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
12:10 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
10:50 am
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 10:53 am

  • 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
8:50 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 9:07 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
7:34 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
7:04 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
5:30 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 1:25 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
12:25 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
10:00 am
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 11:28 am

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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The Two-Way
9:00 am
Fri March 9, 2012

VIDEO: Check Out This 7-Year-Old's Monster Trap

Audri, up close.
YouTube.com

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The Two-Way
7:30 am
Fri March 9, 2012

'Horrified' by Destruction She Saw, U.N. Humanitarian Chief Presses Syria

Feb. 11, 2012: some of the damage in the Baba Amr district of Homs, Syria.
AFP/Getty Images

There are stark words this morning from the U.N.'s top humanitarian affairs official about what she saw this week during a two-day visit to Syria. In a statement sent to reporters, Valerie Amos says, in part:

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The Two-Way
6:32 am
Fri March 9, 2012

Unemployment Rate Stayed At 8.3 Percent In February

Originally published on Fri March 9, 2012 7:53 am

There were 227,000 net jobs added to private and public payrolls last month and the nation's unemployment rate remained unchanged, at 8.3 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics just reported.

We'll have more from the report shortly. And watch for the Planet Money blog to add its take later.

Update at 9:50 a.m. ET. White House Comment:

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The Two-Way
5:45 am
Fri March 9, 2012

Unemployment Rate Likely Held Steady At 8.3 Percent, Economists Say

Will more signs such as this be showing up? (Nov. 30, 2011 file photo from San Rafael, Calif.)
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Here's what to expect at 8:30 a.m. ET when the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases its much-anticipated February jobs report, economists say:

-- "The economy probably created 210,000 jobs last month, according to a Reuters survey, following January's tally of 243,000. The unemployment rate is expected to have held at a three-year low of 8.3 percent."

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The Two-Way
5:30 am
Fri March 9, 2012

Deal To Hand Over Prison To Afghans Is Key To Transition, U.S. General Says

Originally published on Fri March 9, 2012 5:34 am

Afghan and American officials today signed an agreement that will hand over control of the main U.S. detention center in that country to the Afghan government.

And the American commander of U.S. and international forces in Afghanistan called the agreement "another example of the progress of transition, and our efforts to ensure that Afghanistan can never again be a safe haven for terrorists."

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The Two-Way
5:05 am
Fri March 9, 2012

Greece Takes Critical Step Toward Avoiding Bankruptcy

The European Union flag flies in front of the Parthenon in Athens. Greece's EU partners are about to give it another massive bailout.
Louisa Gouliamaki AFP/Getty Images

The important takeaway from this morning's news about Europe's financial mess:

It seems less likely that Greece will go bankrupt and more likely that it will get another international bailout that hopefully will shore up the nation's economy and prevent a domino-like tumble of other ailing European nations and the unsettling repercussions that could have for the U.S. economy.

As The Associated Press writes:

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The Two-Way
10:01 pm
Thu March 8, 2012

Facebook Co-Founder Chris Hughes Is Buying 'The New Republic'

www.tnr.com

Originally published on Mon March 12, 2012 9:09 am

Social media meets old media:

Saying that he's convinced "the demand for long-form, quality journalism is strong in our country," Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes tells NPR's Steve Inskeep that he's buying The New Republic.

That's a magazine, as Steve says, which is four times older than its new owner. Hughes is 28.

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The Two-Way
1:10 pm
Thu March 8, 2012

While Controversial, 'Kony 2012' Has Put Focus On Atrocities

The leader of the Lord's Resistance Army, Joseph Kony, in 2006.
Stuart Price AP

Originally published on Thu March 8, 2012 1:17 pm

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The Two-Way
9:34 am
Thu March 8, 2012

Inside Bin Laden's House, 'A Fading Splash Of Blood'

The compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, where al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden was found and killed. (May 3, 2011, file photo.)
Getty Images

The New York Times writes this morning about a retired Pakistani Army brigadier's attempt to reconstruct what happened last May when U.S. Navy Seals killed Osama bin Laden at the al-Qaida leader's hideout in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

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The Two-Way
8:00 am
Thu March 8, 2012

Report: 'Explosive' Growth Of 'Patriot Movement' And Militias Continues

"Patriot movement groups" in red. Militias — armed wings of such organizations — in gray.
Southern Poverty Law Center

An enormous surge in the number of groups that "see the federal government as their primary enemy" and in some cases have militias as their "armed wings" continues, the Southern Poverty Law Center reports today.

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The Two-Way
6:35 am
Thu March 8, 2012

Jobless Claims Rise By 8,000

There were 362,000 first-time clams for unemployment insurance last week, up 8,000 from the week before, the Employment and Training Administration just reported.

That means the number of claims has moved up slightly, but remains around the lowest level since this time four years ago.

The Two-Way
5:45 am
Thu March 8, 2012

In Video, Man Said To Be Syrian Oil Ministry Official Says He's Defecting

  • Kelly McEvers on 'Morning Edition'

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The Two-Way
5:00 am
Thu March 8, 2012

House Expected To OK Jobs Bill In 'Rare Agreement' With Obama

Sometimes bipartisanship does shine down on the Capitol.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 8, 2012 12:01 pm

Update at 1:55 p.m. ET. The House Passes JOBS Act:

Saying that it shows the federal legislature can work in a bipartisan fashion, the Republican-controlled House passed the JOBS Act, which was supported by President Obama.

"It is a welcome sign that we can put our differences aside and work together to produce results to help boost the economy and get people back to work," House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said, according to the AP.

The bill was passed with a vote of 390-23.

Our Original Post Continues:

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The Two-Way
4:05 pm
Wed March 7, 2012

Utah Legislature Votes To Prohibit Schools From Teaching About Contraception

Originally published on Wed March 7, 2012 4:07 pm

A bill "that would let schools skip teaching sex education and prohibit instruction in the use of contraception" is headed to Utah Gov. Gary Herbert's desk after the state Senate today approved it by a 19-10 vote, The Salt Lake Tribune writes.

Schools would need to focus on "abstinence-only" instruction.

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The Two-Way
12:50 pm
Wed March 7, 2012

Limbaugh Says Business Is Fine; Maybe 28 Of 18,000 Advertisers Have Left

Things are fine, Limbaugh says. (January 2010 file photo.)
Ethan Miller Getty Images

Saying that "everything is fine on the business side" and that the number of advertisers who have left his show is akin to "losing a couple of french fries in the container when it's delivered to you at the drive-thru," conservative radio broadcaster Rush Limbaugh today took time to clear up what he says has been "misinformation" about the repercussions from his recent comments about Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke.

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The Two-Way
12:00 pm
Wed March 7, 2012

Ugandan Warlord Joseph Kony Under Spotlight Thanks To Viral Video

The leader of the Lord's Resistance Army, Joseph Kony, in 2006.
Stuart Price AP

Originally published on Thu March 8, 2012 10:08 am

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The Two-Way
4:34 pm
Tue March 6, 2012

Colts Will Release Peyton Manning, Making Him A Free Agent, ESPN Says

Peyton Manning.
Rob Carr Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 7, 2012 11:07 am

ESPN is reporting that sources close to the NFL's Indianapolis Colts say the team is going to let star quarterback Peyton Manning become a free agent.

An announcement is due Wednesday, the network adds.

Manning, who has spent his entire 14-year career with the Colts and is a lock to be a hall of famer, "missed the entire 2011 season after having his third neck surgery in 19 months, a fusion of two vertebrae," as ESPN writes.

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The Two-Way
3:10 pm
Tue March 6, 2012

Join Us For Live Blogging Of Super Tuesday Contests

Originally published on Tue March 6, 2012 3:56 pm

As the news comes in tonight about the Republican presidential campaign's 10 Super Tuesday contests, we'll be helping out the Elections Desk by live blogging.

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It's All Politics
2:55 pm
Tue March 6, 2012

Obama To Romney: 'Good Luck Tonight ... Really'

Originally published on Tue March 6, 2012 2:58 pm

Before we get deep into the news of the Super Tuesday primaries, here's something from the lighter side of politics.

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