* An executive order hiking the minimum wage for employees of federal contractors is a good step, but Dems like Nancy Pelosi and Chris Van Hollen are making a solid point: Obama  could also end hiring discrimination against gays and lesbians by federal contractors with similar ease.

* John Boehner claimed today that the minimum wage executive order would impact virtually no one, but he now seems to be walking that back:

His aides later clarified that he meant immediately, since the executive order will be for a minimum wage increase for new hires.

Proponents believe it could impact at least 200,000 people.

* David Atkins has a terrific response to Boehner’s suggestion that Republicans will retaliate if Obama continues to act unilaterally:

They’ve already shut down the government, forced cuts to food stamps and denied long-term unemployment benefits. Short of impeachment, what else is there? That’s the problem with becoming the insane party. Once you’ve gone over that edge, there’s not much leverage left. A President’s calculus quickly becomes to ignore Congress completely and do whatever is possible through executive order. Nothing else is left.

And they’ve repeatedly threatened to tank the economy in the quest for unilateral concessions from Dems. It’s all so painfully obvious. Now if we could only get more commentators to acknowledge the basic outlines of the situation here.

* Peter Baker, in an overview of the larger significance of Obama’s announcement of executive authority on the minimum wage, has a useful recap of the other areas he’s opted for executive action:

Mr. Obama unilaterally deferred deportation of many younger illegal immigrants after Congress declined to pass legislation giving them legal status. He has delayed enforcement of several aspects of his hotly disputed health care law. He declined to defend against legal challenges the Defense of Marriage Act…Perhaps the most far-reaching area will be the environment, where the Environmental Protection Agency is working on regulations to limit carbon emissions at the nation’s power plants.

Over time, this could really add up to a lot. But we still don’t know what executive orders he has in store on the economy, beyond the minimum wage hike for employees of federal contractors.

* David Corn on why Obama should use tonight’s speech to redefine the political battlefield by unabashedly calling out the GOP sabotage governing strategy for what it is.

* For those of you who like the behind-the-curtain stuff, former White House speechwriter Jon Favreau on what goes into the writing of a SOTU address.

* Ron Kampeas has an interesting look at the loose coalition of groups pushing to block the move among Senate Dems for an Iran sanctions bill vote, a coalition that does seem to be having some success, though the push for a vote could always revive.

* House conservatives are hatching a new excuse for opposing immigration reform: They were betrayed by the emerging farm bill, which doesn’t cut enough from food stamps after negotiations with Dems in the Senate.

* This, even though it reportedly cuts $8 billion from SNAP, leading anti-hunger advocates to denounce it for slashing the safety net while maintaining government giveaways to the agriculture industry.

* And a good question from Sam Stein:

So, does Rep. McMorris-Rodgers call for Obamacare repeal or not in her SOTU rebuttal?

I’m gonna predict a big fudge.

What else?

Greg Sargent writes The Plum Line blog, a reported opinion blog with a liberal slant -- what you might call “opinionated reporting” from the left.