July 21

* Creative policy thinker Rick Perry has come up with a way to address the problem of those Central American kids coming to the border:

Texas Gov. Rick Perry will immediately send up to 1,000 National Guard troops to help secure the southern border, where tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors from Central America have crossed into the United States this year in a surge that is deemed a humanitarian crisis.

Perry also wants President Barack Obama and Congress to hire an additional 3,000 border patrol agents for the Texas border, which would eventually replace the temporary guard forces.

“I will not stand idly by,” Perry said in Austin Monday, announcing what he called Operation Strong Safety. “The price of inaction is too high.”

“Operation Strong Safety”? Why not just go ahead and call it Operation America Macho TestosteReagan? Perry seems unaware that the problem isn’t one of insufficient strength — as the head of the National Guard under George W. Bush has said, it’s unclear what the Guard is supposed to do in this situation that others couldn’t, particularly given the fact that these kids are walking up to Border Patrol agents to turn themselves in.

* Jonathan Cohn surveys a raft of new reports and finds that thanks to the decision to opt out of the Medicaid expansion, there’s a deepening red-blue divide on health care, and that appears to be exactly the outcome GOP governors wanted. — gs

* Meanwhile, a report in the New England Journal of Medicine estimates that 20 million Americans obtained health coverage through the Affordable Care Act. #disaster

* Kate Sheppard reports that Michigan Dem Gary Peters is making the Koch brothers’ huge expenditures against him a key theme of his campaign, emphasizing his efforts to make climate change a key issue as a reason they’re out to defeat him. Yes, climate is an issue in at least one Senate race! — gs

* Here’s a summary of a new report from the Brennan Center for Justice on the impact of judicial vacancies:

These judges reported that vacancies slowed the court’s ability to resolve motions and try cases, which drove up litigation costs, caused evidence to go stale, made it harder to settle civil cases, and in some instances, pressured clients to plead guilty. They also said vacancies created heavier caseloads, which meant judges had less time to spend on cases, and resulted in fewer administrative staff, which left courts unable to effectively manage dockets.

You’d think that fixing this problem would be a bipartisan endeavor. But that would mean confirming Barack Obama’s judicial nominees. So no.

* After chair Darrell Issa subpoenaed the IRS commissioner yet again, ranking Oversight Dem Elijah Cummings wrote Issa a letter with suggestions for 11 separate pressing policy issues the committee could be spending its time probing. But since none involve the IRS or Benghazi, Cummings will most likely be ignored.

* The Charlotte Observer has a good overview of how the tax and eductation cuts North Carolina Senate candidate Thom Tillis and other Republicans ushered through the legislature are affecting the state, and North Carolina’s rightward lurch will be central to the contrast Dems draw in the Senate race. — gs

* Mitch McConnell, who fended off his own Tea Party challenge, came to the aid of Thad Cochran in Mississippi when he was facing a challenge from the right. That has made Tea Partiers very angry at McConnell, with one Tea Party leader claiming: “I will not vote for that man.”

What remains to be seen is whether a meaningful number of conservatives stay at home in a race that could be extremely close.

* Sahil Kapur looks at how McConnell obscures his positions on three issues that could hurt him in November. He’s a slippery one, that Mitch.

* Kevin Drum gets positively thunderous pushing back against the notion that had Barack Obama just stood up to Wall Street and the right in 2009 then a leftist paradise could have come to pass:

Back in 2009, was Obama really the only thing that stood between bankers and the howling mob? Don’t be silly. Americans were barely even upset, let alone ready for revolution. Those pathetic demonstrations outside the headquarters of AIG were about a hundredth the size that even a half-ass political organization can muster for a routine anti-abortion rally. After a few days the AIG protestors got bored and went home without so much as throwing a few bottles at cops. Even the Greeks managed that much.

Why were Americans so obviously not enraged? Because — duh — the hated neoliberal system worked. We didn’t have a second Great Depression. The Fed intervened, the banking system was saved, and a stimulus bill was passed. Did bankers get treated too well? Oh yes indeed. Was the stimulus too small? You bet. Nevertheless, was America saved from an epic collapse? It sure was. Instead of a massive meltdown, we got a really bad recession and a weak recovery, and even that was cushioned by a safety net that, although inadequate, was more than enough to keep the pitchforks off the streets.

His analysis may not be satisfying if you’re looking for ways that Obama betrayed the left and thereby doomed the country. But it’s pretty persuasive.

* While much of the media attention to Netroots Nation focused on speeches by Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden, the conference actually focused much of its attention on grassroots organizing, as Ned Resnikoff reports. And that’s something that can have real lasting effects.

* And finally, over at the American Prospect I wrote about why one day you’ll probably fall in love with a robot, not because it’ll fool you into thinking it’s human, but because you won’t care that it isn’t.