Alan Greenblatt

Alan Greenblatt has been covering politics and government in Washington and around the country for 20 years. He came to NPR as a digital reporter in 2010, writing about a wide range of topics, including elections, housing economics, natural disasters and same-sex marriage.

He was previously a reporter with Governing, a magazine that covers state and local government issues. Alan wrote about education, budgets, economic development and legislative behavior, among other topics. He is the coauthor, with Kevin Smith, of Governing States and Localities, a college-level textbook that is now in its fourth edition.

As a reporter for Congressional Quarterly, he was the inaugural winner of the National Press Club's Sandy Hume Memorial Award for Excellence in Political Journalism, which is given to outstanding reporters under the age of 35. Sadly, he no longer meets that requirement.

Along the way, Alan has contributed articles about politics and culture for numerous publications, including The New York Times, Washington Post and the San Francisco Chronicle. He is happy to be working for an outlet where he has been able to write about everything from revolutions in the Middle East to antique jazz recordings.

Alan is a graduate of San Francisco State University and holds a master's degree from the University of Virginia.

Pages

U.S.
3:06 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Deal In Detroit Could Signal Cuts To Pensions Elsewhere

Retirees Mike Shane (left) and William Davis protest near the federal courthouse in Detroit on July 3. Workers and retirees approved pension cuts in Detroit's bankruptcy by a landslide, the city reported Monday.
Paul Sancya AP

It used to be that if you were a public employee, you knew your pension benefits could not be touched.

That's no longer the case.

Pensions have been under political attack in recent years, with some politicians arguing they can't afford to fund generous retirements at the same time they're cutting services. Numerous states and cities have trimmed the type of pension plans they're offering employees — mostly new employees.

Read more
Code Switch
12:40 pm
Sat July 19, 2014

Why An African-American Sports Pioneer Remains Obscure

Alice Coachman clears the bar at 5 feet to win the running high jump at the Women's National Track Meet in Grand Rapids, Mich., in 1948.
AP

Originally published on Sat July 19, 2014 5:01 pm

Alice Coachman Davis never entered the pantheon of breakthrough African-American sports heroes, like Jesse Owens or Wilma Rudolph. But she was a pioneer nonetheless.

In 1948, competing as Alice Coachman, she became the first African-American woman to win Olympic gold, breaking the U.S. and Olympic records in the high jump.

Chances are, you've never heard of her. Davis died on Monday at age 90 from cardiac arrest.

Read more
Business
4:19 am
Sun July 13, 2014

Congress' Latest Death Match Involves A Bank You've Never Heard Of

A worker stacks traffic safety poles at Pexco's manufacturing center in Fife, Wash. The small company ships products all over the world, with the help of federal insurance from the Export-Import Bank.
Drew Perine MCT/Landov

Originally published on Mon July 14, 2014 12:39 pm

It sits in an imposing building just across Lafayette Square from the White House. Yet the Export-Import Bank, which has been offering credit to foreign purchasers of U.S. goods for 80 years, could start shutting down operations within a matter of weeks.

"There's about a 50-50 chance," says Dan Ikenson, who directs a trade policy center at the Cato Institute.

Read more
Politics
9:54 am
Wed July 9, 2014

What's Causing The Latest Immigration Crisis? A Brief Explainer

Demonstrators from opposing sides confront each other while being separated by police officers on July 4, outside a U.S. Border Patrol station in Murrieta, Calif.
Mark J. Terrill AP

Originally published on Wed July 9, 2014 6:28 pm

It's turning into the largest influx of asylum seekers on U.S. soil since the 1980 Mariel boatlift out of Cuba.

Since October, more than 52,000 children — most from Central America and many of them unaccompanied by adults — have been taken into custody. That's nearly double last year's total and 10 times the number from 2009.

Read more
U.S.
12:50 pm
Thu July 3, 2014

Federal Highway Program Could Run Out Of Money Next Month

The White House has warned that without more money for the federal Highway Trust Fund, which helps states pay for road and infrastructure projects, construction delays will put thousands out of work.
Seth Perlman AP

Originally published on Thu July 3, 2014 2:35 pm

Congress has yet another problem it can't solve.

For years, the main federal transportation program has been spending more money than it takes in. This year, the Congressional Budget Office estimates the Transportation Department will disburse $45 billion while collecting only $33 billion for its Highway Trust Fund.

As a result, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx warned states on Tuesday that they will start seeing cuts of 28 percent in federal funding for roads and bridges next month unless Congress comes up with some extra money.

Read more
Business
12:05 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

Unions Fear High Court's Ruling Opens Door To More Trouble

The Supreme Court decision held that health care workers could not be forced to pay fees to the union recognized by the state of Illinois, because the state is not their direct employer. Some fear this will lead to further erosion of unions.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Wed July 2, 2014 12:39 pm

It wasn't the worst possible outcome for public sector unions. But that could still happen.

Read more
Parallels
4:49 am
Sun June 8, 2014

Obama's First-Term Military Moves Give Way To Second-Term Caution

President Obama delivers the commencement address to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point on May 28. The president has employed U.S. military force much more sparingly in his second term than his first.
Susan Walsh AP

President Obama's first term was marked by the regular and dramatic use of military force: he ramped up troop levels in Afghanistan, increased drone strikes in several countries, bombed Libya and ordered the raid in Pakistan that killed Osama bin Laden.

In his second term, he has used force much more sparingly and his recent foreign policy address at West Point came under considerable criticism for emphasizing what he considers the limits of U.S. military power.

So why such a change?

Read more
Business
11:16 am
Fri June 6, 2014

Illinois Declares Truce In Cupcake War

Chloe Stirling presents cupcakes to Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn in his office last month.
Seth Perlman AP

Originally published on Fri June 6, 2014 2:27 pm

No one really thinks 12-year-old Chloe Stirling presents a menace to public health.

The Illinois girl has a knack for baking cupcakes and has done pretty well selling them. So well, in fact, that her local newspaper published a story about her earlier this year. That drew the attention of the county health department — which shut her down for selling baked goods without a license or a state-certified kitchen.

Read more
NPR Ed
12:03 pm
Fri May 30, 2014

New Orleans District Moves To An All-Charter System

The drill team of Sophie B. Wright, a charter school in the New Orleans Recovery School District. The city's all-charter system is the first in the U.S.
Skooksie Flickr

Originally published on Fri May 30, 2014 3:57 pm

The nation's largest experiment with charter schools is expanding.

The Recovery School District, a state control board that runs most schools in New Orleans, shut down the last of its five traditional public schools this week, making it the first all-charter system in the nation.

Read more
Around the Nation
10:46 am
Sat May 24, 2014

Same-Sex Marriage Supporters Keep Up Their Winning Streak

Christopher DiCapua, left, and Oscar Cabrera kiss after saying their wedding vows on Friday at City Hall in Philadelphia. On Tuesday, Pennsylvania became the final northeastern state and the 19th in the U.S. to legalize same-sex marriage.
Matt Rourke AP

Same-sex marriage supporters continued to enjoy considerable legal momentum this week.

Read more

Pages