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
6:31 am
Mon March 4, 2013

Heartbreak In NYC: Parents Die In Crash; Baby Is Delivered But Later Dies

Mourners lined the street Sunday outside a synagogue in Brooklyn where funeral services were held for Raizy and Nathan Glauber.
Verena Dobnik AP

Originally published on Mon March 4, 2013 9:04 am

A young couple head to a hospital because the wife, who is about seven months pregnant, isn't feeling well. Then, tragedy strikes.

It's a heartbreaking story that is making headlines in New York City.

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The Two-Way
5:40 am
Mon March 4, 2013

At Florida Sinkhole, Demolition Continues

In Seffner, Fla., on Sunday, demolition crews and firefighters watched as a crane operator worked to bring down the home where a man was sucked into a sinkhole last week.
Scott Audette Reuters /Landov

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

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The Two-Way
11:43 am
Fri March 1, 2013

Jedi? Vulcan? Mind Meld? Mind Trick? What Was Obama Thinking?

That's a light saber, sir, not a phaser. (President Obama in September 2009, during a White House event promoting Chicago's bid for the 2016 Summer Olympics.)
Roger L. Wollenberg UPI /Landov

Originally published on Fri March 1, 2013 6:53 pm

He can't do "a Jedi mind meld" with Republicans and get them to see his way about taxes and spending, President Obama said Friday.

About which CBS News' Mark Knoller immediately tweeted:

"Pres Obama Mixed Metaphor of the Day: The 'mind meld' is not a Jedi tool from Star Wars, but a Vulcan ability from Star Trek."

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The Two-Way
10:46 am
Fri March 1, 2013

No Cyanide Detected In Chicago Lottery Winner's Remains

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

The question of whodunit remains unanswered in the case of a Chicago lottery winner who died last July with a lethal amount of cyanide in his blood.

Cook County Medical Examiner Dr. Stephen Cina said Friday that tests on the remains of Urooj Khan did not detect cyanide in tissues or what remains of his digestive system.

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The Two-Way
10:15 am
Fri March 1, 2013

Decrying 'Dumb, Arbitrary Cuts,' Obama Says 'We Will Get Through This'

Originally published on Fri March 1, 2013 12:23 pm

"Washington sure isn't making it easy" for the American people and the American economy, President Obama told reporters late Friday morning as he and other lawmakers failed to reach a deal to avert $85 billion worth of automatic "sequester" spending cuts due to start at the end of the day.

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The Two-Way
8:08 am
Fri March 1, 2013

As Cardinals Vet Possible Popes, Names May Emerge

Roman Catholic cardinals at the Vatican on Thursday, as Pope Benedict XVI bid them goodbye. Now they must turn to choosing his successor.
Osservatore Romano Reuters /Landov
  • On 'Morning Edition': Cokie Roberts reports from Rome

Will there be any clues in coming days and weeks about which cardinal will replace the now-departed Pope Benedict XVI?

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The Two-Way
7:06 am
Fri March 1, 2013

'Harlem Shake' On A Plane Has FAA Investigating; See The Video

Doing the Harlem Shake aboard a Frontier Airlines flight has the FAA asking questions.
YouTube.com

Originally published on Fri March 1, 2013 7:32 am

Shakes on a plane aren't all that funny to the Federal Aviation Administration.

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The Two-Way
6:30 am
Fri March 1, 2013

Sinkhole Swallows Sleeping Man In Florida

An engineer surveys in front of the home where a sinkhole opened up late Thursday near Tampa, Fla. A man who had been in one of the home's bedrooms screamed for help and disappeared. It's feared he died.
Chris O'Meara AP

Originally published on Fri March 1, 2013 12:39 pm

Update at 2:30 p.m. ET. Rescue Hopes Dim Further:

"Hopes for the rescue of a man sucked into a sinkhole were dimming Friday as authorities tried to determine whether the ground nearby was stable enough for a rescue operation," the Tampa Bay Times writes.

The Times also has a harrowing account from Jeremy Bush, who survived, of his brother Jeffrey's disappearance into the sinkhole:

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The Two-Way
5:37 am
Fri March 1, 2013

Deja Vu All Over Again As 'Sequester' Deadline Looms

The White House: When night falls, it looks like the "sequester" will arrive.
Jim Lo Scalzo EPA /LANDOV

Originally published on Fri March 1, 2013 9:55 am

  • From 'Morning Edition': Ari Shapiro reports

Update at 11:55 a.m. ET. As Expected, No Deal:

President Obama and Congressional leaders met at the White House Friday morning and, just as pundits predicted, they could not reach a deal to avert the $85 billion in automatic spending cuts set to begin at the end of the day. We've posted on that news:

Decrying 'Dumb, Arbitrary Cuts,' Obama Says 'We Will Get Through This'

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The Two-Way
12:35 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

'I Love Him,' Dennis Rodman Says Of North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un

North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un, seated next to former NBA star Dennis Rodman (in black cap), at a basketball game Thursday in Pyongyang.
VICE media

Originally published on Fri March 1, 2013 5:55 am

Update at 7:45 a.m. ET, March 1. Kims Are "Great Leaders," Rodman Says:

On his way home Friday from North Korea, former NBA star Dennis Rodman said Kim Jong Un, his father and grandfather have been "great leaders." According to The Associated Press, Rodman also said of the young North Korean leader that "he's proud, his country likes him — not like him, love him, love him. ... Guess what, I love him. The guy's really awesome."

Our original post — Dennis Rodman To Kim Jong Un: 'You Have A Friend For Life':

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The Two-Way
11:05 am
Thu February 28, 2013

Chrysler Plans To Add 1,250 Jobs, Invest $374 Million In Indiana

Chrysler's 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Mandi Wright/Detroit Free Press MCT /Landov

There's major business news in Indiana today:

"Chrysler will hire 1,250 new workers and spend $374 million to upgrade transmission plants in central Indiana — the only place in North America where the automaker makes transmissions," the Detroit Free Press reports from Kokomo.

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The Two-Way
7:50 am
Thu February 28, 2013

Milwaukee Finds Its Missing Link; 'Guido The Racing Italian Sausage' Turns Up

Guido the Racing Italian Sausage in action during Game Two of the National League Championship Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Milwaukee Brewers in 2011.
Jonathan Daniel Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 4:30 pm

Team mascots across the nation are heaving exaggerated sighs of relief this morning.

The front-page news in Milwaukee is that "Guido, the Klement's racing Italian sausage costume last seen a couple weeks ago adorning a bar hopper in Cedarburg, was returned Wednesday night."

According to the Journal Sentinel:

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The Two-Way
6:47 am
Thu February 28, 2013

Better Than Nothing? GDP Revised From Slight Drop To Slight Gain

It's not much of a change, but at least it's in the right direction.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis reported Thursday morning that it now thinks the economy grew at a 0.1 percent annual rate in fourth-quarter 2012. A month ago, BEA thought GDP shrank at a 0.1 percent annual rate in those last three months of the year.

Obviously, in an economy that now produces nearly $16 trillion worth of goods and services annually, a 0.2 percentage point revision is basically a blip.

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The Two-Way
6:29 am
Thu February 28, 2013

Countdown To The Sequester: 3 More 'Should-Read' Stories

Will the clouds part, the sun shine and a sequester solution be found?
Jason Reed Reuters /Landov
  • NPR's Tamara Keith on where things stand
  • NPR's Brian Naylor on the sequester and aviation safety
  • KCUR's Frank Morris on meat inspections

Friday's deadline looms, and as we heard earlier today on Morning Edition: "Oh, it's gonna happen."

The "it" is sequestration — $85 billion worth of across-the-board federal spending cuts that are due to start kicking in at the end of Friday unless Republican and Democratic leaders somehow bridge their differences.

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The Two-Way
5:40 am
Thu February 28, 2013

U.S. To Give Syrian Opposition $60 Million More In Non-Lethal Aid, Kerry Says

Secretary of State John Kerry during a news conference Thursday in Rome.
Alberto Pizzoli AFP/Getty Images

The Obama administration will ask Congress for an additional $60 million in aid to help the Syrian opposition council provide basic goods and services in areas under rebel control, Secretary of State John Kerry announced Thursday in Rome.

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The Two-Way
5:13 am
Thu February 28, 2013

Benedict's Time Is Over; He's No Longer The Pope

A final blessing: Pope Benedict XVI as he blessed those gathered outside his summer residence in Castel Gandolfo on Thursday. He's not expected to make any more public appearances.
Tony Gentile Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 12:11 pm

  • Sylvia Poggioli on 'Morning Editon'

(We last updated the top of this post at 2 p.m. ET.)

Precisely on time, under dark skies but with the lights of cameras from news outlets around the world illuminating the scene, Swiss Guards on Thursday closed the doors of the palazzo at Castel Gandolfo south of Rome — marking the official end of Pope Benedict XVI's time as head of the Roman Catholic Church.

For the first time in about 600 years, a pope has voluntarily stepped down. His final moment as leader of the church came at 8 p.m. local time (2 p.m. ET).

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The Two-Way
10:09 am
Wed February 27, 2013

Rosa Parks 'Helped Change America,' Obama Says At Statue Dedication

President Obama reached out to touch the statue of civil rights icon Rosa Parks during Wednesday's dedication ceremony in the U.S. Capitol. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., was behind the president.
Jason Reed Reuters /Landov

With words of high praise from Republicans and Democrats, the nation's leaders on Wednesday dedicated a statue of civil rights icon Rosa Parks — a statue that now stands in the U.S. Capitol "where many fought to prevent a day like this," House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said.

President Obama said of Parks that she was "a seamstress slight in stature but mighty in courage" who lived a life "of dignity and grace."

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The Two-Way
8:53 am
Wed February 27, 2013

Picking A Pope? Try The 'Sweet Sistine' Bracket Challenge

The "sweet sistine" brackets.
Religion News Service

Next month brings "March madness" for fans of college basketball.

It's also going to bring Roman Catholic cardinals together to choose a new pope.

Which means, according to Religion News Service, it's time to "make your picks in the Vatican's Sweet Sistine brackets!"

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The Two-Way
8:17 am
Wed February 27, 2013

Hagel Sworn In As Defense Secretary

New Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, left, as he was sworn in Wednesday morning at the Pentagon. His wife, Lilibet, held the Bible. Michael L. Rhodes, the Pentagon's director of administration and management, administered the oath.
MC1 Chad J. McNeeley Office of the Secretary of Defense

Originally published on Wed February 27, 2013 9:18 am

After a somewhat stormy debate in the Senate over his confirmation, former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) was sworn in Wednesday morning at the Pentagon and took over as secretary of defense.

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The Two-Way
7:34 am
Wed February 27, 2013

Come Aboard! Here's What The 'Titanic II' Will Look Like, Inside And Out

An artist's image of the Titanic II.
Blue Star Line UPI /Landov

Declaring it will be the safest cruise ship in the world and will have more than enough lifeboats just in case something goes wrong, the designer of what's supposed to be a replica of the Titanic has unveiled images of what the Titanic II will look like, inside and out.

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The Two-Way
6:04 am
Wed February 27, 2013

Reports: U.S. Eyeing 'Direct' Aid To Syrian Rebels, Though Not Weapons

Rebel fighters in Aleppo, Syria, in January.
Thomas Rassloff DPA /LANDOV

"The Obama administration is moving toward a major policy shift on Syria that could provide rebels there with equipment such as body armor and armored vehicles, and possibly military training, and could send humanitarian assistance directly to Syria's opposition political coalition," The Washington Post reports. It cites as its sources "U.S. and European officials."

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The Two-Way
4:58 am
Wed February 27, 2013

Sometimes 'The Lord Seemed To Sleep,' Pope Says In Farewell

Pope Benedict XVI as he arrived on the altar in St. Peter's Square Wednesday for his last general audience.
Gabriel Bouys AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 27, 2013 9:37 am

Bidding an emotional farewell to a huge crowd gathered in The Vatican's St. Peter's Square, Pope Benedict XVI indirectly acknowledged Wednesday that his nearly 8 years as head of the Roman Catholic Church have not always been easy.

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The Two-Way
1:33 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

Liberal SuperPAC Under Fire For Tweets About McConnell's 'Chinese' Wife

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and his wife Elaine Chao at last summer's Republican National Convention in Tampa.
Mike Thelier UPI /Landov

From NPR member station WFPL:

"A Democratic group is under sharp criticism for controversial online messages about Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell's wife.

"For months, the liberal superPAC Progress Kentucky has attacked McConnell and held demonstrations at his offices and home.

"Recently, the group turned its attention to McConnell's wife, former Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao, with a focus on her race.

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The Two-Way
10:13 am
Tue February 26, 2013

Iran Doctors Photo To Cover Michelle Obama's Shoulders

And how Iran's Fars news agency covered her up.
FarsNews.com

Digitally doctoring photos, it appears, is a practice that bridges some very deep religious and political divides.

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The Two-Way
8:49 am
Tue February 26, 2013

Donations Pour In For Homeless Man Who Returned Ring He Got By Mistake

Billy Ray Harris.
GiveForward.com/billyray

Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 9:48 am

Nearly $152,000 has been donated online to help Billy Ray Harris, a homeless man in Kansas City who returned an engagement ring to the woman who accidentally left it in a cup he uses to collect change.

Here's his good news story:

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The Two-Way
8:27 am
Tue February 26, 2013

Home Sales, Consumer Confidence And Bernanke All On Positive Side

Today's economic indicators all point up:

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The Two-Way
7:28 am
Tue February 26, 2013

Winter Weary Central Plains States Getting Walloped Again

While severe winter weather has caused problems for many in the Great Plains, it has also provided some opportunities for fun. On Monday, Simon Mourning (front) and Chance Cain went sliding in Wichita, Kansas.
Travis Heying/Wichita Eagle MCT /Landov

"Another blizzard bore down on the nation's midsection early Tuesday after lashing the Texas Panhandle with hurricane-force winds, closing highways and cutting power to thousands in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas," The Associated Press writes. It adds that "at least two people were killed in the storm, and Midwesterners still digging out from last week's deep snowpack braced for more."

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The Two-Way
6:57 am
Tue February 26, 2013

Today's 3 'Should-Read' Stories About The Sequester

The U.S. Capitol, as seen from the nearby Russell Senate Office Building.
Jonathan Ernst Reuters /Landov

As Friday's deadline approaches, we're pointing to stories that should help everyone get ready for "the sequester" — the $85 billion worth of across-the-board cuts in federal spending that would begin to kick in that day if lawmakers don't strike some sort of deal before then. (We won't call them "must-reads" because we'd never want to tell anyone that they "must" read anything about this subject. Let's refer to them as "should-reads.")

First, consider this:

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The Two-Way
6:15 am
Tue February 26, 2013

'The Worm' Turns Up In North Korea: Dennis Rodman Is On Visit

Former NBA star Dennis Rodman, in the departure hall of Beijing Capital International Airport on Tuesday, before his flight to North Korea.
Andy Wong AP

This comes from The Associated Press, not The Onion:

"PYONGYANG, North Korea — Former NBA star Dennis Rodman brought his basketball skills Tuesday and flamboyant style — neon-bleached hair, tattoos, nose studs and all — to the isolated communist country with possibly the world's drabbest dress code: North Korea.

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