Mark Memmott

Mark Memmott joined NPR News in the spring of 2009 to launch a new blog, "The Two-Way," with co-blogger Frank James.

"The Two-Way" is the place where NPR.org gives readers breaking news and analysis — and where it engages users in conversations ("two-ways") about the most compelling stories being reported by NPR News and other news media.

Memmott came to NPR from USA Today, where for over 20 years he worked as a reporter and editor on subjects ranging from politics and, foreign affairs to economics and the media.

In recent years he helped launch and then led three different news blogs at USATODAY.com, including the website's 2008 presidential campaign blog, On Politics.

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1:36pm

Tue June 7, 2011
The Two-Way

Spectacular Lightning Show As Volcano Erupts In Chile

We do like the shows that volcanoes sometimes put on, as regular Two-Way readers know.

So we can't resist the photos and videos coming out of Chile, where the Puyehue-Cordon-Caulle volcano range has been erupting in recent days and lightning storms in the clouds of ash have been quite electrifying (pun intended).

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11:33am

Tue June 7, 2011
The Two-Way

Live-Blog: Obama And Germany's Merkel Take Questions

President Obama and Chancellor Angela Merkel during the official arrival ceremony for the German leader at the White House this morning (June 7, 2011).
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

President Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are holding a joint news conference this hour at the White House.

Merkel will be awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom today and is to be honored with a State Dinner at the White House this evening. Earlier today, she and the president "hailed the relationship between their nations as the cornerstone of efforts to promote peace and prosperity around the world," The Associated Press writes.

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11:08am

Tue June 7, 2011
The Two-Way

Mars Space Station 'Discovered;' Earthlings Tune In To See It

Here's what he saw. A Mars station?
David Martines youtube.com/TheCalifornian

We're just catching up to the stories about an amateur astronomer in California who claims to have spotted some sort of structure on Mars where something might be living.

Oh sure, there are doubters (also known as scientists), who say that what David Martines saw is just a digital glitch in the image.

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9:32am

Tue June 7, 2011
The Two-Way

Original Copy Of Hitler's First Anti-Semitic Screed Reportedly Found

Adolf Hitler in 1921, two years after he wrote the letter.
Keystone Getty Images

It is a horrific sign of what was to come.

In New York today, the Simon Wiesenthal Center will reveal what it believes is the original copy of Adolf Hitler's first known writing about his anti-Semitic view of the world.

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8:21am

Tue June 7, 2011

7:51am

Tue June 7, 2011
The Two-Way

State Of Emergency In Arizona As Wildfire Spreads

A massive blaze continues to spread across part of northeastern Arizona, "devouring thousands more acres of forest" and forcing more evacuations from communities in its path, the Arizona Republic writes. Smoke is drifting over neighboring states and has been detected as far away as Iowa.

The newspaper adds that "Gov. Jan Brewer [R] declared a state of emergency for the area and ordered the state's emergency-operations center into action."

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7:33am

Tue June 7, 2011
The Two-Way

Reports: Yemeni President Suffered Burns, Collapsed Lung

Thousands of Yemeni anti-government protesters demonstrated in the city of Ibb on Monday (June 6, 2011).
AFP/Getty Images

We're hearing more this morning about the extent of the injuries that Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh suffered when his palace was attacked on Friday.

According to CNN:

"Saleh suffered burns on 40% of his body and a collapsed lung, U.S. government officials briefed on the matter said, as the fate of the embattled leader — and whether he will return to the conflict in Yemen — remains uncertain."

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4:30pm

Mon June 6, 2011
The Two-Way

Rep. Weiner Admits Lying, Sending Lewd Photo, Inappropriate Conversations

Saying that "I have made terrible mistakes and have hurt the people I care about the most," a tearful Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) just admitted lying about a lewd photo he sent to a young woman and to having "inappropriate conversations" over social media and on the phone with "six women over the last three years."

He also said he is not going to resign from office.

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1:52pm

Mon June 6, 2011
The Two-Way

'2,500 Pennies' Guy Adds His Two Cents To The Story

He had many thoughts, and pennies, to share.
Tim Boyle Getty Images

"I didn't at any time yell. ... I didn't go on a rant. I wasn't irate."

So says Jason West, the Utah man who's at the center of a tale about 2,500 pennies and how he used them to pay a disputed $25 medical bill — and now faces a potential fine of 14,000 pennies ($140, that is).

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10:42am

Mon June 6, 2011
The Two-Way

Michael Vick Returned To NFL After Prison; Plaxico Burress Next?

After nearly two years in prison on a gun charge, former New York Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress was released this morning.

Now, the watch is on to see if he plays in the National Football League again.

There is, of course, recent precedent to cite. After nearly two years in prison on a conviction related to dog fighting, quarterback Michael Vick, once a star with the Atlanta Falcons, returned to the league in 2009 and to stardom with the Philadelphia Eagles.

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9:39am

Mon June 6, 2011
The Two-Way

Strauss-Kahn Enters Not Guilty Plea

In what The Associated Press decribes as a "strong voice," former International Monetary Fund leader Dominique Strauss-Kahn this morning pleaded not guilty to the charge that he attempted to rape a maid at a Manhattan hotel last month.

As the AP adds, "the 62-year-old Strauss-Kahn is on house arrest under armed guard. The French politician resigned his IMF post after his May 14 arrest."

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9:19am

Mon June 6, 2011
The Two-Way

Five Deaths Are U.S. Military's Largest Single-Day Loss In Iraq Since 2009

The deaths of five American troops today in central Iraq makes for an awful milestone. It is "the single largest loss of life for the American military in Iraq in the past two years," The Associated Press notes.

And, "the deaths raised to 4,459 the number of American service members who have died in Iraq, according to an Associated Press count."

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8:50am

Mon June 6, 2011
The Two-Way

Sarah Palin's Had Her Say, Now Let's Hear From Paul Revere

There's been a bit of a kerfuffle the past couple days over something Sarah Palin said about Paul Revere.

The former Alaska governor, 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee, potential 2012 GOP presidential contender and Fox News contributor told reporters in New England that Revere "warned the British that they weren't going to be taking away our arms by ringing those bells and making sure as he's riding his horse through town to send those warning shots and bells that we were going to be secure and we were going to be free."

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7:38am

Mon June 6, 2011
The Two-Way

Five U.S. Troops Killed In Iraq; E. Coli Outbreak Linked To Bean Sprouts

Good morning.

A "tenuous truce," as we just reported, seems to be holding in Yemen. But much uncertainty remains — over whether President Ali Abdullah Saleh will return following his medical treatment in Saudi Arabia and over whether the fractious and heavily armed opposition forces can unite.

Meanwhile, other stories making headlines include:

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6:57am

Mon June 6, 2011
The Two-Way

In Yemen: 'Tenuous Truce' Holds; Saleh's Return In Doubt

In the capital, Sanaa, on Sunday, some Yemeni anti-government protesters celebrated Saleh's departure.
AFP/Getty Images

While there's continued concern that the turmoil in Yemen will give al-Qaida a chance to further embed itself in that country and continue to use it as a staging place for attacks elsewhere, the early reports from there today are that a "tenuous truce" remains in place, as al-Jazeera puts it.

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2:18pm

Fri June 3, 2011
The Two-Way

Kevorkian Flashback: The Day He Sent A Chill Up Don Gonyea's Spine

Today's news about the death of Dr. Jack Kevorkian — "Dr. Death," the champion of the right to assisted suicide for the terminally ill — brings back a memory for NPR's Don Gonyea.

As Don reported for Weekend Edition Sunday in June 2007, he interviewed Kevorkian on June 5, 1990. That was one day after 54-year-old Janet Adkins became the first person to use one of Kevorkian's homemade suicide machines.

Here's how Don remembers the encounter:

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1:59pm

Fri June 3, 2011
The Two-Way

House Demands Obama Explain Libya Mission's Rationale

By a 268-145 vote, the House just approved a resolution that, as The Associated Press puts it, chastises President Obama for failing to provide Congress with a "compelling rationale" for the military action underway in Libya.

The measure was put forward by the GOP, and passed with 223 votes from Republicans and 45 from Obama's fellow Democrats.

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1:36pm

Fri June 3, 2011
The Two-Way

James Arness, Matt Dillon On 'Gunsmoke,' Has Died

"James Arness, the towering actor best known for portraying Marshal Matt Dillon, the strong and commanding symbol of frontier justice on the landmark TV western series Gunsmoke," died today, the Los Angeles Times reports.

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12:52pm

Fri June 3, 2011
The Two-Way

Message For Transgender Kids From One Who's Been There: You Matter

Janet Mock.
Aaron Tredwell

"Kids who grew up like me needed to know that despite the fact that their internal sense of gender did not match their sexual organs ... they mattered."

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11:16am

Fri June 3, 2011
The Two-Way

Was Poet Pablo Neruda Poisoned In 1973? Chile Will Investigate

Pablo Neruda in October, 1971.
AFP/Getty Images

After a call from Chile's Communist Party for a formal investigation into whether poet Pablo Neruda was assassinated under orders from Gen. Augusto Pinochet, a judge has ordered a probe of Neruda's 1973 death.

As the BBC writes:

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10:25am

Fri June 3, 2011
The Two-Way

John Edwards Indicted On Charges Related To Money Given To Mistress

John Edwards, who was the Democratic vice presidential nominee in 2004 and a leading contender for the party's presidential nomination in 2008, was indicted by a grand jury in North Carolina today on charges connected to money given to his mistress that came from two of Edwards' political supporters.

As The Associated Press, which broke the news of the indictment, writes:

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9:11am

Fri June 3, 2011
The Two-Way

Presidential Palace Attacked In Yemen

The official line from the government in Yemen is that President Ali Abdullah Saleh is "alive and will soon make a nationwide address," Reuters reports, following word of an attack on the presidential palace and an earlier claim by some in the opposition that he had been killed.

The Associated Press says it's been told by a government official that Saleh was slightly injured. Yemen's deputy prime minister was more seriously injured, according to the official.

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8:43am

Fri June 3, 2011
The Two-Way

Dr. Jack Kevorkian Has Died, His Lawyer Says

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 11:46 am

Dr. Jack Kevorkian in June, 1998.
Jeff Kowalsky AFP/Getty Images

"Dr. Jack Kevorkian, the Michigan pathologist who put assisted suicide on the world's medical ethics stage, died this morning between 2 a.m. and 2:30 a.m., said his lawyer Mayer Morganroth." (Detroit Free Press)

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8:34am

Fri June 3, 2011
The Two-Way

Jobless Rate Ticks Up To 9.1 Percent; Only 54,000 Jobs Added

The May employment report was weaker than expected.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

-- The unemployment rate edged up to 9.1 percent from 9.0 percent in April. It had been expected to hold steady or perhaps even edge down a tenth of a point.

-- There were only 54,000 jobs added to businesses' and government payrolls, well below the 150,000 or so that had been forecast and nowhere near the pace needed to reduce unemployment.

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8:28am

Fri June 3, 2011
The Two-Way

For 'National Doughnut Day,' The Salvation Army's Original Recipe

Mmmm.
Robert Sullivan. AFP/Getty Images

We must note that today is the 73rd National Doughnut Day — a celebration of tasty goodness that honors the work done by the Salvation Army and the "lassies" who made doughnuts for soldiers in World War I and World War II.

If you hit a Dunkin Donuts, Krispy Kreme and some local stores, there could be a free doughnut for you (Dunkin Donuts requires a beverage purchase; Krispy Kreme does not). And Salvation Army workers may be on hand to take donations.

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8:00am

Fri June 3, 2011
The Two-Way

Jobs Report Coming; Weak Growth Expected

Dirk Nowitzki (R) of the Dallas Mavericks shoots over Udonis Haslem (L) of the Miami Heat during Game 2 of the NBA Finals on Thursday (June 2, 2011) in Miami. Nowitzki hit the decisive layup with 3.6 seconds remaining as the Mavericks rallied to beat the Heat 95-93.
Don Emmert AFP/Getty Images

Good morning.

As we've already reported, there's word from The Hague that former Bosnian Serb general Ratko Mladic made his first appearance before a U.N. war crimes court today. A defiant Mladic rejected what he said are the "obnoxious charges" against him. He's accused of ordering the deaths of thousands during the wars that ripped apart the former Yugoslavia in the '90s.

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7:19am

Fri June 3, 2011
The Two-Way

'Children's Friday' Protests Called In Syria; Internet Access Cut?

From a Facebook page created about Hamza.
Facebook.com/hamza.alshaheed

The death of 13-year-old Hamza Ali al-Khateeb, allegedly after he was tortured by authorities, continues to rock Syria.

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6:55am

Fri June 3, 2011
The Two-Way

Mladic Rejects 'Obnoxious Charges,' Refuses To Enter Plea

Ratko Mladic, during his appearance at the International Criminal Tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands, earlier today (June 3, 2011).
Serge Ligtenberg Getty Images

"Former Bosnian Serb military chief Gen. Ratko Mladic told a United Nations war crimes court Friday he is 'a gravely ill man' and refused to enter pleas to 'obnoxious charges' alleging he orchestrated the worst atrocities of a war that claimed 100,000 lives," The Associated Press reports from The Hague.

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4:32pm

Thu June 2, 2011
The Two-Way

U.S. Military Will Always Have 'A Full Menu,' Secretary Gates Says

Defense Secretary Robert Gates, while on a Black Hawk helicopter flying above Kandahar province in Afghanistan on March 8, 2011.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Soaring health care and pay costs have made it difficult for the U.S. military to "significantly increase our ... capabilities" in recent years, outgoing Defense Secretary Robert Gates says.

The Pentagon's health care bill alone, he tells All Things Considered host Robert Siegel during a conversation for today's broadcast, has "gone from $19 billion in [the year] 2000 to $55 billion now."

Getting such costs under control will remain critical to ongoing efforts to be ready for future challenges, adds Gates.

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1:23pm

Thu June 2, 2011
The Two-Way

Romney Launches His Bid; Says President Obama 'Has Failed America'

Saying that "Barack Obama has failed America," former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney just officially launched his bid for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.

Romney, who also sought the GOP nomination in 2008, used a farm in Stratham, N.H., as the backdrop for the announcement.

Over at It's All Politics, our colleague Frank James writes that Romney may be the Republican who scares Democrats the most.

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