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
10:33 am
Tue September 3, 2013

Syria Resolution Will Hit Mark, Obama Predicts

Originally published on Tue September 3, 2013 11:25 am

The White House is working with congressional leaders to shape a resolution that authorizes the type of military action that would send a "clear message" to President Bashar Assad and cripple the Syrian leader's "capability to use chemical weapons not just now but in the future," President Obama said Tuesday.

Sitting with leaders from both major parties, the president also said he is confident lawmakers are "going to be able to come up with something that hits that mark."

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The Two-Way
9:37 am
Tue September 3, 2013

McCain Says Right Strikes Can Hurt Assad's Capabilities

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., met with President Obama on Sunday at the White House.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue September 3, 2013 1:18 pm

By "taking out Bashar Assad's delivery capabilities of chemical weapons" the U.S. can make it much harder for the Syrian leader to wage war against his people and perhaps level the fighting field or turn it in favor of Assad's opponents, Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona said Tuesday on Morning Edition.

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The Two-Way
9:30 am
Tue September 3, 2013

The Lava Lamp Has Turned 50; Here's Some Groovy Video

Far out.
Superfloop Flickr

Originally published on Tue September 3, 2013 12:52 pm

Not much more needs to be said, man: The lava lamp "first hit stores in Britain on this day in 1963."

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The Two-Way
7:55 am
Tue September 3, 2013

'The Worm' Returns To North Korea; Rodman Visits Again

Former basketball star Dennis Rodman at Beijing Capital International Airport on Tuesday, before his flight to Pyongyang, North Korea.
Petar Kujundzic Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Tue September 3, 2013 8:48 am

  • From the NPR Newscast: Anthony Kuhn reports on Dennis Rodman's latest visit to North Korea

Former NBA star Dennis Rodman is visiting North Korea again, six months after spending time there with dictator Kim Jong Un — an "awesome" man, in Rodman's opinion.

NPR's Anthony Kuhn reports from Beijing that:

"Rodman was spotted transiting the Beijing airport en route to Pyongyang, sporting his characteristic lip and nose rings, plus green hair.

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The Two-Way
7:23 am
Tue September 3, 2013

For Microsoft, Nokia's Phones Are 'Key To Everything'

That's a Nokia Lumia 820 smartphone snapping an image of a Windows icon.
Dado Ruvic Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue September 3, 2013 12:52 pm

Here's why Microsoft says its $7.2 billion deal to buy Nokia's smartphone business as well as that company's patents and services makes sense.

"It all starts with the phone," writes PCWorld, in a piece that analyzes why "the phone is key to everything."

According to the magazine:

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The Two-Way
6:50 am
Tue September 3, 2013

2 Million Syrians Are Now Refugees And More Are 'On The Way'

Syrian-Kurdish children sit on a bed at the Quru Gusik refugee camp in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq, on Aug. 22. Faced with brutal violence and soaring prices, thousands of Syrian Kurds have poured into Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region. UNICEF has reported that over one million Syrian children live as refugees in other countries.
Safin Hamed AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue September 3, 2013 12:08 pm

"The number of Syrians forced to seek shelter abroad since civil war began in March 2011 passed the 2 million mark on Tuesday with no sign of the outflow ending soon," the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees reports. Most are in neighboring nations.

About 1 million of the refugees, as we've previously reported, are children.

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The Two-Way
12:08 pm
Fri August 30, 2013

Kerry Says Assad, A 'Thug And Murderer,' Was Behind Attack

Secretary of State John Kerry speaks Friday at the State Department.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Fri August 30, 2013 2:28 pm

  • Aug. 30, 2013: Secretary of State John Kerry on the crisis in Syria

The evidence is clear "and compelling" that Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime used chemical weapons against its own people last week, Secretary of State John Kerry told the American people Friday.

The U.S., Kerry said, knows where the rockets carrying the chemicals were fired from — territory controlled by the Assad regime — and when they were launched.

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The Two-Way
11:10 am
Fri August 30, 2013

Dogs Prove To Be Key In Battle Against Giant African Snails

"Bear," who has been trained to sniff out Giant African Land Snails.
Joe Skipper Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Fri August 30, 2013 11:41 am

More than 128,000 Giant African Land Snails have been found and eradicated in the two years since the highly destructive creatures invaded the Miami-Dade area, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam says.

While it's too soon to declare victory, "we are confident that we will win this fight," Putnam adds.

Part of the credit, officials say, should go to "canine detector teams" that are sniffing out snails in places that are tough for humans to search.

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The Two-Way
9:49 am
Fri August 30, 2013

Thought Of 'Flames Of Hell' For Sgt. Bales Comforts Afghans

Sadiqullah (center), who was shot by Staff Sgt. Robert Bales and was a witness in the trial, stands with some of the Afghan civilians who traveled from Kandahar to the U.S. for Bales' trial. Translator Ahmad Shafi is at left, in the blue shirt.
Martin Kaste NPR

It was jarring for survivors and witnesses of the 2012 attack by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales on two villages in Afghanistan to come to the U.S. to testify at his trial this month, translator Ahmad Shafi tells Morning Edition.

They were at Washington State's Joint Base Lewis-McChord — a place much different than their homes in Kandahar. What's more, the U.S. military's system of justice was strange to them.

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The Two-Way
7:50 am
Fri August 30, 2013

Striking Syria Still Seems A Question Of When, Not Whether

At the White House, President Obama and his advisers continue to work to build support in Congress and among allies for striking Syria.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

Originally published on Fri August 30, 2013 1:54 pm

  • From 'Morning Edition': NPR's Tom Bowman reports.

Though Great Britain won't be joining in any military action aimed at Syria, it appears the White House is determined to go ahead — most likely within the next few days and most likely with missile strikes.

We'll be following the news throughout the day and over the weekend. As Friday dawns, here's where things stand:

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The Two-Way
6:59 am
Fri August 30, 2013

Irish Poet Seamus Heaney Dies

Irish poet Seamus Heaney in 2010.
Paul McErlane EPA/Landov

Seamus Heaney, "acclaimed by many as the best Irish poet since Yeats," has died, the BBC and other news outlets are reporting.

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The Two-Way
2:11 pm
Thu August 29, 2013

Third Tsarnaev Friend Indicted On Lying Charge

A third friend of accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has now been indicted on a charge related to what authorities say were attempts by the trio to mislead investigators or dispose of evidence that linked Tsarnaev to the bombings.

The office of the U.S. Attorney in Massachusetts posted this statement on Twitter early Thursday afternoon:

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The Two-Way
1:31 pm
Thu August 29, 2013

Federal Prosecutors Told Not To Focus On Marijuana Users

A customer rolls a joint made of half marijuana and half tobacco to smoke inside of Frankie Sports Bar and Grill in Olympia, Wash., in December 2012.
Nick Adams Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 7:58 pm

Federal prosecutors are being told by Attorney General Eric Holder to focus on cartels, criminal enterprises and those who sell the drug to children, not on casual marijuana users, a Justice Department official tells NPR's Carrie Johnson.

Holder today informed the governors of Washington and Colorado — two states that recently legalized the sale of marijuana for personal use — about the new guidelines for prosecutors, the official adds.

Bu the new guidelines will apply to all states, not just Washington, Colorado and those where "medical marijuana" is legal.

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The Two-Way
1:06 pm
Thu August 29, 2013

NFL, Retirees Reach $765M Settlement On Concussions Suits

Junior Seau sustained many concussions during his career and was suffering from a degenerative brain disease when he killed himself in May 2012.
Otto Greule Jr. Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 2:45 pm

The NFL and more than 4,500 retired players have reached an agreement calling for the league to contribute $765 million to a fund that will pay "medical and other benefits, as well as compensation" to those who suffered concussions and related injuries during their careers.

Details of the agreement, which would settle concussion-related lawsuits by former players and still needs a judge's OK, were released by the league early Thursday afternoon.

According to that statement:

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The Two-Way
12:16 pm
Thu August 29, 2013

Oberlin Students Behind 'Hate Postings' Say They Were Joking

More than 1,000 people turned out on March 4 for a Demonstration of Solidarity at Oberlin College. Classes were cancelled after a string of what appeared to be racist incidents on campus.
Gus Chan The Plain Dealer/Landov

An update on a story we posted about back in March:

Two Oberlin College students who are said to have been responsible for a series of "hate-related incidents" that went on for weeks earlier this year at the northern Ohio school are not going to face criminal charges.

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The Two-Way
11:15 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Are We Martians? Scientist Says We Just Might Be

Mars: Our "home" planet?
NASA Getty Images

As Adam Frank has said over on the 13.7 blog, "Earth and Mars have been swapping spit (astrobiologically speaking) for eons ... [and] it is entirely possible we were Earth's first alien invasion."

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The Two-Way
9:21 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Economy Was Stronger Than Thought In Second Quarter

Stronger-than-thought exports produced stronger-than-thought economic growth in the spring. (2010 file photo from the Port of Miami.)
Joe Raedle Getty Images

The U.S. economy expanded at a 2.5 percent annual rate in the second quarter, the Bureau of Economic Analysis said Thursday.

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The Two-Way
8:47 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Assad Is To Blame For Chemical Weapons Attack, British Say

British Prime Minister David Cameron on Thursday as he left 10 Downing Street in London.
Dan Kitwood Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 11:28 am

Saying that there are "no plausible alternative scenarios," the U.K.'s Joint Intelligence Organisation released a statement Thursday to support the conclusion reached by U.S. and British officials that Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime is responsible for what's said to have been a chemical weapons attack last week near Damascus.

That attack, U.S. and British officials say, killed more than 300 people and may have injured several thousand more.

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The Two-Way
8:12 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Largest Strike So Far By Fast-Food Workers Set For Thursday

Outside a Taco Bell restaurant in Warren, Mich., early Thursday, supporters of the push by fast-food workers to raise the minimum wage were marching.
Jessica J. Trevino MCT/Landov

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 9:45 am

Organizers say workers at fast-food restaurants in cities across the nation will walk off their jobs Thursday in what's expected to be the largest such strike so far, The Associated Press writes.

As the wire service adds:

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The Two-Way
7:46 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Three More Weeks Needed To Surround California's Rim Fire

Flames from the Rim Fire in the hills behind Tuolumne City, Calif., on Wednesday.
David McNew Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 9:32 am

The massive "Rim Fire" around California's Yosemite National Park is now about 30 percent contained and it's hoped that cooling temperatures and more moderate winds will continue to work in firefighters' favor.

But The Associated Press cautions that officials say it will likely still be three weeks before the fire is surrounded and that the blaze likely won't be out until many weeks after that.

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The Two-Way
6:56 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Obama Hasn't Made Case For Striking Syria, Rumsfeld Says

Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in 2011.
Michael Reynolds EPA /Landov

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 8:02 am

As the U.S. and its allies seemingly move closer to some type of military action in response to Syrian President Bashar Assad's alleged use of chemical weapons to kill hundreds of his own people, one of the policymakers who led the U.S.

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The Two-Way
2:22 pm
Wed August 28, 2013

Speaking At The Lincoln Memorial, Obama Assesses 'The Dream'

Former President Bill Clinton tells the crowd that Americans today owe a tremendous debt to "those people who came here 50 years ago." Millions of us, he said, have lived the dream King talked about.
Shawn Thew EPA/Landov

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 12:05 pm

  • Listen: NPR Special Coverage Of The March On Washington Anniversary

Thousands gathered under gray skies in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington.

They gathered in the exact same spot where the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech, and many of the same themes — equality, dignity, unity — echoed through the crowd.

President Obama was joined by the King family and former Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

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The Two-Way
1:11 pm
Wed August 28, 2013

LISTEN: Rare Recording Of '52 Speech That King Drew From

"For the first time in 60 years," our friends at WBEZ report, you can hear a 1952 speech given by a Chicago pastor that ends with "the famous crescendo" that Martin Luther King Jr. would echo 11 years later in his "I Have A Dream" speech.

The speaker at the 1952 Republican National Convention was Pastor Archibald Carey Jr., who would say:

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The Two-Way
11:30 am
Wed August 28, 2013

Probation For George Zimmerman's Wife On Perjury Charge

Shellie Zimmerman in court on June 20.
Gary W. Green UPI/Landov

"Shellie Zimmerman, the wife of acquitted murder suspect George Zimmerman, today pleaded guilty to a less serious form of perjury in a plea deal that requires her to serve one year of probation," the Orlando Sentinel writes.

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The Two-Way
10:47 am
Wed August 28, 2013

How To Watch The March On Washington Anniversary Ceremony

Civil rights leader Martin Luther King waves to supporters from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on Aug. 28, 1963, in Washington.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed August 28, 2013 11:57 am

The crowd is gathering near the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., for Wednesday's celebration of the March on Washington's 50th anniversary.

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