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
10:55 am
Thu March 15, 2012

'Star Rabbit' Dies When Photographer Takes Wrong Step

Til, on Wednesday, before his untimely death.
Uwe Meinhold AP

He's "like James Dean, a star dead before his time," according to The Local.

Spiegel Online says "the future had looked so bright for tiny Til."

Global Post somberly says that "an attempt to show a rare rabbit on TV took a tragic turn."

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The Two-Way
10:15 am
Thu March 15, 2012

Report Slams Sen. Stevens' Prosecutors

Former Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, in 2008.
Alex Wong Getty Images

In a "blistering" 500-page report released this morning a special prosecutor concludes that Justice Department lawyers "intentionally withheld" information that could have bolstered then-Sen. Ted Stevens' defense during the Alaska Republican's 2008 trial on corruption charges, NPR's Carrie Johnson tells us.

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The Two-Way
8:38 am
Thu March 15, 2012

Jobless Claims Fell By 15,000 Last Week

There was a 14,000 decline in the number of people filing first-time claims for unemployment insurance last week, the Employment and Training Administration just reported:

"In the week ending March 10, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 351,000, a decrease of 14,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 365,000. The 4-week moving average was 355,750, unchanged from the previous week's revised average of 355,750."

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The Two-Way
8:25 am
Thu March 15, 2012

Priest Defends Denying Communion To Lesbian Mourner

Saeed Khan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 15, 2012 9:35 am

The priest who was put on administrative leave by the Archdiocese of Washington following a much-talked-about incident in which he denied communion to a lesbian woman attending her mother's funeral, has issued a long defense of his action and has said the church isn't being candid about the reason for its decision to put him on leave.

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The Two-Way
7:25 am
Thu March 15, 2012

Afghans Object, U.S. Officials Defend Decision To Move Massacre Suspect

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, with Col. John Shafer, at Foward Operating Base Shukvani in Afghanistan on Wednesday.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 15, 2012 10:35 am

  • Tom Bowman
  • Larry Abramson speaks with Renee Montagne

The news that the U.S. Army staff sergeant who is suspected of murdering 16 Afghan civilians has been moved to a detention facility in Kuwait is sparking some small protests in Afghanistan.

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The Two-Way
11:50 am
Wed March 14, 2012

Goldman Sachs Starts To Fire Back At Exec Who Quit In Scathing Op-Ed

Chris Hondros Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 14, 2012 2:25 pm

Greg Smith is a fairly ordinary name — but it's now one that's all the talk of Wall Street after he quit his position at Goldman Sachs today in one of the most amazingly public ways:

With an essay in The New York Times that accuses Goldman Sachs of having a money-is-everything culture that is "toxic and destructive."

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The Two-Way
11:10 am
Wed March 14, 2012

Obama, Cameron Say Afghan Mission Remains Unchanged

President Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron during their news conference this afternoon in the Rose Garden of the White House.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 14, 2012 1:16 pm

The U.S., Britain and their NATO allies cannot accelerate the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan because it's critical that they not leave until that nation's security forces can stand on their own and ensure that al-Qaida never has a safe haven there again, President Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron said during a joint news conference this afternoon at the White House.

"We will not give up on this mission," Cameron said at one point. The plan, he and Obama said, remains to have most troops withdrawn by the end of 2014.

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The Two-Way
11:00 am
Wed March 14, 2012

Obama Picks North Carolina To Win Men's Basketball Championship

President Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron were courtside in Dayton, Ohio, Tuesday at the "play in" game between Western Kentucky and Mississippi Valley State. Western Kentucky won, 59-58.
Gregory Shamus Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 14, 2012 11:03 am

After two years of going with the wrong team to win it all, President Obama is counting on North Carolina — the team he correctly picked to win the 2009 NCAA men's basketball championship — to end up No. 1 this year.

As he has each year since taking office, the president spent time with ESPN going over his bracket for the tournament.

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The Two-Way
9:50 am
Wed March 14, 2012

Editor's Obituary Takes Tawdry Twist

Originally published on Wed March 14, 2012 9:51 am

After Oregonian editorial page editor Bob Caldwell died Saturday, the report from the newspaper on Sunday said he had suffered a heart attack.

That does appear to be the 63-year-old journalist's cause of death. But the circumstances surrounding his last moments were considerably more complicated.

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The Two-Way
8:40 am
Wed March 14, 2012

Boston's Back Bay Slowly Recovering After Smoky Fire Causes Chaos

The smoke over Boston from Tuesday's electrical fire.
Bianca Vazquez Toness WBUR
  • WBUR's Bianca Vazquez Toness
  • NPR's Tovia Smith

Repair crews are working this morning to restore power to thousands of homes and businesses in Boston's Back Bay district, "after two transformers caught fire Tuesday night, knocking out power" and sending think black smoke billowing over the area, our colleagues at WBUR report.

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The Two-Way
8:05 am
Wed March 14, 2012

'Tragic Day For All Of Belgium': 22 Children Killed In Bus Crash

The mangled front of the bus. The crash happened in a tunnel in Sierre, in the Swiss canton of Valais.
Sebastien Feval AFP/Getty Images

There's been a horrible traffic accident inside a Swiss tunnel. At least 28 people — 22 of them children mostly around the age of 12 — were killed Tuesday night when the bus they were in crashed.

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The Two-Way
7:45 am
Wed March 14, 2012

In Afghanistan, Panetta Says Mission Continues

  • Larry Abramson, reporting from Afghanistan

At Camp Leatherneck in southern Afghanistan today, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta urged U.S. military personnel to not be deterred from their mission and continue "to make life difficult" for the Taliban and al-Qaida, says NPR's Larry Abramson, who is travelling with Panetta.

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The Two-Way
7:15 am
Wed March 14, 2012

6.8 Magnitude Quake Shakes Japan, But Tsunami Warning Canceled

The same general area of Japan that was devastated by an earthquake and tsunami almost exactly one year ago was rattled today by a 6.9 magnitude temblor that led authorities to warn of another possible tsunami along the nation's northeast coast. (Note at 7:42 a.m. ET: The U.S.

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The Two-Way
7:00 am
Wed March 14, 2012

Santorum Wins In Dixie, Romney Takes Hawaii And American Samoa

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum with supporters Tuesday night in Lafayette, La. Louisiana's primary is on March 24.
Sean Gardner Getty Images
  • Mara Liasson on 'Morning Edition'

After another set of presidential contests the story remains much the same — pundits say former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney remains the front runner in the race for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, but former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum continues his strong challenge.

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The Two-Way
2:30 pm
Tue March 13, 2012

With Economy 'Expanding Moderately,' Fed Leaves Interest Rates Unchanged

Originally published on Tue March 13, 2012 2:31 pm

Citing an economy that is "expanding moderately," an improving labor market and subdued inflation — but a housing sector that "remains depressed" — the Federal Reserve just announced it is holding to its current policy on short-term interest rates.

The central bank's policymakers also said they expect "moderate economic growth over coming quarters" and that the jobless rate will continue to "decline gradually."

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The Two-Way
2:10 pm
Tue March 13, 2012

Why Praise For An Olive Garden Turned Marilyn Hagerty Into A Star

created a blog just for following her travels." href="/post/why-praise-olive-garden-turned-marilyn-hagerty-star" class="noexit lightbox">
Her fame has taken Marilyn Hagerty to New York City to be on the TV networks. And her newspaper has created a blog just for following her travels.
Grand Forks Herald

The sudden national fame for 85-year-old North Dakota newspaper columnist Marilyn Hagerty because she wrote last week that the new Olive Garden restaurant in Grand Forks is "impressive ... welcoming ... [and] is the largest and most beautiful restaurant now operating" in the city reinforces two things for this blogger:

1. Almost everyone loves a story about someone who seems to be just so darn nice and who's still going strong at an age when many of us will just be glad to still be around.

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The Two-Way
12:50 pm
Tue March 13, 2012

If You're Hiding It From Your Wife, That Payday Loan's 'Gotta Be Bad News'

A payday store in Madison, Wis.,
Ryan J. Foley AP

Originally published on Tue March 13, 2012 12:53 pm

  • Petula Dvorak talks with guest host Allison Keyes

Much has been reported in recent years about payday loans and the huge fees and sky-high interest charges that borrowers can rack up if they use such services.

And though their demise has been predicted, they live on.

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The Two-Way
10:50 am
Tue March 13, 2012

Has Southern Hospitality Steered Pollsters The Wrong Way In Ala. & Miss.?

In Madison, Miss., earlier today, precinct worker Bob Shirley was handing out "I Voted" stickers.
Rogelio V. Solis AP

Originally published on Tue March 13, 2012 11:07 am

Our friend Liz Halloran reports that Mitt Romney "might just win in the South" today as Republicans go to the polls in Alabama and Mississippi to pick between the four remaining candidates for the GOP presidential nomination.

As she writes:

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The Two-Way
9:34 am
Tue March 13, 2012

Report: Assad Regime Is Laying Landmines Along Syria's Borders

One of several landmines that were planted by the Syrian army on the border with Lebanon and later removed by anti-Assad activists.
AFP/Getty Images

President Bashar Assad's forces have placed landmines "near the borders with Lebanon and Turkey" along routes used by refugees trying to flee the fighting inside Syria, the watchdog group Human Rights Watch reported today.

Saying it has collected "reports and confirmations from witnesses and Syrian deminers," the organization called such actions "unconscionable."

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The Two-Way
9:04 am
Tue March 13, 2012

Retail Sales Posted Solid Gain In February

There was a 1.1 percent increase in retail sales in February from January, the Census Bureau says. It was the largest rise in five months, Reuters reports.

And the gain didn't come just become rising gas prices led to a 3.3 percent increase in the value of gasoline sales. According to The Associated Press, retail sales rose 0.8 percent excluding gasoline.

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The Two-Way
7:30 am
Tue March 13, 2012

Latest From Afghanistan: Some Gunfire, Small Protests, Reaction Muted So Far

Afghan protesters shouted anti-U.S. slogans during a demonstration in Jalalabad earlier today.
Noorullah Shirzada AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue March 13, 2012 3:25 pm

There are fears that the killing of 16 Afghan civilians on Sunday, reportedly by a U.S. Army staff sergeant who gunned down the men, women and children in cold blood, will inflame the people of that nation.

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The Two-Way
2:25 pm
Fri March 9, 2012

With 'Mouth To Snout' CPR, 'Mushing Mortician' Saves Iditarod Dog

Marshall, after his brush with death.
SB Nation

This story broke Wednesday in the Anchorage Daily News, but it has too much going for it not to pass along.

Monday night while competing in Alaska's Iditarod dog sled race, Scott Janssen's 9-year-old husky Marshall collapsed.

"Janssen raced to the dog," the newspaper writes. "Marshall did not appear to be breathing."

"I know what death looks like, and he was gone. Nobody home," Janssen told the Daily News.

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The Two-Way
12:00 pm
Fri March 9, 2012

Photo: Northern Lights Over Iceland

The Northern Lights in the sky Thursday above Faskusfjordur on the east coast of Iceland Thursday.
Jonina Oskardottir AP

Originally published on Fri March 9, 2012 1:28 pm

The solar storm that swept over Earth Thursday didn't seem to cause any major problems, as some had feared.

But the prediction that it would create some beautiful Northern Lights has proved to be quite true. The Associated Press has moved a quite striking photo taken Thursday on the east coast of Iceland.

If you see others, and good videos as well, share any links in the comments thread.

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