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
12:03 pm
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
10:50 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 7:11 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
8:39 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
8:26 am
Mon December 24, 2012

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

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 12:38 pm

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
7:03 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 12:40 pm

  • 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
6:17 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
5:41 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
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The Two-Way
5:05 am
Mon December 24, 2012

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

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 10:42 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
3:01 am
Sun December 23, 2012

'Gangnam Style' And Other Best Memes Of 2012 Say Something About Us

That's a meme: President Obama and gymnast McKayla Maroney struck her "McKayla is not impressed" pose when members of the Olympics team visited the White House in November.
Pete Souza/The White House Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 2:03 pm

  • Rachel Martin talks with Don Caldwell about 2012's best memes

No big surprise here:

"Gangnam Style" is the No. 1 meme of 2012, according to the memeologists at Know Your Meme.

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The Two-Way
2:00 pm
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
9:12 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 12:08 pm

(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
8:37 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 2:02 pm

  • 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
7:53 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 8:14 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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The Two-Way
6:53 am
Fri December 21, 2012

Consumer Spending, Orders For Durable Goods Rose In November

Shoppers at a K-B Toy store in northern Virginia last month.
Paul J. Richards AFP/Getty Images

There are two positive economic signals to pass along this morning:

-- The Census Bureau says orders for durable goods rose 0.7 percent in November from October. That follows a 1.1 percent rise in October from September and is the sixth increase in the past seven months.

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The Two-Way
6:30 am
Fri December 21, 2012

Everybody Over The Cliff?

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, on Thursday in the Capitol.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 7:25 am

House Speaker John Boehner's "major defeat" Thursday night — when he had to pull his "Plan B" to extend Bush-era tax cuts for nearly all American taxpayers because he couldn't get enough support from his fellow Republicans — means negotiations about avoiding the so-called fiscal cliff remain at an impasse.

So now what?

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The Two-Way
5:58 am
Fri December 21, 2012

#MomentForSandyHook In Memory Of Newtown Victims

Stuffed animals and flowers at a makeshift memorial near the entrance to the grounds of Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 7:38 am

Update at 9:36 a.m. ET: In Newtown and across the nation, bells rang starting at 9:30 a.m. ET, to honor the 20 children and six adults killed one week ago at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. And on the Web, it appears many did take part in #MomentForSandyHook — judging from the sharp slowdown in our Twitter feed.

Our original post:

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The Two-Way
5:14 am
Fri December 21, 2012

Apocalypse Not? Seems Like It

This morning on a beach in Brazil, some celebrated summer's first day — and the news that the world didn't end.
Antonio Scorza AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 7:24 am

So, it looks like all that talk about the Mayan calendar and the end of the world coming today was just ... talk.

But the fun continues. NASA's Voyager 2 Twitter feed, for instance, has this:

"END MAYACAL BTUN 12.19.19.17.19 SHUTDOWN:UNIV(12) BEGIN BTUN 13.0.0.0.0 BOOT:UNIV(13)."

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The Two-Way
12:56 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

Gun Control: 'Only Modest Change' In Opinion Since Newtown Shootings

A Sig Sauer handgun on sale at a shop in Tucker, Ga.
Erik S. Lesser EPA /LANDOV

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 7:25 am

"The public's attitudes toward gun control have shown only modest change in the wake of last week's deadly shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn.," the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press reported Thursday afternoon.

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The Two-Way
11:19 am
Thu December 20, 2012

Newtown Shootings Inspire '26 Acts Of Kindness' Campaign

A woman and child earlier this week at a makeshift memorial in Newtown, Conn.
Shannon Stapleton Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 1:33 pm

The idea is simple:

Do "26 acts of kindness" — one for each of the 20 children and six adults killed last Friday at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

Since NBC News' Ann Curry tweeted that idea earlier this week, it's taken off. Thousands have tweeted back to her about things they've done.

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The Two-Way
9:26 am
Thu December 20, 2012

Armored Backpacks, Volunteer Guards Among Responses To School Shootings

U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Sgt. Craig Pusley stood guard Wednesday at Hughson Elementary School in Modesto, Calif.
Ed Crisostomo MCT /Landov

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 9:47 am

The latest stories about how the nation is reacting to last Friday's school shooting in Newtown, Conn., which left 20 first-graders and six adults dead at Sandy Hook Elementary School, include:

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The Two-Way
8:39 am
Thu December 20, 2012

Sales Of Existing Homes Hit Three-Year High

San Francisco: A "sold" sign in front of a home earlier this year.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 9:04 am

There was a 5.9 percent rise in sales of previously owned homes in November from October, the National Association of Realtors says.

At their 5.04 million annual rate, sales were the highest since November 2009.

"Momentum continues to build," NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun says in the organization's report.

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The Two-Way
7:13 am
Thu December 20, 2012

NYSE Being Bought For $8.2B By Atlanta-based IntercontinentalExchange

The floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 12:34 pm

The New York Stock Exchange will be acquired by IntercontinentalExchange of Atlanta in a deal valued at about $8.2 billion, the two rivals confirmed Thursday morning.

In matching press releases, they say the sale "combines two leading exchange groups to create a premier global exchange operator diversified across markets including agricultural and energy commodities, credit derivatives, equities and equity derivatives, foreign exchange and interest rates."

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The Two-Way
6:51 am
Thu December 20, 2012

Third Quarter Economic Growth Revised Up Again

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 6:48 am

The best estimate of how quickly the economy was growing in the third quarter has been revised upward again — a sign that as summer turned into fall things were better than first thought.

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The Two-Way
6:31 am
Thu December 20, 2012

Blizzard Warnings In Upper Midwest; Possible Tornado In Alabama

A snow plow made its way down a county road in Waupun, Wis., earlier today.
Jeffrey Phelps EPA /LANDOV

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 10:26 am

A winter storm that has brought blizzard conditions to parts of the Upper Midwest from Iowa into Minnesota and Wisconsin has authorities urging folks to stay off the roads and airlines warning of flight delays at Chicago's O'Hare and other airports in the region.

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The Two-Way
5:55 am
Thu December 20, 2012

Today's 'Plan B' Vote: Part Of Posturing Or A Push Over The 'Fiscal Cliff?'

Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 10:45 am

  • On 'Morning Edition': Mara Liasson and David Greene

With the House set to vote this afternoon on Republicans' "Plan B" for avoiding the so-called fiscal cliff, the questions that have been asked every day for weeks are being asked yet again, with added urgency:

Are we headed over that "cliff" of automatic spending cuts, tax increases and expiring job benefits? Or are President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, closer to a deal than they're letting on in public?

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The Two-Way
12:29 pm
Wed December 19, 2012

Death Penalty Possible In Court Martial Of Army Sgt. Accused Of Afghan Killings

Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales during an August 2011 training exercise at Fort Irwin, Calif.
Spc. Ryan Hallock AFP/Getty Images

The Army staff sergeant accused in the March 11 murders of 16 Afghan civilians and shooting of six others could be given the death penalty if he's convicted of all the charges officially filed against him this week, a General Court-Martial Convening Authority announced Wednesday.

Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, 39, prosecutors say, attacked two villages near his base in southern Afghanistan. Among the 16 people killed, nine were children.

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The Two-Way
11:19 am
Wed December 19, 2012

Let Teachers Carry Guns? Some State Lawmakers Say Yes

A sign some would like to see amended at schools.
Dave Kaup Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Wed December 19, 2012 12:52 pm

There are reports from a variety of states about local lawmakers who want to give teachers the right to bring guns to school. They're making the case that school shootings such as the one Friday in Newtown, Conn., that left 20 small children and six adults dead could be prevented or stopped if some school staffers were armed.

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The Two-Way
10:50 am
Wed December 19, 2012

'Take Me Out Of It,' President Urges GOP, And 'Take The Deal'

Originally published on Wed December 19, 2012 12:32 pm

With the end-of-year deadline looming on automatic tax increases and spending cuts, President Obama on Wednesday made the case that Republicans should recognize "I have met them at least halfway in order to get something done for the country."

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The Two-Way
10:29 am
Wed December 19, 2012

Obama Asks Biden To Draft 'Concrete Proposals' On Guns By January

Vice President Biden watched as President Obama spoke earlier today in the White House briefing room.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 19, 2012 11:28 am

Saying the nation has a "deep obligation" to take steps to reduce gun violence, President Obama confirmed Wednesday that he's asked Vice President Biden to head a task force charged with drafting "concrete proposals, no later than January."

And, Obama said, he will push them "without delay."

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The Two-Way
8:42 am
Wed December 19, 2012

White House Says Obama Would Veto GOP's 'Plan B' For Avoiding 'Fiscal Cliff'

The president would use his pen to just say no, White House promises.
Kristoffer Tripplaar/Pool Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 19, 2012 9:22 am

Making the case that the "Plan B" proposed by House Republicans to keep the federal government from going over the so-called fiscal cliff at the end of the year "does not meet the test of balance," the White House announced this morning that President Obama would veto such legislation if it came to his desk.

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