With his election victory behind him, President Obama now turns his focus to planning his second term. He again faces a divided Congress - a Republican-controlled House and a Senate led by Democrats. But a second term presents an opportunity for the president try to set a new agenda and maybe change his approach to governing.
Twelve days after Hurricane Sandy smacked the eastern seaboard and beyond, tens of thousands of people still lack basic necessities - food, water, even shelter. NPR's Richard Gonzales sent us this postcard about three men from Chicago who took it upon themselves to bring some comfort to Sandy's victims.
From left, Sens. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) await President Obama's State of the Union address in January 2011, when a bipartisan seating arrangement symbolically suggested a more cooperative spirit among lawmakers.
Gridlock is the term many use to describe what happens when legislation gets stalled in the U.S. Congress.
But gridlock suggests that people in Congress at least run into each other. I've had enough casual, personal conversations with representatives in both parties in recent years to begin to think a more critical problem might be that politicians of opposing parties are almost strangers to each other.
Elliott Carter died this week, a month shy of his 104th birthday. He had a huge influence on modern classical music. So in 2008, when Elliott Carter was celebrating his centennial, NPR's Tom Cole went to New York City to interview him. And he has this remembrance of what it was like to meet the storied composer.
TOM COLE, BYLINE: I was terrified. I mean, this was a man who had lived history; a composer who'd won two Pulitzer Prizes, for his Second and Third String Quartets.