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
9:15 am
Fri September 2, 2011

Obama Withdraws Proposed Regulation On Smog

Saying that "reducing regulatory burdens and regulatory uncertainty, particularly as our economy continues to recover" prompted his administration to rethink, President Obama just announced that he's withdrawing proposed regulations that would have tightened government smog standards in a bid to protect the ozone.

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The Two-Way
8:50 am
Fri September 2, 2011

Shark Or Surfer? Photo Taken Near San Diego Gets Attention

KFMB-TV

Along the Pacific coast near San Diego in recent days, lots of nature lovers have been gathering to watch for sharks — including great whites. Several sightings have experts saying that great white population in the waters off southern California may be on the rise, the Los Angeles Times says.

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The Two-Way
8:05 am
Fri September 2, 2011

GOP's Gun Raffle In Giffords' District Sparks Hot Debate

A Glock .40-caliber handgun.
Karen Bleier AFP/Getty Images

The Pima County (Arizona) Republican Party's decision to raffle off a Glock 23 .40-caliber handgun has generated some sharp criticism because not only is Pima County part of Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' district, but also because the gun used in January to kill six people and wound 13 others, including Giffords, was a Glock.

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The Two-Way
6:32 am
Fri September 2, 2011

Job Growth Halts; Unemployment Rate Stays At 9.1 Percent

The economy officially slipped into recession in December 2007 and officially came out in mid-2009. Here's a look at the number of jobs from January 2007 through August of this year.
Bureau of Labor Statistics

Originally published on Fri September 2, 2011 8:18 am

There was no net growth in jobs in August and the nation's unemployment rate stayed at 9.1 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics just reported.

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The Two-Way
6:00 am
Fri September 2, 2011

Top Stories: Feds To Sue Banks; Gulf Coast To Get Drenched

In Graford, Texas, on Thursday: Longhorn cattle stood by as a wildfire burned in the distance.
Tom Pennington Getty Images

Good morning.

The most anticipated story of the day, which we reported about earlier, is the 8:30 a.m. ET release of the August employment report.

We've also already posted about a strong earthquake that was detected in the last hour off the Aleutian Islands.

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The Two-Way
5:20 am
Fri September 2, 2011

7.1 Magnitude Earthquake Felt Off Alaska; Local Tsunami Warning Issued

Where the quake occurred.
West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center

This just happened:

A strong earthquake (preliminary magnitude of 7.1 later revised to 6.8) has been detected in a remote area of the Aleutian Islands off Alaska, about 1,000 miles west southwest of Anchorage, the U.S. Geological Survey reports.

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The Two-Way
5:00 am
Fri September 2, 2011

Stocks Down In Anticipation Of Weak Jobs News

Originally published on Fri September 2, 2011 5:05 am

The August employment report, due for release at 8:30 a.m. ET, is expected to show that the jobless rate stayed at 9.1 percent, or ticked higher, and that fewer jobs were added to payrolls than in July, both Reuters and Bloomberg News are reporting.

Each news service is basing their forecasts on surveys of economist.

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The Two-Way
1:30 pm
Thu September 1, 2011

Powell: 10 Years Later, Americans Must Still Guard Against Fear

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, during an address in Washington, D.C., on March 1, 2010.
Jim Watson AFP/Getty Images

"Terrorists can't change who we are," former Secretary of State Colin Powell told NPR's Steve Inskeep earlier today.

Americans, he said, will only lose touch with the freedom-loving, open society we enjoy if we "take such counsel of our fears that we change who we are."

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It's All Politics
1:30 pm
Thu September 1, 2011

Don't Read Too Much Into His Comment About 2012 Race, Powell Says

President Obama and former Secretary of State Colin Powell at the White House on Dec. 1, 2010.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Though he said this week that he hasn't decided who he'll vote for in the 2012 presidential race, former Secretary of State Colin Powell said today that shouldn't be seen as some sort of message about his opinion of President Obama — the Democrat who Republican Powell famously endorsed in 2008.

"I'm always undecided in every election" until he knows who the candidates are, Powell told NPR's Steve Inskeep.

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The Two-Way
11:15 am
Thu September 1, 2011

Ron Paul's Wrong About FEMA, Vermont Governor Says

"I would urge Ron Paul and any critics of FEMA to come to Vermont," the state's governor said earlier today on The Takeaway.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, said Gov. Peter Shumlin (D), has "an A-team" on the ground in his state, which was crushed by Hurricane Irene-related flooding this week.

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It's All Politics
10:25 am
Thu September 1, 2011

Obama's Speech Will Need To Be Early (Or Short?) To Avoid NFL

If the president's speaking between 7:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. ET, he'll still be up against Kid Rock and the other performers on the NFL's big pregame show.
Scott Legato Getty Images

"Football fans take comfort," CBS News White House correspondent Mark Knoller says on his Twitter page. "WH official says Pres Obama's speech next Thursday won't conflict with NFL opening game."

We've looked at the schedule.

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The Two-Way
9:05 am
Thu September 1, 2011

No Cash For Kid Who Made $50,000 Hockey Shot

A quick follow-up to the story of the Minnesota family that looked like it had won $50,000 — until dad came forward to say that the boy who had made a lucky hockey shot wasn't the son who was supposed to have taken it:

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The Two-Way
8:40 am
Thu September 1, 2011

Reports: Gadhafi Asks Followers To Fight On

As word comes that leaders of the opposition that has taken control of much of Libya have extended the deadline by which they want fighters loyal to Moammar Gadhafi to surrender, the ousted leader has been heard urging his supporters to fight on, Al-Arabiya and other news outlets are reporting.

Gadhafi's whereabouts aren't known. Nor is just when the recorded message was recorded.

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The Two-Way
8:00 am
Thu September 1, 2011

Solar Company's Shutdown Becomes Political Issue

May 26, 2010: President Obama tours the Solyndra solar panel company with Executive VP of Engineering Ben Bierman.
Pool Getty Images

Just a little more than a year ago, President Obama was in Fremont, Calif., to tout the jobs created by a solar cell manufacturing company called Solyndra.

As NPR's Scott Horsley reported:

"The federal government guaranteed a $500 million loan for the company that, White House economic adviser Jared Bernstein said, is allowing Solyndra to build a new solar cell factory employing 3,000 construction workers and creating 1,000 permanent jobs."

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The Two-Way
7:25 am
Thu September 1, 2011

Soda Or Pop? Which Do You Drink?

Blue is for "pop." Red is for "coke." Other colors show where "soda" is supposedly preferred.
popvssoda.com

Having grown up in "pop" country, gone to college in a "soda" city and lived for nearly 30 years in a place where the two cultures mix, this blogger is well aware that folks can get excited when they start debating about what to call carbonated beverages.

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The Two-Way
7:00 am
Thu September 1, 2011

Condoleezza Rice Resents Cheney's 'Attack On My Integrity'

When they were on the same team: Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in 2008.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Top officials from President George W. Bush's administration continue to fire back at former Vice President Dick Cheney for things he says in his new memoir.

First it was former Secretary of State Colin Powell who accused Cheney of taking "cheap shots" with some of his criticisms of former colleagues.

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The Two-Way
6:40 am
Thu September 1, 2011

Jobless Claims Dipped Last Week

The number of Americans filing first-time claims for unemployment insurance fell by 12,000 last week from the week before, to 409,000, the Employment and Training Administration just reported.

It adds that "the 4-week moving average was 410,250, an increase of 1,750 from the previous week's revised average of 408,500."

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The Two-Way
6:15 am
Thu September 1, 2011

How Bad Was The Disaster? Check The 'Waffle House Index'

One staple of economics and business reporting is the "odd indicator" story.

Having done a few in our time, we know a good one when we see it.

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The Two-Way
5:30 am
Thu September 1, 2011

New Details About Secret Flights To 'Black Sites' Revealed In Court Case

Robyn Beck AFP/Getty Images

A business dispute that's now in court has brought to light some more details about the secret flights that took terrorism suspects and U.S. officials to CIA-operated "black sites" and prisons around the world in recent years.

As The Associated Press reports:

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The Two-Way
5:00 am
Thu September 1, 2011

Today's Top Stories: Speech Flap; CIA Flights; Libya

Good morning.

The story that the news media seem to believe is this morning's important news is word that the back-and-forth over which night next week President Obama will address a joint session of Congress has ended with the White House agreeing to do it on Thursday (the 8th) instead of Wednesday, which it had requested.

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It's All Politics
1:30 pm
Wed August 31, 2011

Ron Paul: 'Philosophy Of Liberty And The Constitution' Has Been Vindicated

Republican presidential candidate and Texas congressman Ron Paul at Iowa State University in Ames on Aug. 13, 2011.
Scott Olson Getty Images

The Republican presidential candidate who's been ignored by many in the news media spent 20 minutes on the air with Talk of the Nation's Neal Conan and Political Junkie Ken Rudin this afternoon.

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The Two-Way
12:05 pm
Wed August 31, 2011

In Vermont, Rough Roads Reconnected To All But One Community

Some of the damage: Route 107 near Bethel, Vt.
Chip Allen Getty Images

"Extremely rough" roads have been reopened to all but one of the communities in Vermont that were devastated by floods after Hurricane Irene passed over New England, the state's Emergency Management agency reports.

Wardsboro, which is still cut off, could be reconnected later today, officials add.

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The Two-Way
11:35 am
Wed August 31, 2011

Provocative Read: 10 'More Important' Events Than The Sept. 11 Attacks

As the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks nears, news outlets and blogs are taking their turns at anniversary stories.

Foreign Policy offers this from blogger/author David J. Rothkopf: "10 events that were more important than 9/11." Counting down, Rothkopf says they are:

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It's All Politics
10:20 am
Wed August 31, 2011

Obama's Address To Joint Session Would Be Same Time As GOP Debate

President Obama just told House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) that he wants to address a joint session of Congress on Sept. 7, at 8 p.m. ET, to lay out his latest jobs plan.

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The Two-Way
10:09 am
Wed August 31, 2011

Obama Asks To Address Congress Next Week To Lay Out Jobs Plan

President Obama wants to lay out his latest jobs plan before a joint session of Congress next Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET.

In a letter sent to House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and just released to the news media, the president writes that:

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The Two-Way
9:15 am
Wed August 31, 2011

Justice Dept. Sues To Block AT&T's Acquisition Of T-Mobile

The Justice Department just confirmed that it has "filed a civil antitrust lawsuit to block AT&T Inc.'s proposed acquisition of T-Mobile USA Inc."

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The Two-Way
8:55 am
Wed August 31, 2011

As Much As $60 Billion Of 'Waste And Fraud' In War-Related Contracts

"At least $31 billion, and possibly as much as $60 billion, has been lost to contract waste and fraud in America's contingency operations in Iraq and Afghanistan," the independent and bipartisan Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan reported this morning.

That's out of the $206 billion that's expected to have been spent on contracts and grants in those two countries by the end of September, the commission says.

In its report, the commission adds that:

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The Two-Way
8:00 am
Wed August 31, 2011

Mucho Congratos To 'ElBloombito'

twitter.com/ElBloombito

One guy on The Two-Way's masthead speaks Spanish, and it isn't this blogger.

So I can't really poke fun at New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I) for his efforts to hablar espanol during the news conferences he held before, during and after Hurricane Irene.

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The Two-Way
7:10 am
Wed August 31, 2011

'9/11 Commission' Leaders: Nation's Security Isn't What It Should Be

National Security Preparedness Group

Originally published on Wed August 31, 2011 7:13 am

While they believe "our country is undoubtedly safer and more secure than it was a decade ago," the co-chairman of the 9/11 Commission warn today that some of their panel's most important recommendations remain unfilled.

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The Two-Way
6:15 am
Wed August 31, 2011

Layoffs Slowed In August, But Were Still Far Above Year Ago

Originally published on Wed August 31, 2011 6:44 am

Government agencies and private employers said this month that they plan to lay off 51,114 workers, the outplacement consultants Challenger, Gray & Christmas reported this morning.

And while that's down 23 percent from the 66,414 layoffs announced in July, the August total was still "up 47 percent from a year ago," the firm said.

What's more, it added:

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