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
3:54 am
Mon January 14, 2013

Top Stories: Fighting In Mali; Biden's Gun Report Coming

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. His team beat the Houston Texans on Sunday and will go up against the Baltimore Ravens in next week's AFC championship game.
Elsa Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 14, 2013 4:25 am

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The Two-Way
2:36 am
Mon January 14, 2013

As French Claim Gains In Mali, Islamists Vow To Strike Back

This photo, released on Saturday by the French Army Communications Audiovisual office (ECPAD), shows French Mirage 2000 D jets flying over Mali.
ECPAD Xinhua /Landov

On this fourth day of French military operations aimed at routing Islamist militants in Mali, the al-Qaida-linked rebels are "vowing to drag France into a long and brutal ground war," Reuters reports.

"France has opened the gates of hell for all the French. She has fallen into a trap which is much more dangerous than Iraq, Afghanistan or Somalia," a spokesman for the MUJWA Islamist group told Europe 1 radio, the wire service writes.

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The Two-Way
10:36 am
Fri January 11, 2013

Spike That Email About Welfare And Work; Fact-Checkers Say It's Not True

If this arrives in your inbox, fact checkers advise just hitting delete.
PolitiFact.com

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 1:58 pm

If you've gotten the "Death Spiral" email that's apparently been arriving in many inboxes, here's the verdict from two major, nonpartisan fact checkers:

It is NOT true, as the email claims, that in 11 states there are more people on welfare than there are working.

The debunkers: both PolitiFact.com and FactCheck.org.

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The Two-Way
8:13 am
Fri January 11, 2013

With End Of U.S. Forces' Role In Sight, Obama And Afghanistan's Karzai Meet

Afghan President Hamid Karzai and President Obama during Friday's news conference at the White House.
Jim Lo Scalzo EPA /LANDOV

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 1:18 pm

American and coalition forces will move into a "support" role in Afghanistan starting this spring, President Obama announced Friday afternoon at the White House during a joint news conference with Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

Obama said Afghan soldiers "are stepping up" and U.S. forces can now step back.

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The Two-Way
6:21 am
Fri January 11, 2013

'State Of The Union' Set For Feb. 12

President Obama, Vice President Biden (at left) and House speaker John Boehner at the 2012 State of the Union address.
Saul Loeb DPA /Landov

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has sent President Obama the invitation that precedes each year's State of the Union address:

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The Two-Way
6:03 am
Fri January 11, 2013

Ai Weiwei: In China, Lack Of Truth 'Is Suffocating'

Chinese artist Ai Weiwei in June 2012.
Ed Jones AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 7:15 am

  • From WBUR: Ai Weiwei on the suffocation of truth.
  • From WBUR: Ai Weiwei on being known despite censorship.
  • From WBUR: Ai Weiwei on life in prison.

Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, who has been outspoken about the lack of freedom in his homeland and was imprisoned in what he and his supporters say was an effort to keep him quiet, told our colleagues at Boston's WBUR this week that the lack of truth in China is "suffocating ... like bad air all the time."

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The Two-Way
3:38 am
Fri January 11, 2013

Feeling Miserable? You're Not Alone, And The Flu Epidemic Has Yet To Peak

Reaching for relief: A customer at a pharmacy in New York City was grabbing some medicine on Thursday.
Andrew Kelly Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 6:50 am

If you haven't caught the flu yet or don't know someone who has, you might want to buy a lottery ticket today. You're one lucky person.

As The Associated Press writes, "from the Rocky Mountains to New England, hospitals are swamped with people with flu symptoms." More than 40 states report "widespread" outbreaks. The flu's been blamed for the deaths of at least 20 children, the AP adds.

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The Two-Way
2:21 am
Fri January 11, 2013

Reports: FAA To Order Review Of Boeing 787 Dreamliner

The interior of a United Airlines Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 8:05 am

Update at 9:42 a.m. ET. Review Ordered:

Saying that "we are confident about the safety of this aircraft, but we are concerned about these incidents," Federal Aviation Administration Administrator Michael Huerta confirmed Friday morning that his agency has ordered a review of Boeing's new 787 Dreamliner after a series of problems in recent days, including fuel leaks and an electrical fire.

The planes are not being grounded. Boeing says it welcomes the review and is confident in the aircraft's safety.

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The Two-Way
9:24 am
Thu January 10, 2013

Reports: Two Hurt, One Suspect In Custody After Shooting At Calif. School

An area is cordoned off outside Taft Union High School in Taft, Calif., Thursday. Authorities said a student was shot and wounded and another student was taken into custody.
Doug Keeler AP

Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 1:33 pm

There was a shooting incident at a high school in Taft, Calif., this morning. Now that many reports have come in from the scene, it appears that two people were injured and a shooter has been taken into custody.

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The Two-Way
9:14 am
Thu January 10, 2013

Obama Taps Top Aide Lew For Treasury

Jack Lew has been nominated to be the next Treasury secretary.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 9:57 am

  • President Obama announces nomination of Jack Lew for Treasury

Saying he "cannot think of a better person" to take the job, President Obama this afternoon formally announced he is nominating Jacob "Jack" Lew, his chief of staff, to be the next Treasury secretary.

Word of Obama's decision to tap Lew, who previously served as budget director in the Obama and Clinton administration, broke Wednesday.

"Jack has my complete trust," Obama said.

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The Two-Way
4:48 am
Thu January 10, 2013

If Obama Took 'Executive Action' On Guns, What Might He Do?

Vice President Biden and President Obama at the White House on Dec. 19. Biden has been charged with drawing up "concrete proposals" on how to reduce gun violence.
Fang Zhe Xinhua /Landov

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 2:29 am

After Vice President Biden said Wednesday that the Obama administration might take some executive actions on the issues of guns and gun-related violence, questions naturally arose:

What kinds of things was he talking about? What might the administration do that doesn't require Congressional action?

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The Two-Way
3:38 am
Thu January 10, 2013

'Lincoln' Leads With 12 Oscar Nominations

Daniel Day-Lewis, in the lead role of Lincoln.
David James DreamWorks

Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 4:20 am

Update at 9:00 a.m. ET:

Lincoln, director Stephen Spielberg's acclaimed look at the 16th president's push for the 13th Amendment that abolished slavery, has been nominated for Oscar awards in 12 categories, it was announced this morning in Hollywood. That's the most for any single film.

Life of Pi is up for 11 awards. Les Miserables and Silver Linings Playbook are up for eight.

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The Two-Way
3:16 am
Thu January 10, 2013

Crazy Or Canny? Talk Grows About $1 Trillion Platinum Coin

No, this isn't worth $1 trillion. It's a commemorative coin minted in the U.K. in 2008. But some have suggested the president's image should be on it if he orders up a $1 trillion coin.
Christopher Furlong Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 8:15 am

We're pretty sure this won't happen.

But ...

You practically can't visit a news site these days without seeing a story about why President Obama should or should not order the Treasury Department to strike a platinum coin "worth" $1 trillion and deposit it with the Federal Reserve.

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The Two-Way
2:17 am
Thu January 10, 2013

Three Kurdish Activists Found Dead In Paris; 'Without Doubt An Execution'

An undated of Sakine Cansiz, one of three Kurdish activists found shot to death today in Paris.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 7:10 am

Three Kurdish women, one of them a founding member of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) that seeks autonomy for Kurds in Turkey, were found shot to death today in Paris.

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The Two-Way
9:49 am
Wed January 9, 2013

Signature? Doodle? Check How A Treasury Secretary Lew Might Sign Your Dollars

Jacob "Jack" Lew's signature, on the 2012 "Mid-Session Review" of the federal budget. He was director of the Office of Management and Budget at the time.
WhiteHouse.gov

Treasury secretaries get to see their signatures on the nation's currency.

With word that President Obama wants to nominate his chief of staff, Jacob "Jack" Lew," to that post, lots of sites are taking a look at his rather unique signature.

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The Two-Way
8:17 am
Wed January 9, 2013

Colorado Shooting Hearing Ends With Chilling Photos, No Defense Witnesses

James Holmes in a photo from the Arapahoe County (Colo.) Sheriff's Office.
AP

Originally published on Wed January 9, 2013 1:31 pm

In the weeks before the attack, James Holmes took photos of the Colorado movie theater where 12 people were killed and dozens more wounded in last summer's mass shooting, prosecutors revealed Wednesday at a court hearing in Colorado.

They also introduced photos he took on the night of the midnight massacre, the Denver Post reports:

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The Two-Way
7:45 am
Wed January 9, 2013

Gun Show Will Go On In N.Y. Town Despite Post-Sandy Hook Opposition

The crowd was large at a March 2012 gun show in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
Ed Burke Courtesy of The Saratogian

"City Center officials announced Wednesday that this weekend's Saratoga Arms Fair will go on as scheduled, despite pleas from opponents who want the event canceled," the local Saratogian reports.

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The Two-Way
6:40 am
Wed January 9, 2013

Reports: Obama Has Settled On Jack Lew, His Chief Of Staff, For Treasury

Jack Lew, current White House chief of staff. He's likely to be the nominee for treasury secretary.
Jonathan Ernst Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 1:46 am

Update: At 6 a.m. ET. Jan. 10, White House Announcement:

The White House has officially confirmed that President Obama will nominate his chief of staff, Jacob "Jack" Lew, to be the next Treasury secretary. According to a statement, the announcement is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. ET today (Thursday).

NPR's Scott Horsley had more about the nomination on Morning Edition.

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The Two-Way
5:05 am
Wed January 9, 2013

Many Injured When Ferry Hits Pier In Lower Manhattan

An injured person is moved to an ambulance following a ferry accident during rush hour in Lower Manhattan on Wednesday. At least 50 people were injured, according to news reports. The ferry ran into a pier, causing a large gash on its front side.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 9, 2013 11:54 am

"A commuter ferry had a hard landing when it pulled into a Lower Manhattan pier, injuring at least 53 people Monday morning," WABC-TV is reporting.

At least one person suffered a serious head injury, according to The Associated Press.

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The Two-Way
4:36 am
Wed January 9, 2013

'Zorbing' Death Brings Call For Safety Rules; Fatal Ride Captured On Video

A screen image from video of the "zorb" as it began rolling down a mountain in southern Russia last week. One of the two men inside would die from injuries received after it careened into a ravine.
YouTube

Originally published on Wed January 9, 2013 5:02 am

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The Two-Way
3:10 am
Wed January 9, 2013

AIG Would Be 'Hard Pressed' To Join Lawsuit Over Its Federal Bailout

Manhattan: The headquarters of American International Group Inc. (AIG).
Shen Hong Xinhua /Landov

Originally published on Wed January 9, 2013 12:00 pm

  • From 'Morning Edition'

Update at 4:50 p.m. ET. AIG Board Confirms Its Stance:

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The Two-Way
2:30 am
Wed January 9, 2013

Talk Of Delaying Brennan Nomination 'Unfortunate,' White House Says

John Brennan, President Obama's nominee to be the next CIA director.
Kevin Dietsch UPI /Landov

Originally published on Wed January 9, 2013 4:49 am

While the nomination of former Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., to be secretary of defense has drawn opposition from groups who question his views on policy toward Israel and Iran, the nomination of White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan to be CIA director may be delayed by senators who want to know more about last September's attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.:

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The Two-Way
10:04 am
Tue January 8, 2013

NRA Accepts Biden's Invitation To Meet

Vice President Biden.
Kevin Lamarque Reuters /Landov

"We are sending a rep to hear what they have to say," National Rifle Association spokesman Andrew Arulanandam says of the organization's decision to accept an invitation from the task force Vice President Biden is leading — the group that's studying gun laws and related issues in the wake of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Con

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The Two-Way
9:09 am
Tue January 8, 2013

911 Calls Played And Traps In Holmes' Apartment Described In Colo. Court

A courtroom sketch of James Holmes as he was brought into a courtroom in Centennial, Colo., this week.
Bill Robles Reuters /Landov

On Day 2 of the preliminary hearing for James Holmes, who is charged with the murders of 12 people and wounding of dozens at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., last summer:

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The Two-Way
8:46 am
Tue January 8, 2013

It's In The Books: 2012 Was Warmest Year On Record For Lower 48 States

July 22, 2012: In Baltimore, John Rose tried to keep cool during one of the year's heat waves.
Rob Carr Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 9:37 am

Last year "marked the warmest year on record for the contiguous United States," the National Climatic Data Center just confirmed.

This probably won't surprise many, but "a record warm spring, second-warmest summer, fourth-warmest winter and a warmer-than-average autumn" combined to make the year's average temperature 55.3°F.

That's "3.2°F above the 20th century average, and 1.0°F above 1998, the previous warmest year."

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The Two-Way
7:36 am
Tue January 8, 2013

Must-See Or Must-Avoid TV? Alex Jones Rails On Piers Morgan

Piers Morgan, left, and Alex Jones on Monday night.
CNN.com

Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 10:18 am

There's really not much we need to add regarding Monday night's "discussion" about guns and gun control on CNN's Piers Morgan Tonight. Everyone's perfectly capable of forming their own opinions.

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The Two-Way
6:18 am
Tue January 8, 2013

A Life Examined: Who Was The Victim So Brutally Murdered In India?

At a vigil last week in Calcutta, India, the victim was remembered and calls were made for new laws to protect women.
Dibyangshu Sarkar AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 1:37 pm

Her death has caused outrage in India and around the world.

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The Two-Way
5:05 am
Tue January 8, 2013

Gays Separated From Military Since Late '04 To Get Full Discharge Pay

that day was a first of its kind for the Navy." href="/post/gays-separated-military-late-04-get-full-discharge-pay" class="noexit lightbox">
Dec. 21, 2011: Petty Officer 2nd Class Marissa Gaeta, left, kisses her girlfriend of two years, Petty Officer 3rd Class Citlalic Snell at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek in Virginia Beach, Va. Gaeta's ship had returned from 80 days at sea. Their "first kiss" that day was a first of its kind for the Navy.
Brian J. Clark The Virginian-Pilot/AP

Gays who were forced to leave the U.S. military before 2011's repeal of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy were often given honorable discharges — but were only granted about half of the discharge pay that otherwise would have been due to them.

After the settlement Monday of a class action lawsuit brought in New Mexico, about 181 such men and women will be getting the money that was withheld.

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The Two-Way
4:20 am
Tue January 8, 2013

Mystery: How Did Million Dollar Lottery Winner End Up Dead From Cyanide?

Urooj Khan, with his winning lottery ticket. Not long after this photo was taken, he was dead.
AP

One day after the check was issued, million dollar lottery winner Urooj Khan was dead.

The initial report from the Cook County (Ill.) Medical Examiner's office cited natural causes.

But now, authorities say, they've determined that Khan's July 20 death was due to cyanide poisoning. So Chicago police are back on the case.

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