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
7:55 am
Tue December 20, 2011

House Rejects Senate's Extension Of Payroll Tax Cut

House John Boehner (R-Ohio) at the U.S. Capitol on Monday (Dec. 19, 2011).
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 20, 2011 1:23 pm

Update at 12:56 p.m. ET. House Rejects Bill:

Voting mostly along party lines, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to send a Senate bill extending unemployment benefits and a payroll tax cut to conference. With the Senate in recess, the move leaves the bill in limbo and could mean that come January, 2 million Americans will lose their long-term unemployment benefits and 160 million workers could see their taxes rise by 2-percentage points.

Before the vote, Democrats and Republicans went head to head on the House floor.

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The Two-Way
7:15 am
Tue December 20, 2011

Kim Jong Un's Ascension Is 'Being Cemented For Him'

A screen shot from North Korean TV foottage shows Kim Jong Il's body lying in a glass coffin in Pyongyang.
AFP/Getty Images

The body of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il is now lying in state at the Kumsusan Memorial Palace in Pyongyang — enclosed in a glass coffin and surrounded by flowers. He died Saturday and the period of mourning is set to continue until well into next week.

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The Two-Way
6:30 am
Tue December 20, 2011

Blizzard Pounds Great Plains, Northeast May See White Christmas

It's slick out there: The scene Monday along U.S. 550 near Rio Rancho, N.M.
Susan Montoya Bryan AP

Originally published on Tue December 20, 2011 6:34 am

Stranded motorists. Closed highways. Packed hotels.

It's winter and the Great Plains has gotten walloped:

"From northern New Mexico and the Texas Panhandle through Oklahoma and northwestern Kansas," The Associated Press writes, "blizzard conditions [on Monday and into today] put state road crews on alert and had motorists taking refuge and early exits off major roads."

Some reports from the stricken states:

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The Two-Way
1:25 pm
Mon December 19, 2011

Don't Panic, It Wasn't Lil' Kim

In case anyone's confused. Kim Jong Il is at left. And Lil' Kim is still with us.
Korean Central News Agency / Ian Gavan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 19, 2011 1:28 pm

Just the headline of this Buzz Feed post made us laugh.

"25 People Who Thought Lil Kim Died."

It's funny either way:

-- If some folks were confused by the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il.

-- Or if they were just making mischief.

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The Two-Way
11:25 am
Mon December 19, 2011

VIDEOS: Christmas-Themed 'Senior Citizen Flash Mobs' Are Spreading

The senior citizens flash mob in Kansas.
YouTube

Originally published on Mon December 19, 2011 11:26 am

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The Two-Way
10:10 am
Mon December 19, 2011

Violent Crime Drops Again, FBI Reports

From the Preliminary Semiannual Uniform Crime Report.
FBI.gov

Originally published on Mon December 19, 2011 10:12 am

The number of violent crimes reported by 12,500 U.S. law enforcement agencies fell 6.4 percent in the first half of this year compared to the same time in 2010, the FBI reports.

And in its Preliminary Semiannual Uniform Crime Report the bureau also says that property crimes were down 3.7 percent.

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The Two-Way
9:45 am
Mon December 19, 2011

Boehner: House Will Reject Deal On Tax Cut, Benefits; Senate Should Stay On Job

Saying again that it's wrong to enact two-month extensions of payroll tax cuts and jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) just told reporters that he expects the House will this evening reject the deal to do just that, which passed the Senate by an overwhelmingly bipartisan majority on Saturday.

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The Two-Way
9:15 am
Mon December 19, 2011

Who Is Kim Jong Un? Who Really Knows?

North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency distributed this photo of Kim Jong Un on Sept. 23.
hand-out AFP/Getty Images

It's been two years since Kim Jong Un effectively became North Korea's "Great Successor" and heir to the seat of power in the communist nation run by a family dynasty — a dynasty that began with his grandfather, Kim Il Sung (the "Great Leader") and continued with his father, Kim Jong Il (the "Dear Leader").

But in that time about the only new thing we know is that he's two years older and now thought to be in his late 20s. And, that he appears about to become at least the titular head of an impoverished nation that threatens its richer neighbor to the south with nuclear weapons

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The Two-Way
8:00 am
Mon December 19, 2011

More Than 30 Percent Of Americans Arrested By Age 23, Study Says

The arrest of an Occupy DC protester earlier this month in Washington — one type of arrest that would show up in the researchers' numbers.
Nicholas Kamm AFP/Getty Images

There's been a sharp increase in recent decades in the number of young Americans who report they've been arrested at least once, researchers report in Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

While in the mid-1960s about 22 percent of Americans reported having been arrested by the time they turned 23, researchers estimate that the "prevalence rate" for arrests by that age now lies "between 30.2 percent and 41.4 percent."

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The Two-Way
7:15 am
Mon December 19, 2011

Top Stories: Kim Jong Il's Death, Philippines Disaster, Payroll Tax Impasse

Originally published on Mon December 19, 2011 7:20 am

Good morning.

The major story of the past 12 hours or so, as we've been reporting, is the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il.

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