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
4:59 am
Fri August 30, 2013

Irish Poet Seamus Heaney Dies

Irish poet Seamus Heaney in 2010.
Paul McErlane EPA/Landov

Seamus Heaney, "acclaimed by many as the best Irish poet since Yeats," has died, the BBC and other news outlets are reporting.

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The Two-Way
12:11 pm
Thu August 29, 2013

Third Tsarnaev Friend Indicted On Lying Charge

A third friend of accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has now been indicted on a charge related to what authorities say were attempts by the trio to mislead investigators or dispose of evidence that linked Tsarnaev to the bombings.

The office of the U.S. Attorney in Massachusetts posted this statement on Twitter early Thursday afternoon:

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The Two-Way
11:31 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Federal Prosecutors Told Not To Focus On Marijuana Users

A customer rolls a joint made of half marijuana and half tobacco to smoke inside of Frankie Sports Bar and Grill in Olympia, Wash., in December 2012.
Nick Adams Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 5:58 pm

Federal prosecutors are being told by Attorney General Eric Holder to focus on cartels, criminal enterprises and those who sell the drug to children, not on casual marijuana users, a Justice Department official tells NPR's Carrie Johnson.

Holder today informed the governors of Washington and Colorado — two states that recently legalized the sale of marijuana for personal use — about the new guidelines for prosecutors, the official adds.

Bu the new guidelines will apply to all states, not just Washington, Colorado and those where "medical marijuana" is legal.

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The Two-Way
11:28 am
Thu August 29, 2013

NFL, Retirees Reach $765M Settlement On Concussions Suits

Junior Seau sustained many concussions during his career and was suffering from a degenerative brain disease when he killed himself in May 2012.
Otto Greule Jr. Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 12:45 pm

The NFL and more than 4,500 retired players have reached an agreement calling for the league to contribute $765 million to a fund that will pay "medical and other benefits, as well as compensation" to those who suffered concussions and related injuries during their careers.

Details of the agreement, which would settle concussion-related lawsuits by former players and still needs a judge's OK, were released by the league early Thursday afternoon.

According to that statement:

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The Two-Way
10:16 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Oberlin Students Behind 'Hate Postings' Say They Were Joking

More than 1,000 people turned out on March 4 for a Demonstration of Solidarity at Oberlin College. Classes were cancelled after a string of what appeared to be racist incidents on campus.
Gus Chan The Plain Dealer/Landov

An update on a story we posted about back in March:

Two Oberlin College students who are said to have been responsible for a series of "hate-related incidents" that went on for weeks earlier this year at the northern Ohio school are not going to face criminal charges.

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The Two-Way
9:15 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Are We Martians? Scientist Says We Just Might Be

Mars: Our "home" planet?
NASA Getty Images

As Adam Frank has said over on the 13.7 blog, "Earth and Mars have been swapping spit (astrobiologically speaking) for eons ... [and] it is entirely possible we were Earth's first alien invasion."

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The Two-Way
7:21 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Economy Was Stronger Than Thought In Second Quarter

Stronger-than-thought exports produced stronger-than-thought economic growth in the spring. (2010 file photo from the Port of Miami.)
Joe Raedle Getty Images

The U.S. economy expanded at a 2.5 percent annual rate in the second quarter, the Bureau of Economic Analysis said Thursday.

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The Two-Way
6:47 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Assad Is To Blame For Chemical Weapons Attack, British Say

British Prime Minister David Cameron on Thursday as he left 10 Downing Street in London.
Dan Kitwood Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 9:28 am

Saying that there are "no plausible alternative scenarios," the U.K.'s Joint Intelligence Organisation released a statement Thursday to support the conclusion reached by U.S. and British officials that Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime is responsible for what's said to have been a chemical weapons attack last week near Damascus.

That attack, U.S. and British officials say, killed more than 300 people and may have injured several thousand more.

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The Two-Way
6:12 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Largest Strike So Far By Fast-Food Workers Set For Thursday

Outside a Taco Bell restaurant in Warren, Mich., early Thursday, supporters of the push by fast-food workers to raise the minimum wage were marching.
Jessica J. Trevino MCT/Landov

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 7:45 am

Organizers say workers at fast-food restaurants in cities across the nation will walk off their jobs Thursday in what's expected to be the largest such strike so far, The Associated Press writes.

As the wire service adds:

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The Two-Way
5:46 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Three More Weeks Needed To Surround California's Rim Fire

Flames from the Rim Fire in the hills behind Tuolumne City, Calif., on Wednesday.
David McNew Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 7:32 am

The massive "Rim Fire" around California's Yosemite National Park is now about 30 percent contained and it's hoped that cooling temperatures and more moderate winds will continue to work in firefighters' favor.

But The Associated Press cautions that officials say it will likely still be three weeks before the fire is surrounded and that the blaze likely won't be out until many weeks after that.

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The Two-Way
4:56 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Obama Hasn't Made Case For Striking Syria, Rumsfeld Says

Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in 2011.
Michael Reynolds EPA /Landov

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 6:02 am

As the U.S. and its allies seemingly move closer to some type of military action in response to Syrian President Bashar Assad's alleged use of chemical weapons to kill hundreds of his own people, one of the policymakers who led the U.S.

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The Two-Way
11:56 am
Wed August 28, 2013

Speaking At The Lincoln Memorial, Obama Assesses 'The Dream'

Former President Bill Clinton tells the crowd that Americans today owe a tremendous debt to "those people who came here 50 years ago." Millions of us, he said, have lived the dream King talked about.
Shawn Thew EPA/Landov

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 10:05 am

  • Listen: NPR Special Coverage Of The March On Washington Anniversary

Thousands gathered under gray skies in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington.

They gathered in the exact same spot where the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech, and many of the same themes — equality, dignity, unity — echoed through the crowd.

President Obama was joined by the King family and former Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

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The Two-Way
11:11 am
Wed August 28, 2013

LISTEN: Rare Recording Of '52 Speech That King Drew From

"For the first time in 60 years," our friends at WBEZ report, you can hear a 1952 speech given by a Chicago pastor that ends with "the famous crescendo" that Martin Luther King Jr. would echo 11 years later in his "I Have A Dream" speech.

The speaker at the 1952 Republican National Convention was Pastor Archibald Carey Jr., who would say:

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The Two-Way
9:30 am
Wed August 28, 2013

Probation For George Zimmerman's Wife On Perjury Charge

Shellie Zimmerman in court on June 20.
Gary W. Green UPI/Landov

"Shellie Zimmerman, the wife of acquitted murder suspect George Zimmerman, today pleaded guilty to a less serious form of perjury in a plea deal that requires her to serve one year of probation," the Orlando Sentinel writes.

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The Two-Way
8:46 am
Wed August 28, 2013

How To Watch The March On Washington Anniversary Ceremony

Civil rights leader Martin Luther King waves to supporters from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on Aug. 28, 1963, in Washington.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed August 28, 2013 9:57 am

The crowd is gathering near the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., for Wednesday's celebration of the March on Washington's 50th anniversary.

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The Two-Way
7:54 am
Wed August 28, 2013

More Images Posted Of Accused Boston Bomber's Capture

Boston bombings suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on April 19 as he emerged from a boat stored in a Watertown, Mass., backyard. The red dot of a police sharpshooter's laser sight can be seen on his forehead.
Mass. State Police Sgt. Sean Murphy Boston Magazine

Originally published on Wed August 28, 2013 9:32 am

Boston Magazine has posted 48 photos taken by Massachusetts State Police Sgt. Sean Murphy on the day and night that Boston Marathon bombings suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was captured in Watertown, Mass.

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The Two-Way
7:07 am
Wed August 28, 2013

'Twerk' Sashays Into Oxford's Online Dictionary, 'Srsly'

Singers Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke during Sunday night's MTV Video Music Awards in New York. Her twerking raised many eyebrows.
Lucas Jackson Reuters/Landov

Miley Cyrus isn't responsible, though this week she certainly did introduce a lot of us old folks to "twerking":

"Twerk" is one of several dozen words or phrases that Oxford Dictionaries Online has added to it website.

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The Two-Way
6:04 am
Wed August 28, 2013

Fire's Threat To Bay Area's Water Supply May Come Later

A charred caution sign just outside of California's Yosemite National Park.
David McNew Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed August 28, 2013 9:32 am

The huge "Rim Fire" in and around California's Yosemite National Park hasn't yet caused problems at the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir that provides water to 2.6 million people in the Bay Area. There have been fears that falling ash will pollute the water there.

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The Two-Way
5:28 am
Wed August 28, 2013

Click Here For 'The New York Times' While It's Being Hacked

The New York Times' alternate site.
http://news.nytco.com/

The New York Times' website isn't working for us, and many other users, again this morning. As All Tech Considered reported Tuesday evening, the Times appears to be the victim of another hacking by the Syrian Electronic Army — a pro-Assad organization that has previously taken over the websites of other U.S.

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The Two-Way
4:54 am
Wed August 28, 2013

Britain Seeks U.N. OK For Military Action Against Syria

British Prime Minister David Cameron, who says it is time for the U.N. Security Council "to live up to its responsibilities on Syria."
Stefan Wermuth Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Wed August 28, 2013 5:39 pm

  • From the NPR Newscast: Philip Reeves reports on the resolution Britain will put before the U.N. Security Council
  • From 'Morning Edition': Alastair Crooke on the crisis in Syria

Some of the latest developments related to the crisis in Syria and the increasing likelihood that the U.S. and its allies will soon launch missile strikes on targets there in response to last week's alleged use of chemical weapons by the regime of President Bashar Assad:

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The Two-Way
11:57 am
Tue August 27, 2013

Garage Where Woodward Met With 'Deep Throat' To Be Torn Down

A reporter (not Deep Throat) strikes a dramatic pose beside one of the columns inside the Arlington, Va., garage where Bob Woodward met with his secret source during the Watergate days.
Jim Watson AFP/Getty Images

The real-life garage in Arlington, Va., where Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward met with his secret source "Deep Throat" as the Watergate scandal unfolded is likely to be demolished sometime in the next few years.

A local blog, ARLnow, writes that:

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The Two-Way
10:32 am
Tue August 27, 2013

Community Service For Former Bachmann Aide Accused Of Theft

Originally published on Mon September 23, 2013 10:12 am

A one-time aide in the Washington office of Minnesota Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann "will have a theft charge against him dropped if he completes 32 hours of community service over several months," The Associated Press writes.

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The Two-Way
9:14 am
Tue August 27, 2013

Manning Would Pay For Hormone Treatment, Lawyer Says

Army Pvt. Chelsea Manning on Aug. 20 (before her sentencing, demotion from private first class and announcement that she no longer wished to be known as Bradley Manning).
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Tue August 27, 2013 10:33 am

Army Pvt. Chelsea Manning is willing to pay for estrogen treatments that would lead to breast development and other female characteristics, the lawyer for the former Bradley Manning tells The Associated Press.

According to the wire service:

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The Two-Way
8:16 am
Tue August 27, 2013

Latest Economic Signs Point To Slow, Steady Growth

A home construction site in Oceanside, Calif., earlier this month. Home prices continue to rise across the nation, though the pace appears to have slowed.
Mike Blake Reuters/Landov

Two key economic indicators — home prices and consumer confidence — both seem to signal that slow, steady economic growth lies ahead.

Tuesday's reports:

-- Confidence. The Conference Board's widely watched consumer confidence index increased only slightly in August, to 81.5 from 81 in July, the business research group says.

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The Two-Way
7:31 am
Tue August 27, 2013

Snowden's Flight To Russia May Not Have Been Such A Shock

Edward Snowden, seen during a video interview with The Guardian.
Glenn Greenwald/Laura Poitras EPA/LANDOV

Originally published on Tue August 27, 2013 10:33 am

Did "NSA leaker" Edward Snowden really surprise Russian officials when he showed up at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport on June 23?

Maybe not.

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The Two-Way
6:17 am
Tue August 27, 2013

'Book News' Continues Its Summer Break

Ole Spata DPA/LANDOV

While we tap away on our keyboards, "Book News" blogger Annalissa Quinn remains on vacation. We're not jealous, of course.

As we've said, Annalisa may have her feet up relaxing in some exotic locale, but she asks that "hot tips, scurrilous attacks and existential questions" be directed to @annalisa_quinn on Twitter. She'll sort through them when she returns.

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The Two-Way
5:48 am
Tue August 27, 2013

STUNNING VIDEO: Pilots' View Of California's Rim Fire

A view of California's Rim Fire from the cockpit of a California Air National Guard tanker plane.
YouTube.com

Originally published on Tue August 27, 2013 12:05 pm

The view from space is amazing.

But perhaps even more impressive is the view from the cockpits of California Air National Guard as crews battle the huge Rim Fire burning near Yosemite National Park.

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The Two-Way
5:13 am
Tue August 27, 2013

'Syrian Regime Is Responsible,' White House Says Of Attack

In Aleppo, Syria, on Monday, this Free Syrian Army fighter stood in the rubble of a building that has collapsed during fighting there.
Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue August 27, 2013 11:18 am

  • From 'Morning Edition': Diplomat Frederic Hof speaks with David Greene about the crisis in Syria

(We added a new top to this post at 1:15 p.m. ET.)

"Anyone who approaches this logically" would conclude that the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad is responsible for last week's chemical weapons attack near Damascus that reportedly left hundreds dead and thousands more injured, White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters early Tuesday afternoon.

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The Two-Way
12:29 pm
Mon August 26, 2013

Wingsuit Flying: Incredible Thrill, But 'No Second Chance'

Originally published on Tue August 27, 2013 3:30 pm

"There is no second chance ... there is no margin of error whatsoever."

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