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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The Two-Way
5:55 am
Fri February 10, 2012

Rep. Bachus Is Focus Of Ethics Investigation Into Possible Insider Trading

Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

The Washington Post broke this story last evening:

"The Office of Congressional Ethics is investigating the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee over possible violations of insider-trading laws, according to individuals familiar with the case.

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The Two-Way
5:30 am
Fri February 10, 2012

'Situation Could Not Be More Dire,' Syrians In Besieged City Say

An anti-regime fighter peered through a window in Idlib, Syria, on Thursday (Feb. 9, 2012).
AP

From inside the Syrian city of Homs, where activists say several hundred people have been killed by government forces in the past week and troops are preparing for what could be a "ground offensive" in coming days, residents say the "situation could not be more dire," NPR's Kelly McEvers reports.

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The Two-Way
1:15 pm
Thu February 9, 2012

Escaped 'Rhino' Successfully Captured In Tokyo

Netting the escapee.
BBC News

Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 1:40 pm

In 2010, it was a guy dressed up in a tiger suit that wouldn't have scared many toddlers. One year keepers successfully captured a "zebra."

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The Two-Way
12:05 pm
Thu February 9, 2012

Call It 'Gulf Of America,' Not Gulf Of Mexico, Lawmaker Says In Bit Of Satire

Sept. 2005: Hurricane Rita enters the Gulf of Mexico — or Gulf of America, as Mississippi House Rep. Stephen Holland would say.
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio

Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 4:26 pm

Update at 3:25 p.m. ET. It's Satirical, The Lawmaker Says:

Daniel Cherry of Mississippi Public Broadcasting just talked with Rep. Stephen Holland — the Democratic lawmaker who's getting a lot of attention for introducing a bill to rename the Gulf of Mexico to Gulf of America.

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The Two-Way
10:35 am
Thu February 9, 2012

Ban On Insider Trading By Lawmakers Passes House, Heads To Obama's Desk

Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 10:39 am

By a nearly unanimous vote this morning the House passed the STOCK Act, which as NPR's Tamara Keith has reported, "would, among other things, explicitly ban insider trading for members of Congress and their staffs."

The vote was 417-2, with 14 members absent. The two nay votes were from Rep. John Campbell, R-Calif., and Rep. Rob Woodall, R-Ga.

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The Two-Way
8:05 am
Thu February 9, 2012

Women In Combat: Inevitable?

American soldiers Kris Kuntz (left) and Hayley Barner in Afghanistan, near the border with Pakistan, last October.
Tauseef Mustafa AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 5:43 pm

  • NPR's Tom Bowman reports

The word that Pentagon rules may soon "catch up a bit with reality" as the military considers formally allowing women to do something that they've already been asked to do in Iraq and Afghanistan — serve close to the front lines but technically not "in combat" — raises a question.

As NPR's Tom Bowman reports, the new rules still wouldn't allow women to serve in front line combat jobs such as infantry, armor or Special Forces.

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The Two-Way
6:38 am
Thu February 9, 2012

Jobless Claims Drop By 15,000

The number of Americans who filed first-time claims for jobless benefits dipped to 358,000 last week, down by 15,000 from a revised 373,000 from the week before, the Employment and Training Administration just reported.

At 358,000, claims were the lowest they've been since March 2008.

The "four-week moving average" number of claims was "366,250, a decrease of 11,000 from the previous week's revised average of 377,250."

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The Two-Way
6:10 am
Thu February 9, 2012

Settlement Reached With Banks On Relief For Some Homeowners

Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 10:46 am

"After negotiating through the night," NPR's Yuki Noguchi reports, states attorneys general, federal officials and five major banks have agreed on a plan that will provide about $26 billion in mortgage relief and aid to homeowners who got crushed when the housing bubble burst.

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The Two-Way
5:35 am
Thu February 9, 2012

More Deaths Today In Syrian City Of Homs, Residents Say

A Syrian rebel runs for cover during an exchange of fire with army troops in Idlib, Syria.
AP

Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 6:23 am

"Syrian forces fired mortars and rockets Thursday in the rebellious city of Homs, the latest salvo in a weeklong assault that has killed hundreds as President Bashar Assad's regime tries to crush increasingly militarized pockets of dissent," The Associated Press reports.

Relying on reports from activists and residents in Homs, the AP and other news outlets say it appears that a brutal crackdown continues.

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The Two-Way
5:05 am
Thu February 9, 2012

AP: First 10 States Granted Waivers From 'No Child Left Behind'

Following up on a plan he unveiled last September to let states apply to be exempt from basic elements of the Bush-era No Child Left Behind education law, President Obama will today announce the first 10 states that have qualified for such exemptions.

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The Two-Way
12:55 pm
Wed February 8, 2012

Israel Isn't Going To Attack Us, Iran's U.N. Ambassador Says

Originally published on Sun February 12, 2012 7:22 am

Asked this afternoon if he thinks Israel will attack his nation anytime soon in a bid to destroy work Iran is doing on nuclear technology, the Persian nation's ambassador to the United Nations told NPR, "I don't think that is going to happen."

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The Two-Way
9:10 am
Wed February 8, 2012

Report: Data Show No 'Upsurge In Muslim-American Terrorism'

January 2010: Muslim-Americans protest against terrorism outside a federal court building in Detroit, where "Christmas Day" bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was being arraigned.
Stan Honda AFP/Getty Images

There was a decline last year in the already "small" number of Muslim-Americans indicted for violent terrorist plots and the rate of radicalization among that group remains "far less than many feared" after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, a researcher at North Carolina's Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security reports today.

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The Two-Way
7:35 am
Wed February 8, 2012

Russians Claim To Have Punched Through To Antarctic 'Subglacial Lake'

In Antarctica, Russian scientists posed at the site where they say they've drilled through to Lake Vostok. The sign indicates that the breakthrough happened on Feb. 5, 2012.
Russia's Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring

One week after pausing with about 40 feet to go, Russian scientists today announced that they have successfully drilled through two miles of ice to reach Lake Vostok — a body of water the size of New Jersey that hasn't been touched for millions of years.

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The Two-Way
6:15 am
Wed February 8, 2012

Egyptian Judge Says Foreign Groups Have Been Working There Illegally

Egyptian soldiers stand guard in front of the U.S. National Democratic Institute, an NGO rights group in downtown Cairo on December 29, 2011.
Filippo Monteforte AFP/Getty Images

Foreigners who have been working for international organizations in Egypt are in the country illegally and have been engaging in "political activity," a judge in Cairo just told reporters.

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The Two-Way
5:35 am
Wed February 8, 2012

Santorum's Wins: Huge? Meaningless? In Between?

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum celebrated his victories at a rally in St. Charles, Mo.
Whitney Curtis Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 8, 2012 5:47 am

Last night "belonged to Rick Santorum, who went three-for-three in Tuesday's Republican contests," as Eyder wrote on It's All Politics very early this morning.

The former Pennsylvania senator took first place in Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri.

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The Two-Way
5:00 am
Wed February 8, 2012

Report: Pentagon 'Beginning Review Of Syria Options'

A Syrian rebel stands guard at a street in Idlib, Syria, Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2012.
AP

Originally published on Wed February 8, 2012 6:36 am

As the U.S. continues to search for diplomatic solution to the crisis in Syria, "the Pentagon and the U.S. Central Command have begun a preliminary internal review of U.S. military capabilities," CNN is reporting.

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The Two-Way
12:55 pm
Tue February 7, 2012

Flipping 'The Bird' Just Isn't Obscene Anymore, Law Professor Argues

M.I.A.'s now famous finger during halftime of the Super Bowl.
Christopher Polk Getty Images
(Note: This is a post about obscenity. Proceed with caution if the subject bothers you.)

We've got one more thing to say about "the bird" and singer M.I.A.'s flipping of her middle finger on national TV during Sunday's halftime show at the Super Bowl.

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The Two-Way
11:01 am
Tue February 7, 2012

California's Same-Sex Marriage Ban Is Unconstitutional, Court Says

At the top: Proposition 8's supporters (who oppose same-sex marriage). Below: Proposition 8's opponents. Outside the court today in San Francisco.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 7, 2012 4:26 pm

California's Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriages is unconstitutional, a three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled today in a much-anticipated decision from the nation's most populous state. The judges upheld a lower court's ruling.

As you'd expect, the ruling has drawn praise from those who support same-sex marriage and condemnation from those who oppose it. Both sides acknowledge that the decision isn't the last word on the subject — an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court is expected.

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The Two-Way
10:45 am
Tue February 7, 2012

Ticker-Tape Sure Sounds Better Than 'Recycled Unprinted Newspaper' Parade

As the paper falls, New York Giants fans cheer during today's parade in Manhattan.
John Minchillo AP

Originally published on Tue February 7, 2012 11:59 am

Ah, the ticker-tape parade.

A celebration of heroes. A welcome home for champions. An outpouring of joy.

And since the late '60s, a ticker-tapeless affair.

As the NFL champion New York Giants parade Broadway's Canyon of Heroes today in the 200th-or-so "ticker-tape parade," let's take a moment to consider just what is floating down from buildings above.

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The Two-Way
9:25 am
Tue February 7, 2012

'Year Of The Dragon' Means It's 'Year Of The Baby' Too

Yu Qiuyan (right) held her newborn baby girl Li Muhua, as father Li Wanhong (left) and a relative stood by in Beijing on January 26.
Ed Jones AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 8:19 am

There's been more than enough grim news this morning. How about something lighter?

The Los Angeles Times catches up with the every-12-years story that since it's the "Year of the Dragon" in the zodiac cycle that means "in Chinese, Vietnamese and other Asian communities across the world" this is thought to be an especially fortunate time to have a baby.

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The Two-Way
9:09 am
Tue February 7, 2012

Komen Official At Center Of Planned Parenthood Controversy Resigns

Originally published on Tue February 7, 2012 9:31 am

The Susan G. Komen Foundation just confirmed to NPR.org's Scott Hensley that Karen Handel has resigned from her post as the organization's senior vice president of public policy.

Scott will be posting about the news over at Shots.

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The Two-Way
7:25 am
Tue February 7, 2012

Gulf Arab Nations Recall Ambassadors From Syria, Expel Syrian Diplomats

"Gulf Arab countries announced on Tuesday they were recalling their ambassadors from Damascus and expelling Syrian envoys in response to worsening violence in Syria," Reuters says.

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The Two-Way
6:55 am
Tue February 7, 2012

Before Dying In Inferno, Little Boys Were Struck

Toys and flowers have been left outside the Puyallup, Wash., home of Chuck and Judy Cox, the grandparents of Charlie and Braden Powell.
Ted S. Warren AP

Originally published on Tue February 7, 2012 6:57 am

Horrific details keep emerging about the deaths in Graham, Wash., on Sunday of Braden and Charlie Powell.

Among the disturbing news: Authorities now say it appears that before the boys died in a fire ignited by their father, Josh Powell, he struck his sons with a hatchet.

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The Two-Way
6:00 am
Tue February 7, 2012

As L.A. Probes Sex Abuse Charges, Staff Replaced At Elementary School

Miramonte Elementary School in Los Angeles.
Krista Kennell AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 7, 2012 4:26 pm

"In a dramatic move to quell parents' fears, Los Angeles school officials said they will temporarily replace the entire staff of an elementary school south of downtown Los Angeles, where two teachers have been accused of lewd acts against students," the Los Angeles Times writes.

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The Two-Way
5:30 am
Tue February 7, 2012

As Gunfire Echoes Inside Syria, A Cry For Help From A City Under Attack

With heavy machine gun fire in the background as he spoke from the Baba Amr section of Homs, Syrian citizen journalist and blogger Omar Shakir told Morning Edition co-host Renee Montagne earlier today that "we are asking for [an] SOS" and help from the International Red Cross to stop what he said has been the deadly shelling of his city by forces loyal to President Bashar Assad.

"There is no one with us," Shakir said.

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The Two-Way
1:20 pm
Mon February 6, 2012

First Barbie, Now Bart Simpson Is Banned In Iran

Homer, left, and Bart Simpson: too dangerous for Iran.
Claire Greenway Getty Images

As most of the headlines we're seeing say: "Aww, man!"

A newspaper in Iran says the authorities there have banned dolls of characters from The Simpsons because they supposedly promote Western culture.

So that means Homer, Marge, Lisa, Maggie and, of course, Bart, join Barbie on the list of toys deemed to be too hot for Iranian children to handle.

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The Two-Way
11:55 am
Mon February 6, 2012

'Prop 8' Ruling Expected Tuesday; California Measure Banned Gay Marriage

A three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals plans to release its ruling on the constitutionality of Calfornia's Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage in the state, at 1 p.m. ET on Tuesday (10 a.m. in California), the court just announced.

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