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
10:55 am
Fri September 9, 2011

Why Are Feet Washing Ashore In Washington?

One of the creepier stories in recent weeks has been about feet found along the shores of Washington state and British Columbia. There have been 11 or so discovered since 2007 — usually in athletic shoes.

Jake Ellison at NPR member station KPLU set out to see if he could figure out what's going on, and starts his report with this attention-getting line:

"There are likely hundreds of dead human bodies in the waters of the Northwest at any given time."

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The Two-Way
9:25 am
Fri September 9, 2011

VIDEO: NFL's First Player Born In '90s Scores On 108-Yard Return

Because we all can use a quick break from the day's serious stories:

Not only did the Green Bay Packers' Randall Cobb last night become the first guy born in the 1990s to play in an NFL regular season game, he also tied a league record when he ran a kickoff back 108 yards to score a touchdown.

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The Two-Way
8:55 am
Fri September 9, 2011

Fighter Pilots Were Prepared To Die On Sept. 11

An F-16 fighter jet.
Michael Williams Getty Images

As the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks draws closer, we're pointing to some of the stories being told about that day and the days since.

"We wouldn't be shooting it down. We'd be ramming the aircraft. ... I would essentially be a kamikaze pilot."

That's what Maj. Heather "Lucky" Penney tells The Washington Post in a remarkable story today.

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The Two-Way
8:00 am
Fri September 9, 2011

While Susquehanna River Is Receding, Residents Can't Return Just Yet

Flooding continues along the Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania, New York State and down into Maryland continues.

But as headlines from around the region show, the worst may be over.

Still, there's no word yet on when an estimated 100,000 people who had to leave their homes will be able to return.

Some of the stories:

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The Two-Way
7:15 am
Fri September 9, 2011

Today's Top Stories: Jobs Plan, Wildfires, Terror Threat

Good morning.

A lot's been happening since last evening, and we've already posted about:

-- Terror Threat Is 'A Tip,' And Isn't 'Rock-Solid'

-- Power Coming Back On In San Diego; Human Error Blamed

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The Two-Way
6:35 am
Fri September 9, 2011

President's Plan Would Have 'Substantial, Powerful Effect,' Geithner Says

Moments ago on Morning Edition, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said that if the Obama administration's latest jobs plan is enacted it should have a "substantial, powerful effect" on the economy.

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The Two-Way
6:00 am
Fri September 9, 2011

Interpol Issues Arrest Warrants For Gadhafi And His Son

Interpol's online "wanted" poster for ousted Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.
Interpol

Originally published on Fri September 9, 2011 6:01 am

The international police agency Interpol today issued "red notices" — arrest warrants, in effect — for ousted Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, his son Saf Al-Islam Gadhafi, and Libya's former director of military intelligence, Abdullah Al-Senussi.

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The Two-Way
5:25 am
Fri September 9, 2011

Texas Wildfires: 'Aerial Assault' To Start Today

"Firefighters are planning their biggest aerial assault yet Friday of a massive wildfire that has raged for days across Central Texas, destroying nearly 1,400 homes and tens of thousands of acres of drought-parched land," The Associated Press writes.

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The Two-Way
4:00 pm
Thu September 8, 2011

Obama's Message: 'Stop The Political Circus,' Pass His Jobs Plan Now

President Obama plans to tell the nation tonight that there is "nothing controversial" in his latest jobs program and he's set to tell Congress that it should be passed "right away."

"The question is whether, in the face of an ongoing national crisis, we can stop the political circus and actually do something to help the economy; whether we can restore some of the fairness and security that has defined this nation since our beginning," Obama will also say, according to excerpts of his address that were just released by the White House.

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The Two-Way
1:45 pm
Thu September 8, 2011

Dude, Change Your Number: Guy Says Woman Called Him 65,000 Times

Edward J Bock III iStockphoto.com

We had some questions after reading this, and unfortunately none have been answered in any of the stories so far:

"Dutch prosecutors are charging a 42-year-old woman with stalking after she allegedly called her ex-boyfriend 65,000 times in the past year." (The Associated Press)

First: Didn't the "ex-boyfriend," who's 62, change his number after, say, call No. 10,000 or so?

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The Two-Way
1:10 pm
Thu September 8, 2011

Challenges To Health Law Rejected, But Decisions Don't Address Key Point

"In a win for the Obama administration, a federal appeals court in Virginia today tossed out two lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the sweeping law overhauling the health care system," our colleague Scott Hensley writes over at the Shots blog.

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The Two-Way
12:35 pm
Thu September 8, 2011

Obama's Guest List Offers Clues To His Themes

Ever since President Reagan's 1982 State of the Union, part of the story of presidential addresses to Congress has been who gets invited to sit with the first lady in the gallery.

Reagan's A-list guest was Lenny Skutnik, who two weeks earlier was among the heroes who helped pull people from the icy waters of the Potomac River after an Air Florida jet crashed shortly following takeoff from National Airport (now known as Reagan National Airport).

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The Two-Way
11:20 am
Thu September 8, 2011

Afghan Journalist Was Mistakenly Killed By U.S. Soldier, Report Concludes

Ahmad Omid Khpalwak, in an undated photo.
PAJHWOK AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu September 8, 2011 11:25 am

An Afghan journalist who was working at the time for the BBC was mistakenly killed by U.S. forces in late July, the allied military command in Afghanistan conceded today.

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The Two-Way
1:25 pm
Wed September 7, 2011

San Francisco May Make Nudists Cover Their Seats

Hanging out in San Francisco's Castro district; Nov. 3, 2010.
Jeremy Brooks Flickr.com

Walking around San Francisco with no clothes on?

No problem as long as you're not a public nuisance or being lewd or ... (how do we put this?) ... looking like you're enjoying yourself a little too much. (And given how cold it can be there, perhaps arousal isn't a big issue.)

But if you sit down on a public bench or go into a restaurant, city Supervisor Scott Wiener (yes, that's correct) says you should bring something along to cover either the seat, if outdoors, or yourself, when in a restaurant.

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The Two-Way
8:50 am
Wed September 7, 2011

Disbelief, Shock In Carson City After Shooting Rampage

Ralph Swagler was in his family's barbecue restaurant in Carson City, Nev., Tuesday morning when he heard gunshots outside and saw a man armed with what authorities say was an AK-47 walk into a nearby IHOP restaurant.

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The Two-Way
7:50 am
Wed September 7, 2011

With Perry In Mix, Tonight's GOP Debate Is Highly Anticipated

Our friend Frank James over at It's All Politics will be watching the action, but we do want to at least take note of tonight's Republican presidential debate and pass along the coordinates in case you want to check it out.

A key story line, according to the conventional wisdom: How will the new "front runner," Texas Gov. Rick Perry, do in his first appearance with the other seven?

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The Two-Way
7:20 am
Wed September 7, 2011

Remembering Sept. 11: 'I Threw The Phone Down, I Screamed'

As the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks draws closer, we're pointing to some of the stories being told about that day and the days since.

Madeleine V. Leckie Elementary School in Washington, D.C., has a strong, painful connection to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, as NPR's Claudio Sanchez reported earlier on Morning Edition.

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The Two-Way
6:20 am
Wed September 7, 2011

Bomb Attacks In India, Pakistan; Gadhafi Still On Run

Good morning.

The news we've already posted about today:

-- Reports: Obama To Propose $300 Billion Package Aimed At Boosting Jobs

-- Wildfires Still Raging In Texas, Arson Suspected In One, Two More Deaths

As for other stories making headlines, they include:

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The Two-Way
6:00 am
Wed September 7, 2011

Wildfires Still Raging In Texas, Arson Suspected In One, Two More Deaths

The remains of their burned home in the background, Gaye Jaco (front) hugged her stepdaughter Jennifer Leaver on Tuesday in Bastrop, Texas.
Erich Schlegel Getty Images

"As wildfires continued to torch homes and the drought-stricken landscape across Central Texas on Tuesday, officials said two bodies had been found among the charred ruins of the fires in Bastrop County," Austin's American-Statesman reports.

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The Two-Way
5:30 am
Wed September 7, 2011

Reports: Obama To Propose $300 Billion Package Aimed At Boosting Jobs

President Obama on Labor Day in Detroit.
Bill Pugliano Getty Images

President Obama will propose "$300 billion in federal spending and tax cuts" when he addresses the nation Thursday night during a joint session of Congress, The Associated Press and other news outlets are reporting.

The AP says that:

"According to people familiar with the White House deliberations, two of the biggest measures in the president's proposals for 2012 are expected to be a one-year extension of a payroll tax cut for workers and an extension of expiring jobless benefits. Together those two would total about $170 billion. ...

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The Two-Way
1:45 pm
Tue September 6, 2011

Newly Revealed Video Shows Smoke Rising From Flight 93

When passengers aboard United Flight 93 fought back on Sept. 11, 2001, they prevented what could have been a devastating strike on Washington by the four terrorists who had hijacked the jet.

Now, a newly released video shows — from a distance — the smoke rising above the hills of Shanksville, Pa., where Flight 93 came down. Thirty three passengers, five flight attendants and two pilots died.

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The Two-Way
1:00 pm
Tue September 6, 2011

Shootings Leave Several Dead In West Virginia And Nevada

As details come in about a shooting this morning in Carson City, Nev., that authorities are now saying left at least three people dead and at least six others wounded, there's word from West Virginia that as many as five people were shot and killed in Morgantown on Monday.

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The Two-Way
10:35 am
Tue September 6, 2011

Tracks, Equipment Left By Apollo Missions Visible In New Moon Photos

The Apollo 17 landing site: To the far right, the Lunar Roving Vehicle; Toward the center, the descent stage of the Challenger lunar module. The lines are tracks and cables.
NASA

Tracks and equipment left on the moon by astronauts from three of the Apollo missions can be seen in new photos just released by NASA.

Though not close-ups by any stretch of the imagination, the images do offer more detail than other photos taken two years ago by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, which is now circling the moon.

As it flew over landing sites of the Apollo 12, 14 and 17 missions, the orbiter snapped pictures that show, among other things:

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The Two-Way
8:45 am
Tue September 6, 2011

Service Sector Still Growing, Though Slowly, Survey Shows

The service sector of the economy, which accounts for more than 80 percent of the jobs on private payrolls, "grew in August for the 21st consecutive month," according to data collected by the private Institute for Supply Management.

The institute's "non-manufacturing" index expanded by 0.6 percentage points, to 53.3. A reading above 50 signals that the service sector is expanding.

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The Two-Way
8:10 am
Tue September 6, 2011

We Can All Track 'Happy Feet' On His Swim Home

The pause before the plunge: Happy Feet hesitated, and needed a little nudge from a handler, before sliding down into the sea on Sunday.
New Zealand's National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research Getty Images

It took a little nudge, but Happy Feet the wayward penguin was indeed sent on his way home (hopefully) over the weekend.

The Associated Press has video of the moment when the little guy who ended up on a beach in New Zealand — thousands of miles from his home in Antarctica — slid into the Pacific Ocean.

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The Two-Way
7:35 am
Tue September 6, 2011

Remembering Sept. 11: 'We Didn't Want The Bad Guys To Win'

As the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks draws closer, we're pointing to some of the stories being told about that day and the days since.

This morning, The Wall Street Journal offers "A Battered Firm's Long Road Back." It's a look at the investment-banking firm Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, which lost more than a third of its 171 New York employees when the south tower of the World Trade Center fell.

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The Two-Way
5:45 am
Tue September 6, 2011

Top Stories: Wildfires; Obama's Ratings; Postal Service's Losses

Good morning.

Wildfires continue to blaze in parts of central and northeast Texas, as we reported earlier. There are so many and they're moving so fast, in fact, that NPR's Wade Goodwyn says there just aren't enough firefighters and aircraft to battle them all effectively.

We'll keep an eye on developments there this week.

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The Two-Way
5:30 am
Tue September 6, 2011

Texas Wildfires: 'Move So Fast, They Kill'

Raging wildfires continue to burn across central Texas and so far have destroyed about 500 homes, Austin's American-Statesman writes this morning.

The newspaper adds that "the scope of the disaster — perhaps the worst of its kind in the region's history — was not fully known by late Monday as officials struggled to provide a complete count of the number of lost structures."

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It's All Politics
12:25 pm
Fri September 2, 2011

Cheney: I'd Still Like To Know Why Palin Quit As Governor

Sarah Palin in Fairbanks on July 26, 2009, the day she delivered her farewell speech as Alaska governor.
Eric Engman Getty Images

"I've never gotten around the question of her having left the governorship of Alaska in mid-term," former Vice President Dick Cheney said today when asked about fellow Republican Sarah Palin and her suitability for national office.

"I've never heard that adequately explained. ... I'd like to know more about that," Cheney added.

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The Two-Way
11:05 am
Fri September 2, 2011

Gulf Coast Soaking Starts, Other States Still Recovering From Irene

A tropical storm that's expected to drench parts of Louisiana with as much as 20 inches of rain this weekend and could cause flooding along the Gulf coast has begun to soak southern Louisiana. Local authorities are beginning to declare states of emergency, as The Times-Picayune reports.

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