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
2:45 am
Wed August 14, 2013

AOL CEO Apologizes For Public Firing

Tim Armstrong, the CEO of AOL.
Michael Kovac Getty Images for AOL

Originally published on Wed August 14, 2013 7:51 am

After several days of brutal criticism and commentary about the brutal way he fired a man during a conference call, AOL CEO Tim Armstrong is now apologizing.

"I am writing you to acknowledge the mistake I made last Friday during the Patch all-hands meeting when I publicly fired Abel Lenz," Armstrong says in an email to AOL employees, which Mashable has posted here.

Armstrong adds that:

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The Two-Way
2:11 am
Wed August 14, 2013

2 Killed When UPS Cargo Plane Crashes In Alabama

Debris burns as a UPS cargo plane lies on a hill near Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport after crashing Wednesday.
Hal Yeager AP

Originally published on Wed August 14, 2013 8:36 am

We're monitoring the news from Birmingham, Ala., where a UPS cargo plane crashed Wednesday morning. UPS says the incident involves UPS Flight 1354, which was traveling from Louisville.

The flight, which would normally last about 45 minutes, had been scheduled to land before 5 a.m. local time, according to several flight-tracking websites. Louisville is in the Eastern time zone, while Birmingham is in the Central.

We'll update this post as details emerge.

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The Two-Way
1:44 am
Wed August 14, 2013

'Bloodbath' In Cairo As Troops Move On Morsi Supporters

Protesters taunt security forces moving in to clear one protest camp near the Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque in Cairo. The military-backed government described the camps as violent and unlawful.
Hesham Mostafa EPA/Landov

Originally published on Thu August 15, 2013 1:00 am

  • On 'Morning Edition' just after 10 a.m. ET: NPR's Leila Fadel reports from Cairo

(We most recently updated the top of this post at 5:08 p.m. ET.)

In what looks to be the bloodiest day since the July 3 ouster of President Mohammed Morsi, dozens of people in Cairo were killed Wednesday as government forces moved to clear Morsi's supporters from sites where they have been camped.

By evening, the ministry of health reported 275 people had been killed and 2,001 had been injured across the country. The government said 43 policemen had been killed.

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The Two-Way
9:34 am
Tue August 13, 2013

Would Some Marriages Be Better If Couples Signed 'Wedleases'?

To have and hold, to sign on the bottom line?
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Tue August 13, 2013 12:56 pm

"People marry and divorce as if getting married is the equivalent of the high school concept of going steady," says Florida lawyer Paul Rampell.

Which is why, as Rampell said Tuesday on Tell Me More, he's pitching the idea of "wedleases."

That is:

"A combination of the words wedlock and lease. Two people commit themselves to a marriage, to a written contract for a period of years. One year. Five years. Ten years. Whatever term suits them.

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The Two-Way
6:25 am
Tue August 13, 2013

'Rat-A-Tat Whitey!' Bulger Trial's Most Memorable Moments

James "Whitey" Bulger, in an image released by the U.S. Marshal's Service in August 2011.
EPA /Landov

Originally published on Tue August 13, 2013 7:12 am

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The Two-Way
4:05 am
Tue August 13, 2013

Million Dollar Mix-Up Ends Well: Two Kevins Each Win $1M

It paid to be Kevin Lewis last weekend.
Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati

Originally published on Tue August 13, 2013 4:59 am

As the Cincinnati Enquirer says, "Saturday was a good night to be Kevin Lewis."

When the announcement was made at Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati that Kevin Lewis had won $1 million in a prize drawing, a lucky guy was presented with one of those big ceremonial checks.

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The Two-Way
3:06 am
Tue August 13, 2013

In Nigeria, Boko Haram Suspected In Attacks That Kill Dozens

Nigeria.
CIA World Factbook

Originally published on Tue August 13, 2013 4:02 am

The Islamist militant group Boko Haram was likely behind two more deadly attacks in Nigeria that left at least 56 people dead in the past few days, BloombergBusinessweek reports.

It writes that:

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The Two-Way
2:18 am
Tue August 13, 2013

Rodeo Clown Behind Obama Skit Is Banned From State Fair

A photo taken of the clown who wore a mask resembling President Obama during a rodeo Saturday at the Missouri State Fair.
Jameson Hsieh AP

Originally published on Wed August 14, 2013 9:54 am

(Click here to see why we've edited our headline and struckthrough six words at the top of this post.)

Missouri State Fair officials have now banned the rodeo clown who wore a President Obama mask during was responsible for a performance that mocked President Obama.

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The Two-Way
7:48 am
Mon August 12, 2013

'Suppository' Gaffe Makes Politician The Butt Of Jokes

Australian Opposition Leader Tony Abbott.
Pool Getty Images

Originally published on Mon August 12, 2013 12:45 pm

(Click here to avoid sophomoric humor.)

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The Two-Way
5:23 am
Mon August 12, 2013

Rodeo Clown In Obama Mask Sparks Outrage, Apologies

A photo taken of the clown who wore a mask resembling President Obama during a rodeo at the Missouri State Fair on Saturday.
Jameson Hsieh AP

Originally published on Mon August 12, 2013 6:42 am

"It was feeling like some kind of Klan rally."

That's the reaction of spectator Perry Beam to Saturday's appearance at the Missouri State Fair in Sedalia, Mo., of a rodeo clown wearing a mask meant to look like President Obama and what happened during his performance.

Videos that Beam took show some of the scene and capture some of what the rodeo announcer and another clown were saying. The Kansas City Star has posted two of the clips on its YouTube channel.

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The Two-Way
3:29 am
Mon August 12, 2013

Top Stories: Drug Law Changes; Egypt's Warning To Protesters

Originally published on Mon August 12, 2013 5:43 am

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The Two-Way
2:59 am
Mon August 12, 2013

Retired Idaho Sheriff Credited For Teen's Discovery

Mark John, the former sheriff who helped find Hannah Anderson.
AP

Originally published on Mon August 12, 2013 6:33 am

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The Two-Way
2:01 am
Mon August 12, 2013

Holder Decries 'Draconian Mandatory Minimum Sentences'

The sun sets behind a guard tower at the federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind.
Scott Olson AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon August 12, 2013 10:50 am

(We put a new top on this post at 1:40 p.m. ET.)

Arguing that it is "well past time to address persistent needs and unwarranted disparities," Attorney General Eric Holder on Monday laid out more of the Obama administration's thinking on changes it wants to make to the way nonviolent offenders are prosecuted and how they are punished.

"Our system is in too many ways broken," Holder told the American Bar Association at its annual meeting in San Francisco. "The course we are on is far from sustainable."

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The Two-Way
7:05 am
Fri August 9, 2013

5 Teams In 1 Year For 1 Player; And It's Not A MLB Record

Have bat, will travel: Casper Wells just before the start of the season, when he was with the Seattle Mariners. Four stops later, he's landed with the Philadelphia Phillies.
Christian Petersen Getty Images

Originally published on Fri August 9, 2013 9:04 am

Reading in the Chicago Tribune that outfielder Casper Wells had been claimed off waivers by the Philadelphia Phillies and is now with his fifth major league team this season made us wonder:

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The Two-Way
5:10 am
Fri August 9, 2013

I Just Killed My Wife, Miami Man's Facebook Page Says

Derek Medina in a booking photo taken by the Miami-Dade Police Department.
handout Reuters /Landov

"I'm going to prison or death sentence for killing my wife. Love you guys. Miss you guys. Take care. Facebook people you'll see me in the news."

The Miami Herald and other news outlets are reporting that 31-year-old Derek Medina of South Miami apparently posted that Facebook message Thursday morning, along with a photo of a woman's "twisted, bloodied body lying on a linoleum floor."

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The Two-Way
4:29 am
Fri August 9, 2013

West Coast Kidnap Suspect May Have Explosives, Police Warn

A sign for missing California teenager Hannah Anderson hangs on a fence at El Capitan High School in the Lakeside neighborhood of San Diego County.
Sam Hodgson Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Fri August 9, 2013 9:50 am

Update At 2:40 p.m. ET: Sheriff: Car Recovered

San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore said Friday that the car belonging to the suspect has been found near Cascade, Idaho. He said the license plate had been removed, but the Vehicle Identification Number, or VIN, showed a match as belonging to James Lee DiMaggio.

Gore said that horseback riders in the mountains northeast of Boise believe they saw DiMaggio, who is suspected of killing Christina Anderson and abducted at least one of her children.

Here's our earlier post:

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The Two-Way
4:28 am
Fri August 9, 2013

Verdict Today? Wait Continues At Trial Of 'Whitey' Bulger

A courtroom sketch of James "Whitey" Bulger (left) and defense attorney J.W. Carney, Jr.
Margaret Small AP

It's Day 4 of jury deliberations in the trial of James "Whitey" Bulger, the now-83-year-old Boston gangster who is accused of 19 murders and racketeering.

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The Two-Way
2:28 am
Fri August 9, 2013

Powerball Jackpot Winners Include 16 N.J. County Workers

Paul White of Ham Lake, Minn., and his partner Kim VanReese. White bought one of the three winning tickets in Wednesday's $448.4 million Powerball lottery. While one-third of the jackpot is about $149.4 million, he's chosen to take his share in a lump sum rather than spread out over many years. That lump sum is $86 million, which after taxes will be about $58 million.
Eric Miller Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Fri August 9, 2013 4:03 am

One of the three tickets that ended up being winners of Wednesday's $448.4 million Powerball jackpot belongs to a group of 16 workers at the Ocean County Vehicle Maintenance Department in New Jersey, according to local news outlets.

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The Two-Way
1:40 am
Fri August 9, 2013

Obama Set For News Conference Friday Afternoon

President Obama at the White House on Thursday.
Kevin Dietsch UPI /Landov

President Obama is set to hold a news conference at the White House on Friday at 3 p.m. ET — his first such formal give-and-take with the press corps since "NSA leaker" Edward Snowden starting spilling secrets about National Security Agency surveillance programs in June.

So we should expect questions about Snowden, spying and civil liberties, as well as strained relations with Russia, the economy and other subjects.

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The Two-Way
9:01 am
Thu August 8, 2013

Al-Qaida Conference Call? It Wasn't On Phone, Reporters Say

"Dial 1 if you're the conference host."
Mark Memmott NPR

Originally published on Fri August 9, 2013 1:16 am

One of this week's most-talked-about stories is The Daily Beast's report that "the crucial intercept that prompted the U.S. government to close embassies in 22 countries was a conference call between al Qaeda's senior leaders and representatives of several of the group's affiliates throughout the region."

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The Two-Way
6:40 am
Thu August 8, 2013

'New York Times' Is Not For Sale, Sulzberger Says

Ramin Talaie Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 7:37 am

Responding to speculation that his newspaper would be next, New York Times Publisher and Chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr. has issued a flat "the Times is not for sale" statement.

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The Two-Way
5:16 am
Thu August 8, 2013

'Total Disgrace': Jackie Robinson Statue Defaced In Brooklyn

Before the damage: The statue of Pee Wee Reese and Jackie Robinson, outside the stadium where the minor league Brooklyn Cyclones play.
AP

Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 6:15 am

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The Two-Way
3:53 am
Thu August 8, 2013

Weekly Jobless Claims Hold Steady

The scene at a job fair in Manhattan earlier this year.
Mario Tama Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 5:54 am

There were 333,000 first-time claims for unemployment insurance last week, the Employment and Training Administration says. Claims were up 1.5 percent from the previous week's 328,000 — and basically remained at the lower end of the range where they've stayed for the better part of the last two years.

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The Two-Way
3:17 am
Thu August 8, 2013

Report: NSA Is Searching 'Vast Amounts' Of Americans' Emails

The National Security Agency headquarters at Fort Meade, Md.
Saul Loeb Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 5:50 am

"The National Security Agency is searching the contents of vast amounts of Americans' e-mail and text communications into and out of the country, hunting for people who mention information about foreigners under surveillance, according to intelligence officials," The New York Times reported Thursday.

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The Two-Way
2:28 am
Thu August 8, 2013

Burglars Return Loot To Group That Helps Sex Assault Victims

The note left behind by whoever took computers and other valuables from the offices of the San Bernadino County (Calif.) Sexual Assault Services. The goods were returned.
California Governor's Office of Emergency Services

Originally published on Fri August 9, 2013 3:12 am

(Update at 7:30 a.m. on Aug. 9: Click here for new information about efforts to help the agency pay for the damage done to its office.)

Let's start our day with a feel-good story:

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The Two-Way
1:44 am
Thu August 8, 2013

3 Winning Powerball Tickets Sold: 2 In N.J., 1 In Minnesota

This one wasn't a winner: A Powerball ticket sold Wednesday in Port Washington, N.Y.
Shannon Stapleton Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 5:43 am

If you haven't gotten in touch recently with relatives in New Jersey and Minnesota, this might a good time to check on how they're doing.

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The Two-Way
8:50 am
Wed August 7, 2013

Why Were The Baboons So Sad? Many Theories, No Answers

The Emmen Zoo's baboons last week, when they were looking so sad.
Courtesy of the Emmen Zoo

Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 1:06 am

  • Wijbren Landman, biologist and press officer at the Emmen Zoo, on why baboons sometimes act so sad.

When the keepers at the Netherlands' Emmen Zoo opened the night enclosure for 112 baboons on July 29, they expected the animals would be, as usual, eager to get inside.

After all, the baboons knew there was food for them in there.

Instead, biologist and zoo press officer Wijbren Landman tells All Things Considered the baboons didn't want to budge. "It took us about an hour to get them inside," he says. That night, the baboons didn't eat.

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The Two-Way
6:52 am
Wed August 7, 2013

Oh Snap! U.S. Tourist Breaks Finger Off 600-Year-Old Statue

A close-up of the damaged statue at Florence's Museo dell'Opera del Duomo.
Maurizio Degl' Innocenti EPA/LANDOV

Originally published on Wed August 7, 2013 12:23 pm

Add this to the list of damages done in recent years to important pieces of art:

"An American tourist in Italy has generated shock and outrage by snapping the finger off a 600-year-old statue at a museum in Florence." (NBC News)

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