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
1:57 pm
Thu June 21, 2012

After Knitters Get In A Twist, USOC Apologizes For 'Cease And Desist' Letter

Note to the USOC: Those are balls of yarn, not puts.
Michael Brandy AP

Originally published on Thu June 21, 2012 2:48 pm

It wouldn't seem to be a good idea to get 2 million people with pointy sticks angry at you, but the U.S. Olympic Committee did just that.

So it has just apologized for sending a "cease and desist" letter to a social networking site for knitters that is holding its own sort-of Olympic games.

Here's what the knotty legal dispute is about:

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The Two-Way
11:26 am
Thu June 21, 2012

Commerce Secretary Bryson Resigns; Suffered Seizure Earlier This Month

Commerce Secretary John Bryson.
Rajanish Kakade AP

Originally published on Thu June 21, 2012 11:40 am

Just under two weeks after suffering a seizure that led to two car accidents within minutes of each other, Commerce Secretary John Bryson has submitted his resignation.

Our former colleague David Gura (now with Marketplace) has downloaded a copy of Bryson's letter to the president and posted it here.

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The Two-Way
11:07 am
Thu June 21, 2012

Supreme Court Strikes Indecency Rules, Doesn't Address Free Speech Issue

Originally published on Thu June 21, 2012 5:20 pm

By an 8-0 vote, the Supreme Court today threw out fines the Federal Communications Commission filed against Fox and ABC.

The court did not address whether the FCC rules violated anyone's First Amendment right to free speech. Instead, the justices ruled that the FCC "failed to give Fox or ABC fair notice prior to the broadcasts in question that fleeting expletives and momentary nudity could be found actionably indecent."

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The Two-Way
9:21 am
Thu June 21, 2012

Bullied Bus Monitor Wants Apology, But Still Believes 'All Kids Aren't Bad'

From the video of Karen Klein being bullied.
youtube.com

Originally published on Thu June 21, 2012 2:46 pm

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The Two-Way
8:39 am
Thu June 21, 2012

Jobless Claims Hold Steady; 387,000 Filed Last Week

There were 387,000 first-time claims for jobless benefits filed last week, down just 2,000 from the week before, the Employment and Training Administration reports.

The previous week's number, by the way, was revised up slightly — to 389,000 from the initial estimate of 386,000.

The Associated Press writes that:

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The Two-Way
8:31 am
Thu June 21, 2012

Arrest Warrant Issued For Pakistan's Prime Minister Nominee

Makhdoom Shahabuddin, who has been nominated to be Pakistan's next prime minister.
Aamir Qureshi AFP/Getty Images

"Turmoil" doesn't seem like a strong enough word anymore to describe what's happening in Pakistani politics.

Tuesday, Pakistan's highest court ruled that Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani was "disqualified" from remaining in office because he had refused to reopen a multi-million-dollar corruption probe aimed at President Asif Ali Zardari.

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The Two-Way
8:08 am
Thu June 21, 2012

Zimmerman's Account Of Fatal Encounter With Trayvon Made Public

Defense attorney Mark O'Mara (left) with his client, George Zimmerman, at an April hearing related to second-degree murder charges in the killing of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla.
Pool Getty Images

Originally published on Thu June 21, 2012 12:06 pm

George Zimmerman's written, audio and video accounts of what happened when he shot and killed Trayvon Martin have been put online by his defense team. Much of what is in the materials has been previously reported, but their release offers the most detailed looks so far at his claim that he acted in self defense.

The materials, posted here, include the statement Zimmerman wrote on Feb. 26 — the day of his fatal encounter with 17-year-old Trayvon in Sanford, Fla. In it, the neighborhood watch volunteer writes:

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The Two-Way
7:14 am
Thu June 21, 2012

Syrian Fighter Jet Lands In Jordan, Pilot Reportedly Seeks Asylum

Originally published on Thu June 21, 2012 12:11 pm

"A Syrian MiG 21 fighter jet has landed in Jordan," al-Jazeera and other news outlets report. And according to Reuters, a Jordanian official says the pilot has asked for asylum. The BBC is reporting that news as well.

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The Two-Way
6:57 am
Thu June 21, 2012

Reminder: Supreme Court's Heath Care Ruling Possible Today

Waiting for word: The U.S. Supreme Court building.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu June 21, 2012 10:29 am

Update at 10:30 a.m. ET: The Supreme Court is done issuing opinions today and its take on the constitutionality of the 2010 health care overhaul was not among them.

The next likely day: Monday.

Our Original Post:

What we said on the last two Mondays applies again today:

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The Two-Way
4:37 pm
Wed June 20, 2012

House Committee Cites Attorney General Holder For Contempt

Attorney General Eric Holder during congressional testimony in 2011.
Jim Watson AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 20, 2012 4:46 pm

Acting along partisan lines, with a vote of 23 to 17, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee voted this afternoon to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt. Republicans, who control the committee, say Holder's Justice Department has not turned over all the documents that the committee needs to see as it probes the so-called Fast and Furious gun-trafficking operation.

And they want to know more about why the Justice Department initially told a senator that it had not pursued such an operation.

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The Two-Way
2:51 pm
Wed June 20, 2012

No iPads Or iPhones For You, Apple Store Clerk Tells Iranians

The scene at an Apple store.
Martin Bureau AFP/Getty Images

Sahar Sabet of Alpharetta, Ga., says that when she was in an Apple store at the local North Pointe Mall last week to buy an iPad and an iPhone, she and her uncle were overheard by a clerk.

The sales rep asked what language they were speaking and where they were from. When they said they were speaking Farsi and originally from Iran, Sabet tells Atlanta's WSB-TV, the clerk's response was a shock:

"I can't sell this to you."

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The Two-Way
10:28 am
Wed June 20, 2012

White House Exerts Executive Privilege Over 'Fast And Furious' Documents

Originally published on Wed June 20, 2012 3:24 pm

The battle between the Obama administration and the House Oversight and Government over the Fast and Furious operation just ratcheted up another notch. There's word that the White House is exerting executive privilege over documents that the committee's Republican majority has subpoenaed.

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The Two-Way
9:59 am
Wed June 20, 2012

Greece Has New Prime Minister

New Democracy party leader Antonis Samaras has been sworn in as Greek prime minister, correspondent Joanna Kakissis and Sky News report.

As Joanna reported earlier for our Newscast Desk, Samaras' conservative New Democracy party came in first during Sunday national elections, but didn't get enough support to govern on its own. So it will share power with the Socialist PASOK and a small pro-European party — The Democratic Left.

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The Two-Way
9:37 am
Wed June 20, 2012

Two Major East Coast Bridges Will Close Today For 'Delicate Maritime Ballet'

Originally published on Wed June 20, 2012 3:37 pm

We don't do too many traffic reports, but this news has the potential to be both fascinating and frustrating — depending on whether you're watching from afar or stuck inside a gridlocked car:

The Chesapeake Bay Bridge that carries U.S. Route 50 traffic back-and-forth between Washington, D.C., and mid-Atlantic beaches will be closed for about 40 minutes today, starting around 1:15 p.m. ET, so that a cargo ship carrying four huge cranes can pass (safely, we hope) beneath the span.

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The Two-Way
8:39 am
Wed June 20, 2012

If WikiLeaks' Assange Steps Out, He's Due To Be Arrested

A British police officer stood outside the Ecuadorian consulate in London earlier today, as WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange remained inside.
Dan Kitwood Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 20, 2012 9:32 am

  • On 'Morning Edition': Philip Reeves reports

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is reportedly still inside Ecuador's embassy in London, where he showed up Tuesday and asked for political asylum.

The chances of his being able to leave there and not immediately be arrested by British authorities seem to be somewhere between slim and none.

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The Two-Way
7:59 am
Wed June 20, 2012

If Sandusky Is Going To Testify, Today's The Likely Day

Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky as he left the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte, Pa., on Tuesday.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 20, 2012 12:07 pm

The defense rested its case just before noon ET today and closing arguments will begin Thursday in the trial of former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky on charges of sexually abusing young boys, according to reporters from The Associated Press, NPR and other news outlets.

Sandusky did not take the stand in his own defense.

Our Original Post: If Sandusky Is Going To Testify, Today's The Likely Day

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The Two-Way
7:21 am
Wed June 20, 2012

Will Egypt's Generals Use News About Mubarak To Further Delay Democracy?

In Cairo's Tahrir Square on Tuesday night, men gathered in front of graffiti showing ousted President Hosni Mubarak and others from his regime.
Daniel Berehulak Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 20, 2012 3:07 pm

  • On 'Morning Edition': Renee Montagne speaks with Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson

In Cairo's Tahrir Square, reports that former President Hosni Mubarak is in critical condition and may be near death are being met with two reactions, NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson reports:

-- Many Egyptians who have gathered there are saying, "It's about time, let him go."

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The Two-Way
2:57 pm
Tue June 19, 2012

Moon Shot From JPMorgan's Dimon Is Day's Money Quote

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon during testimony today before the House Financial Services Committee.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images
  • Rep. Sean Duffy and JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon

The top news from Capitol Hill testimony today by JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon is that he says "the bank did its best to fully inform investors about its risk strategy several weeks before it suffered a $2 billion-plus trading loss," The Associated Press reports.

But the quote from him that seems to be getting the most attention came in response to a question from Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wis., who wanted to know if the bank could ever lose "a half a trillion dollars or a trillion dollars?"

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The Two-Way
2:34 pm
Tue June 19, 2012

Frankel Runs Away At Ascot, Firms Up Standing As World's Top Horse

Frankel, with jockey Tom Queally aboard, as he sped away with the win today at Royal Ascot.
Alan Crowhurst Getty Images

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The Two-Way
12:52 pm
Tue June 19, 2012

Ex-Rutgers Student Released After Serving 20 Days Of 30-Day Sentence

Dharun Ravi, 20, as he walked way from the Middlesex (N.J.) County jail with his attorney Steven Altman, left, earlier today.
Mel Evans AP

Dharun Ravi walked out of a New Jersey jail this morning after serving 20 days of the 30-day sentence he was given for using a webcam to spy on his gay roommate at Rutgers University in 2010.

The case drew national attention after it became known that the roommate, Tyler Clementi, committed suicide soon after learning about what Ravi had done and that Ravi had told others about it.

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The Two-Way
12:10 pm
Tue June 19, 2012

Russian Ship Carrying Helicopters Bound For Syria Turns Back, U.K. Says

Originally published on Tue June 19, 2012 12:44 pm

A Russian cargo ship loaded with refurbished attack helicopters has turned back toward home after having its insurance canceled, British Foreign Secretary William Hague says, according to the BBC.

The MV Alaed was was passing by Scotland's north coast at the time. The policy was canceled by The Standard Club, a London-based insurer. According to the BBC, the insurer issued a statement saying:

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The Two-Way
10:51 am
Tue June 19, 2012

Historic Southern Baptist Vote Coming Up, Live On The Web

Pastor Fred Luter, of New Orleans, who's set to be president of the Southern Baptist Convention.
Ross D. Franklin AP

Originally published on Tue June 19, 2012 3:11 pm

NPR.org's lead story this hour is Barbara Bradley Hagerty's Morning Edition report headlined "Southern Baptists See Their Future In A Black Pastor."

As she writes:

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The Two-Way
9:51 am
Tue June 19, 2012

Adidas Cancels Its 'Shackle Shoes'

The JS Roundhouse Mids.
Facebook.com/adidasoriginals

Originally published on Tue June 19, 2012 11:46 am

Sneakers that come with prison orange shackles to wrap around your ankles?

That was Adidas' idea for the "JS Roundhouse Mids" it planned to start selling in August. It was to be "a sneaker ... so hot you lock your kicks to your ankles."

Was to be, that is.

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The Two-Way
9:12 am
Tue June 19, 2012

Signs Of Strength In Latest Housing Data

San Mateo, Calif.: Construction was underway earlier this year at a new housing development.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Tue June 19, 2012 10:01 am

There was a 7.9 percent jump in the number of construction permits issued to home builders in May, the Census Bureau says.

That increase boosted permits to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 780,000 — the most since September 2008, The Associated Press adds. It's a signal that construction will be strong in coming months.

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The Two-Way
8:31 am
Tue June 19, 2012

Should Roger Clemens Go Into Baseball's Hall Of Fame?

Roger Clemens in 1991, when he pitched for the Boston Red Sox.
Otto Greule Jr Getty Images

Now that Roger Clemens has been found not guilty of lying to Congress and obstructing its investigation into the use of performance-enhancing drugs by Major League Baseball players, the debate resumes about whether one of baseball's greatest pitchers should or shouldn't get into the sport's hall of fame.

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