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
10:22 am
Thu December 12, 2013

Sriracha Maker Told To Hold Its Sauce For 30 Days

Frederic J. Brown AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 12:14 pm

Already under orders from a court to partially shut down production because of concerns that spicy smells from its Irwindale, Calif., plant are irritating neighbors' eyes, noses and throats, Huy Fong Foods has now been told it can't ship its Sriracha hot sauce until at least 30 days after bottling.

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The Two-Way
9:25 am
Thu December 12, 2013

Must-Cry Video? Watch WestJet Airline's 'Christmas Miracle'

One of the happy passengers who arrived in Calgary to find a present from Santa, thanks to WestJet Airlines.
WestJet

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 10:13 am

Some Scrooges will say, "Bah humbug, it's just a public relations stunt."

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The Two-Way
8:57 am
Thu December 12, 2013

Big Jump In Jobless Claims Blamed On Seasonal Factors

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 10:18 am

Data such as the weekly figures on jobless claims are supposed to be "seasonally adjusted" to account for temporary factors that aren't really connected to the underlying strength or weakness of the economy.

But Thursday morning's report seems to underscore how hard it can be to make such adjustments.

According to the Employment and Training Administration, there were 368,000 first-time claims filed for jobless benefits last week — far above the 300,000 applications the week before.

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The Two-Way
7:41 am
Thu December 12, 2013

Baseball Plans To Ban Home Plate Collisions; Good Idea?

Pete Rose of the National League barreled into American League catcher Ray Fosse at the 1970 All-Star Game in Cincinnati. It's one of the most famous home plate collisions in Major League Baseball history.
AP

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 10:34 am

It's one of baseball's "most traditional and most violent plays," as NPR's Tom Goldman says.

Starting as soon as next season, though, Major League Baseball will move to ban intentional collisions at home plate involving runners trying to score and catchers trying to tag them out.

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The Two-Way
6:43 am
Thu December 12, 2013

It's 'Not Great,' But Budget Deal Is Expected To Pass In The House

Jonathan Ernst Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 6:44 pm

The House is expected to vote Thursday on the bipartisan deal that would set spending levels for the next two years, replace many of the indiscriminate "sequester" budget cuts and, in theory at least, take off the table one of the most partisan of the many partisan issues that have contributed to the gridlock in Washington.

NPR's Tamara Keith tells our Newscast desk that passage is expected but not certain. She adds that:

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The Two-Way
12:58 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

'World Is Watching,' U.S. Diplomat Tells Ukraine

U.S. Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland offered food to pro-European Union activists as she and U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt, right, walked through Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine, on Wednesday. She also offered food to some of the police nearby.
Andrew Kravchenko AP

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 1:39 pm

While Ukrainian riot police have reportedly left Kiev's Independence Square, one of the United States' top diplomats says she has told President Viktor Yanukovych that "what happened last night, what has been happening in security terms here, is absolutely impermissible in a European state, in a democratic state."

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The Two-Way
11:39 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Lululemon Bets New Leaders Will Help It See Through Woes

Lululemon clothes at a store in Pasadena, Calif.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 12:27 pm

Yoga clothier Lululemon began the year with an embarrassing problem — pants that allowed way too much of women's bottoms to be seen through their sheer fabric.

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The Two-Way
10:34 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Asiana Pilot Was 'Very Concerned' Before California Crash

The wreckage of Asiana Airlines flight 214 on the runway at San Francisco International Airport last July.
National Transportation Safety Board Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 6:07 am

The pilot of an Asiana Airlines passenger jet that crashed in July at San Francisco International Airport has told investigators he was "very concerned" about trying to land there, The Associated Press writes.

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The Two-Way
9:35 am
Wed December 11, 2013

'Fake' Sign Language Interpreter Marred Mandela Memorial

As President Obama and other world leaders spoke Tuesday in Johannesburg at a memorial for Nelson Mandela, a man stood nearby and appeared to be doing sign language interpretation. Many in the deaf community are outraged because the man appeared to be faking.
Pedro Ugarte AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 1:52 pm

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The Two-Way
8:19 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Pope Francis Is Person Of The Year, 'Time' Says

Time.com

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 1:02 pm

"For pulling the papacy out of the palace and into the streets, for committing the world's largest faith to confronting its deepest needs and for balancing judgment with mercy, Pope Francis is Time's 2013 Person of the Year."

The magazine adds that:

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The Two-Way
7:09 am
Wed December 11, 2013

'Something For Everyone To Dislike' In Budget Deal

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray, D-Wash., and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., crafted the budget deal.
T.J. Kirkpatrick Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 4:37 pm

  • On 'Morning Edition': NPR's Tamara Keith reports on the budget deal
  • On 'Morning Edition': Sen. Patty Murray speaks with Steve Inskeep

The reviews are coming in for the bipartisan budget deal crafted by Republican Rep. Paul Ryan and Democratic Sen. Patty Murray and as the Los Angeles Times says, the package seems to have "something for everyone to dislike."

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The Two-Way
5:05 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Seahawks Fans Cause Earthquake, Set Noise Record

A Seattle Seahawks fan at Monday night's game, when he and other helped set a new noise record and made the ground rumble.
Elaine Thompson AP

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 7:23 am

They're louder than a jet on takeoff and they make the earth tremble.

We're talking about fans of the NFL's Seattle Seahawks.

During the team's home game Monday night against the New Orleans Saints, "Seahawks fans jumping up and down during" a fumble return for a touchdown "registered about a magnitude 1 or 2 earthquake," The Seattle Times' The Today File blog reports.

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The Two-Way
5:03 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Train Engineer 'Nodded At Controls,' Official Says

Monday, as a train on an unaffected track passed by (in the background) work continued on removing the commuter cars that derailed the day before.
Mark Lennihan AP

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 2:30 am

Updated at 2:00 a.m. ET Wednesday:

Federal investigators in New York announced late Tuesday that they had removed the rail employees union, the Association of Commuter Rail Employees, as a participant in the investigation. According to The Associated Press, investigators cited a breach of confidentiality after Anthony Bottalico, leader of the union, spoke to the media concerning comments train engineer William Rockefeller had made about what happened moments before Sunday's derailment.

Update at 8 p.m. ET:

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The Two-Way
3:08 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

'This Law Is Working,' Obama Says Of Health Care

While conceding that "more problems may pop up as they always do when you're launching something new," President Obama on Tuesday said the troubled HealthCare.gov website "is working well for the vast majority of users" and his Affordable Care Act "is working and will work into the future."

"We may never satisfy the law's opponents," Obama added during an afternoon event at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building adjacent to the White House. But, he said, "we know the demand [for health insurance] is there and we know the product on these marketplaces is good."

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The Two-Way
1:40 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Dead Mice Update: Tiny Assassins Dropped On Guam Again

Researchers hope Guam's snakes take the bait.
Micha Klootwijk iStockPhoto.com

Dead mice laced with acetaminophen have for the fourth time been dropped from helicopters into trees on Guam in an experiment aimed at killing snakes that have devastated the island's bird population and caused other damage.

No, we haven't been duped by something written by The Onion.

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The Two-Way
11:49 am
Tue December 3, 2013

Detroit Is Eligible For Bankruptcy Protection, Judge Rules

The Detroit skyline as seen from Windsor, Ontario, across the Detroit River.
Rebecca Cook Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 6:55 am

The largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history took a major step forward Tuesday when a federal judge ruled that the city of Detroit is eligible for protection under Chapter 9 of the U.S. bankruptcy code.

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The Two-Way
5:56 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

'TipsForJesus' Is Leaving Thousands Of Dollars For Servers

One of the two checks that "TipsForJesus" signed at a restaurant in South Bend, Ind., on Oct. 19. The anonymous givers added $5,000 to each of the bills.
@TipsForJesus

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 5:57 pm

"Crazy-generous" tips, as Gawker says, have been showing up on checks across the nation as some anonymous good Samaritans known only as "TipsForJesus" add hundreds or thousands of dollars to their restaurant and bar bills.

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The Two-Way
3:47 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

Amazon's Drone Has Many Asking 'What Could Go Wrong?'

Buzzing to a neighborhood near you? Amazon.com's Prime Air prototype may someday fly small packages right to customers' homes.
AP

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 6:37 pm

The news that Amazon is hoping to one day use semi-autonomous drones to deliver small packages to customers has many asking a familiar question:

What could go wrong?

Check this tweet:

"An Amazon drone!? What could go wrong?! 'They're autonomous' - this is how the Terminator started FYI..."

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The Two-Way
2:16 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

For First Time In Memory, Icelandic Police Shoot And Kill

Police officers in Reykjavik, Iceland, are rarely armed.
Halldor Kolbeins AFP/Getty Images

A police raid Monday on a home in Reykjavík, Iceland, ended with the death of a 59-year-old man who was shot by officers after he reportedly fired a weapon at them.

According to local news outlets, it's believed to be the first time in that nation of more than 315,000 people that someone has been killed by police fire.

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The Two-Way
12:29 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

Comet ISON Is No More, NASA Says

NASA took a series of images to create this "timelapse" view of comet ISON's trip around the sun.
NASA

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 6:02 pm

Comet ISON, a "shining green candle in the solar wind," is no longer with us, NASA declared Monday morning in a tribute to what many hoped would be the "comet of the century."

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The Two-Way
11:28 am
Mon December 2, 2013

VIDEO: Eagle Snatches Camera, Flies Away, Takes Great Selfie

Caught red-beaked: This eagle grabbed a small wildlife camera in western Australia, flew away with it and then pecked away at the lens.
ABC Kimberley

We've been fascinated by an "eagle cam" trained on a nest in Iowa and been thrilled by the view from a camera attached to an eagle that soared above Chamonix, France.

If you liked those, you'll likely be interested in this, too:

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The Two-Way
1:15 pm
Wed November 27, 2013

Who Knew? Seahorses Are Stone Cold Killers: VIDEO

The profile of a killer (a high-speed digital image of dwarf seahorse).
University of Texas at Austin

Originally published on Wed November 27, 2013 6:44 pm

Sharks? They're pussycats in comparison.

Piranhas? More like hah-hahs.

Sea snakes? Call them sea fakes.

According to new research from the University of Texas Marine Science Institute, the pokey little seahorse is an aquatic killing machine:

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The Two-Way
12:05 pm
Wed November 27, 2013

Italian Senate Strips Berlusconi Of His Seat

Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi gestures during a speech to supporters Wednesday in Rome.
Tony Gentile Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed November 27, 2013 1:22 pm

Update at 12:25 p.m. ET. Berlusconi Expelled:

"Vote is done. Berlusconi is no longer senator," Reuters reported just before noon ET on its live blog.

So, former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who as we said earlier has survived many other threats to his political life, now faces perhaps his most serious challenge.

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The Two-Way
10:15 am
Wed November 27, 2013

Please Send This Man Photos Of Snow On Your Patio Furniture

Just what Denver news anchor Kyle Clark doesn't want to see.
Kenneth Martin Landov

Originally published on Wed November 27, 2013 1:30 pm

If you haven't seen it yet, take a couple minutes to watch this video of Denver news anchor Kyle Clark's funny appeal to the people of Colorado to stop sending his TV station so many pictures of snow piled up on their patio furniture.

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The Two-Way
9:00 am
Wed November 27, 2013

Good News, Bad News: Jobless Claims Dip, But Key Orders Drop

While a key measure of factory orders weakened in October, there's better news about the labor market: fewer Americans are filing claims for unemployment insurance.
Mark Duncan AP

First, the good news:

There were 316,000 first-time claims filed for unemployment insurance last week, down 10,000 from the week before, the Employment and Training Administration said Wednesday.

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