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
1:31 pm
Thu August 29, 2013

Federal Prosecutors Told Not To Focus On Marijuana Users

A customer rolls a joint made of half marijuana and half tobacco to smoke inside of Frankie Sports Bar and Grill in Olympia, Wash., in December 2012.
Nick Adams Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 7:58 pm

Federal prosecutors are being told by Attorney General Eric Holder to focus on cartels, criminal enterprises and those who sell the drug to children, not on casual marijuana users, a Justice Department official tells NPR's Carrie Johnson.

Holder today informed the governors of Washington and Colorado — two states that recently legalized the sale of marijuana for personal use — about the new guidelines for prosecutors, the official adds.

Bu the new guidelines will apply to all states, not just Washington, Colorado and those where "medical marijuana" is legal.

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The Two-Way
1:06 pm
Thu August 29, 2013

NFL, Retirees Reach $765M Settlement On Concussions Suits

Junior Seau sustained many concussions during his career and was suffering from a degenerative brain disease when he killed himself in May 2012.
Otto Greule Jr. Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 2:45 pm

The NFL and more than 4,500 retired players have reached an agreement calling for the league to contribute $765 million to a fund that will pay "medical and other benefits, as well as compensation" to those who suffered concussions and related injuries during their careers.

Details of the agreement, which would settle concussion-related lawsuits by former players and still needs a judge's OK, were released by the league early Thursday afternoon.

According to that statement:

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The Two-Way
11:15 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Are We Martians? Scientist Says We Just Might Be

Mars: Our "home" planet?
NASA Getty Images

As Adam Frank has said over on the 13.7 blog, "Earth and Mars have been swapping spit (astrobiologically speaking) for eons ... [and] it is entirely possible we were Earth's first alien invasion."

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The Two-Way
9:21 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Economy Was Stronger Than Thought In Second Quarter

Stronger-than-thought exports produced stronger-than-thought economic growth in the spring. (2010 file photo from the Port of Miami.)
Joe Raedle Getty Images

The U.S. economy expanded at a 2.5 percent annual rate in the second quarter, the Bureau of Economic Analysis said Thursday.

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The Two-Way
8:47 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Assad Is To Blame For Chemical Weapons Attack, British Say

British Prime Minister David Cameron on Thursday as he left 10 Downing Street in London.
Dan Kitwood Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 11:28 am

Saying that there are "no plausible alternative scenarios," the U.K.'s Joint Intelligence Organisation released a statement Thursday to support the conclusion reached by U.S. and British officials that Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime is responsible for what's said to have been a chemical weapons attack last week near Damascus.

That attack, U.S. and British officials say, killed more than 300 people and may have injured several thousand more.

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The Two-Way
8:12 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Largest Strike So Far By Fast-Food Workers Set For Thursday

Outside a Taco Bell restaurant in Warren, Mich., early Thursday, supporters of the push by fast-food workers to raise the minimum wage were marching.
Jessica J. Trevino MCT/Landov

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 9:45 am

Organizers say workers at fast-food restaurants in cities across the nation will walk off their jobs Thursday in what's expected to be the largest such strike so far, The Associated Press writes.

As the wire service adds:

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The Two-Way
7:46 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Three More Weeks Needed To Surround California's Rim Fire

Flames from the Rim Fire in the hills behind Tuolumne City, Calif., on Wednesday.
David McNew Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 9:32 am

The massive "Rim Fire" around California's Yosemite National Park is now about 30 percent contained and it's hoped that cooling temperatures and more moderate winds will continue to work in firefighters' favor.

But The Associated Press cautions that officials say it will likely still be three weeks before the fire is surrounded and that the blaze likely won't be out until many weeks after that.

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The Two-Way
6:56 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Obama Hasn't Made Case For Striking Syria, Rumsfeld Says

Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in 2011.
Michael Reynolds EPA /Landov

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 8:02 am

As the U.S. and its allies seemingly move closer to some type of military action in response to Syrian President Bashar Assad's alleged use of chemical weapons to kill hundreds of his own people, one of the policymakers who led the U.S.

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The Two-Way
2:22 pm
Wed August 28, 2013

Speaking At The Lincoln Memorial, Obama Assesses 'The Dream'

Former President Bill Clinton tells the crowd that Americans today owe a tremendous debt to "those people who came here 50 years ago." Millions of us, he said, have lived the dream King talked about.
Shawn Thew EPA/Landov

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 12:05 pm

  • Listen: NPR Special Coverage Of The March On Washington Anniversary

Thousands gathered under gray skies in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington.

They gathered in the exact same spot where the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech, and many of the same themes — equality, dignity, unity — echoed through the crowd.

President Obama was joined by the King family and former Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

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The Two-Way
1:11 pm
Wed August 28, 2013

LISTEN: Rare Recording Of '52 Speech That King Drew From

"For the first time in 60 years," our friends at WBEZ report, you can hear a 1952 speech given by a Chicago pastor that ends with "the famous crescendo" that Martin Luther King Jr. would echo 11 years later in his "I Have A Dream" speech.

The speaker at the 1952 Republican National Convention was Pastor Archibald Carey Jr., who would say:

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