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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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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9:12am

Wed September 21, 2011
The Two-Way

Obama Tells Biden To 'Just Go Be Joe' On Campaign Trail

Go get 'em, the president tells Biden.
Susan Walsh AP

A new McClatchy-Marist poll shows that a majority of voters believe President Obama will lose "to any Republican" in next year's election and that "a solid plurality" of those surveyed say they will definitely vote against the president, the McClatchy news service reports.

And, it adds, "most potential Republican challengers" are gaining on Obama in one-on-one matchups.

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8:50am

Wed September 21, 2011

8:30am

Wed September 21, 2011
The Two-Way

$16 Muffins, $8 Coffees, $5 Meatballs: Justice Dept. Spending Rapped

Originally published on Wed September 21, 2011 2:05 pm

Anel Fernandez Cover/Getty Images

There's more ammunition today for those who collect evidence of government waste.

In a new report covering the last few years of the George W. Bush administration and the first year of the Obama administration, the Justice Department's Office of the Inspector General found that at conferences hosted by DOJ there was some "allowable but ... extravagant" spending.

A few notes from the report:

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8:00am

Wed September 21, 2011
The Two-Way

At UN: Obama To Speak As Critics Take Aim At Mideast Policy

Originally published on Mon September 26, 2011 1:41 pm

When President Obama steps to the podium at the U.N. General Assembly later this morning, he'll have a chance to explain why the U.S. opposes the bid by Palestinians to join that world body.

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7:42am

Wed September 21, 2011
The Two-Way

Former NPR News Exec Ellen Weiss Takes Job At Center For Public Integrity

Ellen Weiss, who resigned in January from her job as NPR's senior vice president for news after an independent review raised questions about "the speed and handling" of news analyst Juan Williams' termination, has been named executive editor at the Center for Public Integrity.

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7:10am

Wed September 21, 2011
The Two-Way

Developing: Iran Has Released Jailed Americans, State TV Says

A photo released by Iran's state-run Press TV on Feb. 6, 2011, shows U.S. hikers Shane Bauer (left) and Josh Fattal at court in Tehran.
AFP/Getty Images

Two American men jailed as spies in Iran since 2009 have been released, Iran's official Press TV reports.

The news site says it "has learned" that news.

Its report follows word from The Associated Press that attorney Masoud Shafiei said a court has approved a $1 million bail-for-freedom deal for the release of Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal.

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3:43pm

Tue September 20, 2011
The Two-Way

Is Another Shutdown Showdown Looming In Washington?

Originally published on Tue September 20, 2011 3:49 pm

The Capitol building.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Less than two months after nearly shutting down the federal government as they argued over the best way to reduce the budget deficit, there's word that Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill are again at odds and that another shutdown showdown is possible.

Politico reports that:

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2:15pm

Tue September 20, 2011
The Two-Way

What A Bright Idea: 'A Liter Of Light' For The Poor

Originally published on Tue September 20, 2011 2:20 pm

That's a bottle of water shining brightly.
A Liter of Light

A BBC report this week about a project in the Philippines that has brought virtually free light to dark homes in some of that country's poorest neighborhoods brightened our day so much that we went looking to find out more.

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11:35am

Tue September 20, 2011
The Two-Way

$2 Million For A Double-Wide Mobile Home? That's Malibu For You

Originally published on Tue September 20, 2011 11:37 am

Not bad digs. The $2 million double-wide in Malibu.
Malibu Real Estate Blog

The word is spreading about the $2 million — in cash — paid recently for a double-wide mobile home in Malibu, Calif.

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10:45am

Tue September 20, 2011
The Two-Way

Next Step For Drones May Be 'Automated Killing'

The "future of the American way of war," The Washington Post writes this morning, may be:

"A day when drones hunt, identify and kill the enemy based on calculations made by software, not decisions made by humans. Imagine aerial 'Terminators,' minus beefcake and time travel."

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10:34am

Tue September 20, 2011
The Two-Way

Reports: Former Afghan President Killed In Attack

Originally published on Tue September 20, 2011 1:14 pm

Burhanuddin Rabbani in January.
Shah Marai AFP/Getty Images

At attack at his home in Kabul has left former Afghan President Burhanuddin Rabbani dead, "two government sources" tell The Associated Press.

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9:40am

Tue September 20, 2011
The Two-Way

2011 MacArthur 'Genius' Grants Announced

Radiolab co-host and producer Jad Abumrad is among this year's 22 recipients of "genius" grants from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

Each MacArthur fellow receives $500,000 "to advance their expertise, engage in bold new work, or, if they wish, to change fields or alter the direction of their careers."

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9:00am

Tue September 20, 2011
The Two-Way

No Clemency For Troy Davis, Georgia Death Row Inmate

Originally published on Tue September 20, 2011 12:48 pm

"The state Board of Pardons and Paroles ... has denied clemency for Troy Anthony Davis after hearing pleas for mercy from Davis' family and calls for his execution by surviving relatives of a murdered Savannah police officer," The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

Now, the newspaper adds:

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8:40am

Tue September 20, 2011

8:20am

Tue September 20, 2011
The Two-Way

'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Fades Away, Media Say

Copies of a new magazine called OutServe, intended for actively serving lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender members of the U.S. military.
Paul J. Richards AFP/Getty Images

There are plenty of stories to choose from about today's milestone for the U.S. military — the end of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy that barred openly gay Americans from serving in the armed forces.

Our NPR.org colleague Liz Halloran focused on two men who were "immersed in efforts to repeal the controversial measure."

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7:50am

Tue September 20, 2011
The Two-Way

Murdoch's Media Co. Offers $4.7M To Family Victimized In Hacking Scandal

Rupert Murdoch in July.
Ben Stansall AFP/Getty Images

There's a new development in the story that turned the U.K.'s "hacking scandal" into front-page news:

"Milly Dowler's family have been made a £3m offer by Rupert Murdoch's News International in an attempt to settle the phone-hacking case that led to the closure of the News of the World and the resignation of the company's chief executive, Rebekah Brooks," The Guardian reports.

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7:20am

Tue September 20, 2011
The Two-Way

At The UN, Palestinian Bid For Membership Dominates Discussions

Originally published on Tue September 20, 2011 8:14 am

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the U.N. on Monday (Sept. 19, 2011).
Seth Wenig AP

As President Obama and other world leaders gather in New York City for the opening of the United Nations General Assembly session, one of the hottest issues is President Mahmoud Abbas' request to make Palestine a member of the U.N.

He's making that push over "heated Israeli objections and a promised U.S. veto" in the Security Council, The Associated Press notes.

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3:40pm

Mon September 19, 2011
The Two-Way

Damaged By 1928 Flood, Pompeii Painting By John Martin Now Restored

A museum employee looked at John Martin's recently restored The Destruction of Pompeii and Herculaneum, at the Tate Britain in central London on Monday (Sept. 19, 2011).
Andrew Winning Reuters/Landov

"A painting considered beyond repair after being submerged in filthy floodwater when the Thames breached its banks in 1928 will be seen in something approaching its wild and lurid former glory on Tuesday when it goes on public display for the first time in a century," The Guardian writes.

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2:30pm

Mon September 19, 2011
The Two-Way

In Their Words: Obama, Boehner On Taxes

Far apart: House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and President Obama in July.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

For comparison purposes, here's a look at the latest words about taxes from President Obama (D) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH). As NPR's Mara Liasson said earlier, "yes, we're at a stalemate."

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1:05pm

Mon September 19, 2011
The Two-Way

Welcome To The List: Italian Sparrow Is A Species, Researchers Say

An Italian sparrow.
L. B. Tettenborn

Bird watchers, and other nature lovers, take note:

"Scientists in Norway say they have conclusive genetic evidence that sparrows recently evolved a third species," the BBC reports. "The Italian sparrow, they argue, is a cross between the ubiquitous house sparrow and the Spanish sparrow."

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11:20am

Mon September 19, 2011
The Two-Way

Obama: I'll Veto A 'One-Sided Deal,' It's Time 'To Do What's Right'

President Obama at the White House, talking about his deficit-reduction plan.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Saying that "Washington has to live within its means" and that lawmakers must "cut what we can't afford to pay for what really matters," President Obama just introduced what he says is a plan to cut an additional $3 trillion from budget deficits over the next decade.

And he vowed to veto any legislation that puts all the burden of deficit reduction on those who rely on Medicare and other social programs. "It will not happen on my watch," declared Obama, in making the case that the wealthy and corporations must also be asked to pay more in taxes.

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10:00am

Mon September 19, 2011
The Two-Way

Some Spectators Think Reno Pilot Was Trying To Steer Clear Of Fans

(Note at 12:10 p.m. ET: A 10th person has died, according to officials in Washoe County, Nev. We've updated the post to reflect that news.)

As investigators search for clues into the cause of Friday's deadly accident at a Reno air race, in which 10 people were killed and dozens more injured when a plane crashed into a V.I.P. tent, there are reports that some who were there think 74-year-old pilot Jimmy Leeward did his best to prevent an even worse tragedy.

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9:10am

Mon September 19, 2011
The Two-Way

Netflix Is Splitting: DVD Service To Be Called Qwikster

The red Netflix envelope is due to be replaced by Qwikster.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Saying that "I messed up," Netflix CEO Reed Hastings announced late Sunday evening that after many complaints from its customers about a 60 percent increase in its fees, the company is splitting its services.

Soon, if you just want DVDs-by-mail, you'll be dealing with Qwikster (Hastings says the name "refers to quick delivery).

If you want to stream movies and other content, the company you'll be using will still be called Netflix.

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