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
2:11 pm
Thu November 17, 2011

Baseball's Houston Astros To Switch Leagues In 2013

Where are we going, skip? Houston Astros manager Brad Mills, left, and pitching coach Doug Brocail.
John Sommers II Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 17, 2011 2:13 pm

The Houston Astros will be moving from Major League Baseball's National League to the American League "as soon as the 2013 season," MLB announced this afternoon.

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The Two-Way
12:22 pm
Thu November 17, 2011

California Court Says Same-Sex Marriage Opponents May Defend Prop 8

Originally published on Thu November 17, 2011 1:00 pm

Californians who oppose same-sex marriage just won a procedural victory in court.

The state's Supreme Court ruled this hour that opponents of same-sex marriage who successfully pushed the Proposition 8 law that bans such unions in the state may defend the initiative in court. The court's opinion is here.

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The Two-Way
11:40 am
Thu November 17, 2011

Arrests Being Made At Occupy Portland Protest, Scene Is 'Orderly'

In Los Angeles today: Occupy protesters march.
Jae C. Hong AP

Originally published on Thu November 17, 2011 3:31 pm

The focus is on Manhattan today as protesters mark the two-month anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement, but there are things happening in other U.S. cities as well. We'll add to this post as reports come in.

-- 4:15 p.m.: Our colleague Bill Chappell has used Storify to gather other feeds and reports about what's happening at various protests.

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The Two-Way
10:52 am
Thu November 17, 2011

90 Is The New 85: 'Oldest Old' Population Is Expanding Rapidly

From 720,000 in the year 1980 to more than 1.9 million in 2010, the number of Americans who are 90 years of age or older has nearly tripled, the Census Bureau reports today in its first comprehensive look at the over-90 population.

And according to the Census Bureau, "over the next four decades, this population is projected to more than quadruple."

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The Two-Way
9:25 am
Thu November 17, 2011

At Occupy Wall Street: Some Arrests; A Chaotic 'Morning Rush'

As Eyder continues to file posts from the streets of lower Manhattan, where Occupy Wall Street protesters have been on the march today, here are some other views of what's happening there and other resources for monitoring what's happening:

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The Two-Way
9:01 am
Thu November 17, 2011

White House Shooting Suspect Reportedly Hates Obama, Washington

Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez, who is in custody for allegedly firing shots toward the White House last week, "hates the president, he hates Washington, he hates society," a law enforcement official tells The Washington Post.

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The Two-Way
8:10 am
Thu November 17, 2011

Solyndra Loan Decisions 'Were Mine,' Energy Secretary Chu Says

"The final decisions on Solyndra were mine, and I made them with the best interest of the taxpayer in mind," Energy Secretary Steven Chu plans to tell Congress today, as a House committee digs into the controversial $528 million in federal loans made to the now-bankrupt solar energy company.

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The Two-Way
7:45 am
Thu November 17, 2011

Jobless Claims Decline By 5,000

There were 388,000 first-time claims for unemployment insurance last week, down 5,000 from the week before, the Employment and Training Administration just reported.

The agency also said that the "4-week moving average" of claims — a way of gauging the trend over a slightly longer period of time — was "396,750, a decrease of 4,000 from the previous week's revised average of 400,750."

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The Two-Way
7:10 am
Thu November 17, 2011

Top Stories: Occupy Wall Street Day Of Action; Penn State Scandal

Good morning.

Occupy Wall Street protesters in New York have begun what they say will be a day full of marches, civil disobedience and other actions aimed at — this is their goal — shutting down Wall Street.

Eyder is there to follow the story as it develops. His posts from the streets are being collected here.

Our other early-morning headlines:

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The Two-Way
3:13 pm
Wed November 16, 2011

New Judge Named To Handle Penn State Scandal Case

A judge from a different Pennsylvania county who "has no known connections with Pennsylvania State University, the Second Mile charity, nor any officers or representatives of any of those entities," will handle the Dec. 7 preliminary hearing of the case against accused child sex abuser Jerry Sandusky, The Patriot-News of Harrisburg reports.

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The Two-Way
2:50 pm
Wed November 16, 2011

Benetton Drops Image Of Pope Kissing Imam After Vatican Objects

Reacting to sharp objections from the Vatican over a digitally created ad image showing Pope Benedict XVI kissing an Egyptian imam, Benetton has quickly agreed to drop the photo illustration from its new "Unhate" campaign.

The company just posted this statement:

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The Two-Way
2:31 pm
Wed November 16, 2011

Other Victims Of Arizona Rampage Move On Without Letting Go

Suzi Hileman inspects an aloe on her front porch on Wednesday, Aug. 24.
Ron Medvescek Courtesy Arizona Daily Star

We've heard from Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) in recent days about her slow recovery from being shot in the head on Jan. 8.

There were 18 other victims of that day's shooting rampage in Tucson — six of whom died. And beyond them, there are dozens of family members and loved ones in pain about what happened.

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The Two-Way
10:15 am
Wed November 16, 2011

Bullets Found At White House, One Struck A Window

The "Israel" tattoo on Ortega-Herndandez's neck.
U.S. Park Police

Originally published on Wed November 16, 2011 1:27 pm

(New top to this post added at 2:20 p.m. ET)

The U.S. Secret Service just confirmed that Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez has been arrested in connection with the gunshots fired Friday night in Washington — one of which apparently hit a window at the White House.

In a statement sent to reporters, the agency says:

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The Two-Way
8:40 am
Wed November 16, 2011

Manufacturing Output Up For Fourth Straight Month

Though the U.S. economy faces lots of problems, as we said yesterday, there are some encouraging signs out there too.

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The Two-Way
8:19 am
Wed November 16, 2011

Syrian Defectors Attack Military Sites, Opposition Groups Say

"Syrian activists say that army defectors have attacked an intelligence complex in the Damascus suburbs in what appears to be one of their boldest assaults so far against government security forces," al-Jazeera reports.

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The Two-Way
7:50 am
Wed November 16, 2011

Consumer Prices Ticked Down In October

There was a scant 0.1 percent dip in the consumer price index in October from September, the Bureau of Labor Statistics just reported.

The major reason for the dip: "The energy index turned down in October after increasing in each of the three previous months as the gasoline and household energy indexes declined after a series of seasonally adjusted increases."

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The Two-Way
7:30 am
Wed November 16, 2011

Zuccotti Park 'Unoccupied And Quiet' As Day Begins

After yesterday's drama — the move by police to clear lower Manhattan's Zuccotti Park of the Occupy Wall Street protesters who had been camping there for nearly two months — things are much different today.

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The Two-Way
7:00 am
Wed November 16, 2011

Penn State Scandal: Key Witness Says He Did Talk With University Police

Mike McQueary during a Penn State football game in 2009.
Tony Ding AP

Originally published on Wed November 16, 2011 7:08 am

In an email to a friend, Mike McQueary says he did speak with Penn State University police after seeing what he says was former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky sexually assaulting a young boy in the team's locker room.

Harrisburg's Patriot-News writes that McQueary, who at the time of the 2002 incident was a graduate assistant with the football team and later became an assistant coach, says in the email that:

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The Two-Way
6:25 am
Wed November 16, 2011

'Murmurings' Of A Deal On Taxes And Deficit Reduction

There's one week to go before the so-called supercommittee on Capitol Hill is supposed to come up with a deal that combines at least $1.2 trillion in budget cuts and revenue increases to narrow upcoming deficits over the next decade. If lawmakers don't reach an agreement, that amount of spending cuts are supposed to happen automatically — with about 50 percent coming from defense and 50 percent from domestic spending other than Social Security and Medicare.

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The Two-Way
12:45 pm
Tue November 15, 2011

The Citadel Faces Abuse Scandal Similar To Penn State's

Note: There are some details of alleged sexual activity with minors in this post.

There's a story unfolding in Charleston, S.C., that sounds depressingly similar to the scandal that has rocked Penn State University.

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The Two-Way
10:30 am
Tue November 15, 2011

Rep. Giffords: 'I Want To Get Back To Work'

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords last May.
P.K. Weis Facebook.com/GabrielleGiffords

From a conversation later today on All Things Considered with her husband Mark Kelly, to last night's interview with the couple on ABC-TV to an audio message for her constituents, there are several things to pass along this morning about Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) and the recovery she's making from being shot in the head last January.

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The Two-Way
8:58 am
Tue November 15, 2011

Wear Milk? Apparently You Can

Milk seems to suit her well: A model in a dress made of Qmilch.
Michael Sohn AP

Originally published on Tue November 15, 2011 10:28 am

An Associated Press story that says a "28-year-old German is the designer of an award-winning new textile made entirely from milk that's environmentally friendly as well as soothing to people with skin allergies," caught our eye this morning — especially when we saw that the noo ... er, new ... product is called Qmilch.

That's "q" for quality and milch for milk (in German). Sounds like a winning word for Scrabble fans.

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The Two-Way
8:15 am
Tue November 15, 2011

What's Ailing The Economy? What Isn't?

Originally published on Tue November 15, 2011 8:19 am

For all of us who want to know when the economy's going to get moving again and when we'll start to see some consistently healthy job growth, the conversation that opened Morning Edition today was enlightening — though not particularly encouraging.

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The Two-Way
7:40 am
Tue November 15, 2011

Retail Sales Rose More Than Forecast In October

Two new economic indicators:

-- Sales in the retail and food sectors rose 0.5 percent in October from September, the Census Bureau says. They were up 7.2 percent from October 2010.

Bloomberg News says the increase in retail sales was "more than projected as Americans snapped up new Apple Inc. iPhones and demand for automobiles improved."

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