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
11:09 am
Wed May 15, 2013

Pffff: Hong Kong's Six-Story Rubber Ducky's Been Deflated

During deflation, on Tuesday (May 14).
Tyrone Siu Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Wed May 15, 2013 1:52 pm

That giant rubber duck floating in Hong Kong's Victoria Harbor, which we posted about on May 6, is down for maintenance.

And when we say down, we mean it. It's been deflated.

But fans shouldn't despair. Ducky's hosts say it just "needs to freshen up" and will return. It's set to be in Hong Kong until sometime next month.

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The Two-Way
10:57 am
Wed May 15, 2013

Boehner: Who's Going To Jail For What IRS Did?

House Speaker John Boehner on Wednesday in the Capitol.
Jim Lo Scalzo EPA /LANDOV

Originally published on Wed May 15, 2013 9:34 pm

He doesn't want to know who's going to resign, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, told reporters Wednesday morning.

He wants to know: "Who's going to jail" for what IRS personnel did to some conservative groups?

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The Two-Way
9:29 am
Wed May 15, 2013

Military Recruiters, Sex Assault Responders To Be Retrained

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel with U.S. troops in Kabul, Afghanistan, on March 11.
Jason Reed/pool Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 15, 2013 2:59 pm

All branches of the U.S. military have been ordered "to retrain, re-credential and rescreen all sexual assault prevention and response personnel and military recruiters," the Pentagon confirmed Wednesday morning.

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The Two-Way
9:06 am
Wed May 15, 2013

Cleveland Kidnaps Suspect Will Plead Not Guilty, Lawyer Says

Ariel Castro, in a booking photo released by the Cuyahoga County (Ohio) Sheriff's Office.
Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 15, 2013 2:09 pm

Saying that their client is not a "monster," attorneys for Ariel Castro have told Cleveland's WKYC-TV that the man accused of kidnapping three young women, holding them captive and repeatedly raping them over the course of about a decade will plead not guilty to all charges if he is indicted by a grand jury.

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The Two-Way
7:58 am
Wed May 15, 2013

Read The Report On IRS's 'Inappropriate' Scrutiny Of Groups

Originally published on Wed May 15, 2013 1:58 pm

The language is not dramatic, but the message is clear: A much-anticipated report from the Treasury Department's inspector general for tax administration is straightforward about how Internal Revenue Service personnel unfairly singled out some conservative groups for unnecessary scrutiny during the 2012 campaign cycle.

As the report's summary says:

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The Two-Way
7:04 am
Wed May 15, 2013

Holder Isn't Sure How Often Reporters' Records Are Seized

Attorney General Eric Holder during a news conference Tuesday in Washington, D.C.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 16, 2013 6:10 am

As his Justice Department faces bipartisan outrage for searching phone records of Associated Press reporters and editors, Attorney Gen. Eric Holder says he is not sure how many times such information has been seized by government investigators in the four years he's led Justice.

During an interview with NPR's Carrie Johnson on Tuesday, Holder was asked how often his department has obtained such records of journalists' work.

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The Two-Way
2:19 pm
Tue May 14, 2013

Justice Department To Open Probe Of IRS's Actions

Originally published on Wed May 15, 2013 8:17 am

Attorney Gen. Eric Holder has ordered the Justice Department to open an investigation into whether any laws were broken when the Internal Revenue Service singled out some conservative groups for extra scrutiny, he told reporters Tuesday.

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The Two-Way
2:09 pm
Tue May 14, 2013

It's True: 'Mistakes Were Made' Is The King Of Non-Apologies

President Ulysses S. Grant gets the credit — or blame? — for helping make "mistakes were made" a phrase that politicians can't seem to avoid using.
Spencer Arnold Getty Images

Originally published on Tue May 14, 2013 3:01 pm

Make no mistake, the acting commissioner of the IRS put himself in historic company Tuesday by writing in USA Today that "mistakes were made" when his agency singled out for extra scrut

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The Two-Way
11:33 am
Tue May 14, 2013

Please Welcome The Parallels Blog: 'Many Stories, One World'

Originally published on Tue May 14, 2013 12:27 pm

We want to note the launch of a new NPR blog — Parallels, which condenses its mission into four words: "Many stories, one world."

NPR.org international editor Greg Myre, who's hosting the blog, writes that:

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The Two-Way
11:13 am
Tue May 14, 2013

IRS Chief Says 'Mistakes Were Made' But Weren't Partisan

Acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller. (2009 file photo)
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Tue May 14, 2013 11:51 am

"Mistakes were made, but they were in no way due to any political or partisan motivation," the acting commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service writes in USA Today's op-ed pages.

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The Two-Way
9:36 am
Tue May 14, 2013

She's No Diva: Unruly Flier Sings 'I Will Always Love You'

As she was led off the plane the singer (with bag) was recorded by at least one passenger.
YouTube.com

Originally published on Tue May 14, 2013 10:46 am

In case you haven't seen and heard it yet, there's a short video clip circulating of what it was like last Friday as a woman aboard a flight from Los Angeles to New York was taken off the plane after an unscheduled stop in Kansas City.

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The Two-Way
8:54 am
Tue May 14, 2013

Russian Security Service Claims To Have Uncovered CIA Agent

In Moscow's Red Square, people still line up to visit Lenin's tomb. Though the Cold War is over, Russia and the U.S. keep watchful eyes on each other. Tuesday, Russian officials claimed to have uncovered a CIA spy.
Sergei Ilnitsky EPA /Landov

Originally published on Tue May 14, 2013 7:09 pm

From Russia Today:

"Russia's counterintelligence agency has detained a CIA agent in Moscow trying to recruit an officer of the Russian secret service, the Federal Security Service (FSB) announced. The agent was operating under guise of career diplomat."

According to Reuters, the Russian foreign ministry has summoned U.S. Ambassador Michael McFaul for a discussion.

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The Two-Way
8:52 am
Tue May 14, 2013

Afghan Taxes Weigh Heavily On U.S. Contractors, Report Says

Since 2008, the Afghan government has assessed nearly $1 billion dollars in taxes — sometimes erroneously — on U.S. contractors working in the country, according to a new report from the Pentagon's Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, NPR's Tom Bowman tells our Newscast Desk.

John Sopko, the special inspector general, says the tax confusion has led to the arrest of contractors for nonpayment, increased costs to the U.S. government and interruptions to American military operations.

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The Two-Way
6:43 am
Tue May 14, 2013

Actress Angelina Jolie Shares Story Of Her Double Mastectomy

Actress Angelina Jolie at a news conference with Secretary of State John Kerry (in background) and other foreign ministers in London last month. They held a forum on how to reduce sexual violence against women in conflict zones — an issue she has often spoken about.
Alastair Grant PA Photos /Landov

Originally published on Tue May 14, 2013 8:48 am

Saying she is "writing about it now because I hope that other women can benefit from my experience," actress Angelina Jolie reveals on the op-ed pages of The New York Times that she had a double mastectomy earlier this year to substantially reduce the chances she will develop breast cancer.

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The Two-Way
1:32 pm
Mon May 13, 2013

Implosion Interruptus: Silo Needs Extra Push To Come Down

Like a Weeble, she wobbled but wouldn't fall down. This silo was supposed to implode Sunday near Brisbane, Australia. But the explosives didn't quite do the trick. Heavy machines had to give a push.
YouTube.com/BBCWorldNewsWatch

We like videos of bridges and buildings and other things being blown up on purpose.

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The Two-Way
1:13 pm
Mon May 13, 2013

Benghazi Talking Points Debate Is A 'Sideshow,' Obama Says

Republican questions about how and when changes were made to his administration's "talking points" about last September's attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, are a "sideshow," President Obama told reporters at the White House on Monday.

"There's no there, there," the president declared.

"What we have been clear about throughout," Obama insisted, is that "we were not clear who exactly had carried this out."

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The Two-Way
1:11 pm
Mon May 13, 2013

Holmes Enters Not Guilty By Insanity Plea In Colo. Shootings

An artist's sketch of Colorado theater shooting suspect James Holmes, from an April court appearance.
Bill Robles/Reuters /Landov

James Holmes on Monday formally changed his plea from not guilty to "not guilty by reason of insanity" for the July 20, 2012, movie theater shooting rampage in Aurora, Colo., that left 12 people dead and an additional 70 injured.

Holmes' lawyers had said last week that the young man would be doing this.

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The Two-Way
12:43 pm
Mon May 13, 2013

Obama On IRS Actions: 'Outrageous' If True

President Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron in the Oval Office of the White House on Monday.
Jim Watson AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon May 13, 2013 1:13 pm

It's "outrageous and there's no place for it" if the Internal Revenue Service did, as it has admitted, single out some conservative groups for extra scrutiny in recent years, President Obama said Monday morning during a news conference at the White House.

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The Two-Way
10:50 am
Mon May 13, 2013

Supreme Court Rules For Monsanto In Case Against Farmer

Vernon Hugh Bowman, who took his case to the Supreme Court, lives outside the small town of Sandborn, Ind.
Dan Charles NPR

A unanimous Supreme Court ruled Monday that an Indiana farmer infringed on Monsanto's patent when he planted soybeans that had been genetically modified by Monsanto without buying them from the agribusiness giant.

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The Two-Way
9:36 am
Mon May 13, 2013

IRS Targeted Additional Conservative Groups, Probe Shows

Dennis Brack Landov

Originally published on Mon May 13, 2013 12:14 pm

"The Internal Revenue Service's scrutiny of conservative groups went beyond those with 'tea party' or 'patriot' in their names — as the agency admitted Friday — to also include ones worried about government spending, debt or taxes, and even ones that lobbied to 'make America a better place to live,' " The Wall Street Journal reports.

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The Two-Way
8:57 am
Mon May 13, 2013

Britain's Cameron Sees 'A Real Breakthrough' On Syria

British Prime Minister David Cameron (left) and Russian President Vladimir Putin viewed the Sochi Olympic Park along the Black Sea coast by helicopter Friday.
Nikolsky Alexei ITAR-TASS /Landov

Originally published on Mon May 13, 2013 12:17 pm

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry "made a real breakthrough" last week in talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin when they agreed there will be an American-Russian peace conference on Syria, British Prime Minister David Cameron told NPR on Monday.

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The Two-Way
8:16 am
Mon May 13, 2013

'I Hope He Rots,' Says Brother Of Cleveland Kidnap Suspect

Onil (left) and Pedro Castro in an exclusive interview broadcast Monday morning on CNN.
CNN

Originally published on Mon May 13, 2013 10:24 am

Calling his brother a hateful monster, Onil Castro has told CNN he hopes Ariel Castro "rots in that jail."

"I want him to suffer," he said of Ariel, the 52-year-old man accused of holding three young women captive in his Cleveland home for about a decade — years in which Ariel Castro allegedly raped them repeatedly and subjected them to other physical and mental torment.

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The Two-Way
6:52 am
Mon May 13, 2013

In Pakistan, Sharif Turns To Unstable Nation's Dire Problems

Nawaz Sharif, who will lead Pakistan's next government, at a campaign rally last week.
T. Mughal EPA /LANDOV

Originally published on Mon May 13, 2013 10:19 am

With a commanding lead for his party in the vote count following Saturday's parliamentary elections, former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is returning to power with a clear mandate to focus on the grave problems facing his nation, as NPR's Julie McCarthy reports from Lahore for Morning Edition.

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The Two-Way
11:43 am
Sat May 11, 2013

In Cleveland, 30 Minutes Of Bravery Ended 10-Year Nightmare

It took neighbors' help for Amanda Berry to escape through the bolted storm door of the Cleveland home where authorities say she and two other women were held captive for nearly a decade. After she emerged, the women and Berry's daughter were rescued.
David Maxwell EPA /LANDOV

Until today, there's been a rush of news related to the kidnapping of three young women in Cleveland, their rescue after a decade in captivity and the chilling details that have emerged about what they went through. Now, the news has slowed. We suspect there will be less to report in coming days, but we'll watch for important developments.

There is a story to recommend, though:

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The Two-Way
10:49 am
Sat May 11, 2013

Emotions Run High After Boston Bombing Suspect's Burial

Some of the graves at the Al-Barzakh Islamic Cemetery in Doswell, Va., where the body of Boston Marathon bombings suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev has been buried. His grave was not identified to journalists.
Yuri Gripas Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Sat May 11, 2013 1:04 pm

The news that Boston Marathon bombings suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev has been buried in a rural cemetery just north of Richmond, Va., is causing controversy there.

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The Two-Way
9:47 am
Sat May 11, 2013

Pakistanis 'Defy Violence' To Vote In Landmark Election

Pakistani men lined up to vote in Rawalpindi on Saturday. Men and women cast ballots separately as millions went to the poll.
T. Mughal EPA /LANDOV

Originally published on Sat May 11, 2013 11:17 pm

Despite attacks in the days and weeks leading up to Saturday's voting — and deadly bombings and other attacks on the very day they're going to the polls — Pakistanis are showing they're willing to "defy the violence," NPR's Julie McCarthy reports from Lahore.

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The Two-Way
9:22 am
Sat May 11, 2013

Schools? How About A Science Laureate At The Super Bowl?

Beyonce took the stage at this year's Super Bowl halftime show. Imagine a scientist instead. Perhaps dressed differently.
Michael DeMocker The Times-Picayune /Landov

Originally published on Sat May 11, 2013 10:11 am

The same scientist who famously "killed Pluto" (as a planet, that is) says it's "brilliant" that there's an effort underway in Congress to name a science laureate.

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The Two-Way
8:34 am
Sat May 11, 2013

Astronauts Go On Spacewalk To Fix Ammonia Leak

NASA.gov

Originally published on Sat May 11, 2013 5:11 pm

Two astronauts went on a last-minute spacewalk Saturday to replace a pump suspected of being the source of a serious ammonia leak.

It was unclear what caused the ammonia leak, NASA spokesman Rob Navias said, "but the installation of this spare pump package — at least at the moment — seems to have done the trick."

NASA officials called the spacewalk a success, but said it would take time to see if the leak was indeed stopped. Engineers will review photos the astronauts took at the site.

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The Two-Way
7:48 am
Sat May 11, 2013

Officials Aren't Linking Man's Arrest To Texas Explosion

April 25, in Waco: Friends, family members and fellow firefighters held a memorial for the first responders killed by the April 17 explosion at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas.
Jerry Larson/pool EPA /LANDOV

Saturday's reports about the arrest of a former emergency services volunteer in the town of West, Texas, indicate the story has not moved much from where we left things on Friday:

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