When Democratic Senator Kent Conrad announced his retirement, his seat in North Dakota was all but written off to the Republicans. Instead, on Tuesday, North Dakota voters chose Conrad's onetime protege at the State Tax Commissioner's Office, the state's former attorney general, Heidi Heitkamp, and she joins us now from her home. Welcome to the program.
SENATOR-ELECT HEIDI HEITKAMP: Thank you so much for having me.
Until news broke of the Petraeus resignation, today's top story was the country's fiscal crisis. Across-the-board tax cuts will expire at year's end, and mandatory spending cuts will kick in. It's caused a post-election scramble to dodge this so-called fiscal cliff. Well, today, President Obama made clear any deal must include higher taxes for the wealthy. He also sounded an optimistic note pointing to remarks earlier today by the Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner.
The saxophonist Dayna Stephens, originally of the San Francisco Bay Area, has built up an impressive educational pedigree: Berkeley High, Berklee College of Music, the Thelonious Monk Institute's masters program. But he's really flourished by backing up greats like Kenny Barron and Idris Muhammad, and being a first-call player on both the East and West Coast. Blessed with a warm, enveloping tone, he's made two records as a bandleader, including this year's Today Is Tomorrow.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And I'm Melissa Block. Today in Washington, D.C. more talk of the need for compromise to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff. And the surprise this afternoon, the resignation of CIA director David Petraeus after he admitted he had an extramarital affair. We'll talk more about Petraeus in a few minutes with our regular political commentators.
Daniel Day-Lewis has won two Academy Awards for fully immersing himself in his characters in There Will Be Blood and My Left Foot.
Now the British actor is taking on one of America's most iconic figures in Steven Spielberg's Lincoln, playing the 16th president during the final months of his life. Day-Lewis tells NPR's Melissa Block that it was a daunting prospect — but that ultimately Lincoln was a surprisingly accessible figure.
Pianist, composer and teacher Pete Malinverni is a multifaceted player known for his attention to melody and delicate phrasing. Spiritual influences radiate throughout his arrangement of "Deep River," and Malinverni and host Marian McPartland end a delightful hour as they join together in a performance of the Harold Arlen standard "Get Happy."
The Supreme Court has agreed to weigh the constitutionality of the decision by Congress in 2006 to reauthorize the Voting Rights Act, the landmark Civil Rights legislation enacted in 1965 that let millions of African-Americans cast ballots for the first time in states that had long blocked them from voting booths.
The director of the Central Intelligence Agency David Petraeus submitted his resignation today, citing an extramarital affair.
"After being married for over 37 years, I showed extremely poor judgment by engaging in an extramarital affair," Petraeus, 60, said in a message sent to CIA staff. "Such behavior is unacceptable, both as a husband and as the leader of an organization such as ours. This afternoon, the President graciously accepted my resignation."
The Shanghai Propaganda Poster Art Center lies buried in an unmarked apartment building off the tree-lined streets of the city's former French Concession. There are no signs. You have to wend your way through apartment blocks, down a staircase and into a basement to discover one of Shanghai's most obscure and remarkable museums.