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
2:15 pm
Tue September 13, 2011

What A Year: Disasters Have Been Declared In All But Two States

Volunteer firefighter Jason Collard at a wildfire in Strawn, Texas, in April.
Tom Pennington Getty Images

Partisans on both sides continue to argue over whether to put more money into the coffers of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which is running short of cash because there have been so many tornadoes, hurricanes, floods and other natural disasters this year.

The political bickering is nothing new, of course.

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The Two-Way
10:50 am
Tue September 13, 2011

Al-Qaida Is Weakened, But Remains A 'Serious Threat,' Petraeus Says

CIA Director David Petraeus (right) and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testifying earlier today (Sept. 13, 2011).
Mark Wilson Getty Images

"The CIA assesses that, 10 years after the 9/11 attacks, the United States continues to face a serious threat from al-Qaida and its worldwide network of affiliates and sympathizers," even though the terrorist organization "has been weakened," CIA Director David Petraeus told Congress today in his first testimony since taking over the top job at the intelligence agency.

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The Two-Way
8:35 am
Tue September 13, 2011

VIDEO: Good Samaritans Lift Burning Car To Free Trapped Man

People rushed to help. They lifted the car so that the motorcyclist could be pulled free.
Salt Lake Tribune

"A motorcyclist who was dragged beneath a car Monday in Logan [Utah] was rescued by bystanders who helped police lift the burning car and pull the man out from under the wreckage," The Salt Lake Tribune writes.

It adds that the 21-year-old man, Brandon Wright, "was reported to be in critical condition Monday night."

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The Two-Way
8:15 am
Tue September 13, 2011

Poverty Rate Spiked To 15.1 Percent Last Year, Highest Since 1993

"The nation's official poverty rate in 2010 was 15.1 percent, up from 14.3 percent in 2009," the Census Bureau just reported.

It adds that this is "the third consecutive annual increase in the poverty rate. There were 46.2 million people in poverty in 2010, up from 43.6 million in 2009 — the fourth consecutive annual increase and the largest number in the 52 years for which poverty estimates have been published."

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The Two-Way
7:35 am
Tue September 13, 2011

Reminder: Put Some Clothes On, Google Street View May Be Coming By

That blur in front of the door is a very naked woman in Miami.
Google Street View

A Google Street View snapshot of a woman in Miami who wasn't leaving anything to the imagination when she stepped out her door is a fresh reminder that if you don't want the world to see you in your birthday suit, put something on before

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The Two-Way
6:40 am
Tue September 13, 2011

Grieving Dad In Touching Sept. 11 Photo 'Was Just Honoring Rob'

Robert Peraza, who lost his son Robert David Peraza, pauses at his son's name at the North Pool of the 9/11 Memorial at the site of the World Trade Center.
Justin Lane/pool Getty Images

It was perhaps the most touching photo among thousands of poignant images taken on Sunday at the 9/11 Memorial in New York City.

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The Two-Way
5:50 am
Tue September 13, 2011

'Sparks Flew' At Republican Debate; Perry Took Most Of The Fire

Former Massachusetts Gov Mitt Romney (left) and Texas Gov. Rick Perry during Monday's debate in Tampa.
Win McNamee Getty Images

"Sparks flew right away" Monday night at the latest Republican presidential debate, NPR's Don Gonyea reported earlier on Morning Edition.

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The Two-Way
5:20 am
Tue September 13, 2011

RPGs, Gunfire 'Raining Down' On Diplomatic District In Kabul

Attackers set off at least three explosions in the center of Kabul's diplomatic district today and were "raining down rocket-propelled grenades and automatic weapons fire across both the U.S. embassy compound" and the headquarters of the international security force, NPR's Quil Lawrence reports from the Afghan capital.

The BBC says "gunmen are holed up in a partly-built high-rise building nearby, exchanging sporadic gunfire with police."

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The Two-Way
5:00 am
Tue September 13, 2011

American Hikers Held By Iran To Be Freed 'In Two Days,' Ahmadinejad Says

Two Americans who have been held in Iran since July 2009 will be released "in two days," President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has told NBC News.

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The Two-Way
1:25 pm
Mon September 12, 2011

Newly Discovered Planet: Hot, Muggy And (Maybe) Liveable

An artist's impression of HD 85512 b.
European Southern Observatory

Sort of like Washington, D.C., in the summer:

"It would feel like a steam bath — hot, sticky and beyond uncomfortable."

That's how The Associated Press describes the way scientists are describing "HD 85512 b ... a newly discovered planet about 35 light-years from Earth in the constellation Vela."

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The Two-Way
11:15 am
Mon September 12, 2011

Obama Chooses Republicans' Words Carefully To Say They're Playing Politics

President Obama and Vice President Biden in the Rose Garden of the White House earlier today (Sept. 12, 2011).
Alex Wong Getty Images

At the White House today, President Obama criticized what he said is a view among some Republicans that they don't want to work with him on passing a jobs bill — even when many of the things he's proposing are measures they've supported in the past — because it wouldn't be good for the GOP politically:

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The Two-Way
11:00 am
Mon September 12, 2011

Rumsfeld Calls Paul Krugman's Sept. 11 Column 'Repugnant'

Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, in March 2011.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

"After reading Krugman's repugnant piece on 9/11, I cancelled my subscription to the New York Times this AM."

That's the reaction on Twitter today from former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to "The Years of Shame" blog post published Sunday by New York Times columnist and Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman.

In his post, Krugman argues that:

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The Two-Way
9:40 am
Mon September 12, 2011

Bank Of America Says 'Phase I' Of Cost-Cutting Will Eliminate 30,000 Jobs

Upcoming job cuts at Bank of America will reduce its payroll "by approximately 30,000 jobs over the next few years," the company just announced.

The financial giant describes the reductions as part of "Phase I" in its reorganization. "Phase II" covering "businesses and operations that were not reviewed in Phase I," will begin in October.

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The Two-Way
9:10 am
Mon September 12, 2011

Sorry, What Did You Say? SpongeBob Is Bad For Kids' Brains?

SpongeBob Squarepants.
Bryan Bedder Getty Images for Nickelodeon

The good folks over at the Shots blog will have more to report about this, but we just couldn't wait to pass on word that:

"The cartoon character SpongeBob SquarePants is in hot water from a study suggesting that watching just nine minutes of that program can cause short-term attention and learning problems in 4-year-olds." (The Associated Press)

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The Two-Way
8:25 am
Mon September 12, 2011

In Syria: 2,600 Dead So Far, U.N. Official Says

At least 2,600 people have been killed in Syria since the start of protests there in mid-March, the United Nations' High Commissioner for Human Rights reported today.

Navi Pillay said in Geneva that the estimate is based on information from "reliable sources on the ground."

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The Two-Way
7:35 am
Mon September 12, 2011

Russian Hockey Player Dies; Was Only Member Of Team To Survive Crash

Alexander Galimov.
AFP/Getty Images

"The only member of a top Russian hockey team to survive a plane crash that killed 44 people died Monday of his injuries in a Moscow hospital," The Canadian Press and The Hockey News report.

Alexander Galimov, 26, "died of the severe burns that covered about 90 percent of his body," the news outlets add. He played the forward position.

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The Two-Way
7:15 am
Mon September 12, 2011

Pawlenty Endorses Romney; GOP Contenders Debate Tonight

Originally published on Mon September 12, 2011 7:19 am

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, the first major candidate to drop out of the race for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, has endorsed his one-time rival Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts.

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The Two-Way
7:00 am
Mon September 12, 2011

Tracking Device On 'Happy Feet' The Penguin Is Silent

Back in June, Happy Feet showed up on Peka Peka Beach in New Zealand.
Richard Gill AP

Originally published on Mon September 12, 2011 7:03 am

It looks like we may never know if Happy Feet the wayward penguin makes it home.

"The satellite transmitter that was attached to Happy Feet has not been received since Friday 9 September 2011, NZ time," report the analysts at Sirtrack, which had been following the little guy's progress.

"This leads to the conclusion that either the satellite transmitter has detached or an unknown event has prevented Happy Feet from resurfacing," they add.

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The Two-Way
6:35 am
Mon September 12, 2011

Cigarette May Have Ignited Pipeline, Killing Scores In Kenya

Horrific news from Kenya this morning:

"A leaking gasoline pipeline in Nairobi exploded on Monday, turning part of a slum into an inferno in which at least 61 people were killed and more than 100 hurt." (The Associated Press)

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The Two-Way
6:13 am
Mon September 12, 2011

Developing: Explosion At Nuclear Reprocessing Plant In France

The local newspaper reports it has been told there was "no radiation leak" earlier today after an explosion at a nuclear fuel reprocessing facility in southern France.

But much remains unknown about just what happened at the plant in Marcoule, near the Mediterranean Sea.

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The Two-Way
5:50 am
Mon September 12, 2011

Europe's Troubles May Pull Stocks Down Again

Good morning.

The nation paused over the weekend to remember the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and to honor those who sacrificed that day and in the years since. If you want to look back at the weekend's events, our posts are collected here and NPR's "Reflecting On Sept. 11, 2001" special series of stories is here.

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The Two-Way
5:15 am
Mon September 12, 2011

Focus Shifts Back To Jobs: Obama To Send His Bill To Congress Today

A job fair sign at the Suffolk County One Stop Employment Center last week in Hauppauge, N.Y.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

With the solemn ceremonies marking the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks now over, Washington returns to the subject most likely to dominate the political debate between now and the November 2012 presidential election:

Jobs.

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The Two-Way
12:15 pm
Sun September 11, 2011

VIDEOS: Reading Of The Names, Remembering Those Lost

Originally published on Mon September 12, 2011 5:39 am

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The Two-Way
10:50 am
Sun September 11, 2011

Lincoln Letter Read By Bush Has Raised Questions Over Years

Though it is widely recognized as "one of the finest pieces of American presidential prose," as The Associated Press wrote in 2008, the "Bixby Letter" that President George W. Bush read this morning during the Sept. 11 memorial service in New York City has been the subject of several questions over the years.

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The Two-Way
9:05 am
Sun September 11, 2011

Musical Moment: Paul Simon Sings 'The Sound Of Silence'

At the World Trade Center earlier today.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

As we continue to follow the ceremonies marking the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, here's another musical moment from the ceremony in New York.

Singer/songwriter Paul Simon performed his class The Sound of Silence.

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The Two-Way
7:40 am
Sun September 11, 2011

A Musical Moment Of Reflection: Cellist Yo-Yo Ma At Ground Zero

President Obama looked out at the North Pool of the 9/11 Memorial in New York earlier this morning.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

As we continue to follow the ceremonies marking the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, here's something quiet.

A short time ago at the memorial service in New York, cellist Yo-Yo Ma performed Sarabande from Bach's First Suite for Cello Solo.

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The Two-Way
5:55 am
Sun September 11, 2011

Looking Back 10 Years: President Bush's Address To The Nation

At 8:30 p.m. ET on Sept. 11, 2001, President George W. Bush addressed the nation about that day's tragic events. Here's what he said:

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The Two-Way
4:30 am
Sun September 11, 2011

10 Years Later, The Nation Remembers The Sept. 11 Attacks

The "Tribute in Light" illuminates the sky in New York on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
Timothy A. Clary AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 9:26 am

Today was a day of mourning for the country. The 10th anniversary of Sept. 11 was marked by prayers, solemn ceremonies, vows to remember the victims and pledges to never let terrorists fundamentally change the American way of life.

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The Two-Way
4:25 am
Sun September 11, 2011

Nearly 80 Americans Wounded, Two Afghans Killed In Attack On Base

A truck bombing at an American base in eastern Afghanistan late Saturday killed two Afghan civilians — one of them a 3-year-old girl — and wounded nearly 80 U.S. military personnel, The Associated Press reports.

The Taliban has claimed responsibility.

According to the AP:

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