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
2:00 pm
Tue January 17, 2012

One Of World's Oldest Cypress Trees, 'The Senator,' Burns In Florida

On Monday (Jan. 16, 2012) Seminole County firefighter Al Caballero applied water to the smoldering base of The Senator.
Phelan M. Ebenhack AP

Originally published on Tue January 17, 2012 2:03 pm

Investigators are now saying arson was not the likely cause of a fire that on Monday destroyed a cypress tree in Central Florida that was an estimated 3,500 years old — making it perhaps the oldest such tree in the nation and one of the oldest in the world.

Known as "The Senator," the tree that once stood 165 feet tall (before a hurricane lopped off about 45 feet in 1925) was more likely brought down by a fire that had been smoldering inside it — without being detected — since a lightning strike about a week ago, investigators say.

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It's All Politics
12:35 pm
Tue January 17, 2012

Romney Says He's Taxed At 15 Percent Rate

Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney at a campaign rally in Florence, S.C., earlier today (Jan. 17, 2012).
Emmanuel Dunand AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 17, 2012 5:51 pm

He has probably paid an effective federal income tax rate of about 15 percent in recent years, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney told reporters in South Carolina a short time ago.

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The Two-Way
11:15 am
Tue January 17, 2012

$45 Million Hospital Bill: It's Enough To Really Make You Sick

With a bill that big, you'll need quite a stack of these.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Morning Edition's staff noticed a story from over the long holiday weekend that's just too much of a "no-way!" not to pass along.

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The Two-Way
10:30 am
Tue January 17, 2012

'Get On Board!' Coast Guard Officer Rages At Italian Cruise Ship Captain

The cruise ship Costa Concordia, earlier today (Jan. 17, 2012).
Laura Lezza Getty Images
  • NPR's Sylvia Poggioli, reporting on the dramatic phone call

Dramatic audio has emerged of an irate Italian Coast Guard officer ordering the captain of the cruise ship Costa Concordia to "get back on board!" as the stricken vessel lay crippled off the coast of Tuscany on Friday night.

As NPR's Sylvia Poggioli reports, in the telephone call Coast Guard Capt. Gregorio De Falco shouts as he accuses Costa Concordia Capt. Francesco Schettino of abandoning his ship. Schettino was apparently sitting in a row boat at the time.

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The Two-Way
8:25 am
Tue January 17, 2012

Fuel Is Flowing To Nome Through Half-Mile Hose Laid Over Ice

The Two-Way
7:45 am
Tue January 17, 2012

Egypt's Wael Ghonim: 'Revolutions Are Processes ... It Will Take Time'

Wael Ghonim talking with reporters on Feb. 8, 2011, in Cairo's Tahrir Square as protests there continued.
Khaled Desouki AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 17, 2012 7:50 am

  • NPR's Steve Inskeep talks with Wael Ghonim

It's been nearly a year since Google executive Wael Ghonim became one of the faces of the Arab Spring as his online organizing efforts and his arrest helped draw people and attention to the demands by many Egyptians for reform — a movement that led to the toppling of President Hosni Mubarak's regime.

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The Two-Way
7:15 am
Tue January 17, 2012

Hopes Are Fading For Missing In Italian Cruise Ship Disaster

  • NPR's Sylvia Poggioli reports

Divers and other rescue personnel are still trying to reach areas of the cruise ship Costa Concordia that haven't yet been explored in a bid to see if any of the 29 people who remain unaccounted for after Friday's crash off the Italian coast of Tuscany might be alive.

But as the BBC reports, hopes are fading. As of this hour, six people are known to have died. More than 4,200 passengers and crew were on board when it struck rocks, took on water and listed on to its starboard side.

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The Two-Way
2:50 pm
Fri January 13, 2012

John Edwards Has Life-Threatening Condition, Doctor Says

A cardiologist says former Democratic presidential candidate and senator John Edwards has a life-threatening condition that will require surgery next month, a judge in Greensboro, N.C., announced today.

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The Two-Way
2:15 pm
Fri January 13, 2012

'Washington Post' Touts First Extensive Post-Scandal Interview With Paterno

Originally published on Fri January 13, 2012 2:16 pm

The Washington Post just put out the word that it had an "exclusive interview with Joe Paterno, his first extensive comments on the Penn State scandal and its fallout," and expects to post a report about what he had to say on Saturday at 4 p.m. ET.

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The Two-Way
1:25 pm
Fri January 13, 2012

IBM Says It Stored A Bit Of Data On Just 12 Atoms

Twelve atoms can hold one bit, IBM says.
IBM Research Almaden

Originally published on Fri January 13, 2012 3:26 pm

This sounds impossible, but here it is:

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The Two-Way
12:20 pm
Fri January 13, 2012

Suspect In Natalee Holloway Case Gets 28-Year Sentence For Murder In Peru

Joran van der Sloot, the 24-year-old Dutchman who remains the prime suspect in the still-unsolved 2005 disappearance of Alabama teen Natalee Holloway in Aruba, was just sentenced to 28 years in prison for the 2010 murder of a woman in Peru.

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The Two-Way
9:05 am
Fri January 13, 2012

VIDEO: Eggs Fly As Apple Cancels Store Sales Of iPhone 4S In Beijing

Police tried to seal off the area as thousands of customers gathered outside an Apple store in Beijing's upmarket Sanlitun shopping district today.
AFP/Getty Images

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The Two-Way
7:55 am
Fri January 13, 2012

Stephen Colbert's Big News: He May Run For President Of South Carolina

Comedian Stephen Colbert's "big announcement" last night (which we previewed yesterday)?

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The Two-Way
7:30 am
Fri January 13, 2012

Reports: Obama To Seek Power To Merge Agencies, Streamline Government

(A new lede was put on this post at 11:30 a.m. ET.)

Saying "the government we have is not the government we need" and that it's still organized for the 20th Century, President Obama is asking Congress to give him the power to do some streamlining and merging of agencies that overlap.

"I'm calling on Congress to reinstate the authority that past presidents have had" to reorganize the government, the president just said at the White House. He pledged to only use the authority to make the government more efficient and leaner.

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The Two-Way
7:15 am
Fri January 13, 2012

Marines Worried About Desecration Video's Impact On Afghan Operations

The uproar over a video that appears to show four U.S. Marines urinating on the bodies of three dead Taliban fighters in Afghanistan continues, and as we reported yesterday investigators believe they've identified two of the men and are vowing that if they're guilty of what seems to have happened they will be brought to justice.

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The Two-Way
2:40 pm
Thu January 12, 2012

In Alaska: Nome Still Waits For Fuel, Big Shovels Headed To Cordova

A member of the Alaska National Guard clearing a walkway in Cordova earlier this week.
Spc. Balinda O'Neal, Alaska National Guard AP

Originally published on Mon January 16, 2012 8:55 am

  • Tony Gorman, reporting from Valdez

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The Two-Way
10:50 am
Thu January 12, 2012

VIDEO: 'Sofia The Lion Tamer' Goes Nose-To-Nose With Big Cat

"Sofia the Lion Tamer."
YouTube.com

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The Two-Way
10:05 am
Thu January 12, 2012

Stephen Colbert Looks For Fresh Face In GOP Race And Sees Himself

A Colbert candidacy?
ColbertNation.com

We've been through this with him before, so talk from Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert about running for president needs to be viewed with suspicion.

But he's at it again and promises a "major announcement" on his show tonight (it airs at 11:30 p.m. ET).

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The Two-Way
9:35 am
Thu January 12, 2012

Mine's Smaller! Claim About Tiny Frog Is Challenged

The tiny frog called Paedophryne amauensis, sitting on a dime.
Christopher Austin AFP/Getty Images

Sure, it's tiny. But is it the tiniest?

There's a frog in Papua New Guinea that researchers announced this week is "the smallest known vertebrate species" (that is, a creature with a spine).

It's so small, in fact, that the picture posted by the journal PLoS One with the scientists' report shows the little Paedophryne amauensis sitting on a dime with plenty of room to spare.

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The Two-Way
8:45 am
Thu January 12, 2012

Jobless Claims Jump Up By 24,000

Originally published on Thu January 12, 2012 10:24 am

The number of people filing first-time claims for unemployment insurance rose by 24,000 last week from the week before, the Employment and Training Administration reports. There were 399,000 such claims.

Also, "the 4-week moving average was 381,750, an increase of 7,750 from the previous week's revised average of 374,000," the agency says.

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The Two-Way
8:10 am
Thu January 12, 2012

Penn State Will Honor Paterno, School President Says

Joe Paterno, during a Penn State game last October.
Jim Prisching AP

Originally published on Thu January 12, 2012 8:13 am

Legendary football coach Joe Paterno, who lost his job at Penn State in the wake of the scandal over a former assistant's arrest on charges of sexually abusing young boys, will be honored by the school at some point, university President Rodney Erickson told alumni Wednesday evening.

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The Two-Way
7:30 am
Thu January 12, 2012

Judge Blocks Pardons Issued By Outgoing Mississippi Gov. Barbour

Former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R).
Rogelio V. Solis AP

Originally published on Thu January 12, 2012 8:39 am

Most of the 203 pardons, clemencies and sentence reductions granted by outgoing Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) just before he left office Tuesday, which ignited a firestorm of criticism and controversy in the state, are now in legal limbo.

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The Two-Way
7:00 am
Thu January 12, 2012

Video Depicting Urination On Corpses Won't Derail Peace Talks, Taliban Says

Though experts are warning it will inflame anti-American sentiment in Afghanistan and hurt efforts to start peace talks with the Taliban, a video that appears to show four U.S. Marines urinating on the corpses of three Afghan men will not affect efforts to begin such negotiations, a Taliban spokesman tells Reuters.

"This is not the first time we see such brutality," the spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, said.

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The Two-Way
5:30 pm
Wed January 11, 2012

Pentagon Disgusted, Marines Investigating Disturbing Video

Originally published on Wed January 11, 2012 5:31 pm

"The Marine Corps is promising to investigate a disturbing web video that appears to show [four] Marines in Afghanistan urinating on the bloody corpses of [three] alleged Taliban fighters," Gannett Co.'s Marine Corps Times reports.

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The Two-Way
4:40 pm
Wed January 11, 2012

Ethics Committee Releases Report On Rep. Hastings, Probe Will Continue

Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.)
Carl de Souza AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 11, 2012 4:57 pm

"The House Ethics Committee said Wednesday it needs more time to consider sexual harassment allegations against Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.)," The Associated Press writes, "but released a report in which the alleged victim detailed a pattern of sexually suggestive remarks and unwanted hugs."

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The Two-Way
3:15 pm
Wed January 11, 2012

How's The Economy? Federal Reserve Reports 'Ongoing Improvement'

As we've said before, to figure out what the Federal Reserve means when it reports about how the economy is doing and whether policymakers think it's doing better or worse, you need to carefully compare the central bank's latest words to what it has said in preceding months.

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The Two-Way
2:02 pm
Wed January 11, 2012

'El Gordo,' Galaxy With Mass 2 Quadrillion Times The Sun's, Discovered

"El Gordo" — the "big" or "fat" one in Spanish — as seen in a composite image produced by NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory.
NASA/CXC/Rutgers/J.Hughes

Take the number 2. Put 15 zeroes behind it, as Space.com says:

2,000,000,000,000,000

Now, think about the news from this story at that website:

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