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.

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The Salt
1:59 pm
Thu October 9, 2014

Customers Can Keep The Tip — Which Might Please Restaurant Workers

A handful of restaurants across the U.S. are experimenting with no-tipping models, opting instead to charge higher set prices for menu items and give their servers higher hourly pay.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue October 14, 2014 3:45 pm

Imagine there's no tipping. By getting rid of gratuities, a few restaurants believe they'll make life easier for customers, while providing a more stable income to servers.

"It eliminates the pressure on the guest to worry about paying our staff," says Brian Oliveira, chef at Girard, a French-style restaurant opening in Philadelphia in a few weeks that intends to offer its staff up to $13 an hour in salary, plus health benefits, but with no tips.

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The Two-Way
4:54 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

Y'all Keep Talking: Lab Scratches 'Southern Accent Reduction' Course

Originally published on Tue July 29, 2014 6:04 pm

Government scientists can speak Southern after all.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory has announced that in response to complaints from staff, it's canceling plans to hold a six-week "Southern Accent Reduction" course, the Knoxville News Sentinel reports.

Officials at the scientific complex in east Tennessee said they had only been responding to an employee request. They've now responded to the anger of offended workers.

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The Two-Way
4:16 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

House Votes To End Full-Fare Rule For Airline Tickets

A family checks in for an American Airlines flight at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Mon July 28, 2014 5:25 pm

The House voted Monday to allow airlines to advertise lower prices for their routes.

The Transparent Airfares Act, which was approved with minimal debate, would overturn a 2012 rule that requires airlines to post the full price of tickets, including taxes and fees.

Shoppers are smart enough to figure out the price of an airline ticket without federal regulation, said Oregon Democrat Peter DeFazio, a bill co-sponsor.

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Science
10:52 am
Sun July 27, 2014

How Our Story About A Child's Science Experiment Sparked Controversy

Two lionfish swim in an aquarium at the Nova Southeastern University Oceanographic Center in Dania Beach, Fla.
Suzette Laboy AP

A story that ran last Sunday on All Things Considered about a sixth-grader's science fair project has elicited not just criticism but controversy.

Since the student's project built on the work of scientists, she's been accused this week of being a "plagiarist" who "ripped off" earlier work.

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U.S.
2:38 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

Are Opponents Of The Death Penalty Contributing To Its Problems?

A fence surrounds the state prison in Florence, Ariz., where Joseph Rudolph Wood was put to death on Wednesday. The execution process took nearly two hours.
AP

Kevin Cooper was convicted of murdering a married couple and two children, and was sentenced to die.

That was back in 1985. Cooper is still awaiting execution on California's death row.

San Bernardino County District Attorney Michael Ramos, who is handling the case, blames the long delay on Cooper's multiple appeals in state and federal courts.

"This is all a big strategic plan to really manipulate the system to attack capital punishment, not just in California, but in the United States," Ramos says.

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U.S.
4:06 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.

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Code Switch
1:40 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 Wed July 30, 2014 12:43 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.

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Business
5:19 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 1:39 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.

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Politics
10:54 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 7:28 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.

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U.S.
1:50 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 3:35 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.

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