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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7:30am

Tue September 27, 2011
The Two-Way

Both Sides Claim Vindication After Shutdown Is Averted

Originally published on Tue September 27, 2011 10:28 am

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky walks to the floor as the Senate prepares to vote on a short-term funding measure .
J. Scott Applewhite AP

As some last-minute developments and a late-evening deal came together to bring another shutdown showdown to a close last night, Democratic and Republican leaders were both declaring their positions in the latest budget battle had been vindicated.

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5:00pm

Mon September 26, 2011
The Two-Way

VIDEO: Atop Washington Monument, Visitors Scrambled During Quake

Visitors near the top of the Washington Monument headed for the stairs as it rocked back and forth. Debris was falling inside.
National Park Service

1:15pm

Mon September 26, 2011
The Two-Way

GOP Students' Race-Based Bake Sale Sparks Controversy At Berkeley

Row of brightly-colored cupcakes.
iStockphoto.com

Republican students at the University of California, Berkeley, say they're being satirical. The school's student senate says they're being discriminatory and others on campus say they're being offensive.

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12:30pm

Mon September 26, 2011
The Two-Way

VIDEO: 'Bird Man' Jeb Corliss Flies Through A Mountain In China

The view from Jeb Corliss' headcam as he flew toward the hole in Tianmen mountain on Saturday.
CCTV News Channel

There are several videos out there of wingsuit flyer Jeb Corliss' latest adventure, but the most complete report with the best bird's eye view may be this one from China's CCTV. Check it out.

The BBC says Corliss jumped out of a helicopter from 6,560 feet above Tianmen mountain in Hunan Province on Saturday before flying through the gap.

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10:45am

Mon September 26, 2011
The Two-Way

More People Than Ever Are Unhappy With The Government, Poll Shows

Gallup's latest polling on how Americans feel about the way they're being governed.
Gallup.com

In some ways this news just states the obvious. But it's still worth noting that according to the pollsters at Gallup:

"A record-high 81 percent of Americans are dissatisfied with the way the country is being governed, adding to negativity that has been building over the past 10 years."

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10:20am

Mon September 26, 2011
The Two-Way

Creator Of Doritos To Be Buried With His Chips

Word is just reaching the rest of the nation that Arch West, the man credited with creating Doritos, died last week in Texas. He was 97, the Dallas Morning News says.

At a graveside service next Saturday, the newspaper adds, "his family plans to sprinkle Doritos." A daughter says they will be "tossing Doritos chips in before they put the dirt over the urn."

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10:10am

Mon September 26, 2011
The Two-Way

Sales Of New Homes Fell 2.3 Percent In August

Sales of new single-family houses fell 2.3 percent in August from July, the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development just reported. The annualized rate: 295,000 sales.

The report underscores the weakness of the housing market, The Associated Press says. Sales have now fallen four straight months and are at a six-month low. Economists, according to the AP, say the pace needs to be about 700,000 "to sustain a healthy housing market."

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8:55am

Mon September 26, 2011
The Two-Way

Marathon Record Lowered By 21 Seconds

Patrick Makau of Kenya celebrates in front of Berlin's Brandenburg Gate after setting a new world record for the marathon.
Odd Andersen AFP/Getty Images

Kenya's Patrick Makau ran the Berlin Marathon on Sunday in a new world record time — 2 hours, 3 minutes and 38 seconds. He shaved 21 seconds off the previous record, set by Ethiopia's Haile Gebrselassie on the same course in 2008.

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8:15am

Mon September 26, 2011
The Two-Way

Top Stories: Shutdown Showdown; CIA Station Attacked In Kabul

Originally published on Mon September 26, 2011 8:17 am

Good morning.

Our headlines so far today:

-- Shutdown Showdown Continues: Senate Has Key Vote Today

-- NYPD Could 'Take Down A Plane' If Necessary, Commissioner Says

Other stories making headlines include:

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7:45am

Mon September 26, 2011
The Two-Way

NYPD Could 'Take Down A Plane' If Necessary, Commissioner Says

Originally published on Mon September 26, 2011 7:49 am

A plane flies past the Manhattan skyline at sunset.
Clive Brunskill Getty Images

One exchange in particular between CBS News' Scott Pelley and New York Police Department Commissioner Ray Kelly on Sunday's edition of 60 Minutes is getting lots of attention today.

The subject was the possibility of another terrorist attack aimed at the city and the efforts by Kelly's department to prevent such a thing from happening. Here's an excerpt:

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7:25am

Mon September 26, 2011
The Two-Way

Shutdown Showdown Continues: Senate Has Key Vote Today

Originally published on Mon September 26, 2011 12:58 pm

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) at the Capitol last week.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

We warned last week that a second "shutdown showdown" was looming in Washington.

And, sure enough, as the new week begins lawmakers in Washington are still at odds over how to put some more money into the coffers of the stretched-thin Federal Emergency Management Agency. And if the dispute isn't settled by the end of the week, part of the federal government might be forced to shut down.

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9:50am

Fri September 23, 2011
The Two-Way

No More Special Last Meals For Death Row Inmates In Texas

Originally published on Fri September 23, 2011 9:53 am

Lawrence Russell Brewer in 1999.
Pat Sullivan AP

The huge meal that white supremacist Lawrence Russell Brewer ordered and then left untouched before his execution Wednesday has convinced Texas officials to end the state's traditional practice of giving death row inmates a "last meal" of their choice.

As the Houston Chronicle writes:

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9:10am

Fri September 23, 2011
The Two-Way

Those Muffins Did Not Cost $16 Each, Hilton Says

Kevin D. Weeks for NPR

Half-baked.

That's what you might say about one much-reported part of the much-discussed report this week that the Justice Department bought some very expensive food for its conferences in recent years.

Hilton Worldwide says the muffins it provided for a 2009 Justice conference in Washington did not cost $16 each, as was reported by Justice's inspector general.

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8:45am

Fri September 23, 2011

8:22am

Fri September 23, 2011
The Two-Way

From Pakistan: 'Vehement Denials' And Indignation After U.S. Accusations

There are "vehement denials and also ... a good degree of indignation" from Pakistan today, Los Angeles Times correspondent Alex Rodriguez tells NPR from Islamabad. Officials there are responding to comments from the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff — who said Thursday that "extremist organizations serving as proxies of the government of Pakistan are attacking Afghan troops and civilians as well as U.S. soldiers."

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8:00am

Fri September 23, 2011
The Two-Way

Boos Heard At GOP Debate After Gay Soldier Asks About 'Don't Ask'

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum during Thursday night's Republican presidential debate in Orlando.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Read and listen to the reaction from some in the audience at last night's Republican presidential debate after a video question from Stephen Hill, a gay soldier who Fox News said is serving in Iraq. The question was directed to former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, and here is Fox News' transcript:

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7:25am

Fri September 23, 2011
The Two-Way

Saleh Returns And For Yemen, 'Next 24 Hours Will Be Decisive'

Originally published on Fri September 23, 2011 7:49 am

Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh in Riyadh on Sept. 19, 2011.
AFP/Getty Images

More than three months after being seriously injured in a rocket attack and then going to Saudi Arabia for treatment, President Ali Abdullah Saleh made a surprise return to Yemen today.

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3:10pm

Thu September 22, 2011
The Two-Way

China's 'Strong-Willed Pig' Has Been Cloned

"Strong-willed pig," in 2008.
AFP/Getty Images

He's a national hero in China, as NPR's Melissa Block learned in 2009.

Zhu Jian Qiang, or "Strong-Willed Pig", survived for 36 days in the rubble of a home in southwest China after the devastating earthquake there in 2008. It's thought he only had water and charcoal to live on.

Since then, the castrated male has gone on to be a featured part of an earthquake museum in Dayi, China. And now, he'll live on — sort of — after he dies.

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2:45pm

Thu September 22, 2011
The Two-Way

Pakistan's Proxies Are Attacking Afghans And Americans, Mullen Says

Sept. 13: Afghan Security personnel stand above the body of one attacker, on the 10th floor of the building in Kabul from which RPGs and other weapons were fired toward the U.S. embassy.
David Gilkey NPR

"Extremist organizations serving as proxies of the government of Pakistan are attacking Afghan troops and civilians as well as U.S. soldiers," the outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told Congress today, in some of the sharpest words so far about what U.S. officials say is Pakistan's support of terrorist groups.

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1:12pm

Thu September 22, 2011
The Two-Way

Ahmadinejad: U.S. Used 'Mysterious Sept. 11 Incident' As Pretext For War

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the U.N. today.
Timothy A. Clary AFP/Getty Images

American diplomats just walked out of the United Nations General Assembly after hearing Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ask what to him is a rhetorical question: who used "the mysterious Sept. 11 incident as a pretext to attack Afghanistan and Iraq?"

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12:24pm

Thu September 22, 2011
The Two-Way

Arkansas' Missing Moon Rock Turns Up In Boxes Of Clinton's Memorabilia

July 20, 1969: astronaut Edwin E. "Buzz" Aldrin Jr. on the moon.
Neil Armstrong/NASA AP

That's one small step for historians ...

We'll stop there and just go to the news:

"An archivist sifting through boxes of former President Bill Clinton's papers and memorabilia from his time as Arkansas governor [has] found a missing moon rock given to the state 35 years ago," the Arkansas News Bureau reports.

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10:35am

Thu September 22, 2011
The Two-Way

GOP Rep. Ryan On Obama's Plan: 'Why Would We Want To Do This Again?'

Originally published on Thu September 22, 2011 6:01 pm

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) at NPR headquarters in May.
Erin Schwartz NPR

Earlier this month on Morning Edition, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner made the case for President Obama's latest jobs plan, saying it "would have a substantial, powerful effect on strengthening the economy." Click here to read and hear his conversation with host Steve Inskeep.

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9:00am

Thu September 22, 2011
The Two-Way

Diplomats Owe NYC $17.2M For Parking Tickets; DC Is Owed $340,000

A car with diplomat license plates near the United Nations in New York City.
Stephen Chernin Getty Images

There was outrage yesterday over the $16 muffins and $32 snack packs purchased by the Justice Department in recent years.

Today's this is outrageous news:

Diplomats owe the city of New York $17.2 million and owe Washington, D.C., more than $340,000 for unpaid parking tickets, Washington's WTOP-radio reports.

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8:35am

Thu September 22, 2011
The Two-Way

Jobless Claims Dipped Slightly Last Week

Originally published on Thu September 22, 2011 8:38 am

There were 423,000 first-time claims filed for unemployment benefits last week, the Employment and Training Administration just reported.

That's down 9,000 from the previous week. But, as The Associated Press says, claims "remain elevated" and at a level that underscores the weakness of the labor market.

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8:25am

Thu September 22, 2011

8:04am

Thu September 22, 2011
The Two-Way

Backburner Or Frontburner? Views Vary On Palestinian Strategy At UN

Originally published on Mon September 26, 2011 1:47 pm

The Associated Press says Palestinians remain "undeterred in U.N. statehood bid" despite a U.S. plan to use its Security Council veto to block a move by Palestinian leaders for U.N. membership as a state.

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7:30am

Thu September 22, 2011
The Two-Way

After The Execution: Relief For Victim's Mom; Anguish For Davis' Supporters

Now that the execution of convicted cop killer Troy Davis has been carried out in Georgia, the morning-after stories are focusing on the controversy over his punishment and the effect the case has had on all those involved.

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2:32pm

Wed September 21, 2011
The Two-Way

Federal Reserve Confirms It Plans To 'Twist' In Bid To Bring Down Rates

Originally published on Wed September 21, 2011 2:34 pm

"To support a stronger economic recovery and to help ensure that inflation, over time, is at levels consistent with the dual mandate, the Committee decided today to extend the average maturity of its holdings of securities."

That sentence from a statement just released by the Federal Reserve confirms that the central bank's policymakers have indeed decided to launch what's being referred to as "Operation Twist."

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1:24pm

Wed September 21, 2011
The Two-Way

Reports: Hewlett-Packard May Tap Meg Whitman To Be Its CEO

Meg Whitman, on April 12, 2011, at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.
Tom Pennington Getty Images

Meg Whitman, the former eBay CEO and 2010 Republican candidate for governor of California, may be Hewlett-Packard's next CEO.

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10:10am

Wed September 21, 2011
The Two-Way

Driven By Foreclosures, Existing Home Sales Rose In August

Sales of existing homes rose 7.7 percent in August from July, the National Association of Realtors just reported.

According to a statement from the association's chief economist, Lawrence Yun:

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