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
7:30 am
Wed September 18, 2013

$64,000 Raised So Far For Homeless Man Who Turned In $42,000

Glen James, a homeless man who found $42,000 and turned it in to police, after he was honored for his honesty earlier this week by Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis (in background).
Steven Senne AP

Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 10:05 am

This week's feel-good story of the homeless man in Boston who found a backpack containing $42,000 in cash and travelers checks and then turned it into authorities is developing into an even better tale.

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The Two-Way
6:57 am
Wed September 18, 2013

As Colorado Floodwaters Recede The Damage Becomes Clear

A view from the air Tuesday of one of the roads that have been cut by floodwaters in Weld County, Colo.
Rick Wilking Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 10:53 am

This morning's top headline from The Denver Post is encouraging:

"Nature finally cooperates as Colorado floodwaters begin to recede"

According to the Post:

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The Two-Way
6:08 am
Wed September 18, 2013

UPDATE: 'So, So Very Sorry,' Says Navy Yard Gunman's Mother

Aaron Alexis in an undated photo provided by a friend, Kristi Suthamtewakul.
AP

Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 2:34 pm

"I don't know why he did what he did and I'll never be able to ask him why," Cathleen Alexis, mother of the man who authorities say killed 12 people Monday at the Washington Navy Yard, said in a statement she read to the media at midday Wednesday.

CNN has audio of her comments, in which she also says that "Aaron is now in a place where he can no longer do harm to anyone, and for that I am glad."

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The Two-Way
5:33 am
Wed September 18, 2013

VIDEO: Slide Into Second Ends With Face Firmly In Butt

Up close and personal: Cincinnati Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips, left, reaches back to tag out Houston Astros' Jonathan Villar during Tuesday's game in Houston.
Pat Sullivan AP

Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 6:31 am

Because we need something silly after some very serious days:

When the Houston Astros' Jonathan Villar slid into second base Tuesday night, he ended up coming face-to-butt with Cincinnati Reds infielder Brandon Phillips.

There's video here of "Villar's unfortunate slide." Notice how Phillips calmly reaches between his legs to tag Villar.

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The Two-Way
4:57 am
Wed September 18, 2013

No Guns Please, Starbucks Tells Customers

A Starbucks customer — gun on his hip and drink in his hand — watches a rally by gun control advocates, in Seattle in 2010.
Elaine Thompson AP

Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 8:42 am

With the coffee giant caught in the middle of what he says is an "increasingly uncivil and, in some cases, even threatening" debate, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz has posted a letter to "fellow Americans" asking that they not bring guns into Starbucks' shops.

Schultz writes that:

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The Two-Way
12:13 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

Who Was Aaron Alexis? Records Offer Clues Of Instability

The FBI is asking the public to help fill in the profile of Aaron Alexis.
FBI.gov

Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 2:13 pm

Focusing only on public documents and on-the-record statements paints a complicated picture of the man police say walked into a building at the Washington Navy Yard on Monday and shot dead 12 people before being killed himself.

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The Two-Way
10:21 am
Tue September 17, 2013

Poverty Rate Unchanged In 2012

How the number of Americans below the poverty line and the poverty rate have changed.
Census Bureau

The nation's poverty rate remained unchanged at 15 percent in 2012, the Census Bureau said Tuesday.

For a family of four (two adults, two children) the poverty threshold in 2012 was $23,283.

There were 46.5 million Americans below the poverty line last year, Census says, vs. 46.2 million in 2011.

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The Two-Way
8:59 am
Tue September 17, 2013

WATCH: Time-Lapse Video Of The Costa Concordia Being Righted

The wrecked cruise ship Costa Concordia, now back in an upright position.
Claudio Giovannini EPA/LANDOV

Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 12:14 pm

Take a minute if you want a break from the heavy news to see the cruise ship Costa Concordia being brought into an upright position.

Reuters is among several news outlets that have posted time-lapse video, condensing the 19-hour Monday-into-Tuesday operation into about 60 seconds.

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The Two-Way
7:27 am
Tue September 17, 2013

Company Promises To Pay For Hawaii's Massive Molasses Spill

One of the fish thought to have died because of the molasses spill off Honolulu.
Hugh Gentry Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 8:33 am

Matson Inc., the shipping company that spilled 233,000 gallons of molasses into Honolulu Harbor earlier this month, has pledged to pay all the costs stemming from the disaster that has devastated marine life there.

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The Two-Way
6:46 am
Tue September 17, 2013

No Inflation In Sight As Federal Reserve Policymakers Meet

Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 8:31 am

Consumer prices rose a scant 0.1 percent in August from July and were up a modest 1.5 percent since August 2012, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said Tuesday morning.

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National News
6:19 am
Tue September 17, 2013

The High Costs Of Colorado's High Water, By The Numbers

A man walks across the washed-out Wagonwheel Gap Road in Boulder, Colo., on Monday.
Mark Leffingwell Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 1:04 pm

  • On 'Morning Edition': KUNC's Grace Hood reports on the flooding in Colorado
  • On 'Morning Edition': Mark Benjamin of Bellview, Colo., talks about life beyond washed-out roads

The flooding that has roared through communities and canyons across Colorado's Front Range in recent days is now being blamed for:

-- as many as eight deaths

-- damaging or destroying 19,000 homes

-- causing up to $500 million worth of damage to roads and highways.

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The Two-Way
5:13 am
Tue September 17, 2013

Navy Yard Shootings: No Second Gunman; Victims' IDs Emerge

At the White House and around the nation, flags are flying at half-staff since Monday's mass shooting at the Washington Navy Yard.
Olivier Douliery UPI/Landov

Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 2:18 pm

  • From 'Morning Edition': NPR's Brian Naylor on the Navy Yard shootings
  • From 'Morning Edition': NPR's Hansi Lo Wang on the victims

Our coverage continues of Monday's shootings at the Washington Navy Yard. Twelve victims and the man who authorities say gunned them down are dead.

Some of the latest developments:

-- Investigators now do not think there was a second shooter, D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier said late Monday evening. Throughout Monday, authorities had run down witness reports and other evidence indicating there might have been additional gunmen.

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The Two-Way
7:28 am
Mon September 16, 2013

Attack At The Navy Yard: Gunman And 12 Victims Killed

Workers emerge from a building after a deadly shooting at the Washington Navy Yard on Monday. There are multiple injuries and deaths, and one gunman is dead. Police say they are searching for two other "potential" shooters.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 11:31 am

(We're constantly updating the top of this post and adding to it below as well.)

The nation's capital went on high alert Monday after a shooting attack at the city's U.S. Navy Yard left at least 12 victims and one gunman dead and injured 8 others.

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The Two-Way
6:48 am
Mon September 16, 2013

Homeless Man With 'Great Heart' Finds $42,000, Turns It In

A homeless man turned in a backpack stuffed with cash and travelers checks to Boston police. A passport that was with the bag helped police find the person it belonged to.
Boston Police

Originally published on Mon September 16, 2013 9:30 am

"A homeless good Samaritan who turned in a lost backpack stuffed with nearly $42,000 yesterday was hailed by his fellow down-and-outers as a guy with a 'great heart,' " The Boston Herald reports.

The Herald adds that:

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The Two-Way
5:49 am
Mon September 16, 2013

How To Watch As The Costa Concordia Is (Hopefully) Righted

The view Monday from shore as work began to pull the Costa Concordia upright. The box-like structure on the ship's port side is one of the refloating caissons that will stabilize the ship.
Marco Secchi Getty Images

Originally published on Mon September 16, 2013 9:38 am

  • NPR's Sylvia Poggioli on the salvaging of the Costa Concordia

The effort to shift the luxury cruise ship Consta Concordia into an upright position has begun, and several news outlets are streaming their coverage of what's said to be the biggest such operation of its kind ever.

Reuters is one good option. It has embedded its video feed in its live blogging of the operation.

The BBC's webcast, meanwhile, has the advantage of allowing you to mute the sound.

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The Two-Way
4:50 am
Mon September 16, 2013

More Rain Expected As Helicopters Search For Stranded Flood Victims

Miranda Woodard and Joey Schendel salvage and clean property after days of flooding in Hygiene, Colo. Mountain towns that had been cut off for days by massive flooding slowly reopened Monday, to reveal cabins toppled, homes ripped from their foundations and everything covered in a thick layer of muck.
Brennan Linsley AP

Originally published on Mon September 16, 2013 4:02 pm

This post was last updated at 6 p.m. ET.

Helicopters were back in the air on Monday over the 15 counties across Colorado's Front Range where historic flooding has killed at least seven people, left hundreds more stranded and unaccounted for, and forced nearly 12,000 to evacuate their homes.

In a news conference, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper said 21 helicopters were conducting "search and rescue missions," and other teams were trying to assess the damage to transportation infrastructure.

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The Two-Way
10:47 am
Fri September 13, 2013

NPR To Offer Voluntary Buyouts In Bid To Balance Budget

NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Fri September 13, 2013 11:46 am

Saying that the goal is to balance its budget in fiscal year 2015, NPR announced late Friday morning that it will soon offer "a voluntary buyout plan across the organization that reduces staffing levels by approximately 10 percent."

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The Two-Way
10:21 am
Fri September 13, 2013

An 'Ig Nobel' For Proving 'Beer Goggles' Work Both Ways

"Beer goggles" supposedly make the wearer look better too. Hmmm.
Peter Macdiarmid Getty Images

Researchers who came to the conclusion that "beer goggles" make you think you're better looking are among this year's winners of the "Ig Nobel" awards.

The Igs "celebrate the unusual, honor the imaginative and spur people's interest in science, medicine, and technology."

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The Two-Way
8:06 am
Fri September 13, 2013

Mount McKinley's Gotten Shorter Again

Mount McKinley. There's a bit less of it than we thought.
Tim Rains/National Park Service Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri September 13, 2013 8:36 am

Could Alaska's Mount McKinley be in danger of developing a Napoleon complex?

Well, it's still said to be the tallest peak in North America, so perhaps it won't need to worry about its height just yet. But for the second time in recent decades, the mountain's been shortened.

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The Two-Way
7:13 am
Fri September 13, 2013

He's Down, Not Up: Trans-Atlantic Balloonist Forced To Land

Jonathan Trappe lifted off Thursday from Caribou, Maine. He had to give up his trans-Atlantic trip about 350 miles later.
Mark McBreairty AP

Originally published on Fri September 13, 2013 8:09 am

Before we even had a chance to tell you he was up, Jonathan Trappe is down.

"Hmm, this doesn't look like France," says the American aviator on his Facebook page.

Trappe left from Caribou, Maine, on Thursday on a bid to fly across the Atlantic in a small boat hanging beneath about 300 helium-filled balloons. Think Up.

No one's ever made that trip using a "cluster balloon" rig.

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The Two-Way
6:19 am
Fri September 13, 2013

'Biblical' Flooding Rages In Colorado

Patrick Tinsley and Mary Kerns walk from their mountain community, Magnolia, where road access is shut off by debris. Flash flooding in Colorado has left at least three people reportedly dead and the widespread high waters have hampered emergency workers' access to affected communities as heavy rains hammered northern Colorado.
Brennan Linsley AP

Originally published on Fri September 13, 2013 5:15 pm

"As heavy rains brought wide ranging flood conditions across the state Thursday, the Front Range is bracing for more Friday," our colleagues at Northern Colorado's KUNC report.

They add that:

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The Two-Way
5:19 am
Fri September 13, 2013

As Talks Continue, CIA Gets Some Weapons To Syrian Rebels

A Free Syrian Army fighter looks through the scope of his sniper rifle at an area controlled by forces loyal to President Bashar Assad in Aleppo.
Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri September 13, 2013 2:13 pm

  • On 'Morning Edition': NPR's Tom Bowman talks with host Steve Inskeep about the crisis in Syria

It's Day Two of talks in Geneva between Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who are seeing if they can come to an agreement on Russia's suggestion that Syria hand over its chemical weapons to international monitors — and thus avert a possible strike by the U.S. military.

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The Two-Way
4:28 am
Fri September 13, 2013

Death For 4 Men Convicted In Indian Gang Rape And Murder

Outside the courthouse in New Delhi on Friday, demonstrators gathered to call for — and then celebrate — the death sentences handed down for four men convicted in the December gang rape and murder of a young woman.
Roberto Schmidt AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri September 13, 2013 7:44 am

The four men convicted for December's notorious gang rape and murder of a young woman in New Delhi, India, were given the death penalty on Friday.

"It took all of 90 seconds" for the judge to announce his decision and then leave the courtroom, NPR's Julie McCarthy reports from New Delhi. One of the four convicted men "shrieked and slumped," while outside a cheer went up when spectators heard the news, she adds.

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The Two-Way
3:03 pm
Thu September 12, 2013

Frightened By Friday The 13th? Say Paraskevidekatriaphobia

iStockphoto.com

It's baaaaack.

Friday the 13th, that is.

So in what's become a Two-Way tradition, we again offer something that's supposed to help.

Learning how to say paraskevidekatriaphobia supposedly cures one of any Friday the 13th-related fears.

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The Two-Way
11:48 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Prince William Musters Out: He's Leaving The Military

Flight Lt. Wales (a.k.a. Prince William or the Duke of Cambridge).
Arthur Edwards Getty Images

After more than seven years in the Royal Air Force that included three years of service as a helicopter pilot on search-and-rescue missions, the Duke of Cambridge is leaving the military life behind.

According to the BBC, "he will now focus on royal duties and charity work together with the Duchess of Cambridge, a palace spokesman said."

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The Two-Way
10:26 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Bitter Battle Ends As Dell Shareholders OK $25 Billion Buyout

Dell Chairman and CEO Michael Dell in 2011.
Kimihiro Hoshino AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 10:44 am

Dell Inc. shareholders, as expected, have approved founder Michael Dell's $25 billion offer to take the company private, ending a protracted battle that saw billionaire investor Carl Icahn mount his own takeover bid for the computer maker.

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The Two-Way
9:43 am
Thu September 12, 2013

J.K. Rowling To Write Screenplay For 'Harry Potter' Spinoff

Remember the frenzy when Harry Potter books and movies came out? Fans may be cast under a similar spell now that J.K. Rowling has agreed to write the screenplay for a Potter spinoff. (This 2005 photo was taken in London when the book Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was released.)
Paco Serinelli AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri September 13, 2013 7:00 am

Hold on to your sorting hats, everyone, there's exciting news today for muggles everywhere:

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The Two-Way
8:59 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Massive Molasses Spill Devastates Honolulu Marine Life

An image from video shot by diver Roger White for Hawaii News Now shows how the molasses spill has affected the water in part of Honolulu Harbor and killed many creatures.
Hawaii News Now

Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 2:20 pm

"Everything down there is dead."

That's one stunning quote from Hawaii News Now's latest report about the devastating damage that's been done to the marine life off Honolulu's Sand Island by 233,000 gallons of molasses that were spilled into Honolulu harbor on Monday.

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The Two-Way
7:48 am
Thu September 12, 2013

UPDATED: U.S. Rejects Assad's Timetable For A Chemical Weapons Deal

In Washington, D.C., this week, there have been demonstrations both in favor of and against a military strike on targets in Syria. Outside the White House on Monday, supporters of Syrian President Bashar Assad waved a Syrian flag with his face on it.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 3:44 pm

Thirty days after his regime signs the international Chemical Weapons Convention that bans their use he will start handing over data about Syria's stockpile, President Bashar Assad told a Russian TV channel Thursday.

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The Two-Way
7:04 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Jobless Claims Hit 7-Year Low, But Data Weren't Complete

At a Target store in San Francisco last month, job seekers waited in line.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

A plunge in the number of first-time claims for jobless benefits last week — to a 7-year-low 292,000 — can be partly explained away by "technical problems," Reuters writes:

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