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
2:00 pm
Sat January 21, 2012

South Carolina Primary: Join Us For Live Updates

A polling station in Columbia, S.C., earlier today (Jan. 21, 2012).
Mladen Antonov AFP/Getty Images

The third major contest of the 2012 Republican presidential campaign is being held today in South Carolina and as we did during the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary, we'll be helping out the NPR elections team by live blogging as the news comes in.

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The Two-Way
12:35 pm
Fri January 20, 2012

Wisconsin 'RecallCam': Boring, Beautiful Or Both?

Watch if you dare. You may get hooked.
State of Wisconsin Government Accountability Board

As our friend Micki Maynard at Changing Gears says, "forget live streams watching the giant panda in Edinburgh, or the weather in Chicago. The newest Internet plaything is the Wisconsin Web Cam."

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The Two-Way
11:25 am
Fri January 20, 2012

Not A Record, But Audubon Set Still Sells For A Tidy $7.9 Million

We wouldn't want to say that $7,922,500 isn't an awful lot to pay for one set of four books.

But we do have to point out that it's not a record.

Thursday, we previewed the Christie's New York auction of a rare set of John James Audubon's Birds of America. As we reported, there was talk that it might fetch more than the record $11.5 million paid for another full set of the books in 2010.

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The Two-Way
11:10 am
Fri January 20, 2012

Megaupload Is Trying To Go Back Online Even As Execs Sit In Jail

Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom, also known as Kim Schmitz, in an Auckland, New Zealand, court today.
TV3/ AFP/Getty Images

A judge in New Zealand today ordered that Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom (a.k.a. Kim Schmitz) and three others remain in custody at least until a bail hearing on Monday as the legal process of possibly extraditing them to the U.S. to face copyright infringement and conspiracy charges got underway.

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The Two-Way
9:50 am
Fri January 20, 2012

Singer Etta James Has Died

Etta James in 2008.
Alberto E. Rodriguez Getty Images
  • Felix Contreras on Etta James

NPR confirms, and CNN reports that:

"Etta James, whose assertive, earthy voice lit up such hits as The Wallflower, Something's Got a Hold on Me, and the wedding favorite At Last, has died, according to her longtime friend and manager, Lupe De Leon. She was 73 and had been diagnosed with leukemia in 2010."

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The Two-Way
9:15 am
Fri January 20, 2012

Texas Redistricting Plan Tossed Out By Supreme Court

A plan for how to redraw Texas' congressional and state legislative districts that was put together by a three-judge federal court in San Antonio was rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court this morning because, the justices ruled, the lower court should not have disregarded the Texas state legislature's wishes and should not have stepped into that legislature's shoes.

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The Two-Way
7:55 am
Fri January 20, 2012

Senate Vote Delayed On PIPA, Its Anti-Piracy Bill

Saying that "recent events" have raised questions, but that "there is no reason that the legitimate issues raised by many about this bill cannot be resolved," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has announced that there won't be a vote in his chamber next Tuesday on the Protect IP Act (PIPA).

That's the Senate's version of controversial legislation that supporters say would cut down on Internet piracy — but that opponents say would amount to censorship.

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The Two-Way
6:35 am
Fri January 20, 2012

VIDEO: Obama Sings In Harlem; Channels A Little Al Green

President Obama at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem on Thursday (Jan. 19, 2012).
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 20, 2012 6:38 am

  • President Obama sings a little bit

Perhaps if things don't work out the way he hopes on Nov. 6, President Obama can be a backup singer someday.

Last night at a campaign fundraiser in Harlem's Apollo Theater, he briefly broke into song with a bit of Al Green's Let's Stay Together. The Associated Press has the video here.

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The Two-Way
5:55 am
Fri January 20, 2012

Report: Killings Of U.S., Allied Troops By Afghan Soldiers Is On The Rise

U.S. troops and Afghan National Army soldiers on a joint security patrol in Kandahar province last August.
Romeo Gacad AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 20, 2012 6:22 am

"Four International Security Assistance Force service members were killed today in eastern Afghanistan by a member of the Afghan National Army," the NATO-led military command in Kabul reports.

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The Two-Way
5:20 am
Fri January 20, 2012

Four Headlines From Thursday's GOP Debate

Newt Gingrich (right) responds to a question a question about things one of his ex-wives said about their marriage during last night's debate in South Carolina. Mitt Romney, looks on.
John Moore Getty Images

While others analyze what Thursday's GOP presidential debate does or doesn't tell us about what may or may not happen Saturday when South Carolina Republicans hold their primary, here's the top news from that four-man clash in Charleston:

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The Two-Way
12:15 pm
Thu January 19, 2012

Wait A Minute ... Or Three Years: Leap Second's Fate Put Off

The timekeepers at the International Telecommunication Union's Radiocommunication Assembly, who were supposed to decide this week whether to keep or eliminate the leap second, have decided to take some more time to decide.

Three years, apparently, the BBC reports.

The experts, it says, "were unable to reach a consensus, so moved the matter to a meeting in 2015."

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The Two-Way
11:05 am
Thu January 19, 2012

Auction Of Audubon Set On Friday Could Mark New Record For Books

One of the 400 engraved images in the Audubon set: a Common American Swan.
Christie's AP

Originally published on Thu January 19, 2012 11:08 am

A rare four-volume set — John James Audubon's Birds of America — stands a good chance of becoming the most expensive such books ever auctioned on Friday.

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The Two-Way
10:05 am
Thu January 19, 2012

Nevermore? Mysterious Visits To Edgar Allan Poe's Grave Declared Over

For decades, until 2010, someone appeared at Edgar Allan Poe's grave site in Baltimore before dawn on Jan. 19 — his birthday.

The mysterious visitor, who was never identified, would leave behind three roses and a half-filled bottle of cognac as a tribute to the man who wrote The Raven, The Fall of the House of Usher and other classic poems and tales.

Last night, there was no visit.

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The Two-Way
7:17 am
Thu January 19, 2012

Rick Perry Quits GOP Presidential Race, Endorses Gingrich

Texas Gov. Rick Perry salutes after announcing that he is suspending his campaign as a Republican presidential candidate.
Mladen Antonov AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 19, 2012 12:18 pm

(This post was retopped with the latest news at 11:18 a.m. ET.)

Saying that "there is no viable path forward for me," Texas Gov. Rick Perry just confirmed that he is leaving the 2012 race for the Republican presidential nomination.

Then, he went on to endorse the bid of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich — just two days before South Carolina Republicans go to the polls in a primary that could either cement former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's lead in the race for the GOP nomination or give new life to someone else's; perhaps Gingrich's.

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The Two-Way
6:40 am
Thu January 19, 2012

Jobless Claims Drop, Inflation At 3 Percent, Housing Starts Cool

A trio of economic indicators were just released:

-- First-time claims for jobless benefits plunged by 50,000 last week from the week before, to 352,000, the Employment and Training Administration says. You have to go back to Spring 2008 to find a lower number. Reuters says the news signals "continued improvement in the labor market."

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The Two-Way
5:55 am
Thu January 19, 2012

Search Resumes At Stricken Italian Cruise Ship

Searchers climbing on to the Costa Concordia earlier today (Jan. 19, 2012).
Vincenzo Pinto AFP/Getty Images

"Rescue efforts have resumed aboard the wrecked Italian cruise ship, Costa Concordia, off the coast of Tuscany," the BBC reports. "Operations were suspended on Wednesday as the vessel shifted its position. More than 20 people are still missing."

The ship, with about 4,200 passengers and crew aboard, ran into rocks on Friday and listed over to its starboard side. Eleven people are confirmed dead.

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The Two-Way
5:25 am
Thu January 19, 2012

Kodak Calls Bankruptcy Filing 'Necessary Step'

Eastman Kodak Co.'s corporate headquarters in Rochester, N.Y.
Guy Solimano Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 19, 2012 5:36 am

"Running short of cash and unable to sell 1,100 digital imaging patents that could have rescued it," as Rochester's Democrat and Chronicle writes, Eastman Kodak Co. today took the long-expected but still painful step of filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

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The Two-Way
4:55 am
Thu January 19, 2012

Iowa GOP Puts Santorum Ahead By 34 Votes, But Result 'Unresolved'

Republican presidential candidates Rick Santorum (left) and Mitt Romney during a debate in South Carolina on Monday.
Charles Dharapa/pool Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 19, 2012 8:37 am

(This post was retopped with the latest news at 9:35 a.m ET.)

The first-in-the-nation Iowa Republican presidential caucuses produced no clear winner, the Iowa Republican Party has confirmed.

While its recanvassing of the nearly 1,774 precincts where ballots were cast on Jan. 3 has put former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum 34 votes ahead of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney — a reversal of what we thought were their finishes — the party says it can't definitively say who won because it can't find the results from eight of the precincts.

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The Two-Way
1:50 pm
Wed January 18, 2012

Was One Skier's Underwear Too Slick?

Skier Tina Maze. She took her protest to the slopes in Italy, and to her Facebook page.
Tina Maze Official Fan Page

Originally published on Wed January 18, 2012 5:27 pm

When Slovene World Cup Alpine skier Tina Maze opened her racing suit Sunday to reveal her sports bra beneath to all those looking on in Cortina D'Ampezzo, Italy, it wasn't some kind of sexy strip show or joyous Brandi Chastain type of moment.

It was a protest.

Over a fuss being made about her underwear.

Not the bra, mind you, or the words she had written on it: "Not your business."

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The Two-Way
12:10 pm
Wed January 18, 2012

Mark Wahlberg: With Me Aboard, 9/11 Hijackers Would Have Been Stopped

Mark Wahlberg.
Jason Merritt Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 18, 2012 8:11 pm

Update at 9:45 p.m. ET. Wahlberg apologizes:

Saying his comments were "ridiculous ... irresponsible ... [and] insensitive," actor Mark Wahlberg has now apologized for saying he would have stopped 9/11 hijackers if he had been on one of the planes, Reuters reports.

Read what he's apologizing for in our original post:

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The Two-Way
11:20 am
Wed January 18, 2012

Would You Burn Your Cash To Stay Warm And Alive? This Man Did

Yong Chun Kim, talking at his home about the experience of being lost in a blizzard for two days.
Ted S. Warren AP

Originally published on Wed January 18, 2012 11:26 am

We saw stories earlier this week about a man who was lost for two nights in Mount Rainier National Park over the weekend, but survived in part because he burned the money he was carrying to keep warm as a blizzard blew through the area.

But a critical question wasn't answered until today. — how much money went up in flames?

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The Two-Way
9:35 am
Wed January 18, 2012

Homeless Teen Who's Up For Science Prize To Be At State Of The Union

Intel semifinalist Samantha Garvey, 17.
John Dunn AP

Originally published on Wed January 18, 2012 9:39 am

The good news story of Samantha Garvey, a New York high school student who has been living with her family in a homeless shelter and recently found out she's a semifinalist in the prestigious Intel Science Talent Search competition, keeps getting better.

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The Two-Way
7:50 am
Wed January 18, 2012

In Snow-Weary Alaskan Towns, Sun And Smiles Emerge

Jan. 9: An Alaska National Guardsman clears a roof in Cordova.
Spc. Balinda O'Neal Alaska National Guard Public Affairs

"Life is back to normal for two towns deeply buried in snow along Alaska's Prince William Sound," The Associated Press says. "The National Weather Service said Tuesday the weather is supposed to remain clear in both Valdez and Cordova this week."

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The Two-Way
7:00 am
Wed January 18, 2012

LIVE: Jewel (A Bear) May Soon Give Birth; A Webcam Lets Us Watch

A very close view of Jewel, taken Tuesday.
Wildlife Research Institute

Originally published on Wed January 18, 2012 7:04 am

As we learned last year with our posts about the Decorah "eagle cam," there's a lot of interest in watching animals in the wild. Especially when there are babies involved.

So here's some important information for nature lovers:

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The Two-Way
6:13 am
Wed January 18, 2012

Top Stories: Ship Search Suspended; Famine Fears Grow In Sudan

Originally published on Wed January 18, 2012 6:14 am

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The Two-Way
5:55 am
Wed January 18, 2012

Seattle, Western Washington Hunker Down As Snow Arrives

Bags of a deicing product were being stacked outside a hardware store in Seattle on Tuesday, as folks prepared for today's bad weather.
Elaine Thompson AP

Originally published on Wed January 18, 2012 10:01 am

While Seattle may not get hit quite as hard as previously thought by a winter storm that's moving across the Northwest, the National Weather Service has issued some ominous sounding updates about how large that storm is turning out to be.

There's this message:

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The Two-Way
5:25 am
Wed January 18, 2012

If You Really Need Wikipedia Today, You Can Get To It

Wikipedia's blackout.
Wikipedia.org

Originally published on Wed January 18, 2012 6:57 am

Just to be clear:

Wikipedia's English pages have indeed "gone black" until midnight ET tonight — part of an organized protest by it and many other websites over pending anti-online piracy legislation in Congress.

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The Two-Way
5:05 am
Wed January 18, 2012

In Italy, Search Of Stricken Cruise Ship Suspended

"Divers searching the capsized Italian cruise liner Costa Concordia suspended work on Wednesday after the vast wreck shifted slightly but officials said they are hoping to resume as soon as possible," Reuters reports.

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