* HuffPo has some useful behind the scenes reporting on the White House’s efforts to get leading progressives on board behind the push for Fast Track Authority on free trade, again underscoring what a rift this is turning into among Democrats.
* Politico reports that as immigration reform’s hopes are dimming, the pressure is only rising on Obama to act with executive authority on at least some of the 11 million. Keep an eye on that: it will be very hard for him not to act next year if Republicans fail to move.
* Meanwhile, no apologies from GOP Rep. Steve King, who continues to insist he was right about cantaloupe-calved DREAMers hauling marijuana across the border.
* Obama’s dropping of Chained CPI comes after Republicans turned down his previous offer of Chained CPI for tax hikes, and Brian Beutler gets it right on the larger meaning of Obama’s decision:
Liberals are celebrating, with good reason, but I think the strongest emotional response should come from reasonable conservatives who have let an inflexible anti-tax orthodoxy destroy the right’s longer-standing goal of slashing and devolving entitlements. The only way they’ll get there with Democrats in power is to pony up some tax revenue. Failing that, they’ll need to recapture the entire government and do the slashing and devolving all on their own. But there’s every reason in the world to doubt they have the chutzpah to do that. So the dream is dead. Driving that point home to the right is just as valuable as granting a reprieve to the left.
* Steve Benen asks a good question about Americans for Prosperity’s multi-million-dollar ad campaign against Dems: Why is it so hard to find legitimate Obamacare horror stories?
* Alison Lundergan Grimes releases a statement commending the Gap for its minimum wage hike, and renewing the call for a federal increase, another sign the issue will be central in the Kentucky Senate race, as red state Dems move to focus on pocketbook issues rather than the GOP’s preferred channel: All Obamacare All The Time.
* Meanwhile, Ted Cruz is now openly declining to endorse McConnell, who continues to wrestle with a Tea Party monster he did so much to create.
* A counter-intuitive take from Francis Wilkinson on why the Scott Walker emails actually aren’t that damaging to him, but reveal in a roundabout way why the Chris Christie scandal is the real deal.
* And Juliet Lapidos highlights perhaps the most creative rational yet for opposing ENDA’s ban on anti-gay hiring discrimination: Such laws are a form of segregation.