The Pendulum provides a weekly survey of America’s top trending topics. Let us know what you think!

1 US POLITICS Could Congress balance the budget by doing nothing at all? Slate’s Annie Lowrey seems to think so.

America faces trillions of dollars in debt and everyone from Alice Rivilin to Rep. Paul Ryan to President Obama has a big solution to clean up the mess. The truth is, no one really knows the exact steps that it will take for this country to recover. Lowrey suggests that if we keep spending at revenue levels at the Congressional Budget Office’s baseline projections, the budget will balance itself in “about a decade.” How is this possible? Lowrey proposes that the fiscal changes will happen naturally; Bush tax-cuts will expire, “the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Obama’s health care law, would proceed without getting repealed or defunded,” and Medicare (would) start paying doctors low, low rates.”

2 WORLD China’s economy has grown 9.7 percent in the first quarter of this year.

China has been on the US radar for the last decade, but recently the growth has been hurting the bustling economy. Citizens complain that inflation has become a problem and some even miss the old days when they had a more stable price index. Although the economy grew 9.7 percent this year, it was undercut by the 5.4 percent consumer price index. In efforts to control the recent boom the Chinese government has raised interest rates, prevented companies from raising consumer prices, and tightened restrictions on bank lending. Whether American’s like it or not, China is an example of how the economy must be controlled in bad times, as well as good.

3 MIRACLE 10-year-old, only survivor in a car that crashed into the Hudson River.

It’s hard to celebrate a situation so grim, but it was certainly a miracle that 10-year-old La’Shaun Armstrong was able to escape after his mother crashed their car into the river with him and his two younger siblings inside. He managed to open the driver’s window before the car fully submerged. His mother was only 25 years old. Let us keep the young man in prayer. He will have a lot to overcome in his life.

4 MUSIC Russell Simmons makes a plea: “Real Men Don’t Buy Girls.”

After reading Simmons’ article, sparked by Ashton Kutcher’s passionate plug for his new campaign, “Real Men,” it’s clear that a bulb has flashed on. The campaign aims to rally support against sex-trafficking in America. I was shocked to learn the number of American girls being trafficked across the country. I know a great deal about the global crisis, but to find out that it’s happening so close to home moved me. Join the movement; and men, please talk to your sons about this important issue.

5 EDUCATION Columbia University professor analyzes the cost/gain ratio of college debt.

The average college student has $24,000 of debt when they graduate, but Columbia’s Judith Scott-Clayton averages that the graduates only make about $35,000 their first year out of school. Scott-Clayton raises the question: Is it worth it? She answers in the end, “No one is ever going to love their student loans … but … foregoing a college degree may be the biggest risk of all.” My bottom line: If you can make it happen without the debt, do it. Debt is not freedom, no way you try to qualify it, but if you’re going to get into debt, go in with a play-by-play plan for eventually getting out.

6 MONEY Expect to pay more for your favorite dish.

Your catfish and hushpuppy meal might cost you more next time you dine at your favorite southern-style restaurant. U.S. farmed catfish, most popular in the Midwest and South, is facing a shortage due to a price increase in soybeans, corn and wheat. The increase in grain prices has led to fewer U.S. catfish being raised, making them more costly to restaurants. With 70% of the U.S. raised catfish going to restaurants, patrons may find themselves paying more for their “soul food” or eating a Vietnamese catfish variety called “fried catch.” Now that sounds appetizing.

7 TECHNOLOGY New site The white pages of the web. Search yourself!

Spokeo allows people to search people by name, email, usernames and more to find their complete online history. A new industry has evolved to keep sites like Spokeo from cyber stalkers, and perhaps employers as well. You can pay to tweak your online image. Check the site out. Afterwards, you may be willing to pay the $99/yr to online image security site to get quarterly reports on your online image.

8 TV Happy Endings premiered last week with Damon Wayans Jr.
I give it a B-.

The show that fesses up to being a knock-off of Friends “but with less white people,” leaves more to be desired in the diversity category. Ironically, Wayans is the only non-white on the show. Putting that aside, the show is funny. I hope it lasts, but it’s going to need better character arcs if it’s going to keep viewers coming back.

9 MOVIES New romantic comedy tackles the “Politics of Love” between a brown Democrat and Republican couple.

It’s a joy to see a film with a few extra layers arrive on the Black cinema scene. Finally, a film acknowledges that all Blacks are not Democrats. Not expressing my political affiliations, just happy to see some Black diversity on screen. Brian White (I Can Do Bad All By Myself) and Indian actress Mallika Sherawat (Guru) play political rivals who fall in love during the 2008 presidential campaign. Ruby Dee and Loretta Divine co-star. Check out trailer below.

10 CELEB Tamera Mowry is engaged to a white man; recent pics have divided fans. Really??

I’m tired of people hating on interracial relationships. It’s like, why are we still talking about it? If they’re happy, then why take that away from them? Since when did your respect for a man begin and end with the color of his skin? My much more important list… Honest? Check! God-fearing? Check! Selfless? Check! Ugh…article on this coming soon!

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