July 18

* Here’s something Republicans will be getting angry about next week:

President Barack Obama on Monday will sign an executive order banning workplace discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender workers of federal contractors and the federal government.

The executive order has two components: It prohibits federal contractors from discriminating against employees based on sexual orientation or gender identity — a move that affects 24,000 companies employing roughly 28 million workers, or about one-fifth of the nation’s workforce — and it explicitly bans discrimination against federal employees based on their gender identity.

The executive order will not contain an exemption for religious beliefs, so if you think your religion mandates that you fire your gay workers, you’ll have to get business somewhere besides the federal government.

* This has gotten so routine that it almost isn’t news anymore:

A federal appeals court here on Friday struck down a second conservative-leaning state’s voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage, ruling that Oklahoma could not deny gay couples their “fundamental right” to wed.

The 2-to-1 decision came less than a month after the same panel of judges for the United States Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit decided that Utah’s ban violated same-sex couples’ constitutional rights to equal protection. It was another legal victory for gay couples as a range of legal challenges to state bans on same-sex marriage edge toward the United States Supreme Court.

I’d be surprised if the Supreme Court didn’t decide the marriage issue once and for all next year.

* If you’ve seen news stories about the people protesting against immigrant children coming from Central America, you’ve probably seen protesters talk about diseases they believe the children are bringing with them (spurred on by conservative media figures trying to whip up this particular fear). Jamelle Bouie examines the long history of the idea that immigrants bring contamination with them when they come to the US.

* Politifact examines one such colorful claim, from Georgia Republican congressman Phil Gingrey, that these children are carrying the Ebola virus. You’ll never guess what they found.

* As the administration tries to negotiate with congressional Republicans to pass a bill providing money to address the border crisis, it finds itself under fire from Dems who worry that humanitarian considerations may be ignored.

* With Obama’s decision looming on how far to go to ease the pace of deportations, Jessica Karp Bansal makes the case for seeing his authority to act in this regard in the most expansive terms possible, arguing that if he does, he’d only be the latest in a long line to have used that authority.

* Kevin Drum on why Obama should go big on deportations:

If Obama decides that Republicans, once again, are simply unwilling to deal in any way, then he’s left with very little reason to moderate his actions. Compromise only makes enemies among Hispanic voters, after all, and it’s worth it only if Republicans will give him something in return. If they won’t, he might as well take the boldest action he can to help his party, and then dare Republicans to do something about it.

I know what they’ll do: say he’s a lawless tyrant!

* Steve Benen catches John McCain dishing out some grade A bull droppings on what might have happened with regard to Iraq had he been elected president in 2000:

McCain reportedly added, “I think I would have [voted the same way on invading Iraq], but I think I would have challenged the evidence with greater scrutiny [as president]. I think that with my background with the military and knowledge of national security with these issues that I hope that I would have been able to see through the evidence that was presented at the time.

I’m not entirely sure what this means. McCain was a senator at the time. He had his “background” and “knowledge.” He was able to consider “the evidence that was presented at the time.” And McCain’s conclusion was that invading Iraq was a great idea.

Some people’s power for self-delusion is truly inspiring.

* Brian Beutler has a nice piece catching select conservatives attacking Obama for not being angry enough about 23 Americans who (media rumors said) had died on the Malaysian Airlines plane shot down over Ukraine, before the facts were in. Surely the mea culpas are coming any moment now.

* The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee again outraised its Republican counterpart in June, and the Dem fundraising advantages are piling up. in many places, Dem incumbents and candidates have been swamped by a deluge of advertising, but they’re still in it. It’ll be interesting to see what happens when Dems seriously engage on the air.

* Jonathan Capehart with a reminder: Yes, southern black voters could end up saving the Senate for Democrats, but they really have to come out to vote to make it happen.

* And finally, over at the American Prospect, I explain why running for president means you have to get specific about a lot of things, which for Republicans looks a lot like moving to the right.