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
8:47 am
Mon January 13, 2014

Permit To Hunt And Kill One Black Rhino Sold For $350,000

A black rhino in Namibia's Etosha National Park.
Frans Lanting DPA/Landov

Originally published on Mon January 13, 2014 11:23 am

The Dallas Safari Club's controversial auction of a permit to hunt one black rhino in Namibia raised $350,000 over the weekend, the club confirms on its Facebook page.

That's at the lower end of the range that club executive Ben Carter had expected. In December, he told NPR that he hoped the auction would raise $225,000 to $1 million.

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The Two-Way
8:07 am
Mon January 13, 2014

Slowly, Water Is Flowing Again In West Virginia

On Saturday in South Charleston, W.Va., Cathy Mabe was one of many who came to get water from a temporary filling station.
Lisa Hechesky Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Mon January 13, 2014 8:20 pm

  • On 'Morning Edition': Ashton Marra reports from West Virginia

Relief is finally arriving for the 300,000 or so people in nine West Virginia counties who haven't been able to drink, cook or clean with their tap water for more than four days.

Officials announced at noon Monday that tests show the level of a potentially harmful chemical have fallen to the point where the water can be turned back on. But, they cautioned that the process of bringing customers back on line will take several days and has to be done systematically.

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The Two-Way
7:49 am
Mon January 13, 2014

Ariel Sharon Remembered As Man Of War And Peace

Israeli soldiers carry the coffin of former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on Monday in Jerusalem.
Daniel Naupold DPA/Landov

Originally published on Mon January 13, 2014 10:19 am

  • On 'Morning Edition': NPR's Emily Harris reports on the funeral for Ariel Sharon

As Israelis paid their respects Monday to former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon with a memorial service and funeral, one of his contemporaries on the world stage offered this view of the general and statesman who an iconic and controversial figure:

"The idea that he changed from man of war to a man of peace," is mistaken, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said during a memorial service at the Knesset, Israel's legislature.

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The Two-Way
12:01 am
Mon January 13, 2014

Gates: Obama Made Solid Decisions, But Was Swayed By Factious Staff

Robert Gates in June 2011, his last month as secretary of defense.
Alex Brandon AP

Originally published on Mon January 27, 2014 11:07 am

  • Part II of the 'Morning Edition' conversation with Robert Gates

Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates says his criticism of President Obama is more nuanced than media reports about his new book, Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War, would have you believe.

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The Two-Way
1:11 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

Same-Sex Couples In Utah Made Eligible For Federal Benefits

Chris Serrano, left, and Clifton Webb embrace after being married on Dec. 20 in the Salt Lake County Clerk's Office in Salt Lake City.
Kim Raff AP

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 3:35 pm

"Attorney General Eric Holder announced Friday that the federal government will recognize the 900-plus same-sex marriages that took place in Utah during the two weeks when such unions were legal," NPR's Nina Totenberg writes for us.

That means those couples "will be eligible for all federal benefits," NPR's Carrie Johnson adds.

In a statement, Holder says that:

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The Two-Way
12:06 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

Gates Says His Points About Obama Have Been Mischaracterized

Robert Gates waves and President Obama claps at the then-defense secretary's farewell ceremony in June 2011.
Jason Reed Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 2:08 pm

  • On 'Morning Edition': Steve Inskeep and David Greene discuss NPR's interview with Robert Gates

Reports this week about former Defense Secretary Robert Gates' new book have implied that he thinks President Obama approved a 2009 troop surge in Afghanistan "believing the strategy would fail," as NPR's Steve Inskeep said on Friday's Morning Edition.

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The Two-Way
11:08 am
Fri January 10, 2014

Franklin McCain, One Of 'Greensboro Four,' Dies

(From left) Joseph McNeil and Franklin McCain, two of the Greensboro Four who the day before had sat at the "whites only" counter of a Woolworth store, came back on Feb. 2, 1960, with two others — Billy Smith and Clarence Henderson.
Jack Moebes/Greensboro News & Record

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 2:08 pm

Franklin McCain, one of the "Greensboro Four" who in 1960 sat down at a whites-only lunch counter in North Carolina and launched a sit-in movement that would soon spread to cities across the nation, has died.

North Carolina A&T State University said Friday morning that McCain died Thursday "after a brief illness at Moses Cone Hospital in Greensboro."

Our colleagues at WUNC report that McCain had just turned 73. Other news outlets are reporting he was 71.

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The Two-Way
8:28 am
Fri January 10, 2014

Target Says 70 Million Individuals' Data May Have Been Stolen

Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 9:52 am

The size of the data breach at Target Co. stores late last year took a sharp rise Friday when the retailer said it now estimates that up to 70 million individuals may have had information that includes their "names, mailing addresses, phone numbers or email addresses" stolen.

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The Two-Way
8:15 am
Fri January 10, 2014

Economy Adds Only 74,000 Jobs In December; Jobless Rate At 6.7 Percent

Sign of the times? A "help wanted" sign in the window of a Philadelphia business last year.
Matt Rourke AP

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 2:08 pm

  • On 'Morning Edition': NPR's Yuki Noguchi and David Greene preview the jobs report
We'll be posting updates after the report's 8:30 a.m. ET release.

There were only 74,000 jobs added to public and private payrolls in December, but the unemployment rate fell to a 5-year low 6.7 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said Friday morning.

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The Two-Way
7:17 am
Fri January 10, 2014

Chemical Leak Causes Water Emergency In West Virginia; Plant Shut Down

In Charleston, W.Va., the shelves of this Kroger supermarket had been nearly stripped of bottled water on Thursday. Residents rushed to buy water after a chemical spill led officials to warn that they not use what's coming out of their taps.
Tyler Evert AP

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 7:13 pm

More than 100,000 customers of one water company in West Virginia have been warned not to drink, cook or wash with the water coming from their taps because of chemicals that seeped into the Elk River near Charleston on Thursday.

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The Two-Way
3:06 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

NSA Says It Would Welcome Public Advocate At FISA Court

The National Security Agency headquarters building in Fort Meade, Md.
Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 12:45 pm

  • NSA's John Inglis on why you need a haystack
  • NSA's John Inglis compares what Edward Snowden did to arson

The National Security Agency "would welcome" the creation of a public advocate's position at the court that oversees its electronic surveillance programs, said its outgoing deputy director.

John C. "Chris" Inglis, who retires Friday after more than seven years as the NSA's No. 2, told Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep that "I would only put the caveat on there that it needs to be operationally efficient."

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The Two-Way
11:01 am
Thu January 9, 2014

While U.S. Shivers, Australia And Brazil Sizzle

At the Australian Bat Clinic in Queensland, 15 baby flying foxes (bats) were lined up and ready to be fed Thursday. They were brought there to get out of the extreme heat, which has killed hundreds of thousands of bats.
Trish Wimberley AP

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 12:18 pm

Temperatures across much of the U.S. are, as forecast, finally starting to get back to something close to normal after several days of dangerously cold air.

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The Two-Way
9:03 am
Thu January 9, 2014

More Slow-But-Steady News: Fewer Jobless Claims Filed

Looking for work in Florida. At a November career fair in West Palm Beach, this man had a job application in hand.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 12:15 pm

There were 330,000 first-time claims filed for unemployment insurance last week, down 15,000 from the week before, the Employment and Training Administration says.

The claims data are the last bits of evidence about how the labor market is doing before Friday's scheduled release of figures on the December unemployment rate and payroll growth.

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The Two-Way
8:04 am
Thu January 9, 2014

An 'Embarrassed And Humiliated' Gov. Christie Apologizes

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speaks Thursday during a news conference Thursday at the Statehouse in Trenton, N.J.
Mel Evans AP

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 8:54 pm

  • On 'Morning Edition': WNYC's Matt Katz talks with Renee Montagne about the New Jersey bridge scandal
  • Gov. Christie: 'I had no knowledge'
This post was updated with the latest news at 8:45 p.m. ET.

Saying he is "embarrassed and humiliated by the conduct of some people on my team," New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Thursday apologized to the people of New Jersey for his aides' role in a scheme to punish the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee by closing lanes that lead to the George Washington Bridge.

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The Two-Way
6:56 am
Thu January 9, 2014

'I Had Been Drinking,' Rodman Says In Apology For Comments

Dennis Rodman in December, during one of his previous visits to North Korea.
David Guttenfelder AP

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 12:24 pm

Saying that "I had been drinking," former NBA player Dennis Rodman has had his publicist issue an apology for the obscenity-laced rant he went on earlier this week during an interview on CNN.

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The Two-Way
2:40 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

How Would You React In A Shooting? Have A Plan, Experts Say

Newtown, Conn., Dec. 20, 2012: Stuffed animals and a candle arrangement at a streetside memorial for the 20 children and six adults killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
John Moore Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 10:28 am

The annual number of mass murders and attempted mass murders in the U.S. has tripled since 2008, to 15 last year, according to statistics that the FBI and Justice Department have been citing in recent weeks.

In a new study posted online by the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, experts make the case that "police have, generally, done an excellent job responding to active shooter events quickly."

But, they add:

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The Two-Way
11:53 am
Wed January 8, 2014

Emails Tie Gov. Christie's Aides To Lane Closings Controversy

Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J.
Kena Betancur Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 8:20 pm

Update at 8:15 p.m. ET: Gov. Christie Responds

In the late afternoon, Gov. Chris Christie released a statement expressing anger at the situation and denying involvement in what appeared to be an act of political payback:

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The Two-Way
11:21 am
Wed January 8, 2014

Maddux, Glavine And Thomas Going To Baseball Hall Of Fame

At the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., a young fan reads about the game's greats.
Jim McIsaac Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 3:43 pm

Updated at 2:10 p.m. ET

Two great pitchers from the Atlanta Braves and one great slugger who spent many of his best years with the Chicago White Sox are the newest additions to baseball's Hall of Fame.

The new inductees were announced at 2 p.m. ET Wednesday and they are:

-- Greg Maddux of the Braves

-- Tom Glavine of the Braves and later the New York Mets

-- Frank Thomas, who played for Oakland and Toronto as well as the White Sox. He's the first player who spent most of his career as a designated hitter to be put in the Hall of Fame.

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The Two-Way
9:12 am
Wed January 8, 2014

Hell Has Frozen Over, Headline Writers Rejoice

Hell, Mich., is embracing its frozen fame. The town's Facebook page now features this photo from 2003.
Keasha LeClear-Morse Facebook.com/gotohellmichigan

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 12:13 pm

When it gets super-cold in Hell, Mich., guess what headline writers and radio hosts have to say about it:

Hell Has Frozen Over

A Google News search of that phrase at 8:45 a.m. ET Wednesday turned up 3,980 results.

The hardy souls in the tiny town near Ann Arbor don't seem to mind the attention.

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The Two-Way
7:32 am
Wed January 8, 2014

Death Toll From Deep Freeze Tops 20; Warm-Up Is Coming

A man walks through a steam cloud in frigid cold temperatures Tuesday in Manhattan.
Brendan McDermid Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 10:58 am

The deaths of at least 21 people are now being blamed on the winter storms and severe cold weather that have gripped much of the nation since late last week, The Associated Press reported early Wednesday.

At least half have been attributed to weather-related traffic accidents. The wire service adds that:

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The Two-Way
7:30 am
Wed January 8, 2014

Ships Break Free In Antarctica, U.S. Icebreaker Not Needed

The Chinese research vessel and icebreaker Xue Long broke free from ice and was back in the open waters off Antarctica on Tuesday.
Zhang Jiansong Xinhua/Landov

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 10:56 am

There's good news from Antarctica, where two ships that had been stuck in ice — one of them for about two weeks — have managed to get to open waters.

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The Two-Way
2:17 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

Extreme Cold Convinces Escaped Convict To Give Up: VIDEO

Robert Vick, in an undated photo provided by Kentucky Department of Corrections. After a cold night and day, he asked to be put back in prison.
AP

Sunday night, 42-year-old Robert Vick escaped from the minimum security Blackburn Correction Complex in Kentucky.

By Monday evening, he'd apparently had enough of the sub-zero temperatures gripping the Bluegrass State and much of the rest of the nation. Vick showed up at the office of the Sunset Motel in Lexington and asked the clerk to call the authorities.

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The Two-Way
12:22 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

What Is The Polar Vortex And Why Is It Doing This To Us?

Ice has built up along Lake Michigan in Chicago as temperatures have plunged in recent days. A dip in the polar vortex is to blame.
Scott Olson Getty Images
  • On 'Morning Edition': science writer Andrew Freedman talks with NPR's David Greene about the polar vortex

We've mentioned the polar vortex several times in recent days.

We've said, for instance, that it's "a low pressure system that's usually whirling around the North Pole but has weakened and come south."

But we're still getting asked this question:

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The Two-Way
11:27 am
Tue January 7, 2014

Run Run Shaw, Kung Fu Movie Pioneer, Dies

Sir Run Run Shaw in 2010.
Bobby Yip Reuters/Landov
  • On 'Morning Edition': NPR's David Greene talks about Run Run Shaw

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The Two-Way
9:36 am
Tue January 7, 2014

Deaths Are Bitter Reminder Of Cold Snap's Dangers

This woman in Chicago was well protected from the cold on Monday.
Kamil Krzaczynski EPA/Landov

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 11:56 am

While this week's super-cold conditions across much of the nation are fascinating and fun for many of us, there is a far more serious side to the story.

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