This was a week of expansion and contraction. Equal rights were allowed to continue expanding in Arizona, where Governor Jan Brewer vetoed an anti-gay bill masquerading as a "religious freedom" bill, and in Texas, where a federal judge ruled the state's gay marriage ban unconstitutional. Meanwhile, the Treasury Department announced that the deficit had shrunk to its smallest level since 2008 -- although the victory here is less clear, since the byproduct of deficit cutting in the middle of an ongoing recession has been prolonged unemployment and slow growth. The idea that government spending should contract at the same time the overall economy does is an American Hustle not worthy of an award. More entertaining will be seeing whether the cinematic American Hustle will triumph tonight -- or whether the Best Picture Oscar will go to fellow front-runners Gravity and 12 Years a Slave. My own prediction for a big win: Ellen.
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