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
8:38 am
Fri March 8, 2013

Bill Clinton: Defense Of Marriage Act That I Signed Is Unconstitutional

Former President Bill Clinton (and then-Vice President Al Gore) in 1996, the year Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act.
Stephen Jaffe Reuters /Landov

Times were different in 1996 when he signed the Defense of Marriage Act into law, former President Bill Clinton writes in today's Washington Post.

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The Two-Way
6:59 am
Fri March 8, 2013

Pleasant Surprises: 236,000 Jobs Added; Jobless Rate Dips To 7.7 Percent

The scene at a job fair in Manhattan earlier this month.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 8, 2013 7:54 am

There were 236,000 jobs added to payrolls in February — many more than expected — and the jobless rate unexpectedly dropped by two-tenths of a point, to 7.7 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.

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The Two-Way
6:10 am
Fri March 8, 2013

Cardinals Expected To Set Date For Start Of Conclave

Roman Catholic cardinals have been meeting at the Vatican to get to know each other better and to set a date for the start of the conclave that will choose the next pope. On Thursday, this cardinal was walking to one of those meetings.
Vincenzo Pinto AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 8, 2013 9:41 am

Update at 11:36 a.m. ET. Starts Tuesday:

"The eighth General Congregation of the College of Cardinals has decided that the Conclave will begin on Tuesday, 12 March 2013," reads a statement just sent to reporters by the Vatican Press Office. It adds that:

"A pro eligendo Romano Pontifice Mass will be celebrated in St. Peter's Basilica in the morning. In the afternoon the cardinals will enter into the Conclave."

Our original post — "Cardinals Expected To Set Date For Start Of Conclave":

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The Two-Way
6:08 am
Fri March 8, 2013

Top Stories: Jobs Report; Chávez Funeral

In Caracas, Venezuela, early Friday, supporters of the late President Hugo Chávez were in the streets ahead of his funeral.
Luis Acosta AFP/Getty Images
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The Two-Way
5:29 am
Fri March 8, 2013

February Jobs And Unemployment News Likely To Be 'More of The Same'

Hoping to see more of these: A "now hiring" sign in the window of a bank in San Rafael, Calif., in January.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 8, 2013 6:37 am

  • From 'Morning Edition': Yuki Noguchi and Steve Inskeep preview the jobs report

Update at 8:35 a.m. ET. Things Were Better Than Expected:

"Pleasant Surprises: 236,000 Jobs Added; Jobless Rate Dips To 7.7 Percent."

Our original post:

Slow job growth and little change in the unemployment rate.

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The Two-Way
12:53 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

How Did Strom Thurmond Last Through His 24-Hour Filibuster?

Sen. Strom Thurmond of South Carolina after his 24+ hour filibuster in 1957. He was a Democrat then. Later, Thurmond would switch to the Republican Party.
AP

As he ended his nearly 13-hour filibuster early Thursday, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) indirectly said it was nature's call that forced him to stop talking:

"I would try to go another 12 hours and try to break Strom Thurmond's record, but there are some limits to filibustering and I am going to have to go take care of one of those here," he said.

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The Two-Way
12:09 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

Holder Responds To Paul About Drone Strikes On U.S. Soil

A Predator drone.
General Atomics Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 12:22 pm

As he rose to begin his nearly 13-hour filibuster Wednesday, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said "no American should be killed by a drone on American soil without first being charged with a crime, without first being found to be guilty by a court." He would filibuster John Brennan's nomination to be CIA director, Paul said, because he wanted a clear statement from the Obama administration acknowledging that U.S.

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The Two-Way
11:20 am
Thu March 7, 2013

Please Tell Us You've Done This Too: Ever Worn Mismatched Shoes?

The left foot didn't know what the right foot was wearing.
Mark Memmott NPR

If your shoes say a lot about you, as we learned last year, what does it say if the ones you're wearing don't match?

-- That it's not a good idea to get dressed in the dark?

-- That perhaps this blogger needs to pay more attention to what he's doing in the morning?

-- Or that he buys boringly similar shoes?

Imagine my surprise when I looked down at my feet after getting to work this morning.

Now, please make me feel better:

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The Two-Way
7:52 am
Thu March 7, 2013

Will Breaking Bread Break The Deadlock In D.C.?

Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., gave a thumbs-up Wednesday night after he and other GOP senators had dinner with President Obama.
Olivier Douliery/pool Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 11:38 am

Wednesday night it was dinner with a small group of Republican lawmakers.

Thursday it's lunch with 2012 Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md.

Next week, the president is due to have lunch with more Republican senators.

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The Two-Way
7:12 am
Thu March 7, 2013

Today: First Key Votes On Gun Laws Since Newtown Shootings

Guns on display at a show in Fort Wayne, Ind., last month.
Brian Cassella MCT /Landov

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 10:52 am

Update at 12:45 p.m. ET. One Measure Approved So Far:

"The Senate Judiciary Committee approved legislation Thursday making gun trafficking a federal crime as lawmakers cast the first vote in Congress to curb firearms since December's horrific shootings at a Connecticut elementary school," The Associated Press writes.

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The Two-Way
6:42 am
Thu March 7, 2013

Mixed Signals: Jobless Claims Dip; Layoff Plans Rise

As we await Friday's much-anticipated report about the February unemployment rate and how many jobs were added to employers' payrolls last month, there are these new bits of economic data to chew over:

-- The Employment and Training Administration says there were 340,000 first-time claims for unemployment insurance last week. That's down from 7,000 the previous week. Claims continue at a pace that's the lowest since first-quarter 2008.

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The Two-Way
5:44 am
Thu March 7, 2013

Nearly 13 Hours Later, Sen. Paul Ends His Filibuster; Here's The Video

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., during his filibuster.
Senate Television AP

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 11:45 am

After nearly 13 hours during which he had only a few short breaks while sympathetic senators took over the talking, Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky ended his filibuster of John Brennan's CIA nomination early Thursday.

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The Two-Way
12:56 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

Economy Growing At 'Modest To Moderate Pace,' Fed Says

There was "modest to moderate" economic growth across the nation as the year began, the Federal Reserve says in its latest "beige book" review of conditions around the nation.

According to the central bank, five of its 12 districts "reported that economic growth was moderate in January and early February." Those five: Dallas, New York, Minneapolis, Richmond and St. Louis.

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The Two-Way
11:54 am
Wed March 6, 2013

Alvin Lee Is Going Home: 'Ten Years After' Guitarist Dies

Alvin Lee performing with Ten Years After in the early 1970s.
Lebre Sylvie Dalle /Landov

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 7:18 am

Guitarist Alvin Lee, whose incendiary performance with the British band Ten Years After was one of the highlights of the 1969 Woodstock festival, has died.

He was 68. Lee's website says he "passed away early this morning [Wednesday] after unforeseen complications following a routine surgical procedure." An assistant to his daughter also confirmed the news to NPR.

His band's biggest hit — "I'd Love to Change the World" — came a couple years after Woodstock. We'll embed a clip from that.

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The Two-Way
10:27 am
Wed March 6, 2013

VIDEO: Mount Etna Lights Up The Night Sky

The sky glowed red above Sicily's Mount Etna early Wednesday.
Salvatore Allegra AP

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The Two-Way
8:58 am
Wed March 6, 2013

Victims' Advocates Push For Some Cardinals To Be Barred From Papal Conclave

In Vatican City's St. Peter's Square on Wednesday, a man looked at the Italian magazine Chi's photo of former Pope Benedicxt XVI — the first such image since he stepped down last week.
Alberto Pizzoli AFP/Getty Images

As Roman Catholic cardinals now gathered in Rome continue to make preparations for their conclave that will choose a new pope, NPR's Sylvia Poggioli tells our Newscast Desk that "advocates for victims of clerical sex abuse across the world are stepping up demands that three cardinals withdraw" from that process.

According to Sylvia:

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The Two-Way
7:35 am
Wed March 6, 2013

Valerie Harper, TV's 'Rhoda,' Reveals She Has Terminal Brain Cancer

Actress Valerie Harper, when she was "Rhoda," in the early 1970s.
CBS /Landov

Originally published on Wed March 6, 2013 8:10 am

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The Two-Way
7:00 am
Wed March 6, 2013

198,000 Jobs Added In February, Report Shows; January Growth Revised Upward

The scene at a job fair in New York City on Feb. 28.
Lucas Jackson Reuters /Landov

There were 198,000 jobs added to private employers' payrolls in February, according to the latest ADP National Employment Report — a privately produced snapshot of the employment picture that's sometimes a signal of what the Bureau of Labor Statistics will say when it releases its data from the same month.

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The Two-Way
6:10 am
Wed March 6, 2013

After Chávez: His 'Revolution' Is Likely To Continue

Supporters of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez gathered late Tuesday at Bolivar Square in Caracas, Venezuela, to mourn him.
David Fernandez EPA /LANDOV

Originally published on Wed March 6, 2013 9:29 am

  • From 'Morning Edition': Steve Inskeep speaks with journalist Jon Lee Anderson
  • From 'Morning Edition': Juan Forero speaks with Renee Montagne

Venezuelan Vice President Nicolás Maduro "controls the purse strings" and his opponents have been looking weak, NPR's Juan Forero said earlier today on Morning Edition.

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The Two-Way
12:44 pm
Tue March 5, 2013

North Korea Threatens To Nullify Armistice; What Did That 1953 Pact Say?

A North Korean (right) and a South Korean soldier facing each other at the Panmunjom truce village in the demilitarized zone (DMZ) separating the two Koreas in Paju, about 30 miles north of Seoul. (2011 file photo.)
Kim Kyung-Hoon Reuters /Landov

While diplomats move ahead at the United Nations on a package of new sanctions aimed at North Korea in another effort to convince that Stalinist state to give up its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, there's also this news:

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The Two-Way
8:39 am
Tue March 5, 2013

Pilot Reports Seeing Drone In Sky Near JFK

A jet taking off from JFK Airport in New York City last month. On Monday, a pilot reported seeing a drone in the air near the airport.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

The pilot of an Alitalia pilot flying into New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport told controllers Monday afternoon that he had spotted "a drone aircraft" 1,500 feet high in the sky and approximately 5 miles west of the airport.

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The Two-Way
8:01 am
Tue March 5, 2013

14,253.77: Dow Rallies, Finishing In Record Territory

A trader on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange earlier this week.
Brendan McDermid Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Tue March 5, 2013 3:36 pm

Update at 4:09 p.m. ET. A New Record:

The Dow Industrials finished in record territory today. Gaining 89 points, it closed at 14,253.77, its highest level since Oct. 9,2007.

That is, the Dow has recovered all the losses it suffered during the Great Recession.

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The Two-Way
7:34 am
Tue March 5, 2013

Man Linked To Hit-And-Run Deaths Of Parents And Baby Has Long Rap Sheet

Julio Acevedo, the suspect in a car crash that killed a couple and later the baby that the pregnant mother was carrying, in an undated New York Police Department photo.
Reuters /Landov

The man who authorities want to question about Sunday's hit-and-run car crash in Brooklyn that killed a young couple and the baby that the 21-year-old pregnant mother was carrying has "a history of violence and a prior drunken driving arrest," The Associated Press writes.

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The Two-Way
6:38 am
Tue March 5, 2013

At The Vatican, 'No Rush' To Set Conclave; And A Fake Bishop Tries To Get In

That's not a real bishop on the left: A man later identified as Ralph Napierski of Germany (at left) posed with Cardinal Sergio Sebiastiana and others on Monday at the Vatican. Napierski was an imposter. He was later escorted from the area by Swiss Guards.
Vincenzo Pinto AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue March 5, 2013 9:17 am

Roman Catholic cardinals are in "no rush" to set the date for the start of their conclave that will choose the next pope, a Vatican spokesman told reporters Tuesday.

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The Two-Way
10:27 am
Mon March 4, 2013

Reports: Snipers Deployed To Kill Tehran's Cat-Sized Rats

Rats aren't only problem in Tehran. These were running free over the weekend in Luton, England.
Barcroft Media Barcroft Media /Landov

Rats have been a problem for many years in Tehran. As the BBC reported in 2000, officials back then launched a poison control program that they hoped would kill many of the estimated 25 million rats in the city.

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The Two-Way
8:39 am
Mon March 4, 2013

Obama Taps Nominees For EPA, Budget Office And Energy Department

Originally published on Mon March 4, 2013 1:36 pm

Calling them "three outstanding individuals" who will help him tackle some tough problems, President Obama on Monday morning nominated:

-- Gina McCarthy, currently an assistant administrator at the Environmental Protection Agency, to lead that agency. She would succeed the departed Lisa Jackson.

-- Ernest Moniz to be the next secretary of energy, replacing Steven Chu, who like Jackson decided not to stay for Obama's second term. Moniz is director of MIT's Energy Initiative and is a former undersecretary at the department.

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The Two-Way
8:25 am
Mon March 4, 2013

Today's 'Harlem Shake' Report: 15 Aussie Miners Fired; 'The Simpsons' Joins In

The "Harlem Shake" has certainly gone global. Sunday in Lausanne, Switzerland, these folks joined in.
Christian Brun EPA /LANDOV

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The Two-Way
7:52 am
Mon March 4, 2013

Queen Elizabeth II Leaves Hospital

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II as she left King Edward VII hospital in London on Monday.
Bogdan Maran EPA /LANDOV

Originally published on Mon March 4, 2013 8:24 am

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II was just seen leaving London's King Edward VII hospital, where she had been admitted over the weekend to be treated for symptoms of gastroenteritis.

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The Two-Way
7:08 am
Mon March 4, 2013

Prayers, Oaths Of Secrecy As Catholic Cardinals Meet

Some of the cardinals as they arrived for today's meeting in Vatican City.
Claudio Peri EPA /LANDOV

Originally published on Mon March 4, 2013 9:35 am

As they begin the process that will lead to selection of the next pope, the Roman Catholic Church's cardinals must first decide just when to officially start deciding, NPR's Sylvia Poggioli reminds us from Rome this morning.

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