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
7:25 am
Tue March 27, 2012

Today At The Supreme Court: 'The Heart Of Health Care Arguments'

The U.S. Supreme Court building.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Tue March 27, 2012 5:49 pm

  • Nina Totenberg on 'Morning Edition'

On Day Two of three days focused on the health care overhaul law, the Supreme Court this morning will get to the heart of the arguments over the legislation's constitutionality, NPR's Nina Totenberg reported on Morning Edition and at the Shots blog.

As she says:

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The Two-Way
7:00 am
Tue March 27, 2012

Syria Has Accepted Peace Plan, Annan's Spokesman Says

"A spokesman for U.N. envoy Kofi Annan says Syria has accepted his plan to end the bloodshed in the country," The Associated Press reports.

Ahmad Fawzi said the news came in a letter from President Bashar Assad's government to Annan, the former U.N. secretary general who has been trying to broker an end to the Assad regime's crackdown on dissent — which the U.N. estimates has led to the deaths of more than 8,000 people in the past year.

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The Two-Way
1:40 pm
Mon March 26, 2012

Police: George Zimmerman Said He Was Knocked To Ground And Beaten

George Zimmerman, in a 2005 mug shot provided by the Orange County (Fla.) jail, via The Miami Herald. He had been accused of pushing a state alcohol agent, who was arresting a friend of Zimmerman's. He entered a "pretrial-diversion program."
AP

The man who shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in an incident that has reignited the national conversation about race relations told police that the younger man knocked him to the ground and slammed his head into the sidewalk, the Orlando Sentinel just reported.

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The Two-Way
11:45 am
Mon March 26, 2012

Evidence Builds Of Schools Cheating To Boost Students' Test Scores

"Suspicious test scores in roughly 200 school districts resemble those that entangled Atlanta in the biggest cheating scandal in American history," The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported over the weekend.

It examined data from 50 states and the District of Columbia, covering 69,000 schools in 14,743 districts and found that:

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The Two-Way
10:50 am
Mon March 26, 2012

No Rabbits Were Harmed, But Herman Cain's Latest Video 'Blasts' A Bunny

Don't worry, the rabbit's OK, says Herman Cain. It's taxes on businesses that he thinks are too painful.
CainConnections

During his brief run for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, Herman Cain became well known for his 9-9-9 tax plan, the allegations of sexual harassment that threatened to drown out his message and his highly unusual videos.

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The Two-Way
9:40 am
Mon March 26, 2012

Who Do You Like In The Final Four?

Christian Petersen Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 26, 2012 9:48 am

  • Mike Pesca on 'Morning Edition'

Now we know the Final Four teams in the 2012 NCAA Division I men's basketball championship:

-- Kansas.

-- Kentucky.

-- Louisville.

-- Ohio State.

So it's time to ask:

The women's Division I tournament, by the way, is down to its Elite Eight.

The Two-Way
9:00 am
Mon March 26, 2012

Tens Of Thousands Expected Today At Florida Rally For Trayvon Martin

An undated family photo of Trayvon Martin.
Change.org

A rally in Sanford, Fla., today "to demand justice in the Trayvon Martin shooting death," is expected to draw "tens of thousands of people," Orlando's WFTV says.

The rally — one month after the black teen's death — is due to begin at 4 p.m. ET and end with those thousands gathered outside the city's civic center as the Sanford City Commission meets to hear from the 17-year-old Martin's parents.

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The Two-Way
8:30 am
Mon March 26, 2012

Is GOP Race At 'Tipping Point' Or Destined To Keep Going?

Republican presidential contender Rick Santorum during a campaign event Sunday in Fond du Lac, Wis.
Mark Hirsch Getty Images

NPR's Ken Rudin is a fan of using history as a guide to what might happen next when it comes to politics, and this morning he focuses on the 2012 race for the Republican presidential nomination and what lessons we might learn from an earlier battle between GOP contenders.

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The Two-Way
7:55 am
Mon March 26, 2012

Tragedy In West Virginia: Child Is Ninth Victim Of House Fire

On Saturday, investigators sifted through debris in the aftermath of a house fire in Charleston, W.Va., that has now claimed nine lives.
Craig Cunningham AP

"A house fire believed to be the worst in Charleston's history claimed its ninth victim Sunday," West Virginia's Sunday Gazette-Mail reports.

According to the newspaper, 7-year-old Bryan Timothy Camp was taken off life support Sunday morning. The fire at the home he lived in with his mother, her boyfriend, an aunt and six other children began around 3:25 a.m. ET on Saturday. Only the aunt survived. The Gazette-Mail says the rental home had no working smoke detectors.

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The Two-Way
7:30 am
Mon March 26, 2012

The Arguments Begin: Supreme Court Takes Up Health Care Starting Today

Outside the Supreme Court on Sunday, some of those who were lined up to get seats inside the courtroom.
Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 26, 2012 7:35 am

Here's how we'll be following the Supreme Court's three days of oral arguments about the President Obama's health care overhaul law, which as we've previously noted begin today.

As we always try to do when major stories are developing, we'll watch for key moments and pass along the news as soon as possible.

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The Two-Way
7:05 am
Mon March 26, 2012

It's 'Unbelievable To Me,' Says Wife Of Army Sgt. Accused In Afghan Killings

Karilyn Bales, during her interview with NBC News' Matt Lauer.
MSNBC.com

Originally published on Mon March 26, 2012 7:14 am

Saying that her husband "loves children, he's like a big kid himself," the wife of the U.S. Army soldier accused of killing 17 Afghan civilians on March 11 has told NBC News that the accusations against Staff Sgt. Robert Bales are "unbelievable to me."

"I have no idea what happened, but he would not ... he loves children, and he would not do that," said Karilyn Bales.

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The Two-Way
6:00 am
Sat March 24, 2012

Americans Want The Supreme Court To Open Up; Here's Why It Won't

The U.S. Supreme Court.
J. Scott Applewhite AP
  • Nina Totenberg on the court's disconnect
  • Nina Totenberg, on the timing of the tapes
  • Nina Totenberg, on the justices' thinking
  • Nina Totenberg, on looking forward to the sessions

Three straight days of oral arguments about the constitutionality of President Obama's health care overhaul law start Monday at the U.S. Supreme Court.

It's a perfect political storm: an issue that affects everyone and has deeply divided the major political parties coming before the nine justices smack in the middle of a presidential campaign.

Much is riding on what the justices decide. Their rulings are expected by the end of June.

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The Two-Way
2:32 pm
Fri March 23, 2012

Sgt. Bales Charged With 17 Counts Of Murder; Could Get Death Penalty

This August 23, 2011 photograph obtained courtesy of the Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System (DVIDS) shows Staff Sgt. Robert Bales (right) at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, California. (Note at 10:50 p.m. ET: Earlier, we mistakenly said he was on the left.)
Spc. Ryan Hallock AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 23, 2012 10:48 pm

Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales has been officially been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder for the March 11 killings of unarmed men, women and children in Southern Afghanistan, The Associated Press just reported from Kabul.

It adds that "premeditated murder is a capital offense and if convicted, Bales could be sentenced to death."

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The Two-Way
11:00 am
Fri March 23, 2012

Why We Love The P.R. Guy For Etch A Sketch

Etch A Sketch: The two with knobs on both sides.
Karen Bleier AFP/Getty Images

Martin Killgallon, marketing director for Ohio Arts, we salute you:

"We have a left knob and a right knob," he said of his company's Etch A Sketch, The Associated Press reports, "so we neutrally speak to both parties."

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The Two-Way
10:45 am
Fri March 23, 2012

Mystery Solved? 'Microquakes' Blamed For Wisconsin Booms

There's a new explanation for why the citizens of Clintonville, Wis., have been hearing booms this week:

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The Two-Way
10:25 am
Fri March 23, 2012

Existing Home Sales Dipped In February, But Ran Well Above Pace Of Year Ago

There was a 0.9 percent drop in sales of existing homes in February from January, the National Association of Realtors reports. But, at an annualized rate of 4.59 million they were still up 8.8 percent from February 2011.

"The market is trending up unevenly," NAR chief economist Lawarence Yun concludes in a statement from the association.

The Two-Way
9:40 am
Fri March 23, 2012

Chaos Feared When New Zealand Changes Road Rules Sunday

Starting on Sunday, it's the red car that has to yield on New Zealand's roads.
New Zealand Transport Agency

Originally published on Fri March 23, 2012 9:42 am

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The Two-Way
9:24 am
Fri March 23, 2012

Reports: Obama To Tap Dartmouth President For World Bank's Top Job

Update at 10:12 a.m. ET. It's Official:

"It's time for a development professional to lead the world's largest development agency," President Obama just said as he announced he is nominating Dartmouth College President Jim Yong Kim to head the World Bank.

Our original post:

"President Barack Obama will nominate Dartmouth College President Jim Yong Kim to head the World Bank," The Associated Press reports, citing "senior administration officials" as its sources.

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The Two-Way
8:25 am
Fri March 23, 2012

Not Clear Yet Why Death Toll In Afghan Killings Has Risen To 17

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

Along with the word that U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales will be formally charged with murder today for the deaths of unarmed Afghan men, women and children on March 11, was the news that the death toll had grown to 17. Until Thursday afternoon, U.S. military officials had consistently said that 16 people were killed.

As The Associated Press has reported, officials made the change without offering a public explanation for it.

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The Two-Way
7:55 am
Fri March 23, 2012

Michigan State Is First No. 1 Seed To Be Bounced

Chane Behanan of the Louisville Cardinals during Thursday's victory over Michigan State.
Jamie Squire Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 23, 2012 8:01 am

  • Mike Pesca on 'Morning Edition'

Tough defense by Louisville led to the defeat Thursday night of Michigan State in the NCAA men's basketball tournament, NPR's Mike Pesca said earlier on Morning Edition.

The Spartans, who lost to Louisville 57-44, are the first of the four No. 1 regional seeds to be sent home.

Syracuse, another No. 1 seed, managed to hang on with a 64-63 win over Wisconsin. In Thursday's other two games, Florida beat Marquette 68-58 and Ohio State thumped Cincinnati, 81-66.

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The Two-Way
7:30 am
Fri March 23, 2012

Trayvon Martin Was 'Typical Teen,' George Zimmerman Is Hard To Categorize

A memorial to Trayvon Martin sits outside The Retreat at Twin Lakes community in Sanford, Fla., where the teenager was shot and killed by George Michael Zimmerman.
Gerardo Mora Getty Images

Trayvon Martin was "a typical teenager who would end up in a casket, buried in white suit with a powder blue vest," the Miami Herald writes.

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The Two-Way
3:45 pm
Thu March 22, 2012

Cat Falls 19 Floors, Lands Purrfectly

Sugar, after her fall.
Animal Rescue League of Boston

A woman in Boston saw something white fall past her second floor window Wednesday afternoon "and ran to see what it was," according to the Boston Globe.

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The Two-Way
3:10 pm
Thu March 22, 2012

'Thank God It's Over,' Australia's Most Wanted Man Says After Capture

"On his 2,466th night in the wilderness," the hunt for Malcolm Naden ended.

And when it did, Australia's most wanted man seemed relieved, police said afterward, according to The Sydney Morning Herald:

"Sitting on the sodden ground in handcuffs, surrounded by his captors, a lucid and relaxed Mr Naden said: 'Thank God it's over, I've had enough.' "

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The Two-Way
12:05 pm
Thu March 22, 2012

Four More Booms In Wisconsin City Troubled By Mysterious Sounds

Jordan Pfeiler of Clintonville says she's heard the booms.
Carrie Antlfinger AP

Originally published on Thu March 22, 2012 12:06 pm

Things were not quiet again in Clintonville, Wis., early today.

As we reported Wednesday, folks there have been hearing booms and feeling vibrations this week and no one has yet been able to explain what's causing them. One of the latest theories is that unusually warm temperatures are causing underground ice to crack. A few homeowners think they've suffered some damages (cracked floors, for example).

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The Two-Way
11:04 am
Thu March 22, 2012

Looks Like That Post-Rapture Pet-Walking Company Was A Hoax

It was all a joke, the man behind Eternal Earth-Bound Pets now says.
EE-BP

A New Hampshire man who claimed last year that for a fee of $135 he would arrange to have your dog walked if the Rapture did indeed begin last May 21 and you got taken up to heaven, is now saying that his business venture was a hoax.

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The Two-Way
10:30 am
Thu March 22, 2012

Video Of Copter Crash In Afghanistan Goes Viral; Army Investigating

From video of the incident, as the helicopter swooped low over a snowy base in Afghanistan moments before crashing in the distance.
YouTube.com

Originally published on Thu March 22, 2012 10:31 am

If you haven't seen it yet, you probably will soon if you're watching the cable news networks:

Video of what appears to be a U.S. Army helicopter swooping low over a snowy base in Afghanistan last month before taking several dramatic twists, bouncing off the ground and crashing in the distance.

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The Two-Way
9:20 am
Thu March 22, 2012

Murray Lender, Who Introduced Many Americans To Bagels, Has Died

From a Connecticut bakery to the nation.
Mike Derer AP

Originally published on Thu March 22, 2012 11:37 am

If you were young in the 1960s or '70s and like many of us didn't live around New York City, the first bagel you ever saw and enjoyed was probably a Lender's.

So it's with a sense of sadness and nostalgia that we pass along this, from The Associated Press:

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The Two-Way
8:36 am
Thu March 22, 2012

Jobless Claims Dropped By 5,000 Last Week

There were 348,000 first-time claims for unemployment insurance benefits last week, down 5,000 from the week before, the Employment and Training Administration just reported.

At that level, weekly claims remain the lowest they've been since March 2008.

The agency also said "the 4-week moving average was 355,000, a decrease of 1,250 from the previous week's revised average of 356,250."

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