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
3:08 am
Wed March 13, 2013

Steubenville Rape Trial Begins

Steubenville, Ohio.
Jason Cohn Reuters /Landov

The case has already been "tried" in the social media, as The New York Times writes.

But Wednesday in Steubenville, Ohio, a real court will be the setting as two high school football players in a town that's obsessed with high school football go on trial for the alleged rape of a 16-year-old girl last summer.

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The Two-Way
2:17 am
Wed March 13, 2013

Winning Musher Is Oldest Champion In Iditarod History

On their way to victory: Mitch Seavey and his team as they left White Mountain, Alaska, on Tuesday in the last leg of the Iditarod.
Bill Roth/Anchorage Daily News MCT /Landov

"Mitch Seavey scored one for the AARP-eligible crowd Tuesday night by becoming the oldest champion in Iditarod history," the Anchorage Daily News writes this morning.

According to Alaska Public Telecommunications, the 53-year-old Seavey crossed the finish line at 10:39 p.m. local time on Tuesday — 2:39 a.m. ET Wednesday. It has "checkpoint to checkpoint" coverage of the race posted here.

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The Two-Way
1:55 am
Wed March 13, 2013

No Pope Yet: Black Smoke Rises After Morning Votes On Day 2 Of Conclave

Black smoke rose from the chimney on the Sistine Chapel at midday Wednesday in Vatican City. That means the cardinals have not yet chosen a new pope.
Pool Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Wed March 13, 2013 7:07 am

Update at 6:41 a.m. ET. The Smoke Is Black:

Smoke just started pouring from a special chimney above the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City — and its dark color means the 115 cardinals meeting inside the chapel have not yet agreed on a successor to Pope Benedict XVI.

If all has gone as planned inside the chapel, where the cardinals are meeting in secret, they have now cast three ballots and no one name has been written on at last two-thirds of the slips of paper. It takes two-thirds — 77 votes — to become leader of the Roman Catholic Church.

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The Two-Way
9:53 am
Tue March 12, 2013

5 Things About Popes And Their Names; Like, Why Do They Change Them?

Pope John II, whose name at birth was Mercurius. When he became pope in 533 he changed his name — starting a tradition that continues.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 13, 2013 11:53 am

Update at 5 p.m., March 13: The new pope's name will be Francis — one that hasn't been used before.

Our original post, written before Pope Francis was chosen:

It's not required, but it's almost surely going to happen:

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The Two-Way
7:21 am
Tue March 12, 2013

Judge Enters Not Guilty Plea For Accused Colorado Theater Shooter

After his attorneys said they need more time to prepare to respond to the 166 counts of murder, attempted murder and other crimes he faces, a Colorado judge on Tuesday entered a not guilty plea on behalf of accused movie theater gunman James Holmes.

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The Two-Way
6:08 am
Tue March 12, 2013

General's Dismissal Of Sex Assault Conviction Sparks Anger, Review Of System

The Pentagon. New Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel wants a review of how sexual assault cases are adjudicated by the military.
Jason Reed Reuters /Landov

An Air Force general's decision to dismiss the charges against a lieutenant colonel who was convicted of sexual assault has outraged many members of Congress and led new Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to say he's ordered a review of the case.

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The Two-Way
4:17 am
Tue March 12, 2013

Ahmadinejad Touched And Consoled Chávez's Mother, To Clerics' Dismay

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad offered his condolences to Elena Frias, mother of Venezuela's late President Hugo Chávez, last week. This image was provided to news services by the Miraflores Palace — the office of the Venezuelan president.
Reuters /Landov

A photo of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad holding the hand of the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez's mother and appearing to brush his face against her cheek as they consoled each other last week has him "mired in a fresh controversy" in Iran, as the BBC writes:

"Conservative critics, already irked by Mr Ahmadinejad's effusive eulogy for the leftist leader, reminded him that he has not only committed a sin, but also behaved in a way inappropriate for the president of an Islamic state."

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The Two-Way
3:17 am
Tue March 12, 2013

Ryan Says His Budget Would Balance In 10 Years

Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., when he was campaigning as the 2012 Republican vice presidential nominee.
Michael Sears MCT /Landov

Originally published on Tue March 12, 2013 6:32 am

(Note at 11:20 a.m. ET: Scroll down to see the GOP plan, which has now been released; new comments from Rep. Ryan; and White House reaction.)

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the 2012 Republican vice presidential nominee, unveiled his latest budget plan Tuesday morning — and as NPR's Tamara Keith told our Newscast Desk, he says it would bring the federal budget in balance by 2023.

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The Two-Way
2:39 am
Tue March 12, 2013

The Smoke Is Black: No Pope After Cardinals' First Vote

As the black smoke rose from the Vatican chimney Tuesday, some of the nuns and others gathered in St. Peter's Square were singing.
Eric Gaillard Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Tue March 12, 2013 10:25 am

  • From 'Morning Edition': Sylvia Poggioli on the latest from Rome
  • Philip Reeves on the princes of the church

Update at 2:43 p.m. ET. No Pope Today:

Black smoke just poured from the chimney above the Vatican. That means, as was expected, the cardinals did not choose a pope on the first vote of their conclave to name a successor to the now-retired Pope Benedict XVI. As the cardinals' ballots are burned, NPR's Sylvia Poggioli says, chemicals are added to a fire in a second stove to turn the smoke black if there's no pope elected and white if there is.

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The Two-Way
10:13 am
Mon March 11, 2013

VIDEO: Helmet-cam Records Mountain Climber's Wild Slide; He's OK

Mark Roberts' feet, in the foreground, as he slid down a mountain in Wales.
British Mountaineering Council

Originally published on Mon March 11, 2013 4:36 pm

This video is not for those who are squeamish about seeing others in danger. So think before you click play.

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The Two-Way
7:20 am
Mon March 11, 2013

Harvard Offers 'Partial Apology' For Email Search Of Resident Deans' Accounts

Jessica Rinaldi Reuters /Landov

Saying that the action was required because a confidential email that was leaked to the news media "threatened the privacy and due process afforded students," Harvard University administrators on Monday issued a statement explaining why they last year authorized searches of 16 resident deans' email accounts.

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The Two-Way
5:49 am
Mon March 11, 2013

Add Its Own Demise To Intrade's List Of Blown Calls

Intrade

Who could have predicted this?

Well, apparently not "the world's most famous predictions market."

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The Two-Way
2:40 am
Mon March 11, 2013

In Ohio, Town Mourns Death Of Six Teens Killed In Crash

Friends and family of the six teenagers killed in a car crash brought stuffed animals and other memorials to the site Sunday in Warren, Ohio.
Scott R. Galvin AP

Originally published on Mon March 11, 2013 6:42 am

Warren, Ohio, is in mourning after the deaths of six teenagers who died Sunday when the SUV they were in ran off a highway, flipped over a guardrail and landed in a small pond.

"It's going to be a rough week, a rough rest of the school year," said Michael Notar, Warren school superintendent, as NBC News reports.

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The Two-Way
8:43 am
Fri March 8, 2013

South Dakota Governor Signs Law Allowing Guns In Schools

After training, teachers and other staffers in South Dakota could choose to bring guns with them to school if their districts want to set up "sentinel" programs.
Jim Urquhart Reuters /Landov

South Dakota on Friday became what's "believed to be the first state to pass a law that specifically allows teachers to carry firearms," as The New York Times writes.

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The Two-Way
7:04 am
Fri March 8, 2013

'JFK Profile In Courage Award' Going To Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords

On Wednesday, former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly, attended a news conference at the site of the 2011 attack in which she was shot, 12 other people were also wounded and six people were killed.
Joshua Lott Getty Images

Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who survived a 2011 gun attack that left six people dead and 13 others (including Giffords) wounded, is this year's recipient of the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award.

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The Two-Way
5:38 am
Fri March 8, 2013

Bill Clinton: Defense Of Marriage Act That I Signed Is Unconstitutional

Former President Bill Clinton (and then-Vice President Al Gore) in 1996, the year Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act.
Stephen Jaffe Reuters /Landov

Times were different in 1996 when he signed the Defense of Marriage Act into law, former President Bill Clinton writes in today's Washington Post.

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The Two-Way
3:51 am
Fri March 8, 2013

Pleasant Surprises: 236,000 Jobs Added; Jobless Rate Dips To 7.7 Percent

The scene at a job fair in Manhattan earlier this month.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 8, 2013 4:54 am

There were 236,000 jobs added to payrolls in February — many more than expected — and the jobless rate unexpectedly dropped by two-tenths of a point, to 7.7 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.

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The Two-Way
3:08 am
Fri March 8, 2013

Top Stories: Jobs Report; Chávez Funeral

In Caracas, Venezuela, early Friday, supporters of the late President Hugo Chávez were in the streets ahead of his funeral.
Luis Acosta AFP/Getty Images
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The Two-Way
2:42 am
Fri March 8, 2013

Cardinals Expected To Set Date For Start Of Conclave

Roman Catholic cardinals have been meeting at the Vatican to get to know each other better and to set a date for the start of the conclave that will choose the next pope. On Thursday, this cardinal was walking to one of those meetings.
Vincenzo Pinto AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 8, 2013 6:41 am

Update at 11:36 a.m. ET. Starts Tuesday:

"The eighth General Congregation of the College of Cardinals has decided that the Conclave will begin on Tuesday, 12 March 2013," reads a statement just sent to reporters by the Vatican Press Office. It adds that:

"A pro eligendo Romano Pontifice Mass will be celebrated in St. Peter's Basilica in the morning. In the afternoon the cardinals will enter into the Conclave."

Our original post — "Cardinals Expected To Set Date For Start Of Conclave":

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The Two-Way
2:29 am
Fri March 8, 2013

February Jobs And Unemployment News Likely To Be 'More of The Same'

Hoping to see more of these: A "now hiring" sign in the window of a bank in San Rafael, Calif., in January.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 8, 2013 3:37 am

  • From 'Morning Edition': Yuki Noguchi and Steve Inskeep preview the jobs report

Update at 8:35 a.m. ET. Things Were Better Than Expected:

"Pleasant Surprises: 236,000 Jobs Added; Jobless Rate Dips To 7.7 Percent."

Our original post:

Slow job growth and little change in the unemployment rate.

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The Two-Way
9:53 am
Thu March 7, 2013

How Did Strom Thurmond Last Through His 24-Hour Filibuster?

Sen. Strom Thurmond of South Carolina after his 24+ hour filibuster in 1957. He was a Democrat then. Later, Thurmond would switch to the Republican Party.
AP

As he ended his nearly 13-hour filibuster early Thursday, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) indirectly said it was nature's call that forced him to stop talking:

"I would try to go another 12 hours and try to break Strom Thurmond's record, but there are some limits to filibustering and I am going to have to go take care of one of those here," he said.

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The Two-Way
9:09 am
Thu March 7, 2013

Holder Responds To Paul About Drone Strikes On U.S. Soil

A Predator drone.
General Atomics Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 9:22 am

As he rose to begin his nearly 13-hour filibuster Wednesday, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said "no American should be killed by a drone on American soil without first being charged with a crime, without first being found to be guilty by a court." He would filibuster John Brennan's nomination to be CIA director, Paul said, because he wanted a clear statement from the Obama administration acknowledging that U.S.

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The Two-Way
8:20 am
Thu March 7, 2013

Please Tell Us You've Done This Too: Ever Worn Mismatched Shoes?

The left foot didn't know what the right foot was wearing.
Mark Memmott NPR

If your shoes say a lot about you, as we learned last year, what does it say if the ones you're wearing don't match?

-- That it's not a good idea to get dressed in the dark?

-- That perhaps this blogger needs to pay more attention to what he's doing in the morning?

-- Or that he buys boringly similar shoes?

Imagine my surprise when I looked down at my feet after getting to work this morning.

Now, please make me feel better:

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The Two-Way
4:52 am
Thu March 7, 2013

Will Breaking Bread Break The Deadlock In D.C.?

Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., gave a thumbs-up Wednesday night after he and other GOP senators had dinner with President Obama.
Olivier Douliery/pool Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 8:38 am

Wednesday night it was dinner with a small group of Republican lawmakers.

Thursday it's lunch with 2012 Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md.

Next week, the president is due to have lunch with more Republican senators.

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The Two-Way
4:12 am
Thu March 7, 2013

Today: First Key Votes On Gun Laws Since Newtown Shootings

Guns on display at a show in Fort Wayne, Ind., last month.
Brian Cassella MCT /Landov

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 7:52 am

Update at 12:45 p.m. ET. One Measure Approved So Far:

"The Senate Judiciary Committee approved legislation Thursday making gun trafficking a federal crime as lawmakers cast the first vote in Congress to curb firearms since December's horrific shootings at a Connecticut elementary school," The Associated Press writes.

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The Two-Way
3:42 am
Thu March 7, 2013

Mixed Signals: Jobless Claims Dip; Layoff Plans Rise

As we await Friday's much-anticipated report about the February unemployment rate and how many jobs were added to employers' payrolls last month, there are these new bits of economic data to chew over:

-- The Employment and Training Administration says there were 340,000 first-time claims for unemployment insurance last week. That's down from 7,000 the previous week. Claims continue at a pace that's the lowest since first-quarter 2008.

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The Two-Way
2:44 am
Thu March 7, 2013

Nearly 13 Hours Later, Sen. Paul Ends His Filibuster; Here's The Video

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., during his filibuster.
Senate Television AP

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 8:45 am

After nearly 13 hours during which he had only a few short breaks while sympathetic senators took over the talking, Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky ended his filibuster of John Brennan's CIA nomination early Thursday.

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The Two-Way
9:56 am
Wed March 6, 2013

Economy Growing At 'Modest To Moderate Pace,' Fed Says

There was "modest to moderate" economic growth across the nation as the year began, the Federal Reserve says in its latest "beige book" review of conditions around the nation.

According to the central bank, five of its 12 districts "reported that economic growth was moderate in January and early February." Those five: Dallas, New York, Minneapolis, Richmond and St. Louis.

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