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
8:40 am
Thu June 28, 2012

Jobless Claims Dip Only Slightly; First-Quarter GDP Estimate Unchanged

Two fresh bits of economic data, neither of which change the picture much if at all:

-- The Employment and Training Administration says there were 386,000 first-time claims for unemployment insurance last week, down 6,000 from the week before. But it also revised up that previous week's estimate, from the initial report of 387,000.

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The Two-Way
8:03 am
Thu June 28, 2012

News Corp. Confirms Split; Rupert Murdoch Will Chair Both Companies

Rupert Murdoch, chairman and CEO of News Corp., with one of his company's British tabloids.
Arthur Edwards News International/Getty Images

Saying that the move will create two companies, one a "world-class" publisher and the other an "unmatched global media and entertainment" giant, Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. just confirmed it is planning to separate into two distinct units.

Murdoch, a legend in the news and entertainment businesses whose TV ventures include Fox News Channel, will "serve as chairman of both companies and CEO of the media and entertainment company," the company added.

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The Two-Way
7:42 am
Thu June 28, 2012

JPMorgan's Losses 'May Reach $9 Billion'

JPMorgan Chase & Co. headquarters in New York.
Emmanuel Dunand AFP/Getty Images
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The Two-Way
7:21 am
Thu June 28, 2012

'Hell In The Rearview Mirror' As Coloradoans Flee Wildfires

Mikke Carlson took photos of the smoke from the Waldo Canyon fire while wearing a gas mask on Wednesday in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Chris Schneider Getty Images

Originally published on Thu June 28, 2012 2:27 pm

Update at 2:30 p.m. ET. Our Latest Headline:

Good News: 'Great Progress' Reported In Fighting Colorado Springs Fire.

Our original post:

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The Two-Way
1:45 pm
Wed June 27, 2012

Here's How To Learn What The Supreme Court Says About Health Care

The U.S. Supreme Court, which will be in the news on Thursday.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 27, 2012 2:15 pm

The biggest surprise Thursday morning at the Supreme Court will be if the justices do not issue their most-anticipated decision of the year — on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act; the health care overhaul enacted in 2010.

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The Two-Way
10:43 am
Wed June 27, 2012

Violence In Syria Is As Bad, Or Worse, Than Before Ceasefire, U.N. Says

May 26, 2012: In this picture provided by the Syrian opposition's Shaam News Network, people watch the mass burial of victims in Houla.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 27, 2012 1:50 pm

From The Associated Press:

"The U.N.'s deputy envoy for Syria, Jean-Marie Guehenno, [has] told the U.N. Human Rights Council that the violence in Syria has 'reached or even surpassed' levels seen before the April 12 ceasefire agreement and that a six-point peace plan forged by his boss, U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan, 'is clearly not being implemented.' "

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The Two-Way
10:19 am
Wed June 27, 2012

Contracts For Home Sales Rose Sharply In May

"Pending home sales bounced back in May, matching the highest level in the past two years, and are well above year-ago levels," the National Association of Realtors reports. The association says that:

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The Two-Way
9:13 am
Wed June 27, 2012

City Of Stockton's Looming Bankruptcy: Pictures Tell The Story

Among the projects that have helped put Stockton in the red: this downtown multiplex, which opened in 2003 and cost $15 million in public and private money.
Ian Hill KQED

Originally published on Wed June 27, 2012 10:19 am

Stockton, Calif., is on the verge of becoming the largest city in the nation to declare bankruptcy after its city council voted 6-1 Tuesday night to approve a spending plan that's essentially "a day-to-day survival budget," as the Los Angeles Times puts it.

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The Two-Way
8:41 am
Wed June 27, 2012

Orders For Durable Goods Rose In May

There was a 1.1 percent increase in new orders for so-called durable goods in May from April, the Census Bureau says. That's more than economists had forecast, Bloomberg News reports. According to Reuters, economists thought Census would say orders went up about 0.4 percent.

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The Two-Way
8:10 am
Wed June 27, 2012

Sign Of Peace: Queen Elizabeth Shakes Hand Of Former IRA Commander

Queen Elizabeth II shook hands with Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland Martin McGuinness today in Belfast. McGuinness is a former senior member of the IRA.
Paul Faith WPA Pool/Getty Images

Something that was "unimaginable a couple of decades ago" happened today in Belfast, Northern Ireland, when Queen Elizabeth II shook the hand of former Irish Republican Army commander Martin McGuinness, NPR's Philip Reeves tells our Newscast Desk.

As Philip adds:

"McGuinness used to be a senior member of the IRA, the group that killed the queen's cousin, Lord Louis Mountbatten in 1979. ... The handshake signals times have greatly changed since the end of the conflict, which claimed more than 3,500 lives, though some tensions remain."

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The Two-Way
7:44 am
Wed June 27, 2012

On The Left, Rangel Survives; On The Right, Hatch Easily Wins

Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., at his victory party Tuesday night.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Two high-profile, veteran lawmakers — one from the left side of the aisle and the other from the right — overcame primary challengers Tuesday. One had a much easier time than the other.

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The Two-Way
7:13 am
Wed June 27, 2012

'Epic' Wildfire Sends Tens Of Thousands Scrambling For Safety In Colorado

Flames from the Waldo Canyon Fire glowed on the western side of Colorado Springs, Colo., Tuesday night.
Bryan Oller AP

Originally published on Wed June 27, 2012 6:17 pm

"A firestorm of epic proportions" continues to threaten Colorado Springs, Colo., as more than 1,000 firefighters battle flames that by midday had forced more than 26,000 people to flee their homes.

It was local Fire Chief Rich Brown who called the inferno epic Tuesday night. Today, Lt. Jeff Kramer of the El Paso County Sheriff's Office said it's an event "that is certainly unprecedented in this city," The Denver Post reports.

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The Two-Way
2:07 pm
Tue June 26, 2012

How Do They Know Those Sprinters Finished In A Dead Heat?

In this handout photo provided by the USATF, Jeneba Tarmoh (bottom, lane 1) and Allyson Felix cross the finish line at exactly the same time in the women's 100 meter dash final during Day Two of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team Trials at Hayward Field on Saturday in Eugene, Ore. It's their torsos, not head, hands, feet or arms, that matter.
USATF Getty Images

As we wait to hear whether sprinters Allyson Felix and Jeneba Tarmoh will flip a coin or race again to determine who gets the third and final slot in the 100 meters for Team USA at the London Olympics, we've been wondering:

Just how do officials determine exactly how fast world-class sprinters are and just who has finished first, second or third when they're flashing past?

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The Two-Way
11:06 am
Tue June 26, 2012

If News Corp. Splits Its Businesses, Many Investors Would Be Pleased

Originally published on Wed June 27, 2012 8:15 am

With a simple statement saying that "it is considering a restructuring to separate its business into two distinct publicly traded companies," News Corp. this morning confirmed the thrust of a story reported by its own Wall Street Journal, NPR's David Folkenflik tells us.

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The Two-Way
9:36 am
Tue June 26, 2012

Home Prices Tick Up, Housing Market Recovery May Be Strengthening

This "For Sale" sign was hanging outside a home in Brooklyn, N.Y., earlier this month.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Tue June 26, 2012 9:42 am

Home prices rose in nearly all major U.S. cities in April from March, according to the latest S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices report.

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The Two-Way
9:03 am
Tue June 26, 2012

Turkey Warns Syria It May Respond Militarily If Provoked; Tensions Escalate

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan earlier today in Ankara.
Adem Altan AFP/Getty Images

"Any military element that approaches the Turkish border from Syria and poses a security risk and danger will be regarded as a threat and treated as a military target," Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan told his nation today.

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The Two-Way
8:27 am
Tue June 26, 2012

Orbitz Shows Mac Users Pricier Hotel Options: Big Deal Or No Brainer?

Using a Mac may mean you'll see some pricier options when booking online.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Tue June 26, 2012 3:26 pm

There's lots of chatter today about The Wall Street Journal's report that:

"Orbitz Worldwide Inc. has found that people who use Apple Inc.'s Mac computers spend as much as 30% more a night on hotels, so the online travel agency is starting to show them different, and sometimes costlier, travel options than Windows visitors see."

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The Two-Way
7:30 am
Tue June 26, 2012

Debby Is Really Dumping On Florida

Convenience store employee Lindsey Bennight watched floodwaters surround the store where she works in Crawfordville, Fla., on Monday (June 25, 2012).
Dave Martin AP

Debby is doing a number on folks along the Gulf Coast from Alabama to northern Florida.

The tropical storm, which has been lashing the region since the weekend, could dump another 2 feet of rain by the end of the week, forecasters warn. Residents are being warned to also watch out for tornadoes, flash floods and sinkholes.

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The Two-Way
1:57 pm
Thu June 21, 2012

After Knitters Get In A Twist, USOC Apologizes For 'Cease And Desist' Letter

Note to the USOC: Those are balls of yarn, not puts.
Michael Brandy AP

Originally published on Thu June 21, 2012 2:48 pm

It wouldn't seem to be a good idea to get 2 million people with pointy sticks angry at you, but the U.S. Olympic Committee did just that.

So it has just apologized for sending a "cease and desist" letter to a social networking site for knitters that is holding its own sort-of Olympic games.

Here's what the knotty legal dispute is about:

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The Two-Way
11:26 am
Thu June 21, 2012

Commerce Secretary Bryson Resigns; Suffered Seizure Earlier This Month

Commerce Secretary John Bryson.
Rajanish Kakade AP

Originally published on Thu June 21, 2012 11:40 am

Just under two weeks after suffering a seizure that led to two car accidents within minutes of each other, Commerce Secretary John Bryson has submitted his resignation.

Our former colleague David Gura (now with Marketplace) has downloaded a copy of Bryson's letter to the president and posted it here.

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The Two-Way
11:07 am
Thu June 21, 2012

Supreme Court Strikes Indecency Rules, Doesn't Address Free Speech Issue

Originally published on Thu June 21, 2012 5:20 pm

By an 8-0 vote, the Supreme Court today threw out fines the Federal Communications Commission filed against Fox and ABC.

The court did not address whether the FCC rules violated anyone's First Amendment right to free speech. Instead, the justices ruled that the FCC "failed to give Fox or ABC fair notice prior to the broadcasts in question that fleeting expletives and momentary nudity could be found actionably indecent."

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The Two-Way
9:21 am
Thu June 21, 2012

Bullied Bus Monitor Wants Apology, But Still Believes 'All Kids Aren't Bad'

From the video of Karen Klein being bullied.
youtube.com

Originally published on Thu June 21, 2012 2:46 pm

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The Two-Way
8:39 am
Thu June 21, 2012

Jobless Claims Hold Steady; 387,000 Filed Last Week

There were 387,000 first-time claims for jobless benefits filed last week, down just 2,000 from the week before, the Employment and Training Administration reports.

The previous week's number, by the way, was revised up slightly — to 389,000 from the initial estimate of 386,000.

The Associated Press writes that:

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The Two-Way
8:31 am
Thu June 21, 2012

Arrest Warrant Issued For Pakistan's Prime Minister Nominee

Makhdoom Shahabuddin, who has been nominated to be Pakistan's next prime minister.
Aamir Qureshi AFP/Getty Images

"Turmoil" doesn't seem like a strong enough word anymore to describe what's happening in Pakistani politics.

Tuesday, Pakistan's highest court ruled that Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani was "disqualified" from remaining in office because he had refused to reopen a multi-million-dollar corruption probe aimed at President Asif Ali Zardari.

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The Two-Way
8:05 am
Thu June 21, 2012

Zimmerman's Account Of Fatal Encounter With Trayvon Made Public

Defense attorney Mark O'Mara (left) with his client, George Zimmerman, at an April hearing related to second-degree murder charges in the killing of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla.
Pool Getty Images

Originally published on Thu June 21, 2012 12:06 pm

George Zimmerman's written, audio and video accounts of what happened when he shot and killed Trayvon Martin have been put online by his defense team. Much of what is in the materials has been previously reported, but their release offers the most detailed looks so far at his claim that he acted in self defense.

The materials, posted here, include the statement Zimmerman wrote on Feb. 26 — the day of his fatal encounter with 17-year-old Trayvon in Sanford, Fla. In it, the neighborhood watch volunteer writes:

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The Two-Way
7:14 am
Thu June 21, 2012

Syrian Fighter Jet Lands In Jordan, Pilot Reportedly Seeks Asylum

Originally published on Thu June 21, 2012 12:11 pm

"A Syrian MiG 21 fighter jet has landed in Jordan," al-Jazeera and other news outlets report. And according to Reuters, a Jordanian official says the pilot has asked for asylum. The BBC is reporting that news as well.

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The Two-Way
6:57 am
Thu June 21, 2012

Reminder: Supreme Court's Heath Care Ruling Possible Today

Waiting for word: The U.S. Supreme Court building.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu June 21, 2012 10:29 am

Update at 10:30 a.m. ET: The Supreme Court is done issuing opinions today and its take on the constitutionality of the 2010 health care overhaul was not among them.

The next likely day: Monday.

Our Original Post:

What we said on the last two Mondays applies again today:

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The Two-Way
4:37 pm
Wed June 20, 2012

House Committee Cites Attorney General Holder For Contempt

Attorney General Eric Holder during congressional testimony in 2011.
Jim Watson AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 20, 2012 4:46 pm

Acting along partisan lines, with a vote of 23 to 17, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee voted this afternoon to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt. Republicans, who control the committee, say Holder's Justice Department has not turned over all the documents that the committee needs to see as it probes the so-called Fast and Furious gun-trafficking operation.

And they want to know more about why the Justice Department initially told a senator that it had not pursued such an operation.

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The Two-Way
2:43 pm
Wed June 20, 2012

No iPads Or iPhones For You, Apple Store Clerk Tells Iranians

The scene at an Apple store.
Martin Bureau AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 20, 2012 2:51 pm

Sahar Sabet of Alpharetta, Ga., says that when she was in an Apple store at the local North Pointe Mall last week to buy an iPad and an iPhone, she and her uncle were overheard by a clerk.

The sales rep asked what language they were speaking and where they were from. When they said they were speaking Farsi and originally from Iran, Sabet tells Atlanta's WSB-TV, the clerk's response was a shock:

"I can't sell this to you."

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The Two-Way
10:36 am
Wed June 20, 2012

White House Exerts Executive Privilege Over 'Fast And Furious' Documents

Originally published on Wed June 20, 2012 3:24 pm

The battle between the Obama administration and the House Oversight and Government over the Fast and Furious operation just ratcheted up another notch. There's word that the White House is exerting executive privilege over documents that the committee's Republican majority has subpoenaed.

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