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
8:24 am
Thu October 6, 2011

Average Rate On 30-Year Mortgages Falls Below 4 Percent For First Time

Mortgage rates are in uncharted territory.

"The average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage fell to 3.94 percent this week, the lowest rate ever," The Associated Press reports. "Freddie Mac says the average rate ... dropped from 4.01 percent last week, the previous low."

And, "the average rate on a 15-year fixed loan dipped to 3.26 percent, also a record."

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The Two-Way
7:55 am
Thu October 6, 2011

Wozniak Thankful For 'An Unbelievably Fortunate Partnership' With Jobs

April 24, 1984, from left to right: Steve Jobs, John Sculley and Steve Wozniak unveil the new Apple IIc computer in San Francisco.

Sal Veder AP

Originally published on Thu October 6, 2011 7:56 am

"My role was [to be] the key technologist, the scientist, the engineer that was building all these devices. ... Steve was spotting them and seeing ways to sell them and talking about where they could go. And talking about enhancements and improvements that would take it to the next level. He was always trying to move to the next level."

It was "an unbelievably fortunate partnership."

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The Two-Way
6:40 am
Thu October 6, 2011

Jobless Claims Edged Up Last Week

There were 401,000 first-time claims for unemployment insurance last week, up from 395,000 the week before, the Employment and Training Administration just reported.

According to Reuters the gain was "less than expected." Economists polled by the wire service had been anticipating the agency would say there had been 410,000 claims.

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The Two-Way
6:25 am
Thu October 6, 2011

Top Stories: Steve Jobs' Death; Swedish Poet Wins Literature Nobel

Originally published on Thu October 6, 2011 6:29 am

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The Two-Way
6:08 am
Thu October 6, 2011

Obama To Hold News Conference This Morning

President Obama will hold a news conference at 11 a.m. ET today in the East Room of the White House, his press office just announced.

Among the topics sure to come up: His jobs bill.

We're planning to live-blog as it happens, so check back as the time gets closer if you'd like to follow along.

Obama's most recent solo news conference was on July 15.

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The Two-Way
5:45 am
Thu October 6, 2011

The Word For Steve Jobs: Visionary

Apple's website this morning.

apple.com

Look at front pages, listen to news broadcasts or search the Web today and the one word that comes up over and over again in reports about the death of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs is: visionary.

President Obama said of Jobs' passing that "the world has lost a visionary."

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The Two-Way
5:05 am
Thu October 6, 2011

Literature Nobel Goes To Swedish Poet Tomas Transtromer

The Nobel Prize medal.

NobelPrize.org

Swedish poet Tomas Transtromer is the 2011 Nobel laureate in literature, it was just announced.

In its statement, the Nobel committee said his work "gives us fresh access to reality."

Our friends over at Monkey See have more, including Neda Ulaby's pre-announcement look at the "Nobel shortlist."

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The Two-Way
1:45 pm
Wed October 5, 2011

Ron Paul Asks: Will The Government Assassinate Journalists Next?

Republican presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul of Texas at the National Press Club in Washington today.

Patrick Smith Getty Images

Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) was quick last Friday to condemn the killing of American-born al-Qaida cleric Anwar al-Awlaki by a U.S. drone strike in Yemen.

"If the American people accept this blindly and casually that we now have an accepted practice of the president assassinating people who he thinks are bad guys, I think it's sad," Paul said.

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The Two-Way
1:14 pm
Wed October 5, 2011

Senate Democrats Pitch 5 Percent Surtax On Millionaires

Left to right: Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) at a news conference on Capitol Hill today.

Alex Wong Getty Images

Making the case that some of the tax increases that would partly pay for President Obama's $447 billion jobs bill are aimed at Americans who are not that rich, the Senate's Democratic leaders are proposing a 5 percent tax on annual incomes above $1 million instead.

According to The Associated Press:

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The Two-Way
10:45 am
Wed October 5, 2011

Plot To Kill Karzai Foiled, Afghan Intelligence Agency Says

Afghan President Hamid Karzai at the funeral ceremony of slain Afghanistan High Peace Council and former president Burhanuddin Rabbani on Sept. 23, 2011.Â

AFP/Getty Images

Two weeks after the assassination of a former president, Afghan intelligence officials say they have disrupted a plot to kill the country's current leader.

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The Two-Way
9:20 am
Wed October 5, 2011

Kenneth Dahlberg, Who Didn't Lie About Watergate, Has Died

The scene of the crime that brought down a president.

Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 5, 2011 9:53 am

"There aren't a lot of people in the world who have been war heroes, created a high-flying business, and uttered the words that would bring down a presidency," our Minnesota Public Radio colleague Bob Collins writes today.

"Ken Dahlberg was one of them."

Now, Dahlberg has died at the age of 94.

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The Two-Way
8:35 am
Wed October 5, 2011

Life's Still Hard For 'Reality Hits You Hard, Bro' Guy

Arizona Republic

In case you haven't seen this video yet, we'll wait while you watch. It's worth it.

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The Two-Way
7:35 am
Wed October 5, 2011

Georgia Woman Wins $15.1M After Clerk Sells Her Wrong Lottery Ticket

Georgia Lottery
(We're a little behind on this story, but it's too good not to pass along.)

Kathy Scruggs of Lithonia, Ga., has won $15.1 million from the Powerball lottery.

And as it turns out, she didn't even intend to buy a ticket for that game.

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The Two-Way
6:40 am
Wed October 5, 2011

Hank Williams Jr.: 'Sorry If It Offended Anyone'

Hank Williams Jr.

Scott Boehm Getty Images

A quick follow to the news that ESPN pulled Hank Williams Jr.'s iconic opening song from this week's Monday Night Football broadcast because he had compared President Obama to Adolf Hitler.

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The Two-Way
6:15 am
Wed October 5, 2011

Occupy Wall Street: College Students Urged To Walk Out Today

The scene this week at Zuccotti Park in Manhattan.

Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 5, 2011 10:02 am

As the Occupy Wall Street protests enter their 19th day and continue to spread well beyond lower Manhattan, there's word from the related "Occupy Colleges" movement that a "nationwide college student walk out" has been called for noon today.

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The Two-Way
5:30 am
Wed October 5, 2011

Four Accused Of 'Brazen' Federal Contracting Corruption Scheme

Originally published on Wed October 5, 2011 5:34 am

Four men were arrested Tuesday for their alleged roles in what the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, Ronald Machen, alleges was "one of the most brazen corruption schemes in the history of federal contracting."

The Washington Post's Crime Scene blog writes that:

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The Two-Way
5:10 am
Wed October 5, 2011

Chemistry Nobel Goes To Scientist Who Discovered Quasicrystals

Nobel laureate Daniel Shechtman.

Technion - Israel Institute of Technology

Originally published on Wed October 5, 2011 10:06 am

Israeli scientist Daniel Shechtman has been awarded the 2011 Nobel Prize in chemistry for his 1982 discovery of quasicrystals, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced this morning.

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The Two-Way
1:05 pm
Tue October 4, 2011

Beware The Bear Market? Here's Why Not To

With the Dow Jones industrial average and other market indexes around 20 percent below their recent peaks, the very definition of a "bear market," there's understandably a fair amount of concern among investors and everyone else who watches the economic indicators.

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The Two-Way
10:55 am
Tue October 4, 2011

Will Christie Be 'Shermanesque?'

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

"Now is not my time," New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie just said at a news conference in Trenton — ruling out a run for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.

"New Jersey, whether you like it or not, you're stuck with me," Christie added.

Update at 1:10 p.m. ET. More From Christie:

The governor said he did consider making a bid. He had been asked to run by many people, Christie said, and "felt an obligation to earnestly consider their advice."

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The Two-Way
9:45 am
Tue October 4, 2011

At 'Underwear Bomber' Trial: An Outburst And A Shirt Change

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab in a 2009 booking photograph released by the U.S. Marshals Service in Detroit.

AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 4, 2011 9:50 am

The trial of the Nigerian man who authorities say tried to set off a bomb hidden in his underwear as a jetliner prepared to land in Detroit on Christmas Day 2009 began with some drama today in Detroit.

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab declared as jury selection got underway that "Anwar is alive" — a reference to American-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed on Friday by a U.S. drone strike in Yemen.

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The Two-Way
8:35 am
Tue October 4, 2011

Bernanke: Economic Outlook Has Deteriorated

Federal Reserve policymakers expect "a somewhat slower pace of economic growth over coming quarters" than they had been forecasting just four months ago, Chairman Ben Bernanke told Congress this hour.

There has been, he added in a statement prepared for the Joint Economic Committee, a "deterioration in the economic outlook over the summer."

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The Two-Way
7:45 am
Tue October 4, 2011

In Two Polls, Perry's Down And Cain Is Up; Meanwhile What About Christie?

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 4, 2011 1:32 pm

Apply all the usual caveats: Poll numbers go up, poll numbers go down and we're still months away from Republicans actually casting meaningful votes for their presidential contenders.

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The Two-Way
7:05 am
Tue October 4, 2011

Inspector General: Fannie Mae Was Told About Foreclosure Abuse In 2003

A foreclosure/price reduced sign stands in front of a home for sale on February 11, 2011 in Miami.

Joe Raedle Getty Images

One of the hottest stories this morning is word that, as The Associated Press puts it, "mortgage giant Fannie Mae knew about allegations of improper foreclosure practices by law firms in 2003 but did not act to stop them, a government watchdog says."

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The Two-Way
6:20 am
Tue October 4, 2011

Scores Killed By Truck Bomb In Somalia

There's been a deadly bombing today in the capital of Somalia.

"Islamist militants detonated a truck bomb Tuesday in front of the Ministry of Education in Mogadishu, killing at least 70 people, wounding dozens and shattering a relative calm that had prevailed ... for weeks," The Associated Press reports.

According to the BBC:

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The Two-Way
6:00 am
Tue October 4, 2011

Ford, UAW Reach Tentative Contract Deal

Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 4, 2011 6:06 am

"Ford Motor Co. and the United Auto Workers have come to terms on a new four-year contract that trades annual pay raises for profit sharing and a signing bonus and promises thousands of new jobs building cars and trucks," The Associated Press writes.

Details aren't out yet, but the union has confirmed on its Twitter page that a "tentative agreement" has been reached.

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The Two-Way
5:30 am
Tue October 4, 2011

As Amanda Knox Heads Home, Murdered Girl's Family Seeks Answers

Arline Kercher and Lyle Kercher, the mother and brother of murder victim Meredith Kercher, on Monday in Perugia, Italy.

Franco Origlia Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 4, 2011 5:39 am

Her murder conviction overturned by an Italian appeals court, American Amanda Knox has left Italy and is making her way home to Seattle, The Associated Press reports.

Now, the BCC writes:

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The Two-Way
5:00 am
Tue October 4, 2011

Nobel Prize In Physics Honors Work On Expanding Universe

NASA Getty Images

Three U.S.-born scientists whose work indicates that the universe is expanding at an accelerating rate have been awarded the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics.

American Saul Perlmutter will share the $1.5 million award with U.S.-Australian Brian Schmidt and U.S. scientist Adam Riess, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced this morning.

In its statement announcing the honors, the academy writes that

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The Two-Way
2:25 pm
Mon October 3, 2011

Incoming NPR CEO Makes Case For Public Funding, Will Look At All Sources

Incoming NPR CEO and President Gary Knell.

Sesame Workshop

"Public radio needs to do a better job of making the case" for public funding as one of its revenue sources, the incoming CEO and president of NPR said this afternoon.

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