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
6:15 am
Tue July 10, 2012

As Annan Seeks Help From Iran, Activists Say Syrian Death Toll Exceeds 17,000

In February, these Syrians mourned over the fresh grave of a relative following a funeral for victims killed in violence in Idlib.
Bulent Kilic AFP/Getty Images

Iran must be "part of the solution" to the crisis in Syria, former U.N. Secretary-General Koffi Annan said today in Tehran.

But as Annan spoke, there was new word about how horrible things have gotten in Syria since protests against the regime of President Bashar Assad began in March 2011 and forces loyal to Assad cracked down on his opponents.

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The Two-Way
5:30 am
Tue July 10, 2012

Wildfire In Southern Idaho Is Growing Quickly

The view from above: A satellite image of Idaho and western Montana, taken Monday and posted by the USDA Forest Services's Active Fire Mapping website, showing smoke and clouds.
USDA Forest Service

Though firefighters have "gained ground on a number of wildfires across the West," they're having trouble in southern Idaho, The Associated Press reports.

There, winds have "fanned a fast-moving blaze across nearly 300 square miles of sagebrush and dry grass," the wire service says. The fire began Saturday. It was apparently sparked by a lightning strike.

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The Two-Way
11:53 am
Mon July 9, 2012

2.97 Million And Counting; '66 Volvo Is Nearing Its 3 Millionth Mile

Irv Gordon in his trusty Volvo P1800S earlier this month.
Seth Wenig AP

Originally published on Mon July 9, 2012 12:10 pm

"It's just a car I enjoy driving."

That's for sure.

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The Two-Way
9:24 am
Mon July 9, 2012

Romney Raised $106 Million In June; Obama Raised $71 Million

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on July 4 in Wolfeboro, N.H.
Kayana Szymczak Getty Images

Originally published on Mon July 9, 2012 9:33 am

For the second month in a row, Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney and his party have raised more money than the Democratic incumbent, President Obama.

Romney and his fellow Republicans hauled in $106 million in June for his presidential campaign, well above the $71 million raised by the president's campaign and Democrats. Both campaigns released their fundraising figures for the month earlier today.

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The Two-Way
8:21 am
Mon July 9, 2012

'Mystery Woman' And Disney Ripoffs: Latest News About North Korea's Leader

An image from a video posted by StimmeKoreas, which in turn came from North Korea official media, showing some of the dancing (fake) Disney characters at Friday's performance.
YouTube.com

Originally published on Mon July 9, 2012 8:29 am

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The Two-Way
6:02 am
Mon July 9, 2012

In Afghanistan: Bomb Kills Six Americans; Shocking Video Of Woman's Execution

A screen grab from the video of a public execution reportedly carried out last month in Afghanistan. The victim is sitting with her back to the executioner, who is at left.
Agence France Presse

Originally published on Mon July 9, 2012 9:16 am

"In what was an extraordinarily violent day even by Afghan standards, separate incidents on Sunday killed seven Western troops, including six Americans who died in a single blast, along with five Afghan police officers and at least 18 civilians," the Los Angeles Times writes.

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The Two-Way
5:09 am
Mon July 9, 2012

Ahhh! Some Relief From The Heat

Dancing in the rain: New York City got some relief from the heat as early as Saturday, when this young woman danced in the rain in Times Square.
John Minchillo AP

The oppressive heat wave that blanketed much of the nation for nearly two weeks, causing at least 46 deaths, has finally eased.

As The Associated Press writes:

"The cooler air began sweeping southward Sunday in the eastern half of the country, bringing down some temperatures by 15 or more degrees from Saturday's highs, which topped 100 in cities including Philadelphia, Washington, St. Louis, Indianapolis and Louisville, Ky."

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The Two-Way
1:11 pm
Fri July 6, 2012

Zimmerman Posts Bond, Is Released

George Zimmerman during a court hearing on June 29.
Joe Burbank AP

One day after a Florida judge set his new bail at $1 million, accused killer George Zimmerman is out of jail after posting a bond.

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The Two-Way
11:46 am
Fri July 6, 2012

Hot Damn! It's National Fried Chicken Day

Celebrating the day.
Steve Parsons PA Photos /Landov

Originally published on Fri July 6, 2012 12:23 pm

Someone please tell us, because we've searched and can't find the answer: Who decided this is National Fried Chicken Day?

It apparently is, judging from all the stories, Web posts and tweets we're seeing.

It's why the Los Angeles Times is offering up "Fried Chicken Five Ways" — five recipes, from classic buttermilk-battered to Korean.

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The Two-Way
9:55 am
Fri July 6, 2012

How Hot Is It? All You Need To See Are These Two Maps

"Papa B" (left) and "Cadillac Bob" find refuge from the heat in a shaded lot between their homes on Chicago's South Side.
Sitthixay Ditthavong AP

Originally published on Fri July 6, 2012 12:11 pm

The heat wave across much of the nation continues.

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The Two-Way
6:17 am
Fri July 6, 2012

Justice For Argentina's 'Stolen Children;' 2 Dictators Convicted

Former dictator and Gen. Jorge Rafael Videla (left), and former general and member of the military junta Reynaldo Bignone in a Buenos Aires court on Thursday.
Juan Mabromata AFP/Getty Images

Nearly four decades later, there's some solace for the families of young women in Argentina who were killed after giving birth under orders from the country's then-dictators. The women's babies — Argentina's "stolen children" — were then handed over to loyal members of the military.

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The Two-Way
5:09 am
Fri July 6, 2012

Just 80,000 Jobs Added In June; Unemployment Rate Stays At 8.2 Percent

The line at a job fair in New York City last month.
John Moore Getty Images

Originally published on Fri July 6, 2012 9:43 am

Job growth was even weaker than economists feared in June as public and private employers added just 80,000 jobs to their payrolls, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported this morning. They had been expecting BLS would say there were closer to 100,000 more jobs in June than in May.

A separate BLS survey showed the nation's jobless rate remained stuck at 8.2 percent. It's been above 8 percent since February 2009.

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The Two-Way
11:53 am
Thu July 5, 2012

The 'Arafat Killed By Poison?' Story: Here's What We Don't Get

Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in October 2004, a month before he died.
Muhammed Muheisen AP

Originally published on Sun July 8, 2012 6:34 am

Al-Jazeera is getting attention for its reports that traces of polonium-210 have been found on items, including clothing, belonging to the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

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The Two-Way
10:23 am
Thu July 5, 2012

Heat Waves, Power Outages, Wildfires: The Misery Continues

Trying to keep cool in Chicago: On Wednesday, 7-year-old Keshyra Pitts played in the spray from a fire hydrant.
Jose M. Osorio MCT /Landov

Originally published on Thu July 5, 2012 4:23 pm

First, some good news:

-- The Waldo Canyon fire in and around Colorado Springs is "90 percent contained" and officials expect it will be "fully contained by Friday," The Denver Post reports. That blaze, which began June 23, has destroyed about 350 homes and caused at least two fatalities.

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The Two-Way
9:47 am
Thu July 5, 2012

Zimmerman's Bail Set At $1 Million

George Zimmerman during a court hearing on June 29.
Joe Burbank AP

Originally published on Thu July 5, 2012 1:04 pm

A judge in Florida this morning set bail at $1 million for George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer charged with second-degree murder in the Feb. 26 death of teenager Trayvon Martin.

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The Two-Way
7:35 am
Thu July 5, 2012

WikiLeaks Begins Release Of 2.4 Million Emails Linked To Syrian Officials

WikiLeaks' webpage for its "Syria Files."
WikiLeaks.org

Saying that "the material is embarrassing to Syria, but it is also embarrassing to Syria's opponents," WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and his aides today said they have more than 2.4 million emails "from Syrian political figures, ministries and associated companies."

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The Two-Way
7:00 am
Thu July 5, 2012

Countrywide Gave Lawmakers, Officials Hundreds Of Discount Loans

Originally published on Thu July 5, 2012 8:40 am

Countrywide Financial Corp., the one-time mortgage giant, may have "skirted the federal bribery statute," but nonetheless used a VIP discount program to gain influence in Washington, a report from the Republican-led House Oversight and Government Reform Committee concludes.

We first posted on this news, broken earlier by The Associated Press and The Wall Street Journal, at 9 a.m. ET. Since then, the committee's report has been released. Read through to see our original post and the update with links and excerpts from the committee's work:

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The Two-Way
6:40 am
Thu July 5, 2012

Employers Added 176,000 Jobs In June, Survey Says

There were 176,000 jobs added to private employers' payrolls in June, according to the latest ADP National Employment Report. The gain was larger than May's 136,000, ADP says.

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The Two-Way
6:14 am
Thu July 5, 2012

KABOOM! San Diego's Entire Fireworks Show Ignites At Once

Oops. A "premature ignition" in San Diego sent an entire fireworks show off at once.
YouTube.com

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 3:08 pm

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The Two-Way
5:42 am
Thu July 5, 2012

Romney Says Mandate's A Tax, But Also Sides With Justices Who Say It's Not

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney participates during the Wolfeboro, N.H., Independence Day parade on Wednesday.
Kayana Szymczak Getty Images
  • Josh Rogers of New Hampshire Public Radio on 'Morning Edition'

There are many stories this morning about what Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said to CBS News on Wednesday. The conventional wisdom is that he reversed his own campaign's view to say that the so-called individual mandate in the 2010 health care overhaul is a tax, not a penalty.

There's attention being paid to what he said to CBS because many in the news media, such as The Associated Press, conclude that:

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The Two-Way
2:30 pm
Tue July 3, 2012

Woman Sentenced To Read The Bible? Yes, But There's More To The Story

iStockphoto.com

There's news from South Carolina that's beginning to get attention because of headlines like this:

-- "Judge Sentences Woman To Read Bible For Drunk Driving Conviction." (CBS Local in Charlotte)

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The Two-Way
1:17 pm
Tue July 3, 2012

Fewer Fireworks This July 4th; Wildfires, Drought And Derecho To Blame

U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington, Va." href="/post/fewer-fireworks-july-4th-wildfires-drought-and-derecho-blame" class="noexit lightbox">
Fireworks over the National Mall in Washington, D.C., on July 4, 2008. Photo taken from hear the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington, Va.
Karen Bleier AFP/Getty Images

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The Two-Way
10:26 am
Tue July 3, 2012

Andy Griffith Dies, Was TV's Sheriff Taylor And Matlock

Andy Griffith in 1960, when he started playing Sheriff Andy Taylor on TV.
CBS /Landov

Originally published on Tue July 3, 2012 12:06 pm

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The Two-Way
7:44 am
Tue July 3, 2012

Timbuktu's Treasures Are Being Destroyed As World Watches Helplessly

This image from a video shows Islamist militants destroying an ancient shrine in Timbuktu on Sunday.
AFP/Getty Images

Once again the world is watching with increasing alarm as religious extremists destroy centuries-old historical sites because they find them offensive.

In 2001 it was the towering statues of Buddha in Bamiyan, Afghanistan, that were turned into rubble by the Taliban.

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The Two-Way
5:16 am
Tue July 3, 2012

Power's Still Out For Nearly 2 Million, And Intense Heat Continues

In Silver Spring, Md., on Monday, Matt MacCartney was one of many workers dismantling fallen trees that took down power lines.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 3, 2012 1:42 pm

As the day gets started, about 1.8 million homes and businesses in states stretching from Indiana east through the mid-Atlantic are still without power because of the enormous damage caused by Friday's derecho. That's the huge wall of severe storms that swept across towns and cities from Indiana east to the Atlantic coast.

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The Two-Way
10:06 am
Mon July 2, 2012

Anderson Cooper Confirms: 'I'm Gay'

CNN's Anderson Cooper.
Kevin Winter Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 3, 2012 6:39 am

"The fact is, I'm gay, always have been, always will be, and I couldn't be any more happy, comfortable with myself, and proud."

That's CNN's Anderson Cooper in an email to The Daily Beast's Andrew Sullivan, which Sullivan posted this morning.

Why say that now? As Cooper says in the email, he's been asked "the gay question" before about what had been an open secret for years and not publicly addressed it.

Now, he says in the email:

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The Two-Way
9:46 am
Mon July 2, 2012

Sprinters' Runoff May Be All Off

In this handout photo provided by the USATF, Jeneba Tarmoh (bottom, lane 1) and Allyson Felix cross the finish line at exactly the same time in the women's 100 meter dash final during Day Two of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team Trials at Hayward Field on June 23 in Eugene, Ore. It's their torsos, not head, hands, feet or arms, that matter.
USATF Getty Images

Originally published on Mon July 2, 2012 1:12 pm

There will be no runoff today between sprinters Jeneba Tarmoh and Allyson Felix to determine which athlete is eligible to run for Team USA in the 100-meter sprint for women at the London Olympics.

Just before 1:30 p.m. ET, USA Track & Field confirmed in an email to reporters that Tarmoh "has withdrawn herself from consideration." The association says that:

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The Two-Way
8:36 am
Mon July 2, 2012

Manufacturing Sector Shrank In June, Report Signals

For the first time since July 2009 a gauge of how U.S. manufacturers are doing is signalling shrinkage in the factory sector.

The Institute for Supply Management says its June "PMI" index stood at 49.7, down from 53.5 and the first time in nearly three years that it wasn't above 50 — the line between growth in manufacturing (an above 50 reading) and contraction (below 50).

A subcategory of ISM's report — its measure of new orders — also fell below 50, to 47.8.

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