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
12:21 pm
Fri July 19, 2013

Obama: 'Trayvon Martin Could Have Been Me 35 Years Ago'

President Obama at the White House on Friday, as he spoke about the death of Trayvon Martin and the national discussion that the case has generated.
Larry Downing Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Fri July 19, 2013 5:15 pm

"When Trayvon Martin was first shot, I said that this could have been my son," President Obama told reporters Friday afternoon. "Another way of saying that is Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago."

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The Two-Way
11:43 am
Fri July 19, 2013

Asiana Crash Victim Was Alive When Hit By Emergency Vehicle

Originally published on Fri July 19, 2013 6:47 pm

Ye Meng Yuan, one of two Chinese teenagers who died at the scene of Asiana Flight 214's crash in San Francisco, was alive when she was struck by an emergency vehicle responding to the disaster, San Mateo County (Calif.) coroner Robert Foucrault told reporters Friday.

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The Two-Way
5:26 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

New Photos Show 'Real Face' Of Tsarnaev, Police Sgt. Says

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 Thu July 18, 2013 9:47 pm

(Updated 11:45 p.m. ET)

Massachusetts State Police Sgt. Sean Murphy, who released images that depict the capture and arrest of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, has reportedly been "relieved of duty," Boston Magazine reported Thursday night.

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The Two-Way
3:14 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

GOP Won't Defend Ban On Veterans Benefits For Same-Sex Couples

U.S. Army Captain Michael Potoczniak (right) embraced his partner of 10 years Todd Saunders as they obtained their marriage license at City Hall in San Francisco on June 29.
Stephen Lam Reuters /Landov

House Republicans, who defended in court the Defense of Marriage Act only to see it struck down by the Supreme Court last month, have now decided not to try to defend a similar law that denies veterans' benefits to married, same-sex couples.

BuzzFeed, which broke the news Thursday of the GOP's decision, reports that:

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The Two-Way
2:27 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

Florida Community Asks Mermaid To Swim Elsewhere

Jenna Conti, also known as Eden Sirene, before being asked to stay out of the water.
Courtesy of Bob Abruzzese

Jenna Conti just wants to swim.

In her custom-made mermaid costume.

At the Fishhawk Ranch community pools in Tampa, Fla.

But rules are rules, the local development district board says. And the rules say no swim fins in the pools.

So Conti, or Eden Sirene as she's known when she swims, has been left high and dry.

She "just wanted to really show some magic here in Fishhawk," Conti says.

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The Two-Way
2:07 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

EPA, Labor Nominees Confirmed

By 59-40 vote mostly along party lines, the Senate on Thursday afternoon confirmed Gina McCarthy as the next head of the Environmental Protection Agency.

That followed a 54-46 vote early in the day to confirm Thomas Perez as Labor secretary.

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The Two-Way
12:58 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

Man Who Hoped To Testify Against Whitey Bulger Is Found Dead

Stephen Rakes as he arrived at the U.S. Federal Courthouse in Boston on June 12 for the first day of the "Whitey" Bulger's trial.
Brian Snyder Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Thu July 18, 2013 4:31 pm

Stephen "Stippo" Rakes, who claimed that notorious Boston gangster James "Whitey" Bulger forced him — at gunpoint — to sell a liquor store in 1984, was found dead Wednesday in Lincoln, Mass.

According to the Middlesex (Mass.) District Attorney's office, "there were no obvious signs of trauma. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner is conducting an autopsy to determine the cause and manner of death."

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The Two-Way
3:15 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

Cleveland Hero Charles Ramsey: I'm Not Broke Or Homeless

Charles Ramsey on the day three young women (and one of the women's daughters) were rescued from a Cleveland home. He gained fame for his accounts of what happened.
Scott Shaw The Plain Dealer /Landov

If you've seen stories in the past few days about Cleveland's Charles Ramsey supposedly being out of work, broke and homeless, then you'll want to read this update that has word from the man himself:

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The Two-Way
2:36 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

'We're Here To Stay' Says Newly Confirmed Consumer Watchdog

Richard Cordray, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Ron Sachs/pool Getty Images

Originally published on Wed July 17, 2013 5:11 pm

One day after his two years in limbo ended and he was confirmed by the Senate as head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Richard Cordray told NPR that though political bickering held up his nomination he now believes he has bipartisan support for the bureau's work.

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The Two-Way
1:20 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

Newly Discovered Dinosaur Sure Had One 'Supersize Schnoz'

An artist's image of Nasutoceratops titusi.
Lukas Panzarin for the Natural History Museum of Utah

Originally published on Wed July 17, 2013 5:11 pm

The Proceedings of the Royal Society politely refers to it as a "short-snouted horned dinosaur."

National Geographic is less reserved and gets right to the obvious point: "Paleontologists have discovered a new dinosaur, a Triceratops relative with a supersize schnoz that once roamed present-day Utah."

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The Two-Way
12:19 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

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

Part I of the news from the Federal Reserve on Wednesday was Chairman Ben Bernanke's signal to the financial markets that the central bank won't be shifting away from its "easy money" policy just yet.

Part II was just released. In its latest "Beige Book" review of economic conditions around the nation the Fed says that:

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The Two-Way
11:59 am
Wed July 17, 2013

Mandela Has Made 'Remarkable Progress,' Daughter Says

On the eve of Nelson Mandela's 95th birthday, street vendors in Pretoria, South Africa, were selling T-shirts to mark the occasion. Madiba is Mandela's tribal name.
Christopher Furlong Getty Images

Originally published on Wed July 17, 2013 12:42 pm

Nelson Mandela is making "remarkable progress" and could be released from a Pretoria hospital soon, his daughter tells Sky News on the eve of the anti-apartheid icon's 95th birthday.

Zindzi Mandela, 52, also says her father is communicating with his eyes and hands, watching television and that "you can see he is there in his eyes; the same energy and strength."

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The Two-Way
4:12 pm
Tue July 16, 2013

Heroin & Alcohol Killed 'Glee' Star Monteith, Coroner Says

Actor Cory Monteith on June 8 in Los Angeles. He died Saturday in Vancouver, Canada.
Jonathan Leibson Getty Images for Chrysalis

An autopsy shows that actor Cory Monteith was killed by "a mixed drug toxicity ... heroin, primarily, and also alcohol," the British Columbia coroner's office announced Tuesday afternoon.

Coroner Barbara McLintock released that conclusion in a short video her office posted on YouTube.

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The Two-Way
3:36 pm
Tue July 16, 2013

Liz Cheney, Daughter Of Former VP, To Run For Senate

Liz Cheney in 2010.
Chris Usher CBS/Landov

Originally published on Wed July 17, 2013 10:55 am

Liz Cheney, the elder of former Vice President Dick Cheney's two daughters, a former State Department official and a conservative commentator who's often on Fox, is going to challenge Wyoming Sen. Mike Enzi in next year's Republican primary.

According to The Associated Press, Cheney, 46, confirmed what had been wide speculation about her plans on Tuesday — not long after the 69-year-old Enzi said that he will seek a fourth term.

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The Two-Way
3:03 pm
Tue July 16, 2013

Holder Calls For 'Hard Look' At 'Stand Your Ground' Laws

Attorney General Eric Holder speaks at the annual convention of the NAACP in Orlando, Fla., on Tuesday. Holder told the convention that "Stand Your Ground" laws that have been adopted in 30 states should be reconsidered.
David Manning Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Tue July 16, 2013 4:34 pm

Saying that "it's time to question laws that senselessly expand the concept of self-defense and sow dangerous conflict in our neighborhoods," Attorney Gen. Eric Holder on Tuesday called for a reexamination of so-called stand your ground laws.

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The Two-Way
3:03 pm
Tue July 16, 2013

LISTEN: 'Light Warlpiri,' The New Language In Australia

A screen image from a video that professor Carmel O'Shannessy has created. In it, a girl tells a story in "Light Warlpiri," the language O'Shannessy reports she discovered in Australia.
Carmel O'Shannessy

Originally published on Tue July 16, 2013 6:00 pm

  • From 'All Things Considered': Carmel O'Shannessy tells Audie Cornish about the origin of 'Light Warlpiri.'

We've all read stories about languages that are dying.

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The Two-Way
1:47 pm
Tue July 16, 2013

'Dear George Zimmerman' Letter Hits Home With Many

George Zimmerman during his trial.
Joe Burbank/pool UPI/Landov

Originally published on Tue July 16, 2013 2:46 pm

There are obviously more provocative things being written and said about the death of Trayvon Martin and the acquittal of George Zimmerman than we could ever hope to keep up with.

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The Two-Way
12:36 pm
Tue July 16, 2013

Florida Man Who Woke Up Speaking Swedish Is ID'd By Sister

Michael Boatwright, an amnesia sufferer who now refers to himself as Johan Ek, during an interview at the Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs, Calif.
Jay Calderon The Desert Sun

Originally published on Tue July 16, 2013 1:32 pm

One of the odder stories of the day is that of 61-year-old Michael Boatwright, "a Florida man who awoke speaking only Swedish, with no memory of his past, after he was found unconscious four months ago at a Southern California motel," as The Associated Press writes.

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The Two-Way
5:27 pm
Mon July 15, 2013

PHOTO: Shark Cruises Florida Beach

Cue the Jaws theme: A hammerhead shark in the shallow Gulf of Mexico waters of Seagrove Beach, Fla., on Monday.
Russell Lewis NPR

Originally published on Mon July 15, 2013 6:36 pm

While on vacation Monday at Florida's Seagrove Beach, east of Pensacola, NPR's Russell Lewis snapped a photo that's been picking up quite a few retweets. It wasn't "Sharknado II," but does seem to have caught folks' interest.

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The Two-Way
4:05 pm
Mon July 15, 2013

Feds Unlikely To Prosecute Zimmerman, Former Prosecutors Say

In Los Angeles on Sunday, demonstrators expressed their anger over the acquittal of George Zimmerman on the charges he faced for the death of Trayvon Martin.
Jim Ruymen UPI /Landov
  • On 'All Things Considered': NPR's Carrie Johnson and Audie Cornish

Looking ahead after the not guilty verdict in the trial of George Zimmerman for the death of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin — a case that reignited the national discussion about race relations:

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The Two-Way
2:25 pm
Mon July 15, 2013

Lucky Breakdown: Fans Take Stranded Dave Matthews To Show

Dave Matthews.
Neilson Barnard Getty Images for Syracuse University

Originally published on Mon July 15, 2013 5:50 pm

Imagine:

You're a huge Dave Matthews fan. As you're going to his band's show Saturday in Hershey, Pa., you see a guy standing by the side of the road next to a bike with a flat tire.

Do you stop to help?

Well, when you see that it's Dave himself, you certainly do.

That's just what happened to Emily Kraus and her boyfriend Joe.

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The Two-Way
1:31 pm
Mon July 15, 2013

President George H.W. Bush Honored At White House

Former President George H. W. Bush, in a wheelchair, as he was escorted into the East Room of the White House on Monday by President Obama.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Former President George H.W. Bush, who spent nearly two months in a Houston hospital during late 2012 and early 2013 for treatment of a variety of life-threatening illnesses, was hailed by President Obama at the White House on Monday.

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The Two-Way
12:56 pm
Mon July 15, 2013

Juror: 'I Think It Was George Zimmerman's Voice' On 911 Tape

George Zimmerman "probably feared for his life," juror B37 told CNN.
Gary W. Green EPA/LANDOV

Originally published on Tue July 16, 2013 6:07 am

(We added to this post at 7:30 a.m. ET. July 16)

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The Two-Way
12:15 pm
Mon July 15, 2013

55 Customers Pay For Next Car's Order At Mass. Doughnut Shop

Daniel Kalker DPA /LANDOV

Originally published on Mon July 15, 2013 1:17 pm

(Think of this as a coffee break from the day's serious stories.)

The standard may have been set back in December when 228 drive-through customers at a Tim Horton's in Winnipeg paid for the order of the folks in the next vehicle.

It was sort of a case of "pay it forward" by paying it backward.

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The Two-Way
11:14 am
Fri July 12, 2013

Passenger Train Derails Near Paris, 'Many Casualties' Feared

One of the cars that derailed Friday at a train station near Paris.
Kenzo Tribouillard AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri July 12, 2013 3:56 pm

A passenger train with several hundred people on board "has derailed in the southern Paris suburb of Brétigny, with authorities reporting 'many casualties,'" France 24 reports. Officials are still sorting through what French media are calling their country's worst rail accident in 25 years.

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The Two-Way
8:43 am
Fri July 12, 2013

Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano Is Stepping Down

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.
Kevin Dietsch UPI/Landov

Originally published on Fri July 12, 2013 11:14 am

(Click here for latest updates.)

Saying the post has been "the highlight of my professional career," Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced Friday morning that she is stepping down to become president of the University of California.

Her statement followed a Reuters report that broke the news.

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The Two-Way
6:57 am
Fri July 12, 2013

On The Economy: Inflation Accelerates; Fed Rumors Rise

A surge in prices at the pump fueled inflation in June.
Jonathan Fickies Landov

Originally published on Fri July 12, 2013 10:55 am

The morning's major economic news:

-- Inflation. Wholesale prices rose 0.8 percent in June from May, fueled by a 2.9 percent surge in the price of energy products, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says. As drivers can confirm, a 7.2 percent jump in the cost of gasoline was responsible for most of that boost.

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The Two-Way
6:32 am
Fri July 12, 2013

VIDEO: 'I Need Help' San Diego Mayor Says

San Diego Mayor Bob Filner in the video statement he released Thursday.
City of San Diego

Originally published on Fri July 12, 2013 6:51 am

In a video statement to the people of his city, San Diego Mayor Bob Filner conceded Thursday that he has "failed to fully respect the women who work for me and with me, and that at times, I have intimidated them."

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The Two-Way
5:53 am
Fri July 12, 2013

Teen Jailed For Facebook Post Expresses Regrets

An undated photo of Justin Carter, who's facing a felony "terroristic threat" charge in Texas.
Courtesy Jack Carter

Originally published on Fri July 12, 2013 9:36 am

"I certainly would have thought a lot more about what I said. ... People should be very careful about what they say" on social media sites.

That was the word Friday morning on CNN's New Day from Justin Carter, the 19-year-old Texas gamer who was arrested and jailed in February after making a Facebook comment about a school shooting.

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The Two-Way
5:13 am
Fri July 12, 2013

READ: Instructions For The Jury In Trial Of George Zimmerman

George Zimmerman in court on Thursday.
Gary W. Green/pool Getty Images

Originally published on Fri July 12, 2013 6:44 am

Nearly 17 months after the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin — a death that would spark protests across the nation — a jury is about to begin considering whether defendant George Zimmerman acted in self defense or should be convicted of murder or manslaughter.

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