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
12:40 pm
Tue February 21, 2012

Indiana Lawmaker Says Girl Scouts Are Destroying 'American Family Values'

Would Indiana Rep. Bob Morris approve of his fellow Republican's endorsement of this organization? 1997: Former President Reagan receives cookies from members of Girl Scout Troop #313 as a gift for his 86th birthday.
Mike Guastella AFP/Getty Images

Saying that the Girl Scouts is a "radicalized organization" that promotes "homosexual lifestyles" and is aligned with honorary president Michelle Obama's "pro-abortion" viewpoint, an Indiana state legislator has told his fellow Republicans he can't support a proclamation honoring the organization's 100th anniversary.

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The Two-Way
9:00 am
Tue February 21, 2012

Supreme Court To Hear Affirmative Action Case That Could Be Campaign Issue

Originally published on Tue February 21, 2012 9:05 am

The Supreme Court today agreed to hear oral arguments in a Texas affirmative action case that has, as NPR.org's Liz Halloran wrote last fall, "the potential to rewrite law on how or whether public colleges and universities may consider race and ethnicity as a factor in admissions."

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The Two-Way
7:40 am
Tue February 21, 2012

U.S. General Apologizes To 'Noble People Of Afghanistan' For Quran Burnings

An Afghan demonstrator holds a copy of a half-burnt Quran, allegedly set on fire by soldiers at Bagram Air Field, during a protest outside the base today.
Massoud Hossaini AFP/Getty Images

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The Two-Way
6:00 am
Tue February 21, 2012

Back On The Air, Stephen Colbert Gives Nod To Ailing Mom

Stephen Colbert, explaining his absence.
ColbertNation.com

Originally published on Tue February 21, 2012 6:04 am

Without directly saying so, Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert all-but-confirmed last night that he was off the air for two days last week because his 91-year-old mother Lorna has been ill.

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The Two-Way
5:35 am
Tue February 21, 2012

Lawyer Says Strauss-Kahn Didn't Know Women At Orgies Were Prostitutes

Dominique Strauss-Kahn in the studio of the French TV network TF1.
Francois Guillot AFP/Getty Images

Former International Monetary Fund managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who famously faced a sexual assault charge in New York City last year — a charge that was later dropped — is now being questioned by police in France about whether he was a customer of an alleged multinational prostitution ring.

His attorney, though, says Strauss-Kahn has a defense.

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The Two-Way
5:10 am
Tue February 21, 2012

Doubts Linger After Late-Night Deal On Bailout For Greece

Luxembourg Prime Minister and Eurogroup President Jean-Claude Juncker scratches his eyes during a press conference following the meeting of Eurozone nations earlier today in Brussels.
Georges Gobet AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 21, 2012 7:36 am

  • NPR's Eric Westervelt, reporting on 'Morning Edition'

The top of the news today about the ongoing financial crisis in Europe is that:

"Greece won a second massive financial bailout early Tuesday morning when its partners in the 17-country eurozone finally stitched together a $170 billion rescue, meant to avoid a potentially disastrous default and secure the euro currency." (The Associated Press)

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The Two-Way
10:50 am
Fri February 10, 2012

Deal With Banks Isn't Only Way For Homeowners To Get Help, HUD Chief Says

For sale signs on a foreclosed house in Glendale, Calif., last September.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images
  • Michel Martin talks with HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan

The $25 billion settlement with five banks unveiled Thursday, which aims to give some mortgage relief and other help to homeowners who got hurt when the housing bubble burst before the 2007-2009 recession, has been viewed with skepticism by some folks in the nation's hardest-hit housing markets, as NPR's Greg Allen reported.

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The Two-Way
8:25 am
Fri February 10, 2012

White House To Detail Changes To Controversial Contraception Rule

Originally published on Fri February 10, 2012 10:21 am

Hospitals and organizations operated by religious institutions will not have to pay for or provide free contraception coverage to their employees, but the insurance companies that offer coverage to those workers will have to do that, White House officials just told reporters during a conference call.

They're explaining changes to a controversial plan the administration unveiled in recent days. The goal of the change appears to be to provide the coverage, but at the same time to not force religious groups to violate their principles.

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The Two-Way
8:10 am
Fri February 10, 2012

Josh Powell Turned Out To Be 'A Monster,' Says Social Worker

The social worker who watched in horror last Sunday as a Washington state man blew up the house that his two young sons had gone into moments before says he had never before seemed dangerous.

But she knows now, Elizabeth Griffin-Hall tells ABC News, that "Josh Powell was really, really evil."

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The Two-Way
6:45 am
Fri February 10, 2012

If Women Are In Combat, Men May Try To Protect Them, Santorum Says

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum in McKinney, Texas, on Wednesday.
Tom Pennington Getty Images

On CNN last evening, Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum was asked about the Pentagon's plan to open up more jobs to women in the military — and to bring them closer to, but not right into, combat roles.

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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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