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
6:30 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 6:35 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
6:05 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 6:14 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
5:00 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
1:32 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 9:48 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
10:00 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
9:45 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
9:25 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
8:40 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 8:42 am

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The Two-Way
8:24 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
7:25 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
6:55 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 7:01 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
6:30 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
2:45 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
2:10 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
11:05 am
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 11:06 am

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
10:04 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
9:30 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 9:31 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
8:20 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 10:37 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
7:36 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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The Two-Way
7:15 am
Thu March 22, 2012

After Trayvon Martin's Death, We're All Having 'The Talk'

When he was killed on Feb. 26, Trayvon Martin was said to be wearing a hooded sweatshirt. In New York City on Wednesday, hundreds of people gathered for a "Million Hoodies" march to call attention to his death.
Mario Tama Getty Images
  • From 'Morning Edition,' on 'The Talk'

A national discussion about race continues in the wake of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin's death last month in Sanford, Fla.

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The Two-Way
5:50 am
Thu March 22, 2012

Explosions, Gunfire At Sight Of Standoff With Murder Suspect In France

Members of a special police force unit at the site of the standoff in Toulouse, France, today.
Pascal Guyot AFP/Getty Images
  • French Interior Minister Claude Guéant (translated)

After a massive manhunt and a two-day standoff at an apartment building in Toulouse, French authorities say a man who claimed to be a member of al-Qaida and to have killed seven people in recent weeks is now dead himself.

According to French Interior Minister Claude Guéant, in the hour before 7 a.m. ET there was a dramatic conclusion to the saga that had gripped France and gotten the attention of people around the world.

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The Two-Way
2:05 pm
Wed March 21, 2012

Wisconsin City Wonders: What Keeps Going Boom?

As Green Bay's NBC26-TV shows, Clintonville's mysterious boom times are the "big story" in that part of Wisconsin.
NBC26

Originally published on Wed March 21, 2012 2:49 pm

It's "the big story" in east central Wisconsin, as Green Bay's NBC26-TV reports:

Something keeps going boom in the city of Clintonville, and no one there has figured out for sure why it's happening.

For three days now, folks in Clintonville (population 4,600) have been rattled and rolled by noises that residents say sound like explosions and feel like little earthquakes.

City officials have mobilized work crews to get out to see if the noises are coming from gas lines or other pipes. No evidence was found.

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The Two-Way
12:45 pm
Wed March 21, 2012

Gingrich: Some 'Brand New Players' Might Emerge At GOP Convention

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 23, 2012 6:03 am

Saying that Mitt Romney may not be able to "grind his way toward the nomination" despite a huge fundraising advantage, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich told NPR today that he sees no reason to exit the Republican presidential race and that there's a chance of a new contender emerging at the party's convention in August.

"I'm not so sure you wouldn't get a series of brand new players" stepping forward during a brokered convention, he told Morning Edition co-host Steve Inskeep.

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The Two-Way
12:05 pm
Wed March 21, 2012

NFL Slams Saints Over Bountygate; Coach Suspended For 2012 Season

New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton, left, and then-defensive coordinator Gregg Williams in August 2010.
Chris Graythen Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 21, 2012 1:03 pm

New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton has been "suspended for one season without pay for his involvement in the team's bounty program," NFL.com reports.

The team's former defensive coordinator, Gregg Williams, "has been suspended indefinitely." He ran the program that paid players bounties for hits that knocked opponents out of games. Williams left the Saints after last season to join the St. Louis Rams.

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