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
9:48 am
Wed August 22, 2012

Sales Of Existing Homes Rose In July, Another Sign Of Stronger Market

More of these sorts of signs are popping up (November 2011 file photo from San Rafael, Calif.).
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

A 2.3 percent increase in sales of previously owned homes in July from June is the latest sign that the housing market is on the mend, Reuters reports.

The National Association of Realtors said this morning that sales of existing homes increased to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.47 million.

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The Two-Way
9:33 am
Wed August 22, 2012

Deficit To Be $1.1 Trillion, Unemployment To Stay Above 8 Percent, CBO Says

Expect to hear about this from the campaign of Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney as he continues to take aim at President Obama's record on the budget and the economy:

The Congressional Budget Office reports this morning that "for fiscal year 2012 (which ends on September 30), the federal budget deficit will total $1.1 trillion ... marking the fourth year in a row with a deficit of more than $1 trillion."

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The Two-Way
8:45 am
Wed August 22, 2012

Wildfires Have Burned Nearly 7 Million Acres So Far, Up 6 Percent From Last Year

A photograph from June 8, 2002 shows flames from the Hayman wildfire, which burned in in the Rocky Mountains southwest of Denver.
Bryan Dahlberg/FEMA Getty Images

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 4:08 pm

There's word this morning of another wildfire, this time outside the community of Manton in Northern California, where "dozens of buildings, many of them likely homes, have been destroyed," as The Associated Press reports.

Wildfires out West have been a constant topic this summer, it seems, on The Two-Way and other news outlets.

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The Two-Way
7:32 am
Wed August 22, 2012

Prince Harry Exposed: Photos Show Up Of Naked Royal 'Cavorting' In Vegas

Prince Harry, fully clothed, watching a beach volleyball match at the Olympic Games in London on Aug. 8.
Pascal Le Segretain Getty Images

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 9:17 am

We absolutely, positively will not make a reference to the crown jewels.

Oops, we just did.

It seems that last Friday night in Las Vegas, Prince Harry — third in line to the throne over in England and one of the world's most eligible bachelors — did some "cavorting with two naked women in a Las Vegas hotel room," as the London Evening Standard puts it.

The evening apparently involved some "strip billiards."

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The Two-Way
6:51 am
Wed August 22, 2012

Texas Sheriff: Sacred White Buffalo Was Not Slaughtered

Lightning Medicine Cloud, a sacred white buffalo, last June.
LM Otero AP

The mystery surrounding the death of a rare white buffalo and the claim by some Lakota Sioux in Texas that it had been killed by other Native Americans deepened Tuesday. A local sheriff announced that investigators believe the animal died of a bacterial disease and said the case is now closed.

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The Two-Way
6:10 am
Wed August 22, 2012

Romney's Pick Of Ryan Hasn't Changed Race, Polls Signal

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, left, shakes hands with his choice for running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, Monday in in Manchester, N.H.
John Moore Getty Images

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 6:11 am

Two new polls come to much the same conclusion about the 2012 presidential campaign:

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The Two-Way
12:08 pm
Tue August 21, 2012

Roger Clemens Returns To Pro Baseball Saturday; Majors Next?

Roger Clemens in 2007, as he was throwing batting practice for the Houston Astros. Could he be back in an Astros' uniform next month?
David J. Phillip AP

The Rocket is going to be pitching again Saturday night.

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The Two-Way
9:02 am
Tue August 21, 2012

Three Year Olds Told To Fight By Delaware Day Care Workers, Police Say

A notice on the door at the Hands of Our Future day care center in Dover, Del., which has been closed because employees allegedly had two 3-year-olds fight each other.
CBS Philly

Originally published on Tue August 21, 2012 10:40 am

It's tempting to make a "fight club" reference (and some news outlets have), but the outrageous nature of the allegations seems to call for a more straight-forward approach:

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The Two-Way
8:03 am
Tue August 21, 2012

Rosie O'Donnell Had Heart Attack, Uses Verse To Spread News And Message

Rosie O'Donnell in July 2011.
Frederick M. Brown Getty Images

Originally published on Tue August 21, 2012 10:15 am

Rosie O'Donnell has chosen an unusual way to tell her fans that she suffered a heart attack last week:

In verse.

On her blog.

And she's using the experience to urge other women to "listen to the voice inside" and call 911 if they suffer the symptoms she did — which she tried to ignore for a day.

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The Two-Way
7:24 am
Tue August 21, 2012

In Afghanistan: General's Plane Damaged; Afghans Start Spying On Own Troops

An aircraft that had been set to fly Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey out of Afghanistan today was damaged by shrapnel from rockets fired at the Bagram air field north of Kabul from outside its fences.

Two maintenance workers on the ground were slightly wounded, NPR's Tom Bowman reports. Dempsey was not near the aircraft at the time. He later left Afghanistan on another plane.

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The Two-Way
7:09 am
Tue August 21, 2012

Diana Nyad Ends Latest Bid To Swim From Cuba To Key West

Diana Nyad in the Florida Straits on Monday.
Christi Barli AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue August 21, 2012 10:21 am

Endurance swimmer Diana Nyad has ended her third recent attempt to swim the 100 miles or so from Cuba to Key West, Florida, her official Twitter page says.

That word followed reports from ABC News' Good Morning America and CNN.

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The Two-Way
6:23 am
Tue August 21, 2012

Update: Akin Vows Again To Stay In Missouri Senate Race

Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., talking with reporters at the Missouri State Fair last week.
Orlin Wagner AP

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 5:47 am

  • NPR's Brian Naylor on 'Morning Edition'
  • Tim Lloyd of St. Louis Public Radio, on 'Morning Edition'

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The Two-Way
12:40 pm
Mon August 20, 2012

Obama: Congressman's Rape Remarks 'Don't Make Sense,' Were 'Way Out There'

Originally published on Mon August 20, 2012 8:20 pm

Saying that the comments "don't make sense to the American people" and were "way out there," President Obama just weighed in on the controversial remarks made over the weekend by Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., who said in a television interview that "if it's a legitimate rape," it's rare for a woman to get pregnant and therefore want an abortion.

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The Two-Way
10:23 am
Mon August 20, 2012

Famed Augusta National Golf Club Adds First 2 Female Members

The 16th green at Augusta National — framed by some of the course's famed azaleas — in 2001.
Roberto Schmidt AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon August 20, 2012 12:06 pm

Breaking news from The Associated Press about a historic day for one of the nation's most historic sporting venues:

"For the first time in its 80-year history, Augusta National Golf Club has female members.

"The home of the Masters has invited former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and South Carolina financier Darla Moore to become the first women in green jackets when the club opens for a new season in October. Both women have accepted."

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The Two-Way
9:51 am
Mon August 20, 2012

Scott McKenzie, Who Sang 'San Francisco' In The Summer Of Love, Dies

Scott McKenzie, center, with the members of The Mamas and the Papas in 1967. John Phillips, far right, wrote San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair). McKenzie died Saturday.
Worth AP

Originally published on Mon August 20, 2012 12:04 pm

He sang a gentle song that became a hit and something of a theme song for 1967's "Summer of Love."

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The Two-Way
9:24 am
Mon August 20, 2012

Hundreds Of Christians Hiding In Pakistan After Girl's Arrest

In the Islamabad slum where a Christian girl is accused of burning some Muslim verses, the gate to her family's home is locked and the people who live there have fled.
Aamir Qureshi AFP/Getty Images
  • Lauren Frayer, on the NPR Newscast

"Hundreds of Pakistani Christians are hiding out at a priest's compound, praying for the safety of an 11-year-old member of their community" who is in police custody, NPR's Lauren Freyer reports from Islamabad. The Christians also fear their own safety.

The cause of anger directed toward them by some in the Muslim nation: The girl may have burned some Islamic religious materials. According to The Associated Press:

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The Two-Way
8:07 am
Mon August 20, 2012

'I Function Off Fear,' Said Director Tony Scott, Who Died Sunday

Tony Scott in a 2009 file photo.
Robyn Beck AFP/Getty Images
  • Neda Ulaby on 'Morning Edition'

The death Sunday of director Tony Scott, who appears to have jumped from a Los Angeles County bridge in what's being investigated as a suicide, has "shocked Hollywood and the fans of his memorable movies," as NPR's Neda Ulaby said earlier on Morning Edition.

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The Two-Way
7:35 am
Mon August 20, 2012

Congressman Who Took Nude Dip In Sea Of Galilee Apologizes

Rep. Kevin Yoder.
Yoder.House.gov

Originally published on Sun August 26, 2012 7:40 am

Saying he apologizes for "any embarrassment I have caused for my colleagues and constituents," Kansas Republican Rep.

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The Two-Way
6:51 am
Mon August 20, 2012

In Afghanistan, A Struggle To Stem Deaths From 'Insider Attacks'

Aug. 13: At Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, the remains of Marine Lance Cpl. Gregory T. Buckley are carried during a dignified transfer. He was killed in a "green on blue" attack.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Mon August 20, 2012 6:57 am

  • Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson speaks with David Greene on 'Morning Edition'

The killing Sunday in Afghanistan of an American soldier in what officials say was the latest in a series of "green on blue" attacks by Afghans in uniform against coalition personnel was the 10th in just the past two weeks.

There have been "30 such attacks so far this year, up from 11 in 2011," The Associated Press writes.

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The Two-Way
1:47 pm
Fri August 17, 2012

Study Supports Regulators' Effort To Limit Miners' Exposure To Coal Dust

A study released today by the Government Accountability Office says that the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) used appropriate data and scientific methods in drafting new regulations aimed at limiting the amount of coal dust miners are exposed to at U.S. operations.

As NPR's Howard Berkes reported for us last month, some House Republicans had blocked implementation of the regulations until GAO issued its report.

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The Two-Way
12:05 pm
Fri August 17, 2012

New Syrian Envoy Brahimi Takes On 'Crucial Task'

Longtime troubleshooter Lakhdar Brahimi has, as expected, taken on the extremely difficult challenge of being the "joint special representative for Syria" who will try to broker a peace plan for that nation on behalf of the United Nations and the League of Arab States.

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The Two-Way
9:57 am
Fri August 17, 2012

Insurer Will Pay In Case That Quickly Went Viral

Originally published on Fri August 17, 2012 10:20 am

Monday, New York comedian Matt Fisher wrote a very serious blog post headlined "My Sister Paid Progressive Insurance to Defend Her Killer In Court."

It quickly drew considerable attention on the Web, bad publicity for Progresssive Insurance and coverage from national news outlets because he laid out a sad story:

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The Two-Way
8:13 am
Fri August 17, 2012

Alabama Authorities Put A Real-Life Walter White On Their Most Wanted List

"Real" Walter White is at left. "TV Walter" is at right.
Tuscaloosa County Sheriff's Office / AMC

In this case, life is imitating art:

"The Tuscaloosa County Sheriff's Office has placed Walter White on their priority list of the county's most wanted," The Tuscaloosa News reports. "White, 55, was on probation for a 2008 charge of making methamphetamine when he was arrested on similar charges in Bibb County earlier this year."

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The Two-Way
6:14 am
Fri August 17, 2012

Two U.S. Troops Killed By Afghan Police Officer; Latest 'Green On Blue' Attack

Two American military personnel were killed early today in western Afghanistan's Farah province when "a member of the Afghan Local Police turned his weapon" on them, allied commanders in Kabul report.

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The Two-Way
5:57 am
Fri August 17, 2012

Two-Year Prison Terms For Russia's Pussy Riot Rockers

Members of the all-girl punk band Pussy Riot: Nadezhda Tolokonnikova (right), Maria Alyokhina (center) and Yekaterina Samutsevich (left) in a glass-walled cage during a court hearing in Moscow earlier today.
Andrey Smirnov AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri August 17, 2012 11:19 am

A Russian judge today found three members of the punk rock band Pussy Riot guilty of hooliganism connected to "religious hatred."

Word of the verdict came just before 7:30 a.m ET. Just before 10 a.m. ET, the judge announced that each woman was sentenced to serve two years in jail — the minimum that could be imposed.

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The Two-Way
2:21 pm
Thu August 16, 2012

News Media's Credibility Ratings Have Slipped Sharply, Survey Says

Pew Research Center

"Believability ratings have fallen significantly for nine of 13 news organizations tested," the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press reports today.

Its latest national survey signals that "the falloff in credibility affects news organizations in most sectors: national newspapers, such as The New York Times and USA Today, all three cable news outlets, as well as the broadcast TV networks and NPR."

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The Two-Way
12:40 pm
Thu August 16, 2012

More Of The Nation Is Getting The Worst Of The Drought

This week's drought map.
National Drought Mitigation Center

The drought gripping much of the nation is "exceptional" — the most severe classification — in an area covering 6.26 percent of the lower 48 states, according to the latest data from the National Drought Mitigation Center.

That's up from 4.21 percent the week before.

The center's latest map shows increases in size of the areas in Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Missouri that are experiencing exceptional drought conditions.

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The Two-Way
11:33 am
Thu August 16, 2012

Two Deputies Killed, Two Wounded In Louisiana Shootings

Three days after the shooting death of a constable in College Station, Texas, there's word that two sheriff's deputies in Louisiana's St. John the Baptist Parish were killed this morning and another two were wounded in what appear to be connected shootings.

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