boldest assaults so far against government security forces," al-Jazeera reports.

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8:50am

Wed November 16, 2011
The Two-Way

Consumer Prices Ticked Down In October

There was a scant 0.1 percent dip in the consumer price index in October from September, the Bureau of Labor Statistics just reported.

The major reason for the dip: "The energy index turned down in October after increasing in each of the three previous months as the gasoline and household energy indexes declined after a series of seasonally adjusted increases."

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8:46am

Wed November 16, 2011

8:30am

Wed November 16, 2011
The Two-Way

Zuccotti Park 'Unoccupied And Quiet' As Day Begins

After yesterday's drama — the move by police to clear lower Manhattan's Zuccotti Park of the Occupy Wall Street protesters who had been camping there for nearly two months — things are much different today.

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8:00am

Wed November 16, 2011
The Two-Way

Penn State Scandal: Key Witness Says He Did Talk With University Police

Originally published on Wed November 16, 2011 8:08 am

Mike McQueary during a Penn State football game in 2009.
Tony Ding AP

In an email to a friend, Mike McQueary says he did speak with Penn State University police after seeing what he says was former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky sexually assaulting a young boy in the team's locker room.

Harrisburg's Patriot-News writes that McQueary, who at the time of the 2002 incident was a graduate assistant with the football team and later became an assistant coach, says in the email that:

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7:25am

Wed November 16, 2011
The Two-Way

'Murmurings' Of A Deal On Taxes And Deficit Reduction

There's one week to go before the so-called supercommittee on Capitol Hill is supposed to come up with a deal that combines at least $1.2 trillion in budget cuts and revenue increases to narrow upcoming deficits over the next decade. If lawmakers don't reach an agreement, that amount of spending cuts are supposed to happen automatically — with about 50 percent coming from defense and 50 percent from domestic spending other than Social Security and Medicare.

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1:45pm

Tue November 15, 2011
The Two-Way

The Citadel Faces Abuse Scandal Similar To Penn State's

Note: There are some details of alleged sexual activity with minors in this post.

There's a story unfolding in Charleston, S.C., that sounds depressingly similar to the scandal that has rocked Penn State University.

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11:30am

Tue November 15, 2011
The Two-Way

Rep. Giffords: 'I Want To Get Back To Work'

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords last May.
P.K. Weis Facebook.com/GabrielleGiffords

From a conversation later today on All Things Considered with her husband Mark Kelly, to last night's interview with the couple on ABC-TV to an audio message for her constituents, there are several things to pass along this morning about Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) and the recovery she's making from being shot in the head last January.

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9:58am

Tue November 15, 2011
The Two-Way

Wear Milk? Apparently You Can

Originally published on Tue November 15, 2011 11:28 am

Milk seems to suit her well: A model in a dress made of Qmilch.
Michael Sohn AP

An Associated Press story that says a "28-year-old German is the designer of an award-winning new textile made entirely from milk that's environmentally friendly as well as soothing to people with skin allergies," caught our eye this morning — especially when we saw that the noo ... er, new ... product is called Qmilch.

That's "q" for quality and milch for milk (in German). Sounds like a winning word for Scrabble fans.

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9:15am

Tue November 15, 2011
The Two-Way

What's Ailing The Economy? What Isn't?

Originally published on Tue November 15, 2011 9:19 am

For all of us who want to know when the economy's going to get moving again and when we'll start to see some consistently healthy job growth, the conversation that opened Morning Edition today was enlightening — though not particularly encouraging.

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8:40am

Tue November 15, 2011
The Two-Way

Retail Sales Rose More Than Forecast In October

Two new economic indicators:

-- Sales in the retail and food sectors rose 0.5 percent in October from September, the Census Bureau says. They were up 7.2 percent from October 2010.

Bloomberg News says the increase in retail sales was "more than projected as Americans snapped up new Apple Inc. iPhones and demand for automobiles improved."

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8:15am

Tue November 15, 2011
The Two-Way

Top Stories: Zuccotti Park Cleared; Sandusky Speaks; Cain's 'Oops' Moment

Originally published on Tue November 15, 2011 8:18 am

8:02am

Tue November 15, 2011
The Two-Way

Penn State Scandal: More Suspected Victims; Sandusky Says He's Innocent

As former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was being heard on NBC-TV last night declaring "I am innocent of those charges" and that he's not sexually attracted to young boys, The New York Times was landing with a report th

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7:25am

Tue November 15, 2011
The Two-Way

New York Police Clear Occupy Wall Street Protesters From Park

Originally published on Tue November 15, 2011 2:09 pm

Occupy Wall Street activists protested in New York's City's Duarte Square after police removed them from Zuccotti Park.
Mario Tama Getty Images

Saying that "the occupation was coming to pose a health and fire safety hazard to the protesters and to the surrounding community," New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg ordered the clearing of Zuccotti Park early today.

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2:23pm

Mon November 14, 2011
The Two-Way

Paterno's Name Removed From Big Ten Trophy

Originally published on Mon November 14, 2011 2:42 pm

The Stagg Championship Trophy.
Big Ten Network

Before it could be awarded, the trophy for the winner of the Big Ten Conference Football Championship has been changed from the Stagg-Paterno Championship Trophy to just the Stagg Championship Trophy.

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2:06pm

Mon November 14, 2011
The Two-Way

NBA Players Reject Owners' Offer; Season In Jeopardy

Fans may not see this kind of action for a long while: Chris Bosh of the Miami Heat as he drove to the basket in last season's finals against the Dallas Mavericks.
Larry W. Smith/pool Getty Images

National Basketball Association players have rejected the latest contract offer from the league's owners, The Associated Press and SI.com are reporting.

And as the AP adds, "the decision likely jeopardizes the season," which has already been delayed.

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1:11pm

Mon November 14, 2011
The Two-Way

Penn State Alum Caught Abuse For Protesting Game

PreventChildAbusePA.org. But some took out their frustrations on a lone protester." href="/post/penn-state-alum-caught-abuse-protesting-game" class="noexit lightbox">
Most Penn State fans at Saturday's game expressed sympathy for victims of child abuse. Many bought T-shirts to help raise money for PreventChildAbusePA.org. But some took out their frustrations on a lone protester.
Patrick Smith Getty Images

Accounts vary on how much flack he caught, but they agree that some Penn State fans did not appreciate John Matko's one-man protest outside the school's football stadium Saturday before the game with Nebraska.

The 34-year-old Penn State alum held two signs with messages such as "put abused kids first. ... Don't be fooled, they all knew. ... Honor the abused kids by cancelling this game and the season NOW."

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12:40pm

Mon November 14, 2011
The Two-Way

Farmland Is Real Estate's Big Bright Spot

This headline today on a story behind The Wall Street Journal's paywall ...

"U.S. Farmers Reclaim Land From Developers"

... sent us looking for other reports about what the Journal says is a national trend: "raw land destined for residential development has fallen so far in value that thousands of acres across the country are being used again for agriculture."

A few other pieces underscore the strength in farmland prices:

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11:27am

Mon November 14, 2011
The Two-Way

Kindle Fire Shipments Begin A Day Early

The Kindle Fire.
Amazon.com

If you've been waiting anxiously for that $199 Kindle Fire tablet you pre-ordered from Amazon.com, this should be welcome news:

The company says it started shipping the tablets today — one day earlier than it had planned.

"Kindle Fire quickly became the bestselling item across all of Amazon.com, and based on customer response we're building millions more than we'd planned," Dave Limp, vice president of Amazon Kindle, says.

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11:04am

Mon November 14, 2011
The Two-Way

CEO Resigns From Charity Founded By Accused Penn State Child Abuser

Jack Raykovitz has resigned as CEO of The Second Mile — the program for at-risk children founded by former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, who's been accused of sexually abusing young boys for more than a decade.

Neither Raykovitz nor anyone else at Second Mile has been accused of any crime. Sandusky, through his lawyer, has maintained his innocence.

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10:00am

Mon November 14, 2011
The Two-Way

Downing Street Defends Larry The Cat After Mouse Sighting

Originally published on Mon November 14, 2011 10:02 am

Hey Larry! Wake up!
Mark Large AP

Calls for Larry the cat to resign from his position as No. 10 Downing Street's semi-official mouser have been "rebuffed," the BBC reports.

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9:18am

Mon November 14, 2011
The Two-Way

Occupy Oakland Camp Deserted As Police Move In

Originally published on Mon November 14, 2011 11:40 am

In Oakland early today, police officers formed a line before entering the Occupy Oakland protest site.
Paul Sakuma AP

"Hundreds of police officers raided the Occupy Oakland tent city" early this morning, the Oakland Tribune reports, but there were few if any people there:

"There's no one in the tents, it seems empty. ... It seems about 30-40 tents were taken down in anticipation of the raid."

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