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
9:41 am
Fri May 17, 2013

Famed Race Driver Dick Trickle Dies, Suicide Suspected

Dick Trickle at the start of a NASCAR race in 1993.
Bill Hall Getty Images

Originally published on Fri May 17, 2013 11:36 am

Dick Trickle, a "short-track hero" in the '70s and '80s who moved to the NASCAR circuit later in his career, died Thursday.

According to The Charlotte Observer, the 71-year-old was killed by "an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, Lincoln County [N.C.] deputies said."

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The Two-Way
7:54 am
Fri May 17, 2013

Gingrich Cautions GOP About 'Overreach' On Scandals

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich in April 2012.
Christian Gooden/St. Louis Post-Dispatch MCT /Landov

Originally published on Fri May 17, 2013 10:36 am

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who was front-and-center during the Republican-led impeachment of President Clinton in 1998, is cautioning his GOP colleagues about the risk of appearing to be too eager as they dig into the scandals now dogging the Obama administration.

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The Two-Way
7:02 am
Fri May 17, 2013

Kai The 'Hatchet Hitchhiker' Is Accused Of Murder

Caleb "Kai" McGillvary.
Union County (N.J.) Prosecutor's Office AP

Originally published on Fri May 17, 2013 10:10 am

Caleb "Kai" McGillvary, who became an Internet sensation in February with his colorful account of how he bashed a man with a hatchet to stop an attack on a utility worker in California, has been arrested and charged with murdering a lawyer in New Jersey.

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The Two-Way
6:08 am
Fri May 17, 2013

Reports: Russia Sends More Missiles, Has Ships Near Syria

Originally published on Fri May 17, 2013 10:03 am

Friday's major news about the conflict in Syria:

-- "Russia Sends More Advanced Missiles to Aid Assad in Syria."

According to The New York Times, "Russia has sent advanced antiship cruise missiles to Syria, a move that illustrates the depth of its support for the Syrian government led by President Bashar al-Assad, American officials said Thursday."

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The Two-Way
5:34 am
Fri May 17, 2013

Congress Due To Grill Ousted IRS Chief

Outgoing acting Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner Steve Miller as he was being sworn in Friday before a House Ways and Means committee hearing.
Nicholas Kamm AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri May 17, 2013 11:53 am

(Most recent update: 12:50 p.m. ET.)

Saying that "foolish mistakes were made by people trying to be more efficient in their workload selection," the outgoing head of the Internal Revenue Service told Congress on Friday that he and the agency want to apologize for the targeting of some conservative groups during the 2012 campaign cycle.

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The Two-Way
12:27 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

Obama Names New Acting IRS Commissioner

Rain fell Thursday during part of President Obama's joint news conference with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the Rose Garden of the White House.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 16, 2013 6:39 pm

Update at 5:38 p.m. ET. One More IRS Official To Leave

Another official is out at the embattled agency.

The Associated Press reports that Joseph Grant, commissioner of the IRS' tax exempt and government entities division, will retire June 3. The division scrutinized Tea Party groups when the applied for tax-exempt status.

Update at 4:45 p.m. ET. Obama Names New IRS Acting Chief

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The Two-Way
10:55 am
Thu May 16, 2013

Almost Nerd Wars: 'Doctor Who' & 'Star Wars' Fans Have Spat

Darth Vader or The Doctor? Pick your champion.
Lewis Whyld/Andrew Matthews PA Photos/Landov

Originally published on Thu May 16, 2013 3:20 pm

Some stories are indeed too good to be true.

This BBC headline had us punching the Two-Way control board to go to light speed in pursuit of appropriate puns:

"Star Wars and Doctor Who fans clash at Norwich convention"

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The Two-Way
9:27 am
Thu May 16, 2013

Berkshire Hathaway's Credit Rating Knocked Down A Notch

Warren Buffett.
Donald Bowers Getty Images for Fortune

Originally published on Thu May 16, 2013 9:53 am

Billionaire investment legend Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. has had its credit rating lowered from AA+ to AA by Standard & Poor's Ratings Services.

In a statement, S&P says that even though Berkshire Hathaway has an "excellent business profile," the lower credit rating "better reflects our view of BRK's dependence on its core insurance operations for most of its dividend income." (S&P's statement is posted on its website, but you have to register to view it.)

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The Two-Way
8:47 am
Thu May 16, 2013

Reports: Note Found In Boat Where Boston Suspect Hid

April 20 in Watertown, Mass.: Investigators work in and around the boat in which Boston bombings suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was found hiding.
Darren McCollester Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 16, 2013 11:10 am

In a message written on a wall of the boat where he was found hiding, Boston bombings suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev claimed responsibility for the attack and said it was motivated by anger over the Afghan and Iraq wars, sources familiar with what was found have told CBS News correspondent John Miller.

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The Two-Way
7:57 am
Thu May 16, 2013

Conflicting Signals From Latest Economic Indicators

Thursday morning's economic news:

-- There were 360,000 first-time claims for unemployment insurance last week, up 32,000 from the week before, the Employment and Training Administration says. At 360,000, the pace was the fastest since the last week of March. But it remained well below the 400,000-and-higher rate that lasted from mid-2008 into 2011.

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The Two-Way
7:35 am
Thu May 16, 2013

Twitter Users Risk Damnation, Say Saudi Religious Police

In January, this Saudi man in Riyadh had Twitter open on his computer.
Fayez Nureldine AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 16, 2013 8:57 am

"The head of Saudi Arabia's religious police has warned citizens against using Twitter, which is rising in popularity among Saudis," the BBC reports. "Sheikh Abdul Latif Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh said anyone using social media sites — and especially Twitter — 'has lost this world and his afterlife.' "

International Digital Times notes that:

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The Two-Way
6:54 am
Thu May 16, 2013

Suspect Apprehended In New Orleans Second-Line Shooting

Akein Scott, 19, the suspect in a shooting spree Sunday that left 19 people wounded in New Orleans.
New Orleans Police Department EPA /LANDOV

Originally published on Thu May 16, 2013 3:30 pm

"CAPTURED!"

That's how the New Orleans Police Department spread the word on Facebook early Thursday that its officers had "arrested 19-year-old Akein Scott in connection with the shooting of 19 people on Mother's Day."

Update at 4:05 p.m. ET. Second Suspect Arrested:

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The Two-Way
6:27 am
Thu May 16, 2013

At Least 13 Dead, Including Americans, After Attack In Kabul

The scene Thursday in Kabul, Afghanistan, after a suicide bomber attacked a NATO convoy.
Zhao Yishen Xinhua /Landov

Originally published on Thu May 16, 2013 7:46 am

Early casualty reports indicate that a powerful suicide car bombing Thursday in Kabul killed at least seven Afghan civilians, four foreign civilian contractors who were working for international forces and two members of the international military force.

Dozens more people were reportedly injured by the blast in Afghanistan's capital city.

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The Two-Way
6:08 am
Thu May 16, 2013

Texas Tornado Leaves 6 Dead, Dozens Hurt, Hundreds Homeless

Jose and Antonio Angudo were among those evacuated from Granbury, Texas, late Wednesday after a tornado devastated the area.
Joyce Marshall / Fort Worth Star-Telegram MCT / Landov

Originally published on Thu May 16, 2013 7:38 am

"A massive emergency response" is underway in North Texas, where tornadoes blew through Wednesday night, The Dallas Morning News says. A twister that hit Granbury, about 35 miles southwest of Fort Worth, left at least six people dead, more than 100 injured and even more homeless, The Associated Press adds.

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The Two-Way
12:30 pm
Wed May 15, 2013

White House Releases Complete Benghazi Emails

Sept. 11: The U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, was aflame after coming under attack.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon May 20, 2013 11:49 am

Update at 6:42 p.m. ET: Reaction From Boehner's Office

In a statement, Brendan Buck, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, said the emails "contradict statements made by the White House that it and the State Department only changed one word in the talking points."

Here's the statement in full:

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The Two-Way
10:09 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 12:52 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
9:57 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 8:34 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
8:29 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 1:59 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
8:06 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 1:09 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
6:58 am
Wed May 15, 2013

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

Originally published on Wed May 15, 2013 12:58 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
6:04 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 5:10 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
1:19 pm
Tue May 14, 2013

Justice Department To Open Probe Of IRS's Actions

Originally published on Wed May 15, 2013 7:17 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
1:09 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 2:01 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
10:33 am
Tue May 14, 2013

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

Originally published on Tue May 14, 2013 11:27 am

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
10:18 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 10:51 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
8:50 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 6:09 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
8:36 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 9:46 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
7:52 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
5:43 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 7:48 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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