Pop culture from Southern California and beyond.

Existential quote from freshman Republican on how much power representatives actually have

When someone gets elected to Congress, how much power do they actually have? Not much, according to Tea Party-supported Texas Republican Rep. Blake Farenthold.

“I went in with the youthful vigor that I could single-handedly change the world. But you fast come to the realization that you’re 1/435th of one-half of one-third of the government.”

USA Today spoke with freshmen members of the House of Representatives about how they were transitioning from campaign mode to governing; many noted the difficulties they face in Washington.

Farenthold continued, "I don't know how these bureaucrats sleep at night." Farenthold says there's a lot of power to the status quo. "Nobody in the Washington regulatory bureaucracy gets fired for saying no."

Others express more optimism about what they can accomplish. "I'm not a freshman. I'm just new in Congress," says Rep. David McKinley.

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Why did Obama reveal his birth certificate? One potential reason: Merchandise

Speculation has been running rampant about why President Barack Obama waited to reveal his long-form birth certificate that so-called "birthers" had been demanding for years, days before Navy SEALs killed Osama bin Laden.

Well, there's a new reason: merchandise. On Obama's campaign site, BarackObama.com, you can now purchase "Made in the USA" t-shirts and mugs with pictures of Obama's birth certificate on them.

In an email to supporters announcing the merchandise, the campaign also went after Jerome Corsi's new book "Where's the Birth Certificate?" Corsi wrote his book long before Obama released his birth certificate, but the book wasn't released until after the reveal.

It uses Corsi to transition into the merchandise: "There's really no way to make this stuff completely go away. The only thing we can do is laugh at it—and make sure as many other people as possible are in on the joke."

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Obama's latest accomplishment: Getting a girl a meeting with Justin Bieber

New York magazine's Daily Intel ran a story last week about how President Obama had just made a promise that he couldn't keep: getting a 14-year-old girl whose father was killed in the attack on the World Trade Center the chance to meet pop megastar Justin Bieber. The girl, Payton Wall, says that Bieber's music helped her survive, despite her loss.

Obama made that promise during last week's ceremony at ground zero, meeting with Payton, her sister Avery and their mother Diane. Obama told Payton that he "knows Justin" and would set a meeting up with Bieber.

Well, Justin Bieber just proved New York magazine wrong – he tweeted that Obama would be keeping this promise.

What I find most notable about this story: it's apparently easier to get a meeting with the president of the United States than with Justin Bieber.

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