Photo: Bill Roehl on Flickr, Creative Commons License

Good morning, Firepups, and welcome to the latest edition of Friday Free for All. It’s really a grab-bag today!

Here’s what’s been on my mind.

Chris Hayes had a stellar interview last Saturday with Tony Kushner, screenwriter for the movie Lincoln. I’m not a big movie-goer, but I’m going to see this one. I’ve linked to only the first segment of Chris’s interview (embed isn’t working) but from the UP website you also can watch the second part, plus a follow-on third segment comparing/contrasting the challenges Lincoln faced getting the 13th Amendment through the House with the challenges passing the Affordable Care Act. Tony Kushner talks with Chris Hayes about Lincoln.

How Costco Became the Anti-Walmart. This story is old, but very pertinent, given that Walmart has been in the news again. “Good wages and benefits are why Costco has extremely low rates of turnover and theft by employees. And Costco’s customers, who are more affluent than other warehouse store shoppers, stay loyal because they like that low prices do not come at the workers’ expense.”

Rolling Stone has a fascinating series of essays titled Oral History 2012 replaying the year through the words and lives of many of those who shaped it. Whitney Houston, the ACA, the Colorado wildfires, drought and crop losses, Rodney King, the Freeh Report (Sandusky), and the Aurora shootings are some of the featured stories. There will be more, including Benghazi and the Olympics, in the coming weeks.

More reading! A long article by Bruce Bartlett, a longtime conservative historian and supply-side economist, about his life on the Republican right, and how he saw it all go wrong, in Revenge of the Reality-Based Community. Sometimes I wonder if Liberals/Progressives suffer some of the epistemic closure Bartlett discusses, but perhaps not to the same extent. But I do avoid Fox and NRO and the WSJ editorial page. Am I in a bubble, too?

Paul Krugman, in a column this week, said,

Today’s Republicans cocoon themselves in an alternate reality defined by Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page, and only on rare occasions — like on election night — encounter any hint that what they believe might not be true.

Yves Smith thinks the Affordable Care Act sucks, and lays out why. Welcome to the Future of Your Health Insurance. It Sucks.

The Indiana State Police Chief says: Legalize Pot

One last item: David Cay Johnson in a NYT op-ed discusses the need to Break up the Telecom Cartels, the duopoly that formed after the breakup of the Bells in 1974. Now everything is dominated by two powerful combinations that make our phone/cable/Internet services cost way more than they do in other modern countries.

I’m having corned beef hash topped with eggs over easy and a side of sourdough toast with lots of butter. I can feel my arteries slamming shut. What’s your preference?