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
8:28 am
Tue February 11, 2014

'Mind-Boggling,' Historic Ice Storm Headed For Deep South

This car was navigating a snowy road early Tuesday in Fort Payne, Ala. The wicked winter weather there is spreading across the Deep South.
Hal Yeager AP

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 6:50 pm

This is not our language. It comes from the forecasters at the National Weather Service, who we have to hope do not say things such as this unless they really mean it:

"Mind-boggling if not historical" ice accumulations are expected Wednesday and Thursday across a wide swath of the Deep South that includes Atlanta, other parts of Georgia, Columbia, S.C., and up to Raleigh/Durham, N.C. The forecasters are warning of a half-inch to an inch of ice.

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The Two-Way
7:07 am
Tue February 11, 2014

No Change In Fed Policy, Yellen Signals

Fed Chair Janet Yellen.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

Since every word that the head of the Federal Reserve utters is closely watched by those in the financial markets, it's worth noting that in her first appearance before Congress since being confirmed Fed Chair Janet Yellen plans to say Tuesday that:

"I expect a great deal of continuity in the FOMC's approach to monetary policy."

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The Two-Way
4:59 am
Tue February 11, 2014

Shirley Temple Dies; Childhood Movie Star Became Diplomat

Shirley Temple when she was the nation's biggest movie star.
AP

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 8:55 am

  • 'Morning Edition' looks back at the life of Shirley Temple
  • A bit of 'On the Good Ship Lollipop'

Shirley Temple, who charmed the nation as a child movie star in the 1930s and went on to become one of the nation's diplomats in posts that included ambassador to Czechoslovakia during the Cold War, has died.

She was 85.

The Associated Press writes that publicist Cheryl Kagan says the actress, known as Shirley Temple Black in her private life, died late Monday evening at her home near San Francisco. Kagan tells the AP that Temple's family and caregivers were with her.

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The Two-Way
12:11 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

Militants In Iraq Blow Themselves Up At Bomb Training Camp

Originally published on Mon February 10, 2014 1:27 pm

An explosion Monday near Baghdad left about 20 people dead and another 15 or so wounded, according to news reports.

None of those killed, it appears, were innocent victims or Iraqi security personnel.

Instead, insurgents reportedly "set off their own car bomb at a training camp in an orchard," The Associated Press reports.

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The Two-Way
11:15 am
Mon February 10, 2014

U.S. Citizen May Be Targeted With Drone Strike: Reports

A U.S. drone in the sky over Kandahar Air Field in Afghanistan.
Kirsty Wigglesworth AP

"An American citizen who is a member of al-Qaida is actively planning attacks against Americans overseas, U.S. officials say, and the Obama administration is wrestling with whether to kill him with a drone strike and how to do so legally under its new stricter targeting policy issued last year," those officials tell The Associated Press.

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The Two-Way
8:51 am
Mon February 10, 2014

Coming Out Complicates Player's Prospects, NFL Execs Say

Missouri Tigers defensive lineman Michael Sam.
Rick Scuteri AP

Originally published on Mon February 10, 2014 1:55 pm

Michael Sam has been a star defensive end at the University of Missouri. He's been an All-American and The Associated Press SEC Defensive Player of the Year.

A senior, he's been among the players scouts have said are sure to be selected by an NFL team when the league holds its draft on May 8-9.

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The Two-Way
5:01 am
Mon February 10, 2014

Avoid Atlanta Until Storm Passes, Governor Tells Truckers

Jan. 29, 2014: Traffic is snarled along the I-285 perimeter north of Atlanta's metro area after an ice and snow storm passed through. Officials hope such a scene isn't repeated.
David Tulis AP

Originally published on Mon February 10, 2014 10:44 am

This time, Georgia officials seem determined to get way out ahead of the weather.

With the National Weather Service warning that another blast of rain, sleet, snow and possibly ice is headed for the Deep South later today, authorities are urging Atlantans to be off the roads by early evening.

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The Two-Way
12:17 pm
Fri February 7, 2014

First Evacuees Leave Syrian City Of Homs

Two men, who were among about 80 civilians evacuated on Friday, look out from a bus in the Syrian city of Homs.
EPA/Landov

Originally published on Fri February 7, 2014 7:04 pm

Three buses brought 83 people — most of them older men — out of the center of the besieged Syrian city of Homs on Friday, Los Angeles Times reporter Patrick McDonnell tells All Things Considered host Melissa Block.

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The Two-Way
11:22 am
Fri February 7, 2014

Far Out Photo: Earth As 'Evening Star' Over Mars

From 99 million miles away on Mars, Earth is just a tiny dot in the evening sky.
NASA.gov

Originally published on Fri February 7, 2014 6:26 pm

Seeing a new photo taken by NASA's Curiosity rover of Earth in the night sky over Mars sent us through The Two-Way's back pages in search of other images of home taken from space.

Earth, the tiny bright spot above the Mars horizon, is so hard to see that it helps to also look at the version of the photo in which NASA has embedded a handy pointer. But perhaps Earth being just a tiny spot puts in perspective what it's like to be 99 million miles away.

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The Two-Way
8:25 am
Fri February 7, 2014

Jury Awards Nearly $17 Million In Grain Bin Deaths

Grain Operator Austin Clubb surveys corn inside the Homestead Grain Facility at Amana Farms near Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
John Poole NPR

Originally published on Fri February 7, 2014 9:39 am

An Illinois jury has returned a record verdict of nearly $17 million in the deaths of two teenagers and the traumatic entrapment of a third worker in a grain bin in 2010, NPR's Howard Berkes reports.

The incident was featured in an investigative series by Howard and the Center for Public Integrity. There's also an interactive database about the series here.

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The Two-Way
6:22 am
Fri February 7, 2014

Biden: 'No Obvious Reason' He Shouldn't Run For President

Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 7, 2014 8:35 am

He's far behind former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a recent poll of Democrats, but Vice President Joe Biden tells CNN that "there's no obvious reason" why he shouldn't seek his party's 2016 presidential nomination.

The network reports that:

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The Two-Way
5:47 am
Fri February 7, 2014

Dogs Do Their Doodies And Salmon Swim Home Magnetically

A fish that knows the way to go: the Chinook salmon, which appears to use the Earth's magnetic field to navigate ocean waters and rivers.
Jeff T. Green Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 7, 2014 8:40 am

You might say we're attracted to this kind of story:

Last month, there was the news that Czech researchers believe that dogs prefer to align themselves along "the North-South axis under calm [magnetic field] conditions" when they're dropping those deposits that we owners have to pick up.

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The Two-Way
4:50 am
Fri February 7, 2014

Job Growth Less Than Expected, But Unemployment Hits 5-Year Low

Frederic J. Brown AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 7, 2014 11:06 am

Note: This post was updated several times after the jobs report was released at 8:30 a.m. ET.

The nation's unemployment rate slipped to 6.6 percent in January from 6.7 percent a month before, but employers added only 113,000 jobs to their payrolls last month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday morning.

The jobless rate figure was expected. The job growth number, however, was well below the 185,000 that economists expected.

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The Two-Way
12:41 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

Sniper Attack On Power Station Highlights Grid's Vulnerability

Fred Prouser Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri February 7, 2014 9:26 am

Warning that no single authority can order utilities to beef up security at their facilities, the former head of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission continues to raise the alarm about a sniper attack last April on an electric power station in San Jose, Calif.. He says it highlights the vulnerability of the nation's power grid and that more needs to be done to protect that infrastructure.

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The Edge
7:50 am
Thu February 6, 2014

How To Watch All Of The Games: Step 1, Prove Yourself Worthy

Rebecca Torr of New Zealand competed Thursday in the women's slopestyle qualification at the Winter Olympics in Sochi.
Mike Ehrmann Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 12:14 pm

Now that the Winter Games have begun, it's time to remind fans in the U.S. about how to watch them.

As NPR TV critic Eric Deggans said earlier this week:

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The Two-Way
6:57 am
Thu February 6, 2014

Weekly Jobless Claims Dip; Will Unemployment Rate Do The Same?

The scene at a Hiring Our Heroes job fair for veterans last month in Washington, D.C.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 8:48 am

There were 331,000 first-time claims filed for unemployment insurance last week, down 20,000 from the week before, the Employment and Training Administration reports.

That's yet another report showing that claims remain in a range where they've been running since late 2011. What does that indicate? As we've said before:

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The Two-Way
6:22 am
Thu February 6, 2014

It's Freezing, And Power's Out For Hundreds Of Thousands

In Philadelphia on Wednesday, a woman ducked under a utility line that was brought down when an ice-covered tree fell.
Matt Rourke AP

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 9:06 am

Temperatures are going to stay below freezing for the next few days across the Northeast, and that's not good news for a half-million or so households and businesses in southeastern Pennsylvania. Many won't have electricity again until Friday or the weekend.

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The Two-Way
5:17 am
Thu February 6, 2014

No Jail For Teen With 'Affluenza' Who Killed 4 In Crash

The Texas teen who was legally intoxicated last June when he caused a crash that killed four people and seriously wounded two others, was in a Fort Worth court Wednesday. Note: NPR avoids identifying minors who are prosecuted as juveniles or are victims of crimes. Other news outlets have reported his name, however.
LM Otero AP

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 6:00 am

A Texas judge has rejected a request from prosecutors that she send a teenager to jail for driving drunk and causing a crash last year that killed four people and seriously wounded two others.

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The Two-Way
10:39 am
Wed February 5, 2014

Sniper Attack On Calif. Power Station Raises Terrorism Fears

Fred Greaves Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 12:30 pm

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The Two-Way
7:58 am
Wed February 5, 2014

Millions Warned To Stay Off Roads As Latest Storm Spreads

This man stopped to take pictures of the snow-covered trees in Manhattan's Central Park on Tuesday.
Seth Wenig AP

Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 9:53 am

From the Midwest through the Northeast and on into New England, the latest winter storm is spreading misery across some of the most heavily populated states in the nation.

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The Two-Way
6:53 am
Wed February 5, 2014

Employers Added 175,000 Jobs Last Month, Survey Signals

The scene last November at a jobs fair in New York City.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 10:00 am

The first of two reports this week about how many jobs were added to U.S. payrolls in January indicates that growth was slow but solid.

The ADP National Employment Report estimates that there were 175,000 more jobs in the private sector last month than in December.

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The Two-Way
6:22 am
Wed February 5, 2014

Reports: 4 Arrests Linked To Philip Seymour Hoffman's Death

Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 9:59 am

Three men and one woman were arrested Tuesday evening in connection with the death over the weekend of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, The New York Times and other New York news outlets are reporting.

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The Two-Way
5:46 am
Wed February 5, 2014

CVS To Stop Selling Tobacco Products

Soon to be gone: Marlboro cigarettes on display at a CVS store in Pittsburgh last July.
Gene J. Puskar AP

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 9:43 am

Saying it is "the right thing for us to do for our customers and our company to help people on their path to better health," the CEO of CVS Caremark announced Wednesday that the company's 7,600 pharmacies will stop selling cigarettes and tobacco products by Oct. 1.

Larry Merlo also said CVS will try to help those who want to quit smoking with a "robust national smoking cessation program" at its locations.

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The Two-Way
5:33 am
Wed February 5, 2014

Vatican Let Abuse Of Kids Go On For Decades, U.N. Panel Says

St. Peter's Square in Vatican City.
Ciro Fusco EPA/Landov

Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 2:01 pm

The Vatican "has not acknowledged the extent of the crimes committed, has not taken the necessary measures to address cases of child sexual abuse and to protect children, and has adopted policies and practices which have led to the continuation of the abuse by, and the impunity of, the perpetrators," a U.N. human rights committee charged Wednesday.

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The Two-Way
11:56 am
Tue February 4, 2014

Seahawks Say They Figured Out Manning's Signals

Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning during Sunday's Super Bowl. Some players on the Seattle Seahawks say they studied his hand signals. That helped them shut down the Broncos defense, they say.
Kevin C. Cox Getty Images

Here's a window into why the Seattle Seahawks' defense so thoroughly dominated the Denver Broncos' offense during Sunday's Super Bowl, which Seattle won 43-8.

Yes, it certainly seems as if Seattle's players were just bigger and faster and played better.

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The Two-Way
9:39 am
Tue February 4, 2014

Accuser's Video Leads To Sexual Assault Charges For Teacher

Jamie Carrillo, in the video she made as she was calling the former teacher whom she accuses of sexual abuse. The video went viral and led to another accuser coming forward and the arrest of the former educator.
YouTube

Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 6:34 am

A powerful video of a young woman's phone call to a former teacher and coach she accuses of sexual abuse has led to another alleged victim coming forward and to the arrest of that educator in Riverside County, Calif.

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The Two-Way
7:58 am
Tue February 4, 2014

'Secret Contacts' Reported Between Afghan President, Taliban

Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
Rahmat Gul AP

Originally published on Tue February 4, 2014 9:17 am

It's a question that's been vexing American diplomats for months:

Why won't Afghan President Hamid Karzai sign a security agreement with the U.S. — a deal that President Obama and his aides say needs Karzai's signature if any American troops are going to stay in Afghanistan beyond the end of this year?

As Sean Carberry, NPR's Kabul correspondent, has said:

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The Two-Way
7:45 am
Tue February 4, 2014

Microsoft Picks Insider Nadella As CEO; Gates Takes New Role

Satya Nadella, Microsoft's next CEO.
Stephen Brashear AP

Microsoft confirmed Tuesday that Satya Nadella, who has risen through the tech company's ranks since he joined it in 1992, is its new CEO.

Nadella has most recently been executive vice president of Microsoft's "cloud and enterprise" group.

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The Two-Way
7:07 am
Tue February 4, 2014

Creationism Vs. Evolution: The Debate Is Live Tonight

Bill Nye, left, and Ken Ham will debate the issue Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET.
AnsweringGenesis.org

Originally published on Tue February 4, 2014 5:02 pm

  • From the NPR Newscast: Cheri Lawson of member station WNKU reports on the Nye-Ham debate

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The Two-Way
4:55 am
Tue February 4, 2014

Sick Of Winter? Love It? More Snow And Ice Are On The Way

Winter: Do you wish it was over? Or is weather like this just great? (A scene in Queens, N.Y., on Monday.)
Matt Rourke AP

Originally published on Tue February 4, 2014 2:32 pm

Heavy snow is going to fall "from central Kansas through central Missouri and Illinois, into central Indiana" starting Tuesday, the National Weather Service says. Then, the "same system could bring a foot of snow [from] northern Pennsylvania into central New England on Wednesday."

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