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
3:51 am
Fri December 28, 2012

Top Stories: 'Fiscal Cliff' Talks Resume; Russia Bans U.S. Adoptions

Eric Waite and his 8-year-old daughter Emerson went sliding Thursday in Greenfield, Mass.
Matthew Cavanaugh Getty Images
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The Two-Way
3:33 am
Fri December 28, 2012

Remembering Gen. Schwarzkopf, 'Military Hero Of His Generation'

Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf in 1990.
Kevin Larkin AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 4:37 am

The death Thursday of retired Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf — "Stormin' Norman" — has prompted many looks at the legacy of the American commander who led coalition forces during Operation Desert Storm in 1991, which pushed Saddam Hussein's Iraqi Army out of Kuwait.

Schwarzkopf was 78. He:

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The Two-Way
2:56 am
Fri December 28, 2012

Secretary Clinton Due Back At Work Next Week, 'Foreign Policy' Reports

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Dec. 6 in Dublin.
Kevin Lamarque AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 4:38 am

"Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will return to the State Department next week after three weeks of recovery from a stomach virus and a related concussion," Foreign Policy's The Cable blog reports.

Clinton spokesman Philippe Reines tells The Cable that:

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The Two-Way
2:23 am
Fri December 28, 2012

U.S. Families Stunned By Russia's Ban On Adoptions

Children at an orphanage in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don earlier this month.
Vladimir Konstantinov Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 4:37 am

As expected, Russian President Vladimir Putin today signed a law "that bans Americans from adopting Russian children and imposes other measures in retaliation for new U.S. legislation meant to punish Russian human rights abusers," Reuters reports.

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The Two-Way
9:30 am
Thu December 27, 2012

Woman Who Allegedly Posed As Newtown Victim's Aunt Is Arrested

After the attack: Balloons hung from the Sandy Hook Elementary School sign on Dec. 15. On Dec. 14, six adults and 20 children were killed there before the gunman took his own life.
Shannon Stapleton Reuters /Landov

A woman who authorities say posed as an aunt of one of the 20 children killed in the attack on an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., and used a Facebook account to solicit money for a "funeral fund" has been arrested and charged with lying to federal agents.

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The Two-Way
7:24 am
Thu December 27, 2012

George Carlin, Van Halen & '27 Yankees Land On One Great 'Best Lists' List

George Carlin in 1981. The comedian's seven dirty words made the list of best lists.
Ken Howard Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 27, 2012 9:54 am

We continue to be on the watch for the best of the year-end "best-of lists." This one from The New Yorker stands out in our mind:

"The Hundred Best Lists Of All Time."

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The Two-Way
5:38 am
Thu December 27, 2012

EPA Administrator Jackson Stepping Down

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Lisa Jackson, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, is stepping down.

The Associated Press reports that:

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The Two-Way
5:15 am
Thu December 27, 2012

Consumer Confidence Dips; New Home Sales Rise

American consumers aren't feeling quite as confident this month as they were in November.

The widely watched Consumer Confidence Index from the private Conference Board declined to 65.1 in December from 71.5 the month before. It also fell slightly in November from October.

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The Two-Way
3:57 am
Thu December 27, 2012

Top Stories: Wintry Blast, 'Fiscal Cliff' Talks

Snow-covered roads in Pittsburgh on Wednesday.
Jeff Swensen Getty Images
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The Two-Way
2:54 am
Thu December 27, 2012

Elder President Bush In Intensive Care

Former President George H.W. Bush in June.
Michael Loccisano Getty Images for HBO

Originally published on Thu December 27, 2012 8:07 am

Though he is reportedly alert and enjoying a "running banter" with his nurses, former President George H.W. Bush is in the intensive care unit at Houston's Methodist Hospital.

The Houston Chronicle writes that "Jim McGrath, Bush's spokesman in Houston, said the 88-year-old's fever rose on Wednesday, but doctors at Methodist Hospital report he is doing better than the day before. He was admitted to the ICU on Sunday."

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The Two-Way
2:21 am
Thu December 27, 2012

Wintry Weather Blasting Northeast On Its Way Out

Nathan Lee, 5, was using a "wovel" to move snow from his family's driveway earlier today in State College Pa.
Nabil K. Mark/Centre Daily Times MCT /Landov

Originally published on Thu December 27, 2012 8:05 am

Update at 12:25 p.m. ET. More Deaths Reported:

The death toll from this week's massive winter storm that barreled across the nation from the West Coast and is now over New England has risen to at least 15, according to The Associated Press.

Among the latest fatalities to be reported: "A man and a woman in Evansville, Ind., were killed when the scooter they were riding went out of control on a snowy street Wednesday and they were hit by a pickup truck."

Our original post, from 7 a.m. ET:

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The Two-Way
9:11 am
Wed December 26, 2012

'Fiscal Cliff' Deadline Looms, But Sense Of Urgency Seems To Be Lacking

Will the lights be on late at the White House for the next few nights, or will talks about the "fiscal cliff" be less than dramatic?
Larry Downing Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 9:49 am

President Obama is "cutting short" a vacation that he'd already said he would cut short. "See you next week," he told reporters last week before leaving for Hawaii. The president is now due back at the White House on Thursday, which is pretty much what was expected. His family will stay in Hawaii until after the New Year.

Senators are also coming back to Washington, but many aren't likely to get to the Capitol until Thursday evening.

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The Two-Way
7:33 am
Wed December 26, 2012

N.Y. Website Posts Map Of People With Gun Permits, Draws Criticism

The Journal News' map of gun owners in Rockland County, N.Y. At its website, the image is interactive so that users can see who has handgun permits and where they live.
The Journal News

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 9:49 am

The website of New York's Journal News newspapers has posted an interactive map showing the names and addresses of people with licenses to own handguns in three counties just to the north of New York City — Westchester, Rockland and Putnam.

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The Two-Way
6:14 am
Wed December 26, 2012

Gunman Who Killed Two Firefighters Left Chilling Note

William Spengler, in an undated image released by the Monroe County (N.Y.) Sheriff's Office.
Reuters /Landov

We're learning more about Monday's shooting deaths of two firefighters in Webster, N.Y., and the man who police say lured the first responders to the scene by setting fire to his home.

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The Two-Way
4:48 am
Wed December 26, 2012

'Housing Recovery Is Gathering Strength,' New Report On Prices Signals

A "sold" sign outside a home under construction in Peoria, Ill., in October.
Daniel Acker Landov

Home prices were up 4.3 percent in October from the same month a year before in the 20 major U.S.

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The Two-Way
4:11 am
Wed December 26, 2012

By Showing Ammo Magazine On NBC, Did David Gregory Break The Law?

Meet the Press host David Gregory, holding what he said was a high capacity magazine, during Sunday's broadcast.
NBC News

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 9:50 am

Washington, D.C., city police are investigating whether NBC News' David Gregory broke the district's laws when he displayed what he said was a "magazine for ammunition that carries 30 bullets" on Sunday's edition of Meet the Press.

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The Two-Way
3:11 am
Wed December 26, 2012

Weather Outside Is Frightful; Tornadoes, Snow, Rain Lash Much Of Nation

The wicked weather covers a lot of territory. (Image shows conditions as of late afternoon Wednesday, ET.
National Weather Service

Originally published on Thu December 27, 2012 2:27 am

  • From the NPR Newscast: Giles Snyder on the storm

(On Wednesday, we weaved new information into the top of this post and in updates below. Thursday, we began a new post about the weather.)

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The Two-Way
2:59 am
Wed December 26, 2012

Top Stories: Frightful Weather; Fiscal Cliffhanger; Soft Shopping Season

Will someone come back to fill it up? On Christmas Day at the Lakeside Mall in New Orleans, this shopping cart sat all alone. After what's been said to have been a soft holiday shopping season, retailers are hoping that post-holiday sales will be strong.
David Grunfeld The Times-Picayune /Landov

Good morning.

Our early headline:

-- Weather Outside Is Frightful; Tornadoes, Snow, Rain Lash Much Of Nation.

Some of the other stories making news today:

-- " 'Fiscal Cliff' To Bring President Obama Back Early From Hawaii." (Los Angeles Times)

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The Two-Way
9:03 am
Mon December 24, 2012

One Comment Says A Lot: Here's Why We're Grateful

Mladen Antonov AFP/Getty Images

We want to say thank you.

Our colleague Kate Myers has been helping us look back on The Two-Way's year — the most popular posts, the most frequent commenters, the heaviest traffic days and other such measures. We'll share some of what she's found in coming days.

But something Kate just turned up strikes us as worth noting right away.

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The Two-Way
7:50 am
Mon December 24, 2012

Christmas Day May Bring Tornadoes In Southeast

Looking ahead to Tuesday and Wednesday: the darker the shading, the greater the risk of severe weather.
National Weather Service

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 4:11 pm

Snow likely won't be the big weather story for much of the nation on Christmas Day, say the forecasters at the National Weather Service and The Weather Channel. But some potentially severe weather is in the forecast.

Tornadoes are possible along the Gulf Coast and in the Southeast. Here's what The Weather Channel says about Tuesday:

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The Two-Way
5:55 am
Mon December 24, 2012

Firefighters Responding To Blaze Near Rochester, N.Y., Shot And Killed

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 9:38 am

Two firefighters responding to the scene of a blaze near Rochester, N.Y., were killed today and another two were wounded when a gunman opened fire.

The apparent ambush in Webster, N.Y., was carried out by convicted murderer William Spengler, police believe. He was found dead at the scene, from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Spengler, 62, spent 17 years in prison for the 1980 murder of his grandmother.

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The Two-Way
5:39 am
Mon December 24, 2012

VIDEO: NRA's LaPierre Says No To Ban On Large Capacity Magazines

The National Rifle Association's Wayne LaPierre.
Molly Riley UPI /Landov

One of the sharpest exchanges during his more than 20-minute long appearance Sunday on NBC's Meet the Press came when National Rifle Association CEO and Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre was asked why it wouldn't make sense to ban high capacity magazines for guns such as the one used to kill 20 school children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

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The Two-Way
4:03 am
Mon December 24, 2012

Forget About Chimneys: Think Wormholes If You Want To See Santa

Science says Santa's been tricking us with that reindeer stuff.
Martti Kainulainen AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 9:40 am

  • David Greene and Neil deGrasse Tyson on the "science of Santa'

Sorry, Google. Sorry, NORAD.

Your online "Santa trackers" are cool.

But that jolly old elf has you both fooled.

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The Two-Way
3:17 am
Mon December 24, 2012

Top Stories: 'Fiscal Cliff' Looms; NRA Sparks Controversy; Gun Sales Surge

At the Get Some Guns & Ammo store in Murray, Utah, over the weekend, sales were strong and there were empty spots beginning to appear on the wall display of weapons.
George Frey Landov

Good morning.

Our headlines from over the weekend and early today included:

-- Ho-Ho-Hum Last Shopping Weekend As 'Fiscal Cliff' Loomed.

-- Syrian Airstrikes Hit Bakery: 'Piles Of Bodies'.

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The Two-Way
2:35 am
Mon December 24, 2012

Romney Didn't Want To Run, Son Says

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney on Election Night in Boston, as he conceded the race to President Obama.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 2:41 am

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The Two-Way
2:05 am
Mon December 24, 2012

Ho-Ho-Hum Last Shopping Weekend As 'Fiscal Cliff' Loomed

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 7:42 am

On this Christmas Eve there's this not-so-cheery news from The Associated Press:

"Christmas shoppers thronged malls and pounced on discounts but apparently spent less this year, their spirits dampened by concerns about the economy and the aftermath of shootings and storms."

The wire service says that:

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The Two-Way
11:00 am
Fri December 21, 2012

Darwin The 'IKEA Monkey' Can't Go Home For Christmas, Judge Rules

Darwin, when he was on the lam at IKEA.
ABC News

(Now, for something completely different.)

"Darwin, known worldwide as the Toronto IKEA monkey, will spend the Christmas holidays in an animal sanctuary until a court ruling about his long-term custody is heard in January," the CBC reports.

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The Two-Way
6:08 am
Fri December 21, 2012

Only 'A Good Guy With A Gun' Can Stop School Shootings, NRA Says

National Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre at this morning's news conference in Washington, D.C.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 9:08 am

(We retopped this post at 11:35 a.m. ET.)

Saying that last week's mass shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., could have been prevented or stopped if there had been armed, trained security personnel on site, officials of the National Rifle Association on Friday called for Congress to appropriate funds to put police officers in every American school.

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The Two-Way
5:37 am
Fri December 21, 2012

Obama Taps Sen. Kerry For Secretary Of State

President Obama and Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., at the White House this afternoon.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 11:02 am

  • President Obama nominates Sen. Kerry

President Obama announced this afternoon that he will nominate Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., to be his next secretary of state.

Kerry's long experience in the Senate (he was first elected in 1984) and especially in foreign affairs (he chairs the Foreign Relations Committee) mean the senator's "not going to need a lot of on-the-job training," Obama said.

We followed the short appearance at the White House by the president and Kerry and posted some highlights.

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The Two-Way
4:53 am
Fri December 21, 2012

Boehner: 'We'll Continue To Work' On Avoiding Fiscal Cliff

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, at the Capitol on Wednesday.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 5:14 am

On this morning after he couldn't get fellow Republicans to support his "Plan B" for avoiding the year end "fiscal cliff" of automatic tax increases and spending cuts, House Speaker John Boehner took some questions from reporters.

We listened in and posted updates. Hit your "refresh" button to see our latest additions:

-- Update at 10:12 a.m. ET. House Will Come Back "If We're Needed":

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